Somebody to Love

AUTHOR: LUCKYLYN (aka LYN)
SUMMARY: What if Cordy and Angel became friends on BTVS?
RATING: R
POSTED: 7 Nov 2003
CATEGORY: C/A in BTVS
CONTENT/PAIRING: B/A, C/W, C/A eventually
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: This fic begins after that episode where Buffy breaks up with Angel after he pretends to lose his soul to trick Faith.


Part 1
It was all over once again. It wouldn’t last. Angel knew that. He and Buffy always found themselves back together for better or for worse. These days it was worse.

He wished they could go back to that time before Buffy had seen him as Angelus. They could pretend the past didn’t exist, but Buffy had seen first hand what he was capable of and no matter how hard she tried she could not forget it. How could she? He’d terrorized her and the people she cared about for a year.

Did he want her to forget it? No. He wanted her to look at him as he was with all his sins and love him anyway, but he didn’t believe he was worthy of that kind of love from anyone. After all he had done, he didn’t deserve that kind of peace, and he doubted anyone could look past all that.

So he sat at the bar in some dive called “Girlies.” He couldn’t keep track of how much he’d had to drink. The bartender had tried to kick him out when all the other patrons had left, but Angel growled. The bartender had no comment.

“Don’t you think it’s time to stop now,” he heard a woman’s voice say behind him.

It sounded familiar but Angel wasn’t in the mood to talk. He ignored her.

“Angel,” she called.

He turned and was surprised to find Cordelia Chase standing behind him. She was wearing the barely there costume that the other waitresses were wearing; a pair of short shorts and a top that looked more like suspenders than a shirt. That’s when he lost his balance and fell off the barstool. She helped him up.

“I’m alright,” he said. “I’m going.”

“I’ll drive you,” Cordelia said. “Where are your car keys?”

“I”m driving,” he said as he wobbled to the door.

He nearly fell again, but Cordelia caught him. He put his arm around her for balance. They walked to the parking lot and somehow Cordelia had managed to take his keys.

“I’m driving,” he said stubbornly.

“Sure, Angel,” Cordelia replied helping him into the passenger seat.

They didn’t talk as she drove him to the mansion. When they got there she helped him out of the car. It was difficult for her to get him into the house because he was leaning on her.

“Come on Angel,” she said. “Let’s get you to the couch.”

But they didn’t make it. Angel fell over taking Cordelia with him. They end up on the floor with Angel on top of her.

“Angel!”

He didn’t respond. He had passed out. She was pinned to the ground unable to move her arms. She tried to get up, but she couldn’t move.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Cordelia said exasperated.

Part 2
Cordelia couldn’t believe her bad luck. She tried to move again but Angel was to heavy for her. She’d had fantasies like this over the years except Angel wouldn’t be passed out drunk. He’d be awake and doing things that would make her body tingle for weeks. Reality was no fun at all. He moved slightly but only to bury his head between her breasts.

“Perve,” Cordy muttered.

Somehow she managed to fall asleep. When Angel woke up the next morning, he was surprised to find his head resting on Cordelia’s exposed breast. Her top had come undone in the middle of the night. He shot up from the floor as if he’d been touching fire. He quickly took off his coat and put it over her.

“What happened last night?” He wondered and then he remembered.

He bent down to pick Cordy up from the floor and put her on the couch. He gently put her down. The movement woke her up.

“You’re up!” she said sitting up letting the coat fall off her shoulders.

She quickly realized she was exposed and rearranged her top. She then put Angel’s coat back on her and held it closed with her hands. It hadn’t bothered her the night before when he’d seen what she was wearing because he was too drunk and she was too distracted but it was daylight now. Cordy didn’t want anyone she knew seeing her that way. She got up from the couch and turned to Angel. For a second, he saw her vulnerability but that faded into a look of defiance.

“You owe me big time,” she said.

“I’m sorry about falling on you,” Angel said.

“I’ve gotta go get ready for school,” she said rushing towards the door.

“It’s Saturday, Cordelia,” Angel said.

She stopped in her tracks remembering.

“What were you doing at that place?” he asked her.

She hesitated so long he was beginning to think she would never reply, “My parents had some IRS problems and had to leave the country.”

“Your parents didn’t leave you anything?”

“They took everything they could with them,” Cordy said.

“You shouldn’t work at that bar,” Angel said.

“I need the money,” she replied. “I’ve got this other job for after school at this dress shop, but it doesn’t pay enough.”

“I could help you out,” Angel offered.

“I can take care of myself,” Cordy said heading for the door. “I never saw you last night and you never saw me okay?”

Angel nodded and she walked out the door.

***

Later that night when the bar was closing up, Cordy was surprised to see Angel walk in the door. He had wanted to talk to her some more and convince her to let him help her. He didn’t know how to convince her.

“Hi, Angel,” she said warily.

“You’ve still got my coat,” he replied.

“I was going to drop that off at your place tomorrow afternoon. It’s at my place now,” Cordelia said.

“I’ll give you a ride home,” Angel said.

“Okay, I’ll just get my stuff,” Cordy said going behind the bar.

She put on her jacket and walked with Angel to the door.
They didn’t talk on the drive to the Sunnydale Motel. Angel followed her to her room.

“It’s over on the chair,” she said walking into her room.

Angel stood outside because she didn’t invite him in. She went to the door to hand him his coat.

“Cordelia, let me in,” Angel said.

“You don’t have to save me, Angel,” she replied.

“Can we just talk?” he said.

“Okay, come in,” she said going to sit on the bed.

Angel took a chair by the door and put it in front of her. He sat down and then realized he had no idea what to say.

“How are you?” Cordelia asked me.

The question threw him off, “Fine.”

“You didn’t look fine last night.”

“Buffy and I broke up.”

“You’ll get back together,” she said. “It’s what you guys do. What happened this time?”

“The whole trick on Faith freaked her out,” Angel explained.

“Was it easy pretending to be Angelus?”

“No,” Angel said getting uncomfortable. “Can we not talk about me?”

“At least you got to hit Xander,” Cordelia said.

“That part was good,” he said.

Angel and Cordy exchanged a smile.

He spoke before the thought, “ Why don’t you just stay with me?”

“I can’t,” Cordy said. “If people knew I was staying with you
they’d find out about what happened with my parents. I don’t want anyone to know.”

“Your friends could help you through this,” Angel said.

Cordy shook her head, “Harmony and her flock would enjoy my problems too much and the Scoobies…”

She didn’t bother finishing the sentence. She didn’t want them pitying her, and Angel understood that.

“I’m okay, Angel.” Cordy said. “Don’t worry about me. Once graduation comes I’ll be out of this town anyway.”

“Where will you go?”

“New York. Maybe LA. I haven’t decided yet.”

“I could help you out until then, lend you some money. I don’t want you to have to go back to that place,” Angel said.

He could tell she was tempted to accept the offer.

“Remember, I do owe you for last night,” Angel said.

“I’ll pay you back,” she said.

Cordy kept her job at the dress shop and quit the job at “Girlies.” Things were different now between her and Angel. They would hang out sometimes in her hotel room. Most nights she’d end up at the mansion having dinner. He was worried she wasn’t eating enough, and he tried to make her something. They confided in each other. Angel told her about his family and she told him about hers. He knew way more than he wanted to about her crush on Wesley, and she knew how much meeting Buffy had meant to him. Cordelia had never understood how alone and unloved he had been.

“Sometimes I fell like I’m still alone,” he told her one night as they sat outside watching the stars.

“You aren’t alone Angel,” Cordy replied taking his hand and squeezing it.

“Neither are you,” he replied looking into her eyes.

He was going to miss her when she left Sunnydale.
Part 3
They walked down the street together, but Cordy suddenly stopped in her tracks.

“Cordy?” Angel asked wondering what had happened.

“Just let me drool awhile,” she said mesmerized by the goodies in the bakery window. “They make the best brownies ever.”

“Let’s go in then,” he said.

“No, it’s way too fattening besides they don’t sell the brownies individually, and it costs $25 for half a dozen,” Cordy said. “I’m watching my spending these days.”

“They’re insane,” Angel said shaking his head. “ $25 for 6 brownies.”

So when Angel showed up at her motel room door with a box of brownies a week later all Cordy could say was, “What’s wrong?”

Angel walked into her room setting the box of brownies on her bed. He paced as he tried to find the right words.

“I’ve got three things to tell you,” he said.

“And obviously I won’t like it,” Cordy said.

“First, Buffy and I are back together,” Angel said.

“I figured that,” Cordy said.

She knew the demon aspect letting Buffy read minds brought Buffy and Angel close again. She just hoped the roller coster that was the Buffy and Angel saga would go smoothly for a while. She figured that’s what Angel needed.

“Second, she read some stuff from your mind that you didn’t want her to know,” Angel said.

“So she knows about my parents and everything,” she said sounding defeated. “They all know now.”

“No they don’t,” Angel said. “ The third thing is that I talked her into leaving the others out of it.”

Angel chose not to mention that he and Buffy had gotten into an argument about Angel developing a friendship with Cordy without telling her.

Angel hated how stiff Cordy’s posture was. He knew she didn’t trust the secret would be kept. He opened the box of brownies and handed her one. She smiled at him slightly and took a bite.

“Are you sure she won’t tell them?” she asked.

“She promised,” Angel said.

He saw her shake it off and then she said, “So did she read any juicy stuff from your mind?”

“It didn’t work on me,” Angel said.

“Lucky you,” Cordy said.

“You want to go for a drive?” Angel offered.

“Sure,” Cordy replied. “Can I drive?”

“No.”

“It’s not like I’ve never driven it before,” Cordy said.

“I was drunk and you took advantage,” Angel said.

“Fine. Then no brownies for you,” Cordy replied grabbing her jacket from her chair, grabbing the brownies and heading towards the door.

“Hey, I bought you those brownies,” Angel said.

“Exactly, and now they are all mine,” Cordy said opening the door.

She was shocked to find Buffy and Mrs. Summers standing on her threshold.

“Should’ve known you’d be by,” Cordy said walking back into the room.

“Angel?” Buffy said surprised to find him there.

“Hey Buffy,” he said putting his arm around her. “Hello Joyce.”

“Hello Angel,” Mrs. Summers said and then she turned to Cordy. “Buffy filled me in on your situation and I think you should just come stay with us.”

Cordy turned to Angel and Buffy looking betrayed and said, “You told me she wouldn’t say anything.”

“Buffy, I thought we talked about this,” Angel said hurt by the distrust in Cordy’s eyes.

“I only told my Mom. You said not to say anything to Xander, Willow, and Giles but you never said anything about my Mom. Cordy, I only want to help,” Buffy said.

“I don’t need your help,” Cordy said. “I’m 18 and perfectly capable of being on my own.”

“You don’t have to be on your own,” Mrs. Summers said.

“It’s what I want,” Cordy said. “Thank you for the concern, but I’ll be just fine.”

“Well, the offer still stands if you change your mind,” Mrs. Summers said heading for the door. “Buffy?”

“Angel can take me home, Mom,” Buffy said.

And so Buffy, Angel, and Cordy stood in her room awkwardly.

“I know you like to keep up a front Cordelia, but you don’t have to,” Buffy said. “I’m your friend.”

“We aren’t friends,” Cordy said. “We tolerated each other for Xander’s sake, but we’ve never been friends.”

Angel could tell that Cordy was barely holding it together. She was seconds from either breaking down into tears or getting mad. Angel knew that being angry was more likely.

“She needs space,” Angel said ushering Buffy to the door. “I’ll see you, Cordy?”

“Yeah,” she replied absent minded. She wasn’t even looking at him as he walked out the door.

Angel wanted to stay with her and cheer her up, but he doubted Buffy would understand. He wished that Buffy hadn’t assumed he’d just take her home and that she’d left with Joyce. He felt a bit guilty at the thought. Buffy was his girlfriend after all.

“I was only trying to help,” Buffy said as she and Angel walked together.

“I know but that’s not what she needed,” Angel replied. “I asked you to stay out of it.”

“I don’t want to fight, Angel,” Buffy said reaching for his hand.

“Fine,” he said, taking her hand.

Part 4
Two weeks after Buffy and Cordy’s almost fight in the motel room, Angel sat with Buffy and her friends at the Bronze his thoughts drifting to Cordy. Where was she? He wondered. She no longer dropped by the mansion for dinner or just to hang out. The times he’d gone to her motel room he’d been frustrated to find she wasn’t there. She was avoiding him. He figured she was angry at him for what happened with Buffy which just made him angry. It wasn’t his fault Buffy discovered the truth, but he couldn’t shake the feeling he should have stayed with Cordy when she was upset. And then there she was walking into the Bronze. Angel got up from his seat and went straight to her.

“Where the hell have you been?” he yelled.

“It’s nice to see you too, Angel,” Cordy replied.

“I can’t believe you are so determined to stay angry with me about something that was out my control” Angel said.

“I’m not angry, Angel,” Cordy said.

“Where have you been?” Angel asked.

“I figured with you and Buffy back together my days of just wondering into your place whenever I felt like it were over,” Cordy said.

Cordelia had assumed that once Angel and Buffy were together again that Angel would not be as interested in maintaining their friendship. She took Angel’s decision to leave with Buffy the other night when he had already made plans with her as a sign for how things would be. She wanted to ease out of his life before he pushed her out.

“You’ve been avoiding me,” Angel said. “What’s going on?”

And then Cordy realized that her keeping her distance had hurt him, “How about I drop by the mansion tomorrow night? We can catch up.”

The way Angel stared at her at that moment unnerved her. It was like he was reading all her doubts and fears in her eyes.

“Okay,” Angel said. “I’ll cook.”

That’s when Buffy came to Angel’s side and said, “Hi Cordelia.”

“Hi,” Cordy replied.

Buffy was little weirded out by Angel and Cordy becoming friends when she and Angel had been apart. She figured he was just doing the hero rescuing the damsel in distress thing, but she still felt threatened. Cordy did proclaim herself the slayer of dating.

Angel noticed that Cordy seemed to be looking around for someone.

“Are you meeting somebody?” he asked her.

“Yeah,” Cordy said smiling at the thought. “Wesley is meeting me to talk about my going to England for college.”

“You aren’t going to England though,” Buffy said.

“I know that and he knows that,” Cordy said. “It’s just an excuse to hang outside of the library.”

Angel got that uncomfortable feeling he got whenever Cordy spoke of Wesley. He couldn’t understand the attraction. He figured it had something to do with Xander. He’d put her off highschool boys.

Angel remembered the way Cordy smiled as she told him once, “Xander is a boy, but Wesley is a man.”

The only thing he knew for certain was Wesley was all wrong for her.

“He’s too old for you,” Angel said suddenly.

“Says the 240 year old dating the highschool girl,” she replied laughing.

“She has a point. It’s almost like dating Giles isn’t it?” Buffy asked. “It’s just weird.”

“It’s only like that for you Buffy because you think of Giles like a Dad,” Cordy said.

“Wait, are you saying you’d date Giles?” Angel asked.

“When I look at Giles I can see that there’s a hot guy underneath all that tweed,” Cordy said amused by the horrified expressions on Angel and Buffy’s faces.

“We need to never have this conversation again,” Buffy suggested.

Cordy just smiled and then Wesley arrived. The four of them stood together not talking.

“Do you want to sit at the bar and talk?” Cordy asked Wesley.

“Let’s go,” Wesley said.

“Wait, don’t forget tomorrow night at 7:30,” Angel said.

“I’ll be there,” Cordy said walking away with Wesley.

“You know it’s a school night, and you should get her home before 9:30,” Angel said.

“When did you become my father, Angel?” Cordelia asked turning around.

“Be good, Cordy,” Angel said wanting to tease her for that father remark.

“I’m always good,” she replied smiling at him before turning away.

The way Cordy said it had Angel thinking of them naked rolling around in his sheets her mouth kissing her way down his body to…He stopped his train of thought.

“Where the hell did that come from?” he muttered.

“What Angel?” Buffy asked because she hadn’t been able to hear what she just said.

“Nothing,” he replied taking a last glance at Cordy sitting with Wes at the bar.

“What’s at 7:30 tomorrow night?” Buffy asked him.

