Summary: Post-Ep for “Epiphany” and “Disharmony”
Spoilers: Um…I’d say Birthday.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: Psychofilly wanted sex-on-the-hood-of-a-car-in-the-rain, but it turned out that Angel and Cordy weren’t ready to have sex and I’ve always wanted more of a resolution to Angel’s actions in Season 2. Here’s my version.
Feedback: Oh, yeah. Give it to me good, or bad. Whatever floats your fancy.
Thanks/Dedication: Thanks to my lovely betas, starlet2367 & Little Heaven for helping me dress this baby up and down. And to Lara for always giving me her brutally honest opinion.
The rain suited her mood – dark, dismal and dreary. What had started off as a drizzle had escalated into a full-fledged downpour. Cordelia Chase sighed wearily as she and Angel made their way back to the Hyperion in Angel’s car.
“Cordelia, about Harmony…”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Cordelia answered him tersely, refusing to look at him, choosing instead to gaze into the black night.
She turned to him with a stony glare that threatened more than just emasculation. “I. Don’t. Want. To. Talk. About. It.”
She turned her head back to the rain pelting the car with sharp blows, the sound of it almost hypnotic. She focused on a single drop of water and followed its path down the window with her finger.
“She was the closest thing I had to a best friend, ya know? I mean, sure she was as vapid and shallow as they come, but still, nobody could apply make-up like Harmony Kendall. I can’t believe she betrayed me.” Her voice was quiet and achingly hollow.
“Cordy,” Angel began softly. “That wasn’t your best friend. The real Harmony died a long time ago.”
“See, that’s just it. Until she came to LA, I didn’t know that she had died at all. Nobody bothered to tell me, so as far as I knew she was living it up in Malibu. So to me, Harmony isn’t dead, she’s just a sucky friend.” She paused. “A sucky friend who still has my favorite shirt. That tramp.”
Angel patted her on the shoulder. “See,” he said, smiling weakly. “That’s the spirit.”
She looked at his hand on her shoulder with raised eyebrows. “Excuse me? Personal bubble? Ever hear of it?”
He removed his hand quickly and she caught a flash of hurt in his eyes. Not that she cared. Like, at all. She’d just had an eyeball removed from the back of her head and her best friend was a vampire that had tried to sell her out to a bunch of other vampires. This was her time of trauma and she didn’t mean to share it.
With anyone. Least of all Angel. After all, he was the biggest seller-outer in the entire world – universe, even. She shouldn’t have been surprised, to be honest. Hell, if he couldn’t stay with Buffy, and they’re love transcended like, everything, then how could she expect him to stay for loyalty and friendship?
Sighing, she reached out to turn on the radio, hoping that music would mask the hovering tension.
“We repeat, the greater Los Angeles area is under a severe weather advisory. Expect lightning, flash flooding and possible hail. Do not leave your home unless it is absolutely necessary. Stay tuned to KROQ 106.7 for further updates.”
Frowning, she turned to Angel. “What the hell is up with this weather? I’d better call Wesley.”
“It’s just rain, Cordy. I think Wes can handle a little rain.”
Pursing her lips, she ignored him, pulling her cell phone out of her purse and punching in the code that would dial Wesley’s cell phone number.
“Wes?” she asked when he answered.
“Cordelia. Did you and Angel run into any trouble? Gunn and I are going to wait out the rain before heading home.”
“No, we’re fine,” she answered. “Wait. Do you mean you guys are already back at the hotel?” her voice was incredulous and she looked at Angel accusingly.
“Well, yes,” Wesley said, “We’ve been back for quite some…”
“We’ll see you soon,” she interrupted, and snapped her cell phone shut.
“Some shortcut, Angel,” she said sarcastically.
“Hey, don’t blame me, blame it on the rain.”
She rolled her eyes. “Quoting Milli Vanilli isn’t going to win you any cool points.”
