Even If Saving You Sends Me To Heaven

By wolfgal97

My name is Rhuen. I am in Heaven. And I hate it.

I'm allowed to express my hatred now and to act upon it. All Archangels can. And I do. Oh, how I do.

So maybe you want to know my story. Maybe you don't. I don't care, and if you don't either, you're free to leave now. But if you do want to hear it, and I'm only going to tell it once because it's too painful for me to keep reliving, then stick around. I don't have a lot of time. I'm scheduled to be married in a few hours, and this is a very long story.

And no, before you ask, I don't love him. The man I love is dead.

Another warning: my story is also very sad. I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you. I'm not going to feed you moral lessons. I'm not going to elaborate in any way because where ever drama is in my life, someone I know gets hurt or dies. It doesn't help the fact I can see it coming and I wasn't allowed to stop it. But that's part of the story.

No, I'm going to tell you the story exactly the way it was. The way he was, because is his story, too. No elaborations at all.

Because I'm tired of all the death.

So where does my story start? Well, to be honest, this all started in the Hell Wars roughly three hundred years ago. Yes, I know that seems like a very long time. And for an angel who was only expected to live thirty years at most, that is a long time. But let me tell you something. When you're happy, hundreds of years go by so fast, it's as if all that mattered never happened at all.

But that was back when I was a Soldier. It's when I became a Guardian that everything changed. But even they are only expected to live as long as their Charge does. Very rarely do angels move up the ranks to become the immortal Archangels.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. You have no idea what any of that meant, did you? And why should you? Not much is known about my kind, my world. You'll learn about everything in time. I just need to get over my rambling and start this. Sorry. I tend to put off unpleasant things.

Like I said, this truly started long, long, long ago, before any of you reading this were born. But to make matters short, I'll give you a little back story and then we'll jump right in.

I guess you wonder what I look like. I guess I should supply you with basic information. Let's start out with I'm short. I'm not talking dwarf size, but yes, I'm not going to be playing professional basketball. I'd say I'm around 5'4? I never really took the time to find out.

So we got my height out of the way. I guess I should go into more detail. Okay. I'm beautiful. I really don't mean that in a vain way, it's just a simple fact. All angels are beautiful. Some, like humans, more than others. Some, in specific ways. I personally only like my longish chocolate brown hair with red flecks of flame that scatter through it when the light shines just right. That and my eyes. No one has eyes like mine. They're silver. No, not stormy grey, I'm talking a gleaming, metal-like silver. Pale like moonlight but sharp as a blade, able to cut through people.

Other than that, I've been told other qualities I possess are ridiculously clear, pale skin that looks smooth like milk. A healthy figure with lean, yet strong muscles. Small nose, full pink lips, dainty ears, white teeth. I think that's enough about me.

That is, unless you want to hear about my wings. As a Soldier, like all others of that class, they had been feathered with unique patterns. Mine had been white fading to silver tips. Soft, graceful, breakable. At least, they were in the Hell Wars. Broken wings are not fun. That's why I was happy to upgrade to Guardian, only at the time, I hadn't known it was happiness. In fact, as a Soldier, I couldn't feel happiness. Or any emotion for that matter.

When I became a Guardian, new wings weren't the only thing I got. But the wings were certainly easier to adjust to. They had become silver, the same color as my eyes. But that wasn't unusual. All Guardians got stronger metallic wings. Those wings had been literally metal. The feathers were light allowing me to fly, but each individual feather was a blade, deadly and sharp. They were my weapons. And oh, how I used them. All the heads I severed as the bodies fell to dust...

But that was after the fall, which is what you need to know about before I can get going. The funny thing is, the second thing I got with the upgrade to Guardian position were abilities which helped me with the third thing I got. Abilities such as seeing the future. Well, his future. It's not like I could see the upcoming lotto numbers. Not that I would... Okay, I would. Sue me.

I also got the ability to form an empathy link with my Charge. Lesson time in angelic vocabulary, kiddies. A Charge is a person, well, entity in my case, which a Guardian is assigned to... well, guard. We protect them. We see their future the way it needs to go and then see the way it's going. It comes in waves to our minds. It's then our job to make sure our Charge, who in every case but mine doesn't know about us, get on the right track.