“Dinner,” Angel replied.

“You’re taking us out to dinner?” Buffy asked him.

Buffy was torn about it. He had never taken her out before. They’d never really had a real date. She’d always wished they could just go out on regular dates like a normal couple. She just wondered why when he was finally doing something like that he was inviting Cordy along too. Maybe he was wanted to bridge the gap between her and Cordy.

“No, I’m making dinner,” Angel said realizing Buffy misunderstood.

“I didn’t know you could cook,” Buffy said sounding pleased. “Can we just invite Xander, Willow and Oz? It’ll be weird with just Cordelia there with us.”

“Buffy, I..” Angel began.

“I’m going to see if they have plans for tomorrow night,” Buffy said heading to the table where her friends sat.

Angel didn’t know how to tell her that when he’d offered to cook dinner he’d meant just for him and Cordy. He also didn’t know how to get that image of him and Cordy in his bed out of his mind.
Part 5
As he watched Buffy walk towards her friends, Angel remembered how hurt Cordy had been when he’d left her motel room with Buffy after their confrontation. He and Cordy needed time to talk about things. Before Buffy could go over to the table where her friends sat, Angel stopped her

Angel told her, “Dinner isn’t supposed to be a group thing.”

“Angel, they’re my friends,” Buffy said. “I don’t want to exclude them.”

“And Cordy is my friend,” Angel said. “She and I haven’t had a chance to talk about things in a while and dinner alone is supposed to catch us up.”

“So it’s just you, Cordy and a candlelight dinner,” Buffy said scarcastically.

“It isn’t like that,” Angel said. “You spend time with Xander without inviting me along.”

“That’s different,” Buffy said.

“No it’s not,” Angel said. “We can do the group dinner thing some other time.”

Buffy opened her mouth as if to say something, but she just turned away to sit with her friends.

***

The next night Angel stood at the stove while Cordy sat on a stool beside him. . He was glad to have her in his kitchen again just talking and laughing. She did her homework on the counter as he cooked. It was almost like it used to be but things were different now. It wasn’t just him and Cordy alone in the world together anymore. There were other people to think about now. Plus Angel’s awareness of an attraction to Cordy was bound to make things complicated. He’d always been aware of her beauty, but now it was a different kind of awareness. He found himself staring at her when she wasn’t paying attention.

“I don’t want things to be different between us,” Angel told her as they walked towards the table carrying plates of food.

“Things are already different,” Cordelia said. “We had plans Angel and you dropped me to take Buffy home. I get that she’s your girlfriend, but we had plans.”

“I know,” Angel said. “I’m sorry I hurt you, but you can’t just disappear on me when you’re angry. I’d rather argue with you than not hear from you at all.”

“It’s just whenever I’ve really needed anybody they’ve not been there,” Cordy explained. “When my parents were around, they were never really there. I thought I had something with Xander, but I was wrong. I don’t want to be wrong again.”

Angel took her hand and said, “Next time I’ll be there.”

“I’m trusting you,” she said looking into his eyes intently. “Don’t screw it up.”

***

That evening Buffy sat with Willow in the cemetery. Willow was helping her cram for the math test the next morning while she patrolled, but Buffy wasn’t really paying attention.

“What’s wrong, Buff?” Willow asked. “Is it about Faith or the Mayor?”

“It’s Angel,” Buffy said.

“Is it about Cordelia?”

Buffy looked at Willow surprised.

“I noticed you had this weird look on your face when he was talking to her at the Bronze,” Willow said.

Buffy said. “Remember when she used to have that thing for Angel. She was all over him.”

“But he didn’t notice,” Willow reassured. “He loves you, Buffy.”

“This time it’s different. They’re friends now and things between Angel and me aren’t so great,” Buffy said.

“Cordelia likes Wesley,” Willow said. “I really think they are just talking.”

“I hope so,” Buffy said. “He’s having dinner with her tonight.”

“I wonder what they talk about,” Willow said.

***

“I’m making dinner for the Scoobies on Saturday,” he announced. “And you are going to be there.”

“I don’t get a choice about it?” Cordy asked with a raised eyebrow.

Dinner with the Scooby Gang was not something she was at all interested in and Angel knew it.

“Just come to dinner,” Angel said.

Angel knew if he could convince Cordy to come then dinner might not be as bad as he was imagining it would be.

“You do realize you will owe me,” Cordy said.

“I’ll find a way to repay you,” Angel said raising from the table. “I’m going to get dessert.”

“Angel you have to stop feeding me the fabulous fatty foods,” Cordy insisted. “I’ve gained 5 pounds since we started hanging out. If I don’t start dieting, I’ll never fit into that prom dress I’m saving for.”

“Don’t be an idiot, you’re beautiful,” Angel said.

”What did you just say?”

“Sorry, Cor. You aren’t an idiot,” Angel said heading to the kitchen.

Cordy smiled as he walked away. He came back with a plate with one slice of cheese cake on it.

“Just because you don’t want any doesn’t mean I can’t have dessert,” Angel said happily taking a bite.

They both knew he was only eating in front of her to weaken her resolve. Cordy glared at Angel has he happily ate the cheesecake.

“That’s just mean, Angel,” Cordy replied getting up from the table and heading to the kitchen.

She returned with a fork in her hand. She sat down beside Angel and began taking bites of his cheesecake. When he smiled at her triumphantly, she just stuck her tongue out and failed at her efforts to not return his smile. Angel had the sudden urge to kiss her, but he just stopped looking at her to focus on the cheesecake. He felt guilty about Buffy.

***

Buffy was disappointed because things had been quiet in the cemetery. If there had been something to fight it would have been a good distraction. She and Willow were now walking home.

“Is Angel a good cook?” Willow asked Buffy.

“I don’t know,” Buffy said. “I didn’t even know he could cook until last night.”

“It’s going to be weird,” Willow said. “All of us hanging out on Saturday. Cordelia made it pretty clear she doesn’t want anything to do with Xander or me outside the research stuff in the library.”

“Maybe she won’t be there,” Buffy said.

“Angel said he was going to invite her, right?” Willow said.

“Yeah, but she won’t agree to it,” Buffy said confidently. “It’s not like Wes will be there and like you said she wouldn’t want to hang out with all of us.”

So Buffy was feeling better at the idea of her boyfriend making dinner for her friends and she playing hostess. She tried not to think about her jealousy over Angel’s friendship with Cordelia. She tried not to wonder what happened between them when Angel and Cordy were alone.

***

Angel kept staring at Cordy as they sat at the dinner table.

“What?” She asked, wondering why he was staring.

He leaned towards Cordy kissing her on the lips.

“You taste good,” he said.

They way he looked at her made her feel naked, and she liked it even though it scared her.

“Why’d you kiss me?” Cordy asked him.

“I couldn’t stop myself this time. I’ve been wanting to do that for a while,” Angel said leaning towards her again their foreheads touching.

He had his hand on her leg, and he was slowly moving it up her thigh.

He kissed her on her neck and said, “I’m done hesitating.”

“What about …” she didn’t finish her sentence because the way he was touching her made her unable to think.

She knew she should push him away put instead she put her hands underneath his shirt so she could feel his skin. He pulled her from her chair, and she straddled his lap. She kissed him hard on the mouth and then she woke up.

Cordy was surprised to find herself asleep in Angel’s room. The last thing she remembered they were talking in his living room, and she was feeling a bit tired. She looked at her watch and saw it was 7am. She leaped out of her bed realizing she had to go back to the motel and get ready for school. She couldn’t let her thoughts dwell on her dream. Angel was off limits. She ran down the stairs and crashed right into Angel. He placed his hands on her arms to balance her.

“I was just about to wake you,” Angel said.

“How did I end up in your room?” Cordy asked him.

“You feel asleep on the couch, and I put you upstairs to make you more comfortable,” Angel said letting her go.

“Are you okay?” Angel asked her, noticing her nervousness and inability to look him in the eye.

“I’m going to be late for school. Thanks for last night,” she said practically running out the door.

Part 6
As Cordy got ready for dinner with the Scoobies, she tried hard not to think about kissing Angel, but she couldn’t get it out of her mind. She decided she was just curious as a result of her past crush. She couldn’t be falling for Angel, right? Wesley was the man for her or at least he had been until thoughts of Angel started creeping up on her.

She got dressed quickly and ran out the door. There was something she had to do before dinner.

***

Angel hadn’t changed the sheets of his bed yet. He told himself he was just to busy but the truth was he didn’t want to loose Cordy’s scent. He liked falling asleep surrounded by her scent in his bed. He tried not to think about it, but he couldn’t help it. He loved Buffy, but Cordy was starting to stir feelings in him he didn’t want to name. He just stood in his room staring at his empty bed. He reluctantly removed the sheets and remade the bed. Then he put the sheets in the laundry.

Buffy came over early to help Angel prepare dinner. He didn’t have enough silverware and so he had to borrow from Buffy’s mother.

“I never pictured us this way,” Buffy said as they stood in the kitchen together.

She had thought they could never have normal together in spite of all her hopes. Angel just smiled at her. He was hoping this evening would relief some of the tension between him and Buffy. Lately, they were either fighting or making out. Angel was hoping for just some peace between them like the kind he had when he spent time with Cordy. Lately it seemed that if he and Buffy weren’t talking about the Mayor, Faith, or other slayer related issues that they didn’t have much to say to each other. He knew they both were just talking around the things that they really needed to discuss. Maybe if he and Buffy could work some things out Angel could go back to seeing Cordy as just a friend and stop longing for more. But he wasn’t certain he could stop wanting Cordy, and he felt that he might end up losing both Buffy and Cordy as long has his thoughts were divided.

“So are you a good cook?” Buffy asked.

“You’ll see,” Angel replied.

“So the others should be here any minute,” Buffy said looking at her watch.

“I’m surprised Cordy isn’t here yet,” Angel said. “She’s usually early.”

“Cordy’s coming?” Buffy asked feeling her stomach knot.

“I told you I was inviting her,” Angel replied.

“I just thought dinner with Xander and Willow was the last thing she’d want to do,” Buffy said.

Angel wondered if he had been insensitive by insisting Cordy come to dinner. All he’d thought about was how much easier things would be with her there. He hadn’t considered that she might still be hurting over Xander. He thought about her reaction to the dinner invitation. She hadn’t been enthusiastic, but she was angry at the suggestion either.

“I think she’s over Xander,” Angel said.

“Do you really think so? Maybe they’ll get back together like Willow and Oz?” Buffy asked wondering if she should hope for a Cordy and Xander reconciliation.

“They aren’t getting back together,” Angel replied suddenly feeling angry.

Buffy was prevented from continuing the conversation by several knocks on Angel’s door. She let in Xander, Oz, and Willow. They all sat in the living room chatting,, and Angel felt relieved to be left alone in the kitchen with his thoughts.

Angel was worried because Cordy 20 minutes late for dinner. Maybe she was putting off coming over because the others were there. Xander had been grumbling about when dinner was ready, but Angel refused to start without Cordy.

She breezed into the mansion and said, “Sorry I’m late. I got caught up.”

She handed Angel two bottles of wine and then sat down on the couch next to Oz.

“So you’ve finally decided to grace us with your presence?” Xander began.

Cordelia was about to reply when Willow interrupted.

“No fights you guys,” Willow said.

“This is supposed to be a fun evening,” Buffy agreed.

“I’ll get dinner on the table,” Angel said getting up. “Cordy will you help me?”

Buffy felt a little slighted but said nothing. Cordy just followed Angel into the kitchen.

“You’re late,” Angel accused.

“I had something I had to do,” Cordy said not sounding happy. Things had not gone as she had hoped.

“What’s wrong?” Angel asked realizing she was upset about something.

“I’m fine, Angel. You worry too much,” Cordy replied with a smile.

Angel knew that smile. It was the one she used when she was trying to hide what was really on her mind with her “everything’s perfect” facade. He wasn’t going to fall for it. Angel’s staring at her was making her uncomfortable.

“Let’s follow Willow’s advice and not fight,” Cordy said about to walk out of the kitchen, but Angel blocked her path.

“You’re supposed to help me get dinner on the table,” Angel said simply getting out of her way and then handing her some dishes that were on the counter.

Angel’s sudden willingness to let the issue go only let Cordy feel a little relieved. He was willing to let things go now, but she wasn’t sure it would last. He was trying to wear her down, but Cordy figured she could out nonchalant him.

“We should come up with a code,” Cordy suggested.

“Code?” Angel asked.

“If either of us needs to be saved from the Scoobies during dinner,” Cordy said.

“I should have just told Buffy not to invite them all,” Angel said.

“Would you really want it to be just you, me, and Buffy?” Cordy said. “I don’t think Buffy and I can play nice for a whole night without some interference. You know I think there’s this part of you that would enjoy a cat fight.”

“I’m a guy,” he replied with a smile.

Cordy rolled her eyes and muttered, “Perv.”

Angel was relieved that she was willing to joke around with him. Then they walking out of the kitchen together and set the table. Angel hoped he’d be able to get Cordy to stay after dinner so he could find out what was bothering her.

Part 7
Angel was quiet all through dinner and that was no surprise. Cordy was quiet and that worried Angel and made the others nervous. A quiet Cordy unnerved Xander more than her insults could. He was tempted to ask her what was on her mind, but he could imagine how badly that would turn out. Xander wondered if there would ever be a time when he and Cordy weren’t on the verge of a fight and they could be friends. Dinner was tense and everyone was just eating quietly. Willow’s attempts at small talk failed and Xander’s jokes to ease the tension hadn’t worked.

“So Buffy an new info on the Mayor?” Xander asked.

Before Buffy could answer Cordy replied, “No shop talk. Can’t you guys go one night without worrying about Scoobie stuff?”

“The Ascension is potentially the end of all of us Cordelia,” Buffy said.

“And if we spend all night talking about it but not doing anything to help the situation that’s your idea of a good time?” Cordy replied.

“You know Oz’s band is playing at the Bronze next week,” Willow said trying to change the subject.

They conversation then turned to things going on at school. They all shared a few laughs and then Xander started talking about the math class he was struggling with.

“Me passing that class is about as likely as Angel going to a Barry Manilow concert,” Xander said.

Angel and Cordy’s eyes met from across the table, and they both burst out laughing. The Scoobies were stunned because they’d never seen Angel laugh before.

“What’s so funny?” Buffy asked.

“Private joke,” Angel replied hoping to keep the fact he was a fan a secret.

“Trust me,” Cordy said to Buffy. “You don’t want to know. There is much dorkiness involved.”

“My mom worships Manilow,” Oz said trying to ease the tension.

“Mine too,” Xander replied. “It kinda freaks me out.”

“I don’t get the big Manilow love,” Buffy said. “My mom actually has some of his albums.”

“My mom went to a concert once and loved it,” Willow said.

Cordy and Angel continued to smile at each other from across the table. Buffy watched them. It was almost as if Cordy and Angel were having a conversation even though they weren’t saying a word. Buffy felt like Angel was being unfair to her. He had a tendency to be mysterious and rarely ever offered her information about himself, but he obviously shared things with Cordelia. Buffy didn’t wan to admit to herself that part of the problem was she didn’t ask Angel to tell her about himself.

It was actually a relief when dinner ended. Buffy was torn about whether to stay when the others left and clean up or if she should just walk out with the others. She was angry that the dinner she had suggested had gone so terribly. Lately she’d been seeing gleams of a new side to Angel. One where he made jokes and laughed, but it wasn’t her that brought that out in him. It was Cordelia, and Buffy didn’t think she could handle that. She didn’t trust Cordelia’s intentions, and she couldn’t read Angel. The others had started walking out the door after saying their good-byes.

“I’m going to go catch a ride with Oz,” Buffy said to Angel. “But I’ll stay if you want and help clean up.”

“I’ll be fine,” Angel said. “You can go.”

“So see ya guys,” Cordy said as she passed him and Buffy on her way out the door.

“Cor, wait a sec,” Angel said. It was a command and not a request.

Cordy raised her eyebrow in response. She knew he’d wouldn’t let things go until he figured out what had made her late. She never wanted him to know how she’d embarrassed herself or why.

