Title: Hard Choices
Content: A/C friendship-related
Summary: Rework of “Disharmony” scene. Sequel to New Beginnings..
Spoilers: S2 Disharmony
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: Here’s a 2nd one. A rework of Angel and Cordelia discussing Harmony’s fate, and hopefully spending a little more time delving into their own. And I’m really, really hoping others will want to try a few of these.
I gave Cordelia a lot of thought before writing this. My personal take was that given the circumstances, Cordelia became too soft, too quickly during her maturing of early S2. Just as Angel used his darker tendencies to fight Darla and W & H, Cordelia would have summoned some of the harder edges of Queen C that her maturity had mellowed to help her deal with Angel and the situation she found herself in. I don’t think regaining her harder edges would have changed the way she felt about Angel but they would effect how she dealt with those feelings.
Cordelia felt the determined tug on her elbow only seconds before her feet unwillingly began to shuffle behind the vampire overstepping his bounds. “Hey! Touching! With the hands.” Anger surfaced at the unexpected contact, and as if sensing her response, the grip vanished robbing her of wrenching free.
“I’ve tried not to say anything.” Eyes purposely dull and somber revealed little more than intent as they peered down at her. “I tried to take a step back and just let things sort themselves out, but… Harmony can not work with us.”
“Look Angel, Harmony needs our help. That’s what we do. Help the helpless.” Cordelia was doing her part in their endeavor to be friends again. She had locked away her feelings only letting them out in the privacy of her apartment. Angel shouldn’t have knocked if he didn’t want her to open to door. “Or are you still trying to remember that fact?”
Angel took a deep, calming breath, its lack of effect only pushing his vexation closer to the edge. Every attempt to mend bridges had been shot down, and better sense was losing its battle against urges to counter Cordelia’s verbal attacks. “I don’t want to help her, and neither should you.”
“Why not” When you”re old friend showed up you wanted to help her.” Wesley”s constant warnings, though getting old fast, she could handle; but as far as Cordelia was concerned Angel had lost the right to voice his opinion of anyone”s mistakes. He had been hell-bent on helping Darla, and the rest of them be damned.
“That was different. Harmony is a vampire.” Angel challenged, managing to rid his voice of all but a sliver of doubt. Darla had been human when he tried to help her, and whether Cordelia wanted to admit it or not, that made their situations different.
“Yea, that was a whole different scenario”for about a day.” Sarcasm coated her response and Cordelia greedily took in the small pleasure Angel’s clenched jaw provided.
“Damn it Cordelia. She will turn on you.” The warning growled through the small space separating them, and Cordelia grabbed hold using its heat before it could dissipate into the cool air.
“Why” Because you did?” Angel had made her feel helpless when he fired them, as employees and friends. He’d spent months obsessing over Darla and Wolfram and Hart, never worrying about them or the mission. And now suddenly he wanted to come back and play big brother.
“Because it’s her nature. Because she doesn’t have a soul.”
“And if Harmony had a soul I wouldn’t have to worry about her ever threatening me? I noticed yours didn’t get in the way.” Cordelia was aware of what she was doing, and why. Needing Angel in her life was a debate settled long ago. She would always need him, but things were different for all of them now. Losing Angel again wouldn’t hurt any less, but Cordelia was stronger now. Her role in the mission began when she lost Doyle, and it didn’t end when Angel left.
Don’t make me move you.
The unthinkable was possible at that moment. Angel hated Cordelia. He hated her for shutting him out. And he hated her intrinsic ability to deliver the truth with a cruelty so cold it made him shiver against her arctic blast. His hands folded into fists and his frame shook with rage; and as Angel took a step closer, he didn’t care. “Cordelia, don’t do this.” The words wafted, barely a whisper; but eyes darkened by impatience cautioned Cordelia to heed their warning. “Don’t use the past to keep us from working through this.”
More from shame than intimidation, Cordelia broke from the gaze holding her in place and looked toward her friend of happier days. Harmony didn’t look like the heartless, soulless vampire Angel was describing. Every instinct called out for her to help this girl, vampire or not. Angel had felt it with Darla; and like Angel had done with Darla, she was putting her friends at risk because of Harmony. Were they both wrong in their desire to help the people they cared about”
As she contemplated her fateful decision Cordelia couldn’t help but question if Angel would be so quick to end Harmony”s existence if she were his friend” “Did you stake Darla?”
The question came without warning, and like a hard slap, his flesh stung from the impact. “What?”
“You may be right. After all you’ve dealt with this before.” Cordelia wasn’t above admitting her cop-out, if only to herself. Angel might think she was the meanest bitch he’d ever come across, but the truth was she didn’t have what it took to stake her friend. Watching Angel stare at her in shock, Cordelia wondered if Angel realized her weakness worked in his favor at the moment. She pulled the stake from her jacket and offered it to Angel. “If you staked Darla then stake Harmony.”
Angel stared at the slender piece of wood jutting from Cordelia’s fist. You did me a favor tonight. Now I’m gonna do one for you. Get dressed and get out. Because the next time I see you I will have to kill you. His accomplishments during his personal battle would be hardly more than a confession.
A lie was easier than the truth, but like most of his lies this one would eventually bite him on this ass. Giving deception a final deliberation, Angel laid his hand on top of Cordelia’s and guided it down to her side, then turned and walked out of the alley. His eyes clenched shut, the blare of the streetlight was gone, but his glimmer of hope would last a little longer before fading into the dark.
Cordelia watched as Angel’s shoulders slumped before he walked away. Though either answer would come with heartache, Angel chose the one that cut the deepest. It was obvious now. Her worries over Angelus had been unnecessary. Whatever happened between him and Darla; it was Angel, heart and soul. And for now, the possibilities conjured questions she was too afraid to ask.