I really felt sorry for Wesley during The Shroud of Rahmon. He's being accused of murder, on top of having his brain scrambled by the Shroud. He's all alone, he doesn't know where his friends are, and he can't even remember why they went to the museum to do in the first place.

In addition...I love their dynamic in Season 2! I'm a big fan of Wesley/Cordy friendship. So...there's a lot of hints of that here. Hope you don't mind?


No one was telling him where Cordelia was…

Wesley really wished they would. Because he couldn't remember. He couldn't remember a lot of things, but he really wanted to remember where Cordelia was.

Why wouldn't they tell him? She'd been right beside him and then…she'd been gone.

Oh, lord…he remembered a body, falling to the floor. The pained gasps it had made had sounded female. He hadn't seen clearly, maybe that had been her…

No…no. The body had been blonde. Cordelia had black hair…didn't she?

Oh, no…oh, no, no, she'd changed her hair!

She'd changed her hair and he hadn't noticed. Ten days changed. Maybe she'd become a blonde and he hadn't noticed or he'd forgotten…

Why wouldn't anybody tell him? Why did they keep asking him questions about headless bodies or stolen caskets…

But he was pretty sure the casket was important…

But he couldn't focus on why it was until they told him where Cordelia was.

If that body had been Cordelia…she'd changed her hair, after all…what would he say to the boss? The boss who had killed her? He knew the boss hadn't meant to do it, he shouldn't have been there at all. None of them should…but they hadn't known, they hadn't known, and he couldn't even remember…why had they even sent him there in the first place? Why hadn't they just kept him at home? What had possessed him to send the boss out to do those terrible things…

Where was Cordelia?

He couldn't remember. His head hurt and he couldn't remember. These two outside his barred door kept asking him questions…

…and one was threatening him…

…and he was scared and someone was dead and the boss was gone

At one point he was pretty sure he started crying because he hurt so much and could not remember…if someone would just tell him where Cordelia was, where his boss was, he was almost certain that that would help…and the bigger of the two policeman shook his bars so hard they rattled and shouted at him to stop babbling. He didn't understand that Wesley couldn't stop talking, it was the only way to get his thoughts back and remember anything

The guard finally lost his temper, unlocked the cell door, and hit him hard across the face. But this only added to the pain, and when Wesley tried to ask the man where Cordelia was, all he got was another blow. Fortunately, the man's partner came in after that and dragged him out. Wesley grabbed at his rescuer's sleeve and repeated his question…where is she? Is she all right? I don't know…and this man only shoved him gently but firmly back into the cell.

At least they gave him time to get himself together…they let him talk, now, let him try and get his thoughts together and remember…

But he just couldn't, he couldn't remember anything…

Where…

was…

Cordelia?

Was this what she felt, when she got one of those…head-achy things, those…visions? All torn to pieces and wondering and unable to remember…

Where was she?

What did they always say to her after she had one of those visions?

Calm down.

Take deep breaths.

Take your time.

What happened?

First, he tried to calm down. He took deep breaths and stopped thinking for a while, stopped trying to wonder where Cordelia and the boss were…he gave himself time, just tried to calm down and pull himself together…

No one would tell him where Cordelia was. No one would tell him where the boss was.

But they wanted to know about the casket…the shroud…the body they'd found him with…

He might be able to tell them about that…

And if he did…they might be able to tell him what had happened to Cordelia…and if she'd changed her hair, if she was really blonde, or if that had been some other woman dying on the floor…

Slowly, tentatively, Wesley got to his feet and went to the bars. Gripping them tightly, the better to keep himself upright, he tried to catch his guard's attention.

"Officer…o-officer? I t-think I remember what I saw. Do you…do you think you could let me out of here?"

* * *

They said it was his fault she had died!

It wasn't, it truly wasn't. He knew that. He'd been kneeling on the ground when the police had come for him, trying to get her to wake up. It wasn't his fault! But he couldn't find the words to protest, had been overwhelmed by all that had happened as they shoved him against the table and pulled out the handcuffs.

He was alone. All alone. No Cordelia. No boss.

And still, no one had told him where they had gone.

Why they had left him here.

Why he had left him alive.

He felt the cold metal of the cuffs near his wrist before the voice rang out, sharp and clear.

