Summer Reruns II - Revisited

by Saber ShadowKitten
Revisited II 2

Introspection. Basically defined as examining oneself and one's place in the scheme of things. Despite what Cordelia said, there were times when Angel wasn't brooding, but being introspective. This was one of those times.

Angel shifted on the chair, steepled his fingertips and rested them against his lips. He could hear Cordelia and her girlfriends' laughter coming from the living room. He'd been relegated to the dining and kitchen areas for the duration of the day while Cordelia entertained, something he had no objection over. It was, after all, her apartment. He was simply a guest, or, if Cordelia was in a good mood, a displaced brother invited to share her home.

What if, Angel wondered, things had gone differently? What would his life be like if, say, he'd been selfish and stayed human instead of asking the Oracles -- may they rest in peace -- to change him back? Would the information regarding him in the Prophecies of Aberjian still exist? Or would they have changed to fit someone else, some other vampire with a soul?

After all, there were so many ensouled vampires running around L.A., he thought sarcastically.

Angel lightly blew air against his fingertips and glanced over at the blond vampire sitting near the stained glass window, staring blankly into space. Spike had been ousted by Cordelia as well, and he had taken his usual place by the dark window, slumped in one of the dining table's chairs with his braced legs stretched out in front of him.

What if, Angel questioned himself, his childe wasn't around? What if he hadn't snapped that one day in the garage and reasserted his dominance over the boy? What if Spike had gotten away? The blond had desperately wanted the Gem of Amarra. In his desperation, he could have gone after Cordelia or Doyle -- God, Angel missed the Irish half-demon -- and they could have gotten hurt. Or Angel himself could have gotten captured and tortured until his coworkers did something stupid, like try to rescue him and end up getting captured themselves.

Or what if Angel hadn't acted as the rescuer and saved Spike from that underground lab? What would have happened to his childe? From what little Angel had seen, the lab had resembled a scientist's dream workplace. Had it been their intention to use the younger vampire as a lab rat?

Angel pursed his lips at the thought. No one was allowed to harm a single bleached lock on Spike's head. He'd rip the spine out of anyone who'd dare to try to hurt his boy.

Of course, Angel thought bitterly, the one who'd succeeded in hurting Spike the most was his sire. Dominance notwithstanding, the injuries Angel had caused when he'd been drugged had altered things again.

What if Angelus hadn't been freed? Spike had been cheery and accepting of his role as a sub, although Angel had been able to see the plans for revolt skittering constantly through his childe's mind. They'd enjoyed each other's company, Angel'd had an outlet for his demon's seemingly abundant need for violence, and the sex had been outstanding.

Angel remembered he'd been almost content with his life. Not content enough to cause his soul to sail away, but enough where he didn't feel so alone or ostracized. Even his relationship with Cordelia and Wesley had been at a very comfortable level because he had been less broody due to Spike's anti-doom-and-gloom effect on him.

But now... now things were so very, very different again. Spike had been tortured by Angel's own hands, heaping layers upon layers of guilt on Angel's conscience. The blond had gone from a constantly chipper pain in the ass to a more melancholy pain in the ass. Before Angel's soul had been suppressed, Spike seemed to have only two emotions -- anger and happiness. After the devastating effects of the Rebecca's drug, Angel had been witness to every emotion under the moon coming from his boy.

Demons didn't change, Spike had told him long ago in a fit of anger. They were only evil. They weren't allowed to learn or love or live or grow. They weren't allowed to feel depressed or sad, or happy or playful. They weren't allowed to have real feelings or to express them. Demons were simply evil creatures that should be staked.

Angel snorted softly. Yeah, right. If there was one thing he'd learned during his long, long life was that a single demon had more feelings than a dozen humans. Sure, most of them tended to be on the harsher side of the emotional scale, but Angel could remember quite clearly his demon feeling frantic with worry and fear when Darla had disappeared one night early on in his never-ending life. He could remember crying in grief when his second childe, Julia, had met her final death after fifteen years of being one of his constant companions. He could remember his heart breaking when he'd given William the choice of being with Drusilla or with his sire, and the boy had chosen Dru.

The demon part of Angel despised Spike now, though, as was plainly evident by the bendable knee braces on the blond vampire's legs. And the soul part of Angel, the part that was supposed to destroy all evil without thought to the shades of grey, needed Spike and cared for him a great deal. Cared for him so much, in fact, that when Spike had been chained to that box about to be forever destroyed in a ritual, Angel hadn't thought, he'd just reacted.

Angel had changed, just as Spike had changed. Neither of them were as they once were. Spike was sadder, quieter, a little more needy, and seemed to be more intuitive to what his sire needed in turn. Angel himself was harder, angrier, more violent, but had more control over the demon inside of him. He also had friends now, a true family that he loved and who loved him in return. He belonged with Cordelia and Wesley, and Spike belonged with him.

Were these changes good? On the whole, yes, Angel thought, listening to Cordelia's animated voice coming from the living room. Other than the ramifications of Angelus's brief appearance, he'd learned important things about himself and about his surrogate family. He somewhat liked the alternate reality he'd threw himself headlong into by reasserting his dominance over his boy. He had his role to play in the world, he had Cordelia and Wesley, and he had his childe.

All he needed now was a steaming cup of Irish Creme coffee.

The corners of Angel's mouth quirked at his last thought as he pushed his chair back and stood. There was a rather convenient manhole cover that led to the tunnels in the storage basement of Cordelia's complex and an equally convenient manhole cover in the parking garage that butted against Serene's Coffee Shop, a soothing New Ageish shop that catered to those wanting to relax with a good cup o' joe.

Coffee had once made him nervous. It was funny how things changed.