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Hey Pretty

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I see a stairway, so I follow it down into the belly of a whale
where my secrets echo all around.
You know me now, but to do better than that,
you've got to follow me.
Boy, I'm tryin' to show you where I'm at.

Now, I've got a mind full of wicked designs;
I've got a non-stop hole in my head – imagination.
I can't forget I am the sole architect.
I built the shadows here, I built the growling voice I fear.

Hey Pretty, don't you wanna take a ride with me through my world?
Hey Pretty, don't you wanna kick and slide through my world?

~ Poe

It was rather disheartening to have erred so badly.

So much time had been wasted, time which could not be afforded, looking for weaknesses and openings, when the truth had been evident from the beginning. Clichés were such for a reason, and it was impolitic to scorn the obvious.

It was exquisite, his darkness, his rage.

How had it been neglected for so long, ignored?

Were they blind? Stupid? Lulled into a false sense of security by one more cunning than they, abetted by their own willful ignorance? A disastrous yet fortunate combination of all three?

What had caused it, this wrath? Who was responsible?

It was always right there, simmering, just beneath the surface, covered with bandages hastily applied and overdue to be torn away. His pain, his devastation – his utter misery – was beatific, demanding revelation.

Oh, why had it dallied with that stupidly tortured vampire when there was this delicious buffet on which it could gorge?

He was so difficult to read. His mind defied entry save to those thoughts and memories which were all but irrelevant.

He was so aware, always searching for patterns, for inconsistencies, yet, more often than not, he would dismiss his findings, so sure they were erroneous.

A core of innocence buoyed by wisdom, covered by a steel veneer of doubt and loathing, glazed with ire and righteous indignation. All of it combined to create a presentation of affable awkwardness and loveable charm. How very droll.

But if that rancor could be properly harnessed and directed, he could prove to be a most powerful weapon. He stood at the Slayer’s side by choice, not accident, and while others had left or died, he remained, ever faithful yet wary. He knew all the players, their methods and their madness, and would be far more effective than Caleb and his heavy-handed brute force. Sweet Xander, resigned to being the stooge when he was anything but, so ignorant of the potential which had been barely tapped.

Apparitions wouldn’t do; his guilt was omnipresent, not repressed.

He would have to be blindsided.