Beauty Effulgent

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Fading by uberaeryn
Part Three

Spike stirred, embracing wakefulness and the escape from the endless nightmares of Angel; Angel dead, dying, lost somewhere in the dark, hurting and calling Spike’s name and Spike unable to find him. He wiped at his eyes, angry to find that he had been crying. His strength, his attitude, his fucking essence had been battered in the battle, it seemed like everything he was, everything he had been, had been ripped away. “Fuckin’ ponce,” he cursed at himself, feeling weak and hating himself for it.

He flung one hand out and then his fingers brushed against Wesley’s bare shoulder and then a soft fall of long, thick hair. He smelled lilac shampoo and sweat and strength and opened his eyes, smiling slightly.

Faith lay in bed with them, running her fingers lightly over Wesley’s face, frowning.

“Watch it, pet. That broodin’ thing’s catchin.’” She met his eyes and gave him a tired smiled and then returned her attention to Wesley. Spike slid his arms around Wesley and reached around him to pull Faith closer to them both, and she came willingly.

“How is he, Spike?” she whispered.

He sighed. “Dunno. He kept goin’ on about lookin’ for me and Angel and then he was dead to the world.” He paused and sighed again when he caught Faith’s glare. “Sorry. Bad choice of words.”

“Incredibly,” she said, nuzzling her face into the pillow that she now shared with Wesley.


“He woke up finally. Buffy was on watch.”

Spike winced. He could imagine what Angelus had to say to Buffy after all this time. “Bet that was a lovely scene.”

“Yeah, beautiful. He started off with the sweet; oh, it’s true love, we’re meant to be, unchain me and we’ll live happily ever after and I’ll never torture or mutilate anyone ever again and I love puppies.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m surprised he didn’t pull an engagement ring out of his ass.”

Spike snorted. “Didn’t work, I take it.”

“Nope. So he went after Dawn.”

His hackles rose. “He threatened the Bit?”

“Yep, threatened to give her the works; hurt her, rape her, do to her what he did to Dru.”

His blood pounded through his head. “Fuck,” he muttered through clenched teeth. “Kill him if he does. Kill him if touches any of you.” He paused at Faith’s smirk and cleared his throat. “Not that I particularly care or nothin’,” he muttered. Where had his balls gone?

She smiled. “Watch it, Spike. That champion thing’s catchin’,” eyeing him like she knew everything about him and then some. Once again he was reminded how alike they were. He shifted uncomfortably.

She sighed and frowned, rubbing at her eyes. “Spike . . . do you think we’ll get Angel back? He’s been through so much and he’s been fighting that asshole for so long . . .”

“Red’ll think of somethin,’” he said, although he wasn’t really sure he believed it. “I mean, she got him back before, right? And you, you helped?”

“Yeah, but . . . this is different, Spike. He finally gets what he’s wanted for so long and then, you know, losing Cordy and Fred and then thinking he’s lost Wes and, God, Gunn . . . I’m worried he’ll give up, cave in . . .”

“He won’t. He’s not like that, you know that.”

She stared at him for a moment, smiling slightly. “You’ve become quite a fan, haven’t you? Didn’t you used to be the president of the Let’s Kill Angel Society?”

He huffed and rested his head on Wesley’s shoulder and decided to change the subject. “Buffy okay?”

“Oh, she’s fine. Tough. Catchin’ up with me real quick on the whole bitch factor. Andrew’s down there now, tryin’ to feed Angelus oatmeal with a wooden spoon tied to a cross.”

Spike raised his head and looked at her in shock, and then, in spite of himself, started giggling at the idea of Andrew taking on Angelus with a cross, a wooden spoon, and oatmeal. He couldn’t stop, he started laughing harder, and soon Faith was laughing with him, her face buried in the pillow, tears streaming down her face.

“He’s . . . he’s lost a whole bowl already . . . Angelus keeps growling and he jumps and the shit slops everywhere . . .”

Spike was howling now, face buried between Wesley’s shoulders, and Faith was wiping tears away with her forearm, and Spike wondered absently how everything could become so absurdly funny when you were dancing on the edge of disaster.

“Shhh,” Faith finally whispered, her hand on Wesley’s cheek. “We’ll wake him up.”

Spike regarded Wesley. “Nah. He’ll be out for awhile; coming back from the dead’s not so easy as it sounds.”

He stretched, wincing at the pain still lingering in his chest, and slid out of the bed.

“You’ll watch him? Stay?”

“Yeah,” Faith murmured. “I’ll stay.”

He dressed, watching with an odd, unfamiliar, and thoroughly unsettling feeling of tenderness as Faith’s fingers slid along Wesley’s shoulder and face, and then he slipped away.


