disclaimer in part 1

Like a fire I'm drawn to her lust
I can't run from her but Lord I must
Like a demon I'm drawn to her flame
I'm gonna burn calling her name


Three Doors
by: Rebecca Carefoot

Part Three

Angelus studied the three open doorways. Each of them led to a different tunnel, but he could see the end of none of them. He took a step toward the tunnel Buffy had run down, fighting the desire to simply chase her until they collided and one of them ended up dead. He could still taste the copper of her blood on his tongue, and he craved more. He wanted to bury his nose in her hair, and his teeth in her neck, and tear... He clenched his fist. No good. She had almost beaten him; and she had run away in tears. If he fought her now, she'd either fall apart completely, or kill him. Neither of those options were what he wanted, what he planned. When they fought for the last time, it would be on his terms. He wanted her strong, not a weepy mess. But he also had no intention of dying.

He tapped his tongue against his teeth thoughtfully. He had no idea how he'd gotten into the tunnel she'd opened. He had woken up there just moments before she had flown crying into his arms. He vaguely remembered the demons, but nothing after the cages had been separated. Whatever had happened, he was fairly sure there was nothing to be gained in going down that tunnel; it was most likely a dead end. So the third tunnel it would be. He ducked his head as he passed through the wooden doorway and entered the unlit tunnel, walking quickly away from the small room and the glow of torchlight.

The darkness surrounded him completely after a few steps. The silence in the small, dank space was broken only by the consistent, soft slap of his shoes against the uneven surface of rock and grit beneath him. He moved easily and confidently, at home in the blackness, content to simply follow where the tunnel would lead and devote his thoughts to other concerns. It did concern him, not knowing how he'd been freed. But the important thing was that it had happened, that he was pure, untainted once more. And that he stay this way. This time there would be no new curse. He would make sure of that before anything else. He'd kill the witch, Willow, who'd cursed him the last time. But more than kill her, he wanted to make her scream for screwing with his plans. He wanted to make her bleed, to taste her innocence and rip it from her. He wanted to open her eyes to the fact that good did not win every battle and the darkness would not bow to her whims. He wanted to see the realization dawn on her face that her precious Slayer wouldn't save her this time. He would buy his safety with her life, her fear. Then he'd kill the Watcher too, just in case. A quick death to make sure he finished the job he'd started the last time. He spat against the ground, his face contorting with ill controlled disgust at the thought of the last time, of his failure. It would not happen again.

Once he was sure he didn't have to worry about being stuck with that worthless soul again, he could concentrate on the things that really mattered. Like Buffy. He rubbed his hand languidly across his chest. He had almost forgotten what it felt like to have her underneath him, and he was betting she had too. Her confusion during the fight had been so thick in the air he could almost taste it, feel it on his tongue. Not that he was quite arrogant enough to believe she would fuck him. But he was more than willing to use her confusion to his full advantage. He knew as well as she did the longing she had for his body, the unsatisfied need.

He growled softly. He knew as well as she did. He remembered the way he had felt when he still had the soul, his own longing for her, his own desire for her body; but more than that he remembered his worship of her, his love of her. He hated her for the fact that his body remembered the need just as hers did, and he hated her for the fact that every glimpse of her face, every thought of her name, brought forth another memory. Memories of tenderness, of laughing, of soft kisses, and more urgent ones, of comforting and healing. He growled again, rubbing at the sides of his head.

It was infuriating having these memories, feeling those feelings, or the soft echoes of them that came with remembering. The echoes were more than enough, leaving him feeling disgusted with himself, weak. It made him want to vomit, or to kill. It made him want to cover himself in blood, gorge himself on death until he could no longer remember anything but the glory of the hunt, the rush of adrenaline, the pure pleasure in the fear, and the kill. He balled his fists, his muscles tense, his eyes narrowed.

He felt like his insides were crawling. He felt like his brain was screaming. He wanted. He lusted. He needed. He craved. Blood. Death. Chaos. Buffy.

Damn her!

He turned with sudden speed and rammed his fist into the nearest outcropping of rock. The wall cracked, and his hand screamed in agony. He reveled in the pain, laughing as it drove deep inside him, almost deep enough to weed the bitch out. He smashed his other fist into the wall as well, pieces of rock sifting to the ground. He became a blur of motion, slamming his fists and feet into unforgiving rock, the scent of his own blood as his knuckles split only sending him into a greater fury. He tore at chunks of rock, pulling them from the wall. He screamed wordlessly, straining the veins in his neck with the force of his anger. He scraped with his fingernails until they bled, and pieces of them lay on the floor with the broken rock.

When his fury was spent he stood quietly, his eyes on the rubble around him, on the holes and fissures he had torn into the tunnel wall with his bare hands. He licked the blood from his fingers slowly, savoring it, savoring the grit and dirt of the destruction he had caused.

This was what he lived for. Destruction. And he would destroy her. One way or another; whatever it took. He would destroy her, or destroy himself in the process of trying. There was no other option, and he was glad of it. He desired nothing more than the simplicity of tearing her apart as he had the wall.

He continued walking down the tunnel, ignoring the pain that trailed up and down his limbs. It would heal, and until it did he would savor it.

* * * * * * *

Angel pressed his ear against the crack in the wall of his prison. He had slipped into a dazed sleep, but was quickly wakened by pounding on the other side of the wall. Questions had filled his mind as breath once again filled his lungs and pain battered his stiff body, but he brushed them away. Escape first and the answers would come. He had screamed out for help once, then realized he had no idea if it was friend or foe on the other side of the wall and waited until the noises subsided. All seemed quiet.

He began to work his fingers into the large cracks in the rock. He dug and pulled away crumbling rocks and dust. Slowly he scraped at the rocks until a hole began to form. Angel scratched against the rock, eager now that an escape was almost in sight. He fingernails broke and his fingers bled, but he continued to push and pull at the hole. He forced the rock to continue crumbling until a pile of rubble lay around him, and the hole was big enough to crawl through.

He shrugged off his coat, realizing its bulk would be too much for the small hole that offered escape. He reached his arms through the hole, wincing as the rough edges tore at his shirt, tearing easily through it to scrape at his shoulders as he squeezed his head and arms through the small opening. His arms free, he braced them against the other side of the wall of rock, pushing with all his strength to force his body through. Jagged stone teeth found him through the tears in his clothes; he stung and ached as the sides of his body were battered, his muscles protesting the abuse.

His arms trembled with exertion, but he continued to push, resting for brief seconds, then straining again. Once enough of his body was through the hole to allow him to fall forward, he caught himself with his weakened arms. He crawled out into the tunnel, dragging the rest of his body through the shards of broken rock. His feet scraped over the edge of the hole and fell to the ground. He lay still a moment, his cheek pressed to the rock beneath him, and tried to catch his breath. The painful bite of the uneven surface he rested on became too much, and he rose slowly to his feet.

He looked at the scrapes that trailed over his arms and legs, at the several places where his shirt clung to wet slicks of blood, soaked through with the liquid. He touched a few of the cuts that dug deepest into his flesh, and hissed at the renewed sting of pain that greeted the probing. Assured that none of the injuries were serious, he looked down the tunnel in each direction. There was no way of knowing which way to go, where either direction led. He closed his eyes, trembling slightly. He opened them and looked at his hand, watching the tremors that shook him, too inexperienced with humanity to judge how much more his body could take. He turned to the right, and took a step. He swayed with hunger, his stomach growling softly. How long had it been since he'd eaten? He took another step, clenched his jaw against the weakness and the sore ache that jolted his muscles with every movement. He thought of Buffy: her warmth, her smile, her voice. And he took another step, and another.