ethrosdemon & Lar ||| Buffy & Angel

Damnation I - The Devil's In The Details
by ethrosdemon & Lar


Email: naturallycalm@yahoo.com and HERE
Distribution: List archives, people who beg, you know the routine.
Disclaimer: Joss and Mutant Enemy own the boys, we just pretend that we do. We have nothing of value, do not sue us.
Rating: R
Spoilers: S4
Summary: Restless redux.
Notes: This is the sequel series to "Shameless" and "Falling." We promised you wouldn't wait long. Again we thank you for all your feedback, your praise, and the bribery and threats, which make life more interesting all around.

= = = = =

Xander dreams of wakefulness. Startles as if he's caught himself falling.

"I'm awake. I'm good. Did I miss anything?" Looks up to see Buffy and Giles mesmerized by the television, Willow gasping like a fish on the sand.

"Not very much at all really." Giles crunches, crunches as he stares straight ahead.

Buffy echoes him. Rustle, chomp. "Bunch of massacring."

Turning to the TV, Xander watches the soldier wander through the forest. He's frightened but in charge, the soldier is, and it captures Xander's attention. The speaker on the TV crackles with the sounds.

"We gotta keep going, men. We gotta take that hill."

"Damn this war!" Thinking out loud, as we tend to do in our dreams.

Giles voice, dry and a little annoyed, interrupts Xander's thoughts. "I have to say, I really feel that 'Apocalypse Now' is overrated."

Enraptured still, Xander tries to explain. "No, no. It gets better. I remember that it gets better."

TV soldier screams out his fear and pain. "Oh my god. What's happened to my men? Ahhh!"

"Want some corn?" Xander turns his head to see her offering the bowl. Gives it some consideration.

"Butter flavor?"

"New car smell."

"Cool." Leans over Willow to take a handful. Wills is still doing her gasp and choke routine. It's getting monotonous. "What's her deal?"

Buffy shrugs. "Big faker."

Giles stares at the screen, trying to find the logic. "Oh, I'm beginning to understand this now. It's all about the journey, isn't it?"

Xander rolls his eyes. "Well, thanks for making me have to pee." Gets to his feet, he knows where to go.

"You don't need any help with that, right?" Buffy offers but she is back to her study of the television war.

Xander hits the stairs. "Got a system."

========

Xander dreams of Angel in black silk pajama bottoms leaning in the doorway of Joyce's bedroom. His eyes are half-closed, and the fingers of one hand are resting against his stomach, the other is hidden behind his back.

"Hey," says Angel.

Xander looks at Angel's mouth, it's red, too red and the rest of his body seems to be glowing slightly.

"Hey Angelus. " He steps forward. "We're not making too much noise down there, are we?"

"Oh, no. Anyway, they all left a while ago." Angelus smiles.

"Oh, I should probably go catch up."

"I've heard that before." Words dropping off his tongue with a lilt, two fingers dip into the waistband of his pants.

"I move pretty fast. You know, a man's always after-"

"Conquest?"

Xander shrugs. "I'm a conquistador."

Xander's eyes focus on Angelus' rapidly swelling cock under the flimsy material. Xander focuses back on Angelus' face, but his lips don't move as he speaks.

"You sure it isn't comfort?"

"I'm a comfortador also."

Angelus leans back against the doorfacing and rubs the heel of his palm against his erection."I do know the difference. I've learned about boys."

"That's cool about you."

Angelus's face morphs, takes on ridges and his teeth extend, he runs his tongue against one canine. Xander can't look away.

"It's very late." Angelus' lips still don't move and a trickle of blood runs from his tongue. "Would you like to rest for a while?"

Xander sees a bed made up in red satin sheets, the pillows in disarray and the covers rumpled.

"Um, yeah. I'd like you. I'm just ... gonna go to the bathroom first." His voice is gravely with desire and pitched low.

"Don't get lost. " Angelus jerks into the bedroom like he's on film and every other frame's been removed.

===============

Xander dreams of moving forward. Enters the bathroom, closes the door, lifts the toilet lid, unzips his pants.

Looks over to see a conference room, a crowd of lawyers watching him. Pinstripe suits, cowhide briefcases. Some take notes on yellow legal pads. An older man with cool blue eyes stands to the left, apart but with them. His smile is thin lipped.

Xander raises his eyebrows, zips his pants back up, says "Okay, I'm gonna find another bathroom."

Opens the door to leave but keeps looking back. You never know what might happen. Steps across the hall and opens the door there, identical to the one behind him. Finds himself in his basement, and it's dark. The side door shivers and Xander hears banging, sees the frame tremble.

He calls out. "I didn't *order* any vampires."

The banging gets louder, doorframe shaking harder.

Xander is afraid. He backs away. "That's not the way out."

==============

Xander dreams of the playground of his elementary school.

Giles and Spike swing on the swing-set clad in tweed and cotton. The sun is glaring, and Buffy frolics in a sandbox in front of him.

He walks over to Buffy.

"Hey, there you are."

She continues to play with her plastic bucket and shovel. "Are you sure it's us you were looking for?"

