thank you and goodnight

Well, this is a letter I never expected to write. Between my people, humans and dozens of other assorted demons who believe in an afterlife, you know what one thing is never, ever featured? Letters home.

Guess this is their way of saying, guess what? You all got it wrong.

Boy, did we.

And while I'd love to tell you a lot more about it, Angel... there's a guy over there doing this eyebrow thing at me just for thinking about it, so I'd better move on to the important stuff.

You know, when I heard I got time to write this before going... where ever it is we go after this whole waiting room deal (complete with those awful plastic chairs, if you can believe that... sure hope the next place is better furnished...) I asked why. I was told it was to sort out any unresolved issues I might have.

Took me an hour to stop laughing. Issues... yup, got plenty of those. So do a lot of people... no wonder this place is so crowded. (Will you stop glaring at me, already? I'm not telling him anything he couldn't work out for himself.)

One letter. I have to cram everything I have to say into one letter... to one person.

Fortunately, I can take as long as I want to write it. You might want to get comfortable.

It was suggested I mention regrets, sorrows, so I'll start there.

I'm sorry I never taught you to actually hit the notes you were aiming for. How's that? Regretful enough?

Okay, okay.

I'm sorry I couldn't help more. And that one's for real.

I'm sorry that my home dimension is such a crappy place to vacation. I'm not sorry I left it.

I'm not sorry that visit we took was the last.

I'm sorry I never kicked Landok in the pants. If you ever see him again, maybe you could do it for me.

I'm sorry I tried to substitute the yak bile. Talk about a disaster.

I'm sorry I told my mother we were dating. And if I never told you that I did that, then just forget I said anything. I was trying to antagonise her at the time. I know, I know, not the smartest thing I ever did... still, the look on her face was worth it. And I was going to leave anyway. Disowning just isn't as effective the fourth time.

I'm sorry about the pointless missions I sent you on. I really did have your best interests at heart... it just never worked out the way I planned.

I'm sorry that when I was ten, I locked Numfar in the barn for two days and threw apples at him through the window.

I'm sorry it took me so long to be honest with my family, even if they do think I'm mentally ill. I still owe them, in a twisted way... after all, they let me live when the neighbours demanded I be drowned... eleven times in three years.

I'm sorry we never made it to that Elton John concert.

You know, I'm noticing a pattern here. Of my entire life, most of my regrets seem to focus on the short time I knew you. Funny, that.

I'm sorry you never got the hint. I mean, come on... could I have been more obvious? And for that matter... I'm sorry I never came on stronger when you were so oblivious. At first I thought I made you uncomfortable... took me a while to work out that no, you were always like that.

I'm sorry I never got to make you smile.

I'm sorry I never got you to stop brooding, even for a few minutes.

I'm sorry I never took a chainsaw to your wardrobe. Please, sweetie... buy something that isn't monochrome. Anything. But keep the leather pants.

I leave you my entire CD collection. I want you to listen to them all, at least once. Twice if it's Aretha. It might take you a few years to get through them all... but hey, you've got the time. And this is a deathbed request, kind of, so you have to honour it. Okay, an after-death request, but it still counts.

I'm sorry it took dying to tell you all this. In hindsight, I probably would have done better to say all this while I was still alive. Death brings a certain clarity to these things, when it's too late to be of any use, which is just typical, isn't it?

Tell Cordy that she's beautiful, that she mustn't let the visions drag her down. Tell her it will get easier, and to remember to lean on her friends if she needs to.

Tell Wesley that I know, for a fact, his role is more important that his title. The Council will be kicking themselves when they realise what they let go.

Tell him to take the bike out for a spin once in a while, no matter how busy he gets. The leather works for him. Tell him to invite Rico for a ride some time.

On the flip side of that unpleasantly long list of regrets... opening the bar was one of the best things I ever did, probably the thing I'm most proud of. Okay, handing out advise on love lives, petty quarrels and the occasional apocalypse wasn't always the most exciting path, but it was a truly mind-expanding experience. It's not easy getting that many species in one place and ending up with anything less than wholesale slaughter, but I managed it. And I met the most interesting people there.

Not just you, sweetie, although you're definitely one of them.

Demons who were here long before humans came and built a city. Exotic princesses on the run. Creatures that aren't even corporeal most of the time. Black-hearted lawyers with vocal chords of gold. Clans who live among humans, yet hunt them. Clans that are human in every way except their physical shape. People who roller blade for a living. Extradimensional joyriders, just passing through this one in search of a good time. Vampires who can trace their lineage back to the First. That odd guy in the hat who never says a word but seems to enjoy himself anyway.

Stories, Angel. They all have stories to tell. You don't have to be psychic to hear them... it just makes it easier. Try talking to people more. Listen to what they have to say, no matter who you think they are, how mundane they seem. They all have something to teach you.

You know, part of me wonders if this will ever even get to you, or if it's just for our peace of mind. Or maybe it'll self-destruct after you read it so there's no evidence left.

Anyway, whether you see this or not... goodbye. If I'd known how short a time I'd have, maybe I would have made a move. There's this rule... more of a guideline, actually... about not looking too closely into your own future. Like a lot of things, it sounded like a good idea at the time.

As a final note... you've been alone before. Don't try it again. Surround yourself with people if you can, choose a few good friends if you can't. So mortals die eventually... that's just an excuse and you know it. The friends you have won't last forever, but there will be others to take their place. Vampires can die too, and it didn't stop you hanging around with them for a century or two, did it?

It hurts when people die, but that's part of life. Don't let fear of losing them stop you from having friends in the first place.

I hope you counted me as one of them.



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