Part 3 (of 4)
Cordelia sat on the sofa, a million Kleenex tissues balled at her feet. She’d yelled at him, she’d cried at him, she’d said she hated him then said she loved him all over again – only he wasn’t there to actually HEAR any of it. Her entire body hurt, she hadn’t cleaned up the glass from the table yet and her head was throbbing like hell.
The phone rang and Cordelia looked at it for a while, until Dennis picked it up and held it to her ear, “Angel?” The hope in her voice was enough to make Dennis cringe.
“Cordelia, it’s Wesley…are you *sure* you saw those demons outside of the Hotel Inn?” He asked.
Cordelia sighed, “Yeah…they were there alright.” She said, softly.
“Is everything alright?” Asked Wesley, “You sound a bit…glum…”
Cordelia had to smile at his choice of words, “No, Wes, I’m fine.” She said softly, ending the call.
“That’s your answer for everything, isn’t it?”
Cordelia jumped, almost leaping off the couch. “I didn’t know you were here.” She said, looking at Angel. Then, her face fell, in his hand, he held a duffel bag. “Oh…” She said quietly. “Well, Brownie Points to you for coming to tell me you were leaving.” She whispered.
Angel shook his head, ignoring her comment. “Did you mean what you said?” He asked.
“Do you really need to ask?”
“Answer the question.”
“Angel, stop making this harder on yourself. Just go!” Said Cordelia, shaking her head, “I finally got you out of the brooding stage, I don’t want you back in it.” Two hours had passed since Angel had left, time enough for Angel to stew over what had been said, for Cordelia to *cry* over what had been said.
“You really think I’m going back to Buffy.”
“Duh, yes.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head.
“Even if I did want her back, she’s with Spike now…”
“And that would SO never be the winning argument in a situation like this.” She said, her eyes flashing angrily. “So, what, are you here because you’re SETTLING for me?”
“I’m not settling for anything.” Said Angel, shaking his head.
“No, that’s right – ’cause your bag’s packed and you’re leaving.” Shrugged Cordelia, “Fine, go.”
“I’m not leaving.”
“Why?” She asked, “Look, I’ve told you, I’m fine…”
“STOP SAYING YOU’RE FINE!” He growled, angrily, “I’m sick and tired of hearing you say that! You’re NOT fine!”
“Okay then!” Yelled Cordelia, “I’M NOT FINE!” She glared at him, “I’m not fine. These stupid, sucky, horrible visions that I keep having are wearing me down just that little bit more. Buffy the Super Slayer shows up and you run right back to Sunnyhell with her and…I’m losing you!”
“You’re not losing me!”
“No, so why are you leaving? Why did you LEAVE?” She asked.
“Angel, that’s NOT an answer.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head.
“Oh, as opposed to I’m fine which is?”
Cordelia frowned, “Angel, leave me alone. You didn’t want me earlier, you don’t want me now. Don’t pretend like you do.”
“How do you know that?”
“You just reprimanded me for that answer, you can’t get away with it…” He chastised.
“Because I’m not her. Because I’m not blonde, and super strength kitted out – I can’t kill things with my bare hands and I can’t BE her. That’s why you don’t want me.”
“And what if I said I wanted you for you?”
“I’d say you’re lying…”
“Because it’s so obvious that you don’t! What do I have to give you that she can’t?”
“I said stop it!”
“You want to know why I *don’t* love Buffy like that anymore?” He asked, “Because she’s not YOU. Becasue she can’t be YOU!”
“What, you think you can rectify this with a few well spoken words and everythings gonna be alright again? Keep dreaming, Angel.”
“Y’know, you’re right…you’re not the person I love.”
Cordelia gasped and glared at him, “Like I didn’t already know that! Newsflash, Angel, I knew before YOU did…”
“The person I love would KNOW I loved her. The person I love would KNOW I loved her for her and nothing else. I didn’t love Buffy because of the damned slayer strength or anything, I loved her for the person she was. And damnit, I love you for the same reason.” He growled.
Cordelia sighed and sat down, putting her head in her hands, “When did this get so complicated?” She asked quietly.
Angel sat down next to her, “I’m not leaving.”
“Are. Angel, that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. You’re supposed to be happy with Buffy. You don’t love me.”
Kneeling in front of her, Angel placed his palm on the right side of her face, “Cordelia. I love you. I don’t know how many other ways you want me to say it or show it, but I do.” He said softly.
Cordelia pulled back, wincing, “I can’t.” She whispered.
“I can’t…do this…I really can’t, I’m sorry. I’m just…it’s not right…”
“Why?” He asked, close to despair.
“Because you love her.” She said again, “Damnit, Angel, your bag’s PACKED!”
Angel shook his head and crossed over the room, turning the duffel bag on its end, “Wrong. It’s empty. I want you to come stay with me for a few days.” He said quietly, “I won’t let you stay alone, not after a vision like that.”
“Angel, I’m fine.”
“Don’t lie to me, Cordelia.”
“Why not?” She asked, sombrely, “You do enough of that for the both of us…”
Part 4 (of 4)
“I don’t get why you brought me here, I’m fine.” Said Cordelia, breaking the silence in the car on the way over to the Hyperion. Neither friend had spoke to the other on their journey and to Cordelia, the silence had never seemed so loud.