Spike swings and speaks. "Giles here is gonna teach me to be a Watcher. Says I got the stuff."

Xander turns to see Giles reply. "Spike's like a son to me."

"That's good. I was into that for a while, but... " Xaner nods toward the street behind Buffy. " I got other stuff goin' on."

Xander sees himself in an icecream truck, serving children treats.

"You gotta have something." Says Xander. "Gotta be with movin' forward."

"Like a shark." Buffy answers.

"Like a shark with feet and ... much less fins."

Spike interjects. "And on land!"

"Very good!" Giles crows still swinging.

"Buffy, are you sure you wanna play there?" Xander asks, and Buffy pulls a face. "It's a pretty big sandbox."

"I'm okay." A vista of desert strewn with rocks expands behind her head as Buffy speaks "It's not coming for me yet."

"I just mean ... you can't protect yourself from ... some stuff." Xander tells her, and the playground returns.

"I'm way ahead of you, big brother."

"Brother?"

Xander squints at Buffy, the sun is blinding him, and behind him Giles squawks at Spike. "Go on, put your back into it! A Watcher scoffs at gravity."

Xander watches Buffy's unreadable face.

+++++++++++

Dream Xander sees himself in the playground with Spike, Giles and Buffy. He's leaning out the of the window of the icecream truck.

Sunnydale passes by the windows of the truck as he drives, and Anya sits to his left.

"Do you know where you're going?" Xander glances at Anya in surprise when she speaks.

"I've been thinking about getting back into vengeance." Anya has a sucker, she fiddles with the wrapper.

He sets his hat on the dash. "Is that right? It'd be a lie if I said I was surpised."

"Well, you know how I miss it. I'm so at loose ends since I quit. I think this is going to be a very big year for vengeance."

Xander looks over at her, but she's watching the road. "But ... isn't vengeance kind of ... vengeful?"

Anya whines in response "You don't want me to have a hobby."

"Not a vengeance hobby, no! It's dangerous. People can't do anything they want. Society has rules, and borders, and an end zone. It doesn't matter if-" Giggling behind him interrupts his diatribe.

He turns, and dream Xander sees Tara and Willow in the back of the truck dressed in short shirts and wearing too much make-up. They're making out.

"Do you mind? I'm talking to my demon." Xander's voice is shrill and annoyed.

"Sorry." Willow tells him.

"We just think you're really interesting." Tara smiles at him, her lips don't move as she speaks.

"Oh, I-I'm going places."

"I'm way ahead of you." Willow slides her hand up Tara's leg and fondles her own breast through her shirt.

Willow's hand moves under Tara's skirt.

Xander is transfixed. "Is that right? You just think so."

Both girls turn to look at him.

"Watch this." Whispers Willow.

Dream Xander watches Tara and Willow passionately embrace, Willows tongue tracing the outline of Tara's lips; Tara's hand under Willow's shirt moving in circular motions.

The women break apart.

"Do you wanna come in the back with us?"

Xander doesn't reply.

"Oh, go on." Anya waves him away. Seventies porno music begins to blare.

"I don't have to." Xander tells Anya.

"I'll be fine. I think I've figured out how to steer by gesturing emphatically." Xander stands up and makes his way to the back of the truck. He passes the icecream and enters a crawl-space. He forces his way through the debris of suburban life.

=======

Xander dreams of losing his way. Falls to the ground and finds himself back in his basement.

He looks around in frustration. Back to the place he started.

"Girls?"

The side door shakes with the insistent pounding.

Xander yells. "I know what's out there!"

The pounding continues. Perhaps he is the only one who can hear his own voice. He backs away, turns, sees a bald man holding up a plate of cheese slices.

"These ... will not protect you." Voice grave as he imparts his wisdom.

The door again. Xander walks past the man with his plate still in hand. There's growling now, and the pounding never stops.

============

Xander dreams of going back in time. Sunnydale High hallways, but the colors are wrong. Everything's purple and green, overexposed film. Weird noises like microphone feedback all around him, students standing and talking in groups.

Xander pushes his way past students in the halls. Looking over his shoulder, he can see a blur. Animal darting movements, tracking him through the forest of legs. Chasing him, hunting him.

Giles is leaning against a wall, relaxed. He is eating an apple and Xander calls to him. "Giles."

"Xander, what are you doing here?" He continues to eat. Bites. Chews. Swallows.

"What's after me?"

Giles knows things. "It's because of what we did, I know that." Bite. Chew.

Xander is confused, shakes his head to clear the dreamthoughts. "What we did?"

"Hm. Now, the others have gone on ahead." Xander looks in the direction that Giles indicates. "Now, listen very carefully. Your life may depend on what I'm about to tell you. You need- "

Xander loses Giles' voice. He's talking to Xander but it's not right. None of the words make sense and it's important that he finds out what this is about. He needs to know. Tries to ask Giles for help, tell him it's too hard. "What? Go where? I don't understand."

"Ce n'est pas le temps pour des jeux."
//This is not the time for games.//

Dawn is here now. Xander hears her call to him. She comes up and takes his arm.

