A Gift From The Heart.
Summary: Angel receives something precious both by and from someone.
For years the night had been the same. In times a heavy burden to him and in others a security which he embraced with all his will power.
Even though his soul yearns to that first golden touch of the sun, feel its brightness shine down on his upturn face for all its meaning and promises there was a part of him, a big part if he didn´t want to lie to himself – something he had grown tired of doing – that yearns even more to the night and it´s cold light.
There was...a security in being within the shadows, as faceless and obscured as the predawn mist over a loch, that appeals to him. For if he has no substance then no real harm can come, can it?
Not to him, and not to those people under him. They mock him and ridicule him for his never ending serenade – dance – with the shadows not realizing, or not wanting to, that he fears to thread in the light, because he knew then that they would see him for what he truly is.
They would see his true face, his ugly face that must show as clear as day all his unforgiving crimes, his guilt that he feels chokes him more each day, a weight pressing down on him more surely then the weight of the ocean ever did.
No, he prefers to be in here, spare them like a Quasimodo of modern time.
Sighing and looking out over the myriads lights lighting up the night like an earthly milk way he feels the life of the city reach out to him. He has open the door a while back and he can smell the ancient earth that support this great metropolitan the power that infuses it, even under all the layers of human activity.
It´s what drove him here that first time – so reminiscent of...Home – and what pulled him when he had to once again walk away.
It made him feel like he belongs here because no-one belongs here. A stranger among millions of other stranger and which he has put on himself to protect.
A duty that grows harder and more daunting as time passes. How could he have ever thought that he was enough, a simple merchant boy under all the decorating layers?
He isn´t. He knows it but he doesn´t accept it. He will continue – because there isn´t anything else.
Inhaling deeply he lets the air fills his lungs as he listens to the people milling around under him. They are a strange and extraordinary bunch and he has mixed feeling about what he feels for them in having them in his life.
He can hear his seer walking up the stairs and to his room to find him and drag him down to the others, but she will be disappointed he thinks, as he is not in his room.
He is still as she grumbles and calls for him until she gives up and returns down to the lobby of this old building.
He wants to call her back, this girl that has been entering his dreams but he feels he has no right. She is back with that other warrior and he hasn´t seen her so happy in a long time. Burdening her with his feelings is now out of the question. At least he didn´t have the same problem as his childe, loving a woman that despises you.
He cringes of thinking what his one time love has become. The young innocent girl he fell for is no longer there, in her place a woman hardened by life and he mourns for her knowing that that is something she will never do.
But the light that had been absent when she first walking in through the double doors of the Hotel is slowly returning and he thinks it is thanks to the coloured girl – the other slayer.
She has received her greatest wish – of not being alone, to have a sister in battle. To know now that she has not been alone during her trials has helped her a lot. Knowing also that her mother has been well aware of her actions has force her to take a good look at herself.
He does not envy the path his childe must take but if her changing attitude continues in the way they have there is still hope for him.
The moods for several of them has changed for the better since knowing of their guardian angels. A myth they have thought to be just that – a myth. Which thinking back on that shouldn´t have surprised them – he included – so much considering the lives they live.
He smiles as he thinks of Willow – a girl that was being lost to the darkness, but since finding out about Carry – a very forceful woman and her message to her from someone she had thought lost forever, has made the torrent in her flow more smoothly, like the river Styx.
The chaos that erupted the day that spell went horrible wrong is something he wishes he never has to face again. But it has worked for the best as the stipulations and restraint of the guardians has disappeared. They can now more hands on help their charges which they find to their absolutely delight.
They are an even stranger bunch of people.
He likes Corrine, but only because she brings the sound of home into his life again, something that´s been absent since Doyle died. She though, doesn´t like him, not that he blames her, some people can´t get over the fact that he is a vampire, though if he inspected closer that thought he would find it flawed as Corrine seam to get a long rather well with Spike.
Mathews on the other hand puts him on edge much as his charge does. He thinks that he is rather overprotective of Xander, though he seams to love his angel and his protective tendencies – which isn´t strange for a boy who has never felt like that before.
It´s a heady experience, or so he thinks if he had actual any experience in it. But he doesn´t – he has always been the protector, not the protectee and if he was actually prone to feel sorry for himself he...
That´s another thing that bothers him, how they always go on about that he must get out of the self pity fest he´s got going every time they think he broods. When he...broods...he´s not thinking of himself, feeling sorry for himself, no he is remembering every lives that he has touched and destroyed. Something that he feels each and every one of them is due.
If he doesn´t remember them, then who will? Who will know their pain? Their lives?
A person lives as long as there is someone to remember them, and when there isn´t anyone left, they pass on into oblivion. He made sure that there wasn´t anyone left to remember them, therefore he will. They have been forgotten for too long, he thinks.
