Disclaimer: the author does not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel". These properties expressly belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Greenwolf Corporation, 20th Century Fox Television, WB Network, etc. Any other characters contained in the original story are the author's.

Historical Note: There are aspects of this piece that are spoiley for the rest of the season and do not fit within the time constraints of Rm w/a Vu.

Author's Note: I was writing Blindsided and came to the point where Angel was writing in his journal. I could have just accepted that Angel was writing, but it was important for me to know what was going on in his mind even if it wouldn't be included in the body of the story. In the end, it helped me complete Blindsided--as did the Nightmare Sequence. But, more of what it did was define the character of Angel that I write. e.c. 30 aug 2000

by Evan Como

I'm already on my 5th cigarette and all I've written is the date. It took forever to find something to write with. I think Cordelia does inventory on all the writing utensils--like she comes down here and gets all my pens and then counts 'em all up to make sure no one's stealing anything. Like she thinks Doyle is pawning the Paper Mates or something. I just don't get her.

OK. So then I finally find a bunch of pencils in her desk drawer. No where else except in HER desk drawer. But no pens. Maybe she takes them home with her every night. No pens for us on the weekends or audition days! I even looked in Doyle's desk. Nothing. Amazing. So she's got all the pencils in her drawer and they're those plastic twisty kinds. It took me two cigs to calm down enough to stop breaking the thinnest lead in the world. And all the time I'm cursing and smoking and drinking this godawful tea, the tip keeps breaking off. Who decided a pencil needs a shock absorber? I have to talk to her about letting me keep my own. I don't know why she won't buy the kind you have to sharpen because it's not like someone's going to break in the office and dust me with one. Hell, they don't even make most 'wooden' pencils out of wood anymore. And I don't know if that's what's going through her mind or not. About the wood. She pays attention to weird shit like that. And it's unnerving. I wish she wouldn't do it. Or stop doing it so I start thinking about it because then I obsess. Like it's her personal crusade to keep me alive and well for some stupid reason. And I just don't get her. At all. It's not even her money she's spending so she could buy me some regular decent pencils.

This page is already a mess. Ash everywhere. A hundred years from now you'll open up to this page and smell it. Like somebody'll go, oooooh. He was so ahead of his time or something and then they'll glue stick it to a piece of corrugated and slap it on the wall next to a Basquiat and think this unknown writer was just so artsy without even bothering to read what it says. Just because it's all smudged and stained and nicotined and,

there's a little drawing in the middle of the page. That'll trip 'em out. 'Look at the little drawing. That MEANS something.' And they'll all be standing around wondering amongst themselves just what it all really really means.

The LA Public Works department must switch the water at certain times of the day. Like this tea water is the reclaimed crap that they use to sprinkler lawns and the freeway foliage. It tastes that bad. Or it could be the cigarettes or my breakfast or whatever. I should go steal Cordelia's instant oatmeal from upstairs. That would trip her out. Make it with some hot reclaimed water. I haven't had oatmeal in whatever.

I don't even like smoking cigarettes. A good cigar? With a fine cognac, intelligent conversation. Such a pleasant thought from such a different lifetime ago.

Cigarettes, though--I just look cool doing it. I know I do. Spike used to hate it when I'd pace and he figured that smoking would calm me down. Wired me more. And pissed him off because I'd still be pacing. I used to practice on him, disturb him with my cigaretto style. Shithead. All he did was introduce another weapon into my arsenal. Everything in the right hands becomes a weapon. Anyway, you'd figure after ensoulment I'd become a chimney--something better to do with my hands and mouth than twisting heads and suctioning bodies. Curse made me more anal than I ever was. I just hate the ash everywhere. A week from now I'll still be sweeping up whatever doesn't stay in this saucer.

I'm already regretting this 10th one. Half a pack in an hour--that's a new record. Sitting here in front of my little scented candle writing and chain smoking. All tormented and crap. I should draw that, huh? Right Here. Little doodle. And they still won't know what the hell it means.

I got set-up tonight. Wait.

This TV rumor that vampires are obsessive-compulsives. Yeah, I'm obsessive. But the compulsive is something else entirely. Not shoestrings or sunflower seeds. Reading. Books. Gravestones and billboards, cornerstones and plaques. That's why I chose this building. It's not historical but it has a cornerstone. I figure if someone went through the time and trouble -- I used to annoy the hell out of hunting mates. In the middle of stalking and I'd see a flash of bronze attached to stone and I'd stop. Stop and read. Memorize that shit. Got to the point where my usual hunting path I knew the personal history of every building. I can close my eyes now and walk down any street in Paris, London, Bruxelles, New York -- Galway. In perfect order coming and going.

