Title: Falling Like Rain.
Rating: PG. And don’t think that didn’t surprise me too.
Content: C/A. You mean there are others?
Category: Hurt/Comfort. Slight action.
Summary: Despite my best efforts, there really isn’t a plot to this, just Angel realizing how he feels about Cordelia, version 10.0
Spoilers: None, but picture this late season 2, after Angel ‘got her back’.
Disclaimer: Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: JF/AO/GTC/A anyone else, just ask
Notes: This fic was originally posted on my LJ a few months ago. I’m posting for archiving purposes. Also, this fic was influenced by Clint Black‘s Like The Rain to such a degree, he could have been a co-writer.
Thanks/Dedication: Gabriella liked this when I thought it sucked, so a lot of credit goes to her for me posting it. Or blame.
Feedback: Yes please.
The atmosphere is heavy with ionic sparks, clouds fat with life-giving rain.
It’s March in LA, and the weather is like dark springtime, shadows and sunshine vying for dominance.
Cordelia’s vision happens in the middle of a tutoring session with Branson, an undergrad from UCLA, where Cordelia is taking classes. He came trailing into the lobby of the Hyperion behind her like an eager puppy she rescued from the kennels, tanned and smiling, with his future bright in his eyes.
Angel hates him at first glance.
They sit at her desk, Cordelia taking notes as Branson lectures on European history.
What could he know that Angel hasn’t lived? What could he inform Cordelia of that Angel couldn’t draw for her with words and charcoal, if only she’d ask?
He paces the lobby, pretending to be busy with books and phone calls, wishing the others were in residence. But Gunn is checking on his crew, something that Angel notices happens with less frequency, and Wesley is haunting antique bookstores, looking for treasure.
It’s just him and Cordelia with her friend, and the heavy silence of a storm about to break.
Cordelia gets up to pour coffee and there is hitch in her breath that catches in his ear, the way her heartbeat seems to pause.
The carafe falls from her nerveless hand and Angel is there, catching her up as her body convulses, carrying her to the couch in Wesley’s office, helpless as always when the Powers take her for a ride through hell.
Branson is trailing, calling her name, concern in every line of his young and unscarred face, and Angel wishes he could just reach back and jerk his beating heart from his body, suck it dry while the boy watches before he dies.
But he holds Cordelia’s body down instead, pressing his hands into her shoulders to let her know she’s not alone. In a distant voice he tells her study date that she’s epileptic, listens as the boy haltingly asks what he could do.
Angel tells him to leave.
He goes while Angel leans over Cordelia, breathing in her agonized breath, waiting for her to come back.
It lets her go reluctantly.
Her eyes open slowly, and Angel cocks his head, blinking.
He knows what death looks like in its stages, and Cordelia – vibrant, beautiful Cordelia – is in the talons of the beast.
Desperation makes mindless animals of most men, and he wonders what it will do to him, what will he kill, what will he bargain, to save her?
He lifts her up into his arms as she begins to cry, brushing her hair and inhaling the scent at the top of her head as she tells him what she saw in her mind.
Four vampires hunting under the safe canopy of an overcast day, two girls rushing home from the mall, racing the storm.
The rain makes their blood run fast over the concrete, their screams muffled by thunder, by the patter of falling rain, by indifference.
Cordelia’s palms smooth over her jeans as she waits for him to arm himself, and he feels her urgency like a headache pressing behind his eyes. She needs to save them, those nameless girls whose fear eats at her.
Aspirin and cold presses won’t help the way Angel can.
The way he will.
She leaves a short note for Wesley, a slash of pen that nearly rips through the paper, and follows him out the door.
“Here?” She mumbles nearly to herself, stopping again at a corner, looking for the alley mouth of her vision.
Angel stops with her, watching the back of her head, the way she clutches at her own arms. There is something in the movement that stabs at him, and he touches her elbow, needing the contact. To reassure himself that he isn’t losing her the way he knows he is.
She moves on, and his hand is left hanging in the air.
Overhead, he hears the thunder rumble of a distant storm coming over them.
It’s five blocks from the Hyperion.
Cordelia stops abruptly, and points.
“This is it.” She whispers, turning in his direction.
Around the corner, he can hear the cries from the girls, the smell of split flesh bleeding out.
Gripping the stakes in a two-fisted grip, he rushes into the mouth of the alley, finding the vampires in plain sight, wrestling the girls to the ground, two on top of one, lost in a bacchanalia of blood and fear.
Angel slips into his teeth and ridges like a glove sliding off a hand, easily, effortlessly.
Growling, he pulls the leather-clad vamp off one girl, turning away from the sight of her averted head, the neck sliced open and bleeding bright red over her wet t-shirt.
He propels the vamp back and stabs at the other one holding the girl’s hands over her head.
The other two stand slowly, hissing his name the same way they’d hiss at a cross. The girl under them crawls away on hands and knees, searching for her friend, broken inside the way he used to break the weak ones, easily, effortlessly.
The vampires are young, eager, and dust in the time it takes to exhale a plume of smoke.
He comforts the two girls as best he can, slipping into his human face, helping them up. One supports the other, and they just want to go, to begin to forget. He watches them go, tracking them with a flare of his nostrils, until they pass Cordelia.
Then he can’t see anything else but the way she looks at him.
Thunder claps and lightning strikes.
The sky goes dark like grey slate, and a cloud bursts, sending down the first drops of rain. The smell is overpowering, salt and wet dirt and cold air.
The drops hit Cordelia’s hair as she stares at him, eyes brimming with an unnamed something he can’t decipher.
His steps are slow and measured, nothing at all like the odd bursting in his chest, the thump so loud he almost swears he has a heartbeat.
He’s fallen for her, like the rain coming down, it whispers through him.
He’s fallen for her.
He stops in front of her, running his gaze all over her face, memorizing the trace of her mouth, the curve of her jaw.
Her eyes are wide and waiting and he brings his hands up and smoothes down the sides of her face, down into her damp hair, tangling in the strands, threading his fingers through the tresses, never wanting to let go.
He leans down to press a soft kiss to her mouth, already wanting more. He doesn’t know if his love can be contained within his body, sure that he’ll burst like a thunderclap, loud and fierce, with all the emotion swirling through him.
“I love you,” he confesses his new knowledge. “I don’t know when, maybe when I thought I wasn’t going to get you back, or maybe before that, maybe that’s why I sent you away, why I gave your clothes away.” He shakes his head. “I don’t know.”
She mimics, shaking her head, hair slapping wetly against her cheek.
“It doesn’t matter, Angel.”
Her voice is laced with something sad and inevitable, and he knows what she’s thinking. He’s not going to let her die, though, he’ll fight every demon in hell and every Power in heaven, but he’ll save her somehow.
He leans down and kisses her softly, feeling himself falling deeper and deeper.
“Like the rain.” He whispers against her mouth, bending for another kiss.
He’ll fight to keep this, he swears to her silently. Fight dirty if he has to, but he’ll keep this. Her. Whatever is between them, he’ll fight for it.
And he’ll win.