Also Comes in Strange
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Title: Alone at Last
Author: Tania
Pairing: Angelus/Darla
Rating: Hard R
Summary: At some point every hunt must end.
Note: Written for ladyoneill (Lara) who wanted Angelus/Darla, smut or angst or darkfic, just not fluff, though a happy ending is fine. Set within the first twenty years after Angelus is turned; Darla teaches Angelus a lesson on who's the boss. No Master.
Thanks to chrisjournal, _green_, and sangpassionne for encouraging words and suggestions.


Jolting a hand against the wall to steady himself, Angelus gasped sharply, clutching at the silken folds lining the carriage's interior and wincing as he felt the material tear to ribbons under his fingernails. It was a shame to damage such a fine coach, but then, he thought, they were lucky it was only the fruit of a silk worm's labor that had been shredded that night. For the better part of three days Holtz had been barely an hour's ride behind them and, each time they stopped to change horses, the vampire hunters gained precious minutes. Angelus knew that soon enough there would be no more time to spare, they'd have to drive the horses to their deaths and then turn and fight.

Of course this was all of little consequence to his beautiful sire who was currently kneeling between his legs digging her fingernails into his bare thighs as the thickly rutted road tossed them from side to side.

The more the horses whinnied at their pace the more her groans around Angelus' cock quickened. To Darla each encounter with Holtz was another excuse for a fast getaway and, when she was feeling generous, she even took Angelus with her. Other times of course she left him for dead and always marveled when he caught up with her weeks later, perfectly willing to rejoin her until the game restarted.

Their last adventure had led them across the most barren parts of Africa; sand drenched deserts coming close to claiming the pair more than once. At length they had escaped into Egypt, hiding amongst traders and treasure seekers until Holtz vanished from their trail once again. Darla warned it wouldn't be for long, although she took her boy's chiding in good part when he strutted around declaring Holtz a coward, convinced that this time they had struck the fear of god into him. Darla knew better though. She knew that he would always return when they least expected it, and for the nigh on twenty years he had hunted them she had not been wrong yet.

In Rome, just a week after their arrival, Angelus failed to return from his evening's excursion and, two days later word came that Holtz, along with the local bishopric had succeeded in snatching him. Grabbing a handful of the local vampires to serve as canon fodder, Darla rushed to the rescue, as she was sometimes wont to do. The fight was short and brutal, with a few nameless casualties and few arrows loosed from the bolt, but Angelus was none the worse for wear and they left Holtz alive to continue his part of the game, as he would until they, or old age, killed him.

The chase was exhilarating, but Angelus wasn't nearly as enamored of Holtz' affections as his sire, seeing as it was usually he who was left full of arrows and swords while Darla and company made off on the boat, or the horse, or...

"Tell me lover," he said, lifting her chin until she released him from under her tongue and raised her eyes to meet his gaze. "Why is it that I'm always getting left behind while you run off to find yerself a hat or top floor room halfway across the continent? I'm starting to think that yer boring of me."

"Why, darling, it's only because I know how much you like to forgive me." With a flick of her tongue she signaled that she was not yet done apologizing for Rome and went back to her task.

*****

Two years, one month and fourteen countries later Angelus and Darla found themselves holed up in a small cottage near a merchant's crossing in Coventry. A handful of gold coins had sent the homeowner scampering down the road with a gleeful skip in his step, much to the vampires' confusion, until further inspection of the interior showed why he had been happy to rid himself of the place.

Angelus sighed as he threw himself onto a threadbare settee, sending a cloud of dust spinning into the room's filtered lamp light. "Since when do we have t' pay to sleep in ruins?" he muttered, letting his gaze wander over the bleak paintings that lined the soot covered walls around them.

"It's hardly a ruin, Angelus." Darla stared out the window, trying to make out the steeple of the Church of the Holy Trinity in the far distance, but the sky had darkened too much. "Actually, it has a lovely-" Another sigh from her lover cut her off.

 "Aye, the view. Tis all well and good on a clouded morn, but it'll do you no good to stare out the glass now. Come, let's find the bed and rest up before dinner." Angelus rose from the settee and took Darla's hand in his.

"We won't hunt here," Darla stated flatly, removing her hand from Angelus' grasp and taking one of his linen shirts from their trunk. She settled the cloth over a chair before taking a seat herself, ignoring the Angelus' frustrated huff.

"We've taken towns before, we'll make a night of it yet." Angelus barely contained the excitement he felt at the prospect of a slaughter. They hadn't seen hide nor hair of Holtz's men in weeks and he found himself itching for a brawl, not that the locals would put up much fight, he thought.  

"I said we will not hunt, now go take your rest," Darla warned, trying to relax against the stiff chair.

"I'll not have ye ordering me about like I were a boy."

