When Light Turns to Dark
Angel and Buffy walked hand-in-hand toward her house. An oppressive silence had descended upon them after their so far unproductive meeting with Giles. Angel knew that Giles was right, they had to be more careful, but just being near her sent all his good intentions flying out the window. She was a radiant beacon shining in his perpetual night.
"A penny for 'em," Buffy said softly.
"We have to be careful, Buffy," came Angel's quiet reply.
"I know, but every time I get near you I--"
Angel cut her off. "I know. I feel it, too. But we know where it will lead."
"This way leads to madness." Buffy laughed and shook her head. "I've been hanging around Giles way too long. So, game plan?"
"I'll patrol and see what I come up with. You call the gang and give them a heads-up on the situation."
They turned the corner and closed in on Buffy's house. As they approached the path to the steps of the porch, Angel stopped and turned to Buffy. "Just stay inside where you'll be safe."
"Will do, Chief," Buffy quipped, flashing Angel a mock salute.
"Buffy, I'm serious," Angel warned.
"So am I. See, me, being serious girl," Buffy insisted.
She stepped closer, wrapping her arms around Angel, and hugged him fiercely. He placed a light kiss on her forehead and returned the embrace, matching her intensity with his own. Reaching up, Buffy placed a warm hand on his cold cheek, urging his face to hers. She stretched upward and softly pressed her lips to his.
Meeting no resistance, she intensified her kiss, coaxing him to kiss her back. Angel moaned with need, trying to restrain himself from taking what he wanted so badly. Inflamed by the desire she knew they both felt, Buffy touched the tip of her tongue to Angel's cold lips. Angel shivered and felt his resolve melting away. His tongue slid between his lips and met hers in a passionate duel. He reached up and slid his hands into her soft, silky hair, holding her a willing prisoner to his fiery onslaught. Buffy's arms snaked around Angel's neck and she sighed as she gave him the entrance he sought. Angel probed the warmth of Buffy's mouth, glorying in the heated tremors he felt coursing through her body. Sliding his hands from her hair, he began caressing her face, lightly moving down along her neck. His lips moved from hers, raining feathery kisses along the course his fingertips gently plotted. Buffy's head fell back slightly, allowing Angel to continue his heavenly barrage with ease. Angel slipped his arms around Buffy, reveling in the feeling of her lithe body pressed sensuously against his. He withdrew slightly, giving Buffy the chance to recapture his mouth with her own. She echoed his erotic game with her own, probing the depths of his mouth and running her tongue along his now burgeoning incisors. Angel pulled back abruptly , breaking off this sweet torture before he lost control of the demon within him.
"No, Buffy...we can't," Angel stammered. He faced her, showing her how close he'd come to losing himself.
"I know, I'm sorry," Buffy replied, her voice filled with regret. Angel looked away, no longer able to watch as her eyes began glittering with unshed tears. After a moment's hesitation, each pulled away from the warm circle of protection created by their closeness.
"Angel." Buffy paused. "Be safe."
Buffy turned and headed up the stairs. Angel watched as she headed inside the safety of her abode. Once he heard the lock click into place, he moved away from Buffy's house. He had find for the thing that, even at this moment, was making his undead skin crawl.
Cold eyes watched as the vampire turned from the dwelling of the child warrior. The creature's horrible visage contorted into an evil semblance of a smile. There was much to do.
Angel lingered on the porch, his hand resting lightly on the the front door. He wanted so much to go inside, keep Buffy safe, lose himself again in her warm embrace, but that wasn't the plan. Pulling his black wool duster tightly about himself, Angel shuddered from an internal chill. He turned in a nervous circle, surveying the front yard with each supernatural sense at his command. A malevolent feeling tainted the air; it whispered of death, of evil, and it called to the demon within him. Gathering his courage, Angel vaulted over the porch railing, clearing the hedges with ease. He noticed their sere leaves and brittle branches, and the swath of brown grass that trailed away from the house. A shadow moved within a shadow, black on black.
A stench of carrion drifted on the cool evening breeze. Angel followed the foul odor, trying to locate its source. Suddenly, the source came to him. Angel was wrapped in a field of death, and he could feel his demonic life-force being wrenched from his body, an erg at a time. He dropped heavily to his knees, then curled into a fetal position as pain unlike any he had borne ripped through him. The demon within whimpered in fear, fighting the searing agony of possession by a power stronger and more inimical than itself. His struggle was ineffectual. A primal scream began in the depths of his soul and tore its way free from his throat. Time ceased to have meaning.
Buffy leaned back against the door for a moment, and took a deep breath. She didn't like parting from Angel, leaving him to do the job that should be hers. They each had a task, though, and she had better get started on hers. Angel was a big vampire; he could take care of himself, she hoped with mentally crossed fingers. The Slayer wearily climbed the stairs to her room. Kicking off her shoes, she eased herself onto the bed; her hip was still a bit sore. She had to warn the Scooby Gang before someone ventured out and got themselves hurt. Buffy hit speed dial and listened to the phone ring. Her stomach clenched until she heard Willow's voice on the other end of the line.
"Hi, Willow," Buffy said into the receiver.
"Buffy, what's wrong? You sound upset."
"There's a new kid in town, Will."
"Research mode?" Willow asked, with a bit of excitement in her voice.
"Well, there's not much to go on, other than Angel being power-freaked. We were at the mansion earlier, and he was so not himself."
"Well, Angel's a vampire. I'm sure he can take care of himself," she echoed Buffy's earlier thoughts.
"Yeah, sure," Buffy answered quietly. "Just do me a favor, Will. Stay in tonight."