“Angel?” Buffy asked wanting to know what was going on.

“Oz and Willow are waiting for you, Buffy,” Angel said.

He was dismissing her, and Buffy couldn’t help being hurt by it. She looked over at Cordy with an accusation in her eyes and then turned and walked out the door without saying a word.

“You just screwed up with her big time you know,” Cordy said surprised she was actually hoping he’d run after Buffy so that Angel couldn’t interrogate her.

Angel made no reply he just walked over to the dining room table and began putting things away. Cordy went over to help him. She’d turned on Angel’s radio because the quiet was getting to her. She could feel the tension coming off him in waves. He was angry, but she didn’t understand why.

“What the hell is going on, Angel?” Cordy said sounding worried.

“What did Wesley do to you?” Angel asked with an edge to his voice.

When Cordy had attempted to leave before Buffy, she’d brushed passed him and he’d taken in her scent. That’s when he realized Wesley was the reason Cordelia was late. He could smell him all over her. When he’d initially planned to ask Cordy to stay after the other left he’d intended it to just be a friendly conversation, but after realizing Cordy had been with Wesley he realized he was angrier than he should be about it. Angel realized that when Cordy had arrived at dinner she hadn’t looked like a girl who’d just come from a romantic rendezvous. She’d been upset. Angel knew that if Wesley had upset her he would make Wesley sorry.

Cordy was startled and said, “Why are you asking about Wesley?”

“He’s the reason you were late,” Angel said.

“I’m the reason I was late, Angel, and I don’t want to talk about it,” Cordy said. “ Damn vampire senses.”

“You were upset when you came to dinner tonight,” Angel said.

“Wesley’s a good guy. He wouldn’t hurt me,” Cordy said with a sigh. She realized she was going to have to tell Angel as least part of the truth. “I went to see Wes before I came here, and we talked. It turns out we aren’t couple material.”

It wasn’t the whole story, but it was the truth. She’d gone to Wesley’s apartment and thrown herself at him. They shared an awkward kiss and an uncomfortable conversation. She’d been hoping that her feelings for Wesley would stop her from thinking about Angel, but it hadn’t worked. She knew now that she and Wesley weren’t going to be more than friends and that hadn’t upset her. It was the realization that she wanted Angel but could never have him that had been on her mind.

Angel felt relief and guilt. Cordelia was obviously upset things hadn’t worked out between her and Wes and Angel was happy Wesley and her were not going to get together. He was sorry she was hurting.

“I’m sorry,” Angel said.

Cordy smiled at him slightly and said, “Liar. You don’t like Wes.”

“I don’t like seeing you upset,” Angel said.

“You wash, I’ll dry,” Cordy said handing him the pile of dirty dishes and changing the subject.

They stood at the sink and talked for awhile. Suddenly Cordy starting smiling widely.

“What?” Angel asked.

“The song,” Cordy said gesturing to the radio on the counter that was playing “Bye Bye Blackbird”.

“When I was six, I snuck downstairs when I was supposed to be asleep, and I spotted my parents slow dancing to that song. It was one of those few moments when I could look at them and really see them as in love. Most of the time when I was growing up they were either fighting or not speaking,” Cordy said her smile fading a little.

“Come on,” Angel said holding out his hand.

Cordelia took his hand, and they began to dance in the middle of the kitchen. Angel held her hand over his heart, and Cordy rested her head on his shoulder. He was glad his heart didn’t beat because he knew it did it would be beating too hard. His liked holding her too much. Cordy tried to tell herself it was just dancing, but she loved being in his arms. Angel was happier than he wanted to admit when he realized her heart was beating faster. The song ended Cordy tried reluctantly to pull away, but Angel held her close, and they just slow danced to the next song that came on. And then the radio station went into a commercial break, and Angel was still holding her. They looked into each other’s eyes. Cordy realized that Angel was going to kiss her and that she wanted him to. But he hesitated, and Cordy left his arms. She went to the opposite side of the kitchen.

“Cordy…” Angel began.

“Don’t, Angel,” Cordy interrupted.

Cordy was afraid he was going to let her down easy and tell her that even though he was attracted to her it didn’t change that he wanted Buffy. He was the best friend she ever had and she didn’t want her growing attraction to make things impossible between them. Angel was just afraid he was going to lose her.

“We’re still friends, right?” Angel asked her.

“Always,” she said before she left the mansion.

Angel just stood in the kitchen and watched her go. He was torn between wanting to grab her and make her stay, and the feelings of guilt because he wasn’t free. Angel loved Buffy, but he was falling in love with Cordy. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to stop falling.


Part 8
Angel stayed up all night wondering through Sunnydale killing demons. He went back and forth between telling himself that not kissing Cordelia was the right thing to do and then cursing himself out for not just grabbing her so he could kiss her senseless.

Cordy spent the evening alone in her motel room watching tv instead of sleeping. She kept wondering if she should have just let him kiss her and then she’d push those thoughts aside. Once upon a time Cordelia would have enjoyed stealing away Buffy’s boyfriend but after what happened with Xander and Willow Cordy didn’t want to be that girl anymore.

Just because Angel was attracted to her didn’t mean he loved her and Cordy wanted him to love her. Cordy thought about avoiding him but then she stopped herself. Cordy wasn’t a coward, and Angel was her friend. She decided that their attraction for each other was not going to get in the way of their friendship.
*****************************

Two days after their almost kiss, Angel was glad to see Cordy standing by herself outside the library but he had no idea what to say to her.

“Sorry I tried to kiss you”, “Sorry I didn’t kiss you.”

Neither of those sounded right to Angel’s hears so he simply said, “Hello.”

Cordy jumped because she hadn’t realized he was behind her.

She playfully slapped him on the arm and said, “I’m buying you a bell.”

Angel smiled at her and then started to fidget. Cordy smiled at his nervousness.

“Angel, last night’s not a big deal,” Cordy reassured him. “Nothing happened and nothing will happen.”

Angel was surprised that he was annoyed rather than relieved by her insistence that nothing was going to happen between them. Something was already happening it was just a question now of what they were going to do about it. Angel realized Cordy wanted to ignore it, and he realized at that moment he didn’t want to let her.

“Something might happen,” he said looking at her intently.

Cordy felt uncomfortable with him staring at her but refused to back down.

“It can’t happen Angel,” Cordy said. “You’ve got a girlfriend remember, and I’m not going to be road kill on you and Buffy’s road to love.”

He didn’t have a good response to that. He wanted Cordy, and he wanted Buffy. But he couldn’t have them both. Angel needed time to make up his mind, and he didn’t want to hurt Buffy or Cordy in the process.

“Okay,” Angel said walking into the library.

“Okay?” Cordy repeated following behind Angel.

“I don’t want you to be road kill either,” He replied smiling at her hesitantly.

Cordy smiled back but couldn’t help being disappointed that he’d given in so quickly. Angel frowned slightly when he realized her smile didn’t reach her eyes. Unfortunately Willow, Giles, and Xander were all in the library, and Angel and Cordy couldn’t talk.

***********************************
It was awkward when Buffy entered the library. She was angry with Angel for the way he dismissed her at dinner over the weekend. She’d hoped Angel would approach her and apologize, but this was the first she’d seen him in two days. Everyone was gathered at the table doing research, and Angel sat alone on the steps. He looked up when she entered the room, but she couldn’t read his expression. Buffy was terrified she was losing him, and she didn’t know what to do about it.

“Hey guys,” Buffy said refusing to look at Angel.

Giles then went over the plan for patrol that night.

“Cordy can do the bait thing and then I’ll just do the slay thing,” Buffy said.

“I’m bored with being the bait,” Cordy said. “Angel’s been training me. I can kill stuff now”

“Angel’s being training you?” Willow asked surprised.

“But you had the whole screaming and running away thing down pat,” Xander replied.

“Better that than the slayer’s Bitch Boy routine,” Cordy said and then she turned to Angel. “I can totally kick ass, right Angel?”

“Well, you did take out my lamp that time. It didn’t see you coming,” Angel dead panned.

He smiled when Cordy glared at him and easily dodged the book she threw at him.

“Can we please not throw the priceless texts like footballs please?” Giles chastised.

“I’ll get you later,” Cordelia promised as Angel smirked at her.

“Whatever,” Buffy said irritated. “Let’s just get patrol over with.”

So it was Buffy, Angel, and Cordy walked together through the cemetery. Cordy walked ahead while Buffy and Angel kept a certain distance so that Cordy could be bait. Angel couldn’t talk his eyes off Cordy, and he was acutely aware that Buffy was watching him.

“What happened after dinner the other night?” Buffy asked him.

“We should talk later and focus now on patrol,” Angel said.

Buffy stopped in her tracks.

“Patrol never stopped us from talking or making out in the past why should now be different?” Buffy said. “What the hell is going on with you and Cordelia?”

“She’s my friend,” Angel replied and started walking again.

“But she’s Cordelia,” Buffy said. “What do you guys even talk about?”

“A lot of things,” Angel explained.

“You’re shutting me out Angel. It’s not fair,” Buffy said. “I want to be the one who makes you laugh, and I want to be the one you have private jokes with. You don’t trust me.”

“It’s not about trust,” Angel said getting angry.

“Then what’s it about?” Buffy asked.

That’s when they heard Cordy’s scream.


Part 9
On hearing Cordy’s scream, Angel ran faster than Buffy had ever seen him move before. Angel cursed himself for getting distracted when he should have been watching Cordelia. There were four vampires and one was pining Cordy to the ground draining her blood. Angel ripped him off her and then tackled the others. Buffy was shocked because before she could even step in the help him Angel had killed all four vampires.

“Cor,” Angel said as he helped her off the ground.

“Let’s get her back to her hotel,” Buffy suggested.

“She needs first aid,” Angel said. “I’ll take her to my place.”

He carried Cordy in his arms to the mansion. Her clothes were torn and covered in her blood. Buffy grabbed the first aid kit and began examining her wounds.

“I don’t think she’d like it if you were here when I do this,” Buffy said.

Angel reluctantly left Buffy and Cordy alone in his bedroom. Buffy then removed Cordy’s clothes and treated her scratches and her neck wound.. She covered her in one of Angel’s blankets. Buffy was surprised to find Angel was standing by the door. She’d expected him to be downstairs.

“She’s still unconscious,” Buffy explained. “Her neck got the worst of it. The scratches aren’t deep.”

“This shouldn’t have happened,” Angel said darkly.

He walked passed Buffy to go into the bedroom and check on Cordelia. He took her hand as he sat on the bed beside her.

“We need to be more careful next time,” Buffy said standing in the doorway.

Killing those vampires wasn’t enough to satisfy Angel’s rage at the idea of almost losing Cordelia. He tried to hold in his emotions as he sat with Cordy.

“We shouldn’t have let ourselves get distracted,” Buffy said. “But she’s going to be fine, Angel.”

They stayed silent neither of them knowing what to say, both of them blaming themselves for Cordy’s injuries. Angel felt as if Buffy were intruding on his time with Cordelia.

“I’m staying with her until she wakes up,” Angel said finally.

Buffy realized he was dismissing her.

“I’ll head home, then,” she said sadly and then walked out the door.

She half hoped Angel would stop her and ask her to stay, but he didn’t. Buffy remembered when she was Angel’s whole world and now she felt as if she’d become his last priority.

Back in Angel’s bedroom Cordy opened her eyes. She shot up from the bed pushing Angel away from her at first. Then she realized where she was.

“So you finally got around to saving me huh,” Cordy said feeling the bandage at her neck.

“I”m sorry,” Angel said.

“I know,” Cordy said. “My clothes?”

“Trashed,” Angel explained.

Then she tried to get out of the bed taking the blanket wrapped around her with her.

“You should rest up,” Angel said.

“I’m fine,” Cordy said before she lost her balance and fell into Angel’s arms. “Okay, I’m not that fine.”

He helped her get back into bed.

“Just go back to sleep,” Angel said.

“Yeah, good idea,” Cordy said closing her eyes.

********************************
The next morning Cordy walked down the stairs wearing one of Angel’s shirts and one of his sweat pants which she had rolled so it could fit her. She found Angel sitting alone in his living room lost in thought.

“You shouldn’t be up,” Angel said.

“I woke up hungry,” Cordy explained walking towards the kitchen.

Angel followed her into the kitchen and ordered, “Go rest. I’ll make you an omelette.”

Cordy shook her head and replied, “I’m done lying down today. It’s noon, and I’ve missed school which I must admit might not necessarily be a bad thing.”

As she took the carton of eggs from Angel’s refrigerator, she asked him, “Hungry?”

“Yeah,” he said as Cordy passed him a container filled with pig’s blood that he began to drink from. “Sit and let me make breakfast. I don’t want you causing a fire in my kitchen.”

Cordy rolled her eyes and sat on the kitchen counter.

“So what happened last night?” Cordy asked.

“What do you remember?”

“My turn at bait girl was a success and a few vamps came out to play but my back up took it’s time getting there,” Cordy said not concealing her resentment. “I remember killing one of the vamps, and then I got knocked out. So what happened?”

“We were distracted and then we heard you scream, and I got rid of the vampires,” Angel said not looking at her and concentrating on her eggs.

He then put them on a plate for her and went to sit with her at the counter. He looked at her and went over in his mind his fear that she could have died because he wasn’t paying complete attention.

“It won’t ever happen again,” Angel said with remorse.

Cordy took in his kicked puppy expression and realized what he was thinking and how much he’d been afraid.

“Quit it, Broody Boy,” Cordy said placing her hand against his cheek. “You got there in time. I’m okay.”

Then she shrugged and said, “You had to take all my fun at raking you over the coals for last night by being all adorable and sorry.”

“You think I’m adorable?” Angel asked with a slight smile.

“Dork,” she replied taking her hand away from his face.

Angel’s smile grew, and he took her hand, “I don’t care what else comes up. Your days as bait girl are over.”

Cordy shrugged and said, “It won’t matter in a couple of weeks. I’ll be free of Sunnyhell any way.”

Angel frowned because he hated thinking about Cordy’s plan to leave town immediately after graduation.

“Do you really have to go?” Angel asked.

“What else will I do Angel?” Cordy asked. “I can’t afford college and Sunnydale isn’t exactly full of options for me. I can go to LA maybe be an actress. I need to find something for myself, Angel, and I won’t find it here.”

“I’ll miss you,” Angel said.

“Of course you will, I’m fantastic,” Cordy replied trying to smile instead of crying like she suddenly wanted to. “You better come visit me when I’m in LA.”

“Count on it,” Angel said unable to push away the dread he felt.


Part 10
Angel couldn’t get Cordelia’s words out of his mind. She needed to find something for herself, and he knew she was right about Sunnydale not giving her options. He started wondering if he could even find something for himself. All he seemed to be was an extension of Buffy. Something brought him back from hell. He had a purpose, and he wondering if he could fulfill that purpose in Sunnydale. Angel knew that things between him and Buffy couldn’t remain the same anymore, but he wasn’t sure what he could do to fix things. The only thing Angel knew for certain was that he didn’t want Cordy gone. He brooded as he sat with Buffy in his living room.

Buffy talked incessantly unable to decide if she was happy or disturbed by Angel’s silence. The quiet Angel with mysterious thoughts was the one she knew. It was the Angel who laughed and joked that she wished she could know.

“About last night…” Buffy began. “How is Cordy?”

“Better,” Angel replied.

“Do you want us to go and see her?” Buffy wondered.

“She wouldn’t want that,” Angel said aware of the fact that Buffy wasn’t someone Cordy wanted to see at that moment.

“How angry was she?” Buffy asked

“She wasn’t happy,” Angel said getting up from his couch and walking into the kitchen. He just needed to move. He could still feel Cordy’s hand on his cheek.

“Let’s not talk about this,” Angel said when Buffy followed him into the kitchen.

“Did she say something horrible to you?” Buffy asked seeing his discomfort. “That’s just Cordelia.”

“She almost died last night because we weren’t doing our job. She’s allowed to be angry,” Angel said.

“What did she say to you?” Buffy asked.

“We talked, and she’s not angry,” Angel said going into his refrigerator and taking out the container of blood.

