Part 9

Night and Day


Tuesday Night

He'd tried.

They'll probably put that on his tombstone, and quite soon he suspects. "Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, He tried."

He'd shouted a warning when he saw Angelus appear behind the unsuspecting Cordelia, felt the dropped food splatter warmly along his leg as the monster pressed hard on the side of her neck, and she sagged, unconscious.

He'd rushed to her rescue, tried to take on Angelus like some kind of hero, he was an ass to ever think that he had a snowball's chance in hell against an inhumanly strong predator who had centuries of practice at subduing humans. Still, he'd tried.

And been swatted like a fly. You couldn't call it a fight: he'd swung, missed, felt a brief thrill when he managed to land one solid blow -- and then Angelus hit him and the lights went out.

He's not dead yet. Sure of that at least. He's reasonably sure the afterlife doesn't feature being tied to a chair, gagged and blindfolded. At least he hopes not. So: still alive, and not actually in very much pain, considering. Both states are almost certainly temporary. He winces as he recalls Angelus' more inventive atrocities he'd read about in the Watchers' Chronicles.

His straining ears detect a door closing somewhere not too far away. Heavy footsteps coming toward him and then there's a presence in the room with him that makes the hairs on his neck rise. Unbreathing, avid. Wesley desperately wants to say something, anything to break the silence, but the gag in his mouth prevents that. Not that it really matters; words aren't going to save him. Just let it be quick, he prays without much hope.

His only warning is the sudden displacement of air as Angelus closes the gap between them. Wesley barely has time to register his collar being ripped open before the pain of teeth slicing into his throat overwhelms him. It hurts, God, it's pure agony. Feels exactly like what it is: like being eaten alive, slowly. There's no romance here: Angelus is a messy eater, grunting and slurping greedily at the wound, steely fingers holding him in place as he bites deeper, gulps him down, bit by painful bit.

Wesley doesn't fight. After all, it's no more than he deserves.

Because he should have killed Angel weeks ago. Should have acted when he first saw the signs, and dealt with Angel himself. But instead he'd hesitated, waited too long. He doesn't mind his own death (though he wishes it didn't have to hurt so much). But the thought of Cordelia dead, of all the people who are going to die by Angelus' merciless fangs because of his vacillation, aches worse than the teeth.

So he endures the pain, welcomes the weakness he feels spreading through him, the slow fading of sensation. Glad to have it over, at long last.

And feels cheated when instead of death and oblivion there's shock and renewed pain as the fangs come out and the raw wounds are exposed to the stinging air. He's dazzled a moment later when the hood is removed.

Angelus looks down at him with yellow eyes and there's blood on his fangs. Bright and fresh: his blood. Wesley wonders what game they're playing now as the demon pulls on his human guise. Why can't he just get it over with?

"Wesley," Angelus says as he runs a human tongue over his teeth to clean away the last remnants of blood. "I'm sorry."

Wesley stares at him in utter horror.


Angel flinches from the betrayal in Wesley's eyes at the realization that it wasn't Angelus who'd fed on him. It might have been kinder to pretend to be the demon. But right now he doesn't feel safe invoking Angelus in any way.

Poor Wes. He was really sorry it had to be him.

But, the hunger has shrunken his world bit by bit, removing his choices one by one, day by day, hour by hour, till he's down to a pitiful few alternatives, none of them good.

The trip back from Sunnydale had been an eternity of growing need, with Alice's terror and heat calling to him only inches away. He'd sedated her again to make moving her from the car to the utility room easier and it had been torture, holding himself back from the pulse he could sense beating under her dark skin. It had taken all his control to leave her there unharmed.

He'd crept into his quarters quietly, aware of Cordy and Wes upstairs in the office and praying they wouldn't come down. He'd drunk everything in his refrigerator, licked the containers clean, and collapsed in his bed, exhausted. His last thoughts were that he'd have to think of some excuse to send them away for a few days, until it's finished one way or another.

His dreams were unrestful, filled with blood and Cordelia. Visions of Cordelia flushed with terror and arousal as he holds her down. Of her screaming his name as he… Then he was awake, and her fear in the air, trickling under the door as she hurried past. Her fear mixed with the sewer smell, and he'd known immediately. Gone after her and caught her, just in time.

When he'd touched her, when he felt the fragile architecture of her neck under his hand as he pressed on her carotid artery with old expertise, his hands felt like they'd caught fire. As she collapsed he'd had to catch her to keep her from hitting her head on the desk and he'd felt the flames moving under his skin, eating away at his resolve. He'd bent forward, fascinated by Cordelia's face gone slack and perfectly helpless. All he could think of was how much he wanted her, wanted her, wanted her; how much he wanted to drink her down and put out the flame and show her how much he loved her…

Wesley had saved them both.

