Open the Door

Title: Open the Door

Fandom: HL/Angel
Pairing: Grace/Angel
Disclaimer: I own Grace, YAY! But not Angel, not HL either.
Archive: At Ink-and-Quill
Warning: This story does talk about suicide.

Summary: sixth in the ‘Destiny’ series


*-*-*
Open The Door
by Christina A.

When she asked Angel to take her away, she had no idea it would be to
the other side of the world. Well, actually, England. Her home. The
original estate had been torn down decades ago, but Jasa had put up a
replica in its place. Modern conveniences had been added. The master suite
was still Jasa’s, but the room that had been Grace’s as a child had been
enlarged. It was big before, but now it was about three times the size
of what she and Angel shared back in LA. The bathroom was huge, with a
sunken tub and whirlpool jets. It was simply the epitome of comfort.

It was evening. Grace had made her way out onto the balcony so she
could watch the moon rise over the trees. She was alone. Angel was taking a
shower, getting ready for whatever plans he’d had for them for the
night. He often gauged her mood, going out or staying in according to how
she felt.

He was doing his best to help her recover. She was making progress,
healing slowly. The nightmares were the worst. She knew they’d come; he
knew they would too. But she didn’t believe that either had been prepared
for the intensity. No matter what he said that night they’d rescued
her. She woke up nightly, screaming, sweating, and crying. It seemed
whenever she closed her eyes, Voltimer was there. She could hear his voice,
telling her that she was his. She could feel his fangs upon her neck,
hear herself begging him not to do it. She could feel them pierce her
skin. She always woke up then. And Angel was always there to comfort her.

It was hard on him. He said he was fine and that he was only worried
about her. But it had to hurt on some level. He hadn’t fed from her since
it happened. And they’d been here for well over a month.

Standing, she moved to the railing of the balcony and looked over the
edge. It seemed the only time the agony stopped was when she was dead.
But she’d only taken her life once. If Angel knew, he didn’t let on.
She’d bought ten bottles of sleeping pills at the local pharmacy, and
taken them all. The sleep was almost instantaneous. Being dead was bliss.
Of course, she’d revived and had to deal with the pain of the aftermath.
But it was pain she’d inflicted upon herself, not that someone else had
forced upon her.

Leaning over the edge, she briefly wondered if jumping would end the
agony. Probably… for a while. But the agony it would cause Angel was
unthinkable and last a lot longer. He’d hurt enough. She and Cordelia had
talked for long hours about what he’d gone through to get her back. He
didn’t sleep, didn’t eat, didn’t do anything except try to find her.
And she repaid him by thinking of and trying to kill herself.

She’d done as her mother suggested and talked to Lorne. He called her
‘peaches’ and ‘sweets’. He talked to her and ‘read’ her, telling her
that everything was going to work out for the best. They had intense
sessions where she’d cried and all he did was hold her. She told him all her
dark thoughts; the ones she was afraid to even tell Angel. And it all
had helped… some.

She’d talked to Wesley. The man was an eternal scholar. He’d gone to
great lengths to explain to her the prophecy. He’d told her that she was
the ‘phoenix’ and that it had been revealed that she would rise, giving
the champion new strength.

The prophecy had stated her in relation to Angel. Voltimer had made her
exist solely for himself. The prophecy indicated she’d rise for the
champion. Where was she existing for herself?

Turning, she slid down the railing and sat on the concrete. That last
wasn’t fair. Angel repeatedly told her that she existed for herself.
Everyone made that very clear to her. And she wanted to believe it. But
there were times when she wondered.

It had taken her two weeks to actually be able to decid the small
things for herself… what clothes to wear… what to eat… when to eat…
even when to bathe. The first several days, she’d done little but lie
in bed and stay in her room.

Jasa was the one to put an end to that. The stubborn woman had marched
right into the room, ran bath water, shoved her daughter into the tub,
chose her outfit, and pushed her out the door with Angel. When they
returned, she informed her daughter that she would perform those daily
tasks on her own from now on or the Egyptian was going to have to be
answered to.

No one wanted to answer to Jasa… especially her daughter.

Angel wandered out of the bathroom, towel around his head and his
waist. Apparently, he’d forgotten to grab his clothes before he went in and
bathed. If he knew she was on the balcony, he didn’t let on. She
watched as he took a shirt and pair of pants out of the door. Both were
black, of course.

Grace watched his movements. She watched his muscles tense and flex as
he opened the drawers and closed them. He started whistling… Barry
Manilow… and returned to the bathroom. When the door closed behind him,
Grace was hit, like a punch in the gut, with emotions. It was a mundane
thing… getting fresh clothing after a shower. But he seemed so…
happy… content… relaxed. The world had crumbled around them, but in
reality, they’d won. Voltimer was dead; he wasn’t going to hurt them
anymore.

Would there be others? Sure. Perhaps the next time it would be Angel
who was taken from her. The roles would be reversed then. And she
wouldn’t lay down and die, no. She’d move heaven and earth, fight the demons
of hell, to get him back. And that’s just what he’d done for her.

Tears filled her eyes as she sat there. And as the reality of the
entire past couple months became clear to her, she could do nothing but hug
herself and cry. He’d teased her before, telling her that he’d saved
her because he was selfish. On some level that was true. But he’d saved
her for her. Because *she* was lost and needed to be found. He saved her
because he loved her. And her being herself was the most important
thing to him. It was why he’d saved her, and she wasn’t doing it. She was
letting the past constantly impede upon her present and future.

Voltimer was winning. He was dead but he was winning.

Standing, she wiped the tears from her face and reentered the bedroom.
She sat at the vanity and brushed her hair; her eye wandering to the
bed reflected in the mirror.

They hadn’t made love since that night they’d all gone to the theater.
What was that, two months ago? Her mind flashed back to when he’d
walked out of the bathroom. And instead of recalling the memory with
clinical detachment, she let her emotions guide her and her body reacted.

He’d saved her for himself, he’d said. Because he liked the feel of
having her next to him. She’d craved cuddling and closeness, but hadn’t
made a move sexually. Closing her eyes, she let her hand run down her
body, lightly tracing the outline of her breast, moving down her abdomen
to her waist. She paused for a moment, letting her mind produce the
vision.

It wasn’t of Voltimer.

For the first time since she’d been released, she was alone, eyes
closed, and it wasn’t Voltimer she was seeing. It was Angel. His visage
filled her mind. His smile. His hand ran down her body, and then back up
her arm. Two hands touched her cheeks before moving down to touch her
neck. One hand lightly lifted to angle her neck, exposing it to him. His
face leaned in and she felt the familiar sensation of his mouth on her
neck. His fangs were pressing into the sensative skin there.

Her breath caught and held. Her entire body tingled with desire. As he
bit into her, her eyes flew open and she looked into the mirror. She
was breathless, and her face was flushed. She was wet in all the right
places. The only aftermath of this ‘vision’ was need.

He’d be uncertain, at first. But as she ran her hand along her body
again, he knew he’d be able to use his senses and know that she wasn’t
putting this on.

She’d come to a crossroad tonight. She’d hit the bottom of despair as
she’d looked over the balcony, wishing to be dead. But she’d come back
by merely seeing him… Angel, performing a mundane task.

She had a lifetime of mundane tasks to perform with him. And they were
going to do it… together.

First step on the path was getting back to herself. And right now, she
was wanting… needing… him. She stood and made her way to the
bathroom. No whistling now. Perhaps he already knew. Only one way to find
out…

Open the door.

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