Title: the blind leading the blind
Description: tag; wesley
Winifred Burkle - March 4, 2012 12:43 AM (GMT)
She was fretful and anxious and worried and in terms of her general state of mind a whole bunch of other words that all boiled down to the same nugget. Fretful Fred. It wasn’t the best sort of adjective really and she would honestly have been okay with the idea of it not being at all appropriate but she really couldn’t dispute the evidence. Fingers twisted, knotting in on themselves over and over again. Feet paced, back and forth over the same aisle of carpeting: three feet from the front door and twelve paces to the epicenter of the living room followed by a semicircular turn at a forty-five degree angle; eight paces to the bedroom door. Six paces to the side of the bed. Four prescription bottles. One cup, cleaned and dried beside one pitcher of water with six ice cubes (refilled at least three times now) all set in perfect symmetry on a lace doily set in the center of the nightstand at the head of the bed. Fresh sheets and blankets and pillowcases that covered freshly plumped pillows smelled just so of the cottony fabric softener that Wesley favored covered the bed in crisp lines.
Another turn, this one a hundred and eighty degrees to the closet doors and then a thirty-six degree arc to the dresser and then four perpendicular steps to the right to enter into the bathroom. Five towels, four hand towels, three washcloths folded into a perfectly aligned pyramid and the newly installed hand rails carefully secured into studs at the two intervals that one would need to grasp in order to enter or exit the washtub which was sporting new strips of non-stick grip rubber at every three inch intervals. Fully filled bottles of shampoo, and conditioners, shaving powder and aftershave gel, cologne and deodorant lined their appropriate places; a brand new bar of soap in the bath tub and at the sink beside the angled razor, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. The carrying tray and portable personal toiletry devices of plastic and porcelain were tucked discreetly out of line of sight.
Bandages, gauze, medical tape, antiseptic cream, liquid bandages, multiple sets of the intravenous tubing and needle kit and the phlebotomy kit were packaged, as well as the basic emergency care kit: adrenaline, epinephrine, morphine solution, haldol, ketamine and selection of steroids, anti-inflammatory and wide spectrum antibiotics that were all safely secured in a broad silver briefcase, nestled at the bottom of the linen closet in the corner of the bathroom. Porcelain and tile and grout glistened the soft chamomile smell of her lotion was just enough of an offset to mask the residual smell of bleach and disinfectant that had coated each and every centimeter of the bathroom. Another turn, a tracing back of her steps to the epicenter of the living room and then it was on to a ninety degree rotation to the kitchen.
Pots, pans, spatulas, mixing bowls, ladles, measuring cups, plates, cups, bowls, silverware, cutlery, cutting boards and half a dozen properly tabulated and cross-referenced cookbooks: every surface inside and out meticulously scrubbed, the contests of cupboards, sheles, fridge and freezer emptied, studied, cleaned and put away and any lacking components added to the inventory. The center island of the kitchen held a prepared lap tray with all of the parts and parcels for a proper tea, sans the tea pot of water which was filled and sitting on the front burner of the stove waiting for fire to be ignited under it. Another shift of bare feet brought her back into the living room to the central point once more, staring down at the stack of spiral bound notebooks that held line after line of notes, planned schedules and lists of things to buy or things already purchased that were neatly crossed out. On top of the three single subject college ruled spirals sat the printed out itinerary with the schedule that Giles had made for her to allow her to keep a point of reference throughout the day and as to what she could expect Wesley’s return.
Her wide brown eyes tilted up from the table and to the mantle clock above and she let out a slow, measured breath as she tried to control her anxiety with about the same amount of success as all of the previous attempts to do so which was to say – not with overwhelming amounts of success. Each ticking of the second hand seemed excruciating and she had paced the same path so many times that even she had lost track… and that was saying something. Even in the worst moments of her fractured self – no. Especially in the worst moments of her fractured self, numbers had been her comfort blanket, her constant: numbers always were exactly what they were, they always said the same thing, they didn’t break, they didn’t leave, they were always right where she left them.