Having to deal with Wesley's brave if inept attack quenched the fire momentarily. He'd regained control, for just long enough to let him secure both of them. But afterwards, sitting in his office, trying to work out what he's going to do now, the hunger reignited. And he kept thinking about Cordelia, downstairs, on his bed. Helpless. Waiting. His.

<Two birds in the hand> Angelus whispered.

There was no more blood in the refrigerator, the butchers were all closed and the hunger screamed for a sacrifice. Nothing but bad choices. Cordelia, or Wesley.

And Wesley was the lucky winner.

Even after the dreams, the fantasies full of blood, blood, blood, it shocked him, how good Wesley tasted. How deeply satisfying it was to have his teeth in living flesh again, to have hot human blood spurt into his mouth. To swallow, and feel the vitality spread through his body, warming his cold flesh, bringing him as close to life as he can come.

Very glad that he hadn't fed on the Asian woman -- was it only last night? If he had he'd be a murderer now, not Angelus, but him. He doesn't think he'd have been able to stop for some anonymous stranger, it was hard enough to stop when he knew it was Wes he was feeding on. His friend struggling in his grip, heart racing in, panic filling his blood with sweet adrenaline. No delirium to blame it on this time. He made the decision, to do this…

And the demon hasn't been this happy in a long time. It luxuriates in his inner torment, in his victim's pain, egging him on to take more. To do more. To sate his lust as well as his hunger on the former Watcher. Because he can. Because Wesley can't hate him more than he already does.

And now he's looking at him accusingly, with those big blue eyes. Angel wishes he'd left the hood on.

"Sorry," Angel says, again. In an atypical display of inhuman strength he lifts Wesley, still in the chair and carries him into his office. Sets him down carefully beside the desk, shuts the door and draws the blinds before removing the gag.

"You're not Angelus," Wesley says coldly.

"Not more than I ever was, no." It's a relief to speak the truth. He hopes Wesley will hear it, but even now, the hatred in his eyes is softening.

"Angel. Why have you done this? How could you?"

"I've been losing control for weeks Wes. I know you noticed. The hunger has been getting worse and worse…"

"Why didn't you say anything? We might have been able to help." The statement annoys him because it's so untrue, on so many levels. He moves forward, smiles meanly when Wesley can't keep himself from shrinking back.

"Why didn't *you* say anything, huh Wes? 'Cause maybe you were scared you'd have to deal with what I really am, not what you want me to be? You like to pretend there's two of us Angel the good guy, and Angelus the vampire. Both you and Cordy do it. But it's not true."

Wesley's eyes widened. "Oh, God, Cordelia…" Angel shakes his head angrily.

"Cordelia's fine. She's downstairs. I would never hurt her." Wesley takes a deep breath.

"So what will happen now? You can't keep us here forever."

"Don't need to. I've got the solution to all our problems. The moon's full tomorrow night. Just one day and then it will be over, one way or the other."


She's gone, but he's still here. In a world of pain, but still here. He'd been sure he was for the dustpan that time.

Spike groans as he takes his first tottering step, he feels like the little mermaid: every footstep is like walking on knives. Feels like there's nails and broken glass shifting in his guts. Broken bones and it's a good thing he doesn't really need his kidneys. Only one working eye and his coat is beyond saving. She really did a job on him. Bitch.

But he's still here.

He's fucking famished, his battered body screaming for blood to heal itself. Can feel his skin starting to draw tight as the tissues start to dehydrate. Going to have to do something about that, and soon.

He's been out for awhile; he can feel the night outside as he creeps slowly down the attic stairs, through her room, shit-scared every inch of the way that she'll come back to finish their 'conversation'. Every instinct is urging him to run from this house, and keep running till he finds a nice deep hole to hide in. Instead he lurches along the hallway, smearing the wallpaper with bloody hands until he reaches the door.

Nearly loses his balance again, having to cling to the railing, as he slowly descends one last time into Orexis' gleaming white temple of pain.

Spread-eagled on the table like a proper little sacrifice, the boy is unconscious. She must have stopped by sometime between kicking his arse and now because Spike smells fresh blood. When he's close enough, he can see the deep punctures where she's been feeding on him.

Thing is, Spike could do with a pick-me-up himself and here it was laid out for him, boy probably wouldn't even feel it if he stretched that skinny neck and slid his fangs into the slow, steady, pulse...

Down boy, he tells himself. Not this one. There are things more important than blood.

Revenge, for instance.

He undoes the restraints and awkwardly hefts the boy over his shoulder. Spike staggers under the weight even though Oz had never been what you'd call robust, especially after his stay in chez Orexis. Spike looks up at the long flight of stairs, and wonders how the hell he's going to do this.


