SUMMARY: A Secret Santa Fic for Impress involving a Time: BtVS S3, A Place: a Rooftop, An Object: a Ribbon, and Words: Passion, Snow, Life, Chocolate.
POSTED: 18 Dec 2003
CATEGORY: HOLIDAY FIC (CHRISTMAS) / CHALLENGE FIC
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
1) Not beta’d.
Angel found himself clear across town before he looked up from his thoughts. He had just run in to Buffy and her pals, out for a little Christmas shopping. They were always pleasant enough at the library – when he was there to help – but they were unable to hide their contempt for him any other time. It was beginning to wear on his nerves. Sure, he was back from a little side trip to hell – a trip he arguably deserved after the whole ‘Acathla’ incident, but the point was, he was back, and he was Angel. Buffy always tried to put her best foot forward, he would give her that, but it was hard to escape the underlying contempt she held for his demon. He was beginning to think that maybe she was right. He deserved to be in Hell. His misdeeds brought up by this whole affair were making their way into his dreams, or better, his nightmares. He was in a serious brood about why he may have been brought back at all when he noticed a little rooftop bar. He decided that maybe a little ‘truth juice’ may help him find his answers, so he went up – determined to be left alone with his misery.
Cordelia sat at one of the café tables, sipping on her hot chocolate, in an attempt to put herself in the Christmas spirit. She had chosen this little rooftop thinking that none of her so-called ‘friends’ would find her here, of all places. No, if they were out at all, and not with their families, or shopping, they were at the Bronze. She was safe to sit and relax; that is until she noticed a certain Vampire walk through the door. With no where to hide, she decided to sit, head held high, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t notice her. All she wanted was to be left alone with her misery. No such luck…
“Cordelia?” Angel was surprised, and a little annoyed that once again; he was going to have to deal with more crap from these kids. Kids, he was 246 years old, who the hell were they to pass judgment on him – they had no idea what he struggled with daily.
“Angel, hi. Its still, Angel, right? Hmph. Like you would tell me.” Cordelia did her best to act surprised at Angel’s approach.
“Yes, its still Angel” He didn’t even attempt to hide the annoyance in his voice.
“Hey, don’t get snippy with me, pal. After everything that’s happened you can’t blame a girl for being cautious.” He’s getting snippy with me? What’d I do, except get tackled by the evil being, treated as bait, used, thrown on to a rebar, left alone on Christmas…
Angel couldn’t help but notice the kaleidoscope of emotions on her face. He realized that maybe she wasn’t talking about just Angelus. He began to soften a little. Who’d a thunk it, bonding with the Ice Princess.
“OK if I sit?”
“Go ahead, no one else is using that chair.” She was too busy with her own misery to realize who she had just invited to her table. She had heard the stories of how he was back, and that he had his soul again, but she had yet to see it for herself.
“So, what brings you here? Didn’t I hear that you were going to Aspen for Christmas?” He remembered painfully, the day Buffy had come to visit him, only to complain about the girl in front of him – how she had it all, got everything she wanted, how much of a bitch she really was to treat Xander that way after he did everything he could to apologize….
“Yeah well, plans got changed. My father was called to a meeting in Switzerland. Meeting, humph, they left before I even got home from school. Left a nice note though – ‘Sorry honey, business calls. You understand, have a Merry Christmas – tell Grandma we said hi.’.” Her sarcastic voice was getting a real workout these days. She finished with her head down, studying the marshmallows in her hot chocolate.
Yup, who’d a thunk it. A kinship with the…well the moniker of Queen C was beginning to loose its shine. She definitely gave him a run for his money when it came to managing dual personas.
“Sorry to hear that. So you are going to your Grandma’s? That sounds like it might be nice.” Wow, he came here to be miserable, and now he was trying to cheer her up. The strangeness just kept flowing.
“Yeah, actually it will be. I love my Grandma. Every year we would go to her house, that is when we weren’t jetting off somewhere, and we would open presents. She always gets me the best presents! There’s always one with a special ribbon around it – that’s the one I always save for last, because I know it’s going to be the best!” It was working; she was starting to feel a little better. Who’d a thunk it, bonding with the Dark Prince.
It was then that the conversation was interrupted by the waitress, “Can I get you anything?” Hey, was she flirting with him? And why does that upset me? Cordy forced her self not to bitch slap the wench.
