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Just don't give up
I'm workin' it out
Please don't give in
I won't let you down
It messed me up
Need a second to breathe
Just keep comin' around
Hey, whataya want from me

Adam Lambert ~ "Whataya Want From Me?"


She'd gone to wake her up, and found an empty room. Empty bed, empty room, empty closet, empty everywhere. No sign in there that the little girl had ever been there. For a long while, all Angela could do was stare, not able to process so much empty space. A crazy thought hit, stumbling and tripping through her head, that everything had all been a dream, that none of it was ever real and she was just inside one of her nightmares. She'd made up a family to replace the one she'd lost and one by one, she was losing them, too.

She nearly tripped over her feet running back to her room, but the picture was still there in a frame that matched the other, parallel images watching each other across the expanse of her dresser. From one silver frame she stood proud between her parents, hand resting on Alice's shoulder, and smiled a black and white smile across the polished wood at the girl in the other frame who nestled in glorious color between Nathan and Mohinder, with Molly snuggled close next to her.

All real, at some point, in some place in time, in some moment in her head. And all gone. All taken. All lost.

Both frames hit the opposite wall, one after the other, glass shattering with crystalline tones. She couldn't stay in here with the empty echoes of laughter that had been and wasn't anymore, and she couldn't...it was Monday morning, and she was supposed to go to school, but the thought of the halls and the smiles and people asking how she was and the absence of the person she was supposed to look out for just made it hard to breathe again.

Tears streamed down her face, hot and messy, but she barely noticed as she struggled into her jeans and a sweater. She couldn't stay here. Couldn't go to school. Part of her wanted to go across the hall, knock on the door and see if they'd let her in, take her in, just for now, just to see someone, just to have someone hold her, tell her they were still there, not going anywhere, still cared, but...she couldn't let them see her like this, either, for some reason. Not now, not...she didn't know. Something stilled her hand even as she raised it in front of their door, and she rested it flat instead. In the elevator she hesitated over the basement button, thinking of another refuge, the bed she could climb in and pull the covers over her and lose herself in not thinking for a bit, but she shivered and tried to hold back the tears that wouldn't quite stop.

What if he wasn't there either?

She couldn't bear the idea.

In the end, she ran to the one place that was hers, ignoring any startled looks of people in the streets. Only once she was in the safety of the skating rink, doors closed again, back pressed against them, did she fumble with her communicator, and send a simple two word message to the people she prayed were still around. Then, throwing the communicator aside, she dropped her head to her knees and cried like she hadn't let herself cry since the day in the park with Artie. She'd get up in a bit, skate until she couldn't move anymore, disappear when it was time to open for the day and see if someone else would take over running the place.

For now she needed to figure out how to breathe again, and that wasn't going to happen until she let the tears run their course the only way she knew how to allow them. Alone.