Title: Share My Pain
Author: Ficbitch83 (aka Angelicgal82)
Spoilers: Everything up to and including Heartthrob
Summary: On Angel’s return, Angel finds out that Cordelia lied to him – truths unfold…
Distribution: STF, possibly the Holywater site, my own eventually when I get round to updating…
Disclaimer: My Lawyer told me that by saying Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Fred etc belonged to me, I was risking serious health problems… So, I stopped. See, I don’t want boils or anything – so, they aren’t mine. No, really, they aren’t.
Author’s Note: Me BORED… Rapidly running out of ways to promote new band for our mag and having a really STRESSFUL day. Editors SUCK… So, here it is, SO not good – but feedback will be appreciated… It may even give me a happy… Oh, PLEASE give me feedback…
Feedback: I’ll send more fic if I get feedback…is this blackmail? HELL YEAH!!!
If Angel had been thinking straight, then perhaps he would have continued past Cordelia’s and gone home. But then… Angel wasn’t thinking straight. Consumed with guilt that he wasn’t mourning Buffy’s death more, Angel had convinced himself that somewhere along the line, Cordelia had been lying to him.
He could tell. When he asked her how she was, her gaze slid away from his and a forced smile and a ‘fine’ escaped her lips.
“Wesley? Cordelia how’s she doing, I mean… How is she?” Angel had asked, glancing at his friend.
Wesley had smiled, “She missed you.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Oh… The visions?”
“Still bad.” Wesley’s gaze instantly became dark, “She seems to pretend to cope rather well in all honesty.”
Angel’s face fell, “But she’s not.”
The bathroom light came on in her apartment and Angel crept up the balcony, standing outside and watching as she slumped over the sink.
“Oh, too bright. Too bright.” Came the whisper as Dennis switched on the overhead light. The ever-dutiful ghost turned out the light again, opting for a smaller one as Cordelia pulled her hair painfully up into a knot, wincing as she did so.
“Oh, thank you, Dennis.” She sighed, looking down at the porcelain of the basin, “How’d I ever live without a ghost?” Glancing up again, Cordelia looked into the mirror, “Okay…”
Angel watched as she took out a pill bottle, one of many, his heart twisting in his chest, watched as she poured pills into her hand, “Hot, really hot. Please.”
Angel stared at her, her last words making him pale (if that were possible).
“Oh, these visions are killing me. It’s getting worse every time.” He watched as she turned, leaning against the sink and panting, hiding back in the shadows until his friend began to shed her clothes and Angel stepped back into the darkness, walking away from her home, unsure of what he should do.
* * * * *
“Morning!” The jovial voice cut across the cool, crisp air of the, as yet, unheated lobby and Cordelia Chase walked down the steps to a pensive look from Angel. “I’m not late!” She said immediately, “The traffic was terrible.”
“You live six blocks from the hotel.”
“Your point is…?”
“You walk to work.”
“Well, it LOOKED bad, okay?”
“Cordelia, can we talk?”
“We are talking, Angel.”
“No, I mean… About… Stuff…”
“And, the award for most Articulate goes to Angel, Brood Boy of the Century.” Said Cordelia, grinning at him, “Sure, what do you want to talk about?”
“Because I’m worried.”
The conversation stilled for a second, then she piped up with, “But I’m fine, I mean really. I really am, y’know? You’re back, I’m happy, everything’s great.”
“Why are you lying to me?”
“How am I lying to you, Angel?” She asked.
“Because. The visions are getting worse.”
“Nothing I can’t handle.” She said, stubbornly, arms folded across her chest.
“No? So why tell Dennis they’re killing you?”
Cordelia’s eyes and cheeks flamed, “You’re SPYING on me now???” She asked, annoyed.
Angel shook his head, “I was worried about you and…”
“You thought you’d SPY on me. God, Angel…”
“I left before you got undressed…” He added, meekly.
“Oh, so that makes it okay, huh?” She asked, suddenly tired, “You had no right to… To…”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked gently, walking round the counter and sitting next to her on the couch.
“Because, I didn’t want you to worry. I mean, y’know, you’re all… Well, you’ve just come back and I didn’t want to spoil your homecoming.” She lied.
“Don’t lie to me.” He said gently.
“I’m scared.” She admitted, “I’m scared that they’re going to take the visions away and you… You won’t need me anymore…”
Angel gasped, “Cord…”
“Angel, just listen to me for a second. After Xander and I… After we, well, y’know, split up, I called him the Zeppo. The useless member of the group and I’ve realised that that’s what I am. Without the visions, I’m the Zeppo Revisited. I’m the thing that you guys just ‘hang around with’ out of pity or because of some self-debilitating THING and I’ll feel guilty ’cause you don’t have to do any of that…”
Angel was stunned. “You really think that?”
“Duh… I’m Cordelia, I don’t think, I know.” She said, shaking her head. “Without the visions I’m…”
“No, I mean without the visions you’re Cordelia. My best friend, my future, all rolled into one.”
Cordelia laughed slightly, “You have to say that…”
“To make me feel better.”
“Okay then, what are you gonna say about Buffy?”
Cordelia looked at him, a little stunned. “Huh?”
“Well, whatever you say about Buffy being gone is to make me feel better, right?”
Cordelia stayed silent. “We don’t have to talk about this…”
“You’re always on at me to become ‘Share My Pain Guy’, so, let’s talk.”
“Do you miss her?”
“Are you… Can you…”
“I have.” He said, putting his head down, “That’s what worries me. Being without Buffy… I’ve done it for so long now… I’ve always loved her. I always will love her. I survived. I’m here, I’m fighting and that worries me…”
“Because I feel like I’m disrespecting her.”
“Angel, no!” The tone of her voice was so soft and yet so passionate. One thing you could *always* accuse Cordelia of was being passionate about the things she believed in. She believed in him. “You’re not disrespecting her… You’re moving on, you’re still fighting and that’s not disrespecting her, that’s honouring her memory.”
Angel thought for a second, “It hurt. At first, all I could feel was… Pain. Like someone had ripped out my heart, then…”
“Then… Big scary demony monks from Sri Lanka forced you to spank your inner moppet?”
Angel chuckled, “No. Then I realised. It hurts, it’s supposed to. But we move on, we learn to live with it. We never get used to them being gone… But… We learn to live without them.”
Cordelia smiled, “Did you have another epiphany?” She asked gently.
Shaking his head, his face turned serious once more, “About what you said, about why I would need you… I can’t speak for the others – although please allow me to say you make GREAT coffee…” He said, smiling slightly. “If you were to ask me why I need you, I’d answer the same every time, Cordelia Chase. Because you’re my lifeline. You’re the person that makes my heart want to beat, that makes my redemption seem nearer every time you smile. The visions… They don’t matter. You could lose them tomorrow and I’d still love you and need you for the person you are, the person you’ve become.” He stopped then and leaned over, brushing his lips against her forehead. “Cordy?” He asked, wrapping his arms around her.
“Promise me something?”
“Promise me that if you need to talk, you’ll come to me.”
“I always do.” She said, puzzled.
“But you didn’t. Not with this.” Said Angel, shaking his head. “Promise me you’ll be, ‘Mrs Share My Pain’…”
“Are you asking me to marry you?” She grinned.
“Would you say yes?”
“Is that a yes or a no?”
“Would you get mad if I said I had a little… Uhm… peek, while you were getting in the… uhm… bath?”
Cordelia looked up at him, raising her eyebrows suggestively, “I show you mine, you show me yours…”
Angel gulped. One other thing you could accuse Cordelia of? Making you blush…
Well, if he could…