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The Rivals

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Angelus likes them delicate. It's something to do with control, perhaps, or maybe just because he likes the look of one large hand wrapped around a small pale body. He likes the feel of being taller, bigger, of being able to hold down and take command. Even though Darla is his Sire, and he only gets control when he's given it, there's still something in the size dynamic, something in the sweet pale blond little body, that he loves.

Drusilla's dark where Darla is fair, but it doesn't stop her being just as delicate, just as sweet. That small pinched face, beautiful rounded breasts and an arse that fits snugly in one of his hands. He can pick her up and whirl her around when he's in the mood, or hold her down and strip her when he's not. One hand to hold her, the other to do what he damn well wants, listening to her cries of pleasure.

Whatever he does to her, she loves it. He's tried everything, delving down into the deepest recesses of his sadistic demon mind. She still loves it.

He can't do anything to Darla that she won't let him do.

He loves them delicate. Pale and slender and easy to break. But Dru's already broken, and Darla's his Sire...

He barely notices Drusilla's boy when he first arrives. It's not the first time she's come home with a new pet after all; mostly she'll play with them until she gets bored, or the pet walks out into the sunlight through sheer desperate misery. He sees them playing together sometimes, children's games or adult games it's all the same to him. This boy isn't a threat, he barely even registers on Angelus's radar as a vampire. It's a good couple of weeks before he even notices the lad exists at all, that Drusilla's got a new toy.

When she starts getting fractious it becomes a problem. When she pouts and moans and spends as little time with him as possible, then it becomes an issue. He'll put up with her games, but he won't tolerate anything that starts getting in his way, so he marches into her room and drags the boy out. Smacks him around a bit while Drusilla watches, enraptured, and then leaves him in a bloody, twisted, snarling little heap and motions to Drusilla to follow him back to bed. She runs straight to the boy, cooing over him and stroking him, wiping the blood off his face and babbling in baby-talk.

He has to drag her away eventually, and as he does he catches the boys eye and sees a disturbingly harsh flash of hate. His eyes are blue, pale and washed out but with a hardness that Angulus wasn't expecting. He stamps his foot down and those blue eyes flutter closed, face twisted in pain and for some reason that makes Angelus pause, just for a second.

That night, after he's finished with Drusilla, he asks her what her new pet's name is.


 

After that the boy, William, just becomes a nuisance. Not a problem, just a pain, an irritating fly that refuses to be swatted, trouble that follows them around and won't learn a thing. He seems to have decided that him and Angelus are rivals, and he starts to actively choose his battlegrounds. Drusilla is one, naturally, and the entire population of London seems to be another. William isn't happy unless he's got a mob chasing after him, and every time they're forced to move, every time Angelus comes after him and beats him stupid, threatens to stake him, William chalks it up as a win.

Angelus can't fight like that. And William just won't stop, even when he's barely able to speak, when he's bleeding in so many places in so many ways. He'll still sneer up at Angelus with those hard blue eyes, arms wrapped around his body, shivering and clutching at bruises. "Go on then, kill me ... you've not got the guts..."

His voice twists, loosing the soft accents it once had, becoming hard. His body is changing, loosing any ounce of fat, shrinking into whipcord muscle. His hair is no longer softly curled, he doesn't even think in poetry any more. He's all hard edges and twisted curses.

He still bruises easily. His skin is still delicate. Pale and beautiful.

Angelus always did like beautiful things.


 

Darla stops speaking to him eventually, turning away and locking the door of whatever pitiful little hovel they've managed to find for the night. "I don't care any more Angelus, I don't care who he belongs to, who his Sire is, or what Drusilla feels about him. You are not coming back to my bed until we're back in London and the little brat behaves."

William is turning into far more trouble than he ever should. Angelus wishes he'd taken a hand in this earlier, when Drusilla first came home with the boy. Trained him properly, taught him to be a Vampire, because by now William's already got far too many of his own ideas about what he should be doing, and all of them are wrong.

Attention, Angelus decides, because he's getting good at looking deep into other peoples minds and finding out how to break them. William want the attention. He's spent too long being ignored as a human, crouching in empty corners, stuttering words that nobody hears. And now the demon within him wants to tear and burn and laugh in the face of an angry mob and the human is loving it.

William wants attention.

Angelus decides to give him some.


 

It's not the first time for Angelus - he's buggered plenty of young men before, mostly at Darla's command although he'll take one himself when he's in the right mood. But William, poor sweet delicate William has not a clue what's going on; when the usual beating turns deeper, more intense, when he's bent over some rickety cabinet in the hallway and left howling and gasping as Angelus takes what he desires. One hand is big enough to hold him down, pressed over the small of his back, rucking up the shirt, while the other steadies his hips, or knocks a fist into the side of his head to keep him still.

