Penn - he was the first one, the attempt to prove his own father wrong. Angel turned an angry young man into a vampire, and taught him how to kill. Family blood is the sweetest blood - savor it and Penn did. He approved of Penn, taught him, praised him, and Penn became a true follower. A sycophant. A bore. There was no challenge - nothing to fight, and no reason to keep him around. The last time Angel saw him Penn tried to kill him and ended up as dust.
Spike - the next one, the mewling poet Dru dragged home who seemed to think that being a vampire was being accepted into an elevated social circle, with fangs. Angel fought him, and Spike fought back with mockery, disrespect, truths and any other weapon he could find. He adapted, became a brawling street thug, grabbed at life with too much bravado for a dead man. Spike adapted - that was his one power - he learned pain, stood up and grinned ready for more. Sometimes they talked though, played cards, drank, shagged and they always had each other’s back. The last time Angel saw him, Spike had teamed up with the slayer to defeat him and send him to hell.
Lawson - he was a choice Angel couldn't win no matter which way he chose, so he decided to play the number game, took a hero and turned him into a monster so everyone else would survive. He let that blue-eyed boy live to fight another day. The last time he saw Larson, his boy tried to kill Angel and his family and Angel staked him.
Doyle - picked him off the streets and taught him to be a hero. The last time Angel saw him was when Doyle, the hero, died and Angel wished he had just been a few seconds quicker.
Wesley - distrusted him at first, and then he adored him and then he saw him. Wesley saw him as no other human ever had, was the closest thing he ever had to a friend. He didn't crumple when Angel tossed him aside for blood vengeance, he just took over, adapted, grew - became someone to trust, to rely on, who always found the right answers and had his back. Then Wes distrusted him again, took his blue eyed boy and sent him to hell. Angel tried to kill him, wanted to kill him, but they both ended up surviving.
Connor - that was the only blue-eyed boy he wanted - Connor was the meaning of everything, of coming back from hell, of killing a cellar full of lawyers. Connor was hope in a slightly wet diaper holding his finger, he was warm bottles in the night, and he was crying and laughing and so pure. Then his real boy, his miraculous blue eyed boy was taken to hell and turned into a monster by his other father. Connor tried to kill him, drove him insane, and finally tried to kill everyone, so Angel slit his throat.
Angel gave him away to warm cookies and smiles, and took away everyone's memories of all that happened to this blue-eyed boy, and he sold himself into slavery as the price.
Spike 2.0 - Spike with a soul, souled Spike, that pretentious blue eyed boy thought he was the real hero and Angel saw that people believed him sometimes. They pummeled each other with words and they had each other’s backs against a necromancer, and a ghost. Then Spike was corporeal and they pummeled each other with more than words, with fists and swords and truths, and Spike had a chance to dust Angel but they both survived again. They hated each other some more, argued, listened to each other sometimes, saw each other, rescued each other, shagged, fought, and they were only intimate one sober weekend - all the other times they were drunk but that didn't count because Angel had an excuse for it (whatever it was that time).
Connor was alive, wanted to fight, Angel saw that look in his eyes and sent him away to live.
Wesley was dead, wanted redemption; Angel saw that look in his eyes and sent him away to die.
The last time Angel saw him, Spike had his back, ready to adapt, ready to fight for honor and justice and all the right things. This was his idiot child, his very last blue eyed boy, the one who followed his path and was going to die with him, for him, beside him, and Angel gripped his sword tighter and eyed the dragon.
Okay, I have no idea what this is - just a thing that's been floating in my head. Share your own ideas, I guess. All the characters have some sort of pattern in their lives. I see this as one of Angel's. Find other patterns, and/or disagree with this, whatever.