Title: Together Forever
Spoilers: You're Welcome, Not Fade Away
Summary: Angel gets his reward.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Otherwise, they're mine.
Angel sat in his office at the Hyperion, holding a framed photograph of the gang. He ran his fingers across each of their faces tenderly and remembered his lost friends. Wesley and his books. Gunn, always loyal and protective. Fred, so smart and sweet. Then he got to the last face in the photo and sighed. Cordelia, the heart of Angel Investigations. A tear slipped down his face. When she died, she took his heart with her. Almost six months later and he still felt like a part of him was missing. God, how he missed her.
When the doors to the Hyperion opened and closed, he assumed it was Connor and didn't bother to turn around. He just continued to stare at his lost love.
She could see the tear tracks on his face when she studied his profile from outside the office door. She quietly walked over to stand in front of him and gently took the photograph from his hands, placing it on the desk behind him. Surprised, he looked up into the face of the woman he loved. "Cordy?" he asked in disbelief.
Cordelia Chase dropped to her knees and wrapped Angel in her arms. "Yeah, it's me."
When Angel finally pulled away, he helped her into a nearby chair. "But how?"
Cordy stroked his cheek tenderly and took his hand in hers. "When you signed away your Shanshu and your chance to become human, the Powers had to come up with a new reward for you."
Confusion was written across his handsome face. "What do you mean?"
She smiled. "Angel, you won. You took on the Senior Partners, you fought the Apocalypse and won. You were supposed to become human after that," she told him. "But you signed that away to defeat the Black Thorn."
"I had to," he whispered, still remembering how hard that was to do.
She squeezed his hand. "So the Powers had to come up with a new reward for you. Something that would give you the strength to go on--and the happiness you deserve."
"You?" he asked.
She nodded. "Me." She paused, noting how defeated he looked. "They know how heartbroken you've been. When I died, you lost your smile, you lost the will to go on. The only thing that kept you going was the gang--and when they died, the Powers knew it was time to send me home to you."
A tear slipped down his face. "You're back for good, then?" he asked, almost desperately.
She smiled that million dollar Cordelia Chase smile that he loved so much. "I'm back for good."
"But how is that possible?"
"I died a mystical death, Angel," she said. "Besides, I'm still dead," she told him. "But then again, so are you."
He laughed--an honest to goodness laugh. The sound was like music to her ears. "I love you, Cordy," he told her, pulling her into his lap.
She smiled at him, love and affection clearly written across her face. "I love you, too, Angel," she told him before softly brushing her lips across his. "And now we'll be together forever," she whispered.
He smiled the smile that made her fall in love with him all over again. The smile that lit up his entire face. "That sounds perfect."
She stood, took his hand and led him up to room 217. "Cordy? What are we doing?"
She touched her lips to his, moaning softly. She heard his own quiet moan in return as he kissed her back. "Cordy," he whispered.
She pulled back to look at him. She could see the love and desire in his eyes. He so desperately wanted to make love to her, but he was afraid. He knew what would happen if he did and had no desire to let Angelus on the loose again. "Angel, when the Powers sent me home to you, they also did something else."
She smiled. "They gave you a permanent soul," she told him softly. He didn't have time to respond before she captured his lips with hers and suddenly, his body was responding to hers.
Still responding to his kisses, she slowly unbuttoned his black shirt. When the last button was undone, she pushed the fabric to the side. She ran her hands up his strong chest and let the garment drop to the floor.
He slowly unbuttoned her own black shirt, his lips never leaving hers. He let the material slip from his hands and land on the floor. He kissed his way down her neck before gently pushing her onto the bed.
An hour later, they lay wrapped in each other's arms, sofly talking. "Remind me to thank the Powers someday," he told her softly.
She laughed quietly. "I already did."
"I adore you," he told her softly. She only smiled and snuggled into his arms, laying her head on his chest.
The sound of the Hyperion's doors opening and closing pulled them out of their peaceful slumber 45 minutes later. "Dad?" a voice called from the lobby below.
They reluctantly left the warmth of their bed and pulled on robes. "Connor?" she asked.
He nodded happily. "Yeah. Come on," he told her, taking her hand and leading her down the stairs to the lobby, where his son was standing.
"Dad, I've been looking everywhere--" he said, trailing off as he noticed Cordy standing beside Angel. "Cordy?" he asked in disbelief.
Cordy stepped forward and pulled Connor into a hug. "It's me," she told him, wrapping her arms around him.
He smiled. "But how?"
Cordy looked from father to son. "Boy, you two are definitely father and son," she laughed.
Angel laughed. "The Powers sent Cordy home," he told his son. "She's my reward since I signed away my Shanshu."