Angel scowled, “Yeah, you’re fine.” He said, pulling into the underground garage and shaking his head. They walked into the hotel in silence, Angel taking her gently by the arm and leading her upstairs to the room she usually stayed in, right next to his. He placed her bag of clothes down on the floor and sat on the old wicker chair in the corner, gesturing for her to sit down on the bed, “Cordelia…” When he spoke, his voice was soft. Cordelia sat, looking at him as he continued, “Can I ask you something?”
As requests went, this one was pretty simple. “Sure.” She said softly.
“Why won’t you let me in?”
Her gaze slid to the floor, “I… I dunno what you mean…”
Getting up off the chair, Angel kneeled down in front of her, “Cordelia, look at me?”
Her gaze met his and when he looked at her, he saw she had tears in her eyes, “Angel, I… I can’t let you in.”
“Why?” He asked gently, his own heart twisting in his chest.
“Because… I’m scared. I know that what you want is Buffy and I can’t compete with that.” She whispered. “I’m still the same girl from Sunnydale and unfortunately, so is she.”
Angel shook his head, “You can’t see you’ve changed?”
“Do you really need to ask? Cordelia, when I first met you…” Angel smiled, “I survived Queen C, how many guys can say that?” He asked gently, reaching up and brushing a strand of dark hair away from her face, “You’ve seen me at my worst, and your friendship has never faltered, never wavered. You stuck around when other people gave up. You’ve always been there for me.”
“Yeah, well… We’re friends.” She said softly, “That’s what friends are for.”
“It’s not just that though.” Said Angel softly, “The things you do for me, it goes past friendship. Fred knows, Wesley knows, Gunn knows… You told me yourself you loved me.”
“And I do.” Said Cordelia quietly, “I’m *in* love with you. I’m just not willing to lose you.”
“But…” Angel shook his head, “Cordelia, you’re adamant you *are* going to lose me.”
Cordelia nodded and sighed, “I am.” She said, her voice hushed to a whisper, “I am because… Look at my past history in relationships. E-everyone I love either hurts me… Or leaves. Or I have to leave them at one point or another.”
Angel shook his head, “Cordy…”
She smiled, “That’s the first time you’ve called me that tonight, what are we on, sensible kick? I usually only get my full name if you’re in brood mode.”
“Not in brood mode.”
“I’m in Lurve Mode.” He grinned.
“Dork.” The mood had changed back to happy teasing, which Cordelia was comfortable with.
“Yup. But a lovable dork.” Said Angel.
“Yup.” She nodded, “Agreed.”
“You asked me something, earlier….”
“When did things get so complicated between us?”
Cordelia nodded, “Yeah…”
“I think I know.”
“In Pylea. When you said you loved Groo, I was kinda…” Angel faltered, making Cordelia smile.
“Jealous!” She grinned.
“Angel?” She shook her finger at him, admonishingly.
“Okay, I was jealous. That was when things got… Complicated.”
Cordelia nodded, “Know when it was for me?” She asked gently, continuing even without seeing his nod. “When you went through your… Beige Period.” She whispered, “I knew then that… I loved you and… You, you…”
Angel looked at her and sighed, “And I hurt you… That’s where this comes from too, isn’t it?” He asked.
“A little.” She admitted. “But, you came back to me…”
“I always will, Cordy.”
When Angel looked up at her, there was a trace of hurt in her eyes, one she tried to mask but didn’t do very well. “Cordy?”
Cordelia sighed, “I’m starting to believe you.”
“And that’s bad because…?”
“Because, if I believe you… Again…” Cordelia sighed, “I believed you.” She said quietly, “I believed you when you said you’d always be there for me the first time… And, you hurt me. You left and… I didn’t know what to do anymore. I know that I… Maybe I… My point is, if I let you in again, and you hurt me… I’m not sure how it would feel, now that I know I… well, y’know…”
This time, Angel sighed, “I can’t promise that throughout the course of my life, I’ll never do anything to hurt you.” He said softly, “But I can promise you that I’ll do everything in my power to make you happy.”
“You already do that.” She said gently. “Jumping into other dimensions and stuff… Freeing bad guys.” She frowned slightly.
“I’ve told you before. It’s not about winning, it’s about what’s at stake. And you were more important than Billy… Or whatever else had come out of there.”
“You really don’t give up, do you?”
“Duh.” Said Angel, a grin on his face. “Where you’re concerned, I won’t ever give up… So you’d better get used to having me around…”
“Oh, darn…” Said Cordelia softly, looking down at him where he kneeled in front of her. “Like, I’m not already used to that?”
Angel shook his head, “Nope, you’re used to Brood Boy Angel. The Angel I’m talking about is…”
“The one I love?” Cordelia looked at him, “I’m not saying I like you brooding but… It is part of who you are. And besides, maybe even Dork Angel will get too much for me…”
A silly grin passed across Angel’s face and he raised his eyebrows, “Really?”
Leaning down to kiss him, Cordelia giggled, “Naaahhhh…”