The Second Coming
LadyStarlight – September 17

(The Second Coming, copyright by W.B. Yeats and heirs. Used without permission.)

A/N: This is an AU, branching off from As You Were, no wedding yet, and Tara never died. Thanks to LeeAnn and Rowan, for the kind words.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

He followed her scent, implacable, unstoppable. "Tara, luv. Come ‘ere. I won’t hurt you."

"Somnolus--." She looked over her shoulder and almost tripped over a curb.

Finally he cornered her in an alley. She scrabbled against the dirty walls for a minute, then turned to face him, her eyes wide with fear. "Sp-Spike. Wh-what h-h-happened?"

He stopped before her, just brushing her body with his own. "Why can I do this to you?" He reached out, almost with the touch of a lover, and tugged harshly on a lock of her hair. She whimpered once, seeing his utter lack of pain at the casually inflicted, easily forgotten hurt. He leaned in closer to her, letting his stolen breath wash across her ear. "Or, why am I doing this at all?"

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

"Y’see, pet, you and yours trusted in one thing. The chip. Forgetting that it was made and powered by the same branch of your government that sees no problem with spending $650 on a bleedin’ toilet seat. ‘S a wonder it’s lasted this long, it is."

His face rippled, and his fangs just pricked her throat. He licked the tiny points of blood from her soft, fragrant skin. "Tell them," he breathed in her ear. "Tell them everything."

She watched the dark figure slip around the corner, fingers wandering to her tingling throat.

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

He clung to the tree outside her window, idly wondering if Joyce had ever considered cutting it down. Made a handy highway to the Slayer’s bed, though, so he guessed he’d leave things be. He handily dodged the bunches of fresh garlic she’d hung from the windows.

"Didn’t Giles ever read you the part in Dracula where what’s-‘is-face explains the whole garlic thing, pet? Need to use the flowers, or else all you get is a stinky room."

She turned over in bed at his whispered words, the sheet sliding down her body. He licked his lips at the exposed skin and chose his target carefully. He turned slightly to make sure the window was open enough for him to escape through.

He knelt between her legs, duster pooling around his knees like a shadow of sin itself. The sheet slithered down her legs and her skin rippled slightly at the exposure to the night air. He lowered his mouth to her and began.

He knew when she woke fully, felt her fingers tangle in his hair, urging him on. He smiled slightly and redoubled his efforts. He brought her to the knife-edge of pleasure and left her hanging there. Finally, in response to her breathy voice, he looked up at her pleading face and said, "Scream for me, pet. Scream for me or I leave now."

"I can’t, Dawn…Willow, I just can’t."

He rocked back on his heels, perfectly prepared to rise from her bed and leave. She closed her eyes and whimpered in frustrated longing. He licked his fingertip and traced a path from her navel down her thigh. "One scream, pet. That’s all."

Her voice whispered through the darkness. Had he not been a vampire, he never would have heard it. "One scream."

He knelt again and laved her with his talented tongue. Within seconds, she was writhing beneath him; her breath coming in short pants. She arched off the bed and screamed his name. Before his name had left the air, he sank his fangs into her thigh and sucked greedily, sloppily. He drew back, savoring the taste on his tongue as footsteps pounded down the hall. The doorknob turned and he was at the window. He looked back once and gloried in what Willow would see when she entered the room. Her legs were spread wide, his mark was trickling blood onto the bed and she was still flushed from her orgasm. He had no doubt that Willow would be able to tell what had been going on. He sprang from her windowsill to the roof and then to the ground. Through Willow’s horrified babbling and Dawn’s protestations at being left out of things, the shrilling of the telephone was audible.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

It was only Xander’s arms that kept Anya from plunging into the fiery heart of what used to be the Magic Box.

"Let me go! They’re not saving the expensive stuff!"

"Anya, please. They’re doing the best they can." He didn’t tell her that they had given up trying to save the building and had gone into damage control mode; wetting down the adjoining shops, trying to prevent the spread of the fire. She moaned slightly at the eruption of bright purple and green flames and turned her face into his shirt.

"Ohh, too bad. Wasn’t that your store of de-invite powder? Made quite a show. Should’ve done this earlier."

Xander turned his head slightly and looked into Spike’s eyes. The reflected flames danced in them, lending a demonic aspect to his face. Spike held his hands out to the flames, and then rubbed them together. "A fire’s nice on a chilly night, innit?"

"You did this?"

He pulled his cigarettes and lighter from his duster pocket. Orange washed over his face, momentarily canceling out the green light from the shop. He lifted his head and drew deeply on his cigarette. "Yep." Smoke drifted lazily from his nostrils. "Had a bloody good time doing it, too."

