Title: Should the Wide World Roll Away
Concrit: Please! Comments are always welcome. I love to know you're reading.
Disclaimer: All characters are borrowed with respect from Joss Whedon.
Warnings: (Minor) character death.
Summary: Spike and Xander have a spat. Angelus is evil...surprise. Someone buys the farm.
Notes: Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. All I can say is...ugh. Life. Sometimes it takes over. For anyone still reading (and for people that are still commenting) - thank you so very much. I appreciate it tremendously. I am continuing to write and will continue to post. I just can't promise regularity because of other obligations. But I'm still here! Promise. Hope everyone enjoys this chapter and I will try my best to be speedy with the next.
Sitting in the passenger seat of the DeSoto, eyes darting between watching the man beside him and taking fleeting glances through the windshield to see where they might be headed, Xander felt, as he often did over the past week, that befriending a strange vampire who followed him out of a cemetery may not have been the best idea he ever had.
"I'm stupid," he said out loud.
"What's that, pet?"
"Nothing. So…where are we headed, exactly?"
"You're not stupid," Spike said. "But that was a stupid question. We're going after Angelus, of course. Where'd ya think I was driving you to.?"
"I can smell him, can't I? Vampire?"
Xander turned to gaze out of the passenger side window, focusing his eyes until they burned. "So what's the plan?"
Spike sighed deeply, eyes darting fleetingly in Xander's direction. "No chance of you keeping the car safe for me, eh pet?"
"Not on your unlife, blondie."
"Figured as much," Spike said, stare fixed, once more, on the road in front of them. He kept his eyes determinedly forward. He was silent for another minute before continuing. "Want you to stay away from Angelus. Not saying you can't handle yourself, just…leave the bastard to me, yeah? When we get in there get Julian and get out. I'll handle my sire."
"I'll get Julian out." Xander paused then and watched as relief passed over Spike's face. "But I'm coming back in to make sure you're okay."
Spike chuckled low in his throat and pressed harder on the gas, whipping the DeSoto around a sharp corner. "Get it through your bloody skull, boy. I'm a vampire. Don't matter how good a fighter you are, I don't need your help."
"Well between the both of us, only one has managed to kill Angelus before. And newsflash. It wasn't you."
Spike growled softly, eyes still set on the road ahead. "Keep giving me lip, boy, and I swear to Christ I'll be feeding you your teeth."
"I thought you liked me," Xander said snidely. "Changing your tune?"
The car was thrown into park on the side of the road and before Xander knew what was happening Spike had slid across the bench seat and grasped him roughly around the neck, pushing him against the passenger side door. "Well as you enjoy pointing out so frequently, I'm a monster," Spike said, blue eyes bleeding to a feral gold. "I do what the fuck I want. And I gotta tell ya, luv, I think you'd be right astounded at the things a demon'd do to someone they loved." Spike pressed his face into Xander's neck, sniffing at his skin before licking a wet stripe up to his chin. "If it was in the name of keeping that loved one safe."
Spike held Xander's stare for a moment before throwing himself back to the driver's side of the bench seat. "Nearly there, pet," he said, taking the car out of park and pulling back out onto the road. "Best get yourself sorted."
Angelus wrenched the dagger smoothly from Giles's shoulder, eliciting only a weak groan from his victim. Wiping the blade clean once more on the man's pants, Angelus brought the dagger up close, inches from his nose, as if in consideration.
"Ya know, it's always disappointing how little it takes to break most humans. Don't ya think, Jules?" Angelus glanced over his shoulder, smiling wildly, before driving the dagger into the Watcher's other shoulder. Several wounds in Giles's body were now seeping blood, and as Angelus tore the dagger out of the man's muscle and flesh yet again, Giles himself seemed to have finally lost consciousness. Angelus sighed, taking an index finger and running up the broadside of the blade and sucking it into his mouth. He turned back toward his other captive, then.
"See?" Angelus said, pointing the tip of the dagger over his shoulder to indicate the injured and unconscious man behind him. "No stamina. Shame."
