Windows to the Soul

Disclaimer: Kate Lockley and Angel (more's the pity) are not mine, but Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt's.

Note: This takes place near the end of "Somnambulist".

Windows to the Soul



I'm shaking like a leaf, almost unable to form a coherent thought, because one thing keeps repeating itself over and over in my head:

Vampires are real.

I just killed one. Another is sitting just a few feet away, recovering from being impaled.

Angel. How is it that you can look into a person's eyes and feel like you're reading his soul—and yet not know him at all? All I saw was a man, beautiful, a bit mysterious, serious kicker of asses, yet strangely gentle and awkward. How is it that I, a homicide detective, never saw a killer?

He's just sitting there now. I can see him in the half-light. His eyes are closed and his head's tipped back, and he's obviously in pain—pain that I caused him. I could have killed him, and he knows it. He looked right into my eyes and saw someone who might have been his killer.

There are so many things I want to ask him. I want to know how old he is now, and how old he was when he was turned. I want to know why he was turned. Who did it. How he felt about being a vampire. Why he was such a vicious bastard for so long. Why he seems to be so different now. Who he is.

I don't say a thing. Maybe I'm afraid of the answers. Maybe I'm just too tired and shaky to talk.

Angel. I met him in a singles' club where we both didn't fit in. We were both, I found out, trying to find the same killer. Somehow, we connected. I saw in him someone just as lonely as myself. He saw in me . . . what? A link to the police? He's certainly taken advantage of that often enough. A possible target? An amusement? A kindred spirit?

Okay, where did that thought come from?

It just seemed . . . he was there for me. He really seemed to take me seriously, and not because he had to, not because I was an authority figure to him, but because he wanted to. He flirted with me, even though he really wasn't very good at it, and a gorgeous man like him flirting with you . . . well, for someone who's never really felt feminine, it was . . . more important than I'd like to admit. He was there for me through one of the most humiliating and painful experiences of my life.

And then, just as I was really getting to know him, or so I thought, he suddenly springs this on me. I remember seeing him in that warehouse, seeing that perfect face of his distorted and hideous, hearing him and that other vampire talking. I can still see him so close to my face, smell the burning flesh as he clenched my cross in his fist. And then I found out who Angelus was . . .

A monster. A serial killer. A vampire so evil, other vampires were afraid of him.

How can I not see that in his face? "The killer with the face of an angel," that book called him. Is this how he draws victims in? With his face, with those eyes? Those eyes that make you feel he's looking into your soul, and you're looking into his?

I told him I would kill him when I saw him next. Then he shows up anyway, ready to kill his vampire offspring. That fight, I've never seen anything like it. And then I had that piece of wood, and he was looking at me, Penn right behind him.

I don't know how long I stared into those eyes of his. It must have only been a moment. I looked into his eyes, and my brain was telling me it would be best to be rid of them both. It would be logical. Be rid of two killers in one stroke.

But his eyes had only trust in them. I don't know what that trust was. That I wouldn't kill him? That I would? Did he want me to? Does he want to die?

Some serial killers do, you know. They want to be stopped. When they're finally caught, they beg to die, because some part of their soul wants to be saved. They don't want to kill again, but they can't help themselves.

Is that Angel?

I don't know if I made the right choice. In that moment, as I stared into his eyes, I felt him asking me, as he had before, "Do you trust me?" In that moment, I went with my instincts.

It amazes me—the stake went through both of them like butter. One part of my brain wonders how that's possible. Angel stood there, stunned, and Penn . . . he just turned to dust.

"You missed," was the only thing Angel said. I believe he genuinely thought I was meaning to kill him—and he was okay with that.

But I didn't miss. In that moment, I couldn't find him worthy of death. I can't explain it. Logically, I should have. I've sent men to prison for life, even to the death chamber, for much less than Angel has done.

There's something more to Angel, though. I don't feel that I'm to be his judge, if I can wrap my mind around that obscure of a concept. Angel's never hurt me, and I'm not convinced he ever will.

I'm not convinced he won't, either. I don't think I can trust him anymore, and whatever there might have been between us . . . let's just put that relationship in my good old, ever-growing "it was a nice idea" file. You know what? That really bothers me.

Are there nice vampires? Or at least tortured, Anne Rice-style vampires, brooding over their lost humanity? Search me. I don't know.

I can't trust Angel completely again. There will never again be that easy rapport between us that was building, and I'm angry over that. Someone came along, and for a time, he was someone special. Then the other shoe dropped, the way it always does with men in my life.

Getting angry seems to have stopped the shaking. I need to figure out something to tell my fellow cops that won't get me arrested or committed. I give Angel one more glance. His eyes are open now, but he's not looking at me.

No more glimpses of that soul.

I stand, still angry, and start to leave. I feel like I just did something toweringly stupid, like sparing the life of a vicious murderer. Oh, wait, that's what I did.

"I don't feed off humans anymore."

It's his voice. I turn. He's still not looking at me, but he speaks again.

"If it makes it any better, I get my blood from the butcher," he says. "I don't kill humans anymore."

For just a moment, he looks at me again, and I can see his eyes clearly. There's pain in them, deeper than I've ever seen.

Or just another part of the act.

"Good for you," I say, bitterness leaking out of the words. Then I turn and walk away from him.

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