Angel Book of Days, Autumn/Fall
The full list of stories, which I can not wait to read, can be found Angel
Book of Days Archive
written for Cerisaye
Requested: Darla, Halloween
Author's notes: Thank you so much to Violet for the beta and the hand-holding
and everything else you've done. I have no words. And to Ash for the read
through and because I can't think of Darla without thinking of you.
I found out at the last minute the date of Connor's birthday and it made me
have to rework a huge part of the fic, so if it doesn't have as much Halloween
as I wanted to give cerisaye, I hope I can be forgiven.
The fabric of reality thins and fades on Halloween. The spirits of the past
walk the earth, allowing us glimpses of them. Allowing them glimpses of us.
Vampires stay inside on Halloween. They tell themselves that the Holiday is
trite, passé. The truth is, even demons fear their dead.
October 31, 2000
She stared out the window, watching the rain trace patterns on the glass. Her
eyes followed a single drop as it glided downwards, always falling, silvering
in the light, beautiful and graceful and doomed. Convinced she could feel
every beat of her own heart, the soft thumping sound echoing within her. Each
beat drawing her closer to death. Drawing her back closer to hell.
She never talked about it, but she'd been in hell. Before Wolfram & Hart
brought her back with dark magic and darker hearts. What was there to say? She
had been a vampire. A dealer of death for over four hundred years and she'd
done it with vicious joy, savoring each death, each destruction. Even now, she
felt no sympathy for her countless victims. Wrong place, wrong time. She did
what was necessary, to survive. Nothing mattered more than survival. Whored
herself out in life to men she despised. Ripped out their throats in death.
Those lives were nothing when measured against her own continued existence.
Until she'd made the wrong choice, trusted that Angelus still could not kill
her. Until he sent her to the hell she had damned him to.
Who could she tell? Who here would understand the pain of eternal torment? The
lawyers were children, playing with toys they couldn't hope to comprehend.
Wracking up debts they didn't really believe they'd have to pay. Lindsey never
asked aloud, only with a questioning gaze that begged, pleaded with her to
talk to him. He never spoke a word about where she'd been, but would just look
at her, seeking answers, seeking a truth she didn't want to share. His eyes
filled with apologies and a love she couldn't afford to let herself believe
in. It was just another lie, a weapon to use against her. Not that it
mattered. If Angel couldn't love her, she didn't want anybody else. And it
couldn't be real, anyway. She didn't deserve to have anybody look at her like
that. Or she could talk to Holland, who would pat her hand and lie that they
had a solution in the works, his eyes blank, voice smooth and avuncular and
completely devoid of true caring. Lilah, who could barely conceal her own
distaste every time she was in the same room with Darla – she almost wished
she could tell Lilah. Listen to the false concern in that patronizing voice
falter as her own inevitable fate dawned on her, dig the truth in deeper. They
were all damned. Angel – her heart twisted within her. Stupid, mortal
They had betrayed each other so many times, in countless different
ways. She expected no sympathy from that quarter. The only one who might
understand was the one least likely to care.
“Darla.” Lindsey's voice came from the doorway, quiet and soothing. He
spoke to her as if she were a wild animal, trying to coax her to his hand. She
couldn't allow herself to resent it. She wasn't animal. She wasn't that
innocent. She was the condemned, a prisoner of hell, rescued for a heartbeat,
given a moment's rest only so that the horrors that awaited her death could
slice at her with renewed vengeance upon her return.
She didn't turn. Couldn't bear to see that soft look of concern in his eyes,
sandpaper on raw nerves screaming. She didn't want to die. Didn't deserve to
live. But worse – she didn't have a choice. She was powerless.
His voice came again, and she closed her eyes against the stab of pain that
went through her. “It's Halloween tonight. I'm afraid – the building
always has children in, trick or treating. I know you treasure your peace and
“It doesn't matter.” She kept her tone even through an effort, each word
measured and flat. Smooth glass, give them nothing to hold on to, nothing to
grab and tear. Another drop of rain began its slow, inevitable descent.
