"Every Other Hell"


AUTHOR: Ducks, the Anti-Joss
E-MAIL: ducksfanfic@yahoo.com
DISCLAIMER: Still not mine. Suing will get you nothing. But hey, if Fox wants my bills, then they're welcome to them!
RATING: R
PAIRING: B/Aus, B/A-ish
TIMELINE: Post NFA
SYNOPSIS: Be careful what you wish for...
DISTRIBUTION: Ducks' Fanfic. Anyone who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please let me know.
AUTHOR NOTES: Desperately late for the 2006 LiveJournal B/A Ficathon.
FEEDBACK: If you could, please. Praise or crit, I love it all.
DEDICATION: To the ladies of the B/A Bash. I LOVE YOU, MAN! THUNDAH FOREVAH! *G* And many slurpy thanks to Denny and Lynner for the awesome beta! *smooch*

Every Other Hell
by Ducks

When Angel dreamed of sharing a life with Buffy, even the darkest, most twisted part of him never imagined this.

Fucking her is like drowning in sunshine while being mauled by wild animals. His skin burns, bleeds from her gouging nails and tearing teeth. Her fierce inner muscles clamp down so hard on his cock, it chokes, suffocating in ecstasy. And oh, if only he could die from it. The air stinks of blood, sex and misery, and he is more satisfied than he has ever been in 250 fucking gratifying years.

All he could do now was watch. This new kind of Hell made him wish he had been set free to drift in the ether like the other times. Hell, even being trapped in a jar would be better than this. He couldnt even close his eyes. Couldnt do anything but feel every touch, every scratch, every thrust and every bite. Taste her lips, her blood, the musky juices of her last orgasm. Hear her scream his name.

He couldnt escape from it.

Part of him didnt want to.

When she cries, it's almost too much for him to bear. Too much frigging happiness. After all these years being trapped, chained, starving, hating her, listening to Him whine on and on about her purity and her strength and how much a fucking part of them she was.... To have defeated them both so completely is better than anything he ever dreamed in all those dark, hopeless hours as the prisoner of the damned soul.

This isn't about revenge on her. Not by a long shot.

She spreads her legs like some sacrificial whore, a universe of perversion, pain and bliss at the center of her super-strong body. She can make all the Slayers she wants, but she'll still always be the Chosen One.

He rams his way home with a roar like a battle cry, and wins again.

He used to think of himself as a sort of schizophrenic. Hearing the demon forever whispering, the proverbial devil on his shoulder, bloodthirsty, persistent, demanding. Remembering aloud horrors they had perpetrated and the joy bringing pain and death once gave them. How much they missed it. How badly they hated being chained.

There were so many times when he couldn't resist that dark siren song, and the pernicious urges overcame any small need he might have to be good. To be better.

But what they were now was so much worse. Because now he was the angel, and the demon never listened to him.

Gods, the sounds she makes...

She sobs when she comes like her heroine's heart is breaking, but he knows that's just not possible. He smashed her heart a long time ago. He remembers hearing it shatter right around the time he called her a whore the morning after their first screw, when she rewarded his prowess by setting him free. She knows something is wrong, but she doesn't know she knows. She thinks she's crying in passion, but it's really a horror that hasn't yet come to the surface of her consciousness.

He can't remember exactly how it happened. Only that one minute, Angelus was in his customary box buried in the body they shared, raging, hating, roaring in fury at being trapped. Angel had released that violence, just a little, just enough to help him in this final fight. To give him the strength he no longer had after all he'd done in the past few weeks. Going up against a dragon with what amounted to little more than a toothpick, for chrissake. Sometimes he thought it was sheer stupidity that had landed him here. Both he and Buffy.

Buffy, Faith and the other Slayers had appeared on that burning horizon, silhouetted against the sky like the avenging goddesses they were, and the tide had turned. Magick crashed and crackled, competing with the unnatural storm for control of the night. The air was thick with it; he had to stop breathing,. He wondered how the humans fighting, dying all around him, managed to go on. It was like one of those slow-motion musical movie montages as he looked around at what was left of his world, his planshis family.

Spike and Illyria, Buffy and Faith. Gunn dead on the ground. Connor somewhere, hopefully far from the fray. Lorne God knows where. Fred and Wesley and Cordy and so many others already lost. The world was soaked in blood, but then, everything he touched turned to blood and death sooner or later, didn't it?

It was a moment of reckoning. One of so many in his endless life. As he watched demonic heads roll and guts spill on the soggy ground, he felt closer to his demon than he ever had. Understood with searing clarity the absolute hatred and the desire for ultimate destruction that had driven Angelus.

He might have saved the world, but this was no doubt his last battle.

All that remained was the end, and twin slivers of hope that Connor and Buffy might survive to reap the rewards of his final death.

One thousand years of peace for them, their children... generations to come after. That would be more grace than he ever believed he deserved. It brought a new tidal wave of resolve, of power from the very depths of him, and made him fight harder than ever. To make sure that hope took root, and someday, long after he was gone, bloomed.

