Disclaimer: Not mine at all. They belong to Joss.

A/N: Written for Fag End's Halloween 2014 Zombie Uprising challenge for the prompt "Al Aaraaf."


"All right," says Spike, gesturing with his hands, "that's it. No more burning to death for this vampire hero. Twice was two bloody times too many."

"Shut up," says Angel. He turns slowly, still holding his sword, trying to get his bearings. One minute they're fighting Wolfram and Hart's armies in their most hopeless, one-sided battle yet (and he says that even with a god king on their side), and now they're… somewhere else.

White Room?

But, more white and less room.

White infinite space may be more accurate.

"I'm serious," says Spike. "It looks all dramatic, but it's a bit too painful for my taste. I know you're more the masochistic type, though, so I won't stop you from giving it a try."

Angel pokes his sword at the ground, which there apparently isn't because the blade keeps going down below his feet without resistance, and wonders if this will be the conversation when Spike finally learns how to shut up and stop talking on his own. He's been waiting over a hundred years for it, it's bound to happen at some point.

"We get resurrected, I'm done. Gonna try a nice, proper staking next time around. Not all that original, but there's got to be a reason it's a classic. Quicker, too. Although, I did get staked that one time. Hurt like a b—"

"Shut up," Angel says again. Whether it would have been or not, he doesn't have the patience to wait and find out. Then the other vampire's ramblings click in his head and he frowns. "Resurrected? Why do you think we're dead?"

"Well," says Spike, with his condescending, 'a toddler could figure this out' tone. He shouldn't be able to even produce that tone. He doesn't have enough intelligence to deserve pretentiousness. "I was on fire. Saw you," he points at Angel, "get your entire overly large skull get cut off. Figure that narrows it down pretty well."

Angel raises his hand to touch his head, which is not overly large. Then he feels his throat for any sign of a fatal wound. Nothing. No wounds at all, actually, which is a little odd. "I don't remember that."

"No? I'd have thought decapitation would be the sort of thing that'd stick with you."

"We're probably in one of Wolfram and Hart's holding dimensions. We've just got to find the Wrath and use it to get back to LA before they decide what to do with us."

"Hm," says Spike. "Well, wherever we are, better than suburbia." He taps his foot and his boot actually makes a thumping noise.

It's going to take a while for Angel to figure out the rules of this dimension, though he's still hoping he won't have to.

Spike turns away, walks a few feet, then turns back around and walks right back. "No, I'm right on this one. We're dead, you and me, and we're somewhere, hanging in limbo, waiting for the Powers That Be to get off their arses and decide where we're going."

"You really still think we might not go to Hell?" Angel snorts. "After the things we've done?"

"Well, that's it, innit? We did those things, but our souls didn't. So they gonna go punish Liam and William the Bloody Awful Poet for things out of their control?"

Angel sighs. "It doesn't work like that, Spike."

"Just because you didn't think of it."

"No, because…" The words vanish right as he needs them and he trails off, frowning and glaring. He is right, not just because it's what he wants.

Spike raises his eyebrow and looks smug.

But Angel's right. He is. Because… because… "Because we're still them. We can call ourselves different names, but we're still them, just added together."

"But if we hadn't added them in—if Angelus were still running around slaughtering nuns, where'd Liam be?" Spike asks. Then before Angel can answer he cuts back in, "Nevermind. Where's Dru's soul at? Just because she's out there playing dollies with corpses of toddlers doesn't mean her old, saintly self is getting thrown in the deepfryer. Would hardly be fair."

"It's not about fair, Spike. It's about right and wrong."

"And it's right, then, to punish the soul for what its old body is doing? Even after it's vacated the premises? What, we saved our demons and damned our souls?"

Well, when he puts it like that… he kind of just makes Angel want to smack him.

"Right gloomy outlook you've got, mate. Though I guess I'd expect as much from you. You and Buffy both, always with the doom." The humour quickly leaves his face though and his posture loses its casual levity. "I did think about calling her," he says. "While I was waiting in the alley, I just thought, if she could see me like this. All ready to die for your cause and still too much of a coward to pick up the phone." Spike sighs. "But it's probably better like this. Nothing changed. I went out the same way as before. She didn't need to deal with that twice."

As much as Angel can't stand the philosophical, poetic Spike who wants to argue everything, he's not in the mood to deal with mopey, despondent Spike either. "I think you might be right," he says. "We are dead."

Spike looks smug, although it's still a little toned down.

"But you and me, here alone together with nothing else? This isn't limbo. This is Hell."