Ginny – now that is a firecracker, a temper to match her hair if there ever was one. She makes him want to smile. Doyle would have liked her, Lorne sure is. He remembers how shocked he had been when he found out that he had one as well.
"but- but I´m a demon?!" Lorne exclaimed starring disbelieving at her his mouth doing a good impression of a fish on land.
Throwing her red mane over her bony shoulder she lifted an eyebrow and said, "So, Greeny? You don´t think that you didn´t get some help when you first got here? Puh-leese. Even demons need help sometimes. Wouldn´t you agree Spike?"
There had been an awkward moment for him when the introduction had all been made and Connor pointed out the he didn´t seam to have one. True, except for Connor and Groo the only one who didn´t seam to have a guardian was him. He cringes as he remembers Spike´s catchy comment.
Shacking his head he drives those thoughts out.
Something catches his attention in the sky and turning his eyes to them he watches awed as two shooting stars fall across the dark infinite heaven. Even though that is a phenomenon he has seen quite some times in his life he cannot shake of the wonder of a little Irish boy as he sees it for the first time in the arms of his mother – his true one.
It always brings him back to that particularly night. In the back of his mind he hears her smooth velvet voice tell him, "Wish me boy, wish and it will come true."
As he sees them disappear on the horizon he doesn´t wish. It´s a foolish thing he lost a long time ago. It hasn´t worked before and it didn´t work back then – she still left, granted it was beyond her to control, she died, but the matter still stands, she was no longer with him.
He can hear some car horns and the screeching of tires five blocks from where he stands an ambulance with its sirens on racing to wards the nearest hospital and he can hear the door behind him open.
But with each of the sounds he pushes them to the back of his mind and concentrate of the feeling of the night until the sound of the voice finally registries in him and he freezes, his body tense the cord of his neck standing out. It cannot be...
Closing his eyes he doesn´t know what he wants more. To wish the voice away or to please let it be real. He hears the brush of fabric as something moves and he can feel something closing in on him.
At the soft and gentle voice repeats, "Li-li." He slowly turns around and as his eyes falls on the small figure standing only a couple of feet's from him his knees threatens to buckle under his suddenly to heavy weight.
It was a child standing before him dressed in a pale blue – almost white – dress, hair the colour of the finest Colombian coffee with eyes to match and skin so translucent that you could see the blue veins under it.
She was a beautiful child but what was more important was the fact who this child was and what she meant for him. It was his little sister – Kathy.
Only she ever called him Li-li due for the fact that when she first learn how to talk she couldn´t pronounce his name correctly instead shorting it to Lee which later turned into Li-li.
His eyes teared up at the mirage before him. Choking out he asked the apperresion, "K- Kathy." His voice small and unsure.
Solemnly she nodded as she fidgeted with the fabric of her dress her eyes wide and innocent as she looked up at him.
She didn´t move as he fell to his knees bracing himself on the floor starring at her. She didn´t move as he shook and one big lone tear fell down his cheek. But she did move when he extended his arms before him. Running into his arms she flung herself at him, wrapping her tiny arms around his neck while she joined him and cried as well.
He couldn´t believe that it was actually her in his arms, but she felt real and her scent was the same.
After a while she leans back and looks up at him a smile on her face as she says again, "Li-li,"
He gives her a trembling smile and smoothing down her thick locks nodding as he once again says her name.
"I´ve missed you."
"Oh Kathy, I´ve missed you too, but what are you doing here, why?"
Making herself comfortable on his lap she fingers his collar and murmurs something even to low for him to hear.
"What was that?"
"I wanted t´see ye. I could feel ye were so sad. Why were ye so sad Li-li?"
"I´m ok." He says as his heart warms by her lilting brogue bringing forth many memories of her to the fore. Looking down at her a frowns appears between his brow, "why would you whant to see me, don´t you remember?"
"Hmm." She nods, "I ´member."
That answer pains him.
Burrowing into his chest she hides her face but he can nevertheless hear her reply. "Love ye."
He tightens his arms around her and puts his mind in blank as he just wants to savour this feeling of having her once again in his arms.
Hearing a commotion from downstairs force him out of the little bubble he created and he reluctantly release her standing up saying that he must go find out what´s happening.
As he stands up she joins him and then watches as he goes to the door. Turning around, one hand on the door knob he asks, "Are you going to be here? I won´t be long."
Nodding she tucks some errant strand of hair behind her ear. As he turns to leave as smile on his face she calls out.
Turing around he wonders what she wants. Smiling at him she points to her face and then to him. It takes a moment before he understands what she is referring to. Passing the sleeve of his shirt over his face he erase any evidence the he has been crying.
Shacking his had bemusedly he mouthed, thank you, to her. Before he could actually leave again she ask him, "what happen to ye voice?"
