Written for the Buffy/Angel Lyric Wheel. The person above you on the list gives you a lyric. You must include at least one line of the song in your story.
Giles looked over at Angel and fidgeted nervously with his glasses. Did he have to just sit there like that? Giles had grown up believing that one whispered in a library, but the months of having Buffy and her friends treat it as a club house had accustomed him to a hum of background chatter. Angel’s still silence was disconcerting. “It’s really very good of you to offer to help tonight,” Giles said eventually. “Your insight into the motivations of this Krakorth demon will be invaluable.” He glanced at the door. “I can’t understand where Buffy and the others are. It’s not like them to be so lax; Willow in particular.”
“They’ll be here soon, I’m sure” Angel replied in his soft drawl, his hand resting on the pile of books in front of him. He was as uneasy as Giles. He liked the Watcher well enough but, soul or no soul, there was an age old enmity between vampires and Council that left a twanging tension in the air. He sighed inwardly. Only for Buffy would he have done this favour...
“What are these, then?” he asked Giles, patting the books.
“It seems that an earlier Slayer was targeted by this race of demons. I thought you might read through the appropriate Watcher’s diary and see if he had any useful information. I will continue to research the demon’s whereabouts. It seems he’s left quite a trail of –“
“Bits of them, yes.”
Giles vanished into the stacks and Angel pulled the top book towards him and flipped it open. The unmistakable smell of an old book wafted up to him and he smiled. He had never been much of a reader as a human, less still as a vampire, but once he had been cursed – or gifted – with a soul, he had found himself reading to fill the long hours. Now he was an avid reader, finding some peace in the measured prose of his favourite authors.
As he turned the pages, skipping long descriptions of training and routine patrols, a letter slid out from the book and fell to the table. Angel picked it up, glancing at it with idle curiosity and then stilled, his fingers gripping the paper tightly, his eyes wide with shock. The envelope was addressed in a flowing, ornate copperplate to ‘Drusilla’ and the writing was his own.
He glanced up and saw that Giles was still absorbed in his research, out of sight. Easing the letter out, he began to read, wanting to avert his eyes from what he knew he would find, knowing only too well what had made the speckles of dark brown across the envelope and letter.
“My dear one,
Once again, I take pen in hand to share my thoughts with you. There is so much that I would have remain hidden, so much that I would conceal from you. If you wonder at this reticence, if you in turn are disturbed by my hints at hidden depths, I can only assure you of my best intentions. Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, we are told, and when I look at you, I am all man, no angel.”
Angel sighed. He had played the infatuated secret lover with a dark glee, taking care that every letter had some hint of his true nature, leaving her bewildered and disturbed. His eyes fell back to the page.
“I can sense you blush as you read that, can guess how fast your fan would fly up to shield your face if I had ever dared to utter those words whilst in your divine presence. You must know that I would not be so daring in person. ‘Tis the distance between us that makes me bold, a distance that this letter will bridge. Soon, your fingers, white and long, will touch this paper, will touch what I have kissed – ah, no, do not drop it, rather hold it closer and let my missive whisper in your ear of love, of devotion, of my heart.
You have been so troubled of late. My watchful eyes even from afar have seen the shadows on that dear face of yours, the marks of tears on your cheeks, the – but I prefer not to dwell on sorrow. To lose so many close to you is unfortunate, yet dare I hope that I might fill the empty places, that I might be parent, brother, sister in so far as my love for you is as real as theirs was?”
Angel bit his lip as his cruel taunts struck him like blows. His unswerving obsession with Drusilla had maddened him, had driven him to excesses that had shocked some fellow vampires, repelled by his meticulous, planned torture. His ways were not theirs. The hunt had been swift for them; a stalk, a pounce. He had preferred to linger, to play a little. In Drusilla’s case, to play a lot. Even Darla had tried to stop him but for once he had ignored her petulant commands. His eyes were drawn inexorably back to the page, taking him back to the room in which he had penned the lines, chuckling to himself as he wrote.
“You are, I know, a most God fearing young lady. You must have prayed that His hand be done chastising you for the sins you must surely have committed. For the evil that has visited you of late is too marked to be anything but a punishment, a trial.
I have seen that you are shunned, that people turn their faces as you walk by, black cloaked and pale. Know that I will never turn from you, will never abandon you. I fear no devil; I know what God thinks of me, and I care not.
I paused here as a letter was delivered to my door. I had hoped that it was from you and so it proved to be. I cannot tell you the feelings that surged within me as your perfume rose from the pages to enrapture my senses. Scent; the most primitive of the senses, the hunter’s first ally as he seeks out his prey. I have a great fondness for the hunt, though a lady such as yourself might find my experiences a little too gory if I shared them with you. I would not see you shudder for worlds.
You say you must take yourself away from this secular world and do penance, must find refuge amongst those who marry only Christ. You tell me to abandon my pursuit of you from the shadows.
His arms will not hold you as close as mine and his love will not protect you; why should it, when his love’s been wasted all these years on a child of Satan? I tell you this because I have heard tales of you in the taverns. They whisper your name and cross themselves; did you know that? You are said to have visions, to see what lies hidden. Some say it is a gift of the devil and he has taken his payment in the blood, the innocent blood, of your family.
