Cavemen Always Win

Cavemen Always Win




******

Chapter 1:

Nothingness, that's really all there is left. I can't seem to figure out what the hell is going on here. So I've been having that same dream for days now. People falling down the hole and Spike pushing me and then it ends. I'm still falling. I heard once, maybe from someone I tortured or on one of the shows Cordy made me watch, but I heard that in dreams you always wake up before you die. Now I'm not sure how that works for the undead, but maybe it's the same.

I'm waking myself up subconsciously or something to keep from dying. Course I also heard somewhere that if you die in your dreams you die in real life... of course that one could be true. My two hundred and some odd years have taught me that anything supernatural is true.

So what does it mean... well don't look at me. Knowledge isn't exactly my area of expertise. I'm more action guy. Kicks and punches... now that's my area of expertise. The thing is this dream seems so obvious.

Like the answer is staring me right in the face, but I can't get it because well I don't think I'm supposed to get it, which is shitty enough. I mean why send me something I'm not supposed to get. As a warning? As a sign? I'm not sure. All I know is that I'm supposed to go back to the beginning. Problem is... what beginning?

I've had so many it's too hard to count. When I was turned, that was definitely a new beginning, but I'm pretty sure the Powers don't want me to go back to Angelus times, but then again this is the Powers that Be so who knows.

Do they want me to go to when I was a mortal? Like when I was first born or something. Or is it a farther beginning. One that I wasn't part of just a beginning of some sort. Or am I looking at this entirely too literally and it's just some sort of stress induced bad dream because I want to punish myself?

Now, my brain hurts from thinking about it so hard. Believe me it's been on my mind for days. I get what they're trying to tell me. What I don't get is why. They want me to loosen up. They want me to actually... want things. Okay I get that, but why.

When I get what I most desire it's perfect happiness and then me and the people I care about are screwed. So why even chance it. I'm perfectly fine living like this. Penance, it's what it's all about. Punishment and torture and all that crap. So why do I need to want that or whatever is they want me to want. Grrr... I need a drink. Something malt like and soothing

See I'd ask Wesley what he thought it meant, but... he's been busy dealing with our... Illyria problem. And to talk about that... place... the one that could have saved Fred would just be too hard on him right now.

Everyone's taking it pretty hard I mean of course we are. Fred was... well she was Fred. Sweet and innocent and everything that anyone could hope to be. Poor Wes, I mean he had her and then all of a sudden he had a shell of what she used to be. It's gotta be hard and I don't want to go asking him questions that have anything to do with Fred's death.

So I plan to sit here at my desk signing whatever Harmony brings to me and just ignoring the world for a little while. I have to. I can't... I'm not good with, no scratch that I'm good with grief, but it's... well I don't know how to explain myself. I deal with grief in a brooding way.

Yes I admit I brood. Why wouldn't I admit it I mean it's so obvious? So I just want to shut them out for a little while till I can deal with Fred's death and my stupid dreams that probably mean nothing whatsoever and just sit. Here at my desk with my big chair just sitting because sitting is good and I don't plan on moving any time soon.

"Peaches, hello? Earth to Peaches. Hey are you in there?" Spike says and he's looking at me in the most peculiar way.

Like he's confused and concerned and a little annoyed and he isn't sure which one to be if I answer him. But I'm not going to answer him. Nope, not a peep out of me because I enjoy this sitting. It's good sitting.

"Hey! Come on! Snap out of it! Harmony's worried to death that I might just do the gentleman thing and stake her. Hey are you even listening? I said I was gonna stake your secretary. Doesn't that bother you? Come on, Angel you've been sitting in that chair for three days straight!" Spike says and he's definitely more concerned then anything. Maybe he's hoping the sound of him being actually concerned will snap my out of this stupor.

Three days... I've been sitting in this chair for three days. My ass hurts and my shoulder ache and my neck is making a crick sound, but I'm determined not to move.

