All Roads Lead To Rome - Chapter Four – Falling
Falling from honor. Falling in love. Falling for a line. Falling on your ass. Falling from grace. Falling down the rabbit hole. Falling from favor. Free-falling. Angel constantly feels like he’s falling. Even in his dreams… falling. He’s petrified of what’s going to happen when he stops.
Thinking back on the past day, Angel sighed. It’d been difficult on everyone, to say the least. He was no longer sure of anything – all his decisions seemed to be of the “lesser of two evils” variety, instead of right/wrong. If he heard the words “grey area” just one more time…!
As he sat in his grand office, in his buttery soft leather chair, he ran his hands through his hair… and thought of… no, not now… can’t think… something else. He’s so tired. The lack of sleep is not doing him any favors. Remembered Andrew coming into his office. Giles’ Top Man. With a snort, he thinks he’s really getting too old for this… but immediately dismissed the thought, as it brings his mind back to… damn! Can’t get away from him. Has to try harder.
Eyes closed, he sees Dana, ranting away, her diatribe a mixture of so many different languages. All harsh, all invectives. Struggling to free herself, struggling to find herself. Nobody said a soul was proof positive of exemplary behavior, and his own weighs heavily.
Headache screaming now, he tried to massage his temples, and was inevitably drawn to the one person he’d been trying to blank out… and he finally gives in. Spike. SPIKE! Will. Stupid, arrogant, half-cocked upstart destiny usurper. Or was it always about him? Never about Angel in the first place? Prophesy can drive you nuts.
Head in his hands, Angel breathed. Deep, cleansing breaths. Trying to stop from screaming breaths. Remembering the old days… the early days of William. Dru brought the simpering brat home… but he quickly… well… He remembers Will’s hands. Rather slim fingered, delicate hands. He remembers his fingers wrapped around a stylus, holding the binding of a favored book, brushing Dru’s hair, wrapped around his… STOP! He doesn’t want to remember anymore, but when he remembers Spike’s hands on the workshop table, he was sure he would have vomited, if he were capable.
It’s tearing him apart… the mission, what is the mission? His friends, colleagues, his grandchilde, his… son. He carries that burden alone, but feels the situation threatening to crack wide open at any moment. It’s not a peaceful feeling. He wonders if his newly protective feelings towards Spike have bled over from missing Connor. Seems he’s gonna be a father if it kills both Spike and himself.
Warning Spike off about chasing after the impaired slayer… makes him feel foolish, now. Once known as the Slayer of Slayers, Spike’s more the Slayer’s… well, he REALLY doesn’t want to go there. Caught Spike in the middle of his swan dive from the factory, remembers listing to him prattle on, something about a Chinese dragon demon, or elemental something or other – pretty much tuned it out as white noise. Spike never did shut up. Always yammering.
But tonight… in the small infirmary bed, in the softly shadowed room, it was different. He and Spike had an actual conversation. Angel could actually see Spike as he got it. Understanding hit those expressive features like a brick wall. So subdued, so quietly despairing… trying to cope with what he had done and the trail of victims left behind. Empathizing with them on a personal level for the very first time. Gods, did he feel for his boy… and yes, after all these years he had to admit to it. HIS boy. Dru was no Sire. When all was said and done, Angel was very glad to have been able to rescue Spike from a worse fate.
Gods, he wishes he could just go to sleep for a week. That would possibly make a dent in his sleep deprived state. Should check with the lab... see if maybe they removed his sleep by accident? Nobody could be this tired, and still be expected to function. Wished he could delegate all that damned paperwork, but can’t trust anyone to do it for him.
And that’s the final straw – the one breaking his back. Trust, or rather, the lack of trust. From Buffy. No longer his Buffy… but maybe Spike’s? She doesn’t even know he’s alive… um, back, whatever. He wondered idly if Andrew… nah, not gonna happen. Spike made him promise to let him call at his own pace, in his own time.
He’d worry about it another time. He might actually be falling asleep.
It's Angel's turn... wonder what he has to say for himself. Please... they're only words... but if they're bad? willa_writes helped me with 'em. Only kidding, sweet girl - thanks for the teensiest, tiniest corrections. All fuck ups are my own. *grins**
ETA: Now beta'd for your reading pleasure.