"Angelus please, don't make me cross." Closing her eyes, Darla hoped he would obey. She was too tired to fight, but her offspring's excitability tended to soar to dangerous heights when he became bored and sparse country roads were hardly the place to incite a mob. Even less so when a team of trained vampire hunters were constantly behind you with crossbows at the ready.

Angelus stood before her, grinding his teeth for a moment before declaring his need to check on the horses one last time before falling to sleep.

Darla watched him go, but couldn't stop herself from warning him not to eat the mares in frustration. She was answered with a mumbled grunting which brought a smile to her lips for the first time that night. Standing, she gazed out the window once more, catching just a glint of light off the spires on the horizon before making her way to the bed chamber and starting the long process of removing herself from her riding frock.

******

"I've had enough of waiting," Angelus whispered against the soft hairs of Darla's neck. "It's been nigh on two months since we've seen him. Don't suppose he's found a new lass and abandoned us?"

"Nonsense." Darla rolled over and ran her fingers over Angelus' cherubic jaw line. "Holtz would never leave us. We're his only family now."

"Shame he had to kill the little one after all the trouble I went through to get her to drink in the first place. She'd of made you a perfect handmaid." Cupping his cheek into Darla's hand he kissed the palm, suckling at the soft pad for a moment before brushing blunt teeth over the porcelain skin. "I'm better suited to taking the corsets off yer bodice than cinching them up. We should maybe turn someone more suited to the job the next time we find a tailor's shop worth its metal."

"You'll do no such thing. Did traveling with James and Elizabeth teach you nothing? It's so rarely worth the extra effort of finding a place for a group rather than a pair, especially those two. Do you know I had to drag Elizabeth onto that ship? She clawed at me like a plains-raised tigress, ungrateful wretch. I swear you'd think she'd been raised in France as hard as she fought to stay there and die."

"James didn't serve much better. I don't think he landed a single fist before Holtz had his bolt buried in my ribs." Angelus kissed her lightly, his long hair loosing itself from the ribbon that bound it and curling through her fingers. Thoughts of violence quickly turned his mind towards the caged beauty before him and he toyed at the loose gauze of her nightdress, debating even as he kissed her whether or not they had time for another round before sundown.

Excited moans worked their way from Darla's throat as the tips of Angelus' fingers slid against her skin. She shifted towards him, curling her arms around his neck and draping her leg over his hip giving his hands better access to the reward he sought. She had barely even parted her mouth to take Angelus' lips within her own when she realized he was no longer moving, or even looking at her.

"That swine," Angelus muttered.

"What?" Darla asked, miffed at his sudden stop.

"He's really left us."

"Never."

"He's abandoned us, I tell you. Which makes it time for a new adventure, my love." He pushed Darla's leg back onto the mattress, letting his fingertips rest on her knee for just a moment before he rose from the bed and grabbed at the rumpled pile of trousers on the cold wooden floor.  "I'll not sit here another night wondering. He's made a fool of Angelus for the last time."

"Just what do you have in mind then," Darla asked, although if he'd not been in the middle of a rant even Angelus would have seen she was merely placating him.

"It's time to burn this half-arsed village to the ground, get a bit of his attention and put him back on the chase. Lead him all the way to the Americas if we have to." Angelus was already half into his boots when Darla leapt from the bed and hit him with enough force to send him crashing into the room's far wall and bring a shower of brocaded frames down on his head.

"Enough!" she shouted at him. "We'll ride to York this instant and then we will see who is hunter here."

"What's possessed you, woman?" Angelus asked, rubbing at his jaw and sliding out from under the heavy canvases.

"I'll hear no more talk of the New World. I was a fool to ever put that idea into your thick skull." Pulling her dressing gown over her head and throwing it to the ground, Darla pointed a bare arm towards the trunk and motioned for Angelus to help her dress.

He met her order with a defeated look, but soon strong hands were pulling at the golden cords of her stay until the whalebone creaked against her ribs. A smile curled over Angelus' lips at the sight of his sire's slim waist outlined by the moonlight and he couldn't resist wrapping an arm around her, pulling her against his chest until his chin was buried in a sea of tussled ringlets. The scent of crushed violets filled his mind with images of Darla buried in a sea of petals, the type of deep colored flowers one might strip from a burial wreath. Lost to the fantasy, he only remembered himself when Darla gripped the fingers rising up her bosom so tightly she instantly broke two of his fingers and sent him hurling against the wall once again.

"You seem to be forgetting your place tonight, Angelus."

There was neither warmth nor teasing to her voice and it caught Angelus off guard. They had spent nearly twenty years alternately evading and provoking Holtz and in all that time she had rarely deigned to raise her voice above a warning, let alone strike at him in anger. It was an unexpected blow on every level and an affront to his manhood which did not sit well with him.