Something's tickling her arm, soft strokes, like being licked by a cat. Not an unpleasant sensation, only she doesn't have a cat. Cordelia opens her eyes, and oh shit. It's Angel bent over her arm, gently tracing the vein from wrist to elbow with quick little dabs of his tongue. Tasting her. Her arm that she can't pull away because of it being handcuffed to the bedpost. Which means it's evil twin time again, and dammit she's fresh out of holy water. "Angelus," she says. Surprised when he stops what he's doing, sits back, and frowns.

"Angel," he corrects her a little peevishly. She's guessing she's not the first person to make the mistake, (if it is one) recently. "I'm still me…just." Shift behind the eyes as he turns his attention to the cuffs. "Hope these aren't too tight." He's padded the metal with a scarf. Reassuring, that he cares.

Not really. She's not sure that insane Angel is necessarily an improvement on full-tilt Angelus. If she's going to be killed, she'd rather it was on purpose.

"You - you knocked me out! What the hell is going on?"

"I didn't have a choice. I couldn't let you stop me." Delivered in a tone that made it sound like it was her fault.

"Wesley, where's Wesley?" His eyes slide away from hers and now she's really scared.

"Wesley …he's in my office." Unconsciously, he licks his lips. "He's fine."

Cordelia suspects this is a new definition of 'fine', but lets it go for now.

"Angel, please, we can help, whatever it is. Whatever you need. But you've got to let us go."

"Can't. Ohhhh Cordy," tracing her face with his hand. "I've been losing it for weeks. I think my soul is coming unstuck. Both of you knew something was wrong, but you didn't know what to do about it that wouldn't feel like betrayal, and I understand that; but I can't go on like this." He smiles, and she wishes he hadn't. "But it's O.K., cause I figured out a way to fix it."


"I needed Alice. She said she'll help me."

"That why you left her tied up in the sewer? Because she's going to help you? Help you do what?"

"The full moon's tomorrow night. Pretty sure I can hold out till then…" Just like she hadn't spoken.

"Hey!" she snapped. "I asked a question! What is Alice going to help you with?" Angel comes back into focus, and his expression…is that embarrassment?

"Ah, well, there's a ritual."

"Which involves what that you need Alice for?"

Slowly, reluctantly, he explains. Oh.

Deep breaths Cordelia, you can deal with this. You can talk him out of it.

"There has to be another way. What about Willow? Or Giles…"

"No time, no time."

"Angel! You can't do this to Alice. She's scared of you, and you said the sacrifice had to be willing…" He's not listening. Apparently 'willing' has also been redefined.

"I've gotta go," he says and bends over and kisses her.

It's a long kiss, tasting of regret…and blood, Cordelia realizes with a shudder that breaks the embrace. Angel straightens up. She has to look away from the longing and sorrow and lust warring on his face.

"If this doesn't work…Cordelia, promise me you'll get out, don't stop for anything, or anyone; just get out. Alert the Council."

She nods.

"Try and sleep. I'll be back soon."

And he's gone. Leaving her alone, with her thoughts and she wishes she'd stayed unconscious. She mourns lost chances. If only he'd come to them -- or they'd spoken to him. Or anything. They've lost Angel, and it doesn't look good for getting him back.


4:10 a.m. Giles stares in disbelief at the glowing numerals. Someone is ringing the bloody doorbell.

"Rupert?" Joyce mumbles sleepily.

Bloody hell.

"I'll deal with it," he says grimly. If it's anything short of the Hellmouth's opening, someone's going to die.

Downstairs, not bothering to turn the lights on because the moon's still up, filtering through the windows. The doorbell rings again twice before he reaches the door. He throws it open, hoping for a demon, something he can kill with a good conscience.

Not really pleased to have his prayer answered. It's Spike. Bent over, coughing and he stinks of alcohol and vomit and blood and Giles decides to hell with this 'can't slay a helpless creature' buggeration, he's going to stake the bastard. His mouth is open to curse him when Spike looks up. Giles recoils, the vampire's a horrible mess: one eye's swollen shut, his face is bruised and covered with bloodless cuts, and so thin it looks like it ought to be on display at the British Museum.

"Give us a hand here Rupert," he gasps and moves aside so that Giles can see Oz, lying on the porch very pale and still.

"You bastard!"

Spike just manages to avoid Giles' fist. Raises his hands "Hey! Hey! That the kind of thanks I get? I'm the one who rescued him."


"Help me get him inside, right," Spike says his one eye glacial. "And Uncle Spike will tell you a little story."



When Xander woke the next morning he kept his eyes closed as he rolled over, hoping he'd meet with Alice's warmly sleeping form and that the last few hours would turn out to be a nightmare. But he contacts nothing but air and cool sheets.

No Alice.

Goes downstairs to check the machine.