She tried to focus on the numbers. On the dimensions of the room, and the increments of her path, and she tried desperately to ignore the absolute vacuum of space that existed in all of those places that there wasn’t a Wesley. He had become a constant. He had been a blanket. He had been there every time she had woken crying. He had soothed her, tended to her, pieced her back together component by component, putting all of the little parts of the equation on to the same page one by one and… then he was gone. She could still feel the fear, the panic, the well of sour and bitter acid that had crept through her, paralyzing her when she realized he was gone. Gone, and she had been convinced entirely, that he had been snatched, stolen away from her by the bad man, come to punish her again. When she had learned that he was safe, alive, she hadn’t believed it. She had wanted to believe it,b ut she hadn’t dared, she wanted to see him, demanded to see him, had wept and raged against Giles, pleading with him until he had finally relented – only if she would allow him to sedate her so she could rest well the night before.
It had been worse. Far worse than she wanted to imagine and she had fought hard to control her tears and had barely managed to control the urge to throw herself on him on the hospital bed and weep. It had been a long and exhausting sequence of hours, days, weeks, and when one month wound it’s way into two, she had begun to feel as if this was simply some horrific delusion that her mind had created to torment herself with but she had been forced to admit otherwise over the course of the frequent and ‘casual’ drop-ins by Gunn and Giles that just happened to coincide with meal times and sleepy times. She had refused to let anyone else read her stories, though. Eventually the visits had gotten further and further apart, and shorter in duration – which she assumed meant they were growing less concerned about the likelihood of her actually tearing the apartment to shreds or ripping out her hair in chunks.
The calendar in her nest in the corner of Wesley’s room showed a vivid red X through each day that he’d been gone, with wide circles around the precious handful of days that they had managed to sneak her in to the hospital to see him. They had not made it through Paradiso in entirety but it was one of several books that lined his dresser for her to read to him during the remainder of his convalescence. The X’s had taken on a new dynamic in the last week, adding in a countdown starting at seven and working its’ way down to the bright red and highlighted zero, which had been circled over and over again to the point that it was barely discernible as an actual number any longer. The week had been busy, chaotic even, though as with everything in the last few weeks, it had been obsessively scheduled and outlined and organized. She had gone through the apartment from top to bottom, every inch of it cleaned and straightened and ordered, proof to herself and proof to the others that she was, in fact, at the very least, capable of tending to things inside the apartment, even if she could not manage much on the outside.
She knew that she wasn’t right. She knew that she was still quite wrong. Still broken, but here, here was good, and here was safe, and here was so much better with him in it. She wanted to take care of him, and she had done everything that she could think of and then some to try and prove to the older Watcher and the others that she was capable of doing so. And now, it was just a matter of waiting. She hated waiting.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce - March 24, 2012 09:56 PM (GMT)
The Watcher's Academy had taught Wesley many lessons, some which had faded away to the back of his mind as more and more time passed since he had been pushed away from the ranks of the Council, others which he still remembered because they were just as important and valid even into this new existence, in which he was a rogue demon hunter, turned into the leader of an agency that investigated abnormal happenings in order to help the helpless. No... had been. Past. Past, because he forgot one of those lessons, the moral of which was that magick was very dangerous and one needed to take every caution possible when using it, especially when the spells had a certain complexity. He should have known better, without any lesson telling him that he was supposed to know better. Wesley a simple human being whom could perform spells, he was not an innate warlock. He was limited by the number of incantations he could remember and by the artifacts he had around him, by the limited energy he had and which, inevitably, drained out of him if the spell was too powerful. Common sense should have warned him that day that the spell which he was going to try his luck at would leave him completely vulnerable. For some reason which he could not fully comprehend, he completely lacked common sense that day.
Perhaps it had went away to the same place where Fred's sanity was? More than likely it had been taken away by the same person, the vampire that had lost its soul out of sheer foolishness. Fred lost her sanity and he lost his reason, the only focus on his life being her, his only goal being to make her whom she used to be, sheltering her from anything that could harm her again. His concern for the wild girl from Pylea made him curious to know what had happened the night when Tara died, for the same night strange things had happened to Fred and she managed to return Angel's soul to him. Wesley didn't believe in coincidences. He knew that, somewhere, there had to be a connection between the two events of that night and with each passing day he was more and more curious to discover the connection, more and more eager to get an answer to that nagging question on the back of his mind: had Angelus done it?
