There was something about a woman's hands that drew
him. Not just women, for that matter; he'd always been
quick to note the stretch of a palm, the curling of a
finger, the chipping of a nail. It was something he
just did, a surefire way of pulling some quick and
dirty detective work and learning the unspoken about
He, for example, had the hands of a sinner. Smooth and
worn, his wrists were wide, his palms pale and
traversed by bloodless veins. He kept his nails close
cropped, and his fingers were long and slender. Not
those of a pianist, but of a killer. They were hands
that he could easily picture wrapping around a throat
and squeezing, snapping, tearing, or acting out any
other number of atrocities. But only, as he'd more
than once pointed out, because the sight was not an
unfamiliar one to him.
He'd always be haunted by those fever dreams of
Angelus. The chase, the crush, the blood, and finally,
the casting aside. All the lost souls he'd created
wailed at him from the dark. Rightful penance.
Los Angeles. Angel Investigations. Cordelia. Thoughts
of Cordelia, thoughts of anything but death.
She'd made more than the occasional pass at him when
they'd first met, a lifetime and five years ago in
Sunnydale. Pretty, he'd thought then, but not his
type. He preferred B+, and the irony of it all flooded
him along with the stupidity of such a thoughtless and
Cordy. He loved her, a little. As much as he was
capable of loving anyone else. No blonde goddess was
Cordelia Chase, but Doyle had been right -- she was
royalty. Bright, vivacious, a woman and a child with
long, elegant fingers and a well finished French
She was also oblivious. Of them all, he thought that
perhaps only Wesley would notice the way Angel worried
over her. It embarrassed him. He hadn't meant to love
her, and he had no intention of ever telling her.
She had beautiful hands, but they weren't the ones he
worshipped, weren't the ones he'd go to hell for.
He remembered the white nailpolish Buffy had worn
throughout most of her first year in Sunnydale. A
passing, ugly fad that he was glad to see go. He'd
preferred her hands bare, except, maybe, for a
claddaugh ring as decoration.
They often fluttered with too much energy, which was
always rather amusing, but when they were calm,
focused or lucid, he liked them much more. Her hands
had been small and compact, not long-fingered like his
or Cordelia's. They were meant to grip a stake, not
play the piano or tear out throats. Often sporting
broken nails and bruised knuckles, he thought them
Everything about her was beautiful. And now she was
Which, he had thought, was appropriate enough, since
every other woman he'd loved was also dead.
Buffy, though... Buffy was different. He'd loved her
because she was different, because she was alive.
He'd loved her inside and out, even when she was with
other men. Being apart had never been easy, or simple,
but what they felt for one another was ever present,
always hovering nearby, a breath away. A breath that
Buffy would never take, Buffy with that silly
nailpolish of hers.
They'd tried to be friends, after. "There's one way,"
she had said in that soft voice, and the pain of it
all had made him keep looking away, down to her hands
and the chipped polish adorning them.
"Tell me you don't love me," and he couldn't.
Wouldn't. Deathly still heart breaking, Angel had
watched her leave. It were as though everything under
the sun and the moon had tried to tear them apart, and
oh, those forces had definitely done their best job
Dead. Dead like him, but worse. His feelings for
Cordelia, even for Darla, were nothing in comparision.
Buffy had been his road to redemption, and damn her,
she had left him stranded permanently this time.
It was so easy to be selfish, to forget the sacrifice
Willow had told him of. All he had to do was to think
of the smile he'd loved and the nailpolish he hated,
and suddenly, Angel was the wronged one. Wherever she
was, he hoped that she was thinking of him.
Angel. Bitter. Nail polish.