Shannon (shannon730) wrote in joss_las,

Round 5/Challenge 1 Voting

cafedemonde and kallie_kat have requested passes for this challenge.

I didn't recieve an entry from margarks, so she will no longer be competing.

The prompt was Obsessions.

Angel moved in cycles, as though Luna tugged on him the way she pulled on the tides, the way she warmed the blood of poets, the way she brought forth the beasts that lurked dormant in men’s souls. Wesley noticed this after the first month, but he didn’t start keeping track in his diary until nearly six months after Angel hired him, and couldn’t pinpoint an exact pattern until another three months after that.

The sketches were the most obvious sign of this cyclical nature.. Wesley never commented on Angel’s art, but he watched for it, studied it when possible, and stole a leaf or two from the garbage if he knew he wouldn’t be noticed. Angel would go for two or three weeks without so much as a doodle from what Wesley could see, and then there would be a flurry of activity.

The first sketch Wesley ever liberated from the garbage bin was a simple likeness of Doyle. He knew it was the dead half-breed because Cordelia had shown him the commercial. He took it because it was well done, and because he was curious, and because Angel had drawn it. In a way, it was a piece of the vampire. It showed him something that Angel would never articulate, and therefore, it was treasured.

There were innumerable pictures of Buffy. Buffy standing, Buffy sitting, Buffy smiling, Buffy sleeping, Buffy laughing, Buffy slaying, Buffy crying, Buffy naked, Buffy dressed. Wesley believed Angel was driven to set down every memory he had of the young Slayer, as if he might forget her completely if he didn’t remind himself every night.

Buffy wasn’t the only Slayer that needed to be immortalized. He didn’t steal a single drawing of Faith. Didn’t even look at them, if he could help it. Angel was too good, his fingers too clever, his eyes too keen. He could see the evil in her eyes, though Angel always drew her with her eyes averted. He always gave Angel wide berth when his thoughts and pens turned to Faith, because he couldn’t trust himself.

Then one night, shortly after they moved to the Hyperion, Wesley was cleaning Angel’s office and found a sketch behind the desk. A beautiful woman looked back with amused eyes and a sly smile. Wesley didn’t know her, but something cold settled in his heart, and he shoved the picture in his back pocket to study later.

Wesley knew Darla was taking over Angel’s life when he found more and more of such drawings. He noted them in his diaries, he studied the sketches for clues, he kept a close watch on Angel, and he despaired. He tried desperately to help Angel, knowing from the tone, the feel, the realism of her portraits that things were going to be ugly, frightening. When Drusilla joined Darla on the crumpled pages, Wesley knew it would be a matter of time before everything went bad.

The first time he found a sketch of Cordelia, his tongue went dry, his throat tightened. In his apartment, on the back wall of his closet with the rest of his acquired art pieces, he had an ink sketch of Fred in Pylea, a doodle of Charles and his homemade axe, and a rather amusing portrait of Lorne, with his head in a basket. Wesley didn’t know for certain, as none of them were dated, but he thought Angel had drawn them on the flight home from the monastery after Buffy died. They must have been, because they weren’t in Angel’s room the day before he arrived, and then the next night, they were in the garbage under the front desk. But he never found a single discarded image of Cordelia.

Until the night he found a dozen.

So he knew of Angel’s feelings before Angel said a word. Maybe even before Angel did. And he suffered for it. Suffered because he understood Angel’s longing, and yet, they were both helpless to stop it, both helpless to even speak about it.

There was a picture of Connor, short after his dusty, wet birth. Wesley treasured it. When he dared to look at it.

The first thing Wesley did when he returned from the hospital, his throat still tender, his ears still ringing with Angel’s anger, was take down the sketches. He gently removed the thumbtacks that held them in place, and with infinite care, placed them in the bottom of a box. He couldn’t stand to look at the drawings and be reminded of the life that would be lost forever. The two lives. And the lives he would never touch again. He didn’t want to see baby Connor, or Cordelia, or Fred, or Gunn, or Lorne, and he certainly didn’t need the evidence of Angel’s emotions. The emotions that could run deeper than in any man Wesley knew.

Most of all, though, he couldn’t stand to be reminded that there wasn’t a single sketch of himself. And now, there never would be.

They are an average family, eating breakfast. Mother is about to have some
tea. Brother is just a brief moment from sticking his fingers in the
jam-pot. Sister is more than happy to report her brother's transgressions.
Father, at the head of the table, is half-hidden by his newspaper, reading
the latest market report.

Angelus waits in the shadows, pleased with this tranquil domestic scene.
But as he examines it with a slightly more critical eye, it seems that
something is missing. Moments later, he arranges the family dog against the
leg of the boy, casually avoiding the pooling blood.

He's slipping. What am I saying, he has slipped. In the old days I never could have gotten this close to him without him noticing, but I guess death and dismemberment will do that to a guy.

