Big thanks to starfishchick, estepheia, tylerismock, and bailunrui, who also played. Let me know what kind of stories you would like, too, because if I have enough time, I'll try to write all of them. ::is ambitious::
And to get back in the fanficy zone, here's what was to be my last Buffyverse fic, written the day after Not Fade Away aired and not posted 'cause I was foolishly "off" LJ at the time. I know it's been a while, but I still feel like I need bandaids to cover my post-NFA wounds, and that's what this fic is.
Title: deus ex machina
Pairing: None, or Spike/Angel, depending on your mood
Summary: Girl makes it all better. Well, somewhat better.
He needs to find Angel.
The thought starts as a tiny itch of a thing. By now he’s mostly beyond conscious thought, moving purely by instinct: hacking, thrusting, ducking, charging. Fighting. But once the thought surfaces, it won’t go away.
He needs to find Angel now.
With a grunt, he drives his stolen axe through the neck of his nearest opponent and pauses for just a moment as the demon falls to look around him. The battle stretches through L.A.’s back streets and alleyways like a living ocean, and through the waves Spike can spot two small whirlpools of action: Illyria. And Angel. He doesn’t know what’s happened to Gunn.
His momentary cessation of hostilities has cost him a knife between the ribs and a nasty bite on the leg. He pulls the curved blade out of his chest and throws it away (into another demon’s face) but the bite burns like a mother as he takes a step toward one of the whirlpools. Doesn’t matter: he’s had worse. And he’s going in the right direction. He knows it.
Fighting forward’s different than holding your ground. This battle’s never been about precision killing, but Spike’s even more slapdash now, swinging the axe out in front of him, to the left and to the right, and hitting whatever’s there to be hit. Blood coats him like a second skin. Slowly, the demons fall before him and he inches forward, Moses parting a sea of red.
The other flurry of movement’s getting closer now, he realizes, coming to meet him. “Angel!” he screams, and only when he hears his own voice disappear so completely in the screaming grunting howling din of battle does he realize how loud it’s gotten, the noise of it. Still, he thinks he hears an answering cry: his own name, a desperate summons. He moves forward.
And then suddenly the sea of bodies really does part and he’s standing at the edge of a demonic circle. And at the other side of the ring stands Angel.
The world holds its breath.
He doesn’t know which one of them moves first. So let it be simultaneous, then: the moment when the two souled vampires drop their weapons and come together, like synchronized swimmers, like two practiced performers taking the stage for their last dance.
They come together.
Such a strange thing to do in the middle of a battle, the last conscious part of Spike’s mind thinks. Like two opposing magnets, Spike and Angel snap together at the center of the circle of demons. Like puzzle pieces: their chests press together, their arms snake around each other’s backs, their heads fall forward to waiting shoulders. Angel exhales slowly, and Spike feels his false breath on the back of his neck.
Beneath his feet - their feet, entwined - the ground, surging, pulsing as the air snaps taut like a piece of string. And deep inside, a familiar flickering...
Spike shuts his eyes.
He shuts his eyes, but he can still see it happen: the ring of white heat radiate out of them. Watch it spread like quicksilver, waves of light engulfing waves of bodies and leaving nothing in their wake. They are a nuclear bomb. And they’ve just gone off.
From where he stands, his body joined with Angel’s: from above the city, atop the tallest building: from outside the Earth: he sees it. The two of them, the great purge, their twin souls: washing like a hot wave over Los Angeles, Tokyo, Mexico City, Washington, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Bombay, Dublin, Sydney, London, Moscow, Paris, Baghdad, Madrid, Cairo, Cape Town, Berlin, Rome... They shudder together, endlessly spending. Waves of regret, of joy, of death, of life...whoever thought that he’d create that? That they’d make this, together...
Around them, the hurricane has risen to an unprecedented peak. The air screams, a howling, global nightmare with a single, calm center. Spike knows what’s coming; distantly, he knows what’s at hand. He couldn’t hold Angel closer if he tried, but in these last moments he presses his fingers a little more tightly into the other vampire’s back. Readying himself. Readying them both for the burning time.
The sudden silence is deafening. In tandem, they drop to their knees, and the sound of bone cracking against pavement echoes strangely. Their arms are still wrapped around each other, and Spike can feel Angel breathing raggedly against his chest. Gasping like the first fish that threw itself up on dry land and thought, Hey, I like it here...
And Spike knows. He knows, and he finds himself laughing, a tired, choked sob. Laughing, he opens his eyes, opens them into shocking brightness. Either they fought ‘til dawn, or...
“We burned the night away,” he whispers, his voice hoarse. Beside him, Angel opens his eyes. Wide and brown, they’re filled with fear - and with wonder. He raises a tentative hand, presses it first to Spike’s chest and then to his own. Cringes. Says, “This wasn’t supposed to happen...”
“‘Course it was,” Spike says. He’s grinning like an idiot, and he’s thinking: there’s no better way for this story to end. This is perfect.
But Angel is shaking his head, prying himself away. “No, no...I signed...” He tries to get to his feet and abruptly sits back down. They’re both spent.
Spike turns. Illyria is standing before them, head tilted quizzically to the side. “You’re...alive.”
“Yes,” Spike says. Simply. Happily.
Angel groans. “Where’s Gunn?”
Illyria points to the right, like the Scarecrow in the bloody Wizard of Oz. “He is not dead,” she says. “Although he may still die.”
Again, Angel fights for his feet and loses. “Then help him!” he growls. “Assume an appropriate form and take him to a hospital. Do it!”
She does. Angel collapses on the ground. Spike, more tired than he’s ever been, lies down beside him. Angel’s eyes are pressed tightly closed and he’s shuddering - forcing back tears, Spike realizes. “Hey,” he says. “It’s all right. We won.”
But Angel shakes his head, still not ready to believe him. So Spike captures Angel’s hand, and together, they let sleep take them.
He dreams of Wesley. They’re sitting in an old, ramshackle office that it takes Spike a while to recognize. He’s perched on the edge of a worn, beaten down desk; Angel sits behind him, in a chair, and Wesley stands before them both, looking like an eager schoolboy.
“About the prophecy,” he says, and now he’s grinning like a madman. “The thing is...I may have been slightly off in the translation.”
For a Watcher in error, Spike thinks, Wes’s tone is surprisingly light. In fact, his whole being seems...light. Untroubled. Free.
Spike smiles. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see the expression mirrored on Angel’s face.
Wesley returns their grin with a modest bob of his head. “You see,” he says, spreading his arms for the final flourish. “The key noun...
“It was plural.”