Desperate Measures

Sequel to Hell On Wheels

*There's nothing left to lose There's no more heart to bruise* They walked back to the mansion, each one wrapped up in their own thoughts. Or rather, Buffy walked. Now that Spike had his strength back, he was practically sprinting. Buffy shook her head as she watched him. For being almost two hundred years old, he sure did act like a kid on a sugar high sometimes. Christ, Summers, she thought. Talk about leaping from the frying pan into the fire! She couldn't think about that now, she had to focus on Angelus. She had no idea how this thing was going to go down, or even if either of them would survive. Drusilla was a wild card. Buffy worried more about her than about Angel. And after what had just happened with Spike, she wasn't sure how she still felt about her first love. She had trusted Spike in a way that she never would have trusted Angelus. Spike's sire would have killed her if he'd gotten that close to her. How could they both be demons, yet be so totally different? Could some part of their human personality have been retained after they were turned? But Angelus was so devoid of humanity. Was it possible that the curse had actually changed him? Made him more humane than he had been in his mortal life? Her head was spinning with too many unanswered questions. Spike, on the other hand, was itching for a fight. Sex always charged him up, made him feel like taking on the world. And after fucking the Slayer, he was practically in orbit. I don't like to brag...yeah, right, he snickered to himself. Drusilla, though, there was a problem. His love for her had deteriorated, she had seen to that. But could he really live without her? If it came down to her or the Slayer, who would he choose? Fuck me, he groaned silently, what a bloody mess! He would just have to see how it played out. He didn't want to lose Drusilla, but he wasn't all that sure he could stand life without the Slayer either. That boredom factor again. This 'need for speed' syndrome was going to do him in for sure. The mansion loomed in front of them. The minions were gone, sent to L.A. for an autographed photo of Martin Landau. The younger ones had no idea who he was. Spike had been incredulous. They were fucking morons, the lot of them. Any one of them could identify William Shatner, the worst piece of shit actor on the planet, but not someone of Landau's caliber? Didn't they know that Space 1999 was ten times the show that Star Trek was? They were told not to return without the picture or Drusilla would be very unhappy, so of course, they had bolted like frightened rabbits. Spike looked up at the second floor, searching for Angel's window. The light was on, which meant that he and Drusilla were probably still 'playing'. Just thinking about what they were doing turned his stomach. Still staring at the lighted window, he murmured, "All right, Slayer, I'll sneak you in and hide you. When Angel and Dru come downstairs, we'll wait for the right moment, then get that prick where it really hurts." Spike was jazzed now, thinking about inflicting as much pain on Angel as was inhumanly possible. This confrontation had been a long time coming. His sire would finally get what he deserved. And Dru, what exactly did she deserve? He hadn't a bloody clue. All he had were problems without any solutions. Spike turned toward the Slayer and was struck dumb by the way the moonlight glinted off her hair. Beautiful, so fucking beautiful... She stared up at him, her eyes dark and unreadable, then turned to go inside. You may never get another chance at this, mate, was all Spike could think as he grabbed her arm and pulled her close. His mouth came crashing down on hers in a bruising kiss, trying to make the most of what could be their last moments together. She returned the kiss, clinging to him desperately, her tongue searching out his as her hands slid over his bare chest. For a brief moment there was no Angel, no Drusilla - just Spike and the Slayer... and a craving that wasn't about to go away. All too soon, they reluctantly pulled apart. No words were necessary. It was time to make their stand, and nothing could get in the way of that. Spike opened the door and they silently slipped into the house. It was quiet, with no sign of either Angel or Drusilla. Buffy quickly began stashing various stakes around the main room, just in case she needed them during the fight. She stopped and stared at the ugly stone statue that dominated the room. It was shaped like some sort of hulking creature, with eyes that seemed to follow her. She looked over at Spike inquisitively. "Acathla," he breathed, not wanting to alert Angel to their presence. He motioned for Buffy to follow him into the garden. As she stepped through the doorway, she gasped. It was the same as her dream - the one with the chains. She could even smell the jasmine. She hid more weapons and quickly looked for a place to hide, finally settling behind a large planter. Spike set up his wheelchair and sat down to wait. It wasn't long before he heard Angel coming down the stairs. His stomach tightened when he heard the son of a bitch call out his name. "Spike! Are you here? Hey, Dead From The Neck Down, you back yet?" He could hear Angel laughing to himself. Oh, this was going to be fun. He couldn't wait to see Angel's face when the hammer fell. ***********

