Sleeping Beauty by Cantinera
Summary: Angel pays Cordelia a visit.
Spoilers: Up to the Season 4 finale.
Distribution: Anywhere. Just ask.
Notes: First person from Angel's POV as he addresses Cordelia.
lay there, sleeping, as if a coma were the latest fashion trend,
accessory you found out about in Vogue. I don't know if you are aware that I'm here or not, but I hope you don't
mind if I lie
next to you, even just for a moment.
As my arms wrap around you… your body is still warm, still soft and welcoming to my hugs; still, you can't hug me back. But that's fine for now since I just want to feel you, to tell you some things on my mind, some things I never got to tell you.
"I love you." I say aloud, hoping you understand, raising my head to look at your face. "I really do."
You don't respond.
I close my eyes again, trying to shut out the pain of not seeing you move. It was almost as if I expected you to wake up, my too-late declaration pulling you from this unnatural slumber. But it didn't work. For a second, I thought it could.
I was wrong.
"Cordelia, I'm so sorry." I say again, the tears coming down, fast and cold. "So sorry."
As I cry into your hair, I wonder why I'm apologizing. If you were awake, you would tell me it's not my fault – that's how you are. You hate to see me brood, depressed, moping about – you always tried to put a stop that. But here I am, crying, sobbing, chest heaving, into your beautiful hair. It's been awhile since you fell into this coma, so your hair is long and—thanks to Wolfram and Hart—soft. You're the most beautiful coma patient anyone will ever see.
You are the most beautiful woman to walk the face of this earth; I'm eternal, so I saw my share.
"I'm so sorry."
There are those words again, accompanied by my tears. I don't care if it's my fault or not, but I am sorry. I'm sorry to see you wasting away, sleeping your life away. I'm sorry I didn't do anything to stop what happened to you. I'm sorry I was too busy hurting to notice something was wrong. I'm sorry I fell for Jasmine's trap.
I'm sorry, and these tears aren't helping.
I embrace you tighter, burying my face into your hair, wet from tears. My tears. I want to tell you something, but they obviously aren't getting the point across since you aren't even aware I'm here.
At least not that I can tell.
I look up at your face, so serene and calm. Is that how you feel? Are you at peace? Am I here, holding onto you, keeping you from going on for my own sake? Am I being selfish? Probably, but I cannot let you go. I need you here with me. I need you back.
I move your arms, circling them around me, gently lying down on your chest, listening to your steady heartbeat. You're alive. That's what matters. At least to me.
I've wrapped your arms around me, so now I can pretend you are holding me, comforting me. I have so much to tell you, you know. Do you know, even in this state, you are my comfort? I can't let you go. You are my comfort.
"Cordelia, come back."
There I go, asking for the impossible from you. You won't come back, will you? I've failed you, and, as a result, you left me. You've gone away.
I nestle into your embrace—the embrace I made—feeling your arms around me. Even if you can't hold on to me, I can pretend. I can believe you are the one holding me. It lessens the pain, even if only for a split second.
"Oh, Cordelia, I have so much I want to tell you." I say, crying once again.
You don't respond.
I break from your embrace, the pain almost unbearable of not feeling you. I need to feel you.
"I know you're in there." I say.
I get up, sitting next to you on your bed, looking down. You're so beautiful.
"Cordelia, I hate my life."
There, I admit it. I can tell you anything.
"I hate not having you by my side. I hate that I gave up my son for his sake and the world. I hate working at Wolfram and Hart. I hate not knowing my friends anymore, and in return, them not knowing me. I hate not having a reason to go on. I hate not having anyone who understands me, who knows me. Remember when I didn't care about that sort of thing? Remember when I just wanted to be alone, never to be bothered again. That's all changed. You changed that."
I pause for a moment, the tears streaming down quicker than before, it that was possible.
"Cordelia, I need you back. I can't go on without you."
I look at your face again, your beautiful face. Wolfram and Hart's idea of taking care of you means having a top make-artist come in once a week, or before my visits. What a joke.