William is dizzy and confused, snarling and moaning, lost adrift in a wash of sensations that he doesn't know how to deal with. The pain flashes behind his eyes like a sharp bright shard of glass all twisted and cracked. He grabs down hard on the wood beneath him and shudders, his whole body racking through, pressing back towards the strong cold body behind him, hissing swearwords in a constant stream of choked up tears.

When it's finished Angelus just drops him in to the floor, watching as William slides downwards to land in a heap, moaning as his arse hits the floor. Angelus can't resist a sneer, but it dies on his lips as the vampire looks up at him, eyes still flashing with hate, mouth still twisting and spitting poisonous words, "I knew it, you great fairy, always had you down as a pouf..."

And Angelus realises, slowly, unbelievably, that William still thinks he's won. That Spike will chalk this up as a victory, that nothing is going to change. The crazed bloody little mess in front of him has his heart set on Drusilla, and she'll love him for this, she'll love him more than she loves Angelus, her own Sire.

He walks away. And William wins again.


 

He does it a few more times after that; if he's angry, or irritated, or sometimes just bored. The third time Drusilla comes along to look and just as he thought her eyes are wide and amazed, as she watches her Sire break her boy into a beautiful split mess all over the sheets. As soon as Spike sees her there he changes, stops struggling so hard, bites his lip and gets through it once he realises how much she wants to see it, how much it makes her want him.

So Angelus brings her in to play with them, although that turns out to be a worse idea than he thought. Dru loves it, because she gets her two favourite boys focused on her. Spike loves it because it helps him tolerate Angelus taking him. Angelus hates it, because they both love it so much, because somehow even when Spike is sniffling beneath him, and Drusilla is tied to the bedposts and moaning his name; it still feels like they're both using him to spend time with each other. It makes Darla fractious as well, because she wants to spend time with him, and she does not want to spend any time with William. Darla likes her men big, powerful and rich and William is none of those things, and doesn't care. William's walking his own path now, fighting his own battles and talking foolish nonsense about killing slayers.

Darla's angry, he's loosing Drusilla, and despite the fact that he's Angelus the mighty, Scourge of Europe and William is nothing more than a crazy fledge, Spike is still winning.

Liam never was cut out to be a family man.


 

It's strange what a soul can do, how it changes his perception of everything that's going on. Before the soul they were his companions, Drusilla was his love, Darla his master. Now both of them are nothing more than monsters. Terrible creatures that he cannot bear to spend time with. And William, Spike, is a dangerous crazed maniac that he feels horrified for ever associating with. They look different, all of them, and although Spike is still carrying on his battle against Angelus, Angel can't find it in himself to care.

And in a night of blood and fire, in China when the world goes mad and William's grinning at Angel with a mouth full of slayer-blood it's all Angel can do not to be sick. And when Angelus chokes the words out, "I guess that makes you one of us" they feel like bile in his mouth, he can't even bring himself to smile.

Spike looks back at him, confused, sneering, his arms around Angelus's beautiful dark princess and Angel turns away. Walks out through the fire, knowing Spike is behind him, knowing Spike is waiting, waiting for a retaliation, for a fight that never comes. He stops going to Spike's bedroom, and each day he sees those hard blue eyes looking up at him; confused and just a little put out that Angelus has stopped hurting him. He backhands the boy a few times, just for the look of it, but his heart's not in it.

It's a relief when Darla finally grows weary of the playacting, when she finally lets him go, and he can try his hardest to vanish out of their lives. Before he goes he comes to Spike, doesn't tell him, doesn't say much at all, just gives him one night of tenderness, love and kisses, sweetness against a harsh sneering mouth, gentleness into a struggling, hissing body. It's one last attempt to be Angelus, and it fails miserably because he doesn't want to hurt Spike anymore. He can't bear the thought of what he made when he broke William.

"Sorry." He says, just before he leaves, rolling onto one side, gently running a hand down Spike's spine and watching it twist away from him.

"Wanker." Spike spits back, staring at him with eyes full of hate.

"I know. Spike. I know." He gets up then, tugs on his jacket and turns to leave. But he catches one last look at Spike's face before he opens the door. It's full of hate, that's to be expected, but also confusion, anger and, for the first time he can remember, raw open fear.

It's terrible, it's monstrous, but for the first time ever in this crazy competition that William made and Spike continued, Angelus has won.

And Angel walks out the door and leaves.