*I'm sitting down to watch TV. I turn on the VCR to watch whatever is hiding in it. A familiar Irish accent fills the room.
“If you need help, then look no further. Angel Investigations is the BEST. Our rats are low.. (Off in the distance “Rates!”) But it says rats. When the chips are down, and you're at the end of your rope, you need someone that you can count on. And that's what you'll find here - someone that will go all the way, no matter what. So don't lose hope. Come on over to our offices, and you'll see that there's still heroes in this world.” I turn off the VCR, and the TV screen changes into numbing static. A feeling of warmth washes over me, and a saddened smile crosses my face as I remember the day we taped that promo.
"Doyle..." I whisper and wipe at the tear running down my cheek.*
My discovery of Doyle’s hidden demon, and the gift he left behind.
I thought Doyle was your average run-of-the-mill sweet guy who drank too much. I had no idea he was hiding a little secret. I remember telling him once that his taste in clothing was a Greek tragedy. I also told Angel once that he reminded me of Xander Harris (my ex from Sunnydale) in a nerdy sort of way.
My discovery came about on the night we had another unpaid gig (that’s what they all seemed to be at that point). We were helping a group of Listers (half-human/half-demon hybrids, and a very homely bunch). An army of pureblood Nazi demons was tracking them. The Scourge took pride in massacring “half breeds”. I guess they thought Los Angeles was the best place for their plans to create a pure race. From the time Doyle had the vision of those people in danger, until the time they were on a ship ready to be sent to safety, he was extremely supportive and ready to help them. This was (in a way) out of character for Doyle. We were sidekicks; Angel always handled the slaying and the dirty work. Not this time. He even befriended one of the half-demon kids, and brought him back to his family during the crisis.
As I was helping organize the Listers’ trip out of the country, the head of the group came to me and thanked us for our kindness and our compassion. He mentioned how much he appreciated Doyle, because he understood the suffering his people were going through. This struck me as odd, because we all understood. He then said Doyle could understand easier because he was half-Bracken demon. I was in complete shock! Doyle was half-demon and he’d never said anything.
Poor guy was so intimidated by me, not only could he not ask me out, but he couldn’t even say he was a Bracken. He was afraid I’d reject him. Like it would’ve mattered? Like, I’m superficial or something? I have been around plenty of demons from Sunnydale, and hello, newsflash! I worked for a vampire for crying out loud! Anyway, I confronted him about it, told him to own up to it, and suggested he ask me out already. Angel (and his timing) interrupted things, unfortunately. I should have known we’d never get the chance.
We lost Doyle in the battle that night. He went and made himself a hero, and a martyr for Angel and I. Doyle grabbed me, and gave me a long, passionate, and knee-weakening kiss…
“Too bad we’ll never know...” His demon face swiftly replaced the one I had gotten used to. I remember his look of amusement at my reaction to it. “If this is a face you could ever learn to love”. Then he jumped. The jump took him high over the Listers, and onto the huge reactor set to kill all of us. He died deactivating it, and sacrificed himself to save his friends and the city.
All I could do was stand there, helpless and terrified. I reached out for him, as if I could pull him back to me, and touched nothing. My heart was in my throat. I found myself choking on my tears and whimpers. I watched as the reactor disintegrated his body and swallowed his screams. I have never felt as useless as I did at that moment. It was difficult to watch someone I loved go out that way, knowing there was nothing I could do to change it. I fell into Angel for support and cried. I kept starring out at the reactor, waiting to see Doyle’s green spiky face remerge with that crooked smile. It didn't; he was gone.
A few days later, I had my first head splitting vision. It seems as though Doyle snuck them in with our passionate lip-lock. I was angered he would do this to me. There was so much pain! I desperately (I mean desperately) tried to get rid of them too. I began kissing anything that moved to hopefully pass it on. No luck; I was stuck with them, making me the new link to the Powers that Be. It wasn’t until an evil empathy demon gave me a wake up call to what I really had, that I could allow myself to appreciate it. Doyle wasn’t a rich man, but that didn't stop him from passing on to me the most precious thing he had to give. Doyle meant for me to have the visions. He loved me, and this was the only gift he had to show it.
I watch this tape often, and it always takes me back to the conversation directly afterward we finished taping. I told him he was coming across as a weasel while filming, and I think that might have stung a little.
Doyle was not a weasel. He was a hero, a champion, a demon, a sweet person, and he'll always be the love that might have been. Beyond that, Doyle was significant to us for one final reason:
Doyle was the first man down.