Now an empathy link is a whole other barrel of monkeys. Soldiers are blank slates having no other emotions than righteous fury. Pfft, what a load of crap, right? Anyway, as a Soldier, I remember knowing nothing but my orders and the battle. We were made to die. That's it for Soldiers. We are made. We fight for good. We die. Well, we just stop existing since we have no souls. Most of us, unless you're an Archangel, don't live long enough to need one.

Because with a soul, you open to emotions. Emotions angels that are not Archangels are not supposed to feel. Emotions so powerful they may blind you from what needs be done. Emotions like love.

But with an empathy link, you feel everything your Charge does. And I mean everything. I remember the emotions so overwhelming, they... Well, sometimes I don't want to remember. But just because you have those shiny new emotions bottled up inside you, doesn't mean you get to use then. Without a soul inside them, a Guardian can't show their feelings or act on them. No angel has had a soul in them save but one. Three guesses who that lucky chick is.

But that was my mission I was given before being ripped from the happy home of heaven and helplessly spat out onto earth, a place I had only heard of from Michael, Gabriel and Jex. They had all been my rulers at the time. Their word was my law. Luckily, Michael was like my brother. Jex... he had other motivations.

Anyhow, on my literal fall to Earth, I was enjoying the wonderful sensation of emotions for the first time. Wanna guess what a few of them were? Let's just say it sure as hell wasn't righteous fury. It was more like anguish, misery, pain and a bunch of other fun things that danced like a fire of hatred through my head that first night. But it didn't matter how hurt or mad I was. Like I said, no soul, no expression of emotion. It's a half-life I was forced to live.

So this is my story...

Galway, Ireland - 1753

One of the things I remember most about my existence was the fall to Earth. Though it only lasted for a few seconds, it seemed like an eternity, and believe me, I know a lot about eternity by now. I fell through clouds and air, the wind whipping my body, the white short dress that stopped just above my knees flew about around me. It wasn't the impact that hurt most, but the fall itself. I was being shut out of my home, exiled until I complete my mission.

No, the shame of the fall hurt more than the impact of my body on the earth as I fell into a lake, though the bones shattering was no treat. I could deal with physical pain as I always do. I came from a place of joy and had been torn from it. And I couldn't even cry.

When I came to Earth, all the unpleasant, dark emotions that I hadn't experienced ever before came flooding to me. Pain, hate, anger, fear, they were all there. I could feel my resentment to those who command me turning me bitter. But Guardians are not only not allowed to show emotions. They physically can't.

I didn't want to move. I just stayed in the water, sinking further and further down. I didn't care about breathing. When the water filled my lugs, I just simply didn't care. I just continued to let myself drown. I wonder if it was possible for me to drown. I'd never tested it before.

But the stirring pull, the forceful need to fulfill the will of my superiors called to me. It forced me to move, to swim to the surface of the body of water. My body racked with shivers from the cold temperature. Never before had I felt this alone and broken. Not even all those years ago after the battle that earned me this job.

I laid on the edge of the land where it met the water as muddy swirls kicked up as I crawled away from the place I landed. Broken bones and torn muscles pulled and shifted until a point of so much pain I had to stop moving. I stayed motionless, not seeing the stars above. I didn't want to look at them from so far away when they used to be so close. Instead, I remembered the painful flashes of home.

Pure light. Warmth and sunshine. Singing and happiness. So soft, inviting, wonderful. Oh, how I longed to see it again. But of the future I could see, that would be if anything a long time from now. I could see the way things were supposed to end. It wasn't a clear picture, but I could see a huge column of fire in a dark area as something burned to ash. Other than that, it was mist and dust. This was a future result I needed to help make happen. The end of my journey. It was destiny. Or else.

But who's destiny? That's the question. Who am I supposed to find? Who had I been sent to guard and protect? I knew the basics and that I would sense him when I found him. I knew he would be human when I found him, but that status would change into something I... something I have distaste for. I know of the Earth from Jex's boastful stories. I know it's history, I know it's demons, I know of its Slayers and Watchers.

And I know some of its vampires.

I had dried off from my fall into the lake by now. Most of my bones had repaired themselves, so I forced myself up. The sooner I had started my mission, the sooner I can go home. Until then, I was shut out. Just as Michael had told me before I was sent. He had told me everything about what I had to do and the reward I would get if I finished the mission. Most bets were on me not surviving to the end, though. If I was killed, someone else would be sent in my place. They already had a line-up of who would be next.

Suddenly, I felt it. That pull which guides all Guardians to their destiny was calling me. It sang to every fiber of my being, willing me to answer its call. I followed it, just to have it lead me to a place I hadn't ever wanted to go to. A pub.