"Oh, come on. There are demons to kill and innocents to save and not drink from. Remember your hero status? You love doing this stuff." Spike says practically pleading with me to get up.

The vague notion that I probably haven't eaten in those three days flies through my mind when I bat it away with an 'I don't care'. Of course I do because my stomach's growling and my teeth itch to sink them into something and I have to stare away from Spike's neck because he's eaten recently. Cow's blood, but blood nonetheless and it's calling. It's calling to me and I wanna bite and eat, but I can't seem to move.

"Hey! I'm seriously freaked out now Angel. You haven't eaten in three days. That suits hanging off of you. It's time to SNAP OUT OF IT!!" He yells at me.

He's really worried now and I guess I can't blame him. It's a scary thing to see a vampire starve to death. I used to do it with some of the minions and Spike would always be freaked out by it. He said it was just stupid and that I should've just staked the poor bastards. I always thought it was funny.

"Okay you know what we can die... that's just fine. I'll take Charlie and Blue girl and Percy and go kill some demons and watch as Wesley kills Charlie boy and her Royal Demoness brings on the end of the world." He says and he's really trying here. Soon he'll resort to punches.

I brace myself. Spike may never have beaten me in a fight before the Cup of Perpetual Lies, but I did teach him well. He added his own spin on things during the hundred years that I didn't know him, but his punches are basically the same. Always biting and always in the face. He doesn't punch though. He just sits... well flops is more accurate. He flops down in the chair on the other side of my desk and just looks at me and I think I'm about ready to say something when he opens his mouth.

"Please, look I'm asking nicely now. Please stop this. You can't keep beating yourself up about this. We tried... and I know that's not an excuse, but there's nothing we can do. I miss her too, but beating yourself up about it isn't going to safe all those other people out there." He says and I think he's saying it as sort of a last resort thing.

There's something about Spike. He's contradictory if you hadn't noticed. He'll say one thing one minute then have your head doing a total 360 the next. He sits there pretending he's not a hero when he really is and deep down he knows it. Deep down I know it. He's been going around trying to rally the gang, but his... carefree, and I use the word loosely, attitude just isn't working on them.

I think Wes is about ready to stake him. I've heard him, yelling at them to just bloody stop it already. To snap out of it, but I think he's just trying to convince himself or get a rise out of them. I'm not really sure and at this moment I'm not really sure if that's what he's trying to do to me. I can tell though. He said he misses her and I know he does. I know he wishes there was something more he can do, but there's not and now he wants to save others.

The contradiction in that is that he doesn't view himself as a hero, but he's got the attitude of one. Okay maybe not a hero... a general. A good general that leads his troops into battle and does a good job. So his morale needs work, but for the most part that's what he is.

"He's a general." I say and Spike looks up.

He's confused, probably thinks I took a leaf out of Dru's book, but he looks relieved. I haven't said anything for three days so I guess he thinks its progress.

"Yeah, yeah he's a general. That's good on you, Peaches. Now let's talk about you eating something, eh. Only I'm sure you don't want to wither away to dust." Spike says.

"No, no, not he you. You're a general." I say and now he's looking at me like I'm certifiable.

"Whatever floats your boat there. Now come on let's go eat." Spike said.

"I'm not hungry. I'm tired. Can't you just bring it here." I say and I wonder briefly if my voice was too whiney.

Out of nowhere Harmony appears with a mug of blood. He takes it from her and nods a thank you.

"What?" he says and I must be looking at him questioningly.

"Nothing, what is it? Pig's, cow's what is it?" I ask.

"Cow's, all this place has got. Here you go." He says handing me the mug. I stare at it tentatively. My fingers itch to grab it, but I don't think my hand is working.

"Don't tell me I have to feed you." Spike says and he's back to annoyed.

"No, I've got it. Just give me a minute." I say and I pick up my hand. God, does that hurt. You may not think it would, but I've been sitting in the same chair for THREE days with my hands neatly folded together. My fingers ache and I hear them crack by just moving them towards the cup.

