Disclaimers: As usual, written just for fun, not for
profit. Dialog lifted directly from the episode, I just
re-interpret it to my suiting :-)

Notes: I should warn that I don't particularly care for
Valentine's Day. So I took comfort spending the
afternoon with my favorite fallen angel...

The Devil's Lament
by sidewinder

I watched him leave the house, dirty, disheveled, head
cast down in sorrow and defeat. I had watched
everything that happened--from a distance, of course,
and with no small disappointment as Ash slipped
through Ezekiel's grasp once more.

If only he hadn't hesitated the first time he'd had
the chance with her. Maybe I should have given him a
clue, months ago, as to who she really was. But I was
enjoying watching them far too much, neither one aware
of the other's true identity for so long. She'll only
get harder to stop the longer she's left free on
Earth, but not even I can go back and change history.

As much as I might want to, sometimes.

Walking across the street, he looked...like Hell,
quite frankly. I'm sure I was the last person he
wanted to see, which should have made this little
encounter all the more fun. Tugging on my gloves and
summoning up a huge heart-shaped tin of chocolates, I
slipped out from the darkness and into one of my best

"Happy Valentine's Day, Ezekiel!"

He stopped, looked up and stared blankly at me, barely
giving off the slightest hint of irritation at my
presence. There's no fun in that. "Well, I called it,
didn't I?"

"So you were right."

"...As usual. And you're still wearing Ash's name,
aren't you?"

"Yeah." He looked truly miserable. Of course, he'd
just walked out on his wife before she could wake up
and see the husband she'd lost fifteen years ago. That
had to hurt quite a bit.

I decided to be nice, for once. "Third time's a

"It will be," he answered, summoning back some reserve
of confidence as he spoke. I was concerned that
perhaps he'd lost his nerve, but apparently not.
That's what I like about him; he's so damn stubborn.
He won't give up, no matter what obstacles are in his
way, not with Rosalyn as the prize dangling before

Still, his sadness bothered me. I shouldn't have felt
that way, but looking into Ezekiel's eyes--into his
soul--I felt the ache in his heart over leaving her
behind once again. I found myself actually telling
him, "If it means anything, I'm sorry."

I could have left it at that. I should have. There was
something between us, for a moment, something close
to...understanding. I sensed his surprise that I would
speak to him with such apparent sympathy, and sensed
he was beginning to wonder what it could possibly

So of course I got scared. "Sort of... Well, no, I'm not."

It's so easy to twist the knife in and just hurt him
some more. Yet I felt no joy, only guilt as he turned
away, the momentary understanding we'd shared
completely gone.

The situation was turning awkward. Fortunately I was
saved by Rosalyn's return to consciousness. "Look,
there she is!" I diverted his attention, offering a
small glimmer of hope in exchange for my unkind words.

Ezekiel turned, all thoughts of me forgotten as soon as
she appeared in the doorway. I knew he would do what
he must and leave before she saw him. I, too, left
before I had to see or feel any more, disappearing
into the darkness, the void between this world and my

I've been spending too much time away from my world, I
think, with all of this trailing after Ezekiel and
watching his progress. I should spend more time back
in the comfort of home, listening to the cries of the
damned all around me. I think I need that, to remind
me of who I am, the things I should feel--not
sympathy, nor the desire to comfort one of mine when
he is suffering.

And most certainly not...love.

Never, never love. That is not something I have to
give or to feel for anyone. What did my lovely
Gwendolyn tell her psychologist, before Ezekiel sent
her home to me?

'I can't love. All I have to give is fire.'

We are alike in that way, she and I. I loved, once,
and knew greater joy than mortals could ever imagine.
My love died in the fires of Hell, tossed aside for
the unpardonable crime of daring to think, to
challenge, to want those same freedoms for the mortal
beings He claimed to cherish. But He only loved them
as long as they obeyed and served His will...only
loved me if I, too, followed and never dared. Fire
turned my love into nothing but hatred and rage. From
the fire I eventually was reborn, shaped into this
twisted version of who I once was.

For so long I have not even thought of love, except to
amuse myself watching mortals do the most ridiculous
and often damning things in its pursuit. I watched
them and laughed, and congratulated myself for being
rid of the need for such a pointless emotion.

And then along came Ezekiel...

I'm starting to wish he'd never become one of mine.

It's rare to find one so close in the cosmic balance,
caught between Heaven and Hell and with an actual
chance to redeem himself after death. That's why I
chose him to bring home my one-hundred-and-thirteen. I
knew I could trust him. I knew inside he was
inherently *good*, smart--not blinded by rage or
insanity as so many of his quarry are.

What I didn't know was how he would come to affect me,
how his capacity for love was so strong, so
unyielding, that it would begin to make me yearn to
know that feeling once again. I feel his love for his
wife and it angers me--I want him to feel that for
*me*, not for *her*.

I could take him, I could rape him, I could do anything
to him...but I don't think I could ever make him love
me. And perhaps that's for the better, if all I can offer
him in return is pain...pain and fire.

If I really could love him, I'd want him to succeed,
to go back to the world of the living and be with
Rosalyn again. But I'm selfish. Now I find I *want*
him to fail, so I can hold onto him in my world,
forever. I would treasure his capacity for love until
the fires claimed it as it did my own. Then, perhaps,
we could find something together in the pain,
something close to love, if that's possible. As close
as two damned souls can know, at least.

Ah, now I'm growing sentimental. Things are even worse
than I imagined. Well, Happy Valentine's Day, Ezekiel.
You'll be in my thoughts, even if I am so very far
from yours.



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