Take Me Away


AUTHOR: Angdelia
SUMMARY: Angel visits Cordelia at the hospital and everything changes.
RATING: R/NC17
POSTED: 10 May 2006
CATEGORY: AU, Angst, Romance, Humor
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A with some minor B/A and C/X, BTVS Seasons 1-3 up to Lover’s Walk.
WARNINGS: None Listed
AUTHOR NOTES:
1) This fic is based on a C/A vid I made
2) Thanks/Dedications to omg angel for the beta, and thanks to CydneStorm for giving me the idea to write the fic


ficpic_takemeaway


PROLOGUE

“I’m not coming back. We’re not friends. We never were. And I can fool Giles, and I can fool my friends, but I can’t fool myself. Or Spike, for some reason. What I want from you I can never have. You don’t need me to take care of you anymore. So I’m gonna go.”

Angel tried to focus on the book in his hands, but his conversation with Buffy still resounded in his mind.

“There’s gotta be some way we can still see each other.”

“There is; tell me that you don’t love me.”

He hadn’t answered. He couldn’t. Was he still in love with her? Two days had passed and he still didn’t have the answer. He didn’t have the answers to anything anymore. Going to Hell seemed to do that to a guy.

Okay, that wasn’t true.

Frustrated, Angel suddenly closed his book and got up. He was sure of at least one thing; he hadn’t tried to stop her from leaving. That fact convinced him that Buffy was right.

Whether he was still in love with her or not, it really was over between them. He didn’t have the strength to try and make it work anymore. It was too exhausting. He put his book on the couch’s armrest and looked around the living room, sighing heavily.

He had to get out.

He swiftly grabbed his duster and walked out of the mansion, not bothering to lock the doors behind him.
~*~

Angel walked for an hour. He wandered the streets, not really knowing where he was going. Not caring. His steady steps faltered when something caught his eye as he approached the Sunnydale General.

He frowned. Xander Harris was coming out of the Hospital, looking miserable. Shoulders slumped, eyes downcast. Angel watched him slowly walk away. Shrugging slightly, he turned to leave, but stopped dead in his tracks when a thought suddenly occurred to him.

What if Buffy was at the Hospital? What if she was hurt? It’s not like anybody would’ve called to let him know, especially now that he was only the “ex-boyfriend.”

Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Angel quickly crossed the street and made his way inside the Hospital. His nose wrinkled slightly when the strong smell of disinfectant hit his sensitive senses instantly. He walked along the halls, trying to keep unnoticed as he walked past the receptionist – who already seemed preoccupied by the phone, anyway.

That’s when he saw her through the window of her room.

Cordelia Chase was lying on her back in a hospital bed, staring into space. Her left hand was unconsciously resting protectively over her stomach. Her eyes were red and puffy, revealing sorrow and grief, and her lips had a sad look to them that made the vampire ache for her.

Angel leaned against the reception counter, stunned.

Cordelia looked broken.

For some reason, the fact that it wasn’t Buffy lying on that bed didn’t make him feel any better.

After a moment, he slowly turned to leave but stopped only after a couple of steps, and ran a hand through his gelled hair. He hesitantly glanced over his shoulder, his mouth set in a thin line as he stared at the brunette.

~*~

Cordelia numbly stared at the wall facing her bed, lazily toying with a silky strand of her dark hair.

She hated all of this. She hated Xander and that redheaded bitch. She hated Buffy Summers. She hated her parents for leaving her all alone. She hated that stupid gaping hole on her stomach. But most of all, she hated feeling like this.

Vulnerable. Hurt.

Even though she hated to admit it, what she feared the most was her return to school. She had already lost her Queen C title when she had started dating Xander. And she had eventually accepted it.

But now she would only be known as the girl who got impaled right after she caught her loser boyfriend cheating on her. Nice.

Her hand crept up to gently rest on her injury. Oddly, the rebar hadn’t hurt her as much as her ex-boyfriend had. A chuckle escaped her lips. That’s what happened when you let people in – you got hurt. Her new scar would always make sure that she never forgot. The thought made her sick.

