Story Summary: The cup of perpetual torment may have been fake, but Spike's destiny as the victor is real. Angel has horded his supremacy over Spike for over a century, and it is time for Spike to show once and for all that he is the winner in the end. He wiped the floor with Angel during their battle in the opera house for the cup. Fake cup or not, he is about to be rewarded with everything he's ever wanted. It's time for Spike to be rewarded with his destiny. (Also I am changing the canon timeline for Angel at the end of this story because of how I ended up wanting to settle things.)
Author's Note: I was rewatching some Angel Season 5 episodes for the heck of it one night. I had a desire to laugh my butt off at Angel puppet in "Smile Time", and I kind of jumped around the season from there. As soon as I finished watching the scene in the office at the end of "Destiny" with Gunn and Angel, I had to put this idea to print. Right now I'm considering it a one shot, but I might sequel it later if there is interest and the muse wishes to.
Disclaimer: Did you seriously think that I owned Spike, Buffy or anything that Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy created? I so wish I did, but also no. All recognizable Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the series characters belong to Joss, ME, WB, and whomever else had their hand in the copyright pie at the time. Brief bits of dialogue were used from AtS Season 5 episode "Destiny".
Distribution: I welcome this story to be posted in related archives, but PLEASE let me know first. I'd like to know where this is going and see the feedback that people have for it. So please use my contact form (please put the story title in the subject of the email) to ask permission before posting this story anywhere. If you nominate this story for an award, please let me know at the email link above too. Thank you kindly.
As always 'Single' quote marks surround thoughts in this story. "Regular" quotes are around spoken words.
Charles Gunn and Angel talked about the battle for the fake cup of perpetual torment. Angel was sullen over the fact that Spike beat him. "It was the first time. He beat me. He wanted it more."
Charles Gunn tried to reassure his boss that the fight didn't matter. The cup was fake. It wasn't a true part of the Shanshu prophecy anyways. So, he couldn't fathom why Angel was so shook up about the situation. He had faith that Angel would beat Spike if there ever was a real time for the champion to be proven. "Angel, it doesn't mean anything."
"What if it does?" Angel cast a sideways glance at Gunn. "What if it means I'm not the one?"
Buffy walked into Angel's office at Wolfram and Hart at the end of Angel's sentence. "Then maybe it means you've finally your got your head out of your ass long enough to realize that the world doesn't revolve around you, Angel." She stood in the doorway with her hands on her hips. "You aren't the only vampire with a soul."
"Buffy," Angel spoke softly and in shock to see the blonde Slayer in his office.
"Buffy?" Gunn looked at the fierce looking woman. "The Buffy?"
"One and the same," Spike smirked from behind Buffy. He rested his hands on her shoulders. "They only made one of this precious treasure."
"Spike," Angel growled and jumped to his feet. "Get your hands off her." He got ready to jump across the room to rip Spike away from Buffy.
(Flashback to when Spike left Angel's office)
The elevator doors opened up on the level for Angel's office. No one paid attention to the lone occupant stepping out. Chaos was still in full swing in the Wolfram and Hart building.
"Tell the great git that I'm taking the viper, and I doubt I'll be back with it this time." Spike grabbed the keys off of Harmony's desk.
"You're really going to go find that skanky Slayer aren't you?" Harmony huffed in disgust. She crossed her arms over her chest. "She'll just dump you again, Blondie Bear."
"Don't think that my little lapse of sanity when I found that I wasn't a ghost anymore gives you the right to dictate where I will go." Spike grabbed Harmony by the sweater and hoisted her over the top of the desk. He pushed her against the wall with enough force to dent her body into the paneling. "And if you ever say anything like that about Buffy again, I will dust you myself."
"Dusting vamps is supposed to be my job. At least it used to be," A familiar female voice spoke from behind Spike's shoulder. "Though you always did have my back."
Spike let go of Harmony, and the vampiress slowly fell to the floor. Spike turned around carefully and cautiously. If what his senses were telling him were to be believed, it was more than he could have dreamed of seeing again. He was both excited and terrified to hear her voice again. "Buffy?"
