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.

by Dr.Lense

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 sweater.

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 have known."

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 this alone.

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.

Back to D