Archive for June 2015

Dreaming of You. 12   1 comment

Part 12

“Cordelia, what the hell were you thinking?” He asked, frowning.

“Uhm… That I didn’t wanna die…” She said, giving him her ‘duh’ look.

“But… Choosing to become half-demon? Why would you do that?”

Cordelia was getting annoyed, “Should I speak slower? Or get Xander in here to translate fluent MORON? I. Didn’t. Want. To. Die.”

“I heard that!” He growled, “But… But making yourself half demon, Cordelia… Do you even know what kind of demon you are?”

“No…”

“Are you evil?”

“Heyyy!” She said, indignantly, “I am NOT evil. I’d know if I were evil, and I’m NOT… Hear me? NOT!”

Angel sighed, “But this is… You made yourself a demon?”

“Actually no… And I pissed off Skip which in itself was kinda fun… He scared me!” She said, shaking her head. “When I heard what you said to the Powers…”

“I didn’t mean that.” Interrupted Angel.

“Mouth open, sound coming from it, still talking.” Said Cordelia, frowning. Angel’s mouth closed with an audible ‘clack’ and he looked at his best friend, wearily. “When I heard what you said, I got mad.” She said gently,

“For almost two years I’ve dealt with these visions and told you each and every time I was fine when we both knew I wasn’t. It was easier if I said that… But when I heard you say those things, I…”

“Cordy, I was more scared of you dying than you were…” He whispered, “If you’re not in my life… If something was to happen to you…” He trailed off and sighed, “My redemption just wouldn’t be worth it any more.”

“Don’t you ever say that.” Said Cordelia, frowning, “Your redemption is everything you’ve worked for over the past God knows how long. If there’s one thing you deserve it’s that.”

“And I finally thought I was getting it.” He whispered, “With Connor… You. You were always there. When I found out you were dying I was mad at you for keeping it from me and I was mad at myself for denying it was ever happening. I… Even with Buffy, when I returned that first time, I’d never been so close to giving up. I made a mistake… I thought that I would never experience happiness because I was losing you… I was wrong. I lost myself in you.” He said quietly,

“I wanted to lose myself in you, I wanted to forget.”

“Angel, you weren’t the only one at fault here.” Said Cordelia, indignantly, “I felt nothing… And I wanted so badly to feel something. That night…” Cordelia closed her eyes.

***

Months Earlier

She sat on the sofa, huddled in her bathrobe, her head resting on her knees. She felt like she’d been staring into space for hours, when actually it was almost a full day. Calling work, she’d feigned illness, insisting that Wesley, Fred and Gunn should stay there – for she had the flu and didn’t want them to catch it.

She wished it was as simple as that.

The night before, she’d received a vision. A painful vision that showed her… Alone in her apartment. Cordelia had screamed. Seeing the back of your head explode just wasn’t the most fun she’d ever had. A light rap, rap came at the door and Cordelia lifted her head, “Mrs. Cookson, I’m FINE.” She called.

“Cordelia, open up.” It was Angel, and Cordelia sounded… Okay, so she didn’t sound fine in the strictest sense of the word, but from what he could hear there wasn’t a snuffle in sight.

“I told you, I have the flu.” Said Cordelia, “You could catch it…”

*Lame, Cordelia.* She thought, shaking her head.

“Vampires don’t get sick. Open up.”

“Angel, go HOME.”

“Not until I see you.”

Grumbling to herself, Cordelia got off the chair and went to the door, keeping the chain in place and opening the door a crack, “See, I’m fine. Bye.”

He slid his foot inside the door and frowned, “You’re not okay. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing! See, I’m fine! See the jovialness of me?”

“Cordelia…”

“Angel, I’m – “

“Cordelia.” His voice was gentle, yet firm, “Let me in.”

She opened the door, letting Angel pass and when he did, he gasped. The curtains were drawn, tissues were balled on the floor – the heavy air of depression hung like a shroud, engulfing his heart and wrapping it in fear. “Cordelia?”

“Oh… That? I was just… Tired…”

“Vision?”

Her breath hitched in her throat and she felt the tears slide down her cheeks, “No…”

“Then what?” He asked, crossing the room and folding her in his arms. Cordelia sobbed and with every passing minute, Angel was forced to realise that whatever it was, was worse than they’d ever faced.

“Tell me.” He whispered, his voice choked with suppressed emotion and tears.

“I… It was a vision… I was here and… I saw…”

He saw her mouth move but he never heard the words. He felt certain that if his heart was beating, it would have stopped right then. “But… I…”

Cordelia shook her head, “Don’t, please.” She whispered.

“I’ll fix this.”

“You can’t.”

“I can try.”

“You can’t.”

“I have to try.”

“Angel…”

“Cordelia, I WON’T let you die.”

“Don’t do this, please.” She whispered quietly, “Just… Let me go. Don’t fight this when we both know it can’t be fought.”

“I’ve stopped Prophecies before.”

“This isn’t a prophecy. They showed me… I have a few years left, with you… Connor.”

“Why aren’t you angry?” He asked, tears rolling down his cheeks.

“I’ve done angry, I’ve done angry, shocked, tear-ey… I think I’m at ‘numb’ now. Or maybe it’s acceptance.”

“No… I won’t let you just accept this…” He growled, “I mean it, I won’t.”

He stood up, walked towards the door.

“Angel? Where are you going?” She whispered.

“The Powers That Be… Lorne must know a way to…”

“Don’t leave me.”

Angel turned, “But I should…”

“Angel, please.” She whispered, “I’ve never asked you to stay with me… I need you. I need you to… Pretend.”

Angel was puzzled, “Pretend what?”

“That everything’s okay, that you… That you love me.” She whispered, “Just pretend.”

Angel stared at his Seer for a long while, before speaking, “You want me to *pretend* I love you?” He whispered. “I’m sorry… But I can’t.”

Cordelia closed her eyes and sighed, her head falling forward, letting her hair hide her face. “I know, I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have asked.” She whispered.

Gently, Angel pushed his fingers under her chin, “I can’t pretend, Cordelia, because I don’t love you.” He said quietly, “I don’t *just* love you, at least. I’m *in* love with you. I promised…” His voice was sad, but Angel continued,

“I promised myself that I’d never fall in love, not after Buffy, after knowing what my love could bring. But… I couldn’t help it. It’s your fault. It’s your fault for being there for me. It’s your fault for making me smile and making me not brood. I fell in love and it’s all your fault.”

Leaning forward, he placed a soft kiss on her lips – and that was when it happened. A sob escaped his lips and his shoulders sagged, his arms wrapping around her as he cried into her shoulder. “I can’t…” He whispered. “I can’t do this without you… I can’t live my life without you…”

“You can.” She whispered sadly. “You can do it FOR me.”

Forcefully, he pulled away, “GET MAD!” He growled, “Yell at me… Scream… Damnit, do SOMETHING, Cordelia, you’re DYING and it’s my fault!”

Cordelia sighed, “What do you want me to say?” She asked, quietly, “I don’t blame you. This isn’t your fault. I don’t hate you, I can’t. I love you too much for that.”

“You love me?” Angel shook his head, this was the height of inappropriateness, she was dying and yet… She loved him.

“No.” She whispered, “I don’t just love you. I’m in love with you.”

A loud crunching noise made her jump and Cordelia glanced up to where Angel stood, having punched the wall. “Did that help?” She asked, gently.

He shook his head. “I don’t feel anything.” He whispered. “I feel…”

“Numb.” Cordelia looked at him and took his hand in hers, gently stroking the back of his red knuckles. “I feel like that too… No… I don’t really feel anything, y’know?”

Reaching out with his good hand, Angel gently stroked her cheek, “I’m sorry.” He whispered, “I’m sorry for never noticing how bad they were getting – or for noticing but not wanting to admit it.” He watched as the tears slid down her cheeks and Cordelia stepped forward, reaching up and placing her lips on his.

“I love you.” She whispered, “I love you so much… I just…”

Angel kissed her back, his hand cupping the nape of her neck, “I know.” He whispered. “I know…” His hands slid up her arms, pushing gently at the bathrobe that adorned her body, his lips against hers.

“Angel, I…” She started.

Angel nodded, “I know.” He whispered, “I know we can’t…”

“No.” Cordelia closed her eyes, “Make me feel… Just make me feel…”

He picked her up in his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist. Carrying her to the bedroom, he set her down gently, crawling beside her. “Are you sure?” He whispered.

She nodded, “Just kiss me…”

He did. And with every kiss a tear from chocolate-hued eyes escaped down his cheek. He rationalised that with the knowledge that his best friend, his lifeline and the woman he loved was dying, that he could never again achieve perfect happiness. He rationalised that as his hand slid under her night shirt (an old one of his, evidently) and her body arched towards him, that he was making the best out of a bleak situation – he was helping, he was making her feel.

He was making himself feel. As her hand slid inside the zipper of his pants, encircling him, his hips thrust forward of their own accord, *Make me feel.* His heart screamed out. Kissing her face when she needed to breathe, Angel groaned, a low and guttural moan that send a shiver down Cordelia’s spine. After a while, their bodies were entwined, their clothes pooled on the floor.

“Are you sure?” He whispered again, to which Cordelia nodded, “Make me feel.”

He slid inside her, almost afraid she would break, and with little thrusts of his hips, he brought her closer. It was so tender, that tears had escaped Cordelia’s half-closed lids before she had chance to stop them. What lasted perhaps only minutes, lasted a lifetime for them both. When he felt himself tighten, Angel reached down, slid his hand between their entwined bodies and gently flicked his thumb over her distended nub.

Cordelia kissed him as she felt her orgasm crash through her – her legs wrapping around his back as his hips arched gently, his own climax coming in time with hers. The world washed away, and in a day of not feeling – Cordelia could feel again. In a minute of admittance, Angel had found his soulmate and claimed her as his.

As their eyes closed, Angel was content in the knowledge that Angelus couldn’t return, for how could he if he wasn’t perfectly happy. How wrong he was. It wasn’t sex. It was Cordelia… His perfect happiness lay with her, with her admittance that she’d indeed loved him.

How could she love him now? He could feel his soul tearing away from him and he turned, wrenched himself from her grip. *No… Don’t… Not this time. Not Cordelia, please.*

Wrapping a sheet around herself, Cordelia climbed out of the bed, sleepily, “Angel?” She whispered.