*Your heart is not open so I must go The spell has been broken - I loved you so* Buffy tensed as she heard Angel call out. His voice was so different now, so cruel and cocky. Nothing like the soft, gentle tones he'd always used before losing his soul. Her stake felt good in her hand, solid and reassuring, and she prayed that the jasmine would cover their scent until they were ready. If they lost that element of surprise, then they lost their advantage as well. She gathered all of her courage and centered herself, preparing for the confrontation to come. "I'm out in the garden, you wanker!" Spike yelled back. One hand idly stroked his bare chest as he waited for Angel to approach. Without thinking, he brought his fingers up to his mouth, tasting the remains of the Slayer's pleasure. It caused his body to tense in anticipation of Angel's reaction. "Spike, Spike, Spike. What are you doing out there all by your lonesome?" Angel's voice drifted through the open door. He was still out in the main room, but getting closer. "It beats playing bondage games with the two of you," Spike said, keeping his chair back in the shadows, half hidden by one of the fountains. Angel stood in the doorway with his shirt hanging open and the top button of his pants undone. His perfect hair was mussed and deep scratches marred his chest. He leaned casually against the doorframe and smiled lazily. "Where are all the fledglings tonight?" he asked. "Whole place is deserted." "I sent them to get a surprise for Dru," Spike answered. "I do still know how to treat my princess, after all." Angel snorted and ran his hand down his chest, drawing attention to Drusilla's markings. "What are they supposed to be getting?" Spike kept his face blank as he replied in a detached tone of voice, "If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise now, would it?" Come on you bloody idiot, he pleaded silently, let's get this show on the road. Angel pushed himself away from the doorway and slunk into the room. "Come across anything interesting while you were rolling around town?" he questioned idly. Spike grinned. "As a matter of fact, I did." He rolled out from behind the fountain and faced Angel, a mocking expression on his face. Angel's eyes narrowed as they took in Spike's state of partial undress. "Angel?" Drusilla's voice drifted from the other room. "Are you hiding from me? Where are you?" Behind the planter Buffy's heart was pounding. Her adrenaline was starting to flow as the tension built in the room. She stiffened as she heard Angel answer Dru, his eyes never leaving Spike's. "In the garden, sweetheart...with Spike. Come join us. I have the feeling that things are about to get very interesting around here." Buffy remembered the first time she had heard Angelus say that. When they realized that he was back and he nearly killed Willow. She quickly grabbed her squeeze bottle of holy water and pulled the tab. Drusilla glided into the room and slid her hands around Angel's waist. "Spike, there you are, my sweet. I had hoped you would play with us this evening," she pouted. A smile crossed her face as her gaze wandered over Angel's chest. "We made such pretty colors, didn't we, my Angel?" Angel grinned as he grabbed her arm and pulled her close with a growl. They kissed with open-mouthed hunger, biting each other eagerly. Spike was surprised to realize that the show didn't bother him quite the way it used to. He wondered if that meant that he could finally be free of Dru. Free from the insanity that seeped into everything around her. Angel broke off the kiss, giving Drusilla one last nip before saying, "Spike was just about to tell me how his little spin around town went. Seems he found something of interest. Probably a new wheelchair ramp." He turned back toward Spike, a note of agitation in his voice. Spike wheeled himself closer, leaving enough room between them so that he could maneuver. His mouth twisted into a smirk. "You won't believe what falls into your lap if you look in the right place, mate. I mean, there are all sorts of hidden treasures - ripe treasures - just waiting to be plucked by that special someone." Buffy closed her eyes, imagining the look on Angel's face as comprehension dawned. He would know that there was only one thing that Spike could taunt him with. She heard Angel snarl menacingly as he waited for Spike to finish. The blond vampire was more than accomodating as he continued, just barely refraining from smacking his lips. "A succulent little peach, so moist, so delicious. Delectable, really - I don't think I've ever tasted anything quite like it. Funny thing about fruit on the vine, though, you can't just leave it there to rot. No, you need to pick this tender fruit at just the right moment, in order