Title: In Each Other's Arms
Spoilers: Provider, Couplet, Spin the Bottle
Summary: Cordelia remembers.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Otherwise, they're mine.
Author's Note: This is how I see the end of Spin the Bottle happening.
In the lobby of the Hyperion, Lorne gave Cordelia a drop of the potion while Angel looked on. She made a face and ran out into the hotel garden. Angel followed her into the night.
Cordy looked up from her seat on the bench. "Yeah?"
Angel looked at her for a moment. "You remember."
Cordelia nodded. "I remember all of it."
He walked over and sat down beside her. "Were we in love?"
She looked at him and shook her head."No." She paused, looking at him, noting the downturn of his head. Okay, wrong time to pause, she thought.
"Angel," she said, lifting his face so it met hers. "We are in love. Present tense."
He smiled then. It was a smile that warmed her heart. It felt like coming home after a long journey. "I love you, Cordy."
"I love you, Angel. So very much," she told him as she kissed him softly.
Angel leaned against the wall behind him, pulled Cordelia to him and wrapped his arms around her. He sighed, almost inaudibly.
Cordy looked up at him, noting how he was barely holding it together. "Angel, what is it?" she asked softly.
"I missed you. I missed you so much," he whispered as a tear fell down his face. "I was--"
"It's going to be okay. I'm never leaving you again," she told him.
"Promise?" he asked, searching her eyes for the answer.
She gently touched his face. "I promise."
At her words, his eyes filled with the tears he had been trying desperately to hold back. She pulled his head to her shoulder. "Let it go, Angel," she whispered. "Let it go."
Her soft words was all it took. Angel sobbed, letting all his heartbreak and loneliness go, all his misery.
When Angel finally lifted his head from Cordelia's shoulder, she saw a much calmer and happier Angel. All that remained of his misery was a tear-streaked face. She wiped the last of his tears away and kissed him with a gentleness he had never known.
He reclaimed his position against the wall as Cordelia leaned against his chest, resting her head where his unbeating heart lay. He held her to him with a contented sigh.
"What are they doing?" Fred asked, peering out the door that led to the Hyperion's garden.
"I don't know Fredikins," Lorne told her.
"Woman, get over here," Gunn told his girlfriend. "Give them some privacy."
Fred looked up at him. "I'm just curious."
"I know you are," he smiled. "But give them time. Cordy's back and we all know Angel has been lonely without her."
She nodded as she walked over and sat beside him. "Yeah, he's been--"
"He's been what?" Cordelia asked as she and Angel walked into the hotel's lobby, hand in hand.
"He's been lost," Fred told her friend.
Angel and Cordy sat down on the sofa. Angel put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her against him. "Among other things," he told them.
"He's been an emotional wreck," Lorne told the young woman. "He hasn't been sleeping well so he sits up at night drawing." Lorne walked over to her desk, opened a drawer and removed Angel's drawing pad. Walking over to the couple, he handed the pad to Cordelia. "Here. See for yourself."
Cordy opened the pad, studying the drawings. Each page featured the same subject. Her. Suddenly, she saw herself just as Angel did. She saw just how much he truly did love her.
The first page showed a picture of her sitting on the lobby stairs, a thoughtful expression on her face. Turning the page, she saw herself in the hotel's garden, eyes closed, clearly enjoying the bright afternoon sunshine. The next picture she saw took her breath away. In it, she was laying beside Angel on his bed, Connor between them, all three fast asleep. The picture-perfect family.
" Angel, these are amazing," she told him as she flipped through the remaining drawings.
"And that's only the latest pad," Gunn told her.
"Latest?" she asked.
Gunn nodded. "Yeah. He goes through about one a week. See that stack," he said, pointing to a stack about a foot high. "That's the rest. They all have one thing in common--you. Every picture features you."
"Oh, Angel," she whispered, realizing just how much he had missed her. Suddenly, she realized just how much she had missed him, too.
She gently lay the pad on the table in front of them and turned to him. "Angel, you are my best friend. You have always accepted me for who I am, faults and all. You loved me unconditionally as your friend. Then just to show how much you loved me, you sent me on vacation with another man, thinking that it was what I wanted. It wasn't. I wanted you. It's always been you," she finished softly.
Angel took her hand in his. "Cordy, you are my dearest friend. Who else would keep blood in their refrigerator in case I should happen to stop by? You have always accepted me for who I am--the vampire and the man. You know the horrors of my past, but somehow it doesn't matter because you know that I am a different person than I was back then. Sending you on that vacation with Groo was the single most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I loved you then and I love you still," he told her, brushing his lips across hers. It was a kiss filled with comfort, gentleness, joy and friendship, but mostly it was the kiss of a man and woman in love. Completely head over heels in love.
When they looked up again, their three friends had disappeared to other parts of the hotel. "Where do you think they went?" Cordy asked.
He chuckled and nodded at the office. "In there," he said. "Probably watching the whole time."
She giggled. "Probably." She snuggled against his chest. "Guys, you can come out now," she called.
Not a moment later, Lorne, Fred and Gunn returned. "So, anyone hungry?" Gunn asked.