Cordelia could feel the tears welling up once again without her consent. She squeezed her eyes shut and bit her bottom lip, refusing to let the sobs escape, refusing to feel so sorry for herself any longer. She finally opened her eyes and her gaze fell on the flowers Xander had brought her.

Ignoring the pain, she reached for the flowers and threw them across the room.

God, that felt good, she thought as she gingerly rolled onto her side and rested her head on the pillow. She groaned when she heard the door open slowly behind her. It was probably a nurse coming to check her bandages or force her to eat.

Cordelia waited for the sickeningly sweet greeting to come. Her brow knitted in confusion when she heard a chair creak instead. Sensing a pair of eyes boring into the back of her skull, she carefully turned onto her back. Her jaw nearly dropped when she saw who was sitting there. What the hell is *he* doing here?

Angel shifted uncomfortably in his seat as the girl stared at him, a deeply confused look on her pale face. Suddenly feeling totally stupid, the vampire looked down at his shoes. What the hell am I doing here? He took a deep, shaky breath.

“Hey.” he said, not looking up

“Hey.” she replied. Cordelia eyed him suspiciously, waiting for him to say something else. She rolled her eyes; he seemed more in interested in his shoes than her.

“Care to explain what you’re doing here?”

Still not looking at her, he ran his hand through his hair. “I, um… I don’t know.” he answered truthfully.

Cordelia merely raised an eyebrow. “You don’t know?”

After a slight hesitation, he finally looked up. Cordelia’s sad eyes locked with melted chocolate orbs that also seemed to reveal something darkly unreadable.

“No.” Angel answered. His eyes landed on her stomach, where her hand still rested protectively. He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. He cleared his throat and met her eyes once again.

“Is it okay if I just sit here for a while?” he asked.

She stared into his eyes for a moment, and for a reason Cordelia didn’t know, everything suddenly became crystal clear.

He just didn’t want to be alone.

She didn’t ask him why. She didn’t ask him to leave. She simply relaxed and snuggled against her pillow.

Softly… “Yeah, it’s okay.”
PART 1
Three weeks later

Cordelia ran a hairbrush through her long chestnut hair, wincing slightly as she untangled the small knots. She flipped her smooth hair over her shoulder and examined herself in the mirror.

Perfect makeup, perfect clothes, and perfect hair…

She frowned. No, not perfect. Picking up a hair band, she expertly pulled her hair up so it rested elegantly on the top of her head. Soft tendrils now framed her heart-shaped face. She smiled at her reflection.

Perfect.

At least something in my life is, Cordelia thought as she rolled her eyes and looked around her poor excuse for an apartment, searching for her purse.

There were no words strong enough to describe how much she was pissed at her parents. Would it have been so hard for them to pay their taxes like everybody else? Now they’d left the country, leaving her with no money. Everything had been taken away; all she had left was her car and some clothes.

Thank God, she didn’t know how she would’ve explained to the others why she had to take the bus and had to wear Sears clothes. She probably wouldn’t be able to afford her car for long, though. She shuddered at the thought as she crouched down to look under the couch.

There you are! She reached out and grabbed her purse. She stuffed her hairbrush in it and stood up, gasping and clutching her stomach at the sudden pain she felt.

“Ow…” Cordelia grimaced and looked down at herself, lifting the hem of her shirt to make sure she hadn’t popped her stitches. She hadn’t. Her scar was there, standing out in the middle of the unmarred skin.

She glared at it and then sighed and sat down gently on her lumpy couch, still holding her belly.

Her parents had left only one week before her accident, she reminded herself, looking down at her scar once again. That was why she hadn’t noticed anything suspicious going on between Xander and Willow. She had bigger and more important things on her mind.

Keep repeating it to yourself, Cor.

She picked up a stake that was lying on her coffee table and rolled it in her hand absently. She’d like to just leave Sunnydale and never come back. She tilted her head; maybe L.A. or New York… but she couldn’t. Not right now. She wanted to graduate, and she would. It was important for her, even if she couldn’t afford a University afterwards. After graduation she would decide what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

Assuming I survive this year, she thought as she glanced at the stake in her hand.