Maybe that was what did it -- that weird, powerful mixture of grief and certainty, love and rage. A potent elixir, commingled with seeming rivers of blood and magick both light and dark. It mixed like bleach and ammonia, and decimated reality in an explosion so loud and bright, it stole his consciousness for what he was certain would be the last time. When he returned to awareness, he desperately wished that had been the end.

Now he was locked up, and the demon had taken control of his body. He had become the small voice to be heeded or disregarded, echoing somewhere in the back of the mind. Watching the world from a great distance, as if through a telescope. Able to feel, see and hear, know Angelus' every thought. Consciousness fading in and out, blending to the point that he couldn't be entirely sure who was acting, who was planning. Whose dark designs were unfolding before them.

Her nails and teeth in his flesh, the sensation of her body surrounding him, milking him, the sound of her screams of pleasure as she came. The taste of her orgasm-laced blood in his mouth.

He could do nothing but follow her into ecstasy.

He could have sucked her dry. Fucked her until her heart stopped beating, then turn her and have a new mate, stronger, angrier and more evil than Darla had ever dreamed of being. But then it would be over, and what fun would that be?

Actually it would be a lot of fun. But not the kind he had in mind. He had a goal, and he wasn't Spike. Didnt need to wipe out his own project on an whim because he couldn't conjure the patience to wait.

His final act would come in its own good time.

He wanted to see how long he could fool her. How long she could be so damned happy and grateful to be with him again that she forgot it could ever be any other way. He wanted to keep drinking Slayerblood, the hot, vampire heroin that made Orpheus feel like children's aspirin.

He wanted to keep drilling her, bruising her, making her come, beg, cry, scream...

He wanted her to know exactly who was killing her, and what would happen to her after. And he wanted the realization to have the maximum possible impact.

No, Buffy, you will never really be allowed to die. To lay your burden down. Live a normal life or die a normal death. You'll never have children or a home. You'll never be able to forget for a single moment that vampires exist or that your entire existence revolves around them.

And you will never, ever be far away from me again.

She had torn him that night, throat to gut with her practical-length nails. Bit a chunk out of his shoulder in the grip of yet another powerful orgasm. His blood and hers mingled an unimaginably tempting aphrodisiac perfuming the air.

He wanted more. Both of him -- all of him -- did. The idea sickened and excited Angel all at once. Sent him into a panic like nothing he had ever experienced before. Every wound they inflicted upon each other cut a corresponding one in his conscience. He thought the pain of it might obliterate him once and for all, even as the bliss of it threatened to do the same.

There had to be something he could do. Some way to take control. As long as he was still here, he could struggle to the surface, just as Angelus had.

For her. To save her. Wasn't that how all of this had begun? Almost everything he was came from wanting, needing, to keep Buffy safe. To give her the chance to be happy.

Or at least... that was how it had started.

His road to Hell was paved just like any other.

He was actually surprised that it lasted as long as it did. Almost two whole weeks of bliss, when it was all he could do not to giggle like a stoned girl every time she touched his face and told him she loved him. Every time Xander made some lame inroad to friendship -- or at least a truce. When Spike tried to share some new fucking pain having a soul gave him. When Willow asked his advice about some new magick.

With age comes wisdom, after all.

Only Giles seemed to know from the first that something was off. Well, Ilyria, too, but she had come right out and said she didn't care as long as something amusing happened. If she could no loner dominate the world, somebody should.

But Giles kept watching Angelus, staring at him when he thought the vampire wasn't paying attention. Writing copious notes in his stupid journal for hours every night before bed. Giles knew.

It was, naturally, Buffy who finally broke the masquerade. Because of a rookie mistake, too. He'd been careful to avoid those long, soul-sharing gazes where she might be able to see that he didn't have one anymore. Although he could hear the damn thing screaming night and day, so maybe it would show up on the soulfulness radar.

He couldn't be sure, so he didn't take the chance. He'd look away after a moment as if shy, or kiss the shit out of her. Walk away as if he was busy. Do whatever it took to not give her a hint.

It was post-coital languor that did him in, of course. Wasn't it always? He'd been naming all the kinds of green in her eyes when they suddenly went wide and...

In less than a heartbeat, she was across the room, sword in hand. She realized that the tables had turned, and now the soul was trapped in a box Deep Down, able to see, to hear, to feel, to WANT, but never to act. Never to have control. Only to watch his worst nightmares unfold. Turnabout at-fucking-last.

"Oh, God, Angel," she had whimpered, too horrified to actually swing that girly pig-sticker she used for slaying. She just stood there, quaking, shaking her head over and over again in impotent denial.

"Not exactly," he'd corrected her, and gave her his most frigid smile.

Good times. He hasn't had the chance to hurt her that much since. But he keeps hoping.

She didn't kill him. He wished she would have, sometimes. The occasions when Angelus' behavior actually reflected soulful volition were so few and far between , but still Angel was terrified all the time.

The only reason they werent dust was because Buffy knew he was still in there, fighting, taking control whenever he could. He learned that peak emotion left the demon open, weak, and that way; Angel could avoid the worst of what his dark side wanted to do.

