?

Log in

No account? Create an account
July 2017   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
stargate, DanielJackson

Fic; Hope Remained

Posted on 2015.11.21 at 17:04
Tags:
Title: Hope Remained
Fandom: Angel
Characters: Archduke Sebassis' blood slave, Angel, Fred, Wesley.
Word Count: 3204
Summary: Events in season five from the POV of Archduke Sebassis' blood slave. Coda for episodes- 5x05 life of the party, 5x12 you're welcome and 5x22 not fade away.


When he hears that Angel has come to speak to his master something awakens within him. It’s a wretched, hateful thing, which he has long forgotten for his own survival: hope. Over the decades he has grown used to his life as a slave, he is not mistreated, is allowed to speak freely when it’s appropriate and the Archduke Sebassis even bestows affection in the form of petting from time to time. This is his life and he is alright with it.


And yet, at the thought of Angel, hero and helper of the helpless, coming here. Something spreads viciously through him, reminding him of all that he doesn’t have but could have, not mere existence but life, freedom, choices. He hates the foolish hope. There will be no end to this, he knows it. Even if Angel tries to kill his master he will fail. But he can’t help the idea taking deep root in his heart, envisions Angel decapitating his masters and setting him free.

They sit in their chairs. He doesn’t understand. Of course, as everyone does, he thinks this whole thing a ruse on their part. They obviously still have to be heroes underneath. They are, their disgust shows this clearly. But, there’s far too much uncomfortable pandering. It’s with a horrified despair he realises the truth; he has to make efforts to keep from laughing hysterically. Of course, the hero gets to him at exactly the wrong time, after already switching sides. This is the way of his life. He goes through the motions of unplugging the cork from his wrist, not knowing how he forgot how horrific this is, shudders to keep from crying as his life-blood is siphoned away into the glass. The wrist veins stand out starkly. It all feels so much more visceral somehow-like this is new- he’s back on that first day.  

The Pylean demon speaks to him, tells him he tastes great. He stares at the Pylean and tries to convey some notion, even though he’s unsure what exactly- maybe anger, maybe despair, maybe a plea. He hates how the distasteful compliment makes his stomach warm with joy- the slave ever eager to please; to serve; a weak creature; his spirit as mutilated as his horns. This is who he is now. He tries to quash his hope, but despite it all, seeing them here, hearing his master agreeing to attend their party; the wretched hope remains. He can’t help thinking that maybe this creature is not who he will always be.

*

As he enters the party on the end of his master’s horrid chain, fear sits in his stomach mingling wildly with hope. Anything could happen, he could be freed, he could also be injured or killed, and he doesn’t have the strength to change anything. He hates how afraid he is almost as much as he hates the hope. Now his indifference is gone and every awful emotion is remembered, sorrow and despair and anger cloying at him. But most of all the dread, consuming him as though he’s the unthinking broken creature he tells himself he isn’t; an insignificant useless whimpering slave.

Angel speaks to him, too cheerful, complimenting his master, trying so hard to court his favour in that clumsy oafish way of someone unused to dealing with one of the Archduke’s calibre. But he sees something there and thinks- maybe they should all be afraid.

*

His freedom is the length of a chain and mindless commentary. He keeps the length of it, pulling away, he’s unassuming, it’s his own version of claiming what little he can. He can speak, explores, points out the odd urine smell. He acts normal. They don’t know he’s listening to their plans intently and they wouldn’t care if they did. His weakness is his strength.

His master pets him, caressing the back of his head. Instead of leaning into the touch, now he merely endures it.

On finding Arture dead. Hope and terror once more battle inside him chaotically. He makes an effort to sound like his usual slave self, uttering only one word. ‘Icky’. It’s started now, there’s no stopping it. He wants to go home. He suddenly regrets wishing for freedom, it’s stupid. This is going to be a disaster. He wants to escape, but he can’t.

He hurries behind as they stride towards Angels office, weaponry drawn. It will be a blood bath, just like all he’s seen before.

