The Broken Pieces. 3

Part 3

“Cordelia, I think you’d better tell me what you’re doing here don’t you?” Angel frowned and crossed his arms over his chest. Cordelia swallowed.

Oh crap.

“I’m kinda busy right now Angel so if you don’t mind…” Cordelia tried to close the door again but Angel’s hand joined his boot in refusing to let her shut it.

“Are you going to let me in or am I going to have to break the door down? It’s your choice.” He refused to back down.

“I’m not inviting you in so there’s really no point.” Cordelia refused to meet his gaze, staring intently instead at the thin chain lock that was keeping the world outside.

“I don’t need an invite, it’s not a home Cordelia, it’s a rancid motel.” Angel watched the flash of pain shadow her face for only a moment before her eyes turned indifferent, he could almost see her change in persona.

“Well thank you for clearing that up for me Angel, and here was I thinking it was a penthouse suite at the Ritz.” Cordelia hissed at him. Angel realised he’d said exactly the wrong thing, as usual, but there was no way he was leaving here without an explanation as to what the Sunnydale head cheerleader was doing in a place like this.

“Cordelia….please just let me in.” He pleaded with her. Cordelia had never heard such emotion in the normally stoic vampire’s voice. Granted she hadn’t spent a huge amount of time with Angel, barely knew him in fact, but she realised this was something very uncommon for the vampire.

“Why?” She arched an eyebrow at him in question.

“Because I’m worried about you.” He told her honestly. Cordelia felt her iron resolve slipping away. Angel was worried about her. A man she had scarcely spent more then a few hours with since she’d met him was worried about her. Cordelia couldn’t remember the last time anyone cared like that. Her whirl wind thought process shifted at lightning speed. Why did he care? What did he want in return?

They always want something in return.

“I’m fine.” Cordelia told him frostily. “Goodnight Angel.” She managed to get the door closed this time. Cordelia tried to ignore the way her hands were shaking as she crossed the room to the small bathroom.

When the door crashed in she let out a yelp of surprise.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Cordelia roared at Angel as he kicked the door shut with his foot.

“I gave you a choice Cordelia, let me in or I’d let myself in.” He told her nonchalantly.

“You broke the door! I can’t believe you broke the door! You’re insane!”

“Calm down, I only snapped the chain lock, which looks like it was on its last legs anyway.” Angel said as his gaze wandered around the small room, it was worse than he’d initially thought. “What on earth are you doing in this place Cordelia?”

“It’s none of your business.” She scowled at him, she folded her arms in defiance. Angel tried to ignore the way her arms pushed her chest upwards inside her vest top but failed, he was a man after all.

“Well I’m making it my business.” Angel crossed his arms also.

The vampire and the cheerleader stood off against each other, neither willing to budge an inch. Their postures told of a stubbornness inherent in both of their personalities.

“I’m not leaving.” He declared confidently and he meant it. The tragic image of a scared young woman crying alone in this room engulfed every particle of his being. He couldn’t leave, he’d seen too much.

“How did you know I was here?” She asked him as her brain finally woke up to the fact that no one knew where she was living and yet Buffy Summers vampire boyfriend was standing in front of her demanding answers to questions that were none of his business.

“I followed you home last night.”


“I was worried, you seemed…”

“You’re doing a lot of worrying over a girl you hardly know Angel. Take my advice, don’t. I’m fine and if you ever stalk me again I will tell your girlfriend.”

“I didn’t stalk you, I was just making sure you got home OK, this is the hellmouth you’re living on remember? This is the last place I expected you to be living Cordelia…I thought….”

“What? That I was a spoilt bitch that lived in a mansion with a million servants and Daddy’s gold card?” A manic laugh bubbled up in her throat. “Well Angel, I’m full of surprises. Guess what? I’m a fake, a fraud. My entire life has gone down the crapper and everything I own is in this room, happy now?” The laugh choked into a sob before she could stop it. The vampire instinctively moved towards Cordelia when her armour slipped but the brunette stepped back, her hand outstretched before her, blocking him.

“What do you want?” There was a slight waver in her voice but Cordelia had managed to gain her composure just as quickly as she had lost it. Angel had never seen the girl in such a mess.

“What do you mean….?” He shook his head in confusion.

“What do you want from me? You’ve found out Queen C is slumming it and I don’t buy the ‘I’m worried about you’ bull shit. You want something and I want to know what right the hell now!” She fumed.

“I couldn’t give a fuck if you’re the Queen of England Cordelia, I’m a two hundred and forty one year old vampire and I really couldn’t care less about your social standing in High School. I don’t want anything from you.”