Common sense should have told him that someone else was just as curious as he was to have an answer to that question, someone more powerful than him, that could easily destroy him even at a moment when his energy was at its peak and his head clear enough to remember the best spells to defend himself. In the state he was left in after the spell he made to glance back through time, Wesley had been a ridiculously easy target, incantations jumbled in his head, his energy too low to keep up even the most basic of shields. Willow proved to him how careless he had been not to take into account what a wicca could do when her heart was full of grief and her judgment was clouded with the wish to have revenge against the one that took away the being she held most dear into this world. She proved to him that it was useless to try and stay quiet for foolish reasons such as friendship. The ginger showed no mercy on him. Blade after blade, cut after cut, his flesh was ripped, his blood was spilled, his world faded to black, to blinding light...
… more black, more blinding light... a pattern that repeated itself a couple of times and, much later, he found out that the blinding light was the legendary blinding light into which all souls headed when they were separated from their bodies, that the doctors lost him a couple of times on the way to the hospital and during surgery but they put all of their efforts into bringing him back each and every time. Wesley would have been ready to claim that it was not entirely their merit that he never stepped into the light. It was tempting, oh so tempting, because it felt warm, soothing, whereas he was cold and his entire body was aching beyond what he could bear. There was something, however, that held him back, the thought that there was someone for whom he was the center of the universe, the light in the darkness, the rock in the middle of the ocean. Fred needed him and he couldn't go away. She needed him to take care of her and bring her food and read to her and chase away all of the monsters from the darkness of her mind. Ridiculous Wesley, not realizing that he could do none of those things in the state he was in, that he was the one that needed looking after, not just food and books but professional, sustained and intensive help.
At the beginning, the moments of consciousness had been very rare and far between and, invariably, each time they occurred, they felt almost identical. He would register the sounds at first, the humming and beeps of the machines that kept his heart beating and his body nurtured, then the distinct smell each hospital on the face of the earth seemed to have. Each time he opened his eyes he saw white and, then, the face of a nurse or a doctor which he never met before and, shortly thereafter, pain swallowed his body and grew to unbearable levels, his heart rate grew chaotic as he started thinking of Fred and the fact that he was not there for her. Those moments of consciousness ended in the same way too, with waves of morphine and other powerful pain killers and sedatives being injected into his vein and slowly lulling him back into the darkness, into the state in which he was perfectly calm and serene and his body had the chance it needed to work towards closing wounds. Slowly work.
Slow. Past. As the moments of consciousness became longer and closer between, Wesley berated himself and pitied himself over what he had been and what he was, not much more different than a vegetable, as sick, bed-bound men were always called by the most fortunate ones that could afford the luxury of standing. For the longest of times, Wesley had been completely dependent on nurses, doctors, machines and medications. He had gotten a little better than he had been – only a little. Apparently this little was enough for the doctors to decide that he could leave the hospital in which he had stayed for... they said it had been months but it felt like an eternity to Wesley, time passing incredibly slow for a man that could do nothing else but stare at the ceiling and listen to the rhythmical drip of the IV that was connected to his right hand.
Leaving the hospital should have been good news, except for the fact that not much was going to change about him being completely dependent. There would be no doctors, nurses or machines but there would still be plenty of medication and someone to watch over him day and night, as if he were a helpless baby. In many ways, he was a helpless baby, unable to stand too suddenly or for too long without risking to open his wounds and bleed out. He wondered who would take care of him but no one had given him this detail. Wesley only hoped that, whoever it was, they would let Fred visit as often as possible, maybe even agree to let her stay so he could read to her in between the times when pain killers would force him to return to the black he was beginning to loathe. Wesley missed her and he was as worried about her as he had been the first time he opened his eyes inside the hospital. He had seen her a couple of times since then, for brief moments, because her presence always agitated him and worried the doctors, and there were so many things he needed to know about her and how she managed to fare without him.
Before the final dose of pain killers and sedatives given to him in the hospital reached its desired effect and put him to sleep, Wesley wondered if he might have the surprise of finding out that Fred had come to visit him for his return home. The doctors that tended to him had taken the decision that it was better for him to be sedated while the ambulance transported him to his apartment and he was set into place and Wesley had little power to object, especially since being sedated meant little pain. Once the ambulance arrived outside the building where he lived, the medical team took its time to move him to his apartment, because none of them wanted to take any chances of this process doing him any harm. They knocked on the door bearing the number indicated to them and, after it was open, they carried Wesley inside, all the way inside the room shown to them, where they took their time, once again, to set the sleeping patient into bed. Once they were satisfied that the move had been a success, they left, leaving Wesley with his designated care-taker. He didn't know how much time had passed between him falling asleep and the moment when he started returning to his senses. Groaning softly, Wesley opened his eyes, smiling a little at the familiar sight of his room and the lack of ammonia smell.
