DISCLAIMER: Wesley does not belong to me I'm just using him for general reflective spouting! ( Don't sue I'm not rich enough!

SUMMARY: Someone finally wants to hear his side of the story. Cordelia's POV.

I knock on the door of an apartment that used to make me feel warm inside with its familiar smell of books and tea and that musty cologne that he used to wear, something about it just makes me feel homey. Maybe it's the fact that I got used to it over the years and now that it's not present round the hotel I miss it. He's like the smell of new shoes, making you feel special inside, like I mattered, like I was a part of something that's now falling apart.

Something inside of me wants to wrench the door open and strangle him because he's been so stupid; But another part of me worries like I always do about him, because even after what he's done to Angel, and even though I can never possibly forgive him, a part of me still loves him - and I find it hard to explain.

But as I stand here in the cold corridor contemplating the right way to go about this I wonder when was the last time I set foot inside his apartment, or when was the last time I smelt him? By the time Groo and I got back Lorne was already clearing out the office and his smell seemed to have gone, faded in the morning light, just like him.

Groo stands behind me nervously; he's been such a sweetie these last few days that I couldn't turn him down when he said he wanted to come with me. But even as I knock again I wonder if it is really such a good idea to bring Groo along with me,

"Do you need me to kick down the door, princess?" some part of me smiles at this sweet gesture but I know that breaking down the door isn't going to make him anymore talkative.

I know he's in there though. One of his neighbours said she had seen him last night, a brown paper bag in one hand, but she soon changed the subject, concerned for him, as anyone should be - but we're not. The people who should care, don't, and even though every bone in my body has seething hatred running through me at the man hiding behind this door, I still care; I still love him.

"No." I whisper softly as I knock for a third time. Yet even as I knock my hand reaches for the handle that moves beneath my grip, enough to make me just that bit more concerned. He was never one for locked doors but he was never careless either.

"It's open anyway." I say, my voice barely audible as I open the door into apartment 105. The open door sheds a thin sliver of light across the coffee table in the middle of the room, meeting the golden rays of sun dancing from under the curtains on his desk on the opposite side of the room.

I can't seem to make myself move into the apartment though and I stand there for a moment wrapped up in the surrealness of it all, the books lain everywhere like the apartment's turned into a Barns and Nobles, but the order of the books is different and it is a different man who has arranged them than the one I knew when I left on holiday only a few weeks ago.

"Wesley?" the voice that comes from my throat does not resemble my own as I take a few tentative steps into the apartment, gazing round at the disarray of a life I used to be a part of. Another step and I notice the bottles in the room as if they have suddenly appeared from under a cloak.

Some part of me wonders how the hell any of this ever happened, why Wesley would do something so stupid as to take Conner from Angel, but as I've been told he had his motives, but that's not enough of an explanation for me. Cordelia Chase always had to hear it form the horse's mouth and that's precisely what I came here to do.

I don't understand how he couldn't trust his friends enough to tell us what was happening. Maybe if I had been around, maybe then it would have been different, maybe Wesley would have told me - if I'd have interfered enough - what was going on. But some part of me doubts even that would have made a difference.

I realise now I'm on my own in the apartment as I stoop to pick up one of the many bottles that litter the apartment, I look back nervously to find Groo still stood by the door and I have the strongest urge to say, 'at ease soldier,' but the silhouetted outline of an arm stops me.

My breath gets caught in my lungs and I think I've forgotten how to breathe, as I remain crouched on the floor.

"Princess is,"

"Stay there." I utter in a harsher tone than I intended, my breath suddenly rushing back into my lungs as I pull myself to my feet quite suddenly. It can't be him; I won't let it be him, because this is Wesley for Christ sakes and never would he stoop to something as low as this. I don't want Groo to see the truth and be able to tell me what my eyes refuse to see.

My eyes linger on the bloody knife on the coffee table for a moment as unsteady finger's reach out towards the arm. It's cold to the touch but I won't let its identity be revealed to me because I refuse to believe the truth of what I know is true.

I'm sure Wesley said something about some famous person once saying something about what the eye does not see cannot hurt them or some vague reference like that and I want Wesley to be here, now, to be able to correct me. But this is what I do; this is what I've always been good at. Mending people when they get broken, I even did it with my Barbies when I was younger; sure I had a hunky Ken to help with the recovery period but... not helping this situation Cor!

