Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this fic... Joss Whedon does. sigh Oh well... but on the bright side, without him, Angel wouldn't even exist!

This is from Cordelia's POV, around the middle of Season 5. Enjoy and please review!

Cordelia and Spike friendship Spoilers: The latter part of Season 3, plot of Season 4 and some episodes of Season 5 before "Damage"

Because everybody thinks comatose bodies never talk.

Or hear

Or see.

Or think.

Or understand.

You get the point don't you?

Sigh. Where to begin? I've been like this for so many months now. Or at least it feels that way. And they've all stopped visiting, over time. But who can blame them? They have their own lives, own responsibilities. As for me? I don't really consider this life. More like being a vegetable, useless and unable to help those around me.

Some gift the Powers That Be give me. There was a time long ago when I would ask for a break. A respite. I'm not perfect you know, if that's what you're thinking. I'm only human. Or part demon. Whatever. Point is, I just wanted a break from all the 'helping the helpless' jobs that were coming in, increasing everyday because of Angel's desire to have more money to provide for his son. Not that I blame him. He was just in 'overprotective dad' mode. All I wanted was just one day. They granted that wish, but at the worst possible time. And now look at me. I've been stuck for months and at a time when my friends need the most help.

Damn them. Should change their name to the Puppeteers That Be. 'Cause that's all they ever do. Offer false hope, play around, pull the strings, give ominouse signs, predict an apocalypse that will signify the end of the world and turns out there are a dozen more after, and when we've given everything we have, they discard us like we're useless. Just what they did to me.
Like our lives are just some sort of chess piece, to be played with in a game. Probably true, compared to their so called 'mightiness', 'power' and 'importance'.

Hard to believe they're on our side. If they were, they would do everything in their power to aid us. But noooo... they prefer to stand by and watch us suffer.

So back to what I was saying. My friends, no, my family most definitely needs my help. I thought that Wes would have figured it out by now, being the smart one and all. I mean that's what Wes does right? Figure things out before it's too late. Or Gunn. He's got the primal instincts to sense what's going on and the smartness to go with it, thanks to the brain implant. Or Fred. Or Lorne. Or Angel. Or even Harmony. And that's saying a lot.

Someone? Anyone?

No.

They've all bitten into the proverbial apple offered by Wolfram and Hart.

Offered everything their hearts desired.

Ironic then, that their new liason's name is Eve.

They're blind to what's so obvious.

Everything they do is a distraction, from signing cheques to dealing with clients, to keep them busy from looking under the surface.

Just like the Senior Partners planned. Sigh. If only evil genius could be used for good.

You know my role in the group? I'm not only Stick Figure Barbie. I'm also Think It Say It Whether You Like It Or Not Barbie and Receiver of Morbid Visions That Lead The Way Barbie. So I'm gonna tell it like it is.

What the hell was Angel thinking, accepting a deal from Wolfram and Hart? He should know by now that everything Wolfram and Hart offers has a price. A very large one. I think he's starting to learn that now, watching him everyday as he thinks about Connor.

Wolfram and Hart spared him just one picture.

It's a picture with me, Angel and baby Connor, just before things started to get ugly. A picture of what could have been.

I don't know why they left him a picture, especially one with me in it. Maybe they feel sorry for him. Maybe they just wanna remind him of the choice he made and torture him. Knowing the Senior Partners, I'm sticking with the latter.

He's different now. Like I said, everyone's changed. He's broodier now, if that were possible. If he keeps this up, he'll have worry lines on his forehead soon (is that possible? I thought vampires don't change...). His heart's not into his work anymore, figuratively speaking. He just helps the helpless because it's what he's expected to do, not because he wants to or derives any pleasure from it. He doesn't even believe in the whole Shanshu Prophecy anymore. Can't blame him, what with the firsthand exprience with those damn propheices.

Has he lost all hope? Yes.

In that sense, Spike is a better Champion that he is. Can't believe I'm admitting that, but it's true.

Does he still love me? I have no idea. Don't think so, after the Jasmine incident.

He was the first to stop visiting. I figured he'd classified me in the 'To Be Brooded Over' section, along with Buffy, Connor and his redemption.

You know what I hate the most? That everybody looks at me like I'm Jasmine. Armed and dangerous and planning something in my coma.

A murderer.

They look at me and say, "It's okay, we know it wasn't you..." or "You couldn't have known... don't blame yourself..."

