TITLE: Scribe (1/1)
AUTHOR: Dr. Lense
ARCHIVE: List archives, else ask please.
DISCLAIMER: Obviously not mine, and no money made.
NOTES: Set immediately post season 1. Pre-slash.
Wesley has victim written all over him.
Cordelia has spent the last 36 hours coming down from whatever drugs the
hospital had given her. She was so relieved when the visions stopped that
she barely realized she was high as a kite, with only a few minutes of
reassurance for Angel before she fell asleep.
Now, she feels fine, and wants very much to go home, to her bed, her
kitchen, and her poltergeist. Although the doctor wants her to stay for
more tests and scans, she's confident that being at home will be better for
her than anything. Besides, her complaint was mystical, not physical.
Angel had finally gotten kicked out by the nursing staff- although he was
quiet they wanted him out, and Cordelia had sleepily told him to stay at her
place. There really wasn't anywhere else for him to go, and she was at this
point a lot more comfortable with him than she ever thought she would be.
Dennis wouldn't mind, and after all the scary shit she'd seen in her
vision-a-thon she was actually looking forward to having him.
This evening he was supposed to pick her up, but so far he was a no show.
Cordelia decided not to wait and figures he's down visiting Wes and if she
can sign herself out and meet him there he'll be less likely to hover.
Besides, as comfortable as she is with Angel, she's not particularly sure
she wants him to see her change from hospital chic into her jeans and
Being discharged is not as difficult as she thought it would be, and on her
way out she asked the nurse for Wesley's room. It was in another wing, and
some floors up, and it takes her awhile to find it. She pauses outside the
glass window after realizing that there were quite a few people inside.
Wes is getting his ribs taped up. He doesn't have a shirt on, and it's so
different for Cordelia to see him like this, without the armor of his suits
and ties and neatly pressed pants, that she almost doesn't recognize him.
Her first thought is -man, he needs to eat something- and then -Wesley
doesn't seem the type to go in for tattoos- but of course it's not a tattoo.
Besides, she knows that most tattoo artists have better handwriting.
Cordelia knows only one person who writes like an eight-year-old on crack.
Wesley has victim written on him, and Cordelia knows it was the kind of joke
Faith would have thought was really, really funny.
Cordelia didn't stick around. She knew Wesley wouldn't appreciate her
sympathy, or her threatening tears, so she headed off to find Angel and read
him the riot act. As she was leaving the nurse stopped her, and asked if
she was "Mr. Price's friend". Apparently Wesley's polite manner and good
humor had impressed the nursing staff. Cordelia agreed that she didn't know
anyone else who was as good at suffering in silence.
The nurse let her know that Wes would be in the hospital for at least
another four days, and that he would need some serious care and physical
therapy when he was out. His back was pretty messed up, and he had some
broken ribs, burns and a broken wrist. Cordelia assured her that Wesley was
going to be well looked after, and headed to the visitor's lounge.
She called Angel's cell phone.
"Cordy, where are you? You shouldn't have checked out without me." He
sounded worried, and a little annoyed.
"Meet me at the back entrance, with the car. We have some errands to run."
The first stop was Wes's apartment. Angel had taken the keys, but had not
stopped by yet. Neither of them had actually ever visited- Cordelia can
bring herself to feel bad about that, now.
Wesley lives in a run down building in Hollywood. It's not even a complex,
just a small two story building with three apartments. Wesley's is on the
top floor, and the carpeting is moldy and the florescent light flickers.
Cordelia remembers her first apartment, and shudders slightly. It wasn't so
much the bugs, or the dirt, as it was the loneliness and the knowledge that
if she sunk any further she'd be on the street. She understands why Wes
spent so much time at the office, and then sighs.
Angel has barely put the key in the lock when there's the noise of someone
else, someone heavy, coming up the stairs. Cordelia's heart stops, briefly,
but it's not a demon. It's a sweaty man in a wife-beater undershirt, who
looks rather annoyed.
"You friends with that English guy?" he asks, moving close enough for Cordy
to catch a whiff of b.o.
"Err, yes?" answers Angel.
"You tell him that he's out. This is the third time he's been late with the
rent, and I don't need no freeloaders. I only took him cause he looked like
he could pay, but I ain't waitin any more. I got somebody else who wants
this apartment- you tell him that if he don't get his stuff out of here by
Friday I'm pitching it. And he ain't getting no security back neither."
The man doesn't stick around; lumbering back down the stairs and finally
slamming the door, a noisy TV suddenly muted.
Angel and Cordelia look at each other, then open the door.
The apartment is incredibly clean and very tidy, which simply emphasizes its
shabbiness. Like the hallway, the carpet is stained and moldy. The
linoleum in the kitchenette is stained and marked with cigarette burns.
Wesley doesn't have much in the way of furniture, or possessions. There is
an old couch, with a clean dark sheet to cover it, and a desk and shelves
made out of cinderblocks and boards. An ironed blue shower curtain obscures
what turns out to be the closet, and the bedroom contains only a single twin
bed and a small dresser and locked trunk. There are a few small prints hung
on the walls, and a row of shoes neatly lined up beside the door.
Cordelia is angry. She is angriest with Wesley, for hiding so much behind
his fumbling, but she is also angry with herself.
"This is ridiculous. We should have known about this, Angel. We should
Angel starts, about to defend himself, then visibly deflates. "I know.
What should we do?"
She thinks for a minute, that selfish, tired part of her wishing that some
burdens could fall on someone else. "Let's go get some boxes and pack this
stuff up, then take it to my place. The nurse said he couldn't stay by
himself anyway, and then we'll figure out what to do next. I'm just glad I
thought to invest in a fold out couch."
It doesn't take long to clear out the place. Angel is in charge of making
sure that Wesley's toilet articles are placed in a bag for the hospital,
alongside a set of clothes for the trip home. Cordelia makes herself useful
in the kitchen, clearing out the pot and pan and few dishes left in the
cabinets, before stacking the books neatly in a box and taking down the
prints. She and Angel agree that most of the stuff on the closet should
just go straight on the hanger, lest it be wrinkled, and she packs up the
odds and ends.
On the shelf next to Wesley's journals (which Cordelia very carefully does
not read) is a shoebox. Cordelia opens it to find recent checks and bank
statements. Wesley has $53.82 in a checking account. She puts the
statement back and packs the box away.
At home, the three boxes go in the corner of the dining area, while the
suits and clothes are hung up in the back of Cordelia's closet. Wesley will
stay here as long as he needs to, Cordelia decides, and she will just deal
with the mess and inconvenience with good humor. He's going to eat well and
get stronger if she has to force feed him Ensure bars and sprinkle his tea
with bulk-up powder. He's going to learn how to trust me, she thought, and
the next time something bad happens he's going to have a home and friends
-even if it's just me and the vampire- to turn to. None of us have to do
He has victim written all over him, Cordelia thinks, but he has survivor
written there too, maybe she can add a few lines about family, if she tries.