“We never finished our conversation,” Buffy asked. “I said I didn’t think you trusted me, and you said that it wasn’t about trust. Well, what is it about?”

Angel saw how Buffy’s eyes uncomfortably kept going back and forth between Angel face and the blood he held in his hands.

Angel let out an unneeded breath, “All you want is to be a normal girl.”

Buffy felt as if he were accusing her of something and replied defensively, “What’ wrong with that?”

“Normal is something we can never be,” Angel said.

Tears began to fall from Buffy’s eyes as she told him, “I get it. I’m the slayer. I don’t get normal. But we can have something close to that can’t we?”

Angel didn’t answer. So Buffy continued, “Things between us haven’t been great since you and Cordy started hanging out.”

“Things weren’t great before then, Buffy,” Angel said.

“Maybe, but things have been worse since she started making a play for you again,” Buffy said.

“This isn’t the same thing as before,” Angel said.

“You’re right, this time she’s getting to you,” Buffy said.

“She’s not some girl acting on a crush. She’s my friend. Do you want me to have only you?” Angel yelled

“I used to be enough for you, Angel,” Buffy said.

Angel shook his head, “It’s not working.”

“I know,” Buffy said sadly. “We just need…”

Buffy couldn’t finish her sentence because she didn’t know what it would take to make them happy together again. She knew she was losing him, and she refused to let go.

“Let’s just take a step back and then we can talk more tomorrow,” Buffy said. “Better yet, lets just forget all the talking and have some fun together. We never get to do that”

“We can’t do this anymore,” Angel said firmly. “This has to stop.”

“Angel?”

“I’m leaving town after graduation,” Angel said hating the pain in her eyes.

“How can you just leave?”

“You have a purpose here, and I need to find mine,” Angel said. “And you and I haven’t been able to make things work. I’ll never give you all the things you want. You deserve sunlight, children, a man you can grow old with, a man who can make love with you.”

Angel nearly choked on those words because it didn’t just mean the end of him and Buffy, but of him and Cordy as anything other than friends. Those things were all the things Cordy deserved too. He wanted so badly to be able to give them to her, but it wasn’t something that was possible.

****************
Wesley and Cordelia sat at the bar in the Bronze laughing.

“I’m just saying. If you grew your hair a bit longer, got yourself some stubble, and burned everything tweed you owned, I think you’d be pretty difficult to resist. If it weren’t for us having zero chemistry, I’d totally be all over you,” Cordelia said.

Uncertain how to reply Wesley simply said, “Thank you.”

Cordelia beamed at him and then checked her watch. She and Angel had made no definite plans, but she insisted that he join her and Wesley for at least one drink. She’d been certain that his ‘I’ll think about it’ actually meant ‘Yes.’ But she tried not to seem to distracted as she sat with Wesley who she was beginning to think of him as a true friend. Then she saw Angel walk through the door and her smile at seeing him turned quickly into a frown.

“What’s wrong?” she asked the second he came to sit next to her at the bar.

“I’ll tell you later,” Angel promised. “Wesley.”

“Angel.”

Angel hadn’t wanted to spend the evening with Wesley especially after his painful conversation with Buffy and only came because he didn’t want Cordy and Wesley spending too much time together. Besides Angel knew Cordy’s insistence that they all get together was important to her, and Angel hadn’t figured out how to say no to her yet.

“You okay?” Cordy asked Angel.

“I will be,” Angel replied.

“So Cordy, why did you insist on this get together?” Wesley asked.

“I’ve decided that you guys will be friends,” Cordy said.

“You’ve decided?” Angel said with a smile.

“We don’t get to be apart of the decision?” Wesley asked.

“No,” Cordy said simply. “You guys will be friends.”

Cordy knew that once she left for LA that she’d be leaving Wesley and Angel alone with the scoobies. She wanted to make sure the outsiders who were now her friends would have each other.

**********
Xander who sat with Willow and Oz across from the bar watched Cordy as she laughed with Angel and Wesley.

“I don’t get it,” Xander said suddenly.

“What?” Willow asked.

“This whole Cordelia and Dead boy are best friends thing,” Xander said. “How the hell did that happen?”

“I was wondering the same thing,” Buffy said sitting down join them.

It had been a shock to walk into the Bronze to see Angel being carefree with Cordelia and Wesley as if he hadn’t just broken her heart.

“Well Angel has that whole super hero sexy thing going for him. He storms in and saves the girl and he has those intense eyes,” Willow said with a dreamy expression and the she realized everyone at the table was staring her strangely.

She turned to Oz and said, “You’re super hero sexy, too”

“Thanks,” Oz replied with a nod.

“What has Angel told you about him and Cordelia?” Xander asked.

“Nothing,” Buffy replied flatly.

“Something wrong, Buffy?” Willow asked.

“Angel and I broke up,” Buffy replied.

At that moment, Angel noticed Buffy was in the room and made eye contact with her. He nodded sadly. Cordelia noticed and looked in the direction Angel was staring.

“I’ll see you later,” Cordy said assuming he would go sit with Buffy.

“You’re leaving?” Angel asked.

“No, you are,” Cordy said.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Angel replied.

“I suppose we must go say hello,” Wesley said spotting Buffy and the others.

“Must we?” Cordy asked.

Wesley smiled at her and Cordy smiled back. Angel frowned at them both.

“Did you guys have a fight or something?” Cordelia asked him.

“We broke up,” Angel said.

“That’s nothing new,” Wesley said.

“You guys will work things out,” Cordy said trying to reassure Angel.

“It’s over this time,” Angel said staring into his drink. “Buffy and I will never work and we both realize that now.”

Cordelia surprised herself and Angel by being speechless. She just placed her hand on his arm and gave it a reassuring squeeze.


Part 11
“I’m sorry,” Cordelia said to Angel as he drove her home.

“It’s okay,” Angel replied. “Having drinks with Wesley wasn’t that horrible.”

“Pfft, you know that’s not what I meant,” Cordy said. “I’m sorry you’re hurting over Buffy.”

After making his announcement that he and Buffy were over, Angel remained relatively quiet the rest of the evening.

“The end was bound to happen. Things between her and me haven’t been working for a while,” Angel said, pulling the car in front of Cordelia’s motel room.

Cordelia didn’t quite know what to say. She didn’t like Angel with a broken heart and yet there was this part of her that was actually relieved he and Buffy were over. She pushed away thoughts that maybe she and Angel could find a way to be together. She was even tempted to put off her journey to LA but she stilled those thoughts. Leaving Sunnydale was something she had to do.

“Thanks for the ride,” Cordy said getting out of his car.

Angel watched her go into her motel room and cursed himself. He had been unable to tell Cordy about his plan to leave Sunnydale. He’d come to the conclusion that he could not be the man Cordy deserved, and at the same time realized he couldn’t live without her. He drove back to the mansion but didn’t go inside. He got out of the car and went on patrol instead. He needed to kill something.

***************
“I’m sure you and Angel will find your way back to each other,” Willow said as she walked with Buffy through the cemetery.

“I’ve never seen Angel that determined before,” Buffy said. “He means it. He’s leaving me. He kept saying he couldn’t give me the life I wanted.”

“I’m sorry Buffy but,” Willow hesitated. “I think he was right.”

“I don’t see how we can stay apart,” Buffy said.

“That’s probably why he’s leaving. If he stayed you guys would just get back together,” Willow said.

“Exactly, we should just keep trying to fix things between us,” Buffy said. “He’s right about us needing a break but maybe in the end we’ll find our way back to each other.”

Willow just gave her friend a reassuring hug and then Buffy pushed her away because there was a demon behind her. Before Willow could recover from the shock, Buffy set about fighting with it. Angel then appeared from the shadows and finished the demon off.

“Angel,” Buffy said hesitantly.

“Hi Buffy,” Angel said and then helped Willow up from the ground.

“You okay, Will?” Buffy asked her.

“I’m fine,” Willow said, brushing the dirt off her with her hand. “Thanks Angel.”

He nodded and then began to walk away.

“Angel!” Buffy called out and then quickly realized she had no idea what to say.

Angel turned around saying nothing. He was obviously angry.

“There’s nothing left to say,” he said sadly before he walked away.

“He was so cold,” Buffy said.

“He’s obviously upset,” Willow said.

“So am I,” Buffy said getting angry. “I’m not the one who’s walking out on us.”

“Come on, we can crash at my house and eat everything fattening we can think of,” Willow said.

********************************
Angel walked aimlessly. He was surprised to find himself standing across the street from Cordy’s motel. He hadn’t realized that was where he was headed. Angel needed to talk to her and tell her he was leaving Sunnydale. That he was thinking about heading to LA. He wasn’t certain how to tell her that without making it obvious how badly he needed her. He couldn’t tell her that. He had to be her friend and nothing more.

Then her motel door opened and to Angel’s surprise, Wesley walked out of Cordy’s room. He was too far away to hear what they were saying, but he heard them laugh and saw them hug goodbye. Angel raged as he saw Cordy was wearing just a robe, and he thought the hug lasted too long. Cordy walked back into her room, Wesley got into his car, and Angel stalked across the street to pound on Cordy’s door.

“You forgot your…” Cordy began as she opened the door holding Wesley’s jacket in her hand. “Angel?”

Angel pulled Cordy roughly into his arms and kissed her putting all the need he felt into it. It started out hard and punishing, but Angel softened the kiss when he realized she was kissing him back. Cordy pulled his jacket off, and Angel pulled on the strings to her robe. When it fell to the floor, Angel smiled as he realized Cordy was wearing the shirt she’d borrowed from him and nothing else.

“My shirt,” he said as he began to open the buttons.

“My shirt now,” Cordy said with a sly smile as Angel moved to kiss her neck.

He licked the place where her pulse was racing, his hand fondling her now exposed breasts. Cordy started backing up towards the bed taking Angel with her. She paused only long enough to rip the shirt he was wearing open. Buttons flew everywhere.

“Always wanted to do that,” Cordy said as she pushed Angel’s shirt off his shoulders.

Angel laughed and then took her taut nipple in his mouth as she moaned. Then there was a knock at the door.

“We’re not here,” Angel said letting his tongue slide over her other nipple.

“No, we’re not,” Cordelia sighed. “It’s probably just Wes looking for his jacket. He’ll go away.”

Angel growled at the sound of Wesley’s name, and he gripped her shoulders harder. By now he could tell from Cordy’s scent that she and Wesley hadn’t had sex, but the thought of any man alone with Cordy raged Angel.

“You’re jealous,” Cordy said with a laugh and then she kissed him tenderly. “You don’t have to be.”

The pounding on Cordy’s door continued. Angel and Cordy were oblivious as she unbuckled his pants and kissed her way down his chest.

“Cordelia, I know you’re there. I really need to talk,” Buffy said pounding on the door harder.


Part 12
Buffy continued to pound on Cordy’s door.

“Maybe she’s asleep or still out with Wesley or something,” Willow suggested regretting that she had been unable to talk Buffy into not going to see Cordelia, but Buffy was convinced that talking to Cordy would help her understand Angel.

Cordy stopped kissing Angel, and they exchanged a frustrated look. It was like they’d just had a cold shower. Cordy pulled away from Angel who insisted on holding on to her hand.

“You should go hide in the bathroom,” Cordy suggested holding her shirt closed with her free hand. “Not really wanting the slayer kicking my ass tonight.”

“Cordy,” Angel said pulling her to him again. “She’ll go away.”

Cordy shook her head and left Angel’s arms, “I’d have to deal with her eventually. I might as well get it over with.”

Cordy supposed she should be relieved by Buffy’s timing. Cordy and Angel had gotten carried away, and it was only now that the curse had occurred to either of them. She closed the buttons on her shirt and put her robe back on. Angel picked up his scattered clothes and reluctantly walked into the bathroom closing the door behind him. Cordy opened the door to Buffy and Willow.

“What the hell are you doing pounding on my door after midnight with Willow?” Cordy said feeling betrayed.

Buffy’s promise not to reveal the fact that Cordy was broke and living in a motel was forgotten because Buffy was so focused on Angel. Buffy looked at Cordelia guiltily.

“I wasn’t thinking,” Buffy said just realizing what she’d done. “I needed to talk to you about Angel.”

“And you couldn’t wait until the morning to talk to me because?” Cordy said glaring at her.

Buffy shrugged and said, “It’s just this Angel leaving town thing has really thrown me.”

Angel who was listening in the bathroom had the sudden urge to slam his head into a wall.

“Angel’s leaving town?” Cordelia asked suddenly feeling hurt.

They’d spent most of the evening together, and Angel hadn’t said a word about leaving town.

“He hasn’t told you yet?” Buffy asked surprised. “Maybe he didn’t mean it. I was hoping…”

“We should go,” Willow interrupting. She noticed the way Cordelia was suddenly tense and realized a blow out was almost inevitable.

“Sorry about the midnight visit,” Willow said closing the door behind her and Buffy.

Cordy hated the pity in Willow’s eyes. Tomorrow everyone would know how her parents had abandoned her but that wasn’t really hurt at that moment. She felt confused and betrayed.

“Get your undead ass in here,” Cordy yelled.

Angel walked out of the bathroom still holding his clothes in his hands.

“So Wes was here?” Angel asked.

Cordy rolled her eyes, “I left my purse at the Bronze, and he was returning it. Then we got to talking. Don’t change the subject.”

“When were you going to tell me you were leaving?” Cordy demanded.

“That was why I came by here tonight, and then I got distracted,” Angel said edging towards her.

They both got distracted. Cordy didn’t know how to feel about what almost happened between her and Angel. It was something she’d wanted since almost the moment she first saw him at the Bronze. His showing up and just kissing her was something out of a fantasy. But now she was wondering what it all meant. Did he come to her to ask her to leave with him? Was what happened some sort of goodbye?

“So you really are going?” Cordy asked him.

Angel nodded, “I need to find something for myself, and I can’t do that here.”

Cordelia understood. She hated it, but she understood.

“It’s not fair to quote me to my face, Angel,” Cordy said smiling sadly.

Angel smiled back and took a few steps towards her. He wanted to hold her.

“Where will you go? When will you go?” Cordy asked taking a step back away from Angel.

“As soon as the ascension has been dealt with, I’m leaving. I was going to visit with these mystics and see if maybe they could shed some light on why I was brought back to hell. After that, I wasn’t really sure where I’d end up. I was thinking about LA,” Angel said hesitantly.

“LA?” Cordy said trying not to put too much hope in her voice.

“LA,” Angel confirmed cupping her face in his hands and kissing her.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.

“We have to be careful, Angel,” Cordy sighed resting her forehead against his. “There’s a curse remember. We almost forgot about that.”

Angel’s face darkened, “There is so much I can’t give you that you deserve…”

Cordy stopped his words with a kiss, “Instead of focusing on what we can’t have let’s pay attention to what we do have.”

“I was going to just be your friend, and I wasn’t going to let wanting you get in the way,” Angel said sitting on her bed. “I don’t want you to make sacrifices in order to be with me. I want you have everything,”

Cordelia sat beside him on his bed and put her hand on his knee.

“I’ve got you. That’s enough,” Cordy said and Angel just smiled before he kissed her again.

They stayed up most of the night talking and making plans and then they fell asleep together. She woke up vaguely disappointed that he was still wearing his pants. Angel had his arms wrapped around her as they lied in the bed in the spoon position. She attempted to get out of bed, but Angel pulled her back down.

“I have to go to school,” Cordy said snuggling into Angel. She grabbed the hand he had around her waste and clutched it to her chest.

Angel made no reply. He just started kissing her neck and used the hand she’d clutched to her chest to unbutton her shirt. Cordy slapped his hand away and got out of the bed. Angel turned over and smiled as he watched her walk into the bathroom. And alone in Cordy’s room a thought struck Angel. He was worried about what Cordelia would have to face at school. Everyone would know about Cordy’s situation, and he hated how it would make her feel.

Part 13
“The sun is up and your room doesn’t have sewer access,” Angel pointed out.

“So you’re stuck here huh,” Cordy asked Angel who was still sprawled in the middle of the bed.

“I wouldn’t feel stuck if you stayed with me,” Angel suggested.

