All the Stops: Terminal Ch. 4bybadgirl298©
Angel opened the door to his suite and ushered Dawn inside. She could feel her heart racing. This was it. She was going to die. She refused to meet his eyes even though she could feel the weight of the vampire’s stare.
The room was inviting. He’d lit several tea lights and some taper candles. Some soft music played in the background. She thought it might be Chopin. Odd. It seemed almost like a seduction. Not a killing. Dawn moved to the vanity mirror which was against the wall. She stared into it, looking at her pale face. Then she looked past her shoulder where Angel should be. There was nothing there. It left her cold. She would never again see herself in a mirror. It was such a small sacrifice compared to what else she would give up, yet it seemed to mean so much more to her. It was as if, Dawn Summers, the girl she had always thought she was would cease to exist.
“Having second thoughts?” Angel asked. She could feel a cool hand on her shoulder.
“You could say that.”
“We don’t have to do this.”
She met what she thought would be his eyes in the mirror. “Don’t we?”
His hand moved into her hair, stroking it. “No. We don’t. We could go back downstairs and no one would blame you.”
“I would.” A tear slid down her cheek. “What about those innocent people Glory will kill?”
“Then, you’ve made up your mind?”
Dawn steeled herself. She hastily wiped at the tear. Her face set into harder lines. “I’m sure.”
Angel turned her around. “You look just like Buffy when you set your jaw like that.”
She tossed her head back, her eyes daring him to continue. And he could almost feel the energy of The Key thrumming through her veins. “I’m not Buffy.” Somehow, it was important that he not pretend. She wanted him to be thinking of Dawn, not Buffy when he changed her.
“I know.” He pulled her closer. “Believe me. I know it’s you.” Angel could feel Angelus within him. The soulless demon was stirred to life by the promise of pure human blood taken from a real live virgin sacrifice. It made him reverent and ravenous at the same time.
There was something dangerous about him, Dawn reflected. It was like she was seeing Angelus once more. The intimidating vampire had made nightly visits to all of the Summers’ women. She would awaken to find him at the foot of her bed, his eyes blazing with hunger. “Just do it.” Dawn gritted out.
“I don’t think you’d like that.” Angel said. “This isn’t some minion about to have a late night snack. I’m going to make you my childe. Something I haven’t done in quite a while. This is something to be savored.” He pulled her into his arms and rubbed her back. “Relax.” ***********
“I can’t relax!” Buffy screeched, shooting a malevolent look in Spike’s direction. “I can’t do this.”
“You’re not going to.” Spike pointed out. “They are.” But, he too was anxious. Once again he cursed the Initiative. He should be the one to turn Dawn.
She whirled around. “There has to be another way! I’m not going to let this happen!” The Slayer then started to run up the stairs two at a time.
"Stop!" Willow commanded. Buffy froze in her tracks. "Sit down." Buffy sat down in the nearest chair. "There is no other way. And you know it. Now, if you want to save the world, you only have two choices." Willow's face was a mask of calm. "You can kill your sister. Or you can let Angel do it. One of these is never going to happen. And one of them will let your sister live."
Buffy closed her eyes, defeated. "He's going to hurt her, Will. I remember what it feels like. It hurts."
Willow placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "She's your sister. She's strong."
Ethan stepped into the room carrying the orb of Thesulah and a book. He walked over to Willow, standing closer to her than was completely comfortable. Willow could feel the magic emanating off him. It was different than the power she felt from Giles or Tara. Softer, thicker, darker. Intoxicating. "We're ready."
"Good." Willow looked down at Buffy. "We'll give her back her soul before the demon has time to set up shop. Promise. But you have to stay out of the way. Maybe you should go train for awhile." Buffy nodded, almost imperceptibly. Willow turned to the pacing blond vampire. "Spike, you could help her-"
"I'm not going anywhere. Not until I can see with my own eyes that she's alright. Don't look at me like that, Red. I won't interfere. It's part of my bloody plan." He looked down at his feet. "Besides, I'm through fighting Buffy."
Footsteps sounded on the stairs. Faith and Gunn came walking down, an amicable silence around them. "Who's fighting Buffy?"
"No one." Buffy stated calmly, having pulled herself together for the moment. "I was just looking for a training partner."
Faith tossed her hair over her shoulder as she stood at the bottom of the steps. "I'll try you out, girlfriend."
Buffy's chin lifted slightly. "Let's go then." And without another word, the two turned and headed to the training room in the basement.
