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Fic Post: Angel the Series, PG-13

Title: Hell Is Where You Meet The Person You Could Have Been
Author: Stoney
Fandom: Angel: The Series
Rating: PG-13 for violent imagery
Summary: 4 Bible Stories with a Jossian Twist - Angel, Wesley, Gunn, Connor. GENERAL SPOILERS FOR THE SERIES
Disclaimer: No money made, nor am I looking for any. Unless you count that twenty I lost in the washer.
A/N: I've put links to imagery that brought this whole thing on. Uh, dark. Trying to get back into this "writing non-crack" thing.


~*~
Hell Is Where You Meet The Person You Could Have Been
~*~


Not my Will, But Thine Be Done1

Newborns had their own unique smell. Like love and hope and warmth all in a soft fuzzy package. Delicious. He was happy. Not that sort of happy, because his joy was wrapped up in fear of the baby getting sick or dying or not getting into Notre Dame or maybe not being able to stand in the sunlight like him or looking too much like his mother and what if his perfect, delicate skin was ever cut? How red the blood would look on that white, creamy skin. How he would cry.

Angel was drinking more. He barely registered that. Everything was heightened, his smell, his emotions, his hunger. He kissed and touched every square inch of his son, little foot pads, the wrinkles of fat at the baby's wrists, the soft pulsing membrane at the top of Connor's head. So weak and delicate, babies. Would Connor be strong? Was he even human? What would he think when he realized what Angel really was? The people he'd killed, the damage he had wreaked. Would he understand?

He didn't tell Wesley or Cordy about the dreams where he fed from his son and how delicious he tasted. Or how powerful he felt with that innocent blood in his mouth.

He stopped bringing the baby to sleep in his bed for fear of his dreams. He finally let the others hold Connor when his mouth began to salivate every time the baby cried.


*******

My Brother's Keeper2

Years later, Wesley would attempt to kill his own father, his hatred and agony from a childhood ignored emptying out of him with every casing from his gun's clip. As for now, he only knew death was coming for him swiftly, that the prophesy was wrong and perhaps they had all been wrong. He was a man that put his faith into words, and the words had failed him utterly.

Favoritism. Wesley's father had favored the Council over his own flesh and bone. God had favored the younger, wilder and beautiful Abel, and then marked Cain for all to see his insignificance. Wesley touched the ragged hole in his neck where Justine's knife entered. He had always imagined Cain cutting Abel's head off with the boy's plough. Always favored, always loved. Always the chosen one. Had he taken a trophy? Had Cain left a nightmare in his father's tent for him to find?

It wasn't his hand that had killed Connor, but it may as well have been. The blood pumping hot and thick from his neck slowed to a trickle and the stars in the sky grew into fuzzy haloes. He imagined Angel's face as he realized his son was gone - his favored son. He wondered what Adam thought when he found the head of his child on his pillow. The holly leaves poked deep into Wesley's cheek, but the blood didn't come. No one came.

********

Doest Thou Well To Be Angry?3

Moment of clarity. He was only allowed one with each encounter and it was the same every time. His momma'd had an old Bible with pictures that he used to spend hours looking at when he was little. There was a painting of some white dude being eaten up by a huge fish or shark. The story said the man took the easy way out of working for God and didn't like how God was there for everybody. That his kind wasn't special. So God send a big nasty to teach him a lesson. He lived inside that fish for three days, had a change of heart, which, hell yeah you're gonna have a change of heart, then that fish spit him out and the man became a prophet of God.

He'd had countless nightmares growing up about being trapped inside a fish. He didn't think it would be like Geppetto and Pinocchio fishing off their boat inside a whale. He thought it would be cold and slimy and tight, an overpowering stench of rotting death, and the fish's stomach acids eating away your skin. Come out lookin' like Michael with all them white spots and shit.

And every time he hit that bottom step on his way to get lightbulbs and a thing stepped out of the shadows ready to carve him up, Gunn flashed back to being eight years old and staring into the wild eyes of that man of God being swallowed by a fish. How the fish's eyes rolled back, covered in a white membrane. How God really didn't like people to do for themselves. He hoped no one would hear his prayer. He would forsake mercy as the price for his vanity.


********

The Sacrifice Of The Lord's Passover4

Angel had tried multiple times to push them away. Everyone suffered who stayed by his side. Except for Spike, but Angel had always assumed Spike was a special form of punishment that he had to endure, so. He'd had a plan. He didn't always. The plan came together in the end, and he had warned them. They'd already lost so much before the final battle and he was getting tired of shepherding the weak through the valley of darkness. But they had all agreed, so.

