Title: "Die. Sleep. Wake."
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Spoilers: "Hero." *sniffle*
Rating/Classification: PG-13, angst, character death.
Disclaimer: Grrr. Aargh.
Summary: Angel and Cordelia mourn their friend in the only way they can.

There was white light everywhere and he had the distinct sensation of falling. Not burning, just falling. The breath was pulled from his lungs and his arms and legs didn't listen to the frantic commands he was sending out to them. Reach. Grab. Hold on. And he was dragged further and further down. The light brightened to the point of blindness and he had to shut his eyes.

Ah, there was Angel's face. And Cordy's face. And her taste on his lips from the kiss he'd laid on her. It gave him his last coherent thought. . .his last smile. Allen Francis Doyle. . .that was the closest to Heaven. . .'cause you're surely bound fer Hell.

Eventually the fall ended. And the light dimmed. And there was nothing.

*

Had Los Angeles ever been darker? She didn't know. She also didn't get up to look outside and check. It was much easier to curl up against Angel's chest and clutch a fistful of his shirt as she muffled sobs against it. It was much easier to close her eyes and pretend that a short, drunken, badly-dressed, Irishman was going to stumble out of the freight elevator and demand to know if she and her old git of a vampire friend were cheating on him. It was much easier than trying to live.

She felt like she hadn't moved in days. . .and the cold cheek against hers offered up no protests. He just held her tighter. He kissed her hair. He was probably grateful that there was one thing in the world that could shut off Cordelia Chase's non-stop complaining. "No!" she whispered, curling further into Angel's side. . .they were like a squished up island in the middle of his big huge bed. "I didn't mean that!"

"Mean what?" he murmured, voice hoarse.

"N-nothing." She slowly turned away from his Pensiver Face. And she felt the tears slip again. Her skin was raw from all the salt and she didn't care. Who needed to worry about a beauty regimen when you had a dead, half-ugly, half-kinda cute, half-demon's kiss lingering on your mouth? "Dammit. Dammit, Doyle! If that isn't just like you! Totally without class. Leaving a girl after you kiss her!" she cried into the palm of her hand.

A strong hand rubbed her back. . .but it was shaking. "Cordy. . ."

"Don't!" The word was out of her mouth before she could stop it. "Don't. Call. Me. That. He used to call me that." 'Cordy' and 'Princess.' Things that would never sound the same if an un-brogued person said them. If anyone who wasn't Doyle said them.

"Cordelia." He corrected himself. . .and the way he said it held nothing familiar. Except Angel brooding. "Cordelia, its okay."

"No! No its not!" She faced him again and her joints screamed as she moved. She scrubbed at her face with the too-long sleeve of a very, very, ugly shirt that she'd found crumpled in the last drawer of Doyle's desk. There was a bloodstain on it, but she didn't care. It smelled like whiskey, but she didn't care.

And finally, Angel nodded. His impassive expression broke and he stopped trying to be the strong one. "No. . ." he gasped. "No, its not."

He cried, too.

*

They each lifted up a tumbler of Bushmill's, gave a little salute with it, and knocked it back. She didn't even cough. Whether that was because the stuff was cheap and the only thing Angel had in the fridge or because she was just too numb all ready. . .she couldn't be sure of.

They'd dragged themselves from the bed, but sitting up wasn't much relief. Neither was whiskey really. But she figured it was their own private wake.

Angel poured a few more inches into each of their glasses. And they repeated. Lift. Salute. Drink.

A girl in a smelly, bloodied, worn shirt and nothing else sitting across a kitchen table from a vampire and grieving the sacrifice of a half-demon with blue-spiky face and big blue eyes. Not a situation she ever thought she would find herself in. Not until she'd met them. Not until they'd broken through her carefully-constructed popular-girl image and made her give a damn.

Lift. Salute. Drink.

She looked up into Angel's dark, dark, eyes and touched her lips softly. "I would have, you know. I would've grown to love that face."

"I know."

Lift. Salute. Drink.

"To Allen Francis Doyle, the best demon I know."

"To Doyle, the only second guy with bad fashion sense I could love."

Lift. Salute. Drink.
Lift. Salute. Drink.

--end--



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