"Anyone else wondering if they're both coming back up?" Gunn questioned. Willow, Spike and Ethan each raised a hand.
"Just checking." He paused another moment, then headed for the stairs to the basement, tossing over his shoulder, "I think I'll just keep an eye on things, pass out ice water, bandages . . . ."
Spike continued pacing as Ethan put the supplies down on the table. Willow stared at Ethan, but whether she was focusing on the spell she was about to perform or the dark sorcerer himself was unclear. Finally, Spike had enough. He swirled around. "I'm going to go check on them." He held up a hand to ward of Willow's protest. "I'll stay outside. I just have to be close enough to know if she's ok." His eyes pleaded for understanding. He couldn't comfort Buffy. He couldn't change Dawn. He had no control. He needed to feel useful, to feel close to someone. Willow hesitantly gave her consent, and Spike swept up the stairs, two at a time.
Willow heaved a sigh, leaning against the wall next to the counter. There was so much for her to keep together in her head, so much to consider. Deep inside her, the magic was screaming to be used. It was whispering to her of power. It whispered to her about Ethan, and the power that he possessed. It begged to find out what he was made of. She could feel Giles' worry every time Ethan came near her, could see his concern as he realized just how powerful she had become when he wasn't paying attention.
And yet, she could feel the magic emanating off Giles as well. She could see how his had been mixed with Ethan's in the past and she could sense the part of him that yearned to do it again. It made her wonder what she could do if she worked with Ethan, what the three of them could do.
Suddenly, as if reading her thoughts, the magician was in front of her, his palms pressed flat on the wall on either side of her head. "Ahh. Finally, we're alone, my dear. Care to tell me what's running through that pretty red head of yours?"
Willow met his eyes, nervously licking her lips. He was close enough that she could feel his body heat warming her, his breath tickling her face. "No, not really."
"Oh, so you weren't thinking of how it would feel to join our power together? Anticipating the casting we're about to do?" He quirked an eyebrow at her, moving impossibly closer. "You weren't wondering if maybe we should see how we mesh before performing such a serious spell?"
"Maybe just a little." She stared up at him, transfixed by the depth of temptation swirling there. "But we shouldn't."
"What? Afraid Ripper might find out?" Ethan scoffed. "He and I . . .well, we won't get into all the things we did. But even he knows not all magics go together. It's only sensible to take precautions." She bit her lip, unsure. He whispered in her ear. "C'mon Willow. You know you want to." Willow narrowed her eyes at him, suspicious. He grinned. "What's the matter? Don't think you're strong enough to handle me?"
Willow's eyes sparkled with outrage, starting to blacken. "Why don't we find out?" *************
"How should we do this? I mean, should we do it standing? Or, or, y'know, like laying down?" Dawn babbled nervously. "I've never done this before. Well, obviously--- what do you think? I mean, how did you do it before?"
Angel reached out and stroked her hair. "However you want to, Dawn."
"Well, lying down seems kind of-I don't know." She blushed, not knowing how to say it made it seem more like a seduction scene than it already was. "Standing up I guess. Oh! But what if I get queasy? I might fall-"
"I'll catch you." Angel cupped her face in his hands. "I'm not gonna let anything happen to you, I promise."
"A-angel?" Dawn bit her lip. It hadn't seemed this big of a decision last night, when she was just going to do it and not think about it. But, now, with all the preparation and ceremony, she was a little scared. "Will it hurt?"
"Only a little. I'll make it as painless as possible." Angel's undead heart was breaking. This little girl was prepared to give her life for her sister and friends. Such bravery, and she wasn't even a Slayer. It wasn't her destiny to save the world.
"Are you ready?"
"As I'll ever be." She gave a little laugh. Then she took a calming breath. "Yes."
Angel looked at her. Every muscle in Dawn's little body was tensed. She was trembling, her knees shaking, her hands twisting. Her face, though, in all it's innocent beauty was the very picture of calm, except for her eyes, swirling with fear, doubt and anticipation. Gently he took her hands in his and led her over to the bed. "Do you trust me?"
"Yes." She nodded carefully. And despite her fear, she did. "I do."
"Let's try this, then." He sat down on the bed, propping a few pillows on the back board and leaning against them. Gently he drew her onto the bed and she crawled over his outstretched legs and sat beside him. "Come here." He whispered softly. She moved a little closer and he picked her up and moved her onto his lap, tenderly circling her waist with one arm.
