Where I am now? The same place I've been for a long time. I'm surprisingly calm. I mean, I see them down there, and I shake my head, and look at them in wonder. Sometimes I shout at them at little—honestly, do they lose brain cells by the day?

You know my role in the group—the ruthlessly blunt truthteller? Well, that's what I was there for. To stop them from making a stupid, asinine, unbelievable mistake like joining Wolfram and Hart. That's why they made sure I'm here, so I couldn't stop them. Not so Jasmine could try to take over the world—that was a smokescreen, the fake big bad so that the real big bad seemed like nothing in comparison. Jasmine threatened world domination—Wolfram and Hart merely threatened the souls of the gang. That's what they all think. They're not seeing the big picture.

If I'd been there I would have stopped it. What could Wolfram and Hart bribe me with? Skip, that little creep, offered me my perfect life in place of becoming part demon, and I rejected it so I could stay with Angel and the rest of them. Help them. Why couldn't they see that some things are too good to be true? How could Wes not see it—Wes? Isn't he supposed to be smart? Isn't smart the entire point of Wes? Or Fred? I mean, besides eating like a teamster and not gaining an ounce, of course.

Incidentally? I don't want to hear about how Skip tricked me. I think about that enough on my own, thanks.

It's easy to see things clearly up here.

Yeah, I know about what happened in Sunnydale. Surprisingly? When a portal to hell closes up, it's pretty big celestial news. They served Champale and Chex Mix, followed by what could reasonably be described as the Heavenly All-Stars' version of the wave.

Angel's wondering if he made the right decision. He's thinking about Spike there in the hotel, all human and, well, human, and he's pissed off, because Spike got his Shanshu. It was Angel's role to save the world and Spike got in the way and died instead. He had the glorious save-the-world death that Angel should have had, the one with Buffy looking on all dewy-eyed, holding hands and going on about love and blah blah blah until I could throw up. I mean, come on—some cookies just aren't meant to be eaten.

The thing is, he doesn't know that he made the wrong decision in all kinds of ways, and that was the one that mattered least.

But I can't help them from up here. They're down there, believing everything Lilah tells them. Well, maybe not everything, but close enough. After all, Gunn would tell them if something was up, right? The thing is, Gunn's being played, just like the rest of them. What, like they're going to give one of Angel's crew the keys to the city? Information even Lilah doesn't have access to? They think Gunn's got a direct line to the Powers? He's got a direct line to the Senior Partners. They tell him what they want him to know. Period.

Incidentally, somebody has got to tell the guy that "Mr. Angel"? Sounds like an interior decorator.

He's not getting a lot of sympathy at the Hyperion right now, but they can't judge Angel, any of them. They don't know why he made his choices.

I do. I remember Connor; I'm the only one who does now, besides Angel. The thing is, what he did for Connor was an act of love.

Love is great at making people do the wrong thing.

They don't realize, any of them, that the answer is on the second floor, tucked into bed. What, you thought this was just some innocent little magical resurrection? Why do you think Wolfram and Hart has been interested in Angel for so long? Because the vampire who Shanshus is a big deal. But only Wolfram and Hart knows that. They gave Angel the pendant that held Shanshu. They made it possible for Angel to give Connor a new life. To take Connor and make him someone else, someone who could never again be Connor Angel, the supernatural son of two vampires, such a powerful force against evil that he was known as the Destroyer.

Now he's just a boy wondering what he should major in. No threat to anyone, except maybe freshman girls who like their boys skinny.

And no matter what Spike thinks, he isn't going to find Buffy. He isn't going anywhere.

They're all chess pieces, and Wolfram and Hart have maneuvered them so carefully they don't even realize it.

They will soon. God help them, they will soon.

The End