Angel, After

Angel, After

By Lostakasha
Author's Notes

Prologue

He is heretic, priest, and penitent, mocked by the hoax of redemption.

He is all of these things, existing in aspects parallel to one another, like the faces of a cube.

He absorbs the luscious pain of seeing her for the first time. It rushes through the void beneath the silken shroud of flesh he is forced to wear.

She is his to discover.

She is his to claim.

She raises her eyes and shields them; his destiny in a glance.

I

Among his many regrets, there is one he does not have: killing his father. Compelled only by greed and the service of his eyeless God, the feckless tyrant had a better end than he deserved.

Beneath his fatherís gaze Liamís mother became a dun-feathered wren, light and desperate.

Kathyís fate would have been her motherís.

Youíre an angel come to save me, Liam, his sister had whispered, clinging to his neck. Paterís in an awful state. You shouldnít come in.

He pressed his lips to the curve of her ear. Iíll take care of him, a chuisle. The tenderness faded in the extension of fangs and the piercing of flesh and with that first burst of virgin blood on his tongue she became an endearment as old as the sod on which he stood. Pulse of my heart.

MŠthair sat by the fire, bent over her needlework. At the touch of her sonís icy fingers on her cheek she reached up and covered his fingers with her own. He surrendered to his hunger then, and let her sorrow fill him.

No soul would rob Angel of the triumph of watching the old bastard tremble in terror beneath his touch. He is still satisfied by the message he carved into the old manís grizzled throat.

Fillean meal ar an meallaire.

Evil returns to the evil doer.

II

The rustle of petticoats and the clatter of heels on cobblestones became decadent background music to their feasts. Alleyways were their dining halls of choice, Darlaís habits having become his own.

He was a better son the second time around, absorbing her every instruction, improving upon his new motherís savagery with a scholarís dedication and no slight amount of flair.

She shook her wicked boy loose of her crimson apron strings in London and stepped back to watch the carnage.

It came in a burst of yellow linen and cream silk, in the fear stiffened spread of narrow fingers, pushing, pushing, pushing her family out of the reach of his eyes.

She burned with dread and innocence, igniting a passion he had died to feel.

She was his to discover.

She was his to create.

She held his gaze as she ran, unable to look away from her destiny.

III

Centuries have collapsed in his lap, leaving him to catalog the tastes of blood as a vintner would, with endless lists of varietals separated by their essential chemistries: fear, lust, greed, holiness, transcendence.

Bonum est diffusivum sui.

The good pours itself out.

IV

He remembers hearing Buffy answer one of Cordeliaís insistent questions.

ďHow do you tell them apart from real people? Do you have some kind of vamp-o-vision?Ē

ďNo. Yes. I donít know. I just feel it.Ē

V

I feel things, Drusilla whispered, pulling wispy arms tight around her knees. She shook as he grazed her carotid artery with the tip of his manicured fingernail.

What things, a chuisle?

I donít know, daddy, she flinched, waiting for the lash to strike. The death of the world.. A reign of dragons and the lights like rockets hiss and crack. I feel you.

VI

Age ceases to matter in an endless life. Youth lives in the blood.

He has tasted virgin boys whose corpuscles curdled with ancient rage passed down from son to son. He has tasted joy in the grume of sagging, pale-faced old women, and grief in the blood of new mothers and their squalling babes.

He tasted shame in the slayerís blood, a river of sickness blunting her power, threading through her love.

VII

In winning a day and his mortality he is free to focus on the present. He is just a man, a solitary human being, fully alive and in love.

Shivering and naked, on his knees, immolated by the life that pulses in her veins, in the love that he can taste with a human tongue; love that knows only completion, and never, ever shame.

She burns with yearning and elation, igniting a passion he would trade his life to feel.

VIII

They are ghosts now, all of them: the lovers of his making and the instruments of the havoc he unleashed upon the world. His parents, his beloveds, his child and his children are wisps of memory, no more substantive than a list of virtues on the crumbling pages of a book. Faith. Hope. Charity. Contrition.

Love.

Epilogue

He has not known the euphoria of death, and suspects he never will.

He is as powerful as he ever was, in a place where power is moot.

His existence is a series of rituals now, practiced nightly for nearly a dozen generations. He crosses the scuffed marble floor, cataloguing his physical possessions as a curator might; all of them sorted into one category Ė after.

After the blood-soaked rebirth of the world, after a reign of dragons, after the hoax of redemption, after life.

When his inventory is complete he waits by the door, and closes his eyes. Flexing his fingers as if to grasp an ancient steering wheel on a blinding and beautiful California day, he can almost smell the heat and the rat guts and the filth in the pores of his skin.

Whistler is there. It doesnít matter if he wishes for Doyle.

Go on, lookit her, the guide presses.

He raises his eyes and shields them; finding his destiny in her glance.

The End

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Author's Notes:
Rating: G
Summary: Seasons and centuries pass, but Angelís devotion to Buffy remains.
Disclaimer: Not mine, but if they were, they'd do this.

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