So why is it that their eyes hold fear and resentment behind the pity?

Another thing I hate?

The fact that I can't do anything, that nothing can take my mind off the past year.

I know it wasn't me, but it was my choices that let it happen.

My choice to become half-demon.

My choice to ascend and become a higher being.

My choice not to fight back harder.

Worst part is, I made those decisions thinking it would be for the good of mankind.

I was stupid.

I didn't think it through.

Because of those choices, disaster occured.

Lilah died. Murdered by my hand. Not much of a loss really, but still.

Connor turned away from his father, deceived by my image.

People died when the Beast took over, L.A a demons' playground.

Looks like I do deserve the state I'm in.

But I refuse to stop fighting.

I refuse to give up on redemption.

Looks like I've got a whole lot of brownie points to earn.

Haha... I sure sound like Angel... is this what he says to himself when he's brooding?

And then there's Wes.

My brother.

My comrade-in-arms.

You know what's funny when you're in a coma? People go to you and tell you what's been happening, things they regret... I mean for heaven's sakes I'm not a priest who's giving Confession! But I feel good about the fact that they chose to confide in me. Well, I'm guessing they only tell me because they think that coma patients will never register what they're saying or tell anyone. But hey, I'm just doing the whole 'looking at the bright side' and 'glass half full' kind of thing.

It's the only thing that keeps me going.

But back to Wes. He's like Angel now. To be like Angel is to love to brood. Hardened by experience. Gone are the days of clumsy, hopelessly unfashionable, stick-the-size-of-the-London-Bridge-up-his-ass, bickers-like-a-four-year-old Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. The new version is broodier, stronger in every way, a fighter and knows what it's like to touch the dark side (that sort of sounded like Star Wars...).

He bears all his responsibilities with a quiet dignity and strength that only he has. There was a time long ago when I begged him to grow a backbone and be a man.

Now, all I ask is for him to regain his lost innocence.

He's marked by a scar on his throat and he doesn't even know why it's there.

Doesn't matter.

There are more scars on the inside anyway.

He doesn't realize it but there was a time when he felt like me.

Alone. Helpless. In need of redemption.

I wish that he would get his memory back. It might hurt him, but at least when I wake up, he'll be the first one I ask on how to deal.

Selfish. But true.

The first time he visited, he told me that with the resources of Wolfram and Hart, he would find a way to bring me back to my pretty and tactless self. I had to smile slightly at that. He learned from the best.

He also broods when he's around me.

Broods over his unrequited love for Fred (which is sure to change after the one-sided talks I've had with Fred), how he couldn't save Lilah and how a part of him wishes that they could go back to just plain 'Angel Investigations: We help the helpless' because it was so much simpler back then but a part of him is happy that they're at Wolfram and Hart because of all the resources available. It was so much simpler then for there line between black and white, good and evil was still visible, still clear. Now, that line has been distorted because while they help the helpless, they have to cater to the needs of the evil Big Bads.

In other words, they're in the gray area, doing things not only because it's right but also cost-efficient.

No wonder Angel's feeling 'disconnected'.

I was, of course, inclined to agree. He gets that we can't go back to the good old days and that he has to deal with his decision.

He's gotten it faster than any of them.

But what he still doesn't get is that they haven't changed Wolfram and Hart; it's changing them.

Who knew Spike could be so wise?

He doesn't drop by to see me anymore. It's all those books the firm gave him; they have a firm grip on him and are unwilling to let go. It's the one thing that hasn't changed over the years.

And then there's Fred.

Sweet, kind, warm-hearted Fred.

I can see why Gunn and Wes fell for her. And that Knox guy too, although I have a bad feeling about him. Bit of a nerd, and he tries too hard to impress her.

She's the only one who hasn't changed, at least not much. Which is why there's not much to report on her visits.

Fred came everyday for weeks, babbling about how she was trying to save me, thanks to the resources of Wolfram and Hart.
She worked day and night, but in the end, she had no real clue of how to do it or why, thanks to Angel's deal.

Thank you very much Angel! You say you want to save me? You just doomed me!

Looks like being in a coma hasn't dulled my tongue. At least I hope not.

She had tried thousands of times but after the last time, she just had to give up. There were other things she had to deal with too, like recorporealizing Spike, not to mention her other projects for the firm.