No messages.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. They were supposed to do the whole Turkey day thing at Buffy's place. She was making macaroni and cheese. No way would she leave him like this, not Alice.

And he knows, he *knows* Angel has something to do with this. Doesn't know what, but *something*.

He gets dressed, has coffee and tries to think. He knows the police, not to mention his alleged friends, won't believe in her disappearance until he can provide some evidence besides his belief, his knowledge that she loved him and she wouldn't leave him.

So he goes out into the neighborhood, walking. It takes him all of 20 minutes to find her car, parked a few blocks away, groceries spilt and leaking all over the back seat. He uses his mobile to call the police. Then Giles, who cuts him off before he can say anything.

"Xander. Thank goodness you called; we have something of a situation going on here. I'm calling an emergency meeting, how soon can you get here?"


In the dark, in the cold, Alice has long since given up waiting for Cordelia to come back. Shuts off thoughts of all the things that might have happened to the girl as she slowly scratches the vevês into the concrete. How many weeks since she did this with claws on a wooden floor?

On one hand, it's easier doing this with a brain that's comfortable with abstract symbols. On the other hand fingers are no damned use for scratching concrete, and the tool she's using, half a key she'd found in the dust, is wearing away with every careful scrape. Truthfully, she doesn't really think it's going to work, not this time, but she has to do something, she's not ready to die. Not now, when she's finally found someone who loves her.

She's deeply ashamed for caving in, and saying she would do it. Wishes she could claim it was part of some kind of strategy, get him to trust her and then escape, but the truth is at that point, she would have said anything. Pleading, sorrow, and barely repressed bloodlust chasing each other across his face. Angel's mind has gone off the rails, again.

She's pissed with the whole Sunnydale crew, who ought to have known better. The vampire's lost it at least twice before that she knows of. How many chances does he get? How many more people have to die in the name of Angel's salvation? What's wrong with them all that they can't see that the world and everyone in it will be a lot safer without him in it.

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Taking the time to make the pattern perfect, mustn't piss off the loa when you're asking for favors. She's almost finished when she hears footsteps, and the door opened.

Angel. As he comes in Alice hastily moves in front of the pattern. She knows it isn't evening yet, much less moonrise. He looks at her with those unsteady eyes and she notices there's blood on his mouth. Poor Cordelia, Alice thinks sadly.

"Cordelia broke the lock. You're not safe in here," he tells her. He moves towards her, with that damned syringe in his hand. She fights panic as she shuffles backwards.

"Please, don't drug me again," she begs. To her surprise, Angel stops, considers it.

"O.K. If you promise not to fight me."

She nods. Stands complaisantly as he puts the hypo away and brings out the keys. She doesn't try to get away when he unlocks the padlock, leaving the collar on. Knows her chances are slight and none, especially since he'll be waiting for her to try something. She waits for orders.

"Come on," he says, gesturing for her to go first. Once they're out in the tunnel he takes her by the arm and leads her through the sewers and to what is apparently his lair. Big bed, black sheets, and cuffed to it is Cordelia, alive; not very happy, but alive. Her eyes widen when she sees Alice.

"Company," Angel says. He pulls out a set of handcuffs, and locks her wrist to the footboard. Checks it.

"I've got to go out." He leaves, locking the door behind him.

"Hey," Alice says, twisting round to face her. They're cuffed at opposite corners, out of reach of the other's hands. Damn.

"Sorry," Cordelia says. "I had the phone in my hand, and wham!"

"Not your fault. Where do you think he's gone?"

"It's after 8. Probably to get more blood."

"Good idea."

"Umm, I don't suppose you have a hairpin on you? Or could float one over here?"

"Sorry, no."

"We're just going to have to wait for the cavalry then." Neither of them voicing the obvious: that it could be quite a wait, since no one knows they're in trouble.


Giles takes another swallow of coffee, foul stuff, but he needs the caffeine after last night.

It feels rather odd having a meeting in the bright morning light. When they were still at Sunnydale high, before they blew it up, they usually met in the afternoons or evenings.

Nerves and tension in the room thick enough to see. Not as much fear as there ought to be. All those bright young faces, less concerned about the latest threat to Life as We Know It, than their own personal pain. Oz, Willow, Xander. Only one face missing: Buffy, again. He'd called, left messages, but so far, no response. He feels well-worn anger at the thought that once again she is neglecting her duties.

This morning, when Willow arrived and tried to hug him Oz pulled away from her. Now they're sitting separately. Oz's expression is cold when he looks at her. Giles doesn't know what's wrong between them, and strongly suspects he doesn't want to know.

Xander justified but frightened now that he has hard evidence that his lover didn't simply leave him. Angry at being told that yet another apocalypse has priority.

