A pair of eyes squinted making sure the target was lined up just right. Fingers were on the trigger adding pressure allowing the arrow to release from its once secure hold and now flying through the air aimed straight for the heart.
A smile came across the lips of the crossbow’s owner.
Angel looked up at Cordelia and ran his hands gently through her thick chestnut locks. Everything seemed perfect in that moment. She closed her eyes enjoying the feel of him so close to her. She wanted to freeze this moment.
“Cordelia…” He began, not sure of what he wanted to say until his senses picked up something coming from behind him.
“Hmm?” She looked in to his eyes
“Duck? What the…” She began before being tackled to the ground just in time to see an arrow flying through the air with a low hum. “Oh, that duck.” She watched as the arrow embeded in the screen of the door, just narrowly missing the glass behind it.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah are you?”
“Yeah, I didn’t hurt you did I?”
“No, I’m fine and this time I really mean it.” He had to smile. There was a small pause and her expression grew more serious. “Who would want to hurt you?”
Angel thought for a moment and then just shrugged. “I don’t know, I mean the last person to really try to kill me, vampires and demons I fight not withstanding, was…” then realization set in. “You know what I’ll be back in a bit.”
“Wait, you can’t just leave that sentence unfinished buster. I’m not one that enjoys being kept in suspense.”
“Cordelia, just wait here, I won’t be too long.”
“Alright, but at least promise you’ll be careful.”
“And that the second you get back you’ll tell me EVERYTHING!”
“Fine, I won’t be long. Go back in side and lock the doors. Don’t answer to anyone, but me. Got it?” Normally she’d argue at being told what to do, but he was acting very strange so she nodded in agreement.
He kissed the top of her forehead and left in pursuit of his attacker. He had a good idea of who it probably was.
The crossbow hung loosely at her side as her pace quickened. She missed and she was none too happy about that fact. She concentrated on her feet as she walked through the alley. A shadow crept infront of her causing her to stop.
“Faith.” Angel stood in front of the slayer with his arms smugly across his chest.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
“Walking down the street minding my own buisness.”
“Yeah and trying to kill me.”
“Hey do I need to spell it out for you? You vampire, me slayer.”
“How many times do you have to be reminded? I’m one of the good guys.”
“Yeah, unless you get a big happy.”
“Not gonna happen.”
“Oh yeah? You were looking pretty cozy with the cheerleader. What’s up with that?”
“Leave Cordelia out of this,” He said through gritted teeth.
“Touchy touchy. Does B know what you’re doing after hours or should I say who you’re doing?”
“Faith, I’m warning you.”
“Oh yeah? What are you gonna do big guy? Kill me?” She was daring him and he knew it. “That wouldn’t fit in with you’re white hat do gooder refromed vamp image now would it?”
He shook his head and began to walk away. She wasn’t defeated and jogged up next to him matching his stride.
“What? You afraid you can’t take me?” I’ll go easy on ya.”
“Not in the mood for a fight right now, Faith.” He quickened his step.
“So what’s the hurry? I was expecting some big confrontation. You aren’t gonna leave me unsatisfied now are ya? He didn’t answer and she was getting annoyed. “What ya got some place better to be?” He stopped and turned around to face her.
“As much fun as I’m having bickering with you, I have to go check on Cordelia and then get home before dawn.”
“Yeah, guess the cheerleader wouldn’t want to fuck a crispy critter huh?” Angel slammed her up against a wall of a near by building with his arm at her throat holding her in place.
She smiled finally getting a reaction from him. “Always knew you liked it rough.”
“Faith, don’t you dare talk about Cordelia like that ever again. You don’t even know her.” He let her go and backed away.
“What’s to know? She’s a stuck up spoiled rich kid snob. I’ve met dozens of girls like her, hell, even fucked a few.”
“She’s more than that. You just have to get to know her.”
“So this chick is really getting to you. Does B know?” she seemed genuinely interested and sincere so he decided to be straight with her.
“No, she doesn’t know, but there is nothing to know.”
“Ah, the little princess won’t give it up eh?”
“Cordelia and I are just friends.”
“Right, keep telling yourself that.”
“Goodnight, Faith.” He turned his back to her and waved over his shoulder. She watched him until he was out of sight.
She then started walking in the same direction he was going.
Cordelia lay on her bed just staring at the ceiling tiles.
“523, 524, 525…” A knock came at the balcony door and she breathed sigh of relief as she hopped off her bed.
“Thank god.” She said as she ran to the door.
“I was worried about you.”
“You were?” He was elated and he didn’t quite know why.
“Yeah and you coming back all alive saved me from ultimate boredom. I couldn’t sleep and did you know my ceiling has exactly 657 tiles, not counting the ones covered by Keanu. I was in the middle of counting them for the third time when you showed up.
” He just smiled at her ramblings. “So…”
“So what happened? Who was it? Spill already!”
“Faith? She tried to kill you? I thought all that was resolved when psycho watcher was obliterated?”
“Well apperently it hasn’t sunken in that I’m not out to hurt the innocent. Well not anymore anyway.”
