Dear Diary


AUTHOR: JENNIEC
SUMMARY: Cordy loses her diary.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 21 Aug 2003
CATEGORY: BTVS S3 Angst, Humor, Smut / Challenge by Sunscorched
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A, minor B/A
WARNINGS: Sexual Content
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES:  A special thank you goes out to Califi for her support and encouragement.


Chapter 1

After a particularly long session at the library, Angel left disgusted that nothing had been accomplished yet. The Mayor was still a huge threat and something had to be done soon; he couldn’t let Buffy go in to this fight only to be killed. They may have ‘broken up’ but he still cared, he still loved her.

With his hands in his pockets, looking down deep in thought, he stumbled upon a book. It was a notebook of sorts, but stylish – not a typical class notepad. Curious he bent down and picked it up. He turned to a random page determined to learn the owner and return it. He was surprised to read:

Dear diary,

I saw him again today in the library. I said it before, and I’ll say it again “Hello salty goodness”! I can’t help but picture touching him, feeling his tongue do amazing things, to touch every inch of that strong chest. I look at him and I feel things I’ve never felt before. This warmth starts between my legs and starts a tingle throughout my entire body. I just want to taste every part of him, feel him inside me. Is that wrong? I mean, VAMPIRE, HELLO! Sleep with the undead? Isn’t that what we are meant to fight? Well, I can dream, right?

me

Whoa! Vampire? Library? Well, seeing as he had to be the only vampire in the library these days, he had to wonder if the writer was in fact referring to him. Buffy…it had to be Buffy. The words stung him, fight the undead. Was that all he was to her – something she was meant to fight? He closed the book and slipped it into the breast pocket of his jacket, trying to figure out a way to get it back to her without her knowing he’d had it. With the words still ringing in his head, he was surer then ever that leaving right after graduation was the best thing he could do for her.
**************
It was a long night for Cordelia, she was busy matching Xander quip for quip. There was no way he was going to get the last word, not while she still had a voice. He and that slut Willow had nerve! How is it that the geeky redhead cheats on Oz with her boyfriend and that loser is the one who gets all the sympathy?

What about her? She was the one with a hole in her stomach, but did anyone care? No, once again Cordelia Chase, you have no one to depend on but yourself. Dizzy with all these thoughts she was anxious to get inside, take a shower, and write in her diary. If only she could remember where she had put it! She was sure she had it with her. Oh well, its probably tucked safely away in that hellhole she was calling home.

Once inside, she immediately began to rummage through the room, tossing things aside recklessly. She checked her bag, around and under the bed – even in the bathroom. It was nowhere. Feeling a surge of panic at the thought that it might be lost, she flopped down on the bed trying desperately to calm her nerves. Her locker, it must be in her locker! That was the only other place it could possibly be. Well, there was no way she could check tonight. Traveling the streets of Sunnydale at night was not a wise idea. She would have to wait until morning.

Thinking about the things she had written in her diary, Cordelia gradually became even more worried and upset. God, what if she’d lost it and someone was reading it right this minute? Anger rose up in her throat. How did it come to this? How did this become her life? Damn her parents! Any idiot knows, you don’t pay taxes, you are bound to get caught. Oh, but not them. They fled the country, leaving her to fend for herself. Now she was the one to suffer the consequences. If she were at home, she wouldn’t have felt the need to keep her diary with her. She would have had it tucked away in her hope chest. Now it was probably being transcribed right at this moment for the school newspaper. She definitely wasn’t going to get much sleep tonight.
**************
Angel lay on his bed, eyes wide open. The words he had read running over and over in his mind. Sleep with…Fight the undead. Not able to stand it anymore, he got up to read more. Maybe it was just a bad day? After all, the rest sounded pretty good to him. Salty Goodness? He never heard her call him that, but he didn’t mind. What man would?

Sitting comfortably on his couch downstairs, he held the book, wrestling with his conscience. Damn soul, Angelus would not only have finished by now, but he would have been at her door looking for volume 2!

“Oh, just read it, you know you want to. I bet its chock full of sexual fantasies” His demon had a one-track mind. Well, OK, two, sex and death.

