Summary: Angel deals.
Rating: PG-14 (Language)
Spoiler Warnings: Disharmony
Disclaimer: I don't own Angel, or any of his so-called friends. I'm not making any money off of this. I only dream of the day.
He'll never know how close he came.
My fist sinks into the punching bag. I've been going at it like this for hours, and my arms ache. My fists, toughened and calloused as they are by centuries of fighting, are raw. But the Beast is still howling for his blood, and I won't stop until it's so tired it shuts up.
I realize now how one-dimensional the Council's study of vampires is. All they're interested in knowing, really, is how to kill us. Oh, they take down stuff like names, kill counts, modus operandi, reputations, addresses, things like that. But that's all in the name of "knowing thy enemy." Assessing how much risk a particular one of us poses. That has to be it, because if Wesley knew a single.
About our psychology or social structure, he never would have dared to do something as mind.
As to take over my office, and smugly close the doors in my face while sending me for coffee.
Let me tell you something that he apparently hasn't thought of. Vampires are predators. We prey on humans. I'm a vampire. They're human. Ergo, I prey on them. How much guff does a wolf take from a rabbit, do you think?
Pause. Take hold of the chain holding the punching bag. Lean. Wipe brow.
But then, I'm not just a vampire. I have a soul. And a conscience. I couldn't live with myself if I started feeding again. That doesn't mean I don't want to, though.
Stand up again. Step back to punching distance.
Sorry I fell off that pedestal you had me balanced on, guys.
But I'm not a male slayer with a skin condition and a liquid-protein diet. I'm a vampire.
I'm not a good guy. Not by nature. I'm a monster desperately trying to become a good guy.
Do you know what it's like? Every hour of every night, I'm like an alcoholic walking through an infinite liquor cabinet. I hang out with you, I help the helpless-hell, I walk past people on the street-and every second, there's a beast inside me screaming to grab them and start eating. Hell, sometimes, the cork's even off the bottle.
Oh, hadn't you noticed that? Noticed the way I either stand clear across the room from Cordelia or hover as close to her as courtesy allows for three to five days every month? Let me tell you, that made life in Sunnydale-when a good portion of my social group was female-a touch more difficult. Don't want to talk about that? Then think about this: how many of these people that we help are bleeding by the time we get to them?
So I fell. I messed up. After months of mind games and the Shroud of Rahmon and tasting warm blood for the first time since Buffy, after having Darla taken away from me again just when hope had set in, I lost it. No, I didn't. I gave in. I gave that screaming demon in my head free rein, because, for once, I agreed with it. The lawyers had persecuted me for months, and I wanted some blood.
Forgive me. I'm so sorry. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
So I fell. And what did I do when I fell? I killed demons. Burned my own Childe and my own Grandchilde/Sire. Harassed the law firm from Hell. Donated two million dollars to a homeless kids' shelter. Saved the world. Stopped a plague of zombies. What a terrible person I am!
Has Cordelia told you yet, Wesley? I came. I saved you by stopping the zombies, then I came to visit in the hospital, and Cordelia sent me away. Told me you didn't need me anymore.
Why, oh, why didn't I come back sooner?
Draw back fist. Punch!
Let's get back to today, then, shall we? Another vampire fact: we have a strong sense of hierarchy and dominance. I realize now that I only survived my first meeting with the Master because he was very indulgent of his Most Favored Childe.
I'm Angelus. The Scourge of Europe. The most vicious and feared of a race of predators that preys almost solely on the world's most dangerous prey. Darla claims she taught me everything I know. That's wrong. She taught me everything she knows. Then I reached heights…or depths…that frightened even her. I saw it in her eyes when I told her why I wanted to turn Drusilla. Even the Master came to fear me in time.
And today, a human.
And gave. Me. Orders.
He'll never know how close I came to beating him to death with his own arms.
After I rip them off.
And Cordelia! I just know you never told him about the hospital. Instead, you stand there on your pulpit that you made from my pedestal and tell me how terrible I am.
Is that giving me a chance?
And I'll never tell you about the good things I did in the time I was gone. Because that's not good enough. I abandoned you, and that's all that matters. It'll just come out like a weak rationalization. I'm not allowed to defend myself because I'm the one in the wrong and you'll never know how lucky you are that I have a man inside me as well as a beast because I can smell the blood coming out of Wesley's gut and Cordelia's crotch and every time you throw yet another one of your self-righteous barbs at me the demon inside me howls at me to rip your fucking throats open and eat you whole!
Wind back my fist and throw my whole weight into a thunderous--
The punching bag snaps loose from its moorings and slams into the basement's cinderblock wall. It splits and sinks to the ground in an outpouring of sand.
With a sigh, I sit down on the basement steps, pick up my towel, and wipe the sweat from my brow.
I'll buy another one tomorrow. I'll pay for it with my own money, rather than the funds of Angel Investigations. Funny how, not so long ago, the two were one and the same. That way, no one will notice.
One more thing they'll never know.