Running For Our Lives




Chapter 27: Happy Endings

Two Days Later

Cordelia curled up on Angel's bed, her eyelids drooping, wet hair plastered to her face in dark slashes. Angel shifted, his skin still aching and his ribs still moaning.

"I'm tired." She commented, her fingers curled up around Angel's burned digits. He smiled slightly, his scorched flesh pulling tight at the corners of his mouth.

"You should be. It was a long week."

"These past two days seemed to take forever." She yawned, her mind easily flowing back to the hospital. Images of two pale faces, bloody and cold swam before her eyes. She shuddered, feeling the fear, the tense waiting that had followed.

"Yeah, but they're okay now. Happy ending, remember?" Angel whispered in her ear, shifting closer in the bed. She welcomed his touch and didn't stop to wonder why. It had been a damned long week and she was exhausted enough not let her mind play its little games. Let instinct take over for once.

"No they're not." She insisted, yawning widely once more.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, there is no happy ending for them because they can't have one."


"There's so much baggage there. I mean, she tortured him. He stole your child. There is no happy ending." She insisted, nodding her head wisely.

"If you look at it that way. You know girl, for someone who claims to 'make lemonade', you sure can dwell on the bad things in life." Angel commented dryly, his fingers rubbing against hers.

"I'm just a pessimist. Anything bad that can happen, will. And I don't believe in happy endings."

"Why not?"

"Because, in reality, the guy never gets the girl. Never." She insisted, but Angel stayed quiet for moment.

"I don't believe that. I believe in happy endings because I have to. I have to believe I will get my son back. I believe that one day I can look at Wes and not want to kill him. I have to believe that they're going to work things out. And I have to believe..." His voice trailed off as he tilted her chin to look into her eyes. "I have to believe that the guy will get the girl."

Cordelia smiled slowly and sank into his embrace. "I like the way you think."


The room was quiet, but for the beep and hum of the machines grouped around the sleeping girl on the bed. Wesley padded into the room, closing the door as quietly as he could.

It had been a job sneaking past Gunn and Fred, who were apparently taking their turn at guarding the two of them. Quite a change from the last time, he had to admit. He guessed Angel and Cordelia were at home, taking a much needed rest after the harrowing week they'd all had.

Thoughts and images flitted through his mind as he stared at her. Thoughts of Connor, of Angel, the fight and that soul-wrenching moment he thought he'd lost her. And of course, the painful concussion he'd received from being smacked into a wall and the first thing he saw when he woke up. All of them, hovering over him like he was about to die. It had warmed him, considering how things had been just weeks prior. They were making progress.

Technically he shouldn't have been out of his bed because of that concussion that had sent him into a mini coma he'd only just gotten out of the day before. But he had to see her. Had to look at her and see for himself that she was still breathing. For some reason, he didn't believe the others when they'd told him she was going to be fine. So here he was, feeling like a new father sneaking in to check and see if his child was still breathing.

His breath tightened in his chest as he looked at her, her face impossibly pale against the pillows. He couldn't believe that this china doll before him was the woman who had hurt him and so many others. He found it hard to believe she could ever have done the things she'd done. But she had and he had the scars to prove it.

He limped to her side and sat down wearily in the chair next to the bed. Her hand was limp as he took it in his own. Her slender fingers seemed to mold to his and he wondered how he'd ever been without her. His soul seemed fragmented from the loss of her burning brown eyes on his.

Silence enveloped him. The damned machines beeped. He ignored them and tried to get his throbbing mind to work.

He needed to think. Needed to think about a happy ending, because that's what was supposed to happen now. A happy ending filled with laughter and promises and kissing.

He nearly laughed when he thought about it. There couldn't be a happy ending yet. Not until he got Connor back for Angel. Then he'd really be back in the family. Right now they were tolerating him, despite their wish not to see him dead. His position within the family was still shaky and he wanted it to be stable.

And then there was her.

He loved her and he knew it, felt it with everything inside of him. The emotion shook him like a bone between a dog's teeth until he was a shattered, ruined mess. It frightened him, but he smiled. Yeah, he loved her.

But was that enough? Enough to keep her safe from herself? She was still dangerous and he knew it, despite that deep urge within her to change and be good. She was still capable of causing damage with just a smile, as he well knew. So the question was, could he save her when he'd failed to in the past? Was it worth it?

Her eyes fluttered open suddenly and he was lost in chocolate brown pools. He saw his reflection and he reckoned he looked like shit to her.