It hadn't been forty years of wandering with his team, but it had felt almost as long. Especially during the non-corporeal Spike months. He had taken them into the desert and they hadn't all come out. Doyle, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn... All gone. Angel would have gladly lain himself on an altar, would have given himself up so the others could have lived. But he didn't get to choose how redemption was given.

The city lay in ashes and ruin. Somewhere on this earth it was still green, and he knew Connor lived. He hoped that the future would be in the hands of the son. The days of the father were done.

1Saturn Devours His Son, Goya
2 Cain Leading Abel To his Death, James Tissot
3 Medieval Woodcut of Jonah Swallowed By A Whale
4 Untitled Apocalypse, Zdzislaw Beksinski

Comments

( 92 comments — Leave a comment )
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sdwolfpup
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
Stoney, these were fantastic. Each one had this this sharp moment on insight, like sun slanting through the window. I think my favorite was probably Gunn's (which, hell yeah you're gonna have a change of heart - hee!). You have a good feel for him. That last one of Angel's, though, was startling to me, the image of him leading the team through the desert. Wow. And Wes as the forgotten son!
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, T. (I thought Gunn's would be the most popular, too! There goes that theory of him being Othered, haha.)

I love the idea of Wes trying to decide for himself what role Angel plays in his life - father, friend, brother?

Thanks, again.
sweptawaybayou
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
church kink ... check

Angel angst ... check

beautiful, painful imagery and gorgeous, clean writing ... Hell, yes.

Thank you, Stoney! Thank you for sharing this. Wonderfully done.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Man, do I love me some Church kink. (Clean writing? \o/)

Thanks, Snow! That means a lot. *hugs hugs hugs* And if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make out with your icon now.
wickedgrdn
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
Wow, these are breathtaking, Stoney. I don't know what to say, LOL. Just that these are very good and that you nailed these characters dead on. Great work! :)
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
I'll take that feedback and feed it ice cream! Thank you very much! I'm glad you thought this worked.
demonqueen666
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Wow, these are amazing. How do you say so much with so few words? The imagery (the ones your words make, I mean, not the pictures, though those are powerful as well) and the emotions invoked are overwhelming. It makes it so bittersweet, how you scatter in those moments of humor, like Gunn's take on the Jonah myth and Angel's irritation at Spike.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
Ha, I love Angel's constant irritation with Spike. And how much that pleases the blighter. (I've spent ALL MORNING looking at Beksinski's website - no one does apocalypse like him.)

Oh, thank you SO MUCH for saying that. I really appreciate it.
cityphonelines
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
Very nice. The imagery? Intense. And you walked the perfect line in dark fic (IMHO); disturbing without being grotesque.

because his joy was wrapped up in fear of the baby getting sick or dying or not getting into Notre Dame or maybe not being able to stand in the sunlight like him or looking too much like his mother and what if his perfect, delicate skin was ever cut?

I LOVED this. So Angel. So any parent.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you!! And I... may have drawn from my own experiences as a parent.

You know. Minus the eating my child bit. :)
petzipellepingo
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
Years later, Wesley would attempt to kill his own father, his hatred and agony from a childhood ignored emptying out of him with every casing from his gun's clip. As for now, he only knew death was coming for him swiftly, that the prophesy was wrong and perhaps they had all been wrong. He was a man that put his faith into words, and the words had failed him utterly.

"sniff" Poor doomed little woobie. These are all great, in a Biblical sense and just as a commentary on the tragedy of life.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm just pleased as punch that these aren't utter crap. And Wesley's story arc is one of my all-time favorites.

Thanks so much.
spikendru
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
These are absolutely beautiful - all four of them. I'm speechless. The imagery, the insight, the painting pictures with words . . . it all works on many levels. He stopped bringing the baby to sleep in his bed for fear of his dreams. perfectly sums up Angel's quandry, and He would forsake mercy as the price for his vanity. is very much how I picture Gunn feeling when he realized what he'd done. Of course he chose to stay in the holding dimension; he needed to be punished - Angel got that, even if the others didn't.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
When we find out that Gunn knows what he's doing, hell, that he CHOSE that? Oh, my love for that character grew three sizes that day. Because yeah. He needed to be punished, huh?

Thank you so much for your kind words!
julia_here
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
We all have our kinks, and mine are from plot, atmosphere, and characterization, of which these are triple-distilled comfits with spice and savor.

Damned fine, in short.

Julia, the shock of recognition gets the heart started.

stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Julia!! That's very gratifying to hear, especially as I was sure this was maudlin/overwrought crap.