"I am," Cordy said as Lorne and Fred nodded. "How about a pizza?" she asked.
Fred smiled. "Sounds great," she told her friend. "I'll call it in," she said, walking to the phone and dialing. "The usual?" she asked. The others nodded in response.
Twenty minutes later, Cordy, Lorne, Fred and Gunn were enjoying a delicious ham and green pepper pizza while Angel drank his blood with a smile. He looked at Cordy and smiled, who smiled back at him with love in her eyes. It was good to have the heart of Angel Investigations back.
"You look happy," she told him.
"I am," he told her softly.
"You both look happy," Fred told them, smiling.
"Who's up for a game?" Gunn asked as he finished the last slice of pizza.
"Sounds fun," Fred said. "Which one?" she asked, opening the cabinet that contained their board games.
"Not Worst Case Scenario," Lorne said. "I think we've all had enough of the real thing to last a lifetime."
"No kidding. How about Monopoly?" Angel asked.
Cordy nodded. "That sounds good."
Fred returned with the game and opened the box. She spread out the board and took out their tokens. Cordy was always the dog, Angel the car, Lorne was the top hat, Gunn the battleship and she was the shoe. "Who's turn to be the banker?" she asked.
"Yours," Gunn told her as she handed out the money to each player.
"Lorne, you're first," Cordy told him.
The green demon picked up the dice and rolled, grinning as he did so. "Oh, yeah," he said as he picked up Boardwalk on his first roll.
"Oh, man, not again," Angel said, laughing. "He always gets that one."
"I know," Gunn said, rolling a three and a five, landing on chance. "Pay each player $50," he read. "It figures."
"Pay up," Fred told him.
At the end of the evening, Lorne had won the game. "It's nice to win," he grinned.
"Yeah, well, you may have won the game," Cordelia told him. "But I think I'm the real winner," she said, looking at Angel and smiling. They all knew she wasn't talking about the game, but about Angel.
"As am I," Angel said.
"I think you're both the real winners tonight," Lorne agreed.
"Well, guys, it's been a long day," Angel said, yawning. "I'm exhausted and ready for what will be the first good night's sleep in months," he said, standing. He pulled Cordy to her feet and took her hand, squeezing it.
"Goodnight, guys," Cordy told their friends as she and Angel walked up the stairs to room 217.
"Goodnight," their friends chorused behind them.
Closing the door softly behind him, Angel stood looking at the woman in front of him. "What?" she asked.
"Nothing. I'm just--"
He nodded. "Yeah."
She smiled. "Me too."
"Come on, let's go to bed," she told him, leading him to the bed.
She opened his dresser and removed his pajama pants, tossing them at him. Opening another drawer, she took out a black tee, deciding it would make the perfect nightshirt. He smiled in response.
Angel took off his boots and slid them beside a nearby chair. He removed his socks and threw them on the floor. Standing up, he slipped out of his black pants, adding them to the pile on the floor. He unbottoned his black shirt and tossed it aside, as well. He put on the navy blue pajama pants Cordy had given him. They were a gift from her on his last birthday.
Cordy looked from Angel to the pile of clothes on the floor, smiling. She took off her own shoes, putting them beside Angel's. She removed her white pants and pink shirt, adding them to the pile of clothes. Lastly, she reached behind her back and unhooked her pink bra and let it drop to the floor. She heard him inhale sharply. "Something wrong?" she asked as she slipped his tee over her head.
He stood and walked the few feet to where she was standing. "You're beautiful," he told her softly, tracing the curve of her jawline with one finger.
She smiled. "And you're the handsomest man I've ever seen," she told him softly, running her hand up his naked chest, which prompted a smile of his own.
He led her to the bed, turning down the blankets. They slipped between the sheets simultaneously. He held out his arms to her, smiling as she slid into them, resting her head on his chest. He wrapped his arm around her, rubbing her back.
"I love you, Angel," Cordelia told him, leaning up to kiss him softly before resuming her position on his chest.
"I love you, too, Cordy," he told her, smiling softly.
"If you could have anything, what would it be?" she asked him.
"You. All I want is you," he told her.
He smiled. "Well, it would be nice to show the woman I love just how much I adore her."
"That pesky curse," Cordelia said. "Lucky for us, that has been fixed."
Cordy laughed. "Yeah, when I came home after being a higher being, the Powers decided it was time we got to be happy," she told him, smiling. "They made your soul permanent."
"Permanent?" he asked in disbelief.
"Yeah. So rest up, Angel."
"Why?" he asked, confused.
She looked into his beautiful brown eyes, a teasing glint in her own. "Because tomorrow," she told him, "we are going to spend the day testing out that permanent soul of yours."
He grinned at her. "I can't wait," he said, pushing a piece of hair behind her ear.
She lay her head back down on his chest as he turned out the bedside light. "I love you, Cordy. Goodnight."
"I love you, too, Angel," she told him as she closed her eyes.
For the first time in months, the vampire and his lover were at peace. They slept peacefully, knowing they were right where they belonged--in each other's arms.