Taken. 4a


Gunn ripped his eyes away from Buffy and the broken window, turning back to Wesley, Xander and an unconscious Cordelia. He dropped his crossbow at the sight of her bruised and broken form.

“Good Lord.” Wesley managed, taking a good look at Cordy, his eyes strangely red at the sight of his friend.

Xander bit his lip. “What the hell did they do – ”

“Guys,” Gunn interrupted, his eyes glistening. He came forward and placed both arms under Cordelia. “We have to get her to a hospital. Xander, hold her head.”

Xander nodded, doing as he was told, and Wesley picked up his crossbow, holding it cautiously. Together, the three of them lifted Cordelia and gently carried her through the open door, down the stairs and out of the shed.


Spike stood as still as a stone statue, staring at the sight before him. His eyes were wide, as thought he was staring at a ghost and he knew, had he possessed a heart it would have been hammering in his chest.

“Oh!” Drusilla’s eyes sparkled. “My favourite soldier.”

“Dru…” The crossbow suddenly felt heavy in his arms and he lowered it to his side. Contrasting emotions were rushing through his veins at the speed of lightning. It had been so long since he had seen her, so long since he had thought about the way he’d once felt…

“William,” Drusilla whispered, “Oh William, I want to kiss you.”

Spike shakily raised his crossbow once again. “Don’t.”

Drusilla pouted, taking a few, slow steps forward. “Oh my pet,” she paused, the crossbow inches away from her, sliding her fingers over the horizontal bar, “are you going to hurt me?” She giggled.

Spike swallowed, remaining silent.

“Do you really *want* to hurt me?” She asked, palming his cheek. Slowly, gently, almost as if taking candy from a baby, she pushed the crossbow aside, kept pushing until – she smiled when it hit the floor. She moved closer, barely inches between them now.

“Oh my sweet,” Drusilla crooned, trailing a finger lightly down the side of his face, “you never had it in your deadly, dark heart to do it.” She kissed his mouth, a barely there press of her lips against his. Spike stared at her, frozen, seemingly mesmerised and horrified all at once. “You could never hurt me.”

“Maybe he couldn’t,” Buffy’s voice behind her caught Drusilla off guard and she spun around, “but I sure as hell can.” The slayer lunged at her and Drusilla growled, roughly pushing Spike away. He slammed into the window of the shed, losing his balance and smashing through the glass.


The two women met halfway, landing in a tangle of flaying limbs on the ground of the shed. Buffy spared a concerned look over her shoulder, unable to see Spike. Turning quickly back to the fight, she threw a punch, catching Drusilla square in the jaw. The vampire screeched, lashing out with her nails, digging four deep red streaks into Buffy’s throat.

Buffy yelped in pain and rolled away, one hand on her bleeding neck, the other reaching for the stake in her pocket. Drusilla kicked her arm before she had the chance and Buffy grunted, catching Drusilla’s ankle in her hand when the vampire tried to kick her again. Anger, jealousy and adrenaline ran through her and with all her strength, she crushed the thin bone beneath her palm.

Drusilla screamed in agony, kicking out with her good leg. Her boot collided with Buffy’s shin and the slayer groaned, flipping over and getting to her feet. Drusilla curled into herself, gathering her broken ankle as close to her chest as she could.

Buffy circled her, removing the stake from her pocket. Drusilla straightened, still prone on the floor, her dark eyes glaring with hate. She lifted her nails, still stained with Buffy’s blood and sucked one of them into her mouth. Buffy’s mouth curled into a thin line, her face showing repulsion.

“Mmm,” Drusilla murmured, closing her eyes, “Slayer blood tastes like wine. The most delicious.”

“Enjoy it Drusilla.” Buffy replied scathingly. “You’re never getting any more.”

Drusilla laughed loudly, looking every bit the deranged vampire she was reputed to be. “Silly rabbit. Do you really think he could ever love you more than he loves me?”

Buffy ignored the pang in her heart. “Loved, Drusilla. As in past tense. And considering you were both evil at the time and you’re still a psycho bitch, yeah, I really do think he could,”

Drusilla growled. “Mummy doesn’t share her soldiers!”

Buffy resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Ya know, you’d think living over a hundred years would teach you a thing or two about men. Like the fact that they don’t like needy women. But clearly, you’ve got it bad. So as a woman, I’m gonna do you a favour.” She flipped the stake in her hand, walking forward. “I’m gonna put you out of your misery.” She raised her arm high and dove, prepared to bring the stake down.