Still uncomfortable he decided to look again anyway. What if it wasn’t hers? He reasoned. Oh come on, who else? Well, there’s only one way to find out. Slowly he opened up to another page:

Dear diary,

He brushed past me today. All muscle, built solid. I bet his vampire stamina would leave me exhausted! And those lips! 250 years old, I bet he knows what to do with those! Ewwww, I bet he knows what to do with those, I wonder how many he’s been with. I don’t want to be just another one in a long list of ho’s. But, oh, that ass! I just want to grab it and hold on. What am I thinking, he doesn’t even know I exist – him or anyone else! Get a grip (no pun intended! LOL). I’ll be graduating soon, and then I am OUT OF HERE!! Away from all that is Sunnyhell!

me

That didn’t sound like Buffy; she would never leave the Hellmouth. Determined more than ever, he wanted to know more. Who was having these fantasies about him? And if he found out, what was he going to do about it? ‘Well, cross that bridge when I get to it.’ He continued:
Dear diary,

Saw Angel again today, so he’s the undead, who cares with a body like that! I mean, he is so mysterious, always standing in the corner all broody like. I wonder what goes on in his head? What is he thinking about? I know what I’m thinking. A nice king size bed; music playing softly in the background, our bodies thrusting in a primal rhythm. His lips to my mine, my hand

Oops, gotta go! Someone’s at the door.

me

OK, whoever was at that door is due for an ass kicking! Feeling a familiar tightness in his shorts he decided that was enough for tonight. Those were definitely thoughts to fall asleep by, well, after he took care of some business.
**************
The next day, Cordy was up, dressed and out the door in record time. She had barely gotten any sleep worrying about her diary. She quickly ran out the door with one thought in mind, ‘please let my diary be in my locker’.

While chanting that mantra over and over in her head, it took her three tries before she could get her locker opened. With hands shaking, she dug through furiously, only to discover it wasn’t there. Her heart fell to her knees. What was she going to do, what if someone found it and was reading it? Her head was spinning. OK Chase, you’ve been humiliated before and got through it. You can do it now. Putting on her brave face she strolled down the corridor with her head held high to her first class.


Chapter 2

Angel woke up earlier than usual with one thing on his mind. He wanted to read more of the diary, no longer feeling like he was invading someone’s privacy, but rather wanting to find out more about this person. He was becoming intrigued, and very…excited. Pouring himself a mug of blood he went back to the couch to continue:

Dear diary,

I’m hot, I’m hot and tired and…hungry. I hate my parents, how could they do this to me? How could they just get up and go and leave me to fend for myself? It’s no secret; they didn’t love me, but this? I would have thought even this was beneath them. Did I mention I HATE them?? Can I say it enough? I HATE, HATE, HATE them!!!!!!!!! Well, at least I managed to get a job, so I’ll have enough money to find a place to live and maybe get some food. Oh, and did I mention it’s at a boutique clear on the other side of town, no chance of anyone seeing me working there. I’d never hear the end of it. Well, off to work. Ugh!

me

OK, those were clues. Someone who never worked before, well, these were high school kids, most of whom came from basically upper middle class families. Not a whole lot of the kids worked. There were a few at the Burger Palace, but none that he had seen in the library.

Someone who hates their parents; thinks they don’t love them. Well, doesn’t everyone go through that at least once in his or her life? Especially teenagers. He remembered his teenage years; when all the trouble between he and his father started, only, his never ended. He winced at the painful memories.

Wait, there was something else, this person had been left alone. He thought through all the people he came in contact with at the library, no one fit that description. Oh, there’s…he was NOT going to give that thought a voice; there was no way. He knew Xander’s parents weren’t model citizen’s, and he’d leave Xander too if it were him. He really did not like that boy. Still, there was no way this was him. Teenage boys don’t write in diaries. Journals maybe, not diaries. No this couldn’t be him. He shrugged off these disturbing thoughts and continued, determined more than ever to discover the identity of the mysterious author.

Dear diary,

Made it through the first week of work. One more week and I finally get paid. Just in time too. They have scheduled to close on my house two weeks from today. God I hate my life.

me

Well, that was disappointingly short. And still no closer to the author’s identity. Unfortunately that will have to do; he was expected in the library in half an hour. Closing the book, he jumped in to the shower. The rest will have to wait until later tonight when he returned.
**************
Finally her shift came to an end. It felt like it took forever. She had one customer, and what a pain in the ass that one was. It took all she had to not just blurt out, ‘Lady, you can’t fit a size 14 body in a size 10 dress, I don’t care how many times you ask!’ At least it was a distraction.

