Beauty Effulgent

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Fading by uberaeryn
Part Six

Giles and Wesley had asked him question after question, trying to make some sense of Buffy’s revelation, but there had been nothing he could say. He simply couldn’t remember anything, didn’t know how this had happened to him and didn’t particularly like it, for that matter; and so everything he’d told them about Angel was re-hashed over and over until Willow finally suggested that they call a halt and get some rest.

He stood immediately and made his way back to the house. He staggered under the weight of Buffy’s revelation, horrified by what it might mean. The prophecy . . .

He showered until the water ran cold, trying not to think but thinking anyway, and then he fell into his bed, shivering and praying for sleep.

The idea that he had, somehow, stolen Angel’s dream from him sickened him. It had, in the end, not been what Spike had wanted; to be human, to be the hero who got the big reward. That was for Angel, it had become obvious to him during their time in L.A. As to his own future . . . fuck, all he knew was fightin’, and, yeah, he’d fought on the side of right, because now he couldn’t do anything but, but he wasn’t anybody’s fuckin’ white knight . . . but the Shanshu and now this, this human body that ached and trembled with weakness . . .

The white had chosen Spike, covered him, Dru had said, and the black had torn Angel apart.

. . . break your back . . .



Soft voice and firm hand at his shoulder.

“Spike, come on. Look at me.”

Spike rolled over and stared in shock. And in fear.

“It’s all right, it’s me. You knocked him on his ass tonight, gave me a chance to get here, get to you. Good job.” He was smiling

“Angel.” Dreaming. Had to be dreaming.

“Yeah, a dream, but the only way I could come to you.” Angel sat on the bed beside him, looking tired and pale but otherwise fine.

“Really you,” Spike said in disbelief.

“Yeah. It’s me. For real.” Angel smiled slightly. “I don’t have much time, Spike, so you’ve got to listen to me.” He reached out one hand and cupped Spike’s jaw. Spike closed his eyes and leaned into him heavily. Angel was so warm. So human.

“Spike, look at me.” Spike did, scrubbing at his eyes and Angel smiled sadly. “Listen to me. You guys can’t fix this, he’s too strong.”

“Sorry, so sorry . . .” For tonight, for everything . . .

Angel pulled him into his arms and Spike shuddered. Felt so real.

“It’s all right. Everything’s gonna be all right, but you have to do something for me, something important. Can you do that?” Angel’s tone was urgent and demanding, and Spike’s stomach twisted in dread.

“What?” Anything, anything but that. Don’t ask that . . .

“Promise me first. Please, Spike.”

Spike sighed. “Promise,” he said softly, closing his eyes against what was coming.

“You have to kill me.”

Spike bucked, tried to jerk away from him but Angel held fast, pulling him close to his chest. “No, no, just listen, Spike. I don’t know what he’s planning or how he’s gotten so strong - he’s managing to block all that somehow, but you cannot let him get out. He’ll kill you and everyone else and then he’ll rampage, Spike, and you cannot let that happen.”

“But . . . what about you? What will happen to you?” Spike asked, chest heaving, raising his head to look Angel in the eye.

Angel sighed. “It’s what I want. Spike, I am so tired.” Angel rested his forehead against Spike’s, closing his eyes. “So tired,” he whispered. “I just want . . . the dark and the quiet and to not have to fight anymore.” Angel shuddered in exhaustion and defeat and Spike held him tightly, cursing.

Something in the air shimmered and Angel’s grip became less firm and the look on his face panicked.

“He’s pulling me back. You promise?” he whispered.

Spike’s eyes closed and he sighed, and a heavy weight settled on his chest that he knew would never leave. “Yeah. Yeah, if I have to. Angel . . .”

Again Angel smiled that sad smile. ”I know,” he murmured, and leaned down to kiss him and just before their lips touched he faded away, as if he’d never been.


Spike laid there, staring into the darkness, still not used to being unable to see through the gloom, not knowing if he was still dreaming or awake, when he heard the soft pad of footsteps.

. . . thought you could use the company . . .

. . . he was here . . .

… I saw him, too . . .

. . . he wants me to . . .

. . . I know . . . don’t think about that now . . . he asked me to take care of you . . . told me to tell you that he loves you . . .

She had climbed into bed with him and her arms were around him now and she held him as he wept.


He was awakened the next morning as he felt Willow slide out of bed, and he rolled over and watched at her as she slipped on her clothes.