Dawn shifted a little, leaning her weight into his arm, away from his chest. She took one more deep breath, then lifted her hair from the side of her neck and pushed it across the other shoulder. "Ok."
"Put your arms around my neck." Angel lightly cupped her neck, stroking his thumb down her jawline, tilting her head to expose her throat. He pressed a reverent kiss to her forehead. Inside, Angelus was tense with impatience, a surge of possessiveness overtaking him as he contemplated making another childe. Angel kissed her cheekbone, the corner of her jaw, then chose the place he would bite and pressed his lips to the blue skin of her vein. Dawn's heart was racing, her blood pounding as she held her breath. "Relax." He murmured, lapping at her neck.
"That tickles." Dawn breathed, easing up just a bit. She could feel his responding smile. "Close your eyes." She did so, and as carefully as he could, without prolonging the pain, he bit into her vein and let her blood flow into his mouth. Angleus shouted in exultation, forcing his demon face to the front. He rolled to his side, half pinning her underneath him and continued to drink. Her blood was sweet, powerful, innocent, ageless and human at the same time. He took care to support her neck, and to keep his weight from crushing her.
Dawn had tensed back up at first, but now, whether from blood loss or something else, she was soft and pliant in his arms, her small hands digging into his shoulders. Dawn was lost. There was something surging through her veins, making her blood tingle, increasing in it's ferocity. At first it felt like the pins and needles that she got in her feet from sitting Indian style too long. But less painful, and more fun. She dug her hands into Angel's shoulders, a feeling of tenderness and affection sweeping through her. She moved her hands to cradle his head against her neck as she became dizzy, sleepy. She could feel herself drifting away. The part of her that was Dawn Summers cried out in alarm. She was dying! But the sleepy part of her told her to shush, that it was alright. That Angel would catch her and she was going to be fine.
Angel pulled back and looked into her eyes. He could feel Dawn's heart slowing, and his began to ache. Gently, he sat up, cradling her listless body in his arms. Then he scratched one nail across his neck, and pressed her mouth to wound. "Drink, sweetling. Dawnie?"
"So, sleepy . . ."
"You have to stay awake, Dawn. Just long enough to drink." He urged. He could feel himself beginning to panic, but just then she started to drink. Angel felt tears seep from his eyes at what he was doing. Inside, Angelus laughed with pleasure. Dawn was his, now. For eternity. After her final swallow, she looked up into Angel's eyes, a drop of blood clinging to her lips.
"Angel." She whispered. And with one last breath, Dawn Summers died. ***********
Cordy watched the blond vampire pace the floor like a caged lion. Every once in a while, his head would lift and he would listen intently. “Spy much?”
“What?” He said harshly, glaring at her.
“From what I’ve read this vamping thing is a private matter. It’s rude, like listening to someone have sex.”
Spike just stared at her.
“Can you speak? Do you habla the anglais? And, hey, aren’t you from England? Hello! Birthplace of English.”
Spike stared at her with a mixture of horror and shock. “Go away.” He said finally.
“If I had a dollar for every time I heard that from Angel. . .” Cordy sighed, resting on a chair in the hallway. “Let’s just say that I wouldn’t be working in this dump.” She patted the chair next to her. “Come on, big guy. Tell me what’s going on.”
Spike didn’t quite what to know what to do. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”
“Doing what? Lurking in the hallway? Don’t worry, Angel’s got it covered.”
Spike narrowed his eyes at her. “I know you. You’re Cordelia.”
“Yes that’s me. Remember this? ‘Coredelia, you look smashing. Have you been working out?’ You said that before you kidnapped Angel and had some child molester shove hot pokers in him.” She smiled brightly.
“You’re an odd chit, aren’t you? But, yes I do remember that.” He smiled with the fond memory. “Especially that last bit.”
“So, what’s with you and CryBuffy?”
“And a nosy one too.” Spike frowned. “ It just so happens, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He sniffed.
“Right, like you’re not drooling over her. I’ve seen it all before from the other defanged vamp. I mean, come on, what do you guys have in common? Besides the same bad bleach jobs?” She looked at his hair disdainfully.
Spike touched his hair. “I have very nice hair! Drusilla always loved it when I–“
”Please, you’re going to take the word of that crazy fashion victim?”
“Fashion victim? I’ll have you know, I spent a lot of money for those gowns.” He chuckled. “Well, actually, I spent a lot of blood for those gowns.”