Locking the door, she slipped into her car, the only thing left from her parent’s financial disaster. Thank God for her grandma, or that would be gone too. She sat, unsure of what to do. She knew everyone would be at the library, but did she want to go? What if one of them had her diary? Figuring it was too late if they did she drove in the direction of the school. Might as well face the music now rather than later. At least if it was just them she might be able to have some control, she reasoned. But if it was during school, she shrugged that off as she pulled into the school parking lot.
**************
As per usual, everyone was sitting at their stations. Willow at the computer, Buffy pacing, Xander at the donut box, Giles and Wesley with their heads in their books and Angel perched on the stairs.

“Cordelia, how nice of you to grace us with your presence” Xander quipped through a mouthful of donut.

“Shut up, Xander” Cordelia was in no mood for this.

“That’s it? Are you feeling OK, I expect more than that from the great ‘Queen C’, you must have lost it!” Cordelia’s head snapped to Xander at his reply, ‘lost it? What does that mean? Oh god, its him! He found my diary’!

“Just give me one of the books, one with words since they are no use to you!” she tried her best to remain calm.

“Much better, there’s the Cordelia we know and tolerate” he managed while handing her one of the particularly large and boring books.

“Xander!” Willow admonished, she was still felling guilty for everything that happened.

“Oh, please, she can dish it out, she’s gotta be able to take it.” Realizing that this was just normal banter between her and Xander, she mentally kicked herself. Now she was just being paranoid. She decided it was best to just stick her head inside her book and leave well enough alone.

Buffy, tired of the constant bickering, decided to change the subject, “Xander, my Mom said you could sleep in our basement since your parents aren’t home” Angel’s head snapped to attention. No, he refused to believe, but his parents weren’t home…

“Oh, no need, they came back yesterday, but thank your Mom anyway” a rush of relief flooded through Angel’s body upon hearing those words. Granted, Angelus wouldn’t have minded; it was all the same to him. Pleasure, pain, death, didn’t really matter whom. Angel on the other hand was just pissed off. He may have been flattered, if it was anybody but this idiot. He really didn’t like this boy. That’s it, he really needed to get home and read more; the curiosity was starting to make him insane.

The rest of the night went on much as it had begun. It was getting late and they were no closer than when they started. Giles decided to call it a night.

Grateful to be ‘dismissed’ everyone ran for the door.

“I was thinking of making a sweep before I head home, Angel, want to join me?”

Knowing there was no graceful way to get out of it, wanting to just get back to the diary, he reluctantly replied, “Sure, Buffy”.

Cordelia remained behind, “Is there something you need Cordelia?” Giles voice made her jump.

“Ah…no…I just thought I left something, oh well, I’m off. Goodnight Giles.”

“Goodnight Cordelia, sleep well” with that he shut the lights and headed for home.


Chapter 3

Patrol went on forever tonight. He swore, one more time around the cemetery and he was going to knock Buffy out, and then blame it on some vampire flunky. Hey, he could pull it off. Anyway, he had more important things to get to, namely the diary.

He shrugged off his leather duster, quickly poured himself a mug of blood, and then settled in for some reading. He opened to where he left off:

Dear diary,

Had that dream again last night, oh my. This time, Angel was carrying me to our bed. He gently laid me down and began to slowly strip. God, that chest, I could feel my chest heaving as he undid each button. Then slowly, as if to tease, he unbuttoned his pants. I couldn’t take it anymore; I got up, stopped his hands from moving any further, then slowly and deliberately took the zipper into my teeth. Slowly releasing the most incredible display of manhood I’ve ever seen. I kissed the tip gently, pleased when I heard him gasp. He quickly removed his pants, allowing me better access. I grabbed his thighs and slowly took him into my mouth. I could feel him get harder as my tongue swirled further and further down until I had it all. I began sucking hard, never more exhilarated then at that moment. He began to match my rhythm, thrusting gently so as not to hurt me. He grabbed my hair and my pleasure only increased. I felt so powerful, giving him pleasure, and just when I thought I couldn’t take any more, I felt his seed shoot into my mouth, sliding sensuously down my throat. We stilled for a moment, struggling to catch our breath. It was the most incredible experience of my life. If only it were real.

me

Angel slammed the book shut. He needed time to calm down. If the book was going to be more like this, he was in for trouble. He cautiously opened to the next entry:

Dear diary,

What a horrible day. Nothing went right. And if one more person points and laughs, I am going to go ballistic! I am not a loser – I’m NOT! So my clothes are not designer; it’s not my fault! I kissed Xander, well woop-dee-doo. Everyone has had a moment they regret, why not me? I could just scream! I’m too aggravated. More later.

