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Water flowing underground
same as it ever was
Chapter 2 - Lost Souls 
8th-May-2005 01:50 pm
knitting sketch
In MWNN's absence, I've managed to churn out another chapter already. bogwitch has gone above and beyond, turning this on around in less than 12 hours. Thanks Boggy.




Chapter 2 – Lost Souls



Three clouds loomed on the horizon. Shaped like warships, long, broad and dense, with anvil-shaped prows. They streamed closer, blackening the entire sky, hurling down salvos of heavy rain and stinging hail. The wind was a solid wall of sound, pounding a counter-rhythm to the percussive shocks crumpling the sky. Lightning tore at the graphite heavens, ripping them apart. It seemed that Nature in all her wildest fury was hell bent on destroying the rook as it soared above the city. Yet this weather was no natural phenomenon, the Storm Fiend was fuelled with anger, brutal and feral, and it burnt the air with each lightning flash. The stench of sulphur lingered, despite the driving rain, thudding down relentlessly in implacable volleys; Ares’s warrior-archers’ aim deadly, sure and true.

“You must witness certain events as they happened if you are to understand and accept the journey that lies ahead.” Illyria’s voice said from somewhere inside Angel’s head.

He opened his mouth to speak, struggling against the confines of the body in which she’d trapped him. “Illyria? Where am I? Where are you?” These were the words that echoed through his mind. What he heard was the rasping sound of rusty metal on metal, ending in a vaguely familiar ‘cack cack’.

“To fight is futile.”

Angel had looked on the world with eyes that were not his own once before, when the Darkness that was Acathla swallowed him. Then he’d been left with a lingering image of Buffy, the sword with which she had just run him through still in her hand. He peered through the downpour, more or less certain now that he was airborne, and a reluctant passenger with Illyria, within her Spirit Guide.

As he relaxed, Angel could feel the whip and wire of the air through his feathers, the sting of each hailstone on head and beak and wing, as they rode the switchback of the spirals and curves of storm-tossed thermals. No city lights guided their way as the rook plunged through the tumult, spiralling downwards, riding the waterfall thundering to the streets below. Angel tried bracing himself for a rough landing, forgetting for an instant that he was not the one in control of this borrowed body, straining to see through the blackness that accompanied their descent.



Slowly, the light returned and with it, the realisation that he was no longer part of the bird that stood watching him, head cocked, blue eyes glittering.


“A power such as I have not enjoyed since my Wesley robbed me of it, will guide you now, half-breed. My task is done,” croaked the bird with Illyria’s voice. And with that, the rook lifted its wings and beat the air twice before disappearing in a flurry of ebony and purple-black velvet.

Angel blinked and stared at the man in front of him through Lorne’s eyes.

“You don't trust me. You don't think a man can change?” Lindsey grimaced up at him.

“It's not about what I think. This was Angel's plan.” Lorne’s voice replied solemnly. Angel flinched, knowing what was to come.

Lindsey smiled at him. “I could sing for you,” he offered.

“I've heard you sing,” Lorne’s weary voice replied.

Angel looked down at Lorne’s hand, holding the gun he himself had given him. He smelt the cordite of the explosion, watched the bullet making its way, in slow motion towards Lindsey’s heart.

“Why-why did you...?” Lindsey gasped.

“One last job,” came Lorne’s toneless response. Angel’s thought joined him in perfect harmony. “You're not part of the solution, Lindsey. You never will be.”

The dying man slid down the wall, his words coming in painful gasps. “You kill me? A flunky?! I'm not just... Angel...kills me. You don't... Angel...”

But I just did,” Angel told his closing eyes.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Lorne swung the car into the slow moving traffic, wiping the condensation from the front window with the sleeve of his jacket. Angel watched the driving rain and listened to the squeal of the windscreen wipers as they tried valiantly to clear the deluge.

