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feel_theflames Shadows come creeping up. - Just when I thought I reached the bottom..
.. I'm dying again.
feel_theflames Shadows come creeping up.

The chair I was sitting in was about as comfortable as the atmosphere of Wolfram and Hart. I shifted, whether from uneasiness or discomfort I'd hoped I could keep alien from Lindsey's eyes. I sat with my fidgeting fingers on my lap, unwavering gaze upon them reluctant to lift and look at the pacing lawyer except on the vague occasion I knew he wasn't looking at me. That is until he sat down and spoke to me directly.

"Thanks for coming in."

I tilted my head very slightly, maintaining a careless emotion on my face. "Did I ever have a choice?" I asked rhetorically, looking just about bored with this situation already. It seemed he had no rebuttal for he simply looked upon me as lost as one man could and, believe me, I know what a man shocked into silence looks like. It was then that Holland walked through the door carrying a folder of some sort.

"Of course," he said and nothing more. My mistrusting gaze watched him over my shoulder as he dismissed the security guard who closed the door behind him, leaving the three of us in the room. This caused my already uneasy defense to thicken. When I heard the door click, Holland's voice finally rang again. "We would never make you do anything against your will, Darla," he spoke with that almost disgusting portrayal of a friendly tone. Still, the more he did that, the more I felt I held the reigns.

"It wasn't my will to be here in the first place," I noted, continuing to watch his approach behind me when I heard the click of those leather wingtips against the floor. "I never asked for this life." Holland walked in front of me and sat down in the chair that was positioned at my side. With the eyes of both attourneys on me it was almost as though I were sitting in an interrogation chamber. I was going to treat it as such.

"Well," Holland began, pausing only to clear his throat, "no one ever does. God doesn't give us a say in these matters." The words pouring out of his plastic smile served to only sicken me further. "God," I retaliated, "wasn't the one who brought me back."

"... true," was all he had to say on that subject. I was caught off guard in a momentary pause although there was still the matter of what I was doing back here -- again -- in the first place.

"So what do you want me to do now?" I shot at that grin on his face which I just wanted to rip from between his cheeks. I had a dark feeling.. a sort of fear of what Holland had in store for me.. and I had to know despite how much I simply wanted to let it go; ".. go back to him?" I waited for an answer that didn't come, thus felt obliged to inform Holland of just how I thought of that little idea. "It won't matter. Even if I did, there's nothing between us anymore." My voice was sullen and my eyes involuntarily fell back down upon my hands while the memories of Angelus and my last meeting waltzed between my ears. Good or bad? Let's just say it's a moment that I'd rather not relive.

"You misunderstand," Holland replied. "We didn't invite you here to discuss Angel." I raised cold, warning eyes back up at him. I almost didn't want to hear what was going to come next. There was a long silence. Holland and I just stared at each other while I waited for him to continue, but it wasn't him that finished the statement. It was Lindsey.

"This is about you." It was to him I looked next, threat removed from my features to be replaced only by a near child-like confusion.

"You're not our prisoner, Darla," Holland went on to say while I continued to stare at Lindsey who would not meet my gaze. This is about the time I began to grow genuinely concerned. "You are, however, our moral responsibility." He offered the file to me and I accepted it merely to placate my curiosity. The folder within was removed and through the pages I flipped, looking at each in succession. "No doubt you remember very little of your first few weeks with us," he detailed although my ears were turned off to his voice while the words over which I read were being burned into my eyes. "No one ever really remembers their first days of life. But that's when these were initiated."

I couldn't believe what I was reading. This was just.. not possible. I shook my head, defiant of the file I held. This.. sentencing order. Lost, I looked to Lindsey although he was supposed to hold the answer for me. Like he was the magic man who'd fix this. "Did.. did you know anything about this?" I asked him. He stared at me in silence. It was as though I could hear him speak even though his lips never moved. I suddenly felt sick to my stomach.

"Now, we're prepared to deal with the situation any way you see fit," Holland offered. I was again looking at the file, cradling a lump in my throat that had formed mainly from something I'd not felt in a very, very long time. Fear. "It's up to you." I couldn't think. I couldn't feel anything beyond the sudden shadow.. the emptiness that was my future laid right there before me in black ink.

"We just.. thought you should know."

To know. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know. Almost as if it was a reflex of my own, anger was quick to replace my all consuming fear and I threw the file into Holland's lap. How do they expect me to take this? It was hard enough to deal with being a human.. but now? Me? The queen of the dead sentenced to die like a human? Again? "Please," I whispered firmly, trying to mask over my weakness. My weakness to fear. My weakness because I didn't want to.. die. I didn't want to fade away into nothing. Not again. "Please.. give me a minute. To myself."

Holland smiled, once again as if it was surgically emitted upon his fake human features. God I wanted tear him apart. "Of course," he said as he stood up, placing the files upon where he sat. "If you need anything, Darla," his eyes fell upon Lindsey's briefly as if he was mentally noting him before turning back to me, "let us know."

My eyes were focused on the floor in front of me. I didn't speak a word as the two men rose to depart. There were no thoughts. I was fighting for maybe just one but it all failed me. When Holland left I heard Lindsey's shoes stop briefly before he walked through the doorway. "When were you going to tell me?" I asked him before he could leave completely, my voice barely above a whisper. "Why did you have to wait until now?"

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