Title: A Different Kind of Evil
Warnings: A little angst
Teaser: As Angel and the group witness the events of Sept.11th, Angel realizes that there's more to fighting evil than just killing demons and saving people from supernatural threats.
Notes: I'd hoped to have this posted on the 11th, but internet issues slowed me down a bit. I know these types of fics can be sensitive subjects but I hope I've not offended anyone by writing it. I won't take offense if anyone doesn't read it, as I know these things can be sensitive subjects. I've always been of the opinion that it's okay to write these kinds of fics as long as they're in good taste and not disrespectful or anything like that.
Disclaimer: The chars are not mine, I just borrow the characters for a while
Feedback: Yes, feed me, feed me
We all stare at the little desktop TV in stunned silence at the unfolding events. Things had been fairly normal, at least as normal as a night of demon hunting can be. Cordelia had turned on the car radio to get some music, and that's when we found out. As soon as we got back to the hotel, we turned on the little desktop TV and saw the horror that was taking place. One of the World Trade Towers in New York lies in smoldering ruins, the other still standing but billowing smoke from its top. No one speaks, we all just watch, dumbfounded and silent.
Several long moments pass, and finally Fred's voice puts into words what the looks on my friends' faces say they're been thinking as well.
"This world has monsters in it too, doesn't it, Angel?"
"Yes, unfortunately it does." I answer. This is something I've known a long time, but as I watch the unfolding events, it's now clearer than ever. Evil doesn't always have horns or spikes or big claws or sharp teeth or scales. It's not always soulless and undead or strange looking and nonhuman. The monsters that did this are human. They have souls and consciences. This is an evil that we can't fight with weapons and brute force and magic like we do demons and vampires. It's an evil of humanity, and it makes me feel helpless.
The second tower falls, and there are several cries of "oh my God" from the others. A couple of them are crying a bit and Fred's not even looking anymore; her back's turned and the others are trying to reassure her. Everyone is wondering if anything will happen here and hoping that it won't. No one should die like that, even if it was the people in the Wolfram and Hart building. As I look back toward the TV screen showing the smoldering piles of rubble and the chaos in New York; what must seem to people there like an apocalypse, I find myself drifting into thought.
I know that having a soul doesn't guarantee a being will be good, no more than non-souled beings are always evil. The human race has had more than its share of serial killers and most of them had souls. But this is even worse; far, far worse. These are indiscriminate mass killers, reveling in the deaths of the thousands of civilians they've already killed and hungry for as many more deaths as they can cause.
I can understand demons and vampires; killing and destruction and violence are often a big part of their nature, their instinct. And most vampires have no moral compass, no conscience anyway. Evil is what they do and who they are. It's why I have to fight so hard to control the demon lurking inside myself. And really, humankind's fight is a lot like my own personal one. They fight each and every day just like I do to keep the evil part of themselves under control.
Deep inside, I hear and feel Angelus laugh and revel in the death and destruction. He would have thought this something glorious, but it makes my soul ache. My friends and I, and the friends Buffy left behind when she died all battle evil every day of our lives, destroying threats most humans never even know exist. But I wonder...Will we win our battle only to have humanity destroy itself from within? Is this really the world I seek to rejoin, the world I want to be a part of so badly? I know there's good in humans, but it's not seen nearly often enough these days.
"Humanity does have a lot of evil in it. The potential's in each and every individual person, just as there's also potential for good. It's true that the world isn't perfect, but we have to live as though it is. As champions, we have to show the world what it ought to be and what it can be if people would only look inside themselves and make the effort. "
"All I can say is, if things don't get better, it won't matter how much we fight the supernatural stuff, because nobody'll be around to benefit from what we're doing. We'll all have killed each other all by ourselves, without any help at all from the big creepies." Gunn speaks up.
"Exactly." I answer with a nod. "Most people don't know about the kind of evil we fight against, so they take themselves for granted and focus on their own arguments and squabbles and internal evil. That's why they really need champions and people like us. It's true we save them from the threats they rationalize about and don't want to admit are out there but we also show them how things really should be. Granted, we're not perfect either, but we do our best."
The others nod and murmur in agreement with the sentiment. I find myself wondering if perhaps my own path to redemption really lies in not just fighting demons and stopping evil forces, but in doing my own small part to show humanity how it can redeem itself. My colleagues and I all realize that helping the helpless means helping fight evil in all its forms, not only supernatural, but internal human as well. We may not be as involved in fighting human evil, but we're there as the example of doing the right thing while we're ridding the world of supernatural evil forces.
If a being as evil and remorseless as I once was as Angelus can be put on a path to redemption, so can the rest of the world. It's up to people themselves to choose the path they take and I and my co-workers can only hope we've done some small part in nudging them in the right direction.