When he turned, sickly yellow eyes burned into hers and Cordelia gasped, “Hello, lover…” He growled.

Cordelia gasped…

***

So, this is my choice. Thought Cordelia, I either take the cross down from my window or he kills the people I love. Not much of a choice really, is it? I could kill him…

Well, actually, she couldn’t. She couldn’t kill him for fear that in that one last moment, like had happened with Buffy, Angel would return and she wouldn’t be killing the demon wearing her best friend’s face. She’d be killing her best friend.

Wesley was looking into getting his soul back, but for now he was more concentrated with protecting them from the clutches of the vampire. He’d made the necessary procedures to have him banished from each of their apartments, made certain to banish him from Fred’s room. Indeed, Angelus could come and go from the hotel as he pleased.

But for necessary purposes, Wesley had made certain to put up a barrier around the hotel – anything remotely evil coming within a metre of the large building and they’d be duly notified – giving Fred and the others time to prepare.

What Wesley was unable to believe was that Angelus not only turned up to hurt them, but had also left town, not intent on hurting Angel’s son or friends it seemed.

This was what it had come to. Cordelia, caught up in knowing that she was the one who’d begged Angel to make her feel, had brought back Angelus, killed her friend. The knock at the door came, making Cordelia gasp. Glancing at the window, her panic was relieved, albeit briefly, as she realised the sun was still shining – it couldn’t *be* Angelus.

She stood, walking towards the door and pulling it open. “Wesley.”

“Cordelia, you… Are you alright?” He winced the second the words left his mouth. Of course she wasn’t alright.

But of course, Cordelia nodded. “I’m fine.” She lied.

“Would you like to… Talk?” He asked.

“And say what?”

Wesley frowned, slightly, “Cordelia, I’m still not sure what happened with Angel, exactly, what caused Angelus to return.”

Her cheeks burned – he hadn’t thought they’d be so stupid. She stood back, gesturing for him to come inside, “Don’t want Mrs. Cookson to hear the intricate details of my life…” She mumbled.

Stepping inside, Wesley closed the door behind him and sat down on the seat, looking up, expectantly. “A spell? Wolfram and Hart? Perhaps a demon that we – “

“Me.”

Her voice was hushed, her head down – and for a moment, Wesley thought that Cordelia had said it was her who’d brought Angelus back. “Pardon?”

“Me. Cordelia. Angel’s Cordy. Me.” She whispered.

“But I don’t understand…” Said Wesley, gently, “You knew the implications of the curse… We could all see the burgeonings of a relationship but…”

“I’m dying.” The words flew from her mouth and she looked up, apologetically, “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to…”

Wesley’s mouth opened and abruptly closed, what was he supposed to say? “Umm… Cordelia, perhaps you should sit down and tell me SLOWLY what’s going on…”

So she told him. The details spilled out with the tears. “I’m so sorry… I just… I couldn’t feel anything and he… We… He was sure that he couldn’t…”

“Achieve perfect happiness…” He finished, sombrely.

Cordelia nodded, “I never meant for this to happen… I’m sorry.”

Wesley pulled her into his arms, “We’ll fix this, Cordelia. I promise you. I promise you that we’ll get Angel back.”

“I’m counting on it.” She whispered. “Do you need help researching?”

Shaking his head, Wesley placed a gentle kiss on Cordelia’s forehead. “No, you should… Stay here, perhaps get some rest?”

A blessing in disguise – for Angelus would be coming here tonight for her decision. He’d left her to think about it last night.

Make a decision. You want the Watcher and your friends to live, you do as I say without question. You take the cross down from your window and invite me in. You don’t? You’ll be finding their parts for weeks.

She’d closed her eyes, just briefly, and as quickly as he’d arrived, he’d gone. She’d wondered if she’d dreamt, but the red rose at the door was a chilling reminder of Angelus. Along with the note, “Until tomorrow, my love.”

She wasn’t his love. She’d never BE his love. She’d always be Angel’s. But at the risk of a bad choice, she had to face the consequences. “I’ll get some rest.” She nodded, “Shall I come to the hotel tomorrow?”

Wesley nodded, “I promise, we’ll get him back.”

He’d gone. And Cordelia had waited, not quite patiently, but at least expectantly. The kind of expectantly that had your stomach tightening in fear and when the knock came at the door, she looked at the window hopefully.

Her hopes were crushed. It was sundown. Angelus stood at the door and Cordelia Chase, former bitch of Sunnydale High was about to make a deal with the devil himself. Slowly, she crossed the room and pulled open the door, taking a breath.

“Well?” He asked, a cruel smile on his face.

Defiantly, she met his eyes, determined that he wouldn’t break her. “I invite you in.” She said, her head held high.

Angelus smiled, “In the words of you, my love, DUH…”

“I’m not your LOVE…” She growled.

“So feisty…” His demon face slid on and he smiled, touching the tip of his fangs with his tongue, “I’m going to break you…”

“You think I’m scared?” She asked, looking up at him, hatred burning in her eyes, “You really think I’m scared of you? I’ve survived you once, I can do it again.”

“Wrong on two counts there. The blonde bitch survived me the first time, barely. But you… You’re no Slayer. You won’t survive.”

Cordelia smiled, “You’re right, I’m no Slayer. But I will survive. I promise you that.” She said, “I’m not scared of you.”

He grabbed her, “Perhaps that’s a situation we should change.”

***

He stood. Only a minute had passed, but already it was a minute too long. A minute in which she was locked in painful memories with his sadistic alter ego. “Cordelia.” He said softly. She glanced up at him,

“Angel. I want to get past this.” She said gently, “I didn’t make the choice to stay with you – I made the choice to leave you behind and my life… God, when I saw you, *what* I saw was enough to scare me beyond belief. So I’m half demon… Big deal… Doyle was half demon and he dealt. Okay, there was the demon oppression but…”

Cordelia stopped and smiled, sheepishly, “That’s not gonna be the winning argument here, is it?”

“We have to do some research… See what your demon aspect actually is…” Said Angel.

“Pffft, what’s a little research party to a girl like me?” She asked, shrugging her shoulders, “As long as we have coffee and donuts… And it’s nothing yucky – I can deal…”

“I still can’t believe you did this.” Said Angel, shaking his head.

“You’ll get over it.” Said Cordelia, “Plus, the whole floating thing? Kinda cool…”

“Floating?”

“When I get a vision… Remember, the other day in the hotel, I floated – no pain? Always a plus…”

“And you’re not going to leave me?”

“Never.” Said Cordelia. “Never, ever. Well, until the Powers That Be decide to throw another hanging curve ball our way… And then I’ll fight then too.”

Angel smiled, always truthful, but always comforting. “Oh, like you fought this time?” He teased.

“Hey! You called me weak and… Mmph…”

Angel kissed her. “Cordelia?”

“Mmm hmm?”

“Shut up.”

“You shut u…mmmph!”

He kissed her again. “Are we okay here?”

“Yeah but… Can we go find out about my demony parts? I don’t want to wake up with a tail…” She said, gently.

Angel took her hand in his and looked down at their hands entwined, “I love you.” He said quietly, “You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I know, Grrrr guy…” She smiled, “And I love you too.”

“Y’know, you’ve been calling me Grrr guy for a while – now we can come up with a nickname for you too.”

“Dork. I like Cordy just fine…” She grinned.

“So, if I were to call you hot, sexy, stunning and…”

“I’d say you wanted something.” She said, raising an eyebrow.

“Busted.” Said Angel, smiling sheepishly. “I *do* want something.”

“And what’s that?”

“This.” Leaning forward, he captured her lips with his and smiled, “Only this.”

“I can live with that…” She whispered.

End

Ficbitch82

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 11   1 comment

Part 11

Angel stumbled to his feet. There were two things wrong with this scenario. Well, three actually. Number one being Cordelia, growing a wrestler’s arm (not literally), number two? Angel being knocked over by a girl… Okay, sure, that had happened before but not one without slayer strength!

And number three? Buffy stand there, snickering behind her hand.

“This isn’t funny!” Growled Angel.

“Not laughing…” Mumbled Buffy, trying to keep her composure.

Angel rubbed the back of his head and looked at Cordelia, “We need to talk.”

“No, YOU need to listen.” Said Cordelia.

“What?”

“I said YOU need to listen. You need to listen to me without butting in and yelling at me that I’m not dealing the way I’m supposed to. You need to listen to me without stopping me and telling me that what happened is in the past. Just… Listen to me.” She said softly.

Angel was stunned, “But…”

“No, just *listen* to me, can you do that?” Asked Cordelia, softly.

Angel sighed, “Here?”

“No. There’s some stuff that you mightn’t like…”

Angel frowned, “Buffy? Can we…”

“Use my room. But don’t make a mess… OR fight. I can’t afford to replace things you guys break.” She said simply, walking into the house and into the kitchen where Spike sat. “They sortin’ things out?”

“They’re on their way…” Said Buffy softly, sitting on Spike’s lap and wrapping her arms around his neck…

***

“So… Would you like to explain what’s going on?” Asked Angel, shutting the door behind him.

“Maybe you should sit.” Oh, damn… It was a statistical fact that when someone said you should sit down, what they were about to say wasn’t good news. Angel sat, fists clenching and unclenching nervously. “Okay, talk.”

Cordelia sighed, “Since this is probably going to be the hardest thing I’m ever going to tell you I’m just going to say it quick and you shouldn’t interrupt or… Well, I don’t know what *or* but I should just come out and tell you, ’cause if I don’t…”

Angel could see the nervousness and stood, gently taking her hands in his. “Cordy, just tell me.” He said softly. “Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it.”

Cordelia looked away from him, “Remember when… Remember when we found out about the visions? Remember what we found out about the visions?”

Angel sighed, “Yes.”

“Well… I was given a choice. By Skip, you know Skip, right?”

Angel frowned, “I know Skip.”

“Well, he showed me. What my life would be like without them and…” Cordelia frowned, pulling her hands out of his, “Y’know, if you *thought* that stuff, you should have said it to me! I mean… God, I deal with blinding pain, I can deal with my best friend thinking I’m a rich little girl from Sunnydale and can’t cope…”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Asked Angel, annoyed.

