There are tears when you are born. Mixed with the stink of disinfectant and the sterile death of hospitals. Tears of terror. Tears of pain. Tears as toes and fingers are counted and kissed. Tears as bright as the morning sun, crystal on skin. Tears of amazement and happiness and love.
There are tears when you die. Tears lost in the rain, because doesn't it always rain during funerals? Damp earth, cold water that creeps through the seams at the soles of your shoes and through the fabric of your pants. Low hanging clouds that cling to your shoulders and slide wet fingers down your spine. Tears of loss. Tears of remembrance. Tears of things that were never done. Never said. Never shared. Tears of shame and tears of forgiveness.
There are tears when you come, when the orgasm stripped you clean and left you panting, helpless and lost in it's wake. Tears that slipped from the corners of your eyes and trickled down into your hair, fell to the sheets below. Tears that left stains of passion spent and tears that said more than words could ever express. Tears that took you by surprise and left you stunned and trembling.
The flavor of those tears on the back of his tongue is a taste that Angel will never forget.
He stood under the beat of the shower, he felt every drop of water as it passed over his body and spun before it ran down the drain and into the sewers below. His hands moved through the slight current. Fingers over hard curves of muscle under skin. Water skimmed along each turn of his body. It poured on his head, skated through fine hair, through coarse hair, through thick hair and danced over places that were shaved and bare.
Angel looked down at his feet. At his legs. He could watch his hands move up to his chest and he could trace the bones of his skull with his fingers but still ... still ... nothing ... nothing but a faded picture in his mind. Nothing but memories that time had dulled.
"Who am I?"
He asked no one as he leaned against the marble tiles of his shower. As he stood in a building that he once swore to bring down in fire and blood and redemption. And now he lived here in a penthouse apartment above a law firm that was built on everything he hated.
"Who should I be?"
Angelus squirmed within him. Pushed on the bars of his cage. His fingers tore at the soul that kept him captive and Angel heard the quiet moan escape his lips at the pain inside, at the fear that only a few knew existed.
The demon rose too easily these days. Angel's temper was frayed and worn. Fred avoided, Harmony snarled at, banters with Spike became arguments, Gunn brushed off and Wesley ignored. Time had passed too quickly, things had gotten too complicated. This wasn't going how Angel had planned, or perhaps it was, nothing was simple anymore. Nothing was black and white, evil and good, wrong and right.
Angel closed his eyes, the hot spray stung a thousand bites on skin that hadn't changed, that hadn't aged for almost two centuries. Steam rose unseen around him and memories surfaced, as they always did. His fingers traveled down the smooth surface of his chest to the bones of his hips, to his groin. A soft, tingling stroke over his cock and the amazement still lingered. Alive, dead, human, vampire ... his body responded the same every time.
His back pressed against the wall, his head back and tilted up. Mouth open as if to catch a kiss, as if to recover from one. Hands of ghosts that he couldn't forget moved over him, invisible nails scratched down his back. His cock hardened in his palm and his legs spread, his feet slipped on the wet marble beneath him.
Never did this when Angelus was in control. Never needed to. But now, here, today, Angel felt the urge build inside of him. Too long, too far away. Too many questions to answer, too many problems with just finding someone and fucking them. Too much power that he was too close to having, to losing, to close to finally finding the secret that hid within the mystery and maze that was Wolfram and Hart.
A pull, a twist and his hips snapped forward. The back of his skull hit the wall and the muscles of his ass tightened as if cupped in another's palms. Desire pounded through him and he lived in his memories. Selective. Where Angelus would have reveled in the past, in hours of dark torture and rape and murder after murder after murder to find self-satisfaction, which, of course, he never had ... Angel thought instead of the very few moments in all the years he could sift through ... he thought of the times he'd touched another and found a smile. Not a smile on the lips, not a smile that opened a mouth or brought a warm laugh, but a smile that came from somewhere inside. A smile that shone through the eyes. A smile he could taste in those tears that came after.
His fingers tightened. He stripped back the foreskin of his cock, rubbed his thumb over the head. He pressed his index finger through the slit softly, almost like the tip of a tongue as it swirled through a drop of precome, stickier, thicker than the water that rained down. Over and over and Angel ground his teeth, his lips pulled back. The demon slipped closer, if his eyes were open they would've shown gold flecked with brown.
Angel's canines sharpened and elongated as his hand moved faster. A low growl rumbled through his chest, unheard, unnoticed. Flashes of blonde and blond behind his eyelids, Darla, Spike, Buffy. Brunettes sneaking in with snapping teeth behind smiles that held no sanity and no morals. A cock in his hand that wasn't his, a curse in a gravel-coated whisper. A groan and come on his chest. A girl that could see beyond the present, driven past crazy for his own amusement. A prostitute that gave up her immortality for their son. A sensitive poet that became more vicious and skilled than even Angelus could have hoped or dreamed for one of his own ... family.
Angel's toes curved against the tiles, his rhythm became irregular and the quiet, gruff moans matched the jerk of his arm. Every muscle of his body was delineated under the spray, his calves lifted, his thighs marked with shadows. His abdomen cut and trembling and his shoulders and biceps rounded with strain.
When the orgasm finally took him, it brought a rush of oxygen into his lungs. The swimming, dizzy feeling of almost being alive again, a second where Angel could pretend his heart still beat. Where he could pretend that breath was needed. Where he could pretend he wasn't standing in his bathroom. A moment where he could pretend he wasn't alone.
The come that coated his fingers washed away under the spray. It mixed, diluted with the water that swirled and disappeared and Angel turned off the shower with movements he imagined were not shaky. He licked away the blood on his lips and reached for a towel. The color of it reflected through the fog of the mirror and Angel palmed through the wet. He made a hand-length space of clear glass without a single question why.
And then he stood still and stared. Angel didn't notice the towel that hung from his fingers, in midair in the mirror. All that he saw were the trace of water droplets that trickled down from his hair over his forehead to his temples. Over the bridge of his nose. Over his lips to his chin and the tiny tears that outlined his eyes and hung from his lashes.
He saw what he needed to see.