Title: On Pain of Failure
Author: James Walkswithwind
Spoilers: for "Billy"
Archive: list archives
Feedback: yes, please
Disclaimer: not mine, no profit made
Summary: post "Billy", missing scene
On Pain of Failure
He knows that by rights, he should be sitting in the darkness. The chair
by the window, or perhaps lying on his bed, staring at the shadows and
wallowing in his pain. But he's been insane before, and it never felt like
this. Never left claws in his mind, tearing at the flesh of his soul
whenever he tried to move away.
He's sat in the darkness for days, doing nothing, moving as little as
possible. He hasn't eaten, has barely drunk more than a cup of tea. He's
heard only the sound of the answering machine clicking on -- he's turned
the volume down and only knows it is Fred calling, because she always
calls. The others are leaving him alone.
He's not sure why.
But he's not in his flat, now. He isn't hiding in his darkened room,
waiting for the pain to fade, or overtake him. He's gone up to the roof of
a building he thought he'd never go back to. Not the Hyperion -- had he
shown his face there, his companions would have assumed he had returned to
work as promised, and was ready to begin again. He isn't ready, and he
isn't prepared to see them.
He isn't sure if he could ever face them again.
It was easier, after the Shroud had made them all crazy. After being fired
had sent them all on the spiral, together. It was easier to walk away from
Sunnydale with nothing but his valise intact, and not know where he was
going. It was easier, because the sound of his father's voice was in his head.
Not on his lips. Not in his heart.
He'd lied, when he told Fred he hadn't wanted to kill her. Not because he
had, not because he'd believed what he'd been saying. Not about her. Not
about any woman. The words he spoke had not come from Billy, and they
hadn't come from an imagination that twisted to fit the feelings brought
forth within him.
Those words he knew far too well, and found so easily dropped from his
tongue. Not because they were real. She'd been right, in that. Billy's
power had forced him to say those words.
But they hadn't made him discover them. They'd already been there.
His father's tongue speaking slowly through a door, telling him he had
better....he would do well...he should, he should not, he was and was not.
And he isn't standing here because he believes those words. He's grown
enough to know they were lies. Most of them.
He's here because he'd heard those words on his lips, seen the look in his
own eyes. Discovered just how easy it was to be him. He's spent days --
years -- wondering if he'd learnt too well. And he has.
He's left the wads of paper on the floor, drafts which never quite said
what needed saying, in quite the correct way. Perhaps they would
understand, anyhow. Understand what he's running from, because there is no
longer any place to run *to*.
He's standing at the edge, now, and he needn't look down. He knows what is
there. Not freedom, not redemption. Just a way out. A way to stop
feeling. If he ends up in hell...perhaps someday, someone will rescue him.
Because it isn't about the pain, anymore. It isn't about what he
feels. It's about what he's done, and what he is capable of doing. And in
those words he spoke, he knew. He knew where they'd come from, and he is
man enough to prevent them from getting out again.
He takes a step forward, the breeze on his face, and the hand that closes
around his arm and pulls him back, doesn't even surprise him.