Disclaimer: Hey. Still not mine. Gorrammit.

A/N: A fill for mangacrack at Comment_Fic, who I don't think is into Buffy. Oh well. This is where my brain went.

Prompt was: "any vampire fandom, any, Sweating
And shaking
Lying with her hands across her chest
She wakes with
Her cravings
"

Goes AU during 1.07 "Angel."


"This is sick, Darla. This is wrong."

"Shh," Darla's voice urges him toward silence. "It's a gift, darling."

"I should've… I shouldn't—"

Her hand on his cheek quiets him. "Dear boy," she murmurs. Her thumbnail, trimmed short and free of polish, skims over the skin of his lower lip. "It's for you. The best of both worlds."

"Well, no, not really, though," Angel argues, though his voice still bounces around like an echo. He isn't sure what he's supposed to be doing, which is pretty much the same as every moment in his unlife for the last one hundred years, but he'd thought he was on to something good here finally. "It's one world. The same world, I mean. It's just yours."

Darla waves a hand. "Fine," she says. "Fine." She flounces (flounces!) back to the bed. "Then I've just made the choice easier for you." She peers back over her shoulder at him, standing, lurking, brooding, over by the wall. Her eyelashes flutter. "Isn't this better than choosing?" Her smile is sweet, like honey.

Evil honey.

It's not new, the guilt that claws up his guts every hour of the day. Nor is the confusion new. What's right, what's wrong. His morality is blurred, he knows that. But, still, there's something about the situation that has an unknown-ness to it that Angel can't quite grasp onto, that leaves him completely out of his depths.

"If you really thought it was 'wrong'," she says the word like it's the funniest damn word she's heard in her four-hundred years of existence, "you would have stopped me." She fusses over the bed, arranging things this way and that, making everything perfect.

Angel isn't quite sure how to respond to that. Because what Darla's doing is wrong. Definitely. But he didn't stop her.

He did mean to try. Really, he did. He was going to be good, and help the Slayer, and seek redemption and pay penance and he wasn't going to fall for Darla again, not even a Darla with bangs and skimpy Catholic schoolgirl skirts.

So why he hasn't shoved a sharpened piece of wood through her sweater-wearing chest is slightly baffling. Only slightly, though, because despite everything that's happened between them, she's still his sire. Vampires just don't kill their sires. Period. End of story.

But he's not much a vampire, right?

He's not. Really. He's not.

He eats rats, and takes from what's donated. Stealing, yes, and maybe that's a little wrong, but otherwise he'd be out there killing people, which is definitely more wrong. He hasn't killed in twenty years. He saved some people, too. Kind of. Almost.

"It's nearly time," says Darla. Her voice is not without a hint of pride. Only one vampire has ever done this before, ever. And that one may only be legend.

Angel doesn't want to watch. Doesn't want to be here, standing like a stranger in his own apartment. He should just go back to New York, tell Whistler he got the wrong guy. Angel's not the hero he was looking for. He's not a hero at all. If he was, this wouldn't be happening. He wouldn't have let this happen. Heroes don't let this kind of thing happen.

Her hands are folded over her chest, like she's straight from the set of a monster B movie. Darla reaches out and brushes the bangs off of her forehead.

Yellow eyes open.

Angel can't look. Angel can't not look. It's horrible and wrong and against everything natural in the world; good, evil, or otherwise.

"Angel."

"Buffy." He's surprised that his voice even works at all. His legs still don't, though. He's frozen in place, back against the cement wall where he's been standing since he followed Darla in at the crack of dawn, hours ago.

He'd fallen in love with this girl, hadn't he? Seeing her in her little outfit on the steps of her school, the weight of the world landing so suddenly on her shoulders. He'd felt love then. Hadn't he felt love? He'd wanted her, to protect her.

Why hadn't he protected her? Why hadn't he protested when Darla drank the life from the girl he loved? Why hadn't he reached out and stopped her when she'd bent the girl's head to her bleeding breast and when Buffy'd begun to suckle in her unconscious? Why hadn't he locked them out, or left them on the streets? Even, why hadn't he just left, when Darla cradled the body in her arms and smiled at him, lips red with the most potent aphrodisiac known to demonkind?

And why wasn't he saving her now?

A stake to the heart, a sword to the throat. Stop this wrongness he let happen. Make things right. Put an end to it all. Maybe he could follow.

Darla leans over the new vampire, keeping one hand out to stop any attacks that could be sent her direction, should Buffy decide to take to her new nature in anger. "How are you feeling, my dear?" she asks with the gentle, concerned tone of a mother fussing over her child. But that's the way it is now, this backwards world he entered when he burst into the kitchen at Joyce's cry.

The Slayer who is no longer a Slayer blinks slowly, her pupils dilating to take in the sterile scenery through the darkness. Her nostrils flare, taking in all the new scents to be found in the world and her lips part a few times, her tongue making a brief appearance, before any noise actually comes from her mouth.

Angel waits for some sign that she's really still Buffy. Waits for her to get up, fight back. To tell him that what he let happen was wrong.

She doesn't.

"I'm hungry."

Darla smiles.