Angel’s mind screamed in pain at the newsreel of visions that flooded in causing Lorne to pull over and stop the car, his hands shaking on the wheel; Fred, holding Wesley’s body, crying “My love. Oh, my love”; her hand smashing Vail’s skull into thousands of fragments; Fred, in Wesley’s arms, “Why can’t I stay?”

More events crowded into Lorne’s mind, threatening to overwhelm Angel; sounds and sights he could almost touch. Conflicting memories warred with one another: Spike crashing through the observation window of the training room, a circle surrounding the hieroglyphs from Illyira’s coffin, Wesley, holding a crystal aloft; Connor, lying bruised and bloodied on a sofa in Spike’s office. Angel’s mind screamed for emptiness. Those things never happened. His soul writhed with guilt. He hadn’t saved her. He’d let her die.

Lorne rested his head on his trembling arms and sobbed. He was shaking so violently that Angel could feel his own consciousness colliding with that of the Pylean. He battled furiously to take control but felt Lorne’s will slip from his grasp, as more apparitions flooded in; Illyria, crouching beside Wesley’s lifeless form, keening, “What dost thou behold, fair light? But thou dost smile and depart. Farewell, thou silent beam! Let the light of Heimdall’s soul arise!

Cordellia’s visions.’ The thought struck Angel like a physical blow. She’d passed them to Lorne. ‘Impossible!’ She’d given Angel the single gift that had enabled him to take out the Circle of the Black Thorn.

Illyria appeared before them, blue hair streaming in the wind and rain. “Turn the car around,” she commanded. “There is more yet that you must do.” As she dissolved back into the storm, Lorne turned the key in the ignition and spun the car through a U-turn, ignoring the oncoming traffic and leaving a line of rear-shunted cars in his wake as he sped back towards the city.


The Merc squealed to a halt across the path of hooded figure hurrying away from an apartment block. The headlights caught a flash of white hair as the monastic robe was discarded. Spike’s face was bloody from battle but he crouched in defensive mode, ready to face whatever emerged from the car. Angel watched him visibly relax as he recognised the former Karaoke Host.

“Lorne! Thought you’d quit. Didn’t think you went in for spectator sports.”

“Need you for a solo spot before the main act gets underway,” replied Lorne. He glanced anxiously at the sky. “Don’t have much time.”

Angel observed the incredulous look that passed across Spike’s face and he gave Lorne’s consciousness a metaphorical kick. “Tell him what’s at stake,” he clamoured silently, as Spike turned to make his way towards the Hyperion.

Lorne gripped Spike’s arm. “It’s Fred,” he said simply. “I know where she is.”

Spike lowered his eyes as a grimace of pain flared across his face. “She’s dead, mate,” he said softly. “Dead and gone.”

The thunder rolled across the sky, increasing its cacophony with each jagged burst of lightening. Lorne stared at the blackness over their heads. “Never knew there could be so many shades of black.”
A thousand shades of black
But the same rule always applies
Smile pretty, and watch your back
,’ he crooned.

Lorne’s singing ended abruptly and he fixed Spike with a resolute stare. “Sparrow lied!” Lorne drove the word through gritted teeth. “ Fred’s soul couldn’t be destroyed, any more than yours or Angel’s could. It’s out there, Spike. And I know someone that’s willing to do a deal. Another little bird brought a message from The Powers.”

“Why me?” asked Spike. “What have I got that the Powers want?”

“Nothing that’s of value to them. That’s not the way it works. They’ll grant a favour for the right price.”

“And that would be . . . ?”

“Something important to you.”

As Angel waited for the rest of Lorne’s explanation, the light faded once more and he felt himself swept into the air and dumped unceremoniously back into his own body in the Hyperion’s reception area.
____________________________________________________________________________________________


Lorne waved sheepishly at him from behind Buffy. “Hi Big Guy,” he smiled. “You all caught up, courtesy of Little Miss Blue Eyes?”