"I can get you a straw. One of them bendy ones Harmony likes to keep around. Should I do that?" Spike asks and then shudders at something.

What I'm not really sure, but I guess the idea of feeding me from a mug with a straw weighs heavily on an old memory. Funny I never did that to him so it must have been someone else that tortured him.

"No, no, I just have to... could you put the thing closer." I say and maybe I should just let him feed me. Would be a lot easier.

"Sure, mate." He says and without hesitation he gets up and pushes the mug closer to me.

My hand twitches toward it and I finally gather up the strength to reach for it... before it falls out of my shaking fingers. Imagine a mere mug is too heavy for me to carry. Me, a Master Vampire with strength and cunning and all those other words that relate to strength and cunning.

"Oh for the love of... Angel, you're wasting good blood here. Just... just let me get a straw and feed you. You're too weak to do it on your own." He says and without warning he leaves the room. He's gone for about a minute or two when he comes back in with a fresh mug of blood and a twisted pink straw.

"It was all she had. Apparently she used the rest or she only buys pink. Wasn't paying much attention." Spike says.

I nod as if I don't care and he puts the straw in the mug. He walks over to me and I feel the straw poke my lips. As if I'm a newborn baby I latch on to the straw and suck the blood through it. It's gross. It's beyond gross. The bloods tainted even more then it would have been if I had drunk it straight from the mug. Drinking blood from a straw is a horrible experience and I hope to never do it again.

Doesn't stop me from drinking all the blood though and then as if by magic Spike has another mug in his hand and is doing the same thing. And so the process goes until I'm almost too full to drink anymore and Spike's still insisting that I take another drink. It wasn't like I was wounded... just out of my mind for a little while. But I placate him... I sort of have to considering he's practically forcing the straw down my throat. Then about five or six mugs later he final let up.

"Okay now that you're all filled up it's time to fight." He says.

"Fight?" I say and from the look on his face he's a little worried about me. I don't remember him saying there was a fight.

"Yeah, big nasty demons and saving of the innocents." Spike says.

"So those are real demons and not just ones you made up." I say.

"Yes Angel real demons are attacking some blokes down at the docks. Watcher Jr seems to think it's some sort of sea creatures." Spike says.

"Wait, Wes is working. I thought... I mean... isn't he still..."

"Grieving, yeah, but now it's more of a silent grief. Convinced him that these demons are bad news. They were killing people before... and they're still going at it so's it's best if we do something." Spike says.

"And he just... listened. He actually listened to you?" I say.

"Yes, yes he did. I told him Fred would've liked it if we kept fighting. She was all about that. Making a difference. So I got him on track and I think I got Charlie to stop feeling sorry for himself long enough to fight anyway. Lorne... well Big Green he's trying his best here. Been drinking himself silly for the past three days. More I think, but I wasn't there. We shared a couple of pints and he said that he was going to keep fighting. So we should see him soon." Spike says to me and I'm a little shocked.

They're actually listening to him. They're actually considering what he's saying and then taking his advice.

"So... Wes found out something about these demons. What do we do now? Do we know where they're going to attack?" I ask.

"Well, no, but I thought we could just do it the old fashioned way. You know search the docks and rot like that. Someone's been dying every night so I'd say it's pretty likely they're gonna strike again." Spike says.

"You came up with that all by yourself?" I ask. He looks as though he's been found out, but then quickly goes back to being his cocky self.

"Well, no, but the team seems to be working their asses off so I guess its right. I don't know I'm just here to fight, remember. Something's coming and maybe it's not here but in the mean time a blokes gotta get his rocks off somehow." He says.

"So we're going to go fight some sea monster demon types. Any ideas on how to kill them?" I ask.