me

Hmmm, more clues. People point and laugh. Not a loser. Clothes aren’t designer…Willow? Wow, didn’t think the red head had it in her. He was going to have to pay more attention to her. He continued on:

Dear diary,

OK, I’m much calmer than yesterday; I got to see Angel in the library today. It’s amazing that I can think all this stuff about him, yet still feel so calm when I’m around him. OK, maybe calm is not the right word, but you know what I mean. I thought after the first dream that if I ever came face-to-face with him again I would faint from embarrassment. I can’t explain it. Its almost as if it feels…right. Weird, huh? Oh well, late for work again, gotta go.

me

OK, still no closer to the truth. But, whoever it was, wasn’t nervous around him, so that ruled out Willow. He continued on:

Dear diary,

Well, finally found some place to park my stuff. Sleeping in my car was becoming a real hassle. You can now find me at the Sunnydale Motel down on I 97. Have I told you lately my life sucks? No? Well, my life SUCKS!!

me

Ah, there it was. The one clue that was hopefully, going to help him. The Sunnydale Motel on I 97. All he had to do was go down there and wait until he saw someone he recognized. Now he had a plan. With that he shut the book and went to his room for some much needed sleep.
**************
Cordelia drove ‘home’ aimlessly. Her diary was still missing. She felt like crawling into that thing they call a bed and never coming out. How could it have come to this? Losing her home, that sucked. Losing her credit cards, there are no words for how much that sucked. But losing her secrets? There was nothing worse. The rest she could handle, she was Cordelia Chase after all. But this?

Realizing she was finally ‘home’, she went inside, fastened the locks and crawled into bed without bothering to change her clothes, and then cried herself to sleep.


Chapter 4

Angel anxiously waited for the sun to set. He was a man with a plan. He had read the last entry that told him that the author was living at the Sunnydale Motel on I 97, and that’s where he planned to be.

As the last vestiges of light slowly sunk behind the horizon, he grabbed his leather duster, diary in hand. He quickly moved to open the door only to find…Buffy, standing there wide-eyed.

“Wow, how did you know I was coming?” she managed to stammer out.

“Um, I didn’t, coincidence” he muttered.

“OH, a nice coincidence I hope”

“Um, I’m always glad to see you, you know that” he was surprised how that stuck in his throat. He was usually glad to see her. Not this time though. He didn’t want to waste any more time trying to figure out what that meant.

“I’m sorry, Buffy, but I was headed out” that came easy, surprising him even more.

“OK, mind if I join you?” she asked hopefully.

“Sorry, not this time, this is something I need to do alone.” This was getting easier and easier. Wasn’t too long ago he would not have even thought to say that to her. Whoever this author was, she had him, and he was curiously OK with that.

“Oh, OK, well, you know where to find me if you feel like patrolling later” she added hopefully.

“Yeah, sorry, I have to go” and with that he left, leaving Buffy standing there, resembling a fish.
**************
Cordelia was tired. It was still 2 hours before she could go home and crawl back into bed. She hated how losing her diary was affecting her. She was usually a person in control, no matter what the situation. But this made her feel violated some how. Someone out there had her secrets. Things just couldn’t get worse.

“bbbrrriiinnggg” the bell over the door drew her from her thoughts. ‘I have to learn to stop saying that’ was her last thought before she looked up to see…Xander. ‘Oh, God’

“Cordelia, in a fancy dress shop, sure sign of the apocalypse I’d say” Xander stood waiting for her reply rather pleased with himself. He thought that was a good one.

“Oh, hi Xander” That was her reply? No ‘Ha,Ha, by the looks of you that’s already happened,’ or more like, ‘what are you doing here, looking for a dress for the prom? Trust me, don’t go strapless’? Something was definitely up and he was determined to get to the bottom of this.

“ ‘Oh, hi Xander’, that’s it? Cordelia are you OK or are you just overwhelmed by the joy of buying all these dresses” That’s it Xander, prod her on, she’ll crack. “Wait, is that…a name tag? Cordelia, you work here? What, too attached to all these dresses you needed to be close to them?”

Tired of pretending, and with no energy left she blurted out, “Fine, if you must know, yes, I work here. I have nothing, okay? No dresses. No cell phone. Everything’s been taken away because Daddy made a little mistake on his taxes. For the last twelve years. Satisfied? Are you a happy now Xander? I’m broke. I can’t go to any of the colleges that accepted me. And I can’t stay home because we I longer have one.”

