The Girl He Left Behind

Prologue

Summary: She played no role, except to doom her family by inviting the monster in. Why would she invite in her dead brother? Why did she think he was an angel?

Author's Note: Watching 'The Prodigal' inspired me to write this story. I wanted to explore the character of Angel's sister, and I hope you enjoy this. Please give me any criticism you can think of to help me improve my work. I'm also in the market for a beta, if anyone is interested.

She thought I had returned to her, an angel. She was wrong. Angelus, The Prodigal

They have never really seen him. When they look at him, they cannot see what I do. They see a drunkard, a layabout, a terrible scoundrel and disappointment. They think the drinking and whoring is all there is to him. But then, they also think that I am too young to know what that means. Believe me, I know. I have seen him stumbling back to the safety of his room before first light. I have seen what sort of women stand waiting at the gate for him when he leaves every evening. I have slept in the room next to his my entire life. I have heard what he and Anna do in there, when everyone else is asleep. I have heard the women in the village talk. I have heard Father talk. It is truly astounding how much one can hear, when one is considered too young to be of importance. But I know that there is so much more beneath the surface. There is so much of him that no one sees. Sometimes, I do not think even he can see as much of himself as I can.

I know that our entire family is looked on with shame because of what Liam does. But he does not do it to hurt us, I know that. Perhaps I should hate him, as Father does. I do not have very many friends among the other girls. All of our names have been painted black because of Liam. It is his fault Mother is no longer welcome with the fashionable women. At times, I get so very angry, I decide I do hate him. I hate everything about him. But just as soon as I start to truly despise him, he comes in.

"Kathy, dearest, would you like to see something special?" And he shows me that devastating smile. I love his smile so much. I do my best to please him, only so I can see the most charming of smiles. When he smiles, everything is all right and the world is fresh. And I love him dearly again.

No one knows him, because no one does what I have for him. Has Father ever merely sat and watched as he sketched? Father says his art is a waste of time, but I know differently. Watching him is like what watching Our Lord create must be like. What was once a plain sheet of paper is now a living and breathing being. Sometimes, Liam draws me. I sit very still, and it can get very boring, but I am rewarded with seeing myself perfectly captured on paper. I also blush when he shows me his drawings of me, and tell him that I am not really as pretty as the girl in on the paper. That makes him laugh. "I couldn't name a prettier girl in all of Ireland." It's that kind of flattery that I know makes it impossible to stay angry at him.

But that's not all. Has Mother ever sat with him when he came home too drunk to find his own way to his bed? Of course not. I am the only one who does that. I unbutton his jacket and I unlace his trousers and I help him lay down. I sit on the bed next to him and hold his hand. He tells me things then. He never remembers when the morning comes, and I like it that way. That way, I can know I truly see him. He does not have to worry about what I think about him. All he has to do is talk.

He tells me how much it hurts that Father doesn't love him. He tells how every time Mother looks at him with her huge, sad eyes, it stings just a little bit harder. He tells me that, at the end of all things, it is not so very much what you did or did not do that will decide your fate. He is sure that it will be based on how you are viewed by the people closest to you. He tells me that since, from that judgment, he will burn in Hell forever, he might as well pleasure himself while he has the chance. I scolded him for that. I told him that the Mighty Lord would merely have to look inside my thoughts and would make him an angel. He laughed a tearful, hiccupping laugh and stroked my hair. "My little Kathy. Are you not the sweetest lass who ever did live?" I blushed in the darkness, but he could not see. But it feels good to know he loves me.

I love him. He is an angel. He is my angel. Why can no one else see it?