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                 addiction and odd stares.

A Chance Meeting
by Danii


                 And now:

                 The scene played over and over.

                 Over and over.

                 Over and over and over.

                 That day...walking in to find her, in the
                 shower...violated.  Taken.  Hurt.  Damaged.

                 Over and over, I watched it as I'd watched it for
                 countless days.  Or maybe years.  Maybe centuries.  I
                 couldn't really be sure.  The pain seemed to blur the
                 time, played with it like a kitten played with string.
                  Sometimes making it longer, sometimes making it
                 shorter.  For all I knew, it could be just a day after
                 I'd died in that robbery.

                 I hoped not.

                 I prayed not.

                 But, I reflected, perhaps that was a useless
                 excercise.  Praying.  Begging a God who had quite
                 obviously screwed me over to help me now.  Who'd
                 screwed me over for one mistake.  A mistake that I'd
                 already tortured myself over.

                 Yet someone had to be listening, because just as I
                 finished this thought, I could feel my spirit? body?
                 form? being moved.  Moved to yet another agonizingly
                 hot room.  The break room.

                 It was the place they put you to recover from what
                 you'd just been put through.  To organize your
                 thoughts and fix yourself, which your mind did
                 automatically.  Where you would let the wounds start
                 to heal so that they could open them up and pour more
                 salt into them.  Apparently, if they didn't give you a
                 break, you got used to the pain and torture and it
                 didn't work as well.

                 I can't even start to guess if that was true.  I never
                 want to know.

                 But this time, something was different.

                 For once, I could feel? see? another figure in this
                 place.  A figure that I knew wasn't of Hell.

                 Dark-haired, with a heavy brow-line and a nose that
                 had been broken at least once.  Large and muscular, I
                 could see the large sword? stuck within his torso and
                 wondered why the torturers here had resorted to simple
                 physical pain.  Normally, such things were beneath

                 He looked just as pained as I felt, so we sat there
                 together, two souls in deep and unending pain.
                 Neither of us spoke.  We never even met eyes.  Until,
                 after a century or so, he looked up to stare at me.

                 Soulful brown eyes were below that strong brow.  Eyes
                 that had seen too much.

                 And we just sat like that, staring at each other as if
                 the other was just an interesting part of the scenery.
                  Staring.  Staring at each other as we both realized

                 We were different.  We were different from each other,
                 but more importantly, we were different from everybody
                 else that was down here.

                 We were, some how, going to get out.  Somehow,
                 somewhere, someway, sometime...maybe in a thousand
                 years, maybe now...we were going to get out of this
                 God-forsaken place.  I didn't know how and I didn't
                 know why, and till this day, I will never figure out
                 how I knew, but I did.    And so did he.  He knew.

                 But then my own eyes went down to the sword in his
                 stomach, and as I watched his eyes move to the same
                 spot, I figured out that the sword wasn't for physical
                 torture.  For some reason or another, the sword was
                 causing him such great emotional agony.  And, I
                 realized, that it wasn't just for what had been done
                 to him, but rather what he had done to others which
                 was hurting him, and in the midst of my own pain, I
                 felt sorry for him.

                 You know, they say that Hell is other people, but as I
                 looked at him, I realized that it's just the opposite.
                  Hell is being alone.  Alone with your own thoughts
                 and fears and pain and guilt.  The only salvation, the
                 only relief, is other people.  Other people allow for
                 love, and compassion, and all the other things that
                 make people what they are, that make life more than
                 pain.  I guess that's why they put us together...just
                 so they could tear us back apart.

                 As this thought crossed my mind, our 'caretakers' came
                 in, and began taking us back to our tortures.  They
                 did it quickly, however, before we lost sight of one
                 another, we were able to share one last glance, one
                 tiny bit of communication.

                 See you up there someday.


                 I knew she ran this way.  I'm was positive of it.

                 I mean, when you see someone jump out of a seven story
                 window, then keep running, you sort of notice where
                 they go, but now I couldn't find her since she'd run
                 into the darkened alley, which bothers me more than
                 you'd think.

                 Sure, this thing is a job, a horrible, dangerous,
                 painful job, but sometimes I got that rush like when I
                 was live.  That rush of righteousness.  Of doing a job
                 that desperately needs to be done.  Of sending back a
                 creature that shouldn't have even SEEN this world
                 again after what they'd done to the people in it.

                 But then the adrenaline faded, and I realized that for
                 tonight, at least, she had gotten away.  He-...er,
                 Heck, I didn't even have any bullets left in my gun,
                 and despite the fact that I can usually find some
                 other way to dispatch the Damned, I really didn't want
                 to face this one without a full clip.

                 So I decided to head back home.

                 I made my way back out of the alley, and started my
                 trip back to the musty hotel that you could call a
                 home if you were really stressed to put a name to it.
                 However, as I was walking, I saw a figure in the dark
                 of the street.

                 Immediately, my sense went back into high gear and I
                 ran to follow the figure in the darkness who had just
                 made itself known to me.  I wasn't sure if it was her,
                 but I figured I'd better check to make sure.  And as
                 for having no bullets, I'd figure something out.

                 However, after a moment or so, the black shape seemed
                 to stop behind a dumpster, and I got a good look at
                 just who and what it was.

                 Tall, probably muscular body encased in a great deal
                 of black coat.  Brown or black spikey hair on top, and
                 large hands sticking out of the coat sleeves.  Sure,
                 it wasn't who I was looking for at the time, but I
                 needed to know the identity of this figure.  Something within me
                 demanded it.

                 Carefully, I slipped towards him, but as I got within
                 five feet of him, his head cocked to the side and he
                 began to stiffin.  Then, before I could run or get out
                 of sight, he turned to face me.

                 Dark-haired, with a heavy brow-line and a nose that
                 had been broken at least once.  Soulful brown eyes
                 were below that strong brow.  Eyes that had seen too

                 We stared at each other for a moment, neither of us
                 saying a word.  There was no sword sticking out of his
                 stomach now, but I knew him.  Through all the pain and
                 the agony of my time down there, I remembered that one
                 time when we'd shared a break room.  I remembered how
                 I knew we were different.  I remembered our last piece
                 of communication.  And from the look in his eye, he
                 remembered me as well.

                 For a moment or two, we looked at one another and
                 shared that pain.  Found a fellow sufferer in the
                 other's gaze, and with that, felt a small release.  A
                 release, and hope.

                 We'd both gotten another chance to escape that
                 horrible place.  I don't know how he did it, and he
                 will probably never be able to guess how I did, but we
                 did.  We got a second chance.

                 The two of us stared at one another just one more
                 time, then I felt a grin twist itself onto my face.
                 Quickly, even though it looked like more of a hassel
                 for him to do so, a smile found it's way to his.  And
                 once more, we shared a message of certainty.

                 See you up there someday.

                 The End


                 (And if you didn't guess, it was Angel from "Angel" on the WB.)

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