"So let me see if I've got all this Spike's been spying on us for months, and we're not staking him because?" Xander asks harshly.

"He saved Oz," Willow says and blushes.

"Spike is unimportant right now. I questioned him last night, but he doesn't seem to know that much about his former employer. I've told you everything he told me."

Spike had been in terrible shape last night, on the edge of irreversible damage and Giles had been sorely tempted to allow the slow desiccation to run its course until the vampire crumbled to dust. He's still not sure why, once Oz was clearly out of danger, he'd rushed out in search of something to feed the little monster. Spike owes his unlife to the American obsession with 24-hour shopping. The ungrateful vampire had gulped down the pureed liver, making faces the whole while, and then crawled up the stairs and taken refuge in the spare room's closet. He's still there, waiting out the sun.

"What he knows is that she's a sorceress, and that she's not human. Apparently she's been here in Sunnydale for centuries, and she's very excited about the winter solstice."

"December 21," Willow says.

"Thank you, which leaves us less than a month to find out what she's planning and come up with a way to stop her."

"Wild guess: this would be Hellmouth related," Xander says.

"That's a safe conjecture, yes."

"So, what do we do? Sic Buffy on her? Blow her up during office hours?"

Giles shook his head. "We need to find everything we can about her. From Spike's description of the geas she laid on him, she's extremely powerful."

"Well, you've got her name, so the Watchers should be able to help out, right?"

"Umm, well. Even if we could count on their help, it's highly unlikely that Sylvia Orexis is her true name."

"Oh. So what do we do?"

"Research!" Willow piped up. Giles nodded.

"Yes. However, right now I have a more important task for you. We need to remove the binding she's placed on Spike."

"Or we could stake him." Xander says hopefully.

"No." Oz says, his voice coarse. He senses more than sees Willow flinch. Good.

Oz is less angry with Spike than he is with Willow. Willow is human, and claims to love him. Spike's a demon. A demon that's lost his only true love, who looks like a truck hit him, then backed over him. Who'd rescued him and carried him across half of Sunnydale.

Who'd kidnapped him, fed on him, watched him being tortured, and fucked his mate.

They need to talk.

"No," Giles echoes. "He might prove useful. Willow, do you think you can break Orexis' spell?" The little witch looked thoughtful.

"Sure, it shouldn't be too hard. It's like, ah, blowing glass. You know 'cause not many people can make a vase or bottle or one of those cool animals, but anybody can break one. I'm going to need a few supplies though."

"Whatever you need. The quicker it's done, the better."

"So, where's Buffy?" Xander asks.

Excellent question, Giles thinks.


It's dark in here, and dark is good. In the dark he can concentrate on the pain of broken bones and rent flesh. Can focus on his hunger, nowhere near being sated by Giles' offal shake, it's making his belly cramp, he can hear his skin crackling like rice paper when he moves.

Focus on his pain, his hunger, anything so he doesn't have to think about Dru. He wishes now he'd scraped up some of the blood and ash smeared glass, just so he'd have something of her.

He can hear them downstairs, discussing their strategy. He really doesn't care what they decide to do. He figures their chances not better than 70:30 in her favor, but that's better than nothing. Better odds than him on his own. Either they'll win, and destroy her, or she'll win and destroy them and him along. Strictly win/win as far as he's concerned.


Note to self: being a prisoner sucks. Besides the terror and damage to clothes and hair it's really boring. Avoid in future.

She'd dreamed of being in Angel's bed -- but not exactly like this, sans Angel avec another girl and cuffed to a bed. Though she'd bet idiot boy Harris would pay plenty for photos of what was if you thought about it a pretty kinky situation. Then again, maybe not. Alice, poor deluded kid, seems to think he's changed. Not just changed, been transformed into Mr. Sensitive, the Perfect Guy, he cooks, he cleans, he goes down like a submarine... Cordelia hopes she never sounded that sappy when she was suffering from her Xander delusion.

Other than Xander, they didn't really have much to talk about once they'd discussed escape scenarios, and what they would do if they had a hairpin. They'd tried rocking the bed -- it didn't move an inch, probably bolted down; tried kicking at the headboard/footboard to work something loose --- also no luck. Cordelia had to explain that screaming isn't likely to get them far since the only other tenant on the ground floor, Dr. Folger, has closed his office for the rest of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Neither of them had seen a movie in ages and Alice was not a haute couture kinda gal. Cordelia's not bringing up the whole ritual thing unless she has to. Politics -- neh. Eventually, conversation sputtered out and both women dozed until Angel came back.

Cordelia straightened up and Alice went to full alert, watching him suspiciously as he went into the kitchen area. He came bearing brown bags with the local deli's name on them, and she could smell coffee. Her stomach rumbled. There was only one thing she needed more than food right now.