Buffy's high heeled boots thumped along the carpet with each step. The crimson red satin corset top that she wore was edged with black lace. Several black ties dangled down her back and past her waist length blonde hair to rest on the black leather pants she wore. With a smile still on her face, she walked right up to Spike, and punched him squarely in the nose with enough force to knock him into Harmony's body.
"What the bloody hell was that for you crazy bint?" Spike held his bleeding nose. It hadn't fully healed from his battle with Angel over the "cup of perpetual torment", and it hurt like hell to have it broken again so quickly.
"That was for not believing me on the Hellmouth." Buffy stalked closer to Spike.
"Do you have any idea what I've been through lately?" Spike ripped Harmony's outer sweater off. He tried to staunch the flow of blood from his nose and other wounds that had reopened under the pressure of the punch. "I'm not your bloody punching bag anymore. You always have to go after my bloody nose."
Buffy ignored Spike's rants and continued on as if she hadn't heard him say anything. "How could you say that to me after wanting me to tell you that I loved you for years?" She stopped her advance right in front of Spike. She stood toe to toe with him and looked up into his eyes.
"Maybe because you waited until all of Hell was falling down around us to tell me." Spike growled. "I wasn't going to be your pity case, your last chance of redemption before I burnt up. If it wasn't real, I didn't want it."
"What makes you think it wasn't real?" Buffy's eyes were red from all the tears she'd shed while waiting for the Coven to prepare her for teleportation from Europe to the location they found for Spike's essence. She cradled his right hand in her left, interlocking their fingers like they were on the Hellmouth that day. "Couldn't you feel it, Spike? How could you doubt my love when it flowed from my heart to yours that day? A part of my soul vanished with you that day, and I didn't get it back until today."
"Pet please …" Spike's eyes begged her to understand and not torment him by dangling all of his dreams in front of his face without meaning it. His hand tingled, and he felt like their hands were on fire again.
"My informants told me that a ghost who looked like you was haunting Angel, but I didn't believe them because I couldn't feel you. The moment you crumbled to dust in the Hellmouth I knew in my soul that you were gone." Buffy rubbed her thumb over the back of Spike's hand. "I thought I'd died and returned to Heaven when I felt you again today. I knew that somehow you were back."
"You're really here for me, not the Great Poof?" Spike asked in awe.
"Yes, Spike. I'm here for you." Buffy leaned up a whisper's breath away from his lips. "Only you." She pressed her warm lips against his cooler ones and moaned softly. She choked back a sob that was echoed by Spike while they shared the first kiss between them in more than a year.
Spike blinked back his own tears. His emotions were running high. The battle with Angel took a lot out of him physically and emotionally. Old sins and taunts were heavy between them. Angel always knew how to push his buttons. He didn't care anymore that the cup was a fake one. Seeing Buffy again, and knowing that she was there for him, made him want to shout from the rooftops that she was his.
"What happened to your face?" Buffy noticed Spike's wounds for the first time since she arrived.
"There's an interesting story behind that, pet." Spike quickly launched into the most abbreviated explanation that he could come up with starting with his box in the mail from that morning.
"You ever touch Harmony again, and I'll castrate you, Spike." Buffy poked Spike in the chest when he finished the story.
"All of that explanation and you pick out that as your sore point? Have you gone completely carrot top?" Spike expected Buffy to go off on a rampage about the fight with Angel before she'd jump on him for Harmony.
"Better watch it Spike." Buffy waggled her finger in his face. "I've spent a considerable time in England now. I'm starting to pick up all your little phrases and what they mean, and I'm not crazy." She grabbed Spike's hand and pulled him towards what she figured was Angel's office by the tinglies she felt.
(Back to Angel's Office)
"I'd keep that ass of yours safely over there Angel because if you come any closer to me I won't be responsible for the stake that flies your way." Buffy pressed her back into Spike's chest. She drew comfort from his nearness. Her hand was wrapped around a stake that she had in a little sheath that rested along her lower back. It was attached to the belt of her leather pants.
"I guess you were wrong about her only being with me because she couldn't be with you." Spike enjoyed every flicker of pain that crossed over Angel's face. He may have his soul, but he'd endured decades of torment from Angelus and later Angel. No soul stopped Angel from making all of the comments he did during their fight for the cup. Anything that Spike tossed Angel's way now was only what Angel deserved.