Angel looked at Spike who was standing beside the staircase with his back to the wall, pulling at a cigarette as though his life depended on the fumes he inhaled. A clatter from the head of the stairs drew everyone’s attention. Looking dishevelled and bloody, but very much alive, Wesley stumbled into view and half-fell down the first few steps. His gaze swept the room below, as if searching for something or someone. It stopped at Illyria, who raised her head regally to meet his stare.

“I . . .” Wesley began, his voice cracked and hoarse. “Fred’s room. It contains something important, something I can’t read.” He paused. “The walls, they . . .”

Wesley sat down abruptly and Illyria appeared by his side, though no one saw her move from her place below. “We need someone with powers greater than those that remain to me,” she said.

“What you need is a Witch.” Buffy’s voice sounded a clear clarion call to action. “Fortunately for you, we already have one of those.”

Link to previous chapter

NB: To make sense of this story, it is necessary to have read Family:Blood Calls to Blood.
Comments 
8th-May-2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
Er... Do you mean calove?

It reads much better now. I like 'newsreel'.
8th-May-2005 01:58 pm (UTC)
I do indeed mean Calove, thanks.

It reads much better now thanks to your suggestions. Wasn't sure about the 'newsreel' imagery. It felt out of place amid all that old primal magic, but I'd run out of synonyms.
8th-May-2005 02:00 pm (UTC)
Know the feeling, 'tentacle' doesn't have many!
8th-May-2005 02:02 pm (UTC)
BtW, Sparrow is the doctor at W&H who told them Fred's soul has burned in the fires of Illyria's resurrection - the big fibber. ;)
8th-May-2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, I tried looking for him, but I gave up. I thought I had the whole of Family in one document, but I couldn't find it.
8th-May-2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
I don't think I mentioned him in Family, he appeared in the series. I think it was the ep. where Gunn tries to do a deal to save Fred.
8th-May-2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
That'll explain the confusion then!
8th-May-2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see!

Excellent.
8th-May-2005 02:32 pm (UTC)
You sure? I could be fooling you.
8th-May-2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
No, you can't fool me. It definitely is excellent.
8th-May-2005 04:23 pm (UTC)
Nice:)
8th-May-2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks ;)
8th-May-2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
Squeak! When are you off?

Send me detailed instructions! Or will all become clear when I finally get time to catch up with it all? My brain is not functioning awfully well at the moment - I'm hoping it's all down to stress and not presenile dementia. Although I'm starting to wonder.

*gibber*

I got the ficathon up but since then it's all been non-stop multiple sclerosis. My head hurts. And my muse has packed up in digust and left. I miss him.
8th-May-2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
And my muse has packed up in digust and left. I miss him.


That's damn inconsiderate of the big pest.

(and if you're reaaaaallly, reaaaaalllly busy, you don't need to worry about my chapter)
8th-May-2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
I want to read it, which is why I didn't mail you staright back and cry off. But since then I've gone into panic mode. I'm sitting here trying to make sense of some mad German bint's talk on the phramacoeconomics of MS. Say, what? And who the fuck cares anyway? Deadlines are looming and I'm in danger of screwing this up.

Apart from that and the fact I'm losing what few marbles I had left. I'm just dandy. Anyway - I will read your chapter (and the devil's) soon as - but don't wait on me. It may be some time.

That's damn inconsiderate of the big pest.

Putting it mildly. I want him here to wrap me up in his virtual arms and make me stop panicking by taking my mind off the fact I have seven more 2-3,000 words review articles to write over the next couple of weeks.

SPIIIIIKKKKKEEEEEE!!!!!!! Come home, baby. I need you.

*wail*
8th-May-2005 05:40 pm (UTC)
That sounds like some horrible nightmare my student days.

phramacoeconomics of MS - She's just making it up to sound clever.


Spike! Get back here right now! I don't care if you're watching Hollyoaks, there's a damsel in distress who needs a hug!


