Title: As Water Unto Wine (the “All Thy Passions” Remix)
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: PG-13, I think. No worse than the show, really.
Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, the WB, and UPN.
Original story: “As Moonlight Unto Sunlight” by aadler
Explanation: I am posting this story in parts because this month has been a crazy, crazy month and I’ve dislocated my shoulder twice in nine days, with the second one being yesterday. I will do this story quickly, but it just wasn’t ready in time to post completely today. I talked to aadler, and didn’t make the decision on my own. I could have posted what I’ve written so far and had a complete story that I’d be (mostly) satisfied with, but it’s not the story I wanted to tell yet. But it will be. Oh how it will be.
(the ‘All Thy Passions’ Remix)
It’s hard to remember every horrible thing you’ve done and simultaneously be disgusted by it and revel in it and want to do it again.
In her human life, Kathy had been the type of person to take care of the wounded animals because she couldn’t stand to see them suffering, to adopt all the barn cats and try to bring them inside in the winter, much to her parents’ dismay. Liam didn’t really care about people, other than the women he might be able to “have a bit o’ fun wit’”, but Kathy had cared altogether too much and tried to save everyone.
In the first part of her vampire life, Angel had taken pleasure in destroying people’s lives before finally claiming those lives. She’d gone for emotional torture as much as physical, and while Liam had loved the blood and screams, Angel had loved breaking people. The blood and the screams were a nice bonus, of course, but it wasn’t her end goal, just a side trip along the way.
In the second part of her vampire life, when Angel and Kathy melded, Kathy kept the name Angel as a reminder of all the things she’d done, all the things she needed to atone for, because she’d been Angel and she’d loved being Angel for over a century, and now carrying that name was a penance, a drop in the bucket of the ocean that was the penance she owed. In the second part of her vampire life, Angel was horrified by the things she’d done. But the addition of her soul didn’t take away from the demon inside of her. The soul kept her demon caged, but it was still there, still remembering the heinous deeds that Angel had committed, still wanting to get free and do it again.
Angel couldn’t risk that happening, but she had so much to make up for that she couldn’t simply stake herself and be done with it. Suicide was a sin, but what was one more sin on top of all the ones she’d already committed?
Angel went to Mass every Sunday without fail, though she switched churches periodically, and tried to keep her ear to the ground for people who needed help. She went to Confession, though she, of course, didn’t confess to murder. It helped, at least a little. Angel didn’t feel so alone when she talked to the priest, whichever priest it was, and maybe Confession was more for not feeling alone than for any absolution. She didn’t take the Eucharist, though, because she wasn’t that much of a masochist, and she didn’t go up for a blessing on the off chance that it would make her demon react the same way it did to any object blessed by a priest (she was curious about that, but not curious enough to try it herself).
She helped people, she knew she did. There was the Greene family that couldn’t afford their rent and their groceries for a couple months, and Angel deposited groceries in front of their door. The Williams family, hiding from Maria’s husband and the children’s father because last time he’d found Maria, he’d put her in the hospital. Angel found him first this time and “politely persuaded” him to not abuse women in the future and to leave Maria alone by putting the fear of God into him, and, all right, putting him in the hospital that time with the same injuries he’d given Maria. Angel had kept an eye on him for years, and he’d known someone was following him but couldn’t prove it, even to himself, because Angel was very very good at staying in the shadows and staying hidden. He’d drunk himself into an early grave, and Angel probably should feel more responsible for that than she did, but she couldn’t manage to dig up sorrow over it.
She was helping people, but it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t enough, and she didn’t know how to make it be enough. Angel needed to do more, but she didn’t know where to find the more to do.
Until Whistler came to her again.
Angel didn’t like Whistler there was just something about Whistler she wasn’t sure she trusted. Balance demons were, by their nature, not on either side but in charge of making sure neither side got too strong. So Angel had to take what Whistler said with a grain of salt, to make sure that she didn’t wind up helping the wrong people and adding weight to the evil side of the scales.
But Whistler showed her a Slayer. Angel had met Slayers before, fought more than a few of them,and so what if Spike was the one that had killed them, Angel had fought more of them than he had and survived the fights. Slayers were a dime a dozen, though not at the same time, of course, and they were more replaceable than people were, because they weren’t allowed to really be people.
This Slayer … This Slayer was different. This Slayer had fire, this Slayer had heart, for all that she was new and spoiled and terrified. This Slayer had nothing in common with Angel, this Slayer had everything in common, the things that mattered, with Angel.
This Slayer was a kindred spirit, and Angel wanted to help Buffy.
Angel hadn’t been apathetic to the problem of vampires. She’d stepped in against them when she could, saved people when she could. But she was one vampire with a soul, and if she started targeting vampires and demons that couldn’t be allowed to live, she’d be putting a target on her back.
Well. So be it. It was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do, and that settled it for her.
Whistler told her that the Slayer was going to need her in Sunnydale, so Angel left for Sunnydale and waited.
And seriously, she was willing to put a target on her back and fight for people, but she’d like to not be going on a suicide run in the process! How long was it going to take the Slayer to get there?
Angel spotted the Watcher easily enough; it wasn’t like there were many Brits running around a small town in SoCal, and he still wore tweed. Angel kept an eye on this one; she hadn’t been able to help save her other Watcher, but she could keep this one safe as much as possible before the Slayer got there, and the man seemed to not realize how much danger he was in, even if he knew that they were on a Hellmouth, and how could someone so smart be so stupid? He slept in his office! Angel had had to dispatch a wandering Lorophage demon that had been drawn to Angel while the Watcher slept and Angel kept an eye on him. All right, so the danger was brought there by Angel herself, but still. Did the man have no instinct for self-preservation?
Then Buffy arrived in Sunnydale, right before The Harvest.
What was this Slayer’s luck?