Once upon a time, he would have killed for you.

Once upon a time... isn't that how all those mortal stories start? The ones that used to be wonderfully violent and gory, with bad little children being eaten up, and heels and toes being chopped off to confuse foolish princes? You remember those stories, remember watching as they were gradually sanitized, the blood and guts and reality washed out of them, until they became a pale shadow of what they were.

Once upon a time, in a far-away kingdom... Oh, those days. You remember the predatory grace of him as you hunted together, the long sprawl of him after you fed, the feel of his body under and inside yours as you celebrated the kill, night after night after endless night. He was yours and he lived for you, killed for you, existed for you. He was yours.

Something moves inside you now, and it's a part of him, but it's not him. He's gone, left you far behind, and you know you'll never find him again. You came close, oh so close, but it didn't work. Where you once had his heart and his body (and to hell with his soul), now all you have is this thing inside you. This thing that he loves already more that he can ever love you again.

The voices are still outside; it seems like they never stop. They don't dare leave you unguarded, and you take a certain amount of pleasure in that, in the fear this little mortals can't hide, for all their posturing and pretending. No amount of weapons will make them feel safe as long as you're there, and if that's all the satisfaction you can find, then you'll take it.

He likes it here. Here, with these mewling little mortal infants, with all of their morals and their self-sacrifices and their 'thou shalt nots'. If they knew the things you and Angelus had done, the commandments you'd broken together, they wouldn't look at him with those cow eyes, all of that sickening love and affection and 'Angel, we're here for you.' You were there for him for a hundred years, and you want to tell them what the repayment for that is. To make them lie here, with this thing in your belly and their voices grating on your ear and this endless, unceasing hunger gnawing at you... That's the price for Angelus. Angel. Whatever he wants to call himself. That's the price.

You smile and stroke one hand over your belly. This is the price, and you know it, even if they don't. A lesson you've learned, one more thing you can hug jealously to yourself. Something you know about Angel that they don't. They'll learn, if they live that long, and you hope you're there to see them bleed with the knowledge.

Once upon a time, in a far-away kingdom, a princess lived... They've even got a princess here, in Angel's cute little mortal family. The vapid blonde Slayer he killed you for has been replaced, and you hate all of them for that -- that even your death didn't make her worth enough for Angel. She's been replaced by this dark-haired bitch, with all of her sweet concern and compassion, too stupid to know that she has nothing to offer you. That you're more than she could ever be -- strong, glorious, immortal -- and will be when she's rotting bones in her grave beside the Slayer.

Does she know what he is? What he really is? Does she know the heat of his mouth on her body, the roughness of his hands as he takes what he wants, what he needs? Has she ever lain screaming and clawing under him, or does her pure white soul shudder at the very thought? That's something else you know that she doesn't.

Does she lie in her ivory bed dreaming of some handsome prince with Angel's face and wake alone? Or, better yet, does she dream of the demon and wake in screaming? Does she dream of some future with him, or does she suffer knowing it will never happen? You caress your belly again, feel the... the thing move again, and you smile, just a little, as it brings you pleasure for the first time. You don't want it -- but it's something she'll never have.

Maybe it's worth something after all.

Once upon a time, he would have killed for you. Now he'll die for her, and you close your eyes, counting the minutes, hours, days until you can watch it happen.

And you'll live happily ever after...


I thought, I really believed, that the third part of the Triptych was going to be Wesley. But no. After two weeks of trying to make the boy talk instead of just sitting there and having a mood at me, I suddenly get hit with Darla. Whome I have never channeled before and hope to never channel again. < shudder > Yeee.

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triptych | angel | seanachais | neon hummingbird