They shot him.
If I hadn't destroyed that statue in time he would be dead. Wesley could be dead right now. Dead and lifeless in the morgue. Instead he's wounded and asleep in a hospital bed.
He looks so small. So...breakable. Like the slightest touch and he will crumble to pieces. Little bits of Wesley clinging to my fingers. Clinging to my soul.
But I have to touch him. I have to know that he is still alive. Still flesh and bone. Still Wesley. My Wesley. Wes. Never to touch him as a lover would. Never to take him in my arms and just hold him. Never to wake up and see him in the bed next to me. Never.
I came back. I had to. Had to see him. Had to know. Stare through the half-darkness of his room. The only light from the machines that monitor him. So small. So fragile yet still alive. Still with us.
Does he hate me, I wonder? Cordelia does. I could see it in her eyes. Hate that I caused. That I created. She trusted me. They all trusted me for no reason I could ever understand. Trusted me with their lives, their hearts. Gone in the time it took to speak those damning words:
"You're all fired."
I sent them away. I had to. Better to have them hate me than to have them die because of me. I don't deserve that kind of sacrifice. To lose one of them because I was too wrapped up in Her to protect them was unacceptable.
I had to do it.
I had to.
Cuts deep to think it. To say it aloud...
One hundred years of devastation I can admit to. But this... This wasn't my demon rearing its ugly head. This was pure Angel. This was Angel pushing anything and everyone away. Because it worked with Buffy, right? Push and push and push her away no matter how much it hurts because it's for her own good, right? She could never be happy with me. Never have the life she wanted.
Fire them because you love them and don't want them to see the monster you can become. Stupid, ridiculous logic that makes no sense. Angel logic. Logic that can kill. If only I hadn't. If I had been
there... Gunn never would have gone off on his own and Wesley never would have gone after him. He never would have been shot. I never would have almost lost him.
They look so much closer now. Cordelia touching them both. Touching Gunn to reassure him. Touching Wesley.
To comfort him.
Comfort that I could, that I should, give. I could give it right now. I could lean down and take his hand in mine. I could pull a chair close and listen to him breathe. I could listen to the blood that
flows through his veins and hunger for a taste.
I could say I was wrong.
But I can't.
I want to, but I can't. My mission isn't complete. She is still out there, waiting for me. As much as I want to be with them, I can't.
As much as I want to be around him again, it isn't the right time. Would they even take me back? Would he? Would he let me stand beside him again without question? Without hesitation? Would he let me call him 'Wes?'
I want to touch him.
I want to feel the warmth of his skin. Feel it with my dead flesh and wonder how long I can hide in the shadows before he wakes up, before I'm discovered. Past visiting hours, Cordelia and Gunn camping out in the waiting room. Won't leave one of their own. One of their family.
What would they do, were they to find me here? Find me hovering over his bed, staring at him. Willing him to wake and look at me.
So pale. He's so pale. Dark circles under his eyes. No glasses to hide behind. Eyes full of confusion and pain.
"Angel?" Struggling to sit up and gasping in pain.
Why did I come here? Why can't I say anything? All I can do is stare. Watch as he extends a hand that trembles. Concentrate on his long fingers and remember how I used to love watching him write. Elegant strokes learned so long ago.
He almost died.
I can't stay.
I can't listen to his pain and still pretend to believe I made the right choice. I can't watch as his hand falls back to the bed and whatever light was in eyes goes out.
But I do.
I stand in the shadows and stare. Still Wesley. Still alive. Still in pain that I wish I could take into me. He doesn't deserve to suffer like this. Life should never be this hard. Not for him. A hard life
lived before we ever met and I've made it harder. Caused him more pain.
Guilt is a familiar feeling to me and it rises to the top once again. The longer I lurk here, the harder it is on him. Hurting him more and more with every passing minute. Back in his life only to deny him the sound of my voice, the touch of my hand. Refusing for no reason I can fathom. Fear, maybe. Love.
Is it love to treat him like this? To push him aside, ignore his feelings, his pain, his anger? To treat him as an afterthought, a footnote, in my life? Never intentionally on my part. But I, of all people, should know never to take things for granted.
And once again, I am leaving him. Stepping silently out of his room and striding down the hall. Ignoring Gunn's call of "Angel!" and Cordelia's bitter reply.
"Let him leave. It's what he does best."
Not what I do best. What I'm most comfortable with. Easier to walk away than face my problems. Easier to avoid and deny than confront and accept.
More damage caused and can I ever make it up? Will I ever?
She is still out there and must be dealt with. Destroyed. Forever.
She is the reason I've lost everything precious to me. Taken my mortal life and cursed me to this hell.
I will get my life back. She will not win. I will regain everything She's ever taken from me.
I will have it all back and more.
All of it.
I will have my seer back, my connection to the powers that be. I will continue my crusade.
I will love Wesley. No more wasted time.