Goodbye, My Angel
AN: Warning: Get tissues out, I think many of you will need them. I sobbed as I wrote this, I hate writing things like this, but it wouldn't go away.
Thanks to Darkira for pre-reading for me.
Characters belong to SM
Tears stung my eyes as I stood near the edge of the open grave-site. My lover, my best friend, my husband, my angel was buried today. People offered their condolences, and hugs. I heard nothing, felt nothing. Looking around at the people I knew were there, I couldn't see them. There was not even a sign that my angel was here. He'd never been here, never touched this place. His body may be in front of me, but he himself was not.
My angel's body laid in the casket, looking inhuman and waxy. This was not the man I remembered. The man I remembered was angelic, all lazy smiles and dimples. In the end, he had thinned and was so sick I barely recognized him anymore. Yet, I did. I recognized him because he was mine. No time, or illness, not even death could take away the connection I felt to him.
When the funeral was over and I finally made it back to our shared home I let the tears flow freely. He was here, in our things, our pictures, the way he smelled, small things, large things, memories. This is where my angel had lived and his presence still lingered.
Removing my jacket I wandered into the bedroom and laid down on the bed. Even though my angel hadn't been here in a while I still felt him everywhere. I felt him lie next to me, and thought I felt a ghost of a brush across my cheek, in an attempt to wipe the tears away.
Thinking back to the day we met I smiled, it felt weird to smile. My face felt too tight. Jasper would want me to smile. Unlike him, I rarely did, but smiling came to him easily.
Never thinking I'd ever find someone to love or even trust again, I was stunned when I set eyes on my angel. Moving away from everyone and everything I'd ever known I settled down and joined an HIV/AIDS support group. My family was hurt that I didn't let them help me, but I didn't want their help, they'd never understand. The one person in my life that I thought I could trust ripped that notion right out of my head, when he knowingly and intentionally gave me HIV. It was his life's mission to make everyone like him. I didn't know and I was torn apart. He never even let me decide for myself. He knew. He fucking knew and did it anyway.
By the time I'd moved there were no people to trust, no friends to tell, I didn't want them. Hell, I didn't need them. They would only turn on me once they found out or worse, leave when I got sicker.
I only went to that support group meeting at my parent's insistence that I talk to someone about it. Not talking about it, not dealing with it seemed better, but I somehow found myself in the meeting anyway.
That's where I met my angel. He walked in with a wide, easy smile, dimples, a wild mane of blond curls, and clear blue eyes that glittered against tan skin. He looked healthy and happy. What the fuck was he doing here then? I might not have been showing signs of being sick, but happy I was not.
My angel's eyes spotted me watching him in stunned awe. He came closer to me and I shook, not knowing what to say or do, afraid I'd fuck it up. I couldn't figure out why it would matter, I didn't plan to give myself to anyone ever again, in any capacity.
As he stepped up to about a foot in front of me, he tilted his head and waited for me to say something. All the while with that brilliant smile. The only thing I managed to stumble out was, "My angel." I wasn't even sure he heard it, until his smile became impossibly wider.
"I'm no angel, beautiful," he denied.
"I'm not beautiful," I argued. My hair was always a total mess, my skin too pale, my eyes a murky green. Compared to him, I wasn't beautiful.
"We'll see about that. How about we agree to disagree?" he asked and I nodded. "My name is Jasper, by the way," he introduced himself and stuck out a hand to shake.
Taking his hand in mine I nearly panicked at the feeling of him. It had been so long since I'd touched another human being. "Ed... Edward. My name is Edward," I stuttered out.
"Edward..." Jasper tried on the name and then shrugged. "I think beautiful suits you better, beautiful."
"Angel suits you better," I decided.
"Angel, huh? As I recall you said I was your angel," Jasper said with humor in his voice.
My face flushed and I was sure was bright red at my embarrassment. Jasper touched my neck and my face, amused at the color I had turned and the heat he felt against his hand.
The meeting started interrupting us, and for the first time I realized we weren't the only ones in the room. Eventually it became my turn to introduce myself, but honestly, I don't remember much of it or anyone else. I was far too fascinated in the man I knew was my angel next to me.