Still, you look beautiful. You always do.
Your lips are so red, so full. I touch them, tracing the outline of your mouth, moving my fingers across your face. So soft, you feel, so… Beautiful.
I lower the blanket they've placed on you, looking at the beautiful dress you are wearing, completely unnecessary for someone doomed to an eternal slumber. It's red, tight in the bodice, sheer and flowing in the sleeves and skirt. It makes your skin glow, making you appear to be healthier than you are. The dress suits you.
"You know, before you I would've never even paid attention to such a thing." I say, laughing through the tears. Here you are, asleep, and I'm aware of your clothing. It's ridiculous. But you did this to me, affecting me to the point I know about fashion. So I laugh again.
Nobody could make me laugh like you.
Nobody could make me feel like you.
I place my hand around your waist, caressing the material.
I fan your hair out the pillow, allowing your locks to move to the side. I'm still sitting next to you, by your side, never wanting to leave. You're too beautiful, you know.
And yet, you sleep.
"If only you'd wake up."
Everything would be right. All the pain would be gone. Everything would be all right.
"I love you. You can't leave me here, alone."
And that's how I feel – alone.
"Just please, wake up."
I plea with you one more time, hoping you respond, but you don't. It doesn't work. I shouldn't expect you to listen to me; you never did.
But I love that about you. I love the way you challenge me, the way you push me. You made me a better person. You brought out the good in me. And I saw you… I saw the good in you. We could be so good together if you came back to me, so good.
If only you'd come back.
"If there's anything I could do right now, Cordelia, just let me know."
You don't say anything.
But I look at you, so beautiful. And yet you sleep.
My sleeping beauty.
My head spins, because that is what you are: my sleeping beauty.
I look at you, drinking you in, your beautiful hair attached to your beautiful head connected to your beautiful body in your beautiful dress.
Once again, I trace your lips—your beautiful, blood red lips—with my finger, touching them gently as I lower my face to yours.
I close my eyes, my face inches away from yours. I know you're right below me; I can feel your breath on my lips. So I lower my lips more, almost reaching yours. My body trembles from the eagerness of this kiss, this awakening kiss. You are my Sleeping Beauty, and I'm your Prince. I will wake you.
I press my lips into yours, softly kissing you. The feel of your lips on mine causes me to press harder into your lips, demanding more from you. I command a response. I command your awakening.
I'm kissing you, my need and love coming to the surface, finding its way to my lips. My lips meet yours, insisting you come back to me. My entire existence is in my lips now, pleading with you.
Come back to me, please. Wake up, sleeping beauty.
I feel your love responding to me. I know you love me, just like I love you. I know none of this was your fault, so please, wake up.
My lips are still against yours, beseeching your consciousness. I feel a stir, now. It throws me, so I pause. Was that me or you?
I separate from your lips, the agony shooting back as I leave your breath. I'm no longer in your kiss.
I open my eyes, hoping to see you awake, hoping to see your eyes flutter open like they have before. You've always come back to me before, so please, don't fail me now.
I look at you, lying there, looking so beautiful.
And so asleep.
Delusional. That's what I am, believing I could cure it all, simply with a kiss. Somehow, I thought I could make it right for you – I truly thought I could magically heal you.
Maybe I was drunk on my own ego, or my own need for you, but for I moment I thought I could wake you. I failed miserably. I'm such a fool for thinking I could wake you from this slumber.
You're far beyond my reach, beyond any magic I hoped I could possess. They've poisoned you, and I cannot heal you. There is nobody on my side; there is nobody here to help me wake you.
And now that you are not back, I'm truly alone.
You're far beyond any visible sign of an awakening.
"I'm so sorry, Cordelia."
I say it one more time, because I truly am. I failed you. I couldn't wake you. My kiss did nothing.
You're my sleeping beauty, eternally.
It's hopeless. I cannot heal or comfort you.
So you sleep.
My sleeping beauty.