Jumping up from the ground much quicker this time, Angelus grabbed a tarnished candlestick from the nightstand and lunged at Darla as she pulled her riding gown over her shoulders. With her arms caught up in the dress she was unable to balance herself and they both went crashing to the carpets in a heap of rustling linens and clanging metal.

Darla stripped free of the dress as Angelus struggled to free himself from the yards of fabric. Snatching the candlestick from his hand, she raised it above her head and smashed it down against his skull, instantly bringing a stream of blood to his cheek. As he looked up at her with startled eyes, Darla wiped at her own forehead, fingering where Angelus' blow had struck.

"You," she screamed at her cowering mate, "are lucky," she struck against his defending arms once more, "that won't," she aimed again, "leave a scar!" With a final blow to the temple she knocked him unconscious, kicking at his lifeless form as she pulled the dress off of his body and slipped it over her head.

 *****

Angelus awoke in a panic. He felt cool morning air on his face and as soon as he realized that he was not only outside but that his hands were bound he began screaming for his sire. It was only after careful inspection of the carriage top that he realized it was his own carriage he was bound to and that it was most likely Darla who had tied him there.

Craning his neck to the side as far as he was able, Angelus inspected the horizon. In less than an hour the morning clouds would burn off and he with them.

"Darla," he said, straining to keep his tone civil as he spoke through the heavy canvas roof, "The sun'll be coming any moment."

"You should have thought of that before you sliced my arm open," came her cool reply.

"It was you who pulled the knife, and after you'd knocked me upside m' head with a candlestick no less." Angelus whined.

"You should learn to stay down, and I'd remind you that you struck me with that candlestick first."

"Only after you'd struck me."

"To which you should have replied `Thank you for putting me in my place, Sire', instead you chose to rise again and be even more obstinate. I've given you leeway in the past because we knew where our enemies were, but this has gone on long enough. I'll have no more of your insolence."

"Lover?" Angelus asked in a quiet voice, only continuing when he heard a sigh from within signaling she had heard him. "If I promise to behave would ye please let me come inside? Darla? Let me make it up to you."

"Fine," Darla assented once Angelus' squirming at the ropes and rising sun had become more noise than she could bear. She rapped at the driver and told him to hold up, smiling in amusement as Angelus cursed the poor driver even as the man hurriedly untied him.

Angelus nearly ripped the door from its hinges as he threw it open and sat down, muttering his plans for the driver's gruesome death all the way to York.

Darla grinned all the more when Angelus realized she was watching his every word, making sure that none of his threats were directed at her. Satisfied that he had learned his lesson, for the night at least, she fell to sleep in his arms, ignoring the fearful moans that came from the driver's seat as bits and pieces of her boy's tirade reached his ears.

*****

The cottage was just as she remembered; a gloomy, damp little woodland hideaway with a porch barely wide enough to offer shelter from the afternoon sun. Knocking on the door as though they were expected for tea, Darla peered through the thinly patterned curtains and looked within.

Dust covered every surface. The shelves were barren, paintings pulled from the walls leaving only pale shadows where they once had hung, rugs rolled and stacked in an unceremonious heap against a far wall, exposing worn strips of wooden flooring. All that remained in the way of furniture were a few uneven tables and a single chair with no seat lining.

Upon seeing the dismal remains of their enemy's home Angelus stormed through the front door, disappointed when no barrier met his advancement. He ran through the rooms looking for some sign that Holtz would return, but found nothing of value, monetary or sentimental.

"So this is it then?" he asked, returning to find Darla staring out the window at a grove of trees where four small stone crosses stood in a neat line.

"It's so odd," she said, continuing to stare into the sunny graveyard.

"What's that then?" Angelus asked as he came to stand beside her.

"There are four crosses."

"Aye?" Angelus said, unsure why it had merited comment.

"He laid a cross for the daughter we turned." Darla turned to Angelus, "can't you just picture him sweeping ashes from the sunny ground and burying them?"

Angelus laughed, and for a moment Darla joined him, but she quickly realized that something had changed in the world forever. Never again would they find an enemy as formidable or predictable as Daniel Holtz had been. She looked at her companion with new eyes, wondering how they would bide their time now they had no reason to travel at anyone's pace but their own. Could he possibly fill her need for adventure alone?

"Don't look so sad, love, we always knew it would end someday."

"Did we?" she asked softly, trying to put the melancholy she felt out of her mind.

"Well unless you had plans to turn him that ye hadn't let me in on," he said with a laugh.

Darla waved him off, "Don't be foolish, it's just so odd to think that he would be gone. I mean, who would be strong enough to kill him?"

"Oh, come now, blokes kill Slayers all the time, and he was after all only a man, isn't that what you told me once?"

"Yes, in Versailles I believe."

"That's right, just before you clobbered me with that piece of framing." Angelus rubbed at the fresh bruises at his temple, "See, we must remember the good times we'd never have known without him."

"You're right of course."