There, I found a human. One I did not like. Everything about him screamed evil. But something about this snake had called out to me. Somehow, he was important and pertained to my future. Or should I say the future of my Charge. But he was not my mission. The pull to him wasn't near strong enough. I had been told when I saw my Charge, all other thoughts than that of taking care of him will fade. He will be my soul purpose.

I watched from the other side of the pub as the despicable man drank himself stupid. I watched the whores fawn over him to grab his purse when he wasn't looking and I saw him have his way with them. All I could see was sin. Though I was beyond disgusted, my features stayed neutral. As much as I wanted to spit in his direction, I physically was incapable of doing the action because it was spawned from my own emotions. I can only tell you how much it sucked.

Eventually, a blond that caught my attention came in. She was very out of place in the dirty, crowded bar. She was dressed in fancy Irish clothes and walked with an unnatural grace that humans don't possess. Her eyes flashed like those of a bird of prey. A beautiful woman of ice. I knew this vampire by reputation. This was Darla.

Though I had killed vampires in the Hell Wars, I hadn't known anything about them other than they were demons that had taken over and polluted the bodies of humans. A monster in a mask. It was wrong and unnatural for something not true demon and not true human to exist. I simply didn't want to allow it.

What I had learned about vampires had come from Michael. Being the War Lord of angels, he was always fascinated by a good battle. One of his favorites to witness were those of a Slayer and a vampire. When I had been given my mission from my brother figure, he had told me that I was destined for great things. My mission was to find a certain human before he is turned to guard not only him through his years a vampire, but his soul as he would need it later. And I would be guarding his soul very personally.

Somehow, a vampire was destined to save the world. How odd.

I had grown curious of vampires. Other than an intense dislike I felt for them, I really knew nothing of their kind. But Michael knew many things about them and he had told me of a vampire line that came from a demon called "The Master." A vampire so old, his demonic features had become permanent to that of his human visage. From this vampire came a direct Childe named Darla, a whore dying of an illness that was common in her time.

She had become a most monstrous killer that the entire supernatural world knew. Her name was feared. But not as much as the Slayer.

I found the topic of the Slayer a fascinating one. One girl strong enough to take on legions of vampires until her death the next would be called into action. To me, she portrayed a beacon of light. Something that protected innocents from the horrors a world they knew nothing of. I decided upon hearing of her that I would like to meet a Slayer.

But my mind wasn't on Slayers at the time. My full attention belonged to the deadly yet beautiful creature that is Darla. She hadn't noticed me, which I was grateful for at the moment. Instead, her attention was focused like a spotlight on the drunkard. She bent down and whispered something I couldn't make out in his ear. He grinned like a devil and followed her out to a back road. I shadowed them.

I heard them mumbling each other's names. I had recognized the vampire correctly, but I just now learned who the man was. His name was Liam. What I knew about this world, it was a nickname in Ireland for William. William is a good strong name. I didn't like it being used on such a weak man. Names tell who you are, of your story. They're supposed to have meaning.

I saw her turn him in a seductive matter before biting into him. She drained him on the very spot they stood. For a fleeting moment, I wondered if she could taste the alcohol in his blood. He drank from her and became a vampire. I didn't stop her because according to the future, this needed to happen. I watched as Liam's body slumped to the ground in a bloody heap. He'd tasted her blood. Now, he was tasting death.

As he fell, a grey orb of light that was his soul departed from him as his dead weight sank to the ground, drifting away towards the heavens. I watched it flit away, not moving to follow it. It wasn't worth my time or of any importance.

I waited as she left his body. I waited while the death cart rolled by to pick it up. I waited until everyone left the funeral. I waited until night. I waited until she came and he rose from the grave. Time had no meaning to me. After all, angels didn't need to sleep. I never figured out why. We just don't.

After my waiting, I spoke.

"Liam and Darla. The future scourge of Europe," I commented dryly as I stepped from out of the shadows and into the killers' vision. Though everything in me was screaming to kill them both, to end the evil, I knew I couldn't. They had to continue to exist. Sadly, they were important.

"Who are you?" He asked, his new fangs mangling his words. I still didn't like him. That feeling of evil had multiplied by thousands with the loss of his dark soul. I almost couldn't stand to be near him.

