She stood in the office, smiling as Dawn, Anya, Willow and Tara cooed over Connor. If she didn’t know any better, she’d have said both Buffy and Xander were standing brooding in the corner.
Slowly, the brunette turned back towards Angel and smiled, “So? Talk…”
“Cordelia, I…” It wasn’t that he was nervous per se it was just that Angel was completely, totally and utterly dreading telling her the thing that would, like it or not, affect her life in the biggest way possible.
“Look, whatever it is? Just say it…” Said Cordelia, watching him carefully. His eyes were dark, pensive – kept drifting to Buffy and the others, and then back again. “Angel…”
“I know.” He nodded, “I know I have to tell you, I just… Don’t know how.” His gaze cast downwards for a moment and Angel searched the top of his desk for the answer, of course, not finding. “I – It’s not – It’s… Complicated.”
“And who does complicated better than me?” She asked with a bright smile. Cordelia met his eyes, her own open, trusting – his guarded almost, as if he didn’t want anyone to see what was behind them. He’d perfected 250 years of guarded, even expressions – only to have them blasted apart by Cordelia in the three years he’d spent with her in Los Angeles.
When he brooded, she knew… When, what she affectionally called ‘Dork Angel’ was in full effect, Cordelia knew. He should have been worried, no one should know *that* much about a person. Instead, Angel loved it… She held the key to his heart and there was no way would he take it away again.
“It’s about my soul…” He said gently, watching as she rolled her eyes, “What?”
“Stop being all cryptic… I’m getting worried.” It showed. Her own eyes were dark, a trickle of light falling through that had previously been reserved for when visions had hurt and Cordelia had left the room, leaving Angel to bathe in the River of Denial…
“We’ve never actually… Y’knowed… Have we?”
“Y’knowed?” Cordelia looked at him, puzzled, “What does tha- ohhh…”
The vampire approximation of a blush involved Angel looking away, mildly embarrassed. “Yeah,” He nodded, “Oh…”
“Well, no… I guess we haven’t.” Said Cordelia, “I mean we’ve gotten close but… Well, y’know.”
“Curses…” Finished Angel. Truth was over the past few weeks he and Cordelia had come very close to getting groiny with one another, spurring Angel to do something about it. The last thing he wanted was Angelus harming his son, Cordelia – his friends.
“I-I went to see someone. A woman, she uhm… She specialises in all sorts of demon stuff and it was just… I mean, nobodies saying we-” Again, he faltered. If this was simple, something as simple as perhaps a potion – then he’d just say it and then it would be over with.
But what he was asking of Cordelia was something bigger than that. Bigger than anything Angel would ever ask anyone to give of themselves.
“Angel? While one of us is young?” Cordelia frowned, “I want to go play with Connor!” Cordelia, jealous of the fact that Connor was getting bounced by every female in the hotel BUT her and Buffy, was getting impatient. “Angellll…” She whined, “Come ON…”
Angel knew then. He knew then that yes, what he was asking of her was a big deal – but he also knew that he loved her enough to want to spend the rest of his life with her. That this was right, that they belonged together, that the decision he’d made – though not easy, was the right one.
“There’s a spell that I can do. Get rid of Angelus once and for all. It involves joining with some- with you. It involves you anchoring your soul with mine. The plus side? Some of your demon transition phase would be passed to me. I guess the disadvantages would be-“
“What?” Angel looked at her, really looked at her, “Cordelia, this isn’t as simple as a ‘demonise me already’ there are side effects and-“
“I said okay – Angel, look, I didn’t have to think about becoming a demon. It wasn’t the mission, or it wasn’t *just* the mission, it was you too. I didn’t want to leave you. And while we’re playing the game of ‘Will They, Won’t They’ on the groiny front, the chances are, we could lose you too.
Already, we have two plus sides – less demon-transition suckiness for me, no threat of Angelus for you. Even with the vision pain, the good always outweighed the bad, Angel, it still does…” She said softly.
“Just hear me out for a second, please?” He asked. He didn’t want her jumping into this not knowing what would happen. How could he forgive himself if three months down the line Cordelia regretted it?
“With our souls joined, it means that… Well, there’ll be memories, things I’m not proud of. You might remember them… Might see them? Memories of Angelus – if those were to come up then…”
He faltered and Cordelia knew exactly what he was thinking, “If those were to come up, maybe I’d love you less?”
Angel’s gaze left hers and Cordelia reached up, placed her hand on his cheek, “Nothing Angelus did or can do, will make me fall out of love with you. What happened with him was in the past, you make up for that every day. A couple of memories isn’t going to make that any different – plus, does it work both ways? Do you get my memories too?”
“I think so,” Admitted Angel, softly.
“Then the road to redemption really is a rocky path. You do know what you’re letting yourself in for, right? I mean, come on – memories of Harmony? Are you sure YOU want to go into this?”
Despite himself, Angel chuckled and shook his head, watching as a smile passed across her face. “You always do that,” He whispered.
“Get me to smile,” Reaching up, he pushed a strand of her hair back from her face, “Even when I don’t want to.”
“It’s a substantial gift.” Cordelia smiled as Angel’s hand placed against her cheek and gently, she turned into it, pressing a tender kiss against his palm.
For all the world, she looked peaceful, like a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders and Angel moved, intending on capturing her lips with his when an almighty crash resounded in the lobby.
“Angel! Get your big undead butt in here!” Called Xander, having been tossed unequivocally across the interior of the hotel.
They both moved, spurred into action by Xander’s derogatory comment – into the lobby where said Purple demons from Cordelia’s vision had infiltrated the hotel – one of them being assaulted by Buffy.
“I can kill this, right?” Called Buffy. It seemed LA was getting worse for how many demons you couldn’t kill, when she’d thought Sunnydale was bad. Maybe they should start making lists…
Number one – Spiny looking demon, eats mould.
Number two – …
And so on. Buffy didn’t really have time to compile her list, she was too busy getting hammered by a demon. “Help.. Would… Be… Good…” She coughed, not seeing as the brunette she loved to hate slammed a sword into the back of the demon…
Propelled backwards, Buffy was knocked next to Xander – compelled only to watch as Cordelia helped Angel (quite skillfully, actually)…