Thank you so very much.
a2zmom
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
really wonderful. So much imagery in so few words. I think my favorite is the last with its inversion of the passover story. Instead of leading his people to the promised land, Angel leads them into death. And Angel's unwavring faith in TPTB doesn't buy him much unlike Mose's faith in G-d. And Spike makes for a good Aaron.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
Yay!! Oh, Robin, I knew you would be the one to pick up on Spike as Aaron. (And I wonder who'll make the joke about Moses/Angel's speech impediment being his poorly affected Irish brogue? Heh.)

I just love the idea of Angel leading them into death = 40 years of wandering in the desert to kill out the dissenters for challenging Canaan.

Thanks so very much!
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
You love it because it's AWESOME. Ahahahahaha. Ha. I keed.

Thank you very much!
ely_jan
Feb. 1st, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
I adored these, so much - that the pictures fed into them in no small way just made them sweeter, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say bittersweet. The combination of imagery and words is just lovely.


And yes, I do have a Bible kink - from years of study and church and school, even through college I was required to take it daily...I still study occasionally when I can find a group that's willing to not lay hands on me and simply let me soak in the literature of it, the complications and the contradictions. Let me fight with them about it.

So yes, you hooked me on these on SO many levels! We should have a Bible-Banging Ficathon.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
There should TOTALLY be a Bible Banging Ficathon!!! And while I have no belief in divinity, I'm SO FASCINATED by all things religious. I love discussing bible stories, the history behind its creation, etc. Love love love. (Maybe you've noticed? Heh.)

Thank you so much for reading and telling me your thoughts. I appreciate that, Ely. *hugs*
moosesal
Feb. 1st, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
These are gorgeous. I especially love Gunn (a character who isn't always well written) and Wesley made me ache.

He hoped no one would hear his prayer. He would forsake mercy as the price for his vanity.
Awesome, baby.

Also - I clicked the links for the images as I went. That first one popped up and i was all "Goya! Saturn! Steve!" Steve would be my old boss who sent a postcard of that painting to our department last year when he was vacationing in Spain. I had it on my bulletin board for months. *g*
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sal! Oh, don't you LOVE Goya? So visceral. When I read about William Blake, I expected his paintings to look like Goya's. (that... possibly doesn't make sense to anyone but my brain meat.)

I love that your boss sent you that as a postcard - it probably had some humdrum message on the back, which tickles me to no end.

That line you pulled is a twist on the scripture in Jonah: they that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercies. :D

Thanks again. (And it's snowing! In Texas!!)
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lettered
Feb. 1st, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
This is awesome. It reminds me of your Connor piece because the way you make each story fit the character is so unexpected. I never quite get how the story fits at first, then there's a *click* where I suddenly understand it, and when the click happens there's this amazing character insight you wouldn't've gotten otherwise.

I especially love Wesley's, the different ways the story fits. Love the image of Adam finding Abel's head. The first one was just heartbreaking, esp. this line: He finally let the others hold Connor when his mouth began to salivate every time the baby cried. Gunn's was particularly unexpected, and I loved this bit: hell yeah you're gonna have a change of heart.

The last one made me think a lot. I had to look up the story again. It seems to work in several different ways, each of which is powerful.

I really loved the art work you linked, too. It adds a lot to the story.

One little typo you might want to fix: Had Cain left a nightmare in his father's tent him to find? I think you mean for him to find...
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
Oooh, thanks for catching that. Is fixed.

Joy, you simply give the BEST feedback. You're the feedbacker's feedbacker, haha. I know what you mean about not being able to get it until the *click* but I've never been able to articulate that, so thanks. (And I'm glad this clicked for you.)

I kept looking at that picture of Saturn eating his son. And I couldn't get the idea of Wesley as Cain (not Judas, because I've done that before.) I just sat down and tried to make it make some sense, and REALLY didn't think it worked, so I appreciate what you've said.
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floweringjudas
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
OMG, the first one. I loved them all, but seriously, the first one KILLED ME DED. Jesus CHRIST. *loves on you and your fics* Also I love how the first and last ones bookend so nicely, with fathers and sons and passings-on and redemption.

Seriously. These are GREAT.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
LAURA, WHAT? *hugs you* I think you are a SPECTACULAR writer, so fb from you is a GOLDEN TICKET. Or bar of chocolate. You know what I mean. Thank you for picking up on the Father to the Son element - of COURSE you would pick up on the religious stuff for you are of the same mold as me, yay.

<3 you.
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beanbeans
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
Wonderful, Stoney. These are razor sharp, with clean writing that pulls you right in and won't let go. Those first two are magnificent. Just... GAH-making.

Gah.
stoney321
Feb. 1st, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I'm so glad these aren't trite or overblown... (or that my flist is being nice enough to not tell me, heh.)

Yay for the first two hitting you! *hugs*
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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