She wasn’t prepared for Drusilla’s next move.

Suddenly, the vampire miraculously raised both her legs and caught Buffy in the stomach, hard. The move winded her only slightly, but before she could recover, Drusilla used all the weight in her legs, both good and bad, to pull her off the floor, throwing her body over her head.

Buffy felt the world spin, seconds before she crashed headfirst into the wall of the shed. Some of it gave out beneath her weight and she cried out, grabbing her head in pain as bits of broken wood and debris collapsed over her. Something hard hit her head and she felt dizzy, disorientated. She attempted to move but her body felt too heavy, and something hurt. She couldn’t determine what.

Drusilla got to her feet, limping slightly but looking no worse for the wear. She licked her fingers again, her smile deadly. “Slayer’s blood *heals* the best too.”

Buffy groaned, pressing her fingers against her forehead, trying to stop the spinning. She could see Drusilla a few feet away, though her sight was strangely blurry. Drusilla stalked forward, grabbing Buffy roughly by the hair and yanking her up.

“Aah – ” Buffy whimpered at the sharp pain that spread over her scalp as the vampire’s nails dug in deep. Her head spun and she reared her fist back but Drusilla curled her free hand around her throat, squeezing tight. Spots appeared behind Buffy’s eyes and she kicked out, catching Drusilla in the shin. Drusilla grunted but didn’t loosen her hold. Buffy’s face contorted in repulsion when Drusilla ran her tongue over the side of her face. Then she turned her head and spat, glaring at Buffy with golden eyes.

“I despise slayers.” She hissed.

“Yeah, well,” Buffy croaked out, struggling with the lack of air, “the feeling’s mutual.”

Drusilla’s hold tightened and she nuzzled Buffy’s neck. “Spike’s pretty little toy.” She looked up, licking her fangs. “Where is your shining prince now? Doesn’t he love you?” Without warning, she sharply pulled Buffy’s head back, making her eyes water. “Well, you shall be *my* favourite kill.”

She reared her head back, fangs bared, set to strike – and froze.

Drusilla’s hold on her loosened and Buffy stumbled slightly, grabbing at the wall. Drusilla stared at her, horrified. Buffy looked down at the arrow protruding from Drusilla’s chest, not quite through her heart but just below. The vampire turned, staring in shock and heartbreak at the figure behind her.

Spike stood a few feet away, a crossbow held firmly in his arms, pointed straight at Drusilla. His expression was stone serious but his eyes gave him away. They held turmoil, anger and resolution all at once and Buffy didn’t know whether to sigh in relief, run in fear or cry at the unfairness of it all.

“There you are.” Drusilla whimpered. “My sweet, beloved William, how you glow for me…”

There was a long pause and Spike swallowed, his voice low, as though he were struggling to speak. “You made me who I was Dru. And I loved you.”

“Yes,” Drusilla whispered, “you love *me*.”

“No.” Spike shook his head, his eyes sad. “I loved you. And a part of me always will but Buffy…” he caught Buffy’s eye and she felt a tear slip down her cheek, her fear dissipating instantly. “She’s made me who I *am*. And I love her.”

“Her?” Drusilla screeched. “That filthy slayer?” Buffy winced as the wound in Drusilla’s chest tore a little deeper. “Liar!”

“No.” Spike said, his voice suddenly losing all emotion. Buffy wondered if it was an attempt at not falling apart. He tightened his hold on the crossbow. “I love her. And I wont let you hurt her or yourself any more.”

“You love me…” Drusilla murmured, more as though to reassure herself than anything else.

“Goodbye Dru.” Spike pulled the trigger, releasing the arrow. It sliced through the air, imbedding itself deep in Drusilla’s chest. Her body jerked but her sad, bewildered gaze never left his.

“You’ve broken my heart, William.” Drusilla whispered.

And then, all that was left of her was dust.

Spike released a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, dropping the crossbow and nearly falling to his knees. He’d done it. He’d killed her. The one person he could never bring himself to destroy and now she was gone for all eternity. And yet, he felt a certain peace. And a wave of relief that she hadn’t been able to hurt –

“Buffy!” He cried out, hurrying over to her, wrapping his arms around her in a sturdy grip and drawing her to him. There was a nasty cut on her head and her arms were slightly bruised but she’d be fine. He heaved a sigh of relief. “God, you scared me – ”

“I scared you?” Buffy yelped, the relief in her rousing the energy she had left. “I scared – you know what? Shut up.”

