SUMMARY: Guess who’s awake? Angel POV.
POSTED: 11 Jan 2004
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
1) The most angst I have ever done! Grab a hanky, cause I was crying as I wrote this!
I don’t know what compels me to go up there.
Nothing has happened in the eight months she has lain there to suggest any change. The last time I was able to bring myself to see her was five months ago. Her hair had grown, returning to that lustrous chocolate color. Her face was paler, but still beautiful. In her every right, the Sleeping Beauty.
Although there was no change with her, a lot had happened during her slumber. The Los Angeles division of Wolfram & Hart now belonged to Angel Investigations. In the time since Jasmine, Gwen Raiden had for the most part, abandoned her thieving enterprise, becoming a field operative for my team. Also, joining- still to my utter amazement- Spike. My vampire grandchilde, who is now the first male ever, to be deemed a Slayer.
Due to his self-sacrifice in Sunnydale, saving the world from the First Evil, he was redeemed. His reward, a chance to continue fighting evil not as a vampire, but a Slayer, who was now human.
I suppose I should be envious. The prize should have been mine, but I’m not. Spike had proven himself worthy, and I know my time will come. But then again I could be wrong. Surely my involvement with Wolfram & Hart will delay my redemption.
What did they expect me do? Every and any dealing with the Higher Powers resulted in anguish for myself and my family. My son was taken from me by a Higher Being. And she- she was taken from me as well. I had to find my own way to battle evil. Even if that meant being it’s employer.
There are now many Slayers, thanks to Buffy, but I have my doubts. So many girls waking up all over the world with powers they never dreamed of and no one there to guide them. My hope is somehow they harness the light inside them, and know what they were born to do. Otherwise, there could be a ton of potential Faiths out there. When I mean Faith, I mean the one that almost rode the roller coaster to the end of the world.
Hm, Faith. She’d come a long way from that hopeless bad girl. Now she was the head of operations, along with Giles, in rebuilding the Watcher’s Council. Instead of jolly old London, England, Faith had insisted on her hometown of Boston. It seems fitting somehow. New council, new location, in a brave new world. If anyone can lead those girls through their darkest desires, Faith can.
All this plagues my thoughts, as I go up to the medical ward of my building. It’s a harmonious level, the colors soothing and the level of noise is at a minimum, due to the fact it is a hospital wing. Fred is exceptional at running this section along with the labs. Her continual monitoring of her is done with diligence and care. I need never worry about her while she is here. But I do. That’s why I’m on my way to her now.
My hand trembles as I grasp the doorknob to her room. I’m not supposed to tremble, but I don’t know what I’ll find in there. All I know is that it won’t be the same. Something’s different.
As I push open the door, I catch the scent of blood.
I’m in the room, and the first thing I see is that her bed is empty. The mint green sheets have been pushed to the side, and the body that laid there is gone. Now, this room is fit to be a Presidential suite. Everything is first class, from the elegant queen sized bed, to the cedar armoire across the room. There was never a need for a life support machine or feeding tubes of any kind. Her body apparently did not need it. She was able to sustain herself. It could have been the aspect of her demon essence or a trait left over from Jasmine. Fred was still looking in on that.
All I knew at this point was that she was missing. And if my heart could beat, it would be going 90 miles an hour. Just as I would have bolted from the room to notify my security team, I heard the splash of water from the bathroom.
That spacious, lovely bathroom- complete with a seven jet bathtub and vanity table that had never been used. The vanity table where I insisted all her perfumes and lotions had to be.
Someone was in there. Someone whose blood smelled of cinnamon and apples.
I don’t know how I do it, but I’m walking towards the door, which is cracked open with steam wafting through it. On the floor, is lemon yellow shift that she must have been wearing. She’s in there. I know she’s in there!
Pushing the door open further, I know for the first time in my long existence what total relief is. Seeing that bed empty, a panic I hadn’t know since Connor was taken from me had clutched my very soul. Even though she was gone- lost in a dream world I could never visit, she had to be near me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There she is, sitting naked in a steaming bath, all pale and disheveled.
In her right hand was razor blade, the glint flashed in my eyes as her hand trembled, trying to steady itself against her left wrist. She had managed to cut a thin slash, but she was doing a sloppy job of it. Her face was beautiful, even though it was awash with tears and grief. Watching her hand shake, I can’t help but think how it looked like my hand outside her rooms, trying to open the door.
Sensing my presence, she snapped her head in my direction. For the first time since the birth of Jasmine, her hazel eyes met mine. Gone is the crazed host, hell-bent on bringing forth the Higher Being. All that was in there now was a lost little girl. A girl I had never seen before, even when she had be victimized by the Haxil demon, impregnated with it’s spawn.
Her voice is soft and unsure, as if she does not believe I am standing a few feet away her. It’s seems like her fingers are made of lead, as the blade slips from her hand, falling into the water. I can’t control myself, as I fall to my knees in front of her. My hands grasp the sides of the marble tub, and I know if I had a little more pressure, I could break it.
A sob catches in my throat, as she reaches her quivering arms to me. Not even a slight hesitation, and I have her pulled out of the offensive water and into my arms. Her body is warm from the water, but I know how cold she feels inside as she burrows her trembling body into mine. I fall back up against the wall just holding her as she cries.
“Oh, God,” she sobs. “Please tell me it’s all a lie! Tell me I didn’t do those things- I didn’t! It’s only a nightmare, right?”
All I can do is hold her as she continues, pouring out her grief to me, my silent tears comparing to her raging cries of anguish.
“I didn’t kill people. I didn’t try to kill Lorne! It couldn’t have been me, Angel! I’m just in some hotel, right? A nice vacation with a bad nightmare. A horrible, mean nightmare. A bad dream where all I did was watch as this thing destroyed everything I loved! I did not use our son, Angel. Not Connor, not you!”
We had been able to let go of the pain. In order to give Connor a normal life, I had one created from him. All knowledge of me and his previous life was gone. Only I remembered Connor, but now it seems that she did too. But the aftermath of Jasmine was over for Gunn, Wes, Fred and myself. For her- it was just beginning.
Turning in my arms, she brings a shaking hand to my face, caressing the tears that had fallen. She was really here, she was back.
“It’s not true is it? Because I’m ready to wake up now, Angel. How can I live with myself if it’s true?! I want to wake up! Wake me up. Please!”
More than anything in the world, I want to assure her that what had transpired was false. Only a dream. The need was nearly consuming. But I know if can never be. I’ve sold a part of my soul to give Connor the life he deserved, and I only had so much left for her. All that was left in me was just enough to keep myself balanced. For her, for the only friend I have ever known or loved, it would have to be enough.
“Oh, Cordelia,” I whisper, not sure if that hoarse cracking voice is mine. I still love her. I know it was not her doing those things, that all she could do was watch as those deeds were done with her body. The desperation in her voice rips into my soul. I wish I could erase it all for her. Make it so it never happened. But it did happened and it was no dream. I will never forget and neither would she. If our love and friendship ever held us together, then our grief would bind us for eternity.
“You are awake. You’re awake now.”