Disclaimer: "ANGEL" is a trademark of Twentieth Television © 2001.

Author's Note: This story takes place shortly after "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"

The Letter
by Tara O'Shea

1st Draft: August 9, 2001
2nd Draft: August 10, 2001
3rd Draft: August 16, 2001

I don't know why I'm doing this. I mean, it's not like I'm actually going to be able to mail this. I suppose if there had been a body to bury, I'd probably be sitting at your grave right now. But since there wasn't, and I can't, here I am. And I should have done this a long time ago. I guess watching Angel and everybody dealing with losing Buffy kinda brought it all home for me.

I want to apologize.

For every time I made fun of you, or ragged on you, or was generally a total bitch about the visions, I am so sorry. I never really understood. I thought you were just a big baby for complaining all the time. Or maybe it was easier to pretend that; I can't tell any more. I think everything was easier back then. When you died, it was like we remembered that everything comes at a price, and that the price can be so high.

At first, all I did was blame you. Though now I think I figured out that it was the PTB that really sucked on the cosmic scale and probably you had nothing to do with it. Anyway, I really like the idea that you kissed me because you wanted to kiss me—not to give me seer cooties. It was just so easy to blame you, in the beginning. I think what I was really upset about wasn't so much the migraines as it was your going off and getting killed. I mean, that first day back at work... It was pretty lousy. Angel and I weren't exactly best buds, back then. You had always sorta been the buffer between us. Suddenly, I was stuck with a vampire who communicated pretty much in monosyllables—if at all—left to handle it all alone. And I had brain-smashing communiqué's from the Guys Upstairs on top of that. So, anyway, I was bitter.

I don't really know exactly when things started to change. Okay, that's a lie. Pretty much, it was last year when I was strapped down with leather restraints, having non-stop visions of horrors I couldn't begin to describe for 24 hours straight. Let's just say I had an epiphany.

I remember lying in the bed in the hospital thinking about how I could apologize. Thinking about what an idiot I had been. Not just about, you know, the part where we never really had a chance to go out. But about how I had taken everything for granted. About how selfish I had been. About how awful a world we live in, and how little hope there really is to go around, and how incredibly strong you must have been to actually just get out of bed every morning (or, in your case, afternoon) and say "Today, I'm gonna help the helpless."

But then stuff just started happening, and it got pushed to the back part of my brain and I just never did it. But I should have.

I don't know how you did it. Wesley thinks it was easier for you, being all half-demon-y. Maybe the pain was easier to handle, but I realize now that the stuff you saw, and the stuff you felt— that stuff is hard whether you are human, or green and spiky, or whatever. So I take back everything bad I ever said about you (except the bowling shirts, because there really is no excuse for wearing polyester on purpose). Because this is so hard. Harder than I ever imagined. The boys are worried—they treat me like I'm made of glass. Which normally I would kinda enjoy—you know me and pampering. But it actually was starting to piss me off. Mostly Angel. Though between you and me, yeah, I'm a little worn down these days.

But it surprised the hell out of me to realize I wouldn't give it up for a second. I mean, there I was—Princess Cordy with this gorgeous, sweet, sensitive Adonis who treated me like, well, a Princess, offering to take my "burden" off my shoulders. I mean, in a million years I never thought if someone said "Hey, how about I take those skull-splitting visions off your hands for free?" I'd say "no". But when push came to shove, I said no.

Okay, here's the thing. Part of me wants to keep them because they make me special. I can handle that. Everybody wants to be special, right? And it's not like my acting career was gonna change the world. But I guess the other part of me wanted to keep them because I knew that if I didn't, then those people in my visions wouldn't have anyone to fight for them. Their cries for help wouldn't be heard. Okay, maybe the Powers would just activate the next seer in line to be Angel's link. But I'm Angel's link. It's a job I need. It's a job I want. It's the job I took over when you decided to be all heroic and stuff and get yourself killed, and I'm okay with that now.

Anyway, I was your Princess before I was Groo's. Part of me will always remember that, even if I looked up one day and realized it had been over a year since you left, and we had all been so busy that we didn't notice. Some way for your friends to remember you, huh? Okay, so we're lousy friends. But I guess better late than never, right?

Thank you.

Thank you for finding the two of us in the first place, and bringing us together. Thank you for setting us on this road. Thank you for helping me to find a way to help. Thank you for the sacrifice you made, and for the gift you gave me. Not just my life—but my purpose. Thank you.

And I know it may not always seem like it, but we miss you, Doyle.

Love,

Cordy