Paul Gadzikowski


the Doctor learns Angel is back from Hell

Just as the Doctor thought they would get where they were going with no trouble, a tall figure in a coat longer than his stepped into their path from an alley.

"Angelus!" the Doctor exclaimed involuntarily, regretting it instantly, as the vampire was intent on his own business and wouldn't have noticed the Time Lord if he'd kept his mouth shut.

But the vampire spun around, saw who it was, and relaxed. "It's Angel, Doctor."

The Doctor didn't drop his guard. He'd heard the story of Acathla from Buffy during her vacation from Sunnydale, but hadn't known Angelus or Angel had returned from Hell. "How do I know I can trust you?"

The vampire laughed. "What difference would it make to that?" But the sarcasm was bitter, not cruel. The Doctor was convinced, and relaxed in turn, waving to his companion that it was all right.

"How ...?"

"Buffy's love brought me back. Now it's driven her away from me." Angel regarded the Doctor almost casually. "You're the one who told her we can't be together, aren't you?"

"I only told her what you both already know," admitted the Doctor. "Understand me, Angel," he went on before Angel could reply, "I know what this is doing to Buffy, and I can imagine what it's doing to you."

"Can you?"

"I've died and been re-souled once or twice myself." Angel knew that was true. "And I too have some terrible things on my conscience.

"But you, Angel, are not a true self. You exist only," he had been going to say 'solely' and changed his mind, "through the curse on Angelus, whose existence is your natural - or supernatural - state. Your existence is artificial and fragile, and we've seen just exactly how fragile it is.

"I feel for you and I do wish it were different, but you're not trustworthy, and that's why I don't trust you."

"Yeah," said Angel after a moment. "Right. Thanks for your wishes, Doctor." He turned and walked off into the night.

The Doctor sighed. "Do you think he believed me?" he asked.


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