“Yes, thank you. Laphroag, with a splash, and for the lady, a merlot?” He gave it his best guess, sure she was underage, but a little wine wasn’t going to hurt.
“Thanks, but I’m not sure how well that’ll go with what I’m having, I’ll just have another of these, thank you.” She not so conspiritally whispered to Angel, “It’s got a shot of Tia Maria in it – kinda like a coffee coolata, ‘cept its hot. This will be my third!” She was starting to feel the effects of the liquor, she would soon learn – sweet drinks, not of the good.
“So what brings you here? Life got you down? Ha, look at me. I made a funny! Life got you down, you being dead and all!” She continued to laugh at her own joke. Angel reluctantly chuckled, her laughter becoming infectious.
“You could say that. You know the ol’ ‘Why am I here, I should still be in hell’ and all”
“Hey, when did we authorize this sharing, although if your gonna share, I can tell you what we can she with this little number!” Angel shook off his demons thoughts, it was the last thing he needed rolling around in his brain.
“Yeah, why is that? I mean, death, dismemberment…always thought that woulda secured a one way ticket.” Cordelia stared off in contemplation. Hmmm, if he’s back after all that, then Xander’s not likely to spend an eternity in Hell, Damn.
“Um, yeah, me too. Hence the question – why am I here?” OK, he really didn’t need to hear that out loud.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, well, obviously someone up there has big plans for you.” He needs to lay off the sauce, because this couldn’t be more obvious to her.
“Up there? How can you be sure it wasn’t someone ‘down there’. If my dreams are any indication, its not ‘of the good’.” Wow, he needed to lay off the sauce, he didn’t mean to reveal that much.
“Uh…duh…if it was someone ‘down there’, don’t you think they would have brought back Angelus…not Angel?” Boy, this guy is a dumbass.
“…” Angel’s mouth hit the floor at her logic. Why didn’t he think of that? He began to feel foolish with his plans to wait for the sun.
“So you’re having nightmares? That can’t be fun. You need to learn how to concentrate on the good. You’re a good guy Angel; you’ve helped Sunnydale…and Buffy…out of a lot of the bad. That’s what you need to concentrate on.” The hot chocolate, aka Tia Maria, was working – she was starting to feel the Christmas spirit. She decided that despite everything, she would share it. After all, truth be told, he really was a good guy, even if he was with…them.
“You think?” If it were possible for a vampire to have spirit, his was lifting.
“I’m Cordelia. I don’t think…I know!” Did she just see another hint of a smile? Wow, he really was cute. Whoa. Danger! Danger! Will Robinson…Buffy pet here, she can hurt you. Oh, screw it – let her try!
“Well, then, I guess you must be right!” His smile widened, this one was definitely one of a kind. “To think I was going to wait for the sun before I ran in to you, thanks.”
“No! You can’t do that! People need you, there are a lot of people in trouble that depend on what you do – whether they know it or not!” She was in a panic – he couldn’t give up; that was just unacceptable. That’s when she noticed a snowflake hit the table…wait, a snowflake? Both heads turned upwards to witness the miracle.
“Apparently someone else thinks so too…” Angel continued to look upwards, amazed at what was happening.
“Wow” was all Cordelia could manage. A little surprised that she was right, a lot surprised that it was snowing in Sunnydale.
Angel lowered his eyes to watch the girl before him as she stared with an almost childlike wonder at the snow. He had often heard her described as selfish, caustic, blunt, mean…but that wasn’t her at all. He watched as she giggled, trying to catch a flake on her tongue. He laughed as she almost fell backwards off her chair trying to catch a flake that was falling behind her. That’s when he caught her attention again. She blushed as she saw the look in his eyes.
“Oops.” It was all she could manage under his stare.
“You know, you are really something else.” His smile was still firmly in place.
“That’s good, right? That ‘something else’ is good, right?” Whoa, when did that wall come down, she never worried out loud what people thought of her.
“Yes, its very good. Don’t ever let anyone make you think you are anything but special. Thank you.” Who’d a thunk it, bonding with…Cordelia Chase.
“You’re welcome” She lowered her head in an attempt to hide her shy smile, she was unaccustomed to this much sharing. Who’d a thunk it, bonding with…Angel. She leaned forward to place a quick friendly kiss to his lips.
“Merry Christmas, Angel.”
He leaned forward, returning the kiss, holding just a few seconds longer.
“Merry Christmas, Cordelia.”