Dark Avenger
By Angelfirenze

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, and Jeff Lindsay own the characters, Showtime owns the execution of the show, Dexter's plot. Nirvana. "Heart-Shaped Box.". DGC, 1993. Transcript of 'Reunion' from

Summary: Dexter reeled. "What? You're - God isn't supposed to - God doesn't do what I do! God has no place in what I do!"

Dexter screamed, then, as a lance of fire slashed his face and he fell to his knees.

You dare presume God's place in the works of life and the world? You dare presume His role for you or anyone else?

Notes: These exact words from Wikipedia from Holland Manners' page, oddly on a philosophical seeming bent, inspired part of this story: Ironically, before his death, Holland pleaded with Angel to save him, but, in a form of poetic justice, he had succeeded in corrupting Angel so thoroughly that he instead helped Darla and Dru kill him and the other employees.

Timeline: AtS, ep. 2.10; Dexter, ep. 4.12; post-Dogma.

Dark Avenger

...I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn back...

Dexter blinked, on guard at the suspiciously bright light surrounding him. "Where am I? Who are you - where am I?" he yelled, now certain he was dreaming.

The Lord, Our God, hath seen your struggle to do what is right and rise above that which inside you. This darkness, you have directed to help instead of harm, you are an acolyte and an answer to prayers as yet unheard by lesser beings.

Dexter froze, struggling to understand. "But I don't even believe in God."

The Lord, Our God, believes in you. Shall you not endeavor to rid the world of the wickedness that preys upon it?

Dexter could only blink. "The Code. My Code isn't for - "

You have acknowledged that you have saved lives, have you not? You have acknowledged that you cannot harm the innocent, nor can you stand aside to allow others to do so.

Dexter wanted to step back to slide down the wall, but there was no wall, as far as he could see, nor a floor. And yet he wasn't falling.

"No one believes in me," he muttered, thinking of Rita's literal bloodbath. His son, his baby crying in her blood. His heart clenched.

This is untrue. There are many who believe in you, though they yet not know it.

Before him, Cody and Astor's smiling faces, Cody's anger at Dexter's honor being questioned, Deb, Vince, Angel, they all flashed before him.

Pointedly, Rita's smiling face on their wedding day, even as Dexter's bloodied, broken arm dripped down her back.

Finally, long ago, during the search for the Bay Harbor Butcher, a comic book artist had taken up his pen and detailed Dexter taking out the trash.

How had Rita not minded the blood on her dress? How did she not mind the blood in her life? How would Deb react to -

"My son! I need to get back to my son! My daughter and my sons, their mother - "

All will be well, my son, the voice was saying now. They are cared for, their wounds cleaned and soothed.

Then Dexter became angry, "Then what the hell about mine? What the hell about Brian's? Why couldn't you do anything for - WHY?"

Harry's face flashed before his eyes and Dexter found himself biting back sobs even as tears fell down his face.

It was not your brother's lot to avenge or protect. His mind was too damaged, his soul too damned. You, yourself, showed him his only salvation. His only mercy.

Dexter sneered, though it was at himself. "Salvation, yeah. If you're - whoever...you say you're The Lord, Our God, so why was the only salvation I could give him a ticket to Hell?"

A breathy sort of wind flew past him and Dexter blinked as his face turned cold from his tears drying rapidly. He saw the face of a young man he didn't know anything about, but who was filled with great pain.

You are not the only one to ask that question. You are merely the soonest. Dexter Moser, Dexter Morgan, You have been charged with a Holy Crusade. You are to be a Champion in assistance to your brother Champion.

He is currently falling in his faith, fickle as yours is hidden in your darkness. Carry out this mission, in blood and in tears, so he will not bear yet more blood on his hands.

Dexter reeled. "What? You're - God isn't supposed to - God doesn't do what I do! God has no place in what I do!"

Dexter screamed, then, as a lance of fire slashed his face and he fell to his knees.

You dare presume God's place in the works of life and the world? You dare presume His role for you or anyone else?

