Title: My Senior Year
Category: BtVS 3
Content: C/A, B/A, C/X, W/O
Summary: This is a response to AngelLuver’s challenge. It takes place in season 3 of BTVS and everything in seasons 1 & 2 have happened.
Spoilers: BTVS S1&2, S3 up to “Band Candy”
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: GTFA, Nothing Fancy and anyone who asks.
Notes: This story starts during “Enemies”. The first two lines are direct quotes. If you’re wondering about the episodes in between, “Bad Girls” and “Helpless” happened (for the most part). I plan to pick and choose what goes into my AU.
Notes 2: To clear things up a bit – Faith is bad and she joined forces with the Mayor. Cordelia and Xander are still dating. Willow and Oz are dating. Xander and Willow are just friends (for now). Angel has remained in seclusion at the mansion except for when he pretended to be Angelus. The Scoobies have barely seen him. He is weak and trying to recover from hell. Ooh, Mr. Chase has been paying his taxes.
Notes 3: I have NEVER been an B/A shipper. Given the time frame of this challenge, I will do my best to respect what they had BUT this is a C/A fic. Buffy will NOT get Angel and I don’t plan to fix her up with someone else to soften the blow. For those of you who were B/A shippers before ATS, be warned some of your favorite B/A moments are going to be rewritten with a C/A spin.
Notes 4: *Internal thoughts*; *Overheard internal thoughts* I hope it isn’t too confusing.
Notes 5: I’m doing my ‘aspect of the demon’ very differently than the show. It’s my AU. Just go with it. I’m also going to be jumping around in time a lot more.
Dedication: For AngelLuver, whose challenge inspired me and Kelly22. Challenge at bottom of page,
“I feel so much better knowing that he broke my face in a “good” way. It’s a “good” bruise.”
“He was only acting, Xander.”
“I don’t get it. You said Angel was all weak and pathetic. Why would the Mayor even want him?”
“How weak can he be? Look what he did to my face.”
“Oh please Xander! I could do that to your face.”
“How about some sympathy here? You’re supposed to be my girlfriend.”
Cordelia reached over to pat Xander on the back but looked at Buffy. “So is he weak or what? Even if he is strong again, why would the Mayor want him soulless? Angelus wasn’t exactly a team player.”
“I never said Angel was pathetic and I don’t know why the Mayor wanted him. Faith’s intentions were pretty clear.” She shook her head to banish the mental image. “We found out the ascension is on graduation day. That’s what we need to focus on.”
“Look I don’t know! Maybe he figured a weak Angelus would be a controllable one. Maybe he wanted to make sure Angel wouldn’t be against him come graduation day. Angel will get better, you know. Maybe he thought he could help Angelus get strong so he would keep me distracted while the Mayor ascends!”
“Those actually made sense.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. That was as close to a compliment as Cordelia got. “Angel is still weak. I think it might help his recovery if he got out more.”
“He can start hunting again, ’cause that was so much fun the last time.”
“Xander!” Willow gave him her angry face.
“I thought he could come here and help with research.”
“Come on Xander. He needs to do something. I can’t take him patrolling with me. This way I can still keep an eye on him. I don’t know if the Mayor or Faith will try anything else.”
“But thanks to the Mayor, we know there are demons who can remove Angel’s soul. We’re lucky Giles introduced this one to his wife. What about the next time? I was all for being supportive when we thought Angelus was gone for good, but…”
“I’m sorry. I must have blinked while you were being supportive.”
“Okay Buff. Supportive may have been a little strong, but..”
“Nothing’s changed. Angel has his soul and thanks to Willow, it’s gonna stay that way.”
“Miss Calender is the one who translated the spell and changed it. She’s the one you should be thanking. Oh wait. You can’t. Angel killed her. I guess there wasn’t a hallmark to fit the occasion. Nothing says thank you like a broken neck.”
“Xander, that is enough!” The teenagers hadn’t noticed Giles and Wesley’s return. “It’s getting late. We can begin researching tomorrow after your classes have finished. We have an ascension to stop.”
“Mr. Giles, I’d like to remind..” Wesley’s words trailed off when everyone got up and walked out. “I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
“Are you okay, Buffy? Xander was being a butthead again.”