Cordelia’s eyes flamed, “Hang on – let me see if I remember the EXACT words, oh wait, I do! ‘Cause every time I hear your voice I STILL hear you saying them… ‘The visions are too much. She’s not strong enough to handle them’…”

“Cordy…”

“Oh, and then there’s my PERSONAL favourite. ‘Cordelia’s not a champion, she’s a rich girl from Sunnydale who likes to play superhero, she doesn’t have what it takes to do this… SHE’S WEAK!”

“Cordelia…”

“Weak, huh? Well, I didn’t seem too weak when I was kicking your ass in the garden, did I?” She asked, angrily.

“Cordelia!”

“No!” She yelled back, “You said you’d listen to me! And you’re damned well going to! Do you know how much that hurt?” She asked,

“After MONTHS of hearing Angelus saying that I was weak, that I’d do nothing but die with a broken heart and a broken spirit I heard YOU saying that. It felt like I’d finally woke up from the damned nightmare and I was sucked back in all over again! And this time it was YOU saying it! Not him!”

“But I…”

“But what? Are you going to try and justify it? Please do…”

“Well I will if you let me!” He said softly, “I was scared. I was trying to get you back – did you hear what I said after that? Cordelia, I’m more afraid of you dying than you are. What’s that?”

Cordelia closed her eyes and shook her head, “Angel… Hearing those words come from your mouth and knowing you belie…”

“I didn’t.” He said quietly, “I don’t believe what I said for one second. Cordy, I lost you when we found out the visions were killing you. And I lost you twice to Angelus. I didn’t want… I don’t want to lose you again.” He whispered. “I thought five years would be enough for me. I thought we could make the best of what we have. I can’t. I don’t want you to die. I’m so scared that…”

Angel closed his eyes, “I’m so scared that one morning, you just won’t wake up. I’m scared that one morning I won’t wake up to your smile. I’m scared that Connor will never know you. I don’t want you to die. And I hate that you go through so much pain to help me…”

Tears slid down Cordelia’s cheeks and she looked at him, “And what if I told you that… That maybe there’s a way.”

“A way of what?” He asked, puzzled.

“For me to stay here. To not leave. To not die?”

Angel looked at her, skeptically, “Do you want to?”

Cordelia smiled, “Yes.” She said quietly. “So, what if there was a way…”

“It would depend…”

“On what?”

Angel sighed, “What we have to do.”

“It’s already done.”

“What?”

“Angel – lets just say having the visions comes with a requirement…”

“Of…?”

“Being half demon…”

“Bei… What?”

Cordelia smiled, “So, I guess we have more in common than you thought, huh?”

Angel was not impressed.

Part 12

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 10   1 comment

Part 10

“Can I… Talk to you?” The voice was tentative. At first, she wasn’t even sure she’d heard it. But slowly, Buffy turned from her cooking cheeseburgers and looked. There she stood.

At first, Buffy didn’t recognise her. Her hair hung limply, her clothes – it looked like she’d thrown on whatever she could find that moment and didn’t care what it was. And there wasn’t a drop of mascara in sight. Cordelia looked awful.

Buffy let a small smile pass across her face, “Cordelia, hey.” She said softly. “Uh, does Angel know you’re here?”

“No. I told him I was visiting my parents.”

“I’m due a break in ten minutes, want to wait?”

Cordelia nodded and smiled, going outside to sit on the small bench. When Buffy joined her, minutes later, she sat, her face upturned to the sun. “Cordelia?”

She turned and looked at Buffy, “Hey.”

“Hey… Uh, is there… Do you want to talk?”

Cordelia nodded. “Yup… I guess you could say this ‘rich girl from Sunnydale who likes to play superhero but doesn’t have what it takes to do that vision thing’ has come back to her roots.”

“What?” Buffy looked at her, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, please, you must have been thinking it. I know he was.”

“He? Who, he?”

“Who, he? Angel, he.”

“Angel, h…” Buffy stopped, “Angel?”

Cordelia nodded, “Angel. It’s a long story…”

“This I’ve gotta hear…” Said Buffy, sighing. Somehow, she couldn’t imagine Angel saying that about her in any sense, not after the things she’d been through over the past couple of months.

***

“I’ve just called her parents house and she isn’t there.” Said Angel, grabbing his duster from the back of the door.

“Don’t you think…”

“I’m NOT jumping to conclusions, Wesley. Cordelia told me she was going to see her parents, she lied. I don’t know where she is or what she’s doing, but I will.”

“And how will you find out?” Asked Wesley.

“We’re detectives. I’ll detect.”

“Yeah, detectives in the loosest sense POSSIBLE of the word. Angel, maybe she was just freaked about her astral projection thingy…” Said Gunn, logically.

“She wouldn’t LIE to me.” Said Angel, frowning.

Wesley sighed, “Shall I come with you?”

“No, stay here in case she calls.”

***

Cordelia sighed, “And then he showed me Angel… Saying those horrid, awful things. I mean, I’d just seen a girl with the back of her head blown out did I *really* need to see Angel bashing me?” Asked the brunette, shaking her head.

“So, I made my decision, I chose my other life…” She whispered, “And it was bad in all kinds of ways I couldn’t imagine…”

“How?” Asked Buffy. The night sky looked like an endless expanse of black silk, sprinkled with silvery glitter. An owl screeched from a tree branch up above, making Buffy look up. Her shift at work had ended an hour ago, leaving Buffy and Cordelia to talk…

“Angel had the visions.” Said Cordelia softly, “And he was driven crazy by them… Wesley only had one arm and… I was a movie star, which sure was nice, I mean I had my own sitcom and everything… I even had a theme tune but… Nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for seeing Angel like that.”

“Like what?”

“He was crazy.” She whispered, “Driven insane by the visions. Sometimes… He even sent Wesley and Gunn out to save people he’d killed years before.”

Buffy winced, “Tough call… But… There’s a couple of things I don’t understand.”

“Fire away and I’ll try to answer them.” Said Cordelia, gently.

“Doyle passed the visions on to you through a kiss, does that mean that Angel and Doyle…”

“Something I never want to know.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head. “Next question.”

“How did you stop all this then? You said yourself you chose the other life…”

“I kissed Angel… And then things just… Went back to normal…”

“Like Doyle did with you?”

Cordelia nodded, “I think so… But… I still hear him saying those things and…”

“And what?”

Cordelia looked at her hands, “It was the exact same thing Angelus said. That I was weak… A spoiled little rich girl from Sunnydale, right before he…”

“Hey…” Buffy put her hand gently on top of Cordelia’s, “What did Angel say about all this?”

“You mean when I straight-forwardly asked him?”

“You didn’t ask him.”

Cordelia shook her head. “He saw me floating… And he had all the questions that I didn’t know how to answer…”

“Floating?”

“Yeah, instead of pain, I get floating.” Said Cordelia, “Kinda cool, really…”

“Does Angel know?”

“What?”

“That you float?”

“Uh-huh…”

“And?”

“Wesley’s looking into it. I didn’t tell them about this…”

“Well, now would be the time…”

“Huh?”

Buffy pointed. “Here comes Angel.” Oh yeah, it was Angel alright, extremely pissed off and covered in green demon goo…

“Ew!” Said Cordelia.

“EW?!” He yelled, “EWWW? Do you have any idea how worried about you I was? You could have been dead in a gutter somewhere or…”

“I told you I was visiting my parents!”

“You lied!”

“Oh…” Cordelia was contrite, for about a second, “What, are you checking up on me still?”

“Yes!”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t know what happened to you last night!” Said Angel, “I thought you were dead and then… In steps this theory of Astral Projection and YOU wouldn’t talk to me!”

“Because there were things I needed to figure out!”

“What things?”

“When I’ve figured them out, I’ll tell you, but not before.”

“Oh, like you’ve figured things out up to now?”

“Don’t…” She warned.

“Cordelia, we’ve talked about this…”

“Angel, DON’T…”

“Why not? You’ve given up, might as well let the whole world kn – “

Okay, so it hadn’t worked out as well as it should. She’d only slapped him across the face for God’s sake… It wasn’t that hard….

But then, there was a very stunned Angel having been flung five feet in the air, landed against a tree, staring at Cordelia, stunned, “What the hell is going on?” He growled

Cordelia gulped.

Part 11

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 9   1 comment

Part 9

Sleep’s becoming a problem. It’s not the actual going to sleep part that worries me. It’s the dreams, and the fear of never waking up and having to spend an eternity with him. I can still hear him so clearly, telling me that because of what I’m doing, because of what I did, I’ll go to Hell.

I made a mistake. I dealt with the consequences – I just never realised that they’d be so bad…

“Cordelia?” His voice broke into her reverie, induced by lack of sleep. Cordelia stood at the filing cabinet, files in hand and yet motionless.

“Hmm?”

Gently, he put his hand on her shoulder, “You were… In a daydream.” Said Angel, softly.

“Oh, I was thinking about Connor’s birthday party.” She lied, “A girl’s gotta plan…”

“That’s almost three months away…”

“Well, you only turn One once…”

“You only turn any age once.” Replied Angel, smiling slightly.

“Wrong – only YOU turn any age once,” She smiled, “We’re stuck with the living until we’re maybe 100, probably less and then dying.”

Angel’s face fell into a frown and Cordelia sighed, “What? I was being optimistic! I was thinking I’d live to see 100 and not thinking I’m going to die the next time I’m going to have a vision.”

Brutally blunt, like always, and yet Angel found himself wincing. “You’re not going to die.” He said quietly, “I won’t let you.”

Cordelia sighed, “Right, you won’t let me do anything.” This was getting beyond a joke, they even insisted on accompanying her to the local supermarket when she needed milk or eggs or some other such grocery.

A low growl errupted from Angel and he stared at her, “We just want to look after you.”

“Yeah, there’s looking after me and then there’s smothering me, Angel…”

Angel was slightly taken aback, “You… You didn’t say you were fine.”

Cordelia looked at the floor, “That’s because I’m not…”

She could almost *hear* his face falling. “There, see!” She said quietly, “The minute I tell you I’m not fine you go into full brood mode again.”

“I can’t help worrying about you…”

“Well stop it! Angel, please!”