"And besides, one of his lieutenants are bound to come after us before long." Angelus kissed her softly on the cheek before trailing kisses down her neck and whispering in her ear, "let me forgive you one more time and then we'll go see if we can't find a suitable replacement, or better yet, we'll find a Slayer of our own."

"You," Darla cooed into his ear, "are either very brave, or incredibly suicidal."

Before Angelus had even registered her movement she had grabbed the thick cording from the curtains and pinned his arms behind his back, displacing them into an unnatural bow that left him looking like a Christmas goose ready for the fire.

Then, picking him up from the ground by his hair, Darla dragged Angelus to the bedchamber, threw him atop the tattered remains of the bed and stripped his boots and trousers from his body, exposing his cotton shift to the balmy mid-summer air.

Angelus expected to see smiling blue eyes when he turned to find out what the evening's game was to be, instead he found golden irises staring back at him with a fury he hadn't seen since he was human, and even then only in his father's eyes. This was a trembling kind of anger, made all the more frightening as Darla's brow shifted to cover her eyes in a protective move. Angelus knew that his sire taking on the visage of the demon meant she expected him to fight back, and as she pulled a dagger from her waistband and stabbed it into the wall above his head he steeled himself for the pain he knew was yet to come.

"I once told you that no man was your master now. Do you remember that conversation?"

Angelus nodded, feverishly working to free his hands, but it was impossible as long as they were pinned behind him. The weight of his own body crushed the still broken fingers of his left hand rendering them useless.

"I told you no *man*, yes? I am your sire, which means that I am master and queen as long as I wish it, and when I tire of you I will cast you into the sun as surely as Holtz did his own child. Am I making myself clear?" She pulled the dagger from the wall and pressed the blade against Angelus' chest, plucking at the buttons of his shirt and sending them flying across the room.

Seeing the blade trace over his skin, Angelus acquiesced with a nod, but his eyes showed the defiance brewing inside. A look that did not go unnoticed.

Darla sliced the steel into his breast bone, letting the blood pool for a moment before stabbing in again. Now she smiled and when a tear traced its way down Angelus' cheek and over his earlobe she swept down and lapped at the salty droplets. Making her way from tear to blood, she suckled at the wounds she'd inflicted, leaving nary a drop on her boy's smooth chest.

Once the blood was gone from his skin, Darla took the dagger and sliced through the cords of her gown, unwilling to waste time undressing. Grabbing a handful of the material she straddled Angelus' body, shoving the bulk of the dress under his backside until his cock was thrust into the air. The remaining strips of dress she carefully wound the around Angelus' eyes and mouth, gagging and blinding him as she tore the stay from her body, freeing her breasts and quim.  

"It's time you learn that there is a difference between fighting a battle you know you can win and simply being reckless. Take this moment for instance," Darla slid down his body, stopping just before his erection entered her, Struggling against me enough to give me pleasure is in your best interest. Of course, incurring my anger again will result in your death. Do you see the difference now?"

Angelus made a grumbling sound that Darla took for a yes. She let him enter her, and rocked slowly as she spoke.

"Now suggesting that we should seek out Slayers and vampire hunters is a foolish whim, one that if you hope to live beyond your time in this room you *will* get through your skull. I have not lived nearly two hundred years by looking for my own killer. I am the killer.

"I suffered Holtz because I knew he posed no real threat to us. He was like the tom cat that lives in the woods but you rarely see. He may not answer to the name of pet, but you know he is yours. These others that you so willingly seek are not yours and never will be. You cannot tame a Slayer and make her your pet. It's an impossible task and will do nothing but kill you. The same goes for these rogue hunters who are in it for nothing but money and glory. Holtz's only master was revenge, which made him vulnerable, and as we now find ourselves in his home and he is not here, it's safe to say that vengeance was its own end for him.

"I tell you these things because I do not, and did not, take the making of a mate lightly. I chose you because I saw a fire in you  even when you were still a human, and you've not disappointed me yet. This is why I warn you before it becomes an obsession, a vampire that chases Slayers will be lucky to live out a decade."

Suddenly realizing that despite the threats and blood loss she was right, Angelus made an effort to thrust his hips forward. His movement earned him the reward of having the blindfold removed, and where earlier he had seen only golden eyed fury, now he saw only the beautiful face of his sire. The artistry of her features moved him more than he was expecting, and he realized that if he looked for that artistry in the kill instead of the chaos in slaughter he may indeed live forever.

As Darla ground against him, frantically rubbing her clit over the elevated angle of his cock, she tore the final piece of cloth from his mouth and devoured him in a kiss hungrier than the night of his turning. The knowledge that something had changed in their lives beyond the loss of Holtz was both exciting and frightening, but as she screamed her orgasm into the night, Darla knew she had made the right choice in reminding Angelus precisely why he loved to forgive her.

~Finis~

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