"This has to be a spell." Angel reverted to a tried and true argument that he gave for anytime Buffy seemed to go against what Angel wanted for her. "You'd never stake me Buffy. You love me. Whatever Spike has done to you, we'll fix it."
Gunn backed away from Angel. "Man, you can't really think that Spike would do that? I don't even know him very well, and I know he hates magic. Besides he hasn't even been corporeal a day yet."
Buffy rolled her eyes at Angel. "Are you and Xander linked at the mind? Nice little fail safe there Angel, but it won't work this time. I can't be affected by magic like that anymore." She tilted her head to the side and smirked in true Spike style. "The only one who uses magic on people's memories and actions, is you."
'There's no way she could have found out about my deal with Wolfram and Hart.' Angel panicked in his thoughts. "I don't know what you're talking about, Buffy."
"You don't remember that you pulled a "Day That Time Forgot" with the Powers That Be on me?" Buffy accused Angel on the spot with her question. "The day you decided that being a good old normal human wasn't good enough for you?"
Spike's arms tightened around Buffy. "He what?" Spike's demon was snarling to the surface to be set free.
"Angel here decided that him being human wasn't in my best interest after some demon's blood changed him. So, he asked the Powers That Be to take back the day, turn him back into a vampire, and erase my memories of it." Buffy pointed an accusatory finger at Angel. "Then he had the gall to tell the Powers that his reason for needing to be a vampire was because he needed to be able to help me and protect me. Guess when all this happened, Spike?"
"If you tell me it happened before you died pet, I'm going to rip his throat out." Spike's vampire countenance was to the fore. Only the fact that Buffy was rubbing soothing caresses over Spike's arms around her kept him from leaping out to tear Angel's throat out.
"What? How?" Angel stammered.
"Funny thing what dying and being pulled back from Heaven by magical means does to your mind. Doors of the mind that were closed tend to open." Buffy frowned. "It's no wonder that I had a hard time figuring out what was real and what was just a part of my nightmares of being brought back."
"We both would have died if I stayed human." Angel tried to plead his case. "I had a life that I was leading in Los Angeles, and I had people that I needed to keep safe."
"I died anyways, Angel. So you obviously weren't that big on the needing to keep me safe." Buffy frowned. "Imagine my surprise when I finally realized that the feeling of Heaven that I thought I lost of being held by the man I thought I loved was actually a memory of something my supposed love stole from me."
"When did you know, Buffy?" Spike asked. He hugged her from behind. He couldn't imagine how hard the revelation must have been for Buffy to deal with. He knew how much pain Drusilla caused him every time she cheated on him. Angel's betrayal had to feel just as bad. Both of them were left by the one they loved.
"When you went to Africa, I had way too much time on my hands to sit and think." Buffy sighed. "Everything was such a jumble in my mind. I had to get it straight before I went crazy."
Spike tensed and tried to back away from Buffy.
"Oh no you don't." Buffy held Spike's arms tightly. She turned around in his embrace to face him. "We both did things we weren't proud of, but neither of us was perfect that year. When I realized you were gone, I hated myself even more for driving you away. Even if I didn't admit it to myself then, I knew I loved you."
"I don't know how you could. I was a monster." Spike lowered his gaze from Buffy's eyes to her shoulders.
"You were never just a monster, Spike." Buffy tipped Spike's chin up to look her in the eyes again. "From the moment you stepped into Sunnydale you showed that you could love as deeply as any man. In fact you've always loved more deeply and more strongly than any man I'd ever met or loved until you."
Spike ran his hand down the side of Buffy's face and over her long hair to her shoulders. "Love's bitch, remember?"
"Something I will forever be thankful for. You never left me except when you had to leave to save us both from destroying ourselves."
Angel snorted. "This is pathetic. It really is." He wasn't taking anything that Buffy and Spike were saying as being serious. She was acting irrational and delusional. "I leave her to have a normal life, and she gets mad. He leaves, and she loves him for it? What's wrong with this picture?"
Buffy turned around to face Angel with angry eyes when she heard his snort of disgust and muttered words. "You left because you couldn't bear the pain, Angel. You didn't want to fight for what you said you loved. Spike nearly killed himself to complete the trials to do what he thought it would take to give me what I deserved. His demon did what was the right thing to do. You can't even do that with your cursed soul intact!"