She got to go first. Angel unlocked her cuffs and silently followed her to the bathroom. She took petty satisfaction in shutting the door in his face.

After she'd taken care of the mandatory, she washed her hands, then stood staring at her reflection. God, she was pale, and sleeping in her makeup had left her looking like Rocky Raccoon. She scrubbed her face, then used his comb to put her hair into semi-order. Spent a couple of minutes studying his selection of hair-care products and assessing their aggressive potential before reluctantly giving up the idea. No windows, no weapons unless she hit him with the plunger.

Finally she gave into the inevitable and came out. Still silent, he took her back to the bed and locked her up. Then he set her breakfast on the side table. As he moves to the foot of the bed, she stares at it. It's her standard order: Lo-fat ollalieberry muffin, no-fat mochachino grande and fresh squeezed orange juice. Just like every morning.

She hopes like hell that Wesley is upstairs enjoying a café americano and a bagel with cream cheese and tomato right now.

Alice takes even longer than Cordelia did. Long enough that Angel got impatient and rapped on the door. She emerges smelling of soap, hair noticeably wet, wearing one of his shirts. She's taken the opportunity to clean off some of the sewer muck. She glances up at him as she takes a reluctant step toward the bed.

She pivots and kicks him hard as she can in the knee, then drives the broken off handle of the plunger into his stomach, and runs. Angel doubled over in agony still manages to grab the shirt but it's unbuttoned and she sheds it without breaking stride.

Cordelia watches in shock as Alice dashes past, bare to the waist. Angel drops the shirt, yanks out the stick impaling his and tosses it away. He snarls, his face shifting to demonic rage and goes after her, moving so fast he nearly blurs.

She pounds up the spiral stairs, headed for the light. As she emerges in the office she hears him coming. Sunlight beckons at the end of the hallway as she hits the door to 'Angel Investigations' and fuck! -- It's locked. She wastes time kicking it twice, more goddamn sturdy construction. Turns looking for something heavy to throw through the glass and Angel grabs her by the collar, lifts her off her feet and shakes her angrily. First time she's seen his demon face up close and she screams. He waits patiently for her to stop. Glares at her with evil eyes and too many teeth stretching his lips. Over the shock now she glares back at him, unrepentant.

"Scary isn't it?" He says, pushing his face into hers. "This is what lives inside me, Angelus. The demon I've fought every night and every day for more than a hundred years to keep a world full of vulnerable," his tongue snakes out and licks her cheek, slowly. "…tasty humans safe."

"I've seen worse," she says. He smiles indulgently.

"No, I don't think you have. Truly. Angelus was something special. And he's so close now, he's right here, just under the skin, waiting his chance to make up for lost time. Got sidetracked last time he was out, but this time…you have no idea how bad it will be for you, for everyone here, and in Sunnydale. I do know."

"You ought to; you are him."

"Yeah, you may be right. Still, as long as he's inside me, no-one is safe."

"I'm not going to do it."


"No." Putting all the conviction she can summon into it.

"Well, maybe you need a little more time to think," he says suddenly calm. His face gone handsome again. He spins her around, brutally twists her arm behind her back so she yelps with the pain. "Come on."

He takes her back to the room, reshackles her without comment, and goes away.

"You O.K.," Cordelia whispers. Alice doesn't answer.


He's in the closet. She hesitates, then knocks. "Spike, come out."

When he does Willow can't help staring at him. Giles had said he was in bad shape, but if she didn't know it was Spike she might not… no that's a lie. She'd know those icy blue eyes -- well eye -- anywhere. Spike looks like he's been on the crack diet. Even his hands, pressed against the doorframe are withered like some old man's, and the chipped black nail polish looks more pathetic than sinister.

She remembers his hands, roaming over her body, pinching her nipples, slipping between her legs, and sliding deep inside her.

She tosses him the bag of plasma and he catches it, weakness forgotten. Gives her one calculating glance before going all demony as he brings it to his mouth and bites down. Fascinated she watches him feed. Remembering that mouth open over hers, taking her breath, giving nothing back. The bag is emptied so quick it's like a magic trick, and when he lifts his face, human again, she can already see the improvement. Flesh regenerating almost before her eyes, bruises resolving, fading. She gives him the other bag.

It's gone, quick as the first. And he's looking better by the minute. He has two eyes again. "Thanks, Red," he says.

She hates him, hates him, hates him. She takes a deep breath.

"Strip," she tells him.


"Take off your clothes. I need to remove the binding Orexis put on you, and to do that I need to anoint you -- uh, all over."

"Sure, whatever you say," Spike smirks. He shrugs off his tattered shirt, shucks out of his pants and stands there in his skin looking smug. She notices that his ribs show starkly now; they weren't visible a few nights ago. When she'd run her hands over his chest amazed by how pale and smooth it was, flawless. She'd thought Oz was pale, but Spike practically glowed.

