Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon and Angel the series.
Synopsis: This is the Sequel to Dreaming with the Enemy. It is highly recommended that you read that one first! This takes place three months after the end of the first fic, so there's a small prologue before we get into major story drama!
Time is a funny thing. Even a child will tell you that it moves at different speeds. It moves so much faster during summer vacation then it ever does during a day at school. The moment they'd entered the Hyperion to see Willow was stretched to the limits of what anyone could describe as time. It stretched, silent, and imposing. Angel knew, in that moment, and it flowed over the group like a wave, crushing air from their chests. Willow had shaken her head and run for it, no longer capable of having the conversation she knew they needed to have. Lindsey had taken Cordelia to her room, Wesley leading the way. They left Angel in the wake of news that had never been voiced, never fully affirmed but all too real. It wasn't even a full three hours before Angel was gone. He couldn't describe how he felt, what he needed, and so didn't try, he just left. Needing time.
But then, time is a funny thing. For Angel, three months seemed to go too quickly. He'd spent so much of the time in seclusion, training, honing his mind and body in ancient rites. Delving into himself to learn exactly what he felt, and why. His conclusions were so simple, and that was probably why they had alluded him. He wasn't in mourning for Buffy. Her life, was no longer entwined in his. It wasn't the reason for his existence, his hope, his path. At one time he had held on with straining fingertips, but not anymore. It was the realization that his life was his own, and there was no longer any place in it for the slayer that had hit him so hard. Once he'd been able to come to terms with that, so much else fell into place. His home, his family. Wesley, Cordelia, even Gunn was more like a little brother than just a comrade in arms. Three months went so quickly for him that he thought he would go home, and yes L.A. had become home, and things would be just as he left them.
Time is a funny thing. It drags when you least expect it to. It creates a vacuum around you that seems to suck away sounds, lights, and even feelings. Then suddenly it speeds up again and you are thrown forward trying desperately to catch up. Cordelia had come to the Hyperion out of fear, a need to be surrounded by those she felt safe around. Unfortunately, Wesley still had his apartment, Gunn lived with his crew, and Angel, had left. The first night of nightmares she tried to ignore. They had all been expecting it hadn't they? For there to be this lasting mark that followed her into dreams. The second and third night had been too much. Wesley had volunteered to stay. Lindsey was around as much as possible but everyone was uncomfortable with the idea of him moving in. Cordelia was reluctant to move, to venture outside of her comfort zone, which had shrunk so dramatically.
A phone call changed that. Almost a week to the day she was out of the hospital she got the update. Come in for a check up, and while it was meant to be routine, there seemed to have been a little something they overlooked during her stay in hospital. She was pregnant. No one said it, but they all thought it. The dreams, the nightmares, had become all too real. It was then that Lindsey admitted to his part in her settlement, told her of the money she had, there were options. Except Cordelia couldn't think of them. It was overwhelming and where before she would handle things head on, she was loosing steam and feeling too alone. So she did with the money the only thing she could think of. She bought the Hyperion, and set the deed aside for Angel. For if, or when he would return. She couldn't stay, not alone and alone was all she felt. Lindsey was trying, Wesley was trying, Gunn had no idea how to start. It was two weeks and one day, fourteen hours and some odd minutes from the time she moved into the Hyperion, that she moved out again.
But time, is a funny thing. A routine developed. She got visions now and again and reported them in. Lindsey had slowly gone from spending a night or two to practically moved in. A new house, with security that had both magical and mundane elements. Built to look like the fortress it was, it had a hollowed out center, a garden. A way to be outdoors, be in the sun, without ever venturing out of the safety of the house. She'd built up a library with Wesley's help and they began even doing research there, coddling Cordelia and her reluctance to venture out, even as they knew how unhealthy it was. No one could bring themselves to force her into anything that might bring even more discomfort. By the time a decision had to be made on the pregnancy, she'd made one, and Lorne found them a doctor that not only did house calls, but could handle any unique problems that could be faced.
Two months, three weeks, four days and three hours after her release from the hospital and she was in the Hyperion. One of her rare days doing office work, and answering phones. Lindsey had come by with lunch for everyone. He had been out of work, technically. Until that morning when Angel's client, David Nesbitt hired him. He had a private discussion with Wesley and Gunn, both of whom had been slowly getting used to the man but weren't completely trusting yet. Cordelia was still not sleeping nights. The pills had to stop because of the baby, she needed people. So Wesley moved into the house Cordelia had bought. Up in the hills it allowed him privacy for studying anyway, and he was just next door is she needed him at night. He became her escort. She came to work with him and went home that night with him. Lindsey was around on lunch hours and before and after work. If they worried over Angel, no one spoke of it, but it was easy enough to catch Cordelia glancing to the door, or his office as if she'd see him there. Wesley was jarred a few times out of a book by a sound he thought was perhaps the vampire returning through the basement.
Time is a funny thing. Three months can go so quickly for some. As if time had somehow stood still for them. They look around in surprise at how the world has changed and wonder to themselves, how they missed it. How is they themselves are now out of place. For others it goes so slowly. Their lives are drastically changed and even as they move on they feel the hole left behind. The emptiness that's left over from broken promises, and unspoken truths. Damage that may never be repaired is dealt with, and people are not the same, even as they can feel the echos of who they were. They can see it at the edges of the dark that claims them each night in sleep. They can hear it whispering in the shadows, but they know if they reach for it, that moment they want so desperately to go back to, it will disappear.
"Cor, anything you need."
Angel interrupted softly. She looked at him and her lip trembled but she bit it to stop.
Cordelia closed her eyes and nodded. Her voice shakier now.
"Don't leave me. I know I'm, messed up now and, not good for, well, anything anymore but please. . . "
He let go of her hand and wrapped an arm around her, kissing the top of her head.
"I'm not going anywhere. I promise."
Time is a funny thing, and it makes no promises, other than to keep moving. At whatever speed it desires, in whichever direction suits it's whims. You can attempt to change it, control it, even claim it. But in the end, it will win, because you can not change it, no matter how hard you dream. You can only work with the time given you, and hope that it's enough.