"The question you should be asking is: what are you? But you'll find out soon enough. I know what you're about to do, Liam. You already in your mind made the decision. You're going to go kill your family. I'm not here to stop you. You are not of my concern. I'm here to tell you that we will meet again. And when we do, I will accompany you on your journeys."

"A dainty thing like you wouldn't last in our world."

"And you would know this, how? You yourself have just been turned. Who's to say you'll survive past a decade? But if it's a test you want, it a test you'll get."

"Do you want to fight me?" He looked warily at his sire who hadn't said a word. She was looking at me with a puzzled yet awed expression.

I smirked at her fledgling. "If that's what it takes to prove myself."

Without warning, he lunged at me, snarling and teeth bared. I easily sidestepped him. New vampires, though strong, are messy fighters. It was something I learned fast after that night. Ignoring the slight pain from my bruised ribs, I attacked back.

I brought my elbow down across his back. He fell to the ground and I tried to kick his head. He rolled away at the last second and tried to sweep my leg as he stood. I jumped and Liam missed. While he was looking down, expecting me to fall, I sent a hard punch to his face.

He went down, blood pouring from his broken nose. Darla stepped in, finally. "Excellent battle, Ms.-" she trailed off, letting me give her my name.

"We don't have names where I came from. We name ourselves if we come to Earth and I haven't chosen one yet."

"And where do you come from? No ordinary creature can take on a vampire. Even if they are a fledgling," the blond said stiffly. She didn't like the fact she didn't have the power of my name. But all I had said was true. At this time, I didn't have a name.

I pulled my hair that had become mussed in the tussle out of my face. I wasn't tired at all. I could go a few more rounds. In fact, my muscles ached for more challenge. But now wasn't the time. I had to be going to search for my Charge.

Upon this thought, I felt my wings pull free from their place wrapped around my spine, the blade-like feathers slicing through my skin to come outside my body as the flesh healed behind them in place. They unfurled in all their metallic silver glory.

Her eyes became wide and Liam backed away from his planned sneak attack from behind me.

"I'm an angel. A Guardian. And I'll be seeing you again."

With that, I took off, leaving two bewildered vampires behind me on the ground becoming smaller dots with each push of my wings. I looked to the sky, wind whipping my face. I almost smiled into the cool air, but I couldn't. This was as close to home as I was going to get for the next two hundred years.

Sunnydale, California - 1999

I looked in on my vampire lying so still in his cage. He looked dead. Well, I guess he technically is dead, but that's not the point. It bothered me to see him unmoving after so long. Even when he was human, he was always moving. When he became a vampire it only got worse. If his chest rose and fell with breath, I would feel better about the situation. But he didn't breathe, so it didn't.

I think that's what bothers me most. Breathing was a habit he had never given up even after one hundred and nineteen years of being undead. His constant talking required the extra oxygen.

I could feel him begin to wake, his cobalt blue eyes fluttering open. That gave me instant relief. They fell on me as I stood on the other side of the glass looking down on him. But they were unfocused still and I could tell he hadn't registered who he was seeing.

A flicker of recognition was on his face and his groggy expression changed to that of confusion. "Rhuen?"

I didn't answer him when he called out for me. I could explain everything to him in a while. Instead, I watched as he took in his surroundings as a captured predator. He looked around, glaring at the white walls. A low growl vibrated from his chest before he tried banging on the glass wall in front of him. For his efforts, he received an electric shock.

I shook my head. Spike, the things you get yourself in to. My heart went out to him when I saw a rare expression on his face when his eyes met mine. Fear. William the Bloody was afraid. I remembered the last time I'd seen him look so scared, and it sent a chill through me.

London - 1880

I traveled Earth for a few centuries, becoming accustomed to human ways, but keeping to myself. I had no contact with anyone for over a century. I had spent my time learning about Earth, searching for my Charge, and killing vampires. In fact, it was by a vampire I had been named.

Over the years, I had hunted the human-like race of demons. I despised their kind. They were demons, yes, but that wasn't what bothered me. It's the fact they looked innocent, human, while they killed. The treachery of it disturbed me. So I killed them.

I had brought ruin to the vampire world and had become almost as feared as the Slayer herself, so Rhuen is what I was called. AKA; the angel of death. Cool, right?

All those years, killing vampires filled my time as I waited to meet my Charge. I knew this assignment would be harder than any other Guardian had been given, but I was determined to do it for the reward of entrance back into Heaven. Also, status as Archangel. At the time, I didn't think was going to be able to force myself to protect some vampire, even if he was daubed special. I was dead wrong. I was thinking those very thoughts the night I found him. How ironic that his story would begin at a party?