“Red, why have I seen so very much of you lately?”

“What? Oh, the naked? Sorry, the coven . . .”

“Ah. Skyclad?”

“Yeah. I don’t even think about it anymore unless I notice Giles blushing and looking everywhere but at me.” She paused. “How do you feel?”

“Like hell,” he grumbled, fumbling for his cigarettes

She sighed and sat beside him, stroking his hair and he wondered how all this intimacy had happened and why it felt so natural. “What happened? With you two?” she asked.

He winced. “Long story, pet.”

“Tell me?”

He groaned and leaned back, one hand over his eyes.

“I mean, come on, Spike, have you told anybody?”

“No. ‘Course not.”

“Then tell me. Somebody should know, you shouldn’t have to hide it, hide how you feel.”

But he’d gotten so good at it. He sighed. “Promise to quit sneakin’ into my head?”

“Hey, now, I don’t look anywhere I’m not supposed to. It’s strictly for communication purposes. And for cheating at cards; you should ask Buffy how hard Xander and I bitch-slapped ‘Team Summers’ last time she and Dawn came to visit.”

She grinned and he smiled in spite of the feeling of dread that gripped him, twisting him into knots. “Trip to Vegas when this is all over, then?”

“Deal. Now. You and Angel.”

“Yeah. Me and Angel.”

He lay back, remembering. And what he remembered was Angel’s version; when they’d been lying in bed on the eve of the big battle and talking about how it had all started, since it had seemed that it was all about to end . . .


Once upon a time, Angel had said, a smart-assed vampire arrived in L.A. to make every day a living hell for the noble vampire knight Angel, who was handsome and tall, and had great hair . . .

Hey, now! Spike had protested. What about my hair? And my striking good looks?

You wanna hear the story or not? Angel had said, grinning and reaching down to stroke Spike.

Spike had sighed. Yes, please . . .

Fine, then. So the evil vampire Spike, OUCH! Stop that or no story! Anyway, the two vampires with souls ended up in a bar, fighting and drinking whiskey and the handsome vampire knight Angel kept having to fend off dozens of women with a pool cue, when the fair-haired smart-assed Spike said . . .


“Angel . . . how do you sleep?”

“What?” Angel downed his whiskey.

Spike slumped on his stool, staring vacantly into space. “I . . . I can’t sleep.” He rubbed at his face.

“Spike . . .”

“It’s like they all rear up out of their graves, thousands of ‘em, and dig their claws in my back and won’t let go . . .”

Angel winced. He knew this.

And what made it worse was that he was, in large part, responsible for it.

“An’ they talk, too, all night long, whisperin’ in my ear, all night long, all day long . . .”

“Spike . . .”

“Angel, I can’t sleep,” he whispered.

Angel tossed a wad of bills on to the table and hauled Spike to his feet.

“Let’s go,” he said quietly.


Once outside the bar Angel steered Spike to the alley.

“I can’t . . . I don’t know how to get it to stop . . . Angel, I’m so tired . . .”

Angel backed up against the wall and pulled Spike into his arms. “Shhh . . .”

“Angel, please . . .”

“Spike, stop. Come here.” Spike resisted for a moment, then relaxed into him, wrapping his arms tight around Angel’s waist, burying his face in Angel’s neck.

Angel rested his cheek against Spike’s head and sighed, holding him tightly and stroking the back of his head gently.

“Spike . . . it never goes away.” He flinched as Spike stiffened against him. “No, stay here. Relax. Please, Spike,” he whispered in his ear, and slowly Spike relaxed again, molding himself against him, face wet against Angel’s neck.

“But listen, it gets easier,” Angel murmured. “I promise, it does get easier.”

Spike sighed, cool breath hitching with emotion. “It feels like I haven’t slept since before I was born,” he whispered, mournful, resigned, lips brushing against Angel’s neck as he spoke.

“I know.” Angel kissed him lightly on the ear and Spike shuddered. “I’m sorry.”

Spike looked up at him, eyes bright in the darkness. “Can you help me? Will you help me, Angel?”

Angel’s eyes searched his. “Will you help me, Spike?” he whispered, leaning down and kissing him softly.

Spike inhaled sharply and he stared for a long moment. “Yes,” he whispered against Angel’s lips, tongue darting out to swipe wetly against his mouth.

