Forever, That's The Whole Point

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Darla walked into the little house she and Angelus were sharing. She removed her gloves and called, "Angelus? Are you here?" When there was no answer, she made her way into the next room. "Angelus?" She found him huddled in on himself, crouched by the fireplace.

"Not everyone screams." He said quietly.

"What?"

"When you kill them…. Some just stand there…. Frozen…. While others…."

"What are you doing?" Darla asked, pulling her hat off. "Are we playing a game?"

Angelus stood up, but he still faced the wall. "Children…. They usually scream."

"Mmm…. Yes. They sound just like little pigs. Have you brought me some? What? You don't think I'll share? I can't believe you think I'm that insensitive."

Angelus finally moved away from the wall. He looked completely disheveled and frantic. "We've drunk and killed for how long now? A hundred and forty odd years? Drunk them all up and they're all dead." He was sobbing.

Darla moved up and tried to grasp his face. "Where have you been?"

He slapped her hands away and backed up. "Don't!"

"What is this? Have you met someone else?"

"There was always someone else…." Angelus moved forward and laid his forehead down on Darla's shoulder.

"No. Let go." She shoved him harshly backwards. "Let go of me! What happened to you? Angelus! What happened?"

"The gypsy…. Mya…." Angelus let out a sob. "My Aurelia…. Her people found out and they did something to me."

"A spell?"

"Funny…. You think with all the people I've maimed…. And killed…. I wouldn't be able to remember every single one. But she…. Aurelia…. She's the most clear of them all. I remember…. Everything I've…. Done…. To her. God…." He shook his head frantically as Darla moved towards him and placed her hand on his cheek. "Help me."

"A spell…. They gave you a soul. A filthy soul!" Darla raked her nails down Angelus' cheek. "No! You're disgusting!"

"Darla…."

"No." Darla grabbed a chair and held it in front of her. "Get away from me."

"You brought her here." Darla broke the chair and picked up one of the bigger pieces of splintered wood. She lunged at him with it, but he moved out of the way. "I'm like you."

"You're not like anything. Get away from me. Get out!" Angelus turned and ran. "I'll kill you!"

He moved down the street, only glancing back once to see Darla standing in the doorway holding the stake.

After Darla cast him out again in China during the boxer rebellion, Cassius searched for Aurelia. He had to find her. He had to seek her forgiveness. But she was nowhere to be found. For 90 years he searched for her. Finally, he gave up. He believed he was beyond redemption for the crimes he'd committed against his beloved.

It wasn't until he was living on the streets of Manhattan in 1996 that his shot at redemption finally came forth.

Cassius walked past a man digging through a trash can and down the alley. A boy ran past him with a package and disappeared further down the alley. Cassius was tired and weak with hunger as he staggered into a concrete post at the side of the alley and stopped. He coughed and rolled around to lean with his back against the post. He was tired, filthy, and unkempt. Without Aurelia to guide him, he was lost. He'd been tired, filthy, unkempt, and lost for 98 years.

Cassius took a moment to breathe and smelled something on the air. He searched the alley with his eyes and spotted a rat scampering across to the other side. He took a couple of unsteady steps, brushed the hair from his face, and began to stalk the rat. It reached the other side and disappeared into a pile of trashcans and bags. Cassius dove after it, scattering the cans and bags noisily. Much to his chagrin, he lost the rat. Cassius threw himself back down on the ground and growled. He hated what he was.

Unbeknownst to Cassius, a man came into the alley behind him. "God, are you disgusting." He said. "This is really an unforgettable smell. This is the stench of death you're giving off here. And the look says, uh…. Crazy Homeless Guy. It's not good."

"Get away from me." Cassius said.

"What are you gonna do, bite me?" The man gasped and jumped back sarcastically. "Horrors! A vampire! Ah, but you wouldn't bite me on account of your poor, tortured soul. It's so sad, a vampire with an immortal soul. It's so poignant."