He was surprised to note that it was dark; still the night of their arrival, or had he slept on through the day? He hovered in the hallway, unsure of where to go and what to do, when he saw Buffy reach the top of the stairs, weapons in hand.

“Spike,” she said, smiling wearily, her eyes dark and shadows flitting across her face. “I have had the worst day. And if you feel anything like I do,” she said, flinging a sword at him, which he managed to catch, albeit gracelessly. “Then you’re ready to do a little hunting.”

He held the sword, looking at it, turning it in his hands and felt the call, the need.

He met her eyes and grinned, feeling a bit like himself again. “Fuck yeah. Lots of things around here we can kill, I’m hopin’?”

“Oh, lots,” Buffy said, turning around and leading the way down the stairs. “You’d think 300 Slayers or so would keep the baddies away, but for some reason they seem to find the joint just that much more interesting. It’s almost like our own personal Hellmouth.”

Again, he smiled. Of course. Wasn’t so long ago he’d have been stalking the grounds of such a place himself, slaying the Slayers, enhancing his reputation and adding to the body count. He flipped the sword lightly until the grip felt right and then followed Buffy out into the damp English night.


“Spike, on your right!”

He fell and rolled, barely missing being clubbed brainless by an Inshriago demon, and then he leapt lightly to his feet, running the big slow bastard through, grimacing at the stink of the demon’s startlingly purple blood, and then whacked it over the head with the flat side of the sword and waited.

And waited. And waited and waited and waited.

“Come on, you! Supposed to die now, right?” he bellowed in exasperation.

It did, finally, slowly and with a lot of noise, and when it finally toppled to the ground he lopped its head off. “Bloody drama queens, the lot of you,” Spike muttered, thrusting the sword into the ground and lighting a cigarette, leaning back against a tree to rest a moment.

“Spike, no offense, but you seem . . . slow,” Buffy said, staring at him and leaning on the handle of her battle axe. “Not slow as in, you know, ‘special,” she continued, making air quotes and grinning when Spike rolled his eyes. “But, off your game, I guess.”

“Well, pet, wasn’t that long ago I was bein’ pummeled by all evil creatures great and small.”

“Yeah, but shouldn’t you be feeling better by now? All that vampire super-healing?”

He avoided her gaze. “All that magic. Takin’ a while longer to get up to speed, is all.”

“Buffy!” A squeak, girlish and faintly reminiscent of Dawn, then a young girl stepped out of the shadows to hug Buffy. Buffy looked at Spike over the girl’s shoulder and smirked. “I have fans,” she said smugly. “Lisa, this is Spike.”

The girl’s demeanor changed suddenly and he was reminded of Buffy, of when he’d first seen her, how she’d been such an odd combination of hunter and young girl.

Lisa turned to face him. “The Spike?”

His chest swelled in spite of himself and Buffy snorted. “The one and only, little girl,” he said.

“I’m not a little girl. I’m a Slayer,” she said defiantly. Sounded like a little girl to him, Spike thought.

“Whatever you say, wee one.”

The girl huffed. “Dammit, I mean it! I’m a Slayer. A vampire Slayer.”

“I’m familiar with the term, little one. Have killed my share of Slayers; but you should already know that, what with me bein’ so famous and all.” He and Buffy exchanged a glance and she gave him a slight nod, giving him permission. Oh, yes, he thought, grinning on the inside and snarling on the outside. This should be fun.

“Well, you won’t kill this one. You can’t, anyway, don’t you have a soul or something? Duh?”

Spike sighed. Teenaged Slayers. Ever the bane of his existence.

“Soul’s never kept anyone from killin’ before. Matter of fact, think I’ve just changed my ways; never liked all that good guy stuff anyway.”

He stalked toward her, circling her, sniffing at her and snarling, smirking at the way she trembled. But she kept up a brave front, he had to give her credit.

She moved and he met her and it was over quickly; soon she was flat on her back with Spike’s sword at her throat and she was shrieking at Buffy for help. Spike leapt to his feet and watched as Buffy leaned forward and hauled the girl to her feet.

“Congratulations, Lisa,” she said. “You just got your ass totally kicked by the legendary-in-his-own-mind William the Bloody.”

“Hey, now!” Spike muttered and Buffy waved him off, grinning.

Lisa glowered at him and he smiled and blew her a kiss. “You assho- . . .”

“Watch it, Lisa. Get back to your patrol; I’ll be talking to Faith about your technique.”

At the mention of Faith’s name the girl deflated and darted off, glaring at Spike over her shoulder.

“They’re all scared shitless of Faith,” Buffy said, smiling slightly.

“Ain’t we all?” Spike said.


“Listen, you look awful, Spike,” Buffy said as they dragged themselves up the stairs, dirty and tired.