He looked confused. “Milli –?” He shook his head. “No, I wasn’t, I was just…”
Could he be any more of a dorkus? “Whatever,” she said, shaking her head. She turned back to stare out the window. Lulled by the sound of the rain and the beat of the windshield wipers, and thought she did try to fight it, she fell asleep. She dreamed that it was her birthday and Angel was dressed in a clown suit, making balloon animals.
Someone was shaking her. “Mmmph,” she moaned, reaching out to push the offensive hands away.
“Ow! Jeez, Cordy, wake up. I need your phone.”
She opened her eyes and saw Angel rubbing his head. She scowled at him, angry with him for waking her, but angrier with herself for falling asleep in his presence.
“Um, Cordy, now would be good. Something weird is going on. Of the bad kind.”
Was he irritated with her? Of all the…“Geesh, have a little patience, Mr. Demando. What’s the rush?”
“Oh, nothing much. We’ve just been driving around for two hours now and the Hyperion isn’t in sight,” he replied sarcastically.
She looked around and for the first time realized that it was still pouring outside and they weren’t moving, Angel had pulled over onto the shoulder. “But that’s impossible, we were only five blocks from the hotel, there’s no way that…” she trailed off. Her eyes narrowed. “What did you do?” she demanded.
“It wasn’t me,” he said defensively. “Give me the phone, please. I need to call Wes.”
She couldn’t pass him the phone fast enough.
Angel looked at the phone as if it the keys were marked in Sanskrit. She snatched it out of his hand and worked speed-dial’s magic, handing the phone back to him with a huff.
“Wes? Wes? You’re gonna have to speak up, there’s a lot of static.”
Cordelia grabbed the phone from him, held it in front of his face and slowly pulled the antenna out, a look of mock-awe on her face.
He grabbed it back, scowling.
“Retard,” she mouthed.
“Wes? What the hell is going on? We’ve been driving for two hours and – what? No, I’m not lost. I didn’t do anything.”
He was silent for a moment as he listened to Wesley’s reply.
“Okay, but make it quick. Cordelia’s going to be running out of oxygen very soon,” he said pointedly, staring at her. She stuck her tongue out at him and crossed her arms over her chest.
She heard Wes’s exclamation from across the car and very nearly laughed, but then stopped herself.
“No, no, just kidding,” Angel assured Wesley. “She’s fine. Read your books and tell me how to get home,” he said and hung up.
He placed the phone in between them on the seat.
“I’m not a retard,” he mumbled.
“Are too,” she retorted hotly. “We’re lost and you told Wesley to research? That was a genius idea.”
“We are not lost,” he said emphatically.
“Are too,” she repeated and they both retreated into silence. She dug her nail file out of her purse and began to file her nails.
“Cordy, about what I did…” Oh, for a pair of ear plugs.
“Angel,” her tone full of warning.
“No, Cordy. I need to know. What can I do to make it better?” he pleaded.
“Okay. Tell me,” she said, her nails forgotten for the moment. “Tell me what someone has to do to make you not leave. You won’t stay for blondes and true love, you won’t stay for friendship and you won’t stay for someone who experiences mind-numbing pain just to get a friggin’ message to you so that you can kick some ass and become a real boy some day,” she finished, out of breath and shaking. Well, he wanted the truth.
“Cordy,” he started, his eyes sad. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am, I…”
“Angel,” she said, her voice having lost its previous fire. “You just don’t get it. These visions, it’s not just that they’re painful…” She paused. “Angel, they’re ki…”
The phone rang. Angel shot her an apologetic glance and answered it.
“Wes. What’ve you got for me?”
She didn’t know whether to be frustrated or relieved that Wesley’s call had interrupted her confession. It was probably for the best, she acknowledged to herself. Angel would have thought her weak, and that was the last thing she wanted.
“Uh, Wes. That’s not what I wanted to hear.”
“Angel,” Cordy whispered. “What did Wesley say?”
When he ignored her, she poked him. “What? Tell me,” she insisted.
“Hold on just a second, Wes,” Angel said, lowering the phone from his ear and turning to Cordelia. “He’s, uh, having trouble finding out what’s causing this.”