Okay. I'll post it tonight.
8th-May-2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
Fear not, comrade-in-arms, I'm not sure when we're off. It may be Thursday. But in any case there is no need to panic. I'll let you know where I want you to take the story over the next couple of chapters, but no one will expect an update for a couple of weeks at least. Plenty of time to dispell the gibbers and submit an on-time and under word limit report.

I'll send my Him over, shall I? He's been most helpful in MWNN's absence. Or at least Lorne has, on his behalf. Lorne's been singing to me.
8th-May-2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
*breathes sigh of relief and clutches the devil tightly*

It'll be a bit more than two weeks until they get an update, though - I have five more weeks of full-time bullshitting to get through. But for tonight I have given up and cracked open the Sauvignon Blanc - I re-read something I wrote which was so full of total bullshit and meaningless twaddle that I fell about with hysterical laughter and shut the whole lot down until tomorrow. Bugger it - seven hours on a Sunday is more than enough for anyone. I now need to go soak in a nice hot bath until my brain stops fizzing.

Thank you for your offer of your muse, but you'd best hang on to him. If mine does deign to come back, he'll just even more get jealous and even sulkier. I don't think he's finding my brain much to his liking at the moment. And who can blame him. Pharmacobloodyeconomics bollocks. I'd rather have Spike's... but that's possibly OT.
8th-May-2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
Oh - and what has Lorne been singing? I'm going to read the chapter now. I bloody well desrve it.
8th-May-2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
He's been singing folksy blues at me all day. The song he sang to Spike is by Ani DiFranco. It's called 'Every State Line'.
8th-May-2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
Mmmmm.... nice....

You write a darn good Lorne and Angel. The descriptive stuff is beautiful, too.

Is it worth putting a link to 'Family'?
8th-May-2005 09:27 pm (UTC)
You write a darn good Lorne and Angel.

Guess who's sulking and complaining of being ignored?

Is it worth putting a link to 'Family'?

Probably.

I'll put up a link to CDS too. If you manage a chapter before I come back, I'd like you to post it there. I'll put it at the top of my LJ with the other links, directly to the Soul Searching thread.
10th-May-2005 11:56 pm (UTC)
Gah! I'm glad you posted at my LJ and thus prompted me to check yours because I missed this. I hate getting so behind on my flist but it is probably going to get worse before it gets better!

But you don't want to here that. You want to know how much I loved this chapter ... loads!

I love the way you are pulling together the elements of both the show itself and 'Blood Calls to Blood'. It is a bit like watching a tennis match, the ball bouncing back and forth but always staying within the court.

I think the newsreel imagery worked. Juxtaposed against the imagery of the storm, the mind sees a surreal montage of events flashing past at high speed. Newsreels in the sky, ghostly, flitting by!

You've whipped the weather into a fury and left it for Calove to finish riding the storm! Fortunately, she'll be able to do it justice.

11th-May-2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
Mersey Bucket, mon ami. J'espere que nous . . .

oh buggerit, it's going to take a while to get back into the swing of Franglais. *pout*

I'm enjoying writing this one. Stretching the writing-muscles and trying for more a imaginative style. Tackling a topic like 'soul' requires much poetry.
11th-May-2005 12:47 pm (UTC)
Oooooo this is so so exciting! I managed to catch up on this and the previous story in the last few days and you've definitely got me hooked. I love what you do with trying to stick with canon but also diverting from it.
Can't wait to read more!
11th-May-2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
Glad you're enjoying it. Poor Cass is having kittens at the thought of her next 2 chapters. It's very difficult to brief someone when most of the ideas are inside your head and heart.

Even I am getting confused as to what hapened in the series, what I wrote in Blood Calls to Blood, and what we made canon in Twelve Days. ;)
9th-Mar-2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Very interesting set-up! I'm a sucker for intricate plots and I'm happy to find one!
9th-Mar-2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
If you like compicated plots, you've certainly come to the right place. I seem to remember you enjoyed 'Dancing the Night Away' because I had a lot of balls in the air at the same time.
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