“Tempting,” she replied sitting on the bed beside him and kissing him. “But I already missed school yesterday. And I’ve got finals next week.”

She got up from the bed, “You could wrap yourself in a blanket and then I could drive you back home.”

“I walked here last night. The car’s at the mansion,” Angel said sitting up and putting his shoes on. “I’ll just take a blanket and make a run for the sewer access across the street.”

“I could stop by the mansion after school?” Cordy said.

“Maybe I could stop by the school with you,” Angel said standing up.

“I can handle the Scoobies, Angel. You don’t have to hold my hand,” Cordy said trying to build up her defenses before she got to school.

“You’re still Cordy no matter what your address is or what balance you’ve got in the bank,” Angel said holding her.

“I know that, but I don’t want their pity,” Cordy said letting go of Angel and picking up her school bag.

“Maybe Willow won’t tell the others,” Angel said.

“Not intentionally but the truth is bound to come out. Plus there’s the you and me thing,” Cordy said. “Yesterday, you and Buffy had the big love and now you and I are running off to LA together. I’m thinking awkward would be the nicest word for the scoobies reaction.”

“I don’t want to hurt Buffy more than I already have, but I don’t want us sneaking around like we are ashamed of us,” Angel said. “I just have to figure out the right time to tell her.”

“There is no right time. It’s going to hurt her no matter when you tell he,r but we can put it off for a while. Maybe after we’ve settled in LA,” Cordy said.

“You know what?” Cordy asked him wanting to change the subject.

“What?” Angel said.

“Last night was still the best night,” Cordy said smiling at him.

Angel smiled back and promised, “Tonight will be even better.”

His hand caressed her cheek and he kissed her softly on her mouth.

“I want to take you out tonight,” he said. “I’m supposed to patrol and then I could pick you up.”

“I should warn you. I don’t kiss on the first date,” Cordy teased.

“I respect that,” Angel said before kissing her again.

***************
When Buffy woke up the next morning after recovering from her ice cream coma, she felt foolish. She couldn’t believe she’d actually run to Cordelia for help dealing with her breakup with Angel. It had just been so hard for her to accept. Even those times when she had walked away from Angel she never completely left him. He’d always just been there, and Buffy didn’t know how to handle not having him there anymore.

She went over in her mind what she could have done or said to change things. She knew she was a little relieved because with Angel gone for a while Buffy would be able to take of break from the roller coaster that was their relationship. She hoped that in time maybe she and Angel could find a way, but she was finished trying to make him stay. And then she thought about Cordelia who Buffy was certain would use her moment of weakness against her. Buffy just knew school was going to suck as she got out of bed.

******************************
Cordy was late for school, but it didn’t occur to her to care. Making out with Angel was the best way to start a day. She was even flirting with the idea of just heading back to Angel and spending the day with him. But she wanted to get the inevitable confrontation over with. Cordelia smiled at she thought of the all the possibilities of LA and then she saw Buffy and her friends in the hallway. She took and deep breath and followed them into the library. Buffy took Cordelia aside.

“Willow’s not going to say anything,” Buffy said. “And I was never at your motel room last night, okay?”

“Screw it,” Cordy muttered to herself and walked towards the others.

Xander, Oz, and Willow looked at her expectantly. Buffy was concerned Cordelia was going to tell the others how foolish she’d been the night before.

“This isn’t necessary Cordelia,” Buffy warned.

Cordy ignored her, “What I’m about to say better not leave this room. My parents had some IRS issues and had to skip town. I’ve been on my own ever since. I don’t want or need anybody’s help. I’m doing just fine. We’re not mentioning this again.”

Then she turned and strutted out the door with her head held high.

“Is she kidding?” Xander asked Buffy.

“No, she’s not,” Buffy said.

Xander got up from his chair as if to follow Cordy to see if she really was alright, but Buffy stopped him.

“She doesn’t want to talk about it,” Buffy said.

**********************
After school was over, Cordy joined the others in the library to do the usual research. She’d been tempted just to avoid them and head straight to Angel, but she didn’t want to run away. She figured she’d stay an hour and then take off to get ready for her date.

Cordelia stood alone in the stacks in the library looking for the book Giles asked her to get with the unpronounceable name. She began to smile because she knew Angel was behind her before he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her so her back rested against his chest.

“Giles, I thought we agreed not to meet in the stacks until later,” Cordy teased.

“You’re not funny,” Angel replied nuzzling her neck.

“Oh it’s you,” Cordy said turning around so she could kiss him.

What was supposed to be a simple kiss quickly turned passionate.

“What the hell!” a voice exclaimed interrupting the new couple.

Part 14
Angel and Cordy quickly jumped apart when they realized they’d be caught making out in the library stacks.

“Wesley,” Angel said in greeting.

Wesley replied, “ You know any of them could have walked in on you both.”

“We got carried away,” Cordy said.

They all stood there awkwardly.

Angel put his arm around Cordy and told Wesley, “We only just got together and We don’t want the news about us to be spread around to the others until we’re ready for them to find out.”

“Of course not,” Wesley said understanding and then added in a brotherly tone. “I heard you were leaving town. I’m guessing now LA is your destination.”

He looked at Angel as if seizing up his intentions towards Cordelia.

Angel nodded, “We’re going to LA.”

“I hope you will both be careful,” Wesley said. “Angelus is still a valid concern and…”

“This is well covered territory, Wes,” Cordy interrupted.

“We’ll be careful,” Angel promised.

He looked at them both and said, “I should have guessed this would happen after seeing you guys together before.”

“Was it that obvious?” Cordy asked with a smile.

“No, there was just something there,” Wesley said smiling back. “In spite of my concerns, I am happy for you both. I suggest we return to the others.”

And so they went back to the center of the library to sit with the others.

***************
Later that night Angel walked into an elegant restaurant with Cordelia on his arm.

“We’re lucky it was Wes who caught us,” Cordy said sitting down at their table.

“We have to be more careful,” Angel said.

“This place is beautiful,” Cordy said taking in the decor.

Angel smiled at her. They sat in an alcove which allowed them to see the restaurant but gave them their own little table.

“You’re beautiful,” Angel said.

“You’re pretty damn good with the words when you want to be,” Cordy said.

The waiter arrived and gave them menus as they sat side by side. Angel had his hand on Cordy’s knee. He noticed Cordy had a distracted look on her face.

“What are you thinking?” he asked her.

“Have you ever looked into finding a way around the curse?” Cordy asked him.

“Never really thought getting out of the curse was an option for me,” Angel said.

“Because you think it’s impossible or that you don’t deserve it?” Cordy asked.

“I deserved the curse,” Angel said, sounding sad and distant.

“Angelus certainly deserved it,” Cordy agreed. “But what about you now?”

“There isn’t really a distinction except for the soul that keeps me from doing harm,” Angel said.

“A soul isn’t a magic wand making you one of the good guys, Angel,” Cordy said placing her hand over his. “You are still a vampire. You still have dark urges.”

Angel looked in Cordy’s eyes with sadness, “It’s part of who I am.”

“Even with a soul you could have chose the darkness but everyday you choose to do right,” Cordy said. “That means something, Angel.”

Angel didn’t know what to say, and so he kissed her slowly savoring the taste of her.

“There may be no way around the curse,” Angel said and then hesitated. “I don’t want to hope for what I can’t have.”

“I know,” Cordy said understanding.

“Another man could give you so much more,” Angel said.

“No, another man couldn’t,” Cordy said. “You’re the man I’m in love with.”

Angel beamed at her.

**********************
Buffy walked with Xander down the street.

“You know. You are better off without him,” Xander said referring to Buffy’s break up with Angel.

“I don’t really want to hear that right now,” Buffy said.

Xander nodded, “So what do you want to talk about? The weather?”

“It’s cloudy,” Buffy replied smiling slightly.

“It’s good to see you smile a bit,” Xander said and then stopped in his tracks.

“What?” Buffy said turning to see what Xander was staring at.

It was Angel and Cordelia walking out of a restaurant hand and hand. They were laughing and then they were kissing. Xander and Buffy stood down the street stunned by the sight. Angel and Cordy walked to Angel’s car. He opened the car door for Cordy and then they drove away together.

Xander turned to Buffy who now had tears in her eyes.

“Buffy,” he said before she ran away.

***************************************

The next morning there was a knock on Cordy’s motel room door. She was surprised to find Xander standing there looking tense.

“We need to talk,” he said letting himself into her room.
Part 15
Xander braced himself as he walked into Cordelia’s room. He’d had all night to think of what he needed to say to her and still didn’t have any idea. He just knew he had to talk to her and hear from her what exactly was going on. He couldn’t forget the hurt in Buffy eyes from the night before.

“The place looks good,” Xander said looking around her room. “The stains on the carpet perfectly match the stains on the wall. And coordination is so important when decorating.”

Cordy didn’t laugh like he hoped she would. Cordy assumed Xander’s sudden appearance on her doorstep was because she had told the others about her parents leaving her on her own.

“Look, Xander,” Cordy said. “I don’t need your pity over my situation.”

“That’s not why I’m here,” Xander said. “Although I am sorry about that.”

“Then why are you here,” Cordy asked him sounding suspicious.

“I saw you with Angel last night,” Xander said.

“And that’s your business because?” Cordy asked, raising her defenses.

“Buffy was with me,” Xander said.

“Oh,” was all Cordy could manage in reply. She was surprised Buffy hadn’t shown up at her door. “So you’re here to yell at me in her honor.”

“He’ll never make you happy,” Xander said suddenly. “Buffy’s been miserable the past three years.”

“You didn’t care much about my happiness when we were dating. Why care now?” Cordy asked him.

Xander wasn’t sure how to reply to that, “I wish things could have been different. Things just happened that I never expected.”

Xander paused and then looked Cordy in the eye, “But I’d like to be your friend now.”

“I don’t think I can be friends with you,” Cordy said sounding sad instead of angry. She didn’t trust him, but she wasn’t sure she still hated him.

Xander didn’t look surprised at her reply, “I figured that’s what you’d say, but a guy’s got to try, right? I am sorry.”

“It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s over,” Cordy said walking towards her door and opening it so Xander could leave.

Xander had so many things he wanted to say to Cordelia but had no idea how to say them.

“You’re leaving with him aren’t you?” Xander asked refusing to leave.

“Yeah, Sunnyhell is over for me,” Cordy said.

“You could get out of this,” Xander said. “You could go on without him and not have to deal with demons and apocalypses.”

“So could you, but you’re still here,” Cordy said. “You’ll never leave her.”

“I couldn’t go,” Xander said not wanting to think about his feelings for Buffy. “Are you sure he won’t leave you?”

It was a difficult question for Cordy to think about. She believed Angel loved he,r but she knew him well enough to know that he might leave her in order to protect her. She just hoped she would always be able to make Angel understand she didn’t need him to protect her from him.

“Are you trying to talk me out of loving him?” Cordelia asked with a raised eyebrow.

“You love him?” Xander asked her softly.

“Yeah, I do,” Cordy said.

Xander didn’t know how to reply to that. The jealous ex-boyfriend in him felt the pain of realization that he and Cordelia could never find their way back to each other. The part that felt protective towards Cordy worried she would get her heart broken all over again. And then the part of him that was worried about Buffy and how she would handle things took over.

“There isn’t just you and Angel to think about. You know how you felt when you found me with Willow?” Xander asked hesitantly. “That’s how Buffy felt seeing you with Angel.”

Cordy nodded slightly acknowledging to herself that Buffy was probably heartbroken, and she felt badly even though she fought the urge to feel guilty.

“There is nothing I could say to make Buffy feel better, Xander,” Cordy said suddenly wondering what he wanted from her. Suddenly she felt fresh anger at Xander.

“I didn’t go after Angel and he wasn’t sneaking around with me while he was with Buffy. Nothing happened between us until he broke things off with her. You should go,” Cordy said. All the vulnerability that had been in her eyes a moment ago was gone.

Xander left the room feeling frustrated. He felt like for a moment he and Cordelia had connected; that they actually understood each other and then it all went downhill.

**********************

Wesley was surprised to find Angel standing at his door..

“Is Cordy alright?” Wesley asked before Angel could say a word.

“She’s fine,” Angel said suddenly feeling uncomfortable. “There’s something I need to discuss with you.”

Wesley nodded and said, “Come in.”

They sat in the middle of Wesley’s small one bedroom apartment.

“There was something you wanted to discuss?” Wesley prompted.

“How much do you know about the curse?” Angel began.

*****************
Angel thought over his meeting with Wesley as he drove home. He had known that talking to Wesley might not exactly inspire hope. Wesley had cautiously told Angel that it may take years to find a way around the curse if there even is a way. But Wesley had promised to do everything he could to help Angel and with that Angel finally began to understand what Cordy saw in Wesley.

When Angel entered the mansion he was surprised to find Cordy there looking upset. She sat on his couch lost in thought.

“Baby,” he said instantly sitting beside her with his arm around her.

“Buffy saw us last night,” Cordy said.

“Did she confront you?” Angel said.

“No, Xander gave me the heads up,” Cordy said.

“I have to talk to her,” Angel said getting up from the couch and then he turned to Cordy. “Will you be here when I get back?”

“Yes,” she replied walking towards him to give him a reassuring hug. “I’m not going anywhere.”

He rested his forehead against hers and said, “Me either. I’ll be back.

He then let her go and walked out of the mansion to find Buffy.

**********************************

Buffy felt Angel presence behind her in the cemetery.

“You lied to me,” she said simply turning to him. She said it with a mixture of anger and confusion.

“I didn’t lie,” Angel said.

Buffy just turned to walk away from him, and he followed walking beside her.

“You told me that you and Cordy were just friends,” Buffy said as an accusation.

“We were,” Angel said and then added. “And then it became more. But nothing happened until you and I were broken up.”

“We’ve only broke up two days ago,” Buffy said wondering when Angel had begun cheating on her.

“What happened between me and Cordy was unexpected? When I broke things off with you I had no idea I’d end up with Cordy,” Angel said.

Buffy wasn’t certain if she believed him or not. Lately he’d been even more of a mystery, and she wondered if she ever truly knew him at all.

“How did it happen?” Buffy asked hestiantly.

“It just happened,” Angel said. “It wasn’t planned. Cordy and I were both surprised by it.”
“Were you lying when you said Cordy wasn’t the reason we broke up?” Buffy asked.

“There are reasons for me to leave that have nothing to do with Cordy. You know that.” Angel replied.

Buffy then asked him the question she wasn’t certain she wanted the answer to, “Do you love her?”

“Yes,” Angel said hating the wounded look in her eyes.

Angel knew Buffy really loved him, and he had loved her. He would always love her. Another woman might have thrown him out of her life after everything that had happened between them but Buffy had tried to be with him in spite of it. But love just wasn’t enough to heal the wounds and make things work. Angel hated being the one to hurt the woman he loved and felt he owed for first making him feel loved and alive.

Buffy felt like he had slapped her. She had thought they had that big undying love and that no matter how bad things got nothing would ever come between them. She didn’t understand how it all could have gone so wrong.

“All those things you said that I deserved and you couldn’t give me,” Buffy said sounding defeated. “You can’t give them to her either.”

“I know,” Angel said.

“So why can it work with her and not with me?” Buffy said tearing welling up in her eyes.

Angel wasn’t sure how to put it all in words and so he simply said, “She’s my best friend and you and were never friends.”

“Do you think if we had been friends or if they wasn’t a curse we could’ve worked something out?” Buffy asked trying to find a way to hope for more.

“Even if there were no curse, things between us couldn’t have worked,” Angel said. “And I don’t know if you and I even know how to be friends with each other.”

“You don’t know that for sure,” Buffy said. “We never tried.”

“Why didn’t we try?” Angel asked.

Buffy had no reply. They stood together in painful silence. Angel was tempted to reach out and hold to offer her some sort of comfort, but he figured she would get the wrong idea.

“I just can’t deal with this right now,” Buffy said walking away from Angel.

Angel let her go with a heavy heart and went back home to Cordy.