Inside, I was screaming at her to find a way because I couldn't stand being in this prison anymore, to feel the anguish of not being able to do anyhting to save myself, to feel the torture of watching those poor innocent people die everytime I close my eyes because of the choices I made. To watch the people I love stare at me with hatred and distrust in their eyes for all the havoc I caused...

And to hell with Spike!

Because inside, I was still the Sunnydale bitch who refused to give up.

Because I refused to be beaten.

But of course, she couldn't hear me, what with that little factor about being in a coma.

Of all the people, I thought that she would be the only one who wouldn't give up on me.

Guess I was wrong.

She stopped visiting too. Some top secret experiments and such.

But I can't blame her.

In fact, I want to say thank you. She tried and that's more than most people in the firm do for me.

Now Charles Gunn, Attorney at Law. He's changed the most, thanks to the brain implant the firm gave him.

But that's not all.

Gone are the street clothes; he's wearing suits now.

Gone is the street slang he had growing up; say hello to the complicated lawyer-like terms.

He visited a couple of times, giving me the same lines that Wes, Angel and Fred did. How he wished he could have saved me, like I did for him once upon a time. He told me about the implant, how painful it was but it was worth it in the end. Now, he wasn't just muscle anymore; he felt more valued, knowing that he wasn't just muscle anymore, that he could be much more than that.
He could save the day without ever resorting to violence.

If only I could talk to him.

Take the damn brain implant out becuase it isn't who you are!

You aren't just muscle. You're a good friend, a comrade, someone I could lean on when times got tough.

But hey, if you believe you're just muscle, it's better to be muscle than to be someone you're not.

Leave the smartness to someone else. We've all got our roles. Smartness belongs to Wes and Fred.

It isn't who you are.

God I sounded like a priest. Or Angel trying to give an inspiring speech. Featured word:trying.

Really cliche but true.

He'll have to realize that the hard way, unfortunately. He has to learn that nothing comes without a price. What's more, he took the easy route to become smart.

He doesn't visit anymore, saying that his new life makes him busy. Real busy.

Oh well.

Another thing I would like to talk about. Gunn told me that they had the resources to make me well again and they wouldn't stop until I was awake.

What exactly did these 'resources' cost you?

Resources, sure. But you guys made a deal with the devil just to gain access to them. Another thing they're too blind to see.

Don't be like me.

I didn't think of what it would cost me if I became half-demon.

The consequences.

The price.

Don't be like me.

Next is Lorne. God I love that demon. Being around him is like being in Disneyland every hour of the day, minus the creepy Disney character mascots that smile creepily at you. But his suits do rival everything Walt Disney has created.

He visited regularly, before. I'm grateful for that. He took a few minutes out of his hectic day just to say, "How are you sweetcakes? No one can pull off a coma as beautifully as you do! I really wasn't kidding when I told Angelcakes that you were hot-o-rama, in the 'oh my sizzling loins sense of the word'..." He then grinned and told me about his day, about meeting all the celebrities he's ever wanted to meet and that he has all their addresses and phone numbers.

I'm glad that he didn't focus on all the doom and gloom going around. We have enough of that, believe you me.

He told me that he had his sleep removed because of all the work he had to do and that it led to disastrous results in a Halloween party, where a Incredible Hulk version of himself, which was actually his subconscious, appeared. And that he got Gunn to pee all over, Spike to think positive and exclaim that the really stupid song playing was 'the greatest song ever written', Wes and Fred to get drunk and Angel and Eve to... ehem ehem, let's not go there...

If he didn't want his job here anymore, he said that he could just become a professional stalker.

I'm betting he'd scare the heck out of a celebrities... I can just see it now... "Good evening ladies and gentlemen! Breaking news.
a crazy stalker bombs a Barry Manilow concert to get the singer's attention... all that is left of the bomber is a single red horn... yes ladies and gentlemen we are not kidding... a single red horn..." on the 6 o'clock news.

When he said that, I was thankful I wasn't a celebrity.

Best of all, he talked to me like he knew I'm really listening. When I get out of here (see? when, not if... positive thinking,
I'm gonna give him a really big thank you gift...

Or not.

He stopped visiting when he realized he had more 'things' to do. That and he had to catch up on his beauty sleep.

I wish he hadn't stopped. It was his smile that took all the doom and gloom and guilt off my mind.

Maybe I don't deserve it.

Next on the list is Harmony.