Connor looked at his father and smiled. "I'm happy for you, Dad. It's about time you got to be happy." He paused and looked at Cordy. "Does that mean you're--"
"Alive?" she finished. "Nope. Still dead," she told him, a smile in her hazel eyes.
Connor laughed. "Well, so is he so I guess that's fitting." He paused, realizing. "You'll be together forever," he whispered softly.
They nodded, smiling. "That's wonderful," he told them.
"So why were you looking for me?' Angel asked Connor.
Connor smiled. "I have a surprise for you."
"What?" Angel asked.
"Me," a voice from the door told him.
Angel looked up into a face he never thought he'd see again. "Lorne," he said, smiling. "You came back."
Lorne nodded. "I couldn't stay away," he admitted.
Angel looked at him. "Lorne, what I asked you to do--"
"Was something I thought was unforgiveable," the green demon told the vampire. "But I was wrong. It took awhile, but I realized you didn't force me to do anything. It was my choice." He paused, looking at the other man. "Besides, I missed you and the munchkin," he said, looking at Connor.
"Uncle Lorne," the young man groaned.
Lorne smiled affectionately at Connor, before noticing the other face in the room, standing just beyond Angel. "Cordy?" he asked in disbelief.
She stepped in front of Angel and threw her arms around him. "Is it really you?" he asked.
She smiled. "It's me, Lorne."
"The Powers sent her home," Angel told him, stepping up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist.
"She's your reward," Lorne said, realizing.
"Yeah," Angel confirmed.
"You're not alive, are you?" Lorne asked the brunette.
She shook her head. "Nope."
"Which means that you'll be together forever," Lorne said. "Angelcakes, I couldn't be more happy for you," he told the vampire. "Sometimes things do work out."
An hour later, the four of them sat in Angel's office, talking. "So what do we do?" Angel asked them. "Do we reopen Angel Investigations?"
Cordelia thought for a moment. "Yes," she finally said. "I think we should. I think they'd have liked that," she told him softly.
"They?" Connor asked.
Angel smiled sadly. "Wesley, Gunn and Fred," he told his son, picking up the photograph from his desk he'd been staring at earlier that same day.
Lorne nodded. "She's right. They would want you to help as many people as you can."
Angel nodded. "Okay."
"Well, kids, I'm beat," Lorne told them, standing up.
"Your old room's free," Angel told him. He looked at Lorne and smiled. "I'm really glad you're back."
"Me too. Goodnight."
"I need to call Tracy," Connor told his father, pulling his cell phone from his pocket. "I'll see you guys tomorrow. Goodnight."
"Tracy?" Cordy asked.
"His girlfriend," Angel told her, smiling.
"Good for him," Cordy said.
Angel stood and took her hand. "Come on," he said. "Let's go to bed."
The next day, Angel was on the phone when Cordy came down the stairs, dressed in track pants and a long-sleeved tee of his. He thought she looked adorable. "Hey," he said, hanging up the phone.
"Hey yourself," she told him, closing the distance between them and softly kissing his lips. "Who were you talking to?"
"You'll see," he told her. "Just something I thought would be nice."
She looked at him a moment, before nodding. "Okay."
Later that night, she found out exactly what he'd been up to when he quietly asked her, Lorne and Connor to follow him out into the southeast corner of the garden. What they saw there touched all their hearts. There stood a single grave marker. Wesley Wyndham-Price, Charles Gunn and Winifred 'Fred' Burkle, it read. Forever in the hearts of Angel, Cordelia, Lorne and Connor."Oh, Angel," she whispered, taking his hand.
"I just thought it would be nice to have them nearby," he said.
She nodded. "It is."
Nothing more was said as they stood there, each lost in their own thoughts, remembering their fallen friends. They knew there would be a time to reminisce about their friends, but that would wait until the pain wasn't still so fresh in their minds and hearts. There would be a day when they could think of them without the tears. But for now, they stood in silence, paying their respects to their beloved friends, their family as tears fell silently down their faces.
At last, Cordelia squeezed Angel's hand and they walked silently back into the hotel's lobby, followed by Lorne and Connor. She walked over to her desk, about to sit down when Angel turned her to face him. He silently pulled her into his arms, needing to hold her as much as she needed to be held. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too," she told him softly.
Finally pulling apart, she sat down at her desk while Angel sat at the reception desk, facing her. Lorne and Connor sat on the gray sofa in the middle of the lobby, quietly talking. The phone rang. "Angel Investigations. We help the helpless," Cordelia said with a smile. Angel smiled. Another era of Angel Investigations had just begun.