I mentally slap myself before I can ramble any further as I check for a pulse, some hidden part of me taking over, checking off some mental sixth grade first aid checklist. There's a pulse and relief seems to flood me as my legs threaten to give out as I find myself face to face with my former boss; or what is now left of that man. I watch him for a moment and he almost seems peaceful in the quiet revere of unconsciousness, no doubt brought about by the copious amounts of alcohol consumed and the loss of blood. My fingers trace the ragged scar on his throat wishing that I could erase both the physical and mental pain he put himself through this past week, but even now as I watch him, still shaken from my belief that he was dead, a part of me still wants to throttle him where he lies.

"Groo, hunny, will you get me some water and some bandages." I look up at him as he enters the flat cautiously as if he has no right to be imposing on the situation,

"The bathroom's at the end of the hall." Groo nods and does as he's told because at heart he is a soldier and a warrior and has never known anything else. Except the short time in which he reigned over Pylea, but even then he was still a warrior. I miss Pylea...

I shake myself away from fond memories of Pylea when everyone was together and we were a team with Wesley as our leader because no matter how much I live in hope I know that our family will never see those days again.

I switch the lamp on behind Wesley, illuminating him and the rest of the dark flat. My breath gets caught in my throat again as I see him clearly in the light. He looks so pale, his face so gaunt and ill looking and I wonder if he's been eating. I know he was never very good at looking after himself but he seems to have slipped further into the land of not caring. He's changed so much since I last laid eyes on him, but...

He was going this way before I left. He was letting himself slip, stubble becoming more prominent, hair becoming more wild, staying up all night. How could I not have noticed what was happening to him? How could I not have noticed the demise of one on my dearest friends right underneath my nose?

"Princess?" I jump at Groo's voice behind me. Not realising that I have been crying I wipe hastily at my eyes as I turn to him,

"You do not need to hide your tears Princess because I know that even though Wesley has done bad things and you and Angel are very angry with him you still care for him, because he is still your family, do you not?" You can always count on Groo to know exactly what's going on, even if he does not understand most things he understands when it comes to family. I nod at him, unable to trust my voice to come out with a sentence that doesn't sound strangled. He places a hand on my shoulder as he too turns to watch Wesley,

"I know that there is much pain but I wish to help in any way I can Princess. If you will let me?" He looks at me with his big blue eyes that are so full of innocence and for a moment he reminds me of Wesley, blue eyes full of courage and always wanting to please others. I nod, understanding that he wants to help but knowing that he cannot do anything to solve the situation. But he wants to help, and I don't want to turn him down so I ask him to help tidy Wesley's apartment, open the blinds and window and clear it of the empty bottles and even the half full ones he comes across because I know that Wesley will still be tempted when he eventually awakes from his alcoholic stupor.

While Groo tidies the apartment I do what I can to find the man I once knew beneath this damaged exterior because I have to live in hope that he's still in there. As much as I hate him I have to believe that he's still there because he was the one person I could depend on not to do something stupid.

I couldn't trust Angel because he does stupid things everyday of his life. He, like Gunn is a lost cause for acting sensible for one week. I mean Angel could lose his soul again and Gunn could get himself almost killed... again. And as for Fred, well, she could get sucked back into Pylea again, 'cause lets face it - us at Angel Investigations not big with the learning from our mistakes thing. And as for Lorne, well he just doesn't fit in this equation because... I think the suits really say it all.

And as for trusting Conner, well he was just a kid. Just Angel's kid... who's gone.

Wesley was the only one I could trust and I find myself angry with him because he betrayed my trust.

I slap him now because I'm so angry with him and I want him to be conscious to hear me shouting at him for having done something so stupid. Groo doesn't hear, thank god, because he's discovering the mess in the kitchen, and I'm grateful now for Wesley's slip into the kingdom of not washing dishes because it gives me the solitude to cry in front of an unconscious man I used to know.

But that solitude does not last long because he stirs before me now in the morning light as I wipe hastily at my now bloodshot eyes. Something resembling disappointment is hidden beneath his furrowed brow as he watches me closely for a moment, maybe he's unsure if I'm real or not and I place a hand on his shaking leg in an attempt to reassure him that, yes I am real.

He tries to pull himself to his feet, trying to run away from me, trying to push past me on unsteady feet before he drops onto all fours and retches. I feel hot tears swelling in my eyes again as I reach out a tentative hand to rub his back, because I can't believe that this man is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, former watcher, former rouge demon hunter, and former friend,

"It'll be ok Wes."

I don't want to believe that he's gone.