to get the sweetest juice." Buffy flushed as she listened to Spike describe her that way. Okay metaphor man, she thought, rolling her eyes. I think he gets the picture. Did he really think that she was delicious? She shook her head to clear her thoughts. Not the time, Summers, definitely not the time. "Peaches, Mummy used to eat peaches...remember, Angel? She used to bake peach pies and cobblers, and her hands would be all sticky," Drusilla held up her hands as she murmured to herself, oblivious to the tension in the room. "Yeah, whatever, Dru," Angel muttered impatiently. He could feel himself losing control of the situation. Spike was too cocky, almost cheerful, blathering on about fruit. What the fuck was he talking... Angel took a step closer and froze as a familiar scent wafted toward him. No, it couldn't be - she'd never let Spike touch her! Angel couldn't stop the low growl coming from his throat. No one was allowed to touch her, no one but him. The Slayer was his... Spike's grin widened as he watched Angel struggle with his suspicions. "The nose always, Angel?" A red haze filled Angel's eyes, his game face surfacing. His hands curled into claws and the growling became a snarl that filled the room. In her hiding place, Buffy tensed. Oh shit, it's rock and roll time. She had to wait until Angel attacked so that she could catch him off balance. It was the only way, although she was *so* not looking forward to fighting a vampire in a mindless rage. Angel was staring at Spike in disbelief. "No fucking way! I told that bitch that if another man touched her, I'd kill her. You're the last person she ever would have let near her - you - *helpless* - *dickless* - *cripple*!" He sounded as if he was choking on his anger. "Helpless? Oh no, mate, I don't think so." Spike rose from his chair in one fluid movement. "And I think the Slayer would agree that *dickless*, I'm not." He kicked it out of his way and faced Angel squarely, laughing at the expression on his face. It was obvious that the Slayer's scent was driving Angel over the brink, inflaming his bloodlust. He advanced on Spike, growling like a rabid animal. Drusilla stopped her daydreaming and stared at the two alpha males circling each other. They were going to fight, how perfectly lovely. Except didn't appear to be over her. She moved closer to them and caught a whiff of another female's arousal. Her head whipped around to face Spike as comprehension dawned. She recognized that scent... remembered when Angel used to stink of it. The Slayer. Drusilla began to moan, her hands coming up to touch the sides of her head. "This is so...wrooong!" she keened, her voice rising to a fevered pitch as she collapsed on the floor. "The Slayer, noooo! She'll destroy us - destroy our happy family!" Spike and Angel ignored her and continued their face-off. The dark-haired vampire was vibrating with fury, standing motionless as his once favorite childe taunted and teased him. The pictures in Angel's head wouldn't stop coming - images of Spike trespassing on his Sire's property, of the Slayer eagerly welcoming him, of Spike's cock pounding into Buffy's cunt... The scenes were so vivid that Angel had to fight the urge to curl up in a fetal position next to Drusilla. The only thing that saved him was the equally vivid image of him tearing Spike apart with his bare hands. Spike knew exactly what buttons to push. It was so fucking easy, he wondered why he hadn't done it sooner. Just a few more carefully thought out words... "You should have seen her, Angel. She was so hot for it - coming so hard for me, screaming *my* name." Spike leaned a little closer and whispered maliciously, "Her quim tastes almost as good as her blood, but then, you wouldn't know, would you?" With a roar, Angel dove for Spike's throat, almost blind with fury. His mind had snapped, unable to handle the thought of Spike tasting Buffy's blood, something that he himself had never done. Spike sidestepped Angel's lunge and drove a fist into his stomach. As Angel doubled over, Spike brought his fists down on his Sire's back, dropping the older vampire to his knees. Spike grinned viciously as he drew back his foot for the first kick. The steel toe of his boot made a satisfying sound as it connected with Angel's perfect face. Buffy stepped out from behind the planter, one eye on Drusilla's prostrate form. Spike was kicking Angel repeatedly, reveling in his payback. The words began to flow from his lips in an endless stream, each of them punctuated by another blow. "How do you like it, Angel, you fucking prick...die, you bloody fucking bastard..." Drusilla came out of her fog and saw Spike attacking Angel. With a screech, she stood up and flung herself at him, hands curved into claws. Buffy was ready and moved swiftly, running to intercept the maddened vampire. She tackled Dru and quickly rolled away from her, leaping to her feet. Before Drusilla could react, Buffy spun and landed a kick directly in Dru's midsection, sending her crashing into one of the statues. The vampire quickly regained her