A/N After I posted this, I realised it would probably be more convincing if I'd written it as Angel: but I wrote it with almost no effort as Spike, and I can't change it now. I don't want to change it now. I guess a few centuries of loneliness does something to a guy.

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O'CONNOR, Angel - Aged 108. Died peacefully in hospital at 10:13 p.m. on Tuesday 13th. He leaves behind a large extended family and several business interests. Funeral by invitation only. No flowers. Donations can be made to his charitable organisation, Helping the Hopeless. Full obituary tomorrow.

Spike still prefers to read his news on paper, which limits his choices to such an extent that he can read all of them between breakfast and lunch. Of course, he has a link-up like everybody else that enables him to weed out anything of significance, be it to the world in general or to him in person. Somehow this piece of information had managed to slip past his filters - not that he had even tried to keep in touch, not that he had intentionally read a single word about his family and their doings. It wasn't his fault: he stayed away because in his eyes, they had never wanted him. He started doing it because he cared about them, and he kept doing it because eventually he stopped. In the back of his mind had been the idea that, perhaps, in another few decades, he would drop by an office or a mansion and see if whichever person it was still remembered his face or his name. He remembers. He has nothing else to do.

He carries a penknife in his pocket, and he remembers trimming a feather with his first one as his father explained the origins of the word - that the implement had been designed for keeping quills sharp in the face of saturating ink; that the optimal feather came from a female swan, hence "pen" - and this is rare, and precious, so he carries the knife in the hope that the weight and constant repetition will fix the memory. Not in stone, though, because he visited the graveyard and found the stones eroded almost past recognition, and walked on.

He takes out the knife and cuts the words that will not smudge from the paper that has just the wrong texture, and searches for an appropriate place to keep it. It is the first cutting that he has taken in some time, and he is not entirely sure where the others are. He knows he thought carefully about each one, using them as bookmarks in the most fitting books. He found the Watcher's - Rupert, he reminds himself, Ripper and an ace record collection from a shady past, glasses and stuttering from being the stereotypical Brit, chains in the bathtub and a brief time of "familiarity and disappointment" - in the "inherited" copy of Encyclopaedia Demonaica, resting where people would assume it marked G for Giles, when the real reference was on the left-hand page: another memory that makes little sense, but brightens the hours.

He spends so much time cataloguing memories that he makes no new ones, and sometimes he feels guilty. But one day, he'll realise that he's written them all down and he's refined them as far as he can; and then, he thinks, he'll go out and start living again. Perhaps. Perhaps he'll just keep reading them, because every time he does he finds things that had slipped his mind, that surprise him over and over again; and he corrects mistakes and omissions, and keeps changing the date on one particular kill that he simply cannot decide on.

The cutting for his grandsire, he thinks, must go somewhere unexpected. He wasn't supposed to die. Spike can feel a glimmering of memory, a prophecy that they were concerned applied to him instead of the other; but apparently they were right the first time. So, Angel is dead, in a confusingly orthodox fashion. A hospital bed and a notice in the old-fashioned paper that only old men and pretentious idiots buy. An obituary in it means something - an interesting life, though there were far more years than can be printed. He'll have to cut that out too, Spike decides, and he can place them both in the same book - and so he doesn't have to decide today.

He drinks a mug of blood and another of tea for breakfast, and then he sits down with the papers. He flicks through the pages quickly, today, looking for the obituaries. It would be proper to calmly read the pages through, according to his wont; but he is not a patient man. He knows this about himself from a hundred different memories. It occurs to him that possibly the life he is now living contradicts his self; but the routine has become comfortable over the past century and a half, and he is loath to break it. He does not even read the other side of the page before he takes his cutting, and he realises that he will have to fit the page back together when he comes to reading it - but for now, he sits and reads of the man that was something to him, when he was young.

Angel O'Connor, 2306-2415.
A respected figure in the supernatural community, he inherited the family business at the age of twenty-nine, but was first and foremost a family man. His will, read yesterday, held legacies for many distant cousins; though the majority of his fortune was divided between his three surviving children, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Several of the line are well known in various circles...

Spike wondered, briefly, if there had been any mention of him. He believes it is unlikely. Any money would be unnecessary, of course. He lives off the interest of a dozen savings accounts and the dividends of a few carefully chosen shares, and they more than pay for his food and his papers and his books, and that is all he really needs - all he has taught himself to want. Still, he thinks, it would be nice to know he had been remembered. The only person who had known Angel longer was a lunatic, and at last word she had been prettily ensconced in a mansion with heavily armed guards to protect the outside world. The money for her will never run out, he knows, having contributed an extra allowance himself for the odd new dress and new doll, and taken the opportunity to inspect the entirety of the financial arrangements. It would be kinder, perhaps, simply to end her existence; but he could never do it himself, and he would never allow anyone else to hurt her. In one of his moments of whimsy, he wonders if he too is a prisoner, if he too is a bird in a gilded cage, forgotten in a room while his owner gets on with life. But this would imply some level of caring, and he knows that all his trust funds were set up in person.

He sets aside the obituary, chasing the memories of dark haired beauty past the walls of bitterness he has erected. They are many, but strangely similar - variations on a theme that does not waver. He probes further, and finds a family that was never entirely pleased with him for reasons he could never do anything about. Further back, into the earliest days, he can almost remember sun: but he knows that this is probably false, constructed from two hundred thousand days of images on a screen that he never chased with the avidity of his elders. He reads the papers.

He drinks a mug of blood and another of tea for lunch, and then he sits to collate whatever memories choose to surface. He knows that this doesn't help - that eventually he will remember the words he has written as opposed to the events themselves - but surely it is better than forgetting completely? He is the last one he knows who can remember Buffy Summers. He is the last one he knows who can remember Sid Vicious. He is not entirely sure which of these is more important, so he remembers them both conscientiously.

He drinks a mug of blood and another of tea for dinner, and then he sits with a book. Tonight it is poetry - not his own, though it improved enough with practice that a few pieces were published in an online journal, sometime in the 22nd century. He comes across a funerary ode, and wonders if he chose his reading matter specifically because of it. It seems to him that it would be disrespectful to avoid the formal farewell to the oldest influence in his existence, and he decides to request an invitation. There are channels for such things, and he puts it in motion with a negligent message to an old-time associate. He considers taking Drusilla, but she would only cause trouble, and she has probably mourned her Sire since he became human.

He drinks a mug of blood and a bottle of beer for supper, and then he tidies the little detritus of his day. He goes to bed, and falls calmly into sleep with the aid of the syringe in the corner of his nightstand drawer.

When he wakes he reaches to record his dreams: often a vital source of petty details. He has a message, and this disrupts his routine. It tells him that the funeral is today, and he realises that he will have to leave his home to attend. It irks him, but he pulls his formal suit out of the closet and dresses neatly for once. He stops before leaving the house to check that his face is human, and remembers that sunlight hurts him. Fortunately, it is an overcast day and rain is pouring down. Were he in a poetic mood, he would say that the world wept at the final death of its most devoted Warrior; but he is not.

He does not shake hands at the funeral, as the crowd is overwhelming and physical contact with humans would be unbearable, especially since the blood flowing through their veins came from the same source as his. The irony of Angel's cremation does not go unnoticed, though some of the mourners wonder why the stranger chuckles slightly over the words "dust to dust". He takes note of the gravesite, planning a private visit at some point in the future.

He does not go to the reception - he can say nothing of their patriarch that they will recognise. Instead, he goes back to his house, washes off the outside world and puts away his suit.

He drinks a mug of blood and another of tea, and settles down to read the papers.