Title: Honor Your Allegiances
Author: Marcy (DHCgirl)
Summary: The "missing scene" from You're Welcome
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Take it
Notes: Response to Tricia's Challenge:
"Can someone please write a fic dealing with Cordelia and Angel and what perhaps transpired between them over the course of that night....Please Please Please.....I think it could make a really great story"
Not beta'd. Wrote this in 2 hours at 1am. (to, ya know, 3am). So, ya know, lets not have the ole expectations too high. I know I don't ;)
When all the old consoling
lose their charm and change their faces.
The world becomes too cruel to bear
and something in you starts to tear.
When nothing seems to be quite worth it
and sleep becomes your only sure thing.
I'm here to help you out of it.
Come and see me for a lift.
We're all close to the end.
Don't you need a friend?
Honor your allegiances.
Everyone is drowning in sand.
Couldn't you use a hand?
Please don't make me guess.
Busy – Jawbreaker
"Angel. There are no people like us"
She wasn't surprised that the sentiment had made a small smile tug at the corner of his turned down mouth. To anyone else her words would have appeared to be an acknowledgement of isolation. Lonely words. But that tiny crack in the stoic armor he had been wearing all night let her know that he had understood the true intent. She wasn't commenting on their alienation from the rest of the world. She couldn't care less about the fact that others were different. What mattered – more than anything - was that the two of them were so much the same.
Angel leaned forward and knocked her knee lightly with his own. "Oh I don't know. I'm sure lots of people fill their basements with plastic geraniums"
Cordelia rolled her eyes. "I know you would have preferred some black and white prints of crying clowns and instruments of self-flagellation, but darn it if the Mopers Emporium wasn't closed" And with that his burgeoning smile had blossomed into a full-fledged beam. It wasn't long before she found herself following in suit. Cordelia had come to realize very early on in their friendship that Angel-smiles, while few and far between, were infectious.
She felt like the weight she had been carrying all day had been lifted. "I missed this"
"I missed you," He confessed, and Cordelia watched him fall right back into the doldrums. The transition was abnormally quick. It concerned her.
"Yeah?" She asked, her eyebrow quirking slightly. She leaned in and tugged on the lapel of his jacket. "I hope this reversion to funeral chic wasn't on my account. We were just starting to inject a little color into your a-hum-drum attire"
Angel frowned, looking down wearily at his charcoal shirt. "You don't like it?" Damn. She had been aiming for a smile.
Cordelia got up and made her way towards the large cedar wardrobe across the room. She swung open the doors and began to rifle through the clothes that hung on the racks. She found herself lost, sifting through a black hole of couture.
"Black. Black. Oh, here's a shocker, black. Jeez, Angel, when I said you were the Dark Avenger I didn't mean for you to take it literally"
She reached far back, her whole arm disappearing into fabric. Her brow scrunched in consternation and her tongue poked out of the corner of her mouth as she fished blindly. After a moment she pulled out a blue and white striped dress shirt. She looked it over for a moment, assessing hotness potential, before nodding in apparent approval.
"Who says you can't strike fear into the hearts of Hell's minions and wear pastels?" She asked, displaying the shirt for Angel with a little shake.
The vampire didn't respond. He sat and stared an unreadable stare.
Cordelia closed the panels and hung the shirt on the small, plastic knob. "What?" She asked, taking a seat next to him on the couch.
Angel shook his head. "I just…you're back" He said, in a daze.
"You know me. Since when has a little coma gotten me down? I've been in, like, four!"
Angel looked down at his hands. "I don't know you…"
"Yes, you do. Better than anyone" Cordelia tried to assure him. When he didn't respond she scooted closer. "Hey. So you got fooled by that counterfeit Cassandra…so did everyone else"
"It's different. They don't…they're not…"
"Angel" She began, as gently as she could. She studied him for a moment, trying to find the words she needed to say and the ones he needed to hear, praying that this time they were one in the same. She laid a comforting hand against his cheek. "There's never been anyone like you in my life"
It was a few seconds before he finally lifted his gaze to hers. In his eyes she saw clouds of doubt. The once confident champion was soaked in so much uncertainty, it dimmed the light that had at one time been present. In her absence he had rebuilt the wall it had taken her hundreds of late night talks and impromptu hugs to break away. Three years of demolition work down the drain. The Powers That Be had given her a chance to repair some of the damage that had been done by one of their own, and she had been grateful. But looking at the battle worn state of her best friend all she wanted to do was punch them in the noses she had come to discover they did in fact have.