“We’re lost, Angel. L-O-S-T. And the cause is you. Y-O…”
“Alright, dammit,” he interrupted. “We’re lost. The power is out and he can’t log on to MapQuest. Okay? Satisfied?” He resumed his conversation with Wesley.
“Wesley, don’t we have any, ya know, paper maps?”
“Great, just great.” Cordelia whispered furiously. “You tell him that I’m not sitting in this car with you one minute long — Oh, God –” Her hands flew to her head as a vision hit her. She screamed as the images assaulted her in all of their sense-o-ramic glory. She felt Angel’s familiar arms wrap tightly around her just as her body began to convulse.
When she came to her senses, she found herself tightly clasped against Angel’s solid chest. He was rubbing her back and murmuring assurances in her ear. She resisted the urge to snuggle closer, to burrow further into the safety he projected.
To succumb to that urge implied forgiveness on her part and she wasn’t ready for that. What he had done to her, to them, made her stomach clench. She’d often wondered if his actions would have been the same had he known what the visions were doing to her, but had decided that she was better off not knowing. She tried to extract herself from his arms, but he held fast.
She raised her head to look at him and he looked down at her, his expression concerned.
“Better?” he questioned softly, tucking her hair behind her ear.
She shook her head and gently pulled away from him as his grip loosened. “No ,” she said, rubbing her temple. She took a deep breath and continued, her voice hoarse. “Inglewood. An old woman, a spell. Two young girls,” she said, looking at him. “They’re going to die, Angel. We have to help them. Now.”
He nodded, her cell phone still in his hand. “I’ll call Wesley back. He and Gunn will have to take care of it.”
Cordelia half-listened as Angel gave Wesley the details of her vision. She brought her legs up on the seat and rested her head on her knees.
After he finished talking to Wesley, he turned to her and asked her if she had any aspirin.
She shook her head. “Back at the hotel,” she answered. The aspirin didn’t help anyway, they were just a cover for the stronger medicine she took while no one was looking. She had some in her purse, but didn’t want Angel to see her take them. Pain was preferable to loss of pride. Funny how her priorities had changed.
“I’m sure Wesley and Gunn will be fine,” Angel said.
“They’re used to going it alone. Aside from Wesley getting shot, they – we- did a pretty damned good job of holding the agency and ourselves together.”
“I got that,” Angel said softly. “You guys did a – I’m proud of you.”
“Yay?” Cordelia asked sarcastically. “Angel the Magnificent approves? Well, I hafta tell you, that just makes my millennium.”
With a muttered curse, Angel flung the car door open and stepped outside.
Heedless of the storm raging outside, she flung the car door open and stepped out into the maelstrom, ignoring Angel’s protests. She walked around to the back of the car and found Angel walking down the dark path of highway. Damn vampire speed.
“Where are you going?” she yelled. Bastard.
No response. She yelled at him again and he finally turned around. She did not like the look in his eyes. Purposeful. Intense.
“Dammit, Cordy. What do you want me to do, what do you want me to say?” His voice was pleading.
I’m dying, Angel, she wanted to scream. Instead she said nothing, just looked at him. Through fat drops of rain, she watched as he made his way toward her. She was fully clothed but had never felt more naked in her entire life. Her rain soaked shirt was plastered to her body, her pants were a second skin. She backed up, her hands in front of her, as if to ward him off. As if she could. Her butt hit the hood of the car and she almost slipped. Would have slipped had he not been there to catch her.
“No, Angel, stay away, just stay away,” she said, placing her hands on his chest in an attempt to push him away.
“I can’t. That’s the one thing I can’t do,” he said, but released her nonetheless, slicking his wet hair back with his hands.
“Oh, I dunno, you seemed pretty good at it that one time,” she muttered. Her shoulders slumped in defeat and she crossed her arms over her chest and she eyed him warily.