"Stand still," she says, opening the vial of oil. With her middle finger she smears the oil over his silent heart, draws a line down to his navel, to his crotch.

"Turn around," she orders. Traces the length of his spine… and notices something she hadn't in the semi-darkness of her dorm room.

"What's this?" she asks, referring to an elaborate pattern picked out in silver on his back. It almost looks like lettering, a word. He stiffens, then deliberately relaxes.

"A souvenir. Got it in Tunisia," he says.

Liar, Willow thinks as she does the back of his legs. "Front again," she orders. Daintily she marks his penis, trying not to think of him inside her. Moaning and thrusting, pretending at passion while all the time he was spying, lying to her, to all of them.

She marks his ears, forehead, mouth, and nose.

"Close your eyes." Spike obeys, feels her fingers pressing lightly on his eyelids as she anoints him there too. "O.K." He opens his eyes as she steps back and raises her hands. "By the goddess I pray that all binding on him ceases. So mote it be!"

Light, pure, white and merciless, issues agonizingly from every orifice, from every place she's marked him, sizzles through his body. Spike is transfixed, unable to do anything but scream silently as it burns through him, then he feels a different kind of hurting start to build. It's like fishhooks tugging at his insides, trying to turn him inside out and the sensation increases until he's sure he's not going to be able to take it, torn between agonies, when abruptly, like a bubble popping the lines pulling him apart give way and dissolve along with the light and pain. He collapses to the floor, and stays there, face down on the rug.

Willow looks down at him with a tiny smile. She could have chosen a less painful spell. She could have, but she didn't.

After all, she *is* a witch.

"We done then?" Spike asks as he gets shakily to his feet. Ghost pain is still zinging along his nerves, as he looks at Willow, and decides that when this is over, if he survives, he's going to arrange something *special* for Red. Something Angelus would be proud of. He owes her. Owes them all hours of pain and suffering.

Willow nods.

"I'll just get back to my beauty sleep then."

And he's gone, back in the dark curled around his hate, nursing it, his new love.


Wesley calculates it's midday when Angel returned. He sets a bag down on the desk, then unties Wesley and takes him to the toilet. The strength of the grip on the back of his neck keeps him from even considering making a break for it, despite the temptation of the sunlight he can see twenty feet, light years away, at the end of the hallway. That and the thought that even if he did make it, what about Cordelia?

He wishes he knew who it was he heard screaming earlier. He doesn't think it was Cordelia, but he can't be sure.

He lets himself be led back to the chair.

Angel opens the bag. Sandwiches, soup, and milk to wash it all down with. Wesley eats everything. It's been at least 12 hours since he's eaten, and no telling how long it will be before he's fed again.

Angel never says a word as he eats. There's something about him, which makes Wesley if it were possible, even more nervous.

Done, he waits docilely to be tied up again. Instead Angel opens the bottom drawer and pulls out a bottle of whiskey and a glass. Pours it full and hands it to Wesley who accepts it gratefully, gulps it down without letting himself dwell on the whys and wherefores, closing his eyes, the better to appreciate the soothing burn as it spreads throughout his body.

Angel pours him another, then puts the bottle away, and ties him up. Wesley sighs, and waits for Angel to go.

The pleasant haze instantly wiped away when Angel drops to his knees beside the chair and takes hold of Wesley's arm.

I mustn't scream, I mustn't scream, I mustn't scream.

This time, thanks to the alcohol, it doesn't hurt as much as the first time and he's deeply grateful for that. Wesley's aware Angel isn't being as greedy this time, isn't taking as much. Either trying to spare him, or make him last. But it's still intensely unpleasant, and he's pathetically grateful when Angel stops. He licks the wound shut with his broad tongue, kisses it gently before leaving him.

And Wesley suddenly realizes he has more to worry about than simple death.


Spike groans and opens one eye when the closet door is opened, again.

"Hey, Can't a bloke get a few hours…" stops when he sees who it is. Oz. On his feet, and all things considered, not looking too bad.

"Spike," he says.

He'd had a few bad moments after he'd gotten here. Hadn't been sure that it was going to work with the wolf all comatose. Luckily, when Giles said his name, Oz opened his eyes. Eventually backed him up. But afterwards, when he'd felt the blood in him turning to powder he could just about hear good old Giles thinking about just letting him dust.

Under no delusions about why he's still here.

"Yeah, mate. Glad to see you're up and about." Spike starts to get up, feeling the need to not be looking up into the human's face right then. Oz shoves him back down. There's a crackle of violence around the smaller man. Full moon tonight, Spike thinks, he hopes they haven't forgotten.