What else has it done to him? What else had happened to Spike since we said our goodbyes on the Hellmouth? Something. Something must have happened, because he didn't tell me. He came back from the dead and he didn't call, didn't write, didn't find me. The only reason I know he's back is because Andrew can't keep his mouth shut.

So I watch him order a shot of Jack while flirting with the bartender and lighting a cigarette. Watch him being Spike. Even this place, it's so much more Spike than the Bronze ever was. A rock bar on Sunset where the music is booked more on how loud it is than how good it is, and where everyone smokes even though it's technically illegal.

But it's got this closed off upper level that over looks the bar, where you can sit and watch the band through dirty glass. Or in my case watch Spike through dirty glass.

And now the bartender's walked away and he's hitting on the girl standing next to him. Almost a dead ringing for that weird silent girl he brought to Xander's wedding. Is that his type? Is that why he hasn't come for me? Is she the one now? Did he finally figure it out? Did he finally learn I'm not what he thought I was? Or was I right all along, he only wanted me 'cause he couldn't have me, and telling him I loved him made him lose all interest?

But no, she's just some girl he's never met before. And while I watch him from up here I can't help but remember him making me watch my friends from the catwalk in the Bronze. His arm around my waist. His strange cold breath appearing and disappearing with his words as he whispered dirty things in my ear. The feel of his body pressed against mine. His hands sliding up my leg, pushing my skirt aside and then-

Stop it. That's not what I want. That's not the Spike I want. Although it has been a while and part of me feels like I'd take him anyway I could get him, just as long as he's inside of me.

But that's just the horniness talking. I want the other Spike, the one that encourages me into the light, not the one who pulls me back into the dark.

But that Spike doesn't seem to want me anymore. He's here in L.A. living. . . some sort of life. Maybe I can figure it out, if I just keep my distance, watch him long enough, I'll figure it out. I'll figure out why he doesn't want me anymore.

Or maybe he'll get into a fight. Okay, he's Spike, there's no maybe about it. But maybe this fight will be really tough, and he'll need me to step in. I'll jump down from the rooftops or something, to knock out the guy about to take his head off from behind, and it'll be like old times. We'll beat up the bad guys together, and then, once we've won, we'll both be the way we are after a fight. The blood pumping, or in his case, not pumping but definitely flowing into all the right places. And we won't even say hi. He'll just grab me and kiss me. Or I'll grab him and kiss him, either way works, as long as it takes some time for us to get out of that alley.

Or maybe he'll just catch me watching him, and then he'll know, then he'll believe the way feel. He'll get it.

Or maybe I'll just walk up to him right now. Say, "Hi Spike. How's it going? Why haven't you called?"

But what if he tells me? What if there is someone else? What if he doesn't want me anymore?

No, watching is better. If I just keep watching him, it'll all make sense. I'll get it. I'll know what's wrong with me and why he doesn't want me anymore. And then. . . I won't worry about that right now. Right now, I'll just keep watching him, cause sooner or later he's going to need me. He has to need me.

The stars watched the paths of the two figures streaking through the night. One stumbled and fell, only to rise again, while the other never altered his pace, the shadow chasing after its pale owner. Their courses wove in tandem through the narrow streets, around corners, past shuttered windows where innocence still lurked. Nobody stopped them. Nobody questioned. It was safer to pretend that all was well with the world.

He loved it when she ran, loved listening to her fragile heart beating against her ribs like a bird frenzied for escape, loved smelling the terror dripping from her pores. She did it rarely. Too often, she took refuge within walls he couldn’t breach, and he would see her through the life-tainted windows, turning her eyes to heaven or closing them in prayer. But that was all beginning to change. More and more, Drusilla sought the arms of her broken god to banish the monster that haunted the corners of her life. More and more, Angelus followed in perpetual pursuit.

There would be no need to pose as her confessor tonight. He knew long before she reached the church’s doors that that would be where she would seek shelter.

The door stood ajar as he climbed the narrow steps. Though Drusilla had entered only moments earlier, already he heard the desperate benedictions falling from her lips, falling so swiftly he feared he had taken too long to drive her here. Angelus crept over the stained threshold, melting with the murk of the interior as he chased her anguish, but when he felt the telltale pulses of two distinct heartbeats, he relaxed. Not too late. There was ample time to enjoy the fruits of all his well-laid plans.

Candles flickered on the sanctuary, the only illumination within the small church. It caught speckles of color from the windows, but those were wraiths compared to the tableau he’d created specially for Drusilla. Blood dripped from the priest’s open wounds, collecting in the offering cups Angelus had placed carefully beneath them, and his ragged breaths were shallow, an attempt not to jar the nails that held his hands and feet to the front of the altar. He looked like he was blessing his congregation, if one ignored his grimace of pain and his torn cassock.

“Drusilla…my child…” Each word gurgled with the blood filling the priest’s lungs. “Please…”

She was deaf to his pleas, rooted in silent horror as she continued to pray.

In the shadows, Angelus smiled.

“Drusilla…” the priest tried again. “Come…help me.”