“Don’t you think you’re being a little unreasonable? How can I not worry?”

“Angel, I’m not going to break.”

“You’re right, you’re not.” Said Angel quietly, “Because you’re already broken.”

Cordelia lifted her head wearily and shook her head, “Angel, I’m f…”

“You just ADMITTED you’re not, so don’t pull that one.”

Cordelia shook her head, “Okay then, I’m not fine. Is that what you want to hear?” She asked.

“Yes!”

“Okay, what else? You wanna know what he did to me? Huh, is that what you want? ‘Cause I can tell you that too!”

The muscle in Angel’s jaw tensed and he looked down, “Did you forget something? I *know* what he did to you… Because I did it to you.” He said quietly, “And I still do it to you…” He whispered.

Cordelia recoiled like she’d been slapped, “Wh-what do you mean?”

“Every time I close my eyes. I see something new he did. Something he hurt you with. The things he said.” Angel shook his head, bitterly. “I wish he’d killed you.” Said Angel quietly, “Because you didn’t deserve the consequences of a mistake I made. He took you and made you his…”

Gently, he raised his hand and pushed the hair from her neck looking where the bite marks lay, a constant reminder for Angel that Angelus had tasted her. “He marked you as his own…” He said, painfully.

“Just like you marked Buffy?” Asked Cordelia, coldly.

It worked. The thing she’d tried to do for weeks… She’d succeeded. She’d pushed him away. Angel pulled away from her and shook his head, “You think this is easy?” He asked, “You think it’s easy, watching you like this? Because it’s not. You’re dying inside, Cordelia. You’re not even *trying* to fight. You’re hoping that in a few months time, it’ll all blow over and everything will be fine. You’re hoping you can forget. And it doesn’t work like that…”

“So, tell me how it works since you’ve been through this before!” She yelled, “Tell me how this works.”

Angel sighed and shook his head, “It doesn’t. Because you’ve given up. I’ve tried everything I can think of to help you, I just…”

“You want to brood over it forever!” Yelled Cordelia, “I refuse to let this break me…”

“It already has.” Said Angel, going to continue before Cordelia spun round, preparing to leave. Angel followed and grabbed her, standing in front of the doors of the Hyperion that looked into the courtyard, “Tell me what you see.” He said, making her look at her reflection in the glass doors.

“LET ME GO!” She yelled.

“WHAT DO YOU SEE?”

Cordelia fell silent for a moment and stared at herself, “I see… I see… I see a slut.” She said quietly, “I see a whore who lay down to a demon every night. I see someone who.. Who I thought was strong. I saw her body and her soul give in to a demon who wore your face.” She whispered,

“That’s not me in there. Because if that were me? I would have staked him the first time he arrived at my apartment. I couldn’t live with you…” She whispered, “But I couldn’t live without you. So, I let him exist. I thought that maybe… There was some of you in there that I could still have. I didn’t just betray you by sleeping with a demon, I betrayed you by not staking him so that you could be free.”

Cordelia pulled away from him then, her arms wrapped tight around herself.

“Do you want to know what I see?” Asked Angel, gently. “I see my best friend. I see Cordy… I see someone who I’m proud of, someone I love. I was never *there* when he was, and I was never ashamed of you. Cordy, you have to fight this thing… For me, for Connor. For you.”

Cordelia sighed. Because he was right. What were you supposed to do when the will to fight had left your body, making you feel like it had never been there in the first place? What did you do when the man you loved and the son you adored couldn’t bring you out of a funk you’d slipped in?

Cordelia had never been one for answers. She’d more been one for questions, ‘What’s this demon do?’ and the like.

So what happened when you ran out of questions? What happened when you stopped caring enough to ask the questions, to find out the answers? What happened when things got so bad that the only question you were concerned with was when and if you’d be leaving this life any time soon?

A life without hope is a living Hell.

“I’m sorry I can’t fight for you, for Connor, for me.” Said Cordelia quietly. “I’m sorry for everything that happened. I’m sorry that the choices *we* made led to the consequences we hate.” She whispered. “You told me that life without hope was a living hell… I guess you’re right.”

Silence hung between them for a while until Angel spoke up, “Cordy, without you… I have no hope. My redemption is pointless.” He whispered, a last ditch attempt to make her see that this wasn’t her fault, that he needed her.

Months earlier, and the question on Cordelia’s lips would have been ‘Why’… She would have yelled, shouted, SCREAMED if she had to. But this time, she only spoke up, her eyes filling with tears,

“I know I should care.” She whispered, “I know I should yell and scream and bitch but… I can’t…” She said quietly, “As much as I want to, I can’t.”

“Why?” He whispered, a lump forming in his throat.

“Because there’s no point. I’m tired of caring. I’m tired of feeling. I’m tired of hurting. I used to think I was so strong, that nothing could beat me… How wrong I was.” She whispered.

Part 10

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 8   1 comment

Part 8

I feel like a freak. They’re all walking round on eggshells, thinking that I’m going to break. So, these are my consequences, huh? My friends never acting the same with me again?

Fred keeps looking at me, then at him, then saying in that meek little voice, “How do you feel Cordy?” And that’s when I snap. I’m still in hospital (tests, they say) but I’m fine. I’m a little tired and the nightmares haven’t stopped but I’m fine.

Oh, and then there’s Gunn and Wesley – instead of them falling over themselves to be nice to Fred, catch her attention it’s now, “Cordy, can we we get you anything? How do you feel today? Visions? No, good. Everything’s going to be fine.”

And so, we come to Angel. The perpetual brood. He looks so haunted all the time but now it’s getting frustrating. I feel like I have to pretend to be fine or they worry more. You want a typical conversation? Here:

Wesley: Hey.

Me: Hey.

Wesley: How are you holding up?

Me: Same as the last time you asked me which was, oh look, ten minutes ago. *big smile*

Want another one?

Fred: Hi.

Me: Hi.

Fred: So, how…

Me: Fine.

Fred: How did you know what I was going to ask?

Me: Because you asked me two minutes ago. *big smile*

And then there’s this.

Angel: Hey, Cordy.

Me: Hey, Angel.

Angel: How do you feel?

Me: Fine.

Angel: Are you sure?

Me: Yep, I’m fine. *big smile*

I’m exhausted from being FINE all the time. My face is stretched into a permanent smile that has to get wider every time they ask or they’ll think there’s something wrong! I can’t wait to go home…

***

“WHAT?” Cordelia looked at Angel, Wesley, Fred and Gunn, shaking her head. “No!”

“Cordy, it’s not that we think you’re incapable it’s just…”

“You think I’m incapable.” Finished Cordelia, “Look at me, I’m FINE… I want to go home, back to my apartment, back to my Ghostie – BACK TO MY LIFE!” She said, shaking her head again. “I know you guys are worried about me but…”

“But what?” Said Gunn.

“You can’t protect me forever!” Said Cordelia, then looked at Angel, “Well, you could… But, I’m fine.”

“You always say that!” Said Fred, “Even when you’re not, you say you’re fine!”

“And what do you expect? You ask me every two minutes!” Said Cordelia, shaking her head, “I want to get back into the swing of things, I don’t want Angelus dominating my life.”

Angel winced. Can the hurt face, Brood Boy. Thought Cordelia, sighing. “Guys, you’re making it too hard.” She said quietly.

“What’s that supposed to mean.” Asked Gunn, frowning.

“I mean…” Cordelia faltered, “I mean, you’re making me have to PRETEND to be fine when sometimes, I’m not. I don’t want you worrying about me, this is just another hurdle in this thing I call life.”

“So, you’re not fine…” Said Fred, “See, we knew!”

“I’m not going to the hotel.” Said Cordelia, “I’m going home.”

“You bloody well aren’t!” Said Wesley, “You’re still weak…”

“I bloody well am!” Retorted Cordelia, “Guys, you have to stop fussing. All I want to do is forget it happened and YOU won’t let me!”

“You have to deal with this.” Replied Wesley, “It’s not something you can just ‘get over’ or ‘forget’ – you have to talk about it.”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Talking means remembering and I clearly remember stating that I want to forget. Stop making this the biggest thing in my life! I want to move on. If I want to repress, I’ll repress. Okay?”

“Bottling up your feelings is…”

“Something that I’m going to do!” Said Cordelia, frowning. “I *won’t* let him break me. I won’t let him have the satisfaction of wearing me down. I’m Cordelia Chase, damnit!” Cordelia winced, yelling hurt. Her ribs were still tender where he’d broken them.

Angel sighed, “Cordelia…”

“Angel, don’t.” Said Cordelia. “Okay? Just don’t.”

***

Wheeling her up to her apartment in the wheelchair provided by the hospital, Angel kept glancing at her every so often. How could she stand to be here? After all he’d done…

As they pushed open the door, she was greeted with a banner, brightly coloured, balloons and food all set out on the table, along with a little present.

Welcome Home Cordelia

Cordelia started to laugh and looked up at Angel, “You guys?” She asked.

Angel shook his head, “Nope, that would be Dennis.” He said, smiling.

A small gift floated towards her, with a few cards.

“What the…”

Open it. The first card flipped over, was then discarded for the second, I can’t give you a real one… So I thought I’d buy you this.

When Cordelia opened the present, tears welled up in her eyes and she looked up, “Dennis!” It was a little teddy bear in a box with its arms outstretched. Written across the top of it were the words, “I’m A Hug!”

“It’s beautiful!” She whispered softly, giggling.

***

When her friends had left for the night, albeit reluctantly, Cordelia sat down on the chair watching as the plastic bag floated round the room, clearing up things from the night’s party that had lasted WAY beyond its time. It was 3am, Cordelia was tired. “Dennis? I’m going to bed…” She whispered, yawning.

She turned to leave, when a rapping on the wall caught her attention. When Cordelia turned, she looked at the message Dennis was holding up, “If you’re not okay, it’s okay. You don’t have to be strong all the time.”

Cordelia smiled, “Yeah, I know.” She said softly, “Thanks…”

She padded into her bedroom, taking a deep breath, glancing at the bed.

“Who am I?” He growled as he thrust into her, repeatedly.

Cordelia sobbed, his name pushing its way out of her mouth.