“Then why are you…”

“Because the girl I saw cry herself to sleep last night looked like she needed help.” He told the young woman gently.

“I’m fine.”

“Dammit Cordelia you’re not fine!” Angel roared at her, surprising them both with the intensity of his voice. This wasn’t the vampire’s usual behaviour, he was well aware of that, but in the short amount of time he’d been in the room with her she had infuriated him in a way very few had in a long time.

He watched as Cordelia’s shoulders slump, the same gesture of defeat he’d seen her do last night. Without meeting his eyes she sat down on to the bed that was beside her, her elbows on her knees, her head in her hands. Angel, unsure what to do, moved over to the plastic chair opposite her. The motel room was so small their knees almost touched.

“What happened?” Angel asked her tentatively once the silence had settled so thick it even made him feel uncomfortable. Cordelia finally looked at him, her eyes were red but there were no tears running down her face. When she spoke her voice was raspy and quiet.

“My Dad…he lost everything. The IRS finally caught up with him.”

“Where are your parents?”

“Hiding from the tax man somewhere.” Cordelia shrugged.

“Why didn’t you go with them?” Angel frowned, he didn’t understand why the Chases would leave their daughter behind.

“Because I didn’t. I’ve got a life here….well, I had a life here.”

“You should be with your parents.” He insisted.

“Look Angel, I don’t know where they are OK? Mom and Dad never gave me the choice. They left before I even knew they’d gone. All I got was a scribbled note from my Mom, my car, the few clothes that I could salvage and my dignity. Although it looks like I’ve lost that too.” Cordelia angrily brushed away the tear that was creeping down her face. She couldn’t believe she was crying in front of Angel, couldn’t believe she’d just told him the secret that had hung heavily around her neck for months.

Before Angel knew what he was doing he brushed a stray strand of chocolate hair away from Cordelia’s face and tucked it behind her ear. A tender gesture so uncommon to them both that it was startling in its intensity.

Cordelia shifted her gaze away from the vampires and focused intently on the worn area of the carpet by her feet. Angel sat back in his chair, confused at his action. He shifted in his seat and cleared his throat nervously.

“You…” Angel’s sentence was cut to the quick when the nightly shouting began in the next room, a loud thump drew both their gazes to the wall, Cordelia grimaced when the faded painting rattled under the force of the blow. She closed her eyes when the increasingly familiar voices seeped into her room. Bitch. Bastard. Whore. Pig. She’d fallen asleep every night with these overheard words rattling around her brain. Angel’s lip twitch as the unmistakable smell of blood assaulted his sense.

“You can’t stay here Cordelia.” Angel said forcefully as the shouting continued.

“I don’t have anywhere else to go.” She said vacantly, still staring at the paint peeling wall.

“You must have someone you can stay with.” He said in disbelief.

“I don’t.” Cordelia dismissed him, finally looking at him again.

“Surely if you speak to someone about your situation, maybe Mr Giles….”

“NO! No one can know about this. You have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone about me. Please Angel.” Cordelia hated the way she was begging him, Queen C begged for nothing, but she was desperate.

“OK Cordelia, OK. I won’t tell anyone.” Angel said quickly, brown eyes frenzied with panic pinned him to his seat.

“Promise me.” Cordelia beseeched him.

“I promise.” He nodded in reluctant acquiescence. “But it doesn’t solve the problem.”

Cordelia stood quickly and walked to the door, she fingered the decimated chain lock, Angel was right, it was the only damage done to the door but she would still have to pay for it. Her dwindling bank account would not be happy with her. She heard Angel stand as she opened the door, a cool stream of air whipped in and Cordelia breathed in deeply. It was stuffy and claustrophobic in the motel room but every resident of Sunnydale knew you kept your door shut and locked at night, no matter how much you needed to breathe.

“It’s not your problem to solve Angel.” She said as she turned around to face him. The scared girl that had begged a promise from him seconds ago was replaced with an iron resolve. “It’s late and I have school in the morning, so if you don’t mind.” Cordelia gestured for him to leave.

“I can’t leave you here Cordelia.” Angel joined her at the door, the vehement concern in his words made the cheerleader feel sick and ashamed at herself and her situation.

“What, are you gonna rescue me Angel? Be my knight in shining armour?” She didn’t wait for him to reply and she didn’t need to, the awkward shift of his shoulders and the nervous flick of his eyes spoke more then any words could. “I don’t think so.” Cordelia hustled him through the door, unsure what to do Angel simply let himself be booted out.