Words. I'm a word compulsive. Except my own. I'll never read this -- what I've written. This is like a conversation. I write the words. They evaporate. I know they don't but for me they do. That's why I never shut up.

So this asshole Ragno-- I hated him. And his kid Colin. Ragno was always kicking me or something. Colin would watch. He'd be smiling and none of them thought I knew what the hell was going on. How many times I was ready to stake both of them right there in their bed. Ragno was ancient and I couldn't believe how hard he slept. They all slept that way. And I'd be walking around and none of them ever knew.

I thought I didn't remember any of this. Them. That apartment. That winter. This deserves a smoke.

I just didn't want to be outside. And if I killed Ragno or he knew I was trying to kill him, that's where they'd put me. Belgrade was so cold that winter. I took alot of abuse in that apartment. Maybe I figured if it got so bad then I'd have to die? Like I'd piss one of them off enough that they'd take me out? But vampires don't think like that. They'll fight one anoother to choose the literal pecking order but otherwise there's not much reason to. Everyone knows their place in a nest. And if you can't figure it out then you hunt alone or you start your own. I don't know why I thought because I'd changed, that they all would.

I had always been different anyway. Ragno and his nest were old-tyme vampires that just did things the way vampires had been doing them since the beginning. Maybe it was Darla's influence. She liked progress. She liked change. Loved pretty things. Possessions. She wanted. She took. She never stopped wanting. She never stopped taking. And what a goddam eye. So ahead of her time.

For the longest, I couldn't give up breathing. I understood I didn't need to but I'd have these fucking anxiety attacks... Ragno's brood didn't breathe. Most vamps don't. But Darla didn't see it as a bad thing. We would spend hours with humanity and blend in. Outrageously beautiful, the two of us with our perfect manners, our fashionable style and our regular breaths. The way we smelled. Clean. So alive. Our appeal to the cultured who invited us into their homes night after night. The homes most of them never left again. Breathing down their terrified necks with our fangs bared. Inhaling them.

We of vile sucking habits.

Ragno caught me reading a pamphlet from the coat pocket of one of their kills. They were the filthiest nest to leave the corpse in one of the corners. I was sure one of them was feeding on it and I had killed a few of the brood in their sleep for that. Ragno knew what was going on and he didn't discourage it. I'd kill. He'd pummel me to pretend nothing was happening. I suppose I helped keep his antique mind off of reality.

I, personally, couldn't feed. First off, because I couldn't and then because they wouldn't have let me. Neda would harvest blood for me when they weren't looking. It made it worse. Knowing where it was coming from. Listening to the dissipation of life, holding the results between my palms. Feeding anyway. Inner voices. Outer voices. And not a single one that could tell me what to do. Just being hungry all the time. And cold. And the one fire in the room lay swarmed by consumers.

But I was reading this pamphlet just to have something to do with my mind instead of listening. Inner. Outer, they were always arguing. Trivial bunch. I was reading something political when Ragno hauled off on me. He broke a couple of my ribs -- he was that strong. Like a look from him could snap your neck. At my best I may have been able to take him because I was more cunning but on sheer strength I could have never been his match. That he only broke a couple of my ribs I guess he was being fair with me. Neda fixed me up, then fucked me while I kept trying to remember what it was I had been reading. Hurt. Hurting. Inside and out. Too weak to heal properly. Inside and out. Suspended between inside and out.

I could never figure out if Ragno wrecked me like he did to give Neda something to do with herself. Her calling, she could cure almost anything. Healed one of their near-kills one night. I could never figure that one out. And we're talking the turn of the century where medical techniques like that hadn't been conceived of yet. But she did it. She worked at it. Unfortunately, healing the body is one thing... She didn't understand the relationship of the body to the mind, though. What I could have taught her in a previous lifetime. If I had had the strength, I would have killed the poor Lazarus myself. I'm pretty sure if he stayed from under the bite he lived a long deranged life courtesy of Doc Neda.

I still smell like the death I caused tonight. My fingernails are crusty. A different demon under every nail! I'm wearing PTB all over me. Head to toe. I reek everywhere. The Doctor didn't care. And it was OK for what it was. But she lied when she said it would help because it didn't. And I could down another pint of blood and run every floor in this building a hundred times and I'd still want.