"Who are you?"

"Let's take a walk." Cassius stared at the man in confusion and suspicion. "Would you come on? Jeez!" Finally, Cassius stood up and followed the man. The two of them walked along the sidewalk for a few paces and then turned onto the street to cross to the hotdog stand on the other side. Cassius wasn't paying any attention to the traffic, so the man had to grab his arm to stop him. "What are you eating? Like, a rat once a month?" Cassius strayed again and almost walked into another car. The man grabbed him again and pulled him back in time. "Hey! Look, you're skin and bones here! Butcher shops are throwing away more blood in a day than you could stand. Good blood. You lived in the world a little bit more like you used to, you'd know that."

"I wanna know who you are."

"And I wanna know who you are."

"Apparently, you already do."

"Not yet. But I'm looking to find out. Cause you could go either way here."

"I don't understand you."

"Nobody understands me. That's my curse." He stepped over to the street vendor and pulled out some cash. "Dog me. Mustard." After a moment, the man looked at Cassius. "My name's Whistler."

The vendor handed Whistler his hot dog. "Here you go."

"Thanks. Anyway, lately it is."

"You're not a vampire." Cassius said.

"A demon…. technically. I mean, I'm not a bad guy. Not all demons are dedicated to the destruction of all life."

"What do you mean I can go either way?"

"I mean that you can become an even more useless rodent than you already are, or you can become someone again. A person. Someone to be counted. Someone to be loved."

"I just wanna be left alone."

"Well, yeah, you've been left alone for, what, ninety years already. Or is it 243?" Cassius glared at Whistler. "Ever since Elizabeth. And what a package you are. The Stink Guy!"

"What do you want from me?"

"I want you to see something. We'd have to leave now. You see, and then you tell me what you wanna do."

"Where is it?"

Cassius pulled up to Hemery High School in Los Angeles in an old, rusted Chevy Impala with its windows spray-painted black. He watched students come streaming out of the building from the far side of the street. He lowered the driver's window and squinted out into the daylight, careful to remain in the shadows. He looked over at the building and saw Aurelia come down the steps with three of her friends.

Cassius gasped and a tear fell from his eye. This girl was the very image of the Aurelia he'd known in ancient Rome. Her long, flowing blonde hair. Her lightly tanned skin that glowed as if from an inner light. Cassius had to laugh because she was so tiny. Aurelia had always been small.

Her voice floated to him on the wind. "So I'm like, 'Dad, do you want me to go to the dance in an outfit I've already worn? Why do you hate me?'"

One of the girls with her asked, "Is Tyler taking you?"

"Where were you when I got over Tyler? He's of the past. Tyler would have to crawl on his hands and knees to get me to go to the dance with him. Which, actually, he's supposed to do after practice, so I'm gonna wait."

"Ok. See ya later."

"Bye!"

"Call me!"

"Ok!"

"Call me! Call me!"

"I will!"

The girl…. Whistler had said her name was Buffy in this lifetime…. Climbed back up a few steps and looked around. She took off her jacket and sat down to wait for something. She laid the jacket across her legs and idly looked around again.

Cassius watched an older man in a black suit approach her. "Buffy Summers?"

"Yeah? Hi! What?"

"I need to speak with you."

"You're not from Bullock's, are you? Cause I-I meant to pay for that lipstick."

"There isn't much time. You must come with me. Your destiny awaits."

"I don't have a destiny. I'm destiny-free, really."

"Yes, you have. You are the Chosen One." Cassius let out a pained groan. "You alone can stop them."

"Who?"

"The vampires."

"Huh?"

Buffy landed flat on her back and a vampire propped himself over her, growling menacingly. She was very frightened and looked around frantically for what to do. Cassius watched her from behind some gravestones, desperately wanting to go to her. Buffy spotted her stake, but she couldn't reach it, so she just got her hands underneath the vampire and pushed him off. He flew off of her and landed hard on his back.