In their time apart he may have enhanced his masonry skills, learning to put up new walls in record time, but while she was home she'd do her damndest to bust them down again.
She'd get her guy back.
"It's been a long day. You probably want to rest"
"No!" Cordelia said quickly, startling even herself. At Angel's confused look, she took a deep breath and regrouped. "I'm not tired. I mean, I'd rather do this. Talk. You spend a good chunk of time in a vegetative state devoid of thought, feeling, and emotion…and you get a yen for memory lane"
At this Angel perked up.
"Oh. That reminds me," He said, hopping off the couch and making a beeline for his bedroom. She followed quickly behind, finding him in front of his large walk-in closet. When he opened the immense sliding doors, Cordelia was met with a room full of boxes. Boxes of her belongings. "I've been saving it for you" She gasped, visibly touched by the gesture. "Everything should be there. I took some pictures from the albums, but I can go get them…" He trailed off as she squeezed him tightly.
"Naw" She said when she finally pulled away "You hang on to them" She walked into the stacks, running her hands along anything and everything she saw. In one box she found her jewelry and squealed in excitement as she slid her favorite bracelets on. Her attention drifted to the next box over which was spilling over with pictures. She began sifting through, noticing they were all out of place and worn. It was obvious that he had gone through them all. "Look" She said, holding up a shot of she, Angel, and Wes.
Angel looked the picture over and sighed. "Everything was so much clearer back then. I had a family. A mission"
"You still do. You'll get your Shanshu, Angel"
He barked an incredulous laugh. "You believe in the Powers That Be?"
"Oh yeah, we've got the big trust. I think that whole using my face to perform acts of unspeakable evil really clinched it"
"So why do you have so much faith in them?"
She let out a deep sigh. He just wasn't getting it. "I don't. I have faith in you" She said delivering a sharp poke to his chest. "You're a good man, Angel. With a good heart. Not even the Powers can change that"
A beat. "You do the support thing really well"
She looked up at him with a cheeky grin. "Varsity cheer squad. 3 years"
Angel stepped forward and pulled down the box that had been just beyond Cordelia's reach. He placed it down on the ground, and then crammed his hands in his pockets.
"We held your apartment for as long as we could, but money was pretty tight before…"
"You were on the payroll of Evil Lawyers R Us?" Cordelia finished offhandedly, as she opened the flaps of the box.
"Well…yeah. But getting it back will be no problem. I'll get my people on it. I've got people now…well, most of them are people"
Cordelia smiled, wryly. "Like Eve?" She couldn't help herself.
She was sure that if it had been possible, he would have paled. As it was, he looked like he had taken a stake to the abdomen. "No. Eve is…She's not…" He fumbled, "I don't know what Eve is"
"I've got a few ideas"
Cordelia went back to her boxes; picking through the detritus, and taking it all in. Tangible memories.
"If you wanted to you could stay here…" Angel began, cautiously. When Cordelia cocked her eyebrow and looked over towards his bed, he quickly amended. "I mean not here here. There is an adjoining apartment, right on the other side," He explained, walking to the other side and knocking on the wall. "You could fix it up anyway you like, and I'd be a room away. It'd be like the hotel"
"We could maybe even get some fake flowers," He suggested with a smile.
Corniness aside, it sounded like a really nice future. Cordelia wished it was one she could have.
"Those kind of decisions…those kind of decisions are probably best left for another day"
It was shaky, but she hoped her response would suffice for the time being. Until he knew.