Spike stared at her in shock for a few seconds. Then he chuckled and pulled her close, kissing her breathless. “I love you.”

She sighed against his lips, relaxing into him. “I know.” Her arms tightened around his waist. “I love you too.”

He smiled, his eyes lazily roaming around the now empty shed. Suddenly, his smile faded. “Oh bugger, Darla!”


“You bastard!”

Darla elbowed Angel in the face and he released his hold on her, grabbing his nose.

“I made you what you are!” She screamed, eyes blazing gold in the dark. “And this is the thanks I get?”

“Well yeah.” Angel said dispassionately, catching the fist she threw at him in his palm and yanking her forward. “That and *this*!” He jerked his head, crashing his forehead violently against hers. Darla groaned and grabbed her head, a low growl vibrating through her.

“I tried to save you, Darla.” Angel said lowly, his fists clenching at his side. “And I’m sorry that I couldn’t. I’m sorry that I couldn’t destroy you and save your soul.”

“Don’t be.” Darla seethed. “I’m glad I lived long enough to see that little bitch of yours tortured to death.”

Anger roared on a leash inside him but he continued, his voice calm. “I couldn’t kill you then but I promised Cordelia if you ever hurt a single hair on her head, I’d make sure you’d never do it again.” His glare was steady, determined. “And I intend to keep that promise.”

Darla laughed, releasing her head. “Look at yourself Angelus. What have you come to? You’re a shell of what you were – a shell of what I’m sorry I ever created.” She circled him, smiling when he tensed. “You’re just a pathetic do – gooder.”

“Maybe.” Angel said softly. “But I have someone who loves me for it.”

That shut Darla up. Angel turned to face her, his glare still firmly in place. “You wanna talk about how the mighty have fallen, Darla? Take a good look in the mirror.” He chuckled mirthlessly. “You have nothing, no – one, and you can bet your ass I’m gonna make sure you have no future.”

For a few seconds, Darla stared at him with unmistakable hatred in her eyes. Then without warning, she screeched, lunging at him.

Her fist pummelled into his stomach and he doubled over, clutching it in pain. Before he had a chance to recover, she slammed her elbow down on his back, sending him sprawling down onto the sand. Hurriedly, Angel grabbed a handful of sand and rolled over, throwing it in her face as she pounced. Darla howled, reeling back and frantically clawing it out of her eyes.

Angel was quick, kicking her legs out from under her and leaping to his feet, stalking forward. He whipped out the stake in his pocket and raised his arm, just as Darla recovered and kicked upwards, the heel of her boot connecting with his wrist.

He yelped and dropped the stake, his other hand swiftly grabbing her by the hair and pulling her up. Darla snarled and spat like a cat, scratching down his arm and kneeing him in the shin. Angel growled but let go of her, throwing her several feet through the air so that she landed head first on the sand.

She spat sand out of her mouth, her lips pulled into a furious, thin line. Almost immediately she was up again, racing towards him. He dodged the first hit but the second caught him in the face, knocking him back. Reflexively, he lashed out, his boot connecting with flesh. He wasn’t sure what he hit but Darla cried out, keeling over momentarily.

Angel ran his fingers over his lips, pulling them away to find them stained with blood. The wind swirled animatedly around them and for a split second there was peace. Then he heard laughing, and for a moment he thought he’d imagined it. But then he saw Darla grinning manically at him from her precarious position.

“Don’t you want to hear about your little Cordelia?” She taunted. “I have to give credit where it’s due Angel, you always did love a powerful woman, didn’t you? Such strength…made it all the better to break.”

Angel gritted his teeth.

“Aah, the sweet sound of torture.” Darla mused. “She’s a screamer. Then again, all that biting, and burning, and scratching, and whipping…that’ll do that to a girl. You always liked whips, didn’t you Angelus?”

It seemed to hit him all at once – all the horrific things they must have done to *his* Cordy, all the agony they must have put her through. He could picture it all and it was too much. Tears stung at Angel’s eyes but he blinked them back, not wanting to give Darla the satisfaction.

“You BITCH.”

Darla cackled. “Sticks and stones, dear boy.” She straightened slowly. “Maybe if you had turned up earlier, you could have joined in. I think you’d have enjoyed it.” She smiled, strolling unhurriedly towards him. Angel has time to notice her lip was bleeding and she staggered a little.

