Posted: Halloween 2004
Content: Just read…
Summary: Waking up is hard to do…
Spoilers: Set S5
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: My Halloween special.
Feedback: Shall I beg? Not a pretty sight
Welcome To My World…
She smiled, hopeful. Hadn’t felt that way for a long while. Things were going well. Sara sat comfortably on the bed, fingers loosely intertwined; her attention focused on the two occupied chairs.
“How are you feeling today?” Pleasantly spoken.
Sara’s smile widened, she leaned forward slightly.
“Great! No voices – not for a long time now!”
She watched as they wrote on their clipboards.
“In fact, I feel I could cope with anything. You know, in the outside world -?”
Her voice rose slightly, ending in a pathetic plea. She’d been here so long, and it was driving her crazy! But she had to remain calm. No crazy today. Please God!
The reviews were usually once a month. Sometimes longer periods of time passed before they’d come again. That was always hard as she didn’t see many people. Correction: the only people she saw were these two. Ever. Always ending the same. They’d leave with disappointed faces, and Sara would again be trapped in this room. Alone.
But this time it felt different…. three days in a row they’d visited. The fact that they were smiling, almost friendly.It had to be a good sign.
Sara tried to remember how long she’d been here. Had to be at least… forever? Well, it felt like forever anyhoo. A long time since she’d first saw ‘Angel’ – that’s what he called himself. Stupid name – didn’t fit his dark face at all! Cajoling, seemingly caring; Pfft!
“His fault I’m here!” Anger boiled.
But now? Forget about him. Think of now. Think of freedom. She’d been a model patient after all. She deserved to be free.
And thankfully, ‘Angel’ had vanished. Sara hadn’t seen him for ages now – which had to be a good sign. She was better; no need to keep her here anymore. Repeating myself now, she thought, annoyed with herself, then wondered If it’s in my head and not said aloud, does it count? Brightening the smile on her face, Sara ignored her inner voice and concentrated on her visitors.
The questions continued. Always the same questions, but she answered them carefully. Had she heard anything? Saw anyone? Had strange dreams? Talked to anyone besides them? She shook her head firmly, triumphantly, at the end of each question. Her confidence building, as they looked impressed, pleased.
Then she froze.
She saw him. Just to the left, standing there hesitantly in the shadowed half of the room. Shock immobilized her. Recovering quickly, trying to compose her features.
*Not now! Please! Not now! I’m doing so well!*
The visitors shared a look. Sara began to panic.
“Is something wrong, Sara?”
She shook her head rapidly. Just don’t look.
“No! – No. Just feeling a little tired; so many questions, and things to think about, you know?”
Please go away! She silently begged the figure.
A quick sideways glance confirmed that the figure was still hovering; a false smile and visible anxiety, as usual. Questions were resumed, but there was no mistaking the air of detachment that had been missing earlier. She answered each one, horribly aware of the other deeper, pleading voice of ‘Angel’ to her right:
“Please look at me. Don’t shut me out. I love you!” His voice was shaky, broken. Sara resolutely ignored him. Refusing to look. The pain was unbearable.
How did he manage to get under her skin so? Part of Sara wanted desperately to answer him – but the trouble he’d caused! His fault I’m here! Sara glanced around the room resentfully.
All white. A single bed, a wardrobe and a bedside cabinet were the only furnishings that graced the large airy room. A brightly colored rug partially covered the dark shiny floor. Matching counterpane and curtains in a soft lemon. The window behind her was large, the sun pouring through the partially covered panes, warming her bed and causing the official’s to squint; the bars casting vertical shadows on the opposite wall – and a heavy metal door looking even more cold and harsh untouched as it was by the warm rays. A square cut out at the top of the door to make way for thick-wired glass.
Anyone could come along and look in – no privacy; it wasn’t fair.
She said these last thoughts out loud. The elder of the two men leaned forward, gently patting her clenched hand. He indicated the bathroom door, mentioning that she had some privacy.
“Yeah – no lock on that one.” Frustration colored her tone. The man sighed quietly. The questions resumed.
Sara’s head hurt. Everyone asking questions! Them. Him! The voices got louder, fighting for supremacy. Eventually it all became too much for her. She turned aggressively towards Angel.
“Stop it! Can’t you see what you’re doing?” Silence.