“Yes,” Angel repeated, his grip on Spike tightening, and suddenly Spike’s arms were around his neck and they were kissing one another almost viciously, a bruising clash of lips and teeth and tongue, pulling away and gazing at each other and then coming together again.

Angel grunted and slid his hands under Spike’s duster to his hips and around to grab his ass and pull him tight against him. “Yes,” Spike hissed against his mouth and bent his head back so Angel could kiss him more deeply, a wet tangle of thrusting tongues.

Angel thrust one hand between them, other arm tight around Spike’s neck, still kissing, licking, biting. “Need you,” he growled, grabbing roughly at Spike’s crotch.

“Fuck,” Spike groaned. He planted his mouth against Angel’s neck, biting and sucking.

Angel’s head swam, body trembling and weak now with desire and he stroked Spike with his hand, whispering in his ear. “You’re beautiful,” he said fiercely, pausing to suck at his ear. Spike rocked against him, shaking. “Do you know how fucking beautiful you are?”

“God, Angel,” Spike moaned, pressing himself against Angel hard.

Angel took his mouth again and they both grunted, then Angel pulled away. “I want to fuck you,” he whispered, tongue darting out against Spike’s mouth, “I want to suck you,” catching Spike’s hiss of desire with his mouth, “I want you to suck me,” biting down hard on Spike’s lip, “And I want you to fuck me.”

Spike snarled and they struggled against one another, touching, humping, sucking and biting. “Goddammit, Angel, can’t wait,” he grunted, stroking Angel through the fabric of his pants.

Angel swayed a bit. “Fuck, Spike, that’s good, that’s so fucking good . . .”

“Angel . . .” Spike murmured, pleading, demanding.

Angel pushed him away a bit and tossed him his cell phone. “Call for the limo,” he muttered, and sank to his knees in front of Spike, pulling his t-shirt out of the waistband of his jeans, running his lips across Spike’s taut stomach and rubbing his face across the hard-on straining against Spike’s jeans.

He heard Spike cry out above him and then the sound of the phone as it clattered to the ground and the low growl of the limo as it came around the corner.


He shoved Spike into the back of the limo and clambered in behind him.

Spike sat slouched, breathing heavily, staring at him. “Angel . . .”

“Yes,” he hissed, already struggling out his clothes. “Now.”

He watched as Spike fumbled out of his coat, boots, then the rest of his clothes; muscled, cock rigid, eyes dark with desire.

“Fucking beautiful,” he growled, naked now, and pushed Spike onto his back and kissed him wetly. Spike grabbed handfuls of his hair and held him tight, grunting in need. Angel moaned into his mouth and planted a hand on either side of Spike’s head, positioning himself between his thighs.

He brushed himself against Spike’s cock and Spike broke away, gasping. “Yes, dammit, yes,” he whispered, and reached down to grasp them both, holding them together with both hands. Angel groaned and sank his teeth into Spike’s neck.

“Do it, Angel, I can’t fuckin’ wait anymore,” he snarled, and Angel moved, slowly at first, between Spike’s hands and against his cock.

“Good,” he muttered through clenched teeth, eyes fluttering shut at the sensation of skin against skin, and his body roared and took over and soon he was thrusting furiously.

“God, Angel, yes, harder . . .” Spike moaned. His hands tightened and Angel gasped, humping hard and fast.

“Christ,” he muttered. “So good, that feels so fucking good, Spike . . .” His mind was black and his body vibrating, all touch and taste and smell.

Spike’s head fell back and he thrust up in counterpoint to Angel’s movements, the added friction causing red spangles of light to burst behind Angel’s eyelids.

“Yes,” Angel hissed. “Good. More. Harder . . . Spike, I swear to God . . .”

He reared back and rammed into Spike’s hands as hard as he could, feeling Spike arch up off the seat of the limo, shouting inarticulately, and then there was a cool wetness against his cock, and Spike tightened his slick grip around him and Angel thrust against him frantically, cursing and crying out Spike’s name, and then his back bowed up and he groaned loudly as his own release came, hard, spurting over Spike’s belly in a rush of cold fluid fire.

He collapsed atop Spike, burying his head in his shoulder, panting.

Soon he felt hands, tentative, running through his hair he shivered.

He looked up and Spike took his hands away. “No, don’t stop,” he said. “That feels nice.”
Spike resumed his petting and Angel rested his head on his chest, groaning in contentment.


Angel ran a hand up and down the length of one of Spike’s biceps.

