Notes: I want to thank Kay for sending me dubs of the series. I watched Red Storm (::blinks in shock::) and was completely blown away. I also want to thank someone who's story's name (or even NAME) I can't remember, but who gave me the inspiration to write this. I read a story a couple of months ago that involved the imagery of Rollie burning his bed. That image stuck in my mind and, eventually, produced this short, POV story. Thank you!

by A.j.

I deal with fire for a living. I create explosions and force flame into the shapes and sizes *I* want. As fun and interesting as it is, a body has to remember that no matter how fun, and how controlled it is, fire is wild. Fire can create and renew. In its purest form, it's beautiful. Beneath all the fancy physics and scientific calculations, fire is primal and more than a little out of control.

That's how I'm feeling right now.

I never thought that a simple, inanimate object could instil such hatred in me. It's a *thing*. It can't hurt you or make itself noticeable because it's *not* alive. It's just something that sits there, is occasionally used and keeps on sitting there. But this *thing*... I want it gone.

Decimated. Obliterated. Completely and utterly absent, right on down to the smallest atom.

It isn't enough that it's out in my car park smashed and ripped to pieces. I build things, I know how to destroy. This *thing* doesn't even minorly resemble what it once was. It's not enough. *IT* needs to be GONE.

I didn't really have an opinion of IT before now. IT was there and IT was functional. IT was furniture. Not now. Something terrible happened on IT. In IT.

Well, IT's not IT anymore. A convenient hatchet made sure of that, and what it couldn't handle, the van's wheels did. But it's time, isn't it? Time for that wild and uncontrolled thing to take over and make it go *away*.

God knows I wish I was talking about myself.

But it won't go away, will it, Tyler? He made very sure of that.

He took away any chance of something that could-- might have-- SHOULD have been mine. Something so small and beautiful and perfect that somehow, even though she hadn't said the words, I knew was gone. I knew when I stumbled out of that dirty hole HE'd kept me in.

I knew he'd hurt her. My beautiful Angie.

It's not like I didn't notice. I'd have to've been dead if I hadn't. She is beautiful beyond comprehension, and despite my harshest critic's words, I am *not* blind. But she was Manny Ramirez's little girl. His Angel and the one I was expected to protect. She was *Angie*. The little thing that I'd watched grow up. I was there for her nearly every day of her life. Hell, because she went to NYU, the most time we spent apart was counted not in months or weeks, but days. I guess I never had time to step away.

Most girls get a chance to put some distance between themselves and their family. A week or a month. Enough time so that when they come back, everyone they knew can *see* they're different. Older. Wiser. Women.

That never happened for us.

During the time that *should* have happened, we were helping each other through the grief of losing Manny. There were tears then. Pain. And dreams.

In the weeks after Manny died... I was here. I knew every nightmare and sob by heart. She knew all of mine.


Now I need some gasoline. Primitive but effective. Like fire. A cleanser. Add enough in a concentrated area and you've got an instant inferno. Fire hot enough to burn green. Add some laundry detergent and it'll burn purple.

Incineration. Obliteration. Absence.

There is pain now. And tears. Only I'm not there to know them. I'm not allowed because they're caused by me. I'm sure there are dreams.

I don't know what to do now. This isn't my step to take. For the second time in my life, there is absolutely *nothing* I can do. Why does this always happen to the women I care about most? WHY are they put in situations where I *can't* help? Where there's nothing for me to do but sit there?

Like IT.

I can feel the heat. From twenty feet away, fire extinguisher in hand, I can feel it. Hot as a sun IT burns, carrying with it so much. Not only is the physical being removed, so is the invisible.

She told me she was her mother's daughter and turned away.

Why couldn't I have seen it?

She's not Manny's little girl. She's Manny's daughter. It was a difference I didn't make in time. And now, she's not my Angie.

Not mine.