"Let him go."

And the officers stopped, and the cuffs had gone away, and Wesley was released. He looked up wildly, to see a woman standing in the doorway. A…blonde woman. Yes, the hair was important. He remembered the hair.

And then…he remembered her. The woman. Remembered the name he had murmured to her, as he tried vainly to bring her back.

"Kate…Kate, wake up…"

Kate.

Not Cordelia.

Kate had led him out into the hall, and closed the door behind them. She peered at him, giving his face a thorough once-over, before clicking her tongue. "Whatever they hit you two with, it was a royal doozy. You look hammered. How many fingers?"

"Four."

"Good. Look, I heard from the cell guards that you were looking for your friend. She's down in Stolen Items, putting back all the museum jewelry she wandered off with. Relax. No charges. Neither of you were in your right mind. You both seem a bit more lucid, but letting you drive might put you at risk for a DUI. I'm driving you both home, all right?"

Wesley nodded mutely. The world had suddenly gone from being horrible and confusing to being peaceful and clear. All he had to do was follow Kate's directions, and he would find Cordelia. Together, then, they could find the boss…

Angel…

Pulling himself back together, grabbing at fragments of recent events, Wesley hurried towards Stolen Items.

Cordelia was there, pulling item after item of priceless Native American jewelry out of pockets and waistbands and from around her neck. The expression on the cop's face overseeing her box was growing progressively less pleasant.

"And…there's this…and I thought this was really pretty…and this…and that…do I have to give this back?"

With a sigh, Cordelia dropped what was apparently the final piece of jewelry into the box. She stood up, and was promptly subjected to a pat-down search by the guard's partner. She rolled her eyes but did not protest. Finally, after extracting a final pair of earrings from her pocket and giving her a stormy glare, they dismissed her from the desk.

Cordelia turned away, clearly irritated. She took a few steps away from the table…and then, she saw Wesley, standing in the doorway, staring at her.

She smiled, the expression holding so much relief that he actually felt a little guilty for worrying her. She closed the distance between them and gingerly took his arm.

"They wouldn't tell me where you were," she said softly to him. She seemed to have shaken off the Shroud's effects far more quickly than he had, but her eyes were still a little unfocused. "I…Gotta admit, Wes, I was afraid they'd thrown away the key. But our boys in blue wouldn't tell me anything. And…I couldn't remember where you went. Still can't remember a lot of tonight. Fortunately, they think we just got hammered and got lost going home from the party. That's one lucky break, hm?"

"Yes…yes, it is." He looked down at her. "Come on. Detective Lockley is driving us home."

"Least they can do, I suppose."

He wasn't certain who was leading who or who was supporting who, but together they walked back towards where Kate was waiting. They signed out at the front desk, with Kate providing her own signature for authorization, before the cop led them outside into the night and towards her car.

Cordelia got in one side. Wesley got in the other. Kate started the car, but before she put it in drive she twisted in her seat to face the two of them.

"Whenever you find Angel…" she said. "…tell him this from me. He needs to do a better job of keeping an eye on you two. I'll get you both home, but I suggest you stay off the streets the rest of the night."

"You got it, officer," said Cordelia, giving her a lazy salute. Kate nodded and turned back to her driving. Cordelia then gave a sigh of exhaustion and put a hand to her head.

"God, I'm so tired…" she murmured. "Wes, how're you holding up?"

Wesley had laid his head against the car window, eyes closed. He looked exhausted. Cordelia supposed that it had been a long night for both of them…but she hadn't spent the last two hours in a jail cell. She knew that if she ever found out where that bruise on his face had come from, she'd rip the offender in two.

"Wes?" she asked, softer. "C'mon, Wes, I hate talking to myself. What's up?"

Wesley half-opened his eyes, but he still looked barely conscious.

"I…I couldn't remember," he murmured. "And…no one would tell me anything. I couldn't remember…where you were. I still don't, but…at least you're here, now. And that…that makes me feel a lot better. That you're here now."

Cordelia blinked…then, she smiled indulgently at her tired friend.

"Yeah. You're here. I'm here. Nobody's getting arrested. That's all you need to know remember right now. You look so tired I'm surprised your not seeing pink elephants. Go to sleep, Wes. I'll wake you up when we get home."