Anya lifted her head from Xander’s shoulder. "Why?"

He shrugged eloquently. "Why not?"

She struggled for words for a minute, then dropped to her knees and inscribed a circle in the soot and ash that blanketed the street.

"Blessed be the name of D’Hoffryn…" Anger fueled her memory and she gabbled the rest of the incantation out so quickly Xander wasn’t entirely sure what she was saying.

"You must give me my powers back! I claim right of vengeance!"

D’Hoffryn looked at her and slowly shook his head.

"You must!"

"I cannot. He also seeks vengeance. And since he started first, well, he’s got priority. Nice to see you again, though."

He raised his arms to send her back, then paused for a minute. "How’s the red-head doing?"

"Fine. Everyone is just goddamned FINE! If you’re sending me back without my powers, then do it already."

She rose from her knees and glared at Spike. "Get out of my sight before I have Xander stake you!"

Spike looked at Xander and laughed. "Right. Shakin’ in my boots, I am."

Xander threw a punch at Spike’s face. Spike dodged it and negligently backhanded him across the street. Anya gaped at Spike. "You, your chip…"

He slipped his arms around her waist and drew her against him, making sure that Xander was watching. "Gone, sweetheart. Just like your powers." He checked Xander’s position again quickly before thoroughly plundering Anya’s mouth with his own. When he’d finished, he shoved her towards Xander. "Go check your honey. Don’t forget to tell him that you’re still neutered. Just like – oh, that’s right. Not like me." His mocking laugh hung in the air as he walked down the middle of the street. A stray breeze caught his duster and flared it in a perfect circle behind him.

Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

Cordelia picked up the telephone. "Angel Investigations, how can I help you?"

Drawing on William’s memories, Spike called up a cultured English accent. "Hello, may I speak with Wesley, please?"

"You bet." She’d obviously put the phone down, as her screeching didn’t blast his eardrums out.

"Wesley Windham-Pryce here."

Spike dropped the cultured voice and snarled into the phone, "Tell Angel that Buffy’s still as sweet and juicy as he said. Oh, and let’s not forget that I’m no longer Chip-Boy. When I’m done here, maybe I’ll pay him another visit." He took a great deal of satisfaction out of ripping the receiver from the phone booth.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

He watched from the shadows as Willow moved restlessly in her bed. "Poor baby," he whispered. "They don’t understand, do they?"

He’d easily slipped past Buffy tonight. She’d been in the midst of dispatching about 4 vampires when he left his crypt, bag in hand.

"All right, Red. Let’s see what you’re made of." He quickly jimmied the lock on the window, pushed it open and slipped inside. He slapped a hand over her mouth and dragged her from the bed. "Hello, sweet. Miss me?" One strong arm held her tightly to him, negating her struggles. "Where’s Tara tonight?" He loosened his hold on her mouth just enough for her to whisper "Out. Studying late."

He nudged the bag with his foot, tipping it over. Crystals, charms, and bags of herbs spilled onto the floor. He forced her head around, "Look, look what I brought you." He could hear her heart stutter through a few beats, then speed up. "Oh, yeah, baby. You miss it, don’t you? All that power, all that freedom."

She sagged against him, limp, defeated. He turned her to face him. "I want you to do a spell for me."

Willow shook her head, eyes wide. "No, no. I can’t. I promised…" Even in the midst of her fevered denials, he noted how her eyes were drawn back again and again to the litter on the floor.

He pushed her to the floor and knelt beside her. One hand reached involuntarily towards a crystal. He picked it up and dropped it on her palm.

"Ohhhh." Her eyes rolled back in her head for a second before she managed to shake the crystal off. Little flickers of black danced through her eyes and a hint of a smile curved her lips.

"Like that one, do you?" He moved behind her and drew her against him. "It’s a Nathuan crystal, pet. Only the best of stolen goods for you. Try it again." He closed her hand around the crystal and savored the spicy scent of her hair as she moved her head restlessly against his strong shoulder. "That’s it, pet," he breathed in her ear. "Don’t fight it."

Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

"Spell," Willow slurred. "You wanted me to do a spell for you." Her hands closed convulsively on a bag of herbs, breaking the seal. A slow trickle of green started to coat her hands and lap.

"That’s right, ducks. I want you to do a spell for me." He closed his duster around her lax body, reveling in her warmth.

"Which….one?" She struggled with the words, leaning more and more on him.

"That would be telling, now, wouldn’t it?"

She giggled then, a high-pitched thread of sound.

"What’s so funny, pet?"