He doesn’t understand. Instead of fighting, they are still placating. It makes no sense.

The monster is large and scary and diving at them. The arrow strikes it doing no harm. Before he knows what he’s doing he yanks away the chain and runs. He looks back for a moment before escaping as fast as he can.

*

He finds a dark tiny room and looks around before entering to make sure no one sees him. Once inside he hovers by the door, trying to hear something of what’s happening. His hands are shaking. He opens the door a crack to see. Then changes his mind and pulls it closed. He paces the small length of the room, then changes his mind and looks again. He doesn’t know what to do. This is his chance, the only one he’s going to get. He needs to take it. But he needs to know what’s happening. Who has won? Is his master dead? Injured? Are they looking to come and kill him too? If he tries to escape and his master catches him, what happens then?

He stays in the small room. He tells himself this is a decision, a strategy, it makes sense to wait. Give time for the fight to resolve itself and calm and also give him a chance to gather whatever information he will need to plan his next move. It’s nothing to do with him not being able to bear stepping outside the door, nothing to do with him being unable to keep silent due to shuddering hitching breaths.

The longer he waits the more time he has to dwell on how bad this is. There’s a dark pit in his stomach and he sinks down in a corner, trembling all over, hugging his knees. He doesn’t want to escape anymore; he just wants to go home. He hates it all, hates how pathetic he is. He wants his freedom, but he can’t take it. The outside is big and scary and he doesn’t have anywhere to go or anyone to help him.

The days drift on, the same thoughts cycling through him. Even now he’s hungry and only living on the ink inside the photocopying machine. He doesn’t know how to look after himself on his own. He can’t do anything. He’s a pathetic, wretched creature, who- even without the problem of evading his masters- wouldn’t survive his own freedom. He realises this now, sitting crouched, hungry and alone and unmoving. Like a stray animal.

The hope still sits, like a dusty empty jar on a shelf, a foolish notion he knows. He wants to learn though. If he can just stop the dark deep pit of fear, for just a moment, maybe he can. He has to learn. He will find a way to survive. He can’t do it on his own. It’s the most terrifying of notions, but in this empire of enemies, he’s going to have to make an ally.

He doesn’t know how to do that either.

*

It’s amazing the amount of important things that are said around the photocopying machine. An innocuous place, he has spent a lot of time listening to significant conversations around his master, being in all his important meetings. He rarely listened, rarely understood, but he had learned how sometimes the most important details are in the unsaid words.

Anyone will be naturally suspicious of him, he knows. If he truly wants help he must take a risk: he must allow himself to be caught.

He learns who the best person to be caught by is: Harmony. She’ll take him to Angel. And he’ll just have to see what Angel does. He waits until she is alone in the room. His heart is hammering against his ribs. Instead of holding his whimpered squeals in, he purposefully lets one out. Harmony spins around, walks over, looking behind the boxes. He looks up, allowing all the fear he’s feeling show on his face. She frowns and then makes a comment that he’s too preoccupied to hear. She picks up his chain and predictably leads him into Angel’s office.

*

He’s been allowed to sit in a chair, it’s odd. There are voices all around him, Angel and his underlings, talking about him and about what they need to do with him. He hunches his shoulders and stares at the ground. The voices get louder, arguing, angry. And then there’s silence. He cautiously lifts his head. They’re staring at him, waiting for him to speak. Well, do you want to go back? The question is repeated. He knew there would be a discussion about whether he’d be allowed to stay here, but this is completely unexpected. They’re asking him, why are they asking him? Why are they giving him a say? The answer is easy and yet difficult; they’ll probably just ignore it, or use it to taunt him. He takes a breath, says it anyway.

No.

And somehow, miraculously, that’s all it takes. Suddenly it’s been decided, he’s staying, (as long as he wants to, is made clear). He doesn’t understand, but that doesn’t matter. For the first time in the longest of times, he has a genuine chance. He ignores the very loud voice inside him telling him it’s a trick. He needs to believe this is real, so he does.