Winifred Burkle - April 5, 2012 02:17 AM (GMT)
When the knock on the door had finally come, Fred had felt as if her heart might actually burst from the instant surge of pure giddiness and absolute terror. Even now, after months of having not even heard the mention of his name, or a glimpse of his far too beatific face, it took only something as simple as a knock on the door to send her reeling back to that moment – that moment when she had been foolish enough to open the door, gullible enough to be fooled, weak enough to let him in. She pushed it away, the thought of it and the memories of it and the emotions that crowded inside of her for dominance, forcing them underneath and out of her, knowing that she could not risk showing anything less than a perfectly stable demeanor if she actually had any hope of the EMT’s leaving Wesley in her care. Somehow, she managed it. Somehow, she managed to keep from crying when she saw him, bandaged and broken still, gone for so long and yet still in pieces. Somehow, she managed to point them into the direction they needed to go, to show them to the bedroom and to go over the checklists and sign off on the paperwork that completed his official release from their care, leaving her the only one responsible should something go horribly awry. Somehow, she managed to not focus on all of the things that could.
He had been beyond the realm of consciousness when they had brought him in, leaving her little to do other than wait, and fret, and double check and triple check everything. The leads to the sensors that he would have to be attached to for the first weeks home, the I.V. of fluids and medication that was taped quite securely to the inside bend of his arm. She hovered, nonetheless, watching him, hesitant to actually let her weight settle onto the bed lest she disturb him, and instead, curling up in the pile of pillows and blankets arranged in the corner of the room and simply watching, staring at him over the bend of knees that were drawn up to her chest. She knew she was in no danger of falling asleep – she was far too eager. It was like Christmas morning, watching the fireplace for that first peek of white trimmed suit to make itself seen out of the edge of the fireplace. Except without the milk and cookies.
She’d finally given up on refilling the ice cubes and the hot water in the teapot at about the hour and a half mark, realizing about on the fifth time for either that she was just making busy work for herself, and had gone back to simply waiting, and watching. She was good at that, she could do that well, which was good, since it didn’t really require anything more than being able to keep her eyes open. It was hour two when he stirred, hour two and fourteen minutes to be exact, but who was counting? She was moving, almost instantly, at that first shift of movement, the turn of his hand from palm down to palm up, a faint shift of a leg under the blankets she’d tucked around him, and she felt her breath catch in her throat, her heart hammering in her chest. She could feel the smile, eager and bright, creeping over her features as she crept up towards the bed, not wanting to startle him, but eager to see him as he finally crawled his way out of the murk and mire of the sedative they’d given him for the transport. ”Hello, Wesley,” Fred managed to speak, her voice trembling slightly, despite her attempt at offering merely a brave and collected front, as she inched closer to the edge of the bed, her hand reaching to let her fingertips brush against his, hesitantly, as he blinked at the room around him, she could only assume, trying to adjust to the when and where he was.
”Are you all right?” She questioned, after a slight pause, though the words were immediately followed by a shake of the head and a tumbled follow up. ”I mean – obviously, you’re not – No, I – I just mean.. “ She took a half breath in, clearing her throat a little, as she tried not to let her cheeks flush too badly from her stammering. ”Can I… get you anything, is all, I mean.” She explained, a little breathless both from tripping up over her own words and at the effort of trying to conceal the glint of tears in her eyes as she watched him, so relieved to have him back here, where he belonged, that it seemed like it was actually taking her breath away.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce - May 12, 2012 09:59 PM (GMT)
Time was something which Wesley had plenty of during the past months. After all, there was little which he could do while he was laying on a hospital bed, waiting for the numerous wounds made to his flesh to heal enough so he would not have to rely on machines and powerful drugs in order to make it from one day to another. He could have watched TV or listened to the radio but Wesley found that he was in little mood for any of these things. What he missed the most was reading: reading for himself and reading to the poor young woman that was trembling in bed or in a corner in the room they shared in Rupert's Sunnydale home, before he foolishly got himself almost killed. He wished that someone would sit by his bed and read to him but, at the same time, Wesley was also conscious of the fact that no one had that much time to spend with him. Everyone had their lives to take care of, on top of dealing with the aftermath of Sunnydale's destruction. Gunn and Giles were constant visitors, so was Lorne. Fred only came from time to time, perhaps only after the older former Watcher was absolutely convinced that she would not make a scene which might make the medical personnel ask questions or take measures against her.