“Thanks, pet,” he sighed. “You know, you’re not lookin’ all Miss Sunnydale yourself.”

“Oh, for God’s sake. What I mean is, do you want a room to yourself? We can watch Wesley; why don’t you get some rest.”

Alone. Sounded good.

“Yeah. Yeah, good idea,” he said and she pointed at a door down the hall and he went without another word, falling into bed as soon as the door closed.


Through the soft warmth of sleep he heard the click of the switch of the lamp on the bedside table and then the rustling of clothing and he rolled over, seeing Angel shedding the last of his clothes.

“Sorry,” Angel said, smiling slightly. “Didn’t mean to wake you. Late night; those Elriyimas are big on making long speeches before they let you kick their asses.”

Spike stared. “You . . .” He looked around the room. Angel’s suite at Wolfram & Hart.

Relief surged through him. Oh, God. Oh, thank bloody God.

He reared up off the bed, pulling Angel to him, arms around his waist, kissing him frantically. Angel responded, with hands sliding to back of Spike’s neck, tilting Spike’s head back, a fervent tangle of tongues before Spike pulled back suddenly, looking up into Angel’s eyes. “You’re all right?”

“Yeah. Just tired. Why?” Angel asked, puzzled at the panic in Spike’s tone.

“Oh, I just . . .” Spike faltered. “Never mind.”

“What, were you worried?” Angel teased lightly.

God, if only you knew, Spike thought. He pressed his mouth against Angel’s throat, licking and nipping, feeling the vibration of Angel’s slight growl against his lips. He smiled against Angel’s skin. “Just fuck me. That is, if you’re not too tired . . .”

“Oh, no,” Angel said, eyes darkening. “Never too tired for that.” He captured Spike’s mouth again with slow, lazy thrusts of his tongue, running one large, calloused hand over Spike’s bare chest, roughened fingertips and nails grazing over nipples. Spike grabbed Angel’s ass to pull him closer as Angel’s hand trailed down Spike’s stomach, so slowly, fingertips teasing the length of Spike’s cock.

“No,” Spike whispered, shaking, aching for Angel’s touch. “Not like that, not slow. Need you hard, inside me, now.”

The growl grew louder and Spike answered with one of his own as Angel slid his fingers around Spike’s cock, stroking him firmly, thumb teasing the tip. “Fuck, Angel,” he gasped, thrusting against Angel’s hand. “No niceties tonight, Angel, God, just fuck me . . .”

He was shoved back onto the bed and flipped onto all fours easily and he planted his knees wide, shuddering as he felt Angel’s mouth move down the length of his spine, tongue sliding out to rim him wetly, slowly, before thrusting rhythmically inside him.

“Jesus,” he hissed, back arching, rocking back slightly against Angel’s mouth. “Angel . . .”

Angel pulled away, and his tongue was replaced by two slick fingers, stroking and stretching as his other hand, also slick, reached around to grip Spike’s cock. Spike groaned and cursed and thrust forward against Angel’s hand and back against Angel’s fingers.

“God, Spike, you’re so fucking beautiful . . .”

Spike loved it; loved to hear the need in that voice, wanted more, wanted all of it. “Angel, now, for fuck’s sake . . .” And then Angel was inside him, short, small strokes.

“No,” Spike panted. “No, all the way and hard.”

“Spike . . .”

“Angel, please!” And then Angel was fucking him hard, ramming into him roughly, pounding against him as he stroked Spike’s cock, both wild now, wanting, needing, Angel snarling and clawing.

“Yeah . . . God, Angel, yeah, fuck me, hard . . . God!”

Angel released Spike’s cock, bending over Spike’s back and wrapping his arms around his waist and rocking inside him. “Christ, Spike, so fucking tight . . .” he muttered through clenched teeth, face pressed against Spike’s back.

Spike reached down, stroking himself, grunting in pleasure as Angel’s cock hit that spot in just the right way, over and over again, and soon he cried out, coming hard all over his hand; and he clenched down hard around Angel who roared, tensing, rearing back, coming hard and long inside Spike before collapsing against him; and then withdrawing and falling beside him, eyes closed.

Spike rolled to his side and watched him, watched Angel. So beautiful himself. And this . . . God, he still wasn’t sure what this was, but he felt lucky to have it.

Angel opened his eyes and turned to Spike, smiling.

“But you don’t have it, William; you don’t have anything,” Angelus said, grinning at the horror on Spike’s face. “I’ve got your boy whipped; and hopefully dead before too much longer, no matter how much you and the witch and the Watcher try to change things. And he’s not even really your boy; he doesn’t love you, don’t you realize that? You’ve always been a little slow, William. He doesn’t love you. He never did. I never did. You were just a fuck to me; and you were just a fuck to him. No happily ever after, here, William, no happily ever after at all . . .”

