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These Times

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She wasn't a particularly special or important person. He had read that the first time she had sung for him. Rescuing her from Pylea had been an important thing to do, but her part was minor. She would be there at the sidelines of the great events, while others moved past her.

It had been a quiet night in Caritas, and seeing Cordy and Fred had been a pleasant surprise. Fred's singing was above average for his general patronage, and he watched her with half an eye as Cordelia talked.

Her future was good: some pain, of course, and betrayal, but nothing that would destroy her; anger, but that was necessary to her growth; and she would find happiness and that joy in life that many people seemed to miss.

But he found himself watching her and reading her more often. There was a play in the colours of her aura. It contrasted sometimes with the blocky restlessness of the way she moved, but at other times it seemed to mirror that coltish joy that was so much of everything she did.

Lorne knew she wasn't his, and he didn't want her, not really. Her skin was too pink, to begin with. But her presence was enough to keep him wherever she was.

When she and Wesley finally got their act together, the Watcher's aura began to mirror hers. And Lorne wondered if he, too, had come by some of that joy.

She sang for him at the last.

"You make me happy," was Wesley's thread in the fabric.

And Lorne had turned, caught the last flash of brilliant interwoven colour before the curtain was drawn. He had known that it was the end, that he would never see her in all her beauty again. No one would. But still he had hoped, and then he had stayed, and then he had fought, both Angel, in his anger, and the bad-guys, in his despair.

Now it was all over. He could leave, and he would, with a dead body in his wake and the memory of the greatest joy in his heart.