"I..." Dexter took his hand away from his face and saw his hand was covered in blood. He blinked and suddenly both of his hands were dripping with it and he tried to scramble backward, trying to get down low enough to wipe them, yet to get away from the enormous puddle forming as his victims' faces flashed behind his eyes.

"That's just it!" he yelled, horror suffusing him as it had in that hotel room covered in the blood of Brian's most recent victims. In the end, he ended up on his back again, staring upward into endless whiteness.

"I've never believed," he whispered, blinking again as tears came once more. "We weren't - we didn't go to church, to Mass, to synagogue, none of it - Harry didn't teach Deb or I about...of...You?"

Harry was imperfect, as are you. He meddled, yes, but it was with your best interests at heart. He did not want innocent blood on your hands, if there was to be any. You know this. There is a place for virtuous non-believers, you now know this, as well."

"Limbo." The word left Dexter's words before he could think it and his eyes widened. "My darkness killed him. He - " Dexter tried to sit up, something coming to him. "I thought suicides went to Hell, no questions?"

...Forever in debt to your price, as advised...

Yes. Harry Morgan would have gone to Limbo had he not taken his life in his own hands. That was not his right. He decided, however, and so his fate was decided for him. He gave up all claims to salvation that day. You were not the cause of his fate, but he, himself. You refused, you have accepted your lot and sought to use it for the safety of others.

Dexter felt something cold and hard in his right hand, then, and looked downward to see a sword now in it with bright, white-hot flames dancing all along the blade.

"I don't understand," he said, blinking again, this time from the brightness of the light in the flames.

You are the Angel of Death, Dexter Morgan. It is time you took up your mantle in ways beyond your father's earthly devising.

"You're jo - " Dexter swallowed his words at the last moment, instead asking, "Astor, Cody - Harrison - what's going to happen to them?"

Debra Morgan will care for them during your missions. You will continue in your role as their father otherwise. They need you and so you will stay with them. Teach them to avoid your wrath, to leave their souls clean.

"But Harrison - " Dexter took another deep breath, his stomach clenching as he remembered Harrison's cries from the floor, surrounded in Rita's blood and the water.

The water has washed him clean of the evil that took your wife from you, the blood of Christ has replaced hers and given him purpose beyond death and destruction.

You, as you already knew, will continue to see to that. Your elder children will survive, they did not witness their mother's demise. They will survive because they have their father and the sister of their father, as you and your sister had Harry later on.

There is but one more question to be asked: Dexter Morgan, do you accept the Holy charge being afforded you - to destroy the evil that threatens to further erode the soul of your brother Champion, to be the Angel of Death where the Angel of Protection fails.

Dexter's head dropped and he stared at his killing clothes now upon him, the sword gleaming, burning in his hand at his side.

He's never been one to believe in God, but - if what God said was true - if God believes in him, in what he does, then perhaps this is a way to assuage the pain of losing Rita, of seeing Astor and Cody's grief-stricken faces and not knowing how to comfort them. Of wondering if Harrison would turn into another ugly copy of his carbon demo - no, God said he wasn't a demon.

He still wasn't sure what he was. Perhaps this would be a way to finally find out. He'd refused to be the portent of evil his brother assumed he was and had killed Miguel Prado to prevent others like the innocent Ellen Wolf from suffering the same undeserved fate.

The misogynistic used car salesman.

Alex Timmons.

First Nurse.

Paul. Paul Bennett.

Lila Tournay.

Miguel Prado.

Arthur Mitchell.

Dexter took another steadying breath. "How do I know this isn't just a dream of retribution gained because I destroyed the man who killed my wife? Of all the people who've come after my own friends and family?"

You will not know until it is time. That is not the point.

Dexter breathed, nodding his head in slight irritation. He had a feeling about as much.

Santos Jimenez.

Dexter blinked once more, completely blindsided by the memory of sitting in Jimenez's blood after dismembering him.

"Did you have to chop her up into pieces and leave two little boys sitting in a pool of their mother's blood?"

Dexter looked upward, now genuinely afraid.

Be not afraid, My son, for I am with you in all you endeavor and endure.

He breathed again and forced himself to close his eyes, bathing in the light as he would the Miami sun.