“I’m getting used to it.” She rubbed the back of her neck. “He’s got his reasons for hating Angel. I know he’s afraid the horror story that is my life will happen all over again.”
“But my spell?”
“I know but..the Mayor’s plan would’ve worked if that..guy hadn’t owed Giles a favor.”
“God Will! He was so convincing tonight, watching him kiss Faith, those things he said to me..”
“He was acting.”
“I know. Angel was just pretending.” Buffy looked at the redhead with pleading eyes. “He didn’t even flinch. He was so convincing. It makes me wonder if Angelus is really gone.”
“How could he be him so easily? According to Xander, Angel hit him without even breaking stride.”
“Yeah but he’s probably wanted to do that for a long time.”
Buffy giggled. “So you think I’m being silly?”
“Maybe you should talk to Angel about this.”
“I tried. Sort of. He only did it because I asked him to. It’s not exactly fair to yell at him for doing a good job.”
“Sounds to me like you’re not over what happened before.”
“How can I be? He killed Miss Calender. He tried to kill you, Xander, my mother..”
“But that was Angelus.”
“My head knows that but my heart..is terrified of letting him back in. We should be happy. There’s no more happiness clause in his curse. We should be able to pick up right where we left off, right?”
“Well, you’re not the same girl you were on your seventeenth birthday. You’ve changed.”
“I know, so has he. You didn’t see him when he first got back. He was..practically an animal. I mean he’s better now. He’s not so..insane but he’s different.”
“He was in hell, Buffy.”
“I know that. I sent him there.”
“He didn’t exactly give you a choice.”
“Yeah but I need to help him. He’s so closed off. We don’t talk. Well, I talk. He just listens. We don’t have conversations. God, he and Faith talked more than we have!”
“He was pretending to be Angelus and Angelus was kinda…chatty.”
“Don’t remind me.” She looked into Willow’s eyes. “I was hoping if he came to the library to research, it might help him be more..Angel-like.”
Willow looked skeptical. “You think we can help him be…Angel.”
“Not exactly. Angel was never social. When he first showed up, he was the sexy, mysterious, cryptic guy. Then he started helping me and we fell in love. I was kinda hoping to do it again. He’s not strong enough to help with the fighting but he knows a lot. He can help by researching. Maybe if he feels useful, he could be his old self and we can fall in love all over again. I don’t know how else to help him.”
“Talking might help.”
“This is Angel. He doesn’t do ‘talking’.”
“I’ll do what I can to help.”
“I doubt he’d talk to you either.”
“I meant I can help keep Xander in line.”
“That’d be great.”
“That’s what best friends are for.”
“Oh..umm..he had practice.” Willow was still surprised whenever Cordelia Chase actually thought about someone other than herself.
“So when’s deadboy supposed to get here?”
“Xander, you promised to be good.”
“I said I’d try. Besides it’s not like he’s here yet.”
“Buffy was going to meet him at the mansion and walk him here. She’s still a little afraid that Faith might try something.”
“So am I. I don’t want to have to deal with Angelus again.”
“And just for the record, if he hits me again, I’m staking him, soul or no soul.”
“Like you did last night?”
“I thought we went over this. You are MY girlfriend so you’re supposed to be on MY side.”
“Sorry. I forgot.” Cordelia glanced at the office. “Do you guys think Giles is going to come out of his office or do you think he’ll hide in there all night?”
“What do you mean? He’s not hiding. Giles does not hide. He’s reading. He probably doesn’t want to be distracted by Xander’s bad jokes.”
“I’m only teasing.”
“We’re here!” Buffy and Angel walked through the library doors.
Xander looked at Willow then back at the vampire. *This is going to be harder than I thought* “I’m hungry. I think I’ll go on a food run.”
Buffy sent Willow a knowing look. Willow gave her a small nod. “I’ll come with you. There’s safety in numbers.”
“Sure. Let’s go.”
Buffy pulled Angel further into the library. “Where’s Giles?”
Cordelia looked up from her book. “He’s hiding in his office.”
