RATING: PG
CONTENT: violence/sexual references.
SPOILER WARNINGS:Buffy season 3 'Grad. Day'; Angel season 1 generally.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these characters (unfortunately!), Joss and Fox do.
SUMMARY: Angel sketches as he waits for night to fall.

Chiaroscuro
By Ezra
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He sits and grips the pencil hard, staring at the blank paper before him. He almost doesn't want to touch it, to draw on it. Right now, it has unlimited potential, a clean slate, a purity of what could be, having been nothing before. Today he thinks he might draw something different.

He can smell the sunlight from beyond the shuttered windows, and wonders what she will be doing. He can picture her in the sun, her pale gold hair and skin glowing with the radiance of life. And she would be smiling.

He sees her in his mind's eye, his brow creasing in concentration. She might be going to class, or having lunch with Willow. Maybe she's even shopping, stopping at the window of every clothes and shoe shop to sigh and sip at her cup of mocha. She loves shopping.

His hand moves carefully across the unspoiled paper, under the flickering light of the table lamp. He always thinks he'll draw something different. Cordelia tells him to draw flowers or landscapes or her, or even Wesley. "Draw your favourite things" she says, and he tells her quietly that he does.

Maybe Buffy will be home by now, she might be in her room, laying on her bed doing her homework, or whittling stakes for patrol. He pictures her walking to Giles' in the sweet colours of sunset. Maybe she's training, and he closes his eyes to see her perfect small body in elegant and lethal motion. She is powerful, and he can see her brushing the loose strands of her golden hair away from her determined and focussed face. Only now and then, the grim intensity in her eyes is broken by a mischievous grin and a clever quip to Giles who watches her.

He draws that vibrance. His mind strains to see the details. The flash in her eyes, the sheen of sweat on her warm skin. ack in his quiet room, alone, he feels the onset of night, and his grip on the pencil tightens imperceptibly. It is now that the fear starts to creep in at the edges of his consciousness, and he tries to focus on the form taking shape beneath his skilled hand.

Because the alternative is terrifying.

Maybe she will be at the cemetery, alone in the darkness doing her duty as the Chosen One.
Maybe she is fighting for her life.
Maybe she is afraid.

He frowns as he sees it in his head, a flash of golden hair, a swift flurry of kicks and punches and parries, the whir in the heavy night air as a stake is whipped from her pocket. His hand trembles as it moves across the paper.

Maybe she is dying.

The pencil snaps suddenly, the force places upon it too much. But he doesn't notice, too caught up in his imagined torment. He knows that Slayers die young. It takes all of his strength not to bolt from his silent, still room and run to her.

Maybe the phone will ring, and it will be Giles, and he wont need to say a word because Angel will already know.

He inhales sharply and shakes his head. His dark eyes open and he looks at what he has created. From that once-blank page Buffy is smiling up at him, alive and loving. The light in her eyes is the only light in his cursed soul, and for a moment he can cease to exist beyond that picture, and that smile. It is everything.

He will never draw anything different.

end

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