"If God is with me," he whispered to himself, praying for the first time in his life. Repeating his own words. "Then He's in this room tonight. Amen"

The sword in his hand hummed and warmed, and Dexter opened his eyes, bringing it up to take the hilt in both his hands. He stared at the blade, imagining the blood that would be coming dripping from the blade. It, of course, wasn't difficult.

"I am an Angel of Death. This charge I shall take in protection and salvation of others. I shall be a Dark Avenger and assist my brother and sister Champions."

He didn't know where the words were coming from, but felt something inside that he hadn't in as long as he could remember. Something other than emptiness.

"If God awaits, then I allow Him into my heart. Enter unto, O God."

The light around him seemed to solidify and flash so that Dexter found himself in the darkness on the couch in his old apartment, now Debra's, with Harrison splayed across his chest, sleeping calmly for the first time in weeks. Cody and Astor were on the floor over by the bookshelf, themselves at peace for the first time in what felt like forever.

"Don't worry, little ones," Dexter whispered, reaching down and fingering the sword in its hilt and scabbard that was safely hidden beneath the couch he and Harrison lay upon, the entire weapon humming simply at his touch. "Daddy's got a little mission God wants him to take care of in L.A. and then he'll be home again. I'll never be gone for long."

He reached down and stroked Harrison's sparse hair, just now growing in. "Daddy'll never be gone for long."

...Cut myself an angel hair and baby's breath...

"For God's sake, help us." Dexter watched, admittedly intrigued, as Lilah - he hated that she shared his last name, Harry's blood because that meant it was Debra's, as well. Even with what he knew about his father's flaws, the idea that this amoral...disease...was to be spared his wrath made his teeth itch in the way that blood did when he thought about his mother.

But Wesley was more important than his petty dislikes. Wesley had a purpose to fulfill and Lilah, in all her vicious backstabbing and refusal to admit that her reasons for everything she did meant more than she did, was going to help him get there in the long run. Just like Darla.

It was strange, what he knew now, and how simply it all came to him. Apparently, Angel was the same way, as troubled and deadened as they both were at times.

Dexter was letting his mind wander.

He had a task to fulfill. The Powers, despite being an entire choir of angels, had somehow managed to fail in dissuading Angel from this melee. That didn't mean Dexter didn't have his own job to do. He just had to make sure Angel never saw him. That part was easy, he'd been trained in it all his life.

Rule Number One: Don't Get Caught.

The older lawyer who reminded him so much of Brian was suddenly so craven. If Dexter had been less of a cynic (he found that even as an angel, it was hard to let go of some of his more deeply held tenets), he'd've believed him. "Angel - please. - People are going to die."

Angel almost smiled, almost - Dexter could feel it all the way across the room. It was difficult to surprise him, but Angel's words just managed it, "And yet, somehow, I just can't seem to care."

Angel closed the doors and Dexter forced himself to calm down, the bloodlust rearing inside him like an overexcited horse. He had very strict instructions. Do Not Participate in Darla or Drusilla's kills. Simply Watch Them. Destroy Those Who Attempt to Escape the Lord's Wrath.

Holland Manners stared at Darla, Drusilla - his creations through Lindsey and Lilah - and tried to breathe. Dexter could have laughed, but Angel's pain could still be felt all the way from across the room, his eyes deadened and his soul in shreds that these demons in human skin had wrought.

He could relate, he had to say.

Ordinarily, he would revel in the pain of the dying and guilty. But though Angel were guilty, it was the demon inside that had been the master of his horrors. If he would just remember that, if Dexter could help and not just watch, then maybe he wouldn't feel so helpless.

But, then, Angel, himself, was helpless. God's plan was playing out before their very eyes and choirs of angels couldn't thwart the Master's plans. Not in the end.

So there was stagnation. There was repetition. There was pain.

It matched his family's far too well for Dexter to enjoy anything about it. His brother was dying inside and it was these two demon's faults. He would have given anything in order to destroy them, but he knew that this look-alike ancestor of Rita's (he still could barely wrap his mind around that, her descending from Darla's long ago whoring days) grinned wickedly, her mouth full of the teeth of the damned that if he or Angel had had their way, she wouldn't have.