*

He lives with Angel, the vampire is his protector, and he feels safe here. It’s stupid, he shouldn’t feel safe; he’ll never be safe. And yet he does. But he’s still scared, all the time. It doesn’t make sense. But it’s true. Just the thought of having to be alone out in the world makes him want to curl up and melt into the ground. He knows he can’t stay here forever. It’s only a matter of time before everyone grows tired of him.

But even being here often feels like too much. A voice speaks a breath too loud and he finds himself shuddering. A door swings open and he’s hiding under the table. He can’t imagine ever being able to bear this. He’s not free, he will never be free. He’s far too tainted for that.

*

I need you to kill me. He says the words simply; it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for them. Though the words feel bitter on his tongue, he knows now it’s his only way out. He can’t live like this. And he can’t go back to his master. It’s a resigned hope. This will be his freedom.

He doesn’t understand Angel’s reaction.

Angel is horrified and yells at him, then the anger spills over into confusion and he’s taken to Fred, Angel saying she’ll be able to help.

Fred tells him she was like him once, afraid. Unable to step outside her room. He doesn’t believe her; she’s so vibrant, so alive. She explains what happened to her, tells him it will take a while but he’ll be better again someday too. He likes that idea. Even if he doubts he will ever be that alive again. He thinks of her story every time he fails, every time he tries to improve, every time he’s scared. It’s his talisman, his guide in the dark.

And slowly, ever so slowly, things begin to get better.

*

It’s late. There are books on the occult strewn across the table. But they’ve learned all they need for tomorrows plan, now it’s time to eat and relax. Fred is chatting about her latest paper. He and Wesley take turns at asking her questions. Casually picking up a container of take out, he ponders the scene before him. They are his friends. He is sharing a meal with his friends. He’s at peace. He has an idea, it’s a scary idea but it’s time.

I’m thinking of moving out and finding my own place. He says. Wesley seems surprised but Fred looks like she suspected this was coming. Are you sure? They ask. It’s time, I’m okay now. He says. They offer to help him find somewhere and he accepts their help, somewhat relieved. They will still be his friends. It will be okay. Sometimes scary things need to be done.

*

He’s back in the photocopier room again, it’s still strange, despite this being a part of his daily routine now. It turned out the liquid named toner suits his tastes more than most of the human food available and is definitely better than the various monster-friendly selections. He seems so far away now from that creature whimpering helplessly in a corner. So of course, this would be where he gets caught; he lets out a bark of laughter so he doesn’t cry.

He’s being dragged down a corridor. He hears someone phoning his master, telling them to come get him. No. No. No. This can’t be happening. This is wrong. He needs to tell them. But he can’t. He needs Angel. Angel will fix it. But he isn’t here. He’s going to be back there. And it will be so much worse now. After this taste of freedom. After having people care about him. After having put some parts of himself back together. He won’t be able to bear it. He can’t pretend to be the meek, mewling slave. Can’t let all he’s become hide in the shadow. He can already feel it all slipping away. One of his master’s underlings is coming to collect him. He was a fool. Stupid. So stupid. He knew he shouldn’t have given in to hope. Shouldn’t have allowed himself to think for one moment that it would be okay.

Maybe he could run. Angel’s not even in the building. He could run and hide somewhere until Angel gets back. But he can’t, he’s stuck here.

*

He tries to look meek when his master’s underling picks up his chain, lets his fear do the work for him. He will be punished. It will be agonising. Not worse than his sense of self being once more stripped from him though. Maybe he was right before, it would be better if he was dead.

He’s being lead through the lobby when the elevator doors open and hope blooms fresh in his chest like the ridiculous thing it is. Angel is here. Angel will save him. He runs towards him.

Angel looks horrified, but he doesn’t say a thing. No. That makes no sense. Angel wouldn’t just leave him to his master’s mercy. Angel wouldn’t let them take him back. He’s surprised and shocked and wants to cry. This can’t be happening. He has no chance now. Even escaping would be pointless. Why would Angel risk himself and his friends incurring his master’s wrath just for him? He’s a fool. It still stings terribly. He thought Angel was his friend. His first friend.