“Uh, wow. Cordelia, I didn’t know. I’m sorry. If there’s…”

She cut him off, uninterested in his pity. “Save it. Now you can run along and tell all of your friends how Cordy finally got hers. How she has to work part time just to get a lousy prom dress on layaway. And how she has to wear a name tag. Oh, I’m a name tag person. Don’t leave that out. The story just wouldn’t have the same punch.”

Xander really did feel for her. He may have cheated, but he regretted that, wished the timing had been different. Knowing she wasn’t going to want to hear anything he had to say, he backed out of the store slowly. “Cordelia, I…never mind. Good night.”
Chapter 5

Angel sat patiently in the parking lot of the Motel. He had chosen a spot far enough away where no one could see him, but where he could clearly see who was coming and going. Hoping he had some time to kill, he continued on to the next entry:

Dear diary,

I just woke up from another dream… incredible! I didn’t know I could feel like this! We were lying on a beautiful wrought iron four-poster bed. My hands were clutching on to the backboard as he lay above me. Hands on my breast, he kissed slowly down my chest until he came upon my folds. Expertly moving his tongue to reach every crevice, he entered, taking in all of my juices. We unconsciously began to match the rhythm of Der Fliegende Hollander a sound which filled the room and surrounded us like a warm blanket, elevating our ecstasy to fill every corner. Then it happened. ‘La petite mort’. I am here to tell you, there was nothing, and I mean nothing petite about it! And just when I thought that I could not have been taken any further he loomed above me, with an incredible amount of strength and control that had me quivering, I wanted to crawl inside of him, to a warmth and safety that shot from his eyes like fire. He entered his long, thick shaft with a gentleness that left me near tears, erasing any fear of the pain I knew to expect. Wanting so much to give him what he was asking I began to arch my back, lifting my hips to kiss his. Slowly, methodically, we began the dance. My body felt like it was being jolted with electricity. And then as one, we exploded into a moment of colors brighter than fireworks on the Fourth of July. The intensity of it lifted my soul to a height that left me dizzy and breathless. My god, will I ever feel that? Is it even possible? I hope someday I get lucky enough to find out.

me

Oh…yes…ok…without another drop of blood available for his brain to have a single coherent thought he simply continued on:

Dear diary,

No work today. I’m never going to be able to pay off that dress at this rate. At least I got to go to the library earlier than usual, got to see more of Angel. I’ll never get tired of looking at him. Too bad all he’ll ever see is Buffy. I don’t get it, why does everyone have on Buffy colored glasses? OK, so she saved the world once…or twice, Hey! We helped! You are talking to the A1 bait girl. I mean, who’s to say what would have happened if we weren’t there? Please, she walks around like Miss ‘I have the weight of the world on my shoulders’. Boo Hoo, this is me feeling sorry for her, little miss slay bitch, sitting in her nice house, with her Mom to talk to at night, her friends falling at her feet, and Angel, her little lap dog. Yeah, you try going it alone; see how you do! God, it makes me so angry, I know it shouldn’t. I mean; you play the hand you were dealt with, right? Still, it’s just not fair. I betcha if I went out to slay some demons all I’d get is, ‘Oh where have you been…shopping?’ Well I’ll show them. I’m gonna make something of myself. And I’m not going to need anyone to help me do it either. Just me. Watch out world, because here I come! Yeah, that’s right, right after graduation I’ll move to LA, maybe become a famous movie star, and then when they are all in the theatre, wearing last year’s shoes, sticking to the floor, they’ll look up and see my face. Then who is gonna wish they were my friend, huh? *sigh*, yeah, that’ll show ‘em.

me

Excuse me, lap dog? The ‘Scourge of Europe’ is nobody’s lap dog. Is that how people see me? Have I become that pathetic? Thinking back on his behavior since he had gotten to Sunnydale, he began to feel uncomfortable. Yeah, if he were to be honest, lapdog was pretty close to the truth. Granted he couldn’t…wouldn’t blame Buffy, she was nothing but innocent. In fact, it was because of her that he was no longer lounging in the sewers he used called home. She was responsible for pulling him in to the good fight, and for that he owed her. For that, and much more, he loved her. But was that enough? He thought back to what Spike had said to them in the Magic Shoppe, “You two will never be friends”.