I cannot conceal my belief that they are correct. I sense a darkness around you, hovering beside you, impossible to avoid or to fight. I would take up arms to defend you from any who would harm you, any who would seek to alter the destiny Fate has allotted you.
Who am I to stand beside you? A faithful knight, stalwart and true? I fear not. In all honesty, I say that is not a role in which I feel at ease. A pilgrim for your love, undergoing all manner of trials and tribulations to win you? Perhaps, although when it comes to trials, I prefer to inflict them, rather than endure them.
I am taking up too much of your time, which must be full of tedious chores as you prepare to enter your new life. You wonder, perhaps, that I do not seek to persuade you against your course. I would not dream of it. Your foot, that dainty, little slippered foot, has been on this path since we first met. Nothing could have saved you, nothing could have diverted me. We do but follow our fate as it guides us.
Go to your convent, Drusilla. Bury your guilt in a thousand prayers as you beseech your God to listen. He will not. He has turned his face against you. Only I remain and when the darkness enfolds you, do not fear. It is my darkness and it will bring you life everlasting.
Yours for eternity,
Giles had been watching Angel for some time, a guarded, appraising look on his face. He saw the handsome face crumple as anguish swept across it but it wasn’t until Angel began to tear the letter that he spoke, the outrage of a librarian sharpening his tone. “Stop! Angel, no!”
Angel looked up at him and growled softly, his vampire face emerging. Giles gasped and looked around wildly for a weapon but the danger passed as quickly as it had come. Angel threw the letter down and buried his face in his hands. Giles moved towards him, considered a friendly pat on the shoulder, decided against it, and picked up the discarded letter, scanning it swiftly. “Ah. I see.” His voice was not unsympathetic.
Angel looked up. “You know of the letters I wrote her?”
Giles took off his glasses and polished them, staring off into the dim recesses of the library. “Yes. You’re rather well known, Angel. Your – pursuit of Drusilla was reckoned to be one of your more infamous exploits.”
His dry voice grated on Angel. “I drove her mad. She had that letter with her when I killed her. I left it beside her body to confuse the police when they investigated; thought it would be amusing for them to search for a frustrated lover. How did you get – no, I imagine your people had their ways even then.”
Giles shrugged. “It would have been simple enough to extract it from the police file, yes. I’m not sure why it is in that volume. A mistake in the filing perhaps. It happens.” He hesitated, looking down at Angel. “You wrote as a lover. Did you feel anything for that young girl? Anything at all?”
Angel glanced up. “Are you asking if a vampire can love, Giles? Surely you know the answer to that.”
“When I turned her, when I felt her life flow into me, saw her face awaken and saw what I had made, yes, I loved her. She was a glorious creature, ruthless yet innocent. I never quite destroyed that innocence. Her insanity saved her, protected her. It’s hard to explain. Now I can look back and know I loved her as she first was. Now I can mourn her death and regret the part I played in her corruption. She haunts me as no other deed did. She represents all the evil I ever did in centuries of bloodshed. Yes, I loved her. Yes, I hurt her, killed her. Is that what you wanted to know, Giles?”
“In a way,” Giles replied, his eyes cool.
He stopped and turned slowly around. The library doors swung open and Xander burst through, followed by Buffy and Willow bearing a cake and presents.
“Surprise! Happy Birthday G- man.” Xander glanced about the room. “Where’d Angel go? He was supposed to entertain you while we organised this.”
Giles shrugged, having felt Angel brush by him silently as the door swung open. “He had to leave but yes, he – occupied me as I waited.”
Buffy looked disappointed but resigned. “Before we blow candles and you make wishes, did you find out about that demon you were talking about? Because no one else seems to have heard of him.”
Giles smiled. “I don’t think he’s an immediate threat. I just had to be sure, though. All part of my job.”
Buffy smiled back at him as she led him over to the table with the brightly burning candles dripping onto the cake. “You take such good care of me, Giles.”
He looked down at her, his mind busy with plans, strategies, and safeguards, his suspicions confirmed. “Always.”
Lines used :“A pilgrim for your love” and “love’s been wasted all these years.”
"Pilgrim" by Eric Clapton
And how do I choose and where do I draw the line
Between truth and necessary pain?
And how do I know and where do I get my belief
That things will be right again?
What words do I use to try to explain
To those who've witnessed all my tears?
And what does it mean to know all these things
When love's been wasted all these years,
When love's been wasted all these years.
Standing in the shadows
With my heart right in my hand,
Removed from all the people
Who could never understand
I was a pilgrim for your love
A pilgrim for your love.
I was a pilgrim for your love
A pilgrim for your love.
It's like living in a nightmare,
Like looking in the blackest hole,
Like standing on the edge of nothing,
Completely out of control.
Now where have I been all these years
And how come I just couldn't see?
Like a blind man walking 'round in darkness,
I was a pilgrim for your love,
I was a pilgrim for your love.
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