"Why don't you ask your crew? Wes seems to have everything down to pat. Look you're gonna have to deal with the mamby pamby reunion shit anyway. Just get it done with and then maybe if you're really lucky I'll let you sit in that chair again for a day or so." He says in a joking manner.

"I know, but... I'm not sure what to say." I admit to him and he sighs a great heaving sigh as though the weight of the world rested on his shoulders.

In fact it just might be considering it took him to rally the troops. I would have still been sitting here if he hadn't come in and shocked me out of my trance. Who knows what he did to the others, but the way Spike tells it, it seems like they're... putting their grief aside for a while.

"So don't say anything. Just walk in there and be Mister Hero guy. They're all expecting it anyway." Spike says.

"What? They... what does that mean? They don't expect me to be grieving. Why not? I loved Fred just as much as they did. Why would they think I could just brush that off?" I say and I think I might sound a little angry, but my voice is dull to my ears.

"It's not that so don't go getting your knickers in a twist thinking that. If it's one thing I've learned from my time in Sunnyhell under... Buffy's leadership reign it's this: the followers expect the leader to have it together. It's just the way it goes. They show no emotion whatsoever. They wait for the behind the scenes for that. What you need is to be their leader right now. The problem with your little Scooby spin offs is they need to keep handy. Wes, he needs to be needed in a time like this and so do Charlie Boy and Big Green. It's just the way men are. So suck it up and be their leader like you always are. I've seen you Angel. I know that when something bad strikes so squeeze in all those feelings and go on fighting. You need to do that right now." Spike says and he's right.

When Doyle died I allowed myself a day or so of grieving. I watched as Cordelia grieved and as she tried to comfort me when I didn't really need it. I missed him and I was angry and sad that he died, but I couldn't... grief like a normal... human. Then everything with Connor and Cordelia and now Fred. It was all too much. I'm not sure I could even get past it this time.

"Well, yeah okay see you have a pattern. And I don't know who this Connor person is, but I know you've had some heavy losses with you little team. Just... try for one night." Spike says to me and I think I look confused.

"I said that out loud?" I ask.

"Yes, you wanker, you said it out loud. Who's Connor?" He asks and I try to come up with a quick lie.

"No one, just some guy. Did a number on us." I say.

"How come no one mentions him?" Spike asks.

"Cause they're all trying to put it behind them. Don't talk about it okay. So... do we have to fight these demons?" I ask.

"Well, no if you don't want to. I can go down with them, but at least get out of the chair. Go to that nice penthouse you have." Spike says.

"Too many bad memories."

"This place is one big bad memory. If you insist on sitting in that chair I'm going to have to drag you with me." Spike says and he's dead serious.

I ponder it for a moment. Weigh my options and see what's best. Well, what's best for me is to stay in this chair, but Spike won't let that happen. I know him. If he has his mind set on something he won't let it go. If it takes handcuffing us together to get me to move then he'll do it. He didn't say I had to fight the demons.

He said I could go to sleep in the penthouse, but I don't want to go their either. So my options are limited. I would really just like to not do anything that involves manual labor, but I can't leave them to fend for themselves. Guess it's another night of demon hunting.

"Where's my axe?"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Everyone's being quiet. I guess that's a good thing considering we're hunting demons, but it's an eerie quiet. Usually when we do this we whisper things to one another and stuff like that. There's only the sound of Illyria's voice. Wes insisted on bringing her. She's telling us all we're fools for thinking that killing a bunch of demons will make a difference.

Wesley's not making any moves to shut her up and I'm fairly certain her talking is getting on Gunn's nerves. Gunn really doesn't care if the odds are against him or not as long as he knows he's fighting the good fight although he looks slightly less sure of his place tonight.

Wesley looks like he's been to hell and back... a few times. He looks worse then I feel. Almost like he's dead. With his big battle sword in hand, I don't know why he likes that thing, he's walking as quietly as he can manage with Illyria close behind.