“I am not hiding.” Giles remained in his doorway. He focused solely on Buffy. “I think you should begin your patrol early.”
Wesley walked in just as Giles spoke. “I thought we discussed this Mr. Giles. I am Buffy’s watcher now. You really must respect my authority.”
“I’m so dreadfully sorry.”
“You’re forgiven.” Giles rolled his eyes as he closed his office door.
“Oh..umm..I think you should begin your patrol early and I intend to go along and supervise. Now that Faith has gone rogue, you will need to be in top form. It is time to take your duty more seriously. You cannot allow yourself to be distracted by trivial matters.” He glanced at Angel with distaste.
“My life is not trivial. Angel, why don’t you help Cordelia research while I patrol. Xander and Willow will be back soon.” She hated to make him spend time alone with Cordelia.
Angel silently sat at the table and selected a tome from the pile. He watched Buffy and her new watcher leave.
Cordelia sat quietly while everyone left her one by one. She stared at the silent figure across from her. She huffed. “I’m finding it hard not to take it personally that I’m the one who gets left alone with a former vicious killer.” Angel didn’t even blink.
“So what’s it like to be back at Sunnydale High? I mean you tried to kill Willow here. You did kill Miss Calender. You had Giles kidnapped from this very room, so you could torture him for information. It’s gotta be weird.”
Angel didn’t move except to turn the page.
“So what’s hell like? Is it all fire and brimstone? Hot pokers?”
“Did they force you to listen to that horrible music Giles likes? Or disco? Did they make you wear those shoes with the fish swimming around in them?”
“Was it like that Sisyphus guy pushing his boulder up that hill? Or that Tantalus guy with his receding pool of water and elusive fruit, though for you a pool of blood would be food and drink?”
“Buffy says you’re pretty weak. You look pale. I mean even paler than usual. The black on black wardrobe doesn’t exactly help. So are you like weak for a vampire or are we talking Xander-weak?” She noticed the corners of his mouth twitched up.
“Wow. That was almost a smile. It’s a good thing you’re sitting. That probably took most of your energy?” She smiled at him.
Angel finally looked up from his book. “I’m not back to full strength yet.”
“But you can still break Xander’s face?”
“I’m sorry about that. I was pretending to be evil.”
“Pfft. You probably enjoyed hitting him. I’m dating Xander and I want to hit him half the time.”
Angel almost smiled. “I never said I didn’t enjoy it.” His expression darkened. “It’s really hard being here.” He glanced at the office. “I shouldn’t be welcome here.”
“You have someplace better to be?”
“No. It’s just…I tried to kill all of you.”
“Duh. Like I’d forget that. I remember watching you throw Xander out of a second story window.”
“I never did understand why Druscilla stopped me…or why there was a mob of girls after him.”
“Oh that. I broke up with Xander and he didn’t take it very well. He asked Amy to cast a spell on me so I’d fall madly in love with him and then he could dump me. Only it went kaplooey and every female except me was affected. Seeing Mrs. Summers hit on Xander still gives me the wiggins. It was completely nuts. They tried to kill me because I hurt Xander.”
“And you’re dating him now?”
“I thought it was kind of sweet..in a sad, demented kind of way.”
“Plus it was partially my fault. I didn’t want to break up with him in the first place. I only did it because my so-called friends wanted me to. Eventually I remembered that Cordelia Chase is no sheep. If I want to date a dork, I’ll date a dork.”
Angel stared at the cheerleader who used to flirt with him. She seemed different. The memory of her terrified face when he’d tackled her to the ground flashed in his mind. His fangs had been inches from her throat.
“Hello? You awake? You’re staring.”
“S’okay as long as you’re not staring at my neck.”
“I’m sorry, Cordelia.”
“I said it was okay. Staring is hardly a criminal offense. A bit creepy maybe.”
“I meant I’m sorry for trying to kill you.”
She studied him for a moment. “You’re forgiven.”
“What? You can’t..I mean..how can you..”
“Look I don’t know if anyone’s ever explained the whole forgiveness thing to you but the victim is the one who gets to decide if his or her attacker can be forgiven. You, the attacker, only get to decide whether or not you want to be forgiven. You apologized. Then it’s my decision whether or not to accept your apology. I chose to accept it, hence I forgive you.”
