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Now, it's finished. Totally. No more. As in really, really over. **sobs**

Crossposted to sickchicks and my regular journal.


Hell Is In the Details – Epilogue – A Foregone Conclusion

~Two Years Later~

A couple of hours spent trolling through some of Los Angeles’ sleazier back alleys and bars made Spike question the common sense of his search. He was on edge and longed to drown his nerves in a bottle – make that several bottles – of JD, but knew he had to remain sharp and focused.

Right.

This was useless, Spike thought. Like searching for a soddin’ needle in a haystack. Time to check out some fresh open spaces. Might not find the tosser, but at least he could leave the stench of the city behind for a while.

A half hour’s walk and the changing landscape found his spirits much improved. Surrounded by green grass, trees and the deep midnight blue of the nighttime sky, Spike took stock with his preternatural senses, reaching out for… and yeah, there it was – due north, not far from where he was.

Of course it worked both ways, so by the time he was within visual range, the dark figure slumped on the bench with his head in his hands spoke first.

“What do you want, Spike?” The elder vampire was quietly resigned, as if a confrontation were somehow inevitable.

“Lookin’ for you, Peaches.”

Angel sighed, looking up to face his erstwhile childe. “So what is this, Spike? You here to finally collect your pound of flesh?” His posture remained open; it was obvious that if the younger vampire were to attack, there would be no defense offered.

Spike wasn’t surprised by his attitude in the least. Brood boy was back in the house.

"Nah... have to watch my girlish figure these days. Slayer gets all pinchy if she sees love handles formin’." Taking a small breath to steady his nerves, Spike took a seat on the opposite end of the bench, staring up at the night sky. “Truth is, Buffy an’ me was wonderin’ how you were managing’.”

Angel snorted in disbelief. “How do you think? And why don’t smell a mating claim on you? You and Buffy aren’t the love match you thought?”

Refusing to rise to the bait, Spike replied calmly. “What we have, Peaches, is what works for us both at the moment. We live together; fighting and shagging as the occasion suits. Snoggin’s pretty much our favorite indoor sport. Outdoor sport too. But we’ve both agreed that bein’ mated ain’t on the immediate agenda for either of us.”

Angel sighed. It was all out of his control, anyway. Was never meant to be in his control.

“Back to my reason for bein’ here, then. How’s the soul settled in now? Not back to fur an’ tails on the menu, are you?”

Angel shook his head, laughing a little, bitterly. “No rats and alleys this time around, Spike. I’m back to basement living – trading demon killing for a place to stay. Same kind of deal with the butcher for my blood. It’s not like being newly souled and crazed with the guilt of one hundred and fifty years.

“The last three or four years? I’ll admit the soul’s been beating me black and blue on a moment-by-moment basis for them. If I could… I mean… ”

For the first time, Spike grew agitated. “Oi, git. Shut your gob. You don’t get to apologize to me. Not now, not for that – not so soon. Maybe not ever. Not what I came for, anyway.”

Angel held up his hands in placation. “All right, you’re right. Apologies won’t change things or make them better. Sorry.” He shrugged. “You know what I mean. Anyway, if you’re still interested, I do realize how much I’ve lost. Friends, I mean. But I’m getting used to it. Figuring out just where I went wrong in the first place.”

“S’good, then. At least the Tribunal’s cobbler work did more’n hurt you. Buffy’ll be relieved.”

Surprised at Spike’s unvoiced concern, Angel found himself curious as to how the younger vampire spent his time. “Well, my unlife is an open book. What about you?” he asked. “Has Buffy managed to make a kept demon out of William the Bloody?”

Spike is very much a kept demon. Kept, coddled, loved, wanted, and treated with respect. Slayer an’ me freelance for the new Council these days.” He laughed. “Seems Rupert finally managed to cough up salaries for Slayers an’ various ‘consultants’ as they’re needed.

