SHADOWLESS LIKE SILENCE

By D.M. Evans

Disclaimer - not mine. All characters belong to Mr. Whedon et al

Rating: hard R for sexual situations

Timeline: Season 2 between "Redefinition" and "Reprise"

Summary - Darla tries to get her boy back.

Written for jaybitvees in the Angel Book of Days autum challenge,

Author's Notes: In order to fit this into autumn we're going to pretend the American air dates for the about episodes is not the actual season for the episodes themselves.

The full NC-17 version of this is available. Those old enough, just ask

Feedback - yes please,

CHAPTER ONE

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn

Stand shadowless like silence, listening

to silence for no lonely bird would since

into his hollow ear from woods forlorn

Ode. Autumn - Hood

Did he know she watched him showering? Darla doubted it. She could see his trim outline against the foggy plastic of the shower door. Lindsey was so predictable. The first thing he did every night after work was to jump in the shower as if it could remove the coating of decay Wolfram and Hart imbued him with. Darla wondered how he could stand water that hot.

She drifted into his bedroom and sat on his soft bed with its stylish bed cover. She let her fingers play over the plastic hand that lay there waiting for its owner to get done showering. How had he lost his hand? Is that what made him shy?

Darla knew Lindsey wanted her desperately but something held him back night after night. Of course, she could kill him at any moment and that could have something to do with cooling his ardor, or maybe the mere fact she was a vampire played into it. Not everyone wanted to sleep with the dead. The syphilis her mortal self had kept him away when she still had a pulse. Even more interesting was what compelled him to offer her shelter.

Love, Darla decided. It over rode fear. She had no doubt Lindsey loved her and she had to feel a little something for him or she would have killed him by now. Vampires had long used living servants, more so back in the bad old days when hair styles and clothing needed more than one person to get it done right, but Lindsey was more than a servant. There was a sweetness to him under the hard exterior, hiding behind impish blue eyes. In that respect, he reminded of a mortal Angelus.

Oh, Lindsey was a better man than Liam had ever been and far smarter. Darla had no illusions about that. She hadn't picked Liam for his brains. She had selected him for his face, the promise of those broad, if uneven shoulders, and what she had heard around town about what hid under his trousers. She hadn't been disappointed. Angelus had made up for his average intellect with a flair for evil.

Darla knew Lindsey could make a good vampire, hell, he might even be one of the great ones but she liked him the way he was. Maybe coming back from the dead had made her a little soft, or at least a little more romantic. She knew Lindsey might even give himself to her because he loved her hopelessly, shamelessly.

Lindsey loved her the way she loved Angel. Darla hated to admit it. She loathed being dependent on anyone and she despised the soul inside of that handsome package. Still, wasn't that what Wolfram and Hart was paying her for, to strip away that soul? They even told her the secret to desouling Angel lay between her legs. Oh, they had couched it in prettier terms but that's what it boiled down to. Angel had had sex with a Slayer - mind-boggling in and of itself - and lost his soul. It was the same Slayer he had killed her for, so she was sorely tempted to dust him herself for such a betrayal.

Wolfram and Hart wanted her to perform the same trick the Buffy had. Darla hated being used. Luckily for Wolfram and Hart, they had common goals. She needed Angelus and she needed that dirty soul gone. Her body ached for him so being Wolfram and Hart's whore and spreading her legs to get what she wanted worked for her. She'd never been ashamed to have been a prostitute. In her mortal days, there hadn't been many jobs for women and none that allowed them to be their own women and rich. She had been both. She answered to no one, and that was what grated on her, having to answer to Wolfram and Hart. Still, she'd do it to get her Angelus back and woe to the law firm if they thought they could control the scourges of Europe once they were a team again.

Did Lindsey know exactly what Wolfram and Hart wanted her to do? She doubted it. His hatred of Angel couldn't be plainer. He wouldn't let her move in, taking over his closets like a live-in lover, if he had a clue she was trying to seduce his enemy. Poor Lindsey was going to be a casualty of this plan, and she actually felt bad about it. It felt like her soul, which had been briefly been back in her body until Dru fixed her, had left a nasty residue of good inside her, at least where Lindsey was concerned. She didn't mind too much. Lindsey was useful, luscious to look at, and she knew she wouldn't allow him to interfere with her plans.