“You’ll stay with me; in my bed.”

He felt the body below release the tension he hadn’t realized it had been holding. The caresses to his hair became more languorous.

“I’ll take care of you; we’ll help each other.”

Now the hands trailed down his neck and back, fingernails raking against him gently.

Angel raised up and kissed him fiercely. “We’ll get through this,” he whispered.

“You can’t promise me that,” Spike said, eyes now troubled and dark.

“I already did.”


The end, Angel had said, resting his head on Spike’s chest and staring up into his eyes.

Not the end, Spike had murmured.

Not if I can help it, Angel had said and kissed him hard.


Spike sighed, aching at the memory. “Long story short, Red, I was havin’ trouble sleepin’. He helped me.”

“That’s it? No details?” Willow asked.

He cocked an eyebrow. “Do you really want the details?” he asked.

She blushed faintly. “So that’s when it started?”

“Well, that’s when it started again. When it was the four of us, him and me and Darla and Dru there’d been a bit of it, but that had been quite different than what happened in L.A. Souls turn you into total ponces,” he said disgustedly. He wasn’t even sure why he was talkin’ about it, was just gonna make things worse . . .

“Or, maybe, just a couple of nice guys in love?” She smiled,

He glared at her. “I’m not nice. And I don’t use the word ‘love,’ not anymore.” Love meant loss, he’d finally learned that lesson. And now, well, it couldn’t be anymore clear, could it?

She stared at him somberly. “Maybe you will. Someday.”

He started to protest and she held up her hand. “Not right now, Spike, something happened last night that I need to talk to you about.”

He looked at her warily. “What?”

She sighed. “Illyria.”


“I don’t know what she was talking about, Spike, she just kept saying that she was going to give him what he wanted, only with a lot more words, big words,” Willow said, trying to keep up with him as he headed toward Wesley’s room. “She’s kinda long-winded.”

“And Wesley?” he muttered, struggling into his shirt.

“He kept telling her to go away, that he’d deal with her later, and then she . . . turned into Fred, God, I almost thought that it was Fred.”

Spike cursed. “Then?”

“Then Wesley asked her to stop and she changed back and just stood there and stared.”

“How was Wes?”

“Tired. Numb. Fading,” she said. “This is taking a lot out of him, and he’s so sad . . .”

“Did he get into bed all right? Did Faith stay with him?”

“He went into his room and Illyria left. Faith was on watch,” Willow said.

Spike came to Wesley’s door and opened it slowly. Wesley appeared to be sleeping, on his side facing away from Spike, and his breath was slow and steady. Somewhat reassured, Spike shut the door again, wincing as the hinges squeaked.

He whirled around to face Willow. “Do you have any idea where she went?”

“No. Big Blue Meanie doesn’t talk to me.”

Spike sighed. “She’s not . . .mean, Red, she’s just . . . out of her element. Way out.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “I’ve gotta find her before . ..” Fuck. He swayed on his feet and Willow reached out to grab him.

“Okay, but let’s do the check in with Giles first,” she said gently. “You know how he can get.”

“Fine, then. Let’s go.”


Spike stepped into the study and pulled up short. Giles was sitting at his desk, staring out the window somberly, and Buffy . . .

Buffy was curled up on the sofa, wiping away tears.

Spike sighed and sank down beside her. “Guess I’m not the only one to get a midnight visitor?” he asked softly.

She looked at him in shock, eyes wide, then looked away. “No,” she whispered. “I guess not.”

He reached out and started stroking her hair. Again, all this touching and comfort, so odd but so easy. “What’d he say?” he asked.

“Oh, the usual. Goodbye . . . and other stuff,” she said.

His heart ached, but not out of jealousy, but because he knew how she felt. He leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead and was surprised when she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him close.

“I’m sorry, Spike,” she whispered into his neck and he didn’t ask why. He knew. She pulled back suddenly and looked at him. “Weird,” she said, eyes running over his face.

“What?” he asked.

“You’re warm,” she said, and then she smiled slightly.

“Yeah,” he said, smiling back. “Weird.”

“Spike . . . I could do this for you, you know.” She rolled her eyes and grabbed a tissue from the box on the end table. “It’s not like I haven’t done it before.”

He took her hand and kissed it. “Yeah, love, but this is my job now, isn’t it?”