"Cor," Angel said softly, pointing behind her. "It is another day"
When she turned around she was surprised to see a warm orange light peeking up over the LA skyline and shining in through the apartment's picture windows. "Sunrise. Already" She said, sounding sadder than she meant to. The surprise of it all had led to cracks in her own armor "Time can really get away from you when you're not looking"
Suddenly Angel was pulling her arm, leading her towards the light.
"I want to show you something"
Cordelia became concerned when Angel showed no signs of stopping. She surveyed the windows. No curtains in sight. "Angel…what are you doing?" She asked, panicked. She pulled her arm away, hoping to stop him in the process, but he went on without her. "Angel!"
The vampire stopped in front of the window, inches from the pane. The sunlight, new and fresh, fell all around him. He turned back to face her. Between the light on his shoulders and the smile on his face, the glow was blinding.
Cordelia stood in awe. "You're standing in the sunlight"
"Necrotempered glass. Nice, huh?"
All she could do was nod, her eyes taking on a wet glint. "It's…the best thing I've ever seen"
Angel looked out at the view "It was a nice perk"
"And this is just the dress rehearsal. Wait until opening day. You. The beach. It'll be amazing"
She watched him scan the outdoors. He was almost there. She could feel it. "Maybe" He turned back to her and shrugged. "Or maybe this is the closest I'll ever get"
"It'll happen, Angel" Cordelia assured him. Why couldn't he see what she saw so unbelievably clearly? After a moment she added breezily, "Let's face it. You need the color"
Her reward was a laugh. A genuine, straight from the belly, misty eyed laugh.
She took the scene in and realized that once again it was the two of them, staring at each other from across a room. Just like how it had all started, that first night they met up in LA. She wanted to freeze the moment in her mind. Remember every instant she had ever spent with the person who had come to matter most. Muse about the funny way life had a tendency to come full circle while still managing to take a person by surprise.
But instead she yawned.
"Not tired, huh?" Angel asked with a smirk.
Cordelia rubbed her eyes. "The mind is willing but the body…well, the body is slightly atrophied"
He gestured towards his bedroom. "You should try to get a few hours of sleep. You can use my bed"
Cordelia looked over her shoulder to the large king size that stood square in the middle of the room. It looked lonely. These days all beds looked lonely.
When she turned back he was already walking away.
"Angel?" Her voice stopped him dead. She took slight satisfaction in the knowledge that even during the most topsy-turvy of times, some things really never did change.
With three fast strides she was in front of him. She rocked up onto her toes and rested a soft kiss on his cheek. It wasn't her first choice, location-wise, but why complicate things with so much work ahead? She'd hold out hope for a chance at the end.
"What was that for?"
She noticed his collar was crooked. She tugged it back into place. "A list too long to name"
She was glad to see him smile, and hoped for a few more chances before she had to go. She watched him leave the room, and laughed at how long it took him. Eventually she made her way to his bedroom, but walked past the bed. She checked again to make sure Angel had left before pulling out a small plastic shopping bag from behind his bureau.
Cordelia began to carefully transfer its contents into an oak tag box.
She had chipped away at the wall that night, and she hoped that there would be enough time to finish the job. She didn't know if she could bring herself to leave with parts left undone. Incompletion never had sat well with her.
She wrapped her box in bright yellow paper, knowing it would be hard to miss in Angel's monochromatic bedroom. He'd notice it right away. She scribbled her card, signing it 'Love Always' and tucked it under a green striped bow.
It would be her gift to him.
Well, her second gift.
She slid the box away under the bed, until later on when she would leave it somewhere he would see it. Maybe the dresser. Or the couch. She slipped under the covers and rested her head on Angel's pillow. She took the time to think about the day to come. There was so much to do. She knew she wouldn't be there to see the day when Angel would become human, but she had been fortunate enough to witness the preview. Now she had to convince him that it was a future he was worthy of. More than anyone else he deserved that kind of happiness.
She closed her eyes.
After that night she wouldn't be there to remind him, but she hoped her gift would do the job for her.
A red and brown plaid shirt. And a bottle of sun block.