When the meeting let out Jasper said, "It was nice meeting you. See you around next week, beautiful."
Sputtering, I was thinking next week? Next fucking week? Why couldn't I see him before I then? We did this dance for a while, he never really pushed to make us move further and I was far too terrified and distrusting.
One day, after one of the meetings, I got onto the elevator and he got in with me, for the first time. "Beautiful, I want do something, if you promise not to run away," my angel spoke.
My heart was pounding in my chest as I was sure I knew what he wanted. "You're my angel, I won't run," my voice came out barely above a whisper.
Jasper's hand cupped my cheek and his soft lips met mine, caressing softly. Parting them for him I let him in. I finally let someone in, not just physically. If he wanted more from me, then I was willing to give it, something I thought had been taken from me forever.
The kiss was just as slow, easy, and lazy as his smiles were. It was perfect. Leaning his forehead against mine he kept his lips near mine and I could feel our breath mingle, each exhale a kiss of its own.
After that moment we rarely spent time apart. I loved him more than I ever thought was possible to love another person. When he asked me to be his husband I stood there in shock. We couldn't legally get married here. Jasper insisted we get married, exchange vows in front of what family and friends we had left. He said I belonged to him and only him, and he belonged to me and only me, this way and he wanted the whole world to know it. I sobbed so much, I barely got out a yes. I was sure I looked ugly and mottled by all the tears, he only called me beautiful. I called him my angel.
We were together only six years before we both began to get sick more often and fought every day to stay here, with each other.
My time was coming soon, I knew it was. My angel was so sick that I didn't tell him just how sick I was. He was far worse off than I was. He didn't need to worry about me on top of what he was going through. I'd be lucky if I got a few more months, my body had decided the best way to kill me was by giving me liver failure. I was in the end stages of it now. Even if I didn't tell him, I think Jasper knew. How can you not know the person who has always been pink pale has turned a sickly greenish-yellow. If I had been healthy I might be a candidate for a liver transplant, but having HIV/AIDS automatically ruled me out. There was no hope of me getting better.
Jasper wouldn't get better either, not this time. He didn't have enough left to fight off infection. My angel was going to die of pneumonia. Liver failure and pneumonia is what would kill us in the end. No one ever tells you that it isn't the actual HIV/AIDS that you die from, it just makes it easier for other things to pick you off, one by one.
My angel laid in a hospital bed, gasping for every breath he took. He barely had the energy to cough. His eyes were dull, unless he looked at me with fever bright eyes. That was the only time I saw any sparkle left in them. Jasper didn't laugh, it hurt him too much.
Holding onto Jasper's hand he looked up at me, his face pale, his hair greasy, his lips were so parched they were cracked. My angel tried to speak, but no words came. Picking up a small cup of water I placed the straw in his mouth and watched as he weakly tried to suck it up. The water gave him just enough that he could speak in a rough, raspy voice, "I don't want to leave you all by yourself."
Choking back tears, I whispered, "You won't. You'll always be with me." He was suffering and struggling and it was killing me. I didn't want him to leave me either; but I hated seeing him this way, knowing I was the reason he was hanging on. "I'll join you soon," I managed to get out before a sob escaped me.
My angel reached a hand to my face, so weak that I had to lean down to him for him to touch it. "I love you, beautiful," he gasped out.
Touching my lips to him, gently, softly, so as to not hurt him too much, I felt them dry, yet still malleable enough to kiss. In a surge of strength and what I imagined to be his last, he kissed me as hard as possibly could before lying back, gasping for air.
Quietly, I said, "I love you, Jasper. Go to sleep, my angel." Jasper closed his eyes then, that was the last time I saw those pretty blues.
Once he stopped breathing, I looked down at him, but felt as though he was standing beside me. "Goodbye, my angel," I said, hoping he could hear me.
After that I walked around in a zombie-like state and went through the motions I was supposed to, up until I got home after the funeral.
Picking up the picture of us off the night stand I laid it on Jasper's pillow and turned my body to look at it. My hand reached out to him, as though he was still there. Sighing, I thought he was. I didn't feel alone here, not at all. "I love you. I'll see you soon, my angel," I promised and fell asleep with a smile on my face, waiting for that time.