“I’d rather be staked than admit this to him, but he’s right” Angel muttered to himself. At that moment he decided he wanted more, he wanted friendship, to really be a part of humanity. And he owed it all to this mysterious author. He was going to find her, help her, and hopefully, become her friend. He mentally began to search his music collection for the aforementioned Der Fliegende Hollander, the choice of which didn’t go unnoticed. He began to remember, it is the story of a Dutch sea captain, cursed to sail the seas until Judgment day, unless he should find a woman who would love him faithfully until death, a woman who would redeem him through her faithful love.

Snapping him from his thoughts was the sound of a car door slam. He glanced up to see if it was someone he recognized. Excited that he might finally learn the identity of the mysterious author he sat up straighter to get a better look. And there she was…

“Cordelia Chase?”


Chapter 6

“Cordelia Chase?” Thinking back over everything he had read so far he started to feel a tinge of guilt, ‘What am I thinking, he doesn’t even know I exist – him or anyone else!’

“Well, she obviously hit the mark on that one.”

‘I hate my parents, how could they do this to me? How could they just get up and go and leave me to fend for myself? It’s no secret; they didn’t love me, but this? I would have thought even this was beneath them.’

“Wait, according to Buffy, she’s ‘Daddy’s little girl’. How could something like that happen and no one know about it?”

‘I betcha if I went out to slay some demons all I’d get is, ‘Oh where have you been…shopping?’

“Here’s an idea, when you get to out of Sunnydale, go somewhere and open up a detective agency, you’re apparently so good at it!” he sighed, “She’s right, ‘Buffy colored gasses…’”

Feeling like a fool having not picked up on these, and he was sure, other would be blatant hints, he started to think of what he was going to do next, now that he knew her identity. He needed to return the diary. But how? He needed to think of a way that kept her from knowing that someone (namely him) not only had it; but was in fact reading it. He knew how enraged he would be if he caught someone reading his journals, and from what little he knew of her, he didn’t want to face what was sure to be a very ugly scene.

With no easy answers coming to mind, he decided to head back home. Maybe after some sleep he’d be in a better frame of mind to figure it out, and hopefully get back his own identity in the process. Who would have thought it, a 247-year-old vampire getting life advice from a 17-year-old girl, no, woman, he corrected.
**************
Cordelia entered her room in a much better mood than she had been in the days since her diary had disappeared. She had bought another notebook from the dollar store having decided that what’s done was done. So far it seemed no one had found her diary so the only action left was to move on. It was a hard and often painful lesson to learn, but living in Sunnyhell, especially since she started to hang around the Scoobies, it was all too clear, you can’t change the past, only work harder for a better future. That was exactly what she planned to do.

Opening her container of Chinese food, she made herself comfortable on the bed and began what was to become the beginning of her new and exciting life. With pen in hand she opened up to the first crisp new page:

Dear diary,

Cordelia Chase, welcome to your new life! Corny, huh? Well, too bad, because from this day forward things are going to change. No more wallowing in self-pity. No more whining about the unfairness of it all. You, young lady are going to take life by the balls. Graduation? Ascension? No problem. You are going to go in there and fight. And as soon as its over, you are going to get in your car, drive to LA and become a star! That is if you don’t die during the ascension…oh, who am I kidding, I’m scared. I don’t want to die; I’m too young. I have so much to look forward to, so much life ahead of me. Oh no, no, no, already thinking like that? What has it been, 5 minutes and you are already thinking like that? Stop it. You are going to get up, go to the library, and find out what you can do to help. So life sucks, get over it! Change it!

me

With that she closed the book triumphantly, finished her Chinese food, and headed out the door.
**************
As per usual, everyone was sitting at their stations. Willow at the computer, Buffy pacing, Xander at the donut box, Giles and Wesley with their heads buried in their books.

Cordelia entered, steeling herself for any comments Xander’s story was sure to bring on. She was surprised when it appeared that no one knew – or did and didn’t care.

“Cordelia, how nice of you to grace us with your presence” Xander quipped through a mouthful of donut.

“Shut up, Xander” Cordelia risked a questioning glance. He responded with a wink. Thankful, she graced him with a quick smile, but no more than that – part of her new life required leaving all this behind, Sunnyhell, the Scoobies, her obsession with Angel…where was Angel anyway?

“Here’s a book, don’t worry, lots of words” he hefted the dusty book in her direction, shaking her from her thoughts.

“Huh?”