Except that the calm he fought to maintain eventually broke away. At the first sign of hunger, arousal, frustration or anger, the demon returned to the driver's seat, and the whole evil cycle started again.

Every time it happens now, Buffy knows right away. His heart fractures to see the pain of realization in her eyes. The knowledge that he's gone again. Will he never stop hurting her?

The stupid asshole thinks he's being selfish by staying with her. Like Angelus would ever let him drive enough for them to leave. What the soul doesn't know is when he surfaces, he stuffs the ball and chain even deeper than he had been shoved by the gypsies, so far down that it takes hours for Him to even be conscious of what's happening again, let alone do anything about it.

In other words, the time when it's Angelus, pure and unfettered. When "conscience" has nothing to do with anything. When this newer, meaner curse fades out, and it's back to the good old days.

He's got such plans for her. For them.

When enough time has passed, and Buffy's guard drops. Or when she stops trying to convince herself that she's not in love with all the beings in this body, he'll be ready. Because she can't fake those sounds she makes. She can't pretend she's not sucking blood out of the bite marks she tears into his chest, his throat, his inner thighs. The desire in her eyes, the scent of her arousal. Things she can't hide from a predator. It takes one to know one, after all. He's got her number, and all the denial in the world won't save her when the right moment comes.

It makes her hot when he takes over. She hates that it does, but that doesn't change it. In time, that lust will only grow. What happens when you blend that kind of want with the love she already carries like a festering sore in her heart?

Hell, it only takes a moment to slaughter the willing. If that death wish weren't driving her, she would never fuck him at all, knowing that they'll inevitably switch sometime during.

He's just fulfilling her darkest desires, biding his time.

He knows the uncertainty, the constant tension, the unending watchfulness, are killing Buffy. He feels her fade, day by day, and he knows that sooner or later, he's going to have to go. Again.

Unless he can keep control long enough to divine what happened to them and to fix it. He would willingly relinquish his haunted place on this earth, knowing that Buffy would kill him if she knew the soul was gone forever.

It's a long, drawn out suicide. It's not the first time he's been determined to die, and he's equally sure this time that it's the best thing for everyone. Of course, he would prefer that the solution involve him staying, and the demon being cast out, but he's not a fool. He knows the chances of that are slim to none.

That's jus t the way things go, for them. No happy endings. Just love and pain that goes on and on. Agony and ecstasy to be circumvented, but never banished.

The things the demon does to her... the things it wants to do to her... make him sick. How can she let it touch her? It's got to stop.

And he's the only one who can stop it.

~

"It's not what we thought. At all," Willow said, sagging into the chair across from Buffy with a mixture of exhaustion and sadness. Buffy watched her best friend's pale countenance and eerie quicksilver eyes and realized that three years after all the changes in Willow, she still hadn't learned to read her new face.

"Then what is it?"

The witch ("sorceress," whatever) looked away. "It's not a battle between the soul and the demon, Buffy. From what I can tell by the magick in his aura, and what the lore says about him... he's just... normal now."

Buffy's chest clenched fist-tight, and she had to fight for even enough breath to say, "What?"

Those magickal eyes met hers again. "The soul and the demon aren't separate anymore. Angel's just like everybody else -- the good and evil sides are more or less in balance. Angel used to say he felt schizophrenic -- like he was two completely separated people in the body. When he lost his soul, there was only one. Now they... it's really hard to explain. His soul, his conscience, is just part of him now. The same with his darkness."

"I don't understand."

"I mean... we can't fix this. It's all Angel. The only thing that keeps him from going evil is his own choice. Just like everybody else. Just like you and me. Conscience comes and goes, just like darkness does. Urges to kill and destroy. The need to show love and tenderness. Human beings always have to live that way -- like the little devil and angel on your shoulders? Angel just doesn't know what balance feels like anymore. Or what it means to make that kind of choice for yourself."

Buffy blanched, felt the understanding rip through her like acid. If it was all choice, then... the things they did together in bed...

She swallowed hard, pushing the shame away. Hadn't she learned anything during that year in S&M Suicidal Hell with Spike? She liked it rough. She liked it bloody. She liked to rip and tear, be ripped and torn. As long as everybody was consenting, there was no shame in a little kink.

And now she knew that Angel liked it too. Angel, who loved her, who she loved, and knew and trusted with all her being even when she thought he was evil. That changed everything.

The question was, did she let him go on believing that he was two entities, completely separate, forever competing for control? Or did she tell him the truth? Would knowing he was human now set him free, or kill them both? It was plain that he didn't know how to handle his own darkness. That he didn't want to learn. She worried what he would do sometimes, when the soul was in control. The look of resignation and certainty in his dark eyes when he didn't know she was watching.

It wasn't hatred of the demon... it was shame over his own darkness. A feeling she knew so well.

Thinking he was at the mercy of the demon made him suicidal. What would he do if he knew there was no demon at all... and that it was only just him?

"Buffy? Did you hear what I said?"

"Yes," Buffy replied, staring at the door as if she could see her beloved sleeping behind it. "I heard."

~

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