Cordelia winced, looking at the floor. ~You’re Cordelia Chase. You can do this.~ Slowly, she went over to her bed and stood there for a while…

Dennis stood watching her at the door. She was far from okay. It seemed like since she’d returned the smile had remained plastered on her face for all to see but… It wasn’t real. How could it be? He wished he was… Well, there, properly, the way she needed him to be. Dennis went back through to get his pieces of paper and quickly wrote on one, going back to the bedroom,

“Want to sleep on the couch?” He showed her the paper, watching as she considered but she shook her head and the respect Dennis held for a woman he loved grew tenfold, “Gotta get used to it sometime.” She smiled, “I’m not ready to give you up just yet, Phantom Dennis.” She teased.

Dutifully, the ghost left the room as Cordelia got undressed, waiting a while before going back inside and hanging up her clothes, seeing her lying, pretending she was asleep in her bed. He wished that last time he’d have been able to be there for her the way she needed. He’d tried to stop Angelus from entering, but the vampire was more than a match for the ghost and in the end, Dennis had realised, the more he tried to refuse the vampire entry, the more he hurt Cordelia. Gently, Dennis shut the door, going back into the living room.

Cordelia opened her eyes slowly and looked at the ceiling, tears sliding down her cheeks. ~I’m Cordelia Chase, damnit.~ She thought sadly,

~Only, I don’t feel like me anymore.~

***
“Morning!” Cordelia forced a bright smile to her face as she walked down into the lobby of the hotel.

“Cordelia, you shouldn’t be up and about…” Said Wesley, “You’re…”

“FINE!” Said Cordelia, firmly. “So, what are we working on?”

“Uhm, nothing… We’ve been sorta dead around here.” Said Gunn, shrugging his shoulders.

“Which for Angel is great ’cause he IS dead.” Said Cordelia, grinning. “Guys, joke, will you lighten up?” She frowned. Looking up, she smiled as Angel came down the stairs with Connor, “MAMA!” Shouted the little boy, grinning.

Cordelia giggled and took Connor from Angel, hugging him, “Hey…” She said, cradling him to her chest.

“Well, lookie who it is!” The Host, looking particularly… Drenched… Came walking down the stairs, “How you cope at bath-time is beyond me… Look at me, this WAS an Armani…”

“And now it’s…”

“An All-Wetty…” Grumbled Lorne, shrugging his shoulders. “How’re you holding up, Sweetcheeks?”

“She’s fine!” Chorused the friends, before she got snippy.

“What they said…” Cordelia watched as Connor yawned, “Maybe I should put him down for a nap? Are you a night owl like your Daddy?” She asked, grinning as Connor gurgled.

When Cordelia walked up the stairs, Angel nodded to Lorne, who followed behind her silently, standing at the door and listening to her gently sing Angel’s son to sleep.

On his return, Angel looked up, “So?”

Lorne sighed, “You got one stubborn girlie up there… She’s saying she’s fine?”

Angel nodded, “We know she’s NOT fine but… She won’t tell us anything. She won’t even talk to me.”

“Think of a wall, friend.” Said Lorne, sighing, “She won’t let anyone in, she won’t let any feelings get out. I had a hard enough time trying to read her without getting caught. You gotta break that wall down.”

“How?” Said Angel, quietly.

“One brick at a time,” Said Lorne softly, “One brick at a time.”

Part 9

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 7   1 comment

Part 7

“Where do you want me?” She asked quietly, her shoulders slumped forward. She sat on the couch, not looking up at him, she found it didn’t hurt as much if she didn’t look at him.

However, Angelus, fed up with her new ploy of guarding herself – had decided to try a new tack. Give her hope and then take it away. Certainly, he’d done this before – but not to the magnitude he was about to do it now.

“Cordy… I… I don’t remember.” He stumbled to his knees in her apartment, falling to the floor. “What happened?”

*Angel thinks HE was the World’s Best Actor? Think again, Soul Boy.*

For the first time in weeks, she found herself daring to hope, daring to believe that the voice she heard was really Angel’s. Of course it was possible – in her wildest dreams, so why not here? Why indeed?

She looked up to see that Angel was shaking heavily. Gingerly, she stood up, wincing at the pain in her side. “Angel?” She whispered.

His arms clasped around her stomach, hurting her although unwittingly (so she thought, anyway). “Cordy… I… I remember being with you and then… Oh God… Oh God no…” He pulled back from her like he’d been burned and Cordelia’s body instantly recoiled. “Angel, I had to.”

*Give her hope, a sense of peace, then break her.*

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… But I couldn’t see them die…”

*It’s working. She’s crying.* Angelus smirked – and it was then that, to his satisfaction, he saw the light behind her eyes die. “Y-you… Angel?” She whispered, her voice hoarse, daring to hope that maybe… Just maybe…

But she knew. Fate delivered a crushing blow once again and Cordelia was left standing in its wake. “You’re not Angel…” She whispered.

He laughed. Harshly. Cordelia looked at him, “Was it fun?” She asked quietly.

“What do you think?” Smirked Angelus.

Cordelia sighed, “Where do you want me?” She whispered. *I think you’re a bastard. I think I hate you. I think I want to kill you. But mostly? I don’t think. Because thinking means I realise that what I’m doing is wrong, so terribly wrong. Thinking makes me realise I’m not okay with this. And thinking makes me realise that right now?

Angel hates me. So I don’t think.* Thought Cordelia and then sighed. So much for not thinking…

What they’d noticed most of all was that since Angel’s return, he wouldn’t meet their eyes. Each and every time he looked everywhere but, avoiding questioning gazes, looks of sympathy, looks of sorrow… Even anger.

He didn’t want to see. They could yell, scream, shout – hell, they could sit and ignore him if they wanted to but… Whatever they were feeling, Angel felt it too. Not a minute went by when he didn’t hate himself, berate himself for acts he committed as Angelus, perhaps unfairly because he couldn’t have stopped it…

He sat at her bedside, his fingers locked with hers, just staring. “I think Connor’s teething again. He’s getting cranky and Fred said he was like this when I…” Angel stopped. When he what? Turned evil and raped her, beat her, broke her?

He had the memories of Angelus taking her in ways he’d probably only taken willing vampire fledglings, eager to move up the ranks of the group. Ways he remembered him taking Darla. The difference being, Darla and the fledglings had been WILLING.

Cordelia had not. He recalled Cordelia’s horror when Angelus was tender, making her body react to him and yet he never blamed her, for how could he?

“Or maybe he just misses his Mommy.” Said Angel, tears welling up in his eyes.

He didn’t cry, not easily anyway. For over the course of what seemed a thousand lifetimes he’d seen and caused many hurtful, horrible things to happen. He’d wondered once, if perhaps he was getting immune to it.

If he saw more violence, did that mean he became immune to it? He stared at the clock on the wall, then back down at Cordelia, when a presence at his side appeared. “Wesley.”

“Angel… How is she?”

“Same. I spoke to the Doctor.”

“Oh… And…”

“He said that… The longer it takes for her to wake up, the worse it’ll get.” He sighed.

Wesley closed his eyes briefly, “Angel, you mustn’t blame yourself for this…”

“So, who else do I blame? Her?” He asked.

“No… There’s no one to blame, Angel it’s just…”

“You want to know why I slept with her?” He asked, not waiting for an answer, “Because I wanted to FEEL. Because since the moment she told me she was dying, I was numb. She was numb. She wanted to feel too. I thought I knew everything. I thought it would *never* be perfect happiness, I knew it would be perfect despair because how could I be happy when I knew she was dying? In the end, I lost everything.” He said quietly.

“I lost the only thing I was concerned with keeping.”

“Angel…”

“Wesley, I know.” Said the vampire, “I know that you’re all concerned but…”

“No, Angel…”

“Look, when I…”

“ANGEL!” He hissed.

The heart monitor had started to beep faster, Cordelia’s body tensed and she was yanked out of the coma darkened by nightmares by… A vision.

“No, no!” She screamed. Angel grabbed her to keep her from falling from the bed and gently stroked her hair as the vision ended. “Cordy?”

For a few seconds, everything was normal again. She was normal Cordy with the visions… When Cordelia opened her eyes, he sat holding her in his arms, like he’d done so many times before. “Demon, it was…”

Her body tensed again, Angel thinking she was in the throes of another vision instantly loosened his grip and she pulled back, scooted out of his arms, this time falling out of the bed and stumbling to the other side of the room. “No…” She whispered, “Please…”

“Cordy, it’s me.” He said gently, standing up and watching her eyes widen with fear, her body almost fold in on itself reflexively.

“Why can’t you just leave me alone?” She whispered, her voice hoarse, her body trembling. “I know you love doing this… Telling me you’re him, pretending but… Please… I can’t…”

Angel’s heart twisted, the knife curving in deeper. He stared at her for a second, “Cordy, I’m sorry.” He whispered, “I’m sorry for what he did… I’m sorry that… I’m sorry that I jeopardized what we had…”

“You’re NOT him… You’ve played this card before, remember? Just before you killed Gunn…” She shook her head, furiously, “I won’t buy it… I won’t, I won’t…”

“Cordelia?” The soft spoken voice alerted her to Wesley’s presence and she looked up, into soft blueish green eyes. “Come here a second?” He said gently, holding out his hand.

Cordelia shook her head, “N-no… Don’t…” She said, disoriented. His hand stayed in the same place.

“Please?” He asked gently.

Cordelia took it and walked slowly, painfully as Wesley led her to the door of her room. Sitting outside on two of the plastic hospital chairs were Gunn and Fred, in a relatively happy moment (considering the circumstances) playing Rock, Paper, Scissors – of which Fred was winning 3 – 2.

“You’re letting me win!” She laughed, “Is it ’cause I’m a girl?”

“No,” He said, winking at her, “It’s ’cause uh… Okay, yeah it’s ’cause you’re a… Cordelia?”

“I’m pretty sure I’m not a Cordelia.” Said Fred, confused, “I mean, Cordelia’s all cute and sexy and stuff and… OHH! Cordelia!” She jumped up and looked at her friend, “Cordelia?”

“Uhm… Yeah, hey…” Whispered the brunette, staring at Gunn.

“You look like you seen a Ghost, Barbie…” Said Gunn gently, as tears slipped down Cordelia’s cheeks.

