When I would grow tired of perching myself on the roof, the ever faithful watch keeping the bats of hell at bay -- I would travel into the depths of the hotel. I would listen to the words spewed from the mouths of insolent children because the walls would no longer share their secrets. Curiousity was most oft my solitary driving force, propelling me through the shadows and dim secrets of the hallways that led me to them. They talked, they fought, they cried, they yelled. Angry words coming from angry mouths and I listened, fascinated by the sound of human nature being so thrust in my face. It marvelled me that this race could fascinate me so. However, I knew it was a combination of things that would make this great form once shake and shudder and melt into the dunes of sand. My soul forever becoming one with the land I used to rule. Emotions. Landscapes of human thought and feeling and corruption invading my skin like century old dew. They cried and I felt it twisting the core, the very being of what I used to be and what I had become. The reoccuring thought that I now had to live amongst these frail creatures was also a contender in my endless fascination. They were so small, so very weak, so very stupid and yet they continued to thrive, they continued to win.
The defeat against Wolfram and Hart was hardly a defeat at all in the eyes of the leader and yet I could not begin to understand. They had not won, not in the clear sense of winning a battle. Victory had little to do with child's games and everything to do with conquering a foe. Wolfram and Hart was quite a formidable enemy and yet Angel brazenly led his followers into the frays of hell. Into the very belly of a beast that would swallow them whole if given half the chance. It was no defeat that stung my skin, despite the cruel torture of knowing. Knowing that we had not won and likely never would. No, not defeat. Emotion.
They hadn't thought to include me in on the discussion, the choices at hand. It made little difference to me as they knew as well as I that should Wesley decide to follow them I would likely remain in their presence as well. The halfbreeds could feel it. Spike and Angel fidgeting in their hundred year old skin. Predators sensing when they've been made the prey and it would be not much longer until the Wolf, Ram and Hart would come seeking revenge. They would regroup and subsequently not rest until revenge was had. We had meager defenses and I knew that should they catch up to us, we would all perish. It seemed cowardly to me to run away when a fight was so clearly coming our way. The battlefield used to be where I felt most at home, I so enjoyed ripping my enemies limb from limb. This was a different time, and I was no longer that great ruler I had once been. And despite the impending doom settling over the hotel I could feel the grief.
Gunn still grieved for the shell, as did the rest of them. The grief from Gunn was more permanant and mixed with the faint aftertaste of guilt. Winifred Burkle had once been claimed by him and now she was lost, her soul forfeit because he had made the arrangements for the sarcophocus to be delivered. It angered me that they should still wish me away from existance and yet over time I had come to understand a great many things. Most of them in direct correlation with Fred.
Occasionally I would meet with the leader on the rooftop. I was not the only entity that frequented the sole quiet place in the building. Technically it was above the building and I enjoyed it more. Humans were always boxing themselves up into smaller boxes. stifling and suffocating themselves in an attempt to feel safe. There was no safety in a world such as this and I believed that Angel understood that. We would stand on the rooftop and watch the city below, and then he would ask me what my thoughts were. I was candid with him, describing glorious battle strategies in strange lands his feeble brain couldn't hope to comprehend in totality. I was never sure whether these talks helped the halfbreed in any way, but I could feel a sense of closure coming from within him. He was ready to move on.
During a particularly long night I could feel movement from beneath my feet. I could recognize a soul in pain, especially his, from lightspeeds away. Of that I was sure. Climbing down from my perch I walked back into the hallways of the Hyperion, stalking down the stairs and tilting my head curiously as I stopped in the lobby. What was to come? For once I had not the answers nor the patience for riddles.