AUTHOR: NICKLE (aka BRENDA)
SUMMARY: Was the fight hopeless?
POSTED: 27 May 2004
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A – set around Not Fade Away
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: None
It was lovely for time to not matter. Pleasures lasted, comfort seemed to flow, and hope was never thwarted. All because time didn’t matter. If there was any measurement at all, it was a measurement of small shimmers; ripples, really. Ripples that slowly danced through the space and area and made all those around aware that something had happened, and that the status quo was about to shift ever so gently. The branches on the leafy trees in the garden danced lightly as if tossed in a delicate breeze, heralding new arrivals. Small ripples.
The woman watched, and tapped her foot impatiently. The ripples were thick today, and nudged at her contentment gently. She looked around, anticipation radiating from her soul. A hand rested on her shoulder. She turned to smile up at the other girl.
“Soon.” There was promise in Anya’s voice, and comfort in her touch.
“I know. It just seems…”
“To take forever?” Darla smiled as she joined them. “Believe me, I had an inkling of forever before I came here. This is better.” Anya smiled back, and they all turned as Tara joined them.
“Yes. This is much better. And there, in that place….you just can’t know. You can’t even guess. You can’t possibly know how much time is wasted just….worrying. Wanting.” Tara smiled shyly. “I’ve felt so at peace here, and so warm.”
“It is warm.” Jenny Calender rested under the shade of a large tree, stroking a soft white cat as she looked off into the blue of the day. “It’s warm and safe. And you know here what you didn’t then. All the sadness, all the grief…it’s not about those who go on. It’s about…”
“Those left behind.” Joyce smiled as she sat nearby, looking off into the distance. “Yes. Those who stay and fight the fight and live those lives. They grieve for themselves. Because they can’t know what this is like. What a blessing it is.”
“But they do know, in time.” Fred giggled at her small pun. “They know, and they wonder what they were ever worried about.” She rose and walked just past the tree and looked off into the distance. Her voice dropped to an excited whisper, laced with joy. “Here he comes.”
Over the hill appeared a figure small in the distance, gaining clarity as it grew closer. Fred slowly walked out a few steps, her face wreathed in smiles as she watched him approach. He grew closer, and they could see the gentle smile in his eyes as he saw Fred waiting for him. Just as he reached her, Wesley leaned down and gently brushed his lips across her forehead.
“I wasn’t frightened.” His voice was low.
“I know. You were calm, and brave. You faced the end of that chapter well. We’ve been waiting for you. Come…” and she led him off to show him the beauty of the world. They held hands, walking as if they had never been separated.
“She’s been anxious.” Joyce spoke nearby. “She wanted him to be comforted. And he was.” Joyce turned as another figure came into sight, over the distant hill. “Another warrior.” The figure walked closer and they all smiled as Gunn walked to them, looking around with calm detachment. He grinned as he saw Fred and Wesley strolling in the distance, and looked down, letting the contentment pour through his soul. When he raised his face again, it shone with serenity.
“It was the best I could be.”
“We know, Charles. We’re glad you’re here.” Joyce smiled and led him to the others in the group, letting the warm rays of languid contentment pour through her as she watched everyone welcome Charles Gunn to the next phase of his life. It was always such a gift to welcome those who were new; those souls almost always arrived tired and weary, and a mere glance from those already here brought rest, and care, and uplift to the most jagged of still hearts.
Joyce smiled widely as she turned to face another new arrival. He didn’t so much walk as strut into the garden, looking about with hushed awe on his face despite the bravado of his posture.
“William.” Her voice was warm. “Your friends are waiting for you.”
Spike looked around, a little confused. “Joyce. You’re….here…..where?”
Joyce calmly took his hand. “I’m where you have gone on to. We’re…well, we’re in a place where hope never ends.”
Spike leaned down and whispered into her ear. “Think there’s been a mistake. I don’t think I’m supposed to be here.” He looked around and his eyes widened when he saw Darla strolling towards him. Her face lit with the softest of smiles.
“Nope, you’re in the right place.”
“Because I….” He thought a moment, feeling calmness begin to pervade his mind. “Because I got a soul?”
“No.” Darla’s voice was gentle. “Because you used that soul well. You made that choice.” Spike looked at her and smiled, raising his eyes to the bright blue of the sky.
Doyle watched him a moment, then turned to the young woman still waiting, looking off into the distance. He stared off in the same direction, and a smile grew on his face as he spotted the distant speck of a figure walking towards them. He leaned down and whispered into Cordy’s ear, “Here he comes.”
Cordelia stretched upon her toes and felt a shimmer of joy fill her as Angel walked closer and closer, looking around in awe. He reached her and stopped, looking around with hesitant curiosity. He looked down at her, and she could see his eyes grow warmer….calm acceptance slowly easing over the plains of his face.
“You’re here. You’re here with us. You’re here with me.” Her hand reached down and clasped his tightly. You fought a fight no one else would, and you didn’t even think…” she broke off as tears filled her eyes. “You didn’t even think it mattered, it was just the thing to do. It was right.” His hand clenched hers tightly. “So, its right you’re here.” She turned to face her family and smiled, holding his hand to her like a treasure. “He’s here.”
Angel looked slowly around at the faces that shone at him with love and acceptance. Wesley …..Charles Gunn….Fred…..Spike…..the group was large and each soul radiated the joy of this new life. He stood tall, and firm, and held Cordelia’s hand in his grasp, and felt his soul soar and dance with the tremble of the trees.
He had gone down fighting, and was lifted to the reward of a rested soul. He would not fade away. This was the shanshu. This was forever.