Title: By His Side

Author: Aimee

Rating: PG

Spoilers: You're Welcome

Pairing: Angel/Cordelia

Summary: Angel misses Connor.

Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Otherwise, they're mine.

Author's Note: In my version, Cordy wakes up from her coma for real.

Angel sat down on the bed next to Cordelia. "Cordy--there are reasons I agreed to take over Wolfram & Hart, reasons you don't understand."

Cordelia stood. "I understand just fine." She walked around the apartment, gesturing. "They seduced you with all their fancy facilities, manpower. They threw a whole bunch of money at you. Plied you with all these expensive toys and penthouses with spectacular views and--" She looked out his window, admiring the view. "Really spectacular."

She turned to Angel. "What was I saying?"

"I've been seduced," he told her.

"That's right, pal. They dazzled you with shiny objects and beautiful things and--there is no reason you could give me--"

"Connor," Angel told her simply.

"Where is Connor? Why did Gunn ask--"

Angel walked into the living room. "They don't remember him. It's part of my agreement to take this job. The senior partners altered reality. They gave Connor a life, a real family and a childhood. Something I could never give him. He's got no memories of us. And no one remembers him," he told her sitting on the arm of a chair. "Except me and you."

"But why?"

"He was about to kill you. And himself. He was so torn up. I didn't have any other way to stop him, any way to help him. Connor's happy now."

"What about you?" she asked softly, sitting down on the sofa.

He sank down into the cushions beside her and sighed. "I miss him," he said softly, so softly she almost missed it. "I miss him so much, Cordy," he told her, finally looking into her eyes.

What she saw in his eyes broke her heart. She saw all the pain and the loneliness he'd been feeling for the last year. One solitary tear fell down his face. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a hug. "I'm so sorry I wasn't here," she told him, rubbing his back.

He pulled away so he could look into her eyes. "Cordy, that wasn't your fault," he told her softly.

She sighed. "My head knows that," she told him, "but my heart won't listen."

Angel pulled her back against his chest and wrapped his arms around her. "Hey," he told her, "it's okay. Everything from last year, it's over now. And you're back--where you belong."

"But the things she said to you, the things she did," she said, choking back a sob.

"It doesn't matter now. You're back and that's all that matters."

She smiled through her tears. "What did I do to deserve you?"

He smiled softly. "I could ask you the same thing."

"I was so nervous that night, Angel," she told him a short time later. "Nervous that I was going to screw up our friendship. But somehow, I knew that everything would be okay."

He kissed the top of her head. "So was I," he admitted. "I had never been so nervous in my entire life, but it just felt right."

"Angel," she said, turning so she could look into his eyes."I love you. I can't even begin to imagine my life without you in it."

He smiled that beautiful smile of his. "I love you, too, Cordy," he told her. "I've lived without you and it nearly killed me. I can't do it again."

She kissed him gently. "You won't have to," she promised, lacing her fingers through his.

They sat in silence for a long time, lost in their own thoughts. "I missed this," he told her.

"What?"

"Just--being with you," he told her.

She smiled gently. "Me too."

He stretched his legs out onto the sofa and pulled Cordy into his arms, just enjoying the feel of her in his arms as she rested her head on his chest. For the first time in over a year, the vampire with a soul was at peace. He knew there would be evil to fight and danger to face, but he also knew he could face anything as long as Cordelia Chase was by his side.