Gunn watched everything with interest. He'd worked with Angel for years, but everything that Angel said about Spike and Buffy was starting to become a bit clouded during the revelations of the conversation.
"It was my fault for not showing him that he didn't need to do anything because he showed that he loved me more without his soul than you ever did with it." Buffy buried the imaginary stake into Angel's psyche and twisted it in deep. "I don't have to worry about him going all Spikelus on me. His demon changed with him, not the other way around."
"I'm no bloody saint, Slayer, but thank you." Spike kissed the back of Buffy's head. Never had anyone defended him against his elder, or anyone else for that matter, as vehemently as Buffy was standing up for him now. The past pains faded away because the present and their future was all that mattered to him now.
Angel had heard enough. His demon was already ticked off enough from losing the earlier match in the opera house. Now, Dru's upstart Childe was trying to take something else away from him that Angel deemed belonged to him alone. He lunged across the room and knocked Buffy away from Spike's grasp.
"Ow!" Buffy hit the floor, bashing her elbow into the solid surface hard enough to crack the bone. She screamed at the unexpected shock of pain.
In the instant that Spike heard Buffy's cry of pain, Spike saw nothing but red. Buffy was hurt and the vampire in front of him was the cause. He kicked out high enough to clip Angel in the chin and knock his head back and body off balance.
Gunn ran over to Buffy's side. He wanted to keep his boss and Spike from ripping each other to shreds, but he knew he wasn't strong enough. He tried to help Buffy stand up. He was mindful to keep away from the elbow she was cradling. "I don't know how to stop them. We have to get you to the doctor."
Angel scratched his claws across Spike's chest. The t-shirt shredded easily. The wounds from earlier in the night split open, and new slashes added to the old ones. He lunged for Spike's neck, but his fangs never touched Spike's skin.
Spike smashed his fist as hard as he could into Angel's chest. Bones splintered as claws and flesh worked their way into the middle of Angel's chest cavity and clutched Angel's non-beating heart in his hand.
"Freeze!" A female voice called out louder than the snarls and growls of the vampires. The new addition to the office ran over to Buffy and Gunn. "Buffy are you all right?"
"Yeah, Wills. I think I broke my arm though." Buffy looked at Spike and Angel, both frozen in mid battle. "That is just weird to see."
"Hello Red." Spike wasn't able to turn his head, but he was at least able to talk. "This isn't exactly comfortable."
"Maybe you should have thought of that before you went treasure hunting in Angel's chest." Willow had tried to wait in the lobby as long as she could, but she worried that something would happen to Buffy.
"It isn't his fault, Wills. Angel attacked him for no reason."
"No reason?!" Angel shouted. He was glad that he couldn't move because he was worried that any movement would rip his heart from his chest and he'd be dust. "I'd say you and Spike being all cuddly was reason enough."
Willow rolled her eyes. "Oh is that all?" The idea still wigged her out a little bit, but after the collapse of Sunnydale no one could miss how tore up Buffy was over Spike's dusting. She started with the motion to release the warriors, but Buffy stopped her.
Buffy walked over to Spike. She placed her hand on top of his arm just at the outside of Angel's chest. "Do you really want him dead, Spike?"
"He hurt you." Spike searched Buffy's eyes for any doubt or concern over Angel's well being. All he saw staring back at him were the eyes of complete trust and love.
"So have a lot of people, but I don't really want them dead." Buffy smiled softly.
"She'll never let you kill me boy." Angel laughed.
Buffy ignored Angel's taunts. "You do what you have to do Spike, but isn't dusting him too quick and easy?"
Spike's curiosity was intrigued. He wasn't sure if Buffy was trying to talk him out of exacting revenge, or if she had a better means of revenge in mind. "Maybe. What do you have in mind?"
"If you dust him, he gets away from everything and with everything." Buffy leaned in closer to Spike. "If you let him live, then he has to face the fact that you won. Either way I will never be his, but if he lives he'll have a good many more years to brood over that fact."
"And who's to stop him from coming after us and staking me in our sleep?" Spike questioned.
"Delia!" Angel's voice shook with surprise and joy.
"Cordelia," Gunn's mouth dropped to the floor in shock.