footing, coming at Buffy again. She slammed a fist into Buffy's face, causing the Slayer to stumble backwards. When Drusilla followed, Buffy ducked and threw a roundhouse, only to have Dru block it and pull her close. While Buffy struggled, Angel's most dangerous creation tried to catch her eyes in a mesmerizing stare. "Look in my eyes," she murmured. "Be in me..." Buffy felt the pull of Drusilla's power and reacted, doing the only thing she could think of to distract her. She resorted to the 'chick-fight' thing. She grabbed Drusilla by the hair and pulled with all of her might. Drusilla shrieked in agony, releasing Buffy as her eyes rolled up in her head. A big patch of hair had come off in Buffy's hand and they both stared at it with wide eyes before the Slayer waved it in Dru's face mockingly. "Oops! Guess I don't know my own strength," Buffy laughed as Drusilla screamed and lunged for the hunk of hair, her eyes wild with hatred. Angel opened his blood-filled eyes and through his blurred vision caught a glimpse of Drusilla and Buffy. "Betraying bitch!" he screamed inside his head. The sight of his former lover caused his beast to rise again, giving him a renewed strength. He rolled quickly and brought his foot up, catching Spike in the groin. Angel scrambled to his feet while Spike tried to recover from the unexpected blow. Buffy glanced over and noticed Angel's movement. She called over to Spike, "Switch!" then somersaulted toward them. Spike nodded and leaped over her, landing in front of an out of control Drusilla. "Hey, baby," he said calmly before catching her in the face with a right hook. He had no qualms about hitting her, although there had been a time when he would have cut off his arm rather than hurt the love of his life. That time was past, though, and now it felt good to make his princess hurt a little, to let her know that he was done being a bloody doormat. It was time to renegotiate the terms of their relationship, just as soon as the Slayer got Angel out of the way. As long as he could keep Drusilla from interfering. Buffy stood before Angel, panting lightly from her fight with Dru. His bruised and bloody face was completely feral, not a shred of sanity visible. As she looked at him, she realized that the Angel she had loved was gone, and in his place was a rabid animal. Even if they could have restored his soul, too much had happened. There was no guarantee that he would bear any resemblance to the man that she had trusted enough to give her body, heart and soul. That realization gave her a renewed sense of purpose. She could take him now, put him down like the animal he was. She could finally end it. Angel backhanded her in the face, spinning her into the planter where she had hidden. As she fell to the floor, he stalked after her, his only thought being to make her scream in agony. His voice was hoarse as venemous words spewed from his lips. "You're going to suffer for everything you've done to me. I'm going to rip you to pieces and then fuck your carcass while Spike watches." Buffy spied the water bottle and snatched it up. She kept it hidden as she slowly stood up and faced her former lover. "Graphic, much? Get a grip, Angel. You're not as scary as you think you are. Not as good in the sack, either." Her taunts sent him spiraling out of control and he rushed at her. She spun away from him and whirled around, sending a spraying arc toward his face. He screamed as the flesh rippled and burned, throwing his hands up to cover his eyes. "My face! You fucking whore, I'll tear you apart!" Temporarily blinded, he swayed on his feet as Buffy removed her stake from her waistband. She felt a sharp pain twist in her heart - I love you, Angel - and then her face hardened with determination. "Goodbye, *Angelus*. Burn in hell, you son of a bitch." Throwing all of her weight into it, she thrust the stake into his heart. His eyes met hers for one stunned moment before his body exploded into dust, covering her like a fine mist. Buffy stood there in shock, then crumpled to the floor as all of the air left her body. It was over, all of it. Tears of sorrow and relief stung her eyes. Drusilla saw Angel's body disintegrate and howled, rushing toward the Slayer. Spike dove for her and missed, calling out a warning. "Slayer, look out!" Buffy turned as Drusilla flew at her, then rolled to absorb the impact. She caught Drusilla's body and heaved with her feet, sending the vampire hurtling toward a carved unicorn that stood near the fountain. Dru landed directly on the horn, screaming Spike's name as she fell. The wooden horn pierced her heart through her back, cutting her scream short as she vanished into dust. Spike stared unbelieving at the spot where Drusilla had been. She was gone, gone for good. In the blink of an eye - Christ, baby, I didn't mean for it to end this way - his entire life had been ripped from him. It felt like a claw had reached into his chest and removed a piece of his dead heart. A single tear ran down his face. He brushed it away angrily, then turned his attention to the