"Oh, God…." Buffy rolled onto her hands and knees and scrambled on all fours to retrieve her stake. "Oh, God…. Oh…. Oh, God…." She grabbed the stake and quickly got to her feet. She looked at it, unsure of what to do next.

The vampire got up and lunged at her. Reflexively she grabbed him, sidestepped him, and sent him flipping over to the ground again, dazed. She looked at the vampire, amazed by what she had just done. She glanced back at the Watcher, down at her stake and then made her move to kill the vampire. She quickly got to her knees, raised the stake above her head and plunged it into him, but she got him in the gut instead of the chest.

"Oh! Not the heart!"

Cassius wanted to laugh at her, but he was afraid she would hear him. Buffy plunged the stake into the vampire again and this time, she hit her mark. An instant later the vampire burst into ashes. Buffy was caught by surprise and she screamed and jumped back, landing on her butt. She just stared at the ashes on the grass in wide-eyed shock.

Behind her, Merrick the Watcher stepped up. "You see? You see your power?"

Cassius could see that Buffy wasn't at all sure she wanted to see.

Cassius followed Buffy to her home and watched her go inside with her mother close behind. "Why didn't you call?" Her mother asked.

"I'm sorry." Buffy said. "I-I didn't know it was so late. Tyler and I were talking."

"That boy is irresponsible."

"No, mom. It's not his fault."

"You know we worry, that's all." They looked at each other for a moment and her mother shrugged. "Dinner's in ten minutes."

Buffy whispered, "Yeah." As her mother walked off. Buffy went through the other door into her bathroom. She turned on the water to wash up from the cemetery. Her parents were talking in the hall and she, as could Cassius, could hear as it escalated into an argument.

"Did she say where she was?" Her father asked.

"She was with Tyler." Her mother said.

"I don't want her seeing him anymore, period!"

"You're overreacting, dear."

"Don't do that! Don't talk to me like I'm a kid!"

"I don't! Just forget it!"

"Just because you can't discipline her, I have to be the ogre!"

"I am not having this conversation again! Alright?"

Cassius felt his heart break for her. He watched Buffy look at herself in the mirror sadly as the tears began to come. He knew that this wasn't the first time an incident like this had happened.

Cassius arrived where Whistler was waiting for him. "She's gonna have it tough, your Aurelia. She's a Slayer and she's just a kid. The world's full of big, bad things."

"Why doesn't she remember?" Cassius asked. "She's fifteen years old. She should remember."

"I think you have those gypsies to thank for that one."

"I wanna help her."

"You can't tell her who either of you are."

Cassius nodded. "I know."

"This isn't gonna be easy. The more you live in this world, the more you see how apart from it you really are. And this is dangerous work. Right now, you couldn't go three rounds with a fruit fly!"

"I wanna learn from you."

"Alright."

"But I don't wanna dress like you."

"Again, you're annoying me. You're lucky we need you on our side."

Cassius told her his name was Angel when they finally met in Sunnydale. He couldn't believe it, but she fell for him all on her own. She didn't have Aurelia's memories, but she fell in love with Angel. And on her seventeenth birthday, she gave him everything she was. In that moment, Aurelia came flooding into her mind and she was reunited with Cassius. Angelus' indiscretions against her were forgotten for the moment and they fell into each other's arms in a blissful reunion.

But unbeknownst to either of them, the gypsies had put a loophole in the curse. If Aurelia were to ever return and Cassius were to find happiness in her arms once again, he would become the monster Angelus. They couldn't allow Cassius and Aurelia to be together. The prophecy told them what would happen if the two were to finally come together once more.

Two Lovers Venus souls twined as one

Neither death nor time

Nor the destruction of this very world

Can keep their souls from each other

One born of Darkness but touched by Light

One born of Light but touched by Darkness

Within the time of Light and Darkness

The Eternal Lovers shall be torn apart

And the End of Days shall be brought forth

Whence they come together again

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