She heard him shift uncomfortably behind her. “I understand that Halloween
is a traditionally slow night, for…”
“Vampires, demons. You can say the words. I won't break.” She was already
broken, hairline cracks running through her entire body. Waiting only to
shatter with her final breath.
Behind her, Lindsey inhaled. Let it out on a sigh. She let the sound slide off
of her. She couldn't be what he wanted. Couldn't be what anybody wanted.
“So, there won't be any memories?”
There were always memories. Strongest now were the times of
despair. After she left Drusilla and William, unable to stand their reminders
of Angelus, of Drusilla's mad babbling about her Daddy. She lost track of how
many she turned during her journeys alone. Each tall, dark and broad
shouldered. And each one staked as he failed to live up to the ideal in her
head. The loneliness finally drove her first to the New World, and then
further west. The call of the Hellmouth, combined with the rumors that her
Sire had established a new foothold, drew her to Sunnydale. And somehow, she
never could quite summon the courage to leave again. Even as she lost her
treasured status as her Sire's darling and was treated like the barest
fledgling, a mere minion. He'd never forgiven her for choosing Angelus instead
of him and made her pay a thousand times over. But she still stayed. The
loneliness was worse than the servitude. The same emptiness and despair she
With an effort, she broke free of the past. Hundreds of years of acting – in
life, in death, in life again – kept her voice emotionless. “No, Lindsey.
There won't be any memories. Not of Halloween.”
She could feel him moving closer, his left hand hovering over her shoulder for
just a second before pulling back. He rarely touched her. As if he were afraid
that if he did, she'd disappear. His hand would pass right through her as she
dissolved back into dust. She sometimes wondered if he would only grab her,
shake her, hit her, if she would feel anything. Or if this body, this weak,
human body she could almost feel decaying around her, was forever numb. Had
the fires of Hell burned away her nerve endings? Or was that part of her still
trapped there, screaming?
“Darla.” Lindsey's tentative tones reached her ears again.
“Yes?” If he said her name enough times, she thought with a flash of anger
she quickly smothered, maybe she would become real. Something more than the
shadow she felt herself. She focused on the rain tracing the glass,
concentrating on her breathing, centering herself. She was weak now, helpless.
She couldn't afford to show anything that could be used against her. She
couldn't afford to trust anybody but herself. Everyone else betrayed.
“If there's anything you need, anything I can do, you know that I will. I
only want to help you.”
Make me immortal again. Save me.
But she just shook her head. “No, thank you, Lindsey. There's nothing I
She felt gaze pressing into her. Stay still. Don't move. They only chase
you if you run.
When he left, when she was alone again, she could let
herself relax. Watch the hypnotizing motion of the rain sliding down the
window, listen to the rhythmic patter of the drops hitting the glass.
With a sigh, Darla let her victim crumple to the ground, savoring the taste of
rich, warm blood that still filled her mouth. Chocolate,
absently, and coffee.
That extra buzz shivered through her, sparking
like electricity. She still reveled in the power coursing through her veins,
treasured each kill as if it were the first again. And she felt even stronger
now than she had on her previous turning. Who would have thought that Drusilla
would give her such gifts?
But she was still hungry. She frowned as she looked at body lying at her feet.
The third that night. That felt a little off. Darla dismissed the thought with
a shrug. She had three years worth of death to make up for. The hunger would
pass, eventually. It always did.
Her head tilted to one side. She thought she heard something; a faint patter,
like raindrops. She shivered suddenly, forcing down the memories. Absently,
her hand caressed her stomach. She still had a couple of hours until dawn.
Time for at least one more kill.
The drumbeats thrummed through her like a heartbeat. Like the heartbeat she
could hear within her womb. The two sounds echoing and entwining with one
another until she wanted to scream, to rip the child from her, to tear the
throats out of the drummers and drink their blood until she finally felt
She hated it. Parasite. Infestation.
She could feel it growing and
moving inside her. It was everything she loathed, a reminder of mortal
existence. Everything she'd given up, given up twice and never regretted it.