She would have been given the graceful death she and Rita both deserved, but it seemed the new blood would always pay for the sins of the old. This he knew all too well so he kept his mouth shut and forced himself simply to watch.

Darla put a hand to Holland's cheek, caressing it, and the man's heartbeat tripled in rate. Holland tried to ignore her, tried to keep his eyes on Angel, but they were widening because Angel was leaving. Darla and Dru hadn't anticipated as much, nor had the lawyers, but Dexter could only sigh and watch.

The endlessly damned lawyer could only plead now, "Angel? P-please we can negotiate. We..."

Dexter might've laughed if he didn't feel like he was staring at his wife's face and what she might have looked like, had a demon managed to desecrate her even more than she already had been. He couldn't believe he was thankful for such small favors as Arthur Mitchell.

Angel was closing the door now and it was Dexter's time. He had to try to destroy as many as he could before Dru or Darla could. It was a shame his stamina was nowhere near theirs, try as he might, even with the standard supernatural upgrades of those half-angel.

Angel was turning his back now. Good. Dexter stepped out of the shadows and let Darla and Drusilla both see him for what he was.

"You have got to be - "

"I know. That's what I said," Dexter returned lightly before he disappeared and pulled the rip cord, the sickeningly satisfying sound of an ethereal chainsaw filling the cellar and screams mingling with the noise.

He'd asked, after all, and the Lord had given.

"I am Dexter, the Lord's Right Hand and Angel of Death - the Dark Avenger. Prepare to be judged."

"Please," had been Holland Manners' last whispered words before Darla had bitten his throat open. Drusilla had wanted, obviously, painfully, to dance around, but was afraid.

"Daddy has a brother," she murmured, her voice weak and shaking, even as Darla ignored her and continued to destroy everyone she could get her hands on.

Darla ignored them both as much as she could and continued tearing open throats left and right.

Dexter huffed in frustration and began sawing through several Darla hadn't reached yet, leaving her to drop the body she'd just finished with and stare around in confusion and anger.

"Who's there?"

Dexter ignored her and continued to finish the job Angel was never supposed to start. "You already know me, my dear," he couldn't help but murmur in Darla's ear, watching her face, wishing to replace that never-ending image of Rita in a bathtub, taking a soak in her own blood. "You need not know my name if you can't be bothered to remember it."

He turned to Drusilla, who shivered and began to cry, a grin coming to split his face. "Don't worry, though, this one already knows. You won't ask her, that's fine. Just so long as she knows."

"Our Father, Who Art..." Dru said faintly and Dexter nodded, a soft chuckle coming to his lips. Darla darted for Lilah and Lindsey and Dexter swore, diving between them as fast as she could.

"You know, Dru's got the right idea, here. Lindsey sheltered you, Darla. You may not have honor, but at least you could have mercy. I know it's not your style, but give it a try."

Dexter allowed himself to be shown once again for a moment and Darla, Lindsey, and Lilah's eyes all widened terribly.

"Who knew wings would come so much in handy?" Dex asked as he shoved Lilah away from Darla's sure-to-be death grip. "Sorry, she's not for you, either. Angel's other brother, as Dru there would put it, needs her more than you do."

"Who are you?" Lindsey asked, staring at the bodies around them and those damned souls yet alive still trying to break back through the cellar door, which had obviously been locked from the outside.

Honestly, Angel, could you be falling any harder?

"But I already explained," Dexter pretended to whine before switching off his chainsaw and watching Drusilla relax enough to go to work on those he and Darla had left. "My only job as of two seconds ago is to protect you and Ms. I Share Blood I Don't Deserve, there. So I'm doing that. Be grateful, though I'm not sure either of you knows what that word means anymore."

"I know what - " Lilah started stupidly in her shock, but forced herself to stop. "You're saying God is sparing Lindsey and me?"

Dexter refused to dignify that with an answer, instead turning to Darla and Drusilla, glaring. "Could you both get on with the carnage, please? I've got a schedule to keep here!"