Angel realized Cordelia was being sincere. “But how can you just forgive me like that?”
“Do you have any idea how many times someone or something has tried to kill me? I’ve had invisible stalkers, guys who wanted to cut my head off and sew it on another body so I would be his girlfriend, I was almost drained at the Bronze so the Master could rise not that I knew the purpose at the time, I was almost sacrificed so the Master could come back from the dead, I was attacked by a guy in a halloween costume, I was offered to a reptile thing by frat boys with serious issues, I was nearly killed by my classmates for dumping Xander, I was hunted by a bunch of wackos because they thought I was Faith and we can’t forget about the random vampires who just thought I looked tasty or the zombies who crashed Buffy’s welcome home party.”
She was nearly out of breath when she finished. “I seem to have ‘hey if you’re looking for a victim, pick me’ tattooed on my forehead.”
“It must be written in small print.”
“Oh my god! Did you just make a funny? Do you need to rest? Should I get you some water or something? You can’t have any of my blood but I’ll let you bite Xander when he gets back.”
He smiled. “I’m okay but thanks for the offer.”
“Seriously though, I’ve had so many attempts on my life and you’re the first person to ever apologize. Even Chris, a human, who considered chopping my head off before his conscience kicked in, didn’t apologize. Your apology means something to me. So..you’re forgiven.”
“You’re welcome. I don’t know about you but all this talking has made me thirsty. I’m gonna go get a soda. Do you want one?”
“I’ll be right back.” She closed her book and stood.
“Wait. Maybe I should go with you. You never know what might be lurking in the halls.”
“You’re the expert.”
Angel absently noticed how beautiful Cordelia’s smile was. He couldn’t resist returning it.
“Since you’re not at full strength yet, are you protecting me or am I protecting you?” Angel laughed. She almost tripped when she heard it.
“How about we protect each other?”
“Okay but I should warn you. If I break a nail, it’s gonna take more than an apology for you to be forgiven. It may require presents.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Just a sec.” Cordelia left Angel in the doorway and went into Giles’s office. “Do you want a soda?”
“No thank you.”
She studied the older man. He looked tired. “Are you okay?”
“C’mon Giles. This is me. You don’t have to be stiff upper lip guy for me.”
Giles sighed. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “It’s difficult being near him but for Buffy’s sake I’ll try.”
“She doesn’t deserve you.”
“I’m just sayin’.” She winked at him. “We’ll be right back.”
“Cordelia, I don’t..”
“I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”
“Aren’t all men a little dangerous, Ripper?” She smiled at him as she closed the door. “Ready?”
Angel did his best to look like someone who hadn’t been eavesdropping. It wasn’t his fault. Vampire hearing plus open door equaled overheard conversation.
“Hello? I asked if you were ready.”
“Sorry. I’m ready.”
She muttered under her breath, “Dork”.
“Did you just call me a dork?”
“Yes. You wanna make something of it?” She raised her fists.
Angel laughed. It was a deep, rich laugh. “I don’t want to risk your wrath. You might break a nail.”
She smiled. “You know, Angel. You’re smarter than you look.”
“That’s funny. I thought the same thing about you earlier. I would’ve never guessed you knew who Sisyphus and Tantalus were.”
“Hey! I read. Do I look blond to you?” Cordelia hooked her arm with Angel’s. “Come on. My soda isn’t going to grow legs and come to me.”
“Don’t say that! This is the hellmouth.”
There combined laughter could be heard in the halls.
~ Angel’s soul was made permanent by Willow’s spell.
~ Angel is still weak and not fully recovered from his little vacation in hell.
~ Because of his weakness, Angel is mostly assigned to “research duty” by the Scoobies (possibly with Cordy, cause they don’t think too much of her at this point).
~ What happened in the Library scene in Becoming pt. 1 has given Cordy a new perspective, hence she is not as bitchy (keywords “not as”).
~ The whole essence of the demon in Earshot happens to Angel, not Buffy, hence he hears Cordy’s thoughts (possible naughty?), and how the Scoobies really feel about him since his return.