Still waiting to watch Chosen again, and write something about it.
Mostly behaving badly and writing fic when I have two books to deliver neither of them ready.
TITLE: Bed Time
AUTHOR: Roz Kaveney
SUMMARY: Lilah cares, or is a carer, or something like that.
RATING: PG-13, for general creep.
FEEDBACK: Just between the two of us, OK
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe herein are the
property of Joss Whedon, 20th Century Fox, Mutant Enemy,
Sandollar, and Kuzui Productions. This is fan-fiction and not any sort of infringement of their rights.
Major spoilers for the end of Angel Season Four.
This is my first fic in a long while - blame the novel I am blocked on and the books I am blocked on. Thanks to Te and Jen who encouraged me on this, and will burn in Hell with me for it - what better company could there be?
Music - Goldfrapp 'Lovely Head'
She would want me to do this, if she had been left with any choices.
She would want it, because she would know - and maybe she does know - that I will do the most perfect job for her that can be imagined, every day and every night.
I will have the best people come in and bathe her, and clean her down, and put the tubes in when they need putting in and take them out without leaving a mark anywhere they can be seen.
They say that five tubes means the odds are against your walking out and I am sorry, but when she needs them, she has a lot more than five. We don't know though, and she has a history with the odds.
They change the Egyptian cotton sheets three times a day, and they turn her constantly and they anoint her skin and check every inch of it for the start of a sore. Sometimes they float her on currents of air - she used to float all on her own, but that does not seem to happen any more.
They massage her and they move her limbs and they stretch her and bend her - she has more perfect muscle tone now even that she did when she was moving and stretching and bending for herself. Watching them move her is like a poem, a sad poem with no ending.
Then that group goes and another comes in. They moisturise her skin and they pay attention to that tricky area in the corner of the eyes, which, I gather, is the first thing to go when you never move your face at all, just as it is when you move it too much.. They do for her all the things that she would do for herself - keep those eyebrows tidy and brush that perfect hair a hundred times. Three times a day.
Sometimes, but not every day, and never more than once a day, I go in and help with that part of it. I never liked her, but it is right that once in a while I should take a pair of tweezers and find a stray hair and tug. I would not do it if it could hurt her, because that would be mixed motives - my guess is that she will never feel anything again, and so I do it because it is right, and for beauty, and ...
Sometimes I brush her hair, a hundred times.
She never wore much paint and if she wore much paint now, it would look like they were painting a corpse for burial, but she is so pale, vampire pale, death pale, paler than me. She needs the colour in her cheeks that blood and the sun never put there. Just the hint of a blush. Her eyes are closed, most of the time, though sometimes they fall open, and they are bright as they ever were. They are so bright, and she is still not there.
They would be bright without eye-drops and without mascara on the perfect lashes around them. They would not stay bright forever without help, though, and help is here for her, every single day. Help from the artists I provide, and from Mr Mac and Mr Bobbi Brown.
I would help myself, but my hands would shake.
We dress her simply and classically -draperies of black or white that are never quite like a shroud. She always wore clothes well and now she wears them with still perfection.
I could stare at her wearing clothes for hours. And sometimes I lend her my best new shoes for a day. We had a thing about shoes, both of us, and she would want the feel of new shoes on her feet.
Each night that I can, and they must never know this, I go up as they change her into her night clothes, and I change the disc on the player, and I light incense or spray perfume and I hold lemon or honey or hot peppers near her nose, or near her lips. Just in case it helps her wake.
Once I am sure she will not, I kiss her once on the forehead and once on the lips and once on her folded hands. I am very good about this and I will never, I think, go further than this, to those pale perfect breasts or that cute navel or that interesting abdominal scar so like my own.
I tell myself that these are the kisses of a sister. And I lie.
The gods laugh quietly at both of us.
She is alive and I am dead, though neither of us is quite in the position that statement implies. She is still and I move around. Her heart beats and mine does not. She is my last doll and my last idol, and I am her last best friend.
I can worship her perfection for an hour at the end of the night and walk away, wrapping a silk scarf around my neck, which at her hands and my other lover's hands, is flawed and imperfect forever
The weirdest thing in the Sundays was the story about pump parties where people pay to get shot up with cheap silicone - weird because I wrote about this twenty years ago in my unpublished novel 'Tiny Pieces of Skull' and got told this was all too weird and sick and I was making stuff up.
Clumping towards them, on an aluminium walking frame, a crocodile bag slung from its front, was a woman with the most beautiful face that she had ever seen. The face was beautiful even though it was also a geometrical model of how a beautiful face might most advantageously be laid out. She had extremely large but firm-looking breasts, a tiny waist and almost no hips. Her ankles were many inches around; from the knees down, her legs were puffed into cones. Even so she had a presence that was in itself a command.
Carola and Natasha bustled round the diner - asking the owner for an especially comfortable chair, getting coffee brought over, showing sharpened nail files to a trucker who seemed to think something was amusing - the courtiers of a monarch in exile. Annabelle just sat, and waited for what she sort of knew came next. Her role in all this was minimal.
'Annabelle,' said Natasha, pushing her forward.'This is Mexica.'
'I'm very pleased to meet you at last,' said Annabelle.
'Oh,' said Mexica.'English sisters now ?'
'You won't remember,' said Natasha,' but we met, Mexica, oh, I guess five years ago. When I was very plain in New York.'
'Sure I remember, kid,' growled those perfectly bee-stung lips,'you didn't change that goddam much, you know. You borrowed my favorite lip-gloss, and you remembered to give it back.'
'Oh,' said Natasha.
'S'when I knew I was a legend,' said Mexica.'Normally some bitch takes every bit of your paint first chance she gets. Whatever. Someone said the sisters hung round here in the daytime. Thought I'd look in, because I'm making my calls right now.'
She used both hands to lift her coffee cup; there was a slight tremor even so.
'I just wanted to keep the story straight,' she went on,'this time. There was all that crap when I had bits of bone carved from my forehead; you'd think they carved my head off or something, versions that go around. This time I wanted to keep things straight, right ? I've nothing better to do with the next couple of months than visit.'
'What happened ?' asked Natasha.
'The legs ? Butt and hips drifted. The cheap quack cheated and gave me industrial in those shots; the tissues can't take the weight of that forever. I can't even break his hands; he died years ago. He killed some skinny kid and took poison; he was doing racehorses for them, and he knew what they'd do if there was scandal, thinking he'd try to turn. She'd gone in for her boobs, and the stupid clumsy bastard pumped it straight into her lungs, and she drowned. Or that's what I heard. You know how it is, keeping the story clear. Like I said. Details, anyway. The legs are a bore, but they don't matter. Other things went wrong, nothing to do with. The legs aren't killing me. Better than being some skinny wimp wetback trying to come on macho. I was the most beautiful, for a bit, in there, wasn't I ?'
'Yes,' Natasha and Carola said.
'Yes,' Annabelle added, knowing she should, but missing the beat.
'You don't have to agree, kids, though ti's nice. Noone'll ever be that again; too many now to judge clearly. Sorry 'bout that, Natasha dear, but that's how it is. Crock of shit anyway. Hey, but what isn't ? It was worth it,even for a bit. I wasn't about to do anything else, was I ? I got what I wanted, and, like they say, you've got to pay sooner or later, right, one way or another ? Nice talking. Bye.'