Split Stem

By Weasy

Rating: I think we're back with G. There isn't actually even any innuendo. blinks I didn't mean to they just keep ending up this way.

Summary: A Post-Apocalyptic battle Angel is nursing his wounds. With a lil' help from his friends.

Author's Notes: Written for the second assignment of Buffy Survivor, this weeks three words are rose, water and knife. And it is again exactly one thousand words! Though I didn't have to cut quite as much as I did last time… If you still haven't checked out the site then I'm thoroughly ashamed of you, and the link is on my bio page.


Letting his shoulders fall back Angel let a hiss of air escape through his lips as his muscles tensed in protest at the movement. Blinking at the ceiling above him he felt his features slip into a smirk and regretted it when one half of his face exploded in pain. The latest battle had left him decorated with bruises that neatly matched his broken wrist and fractured ribs. Sensibly he had no reason to be anything but his normal brooding self. It was Monday though, and he couldn't help but smile.

Unable to suppress his anticipation he yelled "Dawn!"

She poked her head in a moment later. She'd grown a lot, not in height for which he was sure her sister was grateful - but in maturity as the years had gone by. He'd never asked her why she had left the Council's permanent London home to help him defend what was left of the Californian cities but he was intensely grateful for her presence. Not only for her technical translation skills but also for the fact that Dawn's mannerisms were often akin to…

"Hey, how are you feeling?" Pushing away the thought Angel turned his attention back to his friend.

"Alright." He replied mutely. She was at the window already and he saw that she had added two new vials of coloured water to the rack that sat there. A little confused Angel watched as she produced a long stemmed white rose from behind her back and cautiously split the stem five inches lengthways with a familiar looking knife. A moment later the knife had disappeared back into the folds of her clothing and Dawn slipped one half of the stem into the yellow vial the other into the red.

Her fingers grazed the other flowers grouped there, all roses but each a different colour. The first had been a deep blood red, the next yellow, even a black rose… patiently Angel waited for an explanation.

"She ran out of colours." Dawn finally filled in, taking the seat next to his bed.

One eyebrow twitched. "Colours?"

"For the flowers… she was aiming for a complete rainbow of roses but she ran out of natural colours." She paused and glanced up at him and seeing the mess of emotions play across his face at the mention of his beloved. "When the rose takes up the water it also takes in the dye, which colours the flower. If the monk memories aren't fake, that should make the rose orange."

"Sometimes I wonder what those monks were up to." He replied, face straight and Dawn let out a small laugh.

The conversation swiftly turned to more imperative matters, another suspected Hellmouth near the Pacheco Pass north of LA. Oddly LA was quiet and Angel Investigations were again having cash flow problems. Angel loved that it was his again, Angel Investigations… the team that ran it weren't the same, Doyle, Cordelia, Gunn, Fred and countless others had passed through it's employment and now they was for all intent led only by Angel. It was almost ironic that he was happiest when he cared for his own needs least but it helped him assuage some of the guilt for every sin he had committed; as Liam, as Angelus and as Angel. Seeing his sudden change in mood, Dawn smiled weakly. "I'm gunna go, leave you to it." Swiftly she was at the door before he could twist his bruised neck to follow her.

"Wait…"

"Wesley and I are perfectly capable of running the show." She finished.

Angel tried not to look disbelieving. "No… doesn't she…" he trailed off uncomfortably. "Isn't there ever a note?"

Dawn opened her mouth but then quickly shut it, discomfort flitting across her features as she struggled with her own internal battle. "I'll just be a minute." She eventually replied, and sped out of the room.

It seemed like hours before she came back. Twisting her lip into a slight smile she proffered one hand to him, in its grip was a slim leather bound volume. He met her guilty eyes for a moment, mercilessly pouring all of his anger and hurt that she had not passed on the message into his gaze. Taking the book he flicked it open with his one good hand. The title betrayed the gift straight away, 'Sonnets of the Portugeuse' was emblazoned on the page and for a moment his entire existence caught in his throat, there written underneath was "Forever."

Tracing the outline of the letters he breathed in her scent from the faded pages and wondered where she had been to find another first edition copy of the book, but as he flicked through the pages his attention was immediately caught by the little bundles of treasure hidden in the leaves of paper. For the first sonnet there was a postcard, the second a page ripped from a book about Claddagh rings with the passage about marriage underlined in red…

He had been pawing through the pages discovering each secret and tale hidden inside it with child-like fascination. It wasn't like Angel to be like this, he was long past two hundred and fifty years old. There was no emotion he had not experienced or didn't know how to hide… except how much he loved Buffy. It wasn't right of her to have kept those precious words from him, but some misguided sense of duty to the world had forced her to, and she was grateful now that he had them.

Backing away she glanced at the flowers on the windowsill and saw that in the long moments she had been watching him the dye had started to colour the petals, instead of simply merging to make orange the edges of the petals were a rich yellow while the centre was a deep red, bleeding towards the yellow along the veins of the petal. Smiling Dawn ducked her head, and moved out of the room. Somewhere, somehow, things would be okay again.