“Between all m’human schooling an’ the demon languages and lore Angelus managed to beat into me, ol’ Spike’s become a valuable commodity. They get the fists and fangs, too – sometimes the lady an’ me step in to teach the fledglings a thing or two ‘bout fighting.

“Best part of my unlife is just being a family vamp. Watchin’ my Niblet grow up peaceful an’ happy, annoyin’ all and sundry for shits an’ giggles… s’all good.”

The urge to return to his Slayer battled with Spike’s desire to brag. He wasn’t fooling himself; rubbing his rich, full life with Buffy in Angel’s face was a bonus, if not the entire reason for his visit, but he’d just about had enough.

Spike nudged Angel up, just a gentle shove of the elbows that said ‘c'mon, let's get up and walk.’ Plenty of night left and ground to cover.

As they wandered about, Angel asked if this visit was the only reason Spike is in Los Angeles. Spike told him they'd gotten a small place in LA for the time being. Just taking a break from everything for a month or so. Resting a bit. - no patrolling, so they wouldn't run into each other. With most of Europe once more his playground, the relative anonymity of LA was welcomed.

Angel stopped mid-stride; the whole scenario of Spike seeking him out for mindless chatter and not retribution not sitting well. The elder vampire was determined to get to the bottom of things.

“Look, Spike… I know I don’t deserve this second chance at redemption. You would have been well within reason to have demanded my final death from the Tribunal. Hell, I would have asked for yours if the situation was reversed. Would you mind giving me an explanation? I mean, after all I’d put you and Buffy through… “

Spike clapped him on the shoulder once, before distancing himself slightly. “First of all, Angel, I am not now nor will I ever be you. S’the one thing you never learned… I react to things my own way – not yours.

“As for why I’m here? When all is said and done, a piece of paper doesn’t change who family really is. Your blood will always flow in my veins. Without you I would have been dust in an English grave near a century ago. So I care. We care. And one day, we hope…” Spike turned away, his emotions getting the better of him, and walked off into the cover of darkness.

Leaving a puzzled Angel behind, alone again.

Because Spike knew, and hoped that Angel would one day soon realize... it’s not the big mistakes you make that ruin lives – Hell is all in the details.

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
miss_tress
May. 23rd, 2004 03:48 pm (UTC)
::sniff::
I loved this whole fic from begining to end. Thank you for writing such a faboo piece of work and for sharing it with all of us out here in cyberland.
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 09:40 pm (UTC)
Re: ::sniff::
Does my heart good that you enjoyed my little offering. **smooches**
oboe_weasel
May. 23rd, 2004 04:06 pm (UTC)
that was wonderful. I loved all of this fic. the last line was great, its always hard to finish writing something and i really appreciate a good ending.
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your constant feedback and **smooches** to you. Glad the ending didn't disappoint.
(no subject) - oboe_weasel - May. 26th, 2004 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 09:42 pm (UTC)
And I'm so glad you read it. Works out well then! **hugs you**
moxie_fic
May. 23rd, 2004 04:43 pm (UTC)
I loved the story and you brought it to a very touching conclusion. I do love a good ending. Well done you:-))
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Maria! Glad you managed to stay with it through the very rough parts. I always tried to keep the ending in sight to help me get through 'em. **smooches**
slackerace
May. 23rd, 2004 06:56 pm (UTC)
I love that throughout this story, Spike is repeatedly shown as the "better" person in all of his dealings with Angel, and that the end is no exception. Thanks for writing this story.

spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading it from start to finish! And yes, I've always felt Spike was the better person/demon. **hugs you**
snowpuppies
May. 23rd, 2004 08:50 pm (UTC)
Perfect ending.

Loved this series, beginning to end.

