Title: Worthy of Love
Summary: Angel just wanted to be loved.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Otherwise, they're mine.
Angel walked off into the direction of Lorne's bedroom. He was leaning against the wall, head down, when Cordy caught up to him. She gently raised his face to hers. Tears silently fell down his face.
"Hey," she said softly, wordlessly pulling him to her shoulder and wrapping her arms around him. "Talk to me."
He lifted his head from her shoulder, but didn't pull away from her arms. Instead, he pulled her to his chest and held her. "Having a child," he said, "it's the one thing I told myself I didn't want."
"But you did," she whispered.
He sighed. "Yeah. More than I can say."
She smiled up at him. "I know. I can see it in your eyes."
"To be the kind of father you never had," she finished for him.
He looked at her in surprise. "Yes, but how did you know?'
"Angel, I can read between the lines. It's no surprise, really, given the kind of relationship you had with your own father."
He looked up at the ceiling. "I was no good," he told her quietly. "When I was human, I mean. I did things just because I knew he disapproved."
"Angel, that didn't give him the right to treat you the way he did," she said softly."
"I never felt like he loved me," he admitted. "And that's what hurt the most," he whispered. "I just wanted him to love me."
Cordy's heart broke at the pain she heard in his voice. She gently brushed the last of his tears away. "There's a lot you're not telling me, isn't there?"
He nodded. "Yeah."
"One day, you're going to have to tell me," she told him. "You need to talk about it."
She placed a finger over his lips. "Someday. When you're ready." She paused, thinking. "It won't be easy, but maybe after you do, you can begin to heal."
"Until then, I'm just going to have to show you that you're worth it."
"Worth it?" he asked.
"Being loved," she told him softly.
"Oh, God. Cordy--" he said as tears filled his eyes. "I never--"
"Told anyone that because of how your father treated you, you never felt worthy of being loved?"
He took in a huge gulp of air, trying to stop the sob he could feel welling in his throat. "Yeah," he whispered.
She looked at him then, really looked at him and realized that she needed to tell him what was in her heart. She'd wanted to wait for the perfect time, but the thing about perfect times is that, they rarely seemed to present themselves.
"Angel," she said, placing her hand on the side of his face and looking deep into his beautiful brown eyes. "You are worth it. I don't know when it happened, but I fell in love with you. One day when I wasn't looking, you became the reason."
She smiled. "The reason I was so happy, the reason why I suddenly felt like my life was just the way it should be."
He smiled then. It was the kind of smile that took awhile to fully form, but when it did, it lit up his entire face. It took her breath away.
"I love you, too, Cordy," he told her. "I remember how you were a familiar face when I ran into you at that Hollywood party. Then you were my employee. Before I knew it, you were my friend, my best friend. Then one day, before I realized it, you became the woman I love."
She smiled that brilliant Cordelia Chase smile that he loved so much. To him, it felt like sunshine. Who needed the real thing when he had the shine of her smile?
He softly brushed his lips across hers, feeling like the luckiest man in the world at that moment.
"Feeling better?" she asked a few minutes later.
He nodded. "Yes."
"Good," she told him. "When this is all over--after we've dealt with Holtz and after your son has been born, how about we--you, me and your son--go away somewhere for a couple of weeks?"
"But Wes said he's--" he said, not being able to bring himself to say what Wesley had told him, that his child was dying.
"I don't care what Wes said," she told him. "Your son will be fine. He's going to grow up with the best father he could ask for."
"You don't care? Even knowing he's Darla's?"
"It doesn't matter. He's your son and that's all that matters," she told him. "We'll raise him--together."
He looked at her with eyes full of love. "I love you so much."
She smiled. "I love you, too, Angel."
"So where do you want to go on this vacation?" he asked, taking her hand as they walked back towards their friends.
"Anywhere," she told him as they joined their friends. "As long as we're together, I don't care where we go."
As they sat, their friends noted their joined hands, but didn't comment. They noticed how much more calmer the vampire was than when he had walked off half an hour earlier. They all knew only one person could do that for him. And that person was currently gazing at him with love in her eyes.
Angel squeezed Cordelia's hand, basking in her love. He sat back and let the voices of his friends wash over him, content.