Part 16
Cordelia stared at the dress hanging on her bathroom door and smiled. It had been such a surprise. Xander bought her a prom dress. She had thought they had said everything there was to say and that a friendship between them was impossible. But in typical Xander fashion, he did something sweet making it difficult for her to stay angry even when she was certain she was justified. She still thought a real friendship would be too difficult. Buffy would always be between them because she was Xander’s first priority even when he and Cordy were dating. Plus, Angel was Xander’s least favorite person. But Cordy was beginning to think Xander’s friendship would be worth the difficulties.

Cordelia finished her makeup and hair and then slipped into the dress. She answered the knock on her door and smiled at Angel as he entered her room.

“You’re beautiful,” Angel said simply, and the look in his eyes saying more than words could.

Cordelia smiled at him as she gave him a soft kiss on the mouth, “You don’t look too bad yourself.”

She stepped away from Angel just long enough to put on her shoes. He studied her and admired her dress.

He frowned slightly, “I’m not sure about this.”

Cordy looked at him intently, “The whole prom thing or the whole Buffy’s going to be there thing?”

“The whole Xander bought you a dress and you’re wearing it thing,” Angel said not likely how jealous he sounded.

Angel did have he concerns about Buffy, but he knew Cordy deserved to enjoy her prom night. He just wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Cordy softening towards Xander.

Cordy walked towards Angel and adjusted his tie, “This dress isn’t a ‘I bought you this dress because I want you thing.’ This is a ‘I want us to be friends so I bought you a dress to show I still care thing.’”

“What if he does want you back?” Angel asked.

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve already got my guy,” Cordy said wrapping her arms around Ange’s neck as he leaned in to kiss her.

*********************************

Angel and Cordelia walked in to the prom arm and arm. Angel was a little worried about the inevitable confrontation with Buffy, and he suspected Cordy was worried as well. Cordy had been tempted to just skip the prom, but she didn’t want to be a coward where anyone especially Buffy was concerned. Wesley was the first to greet them.

“You look absolutely ravishing,” Wesley said to Cordy and then turned to Angel. “Would you mind if Cordy and I had a dance?”

“Yes,” Angel replied.

“No,” Cordy replied, raising her eyebrow at Angel.

She then took Wesley’s hand and headed towards the dance floor. Angel had started to think of Wesley as a good friend, but he still didn’t like how close he was to Cordy. Angel still remembered Cordy’s former crush on the watcher.

“Angel,” Xander said by way of a greeting.

“Xander,” Angel said.

“If you hurt her, I’ll stake you,” Xander said.

“I can respect that,” Angel replied and then Xander walked away.

Angel didn’t relax until Cordy returned to his side.

“I saw you and Xander,” she said.

“He wanted me to know he’d stake me if I ever hurt you,” Angel said.

Cordy smiled slightly, “That’s sweet but totally unnecessary. I’m perfectly capable of staking you myself.”

Angel laughed and said, “You’re a dangerous woman.”

“You better not forget it,” Cordy said leading him to the dance floor where he happily wrapped his arms around her.

Cordy saw the humor in his face change to more serious expression, “What is it?”

“If you ever had to, you could, couldn’t you?” Angel asked.

“Stake you?” Cordy wondered and Angel nodded.

“Yes,” Cordy replied looking into his eyes. She then rested her head against his chest and he held her tighter.

“Thank you,” Angel said hoping she would never be forced to make that decision.

Buffy walked into the prom and the first thing she saw was Angel and Cordy slow dancing and holding on to each other as if they feared letting go. It was a sight she expected to see and that she had prepared herself for and yet she still felt surprised by it. Buffy was grateful they were leaving Sunnydale after graduation because she didn’t think she could ever get used to Angel and Cordy being a couple. She felt a hand on her shoulder.

“For a woman who just finished getting rid of a pack of demons, you look pretty amazing,” Xander said offering her his arm. “In fact, for anyone you look amazing.”

“Thanks,” Buffy said smiling slightly though her heart wasn’t in it.

Buffy was grateful that Xander had insisted on taking her to the prom. She didn’t want to be alone when she had to face Angel and Cordelia as a couple.

Angel noticed Buffy before Cordelia did. They exchanged a look where Buffy was the first to look away.

“Do we say ‘Hello’ or do we get some punch?” Cordy asked him.

“Punch,” Angel replied, holding her hand as they walked off the dance floor.

“So you are each going to pretend the other doesn’t exist until after we leave?” Cordy ask.

“I don’t know what to say to her,” Angel said.

“Me either,” Cordy admitted.

“Cordelia Chase not knowing what to say. Not possible,” Angel said, smiling at her.

“It’s happens,” Cordy replied with a shrug and then said. “I’ve got to powder my nose. I’ll be back in a few.”

Angel watched her as she walked away. Wesley then walked up to him.

“Have you told Cordelia about your looking into the curse?” Wesley asked him.

“I wanted to wait until I had something concrete to tell her,” Angel explained.

“Well, I think I may have found something. I’ll have to do a little more research, but it’s a definite possibility,” Wes said hesitating.

“I’m not going to like it am I?” Angel asked him.

“There’s a substantial risk involved,” Wesley replied.

“It could kill me?” Angel asked.

Wesley shook his head, “It could remove your soul permanently.”
Part 17
Prom had ended and instead of going to the after party at the Bronze. Angel and Cordelia decided just to go back to the mansion. Cordy could tell something was weighing on Angel’s mind. He been quiet and distracted on the ride home.

“What are you thinking?” Cordy asked as she watched him sit in his favorite arm chair.

“I asked Wesley to look in to a way around the curse,” Angel said.

“And you don’t like what he found?” Cordy asked sitting in his lap.

Angel wrapped his arms around her and held on tightly.

“There’s a trial I can under go to win a permanent soul,” Angel began.

“And if you lose?”

“I lose my soul permanently,” Angel explained.

“Maybe Wes can find another way,” Cordy said looking at him intently.

“I want to be with you,” Angel said.

Cordy leaned in and kissed him slowly. When they parted their lips remained barely apart.
“Are you willing to risk everything for this, Angel?” Cordy asked him concerned.

“Yes,” Angel replied and then Cordy slapped him on the arm and left his arms.

“Cordy?” he asked nervously.

“You are such a guy. Sex isn’t everything,” Cordy exclaimed. “We’ve got so much good between us. It’s not just your life you’re risking. Think about all the people Angelus could hurt.”

And then tears fell from her eyes, “You’d be gone forever, Angel.”

“I’m afraid if I don’t do this one of these days we’ll cross the line and then Angelus will appear anyway,” Angel said. “He’d destroy you Cordy. I can’t allow that.”

“We’ve been careful. We’ll keep being careful,” Cordy said as she paced back and forth.

“No we won’t,” Angel said with certainty. “That first night when I kissed you if Buffy hadn’t interrupted us what do you think would have happened?”

Cordy had no response. She knew exactly what would have happened. They would have let passion sweep them away and then Angelus would have made an unwelcome return.

Angel continued. “Every time I kiss you, every time I touch you I don’t want to stop. And one day I won’t.”

Cordy stood still absorbing his words, “You are so certain everything will go wrong. I admit maybe someday we will get carried away but that’s no reason to rush in to something even more risky. At least, if I make you perfectly happy we can recurse you. But if you fail the trial there is no fix. We still have time, Angel. Wesley may find another way.”

Cordy went back to sitting in his lap. She caressed his cheek.

“This is hard for you isn’t it?” Cordy asked him.

“I’m so close to what I want, but I still can’t grasp it,” Angel said. “Sometimes I think it would be easier if we just stayed apart, but I can’t do that. I need you too much.”

“Maybe we should cool things down?” Cordy suggested.

“Not tonight,” Angel said nuzzling her neck. He just needed to touch her.

“Not tonight,” Cordy agreed seeing the sadness and need in his eyes. “But tomorrow you and I will start concentrating on the friendship stuff and less on the hot and heavy. Maybe we could…”

Cordy didn’t finish her sentence because Angel was kissing her. There was desperation in the way he held her to him. She forgot everything she’d planned on saying. She wondered if he was trying to make a point about how overwhelming passion could be, but she decided she didn’t care. Cordy wanted to be with Angel any way it was possible. She figured it meant this was their last night in each others arms like this until a cure for the curse was found. Cordy wanted to give him that. She wanted that for herself. She didn’t know if it made things more difficult or easier.

Angel placed his head against her breast feeling her heartbeat, enjoying her warmth. Her hands were in his hair as she kissed his head.

“Let’s go to bed?” Angel said.

Cordy nodded and got off his lap. Angel wrapped his arm around her waist as they walked up the stairs to his bedroom. He pulled her close once they entered the doorway and kissed her softly tenderly urging her mouth open. Cordy removed his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt without breaking the kiss. Angel hugged her close as he reached behind her to unzip her dress.

“You’re beautiful,” Angel said unable to take his eyes off her.

Cordy smiled and looked him straight in the eye, “So are you.”

Angel gave her an almost childlike defenseless smile. There was so much Cordy wanted to say to him, but he was kissing her again. He lead her towards the bed and laid down beside her. He kissed his way down her body but stopped before reaching the place Cordy desperately wanted his mouth to be.

“Angel,” Cordy pleaded.

He kissed the inside of her thigh and then he tasted her sending waves of pleasure all over Cordy’s body.

Angel and Cordy were both so absorbed with each other they didn’t realized they were being watched from the window.
Part 18
Part 18

Angel woke up alone in the middle of the afternoon. He reached over to Cordy’s side of the bed and was unhappy to find it cold. He walked downstairs to find Cordy sitting with Wesley on his couch.

“Morning, Angel,” Cordy said getting up to give him a chaste kiss on the cheek.

“Good afternoon,” Wesley said.

Angel just sat down in the couch and grabbed Cordy so she could sit in his lap. She laughed at the surprise of his movement. Then he gave her a proper morning kiss which got interrupted by Wesley’s uncomfortable cough.

“Hey, Wesley,” Angel said.

“We were just discussing the situation,” Cordy explained.

“Without me?” Angel asked raising an eyebrow

“You were asleep. Besides you and Wes have been talking about this stuff for a while now,” Cordy said. “I’m just catching up.”

“From what Cordy tells me,” Wesley began. “You intend to forego the trial in favor of researching other possibilities.”

“Nothings been decided,” Angel said. He didn’t like the way Cordy’s body suddenly stiffened. He half expected her to leap out of his lap, but she stayed where she was.

“I thought we agreed it was too much of a risk,” Cordy said.

“Either way it’s a risk,” Angel said. “I just want to consider my options carefully.”

“I don’t like you being at risk,” Cordy said.

“I don’t like you being at risk either,” Angel agreed.

“It’s safe to assume you won’t be making your decision until after the ascension?” Wesley asked.

“Yeah, I think that’s where my attention should be focused right now,” Angel said.

“There’s time to possibly find another option,” Cordy said.

“I will continue my research,” Wesley said and then he stood up. “I think maybe I should get back to it.”

Cordy got out of Angel’s lap and gave Wesley a hug, “Thank you for looking into this for us. Are you sure you won’t stay and have tea or something?”

“No,” Wesley said deciding that Angel probably wanted to be alone with Cordelia. “Another time.”

“We’ll hold you to that,” Angel said, shaking his hand.

After Wesley left Angel turned to Cordy and asked, “Are we going to argue about this?”

“Yes,” Cordy said. “But not today. We’ve got to a limited time to spend together before the ascension which could be the end of the world. I want to spend it being happy with you.”

Angel wrapped his arm about her waist and leaned down to kiss her, but she dodged him.

“Today you are giving me your credit card we are getting you some new clothes,” Cordy said showing him that she had already had his credit card in her pocket.

“How good of you to just help yourself to my wallet,” Angel said wryly.

Cordy smiled proudly, “I was looking through your closet and decided you needed a change from all the black. Vampires are allergic to sunlight; not good fashion sense. ”

“Black is fine,” Angel said stubbornly. “Black is classic.”

Cordy refused to be deterred, “I need to teach you not to fear color in your wardrobe. Then tonight, after the scoobie meeting, I’m taking you out to a movie and dinner. Then you will drop me off at my motel where we may or may not argue, but I’m hoping we just have a discussion where you don’t get all stubborn and impossible. Or we could skip that and just make out. I’m feeling weirdly optimistic. Does that work for you?”

Angel smiled at her, “It’s fine for me as long as I don’t have to actually go shopping with you.”

“And here I thought you were the bravest man I knew,” Cordy teased.

Angel shrugged, “The mall’s a scary place.”

“I’d protect you,” Cordy promised, giving him a lingering kiss.

“But who will protect me from you,” Angel said.

Cordy laughed, “It’s three hours til sunset. Meet me here or at the Mall? I won’t make you go in,” and then she added. “Maybe.”

“I’ll meet you here,” Angel said. “There some things I need to take care of today in order to prep for our move.”

Angel gave Cordy a quick peck before she pulled out of his arms and started to walk out the door. But Angel called her name.

“I get to decide what we do tomorrow,” Angel said.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Cordy said walking out in to the sunlight.

Angel watched her go trying to just enjoy the anticipation of her return rather than worry over what the future could bring.”

*******************************

“It was weird,” Buffy said. “Seeing them together like that.”

Buffy couldn’t stop thinking about Cordy and Angel together at the prom. They were a real couple.

“Really weird,” Xander agreed.

“They looked happy though,” Willow said and instantly regretted it. She looked at Buffy, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, Willow,” Buffy said. “Cordy makes Angel happy.”

“Not too happy, I hope,” Xander said.

Buffy made a face, “I don’t want to think about that.”

“I wished we’d tried harder,” Buffy said.

“You and Angel?” Willow said.

“Yeah,” Buffy said. “I think I took for granted that he would always be there so we could get away with ignoring our problems.”

“Do you think it will last?” Willow said.

“I don’t know,” Buffy said knowing that deep down she didn’t expect Angel and Cordy’s relationship to survive. Buffy held on to that hope that she and Angel would always find their way back to each other no matter what.

“Cordelia deserves better,” Xander said and then turned to Buffy. “So do you.”

“Angel isn’t a bad guy, Xander,” Buffy said. “It’s just…”

“What?” Willow prompted when Buffy suddenly stopped talking.

“She’s here,” Buffy said gesturing towards Cordelia who just walked into the Men’s clothing store across from them.

Buffy walked out of the food court where they had been seated and walked towards Cordy.

“Buffy, where are you going?” Willow asked.

“To say hello,” Buffy said. “I’m not going to hide from her.”

“This is a bad idea,” Xander said following behind her.

Cordy was looking at a blue shirt for Angel when she heard Buffy say, “Hello Cordy.”

“Hi,” Cordy said looking at Buffy and the others. “So you all decided to grab some mall time?”

“Yeah,” Willow said.

“Hey Cordy,” Xander said smiling at her slightly.

“We didn’t talk last night,” Buffy said.

“Angel and I weren’t sure if we or he should approach you,” Cordy admitted. “You didn’t approach us either.”

“Well, bumping into each other is bound to happen,” Buffy said. “I thought we should get it over with.”

“We have that ascension meeting tonight,” Willow pointed out.

“And then Angel and I will go on patrol like usual,” Buffy said curious to see Cordy’s reaction. A small part of Buffy might feel better if she knew Cordy was threatened by her.

“So you feel up to patrolling?” Cordy asked her surprised.

“Angel and I still have a job to do,” Buffy said.

“I think Angel will be pleased about that,” Cordy said although she was concerned by the look in Buffy’s eyes.

“So we’re all going patrolling,” Xander said inviting himself along.

“I wanted to ask….” Buffy hesitated. “Did things really just happen between you and Angel or were you going after him?”

“It just happened.” Cordy sighed and said, “We’ll never be able to be friends will we?”

“It’s like you said before we aren’t friends,” Buffy said. “And I think it’s a safe bet we never will be now.”

“Maybe not,” Willow said. “Over the summer with Angel gone…”

Xander and Cordy’s eyes meet and then she looked at Buffy.

Cordy shook her head, “I’ll be gone too.”

“He’s taking you with him?” Buffy asked in shock.

Cordy nodded, “I was planning on getting out of this town anyway.”

“Was it your idea to leave?” Buffy asked.

“Not for Angel,” Cordy said. “I was just as surprised as you were when he decided to make the move.”