The piece of wood met her hairbrush in her purse. Cordelia looked at her watch; she had to leave for school in five minutes. She sighed and leaned back on the couch, her eyes closed.

She wondered what kind of greeting she would receive at school… or would she just be ignored?

“Pfft!” She instantly dismissed that thought. She’d been idolized, envied and hated in her life, but never ignored… if she didn’t count her parents, of course.

She at least knew Giles would be mildly happy to see her. She remembered when he had come to see her at the Hospital. He’d brought her flowers and had stayed for an hour to chat with her. It had all been very awkward, but it had touched Cordelia more than she’d ever admit. Not counting Xander that first time, Giles was the only one who’d came to see her.

Well, the only one except Angel.

Cordelia opened her eyes. The vampire had come to see her several times. Each time he would sit down and remain silent. It hadn’t bothered her, though; she talked more than enough for the both of them anyway.

They’d eventually watch some TV, and then she would fall asleep and Angel would be gone when she woke up.

Every night.

Cordelia frowned and tucked her bare feet under her. She hadn’t seen the vampire since she’d came back home. Not that it surprised her; she hadn’t really expected him to knock at her door, especially since he probably thought she still lived with her parents.

She was just… disappointed? After she’d gotten over her initial shock, she’s realised he was pretty good company for a vampire. She almost hadn’t wanted to leave the Hospital because of his visits.

Maybe it wasn’t the only reason, she thought, looking around her ratty apartment once again. Her nose scrunched up. It was highly depressing to come home and see that mess.

Cordelia looked up at the ceiling in exasperation. What the hell was wrong with her? She shouldn’t be feeling like this. Shaking herself out of a potentially depressing train of thought, she stood up and straightened her clothes.

She was Cordelia Chase. She was strong, she was proud, she was…

She was late.

“Oh crap!” Cordelia gasped when her gaze fell on her watch. She hastily pulled on her strap heels and grabbed her leather jacket. After casting one last glance at her reflection, she quickly left for school.

~*~

“How is it going with your new watcher?” Willow asked her friend as she sat down on a bench, looking around quickly to make sure no students had heard her and then relaxed.

Buffy shrugged. “Fine, I guess.”

Willow smiled knowingly. “You’re giving him a hard time.”

“Hey, I’m nice!”

“Uh-huh.”

“I am! You should see how Faith acts with him.” Buffy snorted. “But I told her not to be too hard on the guy, I don’t want Giles to get into trouble with the Council or anything.”

“Is Wesley that bad?”

Buffy answered by raising an eyebrow.

“Who’s bad?” Xander’s voice interrupted the girls as he appeared behind them.

They turned and smiled at him.

“Just Wesley: the dorkiest dorky watcher that ever dorked.” Buffy chirped.

Xander nodded and pursed his lips at her answer. He slumped down beside Buffy, casting nervous glances at the parking lot every now and then as they chatted.

After a while, Buffy noticed his gloomy expression. She frowned and nudged him gently with her elbow. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

Xander didn’t look at her. He played with the laces of his yellow sneakers for a moment before he finally looked up.

“I heard Cordelia is coming back to school today.” He answered, but he was looking at Willow.

“She is?” Willow’s eyes widened and she glanced at the parking lot. “So soon?”

The boy just looked down and nodded.

Buffy looked back and forth between Xander and Willow and shifted in her seat. The tension now surrounding them was palpable.

She couldn’t take it anymore and cleared her throat. “So uh, is Oz gonna research with us tonight?”

Willow’s eyes lit up at the mention of her boyfriend. She was incredibly grateful things were getting better between them. She was slowly getting his trust back.

She wasn’t sure she deserved that.

“The Dingoes are practicing tonight, but he said if we really needed the help he could find an excuse not to go.” Willow explained.

“I’m sure he won’t have to, we’ll be okay.” Buffy suddenly clapped her hands, trying to relieve the tension that was still there. “Hey, you guys wanna hang out at my house after I’m done patrolling? It’s been a while since watched one of those excellent Indian movies.”

Willow grinned. “I’m in!”

“Xander?” Buffy patted his knee.

The boy glanced at his two best friends who were smiling expectantly at him. He couldn’t resist smiling in return.