"Geez Wes. You look like shit." Faith croaked out with a twist of her lips. He smiled, nodding his head and lifting her hand to his lips. He kissed her hand gently and lowered it, along with his eyes.

"I was worried."

"Me too." She snorted, her eyes screwed up with pain as she shifted. "Bitch nearly gutted me. I hate that."

Wesley chuckled and kept his eyes downcast, wondering what he should say to her. Tell her he couldn't be there for her; tell her he wasn't the kind of man she thought he was...tell her anything.

Instead, he burst out, "I love you."

He looked up at her, his emotion raw on his face and his eyes filled with pain. She smiled slowly.

"I love you too." A tear leaked out of the corner of her eye and she wiped it away with her free hand. "Shit, I'm leaking."

He chuckled again and kissed her hand once more. "But..."

"No buts...whatever you do, do not but me." She said, clenching her fingers in his hand and drawing his gaze up to hers. Her eyes were deep and dark, filled with the same pain he was feeling.

"But..." He plowed on, ignoring her with a pang of guilt. "We're...this can't..."

"Why not? It was working just fine a few days ago. We're a team, remember? Watcher and Slayer?"

"That's exactly the reason why. If we're going to..."

"Oh please!
Don't give me that shit Wesley. Whatever you do, don't feed me some pitiful tripe to cover your fear." Faith interrupted, her eyes flashing.

"I'm not..."

"You are! So, I'm not perfect. I'm a murderer and a borderline psychotic. But I'm feeling better." She smiled widely, teasing a grin out of him. "And you, buster, are a kidnapper and a bad friend."

"This is true." He nodded, the grin keeping on his face.

"Damn straight." She frowned slightly and then spoke in a softer tone. "You and me, we're damaged goods. Hence the we're meant to be vibe. Oh Christ, now I sound like that green guy that was here earlier."

"Lorne was here?" Wesley asked, his brow furrowed.

"Yeah. He came to tell me about the Council." Faith nodded, licking her dry lips.

"What about the Council?" Wesley asked, suddenly remembering the standoff and leaving Lydia with Lorne. What the hell had happened?

"They're not going to try and kill me anymore. Yay!" A small smile, but her eyes went serious again. "Some broad named Lydia is in charge of the Council now and she's keeping them away from

"She is? Where have I been?" He shook his head wearily, ignoring the pain in his skull.

"In Coma-Land. Pretty place, ain't it?" Faith chuckled and continued, "Anyway, I'm safe as long as I stay out of trouble and keep slaying."

"Have they reinstated you?" Wesley asked, confused at the rapid turn of events.

"Nope. Lydia wouldn't hear of it, apparently. She still thinks I'm a murderer, but she's willing to keep the rest of the Council off my back if I just lay sorta low. At least she doesn't want me dead like that dick Travers." She growled the last word and he understood why. He wasn't much fond of the late Quentin Travers either.

"So you're safe." He stated the obvious, realizing he wasn't at his intellectual best.

"No I'm not. I'm the Slayer, I'm never safe. Just enjoying a nice, quiet moment for now." She responded, sighing and looking up at the ceiling. "I don't know if this'll interest you or not, but I'm not going back to prison."

"'re not?" He stammered, that gleam of hope in his chest sparking again, despite his resolve to let it die. In all the concussion, he'd forgotten about her parole and the subsequent violation of it.

"Nope. Council Lady fixed that too. I guess Asshole Rob likes bribe money and he's willing to look the other way just this once. So I'm alright with the law and free to go." She smiled, but he caught that haunted look in her eyes. He knew she'd been worried about landing back in prison, that maybe more than the Council.

A shuddering breath was forced from between her lips and she wiped another tear away from her eyes. He watched her fight back the tears that came anyway, just holding her hand and letting her know he was there. He looked at her face and felt his heart squeeze.

"You're right. No 'buts'." Wesley said suddenly, smiling widely at her. She turned her face to his and looked deep into his blue eyes.

"No buts?"

"None. I love you. We'll find a happy ending somewhere. Maybe not today, but one of these days, we'll get it. You and me.

"You and me...." She echoed, reaching for him. His lips met hers a second later and he kissed her as gently as he knew how, feeling his soul touch hers.

More than skin, he decided. He pulled back and smiled at his Slayer. She smiled back and touched his face with her fingers, brushing along his cheek to his jaw and over the puckered scar on his throat.

"I gotta say, I'm willing to make due until we get that happy ending." She remarked, reaching for him again. Her lips brushed his and he felt a deep longing within him.

" too, love. Me too."