“I used to watch you, you know. You and Wesley and Gunn. I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Why are you telling me this?”she asked. “Do you honestly think that it makes it better? We put our lives on the line for you every friggin day, fighting your fight. Your fight.”
“I told you not to,” he said defensively. “It was your choice. You could’ve walked away-” He started to say more before her hand connected with his cheek. Hard.
“Bullshit,” she spat, her entire body shaking. “Bull. Shit. See, I don’t have that luxury, Angel. I just don’t. Remember those memo’s from the Powers That Be? Well, the memo reminders keep coming until the day is saved. Not to mention the fact that I can’t sit idly by while people are dying.”
“Cordy, I-” he started.
“No, Angel,” she interupted. “You don’t get to talk. You don’t have the right.” She was crying now. “You gave it up the night you fired us. Your opinion doesn’t count for shit,” she sobbed, her tears mixing with the rain.
Dammit, she hadn’t wanted to cry and she could only hope that the rain would conceal her tears. She laughed inwardly. The rain might conceal her tears, but they couldn’t conceal the harsh sobs wracking her body. She wrapped her arms around herself and tried to control herself. She didn’t notice that Angel hand come closer until she felt his arms go around her.
“No!” she cried. “Leave me alone!” She fought him tooth and nail, trying to push him away, but he took each hit, each slap and held her tighter.
“I am so sorry, so sorry,” he murmured into her wet hair. This only made her cry harder and she continued to struggle against him, falling to her knees in the process. Angel fell right along with her, his arms still wound tightly around her.
She stopped fighting him and allowed herself to be held. Her sobs calmed down to an occasional hiccup.
“Why, Angel? Why Darla?” Her voice was hoarse and muffled from crying.
“I…” he hesitated. “I thought that if I could save her, I could save myself.”
“You can’t save everybody, Angel. That’s not your job. Your job is to try. To try and to fail and to fall down and then get back up again. Promise me,” she insisted, tugging at his duster. “Promise me that you’ll stick around, that you’ll help us fight the good fight.”
“I promise,” he said kissing her forehead.
“And promise me that you’ll never, ever give away my clothes again. If you feel the urge, raid Wesley’s closet, but stay away from my clothes,” she said, punctuating her statement with a poke on his nose.
He laughed. “I’ll buy you new clothes,” he said, smiling. He leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips.
Cordelia wasn’t prepared for the spark that his touch ignited. She inhaled sharply and looked at Angel in surprise. He looked from her mouth to her eyes and back to her mouth again. Wordlessly he lowered his head again, his mouth touching hers, this time with firmer pressure.
She parted her lips and his tongue swept into her mouth, taking her breath away. She arched against him and moaned as his arms tightened and the kiss deepened. Her fingers latched onto his neck, anchoring his lips to hers. She was lost in the incredible sensation of being in Angel’s arms, but those feelings weren’t strong enough to squelch the tiny voice of reason that dwelled within her.
She wrenched away from him, gasping for breath, not quite sure at what had just happened.
“Um,” Cordelia mumbled, wiping the back of her hand across her mouth.
“We’re obviously under a lot of stress and the intensity of this situation was really, um, intense what with the rain and we couldn’t help but cling to each other in this time of, of intensity,”Angel babbled, not meeting her eyes.
“Yeah. I don’t think so,” Cordelia said, rolling her eyes. “We were obviously under the influence of some spell.”
“A spell.” Angel looked skeptical as he held his hand out to help Cordelia up.
“A spell caused by massive amounts of rain,” she said, looking up at the sky. “Rain that has mysteriously stopped falling,” she said, both of them looking up at the rapidly clearing sky in disbelief. Their eyes met and they smiled at each other awkwardly before looking away.
Baby steps, but they would get there. Just not yet.
“Yep, a spell,” she confirmed, trying to squeeze as much water as possible from her shirt. “Now, think you can find your way to the mall?”
“And why would I want to do that?” he questioned, his amusement plain to see.
“Because, dumbass,” she explained, smiling. “We have some shopping to do.”