“I’ll bring the snacks.”

~*~

Cordelia pulled up in front of the Sunnydale High. She stared at the edifice for a moment, her hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.

Finally, she turned off the engine and took a deep breath. She gathered her courage and walked out of the car, her old Queen C mask firmly back in place. She could feel eyes on her as she made her way to the school.

She suddenly stopped dead in her tracks and felt her breath hitch in her throat.

Xander, Willow and Buffy sitting on a bench. They were laughing, like they had no care in the world. Not so long ago she would’ve been there, sitting with them. She swallowed hard and looked away.

Ugh, get a grip! Cordelia shook her head in annoyance at herself and walked inside the school. She took a deep breath and held her chin high as she made her way towards her locker.

She wouldn’t let herself be a victim, she decided as she heard the bell ring loudly.

~*~

Wesley Wyndham Pryce was pacing anxiously across the floor of the Library.

Everything was a lot harder and complicated than he’d expected. From the information he received on the two slayers, he already knew he would have problems with Faith, but he’d thought Buffy wouldn’t be easier to control.

How wrong he was with that assumption…

Wesley leaned against the counter and removed his glasses to rub the heels of his palms into his eyes. He took several calming breaths.

But suddenly jumped and almost dropped his glasses when the library doors swung open. He straightened himself, but immediately stilled at the sight that greeted him.

A beautiful brunette was walking towards him. His eyes roaming over her, tendrils were framing her classic features. Dark red clothes were hugging her luscious curves. Long, tanned and well toned legs peeking out from the slit in her skirt attracted his gaze…

Wesley gulped and looked up, putting his glasses back on his nose.

NO stuttering!

“Hello.” he smiled.

The young woman stopped right in front of him.

“Hi.” Cordelia eyed him up and down. “…Who are you?”

He extended his hand, his smile still firmly in place. “Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.”

“Cordelia Chase.” She shook his hand and furrowed her brow. “So, Mr. Wyndam-Pryce… who are you?”

Wesley blinked. “I-I’m the librarian.”

“Giles is the librarian.” She said matter-of-factly.

“Ah, yes, I… I help him.”

“Oh!” Cordelia snapped her fingers and smiled broadly. “You must be Buffy’s new Watcher!”

“What? I certainly am not!” Wesley yelped.

“Yes, you are.” she nodded firmly.

“No! You… I don’t…” He gave up and looked nervously around the library, as if he didn’t know they were alone. “Who told you that?” he whispered loudly.

“I did.” was the muttered answer.

Cordelia and Wesley both turned in time to see Giles walking out of his office, his arms full of books that almost completely hid his face. He put the impressive stack on the counter and straightened his glasses before smiling warmly at the brunette.

“Nice to have you back, Cordelia. How are you feeling?”

“Peachy!” She smiled a little too brightly at Giles and then at Wesley, who was still standing beside her. Her smile morphed into a smirk when the young watcher instantly looked down, flustering.

Nice to know she still had it.

Wesley cleared his throat and lifted his chin. “Is there anybody in this school who isn’t aware of Buffy’s secret identity?” he asked, glaring at Giles.

“Cordelia is a close friend of Buffy.” the older man explained, ignoring the girl’s indignant huff.

“Yeah, we’re real close. Anyway,” Cordelia rolled her eyes and handed to Giles the paper her English teacher had given her. “I need these books. My little… vacation was fun and all, but now I have a lot of catching up to do.”

“Yes, of course.” he grabbed the paper she was impatiently waving in front of his face. A smile threatened to split upon his face when Cordelia glanced at a very mortified-looking Wesley from the corner of her eyes. Giles almost felt bad for leaving the innocent young man alone with Cordelia. Almost.

“So…” Cordelia started as soon as Giles disappeared behind the stacks. She kind of liked this new watcher. He was cute, if you were into dorky, stiff upper lip kind of guys, of course.

“Do you like Sunnydale?”

Wesley thought about it for a moment, searching for the right word that could describe the Hellmouth.

“It’s… an interesting town.” he non-answered.

Cordelia snorted. “Yeah, nice choice of words.”