Cordelia Chase walked into the room in her hospital garments. "You've lost your way again, big boy." She chastised Angel as she walked closer to him. "The guys upstairs are starting to get tired of how often you seem to veer off course."
"Delia," Angel said more reverently. Tiny tears leaked out of the normally impassive vampire's eyes. "How?"
Cordelia brushed her fingers across Angel's lips to silence him. She turned away from Angel to face Spike. She hovered her hand over Buffy's who hadn't moved her hand off Spike's arm. "Your acts have not gone unnoticed by the Powers That Be, William. From your gentle beginnings through your murderous rampages, all the way to the reclaiming of your mortal soul and the sacrifice of your own being to save the world. You have been weighed and measures in their eyes."
Buffy shook with nervousness. The Powers That Be hadn't been all that kind to her over the years. When Spike dusted she often wondered if he was granted access into Heaven or if he'd been cursed to Hell. She was afraid that the PTB's wouldn't be merciful. "Please," She said out loud, not even sure what she was pleading for.
"Your destiny has been won and fulfilled." Cordelia smiled warmly at Spike. "You've surprised them many different times, William, and they wish to reward with the desires of your heart."
"Last time a power gave me what I wanted, it hurt like Hell." Spike still remembered the burning and searing pain of his soul being restored to him.
"No pain this time," Cordelia promised. Her hand glowed and warmed Spike's skin. "Your reward is not dependant on this, but we ask that you allow Angel to live."
"If you're a messenger for the blokes upstairs, I'm sure they can keep me from killing Angel if they really want to." Spike didn't want to be anyone's puppet, and he felt that he had no true say in the matter.
"There are some things that they are not allowed to interfere in." Cordelia sighed. "You are the Champion of the Chosen One. It is your right to enact justice upon those who stray," She spoke in a very official sounding voice. In a softer voice Cordy looked directly into Spike's eyes with her heart on her sleeve, "I know he's screwed up, Spike. Please give me one more chance to help him be the champion I know he can be."
Spike knew the look in the ex-cheerleader's eyes quite well. It was the look of someone in love and fearing the loss of that person. He nodded his head slowly. "Last chance, Cheerleader." He made sure that his point was clear. "If he comes after me and mine again, not even your love will stop me."
Cordelia wiped the tears off her cheek. "Thank you, Spike."
Spike's hand loosened and released Angel's heart. His arm slid out of Angel's chest, and Angel collapsed to the ground. The spell was broken.
"Gunn get him some blood, human," Cordelia ordered. When Gunn didn't move she glared at him. "Now, Gunn. Explanations can wait for later. He's too weak right now to heal this kind of wound up."
Buffy wrapped her arms around Spike and hugged him tightly. She didn't feel the need to stay. Angel had his own friends to help him out. They needed to put distance between them before Angel fully recovered. She turned Spike towards the door to leave, but Cordy's voice stopped him.
"You'll find that things are a bit different for you now, Spike." Cordelia looked up from the ground where she cradled Angel's unconscious head. "That package was more than the touch of a corporeal gift. It was a part of your reward. When the sun rises on the first day that you return to the place of your birth, you will find out more. I think you'll find that you will enjoy the sunrise a lot more now."
"Thanks, Cheerleader." Spike wrapped one arm around Buffy and the other around Willow. "Take care of him. He's more than a handful, but make sure you heed what I said. I won't stop next time."
Buffy and Willow flanked Spike on either side as they walked back into the lobby to the Wolfram and Hart elevators. "So what now?" Buffy asked. Cordelia's message seemed cryptic to her, but she was too tired to try to figure it out at the moment. She'd been running on an emotional and adrenaline roller coaster all day.
"I'm feeling the desire to see the mother land again." Spike smirked. "You game to go back to England?"
Sudden dawning clicked in Willow's mind. "The place of your birth!"
"You got it in one, Red." Spike smirk grew. "I think it's time I went home."
"Can I come along for the ride?" Buffy teased.
"Nowhere is really home without you there, Buffy." Spike kissed Buffy's lips softly.
Buffy's happy giggle echoed around them in the elevator. The elevator doors closed shut on the trio as another portion of their lives was sealed away into the past. Destiny's were fulfilled, and it was time to enjoy the rewards.
THE END (If there is interest in a sequel, let me know.)