Gunn compares all his friendships to a pyramid, and how everything eventually comes crumbling down. Focuses on Season 1 and Season 5. Please feel free to review, whether you have something complimentary or critical to report.
Basketball. I've always had a particular fondness of basketball in comparison to other sports. Yeah, yeah, I know... quite the stereotype – after all, I'm a black man who likes basketball... Anyway, none of that don't matter.
Thing is, I remember going to see a basketball game once. Back when we were a team. Me, Cordy, Wes, and Angel. Not exactly the best people to go see a game with, considering English didn't even know what was going on, Cordy couldn't stop drooling at the quote "tall-sweaty-hot men", and Angel kept brooding (it's what he does best). Nonetheless, I remember that night perfectly. Remember Wes buying a foam number-one hand, you know what I'm talking about, and he, despite him looking the dorkiest I've ever witnessed, kept cheering the players on. Remember Cordelia trying to force Angel into buying her another drink, complaining she was too tired to get up and get it her damn self. And I remember Angel sliding back into his seat, after being coerced into buying the drink, continued his sulk-fest. Yep, it was one of the best times of my life. We were together, having fun, and I couldn't ask for much more.
And even so, I got more. The cheerleaders, man. By far, it's the best part of any game. And it's not just the short skirts and revealing tops – it's more than that. Ever notice the beauty of the cheerleaders' pyramid. It's just so... symmetrical... so perfect. Just think. In order for just one person to stay on top, he's gotta depend on all his partners. It says a lot about life, don't ya think?
I think that's how it was for me with my old gang. Killing the vamps was a common motive that united us into a family. For years we worked together, standing side by side, watching each other's backs. It was a real good thing. And then came its end. I was their leader. They all respected me, recognized my authority... all that bull. I was on top of the pyramid. But Alanna died then and I didn't protect her. A vamp, an ordinary vamp like all the others we dusted, killed my sister. Once she was removed from the pyramid, all the rest of us came tumblin' down, including me. Things just fell apart then. Gradually, I turned my back on my group and started workin' for a vamp, Angel. Ironic, ain't it?
I considered the pyramid again. It's around four years later, and the pyramid factor still comes into play. Except the positions are switched 'round. I ain't on the top of the pyramid no more. I'm on the bottom; Angel's on top. It's not like I envy him or anything. Hard to be the one everyone looks up to. No, I'd rather be the employee, not the boss. Except... except I had nothin' to offer. I used to be the 'muscle man'. I was never the researcher; I was Angel's back-up man. If the demon got him down on the floor, I'd be the one to punch it left and right until I rendered it unconscious or dead.
I was the fighter. That all changed, though. Angel didn't need a fighter at Wolfram and Hart; he had enough (what with the addition of Spike and all). He needed a lawyer, one he could trust. I figured I could be that for him. I'd still be his back-up man – just in a different way. So I got all lawyer-y. Got my brain updated. Got everything I needed to be what my team needed.
It seemed to be working – at first. I mean we lost Cordy, but the pyramid didn't fall apart because we had Spike to sort of fill in the position (although, never take her place... rest in peace, Cor). But then I fucked up... big time. Got ambitious, got greedy. Wanted another attorney boost and I, willingly, did whatever they told me to do. Signed a paper. At the time, I thought it's just a piece of paper, what horrible thing can possibly come of it? I found out all too soon. At this point I stepped out from under the pyramid; I was too lost, confused, and unsteady to stay there. Being on the bottom, everyone on top of me falls. Fred. Fred falls first.
God, Fred. I loved her... I did. We drifted apart though and she starting seeing Wes. And I was okay with that. They deserved each other; I was happy for them. But see it looked like everyone had something or someone. Me? I only had myself. That's why I agreed to that deal; I needed to prove I was useful and could help. Shit, I keep remembering thinking: it was just a piece of paper. I didn't know.
I tried to repent. I watched my own heart being ripped from my chest each day in that hell dimension. But I never could atone for my sins. Redemption was Angel's gig – you know, vampire with a soul, and all that. And with Fred gone, I watched Wesley slowly and painfully leaving us too every time he glanced at Illyria. In the end, he did leave – a gut wound... who would have thought?
The pyramid's diminishing now. We're only fragments of the team. Angel tells us to complete these assignments. It's ironic I got the slayin' vampire task – it seemed strange and unfamiliar – like I had forgotten how to do it. But here I am dusting the vamps, like it used to be. Funny how throughout a world of change, some things stay the same.
It's raining now. A real tempest, y'know. Cats and dogs sorta thing. The wound I'm holdin' on to is bleeding like crazy... and I'm real dizzy, all of a sudden. Like my head isn't properly attached to the rest of my body. By now the pyramid's disintegrated. Now we're all just people tryin' to do what's right. But I know Angel'll still be watchin' my back and I'll be watchin' his. I lost his trust by signing that paper, but I'll gain it. I'm sorry, Fred, Wes, Angel, Cor, Lorne... and Alanna, everyone I ever let down. I'll gain your forgiveness. Even if I gotta die for it. Dying... looks like this is it. But it's all right. Somehow, I always knew it'd finish like this. But after all this crap... hopefully, we'll all be watching a basketball game and wondering just how that cheerleader pyramid works...