Author: Jo
Disclaimer: Not mine, alas.
Wordcount: 593
Setting: Before anything
Notes: Written for ba_rosebuds. Prompt ‘Home’.



Angel hasn’t had a home in a very long time.

When he was with Darla, the notion of ‘home’ was quaint and human. If ‘home’ had any identity at all for them, it was the whole wide world. Well, the whole night-time world, at least.

After Darla, ‘home’ was something he remembered with regret, and then, when his slide into dereliction was at its worst, ‘home’ was whichever sewer or abandoned basement he’d been forced to seek refuge in for the day.

He looks around the compact apartment. It seems that he’s going to get used to the idea of ‘home’ all over again. He drops his bag to the floor. Moving day is simple for him. He has what’s in the apartment, and he has what’s in the bag. Otherwise, all he has is a job to do.

His job is to give information to the Slayer, nothing more. Whistler’s people were very insistent about that. He knows they don’t fully trust him. Why should they? He was a monster, and then he was a useless parasite. What has he ever done to earn trust?

And so they gave him very specific instructions. He isn’t to get under her feet. She’s the Slayer. It’s her job to Slay – and he’s not sure how much they trust her, either, when the chips are down. She slipped through the Watchers’ net, and she’s a Slayer without training or background. The ones who dragged him out of that New York gutter took pity on her, but all they will let him do is take messages to her.

He smiles grimly. That’s appropriate, he supposes. That’s his name, after all. Names. Angel in English. Angelus in Latin. Both from the Greek for ‘messenger’. And that is what they have made of him.

But he’s seen her, and he loves her. He knows it’s impossible, but there it is. He’s an impossible creature. Why shouldn’t he have an impossible burden to bear?

He’s been offered a chance to earn some sort of credit in Fate’s Balance, and he doesn’t want to mess that up if they are right not to trust him. If he truly is useless. Most of all, he doesn’t want to get her killed just because he’s not up to any part of helping her except running messages.

He hangs his jacket in the wardrobe, finding a new satisfaction in careful neatness, but his thoughts won’t stop. If... No. When she’s in danger, will he be able to stop himself from putting himself between her and the danger? And what excuses will he be able to give her for walking away from the fight, once his message is delivered?

But there’s something else. In a small, shadowy corner of his mind, he remembers whispered conversations amongst those who’ve given him his instructions, conversations that didn’t include him. He thinks there might be a deeper, darker reason for sending him here. He’s afraid that something is coming, and her life, and the lives of others, will depend on his blood. Perhaps not yet, but soon enough. Perhaps that’s what he’s here to be. The sacrificial goat, when the time is right. And that is why they don’t want him getting into her fights.

He stretches out on the bed.

He’ll try to live up to his name and just be a messenger. Still, he was never very good at taking orders. And he’s in love with her. But he will try. Once she gets here. In the meantime, he’ll learn to call this place ‘home’.

The End
August 2010


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