Title: Clawing His Way To Grace ~ A Darkness Within ‘Fic
Posted: Jul 24 2006
Rating: probably a strong PG
Category: Angst/Angel Pov
Content: Angel Pov… just read
Summary: Angel’s having an epiphany on the road to Sunnydale. . A sequel to Outsider.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask first.
Notes: I didn’t harsh on Buffy in this fic. Once you’re over someone, the only thing left is ashes, and so no hard feelings from Angel., no feelings at all. Also, he’s not quite as beige as he was in Outsider.
Feedback:Is like crack, baby.
Fifty miles and less than an hour outside LA, Angel downshifts and skids into a shoulder on the highway to Sunnydale.
Killing the engine, he sits back and stares at the road in front of him, unsure of why he stopped.
Maybe it was the look of slight disappointment on Wesley’s face when he told the Watcher about his plan.
Maybe it was the way Wes had turned around as Angel talked with Kate about Faith’s processing and pulled out his cell phone.
Calling Cordelia, filling her in, no doubt, about his trip to Sunnydale.
It didn’t last long, maybe a couple of minutes, but after Wes hung up, Angel wanted to snatch the phone from him, ask him what Cordelia says to him that she doesn’t say to Angel, how she sounds when her guard is down, when she’s talking to a friend.
Or maybe he was beginning to realize that something had happened at the police station as he talked with Buffy: a paradigm shift. One so subtle he was only now beginning to notice it.
What he’d told Buffy was true – is true. She hadn’t been there for him; she was there for revenge, for something Faith had done to her, not to him. Not to Wes or Cordelia.
He was trying to save a soul, one who’d begged him to kill her, who’d terrorized his friends to ensure he’d kill her. He wasn’t sorry about that. It’s what he did.
He was only sorry for the yelling part. He’d never really yelled at Buffy before, and seeing the hurt look on her face had brought back old feelings of protectiveness. When she’d left after the last barb had been thrown, he wanted to run after her, instantly contrite and full of regret for the way they’d spoken to each other. It was an instinctive reaction, left over from three years of trying to make up for what he was, and later, for what he’d done.
Now, sitting in his car, staring into the darkening dusk in front of his windshield, he realizes that beyond the knee jerk reaction to run after her, something was missing.
He breathes deeply, just once, feeling as though he was letting go of some black smoke that got caught in the back of his lungs.
He didn’t love Buffy anymore.
The fight at the station, her throwing her new boyfriend in his face, had simply, finally, ripped the band aide off the old wound. The anger was a cleansing fire, but he hadn’t recognized it for what it was.
He looks beyond his windshield, and sees nothing but empty, desolate blackness, leading no where.
Behind him, La’s lights twinkle in the distance, enticing him back.
Suddenly, he thinks about Cordelia’s eyes.
He never apologized to her.
He stepped back, busy with Faith and Buffy and the whole Sunnydale mess, and let Wesley comfort her.
Was Wes comforting her now?
He turns the key in the ignition and guns the engine, spitting dirt behind him as he turns and heads back to his city.
In Silverlake, he parks across from her building and strides across the street, looking for Wesley’s motorcycle but doesn’t find it.
He unclenches his fists and tries to relax his face into something more friendly, and rings her bell.
After a couple of seconds, the door swings open and his gaze zeroes in on the huddled figure on the couch.
She’s stirring awake, wrapped in a terrycloth robe and knee socks.
“Angel?” She questions softly as she sits up, confusion further softening her already sleep softened eyes.
“Yeah,” he says quietly as he walks in, bringing the cold with him.
She shivers and pulls the flaps of her robe tighter together, sweeping her hair from her eyes.
“Aren’t you supposed to be half way to Sunnydale by now?”
Dennis closes the door behind him and Angel waits as the ghost throws the deadbolt.
“I forgot something.”
She blinks up at him, more awake now, one eyebrow arched.
The wary look is back in her eyes.
“What’d you forget?”
He looms over her for a second, taking in the yellowish blue bruise marring her beautiful face, before gently running a thumb down her upturned jaw line.
“What are you doing?” She asks as she pulls back from his touch, not used to being the sole focus of his attention without being demonically pregnant.
He drops onto the couch next to her, leaning back as he takes in the way she looks when her guards are down.
“I forgot to say how sorry I was Faith hit you.”
She looks stunned for a second, and then she ducks her head for a long moment.
When she looks back up at him, she gives him a watery smile, grateful and amazed.
He smiles in response, and feels a new template being laid over the old one. A stronger one. Platinum rather than gold.
He wants more, wants to be allowed in to all of Cordelia Chase’s secrets, but for now he’ll content himself with being allowed to sit next to her on her couch.