The biggest surprise so far was how recalcitrant Angel had been in not leaving behind his disgusting white hat routine. He resisted her charms deftly. It infuriated her. Darla was unaccustomed to men ignoring her charms and not doing what she wanted. That she needed Angel at all was like dancing barefoot on thorns, and to have him rebuff her was salt on the wounds. It would be easier if she could just take him, do him and toss him.

She didn't know if just knocking him down, tying him up and having her way with him would be enough to remove his soul. Besides, she wanted him to be willing. Something told her that was a needed part of the spell. And more over, Darla wanted Angel. He was her most perfect creation. She could mother a hundred children, and she might not recreate a creature as wonderfully wicked as Angelus. She adored his unmeasurable lust for blood and bone. She wanted that back but how to get it?

Darla looked up, hearing the soft padding of feet. Lindsey froze in his door way, hiding his shorn arm behind him. His wet hair seemed darker and wavier than she expected. A soft, purple towel was his only shield and she could see his discomfort at that.

"Darla," he said softly as if unsure what to say to a woman who sat on his bed uninvited, no matter how much she knew he wanted her there.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to surprise you." She got up, swaying her way over to him, and backed him against the wall. She reached for his injured arm and he tried to hold her off. Darla was stronger. "It's all right, Lindsey," she whispered, and he looked away. She ran her fingers over his arm, trailing over the slightly swollen, reddened area at the tip. She saw the U-shaped scar at the truncated end of the limb.

"Don't. I can't feel that." He was staring at her now, his eyes like sapphires. His biceps tensed under her hand.

She saw the pain in those blue depths. "Nothing?"

"Numb, pins and needles."

Her fingers went up a little farther and his arm twitched under her tickling digits. "You felt that."

"Some. I don't....I don't like people looking at it," he said.

"It's a part of you."

"Not any more," he said bitterly.

Darla's hand swept up his arm, over his shoulder, to cup his chin. "How did it happen?"

"Angel." The amount of poison he packed into that one word could have killed everyone on his city block.

Darla managed a sympathetic look while inside her dead heart did a metaphorical dance. Her boy still had some wickedness in him after all. Then again, she already knew that. After all, hadn't he given her and Dru that house full of yummy people as an early Christmas gift? It had taken a lot to convince Dru not to kill Lindsey or Lilah, though she wasn't sure why she spared the woman. Maybe it was because she admired tough women in a man's job. "Why?"

Lindsey tried to move away but Darla moved in front of him, pressing her soft bosom against his damp, warm chest. She felt his breath catch. "Angel was trying to stop us from bringing you back," he said slowly as if measuring her reaction, half expecting her to thank him in a very violent way.

She just smiled and fluttered a kiss over his cheek. "All births have to have blood and pain. I'm sorry it was yours. It was a high price to pay."

He brushed back her hair with his remaining hand. "I was willing."

Darla doubted that. She was sure if he could go back in time he wouldn't allow himself to be in that position but she allowed him his lie. She pressed her lips to his, taking his ruined arm so she could put herself in the crook of his elbow. She felt the blunt end of his arm pressing into her back as his remaining hand caressed her shoulder. She kissed him deep, her teeth scraping over his. Her powers to seduce a man were obviously intact, judging by the hardness pressing into her thigh. So why was she having such trouble with Angel? Darla move her lips, kissing the pulse point on his neck. She hadn't expected his reaction.

Lindsey squirmed away, trying hard not to look terrified to have a vampire's mouth pressed to his throat. "Darla, this isn't...I mean...."

"What's wrong, Lindsey?" She kept her face neutral.

He looked away, tightening the tuck on his towel, which was failing miserably to hide his interest in her. "I feel like I'm taking advantage."

She almost laughed. "Of me?"

"I had...this isn't very romantic." He turned away from her, ignoring her as he went to retrieve his artificial limb.

"I'm rushing you. I didn't mean to," she said, but the light went on in her head. That's what was missing between her and Angel, romance.

Lindsey shook his head. "It's all right. I just didn't want you to think you had to do...this because I was letting you stay here."

"I didn't. Later you can tell me about that more romantic plan you had," she said and left his room. She knew exactly what she had to do. Once, before the ensouling, Angelus had managed to make her furious and she had left him. He had made an elaborate effort to woe her back along the lines of the twelve days of Christmas, only with more still-warm hearts than with calling birds. That's what she's do, recreate as perfectly as she could, everything he had done to win back her heart.