“I told her you know, about our secret night. Broke her golden little heart, poor thing.” Darla’s voice was amused, far from sympathetic. “She had *no* idea…”

Blind rage and panic crackled through his veins and exploded like a blazing inferno and though it pounded through him, Angel never showed it in his expression. His eyes harboured a blankness that Darla recognised – the same look he’d had when he’d grabbed her and shoved her roughly against his bedroom wall.

Her eyes widened as he pulled his coat back, undoing his belt and pulling it free from the loops. His face was calm, too calm, as he reared it back, his eyes burning bright with vengeance. Then with a roar that made the waves shudder and crash against the shore, Angel lashed out, bringing the belt down hard onto Darla’s body.

The scream that tore out of her throat was bloodcurdling and Angel flinched for a split second before he released the belt again, slapping it brutally across her skin.

Rage shadowed rationality and he repeated the action again and again and again – until the wrath inside him slowly began to subside. Angel grabbed both ends of the belt and speedily wrapped them around Darla’s throat, pulling her against him.

“Never, EVER come at me through Cordelia.”

Her skin was red with abrasions and tears streamed down Darla’s face from the abuse, but he could also smell the faint scent of arousal. Disgusted, Angel shoved her away. Darla caught herself before she fell, her gaze landing on Angel’s abandoned stake. In the blink of an eye she’d grabbed it, clutching it between her fingers as she moved slowly towards him.

“We were great together, Angelus.” She said bitterly. “We could have lived it all again.”

Angel didn’t blink. “I’d rather die.”

“That can be arranged.” Darla snarled, hurling herself forward.

Angel curled his fingers around her wrist, dodging the deadly tip of the stake as she tried to impale him. Darla struggled, being the weaker of the two. She wrapped both hands around the weapon, pushing it towards him. In a fast, deft movement, Angel snapped the stake in half, catching the sharp end between his fingers before it hit the ground.

Darla screamed in helpless resentment, throwing the useless stake away. “You’ve ruined everything!” Tears of frustration streamed down her cheeks. She threw herself at him, viciously pummelling his chest with her fists. Angel’s arms encircled her and he held her in place even as she struggled, her hair flying uncontrollably in the wind.

“I let you live back then Darla – you should have taken the hint and gotten the hell out of my life!”

Darla struck out vainly with her fist, hitting nothing but air. Angel’s voice was softer when he spoke again.

“I told you everything I was sorry for.” Angel said simply, his tone cold. His strong hands held her, one on her lower back and one between her shoulders. She lifted her head to stare at him, her red eyes suddenly hopeful. The hope disappeared at his next words. “But you made a mistake hurting my girl. So I’m not sorry for *this*.”

Darla’s eyes widened and she gasped, her mouth forming a large ‘O’. She glanced down at her chest, at the protruding end of the broken stake. Angel released her, his hand sliding off her back as he took a step away from her. Her eyes were glassy as they stared at him, her look appalled – as though he were the most treacherous thing she’d ever laid eyes on.

“Goodbye Darla.” His voice was so void of feeling that he even shocked himself.

“Angel – ” she exploded into a million fragments of dust, swept away by the breeze within seconds. Angel was surprised at how little sadness he felt, how little remorse or regret. All he could think about was Cordy.


“Angel!” Buffy’s voice startled him and he jerked his gaze to the entrance of the shed, where she hobbled out, one arm around Spike’s shoulders. Angel’s eyes locked with the other vampire’s.

“Darla?” Spike asked slowly, noting her disappearance.

Angel shook his head. “Dru?”

Spike swallowed. “It’s over.”

Angel nodded in understanding, not wanting to pursue the subject any more than Spike. “Did they get Cordelia out?”

“Yeah.” Buffy said quietly. “She’s at the hospital. Xander just called.”

Angel turned his back on Darla’s ashes, his coat billowing out behind him in the wind.

“I have to see her.”


A broken arm. Two broken ribs. Fifteen visible bruises. Twelve cuts, four major, eight minor. Nine abrasions. Six wounds, two major. One first – degree burn. A concussion.

Angel stood stone still as Wesley listed the injuries the doctor had identified. He noted how pale Wes looked, even when he whispered, “It could have been worse, Angel. She was – we were lucky.”

Angel rubbed a tired hand over his face, looking around the waiting room. Fred and Willow had made their way to the hospital. Gunn was leaning against the wall staring into space. Buffy was seated on one of the pale green plastic fold – up chairs, her head resting on Spike’s shoulder. Xander sat on the floor, arms crossed, eyes jaded.

“I want to thank all of you,” Angel broke the silence suddenly, “for everything.”