“It’s just what if she…she could’ve…she’s a slayer…Angel you could’ve…” She couldn’t finish unable to believe that she could loose Angel so soon. She looked sadly up at him and he pulled her into a comforting embrace.
“Hey, she missed okay.”
“But there could be a next time and I don’t want to think of what could happen should she try again.”
“What makes you so confident?”
“I don’t think she actually intended to kill me tonight.”
“Yeah, ’cause she was so aiming for my screen door.”
“She’s lonely, Cordelia. She probably just wanted some attention.”
“So she aims a crossbow at your heart? Couldn’t she just, I don’t know, come by and say hi like normal people?”
“Faith is anything but normal.”
“Tell me about it.” She sat down on her bed and Angel shifted nervously not sure what he should do. She took his hand and led him to sit down next to her. “I’m glad you’re okay.” She ran her fingers over his knuckles and he took in an unneeded breath.
This was happening too fast, they were friends, just friends. He had to keep reminding himself of this.
When her hand settled on his knee he shot up. “I-I think I should go.”
“Oh.” She looked down suddenly feeling very small.
“It’s just that it’s almost sunrise and well ya know…”
“Yeah of course, I totally understand.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” He reassured her with a small smile.
“Yeah, tomorrow.” Her focus stayed at her feet and he bent down and lifted her face to meet his.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” He repeated firmly making sure she knew he wasn’t abandoning her. She nodded her head and tried to make herself believe him. She had been let down so much in her young life that she wasn’t sure if he was sincere or not.
“Goodnight. Lock your door after I leave.”
“I will.” He kissed her forehead and left her sitting on her bed. She traced the spot where his lips had just been and smiled. She went into her bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. She smiled no longer seeing a stranger’s cold eyes staring back at her.
She tried to slip back into that facade, but for some reason the smile wouldn’t leave her features.
She walked out of the bathroom and let out a shriek of surprise when she noticed someone occupying her bed.
“Wicked sweet crib ya got here C.” Faith greeted her and hopped off the bed.
“How…how did you get in here?”
“You should really learn to lock your door, you never know what kind of nasties could get in here.” She cursed herself for not doing as Angel had instructed right away.
“What do you want Faith?” She crossed her hands over her chest and stared down at the slayer.
“I wanted to talk with you.”
“Well excuse me if i’m not in the mood for a gabfest with the psycho chick that tried to kill my one and only friend.”
“I come in peace here C.” She held up two finger as a peace sign. “I just wanted to appoligize. I can understand it if you don’t want to accept it, I just wanted to say it.” She turned to leave.
“Then why did you do it?”
She shrugged. “Thought he might be hurting you at first. His face was right near your neck and he’s a vamp what am I supposed to think?”
“Well, you were wrong, BIG time. Angel would never hurt me.”
“I get that. The vamp cares a lot about ya.”
“Really?” She smiled at those words.
“And I take it the feeling is mutual?”
“He’s a great friend and the first person to ever be really concerned for me. It’s nice.”
“Faith, are you really lonely?”
“What? Who said that?”
“A theory Angel had.”
“Me, lonely? Whatever. I got me and that’s all I need. Trusting people only leads to gettin’ yourself hurt and I don’t need that.”
Cordelia shook her head and realized that her and Faith actually had something in common.
“Yeah I get that. Heck I feel the same way, but having someone on your side is a great feeling.”
“Faith, I know what you are feeling, I swear I do.”
“Yeah little miss rich princess popular cheerleader knows what it’s like to be alone.”
“Don’t you know that you can be surrounded by people and still be lonely? I know what it’s like to be brushed aside and left behind.”
“Oh and since you know so much about me and my life who has brushed me aside and left me behind?”
“I’d wager to say everyone you’ve ever met.”
“Well…just…you know what I don’t have to stay here and listen to you try to analyze my life. I came here to appolize for trying to dust your friend and I did.”
“Faith, you and I are a lot alike, and boy did I think that would be the last sentence I’d ever say.”
“I’m outta here.”
“You came here for more then just to appoligize.”
“And what if I did? What if I came to finish you off as a message to Angel?”
“No, you would’ve done it already.”
“Well…I…” She looked at Cordelia, shook her head and ran out the door and straight to the graveyard. She needed to stake something and fast. She needed to prove to herself that she was strong and had a purpose.
She needed to get rid of the memory of soft hazel eyes looking at her with such compassion. Faith was a loner and always would be, she didn’t need anyone.
Then why was the prospect of getting to know Cordelia a little better seem not so bad?
Cordelia flopped down on her bed and closed her eyes. It was late and she needed to get to sleep. Thoughts of Angel filled her mind as she was starting to realize the crush she had on him last year still had not wavered. She couldn’t help, but think maybe this time everything would work out.
Then her mind drifted to Faith. How she got a glimpse of the vulnerable little girl she was. Faith wasn’t so bad, when she wasn’t trying to kill a certain vampire with a soul.
She wondered if this is what Angel felt when he knew he wanted to get to know her better. “Maybe I should return the favor. Show Faith the same kindness and friendship Angel showed me.”