Then there's Illyria. She looks weary of everything and annoyed. She's seems... amused at our little demon fighting adventure. Her comments aren't helping any with tracking the demons and I think she knows that. She's doing it on purpose.

Lorne, who's at the back with what appears to be a crossbow slash machete, looks subdued, but he's really good at controlling his emotions as well. Although it has proved to be unhealthy, just look at Halloween. He's got that look in his red eyes. The one that says I'm going to suck it up and be useful because I couldn't be before.

I wonder if I'm wearing that same look. That's how I feel. Right now the only thing keeping me here is the fact that I have to be useful. There may not be a light at the end of the tunnel, but I still gotta walk through it. No matter how much I feel like collapsing into a boneless heap.

Spike appears to be the only one in tune with what's going on. He's stalking the dock like a predator looking through every nook and cranny. His nervous agitation is something I can feel though. He's trying to go on with things as normal and he's trying to get everyone else to do so as well.

"You know this was so much easier when we had the visions." Gunn dares to say and we all look at him.

"I'm just saying. I mean it was easier. Okay, maybe almost as vague, but we had something to go on. A place most of the time. All we have now is dock, killings and water." Gunn says. Wes gets a thoughtful look on his face.

"You're right. It's odd that the Powers that Be haven't sent a new messenger. I would have thought they would have sent someone." Wesley says.

"Maybe these 'Powers' of yours have deserted you for you insolence. Maybe they've grown weary with your human attempts to rid this world of it's evil." Illyria says and I think Gunn really would like to punch her.

A part of me thinks she's right though. A part of me has been thinking the same thing. Maybe, just maybe, the Powers that Be have abandoned us and picked a new champion. Someone that's not so world weary and beaten down by everything.

"They haven't abandoned us if that's what you're thinking. No, they... they just haven't sent someone new." Gunn says and he sounds like he's trying to convince himself more then he's trying to convince everyone else.

Wes and Lorne seem not to hear him. It must have just hit them like a ton of bricks because now it's been said out loud. Now there's no denying that it's there and a very real possibility and that makes everything else seem so... out of place.

"Um... hello, tracking demons here. It's best if you lot keep quiet and just get ready to hack and slash." Spike says and he's looking behind some huge crates.

"Why do you still fight if you're 'Powers' have abandoned you so?" Illyria asks and that's really the million-dollar question isn't it.

Why are we still even trying? The reason just got so... lost along the way.

"Because it's something to do. Now either you guys can just go back to your evil little law firm and wallow and brood or we can kill these things and worry about those stupid 'Powers that Be' some other time. Who care's if they ain't listening anymore. You weren't taking their messages when you started this fight so who cares about them now." Spike says and it's so weird how both sides seeming appealing.

"I hate to say this, but... Spike's right." Wes says and he does look a little pained at saying it.

"Too right, now let's go find us some fisherman eating demons and chop their heads off." Spike says and for just a moment I wonder what it would be like to live so simplistically like Spike does.

It's only a moment though because as soon as Spike walks to the next stack of crates a demon pops out from behind them and tackles Spike to the ground. It's Poisentuck demon. Tons of scales and sharp claws. Nothing remotely special about it other then it's strong, gigantic and deadly to humans.

Spike's not fairing well with it and Lorne goes to his rescue. Lorne shoots and arrow at it and hey what do you know it's a crossbow. The demon only looks upset by the arrow and makes a break for Lorne.

Wes and Gunn have got it in their heads to run and help, but suddenly two more demons come out from behind the crates and Gunn and Wes try to deal with them. I can hear Spike yelling at them to decapitate it.

The neck is the only vulnerable part of the demon. It looks like Spike and Lorne have killed their demon and are going to Wes and Gunn's rescue. Illyria is standing around, much like how I'm doing, not really sure where to go. She makes a decision and goes to help Wes. I find my legs and run over there as well... then all hell breaks loose.

Five more demons pop up from the water and make their way to the top of the dock.