“He… He told me you were dead.”

Gunn shook his head, “Nah, takes more than that to get rid of me…” He grinned.

Cordelia nodded, “I… I should… Go back… Inside…”

The pair at the door nodded, “It’s nice to have you home.” Said Fred, happily.

Cordelia went back into her room, being led by Wesley, “Uhm… How long was I… Asleep?” She asked, sitting down on the bed.

“29 days.” Said Angel and Wesley simultaneously.

“Cordy I…” Angel stopped, she’d asked him not to call her Cordy but… This time, she didn’t say anything, just looked at him, a pained look in her eyes, which almost broke his heart but… She was looking at him.

“Wesley, can I talk to Angel?” She whispered.

She’d called him Angel. He heaved a sigh of relief and nodded, stepping outside and pulling the door shut behind him, smiling slightly at Gunn and Fred.

She kept wringing her hands. She was nervous, Angel realised. Gently, he stepped forward, before stopping, “C-can I?” He asked, gesturing to the bed next to her.

Cordelia nodded, “Angel, when I was… Wherever I was. It wasn’t all good… But it wasn’t all bad either… When I was asleep… I remembered something.” She waited for him to sit down and continued,

“I think that I probably only paid attention because it was Ms. Miller’s class… English, back in High School. We were reading Romeo and Juliet and she said… The choices we make have consequences. Sometimes, what we think is right turns out to be wrong and… At other times it’s vice-versa.”

Cordelia’s voice choked, a lump rising in her throat, “And… And other times there are two, three, or a million choices that could be made, but only one that leads to happiness.” She whispered,

“She told us it was rare to find that choice. I know that… What I did… It mightn’t have been right. I know that you probably hate me for it but… I made a choice.” Cordelia looked at the floor, “My choice? Was my friends. I don’t know what the consequences are yet but…”

Using his fingers, Angel tilted her chin up, made her look at him. Cordelia immediately flinched. “S-sorry, it’s just he…”

Angel sighed, “I don’t hate you.” He said softly. “You ended up carrying a bad choice I made on your shoulders and you did what you thought was right…”

“Angel?”

He looked at her, placing his hand upon hers, “What?”

“I’m scared.” She whispered, “I don’t want to lose you.”

“You won’t… I’ll never let him hurt you again…”

“Not that way.” She whispered, “I just… I don’t know where we go from here…”

Part 8

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 6   1 comment

Part 6

A phone call. That was all it had taken. Prior to this, the three friends would have agreed that the most terrifying phone call they could receive would be that of a friend, screaming that something had happened to another of their loved ones. That they should get there quick, that all was not well.

However, certain events had changed the course of their life and nothing could prepare them for the icy chill that crept up their spine at the phone call.

So, what made it worse?

The fact that there was no sounds on the other end? No sounds of a friend crying, screaming or even whimpering? Or the fact that they’d known? The fact that they’d been waiting for this phone call to break the already fragile bonds of friendship that had survived death, destruction and the knowledge that a friend was sacrificing herself for them every single night without fail.

The phone call came at 9.22pm. The scream came only a minute later. 9.23pm.

A warm, almost too warm June night. A friend had already limped down into the relative warmth of the lobby, beaten to a point where he was almost unrecognisable, Charles Gunn had collapsed in a seat, whispered one word and one word only.

Angelus.

And then he’d continued, “Got enough hits on him so Cordy can have a night off…” He growled, wincing as Wesley touched already tender ribs. “Ain’t no way he’s going to Cordelia.” He’d rounded up everyone of his friends, both ex and current, enticing them with building a reputation of taking out the Scourge of Europe.

Surprisingly, most, if not all, of his friends had survived. Angelus had been intent on killing one person and one person only. And that was him. Was he phased by this? Hell, no. It was a chance to take out the bastard who was hurting his friend only… it didn’t really work like that.

He’d survived. Only so had Angelus.

“Are you sure you don’t need a hospital?” Asked Fred, tenderly, kneeling by Gunn’s side.

“Naw, I’ll be fine.” He smiled, “Just a little sore for a few decades but fine…”

“You were stupid, you could have been killed.” Said Buffy, frowning.

Gunn nodded, “I’ll buy that.”

“You should have…”

9.22pm. The phone penetrated the hushed talking of the lobby. All eyes swivelled to the counter. “Might wanna… Get that Wes…” Choked out Gunn.

“Me, why me?” He asked.

“You’re closer.”

This was silly. Wesley stepped over to the phone, picking it up. “Angel Investigations, we help the helpless.”

As he waited for the voice, Wesley paled. The voice never came. Perhaps it was a prank call, he thought, determined not to believe the worst, but he knew. “We’ll be there.” He whispered, hanging up the phone.

Being stuck in a Hell dimension where you were forced to slavery, well, it bit. Big time. Fred knew this. She knew it while she was there. Coming out, had been a task in itself for the young woman but… She dealt, and why?

Because she saw Cordelia Chase do it every day.

She saw her dealing with Kyerumption. She saw her dealing with the naughty feelings for Angel. She saw her dealing with vision after vision after vision and she did it all with a smile on her face.

What Fred supposed, was that Cordelia was her big sister. She’d never had a sister. Or brothers to speak of. But Fred knew that Cordelia was the younger, kinder, cooler version of her Mom – the one you could talk about sex with.

That was a sister. Only, it wasn’t anymore. Because Fred knew. Perhaps being in a Hell dimension, coming out of it AND working alongside Cordelia should have taught her that hoping for the best was her only option or… What else was there?

Angel had said it himself… “A life without hope is a living Hell.” Cordelia had none.

“You should go to her.” Said Fred quietly, looking at the floor. “I’ll stay. With Connor.”

***

He’d already done this twice and it never got easier. For Angel though, this was the ‘easy’ part. He remembered nothing. Only waking up on a street corner, beaten almost to a pulp and blood that wasn’t only his own on his hands, on his body.

And there she was, his one saving grace. His light at the end of the tunnel. In his mind’s eye, he could see her. His Cordy. Cordelia Chase, the woman he loved. But… Something was wrong. It was like watching a movie…

Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose.

And he watched because he had no choice, because these were memories he’d been given by a soulless monster…

Weep not for the memory.

“No!” A sob broke from his lips. And a laugh from inside, a cruel laugh. Because instead of breaking Cordelia, like he’d wanted to, instead, Angelus had succeeded in breaking Angel. He ran. Angel ran. His feet treading on the gravel floor until he crashed into her apartment.

“CORDELIA!” He yelled, “Cordelia!”

Don’t let your life pass you by.

He smelt the blood before he got to the door and Angel stumbled, falling, landing right in the doorway, staring into the stunned faces of Buffy, Wesley and Gunn.

Buffy was the first to step forward, “Angel?”

We let them slip away from us when things got bad.

“Buffy… Please…” He whispered, tears sliding down his cheeks, “She’s… Tell me she’s… Did I?” He asked, desperately.

I’m standing on the edge of something much to deep.

“There’s an ambulance on its way.” Said Wesley, his face ashen. “I believe she’ll be okay…”

***

I almost wish I’d killed him. I almost wish that this time, I sent him to Hell again. Almost. I wonder if anyone knows how hard it is, looking upon him and knowing that because of the acts Angelus committed on her, he blames himself.

Cordelia was taken to LA General. We hovered. The Doctors say we can’t do anything. If she wakes up, it’s of her own accord now. A life without hope is a living Hell.

Angelus broke a few of her ribs. Punctured her lung… But other than that, she’s okay.

I’m so tired, I can’t sleep. I’m standing on the edge of something much to deep.

She’s resting now. She’s gotten peace from Angelus, wherever she’s drifting. Maybe she’s dreaming of him. Maybe wherever Cordy is, she and Angel are together, happy. I hope so. The things Angelus did to me, were… Barbaric. But the things he did to her were much worse and she never spoke about it once.

She never complained, or cried out, even when she should have. Angelus got his wish, he’s broken her. But he’s also broken Angel too. He’s strong. He has to be, for Connor’s sake. But I see it in his eyes. He’s close to giving up and I have to go home.

I can’t help any more. I’ve tried to reach Angel, Cordelia… So have the others, but even a Slayer has to admit defeat and Dawn needs me too.

I wish I could do something, for her, for Angel. I wish I’d killed him, then he wouldn’t have to deal with this…

***

How clearly I first saw you, your smile just like the sun.

The first day I saw it, the first day I really knew how much I needed you was when I came back from Sri Lanka. You smiled, you cried. I loved you. I can’t help but wonder what we’d be doing now…

I broke my heart today. Just like I do every other day, even though it’s not beating. Our son spoke his first word. ‘Mama.’ I could picture your face as he said it. I could see your eyes welling up with tears, that perfect hand clasping over your mouth and then you hugging him.

It was clear as one of our movies, playing in my head. When I was brought back to the present, Connor was crawling around your hospital bed, babbling ‘Mama’ over and over again and your hand was still clasped in mine. Limp. Lifeless. No fight left in you.

It’s funny how I feel so much but cannot say a word
Though we are screaming inside oh we can’t be heard

I don’t blame you, Cordelia. I don’t hate you, how could I? I even understand. But I hate myself. How you must hate me… A life without hope is a living Hell. Wesley told me that through Connor, you kept going. You wouldn’t let him hurt your family, so you made a deal with the devil…

Once there was a darkness a deep and endless light
Gave me everything you had oh, you gave me life

Truth be told? I’m terrified. I’m terrified you’ll wake up and hate me. I’m terrified you won’t and I’ll never know.

Not for the first time in my life, I’m lost. I’ve thought about walking in the sunlight – and it makes me ashamed. Because I know what you went through and survived. I’m weak.

It’s not the demon that needs killing in me. It’s the man. Without you, I’m weak…

Part 7

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 5   1 comment

Part 5

For one night I was granted a reprieve. For one night. And for that entire night, I wondered. It didn’t matter that tonight I wasn’t being forced to do things I would never do out of love. It didn’t matter that for the first night in the entire six months Angel had been gone, I wasn’t hurting.

What mattered was Angelus wasn’t here. He hadn’t turned up. I’d have liked to have thought that… He’d gotten sick of me and moved on but I knew this wasn’t true. He has a hold over me and for as long as he decides to keep me here, he has that hold.

