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In Peace
By Mala

Rating/Classification: PG-13 for language.
Disclaimer: Grrr. Aaaaargh.
Summary: Just a little post-episode ficlet for 5.2, "Just Rewards."

His hand passes through the ponce's phone.

But his fingertips make perfect contact when he covers his face with his palms and sobs.

That's how he knows he's bound for Hell. That the chains pulling him down into the earth where the opposite number is waiting will bloody well succeed and he'll be knocking around the eternal fires with the likes of the First and her gang of uglies.

He sees her. Well, not Her, of course. But the knock-off. Down there. Every time he blinks out, he flashes on teeth and flames and her laugh scalding his skin like holy fucking wine.

And he can't call the real one. The one whose laugh always made him hard. The one whose face he saw before the Big Burn. The one who was always, always, beautiful even when she hurt him.

Oh, he could *ask* the ponce, couldn't he? He could. But Angel won't do it. He'll, no doubt, pretend he has no way of reaching her. "Europe," he said, being as absolutely vague as vampire-ly possible. Europe is a big bloody place. She could be shoe-shopping in Milan or staking something in the Black Forest or rowing down a canal in Venice with some perfect Italian lothario and...and forgetting all about him.

As rightly she should.

He can't bloody well make love to her now, can he?

He'd pass right through.

He...he can't touch her.

Ever again.

Funny how that was okay when he thought he'd be dead. The permanent kind of dead.

And now it's unbearable.

Patting himself on the shoulder...wrapping his arms around his midsection and feeling organs that aren't even *there* according to the science girl's isn't enough. He's bound for Hell. And until then, he's in the waiting room...stuck with that sodding amulet and sodding Angel and nothing...nothing else.

Except...except maybe a little spot of hope.

He's nothing if not consistently delusional.



October 9, 2003.