She'd never wanted a child, not even in her first mortal life. This thing was
an abomination, a creature she would find a way to destroy before it destroyed
I must be patient.
She was so close to finding the answers she sought. What it was that was
growing within her. Where it came from. And most importantly, how to get rid
of it. She couldn't afford to indulge her own rage, to annihilate those who
might solve the puzzle.
The bokor approached her warily, remaining out of reach. He shook his head,
his face grave.
Darla felt her stomach lurch within her as the scent of blood wafted towards
her. She couldn't tell if it was the increasing hunger or nausea. The creature
within her upset everything, disturbed her unnatural balance with the world.
Made her loathe and crave the taste of blood at the same time. Tried to
control her. She would not be controlled.
“We have learned nothing that you did not already know. That which you carry
is alive, and should not be. It is destruction and it is salvation. And the
loa will not intervene.”
Darla felt her face contort with rage. “But what is it? Why is it here?”
The bokor frowned. “I have said that they will not reveal more. It is not
for a djab, a devil, to question the loa. We will not aid you any further.”
It was so hard to think anymore, feeling that life fighting inside of her.
Feeling her own hunger grow greater with every passing day, every passing
minute. As if she could drink down victims by the dozens and never become
full. And the noise. The constant noise, the rapid heartbeat within growing
louder every day. She'd tried to drown it out with the screams of others,
their pleas for mercy, but it was always present. The sound of the thing
moving within her, the heart beating – she could never find peace anymore.
When was the last time she'd truly felt peace? Perhaps that brief moment in
the wine cellar, Lindsey's throat bared before her. A chance to unleash all
the frustration and rage she'd kept bottled up as a human, knowing she had the
power over his life or death. The feel of necks snapping beneath her hands
like twigs, throats tearing beneath her fangs, the blood filling her mouth. Or
that night with Angel, feeling him move within her, during the brief moments
when she had hope that Angelus would return. Visions of death and chaos and
safety dancing through her head. Of togetherness and companionship. Visions
ripped to shreds when he somehow kept his soul but apparently gave her this
creature within her instead.
She'd heard rumors of a shaman in South America. One who specialized in ritual
magic and demonic pregnancies. He was her last hope. If he was unable to tell
her what was growing inside her and how to destroy it, she'd have no choice
but to seek out Angel. If for no other reason than she refused to continue to
suffer alone. He'd done this to her. He would pay.
If she could only silence those infernal drums. With a snarl, she moved
forward, hands outstretched. But the bokor was ready, a cross appearing in his
hands. “Go. Do not anger the loa further.”
Her body hungered for the kill, for the blood, but she forced it down. She was
still in control of herself. She gave a final glare before vanishing back into
October 22nd, 2001
It was raining again. Darla felt the pain wracking her body, tightening in
bands of red agony, and thought that the rain was a mercy she did not deserve.
The droplets washed away her tears before they could become evident, before
Angel and those humans could observe them. Her hand cupped her stomach, taunt
and full. Life. She was going to give life. A wave of emotion swept through
her, a feeling of love so great she almost didn't feel the pain of the next
contraction. Tears traced paths down her face, disguised by the downpour.
She grasped the feeling, held on to it tightly. She hadn't known. Hadn't
realized what she'd done to others, ripping away this love she treasured more
than anything, more than her own existence.
I won't lose it.
The thought was desperate. She'd risk anything
rather than risk losing the memory of this feeling. She couldn't go back to
what she was. She saw Angel closing his eyes tightly. Barely felt the pain as
his hand crushed hers.
She felt blindly with her free hand, grasped a shard of wood. Alleys
she thought ironically, always seemed to have convenient stakes
Listened to the heartbeat within her, concentrated on it. It was growing
fainter but she still had time, she could still save her son. She had been a
whore in life, a whore in death, tempting men to their fall. She would be
redeemed by the savior she was giving birth to, the pure soul she felt moving
inside her. He was good. She knew it, knew it as surely as she knew that she
was not. She could feel his love for her in every cell of her body. The
knowledge that her son truly loved her, that she truly loved him would save
her. The sound of his heartbeat within her, soothing her. She would cling to
that sound in hell. No shrieks of pain, no cries of torment could drown out
that sound from her memories. The knowledge that she'd done one good thing.