Buffy remembered how shocked Cordy had been when she’d told her Angel was leaving Sunnydale.

“Did he know about your decision to leave Sunnydale before he decided to leave?” Buffy asked.

“Yeah,” Cordy said not understanding why Buffy kept pushing the issue.

“You’re the reason he wants to leave,” Buffy concluded.

“It’s more complicated than that,” Cordy said. “Angel wants to find a purpose for his life.”

“And he doesn’t think he can find it here?” Buffy said.

“If Angel and I had never got together he would still be leaving,” Cordy said.

Buffy didn’t believe that and said, “There’s no way to know that.”

“Angel’s the one you should be having this conversation with,” Cordy said. “I don’t think you want answers from me.”

“I’ll talk to him tonight,” Buffy said walking away with Willow.

Xander lingered, “You know Angel’s not my favorite person…”

“He loves you too, Xander,” Cordy replied with a smile.

Xander returned the smile and said, “It’s just good to see you happy.”

“I’ll expect to hear from you after I’m in LA,” Cordy said.

“We’ll keep in touch,” Xander promised. “I’d better go and catch up with them. I’ll see ya.”

“Bye,” Cordy said as Xander walked out of the store.

***************

The Mayor was looking over the photographs that were just brought to him as Faith walked in to his office.

“I found the serum that will poison Angel…” she began to say.

The Mayor interrupted, “We’re going to have to rethink our plan.”

He handed her the photographs of Angel and Cordy in his bed., “I’m thinking she might not be so distracted trying to save a cheating boyfriend. She just might stake him herself.”

Faith laughed and said, “B’s head is going to explode when she finds out.”

“According to my sources, the cat’s already out of the bag,” the Mayor said smiling pleasantly. “We just need to figure out how to use this to our advantage.”
Part 19
Angel and Cordy left the Scooby meeting in the library after Angel returned from patrol with Buffy. After seeing the, expressionless look on Angel’s face and the hurt on Buffy’s, Cordy could tell it hadn’t gone well. Angel and Cordy left the meeting and got in his car as he drove them to the movie theater.

“So how was patrol with Buffy?” Cordy asked him. “I guess that’s a bad question since it seems it obviously didn’t go well.”

“I don’t think she really saw you and me as a couple until she found out you were leaving with me,” Angel said.

“So what did she think we were?”

“I don’t know. She just assumed I was leaving you behind, and now that she’s knows better she takes our relationship more seriously,” Angel said pulling up in front of the theater.

“She assumed we were just messing around,” Cordy said shaking her head. “As if it were impossible that we could really be in love.”

“I keep hurting her,” Angel said. “I never wanted to do that.”

Cordy removed her seat belt and slide over to Angel’s side of the car letting him wrap his arm around her as she rested her head on his chest. For once, Cordy didn’t quite know what to say.

“We don’t have to do dinner and a movie tonight,” Cordy said. “We could just go home or you could go and try talking to Buffy again.”

Angel knew how important it was to Cordy that they get some time together before the ascension because anything could happen. He didn’t want her changing her plans for their evening. He wanted them to have a chance to just have fun together.

“Are you trying to get out of buying me dinner and a movie?” Angel said. “Because you aren’t getting me into bed without at least buying me dinner first.”

Cordy laughed and said, “I can’t believe all the trouble a girl has to go through just to get her boyfriend to put out.”

Cordy kissed him then and got out of the car. Angel followed wrapping his arm around her as they entered the theater.

*********************
During the week, Angel had convinced Cordy to give up her motel room and just move into the mansion with him. He even gave Cordy her own room although sometimes they’d just fall asleep in his bed.

“Don’t get used to this,” Cordy warned, waking up with him the morning before the ascension.

“I’m already used to it,” Angel said. “Why can’t you just move into the apartment I picked out for us in LA?.”

“I’ll stay there at first, but then I really have to get my own apartment,” Cordy said. “We agreed to be more careful and that’s not going to happen if we are living together.”

Angel kissed her neck and got out of the bed, “I’ll make you breakfast.”

Cordy knew the argument wasn’t over, but she was willing to put it aside. After all with the ascension, this could be their last day together.

“So what do you want to do today?” Cordy asked him as she followed him into the kitchen.

“Just be with you,” Angel said.

“I like that plan,” Cordy said getting some blood from Angel’s fridge and heating it for him. “What’s with all the food in the fridge? I thought we were leaving after tomorrow.”

“I invited Wesley over to dinner tonight,” Angel said.

Cordy smiled, “That’s great. He shouldn’t spend the night before the ascension alone in that apartment of his.”

“I figured you’d feel that way,” Angel said.

In the end, he was glad that Cordy had pushed him into a friendship with Wesley. The phone rang and Cordy answered.

“Hey Wes,” Cordy said. “I hear your coming over tonight.”

“Tell Angel not to make dessert,” Wesley said. “I’m bringing one of those cakes from that bakery near my flat.”

Cordy turned to Angel and said, “I’m leaving you for Wesley. He’s bringing me chocolate tonight.”

“All right that’s the end of your conversation with Wesley,” Angel said taking the phone from a laughing Cordelia. “Hello Wesley.”

“I didn’t mean to break up your home,” Wesley said laughing. “Maybe I won’t bring that cake tonight.”

“Do you really want to incur Cordy’s wrath when you promised her chocolate and then didn’t deliver,” Angel said.

“That’s a good point,” Wesley said. “How about you meet me for a beer before dinner and you can pick up the cake?”

“Sure,” Angel said.

“Actually, I really wanted to a chance to discuss something with you alone,” Wesley said. “I’ve been rethinking my research into the curse, and I think I’ve really hit on something. I didn’t want to mention it to Cordy before I told you.”

“I’ll meet you at that pub on center street,” Angel replied and then he and Wesley hung up.

“Wes and I are grabbing a beer before dinner tonight,” Angel said and Cordy smiled at him.

*********************
Faith sat in a limo across the street from Angel’s mansion with the Mayor sitting beside her.
“He’s meeting the watcher for a beer,” the Mayor repeated taking off his head phones.

He’d had Angel’s phone taped in order to pick up information about the Slayer. He’d been unsuccessful taping Buffy’s phone.

“So we don’t have to think of a way to get him to leave her in the house alone,” Faith said intently watching the house.

“I’m not getting the enthusiasm for your work I’m used to seeing,” the Mayor said. “Don’t disappoint me.”

Faith looked away from the mansion and said, “I won’t fail.”

“That’s my girl,” he replied. “You know what I’ve got a craving for some IHOP.”

He pressed the intercom and told his driver, “Let’s go. I’m having a pancake attack.”

********************

Angel and Wesley sat at the bar side by side.

“So you were rethinking the curse?” Angel prompted.

“I’ve spent so much time just trying to secure your soul, I just didn’t really think about the curse itself,” Wesley said and then handed Angel a paper.

“That’s a variation on the original curse but that would allow you to be perfectly happy,” Wesley said.

“Will this work?” Angel asked afraid to hope.

“I have every reason to believe it will,” Wesley said. “After the ascension, we will use the orb and hopefully anchor your soul.”

“Why wait until after the ascension?” Angel said, getting up his seat at the bar.

Wesley quickly followed after him and said, “We’ll need Willow.”

*******************
Cordy put the chicken in the oven at exactly 7pm as Angel instructed. This way dinner would be ready by the time he and Wesley returned from the bar. He’d pretty much done all the preparation for dinner, and Cordy enjoyed having a boyfriend who could cook.

Cordy had just enough time to take a long bath and get dressed up. She was right to put her travel alarm clock on the sink to wake her just in case she feel asleep. Cause her eyes were firmly shut when the annoying beeping woke her. She got out of the bathtub and walked into the bedroom wearing Angel’s robe.

That’s when a hand reached over her mouth. The handkerchief wet with chloroform knocked her unconscious before she could even think of fighting back. Faith picked her up and brought her downstairs.

*****************
The doorbell at Buffy house rang and her mother answered. There was no one standing on the porch, but there was a manilla envelope lying on the floor.

“Buffy, there’s something for you at the door,” Joyce called.

Buffy came down the stairs and took the envelope. She opened it and was horrified to find picture of Angel and Cordy naked and in bed together. In her shock, she just dropped the pictures to the floor.

“Buffy,” Joyce said concerned.

Joyce picked up the pictures and looked at them, “I’m so sorry sweetheart.”

Then Joyce noticed at note that was among the pictures.

Joyce read it out loud, “Guess who’s back.”

Buffy looked at her mother and said, “Angelus.”

Buffy quickly got some weapons together and ran out the door. This time there would be no hesitation. Angelus would be eliminated.

******************
“Thank you for helping with this,” Angel said after Willow finished the incantation.

“Your welcome,” Willow said. “Buffy’s my friend, but you are too. Besides after what happened with Xander, I owe Cordy one.”

Angel turned to Wesley, “So that’s it?”

Wesley smiled at Angel, “Your soul is secure.”

“Let’s go have some dinner with Cordy,” Angel said walking out of Wesley’s apartment. “Willow you’re invited.”

“Thanks but Oz and I have plans,” Willow said smiling at Angel. “I’d better go meet him at the bronze.”

“Do you need a ride,” Wesley offered.

Willow shook her head, “I’ve got my mother’s car.”

“I assumed our dinner would be canceled tonight,” Wesley said after Willow left.

“Cordy would hate it if I came home and didn’t bring you with me,” Angel said. “It’s important to her for all of us to have time together just incase the worst happens tomorrow. But let’s make it an early evening.”

“Of course,” Wesley said, patting his friend on the back. “I’ll go get Cordy’s cake.”

By offering to go to the bakery, Wesley guaranteed that Angel and Cordy would get some time alone so Angel could tell her the good news. Angel was whistling when he entered the mansion, but there was smoke in the kitchen. He ran in there and turned it off. Cordy had let the chicken burn. Angel remember Cordy saying something about a long bath. She had probably fallen asleep.

But Angel realized she wasn’t upstairs. He could detect Cordy’s scent as coming from the living room, but something was wrong. He couldn’t hear her heartbeat. He found her lying on his couch.

“Cordy?” he said, already knowing she wouldn’t answer. “Cordy?”

He held her lifeless body in his arms. She was still warm, but she couldn’t be saved. He saw the bite marks on her neck, but he couldn’t quite comprehend it. He just sat there holding her.

“Cordy?” he said again as if expecting an answer.

That’s how Buffy found him as she walked into the mansion and aimed the crossbow’s arrow at his heart.
Part 20
He’d murdered Cordelia was all Buffy could think as she pulled the trigger on her crossbow, but she missed her mark because Wesley had come up from behind and pushed her arm.

“What the hell are you doing?” Wesley demanded.

“Angelus attacked Cordy,” Buffy said shoving Wesley. “Let me do what has to be done.”

Wesley refused to back down and got in Buffy’s way. He stood in front of Angel blocking Buffy’s shot.

“What happened?” Wesley asked Angel.

“She’s …” Angel couldn’t say the words.

Wesley knelt down in front of Angel and felt for Cordy’s pulse. And then Wesley saw the bite mark on Cordy’s neck. The grief was overwhelming and Wesley realized he needed to hold it together if only for Angel’s sake.

“Wesley, step away from Angelus,” Buffy said, continuing to hold the crossbow on Angel.

“He isn’t Angelus,” Wesley said. “I’ve been with Angel all evening. He only just got home.”

Buffy wavered and lowered her crossbow.

“I don’t understand. He sent me a note taunting me; telling me he was back,” Buffy said.

“Who?” Wesley asked.

“Angelus,” Buffy said. “I know Angel’s handwriting.”

“It was a forgery,” Wesley assumed.

Buffy walked over to stand by Wesley, “Is Cordy…”

“Yes,” Wesley said. “It appears by a vampire, but Cordy never would have let a vampire in her home.”

Buffy stood there in shock.. They had never been friends, but Cordy’s death hit Buffy hard. It was the last thing she expected.

Giles and Xander burst through the doors just then.

“Your mother called us,” Giles said taking in the scene.

“I was wrong. He’s not Angelus,” Buffy said.

“What happened to Cordy?” Xander asked staring at her lifeless form in Angel’s arms.

“She’s dead,” Angel spoke finally.

He got up from the couch holding on to Cordy and carried her towards his car. Wesley didn’t say a word and followed Angel.

“Where are they taking her?” Xander said.

“Morgue, they..” Giles paused caught up in the emotion.

“No,” Xander said running outside, but they had already gone.

“So that’s it,” Xander said sliding to the ground defeated. “I never told her I loved her.”

In fact, he hadn’t realized how much he loved her until he’d found out she was dead. Buffy came to sit beside him on the ground wrapping an arm around him.

“We should follow them to the hospital,” Buffy said.

Giles shook his head, “I don’t think Angel would abide that kind of intrusion.”

“He needs me,” Buffy said.

“Right now, I don’t think any of us can fathom what he needs,” Giles said. “Xander, do you know how to get in touch with her parents.”

“I’m not sure,” Xander said. “Cordy hasn’t spoken to them since they left.”

“What do we do?” Buffy asked Giles. “We have to do something.”

“We need to find Willow,” Giles said.

Xander shook his head, “I’m going to the hospital.”

“Angel…” Giles began.

“I’m not thinking about what Angel wants. All I care about is Cordy,” Xander interrupted stubbornly.

He got in his car and drove away.

Giles turned to Buffy and said, “We must find Willow.”

“And then what do we do?” Buffy asked. She didn’t like the helplessness they were all feeling.

“Then we will return here and wait for Angel,” Giles said.

*******************

Angel and Wesley stood over Cordy’s body as it lay in the morgue. Wesley had arranged for privacy.

“I’ll wait outside,” Wesley said leaving Angel alone with Cordy.

“I’m sorry,” Angel said. “Those words aren’t nearly enough but it’s all I can give you until I can go after who did this. They will pay.”

Angel took her now cold hand and held it. He didn’t want to leave her. Angel didn’t turn around when Xander entered the room. He just growled at the trespass.

“I wanted to say goodbye,” Xander said.

Angel wanted to throw him out of the room but that’s not what Cordy would have wanted.

“She was so happy that you and she were able to become friends again,” Angel said.

“How did this happen?” Xander asked.

“I don’t know, but it’s not over yet,” Angel promised.

*****************

When Wesley, Angel, and Xander returned, Buffy and the others were waiting for them.

Buffy walked up to Angel and said, “Is there anything I can get you?”

“Yes, I want to know who did this,” Angel asked steel in his voice. “Cordy would not have let a vampire in our house.”

“The Mayor most likely,” Giles offered.

“Faith,” Angel said the name like an epithet. He scented the air and knew that Faith had been in his home that night.

“The Mayor doesn’t do the dirty work himself,” Wesley said.

“But Faith’s human,” Willow said.

“She’s a monster,” Angel replied. “Somehow she got Cordy outside, let some vampire murder her, and then carried her in here where I could find her.”

“They didn’t want you to be the one to find her. They wanted it to be me,” Buffy realized. “They wanted to make sure I’d believe you’d become Angelus.”

“It nearly worked,” Wesley said knowing that if he hadn’t entered the house when he did that Angel would be dust.

“So Cordy’s just some pawn in the Mayor and Faith’s game plan,” Xander said with disgust.

Angel said nothing but immediately went to his weapons cabinet. Buffy followed closely behind.

“The Mayor’s invulnerable until tomorrow Angel,” she said. “There’s nothing we can do tonight.”

“Faith isn’t invulnerable,” Angel replied taking out a sword.

“Whatever she’s done,” Buffy said. “Faith is human. You can not do this.”

“If you had come home and found your mother dead like I found Cordy. If Faith hurt someone you loved. You wouldn’t sit by and do nothing,” Angel said.

“You’d go after Faith,” Xander agreed.

He surprised Buffy by taking a crossbow out of the weapons cabinet.

“You’d help him do this,” Willow said.

Xander nodded, “For Cordy.”

Giles frowned but said nothing. Willow looked at Xander and Angel with sympathy.

Buffy turned to Wesley, “Can you talk him out of this?”

“I don’t want to,” Wesley said.

“You’re a watcher,” Buffy said.