I hated the attire of that period. Tight, restrictive dresses were not my thing. I liked to be loose and free to move about. The suffocating corset I had wriggled into was not in that category. But, it was my job to look the part of a human if I had any interaction with them. I was relying on natural social skills I had no clue if I had or not. All I knew was that I had to be at this party.

My long brown hair with licks of red flame had been pulled onto my head in a messy yet tasteful bun. When down, it reaches to the center of my back,. But free hair was not ladylike for this time. My emerald floor length dress was not my favorite, but it showed my figure nicely. My metallic silver eyes, the same color as my wings that were still wrapped around my spine under the skin of my back darted through the crowds' faces.

Something much like the night I met Angelus had pulled me to this gathering. Someone was here that I needed to find. I took a seat down on the left side of the room, taking in the sight of people sitting against the wall. There were three ladies chattering on about something, probably a male. I didn't waste my time with them.

Someone else caught my eye. One look at him and I knew that he was the one. He was my mission. I took in everything about him. Those cobalt blue eyes watching with tenderness as he scribbled furiously in a book. His sandy blond locks were neatly pulled into a ponytail. Those razor blade sharp cheekbones. His hands, so skilled with the pen as they sped along like lightning.

He must have felt the power of gaze because his head snapped up to meet it. And there it was. Instant empathy link. As soon as our eyes connected, so did our emotions. I knew to a certain degree he would be able to feel mine, but not near to the extent as I felt his. He felt Fear. Attraction. He also felt something else I had never dealt with before. My inner voice told me its name. Love.

But my own emotions? I could name those. I was confused. Why had a human that should have no meaning to me other than to protect stir such a need to take care of him? To make him happy? What was I feeling? It's not like it mattered. I could never show him how I felt. Not yet.

My attention was taken away from him by a young gentleman who'd come over and asked me to dance. I politely refused and stood to walk where last I'd seen the vampire-to-be, but he was no longer there. Instead, his was now with a group reading what the young man had written.

"My heart expands, 'tis grown a bulge in it.

Inspired by your beauty, effulgent."

I didn't snicker like the rest did about his "bloody awful" poetry. Instead, I watched with a wonder. His poetry hadn't been bad. It had just been different than what was normal. He'd used words people didn't think about on a regular basis. It wasn't Poe, but it wasn't bad, either. It was different. It was fresh.

He scrambled off, hurt by the crowd's nickname of him. William the Bloody. What is it with vampires by the name of "William"? Was no one original anymore? But I already knew the answer to that. He was. He was very different.

I followed him as he trudged further into the party. He was following someone. A woman.

I watched and felt the sting to his broken heart as she rebuffed his love. He had been so pure, so kind; I didn't know how she could refuse him. He wasn't unattractive for a human and he was obviously in love. I could feel it. How could she hurt him so? It baffled me, the pain humans cause each other. I was reminded why my kind is unable to act upon emotion.

When I saw the tears in his eyes, I also saw something else. His soul. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. It danced deep inside him. It was made of white and blue embers and gleamed with a magic I'd never known. This soul was the most beautiful, lovely soul I've ever seen.

But I knew what was going to happen to it. When he turned, he would lose that amazing spark, and he wouldn't even know it. And I would have to bear it for him.

I went to his side and spoke to him, which was the most terrifying thing of my existence. It topped my fall from home. It topped my battle so many years ago against the rulers of hell. For some reason I couldn't understand, I wanted him to like me more than almost anything.

"William, you will know me very soon. I understand that this is strange and you probably won't believe a word I say, but I need you to pay attention to what I'm going to tell you. Something very important is going to happen tonight that will change things forever. I would stop it if I could, but I can't disrupt the future. When it happens, you'll need me to help guide you. Until then, beware the Black Beauty."

By Black Beauty, I was speaking of the vampire Drusilla that came through the infamous line of Aurelius. I didn't like that creature of darkness, but she had one thing of mine that not any other vampire has. She has my pity.

She hadn't chosen to become a vampire. It had been forced upon her after she'd been driven insane. I truly felt bad for her, being a monster with an innocent, child-like mind. But that didn't change the fact she's a soulless beast now and she enjoyed it. The thing she's done, the people she's killed...