"Why should - "

Dexter pulled out his chainsaw again and pulled its ripcord once more, bringing it roaring back to life. "Do you feel like being on the end of this thing like those bastards? They made their choice, as did you, the first time, Darla. Drusilla never made one."

He'd've given anything to stroke Dru's cheek and comfort her, but that was thoroughly against the rules he now had to follow.

"Out of everyone in this room, she and I are the most innocent. At least that's what my boss says. You wanna meet my boss face to face, Darla? You were okay with it once upon a time, after all."

"There's no Angel of Death," Darla hissed, snagging a lawyer running past, obviously intent on shouldering the door open. "There hasn't been one since...since before even the Master's time."

"If you recall, your buddy Angel, there, is the Master, so if you're referring to him, that's a little late in the timeline."

"My original Sire!" Darla hissed before she sank her fangs into the lawyer's throat. Tossing his body aside, she glared at Drusilla, obviously irritated to see her companion and Angelus' masterpiece staring at this...angel?...in abject fear. The other vampiress kept attempting to bless herself, but the burning of her flesh kept reminding her what she was.

"It's not your fault," Dexter tried to assure Dru, unwillingly filled with pity. "Angel..." He sighed heavily, before darting forward and cutting off the head of the last anonymous lawyer, who by now was cowering in a corner, and watching her head roll across the blood drenched floor.

"The only ones here wanting a wine tasting were the ones who deserved it. They got it. Now get out of here before I kill you, Drusilla, and send you on to your final reward."

Darla could swear she actually feel a faint breeze as Drusilla darted away and forced her way out of the locked cellar doors.

"So, he's finally come for me, has he? Death's better behaved cousin?"

"Who said I was better behaved?" Dexter asked vaguely before shoving Darla (Rita...Dear God in Heaven, let her rest in peace...) toward where Drusilla had gone and turning to Lilah and Lindsey who, though bloodstained, had managed to retain most of their composure.

"You two have a fate not up to me. It's the only thing saving you. Go the hell home."

They were frozen, fear truly evident on their faces for the first time in all that had gone on, and Dexter allowed his wings to spread and lift him a few feet off the floor, brushing the ceiling. "GO. HOME."

Dexter's voice was deep, bombastic, and he had to force his face to stay cold and distant even in his surprise at God speaking through him so suddenly. This was supposed to be Metatron's job, not his. Why would - never mind. He wasn't going to question God speaking through him. He's gotten the message about obedience by now.

Lindsey finally took off first, followed by Lilah, who looked back and asked again, "Who are you?"

Dexter rolled his eyes and glared at her, giving her a once-over and sneering, "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me. And I don't think you deserve to, but it's not up to me so you may find out one day."

Another brush of wind and Lilah was gone.

...I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks...

Dexter stepped off the plane into the humidity of his home, savoring Miami and feeling cleaner than he had in a long time, if ever. Deb allowed Cody and Astor to run to him, and he enveloped them in the frequent hugs they so desperately needed now, before Deb placed Harrison in his arms and Dexter gave them all kisses on their heads.

"Was your trip fun?" Cody asked rather listlessly and Dexter frowned, "Of course not, son. Business trips are never fun. The fun part is coming home."

"Good," Cody whispered and Dexter could hear the tears in his voice. "We missed you."

Dexter motioned to Deb to take Harrison again before taking both Astor and Cody, now both crying once more, into his arms. He could see Deb crying, as well, and wished his arms had been made longer, too.

"Don't worry. I'll never be gone for long. I'm needed other places sometimes, but never more than here."

Dexter motioned for Deb to step forward and Cody slung his arm around her shoulder as they stood and hugged.

"I missed you so much, Brother," Deb murmured and Dexter resolved to try to tell her some kind of truth. She deserved it more than anyone else - to know she wasn't alone.

Dexter might not have known what to feel a lot of time, nor did he know how others felt, but this...fractured though it may be...this was home.

"I'll never be gone for long," he promised and knew that now this was one he could keep.

"Good. Oh, hey - you've got a new neighbor. Some chick named Bethany and her kid. A girl for Harrison to fight with when they get old enough. Name's Elizabeth."

"God's promise," Dexter muttered and Deb looked at him, "What?"