All the characters belong to Joss Whedon. My interpretation of their reality is strictly my own.
Thanks to Perri, Dianne, Cath, Lizbet and Amy for beta'ing, Abby for volunteering to even though I didn't really give her a chance, and to Dianne for the lovely title. And the SunS, for feedback and support.
Not Evilfic. A reaction to "Passion". Small angst-warning. Comments intensely hoped for at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have an Orb of Thesulah now, as well as my final translation of the ritual of Restoration. The stone is smooth and slick in my hands, much lighter than it looks, and cool. You would expect it to be warm with the bright glow that's trapped inside--- but this Stone isn't lit by any mundane fire. This flame is something special.
I could give Angel his soul back at any time.
I don't want to, though.
The police aren't filing charges; they said that there was enough evidence of another person's involvement at the crime scene that I'm not a suspect. Something to be grateful for, except that Angelus wasn't trying to frame me for murder. If that had been the point, I would be in a holding cell in the County jail, waiting for a public defender to arrive. He just wanted to hurt, and he did that. He did that very well.
I can't think about finding... the body. I can't. I dream it, I dream of leaving the school, finding the rose on the door... entering the house... then walking into the bedroom, full of hopefulness and love, only to see what Angelus had left instead. When I'm awake, my mind protects me from remembering too much, and as soon as I start to go back to that moment, my attention veers somewhere else. So every time I dream it, it's like the first time again. It isn't any kind of mercy.... Sometimes I dream it's me on that bed, instead. Those are the dreams I can stand to remember.
Trying to kill Angelus the way I did was a mistake. I'm not sure I was completely sane when I went to the factory; if I had been, I would have been more careful. I would have set fires at all the exits, then thrown the Molotov cocktail into the main area, and waited for the vampires to try to escape before shooting them with the crossbow, instead of taking the direct approach. That would have been smarter than trying to incinerate him by hand.
But I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to see him, to make him bleed, to kill him myself---or maybe I _was_ hoping he'd kill me. Praying I wouldn't have to go on alone again.... I'm glad Buffy showed up when she did. I'd far rather see Angelus dead than give him the satisfaction of killing me, after all. And the only safety we'll ever know now will be after his death.
Restoring his soul is out of the question. I don't hold a grudge against Angel. I'm still sad and sorry that he's gone. But calling him back to life wouldn't be any favor, after what the demon wearing his body has done. If Angel came back now, and had to face the results of Angelus's actions, I'm not sure he could live with it. He isn't responsible, and he deserves his peace. I won't force him to return.
And I'm not sure Buffy would want him back, either. She's getting reckless in her hunting; Willow and Xander and Cordelia and Oz are taking turns on patrol with her, afraid of what she'll do if she's left alone. She won't go hunting with me.... She's taking this very, very hard, blaming herself, grieving in a way that's becoming more and more self-destructive.... I wish I could say I don't blame her at all. Most of me doesn't, and doesn't hate anyone except Angelus. But there's a sliver of my heart that does hate her for not killing him sooner. The same tiny shard that wonders what I could have done to stop it, if there was some way I could have known what Angelus had planned....
If I had been the one to buy the first Orb of Thesulah, Angelus would have gone after me. He couldn't stand even the barest hint that his soul could be restored.... It was that threat that must have inspired him to move from stalking to murder.
It should have been me.
I have another, better plan, in place of the one we had before. I only need one thing: a vessel. An undamaged body to hold the spirit I've summoned to the Orb. I can wait. I won't cause anyone else's death in order to obtain what I need. But I am going to do this; Thesulah Stones are difficult enough to find that I'm not going to waste one on Angel. If it works, we can do it again. Or not.
Something we'll decide later. After. It's a selfish choice, I admit. The Clan won't get it; they prefer revenge to restitution. But I think Buffy will understand. And I'm not going to make her choose between Rupert and Angel, that's all there is to it.
She needs Giles more. A Slayer without a Watcher is a terribly vulnerable human being.... and if I can do this, if I can bring Giles back, it will almost make up for losing Angel.
I would do it anyway, though. I'm not letting Angelus win this one. I want Giles, damnit. I'm not going to lose him like this. Not after all we've been through....
The light in the orb glows as if it understands me when I speak to it, saying: "Soon, Rupert. Soon."
"somewhere I have
your eyes have their silence;
in your most
are things which enclose me,
I cannot touch
are too near."
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