His eyes locked with each one of them individually and they nodded in silent acknowledgement. Fred was sniffling slightly and Wes sat down beside her, putting an arm around her shoulders.

“Hey,” Gunn quipped, trying to lighten the mood, “this is what we do.”

“And we do it bloody well.” Spike said, smiling softly.

Willow chuckled lightly. “Damn right.”

But Angel couldn’t bring himself to smile.

Not yet.

“Mr Wyndham – Price?”

The foreign voice made Angel swivel around, only to find himself face to face with a slightly older man, blonde hair, green eyes, stethoscope around his neck… The doctor regarded him wearily and Wesley jumped out of his seat, walking over.

“Dr. Green.” Wesley said, gesturing towards the vampire. “This is Angel, Cordelia’s partner.” Dr. Green nodded at Angel. “When can we see her?”

“Well, she’s still pretty heavily sedated. She’ll be asleep for a few hours.” Dr. Green said. “Probably best not to crowd her – I’d feel more comfortable if you went in one at a time.”

Wesley nodded. “Certainly.” Dr. Green departed and Wes turned to Angel, pointing at the door of Cordy’s room. “Go ahead. Take all the time you need.”

Hesitantly, Angel wrapped his hand around the doorknob and walked in.

She was lying there, still as a statue. He could hear the wonderful drum of her heart, stable now, so different from when she was held captive – Angel shuddered. She was fine, she was here and she was safe, and he wasn’t going to let anything happen to her.

Quietly, Angel drew a seat close to Cordy’s bed, his knees brushing the mattress as he sat down. His eyes fluttered with a sigh. He hadn’t realised how exhausted he was. Gently, he laid his hands over hers, resting his head just beside them. Angel allowed the now steady beat of her heart to lull him to sleep.

His hands never left hers.


Buffy stared at Angel and Cordelia through the rectangular glass. She heaved a sigh of relief. Cordy was okay. They had got her back. Sure, she was pretty beaten up but if Buffy knew Cordelia, she’d handle it like the toughie she was, and get past it all just fine and in no time.

And if Cordy was okay, that meant that Angel would be alright too.

She didn’t hear Spike approach but when he wrapped his arms around her from behind she didn’t jump. Buffy sighed again, leaning against him. He kissed her temple, brushing a strand of hair away from her face.

“They’ll be okay, won’t they?” She asked softly.

“Of course.” Spike’s voice was close to her ear. “They always are.”

Buffy nodded. “I’m just so glad she’s alright.”

“Me too.” Spike turned her around to face him. “Are *you* alright?”

Buffy bit her lip, then nodded, slipping her arms around him and holding him close. “I am now.” She felt his arms tighten around her.

“I love you, Buffy.” He whispered fiercely. “I would do anything for you. Cross the ocean, walk through a sunlit desert…”

Buffy grinned, chuckling softly at the unexpected poetry. A surprising warmth spread through her chest. It was cheesy, sure, but it touched her nonetheless.

Spike smiled against her hair. “Drusilla always said I was a bad poet.”

Buffy looked up at him, resting her chin against his chest. “You may be a bad poet Spike,” she pressed her lips to his softly, “but you’re a good man. And I love you too.”


Cordelia awoke to the steady tub – thump of her heart and the rhythmic beeping coming from somewhere on her right. She was afraid to open her eyes, afraid to find that she was still in that horrible shed, alone in the dark where the demons were torturing her.

It certainly smelled and felt different though…

Slowly, she opened her eyes, getting her bearings. She was in a bed, a hospital bed she acknowledged. The walls around her were stark white and she blinked against the brightness. Her arm was in a sling and several parts of her body hurt – but it was a blunt, healing pain, so much better than what she’d had to suffer in the company of Darla and Drusilla and their onslaught.

Which brought her to her next realisation.

She was alive.

And considering there was a sleeping vampire on her bed, whose fingers were intertwined so tightly with hers it was beginning to hurt, she felt it was safe to assume that he had been the one who’d saved her.

She vaguely remembered Darla announcing his arrival. She also remembered Darla’s conversation with her prior to that – her heart clenched angrily.

That bastard…

That bastard who was holding her hand as though she were made of smoke, as though terrified that if he released her she’d disappear.

Cordy sighed, her anger fading.

Angel had saved her. He’d saved her from Darla and Drusilla. He hadn’t lost his soul, or betrayed her again, or chosen someone else. And he was here, right by her bed, clutching her hand as though she were his only lifeline.

