Title: In the Light
Summary: Cordelia finds out about Angel and Darla sleeping together by way of Wolfram and Hart tapes instead of a visit from Darla herself. So in this fic, no pregnant Darla so no Connor.
Spoilers: Some season one and two.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: The first two small parts are conversations in the episodes “In the Dark” and “Hero” with small parts I added so that the story of those events changes just slightly.
Feedback: Sure. Just don’t go too hard on me.
Angel and Doyle looking at the sunset from the rooftop in “In the Dark”
“So how long’s it been between sunsets?”
“200 years, give or take.”
“Then ya gotta be feelin’ pretty damn good then. I mean this ring changes everything doesn’t it?”
“Yeah its spectacular I know. But I do promise there’ll be another one just like it again tomorrow.”
“Not for me.”
“What. Are you sayin’ that the city’s gonna get hit by a meteor before tomorrow night.”
“No. Its too horrible to say. I’m not goin’ to say the other.”
“I’m not going to wear the ring.”
“It was the other. You got a real addiction to the brooding part of life. Anyone ever tell ya that?”
“Yeah, once or twice.”
“Care to explain. This ring is your redemption, its what ya been waiting for.”
“No, it just looks like it.”
“Angel man, think what your sayin’.”
“I have. I’ve thought of it from every angle and what I figure is .. I did a lot of damage in my day. More than you could imagine.”
“So what ya don’t get the ring because your period of self flagellation isn’t over yet? Think of all the daytime people you could help between nine and five.”
“They have help. The whole world is designed for them. So much that they have no idea what goes on around them after dark. They don’t see the weak ones lost in the night or the things that prey on them. And if I join them … maybe I’d stop seeing too.”
“Angel, the ring doesn’t only let ya walk around enjoyin’ the bright sunny rays. If the night is where your needed, then that is where you’ll be. But man it renders you invincible. Think of the chance evil stands against that. So what if ya get a little pleasure from it in the process. Your strong enough to know how to use it for the good it can bring others and deserving enough of the little bit of happiness it can bring you.”
“That’s just it Doyle. Me and happiness … we don’t work well together. I was brought back for a reason and as much as I’d like to kid myself, I don’t think it was for eighteen holes at Rancho.” Angel watched the last rays of sun disappear over the horizon and took off the ring. Raising a brick above the symbol of all that he could have, he paused.
He knew what he was doing was right and just. He deserved the misery, the pain. They were the tools he used to remind himself daily of what he was and what he was capable of becoming. Doyle could never understand. Yes the ring might help. But Angel knew that it could only be worn by someone worthy. That would never be him.
Dragging Angel out of his thoughts, Doyle took the brick from his hand. “I’ll do it for ya man.” Angel nodded a quick thanks and headed for the rooftop door.
“Ya really don’t believe that your worthy enough for a gift like this do ya?” Doyle shot over his shoulder.
Angel’s answer came in the form of a brief pause before continuing through the doorway.
Doyle raised the brick above his head, striking it as hard as he could on the ledge of the building. Looking back at the door, he placed the undamaged ring into the pocket of his jacket, giving it a small pat for good measure. “For when ya do.”
Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle at the end of the episode “Hero”
Cordelia looked fearfully toward Angel. “Angel, its suicide.”
“There’s gotta be another way,” was all that Doyle could offer.
Angel, resigned to his fate, looked at both of his friends. “It’s alright.”
“No!” Cordelia panicked.
“The good fight, yeah?” Doyle began to look reflectively at Angel. “Ya never know ‘til you’ve been tested. I get that now.” Angel, caught off guard by Doyle’s right hook, fell to the belly of the ship. Doyle turned to face Cordelia. “Take care of the guy Cor. He’s gonna need ya, more than he knows.”
Before she could respond, Cordelia’s lips were captured in a sweet farewell kiss. “Too bad we’ll never know,” morphing into his demonic face, Doyle continued, “if this is a face ya could learn to love.” With that, Doyle leapt to his fiery death, leaving his two friends wrapped in a mournful embrace.
The sewer was a good place for someone like him. He had no particular reason to be here, it was night after all. He could be driving down the freeway, enjoying the cool night air, but that was too good for someone – no, strike that – something like him. Cordelia’s face, full of hurt and anger flashed through his mind, making him slow his steady pace.
Closing his eyes and rubbing his face roughly in the palm of his hands, Angel willed the image of her away to no avail. Her words echoed in his ears. ‘You slept with Darla?’ Yes, he had. Hadn’t he? He had tried to block out the incident. He had convinced himself he could forget it and he had for so long now pretended that it hadn’t happened until finally it felt like it never did.
The memory gone forever. Until the tapes had shown up and now his dirty little secret was out. Everyone knew to what depth he had sunk. Everyone saw. He had once again hurt his family. Worst of all, he had hurt Cordy the most.
The phrase that kept bouncing through his mind now haunted him again, this time as a whispered statement of fact accompanied by a pair of hurt hazel eyes, full of unshed tears and resignation. ‘You slept with Darla.’ That was all she could say to him this morning before storming out of the hotel.
All she would say. He finally stopped his ever slowing pace, slumped against the grimy wall and stared at nothing in particular. Why the hell did this have to happen right now? Just when he was so close to telling her how he felt. Angel slid down the wall to sit on the dirty ground, unfazed by the filth beneath him. He had been walking now for hours. Passing by the sewer entrance to Cordelia’s apartment more times than he could count. He looked up at the all too familiar sight.
