Cordy rubbed her eyes and turned over to glare at the offending phone. Taking a slow breath, she groaned at the glowing red numbers on her clock. Who the hell would call her at three in the morning?
Silence greeted her and she started transforming her annoyance into anger. "Hello? Angel, if that's you, you better say something right now."
The ex-vampire had been respectful enough not to call her since she had left L.A. He understood, she thought, that she wanted space. She needed a new life. Hoping that she wouldn't hear from him for at least a few months, she sighed and moved to hang up the phone.
"Cordelia! Wait, don't hang up."
Her breath caught. "Connor? Connor, is that you?"
He sighed and she could her him swallowing. "Yeah, it's me. I…uhh…I…"
She sighed and turned the bedside light on. This was going to be a long night. "Hey. Stop stuttering. I get it. What's up?"
"How are things?"
She almost laughed. He should have asked about the weather, she thought. "I'm fine Connor. I'm good. How are you?"
"Ummm….I started working for The Slayer Academy. It's cool. Angel's cool. You know, living with him and all. And Buffy. It's all good, I guess."
"Mmm-hmm." She knew why he had called, but she needed to hear him say it.
"Okay, I called…I called because after I remembered…oh, God Cordy I don't know. I remember everything and I just needed to talk to you. That's all."
She closed her eyes and leaned against the headboard, imagining him playing with the phone cord or the edge of his shirt. "Connor, I'm really sorry for everything you remember. Well, I'm sorry for some things about me that you remember."
"You mean the part about you being evil and us sleeping together?"
The air escaped her lungs and she found she couldn't get it back in. "Uh, yeah. I guess that's what I mean."
He took a deep breath. "Well, umm…thanks for apologizing. I mean, yeah, that all sucks. I'm not saying this right, am I?"
"You're doing fine. It isn't every day you talk to your previously dead almost mom actual lover turned raging homicidal maniac. I think, for the circumstances, you're doing fine."
"I need to know it wasn't my fault." His voice came in one great rush and she looked down at the bed linens as she listened to him.
Her voice was a whisper and she fought hard to keep the tears from being heard. "It wasn't your fault. None of it was your fault, Connor."
"I did a lot of bad things."
She shook her head, as if he could see the gesture. "I came back wrong, Connor. Believe me, I wish I could take it all back. It…oh, God, it hurts to remember. I know how much it hurts, Connor. It wasn't me and that wasn't you. Holtz and then Justine and me, we all brainwashed you. I brainwashed you and Jasmine did too. Connor…none of it was your fault."
There was a long pause and she was afraid that he had hung up. "I was just…I guess I couldn't think for myself."
"Connor, that's not…you were lied to all your life. Give yourself a break, kid."
He sniffed and she could tell he was fighting to keep from crying. "Thanks Cordelia. I…well; I appreciate you talking to me."
"I appreciate you not hating me."
"It wasn't you. I just…well, look, I'm sorry I called you so late."
"Don't apologize. Anytime, Connor. Anytime."
Staring at the phone for a long time after she had hung up, she wiped the moisture from her eyes and stood up, stretching to the ceiling. Running at four in the morning wasn't so abnormal for someone like her, she thought; as if there was anyone else like her.
Yeah, she thought, she almost didn't regret picking up the phone. Maybe her past wasn't so bad that she had to run away to a different city. No, she thought, she needed to get away. Starting to run on the darkened streets, she smiled thinly. It seemed as if she was always going to be running.