Tortured Souls

Prompt: #005 Tears

Notes: Written for 10pergenre. Inspired by "Scars" by Papa Roach and "Better Days" by Pete Murray. Also, this is my first ever attempt at an Angel fic! Let me know how I went plz!

Angel sat in his office at Angel Investigations, several empty bottles of beer and a mug half-filled with cold pig's blood on the desk next to him. The lights were all off and he was alone in the dark. It was exactly how liked it. Or rather, it was how he preferred it to be, for the most part.

He didn't exactly get out much, especially since he moved to LA. It was a depressing place, filled with people looking for something more, whether it was fame or love or just someplace where they fit in and felt safe. LA supplied none of those things. It was the place where dreams were crushed and people were left broken, their spirits torn from their bodies and fed to the demons of the night.

It was a place of depression, loss and despair.

Reaching for the latest beer bottle he'd been drinking from, Angel took a long swig of the warm mixture, enjoying the burning sensation it gave him as it ran down his throat. Although it was near impossible for him to get drunk, the beer helped to soothe his nerves and suppress some of his pain. He needed it.

The last mission that Doyle had sent him on had ended in disaster. He had arrived too late to save the young girl and had allowed the demon that had done it to escape. The demon would be long gone by now and there was nothing he could do about it.

He had no way to track it for one, and it was too close to daylight to risk it, anyway. If he went out now, he'd get caught with the sun and most likely burn to ash. As good as it sounded, he knew that he couldn't do it. He hadn't yet been able to make up for all the deaths he'd been the cause of when he'd been Angelus. He couldn't let himself die until he'd fulfilled his much needed redemption.

He hated how his failure made him feel. He had lost a girl her life tonight, when he could have done something; when he could have saved her. It was his fault that the girl was dead. If only he'd been faster… If he had left straight away he'd have arrived in time, but no. He stayed back for just five minutes or so to finish a conversation he'd been having with Cordy and Doyle. Put simply, he had been selfish.

Angel sighed and returned yet another empty beer bottle to the desk. It toppled over and he let it fall to the ground with a smash, not even trying to catch it. The shattered pieces flew everywhere, a couple of jagged pieces cutting into the skin on his arms and face. He didn't care.

He let the beads of blood form on his skin and ignored the slight tinge of pain that it sent him. The mental pain that he was feeling was much too strong to let him feel the physical hurt.

There was nothing more that he could do now but sit in his office, drink away the pain and hope that the demon that had killed that girl didn't kill anyone else. And to hope that he'd make it through one more night; one more day; and most of all, that he'd survive long enough to redeem himself.

Angel fell into the darkness of his thoughts, the strength of the alcohol beginning to catch up on him. By the time he'd finished the last bottle of beer that he could find in his apartment, the whole world had faded out.

KNOCK! KNOCK!

A sharp rapping at the door an hour or so later, startled Angel from his alcohol-induced state. He glanced in the general direction of the door, wondering who it was. He hadn't even heard the footsteps leading up the front and he was much too tired to listen out for the signs of who it was.

Slowly, painfully edging himself out of his seat, he replaced his drink on the tabletop and walked to the door. Kate. It was Kate. He smelt her scent as he got closer and sensed, rather than saw her pain and her need when he opened the door to let her in.

She collapsed into his arms the moment he stepped forward, the strong scent of alcohol that wasn't his washing over him. "Kate?" he asked gently. "What's wrong?" He allowed her to wrap her arms around him and carefully helped her inside, leading her to the closest chair he could find in the office. Once she was seated, slumped over a little, he ran a finger across her forehead to wipe the tangled strands of hair from her eyes.

"I…I just…" Kate mumbled in response. "I'll just go. Sorry" She made to leave, weakly pushing Angel out of her way before attempting to get up. She felt back almost immediately. Trying again and getting the same result, she gave up and sighed.

"I can't do it anymore," Kate finally said, letting her eyes meet Angel's. She ran her tongue over her lips and swallowed. "I can't face all the death and the evil anymore. It's too much." A tear slipped from one eye and she blinked a couple of times in an attempt to push it away, failing miserably as another tear joined the last. "I'm thinking about leaving the force."

Angel reached down and wiped the tears from her face and then knelt on the floor beside her, pushing the irony of the situation to the back of his mind. Kate had come to him because she was having trouble accepting the concept of death and evil. She had come to him of all people, or rather, of all vampires, in his case. If that wasn't ironic, he didn't know what was.

"Kate," he whispered softly, resting his hand on her lap. "I won't tell you that you shouldn't fear the darkness because you should. I will tell you this, though. Your job…it's special. You help to destroy the evil of the world and make things better. You give the innocent a chance to live free of evil in a better world."

He paused. "If you feel like you can't do it anymore, take a break. But don't give in completely. If you do that, what will happen when you decide that you can do it again? If you're anything like me, the regret will destroy you. Just…be careful. Don't make any decisions without thinking them through."

Kate chewed at her bottom lip helplessly and nodded. "I…I'll think about it," she told him, offering a weak half smile. "And I'm sorry about this. I shouldn't have come." Again, she gazed into his deep, brown, puppy dog eyes, her own eyes reflecting the hurt and the pain that Angel was feeling.

Angel nodded at her apology, not bothering to tell her it was okay and that he knew how she felt. He could tell by the look in her eyes that she knew.

"Are…are you all right?" Kate asked him uncertainly, as if reading his thoughts. "You seem a little…off." She rubbed at her temples tiredly, not taking her eyes from his and then glanced quickly around the small room, taking in the dark shadows that danced across the walls.

Angel shrugged when she turned back to him. "I've seen better days," he said simply. Kate didn't need to know the extent of his pain. Not now, while he was sure that her soul was as tortured as his own. She didn't need any more pain to shoulder.

Actually, she probably didn't need to know any of it at all. Angel was certain that he'd never talk to her about what was going on in his mind. He hardly ever shared his thoughts with anyone, let alone someone like Kate. It was very unlikely that he'd say anything more detailed to her.

Kate nodded in understanding and placed her hand over Angel's one that was still resting on her lap. "Thank you," she said. "You shouldn't have to listen to all of this. I just…there was no one else…" she explained.

Angel nodded. "It's fine. What's important is that you get through this." He gestured with his free hand back towards his apartment. "Stay," he said quietly. "Until you feel better," he added quickly. He gave her a questioning stare and awaited her answer.

Kate watched him for a moment before shaking her head. "No," she declined, softly. "You've done too much already. I'll just go." She searched Angel's face for understanding and seeing it there, slowly moved to stand up.

Angel took her hand and helped her to her feet. Their eyes met yet again and a silent appreciation went between them. Without another word, Kate let her hand fall from Angel's and let herself out.

Angel watched her go until she was out of sight and then returned to his office. He sat down in the darkened room, taking comfort in the idea that he wasn't alone.