“de-ja-vu, just thought I’d skip to the end, we are a little busy here” unable to let it go without at least a little dig, he smirked.

“Whatever, are we any closer? Has the brain trust come up with any ideas on how to stop this yet? Or should I just wear the dress I’ve picked out for my funeral under my cap and gown?” Queen C was back.

“Cordelia, I don’t think that was necessary” Giles admonished.

“Fine, but someone needs to start telling the truth here. If we don’t come up with something soon, it’s going to be a short and bloody graduation, and unlike some of you, I have a life to get to!” she directed the last part to Xander. Things might be changing for her, but the last word? Never!

“If you are so interested in getting to that life, why don’t you…”

Giles, ever the peacemaker decided to cut Buffy off. “OK, I think we may be finished for tonight, everyone is obviously very tired. Why don’t you all go home and get some sleep, as I will need your full attention first thing in the morning. Buffy, considering the circumstances I think you can forgo patrolling just this one night.”

He was met with a chorus of “Fine”, “Whatever”, “I’m out of here”

Sighing heavily, Giles mumbled to himself, “We’re doomed.”


Chapter 7

The Library – the next night

Cordelia put down her now useless musty book. She began to search for another when a strong arm leaned over her right shoulder, offering a substitute.

“Here, try this one”, she wasn’t sure if it was the whisper that brushed past her ear, or learning that said arm belonged to Angel that caused her shivers; but her traitorous body was definitely on alert.

Angel casually went back to his perch on the stairs, pleased with himself. First contact, and judging by her obvious arousal, a successful one. After a long night of tossing and turning he had come to the conclusion that not only did he want to get to know Cordelia, he wanted to make her dreams come true. He sat quietly not paying attention to the book he held, but in concentration of his next move.

After what seemed like days to the Vampire, Giles had finally decided it was time to call it a night. Angel sprung up and quickly headed out the door before anyone, namely Buffy, could stop him.

Waiting in the shadows of the parking lot, he watched as everyone began to leave. As if choreographed to suit his plan, Cordelia approached, the last to leave.

“Last out?” he startled her, causing her to drop her keys. He swiftly rounded the car to pick them up for her.

“Ghah! You scared me!” she rebuked him shakily.

“Sorry, you want some company? You shouldn’t be alone out here at night” he silkily replied.

“No, that’s OK, I have my car.” She hesitated, this was so weird – he’d never bothered to speak to her before. “What’s up with the sudden concern?”

“Nothing, just with everything coming up, I don’t think its safe, well, less safe than usual” Oh yeah, that was smooth, he winced.

“Angel, you are scarring me. You being all…concerned like this. Is it because you think we’re not going to get through…”

“No, its nothing like that, I just…can I be honest?” Grateful she didn’t have to finish her thought she simply nodded yes.

“We shouldn’t be out here in the open, do you want to maybe go to the diner or something? I…” think old man, you can’t make this too obvious. “… want…your advise on something.” He mentally patted himself on the back, good one; if there was anything he was sure he knew about her it was that she was never one to hold back her opinion.

“My advice, you want my advice? What – Buffy’s not available?” she questioned suspiciously.

Damn, now what? Angel tried his best to come up with something plausible so that she didn’t remain suspicious.

“Um, its about Buffy.” Seeing her look of disbelief he added in a rush, “and I can’t talk to Willow, she’s too close to Buffy. I was hoping for an outside opinion.”

Disappointed that once again it was all about Buffy, she tossed off her first thought and decided, ‘what the hell’.

“Why not, how about the diner near the onramp to I 97?” at least she’d be close to home.

Pleased with himself that he got her to meet with him he gave her a slight smile, “OK, meet you there in a few minutes, thanks”.
**************
Angel waited until she pulled out and followed her to the parking lot of the Diner. He wanted to be sure she was going to show. As she pulled in to the spot, he sidled up to open the door for her, pleased that she took his offered hand. He gracefully escorted her to an empty booth in the corner.

For her part, Cordelia was allowing herself what she was sure were only stolen moments with the man she had been fantasizing about. It felt great to be the center of attention until she remembered what this was going to be about…Buffy. She sat down in a huff.

“OK, spill, what’s this advice you so desperately need?” she wanted this as quick and painless as possible. So typical of the way her life was these days, sitting across form the man she could easily fall for, only to be talking about his ex-girlfriend.

Sensing the tension vibrating off her Angel responded, “Do you want to order first? My treat, it’s the least I can do, after all, you’re doing me a favor”. If nothing else went right with his plan tonight, at least he was going to be able to get a good meal in to her.

