Reprise II -- Revisited
It was cold. Dark. Black flames flickered on the edge of consciousness. Black flames that cast no
light in the darkness, that produced no heat. Black flames that burned an icy path straight to his soul.
His demon laughed, a chilling sound that fueled the icy flames. The black fire raced towards a
battle-weary man guarding his soul, a rusted sword in hand. The once-gleaming blade was dull and
coated with dried ruby blood, its proud shine extinguished by constant use. The man's armor was
chipped in some places, broken in others, the skin beneath bruised and cut and scratched and
The man warred against the flames, coughing and choking on the thick, black smoke that twined
around his body and directly attacked his soul. His soul screamed in anguish as the foul smoke
smothered its light. It grew dark. Cold. The man that protected the light from the darkness dropped
to his knees and was engulfed by the black flames of hatred, hopelessness, anger, and indifference.
The warrior breathed in the acrid smoke, and it curled in his lungs like a snake, asphyxiating him.
The man was exhausted, disillusioned with fighting against the darkness when the darkness would
never be defeated. He had that darkness in himself. He always had; it was what gave him the power
and strength to fight. To kill.
It would be so easy for the man to give up, to succumb to the icy flames burning him. He was tired
of shielding his soul from the evil of the world, taking the darkness into himself to keep the light of
his soul from being tainted. What was the use? Reality dictated that there was no purity in the
world, that base goodness did not exist. The inky flames of evil licked at everyone's feet, no matter
what the species. It would be simpler if the man gave way to the demon, for at least the demon
would live in the world, rather than just existing in it.
A choice had to be made: surrender to the darkness, or struggle to keep the light.
The man looked up, his face contorted in pain, the flesh melting from his bones, and he rasped,
Angel gasped and sat bolt upright in bed as the roll of thunder rattled the windowpanes. He blinked
against his sleep-clouded vision, trying to clear it, as he needlessly strained to catch his breath. He
was cold. The dream -- nightmare -- message -- was etched into his mind, and an icy flame
skittered down his spine, pooling at the base, waiting for his choice.
His vision cleared. A streak of lightning and a clap of thunder struck simultaneously, and the room
was awash with light for a brief instant. And in that instant, Angel saw an expression of unbearable
hurt etched on the features of the blue-eyed man standing in the bedroom doorway, before the
darkness once again engulfed the room.
Another flash of lightning revealed an empty space where the man had been.
Darla shifted on the bed beside Angel, rolling onto her back from her position facing the door.
Angel stared down at her sleeping features, at the smug smile curving her lips, at her bared breasts.
The darkness beckoned. His flesh stirred. It was still cold.
The choice was made.
Angel threw back the sheet, scrambled from the bed and into his discarded pants. His zipper
strained. No shirt, no shoes, he sprinted out the door. His bare feet thundered on the stairs, and the
lightning flashed. The empty lobby was painted briefly in an eerie white light before darkness
Rain came down from the heavens, soaking him within seconds. Angel searched the dark street
outside the hotel, his bare flesh chilled by the stinging, icy drops. Lightning struck, the street was
bathed in brightness -- empty. The thunder rolled.
"Spike!" he yelled, his voice raw and cracking.
A flash of memory: another time, another place, another storm. The light snuffed out, the darkness
Angel ran back inside the hotel, his bare feet slapping wetly on the tile floor. He grabbed the GST
device from the cluttered registration counter where it had been tossed days ago.
Angel had not gone to his childe after the extremely close call with Gene's time-distortion machine.
Something had happened when Angel had been in that basement, something that he hadn't been able
to recall. It had tickled on the edge of his conscious, but he hadn't been able to grasp what it was. It
had annoyed him to the point of distraction, and he'd pushed aside all thoughts of his boy in an
attempt to remember.
He hadn't pushed aside his attack on Wolfram and Hart, though, instead using the firm as a
scapegoat to his anger at not being able to remember. He'd caught wind of the 75-year review, fell
from the fifteenth floor of the Wolfram and Hart office building, and learned that nothing he did
mattered. It had grown dark, then. Cold.
He was still cold.
The wind whipped through Angel, chilling him to the core, as he ran down the street, following the
GST tracker. The rain felt like tiny needles against his bare skin. He splashed through deep
puddles, his bare feet getting cut on hidden glass and sharp stones.
A glimpse of white-blond ahead of him, turning a corner. Angel poured on the speed. Lightning and
thunder crashed together like cymbals. The rain became a torrent, the wind buffeting him hard. The
darkness was fighting against him, trying to prevent him from reaching Spike. It only made Angel
Around the corner, the center light on the tracker glowed red. Spike was less than half a block
away, shoulders hunched against the elements. Angel yelled again, "Spike!"
The other vampire stopped, turned around, and stared across the distance with hatred in his yellow
eyes. White-blond hair hung limply over his ridged brow. He resembled a drowned cat. He
gestured vulgarly at Angel.
Angel kept running, until the street exploded, showering him with chunks of charred rock as
lightning struck the ground in front of him. The thunder was deafening. He fell to his knees,
darkness rushing upon him like black fire.
// Angel... remember...//
It wasn't the demon...
// Angel... remember the light...//
...it was the man...
...that had control over the darkness.
The man rose up from the black flames, his head held high and his shoulders thrown back, the sword in his hand gleaming brightly once more.
"Angel! C'mon, you bloody beached whale, wake up!"
Angel's eyes snapped open to see Spike leaning over him with worried azure eyes. The rain had
settled to a drizzle, creating ringlets of curls in the blond's hair that even repeated bleaching couldn't
straighten. A frown furrowed his brow and pulled down the corners of his pale pink lips.
Angel abruptly tumbled Spike to the ground and captured his squeak of surprise in a kiss. The older
vampire fisted his hand in the blond's wet locks and hungrily devoured the mouth beneath his,
slipping his tongue between parted lips to entice Spike to reciprocate. Angel circled his hips,
rubbing his rapidly swelling member against his boy's equally hardening shaft beneath the fabric of
their pants. Spike mewled in the back of his throat, brought his hands up to cup Angel's face, and
responded to the kiss.
Angel was suddenly very hot.
A splash of water as a car drove by, honking its horn, broke them apart. Angel raised his head and
gave Spike a tiny smile. "Hi."
Spike returned the smile. "You have the oddest way of greeting people, mate."
"Admit it: you love it," Angel said.
Spike's eyes lowered, and the smile disappeared. "Yeah," he said uncomfortably. "About that..."
"Hey," Angel said softly. "Look at me." He waited until his childe raised his gaze before
continuing. "I'm not going to lie to you, Spike. I'm not in love with you."
Spike started to drop his eyes, but Angel shifted and tapped the blond under the chin. "But I do need
you," Angel went on when Spike looked at him again. "And I like having you around. I like you."
"What about Darla?" Spike asked.
"Looked like you already did that," Spike said with a wry smile, but a hint of bitterness in his voice.
"Yes, I did," Angel said bluntly. "But I'd much rather fuck you."
Spike narrowed his blue eyes. "What if I don't want you to?"
"I don't care what you want," Angel replied with a wicked smile. "I only care about what you
"And what's that?" the blond said icily.
Dark eyes softened, and the smile became gentle. "Me."
Spike blinked several times, the anger vanishing from his face. "Oh."
"Yeah, oh," Angel repeated. He brushed his lips across the blond's, then raised his head again.
A sly grin replaced the stunned look on Spike's face. "Only if I can fuck you."
Angel smirked, winked, and answered: "Maybe."