Title: Dark Corners 2: Whispers
Originally Posted: 12-10-2002
Category: just read
Summary: The sequel to “Dark Corners.” In this fic, Angel and Cordy are already a couple
Spoilers: General series stuff up to “Rain of Fire”. Probably nothing specific. This story takes place in some nebulous future. I have no idea where Connor is, so don’t ask
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Ask and you shall receive.
Feedback: Would be nice.
Angel felt it every time she walked out the door.
A chill raced through his already cold body. In that moment, he was consumed by the ugly certainty that Cordelia wasn’t coming back. That she’d step out into the sun, feel its warmth on her face, and decide she was tired of living in the dark.
And it was like something digging inside him, claws slashing at his heart.
But the panic didn’t last long. Just a fraction of an instant. By the time the door shut behind her with a soft ‘click’, logic had reasserted itself. Of course she was coming back. This was her home.
He was her home.
“It’s so sad,” Fred was saying. She placed a stack of files on the counter. “Cordy meets an old friend she hasn’t seen in ages. And then.”
“They weren’t friends, Fred,” Angel interrupted, eyes still on the door. “She barely knew him.”
“But she said she really liked him. He was one of the few friends she made in that acting class. And they were gonna meet for coffee today.” Fred shook her head, a forlorn droop to her mouth. “Instead, she’s going to his funeral. It’s just so sad.”
“Yeah,” Angel half-heartedly agreed. Arms folded, he waited another second for Cordy to come running back inside. To get her purse. Her keys. Money. Or maybe to kiss him once more before really, really leaving.
But the seconds ticked by, and the door didn’t open. So, he reluctantly pulled his gaze away and drifted towards the counter.
“We have a new case.” Fred handed him a folder. “This woman thinks her house is being haunted by her uncle. He owned a bakery. Anyway, she doesn’t think he’s dangerous. But the smell of fresh pastries has been making her so hungry, she’s already gained 10 pounds.”
Angel smiled as he opened the file. He’d have to tell Cordy about this one as soon as she got home.
The promise of her boisterous laughter echoed through his memory.
Cordelia dragged herself towards the door of the Hyperion. The last few hours had left her exhausted, her heart heavy in her chest.
“I didn’t really know him that well,” she’d found herself saying over and over again. Until that day at the grocery store, she’d all but forgotten he existed. Surrounded by Matt’s friends and family at the funeral, then at his childhood home, she’d felt like a fraud. Like she didn’t have the right to be there.
But she’d had to go. She felt like she’d lost something, too. Not a loved one, but a possible friend. Someone she could’ve really liked, but would never get the chance to know.
Cordy pressed her fingers against her temple. How long it would take to get Diane Potter’s tear-stained face out of her mind? She’d been so desperate to talk to someone about her son. So, Cordy sat with the woman she’d just met, and listened for hours as Diane bragged about Matt.
Sighing, Cordy opened the door and stepped into the dimly lit lobby. A quick look around told her there was no-one there. They were all probably out on a case.
Cordelia stepped out of her shoes, which had been pinching her fee all day. Leaving them in a heap by the door, she started across the room.
With a startled gasp, Cordy spun around. “Angel,” she breathed, one hand pressed over her heart.
He sat in a reading chair in the darkest corners of the lobby. Sitting there, he seemed to meld into the shadows.
No wonder she hadn’t seen him.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “You scared me.”
“Sorry.” He stood and stepped into the light. “You said you’d be home hours ago. I was starting to worry.”
Cordy studied him. There were lines of tension in his face. The hint of anger in his deep, sable-brown eyes.
Knowing how she felt when he was late, when she had no idea where he was or what might have happened to him, she started to feel guilty.
“I’m so sorry, Angel,” she said. Walking towards him, she rested her hands on his chest. “I know I should’ve called. But I guess that, with everything going on.”
“I understand,” he interrupted as his hands spanned her waist. “It’s okay.” From somewhere, he dredged up a strained smile. That beautiful smile that made her heart melt, and made things seem not quite as bad as they had been just minutes before.
Feeling the sudden need to be closer to him, Cordelia stepped forward and rested her head on his chest. Immediately, Angel’s powerful arms wrapped around her.
“How was it?” he asked.
Cordy shook her head. She could try to explain that it had been much harder than she’d thought it would be, but she didn’t have the energy.
Angel seemed to get that she didn’t want to talk. So they just stood in the center of the lobby, wrapped in each other’s arms.
For a moment, Cordy didn’t know what had woken her up. She lay in the dark, completely still, taking comfort in the cool body that lay next to her.
Then, she heard a moan.
Frowning, Cordy turned towards Angel. In the dim moonlight, she could see his head thrashing against the pillow. And the moans grew louder. More desperate.
He was having a nightmare.
“Angel!” Cordy placed her hands on his broad shoulders, and shook him as hard as she could. “Wake up, Angel!”
And he did, so fast it shocked her a little. With little warning, he sprang into a sitting position. Cordy reared back to avoid getting hit by his powerful body.
For several moments, there was nothing but the sound of his harsh, labored breathing. Vampires didn’t need to breathe. But Angel sometimes did. When he’d been fighting. When he was angry.
When he was scared.
“Angel,” she whispered, reaching out to touch his arm.
“Cordy?” he said, sounding disoriented. Then, suddenly, he was holding her.
Cordy couldn’t hold back a startled cry. His grip was crushing, almost painful. And, as he pressed his lips against the crook of her neck, he squeezed even tighter, body hard and humming with tension.
“Angel,” she panted. She pushed against his chest, hoping that would get him to ease up a little. It was getting hard to breathe.
“You left me,” he whispered against the skin of her throat. “You left me.”
Cordy gasped, heart sinking as she realized what his nightmare had been about. And she knew how scary they could be. Early on in their relationship, she’d had a few herself. She’d woken up in cold sweats and tears more than once.
“It was a dream, Angel,” she said. Somehow managing to get an arm free, she patted his back comfortingly. “Just a bad dream. I’m right here. And I’m not going anywhere. I love you, and I’m right here.”
For a second, she didn’t think he heard her. Then, his grip eased. Some of the tension drained out of his body.
“Let’s go back to sleep. Okay?”
As they lay back down, Angel wrapped himself around her. Head resting on her shoulder, one arm thrown across her waist.
Cordy wrapped her arm around his and closed her eyes. As she felt his body relax, her body relaxed too.
She’d almost drifted back to sleep when she heard Angel whisper, “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”
Sighing, Cordy opened her mouth to explain, to tell him she loved him too much for leaving to even be an option. But he continued.
“It scares me sometimes when I think about it,” he said, voice tired. Exhausted. “When I think about what I might do.”
Cordelia stilled, drowsiness melting away as she listened to him whisper.
“I don’t think I could live with that kind of pain,” he continued. “Not when I know how to make it go away.”
And Cordy’s heart began to beat a little faster. She held her breath, and waited for the next whisper. Waited for him to explain what he meant-what the hell he meant-by that.
But he never did. Instead, the head on her shoulder grew heavy. The body lying against hers relaxed into the mattress.
He was asleep.
As Cordy stared up at the ceiling, she told herself what Angel said didn’t mean anything. They were the incoherent mumblings of a man who’d just woken from a nightmare and was still half asleep.
But she couldn’t stop thinking of those words.
Not when I know how to make it go away.
And all that they might mean.