"Ye sound different?"
"Oh I see. Well it´s been a long time Precious, I guess I lost it along the way."
"Hmm. OK." Is the only thing she says.
Turning around he leaves the room fighting with every thing in him that wants to stay in there with her, but he has responsibilities and right now they take him to find out what was going on in the lobby.
Walking down the corridor he soon finds himself on the railing looking out over the vast room below.
Shacking his head he realizes that there was noting serious going on, just the people having fun. He misses the days when there was only him living in the grand hotel.
Suddenly he feels a small hand slip into his and looking down he sees Kathy gazing out over the people one hand grasping something to her chest the other in his hand. As he squeeze it she looks up to him smiling and whispers to him, "who are they?"
"Them? "he says as he returns looking down into the lobby. "most of them are my friends. The ones sitting around the read couch and standing leaning against the wall are Guardian Angels?"
"Why are they here?"
Briefly looking at her he begins to tell about how they came to be here and to which each of them they were assigned."
"Why?" she asks again.
"Why? "He says quietly. "Because it was thought that they needed them. They deserve them. Each and every one of them fights for the good cause and each and every one of them has sacrificed a lot in doing so."
"Common, lets go back." He says as he lets go and turns around. Nodding she watches him go. Casting a brief glace at the people and angels in the lobby her eyes fills with tears. Shacking her head she goes after him finding him in the same room that she first did.
He was once again standing by the balcony windows and as he heard her come in he turns towards her. She is biting her lower lip as she looks down to her hands.
Smiling as he recognizes her ´deep in thought´ stand he waited patiently for her to speak up, sooner or later she always did.
Walking further into the room she finally looks up to him and says, "you don´t have one." Sadness evident in her voice.
He gives her a pain grin back and shakes his head knowing immediately what she meant.
"No I don´t."
She doesn´t like that. Walking up to him she grabs his hand and tugs at him until he sits on the floor. Having accomplished that she steps in and plants herself in his lap her head tucked under his chin. He can see that she is once again in deep thoughts, her hand straying to the silver chain he always carries.
After long minutes he hear her say, "can I be yours?"
"Be my what?"
"Be your guardian angel? I ´ll protect ye."
"You want to be my angel? Why?"
"You don´t have one and you need one. I want to be you angel, canna, please. I´ll be very good."
"Oh precious, you can´t..." seeing her crestfallen face he quickly amends his statement and smiling at her he nods. "I would love it."
"Really? Ye not just saying that..."
"No, I´m not. There isn´t anyone I rather have to guard my heart."
"Hmm, no more pain for ye." She says as she firmly nods and pats him making him chuckle. Her eyes tingle and he sees happiness in them. It´s the only thing she lets him see, not the sadness she carries for him.
She takes her duty very seriously. Laying her head down on his chest again she follows him as he reclines on the wall behind him. Suddenly she realizes what it is she´s been fingering and sitting up she looks closer at it.
He watches her face go from surprise to awe as she identifies the necklace.
"Aye." He says his brogue finally making an appearance. "I told ye I have missed ye."
"All this time...and ye still have it..."
Kissing his cheek she leans on him again, the necklace firmly in her grasp and her decision to look after him cements in her.
She is never going to leave him again. She will not let no one and nothing come between them. Not ever again.
This is the scene in which kicked this story into being:
Tugging at him again Angel rolled his eyes as he sank into the cushion of the couch wondering if it was her new form of getting him to do as she wanted.
She patiently patted him on his knee as she saw him roll them knowing that he will bestow her all his attention.
"What do ye want, luv?" He asked as he made himself comfortable.
Smiling at him she grabs the front of his shirt and tugs him forwards making him lean towards her. She knew better then to be fooled by his smiles.
Looking down into her serious eyes made him switch his mood abruptly, whatever she wanted it was no joking matter. He hoped she wasn´t going to bring up what she witnessed earlier today because he was quite frankly tired of hearing it by everybody else and he just wanted to forget it.
Curiously he watched as she unbuttoned one button as the first two were already undone. Kissing on his cheek, she caressed it knowing he was wondering what she was up to. She was going to do what she promised.
Parting the fabric exposing his pale skin she said to him, "I felt ye. I know you hurt, but don´t worry I´ll heal your heart. I´ll kiss it better."
And with that she leaned forward and planted a kiss right above his heart, not at all disturbed by the lack of movement from it, she knew that even though it did not beat, not anymore, it could still break.
Looking up at him she noticed his dark eyes were tearing up and she smiled up at him, "There all better, right? I kissed it all better, just like you used to do when I hurt."
Stumbling he nodded and crocked out, "Y- yes, all better."
His heart constricted at the wonder that was this girl. Who cared for him so deeply, thinking that a simple kiss could heal his heart, and he be damned, it just might.