Perhaps, if I’d been thinking straight, I would have gotten out of there sooner or REALISED at least, that something had happened. It was, after all, only the night before that my friends had found out what had happened.

But I didn’t think, I was too busy WORRYING about the consequences, that I didn’t think they’d actually happen…

***

He hadn’t been there the night before and that worried Cordelia a whole lot more than she cared to admit. If one of her friends had gone after him and he’d hurt them then…

The door grunted under a dead weight and Cordelia whimpered. Nodding to Dennis to open the door, the dutiful ghost did so. Cordelia was taken aback, Angelus almost fell through the door, thrashed to within almost an inch of his unlife, there was blood everywhere.

Cordelia didn’t even think. She ran to his side and helped him in her apartment. “What happened?” She asked, almost fearfully. An answering growl made her quieten and Cordelia stood… A hand clamping down on her wrist.

“Where are you going?” He growled.

Not dead, nor not of the living. Spirits of the interregnum, I call.

“T-to get the bandages and stuff…” She whispered. “You’re… You’re hurt.”

Cordelia went into the bathroom, pulling the things she used for when Angel was injured down from the top shelf and walked back through, kneeling next to him, tending his wounds in silence. “Why are you doing this?” He glared at her, “You hate me.”

“You’re right, I do.” She said gently, placing gauze where a stake had penetrated his stomach. “But that’s… You’re in his body. And I couldn’t bear to see him hurt.”

Gods bind him, cast his heart from the demon realm, return his soul. Let him know the pain of humanity – reach your wizened hands to me, give me the soul of the one I seek.

“I don’t know why you do this,” Said Angelus, cruelly, “It doesn’t mean he’ll hate you any less.”

Cordelia continued in silence, making Angelus even more annoyed. Why wasn’t she reacting anymore?

“Oh, I’ve got some news for you…” He smirked.

Another set of cruel words. This time, Cordelia was prepared. She wouldn’t let him see her react. Not this time. Not again. She’d just carry on, regardless.

He tilted her chin up with his fingers, wanting to see her break a little bit more, “I’ve never been fond of smart-mouthed black kids.” He said, his eyes glowing a sickly yellow colour as he morphed into demon form. “He fought well. Not well enough though.”

Cordelia sucked in her breath, “No… You didn’t… YOU DIDN’T!” She yelled, getting up and pulling away from him forcefully.

Restore to the corporal vessel that which separates us from beast. Use this orb as your guide.

This earned her a slap which sent her flying across the room and into the wall as she sobbed, “YOU TOLD ME YOU WOULDN’T HURT THEM!” She screamed, scrambling up the wall and back, away from him.

“And we had an arrangement.” Growled Angelus, “You wouldn’t tell them and I wouldn’t hurt them.” *There, she’s starting to break.* Thought Angelus, a self satisfying smirk on his face.

“You killed him.” She whispered, “Y-you really did, didn’t you?”

Angelus laughed, “Have I ever lied to you before?”

Cordelia looked up, tears streaming down her face, a steely determination in her eyes, “You told me you were better than him.” She said calmly, “You lied.”

I call on you Gods.

A growl.

Do not ignore this supplication.

Angelus lunged for Cordelia, thrusting her against the wall, his hand clasped around her throat.

Let this orb be the vessel to carry his soul to him.

Cordelia gazed at him, “You can beat me.” She whispered, “You can rape me. You can torture me. But you’ll never break my spirit. Ever. Because that belongs to ANGEL…”

It is written, this power is my people’s right to wield…

A fist. The crack of bones. Cordelia’s body sliding down the wall… Angelus stalking away into the night…

Let it be so! Now!

And Dennis. Picking up the fallen form of his friend and frantically dialling the hotel’s number… Fingers flying over memorised buttons…

And a soul, floating through the ether until it reached it’s target. He fell to his knees, rasping for breath, eyes frantically searching for his bed. The last place he remembered, for Cordelia in a blissfully wonderful haze. Instead, he found gravel. He found memories…

A lamb to the slaughter…

Blood on his hands…

Part 6

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 4   1 comment

Part 4

With a great degree of sadness, Wesley Wyndham Price, former member of the Watcher’s Council, UK, realised that his life had never been the same after taking up position as Watcher of Buffy Summers and Faith Spencer.

What he also realised was that without that, he would never have been introduced to Angel, to his life apparently. In a word (or three), Wesley’s life previous to the Council had, put bluntly (and seemingly in Sunnydale terms) sucked beyond belief. Perhaps, he’d expected too much to come of his upbringing.

Remembering the dire little house and the father he scrabbled for the approval of, made Wesley wistful, sad sometimes. But nothing, nothing had become as crushing as knowing your best friend was willingly laying down for a demon to subject unspeakable tortures upon her young soul. She did it nightly. She did it without complaining, without letting on what was happening and she did it for them.

This in itself was worse than anything his own father had subjected him to, than anything Angelus ever would. She’d said it herself, he wanted to crush her soul and he was doing so. Making her believe that even if Angel did, by some small miracle, return to this life, he’d never forgive her.

Angelus had convinced her that she wasn’t going to Heaven to ‘join her Angel’ – he’d convinced her that because of what she’d done, he’d greet her in Hell. Existing in this world was hard enough, living in it right now, much harder. Angel was gone. In his place a soulless demon.

Cordelia unable to allow herself to be happy because of the acts she committed, to keep her friends alive. Part of him wondered what drove Cordelia to make such an arrangement. Why, when they had the means and certainly the will to do so, did she let him destroy her in this way?

Loyalty.

That’s what it came down to when you placed a label upon it. Loyalty. She wasn’t willing to let him hurt her friends and in doing so, she made him hurt her instead.

“ENGLISH!” Wesley was broken out of his reverie by a yell from Gunn. Buffy, Spike, Gunn and Fred stood around the desk in the office, Cordelia upstairs seeing to Connor, the only thing she had left of Angel. If Spike listened carefully, he could hear her soft spoken words, her gentle cries…

The song she continued to sing over and over again. Even Spike admitted that she couldn’t carry a tune, but the song she sang was so heartbreakingly sad that he found himself tearing up.

I will remember you
Will you remember me
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Remember the good times that we had
We let them slip away from us
When things got bad
How clearly I first saw you
Your smile just like the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me
I wanna be the one

I will remember you
Will you remember me
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I’m so tired but I can’t sleep
Standing on the edge of something much to deep
It’s funny how I feel so much but cannot say a word
Though we are screaming inside oh we can’t be heard

And I will remember you
will you remember me
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I’m so afraid to love you
more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose
Once there was a darkness a deep and endless light
Gave me everything you had oh, you gave me life

And I will remember you
will you remember me
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Spike snapped himself back to the people huddled around him and sighed. “Okay, might come as a shock ‘ere, but… I don’t like it… I say we kill him.”

“Kill him and she’s still broken.” Said Fred quietly. “The only person that can make this okay is…”

“DEAD.” Gunn shook his head, frowning. “Jeez, are you people dumb? He’s FUCKING her into an early grave and you wanna bring him back?”

A punch to the jaw sent Gunn skidding backwards into the wall. Not from Buffy, nor Spike, nor Wesley…

Fred. “That’s not Angel!” She yelled. Little fists clenching and unclenching angrily. “I won’t have you saying it is…”

The group fell silent.

***

“I told him you had his forehead.” Cordelia was stroking Connor’s face gently as she fed him, her words hushed to a gentle whisper. “I told him you brooded like him.” She closed her eyes and sighed, “I told him I’d be here forever.”

Connor gurgled in her arms and Cordelia looked down at him. “When you’re old enough… And they tell you about him… About us… What happened… You’ll hate me.” She whispered, “I wish I could make you understand that what I do, I know it isn’t right but… It’s the only part of Angel I have. When he’s gentle… It’s not so bad… I can pretend that he loves me. I can pretend that it’s really your Daddy. I can pretend that I didn’t really kill him.”

When she looked up again, the sun was setting, Connor was asleep in her arms. Trusting, loving. “You bring me comfort.” She whispered, pressing her lips to his forehead. “You’re a part of Angel. A part of me…” Cordelia hugged him for a second, before standing up and placing him in his cot. “I love you.” She whispered.

Walking down the stairs, Cordelia swiped at the tears. She wouldn’t let them see her cry, not again. “Guys, I’m going home.” She called.

They were out of the office quicker than they could blink, Gunn harboring a bloody nose.

“Cordelia, please!” Begged Fred, “Don’t go home… Not to that.”

“I have to.” Came the hushed reply. “If I don’t he’ll… Look, I’ll be fine, okay?”

“But you won’t be. He’s breaking you.” Said Fred gently.

“I’m sorry. This is what I have to do.” Cordelia was out of the hotel, Gunn about to run after her when Wesley stopped him, “Gunn, wait. Buffy, make the call.”

“But…” Fred began to speak then hushed at the look of determination in Wesley’s eyes. “Are you sure?”

Wesley made the decision. “Make the call.” He nodded.

***

He was already there. As she got to the apartment, Cordelia was awarded with the cold chill that Dennis had set up as a warning system, should Angelus be hiding in wait for her. Gently, she closed the door, placing her keys on the table – immediately faced with naked Angel, sitting on the couch, a smirk on his face.

“Hello lover.” He growled. His demeanour changed, however, when he saw the red rims around her eyes. “You’ve been crying.”

“Why do you care?”

“I’d like the woman I’m fucking to be a little more than a Zombie…”

Cordelia winced at his harsh words. “Someone in my family died today.” She lied.

“Was it the Watcher?” He asked, hopefully.

Cordelia’s eyes narrowed, “I meant my OTHER family. And no, it wasn’t.”

“Too bad. I’d like to have seen him dead.”

“Bastard.”

“Don’t you just love it on me though?”

“Can we get this over with? I’ve got things to do.” Said Cordelia.

“No, you don’t.”

“I hate you.” She whispered.

“Which is just the way I like it. You fuck me, I don’t ask you to love me.”

“I never could anyway.”

“No, you love my pathetic alter ego…”

“He’s worth more than you’ll ever be.” Retorted Cordelia, hotly.

“I like it when you’re like this.” Said Angelus, smirking.

“Like what?”