That had to mean something…

Cordy ran her fingers through his hair, once, twice, and slowly he awoke, his eyes groggy. When they landed on her however, they lit up and the most breathtaking smile crept over his face, making the corners of her lips twitch as well.


Desperate arms wrapped around her and Cordelia found herself overwhelmed by everything that was Angel – his scent, his body, his eyes, his lips… He peppered kisses over her face, cupping it between his hands.

“Don’t you EVER do that to me again.” He said firmly, kissing each eyelid. His voice dropped to a whisper. “I thought I lost you.”

“Angel – ” Cordelia started.

“It doesn’t matter.” Angel said, kissing her fingertips as though he were drunk on her. “You’re safe now. And they’re dead. I’m never gonna let anyone or anything hurt you again, I promise.”

Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Don’t make promises you can’t – ”

“I’m not.” Angel cut her off. “I’d never lie to you Cordy.” He didn’t seem to notice how her eyes narrowed at that comment. “I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure no-one hurts you.”

“And what about *you*?” Cordy said bitterly, Darla’s revelation flooding back through her mind with all its sordid images of jeopardy and dishonesty.

And suddenly, annoyance rather than anger re-surfaced, and she found she couldn’t *quite* let it go.


Angel stared at Cordelia, uncertain and a little anxious. Her previously steady heartbeat had sped up and her fists clenched by her side.

“What?” He asked, confused.

“You slept with her.” Cordy said quietly. Her voice was detached, yet her eyes watered.

Angel’s heart jolted in his chest. She stared at him heartbrokenly, her lips pulled down in a grim line. He had hurt her – and it was the last thing he ever wanted to do. Slowly, sadly, Angel nodded.

“Why?” Cordelia barely managed the word.

Angel sucked in a breath, feeling tears prick behind his eyes. “I’m so sorry – ”

“Why?” Cordelia asked again, her voice stronger.

Angel swallowed, intertwining their fingers, relief seeping through him when she didn’t pull away. “Because I was lost. And cold. And everything seemed so dead.” He grimaced, “It was like, the world was ending and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.”

Cordelia frowned. Her eyes were moist but they never left his. “You risked all our lives for – ”

“It was a horrible mistake, Cordy. A night of complete despair.” Angel shook his head, “I had nothing left, and I just wanted to feel…*something*. I took comfort in the only thing I could find.”

“Darla.” The name slipped from Cordelia’s lips like a whispered curse, and tears wetted her cheeks one after another.

“Cordy…” Angel’s voice was thick with emotion, “I love you. And I’m here now. And I’m sorry that I hurt you but I can’t take back what happened. I don’t know if I would.” When her eyebrow shot up, he quickly added, “Because it saved me. I hit rock bottom and there was nowhere left to go but – ”

“Up.” Cordelia finished for him, biting her lip. Angel nodded, brushing his thumb across her cheek and wiping away her tears. He leaned his forehead against hers.

“I’m so sorry.”

Seconds past in silence, as Cordelia seemed to mull over everything. Several emotions fluttered across her face – irritation, indecisiveness, acceptance and finally, understanding.

“I know.” She said at last, softly, squeezing his hand. She palmed his face then, bringing him closer. “I’m having a hard time being mad at you after the last few hours, but – I need you to promise me something, Angel.”


“And I need you to mean it.”

Angel shot her a confused look before nodding.

“The next time you feel lost, or cold, or helpless,” she sucked in breath, “promise me you’ll come to *me*. Promise me you’ll let me save you.”

Angel stared at her, his eyes stinging.

“Promise me that I’ll be the one you choose Angel.” Cordelia said desperately, apparently too tired to be angry or strong anymore, “Please, promise it’ll be me.”

“It *is* you Cordy,” Angel whispered, turning his head and pressing his lips to her palm, “it’s always been you.” Tears ran freely down his cheeks but Angel didn’t care as he kissed her forehead, her nose, and finally her lips, clinging to her like a starving man, so unbelievably relieved that she was here, safe, in his arms. When he pulled away, she was smiling softly.

“I love you.” He said, pulling her to him gently. He held her in his arms, sighing contentedly when her head settled against his shoulder.

“I love you, too.” Cordelia whispered, lacing her fingers through his and snuggling into his chest, closing her eyes. Safe and complete, in that moment, nothing else existed other than the vampire and seer in the small hospital room, wrapped lovingly in each other’s embrace.

If you’re cold, I’ll keep you warm
And if you’re lost, just hold on,
Cos I will be your safety
Oh, don’t leave home – Dido



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