"You are. Funny." The change rippled across his face and he dropped his fangs to her throat. Just in time, he drew back. Killing her, while a delightful diversion, wasn’t in the plan. "Yeah, baby, I’m a regular good-time Charlie, I am."

Willow frowned, puzzled by his reference to Charlie. "Never mind, sweet. Let’s get going on that spell now, shall we?"

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

He’d forced her through the start of every spell she knew, or had ever heard of. Her hair was plastered to her head with sweat, while her eyes glowed with an eerie black light. He held his hand above her stomach, feeling the magic roll off her in waves.

"Ohhhh." Her voice sighed through the shadows.

"Ready for the finale?" He levered himself over her, holding himself up with fingers and toes braced against the floor. "Cast it, Red." His harsh voice broke through her trance.

"I plead with Aphrodite Show me the face of my beloved. Make my beloved appear before me That I may partake of the delights of their body."

"Oz! Oh, Oz, I’ve missed you so much!" She threw her arms around him, pulling him down that last little bit. He smirked as he felt her lithe body against his. She had just plastered her lips to his when he called his demon forward. Just as he’d planned it, she sensed the change, but translated it into something that made sense within the confines of the spell.

Her eyes flew open and she threw him off her with a strength born of fear. He rolled to his feet and watched as she used her dresser to lever herself to her feet. He stepped towards her, enjoying the fear that coursed through her veins and widened her eyes. The blackness drained out of them, leaving her shaking and pale.

"I promised Tara I wouldn’t …. What did you do to me!" she hissed.

"Nothing, pet. Nothing that you didn’t want, somewhere inside of you." He stopped in front of her. "You loved it. I was right here, remember? Don’t go all high and mighty on me now."

She grabbed a vase from the dresser and threw it at him. "Get out!" she shrieked.

"With pleasure, pet." He opened the window and cocked an ear towards the door. "Here." He tossed the Nathuan crystal towards her. "Might want to keep this, for a remembrance, like."

She caught it, mostly by reflex. Her body shuddered with pleasure as magic crackled the air around her. Her moans covered the sound of the door opening, but not Tara’s outraged exclamations.

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know

He took one last look around the crypt. Not much worth saving this time. Between the torching of The Factory, Harm and her little ‘cleansing’ bonfires and Captain Cardboard’s grenades, he barely had the clothes on his back. He fingered the edge of a picture of Buffy smiling in the sunshine, lost in thought for a minute, then dropped it to the floor.

The voice came from behind him. "You promised her. You promised you’d protect me until the end of the world. Funny, but it still seems to be here."

"Haven’t done anything to you, now have I? Never said one bloody word about hangin’ with the Scoobies."

"Then why did you do those awful things? And why did you want to?" She clenched her hands into fists as she stared at him.

That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

He looked at Dawn with some of his old affection. "Not hard to explain, Bit. Your basic ‘acting out’ I believe. You know all about that, don’t you?"

Dawn gasped as she felt the sting of his casual cruelty for the first time.

"And maybe if one of you lot," he waved his hand at the Scooby Gang ranged in a semi-circle behind her, "had ever once given me a shred of credit. Or said thank you when I saved your arses once again from Something-That-Went- Grrr."

He leaned against the wall and kept talking. "But no, I’m evil. I’m pathetic. Not worth killing." He looked straight at Buffy and said, "I loved you. With everything I had in me. But it wasn’t good enough for you, was it? ‘Cos I wasn’t Angel, all broody and soul-having. And I wasn’t Riley, who could walk in the sun with you." He walked over to her and brushed a strand of hair from her face. "I was dirt to you. And you loved rolling in it, as long as nobody else saw it on you." He continued stroking her hair, twining it around his fingers. "She ever tell you how many times I had her, Harris? Must sting like a bugger, that. She let me do her and not you." He looked over his shoulder at Xander. "I made her scream my name. Mine. At least I did that."

Buffy launched herself at him, outrage breaking through her shock, fists clenched and ready to hurt. She aimed a punch at the smirk playing over his face. He caught her hand in his, backhanding her across the face easily. Her head bounced off the crypt wall with a dull thud and he caught her as she stumbled.

"Didn’t have to end this way, love. Maybe it’s for the best, though." He lifted her in his arms and threw her at Xander, who stumbled backwards into Willow and Tara. They went down in a tangle of limbs and grunts of pain as he slipped out the door, leaving them to sort through the rubble as best they could.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

He floored the Porsche he’d stolen and cranked the volume on the stereo. The Ramones blared from the speakers, startling no few pedestrians into flight. He figured he’d make LA in an hour.

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