A drop of blood splashed from his hand into the filling cup. She jerked away from the sound as if scalded, almost tripping over the pew behind her.

“He tests me,” she murmured. “He wishes for me to fail.”

“God doesn’t—“

“Oh, not God.” Her hands fluttered in front of her like butterflies caught on a spring breeze. “The other. The one who watches. The one who waits. I run and I hide and I hope the wind will carry him away, but it’s naughty and refuses to obey my wishes.” A hysterical giggle erupted from her throat. “Does that make me evil, Father? That I wish to command nature to do my bidding? I think I must be, else why would angels taunt me so?”

The priest’s heart skipped a beat, faltering with the slow drain of his body. Time was deserting all of them.

“These are your fantasies,” he implored. “They’re not real.”

Drusilla stopped where she’d been backing toward the door. “And yet, they’ve taken form. Carved your soul from your flesh and left you to bleed, and now not even God can save you.”

Angelus was tempted to stop her when she turned and fled, the door ringing out behind her. But the call of the priest’s heart was too seductive to resist, and he slithered around the shadows to step into the dancing light at the edge of the altar.

“She was wrong, you know,” he said, enjoying the vicious start of the man’s body at his unexpected approach. Crouching down, he picked up one of the chalices from the floor and brought it to his mouth, downing the affirming fluid in a long, sensuous gulp. He licked his lips when he was done, smiling around his descending fangs. “I’m not an angel.”

Minutes later, the stars watched Angelus abandon the church, his mouth blood-stained, his warmth a testimony to his theft. He did not take the path of Drusilla’s flight, and instead ambled in a different direction, humming as the night swallowed him with its gaping maw. There was no need to continue the game that eve. Tomorrow would find a new turn to be taken. Nobody stopped him. Nobody questioned.

All was well with the world.

Buffy Summers was like no obsession Spike had ever known. Time, rather than doing its usual job of dousing the flames of his fixation instead seemed only to fan the embers into a white-hot flame that burned him as no other ever had.

And perhaps the thing that made it so very different was that this one had at some indeterminable point turned into love.

That was the reason why Spike, once known as William the Bloody and feared worldwide was now standing in the Slayer’s bedroom rummaging through her personal things.


And apparently getting caught doing so. Spike grimaced and plastered on a smug smile as he slowly turned around to face the object of his obsession.

“Didn’t fancy you’d be home this early in the afternoon, pet.”

“What the hell are you doing in my bedroom?” Direct and to the point, his Buffy was.

“I was—looking for my lighter, I was,” Spike said triumphantly after seeing his lighter on her bedside table. He picked it up and slipped it into his pocket. “Left it the other night when I came to deliver that information on the Slog demon.”

He searched Buffy’s face for any sign that she believed him and after a moment of consideration her stance relaxed, apparently having bought his story. “Spike?”

“Yeah luv?”

“Next time you want to come get something from my bedroom, call.”

“Right, I’ll remember that,” Spike replied with a nod, beating a hasty retreat.

That had been close. The next time he’d have to be more careful—and of course there would be a next time because obsession has never been stopped by close calls and one as strong as his for Buffy Summers likely would never be stopped at all.

Obsession can be funny like that.

It ain’t an obsession, Jayne thought defiantly, cleaning the gun in his hand a little more vigorously than was really necessary. And even if it were an obsession, it was a normal, healthy one, not all weird like Wash with his dinosaurs. Besides, if anyone really looked at any of his girls they’d see they were more’n worth being obsessed about.

He thought back to his first, grinning. Barbara, her name was. She hadn’t been perfect o’course, but to a boy of fifteen she had seemed like the most beautiful thing in the world, and she was his, all his. She was a little heavy, some features a little out of proportion maybe, but he’d loved her like nothin’ else in the world. Until the next one came along, anyhow.

More recently, there’d been Audrey. Slim, incredibly smooth to the touch and oh so dangerous looking, he’d been smitten the first moment he saw her. He’d had to part with her when a job went wrong and he had to get out quick, but he still remembered her fondly.

Now, of course, there was Vera.

He stroked her lovingly before laying her carefully back in her place with the rest of his girls. Then he draped the blanket over them and went to sleep with them lying right there by his side.

The way it oughta be.

From the moment he first saw her, when he’d been driving back from a gig on Halloween, Oz knew that he’d never be able to get her out of his mind. To him his question of “Who is that girl?” was more than just a rhetorical question.

To say he’d been obsessed with Willow since that night was like saying he sometimes dyed his hair, so the fact that she was now in front of him crying at the sight of Veruca in his cage made his heart break and at that moment he knew he would leave Sunnydale. He had to be able to control the wolf so that he could come back to Willow knowing exactly who he was, and knowing that the wolf would never again put him into a situation where he could hurt Willow.

A new obsession, controlling the wolf, so he could come back to the obsession he knew he could never truly give up.

Remember you're voting for your LEAST favorite entry.
Voting will be open until 8pm EST Sunday.

Poll #832612 Round 5/Challenge 1

Pick your least favorite entry.


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