It might have been OK if they were just ordinary demons off an ordinary Vision. And I would totally be sitting here going YAY! Still wanting to go outside and rip open the first human I met, but at least I could be satisfied that I scored a victory for the team instead of scoring the team, itself. They fucking set me up to take out 7 of their own guys and I was having a free-for-all. Gleeful and shit, having the time of my unlife. Especially the last asshole--I teed off on his ass. Just whack and off with his head. Off with his ever loving PTB head. And she's hanging off the side of my car with this cat-ate-the-canary grin and she knew what I was doing. And just blindsided me. She didn't have to tell me anything. Could have stayed incognito with that flap-lipped Physician but she wanted to gloat because she knew it would reel me in and she could guilt lick me. Alive or dead--a woman scorned--

I left her behind because she wasn't what I wanted. As messed up as I was I knew I didn't want her. Always on me. Vampires have sex and we're fiends but she never stopped. I wanted to stake her in that apartment, too, but she was the only reason they let me stay to begin with. Her and those extraordinary abilities to heal and she was making me more miserable. After we got kicked out, she wanted to go to Russia. I've met some stupid vampires, but none more stupid than the ones in that nest. Would it have killed them--huh, Cordelia--would it have killed them to pay attention to what was going on? Not only Serbia, but almost every King's kingdom was in turmoil. There were overthrowing peasants, uprisings, new political ideas. Pro-Austria, anti-Austria, Turks, you name it. But Ragno and his group didn't know and they didn't care. They were blind to everything except their hunger.

Me? I just wanted to get back to Paris. To get the hell away from Socialists, Marxists, New World Orderlies. And Gypsies. And greet dawn on the peak of the Eiffel. (Obviously that didn't pan out quite the way I'd hoped.)

Most vampires just don't conceive that humanity is more than just a meal. Their lives--what they do... We live in their world. We live in their countries, the buildings they build, wear the clothing they make, are entertained by their creativity. Not the other way around. The insolent fuckard that I am, the insidious cunt that Darla was--we both instinctively knew that. Our secret. And we never forgot it. Oh, the surprise when we attacked! How delectable our meals. How sweet. Like this tabacco that's just as poor a substitute as what I've got in my fridge. That's why I fucking don't smoke. I have to keep that taste from my mouth. This taste. Rich. Warm. And, so so sweet.

They get worse when I reminisce like this, but sometimes it's worth it. My aching tidal memories and I pause to redrown in the flood...

I'm nailing Neda tonight on the trunk of my car and I couldn't even remember what it was like to be with her before and I've got the freakin' memory of all time, you know. I don't do this anymore. Indiscriminant sex with who or whatever. And we won't even bring up the B word here because that's not even what this is all about.

This memory and things nice? I can't consciously pull any of that up. If I was honestly going to sit here and smoke another pack of cigarettes and wait for a remembrance of one particular really nice time with one really nice person then I'd personally keep RJ Reynolds in business. Would the PTB reward me for that, I wonder. Vampire Angel is smoking now to save the youth of America from the horrors of the nicotine monkey.

And I wonder if that's just the failsafe of the soul that I can't remember intimate acts or if I can't remember because none of them were ever nice enough? And I'll bring up the B word now because the only time I get an impression of our Moment is like a flash in the middle of nowhere that I can't hold onto. Something fleeting. But if I lost my soul again? I know it would be all I could think about. I'd have a replay running on the inside of my eyelids and I'd have to figure out some other way to destroy the world to make it stop. But little things when I don't expect them--like a reward for being calm or nice or whatever and then it goes away too fast. A soft arm. Maybe lips.

After I returned-- We'd kiss. For one minute, oh it would be like a new experience. Exploring. If we'd stop then. It was mine. Close my eyes and it was mine. For two-- Being touched. Her breath. I can't recall it. Any of it. But I knew I possessed it. Like a word on the tip of the tongue. Or water behind a dam -- existing without beholding -- pressure on the gate. Three minutes-- Irony, much? Gone. And everything before. I couldn't say to her, "Buffy, I want to love you and I want to hold you and kiss you and oh god God but I can't remember what it is we've just done and you deserve someone who can at least remember what it's like to have your perfect mouth near his. Your hands. In his." It would be nice if I could just conjure up holding hands. Just something simple and innocuous like that. But I can't. Not when I need to. Only my teeth in her throat. I would lose my soul for the trade. I would lose my soul and she'd never be whole to me. I'm thinking only a Gypsy could have figured out something even worse than setting a soul on a vampire. I'm thinking Gypsies invented true hell.