My pity was the only reason I didn't kill her ten years ago when I caught her feeding. That, and the fact I knew she would be the one to Sire my vampire. I could feel it in my very being. It was something I knew.

William looked confused, and I didn't blame him. If a stranger came up to me and told me my destiny, I'd be confused as well. "I beg your pardon?" He was so soft spoken, so timid. Such a good soul...

"I cannot tell you anything else or it may change the future from the course it needs to go. I'm sorry." I began to walk away but he grabbed my wrist so gently, I barely felt it. His touch sent a jolt through my body. No human has ever touched me before.

"Please, at least give me your name."

I sighed. What harm could my name cause? "I'm called Rhuen. When the time comes, call for me. I will be there."

With that, I broke away and slipped into the night. William soon followed, still upset from Cecily's rejection. I followed him in the shadows as he came to the ally that would be the place of his death.

Then she came. Drusilla twisted the words of his poetry to convince him that she could offer him something better. He accepted, and she, with dark grace began to turn him. I wanted to tremble when he screamed out in pain. I wanted to end it, but I couldn't. But there was something I could do so that I could.

I watched as his soul left him, and it began to float away. Before it faded and disappeared, I snatched it. It was my mission to keep it safe, letting it become one with my entity. This was the only time a Guardian had been allowed to have a soul, even if it was not my own. It did the job, and instantly, I felt my body tremble as I wished it could not moments ago. It was startling.

I watched as his eyes, so full of terror fell to the blood of his sire on her wrist. He drank deep and died for the first time.

Sunnydale - 1999

That was the very fear I remember to this day. The only thing I can compare to this moment. Spike was that terrified. And he didn't even know about the chip, yet. The chip that was necessary to his future.

"Bloody hell, Rhuen," he swore in his deep heads-are-gonna-roll voice. It brought a smile to my lips. Even after all these years, all that had changed was his fashion sense. And thank goodness it did change.

"Oh, Spike. I can't leave you alone for more than a decade. Look what you got yourself into," I said lightly, trying to calm him down with my natural sarcasm. It seemed to work as the mind numbing Fear that had flowed from him to me slacked off into more of an awareness that he was in a bad spot.

I watch as a packet of blood comes from the roof of his cell. He picked it up and eyed it warily before leaning in to drink. It was the first blood he'd seen since he was brought here and I saw the hunger in his eyes, his demon yearning for it. The need for it was instinctual, causing him to forget the fact he had no clue where he was and even the fact I was there. I could feel the hunger myself. But he shouldn't drink that. And I told him so.

"It's drugged," I said. He froze before the bite and looked longingly at the blood before tossing it.

"Perhaps you should tell a bloke where the hell he is."

"It's a government owned facility that houses commandos that hunt demons so they can use them to create a super army. This is the Initiative. But, you're in luck. Unlike the others here, you have someone to break you out."

"I would owe you one, Sweet."

I glared in a playful way. "You already owe me a thousand. In fact, I demand one of these days you take me for pizza."

"Fine, fine, I'll take you for soddin' pizza. Will you get me out of here?" He was starting to get that fear again. I pushed it away from me mentally. I couldn't help but soften at his wide-eyed look of panic that he was trying to mask under the Big Bad.

"You know I'll always help you, Spike."

He looked down. "I know." I tensed and he saw it. The fear grew in him. He had no idea what to expect. Luckily, I did. They were coming. Army men in black marched through the door, guns all trained on me. I smiled sweetly at them, knowing they were all going to feel it in the morning when they woke up.

"Unidentified species, we are the United States government. We order you to surrender to our custody, or be prepared to be shot dead," the leader said with a slight tremor in his voice. He had no idea what I was. Boy, was he in for a surprise.

To appease them, I held out my hands arms length to show my surrender. Spike disapproved of the gesture and growled, but I shot him a look that told him to shut up. For once, he did. As soon as the guns started to lower, I whipped out my wings, the blades cutting through my back as they came. I wrapped them around me as a shield and had just got them in place when the shots started.

I smirked at the little pinks that sounded as metal clashed with metal. When I heard the clicks of empty weapons, I let my wings fall to my sides while grinning at them. "My turn," I whispered.

One by one, they all fell. I killed no one, but not a single human was conscious to fight back, anymore. All but one.

I walked to the injured soldier's side and crouched down on the balls of my feet next to him, my smile still in place. "So, Major Pain-in-my-side, I have a little problem. You have something of mine, and I want him back."