The hotel was eerily quiet. Angel, once used to silence, found it to be a reinforcement for the growing darkness inside him. A small voice in his head said go find Gunn, Cordy and Wes, go talk to Kate, make a road trip to Sunnydale, do anything but sit and sink deeper into darkness. Foolish pride had made him send his friends away, pride and frustration. All his good deeds had gotten him nowhere. He hadn't felt like he had made any amends and when he needed help, when Darla had been a ghost haunting his memories - all right, not really a ghost as he finally proved - his friends didn't try to help him. They treated him like he was insane. It hurt.

"To hell with them," he grumbled as a knock sounded on the door. Surprised, Angel went to answer it. No one was there, an unfamiliar person's scent lingering in the air. On the stoop sat a box wrapped in white shiny paper dotted with pink hearts, topped with a fluffy pink bow. He picked it up and under it was a white envelope. The card on the box and the envelope both had 'Angelus' written on them.

He took them back into his office, flopping heavily in his chair. He rocked back and opened the envelope first. Inside it was another envelope on which, in Darla's hand which he remembered well, in red ink was written 'Remember Meath." Like he could forget County Meath. She had taught him to hunt there because it was safer than in Galway where he was known. They had gotten up to plenty of wickedness over the years there.

Angel tore open the second envelope and took out a stack of photos. They were all boudoir shots of Darla. One of her in a pink and black corset, panties and fish nets; one of her in a barely there blue and white bikini. He lingered over one of her on her knees in a golden mesh top, stiletto gold heels and no undies, her golden hair spilling over her shoulders. As he moved on to the ones of her naked, her pale flesh nestled on rich brown fake fur, he felt his pants getting a little tight. The one of Darla nude in a man-made water fall and lush pond, rivulets of water running over the prominence of her shell pink nipples, stood up him upright.

Angel set the pictures aside, pinching the bridge of his nose. This is no good. He didn't particularly want Darla. Oh, sex with her had been great all those years but there had always been something missing, souls more likely than not. Of course, she was here in L.A. and she was obviously ready and willing. It had been a long time, and what did it really matter any more? His friends deserted him without even really trying to protest his sending them away. Who cared if he became Angelus again?

"I do," he whispered, trying to get his body back under his control. It didn't help that he could still see those pictures of Darla. He stuck the envelope over them and tried to think of something other than Darla and the raging erection he had. The first thing that popped into mind was Buffy, perhaps the one other person who might mind him becoming Angelus, but thoughts of her only made things worse.

Angel squeezed his eyes shut and tried to think unsexy thoughts. First to mind after Buffy came Cordelia but she was far from unsexy. Spike taunting him that night he came back to Sunnydale drunk, that was pretty unsexy. The look in Giles' eyes the first time he met up with the Watcher after he returned from hell, yes, that was helping. Xander just standing there being Xander, that's all that was needed, the lust effectively killed.

Angel stared at the box. Dare he open it? Hell knew what Darla might have sent him. He decided if he didn't open it, it could come back to bite him on the ass so Angel tore off the wrapper. Inside was a plastic container. As he opened it, he got a whiff of blood. Inside was a heart, the major arteries and veins sewn shut. It was still warm. He knew it was human.

Angel lifted it out, feeling the tackiness of the blood. It spawned another lust, his face morphing. Pig's blood kept him alive but it couldn't compare to what was inside this muscle. He knew Darla had left some blood inside, just a taste sutured up especially for him. He wanted to toss it aside, get the temptation as far from him as possible but on the other hand, the person was already dead.

Before he even knew he was doing it, Angel tore through a suture with his fangs and the cooling blood danced over his tongue, igniting his senses. By the time his mind ventured out of sheer oral joy, Angel found himself pressing his tongue deep into the organ to lap out the last drops. His eyes suddenly burned with tears. That familiar self-loathing and humiliation flooded him.

Angel got up and took the drained organ to one of the old fireplaces that once added charm and warmth to the hotel and he put it on the grate. He built the fire right over it. He knew he should condemn the photos to the flames and go out and hunt down Darla to put a stop to this but he didn't. Instead he stared as the flames, frightened by the part of him that wanted to give in to her.