With a final sigh, she drove the stake towards her own heart. Clung to love
even as she felt her body turn to dust, washed away in the pouring rain.
Los Angeles, 2002
She watched from the shadows, always invisible. Unseen. When she plunged a
stake towards her own heart, she'd done so knowing that she was headed back to
hell. Almost welcomed it.
But then the fates played yet another trick upon her. The Powers that Be, the
Senior Partners. She didn't know which was to blame and she didn't even know
if it really made a difference. They might define themselves by good or evil,
but she no longer could see a distinction between them. They – whichever
they it was - gave her back her soul, tied her existence to that of her son's.
At first she thought that it was a reward, a form of heaven gifted to her for
her own self-sacrifice. Able to watch her infant son, the love and warmth he
received. Still able to feel that love herself.
But she had no ability to change things, to alter a course of events so
terrible that Hell would have been a release compared to the torment she
suffered now. Watched betrayal after betrayal, her happiness a house of cards
crumbling inwards. Watching her infant son blink out of existence as he was
carried to Quar'toth. Felt herself blink out of existence with him, hurled
back to Hell.
Then, suddenly, she was back, and so was her child. Only he wasn't a child any
longer. His body was that of a teenager but his eyes – his eyes held a
weight of years that nearly crushed her. And she knew then that she was still
damned. Condemned to watch her son move in a haze of pain and confusion and
pay for her centuries of death. She had brought an innocent soul into the
world, only to watch it twist in agony far more lingering than the death she
brought to her countless victims. His eyes filled with shadows of loss and
distrust, unable to love or hope. And every word of despair he spoke was a
blow against her.
Darla watched from the shadows when Connor sank Angelus to the bottom of the
ocean. Decided it was a fitting punishment. Angel had promised to keep their
son safe, promised to protect him. Instead he'd let him be taken. Stolen
seventeen years of watching from her, stolen love and laughter and joy from
Bitter rage filled her as she watched Angel's return. She saw him reject the
child she still loved and wanted to yell, to scream. Make herself heard, do
something. But she could only observe. Watch as every joy her son tried to
reach crumbled to dust beneath his hands. That thing with Cordelia's face. Should
have eaten her when I had the chance.
Not even the soul within her could
mitigate the rage she felt as her son fell further and further into himself,
manipulated by a beautiful body and sweet lies.
How often had she used her own body, her own lies, to
manipulate men? Laughed in her heart at how easy it was, how vulnerable they
were. The sins of the parent revisited upon the child.
Forced to watch, Darla began to concentrate all of her rage and anger and
sadness, all of the overwhelming love she still felt for her son. Balled it up
tight within her, feeding it. She would not be controlled
. She would
not allow her son to be controlled. Not by some power with its own agenda. Her
son deserved a chance to live, a chance for joy. Used those emotions to force
herself into existence a final time.
Tried to reach him, show him the love that she still felt, that pervaded her
entire being. Felt herself almost break through when – it was too late. The
thing wearing Cordelia's face was stronger than she was, its lies stronger.
Darla had failed.
She watched the remainder of the days almost numbly. Saw the mask of joy on
his beautiful face, but felt the anger within his heart. Sat beside Connor as
he slept, her hands reaching out to caress his face instinctively, even as
they passed right through him. I'll never hold my son.
still felt the shock of that, pain a knife edge slicing through her. Darla
watched as her son saved the world at the cost of his last hope of peace,
losing himself in the process. Falling into an ocean of rage.
Felt her heart scream as she watched the decision on Angel's face. How can
you do it? How can you sacrifice our son? He was the one good thing we did
together. How can you?
And when the knife slashed down a final time, she felt her last ties to the
earth sever with that final heartbeat, whirling her back into hell. The pain
and despair upon her child's face the only thing she would ever see again.