Title: Heir To The Heroes (1/1)
Spoilers: AtS: Up to ‘Not Fade Away’ and beyond!!!
Synopsis: The Morning After The Night Before
Well, that’s it then. He walks slowly down the alley and stares at the floor, covered in blood, pieces of flesh and…yep, apparently someone got a little creative at the end there and decided that ribcages were *the* choice body part to wear outside the actual body this year. His lips curl in a smile; he’d put money on it being the blue chick that decided that.
He crouches and touches his fingertips to a small pile of dust, even now losing it’s cohesion as the demon blood that held it together dries in the dim sunlight afforded by the alley’s high walls and it starts to blow away in the morning breeze. He wonders if this is all that remains of his father. No way to know for sure. It could be the other vampire Spike after all. Or maybe some residue from the brickwork that cages their last resting place and that looks as though it took some heavy knocks in the battle the night before. No, there’s no way to know.
He sighs and stands up. It’s over. This alley has seen the worst and the best and now, finally, it’s seen the end. The heroes are all gone and he is left alone, left to continue his hard won normal life that was paid for in his blood and that of others and that he once wanted more than anything. It’s his now for the taking. Any minute now.
His eyes look away from the street and drift towards the back entrance to the hotel. Unbidden the thought rises in his mind and he walks forward, stepping over the body of something green and leaking on the floor and he sees the gate hanging open. Home. The place where you go and they have to take you in. The place where his demonic daughter tried to take over the world and the first place where he and his father were truly together, demonic brainwashing notwithstanding.
He walks slowly, ignoring the sudden buzzing of his cell phone in his pocket and touches a hesitant hand to the door. If he tries hard enough maybe he’ll be able to feel some heat left there from the previous year, something to tell him that the heroes that died actually *lived*, that they aren’t just figments of his increasingly unreliable memories. It’s cold and he’s not surprised. It was always a more familiar sensation to him than heat, despite the hellish dimension that he grew to manhood in, and it feels somehow right that he experiences the chill again now. Death should be cold and quiet.
The door gives with just a little shove and he steps inside. It’s cool, dim and dusty and he chokes off the extremely inappropriate giggle at the thought that it now feels more like his father’s home than ever. In death, as in life and all that.
More steps take him into the lobby and he takes a moment to breath in the air, listening even as he knows there is nothing to hear, waiting for the sound of a familiar footfall. Nothing. Again, no surprise. He smiles faintly as he sees the layer of dust on the desk and thinks of Fred and Cordelia and their reactions to the mess that once was the last bastion of good in LA. Man, that would not be pretty. He turns in a slow circle and his smile widens. This is his now. The one other thing his father had to give aside from a chance to live. The papers were handed over yesterday and he has a man called Nabbitt to look up to claim the other part of his legacy, the part that all of them signed over to him; heir to the heroes. All their worldly goods and chattels now rests in his hands, proof that they knew they would at least be successful in one thing they set out to do before they died, proof that they knew when the sun rose over their last great battle the world would continue to turn and life would go on.
Right, life, that thing he really should be getting back to any minute now if the increasingly insistent ringing and vibrating from his phone is anything to go by. He takes it out of his pocket and checks the caller ID. His mother. No doubt she’s seen the news coverage of the riots and gang wars on TV and is worried after finding out that he never made it back to the dorms last night. He stares at the phone and then puts it back into his pocket. There’s time enough later to reassure his family and friends that he’s alive, these moments are his to honour the memories of the ones that aren’t and the memory of the life he’s leaving behind. An internship beckons after all. He’ll be respected one day, a leader in his chosen field and he’ll lead a quiet life with his chosen wife who will provide him with offspring that will look at him from under heavy brows and be surprisingly resistant to going out in the sun. Yep, that’s the life for him, all right.
He frowns down at the sword that seems to have appeared from nowhere in his hand and notes how much more comfortable it looks there than the pen he habitually wields these days. He looks up and sees that he has crossed to the weapons cupboard and his other hand is caressing a small crossbow that he remembers was Cordelia’s weapon of choice. Just lying there, strangely forlorn as though it knows it will never feel her touch again. He can relate.
So. Time to start thinking about that life of his. Okay then. His eyes track around the room and he sighs quietly.
A loud thump and a muffled yelp from upstairs has him swinging around, sword ready and hope rising as he listens intently.
//Just one, it’s not much to ask. Just one//
He looks up and sees a figure with long brown hair scramble up from the balcony floor and for one wild moment he thinks that its Fred, that she somehow managed to find a way home, but then the frantic beat of his heart slows as she brushes the hair from her face and he sees not the face of his father’s friend but that of a stranger and the final death of his reluctant hopes.
“Hello.” The girl stares down at him and points a slender, wooden stick at him in the manner of one holding a loaded gun. “Who are you?”
He raises an eyebrow and curls his lip; he’s good at that.
The girl flushes and shuffles her feet. “Sorry, it’s been a very bad day. My name is Hermione Granger and I have a message for Angel, do you know where he is?”
He stares at her for another long moment and takes in the scratches and welts that mar her pale skin. He sees the look in her eyes and recognises the deep, desperate fear of someone who has reached the end of her rope. “Message?”
The girl relaxes slightly as she hears his voice and a ghost of a smile touches her lips. “Yes. Albus Dumbledore sent me. Angel is needed.” She bites her lip and frowns as though frightened she has already said too much. “Please, do you know where he is?”
His hand moves to his pocket as his cell phone starts once more to ring and he pulls it out to stare at the screen. Still his mother. He lets the electronic siren song of normality and internships and a life in the suburbs ring out and then he lets it fall to the floor and smiles as he looks up at the life he isn’t turning his back on after all. “Yes. I’m Angel.” His hand drifts out and lifts Cordelia’s crossbow from the cupboard and he swears, just for a second, he can feel them all around him. “I help the helpless, how can I help you?”