Angel sat by Cordelia’s bed, the same as he did every night. Three a.m. was silent in the medical wing, only the minimal staff remaining, the lights turned down, the only sounds the soft beeps and electronic hum of monitors and support machines.
He held her hand quietly, running his thumb along the fine bones there. It felt warm against his skin, but still cooler than was normal. She’d been lying there for so long. “Wake up,” he whispered. “I need you.”
She didn’t move.
“I think I screwed up, Cordy. And I’m taking everyone else down with me. Not even Buffy trusts me anymore.” He watched her face intently. “But I did what I had to. For you, and for Connor. Didn’t I?”
No answer came, and he drooped over her hand. “I don’t even know what’s real anymore. The last year, so much of it was lies and illusion. When I go back over it, I still couldn’t tell you what things were true. Connor’s whole presence was a manipulation. And you . . . I don’t know when you stopped being Cordelia Chase and started being the vessel for Jasmine. Did you even come back from wherever it was you were? Was it you who said we couldn’t be together because of the things I’d done? I don’t know. And I need to know. I need you to wake up and tell me what I’m doing wrong. You’re my conscience, Cordelia, and I need you back.”
“I was coming to find you.”
He snapped his head up at the sound of the voice he hadn’t heard outside of his dreams in months.
She was watching him, her soft brown eyes heavy from lack of use.
“Cordelia.” He rose to his feet to stroke her hair away from her face.
“That’s the last thing I remember,” her voice hoarse but strong. “I was coming to find you to tell you I love you.”
Angel felt tears welling up in his eyes. “I missed you so much.”
She reached up to cover his hand with hers. “I’m here now. What do I need to fix?”
“Everything.” He leaned down to gently press his lips to hers.
One arm rose to curl around his neck, pulling him deeper into the kiss. Her lips were warm and mobile on his, leaving him dazed when she finally pulled away.
“I think I can handle that.”