"Wh-what are y-you?" he warbled. I didn't need an empathy link to know he was beyond freaked out.

"I'll be your worst nightmare if you don't give me the key to get Spike out." I held my palm out expectantly as he just stared in awe. I rolled my eyes. "I don't have all day, and you don't have five minutes if you don't give me the key. Now."

That got him going. Using the arm that wasn't broken, the soldier pulled at the tags around his neck. When it was pulled free, I could see a white card attached to it that I knew to be the key. I took the chain gingerly, making sure to not touch him. "Thank you."

Then I punched him hard enough in the face so his lights went out. Okay, he may feel that longer since he won't be waking up in the morning. Or anytime soon.

I stood in one fluid motion and stepped around bodies back to the door of Spike's cell. Putting two and two together, I swiped the white card over the panel next to the door. After a beep and a dramatic puff of smoke, the electric door opened and Spike got out just as fast as he could.

"I vote we get out of here," he said.

I shrugged. "Works for me, boss. Let's go. It won't be long before they send more." I turned on my heel and stalked off into the next hall, my hand still clutching the chain of the key. I could feel Spike right behind me. It felt good to be around him again. Last time we saw each other... well, it was a very long time ago.

I managed to find an air vent that was rather large. Using a little angelic strength, I ripped it from the wall. Bowing slightly at the waist, I gestured for Spike to go first. He glared, but managed to wriggle his way in. I was right after him. "Whatever you do, Spike, don't stop."

He didn't.

We crawled through the dark, but that didn't bother me. My whole existence was in the dark anymore. Being in the dark was now second nature, so my vision adapted quickly. I could feel that Spike was still a little freaked out, but as we moved, he began to calm. It was as if doing something took his mind off dangers.

When we came to the end of the tunnel, Spike reared back a fist as best he could and slammed it into the grate holding us in. I felt relief when it fell away and we were able to wriggle free from the tight space.

We fell out a wall of some factory and Spike offered me a hand. I took it and allowed him to help me up. "Thanks. We have to get out of here."

"I have a place," Spike said. I knew what he was talking about.

"Oh, yeah. You're going to find your vampire chick."

He looked at me in surprise, scarred eyebrow quirked, "How did you know about her? You left, Rhuen."

"Yeah, I did leave. For periods of time. But just because you didn't see me doesn't mean I wasn't there."

"You've been watching me?"

"What did you expect?" I asked rhetorically while shrugging, "My job is to protect you. In order to do that, I have to keep tabs on you."

"So you walk out of my unlife and then stalk me?"

I glared, my voice straining to stay calm with rage boiling under it. "You're the one who sent me away."

He didn't say anything. He couldn't. He knew I was right.

I forced myself to calm down, knowing we were still in danger. "If you want to run off to your vamp girl, that's fine. But do it fast. The army guys will be coming for you."

"Right," he said with a blank look. That is, until that evil gleam came into his eye, "but I think I'll be needing a snack, first. Captivity doesn't promote fine dinning."

"Good luck with that," I snorted. His eyes flashed to mine. He knew I knew something he didn't.

"What's that s'posed to mean?"

"You won't be able to eat anyone, Spike. Not anymore."

To my surprise, he laughed. "Yeah, right. They didn't call me William the Bloody for no reason, Sweet. You of all people should know that."

"Yeah, I remember your poetry," I said sweetly.


"'Hey' yourself, Spike. You're just waisting energy you need. But go ahead. Try to hunt. See what happens." I turned on my heel to leave, but his hand caught me. I spun around, seeing a slight fear in his eyes.

"You're not leaving, are you?"

Why did I always get soft for this idiot? I sighed. "I thought that's what you wanted."

"I never said that."

"You did once."

"That was a long time ago. And you agreed to it."

He had me there. I ran a hand through my messy hair needing something to do. And that's when the vision of his future came.

In my mind, a bright light flashed and a mental movie played out. I saw Spike going to a cave where a blond girl held up a stake. She threw him out and he asked for someone to eat before she scared him off. That was the way Spike's future was going.

Then, another vision swam into my mind's eye out of the black depths of my head. This scene was the way things *needed* to work out. In this vision, Spike was with me as we went to a house. I took careful note of the address as the door opened to reveal two people that I knew to be the Slayer and her Watcher. I saw myself asking for their help before it all disappeared and faded to black it had come from.