The men bent their heads, writing on their clipboards; glancing up occasionally, then scribbling furiously.
Angel’s face a picture of shock and pain. “I just want you to come back to me. I miss you so much; please come back?”
“NO!” Sara surged to her feet, shaking with a mixture of emotions.“You’ve ruined it! Why did you have to come back? I was getting better. They were probably going to let me out –What chance do I have of that now?”
“That’s what I want, too!” Angel beseeched, his warm brown eyes shining with moisture.
He reached out a hand, slowly dropping it when Sara backed away, her legs hitting the side of the bed heavily. “You’re not real. I’m here because of you. They think I’m crazy, and it’s all your fault!”
“Get away from me! If you truly loved me, you’d leave me alone.” Sara’s voice broke and she sat back down abruptly and turned her face away. Angel hovered uncertainly for a few minutes, indecision warring with resignation: Resignation won – for now.
He released a shaky breath and turned away, hesitating for a split moment before making his way towards the door. Sara tensed for a moment, then sagged in relief – and strangely, sorrow, as Angel left the room.
Fixing her attention on the two men, she smiled shakily, desperately trying to look relaxed; and normal. “He’s gone. He won’t be back.”
“Are you sure?” She nodded with conviction; praying she was right this time. The need to leave this place so strong, she was willing to say whatever they wanted her to. Such a horrible… evil place. Could feel it in her bones.
“Very sure. Do you want to ask anything else?”
The appraisal continued. No one in the room noticed two faces peering through the glass in the door.
“I’ve lost her for good, haven’t I?”
The slight brunette patted Angel’s shoulder in an effort to convey her sympathy. Her brown eyes misted as she dropped her hand.
“I’m so very sorry.” Angel turned to face her. Tears ran down his cheeks; his eyes appearing sunken with grief. “I’ll get her back, I promise,” Fred assured strongly, but couldn’t hide the uncertainty she felt showing on her face.
“When she woke up – I thought; you know, that if I left it for a while, that maybe she’d – miss me. Remember who I really am.”Angel spoke in a hushed tone. “But it’s been so long…”
They turned to the glass once more, almost compulsively. ‘Sara’ sat on the bed, listening carefully; then speaking with growing confidence, her face earnest and clear. Everything looked normal – except for the fact that the chairs she focused on were empty.
“You know I’ll take good care of Cordy – she’s in safe hands with me in charge – Wolfram & Hart will ever get near her; I promise.” Fred assured him as she always did…
She’d been ‘safe’ here for over a year now. When his Seer had woken up abruptly a few months after he’d brought her here, the Vampire had literally danced on the way to see her.
But Cordelia had acted like he wasn’t even there; didn’t seem to see him – anyone.
Then suddenly she did – only the people she interacted with were in her mind only.
A month or two later, she actually looked at him clearly, and Angel had rushed forward and hugged her now-slight form to him.
And she’d screamed.
“You’re not real! You’re not real!” she’d cried hysterically over and over.
For several minutes, he’d refused to loose his grip; sure Cordy would eventually get her bearings and realize who was holding her, but she continued to struggle in earnest, hysteria rising by the second. The Doctor present had finally insisted he leave for her health’s sake.
After too many attempts to count, to reach her, Angel had given up – but, not trusting the Staff of Wolfram & Hart, he’d put Fred in charge of her welfare.
Cordelia didn’t ‘see’ her at all. Or the others. Lorne had been in her presence once, and had rushed out to be physically ill in the hallway outside. Her aura had been shredded. Possibly beyond repair, he’d said.
Wes had openly weeped. Gunn had left without a word. His broad shoulders stiff. His wide mouth had trembled…
Fred gently drew Angel away from the door.
“Come on, Angel – You can’t keep doing this to yourself – she needs you to be strong. We’ll find a way to bring her back; just hold on there, okay?”
Her sympathy and sincerity were genuine. Their ‘Heart’ was damaged – but not lost; yet.
“I know”. Angel sighed shakily, glancing briefly at her. “But I want her back now, Fred.” His wide shoulders slumped limply.
After a while, they turned and walked slowly down the deserted corridor reluctantly; the soft murmuring of Cordelia’s voice still picked up by the grieving Vampire as they entered the private elevator.