Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, or Harry Potter. All rights remain. Written for fun, not profit.
Author's notes: This is a very loose follow-up to a FR21/NC 17 rated Spike/Bellatrix story I wrote called, Pretty Messes, which can be found at my LiveJournal, twisted-slinky. livejournal 38743. html (remove spaces), but this is rather tame, and it can stand alone since I indicate what happened in that story within this one. "Pretty Messes"was set in 1977; this one is set during the Angel series finale.

Once upon a time, a villain met a villain on a dark, dark night. That story, however, wasn't in the book. Spike didn't really expect it to be, and he was, frankly, a bit relieved there wasn't even a footnote mentioning one William the Bloody.

It said much about a man, whether or not he took the time to buy a book. It seemed a signal of sorts, that life had slowed down; surely, someone purchasing a book wasn't out trying to save the world from its doom. Only, Spike was, because tomorrow, he might be dead. Really dead. Dust in the wind dead.

But perhaps he was wrong about this whole book purchasing thing. Perhaps buying a book was the perfect thing for a man, or vampire, about to meet his doom to do.

It was an accident really that he'd stumbled upon it. Between escaping one mess and preparing for the next, he'd taken a short-cut through a shop, only afterward realizing that it was warded to keep out the normal folk—it was a magic store, a real one, not just an occultist shop of whatnots, crystals, and self-help books. He couldn't get out of the place fast enough—places to go, people to kill, the usual. But, he knocked a book off a shelf as he ran.

It was black, leather-bound, hardback, but a skinny thing. Newer than its neighbors, if the crisp cut of its edges was any indication. As soon as he saw the metallic green letters of the title, he bought it without question.

And now he found himself at the end of a street, standing in the shadow of an alleyway, skimming through the entirety of the text as if he were that melodramatic ponce Lestat or something—thank Heavens that bastard was fictional. He wanted to stop himself, move on to bigger and better tasks, like getting pissed, but his curiosity wouldn't allow for it.

Dark Witch:

On the Life of Infamous Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange

Not exactly the catchiest title, but it was the subject's name which had caught his eye. Even after all these years, he recognized it. She'd given it to him—bloody hell, had it really been in '77?—and with such a cocky air about her, like she was born to rule the world. He hadn't been able to forget it after all this time.

He'd been evil; she'd been evil. Drusilla had left him high and dry that night, and he'd been looking for revenge in the form of a bit of a tumble. He'd gotten it, and more…Bloody witch had tried to kill him. Tried to kill him again after they'd had sex, too. Probably would have succeeded if they hadn't participated in a round of bloodplay, in which, thinking of his own skin, Spike had taken a bit too much from her.

It had worked. A dizzy witch was not an accurate spell caster, it seemed. Spike had run off into the night, still riding the high of blood and sex and gloriously expectant of whatever punishments Drusilla would dish out to him when she discovered his infidelity. Good times. Music had been better back then, too.

Spike sighed, allowing himself a small smirk before he went back to reading. Yeah, this was definitely about the same witch—he could tell by the moving pictures of her. Nearly made him jump out of his skin, those did. The loony bird hadn't aged gracefully.

What he found in the book was exactly what he'd expected to find, and he hated himself for confirming what he'd known to be true.

The girl, because she'd been a girl when he'd known her, had been one blackbird short of a pie back then, babbling on about her Dark Lord as if he were the Second Coming of the bloody wizarding world. He'd known, from the moment he'd met her eyes, that she was the wicked sort of mad, too. He'd spent too long with Drusilla to not be able to recognized that dark gleam in her gaze. But he'd enjoyed a bit of bloodshed himself—was, in fact, in London celebrating his kill of a slayer at the time.

A right bastard, he was. Cocky as she was, too. Drinking too much hot blood, he supposed. So, sleeping with such an evil specimen, even a human, hadn't been such an oddity for him.

He hadn't thought much about her, since then. Or about her wand-waving kind—better to stay away from those who could catch you on fire with a word, was his philosophy. But, right after their rendezvous, he had wondered what would happen if, by chance, they met again. Would she go for the kill, or would he get lucky again? Or would Drusilla be there to tear her limb from limb?

According to the book in his hands, she'd been sent to prison not five years later for torturing a couple to the point of madness. So, it appeared he never would have met her again, anyhow.

Spike's hand shook. He pulled a cigarette from his duster, lit up—smoke 'em if you've got 'em, as the saying went.

"…Unlike many other arrested Death Eaters after the first fall of the Dark Lord, Bellatrix maintained her loyalty to Lord Voldemort, even while facing life imprisonment in Azkaban…"

He snorted. No surprise there. She was as loyal to him as he'd been to Dru.

Spike shook his head, letting out a long stream of smoke through his nostrils. It shouldn't have bothered him. It really shouldn't. He'd done unthinkable things throughout his years as a vampire, before he received his soul, and after, for that matter. But, for some reason, this woman stuck to his bones. Because, in this case, it wasn't what he'd done to her…It was what he hadn't done.

It would have been so easy for him to have drunk her dry. She was distracted at the moment by his hand doing wonderful things to her body. She would have blacked out before she'd ever gotten a chance to reach for her wand. He, evil as he was, would have saved lives, families.

And, yet, without thought, he'd released her, running for it.

Spike snorted, trying to ignore his guilt. "Acting like bloody Peaches," he muttered.

He flipped through the pages, also trying to ignore the other crimes, the ones she'd committed after she escaped prison with her other groupies. Christ, to think all this was happening while the rest of the world kept turning...

Before he could reach the end, he saw how this story would conclude. Bellatrix Lestrange died, in battle, for her precious master. The good guys won. Evil vanquished and all that—another book's tale, as the author reminded, begging for sales.

Spike closed it, tucking it into the inside pocket of his duster.

Once upon a time, he'd been a villain. He wasn't anymore, and he refused to let his tale end like hers. No happily ever afters for him, either. But, if he died in battle, it would be while fighting on the right side of the war. And as his own man, no master in sight.

Spike let out a breath he didn't need to take and shook off the past like he was shedding a skin. No chance of meeting this particular villain again, he thought, with some regret, and made his way back through the shadows, suddenly in the mood for poetry.