Maybe it had been a good thing that Wes had interrupted him this morning before he told Cordelia … what had he been about to tell her? That he was in love with her? No, not at first anyway. He had to work up to that. He had to make sure before he said those words to her that she understood her friendship meant more to him than anything else in the world. He couldn’t destroy that. She meant too much to him.
She deserved to know just how much. He had tried to show her so many times the depth of his feelings. He had jumped dimensions for her, battled demon prison guards, and released Billy on the world to save her life. Hell, he had even bought her clothes but she still seemed clueless. Why couldn’t she see what was right in front of her. He loved her. This morning he had wanted her to finally know that. Now she never would.
Trying to clear his mind of the thoughts and voices that battled for dominance in his head, Angel tried to summon a picture of Cordy before this morning. He thought about staring at her from the basement stairs while she arranged cheesy plastic flowers to brighten up his existence.
Didn’t she know that she did that just by walking in the room? Angel covered his face again. He had ruined everything. Standing slowly, Angel headed away from Cordy’s building. He was a fool to think he could just go and talk to her, explain it all away, beg her forgiveness. He was an even bigger fool to think he could have love, could have Cordy. She deserved so much more in her life than the pain that loving a monster like him would cause. He was worthless, unworthy of a gift like Cordy.
Angel looked down at the disgusting filth that now covered his clothes. It seemed fitting. The inside turned out. Yeah, the sewer was a good place for someone like him.
Cordelia’s hands trembled slightly as she removed the dusty box from her top closet shelf. Planting herself in the middle of her bedroom floor, she simply stared at the unopened object. Her fingers traced the packing tape holding the lid closed as she reminisced about the past. A past that seemed so simple now.
Three friends fighting crime in a little office downtown. Doyle. She closed her eyes as Doyle’s voice floated around her head. ‘Take care of the guy Cor. He’s gonna need ya more than he knows.’ “You got it wrong Doyle.” Cordelia answered her own memories. “He doesn’t need me at all.” The tears that she had forced away earlier began to flow freely again as she opened the box.
Cordelia fondled the objects they had collected from Doyle’s apartment just after his death. A lotto ticket, her Sunnydale High School picture, an empty piggy bank which had the word bills written in capital letters with a permanent marker, an old key to a long forgotten lock, and an address book full of old contacts.
Trash to anyone else really. For her, memories of not only Doyle’s life, but of hers. Before the visions, before ‘beige Angel’, and before Darla. “I thought you meant me Doyle. That he would need me. You just meant the visions,” Cordy sniffled as she closed the lid of the box and returned it to its perch in her closet.
Cordelia sat down on her bed, grabbing the floating tissue to wipe away her tears. She started to feel anger towards Doyle for planting such a ridiculous seed in her heart. Anger for making her think that somehow Angel needed her in his life, by his side. That somehow she was important and special. She felt so foolish. The way she had run from the hotel this morning after watching the X-rated video courtesy of Wolfram and Hart.
Well, at least it had kept her from even more embarrassment. She cringed at the thought of the conversation she and Angel had begun before Wesley had interrupted them. She closed her eyes. How could she use Angel’s nonsensical ramblings about their friendship over the years as her opening to proclaim her feelings for him. Well, the day had been terrible but it could have been worse. She could have proclaimed her love to Angel and then ran out of the hotel like a jilted lover, sobbing into her hands.
At least Wesley had spared her of the first part. How could she even have thought that Angel could feel the same way about her. He had never said anything. Then the tape. Cordelia buried her head in her pillow and sobbed even harder at the thought of Angel sleeping with Darla.
Why did he do it? Why didn’t he trust her enough to tell her before now? Didn’t he know how much she loved him? No he didn’t. This morning she was going to tell him that and now she knew she never would.
Andre wiped his bloody hands on the crisp white towel. Proud of his progress and eager to report the good news to his sire, he strutted from the back room of the dilapidated old house.
“Well?” Aslan asked his childe and protégé with an arched brow.
Andre’s chest puffed as he smiled at the vampire that stood head and shoulders above his own massive form. “L.A..” was his confident answer.
“Los Angeles?” Aslan looked skeptically at the brute before him. “Are you sure Andre? The jewel was buried near the hell mouth years ago. What makes you believe that it is in L.A.?”
“Well, according to my guest back there, a vampire named Spike found the gem and somehow ended up losing it to the Slayer. She sent it out to L.A. to some old boyfriend.”
Aslan knew that Andre’s skills were the best to be found. Even as a human, he could have given vampires lessons on the enjoyment of brutal torture. That is why he had chosen him. He was very selective when siring a new vamp. After all, one had to have standards. But at the moment, his patience was running thin. “Who did she send the ring to?” He warned, letting Andre know that he expected an answer.
“The guy was not all there in the end. He really wasn’t making much sense.”
Aslan’s eyes flashed yellow as he morphed into his demonic visage. “What old boyfriend?” he yelled, as he clutched Andre’s throat and lifted him from the ground.
Andre struggled to form the answer. Chokingly he replied, “The last part didn’t make any sense. The old guy had to be delirious. He said something about a vampire with a soul. I’ve never heard of such an abomination. I didn’t want to bore you with his ramblings.”
Aslan threw the young vamp across the room and turned, lifting the large table that stood behind him. With one powerful thrust the table crashed to the floor. He knew all too well who the vampire with a soul was, or at least who he used to be.
Aslan’s bulky muscles twitched. His tattoo clad body shuddered as the nauseating thought of a vampire being poisoned with a soul crossed his mind. He straightened his shoulders and tried to calm himself as he turned to the vampire crouching in the far corner. “Gather what you need. We’ll leave at sunset.”