"Not a problem, Buffy. I'll call Oz and Xander."
"Thanks. I'll catch you tomorrow at school."
Buffy placed the handset back in the cradle. A sharp sound pulled her attention to the trees below her window, and she moved quickly, jerking up the sash in her haste to learn the source of the noise. Her scalp prickled, and the hair on her arms stood at attention. A feeling of dread seeped into her awareness. The moon was bright, so she should have been able to see clearly down into her side yard, but the darkness pooled strangely, looking more like a thing alive than a mere lack of light. She stared intently into the gloom and was rewarded at last with a sight she wished she could deny. Angel was drowning in shadows; that's the image her mind supplied. Buffy hurriedly shoved her feet into her shoes and grabbed up a flashlight she always kept handy. With practiced movements made familiar by repetition, the Slayer hopped over the sill and was sliding down the porch overhang, reckless in her haste to reach the ground -- and Angel.
Barely a minute passed as she dropped from the window to the ground, though time hung suspended for Buffy. She couldn't get to Angel fast enough, momentarily trapped in a waking nightmare where she ran but never reached her goal. Finally, Buffy stood over Angel. She hastily brought the flashlight to bear, drenching the ground and Angel in a pool of white light.
Angel's eyes were stabbed with an intense light. It took him a moment to realize that the yellow beam emanated from a flashlight and not from the sun as he had feared. He had no sense of time passing. His only awareness was the scent of nearby prey. The mantle of evil had disappeared and with it the hellish torment, but that fact registered slowly, buried beneath the onslaught of a deadly appetite.
Angel rolled painfully up to his knees, his voice a low groan verging on a growl. The brilliance briefly highlighted his demonic features, he heard a gasp, then the beam of light wavered and moved away. The vampire came slowly to his feet and turned toward the sound of a heartbeat, strong and fast. He needed to feed. He was weak, and weakness was dangerous. Advancing slowly, menacingly, nearly blinded by hunger, Angel stalked his quarry.
"Angel?" Buffy said tentatively, and then again with more surety.
Fighting against the demon, Angel ground to a halt. He recognized that voice. Unable to move forward, he sank back to his knees. His body was wracked with spasms, hunger and disgust warring for dominance.
"Oh, God, Angel!" Buffy rushed to help her demon lover, but he scrambled back, keeping his distance from her.
She smelled so good. His fangs tore at his lower lip. His clothing was shredded, and the gashes revealed long and ugly weals in his flesh. Blood dripped from his nose and ears.
"Don't," Angel warned harshly. "Don't come near me."
"What's happening to you?" Buffy stood transfixed, unable to look away.
"Do you want to live?" Angel spat at her.
"Angel, what is it?" Buffy cried, taking a step closer.
"Buffy, I'm warning you! Get the Hell away from me!" Angel growled as he slowly began to rise. "I can't control it -- I -- You--" Suddenly Angel smiled and, with a menacing growl, took a few steps toward her. "I know what you want."
"No. Angel, stay back."
"What's wrong, lover? Afraid you're not woman enough to handle me? Well, why don't we find out." Angel lunged for her.
Buffy deftly avoided him by ducking and sidestepping his charge. Whirling about she faced him, braced for another attack. "Angel, I can't fight you. I won't fight you."
"Don't tell me you've gone soft. Don't you want to play? C'mon, a little tickle and tumble never hurt anyone," Angel taunted her.
"Angel, you've got to get control."
"Oh, I'm in complete control, Buff. I know exactly what I want. Tell me, have you ever done it in the dirt? Oh, wait. I guess you haven't, unless there's something you haven't told me?" Angel giggled.
"I'm going for help. I promise, I'll be back." Buffy slowly backed away from him.
"How do you expect this relationship to grow if you're always running out," Angel groaned in exasperation.
"I'll be back." Buffy continued to back away until the space between them widened enough that she felt safe turning her back on him. She ran, not even taking the time to glance back to see if he followed.
Angel ran his tongue over his fangs. "I'm counting the minutes."
Giles carried his plate to the sink, rinsed it off and was putting it in the dishwasher when someone began beating on his front door. "What now?" he groaned, as he hurried to open the door before they broke it down.
"Giles," Buffy gasped, rushing through the door.
"Buffy, what is it? What's happened?"
"Angel...something's got Angel!"
Giles pulled of his glasses. "All right, stay calm. Was he taken prisoner?"
Shaking her head she explained, "No, something's got him, inside him. He's torn up, bleeding. He's lost control, we've got to do something." Buffy began to pace about the room. "I've seen some horrible things, but nothing like this. Whatever's got him is so evil his body can't contain it. It's oozing from him."
"Well, whatever it is, we can deal with it. Get Willow and Xander on the phone, tell them to meet us at the school right away."
"What is going on?" Xander asked as he and Willow and Oz came through the library doors. Being here twice in one night was a bad precedent, came the thought.
"Buffy, are you all right?" Willow asked, her brow wrinkled with concern. "You sounded terrible on the phone."
"It's Angel, he's in trouble. A demon or something has gotten inside him," Buffy solemnly replied. "You know how I get when Angel wigs out."
"Terrific! Last time Angel went postal he came after us," Xander reminded them.
"Yes," Giles said, stepping from out of the book cage. "And, with any luck he'll do so again."
"What's the plan?" Oz asked.
Giles bent down with some effort, picked up a large, burlap bag and carried it to the table. He set the heavy bag down with a loud 'thwack' as they gathered around him. "We're going to contain him until we can determine what we're dealing with."
"And how are we going to do that?" Xander queried.
"With these," Giles said, dumping a set of chains and shackles out onto the table.
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