A/N: Usual disclaimers apply. Characters owned by Aykroyd and Ramis; story on which this fic is based is written by J. Michael Straczynski.
Sometimes I think the universe waits for me to get cocky to teach me a lesson I know I'll never forget. It took me a while to figure out what was going on with you. It took me a while to find out where you were. And when I found you, it was already too late.
A dream visits me every night. In this dream I always see you on the dock, standing before me wrapped in an ethereal glow, your eyes angry yet mourning. You turn from me as I reach out for you and shout your name. Silvery angel's wings sprout from your back, and you fly away from me forever.
I always wake up from that dream with tears in my eyes and a bitter taste in my mouth. I have failed you. And now that you're gone, it is something that I have to live with for as long as I am alive.
Peter said it wasn't my fault. I shouldn't blame myself, he said. No one realized what was happening to you, and you never told us what was going on. He said to blame myself for what occurred that night was to enter a cycle of self-destruction, or something to that effect. A futile exercise, for no amount of self-blame could ever bring you back.
But you, you knew me more than I ever cared to acknowledge. You knew that, at the end of it all, I would come to bear the burden of the consequences of that night's events on my shoulders. How could I not? I should have told you the truth.
She is not you, that woman who now occupies your desk. She is blonde, blue-eyed, and aesthetically pleasing. She answers the phone courteously and does not file her fingernails when she's idle. Her banters with Peter are flirtatious, her interest in Raymond's cartoons superficial, her conversations about mystery books and baseball with Winston incomprehensible. She often tries to catch my eye and even attempted once to spend time at the lab.
I avoid her as much as I can. I cannot stand her presence.
She is not you.
In a locked drawer on my desk in the lab, I keep a long white feather. It has become my most precious possession. I have it nestling safely in a velvet-lined box, protected from harm in its cocoon as I was never able to protect you. It is the only thing I could do to console myself of your loss.
None of the others know I have it. I picked it up on the docks that night you flew away from us. A memento, if you will. When the worst of my empty longings overwhelm me, I take this feather out from its box and hold it against my heart. This feather and my memories are all I have of you.
Sometimes at night I wake up from my dreams expecting you to return. I'd imagine you gliding over me with your angel wings, beautiful but incorporeal, looking at me with your sparkling green eyes. Not angry this time, but smiling as you have always smiled at me.
Sometimes I drive through the city at night looking for signs of your presence. Sometimes I wish for one of those calls we take to lead us to you. I have this tiny hope that we'd be able to change you back to what you were if only we could find you.
But everything is lost and turned to ashes. All that is left is the coldness of intellect and an emptiness of the soul. I should have told you the truth long before. If only I had, then you would still be alive, not transformed into another entity that pretends to be a fairy godmother and feeds on others' insecurity and despair.
The truth is I have always loved you. And I will always love you even now that you're gone.