Bravo and many kisses.
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 09:56 pm (UTC)
You've made me a very happy little writer. **takes bow and kisses you back**
tgray
May. 23rd, 2004 10:08 pm (UTC)
I agree with everyone else on this. I loved it. The epilogue may have been the best part of the whole entire thing. Their interaction was perfect.
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for holding my hand throughout the whole fic - without you and willa_writes and
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Thanks for holding my hand throughout the whole fic - without you and <lj user="willshenillshe"> and <evilmaniclaugg"> I'd never have gotten through it. **huggles you**
evenstar_estel
May. 24th, 2004 02:59 am (UTC)
I've just read through this tremendous story and even though is was painful, shocking and infuriating, it was also amazing. It was also at times uplifting and sweet and always Spike was good, strong and full of a resilient spirit. You've accomplished an excellent piece of work.
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 10:07 pm (UTC)
I'm so pleased that you found my story worthy of praise. I've been enjoying your fic for ages so I consider it high praise, indeed. **smooches you**
divinestake
May. 24th, 2004 05:08 am (UTC)
Well you made me think "Oh God No", made me laugh, made me sniff and say ahhh, made my mouth drop onto the keyboard, made me go hee hee hee and then you made me want to read it all over again.

Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you.
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 10:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad my little tale moved you. Best thing for a writer to hear in praise. **hugs you**
jesse_kips
May. 24th, 2004 09:22 am (UTC)
I totally loved this story, from start to finish! The characters were well written, the story was fantastic and the writing superb!

Don't really know what i'm going to do now that it's gone..... any more stories planned? Please say yes!

*Goes off to read the story all over again!*
*Loved*
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 10:12 pm (UTC)
My little head is spinning from the praise. So happy you enjoyed it. Check out my Memories section, and you'll see what else I've written. You've made me feel very proud.
brujabroom
May. 24th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC)
Absolutely perfect ending, I don't think there's anything more that can be said other than I look forward to your next venture *g*

Thank you.
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 10:18 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed the ending... and I'm looking forward to completing the other WIPs I've got hiding in memories. To sleep, perchance to dream... and maybe find some more inspiration.
(Deleted comment)
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 10:22 pm (UTC)
So happy to find someone new after all this time... and I'm so glad you've enjoyed the fic. I certainly cried during the writing of it.

As for a new fic? Well, first I want to finish the WIPs I've already got... unless a little rabid bunny comes along and nips at my ankles. **grins**
glassslipper
May. 25th, 2004 08:05 am (UTC)
What a great ending to a really good story. Very well done!! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. :)
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked the ending, cutie... and thanks for being so encouraging throughout the whole writing process. Thanks for reading and many **smooches** to you.
evilmaniclaugh
May. 25th, 2004 10:15 am (UTC)
God that was just spot on bloody perfect. how did I miss you'd posted??? *smacks you for no heads up*

Bloody flu...never mind feeling human again now... as opposed to feeling like cold dead seed. *sniggers*
spikes_heart
May. 26th, 2004 10:37 pm (UTC)
**reels from your smack** So glad that you liked the ending. As I've mentioned elsewhere, if it weren't for you and willa_writes and tgray, this never would have seen the light of day.

Many, many **hugs** to you. And pray I never use the term "cold, dead seed" except in jest. **shudders**
(no subject) - schehrezade_1 - Aug. 23rd, 2004 10:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spikes_heart - Aug. 23rd, 2004 11:09 am (UTC) - Expand
megan_peta
Dec. 19th, 2005 10:08 am (UTC)
Just had to say that even though it took me all day to read this fic again, I loved it as much as I did the first time. Perhaps tomorrow I'll spend the whole day catching up with one of your others. Can I just say though, Crazy Eights anybody???
spikes_heart
Dec. 20th, 2005 05:41 am (UTC)
You do see me beaming from ear to ear, right? I've reread this myself, and can't believe I wrote it in the first place. Really, except for a few tweaks here and there, it all came to me fully in a dream I actually remembered upon waking. That never happens! I'm just thrilled you find it holds up.

Anyway, I want to finish Reclamation, I'm working on Beloved (the muse's current fave project) and I do promise I'll eventually get back to Crazy Eights. I so want to. **smooches you**
(no subject) - megan_peta - Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spikes_heart - Jan. 2nd, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )