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Title: Time Intangible
Author: Tania
Summary: Angel in Hell.
Rating: PG-13 for Imagery


The passing of time has become something intangible. It is the dried blood that crusts between his fingers, neither liquid nor powder, barely worth the name blood now. It is simply a remnant of a life he no longer counts as his own.

Angel watches the clock mounted on the bleak stone wall, wondering if its small ancient hands could summon the power to wield a stake or other implement of death in this place where time alone cannot kill him. He worries over the clock's face from across the room, pulling at his bonds in useless effort, wishing only to be free long enough to strike out at the numerals that mock him day, night, and always.

There was a time it seems, endless millennia ago, when Angel lived for the sunset. Waiting with a hand on the door and another rested in his lover's grasp, anticipation of the sun's exodus beating in his chest in ways his heart had long been incapable of. Each night was a fresh canvas, the colors of the day vanishing, waiting for a thousand colors of death to drip from his artful fingers, glistening anew.

It seems unthinkable that merely a century has passed since he perfected that art, landing himself in Watcher's diaries and history books, penned in ink for all time as a master of his craft. Here, in this place where time has lost its meaning and there is little left of his art but tear-fueled watercolors, the past seems a dream. The length of its reality calculated in dead lovers and headstones, the seasons blurring together in abstract brushstrokes.

Somewhere inside Angel wishes he could pause the illusion long enough to see the faces that haunt him. The full embodiment of those vague personas eludes him. He sees crying, swollen eyes, bloodied fangs, hair strewn with earth and decomposed leaves, pale cheeks streaked crimson and blue. There are no smiling lips whispering his many names in coital tones. The vast nothing of his fiery cell echoes one name alone, and that is screamed in frantic syllables, piercing through the endless nights.

Here there are twisting daggers at his sides, cracking whips, flames and victims pointing their accusations in his direction. Each voiced remembrance brings a fresh reenactment. The demon revels in the torturous drama, clouding Angel's fragile mine with questions, demanding to know what sort of artist can look on his own work with such contempt and terror. The vampire asks the man where he lost his appreciation of beauteous things, what vile sullying could poison a long-dead heart to the point it no longer recognizes perfection.

The man is silent, refusing to answer the monster even in this place. Angel will not give in to the voices within or without. He stares at the clock again, its arms spinning faster than he could ever hope to keep track of, or maybe they never move at all, he can't say anymore. Angel clings to his sides, chanting his name in quiet desperation, unwilling to cry out or acknowledge his jailers. Focusing only on the burning of the soul and not the burning of the flesh, he begs only to retain that invisible piece of himself. Take anything but my soul, he whispers expecting no answer.

This is, after all, the hell he has made for himself, time intangible, hopeless, and forever. There is no reply.