Musings: Poor Fool – Amaruk Wolfheart

Spoilers: set after SGA episode 'Condemned'

Warnings/Pairings: This particular fic is in first person; there's no romance.

Notes: Well, here I am again with my Steve Plush Doll and another one-shot.I quickly became attached to the Wraith from "Condemned." I'll always love Steve, but this one really intrigued me. So, at one in the morning, my head was writing a fic. I'm not quite sure where it came from, but in order to sleep, I wrote it down. Here is the result.

Dedicated to: raquedan and her Steve Plushie, because her Wraith went from an "it" to a "he," and to Ally, because that review for Thoughts just cracked me up.

-Rutile's Amazingly Spectacular Disclaimer- The author of this fic owns nothing. Seriously. Absolutely nothing. The End.

I almost pity him, the poor fool.

But perhaps I should say fools. After all, his predecessors were just as nervous and servile as he. And each one thought he could indefinitely keep his people and city safe. Really, it's laughable.

And yet, I almost pity him.

But I don't. It was true, what I told him – I would hate to see anything happen to him. That last vintage was truly a pleasure to sample.

Others of my kind might condemn me, of course, for making a deal with humans. The advantages of such an arrangement, however, are nothing to sneer at. Having continuous sustenance, gaining the freedom to avoid sleeping between cullings…and the latest chef was a master of his trade. Can I be blamed for enjoying a sip of wine or taste of human food every so often? It is nothing to compare with a true meal, of course, but still…I find it enjoyable.

I confess that I tend to think of myself as more…cultured, as it were, than the majority of my brethren. Not more civilized, really, though I told him that. I believe I fed that particular lie to each of them. It is a statement that both reassures them and frightens the wits out of them, which is, of course, why I say it. A terrified human is more likely to be compliant to my whims.

It's strange how one simple word can cause two such opposite feelings at once. On the surface, he is comforted by the knowledge that I am "civilized." I am like him. I am above the brutality of my fellows. I am a person. And yet, on a deeper level, it rattles him to the core. Somehow, a "civilized" Wraith is more dangerous than an "uncivilized" one. I am able to smile and compliment the food provided after feeding on the life of his chef. I am able to make pleasant conversation where every word is a veiled threat.

And he knows it, poor fool, and it scares him badly. I see the constant fear behind his eyes, never fading. I see him shiver in his chair as I speak cordially with him, and his hands tremble when he picks up his glass. Iknow that he would like nothing better than to see no more of me – or better, to see me dead.

But he is trapped by his predecessors, by the decisions they made. Does he sacrifice the condemned, or the whole of his people? Does he provide his hated enemy with a steady supply of sustenance, or does he become that sustenance?

He once used to care about the welfare of the other humans in his city, I believe – they all did. But now, as with all the others, it has come down to saving himself. Without a continuous stream of criminals, what stands between him and Death but a wooden table and a bottle of wine? And while the wine is certainly a pleasure, it is not enough to barter a true meal.

Yes, I almost pity him. He is the last poor fool in a long line of fools. Sometimes I wonder what he will tell his people – what he has already told them. Will he leave them in the dark, confused and afraid? Or will he take the risk of revealing this deal with a demon?

That is how these humans view us – demons. Fiends. Evil incarnate. Sometimes I find myself able to see where those ideas may have originated from. But invariably I brush that thought aside... My brethren are usually of the mind that simple herd animals aren't quite intelligent enough to formsuch views, but one cannot sit at a table and converse with a human and not admit that they are clever, resourceful creatures – that they are more intelligent than we give them credit for.

I find it rather a pity that a human can sit at a table and converse with one of us, and not see that perhaps we are not quite as evil as they would like to think. After all, a human must kill another animal to eat. It is only because those animals are unable to speak and think as humans can that the humans are not accused of being murderers and devils. Despite this truth, under the fear, I can always see a faint glimmer of hatred in their eyes.

But I am rambling. I seem to have a tendency to do so as of late.

I think, when the island is finally empty and the city is all there is for sustenance, I think he will be the first that I feed upon. (I may even be doing him a bit of a favor, once his people find out what he has done. Humans can be viciously vindictive at times.)

For, while I do come close to pitying the poor fool, and I will miss the taste of wine, he is only a human. He is only a meal.

And I am only a Wraith.

And I must feed.