Wesley looked down, picking at a piece of invisible lint on his sleeve. Probably his attempt to look nonchalant, Cordelia thought.

“So if I followed everything correctly then I’m a right to assume you’re a student here, Miss Chase?”

“…Yes.”

“Oh.” His face fell for a second, but he quickly adopted a blank expression. “Well, I have some work to do so… um… I’ll just…” He cringed, mentally kicking himself. He chose to keep his big, stuttering mouth closed and pointed at Giles’ office before he almost ran off.

Cordelia watched him disappear into the office and arched an eyebrow, an amused smile floating on her lips.

The sound of a door slamming shut made her look over her shoulder. Her smile faded when she saw the slayer, with Xander standing right behind her.

Some things will never change, she thought bitterly.

Xander stuffed his hands in his pockets, looking miserable.

“Hey.” he said, flinching when Cordelia instantly looked away.

“Yeah.” she replied.

Buffy looked at Xander. Her chest tightened when she saw his crestfallen expression. She looked back at Cordelia and tried to break the tension for the second time that day.

“So Cordy, how are you?” Buffy cringed; her voice sounded too perky even to her own ears.

“I’m fine.”

Xander swallowed at her cold reply and shrugged sadly when Buffy looked back at him.

“I have to go; Willow’s waiting for me in the cafeteria.” He inwardly cursed his stupidity when he noticed Cordelia’s back stiffening at the mention of the redhead. “Um, yeah I’m going.” He glanced one last time at Cordelia before he made his way towards the door.

Buffy watched him leave and then looked at Cordelia, biting her tongue to keep quiet.

It’s not Cordelia’s fault, she went through a lot lately, she reminded herself and then rolled her eyes. Haven’t we all?

She looked up when Giles chose that moment to appear from behind the stacks, holding a couple of books.

“Hello Buffy.” he smiled at the slayer and put the books down in front of Cordelia. “Can you tell me if you already have some of these?” he asked her.

Lost in her own, private thoughts, Cordelia jumped a little and blinked several times. “What?” She noticed the pile of books on the counter and Giles’ looking expectantly at her. “Oh yeah, sure.” She picked up one the books.

Buffy gently grabbed Giles’ elbow and led him to the weapon cabinet, leaving Cordelia to her books.

“I wanted to talk to you…” the slayer said quietly.

“Of course.” Giles looked at her with concern. “About what?”

“…About Angel.” Buffy bit her bottom lip, knowing the vampire wasn’t Giles’ favourite subject of conversation.

At the mention of Angel, Cordelia briefly looked at Buffy over her shoulder, her interest peaked.

Giles visibly tensed. “What about him?”

“I’ve been thinking… maybe I should ask him to come back and help us.” she spoke the words slowly, carefully.

Giles raised his brow. “Help us?”

“Well you know, with the research, and when I patrol. Faith isn’t the most reliable patrol buddy, you know.”

“You really think he’s strong enough to go on patrol with you?”

“Maybe not yet… but he could stay here tonight and research while I’m patrolling with Faith.”

Giles removed his glasses and began cleaning them, an unmistakable sign that he was upset.

“I thought you wanted to keep you’re distances with…him.”

Buffy realised sadly that he couldn’t bring himself to say his name.

“Yeah, and that’s still the case, but he’s all alone Giles. He doesn’t have anybody… except me. I’m the only one in the world who’s there for him. And even if we can’t be… close, I can’t leave him alone. I just can’t.” She looked at him with pleading eyes. “He doesn’t need me to take care of him anymore, but he still…needs me.”

Oh, barf. Cordelia rolled her eyes as she flipped through the pages of her books. She’s talking about her undead honey, not a puppy…

She stopped reading and wrinkled her nose. Well, Angel did act like the slayer’s lap-dog most of the time, and those puppy dog eyes…

Giles put his glasses back on his nose and looked at Buffy. “Alright,” he sighed. “If it’s important to you, then you should ask him.”

Buffy smiled gratefully, relief flooding through her system. “Thank you. And don’t worry, everything is gonna be all right.” she assured him

“Yes.” He didn’t seem to believe it. He nodded and walked back to Cordelia, who had both her elbows on the counter.