She stared at him, and then nodded, wiping at her eyes. “Yeah, I guess so. I’m sorry,” she said again. He sat back and brushed her hair out of her face, and then stood and moved to the window, staring out at the green and the golden mist of the morning. Beautiful day, considering what it held in store.

“Spike, I saw him, as well,” Giles said, voice low and soft.

Spike leaned forward, resting his forehead against the windowpane. “And?”

“He asked that I make sure you keep your promise.”

Spike’s back stiffened. “I intend to, Watcher.”

“Giles, can’t we wait just one more day? Bring the coven in, make absolutely sure this is our only choice?” Willow asked.

Giles sighed. “We don’t have the luxury of time, if what Angel said to me is true. I’m sorry, Willow.”

The room was quiet, heavy with the knowledge of what had to be done.

Today was the day that Angel would die.


“Giles! Giles!”

Spike spun around. It was Xander, struggling under the weight of a bloodied and unconscious Faith.

Willow moved to help Xander place Faith on the sofa and Buffy leapt to her feet. “Oh, shit! What happened, Xander?”

“I don’t know, I got down there and she was knocked cold and . . .” he paused, breathless, and Spike’s blood began to pound.

“What, Harris? What happened?” he asked, voice low and trembling.

Xander wheezed, trying to catch his breath. “Angel, I mean, Angelus . . . fuck . . . he’s GONE!”

Spike’s knees buckled and he fell back against the window casement

“Bloody hell! Xander, are you certain?”

“What, certain that Faith is bloody and all not talking and there’s no Angel down in the basement? I may have only one eye but I could see that much – no Angel.”

“Dammit, Xander, do you have any idea what happened?”

He shook his head frantically. “No! I just went down to relieve Faith and she was just laying on the floor, not moving and no Angel!”

“How is she, Willow?” Giles asked, teeth clenched.

“Concussion, I think, but she should be okay,” Willow said, dabbing at the scrapes on Faith’s forehead.

“Okay, okay. He’s human and he’s hurt, right? Just find him and catch him, no big deal,” Buffy said, pacing and looking at Giles.

“Someone wanna tell me how a human that’s been tortured half to death breaks out of his chains and knocks UberSlayer unconscious and then escapes?” Xander said. “He didn’t get his magical super–evil powers back, did he? Didn’t go all vampy again? Somehow, when we weren’t looking?”

“No, he didn’t.” This from Wesley, who leaning in the doorway, holding a bloodied handkerchief to his own head. “Not yet, at any rate.”

They all stared at him and Spike cursed. “Illyria.”

Wesley’s eyes met his. “Yes.”

Giles stepped forward to help him sit down. “How do you know this, Wesley?”

Wesley swayed a bit and steadied himself with one hand on the edge of Giles’ desk. “I know because she told me, just before she knocked me unconscious.”

“Why on earth . . .”

“They’ve made a bargain. Angelus convinced her that if she helped him escape, he could give her what she wants.”

Spike rubbed his eyes. “You. She wants you.”

Wesley sighed. “It would seem so.”

Faith stirred, groaning.

“Faith? Are you okay?” Willow asked.

“Fuck, no,” Faith grunted, wincing as she tried to pull herself upright.

“What happened, Faith? Do you remember?” Giles asked.

“Uh, not much. Was on watch, and out of nowhere the blue bitch was all over me. Knocked the shit out of me; God, that bitch is strong,” she said, holding her head in her hands.

“Did she say anything? Did Angelus?”

“All I heard was the three magic words; the wolf, the ram and the hart. And I swear to God if you tell me that means what I think it means . . .”

Wesley stood suddenly, swaying on his feet. “We’ve got to stop them, immediately, if anyone is capable of giving Angelus what he wants it’s the senior partners and if the price of that is Fred . . .” He bent double, retching into the trash can besides Giles’ desk and then falling back into his chair, wiping at his mouth. Giles put a hand on his shoulder to hold him steady.

“Fuck,” Spike muttered. “Illyria thinks that . . .”

“She wants to become Fred. Not merely look like Fred, but actually become her.” Wesley voice was hoarse with pain and exhaustion.

“Wes,” Spike said, noting that his hands were shaking. “What do you mean become Fred?”

“Angelus promised her that . . . he could bring . . .” His eyes closed and he couldn’t finish the thought.

“Fuck all,” Spike whispered. “He told her he could bring Fred back..”

“Yes,” Wesley whispered before toppling off the chair. Giles caught him before he hit the floor.


Part Seven

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