Title: His Own Two Hands
Setting: In the midst of Just rewards, just after the battle with Hainsley

Angel let the water run over his hands for a few moments, taking comfort in the warm comforting caress of the clear, gentle liquid.

It had been a strange few days that was for sure. He was still finding his feet at Wolfram and Hart, still learning what was expected of him and how far he could push things.

The initial approach to Hainsley for instance. That had cost the life of one of his employees. Not one he had really known or had dealings with sure, but a person never the less and it was his actions that had caused that death.

He shook his wet hands over the sink and turned of the faucet, running his still damp hands over his face wearily.

And then there was the problem of Spike. What did his return mean, why had he been sent here and who by? Although the blonde vampire had pulled though when it mattered tonight Angel had to admit that Spike being here now troubled him more than he liked.

The damn idiot never changed, never learned. It was always about him, always about what he wanted, what he didn't have. He tore through life leaving chaos in his wake and if that served Spike's purpose then it was all alright.

His hand snapped out to grab a towel, a surge of indignant anger rushing suddenly through him.

Even now, he thought, even with a soul, Spike seemed to be the same; expecting a reward for his part in stopping The First rather than wanting to atone for the hundred plus years of death and carnage he was responsible for.

Angel let out a deep sigh and flung the towel back on to the chrome rack it had come from, before heading back into the bedroom. If only, he thought, it could be so easy for him to let go of his crimes.

Sitting lightly on the edge of the bed he looked down at his hands, still slightly pink from the heat of the water. He remembered all too well the time when these same hands had been immersed in fresh human blood.

He had ripped the life from so many innocents. Killed and killed again just for the sheer thrill it had given him, tortured for hours just to hear the terrified screams; but of course that hadn't been him. That had been Angelus, the soulless monster that he had banished to histories pages, that he had overcome, left far behind him. He was Angel, a different person, a champion working to save lives, to banish the evils of the world, to put right what the forces of darkness made so wrong.

He gazed down once more at his hands now balled unconsciously into tight fists o his lap, knuckles white, nails biting into the palms.

Of course he knew somewhere deep down inside him, that however he tried to convince himself, whatever philosophy of self and soul he used, some facts would always remain.

It was these hands that had dealt so much death, which had ripped and rent their way through so many blameless lives; and these hands were his.