The ex-watcher raised his eyebrows as he noticed her miffed expression. Realisation suddenly dawned on him.

“Would you like to help us with the research?” he asked.

Cordelia looked up at him and blinked, surprised by the proposition.

She thought about it for a moment and then shook her head looking back at her books. It wasn’t even noon yet and she was already exhausted. She couldn’t wait to get home… even if home happened to be rat hole.

“She’s probably still feeling too weak for that, Giles.” Buffy reminded him.

Cordelia’s head snapped up. Too weak? She narrowed her eyes dangerously at Buffy.

“I changed my mind,” she stated, glaring at the slayer before she turned her attention on Giles. “I’ll come.”

“Really?” Giles raised his brow. He was simply being polite; he hadn’t wanted her to feel left out, but knowing how she hated to research, he certainly hadn’t expected her to agree.

“Yeah.” Cordelia shrugged.

“Thank you, it will certainly be helpful.” he smiled.

Buffy scowled. She would already have enough to deal with that night, with the new demon in town and Angel, she didn’t need to make sure Cordelia would behave with Xander and Willow on top of that.

“No.” Buffy shook her head. “You shouldn’t-“

“It’s only research.” Cordelia said through clenched teeth. “I’ll be fine.”

Buffy sighed. “Right…”

Cordelia stared at her for a moment longer and then grabbed her books. “Well as much as I’d like to stay here and chat with you, except not, I actually have stuff to do.” She turned to Giles and gave him two books. “I already have these.”

With that, she walked out of the Library, leaving an annoyed slayer and a befuddled ex-watcher behind her.

Giles cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak, but Buffy cut him off.

“I’ll see you later.” She muttered and stormed out of the Library.

Giles stared at the closed doors for a while and then leaned against the counter, pinching the bridge of his nose.

It was gonna be long day.

~*~

Angel wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand as he walked towards his bedroom and put his sword in the closet.

He was slowly getting his strength back. He was more coordinated, more focused. He was getting a little better everyday, he thought with satisfaction as he walked back into the living room.

He froze when he reached his destination.

Buffy was standing in the middle of the room, her back facing him. He frowned and approached her quietly.

“Hey.” he said, a little surprised at how raspy his voice sounded.

Buffy spun round quickly, a startled look in her eyes. Angel could clearly hear her heart racing in her ribcage.

“Oh, hi!” she said, her voice sounding awfully chipper. “How are you?”

Angel gave a shrug of his lower lip. “I’m good… you?”

“Fine!” She smiled forcefully. Her eyes roamed over him against her will. He was wearing his workout clothes. A fine sheen of perspiration covered his arms and neck.

Buffy swallowed; he was truly gorgeous. She remembered when she could just walk up to him and touch him. Kiss him.

God, she missed that.

“So, uh…why are you here?” Angel asked, shifting a little under Buffy’s intense scrutiny.

She looked up and met his eyes. “I need you.”

Angel raised his eyebrows.

Buffy’s eyes widened. “Um, I mean…” she flushed. “We need you.”

“We?”

“The whole gang.” Buffy clarified.

Angel frowned and sat on the armrest of the couch, his interest picked. “Why would you need me?”

“There’s a new demon in town.” She frowned, a look of deep concentration on her face. “Baltha… Balthaga…”

“Balthazar?” he suggested.

“That’s the one! Well, my new watcher insists that he’s dead, but I was patrolling with Faith yesterday and we “met” his minions. They were looking for their boss’ amulet, still are, and now we need to find out if it’s dangerous.” She took a step toward him. “We need help with the research.”

“Research…” he repeated. Of course. That’s what he was reduced to. The vampire frowned when something else occurred to him. “You have a new watcher?”

“Yeah, it’s a long story. I’ll tell you everything tonight, if you want.” She absently played with the hem of her shirt. “So are you gonna come?”

He looked into her hopeful green eyes and reluctantly nodded. “Yeah, if you need me, then I’ll come.”

“Great!” She smiled. “I’ll pick you up at 8 pm.”

“Pick me up?” he scowled. “It’s okay, Buffy, I’ll just see you at the Library.”

