She was crying again.

It wasn't like her to do this. She was supposed to be the one who caused the tears. An impeccable outfit, perfect hair, a sarcastic put-down and her patented bitch walk had caused many a highschool student to spend the next class period mopping their face in the bathroom. But for the millionth time since she'd woken up this morning, she'd found herself sobbing.

This time it was a smell. He'd always had a peculiar smell, underneath whatever bargain basement cologne he'd been wearing. A smell that wasn't unpleasant, wasn't wonderful, wasn't anything, really. Except Doyle.

She'd caught an imagined whiff of it as she tried to make some coffee. And suddenly it felt like someone had ripped out her heart. A bone-crushing pain as the brutal realization coursed through her again.

He was gone. Really gone.


This morning she'd woken up in her perfect apartment. The perfect apartment he'd found for her. She was smiling as she opened her eyes, filled with a buoyant sense of complete joy.

She'd been dreaming about the kiss. That perfect kiss. Only in her dream, that perfect kiss wasn't followed by a waking nightmare. It was followed by wonderful things, things that could now only exist in illusion.

Because he was dead.

He died to save her. To save them all.

Doyle had been a short, poor, badly dressed, half-demon Knight in Shining Armor. And she really thought that she could have loved him. That her life could have been better, richer somehow, with him in it.

Cordelia stood in her perfect kitchen, mourning What Could Have Been. Suddenly, she understood the price that had to be paid to make sure the good guys kept winning. It wasn't always just a fee that the victim gave to Angel at the end of a close call and a larger-than-life rescue. Sometimes it was a life. A good life, a worthwhile life. Taken before it was fair. Taken before people were ready to let go.

Sometimes, Cordelia began to realize, the good guys died.

She missed him. Oh, how she missed him. Everyday, it seemed, there were things she wanted to tell him. Experiences she wanted to share with him. And she couldn't. The life that was possible was gone now.

Cordelia Chase was crying again; mourning a hero.

Her hero.

Disclaimer: Cordelia, Doyle, and the world of Angel belong to Joss, the High Geek.

A/N: Thoughts on Cordelia's response to Doyle's death. An ode to a great character.