Title: A World Without You

Author: Aimee

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Birthday

Pairing: Angel/Cordelia

Summary: Angel thought he'd lost her.

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

Cordelia was laying on Angel's bed. She threw her head back, screaming in pain. Angel rushed to her side just as the rest of the gang came running through his door.

"What's happening to her?" Fred asked.

Gasping, Cordy sat up in bed and opened her eyes. Angel hesitated for only a second before he threw his arms around her in a hug. "I thought I'd lost you."

"Angel," she whispered.

Suddenly, Cordy gasped, pulled back and grabbed a hold of her head. "No horns." She checked her backside and smiled up at Angel. "No tail."

Angel looked at the others, but no one volunteered an opinion.

"Whew! Just checking," Cordy said.

Cordy got up out of bed and stretched, while Angel took a suspicious look under the pillow before slowly trailing after her.

"It feels so good to be solid again," Cordy told them.

Angel joined the rest of the gang and watched Cordy.

"Cordelia, what is the last thing you remember?" Wes asked.

"When? I've been so--oh. You mean the vision downstairs. No, I had a vision, but it's been taken care of. There was this actress and a one-armed guy," she said as everyone watched her silently. "It's a long story, but right now, we have to solve my vision."

"The one you just said was taken care of?" Lorne asked.

"No. The one I'm having right now. There is a young man in a park in Glendale. Uh, somewhere near a pond. There is a demon waiting for him. He's red with four, no, make that five horns."

"Wes," Angel began quietly. "Could you--"

"We'll take of it," Wes told the vampire kindly. "Just--spend some time with her."

"Thank you."

Wes nodded. "Come on, guys," he told the rest of the gang. One by one, they filed out the door, leaving the champion and seer alone. Wes closed the door softly behind him.

Angel sighed and sat down on the bed. He focused his eyes on the floor, barely holding it together.

From across the room, Cordy noticed his change in demeanor and quickly crossed the room. She sat down beside him on the bed. "Angel?"

"Yeah?" he asked quietly.

She lifted his gaze to meet hers. "Angel, what's wrong?"

He looked into her hazel eyes. "I thought I'd lost you," he whispered as one lone tear slid down his face.

"Hey," she said softly, realizing how scared he must have been. She put her arms around him, pulling his head to her shoulder. She rubbed his back in what she hoped was a soothing gesture.

A few minutes later she slipped off her shoes and pulled on his hand, urging him to follow her to the head of the bed. He toed off his own shoes and followed her. They lay down facing each other. Cordy laced her fingers through his. "Talk to me," she whispered.

Angel didn't say anything for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "Why didn't you tell me about the MRI's and CAT scans?" he finally asked.

Cordy sighed. "I was scared," she admitted. "Angel, I was dying and I didn't know how to tell you. Suddenly, all the things I wanted to say to you just seemed horribly unfair to say if I wasn't going to be around," she told him softly as tears fell silently down her face.

"What things?" he asked softly, gently brushing her tears away.

She smiled at the gesture. "I love you," she told him softly. "I love you so much and I'm so tired of hiding how I feel about you."

He smiled that smile that she loved so much. The one that lit up his entire face. "I love you, too, Cordy. The truth is, I can't remember not loving you."

Then Angel did something that he'd been wanting to do since he realized he was in love with Cordelia Chase. He took her face in his hands and kissed her, thankful for the gift of her love.

"Come here," he whispered, pulling her into his arms. She lay her head on his chest while he wrapped his arm gently around her waist, pulling her close.

"So what happened?" he asked a short while later, referring to her newfound ability to float.

"I had a choice," she told him, "to live or die."

"It wasn't that simple, was it?"

She sighed. "No. In order to live, I had to give up the visions and my life here. History was rewritten. I never ran into you at that party when I first moved to L.A."

She suddenly remembered what he had said about her while she and Skip listened. "Do you really think I'm weak?" she asked quietly. "Do you think I'm just a rich girl from Sunnydale who likes to play superhero?"

"What? No!"

"Then why--"

"I was afraid. I was willing to say anything in the hope that you'd be okay."

She squeezed his hand. "So history was rewritten--and I was a star," she told him. "I was a famous actress--the very thing I wanted when I came to L.A. I should have been ecstatic."

"You weren't?" he asked.

She shook her head. "No. Little pieces of this life kept creeping in," she told him. "And then I saw what happened to you."

"Me?"

"Yeah. When Doyle died, you got the visions. They took a toll on you. You were isolated, cut off from almost everyone."

"Go on," he told her.

"You didn't remember me. You were so afraid. You were lost," she told him, haunted by the memory.

"How did you come back?"

"I kissed you and took the visions back."

"But won't you be right back where you started?"

She shook her head. "No. I did the one thing no one in their right mind would do. I made Skip find a loophole. He warned me that the pain would be almost unbearable and the side effects could be numerous and unpredictible. He said I may never be able to lead a human life again," she told him. "I didn't care."

"What did you agree to?"

"There was only one way I could keep the visions. I became--part demon," she told him softly.

"Oh, Cordy," he whispered.

"Whatever happens, it's worth it," she told him. "I can't--I won't--live in a world without you in it," she told him, turning in his arms so she could look into his eyes.

His only reply was to pull her into the biggest soul-crushing hug of her life. He didn't trust his voice for a full minute after she made that declaration. "Thank you," he whispered against her skin. "Thank you for coming back."

She smiled at him gently. "Home is where the heart is," she told him. "And since I gave my heart to you a long time ago, home is where you are."

A beautiful smile slowly spread across his face. "And you have mine," he told her, kissing her softly.

An hour later, Wes and the rest of the gang returned from rescuing the young man in Glendale from the five-horned demon in Cordy's vision. When they returned, Lorne greeted them in the lobby, singing Connor to sleep.

Wes, Gunn and Fred walked up the stairs to Angel's room. Opening the door, a soft smile crept across their faces at the scene that greeted them. Angel and Cordelia were fast asleep in each other's arms. Cordy's head rested on Angel's chest while he held her tightly to him like she was the most precious thing in the world.