“Goodnight Angel.” Cordelia closed the door and flicked the deadbolt before he could blink. So much for vampire reflexes. Through the thin wood he could hear Cordelia’s muffled footsteps as she wandered across the room, then the squeak of springs as she sat down on the bed. Angel leant back against the door with a sigh. He didn’t know what he was doing.

He couldn’t leave her here on her own.

Angel slid down to the grimy floor, crossing his legs at the ankle and wrapping his duster around him.

He couldn’t leave.


The vampire didn’t move until the threat of sunrise forced him into the sewers, with troubled footsteps Angel lumbered back to his apartment to wait for the night.


The roar of the crowd and the familiar pull of her muscles let Cordelia’s mind drift away from her troubles. Focusing on her practised routine and moving in time with her fellow cheerleaders Cordelia was Queen C again for a little while, she blew kisses to the guys playing football, laughed at the fashion mistakes on parade in the stands. For a little while all was normal once again in Cordelia Chase’s world.

Normal until the hair on the back of her neck prickled and she instantly knew he was there watching over her again. Cordelia knew Angel had sat outside her motel room all night, she’d listened to him shift when he was uncomfortable, heard him random muttering obscenities into the night.

Why the vampire had stayed she didn’t know.

Was it pity? Curiosity? A misplaced sense of responsibility on the vampires behalf? Cordelia had no idea but as much as she hated to admit it last night was the best night sleep she’d had ever since her world had crumbled down around her.

Turning around in a circle Cordelia scanned the bleachers for the man she knew was watching her every move. She saw Xander and Willow chatting happily with Giles and Ms Calender but no Angel.

“Whatcha doing Cor?” Aura asked her in between demure sips of her bottled water.

“Huh? Oh….nothing.” Cordelia flashed her a smile. “Just marvelling at the fashion disaster that is Willow Rosenburg.”

“Horrifying isn’t it?” Aura snorted viciously. “You know, if she wore a little make up and stopped wearing those awful corduroy dresses she likes so much….well, she’d still be a loser….”

Cordelia tuned the air head out as she continued her scanning of the crowd. She sucked in a surprised breath when she saw him, she thought he would have hidden in a shadowy corner, skulked as vampires do, so to see him leaning casually against the bleacher railing not ten meters away from her was a little unsettling. Why she hadn’t seen him there already she wasn’t sure.

“I’ll be back in a minute….” Cordelia muttered at a still rambling Aura and strode towards Angel, annoyance oozing out of her every pore.

“Peanut?” Angel offered her when she came to a halt in front of him, her hands on her hips, foot tapping against the ground in irritation. “They’re very good.” He shook the bag invitingly, when she didn’t reply he shrugged and popped another nut in to his mouth.

“I didn’t think vampires ate?” The cheerleader asked him before she could help herself.

“We are a complex people.” Angel’s mouth twitched in what Cordelia thought could either be a smile or indigestion.

“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes at him. “I told you I don’t need a white knight.” Cordelia frowned at him.

“I’m not here to rescue you Cordelia.” He did smile that time. The part of her brain that she refused to listen to told her he had a very nice smile.

“Then why are you here? I doubt you came for the football and ambience.” Cordelia arched an eyebrow at him.

“I made a decision last night.” Angel screwed up the peanut bag and threw it with disturbing accuracy in the trash bin.

“Good for you.” She fluffed her bangs out of her eyes in a clear sign of boredom. It didn’t phase Angel though, he knew this was just another act. He’d seen the real Cordelia Chase.

“Do you want to know what the decision was?”

“What I want is for you to stop stalking me.”

“I decided.” Angel ignored her. “That you and I are going to be friends.”

“I don’t need….”

“Tough. Get use to it. We’re friends.” Angel dismissed the argument that was heading his way. “They’re starting without you. ” He nodded over to where her squad were lining up for the next routine. Cordelia’s head turned from the vampire to the field and back again. She was torn between losing herself in her cheers and shouting at the frustrating vampire that had decided to play the big brother act with her.

“You’re infuriating.” Cordelia scowled at him then turned on her heel and strode back to the field. Angel tried not to watch the way her hips moved as she walked. He failed.

“See you later friend.” Angel called out to her. Cordelia flipped him the finger making Angel laugh loudly. Twice in as many days that had happened, it even worried him.

Angel had spent the day pacing his small apartment, trying to think up ways to convince Cordelia that she needed to tell someone about her situation, let some one help her. It had taken him a while to figure out the fact that she had told someone.


In his gloomy apartment, as he waited for the damn sun to set, Angel had decided that he was going to help Cordelia Chase whether she liked it or not.

Part 4

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