"Holy fuck! How many of these buggers are there?" Spike asks to no one in particular.

"We must have stumbled onto a nest." Wesley says as he tried to bat away another demon.

"It's seven on five. Those are good odds. We've had worse." I say and they look over at me shocked.

"What?" I say and then I realize this is the first time I've said a word to them in three days. Of course a big battle isn't time for a 'mamby pampy reunion', as Spike would say.

"Gunn, duck." I say and even though he seems shocked he ducks narrowly missing being clawed by one of the demons.

So we fight and it's like old times... well almost anyway. Gunn and Spike are the most vocal yelling at the demons and goading them. Wes is subtler and just tries his hardest to harm the demon. Of course with Illyria near him he doesn't really have to worry as demonstrated when she just rips the head off of one of the demons that was attacking him. Lorne's going for the throat and trying to stay out of the fight or at least as far away as he can be.

Somehow I find myself being led farther and farther away from the group. The demon is on the offensive and I'm trying to gain the upper hand, but he just keeps moving forward and all I can do is back away. No it's not me, but I don't seem to have enough energy to push him off. Then he punches me sending me flying through a stack of crates. My vision blurs slightly and I don't see him coming after me.

Then I hear it. This tiny noise I don't know what it is... it's a sound a small sound and I can hear it. I look over at the fight. The demon is definitely not coming towards me and they all seem to be doing okay on their own so I follow the noise.

I don't know why. I've heard enough weird noises to know that it's NEVER a good idea to follow them. But I feel... drawn to it. So I follow and it's only a little ways until I come to a little girl. She's got long brown hair and a soft face. She's smiling at me sweetly as though she's pleased I'm here.

"Hey, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be... home?" I say because I'm not entirely sure where she's supposed to be.

She giggles and she really is a cute little girl. She looks like she's dressed in pajamas as though she's supposed to be getting ready to go to bed. She couldn't be older then seven or eight. In her hands is a box. A big box that looks bigger because it's being held in her little hands.

"Do you want to see what I have in the box?" She asks me with a smile on her face.

Part of me is screaming to back away slowly. I've had bad luck with little girls and even worse luck with things like mysterious boxes. Another part of me, the part that knows that that sound is coming from the box and is drawn to that sound nods yes. The girl smiles and opens the box. A gush of green dust comes out from the box and rushes toward me.

The stuff fills my nostrils and I open my mouth to scream or yell or something and it rushes towards the inside of my mouth as well. I try to cough, but I can't. I try to close my mouth, but I can't. I try to open my eyes because somewhere during this weird experience I closed them, but I can't. I try to move away from the dust, but I can't.

Then it stops and I feel dizzy, really dizzy. I look down at myself to see if anything has changed. I'm not a puppet so right now I'll take that as a good thing, but I still feel dizzy. I feel like I'm going to pass out. I hear someone calling my name... I'm not sure who it is, but it's someone. I try to walk towards them, but legs feel shaky.

"Angel. Hello Peaches. Hey are you in there?" Spike asks and my vision is blurry and everything's dizzy and I can feel my body giving out and ready to just collapse.

Wes, Gunn, and Lorne come a minute later and they're asking questions. I can tell because their mouths are moving, but I can't hear them. I try walking again only to almost fall, but Spike catches me. Wes looks over at me and asks me something but I still can't hear him.

"Huhzit..." I say and it's meant to be 'what' but my throat has gone dry.

Wes looks from me to Gunn to Lorne and to Spike then finally back at me. He's concerned and they start asking more questions, but I still can't hear them. The edges of my vision get even blurrier and I squint at them. Spike's still holding me up because my legs have given out.

They're still asking me questions. I think they're trying to ask what's wrong, but damn it I can't hear them. And then I can't see them. It's like someone just turned off all the lights and it's all darkness. I can feel the urge to just fall into that deep coma like trance that vampires do so well taking over an suddenly... I'm out.

Chapter 2

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