Slayer. *Learn to say goodbye I yearn to say goodbye* Buffy was sitting on the floor, staring at Angel's final resting place. She rubbed her hand through the remaining dust as if trying to absorb the last tiny pieces of her first love. Angel was gone. She hadn't fully realized what that would feel like. Gone. It was so final, so...permanent. Granted, she'd wanted to be free from Angelus, but now that she was, she had no idea what to do with herself. As long as Angelus had been alive, a part of Angel had been too. Now she had nothing. No one. She heard Spike approaching behind her and spoke without looking up. "I'm sorry, Spike. I know you didn't want her to die." He stopped, surprise showing on his face. He'd expected her to break down after staking Angel, to maybe tell him to get lost now that it was over, but instead she was apologizing. Apologizing to *him*, the man who'd tried to kill her more times than he could count. He stared at her in silence, unsure of what to say. She was barely crying, looking lost instead, her hair hanging in her face as she continued to stroke the floor. Spike decided that he needed to say something - if not for her, then for himself. "Listen, luv - they were both...unbalanced. It probably was what drew them together in the first place. I always wanted to take care of her, I *did* take care of her...but all she really wanted was Angel's brutality. Angel...Angel owned Dru, I guess. Deep down, I always knew that I was just borrowing her for a while." She looked up at him, her face dirty and tear streaked. He held out his hand and she tentatively took it, allowing him to pull her to her feet. She stared at the room around her, her eyes slightly blank. "I guess we're both free now, huh?" she sniffled. "Why doesn't it feel more comforting? Why do I feel so alone?" Her words echoed inside him. He felt the same way. His family, such as it was, was gone forever. He tried to reassure her, and himself as well. "It'll get better. And you're not alone. You have your family, your friends...and me. I don't think I can go back to trying to kill you after this. Not for awhile, anyway." He looked into her eyes, trying to read her thoughts. She gave him a small, sad smile. "I don't think I can, either." Kill him? No, it wouldn't feel right. Not now. Spike raised an eyebrow. "A truce, then? Only don't expect me to stop hunting. I can't give it up - I won't, not even for you." He stared at her almost defiantly, waiting to see how she would react. "A truce, huh?" She thought for a second before replying. "I guess I can live with that. Just...keep it on the outskirts of town and promise not to eat my friends, okay?" She couldn't believe she was letting him get away with it, but she'd deal with his hunting later, when she was capable of it. Right now, she didn't much care what he did. Spike smiled at her easy acquiescence and brought her hand up to his lips. "Promise." The smile left his lips and he turned to leave the room, anxious to be away from the scene of destruction. He'd pushed Dru out of his thoughts for the moment, but if he had to stay there one more minute... Buffy caught his arm, stopping him. "Walk me home?" she asked softly. Her expression said she didn't want to be alone, not yet. Spike brushed a lock of hair out of her face. "Anytime, Slayer...anytime." Truth be told, he didn't want to be alone either. He didn't need time to think about how he'd just killed Dru as surely as if he'd flung her body across the room himself. He took the Slayer's hand and tugged until they were outside in the fresh moonlit air. Buffy was lost in thought as they walked. Tomorrow she would have to face Giles and the gang. And something had to be done about Acathla so that he could never rise. She tried not to think about Angel and what she had just done. She had loved him, but what had she known about him, really? The last few months had made it apparent that she'd known very little. Don't think about it. Don't see his face, don't hear his voice. Don't... There was time enough to deal with the pain later. Tomorrow, or the next day. Tonight she wanted Spike to hold her for awhile and make her forget her own name. If he was willing. God, please let him be willing, she thought. She remembered what he had said to Angel and couldn't contain her curiosity any longer. "Spike?" Her voice was hesitant. "Yes, luv?" Buffy couldn't believe that she was going to even ask. "Did...did you mean it when you said that I was delicious?" Her face flamed as she said it. Spike chuckled softly and gripped her hand a little tighter. There was only one answer, and sometimes it paid to be honest. "The sweetest nectar I've ever tasted." In that instant, the memory of her heat returned to him and he wanted to bury himself in it again. Spike tried to tell himself that he needed it to forget about Drusilla, but he was lost and he knew it. Just another vampire fallen victim to the power of the Slayer. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck... And Buffy's smile was bittersweet as they walked in the moonlight. ~Fin~