*

Well, you must be glad to be home. Sebassis says with an unpleasant smile.

He directs his gaze to the ground, fighting to remain meek, keep still, and not resist. Resisting would be a terrible, terrible idea, especially when he’s already in so much trouble. Sebassis makes a gesture and one of his underlings steps forward with a cane.

He pulls away, yanking against the chain.

Oh dear, you have picked up some bad habits. The archduke says, lifting another finger.

Another underling joins the first and holds him in place. He whimpers as the cane cracks against his flesh, curling up at the relentless beating. Lying on the floor, pain lancing through him, he knows he must feign his usual slave-like behaviour lest he be broken and returned to that form for real.

So he carries on, playing the tamed obedient creature he once was, while always knowing that isn’t his true self. Though as he maintains the act through weeks and then months on end, he begins to wonder which self is really the truth and which the lie.

*

In every one of the Archduke’s meetings, he stands innocently blindfolded in the corner. Listening intently, turning over every word in his mind, making plans. He tells himself they’re more than just fantasies. He knows their strengths. He knows their weaknesses. But still he remains here, making plans, waiting for the right moment. A moment which will maybe never come.

He bites his tongue to hold himself silent when he hears of Fred’s death. She was kind to him, he liked her. And does the same later, when rumours fly of Angel being responsible, when he hears glee in their throats of the hero being corrupted, being brought to their side. He thinks it can’t be true, even if Angel betrayed him, he’s not Fred. Angel wouldn’t betray Fred. Despite his anger at Angel for what was done to him, he says nothing.

His old self would’ve, once they were out of the meeting of course, spouting off whatever oblique thought crossed his mind. But he isn’t that person anymore.

He holds on the idea that there’s something strangely special about this ambiguous rumour.


*

When he hears Angel sitting at the table with the members of the black thorn he knows he’s an imposter. He just knows. This is a game plan of some kind. And as much as he’s still smarting from Angel’s inaction landing him back here. He knows it was the right thing to do; he is not worth all those people. He also knows he hates his master far more than he could ever hate Angel and wants to help this plan in any way he can.

When he’s dismissed he stumbles towards where he remembers Angel’s voice coming from, even though he’s blindfolded, he hopes Angel will be able to convey some message to him. Angel’s hand smacks into him, pushing him away, as soon as he feels the pinprick he knows he’s been poisoned.

The first thing he feels is raw, hurt, betrayal. Why did Angel do this? Was it some form of mercy? Maybe, he would like to think it was. But no, he realises a moment later; it’s part of his bigger plan; to get to his master.

*

He should tell his master he’s been poisoned. It’s what a good slave would do. He doesn’t know whether he wants to let Angel use him like this, like a worthless object, easily discarded for another end. Except, some very quiet part of him knows. That’s not what this is. This is Angel giving him the power, giving him the chance for revenge; the chance to undo Archduke Sebassis like the demon has undone him. He likes its elegance. He is not a worthless, unassuming thing as everyone thinks. He will do what legions of powerful creatures have failed to do. He will kill the un-killable, by merely bleeding into a glass.

Comments:


dancing till the world ends
lynnenne at 2015-11-21 19:07 (UTC) (Link)
This is intriguing and creepy. Nice to see Angel's world from the POV of a minor, oppressed character. In fact, it's nice to see any Angel fic. :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2015-11-22 07:45 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :). Yeah, I always like giving those minor characters a voice.
darkdreams1222
dreamsofspike at 2015-11-24 03:05 (UTC) (Link)
This was so unique and dark and really heartbreaking in the end :( and in keeping with the sort of twisted morality under which Angel and company were operating the back half of that last season :/

I wanted to cry for this minor character I'd never thought much about before... very beautifully done :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2015-11-24 17:44 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, I'm so glad you found it unique and dark and heartbreaking, that means so much to hear :).

It worked then, I was hoping it would, thanks. I always wondered about that character, especially them giving him back to his master.
Previous Entry  Next Entry