"Spike, I owe you for saving me. So I didn't tell Giles everything. But that's it. No more favors." Oz has remarkably pale eyes and the ferocity in them is uniquely human.

"Yeah, yer welcome."

"When this is over, I think you should leave."

"My fucking pleasure, believe me. I wish I'd never come back in the first place."

Oz doesn't say anything, just nods and shuts the door on Spike, returning him to blessed darkness.


"Where's Oz?" Joyce asks, breaking into Xander's telling her, again, about Alice's disappearance. About finding the car, talking to the police.

"Went upstairs, probably taking a nap," he says, frowning at the interruption. Joyce feels guilty.

"So, what did the police say?"

" 'They'll look into it.' Yeah, right."

"Hmmm. I just thought of something." She gets an odd expression on her face. "Um, Rupert, do you think Angel might know anything? Could that be why Angel was here." Giles looks up from his books.

"No, I don't think…"

"Wait a minute, Angel was here? In Sunnydale?" Xander looked shocked.

"Yes, but I'm sure he won't have had anything to do with Alice, or Orexis for that matter, which is what…"

"Yeah? So why *was* Angel here?"

"I'm not exactly sure," Giles admitted reluctantly. "He seemed a little - umm, distracted."

"You mean more than when he cold-cocked me and played elevator with her?"

"Xander, we have no reason to suppose…I'm sure it was simply coincidence."

"Giles, this is the Hellmouth. Not much coincidence happening here."

"Maybe we should call him?" Joyce suggested.

"Yeah, why don't we."

"If it will make you feel better," Giles agreed.

The phone rings, and rings. Nothing. Xander hangs up, resolve in his eyes.

"Joyce, I'm outta here. I'm going to L.A. Keep trying that number, and if you get through phone me on the mobile. O.K.?"

Without waiting for her answer, he runs out, man on a mission. Giles looks at Joyce, embarrassment and concern in his eyes. Knowing that he's handled it all badly, hoping it will all turn out all right despite his incompetence. Wishing there were someone in L.A. he could ask to check up on Angel and make sure that the boy isn't walking into the lion's mouth.


"Gon' climb you like a tree," Lucy purrs, suiting her actions to her words. She jumps up, wrapping her arms around him, braces her feet on his legs and walks her way up his body, till she straddles his hips, her arms around his neck.

Part of him knows it's just a dream, sweeter than most of them. Angel doesn't resist.

She licks his chest, rubbing herself against his cock and bringing it to sudden, demanding life. He groans, and cups her buttocks, squeezing the warm and succulent flesh. He bends his head to breathe in the sweet smell of her sweat, her blood.

Cordelia opens her eyes as the door swings open and Angel enters the room. She'd drifted off again, according to her watch it's 3:15. She's hungry again. She yawns and looks at him, hoping he's brought food. Stares in disbelief as he totally ignores her, goes straight to Alice. He slips his hands under the loosefitting shirt and starts to fondle her. Alice stirs, murmuring Xander's name.

Cordelia realizes that Angel's eyes are closed, his face empty.

"Angel? Uhhh, Angel! Stop that!" He shows no sign of hearing her as he sits down on the bed, and pulls Alice into his lap.

Alice wakes to find herself imprisoned in Angel's arms. His heavy head on her shoulder, his mouth by her ear. "Lucy," he moans. She can feel his erection, huge and threatening against her back and fights panic.

"Angel," she hisses. "Angel! Let go!"

"Love you," he murmured. One huge hand is on her breast, caressing it. Alice tries to wriggle free, but his grip only tightens. Deep sigh. She manages to twist her head enough to see a little of his face. His eyes are closed, his face oddly slack even as he kisses her cheek; he's in some kind of a trance. She can hear Cordelia losing it, straining to reach them, shrieking at Angel.

"Wake up!" She raised her voice. "ANGEL! WAKE UP!" Both of them shouting as he moans, still oblivious. His mouth is soft and cold and insistent as he nuzzles her, licks her neck, with increasing intensity. Alice gives up on words and tries screaming. His hand muzzles her and she bites down as hard as she can.

Pain, he jerks as her teeth draw blood, the dream no longer so sweet though Angelus is fine with the screaming…

His eyes open, and he's confused. He's holding Alice, and she's screaming, reeking of panic and Cordelia is screaming at him, her face distorted by fear. Alice so warm against him and… he swiftly shoves her away. Gets to his feet, too aware of the unabashed erection tenting his pants. Alice is crying, but it's Cordelia's face that he responds to. The terror in her eyes, the sadness, the loss. He takes a step forward, wanting to comfort her, but stops when she cringes.

And he reads the truth in her eyes, that it's too late. That he's lost her, lost Wesley, lost all hope of redemption. That it's time to end it.

END part 9

Next: part 10, The Greenest Eye

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