“When you defend him… It makes you that little bit harder to break… But not impossible.” Angelus pulled her into his arms, his lips crushing down on hers brutally until she was clawing at his chest, trying to get some air.

When he finally pulled away, he laughed, “I thought you liked it rough…”

Cordelia just stared at him, “Can’t you just do it already?” She whispered, “Stop taunting, just get it over with and get the hell out of here!”

“Oh no, that would be too simple…” He smirked.

*I want to feel your spirit snap between my fingers, feel your last breath. I want you to cry for him… And I want you to see the face of the demon you hate as your body gives up.*

Angelus ripped her clothes from her body, dragging his nails across her stomach, making her whimper. “Nice.” He smirked, staring at her white bra and cotton panties. “VIRGINAL… Not like you at all, is it CORDY?”

He was using his pet name for her, reminding her that now in no way was she a virgin to anything of a sexual nature. Cordelia looked down. “Don’t call me that…” She whispered.

“But Cordy, I love you.” His voice was hard, brittle.

Tears welled up in her eyes but she kept them there. “And I love *Angel*…” She whispered.

“Angel, Angel, Angel…” He ran a finger down her jawline, softly, gently – making her shudder. “It’s always about Angel.”

He felt her spirit break just that little bit more as he placed a tender kiss on her lips.

“Y’know, he can see EVERYTHING you do. Everything I do…” His fingers trailed down beneath the waistband of her panties, “Everything that makes you want me more.”

Cordelia winced as a painful flash of arousal darted between her legs.

“He told me to tell you something…” Said Angelus, gently.

Cordelia looked up at him, hopefully, words of love perhaps?

“He told me I was welcome to you…” He grinned.

Cordelia gasped, feeling like she’d been punched.

Angelus smiled. *Soon.* One word, universally used had so many meanings. Soon, she’d be broken. Soon, he’d move onto the Slayer. Soon…

Part 5

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete

Dreaming of You. 3   1 comment

Part 3

Every step she took, Cordelia winced. Angelus’s rough treatment of her the night before had caused the brunette to almost call in work and pretend she was sick. Again. But Cordelia knew that should she do that, they would cotton on to the fact that something was wrong.

They weren’t stupid.

Only last week she’d called in when Angelus, in a particularly brutal and dark mood after a run in with Holtz, had pinned her to the bed on her stomach and taken her in a way that Cordelia had never wanted to, nor never would again want to be taken. It was bloody… It was brutal and it hurt in ways she’d never imagined.

But she’d never screamed once. She never cried, nor whimpered, pleaded nor begged. Cordelia Chase, former Queen of Sunnydale took what she deserved and when he’d left, she simply washed traces of his touch away and fallen into another dream.

This time. There was no Angel. He hadn’t been there for a few weeks now, yet another way Cordelia was being punished for her body responding to a demon. To him. On the outside, he looked like her Angel. But on the inside, he was bitter, twisted. It wasn’t Angel, she knew that. Angel would never treat her the way he did. Would never raise her hopes in one breath, one kind look and then dash them in the next with just a smirk.

The smirk now, was familiar. Whereas the silly, dorky smile of his when Angel was here and happy had once been the mainstay of her life, now? It was that smirk. That cold, cruel hearted smirk. It was his trademark. Sometimes, Cordelia scared herself by calling him Angel… It only served to make her feel worse. How could that be Angel when he was so… Cold?

Gingerly, she stepped down into the hotel, “Hey guys, wha – “

Her sentence died on her lips as she was met with the sight of Wesley, Gunn, Fred and… Buffy? Spike? She’d known they were visiting but… Was it really this week? All clamoured round the seats. “What’s going on?” She asked.

“Maybe you should tell us…”

Cordelia glared at Buffy, just who the hell did she think she was? Pain forgotten about, albeit briefly, her eyes flashed angrily, “And who died and made YOU Queen?”

“Actually, I did… The dying part, anyway.” Retorted Buffy, looking at Cordelia. “Were you really that stupid?”

“What’s that supposed to mean? You *knew* about what happened, if you think you can come down here and lecture me on the finer points of Angel’s soul then…”

“Spike smelt him on you.” Said Buffy, gently, her eyes soft, sympathetic.

Cordelia felt lost. She felt lost – at least this thing with Angelus, she’d had control over but now… She didn’t, and Angelus could hurt her friends. “Wh-what? I don’t know what you mean…” She lied.

Wesley looked at her, disappointed, “You know he’s not Angel, how could you betray him that way?”

“Be-betray him?” Asked Cordelia, tears filling her eyes, “Is that what you think? Is that really what you think of me?”

“Cordelia…” Started Gunn, hating seeing her like this.

“No!” She said, shaking her head, “Is that what you think? That I *like* what he does to me? I mean, Spike’s SMELT him on me, you must know what he does. Do you think I *like* that he wears his face? DO YOU? Do you think I like being pounded into a mattress while he tells me I’ll never see Angel again? Do you think I *like* that he PRETENDS to be Angel? HUH?!”

Fred sat there, watching in abject horror. “But… But you told us he’d left town, our sources…”

“He *killed* our sources… Haven’t you wondered why you haven’t seen them around lately?” She asked, desperately. “He told me…”

“He… Forces… You… Into… This…” Said Wesley, through gritted teeth.

Cordelia laughed, she actually laughed – a sad laugh, looking at the floor. “No.” She said quietly, “He doesn’t force me. My body betrays me. My body betrays Angel when I react to him.” She whispered, “He came to me a few nights after… Told me that if I didn’t, he’d kill you and Gunn and Fred and everyone I cared about. And I wouldn’t let him. Sometimes…”

Cordelia stopped, squeezing her eyes shut, “Sometimes, he’s so gentle… So tender… That I can’t help but think that it’s Angel… But…” Tears slipped from her cheeks, “If I call out his name… He punishes me… Tells me that… That he’s not him, that he’ll never be him…”

Gunn stood to wrap her in his arms, but Cordelia pulled away, violently, “Don’t touch me…” She growled.

“Cor…”

“Don’t…” She said, shaking her head. “Just don’t, okay? Don’t touch me. Look, when Angel first… When he lost his soul, I knew what I’d done.” She whispered. “I knew I’d killed him… And that hurt more than anything but… Knowing he could kill you guys. This way, it’s easier…”

“EASIER?” Growled Gunn, “This AIN’T easier, Barbie! He’s workin’ you into an early grave and you’re LETTING HIM DO IT!”

“What choice do I have?” She asked quietly.

“Do you think Angel would want him to be doing this?” Asked Wesley.

Cordelia glared at him, “How can you ask me that? I’m doing what’s RIGHT…”

“No, what’s right would be to stake him…” Said Buffy gently.

“And could you?” Asked Cordelia, “Could you willingly drive a stake through his heart?” She looked at Buffy, “C’mon, you killed him once, go do it again. Oh, but I bet you could, since he’s not the great love of your life anymore.”

Buffy shook her head, “Cordy, we’re only trying to help…”

“Don’t call me that.” She whispered.

“Wha…”

“Don’t call me CORDY…”

Fred looked at Wesley, the past few weeks had been hard on them all, had they honestly not noticed Cordelia going downhill. “He broke her.” She whispered.

“Not yet.” Said Cordelia, gently. “He didn’t break me yet…”

“But you know he’s going to.” Said Gunn, shaking his head.

“That’s what he wants.” Said Cordelia, “That’s his big schemey plan thing. And then… When he does, you can kill him.”

“We’ll… Get his soul back!” Said Fred.

“NO!” Said Cordelia, looking up and shaking her head, desperately. “No… We won’t.”

Wesley looked at her, puzzled, “But… Why? I thought this would be what you wanted…”

Cordelia shook her head, “Sure, what I want is Angel coming back knowing the things I’ve done, the choices I’ve made. How would he react… Knowing that I’ve… That I’ve slept with… With him WILLINGLY…”

“But to keep your friends ALIVE!” Said Fred, “He’d never…”

“I said no.” Said Cordelia quietly, “This would kill him.” She whispered, “Knowing that I’ve… Knowing what I’ve done would hurt him more than anything else.” She said gently, “Angel never finds out.”

“Cordelia…” Started Buffy.

“Drop it.”

“But…”

“I said drop it. I’ve made my decision. We all make mistakes. We all have to deal with the consequences.”

Wesley looked at her, “Cordelia, you don’t *deserve* this…”

“Don’t I?” Cordelia was *really* asking that question. Was honest-to-God asking the question of whether she deserved this.

“Of course not…”

Cordelia shook her head, “I used to think that but… Maybe it’s just my punishment. Do you know something? I haven’t had one dream of him… Not since I started this with Angelus. It used to bring comfort… Dreams of him.” She whispered, “We’d make love and he’d hold me and everything would be fine…”

“And then you’d wake up, right luv?” This was the first time Spike had spoke.

Cordelia looked at him and nodded.

“You keep wakin’ up and expectin’ it to be some kind of dream… Angelus wasn’t really there. Soul Boy was.”

She nodded again, fighting back tears.

“Does he hold you down, make you do things you don’t want?”

“SPIKE!” Yelled Buffy, “We don’t need details…”

“Let her answer the question…”

Cordelia nodded, numbly.

Spike stepped next to her, placing a hand on her shoulder, “Why is it you’ll let me touch you and not your friends?”

“B-because…”

“Because I’m a demon.” He said gently, “I’m cold, soulless and you don’t deserve warmth or comfort, which you know one of your friends’ll bring, right?”

Cordelia nodded, tears sliding down her cheeks.

“You won’t kill him, because killing him will bring you relief and Angel’ll be really gone, hm?”

A sob escaped her lips and she crumpled, sitting down on the nearest chair, she wasn’t even good enough for comfort from Spike and he seemed to know this. Buffy and Fred both stood, tears sliding down their own cheeks whereas Gunn and Wesley watched, horrified.

“Cordelia, please…” Said Wesley, “Just listen to reason…”

“Luv…” Spike kneeled in front of her, “You know that Angel wouldn’t want you to do this. You know that he’d want you to kill him. He wouldn’t want you to hurt…”

From the relative reprieve of hiding behind her hands, Cordelia whispered, “He didn’t want to die either – he had no choice…”

Part 4

Posted June 30, 2015 by califi in Complete