"Xander. Il faut que tu viens avec nous maintenant. On t'attends."
//You have to come with us now. They're waiting for you.//

Xander sees Dawn's mouth moving but it's not her voice. Grown woman voice coming from Dawn's little girl mouth.

Giles again, and not-Giles. "C'est que j'ai vous dire."
//That's what I said.//

Xander tries to make Dawn listen. "Dawnie, I don't...I can't hear you."

She takes his hand. "C'est pas importante. Je t'escorte."
//It's not important. I'll take you.//

Giles comes along. "Allons-y la."
//Let's go.//

Xander finds himself pulled, tugged. Dawn and Giles leading him, and he doesn't want to go there. Not sure why, but he isn't ready yet. Shove on his shoulder and he's pushed. Skateboard, some guy trying to hurry him.

"W-wait! Where we going? Where?" Xander looks back, always looks back. The crowd comes forward and he is being picked up. He's raised high even as he tries to get away. Giles is there, apple in his mouth. Looks like a pig set for roasting.

Xander struggles in the grip of unfamiliar hands. "Hey! Let go! Hey!"

//Hey//

//hey//

=================

Xander dreams of jungles and heat. Hands cuffed and taken prisoner. He is brought to a dark room, pushed to his knees. Soldiers and guns behind him. A man lies on a cot in the darkness, speaks to him.

"Where are you from, Harris?"

"Well, the basement mostly, once I was from Oxnard."

"Were you born there?" Slow voice. Old voice. No face to go with it.

Xander nods his head. "Possibly."

"I walked by your guidance counsellor's office one time." The man rises up on one arm and Xander sees him clearly. Principal Snyder, neck wreathed in a terrycloth towel. "A bunch of you were sitting there ... waiting to be shepherded."

Xander looks confused, edging on frightened.

Snyder keeps talking. Low voice. Dead voice. "I remember it smelled like dead flowers. Like decay. Then it hit me. The hope of our nation's future is a bunch of mulch."

"You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake." Xander makes the statement. A beat and his face betrays his worry.

Snyder sits up slowly, face further in the light. He's covered in sweat. "Where are you heading?"

Xander shrugs. "Well, I'm supposed to meet Tara and Willow."

Synder lifts a wooden bowl.

Xander continues explaining. "Or possibly Angel."

Snyder's hands lift water from the bowl and pour it over his bald head. It soaks into the towel he wears. He tells Xander, "Your time is running out."

"No, I'm just trying to get away. There's ... something I can't fight." Protesting. Explaining. Introducing reason.

"Are you a soldier?" Old voice. Dead voice.

Xander shakes his head. "I'm a comfortador."

Snyder leans forward into the light. His voice is full of contempt. "You're neither. You're a whipping boy. Raised by mongrels and set on a sacrificial stone."

Xander nods agreement, winces. "I'm getting a cramp." Gets to his feet and peers around the darkness. He's elsewhere. He's not alone. The thing from the school is there, predator slipping around the corner, behind the trellis. Growling at him.

Xander backs away. He's in the courtyard outside Giles' apartment. He runs to Giles' door, opens it, enters.

"Giles, it's here!" Giles doesn't respond, doesn't turn, doesn't acknowledge dream Xander's presence.

"It's more serious than we thought." Giles tells Anya and Buffy.

Xander stands in the middle of the livingroom trying to draw his friend's attention. "Giles!" he screams.

They continue to ignore him. "I can fight anything. Right?" Buffy asks Giles.

"Maybe we should slap her." Anya suggests regarding Willow.

Xander gives up and runs out of the livingroom into the hall. Instead of Giles' kitchen he arrives in Buffy and Willow's dorm. Students mill and go about their daily lives around him. Loud music blares, and he makes his way to the girls' room.

"Buffy?" Growling from somewhere, he flings open the closet door and walks in. Pushes past clothes, runs and stumbles out into the basement again.

The pounding is getting louder from the backdoor, and he shudders.

"That's not the way out. " His own voice echos in his dream ear.

The door flies open and a voice booms in at him. "What the hell did you do to me?"

Dream Xander tries to appear as sorry as possible.

In to doorway, Xander sees Lindsey haloed in harsh sunlight.

"You didn't even try to follow me. Are you ashamed of me? Look what I did to myself." Lindsey shouts. He thrusts his arm out, his wrist is cut so deeply the bone shows and the tendons are severed.

"You don't understand." Xander holds his hand out.

"I don't understand what? That you never really loved me?" Xander takes a step back, and Lindsey follows him in the basement.

Xander looks away from the horrid wound.

"You haven't got the heart." Lindsey tells him.

Without warning, Lindsey stabs his hand into Xander's chest. Xander watches it happen. Lindsey's hand gives way to one attached to a dark arm encased in tattered white cloth. Xander's eyes meet animalistic flashing ones where Lindsey stood seconds ago. The hand dislodges from his chest taking his heart along with it.

Xander wakes.

=end part 1=

Damnation Part II: Idle Hands



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