Spike woke with a start, shaking; and then too scared to go back to sleep, he got up and noting that the sun had risen, went to find the others.


Everyone had rested, as much as possible, anyway, and showered and were trickling one by one into Giles’ study. Wesley was there, sitting in a chair next to Giles, flipping through books. Spike looked at him in surprise.

Wesley smiled slightly. He looked haggard but his gaze was clear. “I’m fine, Spike. Considering.”

Spike didn’t answer, too tired for 20 questions, he simply fell onto the sofa next to Faith as they waited for Buffy and Willow to arrive.

Illryia had resumed her stone pose in the corner, her eyes narrowed and her gaze flitting from Faith to Wesley and back again. Spike was surprised that she wasn’t hovering over Wesley, then thought morosely that maybe she knew something they didn’t.

Finally Buffy and Will came in, tired, but still chattering away.

“Xander and Andrew are still demon-sitting. Giles, your dry cleaning bill is gonna be kinda huge,” Willow said, smiling ruefully. “Can you get oatmeal out of tweed?”

Spike clapped a hand over his eyes. Andrew in tweed. Ponce.

“Xander’s wearing a lot of it, too. I offered to add some cinnamon and sugar but for some reason he only finds jokes like that funny when he’s the one telling them,” Buffy huffed indignantly. “What, I can’t be funny?”

Spike watched her. She looked tired; he was sure her time with Angelus had been hours in hell, but there something else in her eye, a gleam. He recognized it and hid a smile. Vacation was over and it was time to kick ass and she was itching to separate someone’s head from their body, as if last night’s outing hadn’t made that apparent enough.

“You’re very amusing, my dear, I’m sure” Giles said absently, flipping through a book and then handing it to Wesley before picking up another one. He looked around the study. “Is this everyone, then?”

“Think so,” Willow said, moving to stand near the window.

“All right; let’s get started. Hopefully this will be the last meeting of this sort . . .”

“And we can quit with the talking and get with the hacking and slashing?” Buffy asked hopefully.

“Well, yes, so to speak.” Giles paused, rubbing at his forehead. “Wesley?”

Wesley stilled, his eyes remaining on the book in front of him.

“Yes . . . I suppose I have quite a lot to answer for, don’t I?”

No one said anything, just watched and waited.

“All right then . . . well, it was really quite clichéd. There was a review of my life, life-changing decisions I’d made or . . . hadn’t,” his eyes darkened and Spike resolved to keep Illyria away from him if at all possible. “And then, as the cliché goes, I was told that my work here wasn’t done.” His eyes flicked to Ilyria, and Spike frowned, wondering what in the hell that meant. “So. I was told to come back. After that, things are a bit hazy . . .” he frowned, trying to remember. “After that, there were . . . wolves. Dozens of them, black as midnight.”

There was a swift intake of breath from Giles and Buffy both and Spike looked at each of them in turn, puzzled.

“My dream. The prophecy dream,” Buffy said, glancing at Wesley. “I saw . . . Angel, being chased by wolves; black and white, the black and the white fighting over him. I knew, just somehow knew, that he had to keep running until the black wolves were stopped but then he fell, and was buried underneath the black pack.” She shuddered, looking at the floor. “They ripped him apart.”

Spike stared at her. “When was this?”

“A couple of weeks ago. Giles agreed that it was a big deal Prophecy dream and that was when we decided we had to come for you, but the Council kept fighting us.”

Wesley stared at her and nodded as if something now made sense and continued his story. “I didn’t know why but I knew I had to find Angel, and Spike, that I had something to give them or tell them, I can’t remember what it was, now; but the wolves were . . . blocking me, snarling and snapping and I was surrounded and they were closing in and then . . . then I woke up, in your cellar, cold and next to . . . Angelus.”

He sighed, rubbing at his eyes.

“And the rest, Wesley?” Willow said softly.

He looked at her. “Yes. The rest.” He ran his hands through his hair. “I was ‘gifted,’ if you care to call it that.”

“The sight,” Willow murmured.

“Yes. It’s not . . . a precise skill and I haven’t yet had chance to make much use of it, but it is there.”

The room was silent.

“What can you see?” Giles asked finally.

“They’re like . . . snapshots, blurry images of people and events, set at some point in the future.”

“Yet you said you haven’t had the opportunity to use it,” Giles said.

“I have. Just once. When I woke up next to Angel.” He winced, digging his fingers into his eyes. “Angelus, I mean.”

The hair on the back of Spike’s neck rose and he leaned forward, tense and trembling. “What was it, Wes? What did you see?”

Wesley’s eyes met his, unwavering. “I saw death.” He leaned back in his chair.

“I saw Angel die, Spike. By your hand.”

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