Who never visited... Ah who cares. All she'd probably talk about are those stupid unicorns of hers...

Then there's Eve. Visited once.

Still can't believe she visited me. Not that I wanted her to.

All she did was look at me, shake her head sadly, as though there were no hope and smirked,
and said, "Get well soon,"

I swear I wanted to strangle her!

First she gives me pity, which I don't want and will never need and second, she purposely insults me knowing I can't do a thing!

She may do that, but she still lacks the bite of Lilah; Lilah was the only one who could compete with me in being bitchy, pretty and tactless...

Vicious bitch solidarity.

Does Eve know I can hear and see everything going on?

And why does she smell faintly of that silly perfume Lindsey used to wear? Not that I've ever smelled him up close...

Last but not least is Spike.

Just dropped in a few minutes ago.

Odd really, considering our history. Which is to say is not much.

Exactly.

That and me and Buffy weren't exactly the best of friends.

But he still comes here.

Wanna know why he was here? Actually, he needed to go here himself, got some nasty wounds, which I'm willing to bet come from Angel. Some stupid Cup of Perpetual Torment, he told me later on. Can't believe they fell for that. I mean, what kind of a name is that?

When they were done patching me up, he sat done beside my chair, removed the flower basket Wes sent a few hours ago and propped his feet up the table, lights a cigarette and says, "'So. How's it going cheerleader?"

Of course I can't answer him, he knows that. But for some odd reason, he looks at me like he expects me to.

Odd really. He's the last person I would have expected to come.

"What the bloody hell happened to you? Would 'ave expected you to look after yourself."

You think I don't ask that question every single damn day? Bleach must have seeped into your 'bloody' brain...

"Your friends have stopped visiting you... sad innit? Silly blokes..."

Seriously? I never realized that until now... thank you so much for enlightening me...

And then he grew closer and took my cold hand in his own.

That surprised me.

"I felt that way once... when I got a soul... blamed myself for everything I had done..."

You got a soul to get Buffy so don't you dare go all religious and redemption-ish on me!

"I tried to tell myself I was an innocent victim, that I didn't choose to be turned, that I couldn't refuse the urges of my charming vampiric self..."

Exactly! Except for the charming part... wait... I'm agreeing with him?

"In the end, I realized that it would do me no bloody good if I just sat around all day and brooded like the silly Ponce...had to do something to save meself... just have to learn from my mistakes.."

And your point is...

"Since I've been around here, hell, since my Scoobies SunnyD days, I've been giving the 'ole helping the helpless thing a go..."

I am not helpless! I don't want your pity! And if you're helping me to become human again, forget it!

Then he looked at me with those clear blue eyes of his, clear with determination and sincerity, and said, "and I want to help you."

Eh?

"People have forgotten you. The good you did for the world. But I won't. If you think I'm just gonna sod off, you're wrong."

He stayed a few more minutes, then left. I thought that was the end of that, despite what he had said.

I was wrong.

He came again.

And again.

And again.

He talked to me.

He brought me flowers.

Brought me the newest Vogue magazines, reading to me though he despised it. Although he did enjoy criticizing Jessica Simpson.

Told me about the crises going on.

Reminisced about his Sunnydale days.

Told me about his days in Europe.

Told me about William the Bloody, something he had never really told anybody.

Like I really mattered.

Like I hadn't been forgotten.

Small things. Simple things.

Things my friends hadn't done in a long time.

Things they had stopped doing long ago.

They didn't.

Spike did.

He understood.

Maybe redemption is possible.

I'm done! Phew! IThat was long...

I used some lines from "Underneath", Season 5 Original: Lindsey: Not an apocalypse, the apocalypse. What'd you think, a gong was gonna sound? Time to jump on your horses and fight the big fight? Starting pistol went off a long time ago, boys. You're playing for the bad guys. Every day you sit behind your desk and you learn a little more how to accept the world the way it is. Well, here's the rub...heroes don't do that. Heroes don't accept the world the way it is. They fight it. Angel: You're saying everything we do...it's a distraction...to keep us busy from looking under the surface.

Mine:Everything they do is a distraction, from signing cheques to dealing with clients, to keep them busy from looking under the surface. Just tweaked it a bit and shortened it.

Hoped you enjoyed... Sorry about Spike's manner of speaking.. dunno how to speak British... I still love him though!

And does Wes still have a scar in S5?

Please review!