“Blood? Eww.” Cordy rolled her eyes. “Well, I guess everything keeps coming back to your bad taste.”
“Bad taste?” She gestured to his outfit. “Do you, uh, own any other clothes?”
Spike did a good impression of a ‘valley girl offended gasp.’ “ I have this nice red shirt that–“
”We’ve all seen it. And, word to the fashion unwise, not so nice.”
“I like that shirt!” He cried.
She nodded. “And where did you get those oh so unfashionable boots?”
Spike looked down. “What’s wrong with boots?”
“But you know what?” Cordy patted him on the shoulder. “This could be your last night on Earth, so you go ahead and look like a grubby, pungent homeless man if you want to.”
“Like a what? Are you trying to imply that I smell–“
But Cordy was no longer listening. “No, don’t try to pretend for us. Wear whatever makes you comfortable. It doesn’t matter that even King Broody looks better than you, or that even Gunn could give you fashion tips, just make yourself happy. Yes, we all have realized you’re male, it’s not really necessary to wear jeans that tight, but if you feel you have something to prove, go for it. It’s not like any of us are going to be looking at you.”
“Bloody hell, woman!” Spike stared down at himself. Was he really that repulsive? Here, he thought he was being the dark and dangerous big bad and she seemed to think he didn’t own a place with a shower. “Just stop!”
“What? I was trying to make you feel better!” She crossed her arms. “Geez, the undead are so sensitive.” She poked him in the arm. “Touchy. Touchy.”
Spike scowled. “I’m going to go take a shower.”
“Thank you.” She threw her hands up. “It’s our last night on Earth, too, y’know.” She called down the hall after him. “Don’t forget a change of clothes!”
Willow and Ethan stood in the dimly lit room. The scent of burning sage and heather filled her nostrils. The candlelight lent a smokey atmosphere. It was heady. The magic floating in the air and the man before her.
“Are you ready for me, luv?” He asked, his voice dripping with innuendo. They were going to see how compatible they were in the magical sense.
“More than.” Willow said, her voice brooking no argument. She held her hand out before her, a trail of red sparks fell from her fingertips. She could feel the darkness settling over her eyes. Every time she was about to harness some powerful magic, this happened. It seemed to make her hypersensitive to everything.
“Then show me what you’ve got.” Ethan clasped her hands in his own. A shock of her power went through him and he moaned at the contact. She was so powerful, so beautiful.
Willow watched his face anxiously. Tara had never been able to take this much of her magic. They had tentatively reached out to each other, always holding back most of it.
“More.” He bit out. She sent out another bolt and his eyes rolled back in his head. He sat down unsteadily on the table.
“Are you okay?” Willow asked with concern.
In answer, his heavy lidded gaze settled on her and his mouth curved into a sensual smile. “I think I might need a fag, pet.”
Willow blinked. “Well, that’s, uh, personal and kinda irrelevant. And that’s not a very nice word to use! Shame on you!” She shook her finger at him. “You – you homophobe!”
His lips twitched. “I was talking about a cigarette.”
“Oh.” She blushed. “That good, huh?”
“I was thinking I’d return the favor.”
She sat down next to him and held out her hand to him, he clasped it in his own and sent his power through her. Willow jerked in his grasp. His power was dark and fluid, like being plundered by a dark cloud. It was thick, murky, and more than mysterious. But it filled her with hunger. And now that she’d had oh so much more than a taste, she wanted more of it. More of him. She shuddered. “Wow.”
“Wow?” He queried. “I was expecting the sky’s to open, the Earth to move. Maybe a chorus of bloody angels.”
“Or demons.” Willow offered. She slowly released his hand. “We shouldn’t have done that.”
“You’re right about that!” Giles exclaimed. He waived his hand at the air as if he could swipe the smoke out of it. “What the hell were you two doing?” He was relieved to find no naked people inside at least.
“Speaking of a fag.” Ethan murmured under his breath.
“Burning herbs and uh, talking.” Willow said, jumping down from the table. “And what are you doing here? I thought you were taking a shower.”
“I was. But Spike climbed in the one next door and started using up all the hot water. I was forced to cut it short.”
Willow shook her head. “Why does he need hot water anyway? He’s a vampire.” She blinked. “Not that I was waiting for you to be busy to do anything. Not that we were doing anything. We just–“
“Enough. You two were exchanging magic.” Giles said wisely. He met Ethan’s defiant look. “You don’t change, do you, mate?”