Too hungry to refuse, she reluctantly accepted. The waitress came and took their order, leaving them in an uncomfortable silence. Angel was the first to speak.

“Um…so…” this was not going well, it was never this hard for him before, what was so different about this one? Back in the day all it took was ‘Hello’. He was lost in thought when she finally cut in.

“Angel, you asked me here to get my advice about Buffy, so why don’t you just start with whatever problem you are having” she spat impatiently.

“Oh, um, do we have to jump right in with that? This is kinda awkward.”

Seeing his look of trepidation, her anger and frustration began to melt, she decided to throw him a bone, “OK, we’ll start slow, where are you from?”

Relieved he wasn’t going to have to come up with some story as to his troubles with Buffy, he responded quickly, “Galway, Ireland”

“Oh, so you’re Irish!”

“Well, yeah, it’s kinda how it works”

Realizing how that came out, she couldn’t help but laugh, and was pleasantly surprised when he joined in. This might not be so bad after all.


Chapter 8

Dear diary,

I just had the best night. I went to the Diner with Angel. We just talked, and talked. It started out really awkward, he was asking me for “advice” about her, but then we started with something else and it just went on from there. I had no idea he could be funny! And sweet. He was telling me this story about when he was in Vegas and decided to crash Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding…too funny! God, he’s lived so much, and I want to know every detail, what makes him tick. I don’t have to work tomorrow…well, tonight, so I think I’m going to surprise him and stop by the mansion so we can talk some more. God, why did this have to happen now? The Prom is tomorrow night, and then Graduation is a week later – then I’m leaving. Now I’m not so sure I want to go, but what’s left for me here? Well, there’s Angel – but he has Buffy. I am sooo confused right now. I mean, get a grip, all we did was talk! But it was so nice, But he has Buffy! But we didn’t talk about her once, like she didn’t exist, but…but, but, but…Urghhhh! What should I do? I swear, when he walked me to my car I could have sworn he was about to kiss me…mmm …but he didn’t. I was so disappointed. I pictured myself wrapped in his strong arms, his beautiful lips on mine…Buffy is so lucky! She got that and more…she got to sle…Oh, no… She got to sleep with him and got Angelus. The curse! Dammit!!!!!!!! Figures, fall for a no-bone. That’s it, my mind is made up. Right after graduation I am leaving for LA.

but I’m gonna miss him…

me

Her decision was made. Frustrated and a little angry, she slammed the book shut and tried to settle down for what was now a short night’s rest, anxious for the week to end.
**************
Angel waltzed in to his mansion light on his feet. He had just spent the last three hours with Cordelia Chase. Who’d have thought, spending time with ‘Queen C’ of Sunnydale just talking – and having one of the best times of his souled life! After reading what he had of her diary, he had picked up that she was a bright and sensitive person, but the diary did her no justice. These people had no idea what they were missing. Behind that bitchy façade was someone with a soul that out shone the sun. The Sun. That thought gave him pause. Crestfallen, he slumped on to his bed. What was he doing? He couldn’t offer her any more than he could offer Buffy. Just his friendship, something she seemed more than willing to accept. Something he never expected, and felt he didn’t deserve. He knew what she was feeling having the benefit of her diary; and after spending what little time he did with her, he began to feel it too.

He couldn’t do that to her, he couldn’t hurt her any more than she already had been in her very short life. No, he needed to end this now. She deserved better, much better than anything he had to offer. She deserved the world.

Having reluctantly come to his decision he began to think of how he would get through the next week without leaving any more of the pain he seemed to only be capable of – soul or no soul. Only this pain was worse. This was the kind of pain that tore at your soul. He knew in his heart that without the curse, he would offer Cordelia whatever he could of the world and more. Sadly, that wasn’t to be.

He steeled himself for the week that lied ahead. He would dance with Buffy at her Prom, he owed her that much. Then he would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people who had unwittingly become very important to his life, fight the good fight, then walk away. The best thing he could do for any of them. Walk out of their lives, freeing them for what he was sure would only end in pain…or death. He would leave for parts unknown.

Or maybe…LA.


…THE END…


Hope

 “Hope” is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops-at all-
And sweetest-in the Gale-is heard-
And sore must be the storm-
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm
I’ve heard it in the chillest land-
And on the strangest sea-
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb-of Me.
-Emily Dickenson
1861


 

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