"Angelus. Please. Spare that man. You are doing more harm than good by killing him."
"Don't see eye to eye with you on that, buddy, sorry."
Angelus was still wearing the smug look on his face, it happened so fast. The ropes binding Julian fell away from him and the Indian stood. "Enough of this, Angelus. I said enough."
Angelus struggled to move and found that his feet seemed to be fixed to the floor. "I don't have the time for yer magic tricks Julian. Let me go if ye know what's good for ye."
"Or you will do what, Angelus? I allowed you the opportunity to make your own decisions. You chose unwisely. You may have caused the death of the Watcher, an event which I, regretfully, had no authority to interfere upon as it could affect the fates of many." Julian's gaze wandered away from Angelus to the man slumped over in the chair behind him. "I pray that he survives."
Angelus sighed heavily feigning disinterest. "If ye're not ta interfere, Julian, what are we ta do? Stand here starin' at each other until he bleeds ta death?"
Julian's eyes remained on Giles a moment longer before he met Angelus' once again. "No. I will do what little I can without upsetting the balance. You will remain where you are."
Julian took a few unsteady steps before falling into an even stride, passing Angelus and crouching down beside Giles. "Consider your actions, Angelus," Julian said quietly, not looking back at him. "While it may be true that you were 'saved' by the Powers that Be, consider their intent. Do not be a fool, Angelus. Do not make an enemy of me more than you already have."
Buffy glanced back over her shoulder, checking that her friend was keeping up. "Come on Wills. Almost there." Willow was holding her side and breathing heavily, still moving, but several yards behind Buffy.
"I'm trying, Buff. Maybe you should just go ahead. I'll catch up."
"No," Buffy said, stopping and turning to face Willow. "I'm not leaving another one of my friends to get hurt."
"Buffy…this isn't your fault. You have to know that."
Buffy's face hardened, even as she reached for Willow's hand, squeezing it gently in her own. "Come on. We've got to hurry."
"Everything is still going smoothly, then?" Travers asked again. "Angelus causing chaos is exactly how I want him…for the moment." Travers listened to the voice on the other end of the line before answering. "The ritual to begin the process of my ascension called for the reincarnation of a warrior demon. Angelus suits our purposes. When he is no longer useful…we can dispose of him. The ritual does not specify that the raised demon needs to stay raised." Travers paused again, listening, then spoke once again. "So the Seer…you've managed to fool him, then? He must have made attempts to speak with the Powers since Angelus' arrival." Travers listened for the answer, then continued, smile evident in his voice. "Good. If the Seer believes he's been speaking to the Powers he only knows what we want him to…for the time being anyway. If he starts to get suspicious, or looks like he is figuring anything out, do not kill him. Do not bring attention to us. But keep me informed. One last thing…last time I spoke with you, you said you found my old friend Cromwell to be suspicious…researching into possible reasons for Angelus' reappearance. Well, if old Cromwell is so eager for the truth…we'll indulge him."
Cromwell slipped another book from the shelf, eyes darting into the darkened room around him reassuring himself once more that he was alone in the school library. Moving as silently as possible, Cromwell moved to the end of the aisle, quickly thumbing through the pages until he finally found the one he was looking for. Cromwell dropped to his knees and the small stack of books he accumulated from Giles's collection, and flipped the topmost of the stack open, comparing the two. Eyes widening in comprehension, Cromwell slammed the books closed before hearing the swinging doors of the library swish open and closed against each other. Panic rising, Cromwell hastily folded over the corners of several pages, aware of the footsteps crossing the room, and tucked the stack of books into a corner, hoping they would be safe. Cromwell stumbled to his feet and back into the stacks, desperate to hide from the figure approaching from behind. He looked over his shoulder, and that same moment a spear stabbed through his throat. Cromwell tried to cry out, only managing to gurgle, coughing up blood. As he slid to the floor, the color and life draining from his face, Cromwell's eyes fixed on his attacker and the golden mask the figure was wearing.