the pearl


You act calm during the day 'cause you have to. It's how things work you, y'know? You act all calm and nonchalant, and at night — when you're finally in your bed and you're trying to sleep and it just ain't coming — that's when you start freaking out.

Sort of. All those years spent hiding in your closet while Anton shouted and threw Mama around means that you freak out quietly. You don't scream. You don't babble. You don't even pace. You just sit there, calmly, quietly, the only obvious sign you're freaking out is the fact that your hands are in fists and they ain't gonna move into anything else.

Tight hard fists, the kind that mean you keep your nails short because otherwise your palms'd be bleeding every other day. Your hands start to cramp and you know you're gonna be in pain tomorrow if you have to do anything more than hold an ax, but that's okay, 'cause it's not like you're gonna be doing anything more than holding axes anyway. Wesley flips pages. Cordelia types. Angel drives. You just hold your ax and swing it wherever it's supposed to go.

So you're calm during the day and during most of the night (which makes sense, being that, y'know, you're working for a vampire), and you only freak out when you finally get to your beat-up little studio apartment on the wrong side of the wrong side of town, something you "borrowed" from a dead demon and something that has one door and no windows. You make yourself something to eat, you shower off whatever gunk's splattered all over you, and you curl up in bed, close your eyes, and freak out.

Cordelia once told you that your worst enemy was yourself, but you know she was wrong. There ain't no way you can be worse than what haunts your dreams.

'Cause you — you're just a man. Hell, you barely made it out of your teenage years, so there's no way you can be any more of a threat to yourself.

But that thing that haunts you every night... The glittering animal eyes and razor sharp teeth and cold cold skin...that thing with your sister's face and no pulse...that thing you turned to dust without letting yourself look or touch or feel.

That's the biggest threat to you. It don't matter that she's been dead for over a year and you've been surviving ever since. It don't matter that you've killed dozens of vamps since then. And it certainly don't matter that you're finally at the point where you can mention her name.

She's still there when you close your eyes. She's still there when you wake up in the morning, sweaty and gasping.

And she's still there when you look at Angel's face, when you see his non-reflection in the mirror, when he drinks his blood, when he changes, when he does everything that he takes for granted and you just see as vampire...

She's there laughing at you.

"He's what you used to kill, bro. But you've lost the mission and you've lost me and you've lost everything that made you you because you're too busy trying to fight lawyers and talk with demons and do all the things you never cared about because it wasn't part of the plan."

And you know that voice in your head that sounds just like hers is right, 'cause since when did you care about law firms and demon bars? Evil was evil, dead was dead, and any time the two combined, the better it was.

But now you're working for the un-evil un-dead, and that's why you keep on waking up screaming, hands clenched in your sheets and sweat pouring down your face.


Dreams of Alonnah and Angel standing in the Hyperion with matching faces and matching smiles, laughing and chatting like nothing ever happened. Alonnah's eyes turned yellow as she mentions something you did when you were six, and Angel looks at you with the same yellow eyes and he laughs. He laughs at what you did, he laughs at your sister, and he laughs most of all at the pulse still beating in your neck.




They're both laughing and Alonnah tells Angel about something else you did once, about how you once found a magazine filled with nothing but naked men with black hair and pale skin and how you kept it from her and kept it from everyone else and wouldn't even mention that you still had it until she found it under the rolled-up t-shirts you called a pillow and how the pages were stuck together when she tried to flip through it.

And Angel laughs even more at that, tears rolling down his face as she describes the men inside. The muscles. The hair. The skin. The semi-erect penises resting upon glowing white thighs.

You don't remember ever having a magazine like that. But if Alonnah says you did, you know it must be true.

You don't remember telling Alonnah about those nights you spent out trying to earn a few bucks so that the both of you could eat the next day, but she's telling Angel about those too. About how you'd come home with your mouth dirty and your soul bruised and how you'd shoplift toothpaste just to get the fuckin' taste out of your mouth...

They're still laughing at you. You don't think they'll ever stop laughing at you. She's laughing and he's laughing and they're both laughing and your hands are in fists as you run and scream and hit them over and over and over, breaking a chair just to feel splintered wood under your hand and dust in your mouth.

You kill both of them every night. You kill Angel, you kill Alonnah, you stand there in their dust...

And that's always when you wake up.

This Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at