“I made the wrong choice before,” Wesley said. “Angel might have helped Faith, but I let the Council interfere and now Cordy’s gone. I won’t make that mistake again. Faith has pushed things too far.”

So Angel, Wesley, and Xander walked out of the mansion together intent on revenge.

“Faith would have to be dealt with eventually. You know you’d have to go up against her tomorrow at graduation,” Giles said.

“They are going to kill a human,” Buffy said.

“They are just confronting the inevitable,” Giles replied.

Willow wrapped an arm around Buffy. She wanted Faith to pay for what she’d done, but Buffy couldn’t imagine killing a human.

***************************

Finding Faith was easy. She was sitting in her apartment with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels. She didn’t like what’ she’d become. She’d drugged Cordy and taken her outside where the vampire the Mayor put under her command drained Cordy. Faith just stood there as it happened and was horrified that she nearly enjoyed it. She enjoyed the horror Buffy would feel when she realized she murdered an innocent Angel. Still Faith couldn’t quite make herself okay with it. So she decided to get drunk and push the bad thoughts away.

She knew the moment Angel entered the apartment. The slayer part of her could feel the vampire’s presence. She couldn’t believe that Buffy had failed to kill the vampire. It was a surprise to turn around and find Xander holding a crossbow on her as Angel stalked towards her. Wesley stood close by.

“Well, I guess we’ll get to see who’s really bad now,” Faith said with a bitter smile.

Angel replied with a punch to her face.
Part 21
One punch from Angel wasn’t enough to take Faith down, but she wavered slightly. Faith being drunk gave Angel an advantage. She wasn’t afraid and laughed dropping to the floor to kick Angel legs out from under him. Faith lost her opportunity to advance on Angel when Xander fired the crossbow at her head. She wasn’t certain if he intended to miss her or if he was just a bad shoot. She figured it was a combination of both.

“I just love the good guys playing fair,” Faith said, dodging another punch from Angel. “Three against one. My kind of odds.”

Faith’s banter was meaningless to Angel. Wesley didn’t even think Angel heard her. He almost winced when Angel grabbed Faith’s arm, and they could all hear the bone cracking. Xander wavered slightly at the sound. He wished Angel would be done quickly. Angel had no wish to rush things. Faith would suffer.

Faith grunted with pain as she stepped backward away from Angel. She looked around for a weapon but Wesley and Xander looming towards her limited her options. So Faith did the only thing she could. She jumped out of her window landing awkwardly on her bad arm.

Suddenly a group of men burst through the doors and entered Faith’s apartment. Angel was about to jump after her when three pairs of hands dragged him from the window. Wesley surprised everyone when he charged towards the window brandishing a gun which he fired at Faith. He only got a couple of shots off before he was restrained.

“What’s the matter with you? Trying to kill a slayer.” one of the men asked.

“That slayer murdered an innocent woman tonight,” Wesley said.

“Who the hell are these’s guys?” Xander asked when one of them took away his crossbow.

“The council henchmen,” Wesley said dryly.

“Are you now working for the demons?” the man said gesturing to Angel who was being restrained by 5 men and a cross.

“This is justice and not council business,” Wesley said.

“The murdering of a slayer is our business,” the man replied. “Why didn’t you call in to report the death of the vampire’s girl?”

“She has a name,” Xander said angrily.

“Cordelia Chase did absolutely nothing to deserve what Faith did to her and that would not have mattered to you. What would you have done if I had called it in?” Wesley asked. “Grab Faith. Sweep it under the rug. You never would have been able to hold her; control her.”

Angel said nothing during the exchange. His thoughts and feelings were too primal too violent for words. He simply waited for the opportunity to get released and then he would have his vengeance.

The man in charge kneeled down in front of Angel and said, “The only reason you aren’t a pile of dust right now is that Buffy informed us of what occurred, and she needs all the soldiers she can get for the ascension.”

“Buffy called in the council?” Xander said. “How did you get here so quickly?”

The realization hit Wesley, “You’ve been watching from the sidelines haven’t you? Waiting to see how this played out.”

“After the ascension we were going to deal with Faith,” the man said. “We were waiting for an opportunity.”

“Did you watch her do it?” Angel asked in a deceptively calm voice. “Did you watch her arrange Cordy’s murder and do nothing?”

When it appeared Angel wasn’t going to get an answer Wesley yelled, “Answer him.”

“We don’t answer to you,” the man said in disgust and then gestured to Angel. “Or to that one. What purpose could there be in allowing Faith to murder an innocent?”

“Curiosity,” Wesley said coldly. “You wanted to see it. The ultimate slayer vs slayer battle. You let Faith do what you thought would get a reaction out of Buffy. If Buffy had been the one showing up here seeking vengeance you would not have interfered. You just would have enjoyed the show.”

Another man walked into the room, “She’s gone out of our reach.”

“She’s wounded,” the leader said. “She’ll have to go to a hospital eventually.”

He turned to Wesley, Xander and Angel, “Faith is our business. Your job is to deal with the ascension. Settling scores has no importance.”

The leader nodded at the men holding Angel. They quickly blasted him with a stun gun knocking him unconscious.

“You’re out of a job,” the leader said, smirking at Wesley as he walked towards the door.

Wesley surprised them by punching the leader in the jaw, “Consider that my resignation.”

The leader hit Wesley with the butt of his gun knocking him to the floor. Then the leader and the rest of the men left Wesley, Angel, and Xander alone in Faith’s apartment.

*************

When Angel woke up he was back at the mansion, Buffy sat beside him on his bed. The others were in the living room waiting for him to wake up.

“Angel I…” Buffy began.

“I don’t want to hear it,” Angel said getting up from the bed.

“I did what I had to do,” Buffy said. “I knew the police couldn’t handle Faith and that killing her was wrong. And I knew I couldn’t let her continue to be free. The council was the only thing I could think of that could contain her.”

“Is she alive?” Angel asked.

Buffy nodded, “Wesley’s shot hurt her pretty badly. There was a lot of blood loss. She’s in a coma.”

Angel nodded. He would deal with Faith later.

“We have to focus on graduation,” Buffy said.

Angel turned to her and said, “I know what has to be done.”

“I’m so sorry, Angel,” Buffy said.

“You did what you thought was right,” Angel said. “The same as me.”

“I’m sorry about Cordy, I mean,” Buffy said struggling with the words. “I know…”

“We’re not talking about it,” Angel said sternly walking out of the bedroom.

Wesley, Giles, Willow, Oz, and Xander all sat in the living room looking at him expectantly.

“Come on,” Angel said. “We have a job to do.”

***************

Their plan worked and once again the end of the world was prevented. All it took was some planning, the students banding together under Buffy and her friends leadership, and the blowing up of the school. They had defeated the Mayor and yet they all stood looking defeated at Cordy’s grave site. Angel would have preferred it if it had just been Wesley, Willow, and himself but the others had insisted on being there.

“You’re the only vampire to ever be successfully cursed. Angel,” Giles began. “The council has made attempts. They all failed.”

Angel said nothing and continued to stare at Cordy’s lifeless body resting in her open coffin.

“She may not have even been turned,” Wesley said. “But we have to wait, see and try what we can.”

“We never talked about it,” Angel said to no one in particular. “We talked about what I wanted if I were to lose my soul but never talked about if it happened to her. She may not forgive me for this.”

“It’d be worth it if we can get her back and with a soul,” Xander said stubbornly. “And if the curse fails then we’ll stop her before she can do any harm. That’s what she’d want, Angel.”

Buffy wanted to be by Angel’s side so she could reassure him, but he seemed to resent everyone’s presence. She kept her distance.

“How long before we know?” Oz asked Giles.

“Soon,” was his reply.

So they all stood there watching, waiting to see if Cordy would rise again undead.

Angel stunned them all when he said suddenly, “Get away from her.”

A man none of them knew was suddenly standing beside Cordy’s coffin.

“Don’ shoot the messenger,” he said holding on to his calm. “I’m just here to make sure your girl comes out as she should. TPTB have plans for the both of you.”

“Don’t play games,” Angel said stepping towards him. “I don’t care about you or whatever the TPTB’s are.”

“You will,” the man said. “I’m Doyle by the way and you’re Angel vampire with a soul and the sleeping beauty over here is Cordelia Chase. The Powers That Be wanted to make sure your curse worked for her.”

“The Powers,” Giles said with surprise.

“I don’t…” Angel didn’t finish his sentence because he noticed Cordy’s eyes open. “Willow begin the curse.”

She held up the orb and began the revised curse Wesley had given her. Angel went to stand in front of the coffin and held Cordy’s hand. She was disoriented when she first woke up. The last thing she remembered was falling asleep in her bathtub.

“Angel,” she said sitting up awkwardly and looking at the others. “Why am I in a coffin in the middle of the cemetery?”

And then the hunger hit her and for a moment logical thought wasn’t possible.

“Here,” Angel said, handing her a thermos filled with blood. “It’s okay, Baby.”

“Did it work?” Xander asked Willow who shrugged.

“It’s too soon to tell,” Wesley said warily watching Angel and Cordy.

“It worked,” Doyle said staring at Cordy and smiling. “That’s why they sent me here, to guarantee the curse mojo would work. There’s a quite a future ahead for Angel and Cordy. I’ll be on my way.”

“What a minute? You can’t just show up like that and just leave,” Buffy said.

“We have questions,” Wesley said.

“And I’ll answer them but not tonight and not here,” Doyle said looking over at Angel and Cordy. “We’ll meet again.”

And then he was suddenly gone.

Coming to her senses Cordy said, “Did I just drink blood?”

“Yes,” Angel said not looking her in the eye. “What do you remember?”

She ignored the question and rested her hand against her chest and shuddered at being unable to feel it’s beat. She felt different and in some ways more alive. She was aware of everything around her. She could hear the heartbeats all around her. She could scent their fear and worry. Their blood called to her and the want she felt terrified her. But she also had control.

“I died,” she said softly and looked at Angel. “How?”

Angel swallowed and said, “Faith drugged you and had a vampire drain you.”

“And then he turned me,” Cordy said climbing out of the coffin.

Xander lunged forward, but Wesley held him back, “She needs space.”

She wanted to reassure Wesley she wasn’t dangerous but even she wasn’t sure, “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t know how long that feeling will last. Did you curse me?”

The hope in her voice made Wesley smile, “Yes, and I think it succeeded.”

Cordy sighed in relief and looked at Angel. He stood beside her not touching her, not taking his eyes off her.

“I didn’t know what you wanted,” Angel said not hiding the shame in his voice. “I’m so sorry.”

Cordy came towards him and wrapped her arms around him, “It’s okay.”

She wasn’t sure she meant it. She didn’t know if she was okay or if things were going to be okay, but she did know that she didn’t blame Angel.

“I just couldn’t lose you,” Angel said, wrapping his arms around her waist gripping tightly.

“I love you, Angel,” Cordy said.

Buffy and the others felt like intruders.

“We should go,” Buffy said turning and walking away. She was surprised that she actually accepted Angel and Cordy together. She wanted Angel to be happy even if it wasn’t with her.

“We’ll drop by before sunset,” Wesley promised, gesturing to Xander and himself.

Angel nodded and then Wesley walked away. The others followed leaving Cordy and Angel alone. They held on for a while until Cordy pulled away slightly.

“I’m….” Cordy hesitated. “I’m hungry.”

Angel nodded in understanding, “I’ll take you home.”

“Do my parents know?” Cordy asked in the car.

“I couldn’t get through to them so I told their lawyer you had died,” Angel said.

“It won’t matter to them,” Cordy said wiping a tear away. “It’ll be good to let go of them.”

Angel reached over and wrapped an arm around Cordy. She moved over to his side of the car weeping, mourning her life. He parked the car in front of the mansion and got out. Cordy joined him walking into his home. They headed towards the kitchen where Angel heated up a cup of blood and then handed it to Cordy. She stared at it for a while feeling wonder at the way all her instincts were pushing her to drink it while in her mind the whole idea seemed wrong.

“Screw it,” she muttered to herself taking a drink.

“It’s all so weird,” Cordy said.

“I know. You’ll get used to it,” Angel said.

“Dawn’s coming,” Cordy said. “I can feel it. I don’t even have to look outside.”

“Survival instinct so you’ll run for shelter,” Angel said.

Cordy nodded and felt vaguely satisfied after drinking the blood. Angel stood behind her his hand gently resting on her shoulder. He just needed to touch her. She reached over and took his hand.

“Faith?” She asked.

“Alive,” Angel said. “In a coma.”

Cordy nodded, “We’ll leave her alone for now.”

Angel’s hand on her other shoulder tightened.

“I’m the one she went after. When the time comes I’ll be the one to deal with her,” Cordy said darkly.

“You don’t have to, not alone,” Angel said.

“I know,” Cordy said. “But lets just live our undead lives for now.”

Angel said nothing and thought things over.

“The plan stays the same,” she began. “We’ll move to LA and start over.”

“We’ll leave tonight,” Angel said, going to sit beside her so he could look at her as well as hold her hand.

“After sunset,” Cordy agreed leaning in to kiss him. “You’re stuck with me forever now. You’re never getting rid of me.”

“I don’t feel stuck,” Angel said pulling her out of her chair and on to his lap.

Cordy wrapped her arms around him. “We’re going to be okay,” she said stubbornly.

Angel wasn’t certain of that, “We’ll be together.” That had to be enough.

Angel couldn’t shake the thought that Cordy’s death had been his fault and that some day she would blame him for the things she had lost.

Cordy leaned in to kiss him and said, “You have to stop blaming yourself.”

“I promised you I would be there if you needed me, but I wasn’t. Faith wouldn’t have been able to get to you if I’d been home,” Angel said. “ I was supposed to protect you.”

“If you hadn’t gone out with Wesley she would have found some other way,” Cordy said. “Things could have turned out so much worse, Angel.”

Cordy rested her head on Angel’s shoulder and said, “We’re together. That’s all that matters.”

He stroked her back as they sat together and kissed her neck, “Wesley fixed the curse.”

Cordy looked at him in surprise, “So we can..”

Angel just kissed her instead of answering. Cordy smiled against his lips and then attacked Angel’s mouth with her tongue. They both needed each other more then words could express.

Cordy stood up and took Angel’s hand as they headed towards the stairs. He surprised her by lifting her up and carrying her to his bedroom. She laughed and held on to him.

“Yeah,” she said kissing him softly. “We’re going to be all right.”

Angel gently layed her on the bed and Cordy grabbed his hand hard pulling him to lay beside her.

“I was trying to be gentle,” Angel said as Cordy happily ripped open the front of his shirt as she straddled him.

“We can do gentle later,” Cordy promised kissing him roughly on the mouth and then lightly biting his lower lip.

Angel laughed flipping Cordy over so he could be on top.

“I tried to be a gentlemen about this but since you won’t let me…” Angel said ripping open the front of Cordy’s dress.

He stared for a while. The intensity of his gaze made Cordy feel as if his hands were caressing her where he stared. She shivered and pulled his head towards her so she could kiss him again. Her hands traveled down his body removing his belt and pushing down his pants. She wanted to touch him but he grabbed her hands so they’d be above her head and then his kissed his way down to her breasts taking her nipple in his mouth. Cordy thrust her hips toward Angel in response, and he let out a moan.

“Now Angel, Now, Now,” she chanted softly.

Her eyes were close and Angel said, “Look at me.”

She opened her eyes and as they shared that connection he drove in to her. He’d wanted to be gentle, but Cordy wrapped her legs around him and pulled him deeper.

“Always,” he growled when they came together.

“Always,” Cordy repeated, breathlessly.

Angel kissed her neck and rolled over to his side his arm resting on Cordy’s waist.

“I love you,” he said staring down at her.

“I love you too,” Cordy replied with a smile and kissed him throughly.

As their bodies pressed together again Cordy noticed he was hard and said, “I do love that vampire stamina.”

This time when they made love, they took their time exploring each other’s bodies and torturing each other with pleasure.

“I think we’re going to be okay,” Angel said later when they were reluctantly getting dressed in order to prepare to say good bye to their friends.

Cordy just smiled and said softly, “I know.”

And Angel couldn’t help smiling back.

 


…THE END…


 

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