Pairing: Buffy and Angel
Rating: For everyone
Genres: Angel POV
Timeline: Second season of ATS. Fifth season of BTVS (before the death of Joyce Summers)
Disclaimer: The characters described belong to Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Mutant Enemy, WB and 20th Century Fox. The author writes non-profit and for personal pleasure. It isn't intended to infringe any copyright.
Summary: Angel's reflections on the nature of the predator. After re-tasting human blood, Angel feels more vulnerable. He's scared, and once again, he feels the darkness that comes up inside him. Will he succeed or succumb?
Note: This one-shot came when I was re-watching the episode of ATS - 2x08 - The Shroud of Rahmon. Written for 2013 IWRY Marathon.
I want to thank immensely Kairos for having done my beta, to my first one-shot in English. Without her help, this story wouldn't exist. Thank you very much.
We all have a predator that lives
in the depths of our souls.
The taste of her blood still tormented him. He had believed he was over all this. He had believed, finally, that he was able to control the Predator. Instead, no! For too long, he had not fed on more than human blood. He remembered how fulfilling was the sweet taste of the fear of his victims. He had almost forgotten! Today the Predator had re-emerged, as if to remind him who and what he really was. A vampire. Oh yeah, of course! A vampire with a soul, but today he risked losing control.
To save her, said the soul. To be sated by her, replied the Predator.
How long since he had eaten more than human blood? The last time was... Well, the last time, it was well to remember, it was not a predatory act. The last time was a gift. An act of love.
He felt hunted now. Remembering Darla wasn't helping. She was back and she was human. Again he felt the darkness growing in him, like a cancer, a deadly disease that was devouring him from within. Like a predator ready to snatch him and kill him again.
How can you kill someone who is already dead?
...And he, how many times had he died? The last time he remembered had been two years before, when he watched his girlfriend for the last time, and then turned on her and went away forever, shrouded in fog, which led him to the hell where he was right now: Los Angeles.
On second thought, he had died again when he had traded his humanity for her life. If she had died, what would it help to have a heart beating in his chest?
He was tired now. He went to the armchair and dropped down heavily. He sighed. A crooked smile came to his lips, full of bitterness. He found himself thinking about how many similarities were present in all his deaths.
There had been two women who killed his soul. They too, like his deaths, looked like each other.
Two women of small stature, in contrast to their physical strength. Complexion as fair as the light of the sun, in the first. As clear as the moon, in the second. Two beautiful women with almost the same green eyes, and hair the color of ripe wheat, which reminded him of his Ireland. They had each taken his soul. They had had the power to awaken the predator in him.
Close your eyes, they had said. Both.
The curiosity in his heart had made him confident. He had been so silent in front of them, waiting for something undefined, and then that acute pain woke him up. The same look of surprise in his eyes. Both times. The hope was replaced with astonishment and horror. Opening his eyes, he found himself in hell. Both times.
What had his life with Darla been, if not a continuous secular daily hell? With her there was only death and destruction! He heard the predator roar inside him. The new life that she, the vampire, had promised to show him, in the end was only about killing, nothing more than that. Blood! Death! Madness. That was what it had been. Madness.
A mad rush across the length and breadth of Europe, which lasted 150 years. Then nothing. A sharp noise stopped that gloomy time. The Predator was broken down like a wild horse which not meant to be tamed. He, no longer demon, but not yet a man, fell on his knees in front of the laughing gypsy, crushed by the weight of remorse. It was a moment, just a moment of sheer desperation, and he understood that his running was over for good.
Now he had a soul and it was devouring him from within. Darla did not want to be with him anymore. So that world collapsed, crumpled in on itself, and vanished in an instant.
He smiled bitterly again, feeling mocked by the similarities.
One moment of pure desperation had allowed the gypsies to imprison the Predator.
One moment of pure happiness had freed him again.
His thoughts went to his latest victim: Kate Lockley. He could not help but notice that his thoughts were all aimed at women he had met in his life. All very beautiful, sun-colored hair and eyes the color of the sky. Kate was not supposed to be there at the museum, but if he had not bitten her, she would be dead.
I did it to save her, said the soul. To quench our thirst for blood, said the Predator.
He was vaguely aware of hearing the voices of Gunn, Cordelia and Wesley, coming from below.
Although they were worried about him, at the time they had had something else to think about. Cordelia had “borrowed” a necklace from the museum, and had no intention of returning it. Gunn still struggled with feelings of guilt for having succumbed to the charms of the Shroud of Rahmon.
We all have a predator that lives in the depths of our souls.
It takes over our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The Predator is our Lord and Master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so. Indeed, we are held prisoner. It takes us over, because we are food to it, and it squeezes us mercilessly, because we are its sustenance. It's us, unconsciously, who feed it, and so we make it stronger.
Some people, those more aware of themselves, believe that the Predator has given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social morals. He is the one who set up our beliefs of success or failure. He has given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the Predator who makes us complacent and egomaniacal. In order to keep us obedient and weak, the Predator engages himself in a stupendous maneuver. Stupendous, of course from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view from those who suffer it. He gave us his mind. The Predator mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, and filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.
Angel needed now to silence the Predator, or it would win again. To do so, he had to bring it into the open, talking face to face with him, but he couldn't do it alone. There was one person in the world who could listen him without running away.
She wasn't afraid of the Predator.
Luckily he had learned to use the cellular phone.
After they hung up, his smile was bright and his mood light. No, nothing hunting you tonight. Now, you just need to rest for a while. Yes! Now, Angel could go to sleep with peace in his heart. He had almost forgotten how beautiful her voice was.
We all have a predator that lives within the depths of our souls. But mine, thought Angel, has a name. Angelus.
He trapped me between who I was and who I could be, but they are stronger than him, and she has always known. Always.
Resting his head on the pillow, Angel heard her voice again.
≈ Angel, you were able to maintain control, you stopped in time, you saved her...I think she will be very grateful.. and then also with that sheet.. that mystical thing of Raymond..
≈ Rahmon, Buffy...it's called Rahmon, and it wasn't a sheet, it was a shroud...
Damn, he loved when she was wrong about the names of demons.
≈ Okay, the thing that made a fool of everyone, but not you...you managed to burn it, you couldn't be influenced by it. Come on, Angel...you're a thousand times stronger than all this...yes, I'm fine...it's my mom who's worrying me...
≈ Buffy, I can go to you even now.. if I leave now, in two hours I would be in Sunnydale...
≈ No, Angel...you have your troubles too, but it was nice that you called me. Don't think about Angelus anymore, he's just a shadow. Angel? You still there? No, no hunting tonight. Now, you just need to rest for a while.
Her voice rocked him gently into sleep...he still didn't know that he would hear her voice again only once more, before the her mother's grave. Soon she would die by jumping off the damn bridge...but for tonight, once again, she had saved him.
Angelus was no longer afraid. The Predator was only a shadow.
≈ ◦ ≈ ◦ ≈