If I could ask for just one thing for myself it would be to remember that Moment. But even the memory would probably release the true me. And I know I deserve every single bit of my punishment but that doesn't mean I don't crave the tiniest hint of a reward. That maybe, just maybe there's a reward? Because I'm sure so sure there isn't. And I'm trying so hard and lying to myself that there's a point to all of this. And I wonder when Cordelia makes me smile if it's for real? Or if she was invented by Gypsies, too. Gypsies conjured Cordelia. With her twisty pencils and her ripping up my linoleum and annoying the hell out of me. Being such a mess. And letting me save her life.

Neda was having the best time. And I'm in the open with her. Naked all over my car -- I couldn't even bring myself to invite her onto the backseat -- and not repulsed because all pistons were firing. But kinda not into it. Just on automatic pilot because I REALLY don't do my own kind unless I'm off the deep end. And I didn't want to admit to myself that's where I was. I wanted to strangle her but she wouldn't have died. A helicopter hovered for minutes watching the rutting animals in a parking lot screwing over somebody's car.

I keep waiting for someone to pass along a copy of the company handbook. Like here, vampire, read up and follow THESE rules and then everything won't be so complicated. See? There's even a section for when we hype you up and then we send out our own kind for you to slaughter and then we make notes and then you get to bone your auditor. And you need to love it. Enjoy the hell out of it because that's how things are done with The Powers That Be.

Doyle just came in upstairs. I could go strangle him. Gut him. Before I take a shower. I'd have to clean up first before I took a shower. My teeth ache so badly.

These fucking pencils. Ashes and little pieces of lead. For weeks. I should make Doyle clean up before I execute him. I could make him bleed and then he would have to clean up his own blood and excrement while he's dying and if he didn't do a good job then I'd just have to prolong his suffering and then he'd have a Vision or something to top it all off and

I just want to feel absorbed? By someone who understands? "I shall feel the affections of a sensitive being and become linked to the chain of existence and events from which I am now excluded." I want to sire again. Do it right, though. So they wouldn't have to kill. Just feel me. Be a part of me. Cherish me. Hang out with me. Like right now. Just watch me smoking and writing and feeding and let me be a wreck and not ask me how I'm writing by one candle that's not even shining on the page or why do vampires smoke if they don't breathe or what's it feel like when you go off and murder the home team? And go make Cordelia buy me some decent pencils. And not touch me. I'm so tired of being fucking touched externally. Just the once. And then she'd know why and everything would be cool. She'd just sit here and understand and that would be enough. Because I think she does a little already. She seems like it. But she's good at what she does so I'd have to worry about being selfish or whatever but she could just do a night shift. I mean if I can run a business she could still be a cop.

She could have me inside of her and she'd know. And I'd hold her until she Became. Let her take all of me. Endure the burn for her. Just let her devour me until I'm blind and we'd recover together. And we'd know from the start. I'd recast her soul. Just to make sure that she'd really understand. Well not all of it because I wouldn't let her kill. She'd want to. But there are ways and spells and whatever it would take. A Gypsy or two. And they'd have to make it so that she would never go to hell.


But they wouldn't let that happen. I might become content or something. Like maybe one day there'd be love or something that vaguely resembles it involved. Doyle's coming down the stairs. I'm going to butcher him. She's safe, you know. Because they'd make her kill if I did it. And I'd feel it. They'd take her away and probably make me destroy her. Because they're petty like that. Shits. They probably won't let me quit. I'm ignoring Doyle. He's standing there and I'm pretending I don't see him. He probably thinks I look interesting, not sure if he saw me in demon face or not. Not, because I freak him out when I'm like that. I'm not going to murder him, of course. I like the guy even though I can't trust him, obviously, but I'm going to fuck with his mind. Smoke just so and write just so and doodle a little bit

and angle my head a little bit so the candle light cuts across just so-- That's what gets everyone. How I can NOT see myself and know effective lighting. I feel light, absorb it, consume it. Make love to and with it because that's all I'm allowed. Here, and tilt my head a little bit and lift the front tips of my hair while my cigarette is wafting smoke and Spike would have stormed out of the room by now in a different lifetime.

And then I'll just break the lead


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