Summary: What if, instead of Fading Away, we had a different ending? One a little more... twisty?
Disclaimer: I own nothing
This was it. The moment that they had been working up to all year, ever since Angel took charge of Wolfram and Hart and Spike came back to life to torment him. Ever since Lindsey came back to try and steal Angel's destiny. This was the moment.
They had crawled through the depths of hell itself to get here. Everyone else had fallen behind, either wounded in the body or else in their soul. Now Angel stood alone on the catwalk, staring down at the Senior Partners, who had come here, to this dimension, to witness his failure.
Well, almost alone.
Spike and Lindsey, the two allies he hated the most, stood with him. They had used Lindsey's inside knowledge to get this far, and Spike was the only one who could keep up with the two of them. Even Illyria lacked the fire to get this far.
Angel wished she was here. He hated her less than Spike, all things considered.
Lindsey held the cup of perpetual torment on his hands, shaking slightly. That cup was the true one, this time, the one they had searched for. The one they had missed in the opera house.
This time, it really was the cup of perpetual torment.
Spike eyed the cup, and for a moment Angel thought they would have to fight again. This close to the senior partners and their thugs they would certainly attract some unwelcome attention. He wasn't sure that they could survive that attention. He might have to be noble and let Spike have the cup.
Besides, Spike would probably just win again if they fought.
"The cup of perpetual torment," said Lindsey. "I wonder what it'll taste like."
"As long as it's not Mountain Dew, we're fine,"sighed Angel.
Spike squared his shoulders. "Right, then. I'll just go over there, reconnoiter." It took Angel a minute to realize that Spike was abdicating, giving him the cup.
That filled him with rage, for some reason.
Lindsey nodded at Angel's comment. "This is it. The real deal.It's time for one of you to drink."
"And these are all the senior partners."
"In this dimension, they're vulnerable,"said Lindsey quickly. "We can wipe them out—a Champion can wipe them out."
Angel glanced at Spike, who was staring down at the partners. His back was rigid, his mind made up. "Stupid idiot," muttered Angel, reaching for the drink.
What right did Spike have to make that kind of sacrifice?
Lindsey pulled the cup away. "No!" he said, harshly.
"You can't, Angel.You shouldn't. If you're the vampire, the vampire with the soul..." Lindsey swallowed. "When the final battle comes, do you know which side you're on? Do you know where you stand?"
"No.I don't. They've screwed me around so badly... And there's that possession deal they claim they can do to me. And I'm pretty sure if the Powers show up I'm going to kick their butts."
"Do you know which side Spike is on? Do you know which side he'll fight on?"
Angel looked at Spike, and knew. Right into his bones, he knew. Spike was infuriating—and he wasn't truly good. But he was stubborn. Right to the end, with no surrender, with no compromise, Spike was going to fight. He wouldn't be joining the Senior Partners no matter what they offered him. He couldn't be controled, as Lindsey had proven, to his own detriment.
Angel sighed. "You can't...you can't ask me to do this. Give up my humanity. Give up my reward."
"Can you do that? For the world, Angel! You can save the world."
"By abandoning my own last chance."For a moment the symmetry of it amused him. He would become a true hero, by passing the hero mantle on. A purely heroic decision. One for his own salvation.
Angel took the cup from Lindsey, and advanced on Spike. "Spike."
"We ready to go?" asked Spike through clenched teeth.
"Drink it,"said Angel, shoving the cup into Spike's face. Spike recoiled, staring.
"It's yours!" He protested, but he grabbed it out of Angel's hand. He stared down at it. "Why?"
"Because I can be a hero and save the world,"said Angel, the irony making him smile.
Spike drank it.
The strange red haze around the room faded, and the senior partners below them stared around, surprised. "Party time," said Angel, shifting to game face.
"Let's go, lawyer boys!" whooped Spike, vaulting the railing and dropping into the midst of them.
Angel sat at his desk, catching his breath. "I can't believe...ungh!" He shifted. "You meant to do that!" he accused Lindsey.
Lindsey shrugged. "I really don't like you. Getting to beat you with a baseball while you were possessed—it was kind of fun."
Angel shook his head, glancing at Spike. "I guess we aren't in charge of Wolfram and Hart any more."
"Seeing as we blew it up, I think not," said Spike, grinning from ear to ear.
Angel glanced at Spike, and felt his heart fall a little. "And I guess you're the champion of prophecy."
Lindsey glanced at Angel. "You saved the world." He reminded Angel.
"I saved the world."
His head suddenly seemed to explode, and he grabbed his temples in surprise, vamping out. "Argh!"
"What?" said Spike, trying to cover up his concern.
"There's a girl...on a bus. She's in trouble...vampires. We need to help her."
"What?" Spike didn't understand. He'd never seen someone recieve a vision like this. Never known what it was like to be a toy for the Powers.
"It's leaving a hotel...the big one, with the arches..."
"I know that place," Lindsey said, moving towards the pile of weapons they'd thrown to the floor upon entering the room.
"Let's go," said Spike, still confused, but already focusing on the violence he wanted.
Angel shot forward, grabbing Lindsey by the throat. "You did this to me!" he accused the former lawyer. "You knew this would happen! You knew!"
"I knew?" said Lindsey, croaking. "What? What?"
"You didn't know," realized Angel, letting Lindsey go.
"Urgh! That means I still have it! Damn, I can't believe he did this to me!" Ranted Cordelia.
Angel, still reeling from her kiss, managed to stutter out, "Who did what?"
"Doyle! I thought our kiss meant something, and instead he - he used that moment to pass it on to me!"
"You BITCH!" screamed Angel.
"Hey!" said Lindsey, affronted, pushing the vampire away.
"She made me the side-kick vision guy! She did that to me! To ME!"
"She who?" askedSpike, more amused than concerned.
Angel growled. "She knew I'd need a reason to keep on fighting, and she made me the vision side-kick guy! That's so stupid!"
"Hey!" said Spike. "Are you coming along to save the girl, or what? I don't have all day, you know."
Angel straightened his back and sighed. "I get to drive."
"Hey! What's wrong with my driving?" Spike even managed to inject some real outrage into his voice.
"Signs are for directions. Not speed bumps."
"It's symbolic, mate!"
"Of what? Your driving skills? Your relationship skills?"