“These guys are really dangerous, Angel, and you’re still…” She trailed off, obviously uncomfortable. “What I mean is that with these guys in town, you could be attacked and you’re not exactly… at your best right now.” She looked away.

Angel looked down and remained silent, swallowing his pride. He knew she wouldn’t change her mind. But he hated this. He was used to being the protector or the one people needed protection from, not the one who was protected, damn it.

He took a deep breath and the slayer’s smell instantly invaded his senses. He closed his eyes. He could vaguely smell Giles, Willow and Xander on her, too, and if he concentrated enough he could smell…

His eyes flew open in surprise.

“Did you visit Cordelia?” he asked without thinking.

“What?” Buffy blinked at him, obviously taken aback by his sudden question.

Angel mentally cursed himself and rubbed the back of his neck.

“I… I was wondering, since you mentioned the whole gang earlier… it made me think about Cordelia. I was just wondering if she was okay.” he lied.

“Oh,” Buffy shrugged. “I guess she is. She came back to school today.”

“Hm.” His face remained impressively blank even though anger was boiling inside of him. What the hell was Cordelia thinking? And what about her parents? Couldn’t they see it was way too soon to go back to school?

Angel’s lips formed a thin line. He should’ve followed his instincts and checked up on her once she’d left the Hospital.

Oblivious, Buffy rolled her eyes as she remembered the earlier events. ”Yeah, and she was her usual self, believe me. She…” she trailed off and a line suddenly appeared between her eyebrows. “Wait, who told you about Cordelia’s accident?”

Angel stuffed his hands in his pockets. “People talk about that sort of thing.” he lied again, hoping Buffy would think he was being his usual cryptic self and let it go.

“Right. Anyway, she’ll come tonight, too, and things are so tense between her, Willow and Xander that nobody will feel awkward around you tonight.” She assured him. She nervously looked at the door when Angel remained silent. “…I have to go back to School.” she said.

Angel met her eyes. “Sure.”

Buffy nodded and made her way slowly to the door. She suddenly stopped and faced him again.

“You know, I’m glad we can talk without wanting to jump at each other’s throats.” she smiled sadly.

Angel nodded slowly.

“OK, leaving now. Bye…” She waved weakly.

“Bye.” he replied.

The vampire slumped down on the couch and sighed heavily as soon as Buffy closed the door behind her. He certainly knew how to put himself in uncomfortable positions. Angel knew he wasn’t welcomed among Buffy’s friends.

He groaned. God, Giles would be there. And Willow, and…

And Cordelia. Angel’s eyes softened. She would be there, too. He didn’t know if he was thrilled or terrified to see her again.

Even if she confused him most of the time, he kind of liked listening to her talk about fashion, Keanu Reeves and other thing that weren’t familiar to him. It was a change from the usual demon-talk.

It was soothing.

Angel cocked his head and smiled softly. Maybe soothing wasn’t really a word that worked for the brunette. She was…refreshing. Yeah, that was it: refreshing.

Angel’s smile slowly faded, leaving a panic filled expression behind.

What if she asked for an explanation that night? When he was visiting her at the hospital, he’d been dreading the night she’d finally ask the question again:

Why?

Just a simple question, but he still didn’t have an answer.

To his surprise, she hadn’t asked it. She‘d let the vampire that had tried to kill her less than a year ago come into her room every night without even a good explanation. Angel wasn’t sure if it amazed or pissed him off.

Knowing Cordelia she’d probably ask him tonight, though. At the Hospital she was on morphine, which, in his opinion, was probably why she hadn’t asked anything. She’d been a little out of it.

Angel rubbed his eyes and groaned. Buffy had said Cordelia was back to her old self. That meant a vain, tactless girl with a sharp tongue. A girl who had nothing to do with the one he’d visited every night for two weeks.

A girl who wouldn’t accept “I don’t know” as an answer.

Angel finally shook his head; panicking wouldn’t lead him anywhere. Really, what was the worst that could happen?

He looked down at himself and took a deep, unneeded breath. He then stood up and walked in direction of the bathroom for a shower.


…TO BE CONTINUED…

THIS APPEARS TO BE AN UNFINISHED FANFIC


 

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