In spite of all the time he had to think, Wesley never gave too much thought to what would happen once the doctors would finally decide that he could be released from the hospital. Part of that was because Wesley was losing hope that the day might come any time soon, that he might ever get anywhere close to the definition of healthy and normal and be allowed to walk away and take care of himself. The other part was because Giles had assured him that he needn't worry about what would come after the doctors released him, that he would take care of everything. They said that in times of great need you could learn whom your true friends were and, if the saying was true, that meant that the older man was more of a friend than Wesley ever imagined him to be. The very fact that he had visited on an almost daily basis made Wesley suspect that Giles might have relocated to Los Angeles for the time being and if he was at least part of the reason why he had done it, the younger Watcher was truly impressed. Back when the two of them had worked together in Sunnydale, Wesley had been left with the impression that his older colleague did not think too much of him, that he was a very unpleasant thorn in his side and an unwelcome intrusion in their circle. Wesley was mature enough to understand that the attitude had been entirely justified by his own, yet he did not expect things to have changed so much. There were times when doubts took over and he wondered if Giles was helping him so much only because Willow was the one that hurt him and because it happened in his shop, with the sharp instruments which had been there on display. He might never know.
As for “things being taken care of” part, Wesley imagined that the older man might have called his parents and that his father, with the generosity he always displayed for the sake of keeping appearances, hired a private nurse to look after him until he was well enough to fend for himself. He loathed the thought that he might have to depend on someone, so he tried not to dwell too much on it. His utmost concern was, as a matter of fact, how would he look after Fred after the doctors released him from the hospital. Analyzing things one by one: he could still read to her and he could still tell her soothing words and stories meant to shelter her from her own fears; he could not cook or help her move to the bed, just to name a few of the most obvious things which crossed his mind. What was he going to do about that? Giles avoided the topic, knowing very well that discussing about Fred made him agitated and threatened his physical condition. Discussing it with her was out of the question. During her visits, Wesley noticed a slight improvement but she was still a long way away from being the young woman she had been before she opened the door to Angelus.
The young man didn't want to bring up delicate issues in the few times when she was by his side, he simply wanted to enjoy her presence and hear the voice which he missed so much. Every time he closed his eyes, he wished that she could be there, smiling down at him when he opened them again and, this time, it happened. The familiar voice that greeted him could have passed for a simple effect of the medicine, same for the sight of her, unless she had touched his hand so gently. His fingers weakly curled around hers, squeezing, a warm smile creeping to his lips when he realized that he was not dreaming and that his Princess was indeed by his side. ”Fred... Hello”, he replied, his voice a little raspy as the webs of his sleep had not fully released him yet. Her touch was so soft and so warm that Wesley didn't think he would want to let go of her hand too soon – he would have too, though, when she'd have to return to the place serving as her new home, a thought that pained Wesley.
”Are you all right?”
Wesley was ready to answer the question, in spite of the fact that it was not the best one someone could have chosen to address to him when he was still connected to machines and bags of medication and nutrients. Before he could speak, Fred corrected herself and it was obvious to Wesley that she felt awkward and regretted her words and he really wished he had the energy to reach and wipe the tears he could see in her eyes. ”Sshhh, Fred...” Wesley tried to give a gentle tug to her hand and pull her next to him on the bed. ”I am groggy, because of the medication, but nothing hurts”, he answered to her question. In a few hours, the pain would return though. It always did. He shook his head at her question. ”Don't worry about that, Fred. I'm taking care of you when you're with me, remember? Although... I don't think I could bring you anything and I don't know if there is any food in the house. It's been so long...” His voice trailed off and tears filled his eyes at the thought that he was so useless, so out of loop with everything. ”How long can you stay?”, Wesley asked, thinking that she was simply visiting him, now that there was no more danger for her to be committed to the psychiatric ward.