With a gasp, the real world came back. I shook for a moment with the exhaustion that came after a miracle. Spike's arms were automatically around me in a hug. He'd seen this before, but it had been a while now. He must have been kind of shocked by it. "Are you alright?" his deep voice asked.

I hadn't hugged him back, but I leaned into his embrace while nodding. "Mhmm. Just saw the future. No biggie."

Very slowly and awkwardly, Spike let me go. I saw the apology in his eyes, but he wouldn't say it. He'd only ever said sorry to me that one time after killing his first slayer.

And for what he did, he should have.

"What did you see?" He asked.

"I saw the way things are going now with you going to your girlfriend and her trying to stake you. And then I saw the way things need to go. And that, you're not going to like."

"Harm tries to stake me? I knew that bint was good for nothing."

"Uh-huh," I said sarcastically.

He rolled his eyes and changed subject. "What was the second thing you saw?"

"Like I said, you won't like it."

"Bloody just tell me, Rhuen!"

"Fine!" I said defensively. "You're going to have to go with me to the Watcher's house and ask the Slayer for help."

He frowned. "You're right. That I don't like that."

I rolled my eyes. "I'm just trying to help you out, but you do what you want, Spike. You're good at that," I snapped.

For a moment, he looked hurt and I felt the guilt I didn't want to feel coming on. Then the Big Bad came back. "Right, then. I will."

Spike turned on his heal, a flash of leather and peroxided hair. As he stormed off, I looked up to the sky, my hands becoming claw-like as I let out a silent scream of exasperation. Leave it to me to get the most hard-headed, annoying, pain in the neck Charge possible.

Part of me wanted to let him go so he could find out about his new chip and come crawling back to me asking for help. I knew it would happen, but I also knew it would hurt his major ego. I was considering doing just that when a loud snarl came from the other side of the dark park I stood in.

His emotions came. Pain. Fear. They assaulted my very own being and I ran after him. As I got closer, I saw a squad of four commandos circled around my stupid vampire. One had managed to pin Spike's arms behind his back, binding his wrists with some strong wire material. Another man slipped a dark hood over his head, but not before his blue eyes had found me. They sent a silent call for help. One he knew I couldn't deny.

I sighed and rushed in to help, punching the soldier holding on to Spike in the face. He went down as his nose cracked and Spike jumped into action. He ripped the wire restraints off along with the hood while I went to taking care of the guy aiming his stun gun at us.

I could feel Spike get into a fighting stance behind me, and I suddenly felt more sure of myself. It was just like the old days when we worked so well together, fitting like the pieces of a puzzle. It would have been ever better if I didn't feel the waves of fear rolling off him into me from my empathy link.

"Sweet, we got a problem. I can't fight them. I tried, but I thought my head was gonna explode."

"That," I said, my eyes never leaving the enemy's face, "would be your little gift from the government. This will teach you, Spike. Be careful who you vote for, or they'll put a chip in your vampiric head that won't allow you to hurt humans." My tone had become sarcastic at the end. I don't care about polotics. I only worry about one thing, and the president is not it.

"What?" came the angry reply from behind me.

I didn't have time to answer. Electrodes came my way and I dodged them at the last second. I ran up to the human, my wings slicing through my back to come out. I aimed a kick to his chest as I lept at him, hitting my mark perfect.

I turned to see the last two commandos trying to take on Spike. The vampire was a fast enough learned to understand his chip wouldn't go off unless he hurt someone, so he focused on evading as they came after him. One tried to go hand-to-hand, but I intercepted him before he got too close to my Charge. I glared him down while yelling at Spike. "Get out of here! It'll be easier to focus if I don't worry about you!"

He almost needed to be told twice and was about to argue with me when I slammed the man I was grappling with down and went for the last guy. I didn't need to do much seeing as he gave me one look and ran away. Can't say I blame him, though his buddies might when they wake up. I sniffed indignantly and relaxed a bit when I turned to see Spike was safe.

I tensed when I saw he hadn't listened to me one bit. "You idiot! What part of, 'Get out of here,' is so hard to understand?"

"The part where I take orders from you?" I walked over to him and smacked him upside the head. His hand darted to where mine had whacked him and he glared at me. "Ow."

"Serves you right," I seethed. "Spike, it's my job to protect you. Why is it you have a hard time helping? I mean, really, do you try to get yourself killed?"

He just gave me one of those trademark smiles that he'd perfect over the years, but unlike all those snarky ones, this one met his eyes. "Good to see you again, too, Rhuen."