Title: She Said Yes
Spoilers: Season 3 and 4
Summary: The gang search for a way to bring Cordy out of her coma.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Otherwise, they're mine.
Author's Note: Thanks to Dev for the beta. You're very much appreciated. :)
This fic follows the events in Peace Out. The only difference is Lilah never offers the gang their 'deal of a lifetime'.
It had been a week since Connor had killed Jasmine. Angel had not left her side. Everyone, except for Angel, was hard at work in full research mode, trying to locate a solution that would wake Cordelia up from her coma. Since it was mystical, reasoning had it that there had to be some kind of mystical solution.
Upstairs, Cordelia lay in her coma. Angel sat at her side, holding her hand. "Cordy, I don't know if you can hear me or not, but I need you to know we're working day and night to find a way to get you back. Please hang on." He paused as tears fell down his face. "I need you, Cordy," he whispered.
A soft knock sounded on the door before it opened to reveal Wesley. Wes walked into the bedroom, noticing the despair on the vampire's face. He didn't think he'd ever seen a man more in love. "I think we may have found something."
Angel looked at Wes, a glimmer of hope shining in his eyes. "What did you find?"
"It's a spell. The Ceremony of the Eternally Bonded."
"What's that?" Angel asked.
"It's a ceremony that will bond you and she together for all eternity."
"It sounds like a wedding ceremony."
Wes nodded. "It is."
"What's the catch?"
"Only two people truly in love will be able to do it. If you aren't in love, it won't work. This ceremony is forever and cannot be undone."
Angel nodded. "Go on."
"If this works, you will both be immortal. You won't age and the only way you will die is if either of you is killed. If one of you dies, the other will, too."
"But if it's a wedding ceremony and she's in a coma, how can she say no?"
Wes smiled. "That's the beauty of this particular spell. The acceptance isn't spoken with words, but is spoken with the heart. The decision to do this or not rests entirely with Cordelia."
"What about my soul and the curse?"
"Her soul will anchor yours. It will be impossible for you to lose it again."
Angel looked at Cordelia, processing what Wesley had just told him. A soft smile graced his face for just an instant.
"I'm pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but I have to ask anyway. Are you in love with Cordelia?" Wes asked.
Angel looked up at the other man and nodded. "Yes. I am."
"You have been for awhile, haven't you?"
"What do you think he's going to do?" Fred asked Lorne and Gunn.
"I think he's going to do it," Gunn told her.
Lorne nodded. "I agree. Angel is so in love with her he'd do anything for her. The truth is, they've been in love for a long time now. They just have never told each other."
"What do we need for the spell?" Angel asked Wesley.
"It's mostly an incantation. Since this is a ceremony, you do need one thing, though."
Wes smiled. "Rings. You just need to find rings that you'll both love; you'll be wearing them for all eternity."
Angel smiled. "I can do that. When do we do the spell?"
"As soon as you get the rings, we can do it."
Angel looked at the woman he loved, hating the fact that he had to leave her side. "Will you stay with her? I don't want her to be alone. She needs to know we're here."
Wesley nodded. "Of course."
Angel stood up, shrugging into his leather jacket. He leaned over and kissed her forehead tenderly. He whispered something into her ear so softly Wesley couldn't hear. "I'll be back, Cordy. I promise," he told her before stiding purposefully out the door.
Downstairs, Fred looked up from her laptop when Angel came bounding down the stairs. "Hey, Angel. Where are you going?"
"Shopping," he said, looking around.
He looked at her and smiled. "Rings."
Gunn looked up from the vide game he was playing. "Angel?"
"Do you know her ring size? From what I understand, once the rings are on, they can't come off so you need to get the right size."
Angel nodded. "I know her size.
"You do?" Gunn asked.
Angel smiled. "Yeah. She told me once."
"Well, what are you waiting for, Angelcakes? Go find your bride a ring," Lorne told him kindly.
Angel nodded and walked to the door, before he turned around. "Fred?"
Fred grabbed the page from the printer, walked to where he was standing and handed it to him. "Here's a list of all the jewelry stores within a 20-mile radius."
Angel grinned. "Thanks," he told her, slipping out the door.
Angel returned to the Hyperion three hours later, closing the door softly behind him. He hung up his jacket, noting the emptiness of the lobby and office. He removed the small bag from his jacket pocket and walked upstairs.
"Hey, guys," he said, walking into the bedroom where Cordelia lay. Wesley, Fred, Gunn and Lorne were all there keeping her company.
"Did you find something?" Fred asked.
"Yes," he said, holding up the bag. "What do we do now?"
Wes smiled. "Now we bring Cordelia back."
Angel sat beside Cordelia on the bed and took her hand.
"It's quite a simple spell, really. All you need to do is repeat after me. Are you ready?"
Angel took the ring boxes out of the bag and nodded. "I'm ready."
"Put the rings on your hands and repeat after me. I, Angel, take you, Cordelia Chase, to be my love for all eternity. I commit myself to you now and promise to remain loyal to you forever."
Angel opened the first box and slipped the ring on the third finger of her left hand, giving her hand a gentle squeeze. Opening the second box, he put the second ring on his own finger. "I, Angel, take you, Cordelia Chase, to be my love for all eternity. I commit myself to you now and promise to remain loyal to you forever," he told her, entwining her fingers with his.
"And now we wait to see if Cordelia will accept," Wesley said, nodding at the brunette.
"How will we know?" Gunn asked.
"She'll wake up," Lorne said."
Wesley nodded. "Yes. Angel will probably feel it first, though."
Angel closed his eyes and went back in time, remembering. He thought of her smile. Even when the world around them seemed to be falling apart, she always had a smile for him. He remembered her smile when he returned from Sri Lanka. It had felt like sunshine. Her hug had been so warm, so full of love. In a voice choked with emotion, she'd told the guys he was back. In that moment, he knew she'd missed him just as much as he'd missed her.
He remembered her with Connor when he was a baby. He'd seen a new side to her, then. He'd seen her as a mother. It was a side to her that he still cherished and deep, down in his heart, he prayed he'd have the chance to see it again.
Angel felt something, then. It felt like someone was wrapping their heart around his own. And in that moment, he knew. Cordy had said yes. Angel opened his eyes and smiled.
A moment later, Angel's heart soared when Cordelia Chase opened her eyes and smiled at him. "Angel."
"Come on guys. Let's give them some privacy," Wesley told Fred, Gunn and Lorne. They filed out of the room and Wesley closed the door softly behind him.
Cordelia sat up in bed and threw her arms around Angel, hugging him for all she was worth."I missed you so much. I never thought I'd see you again," she whispered, pulling back to look at him. "How did I wake up?"
"I missed you, too," he told her softly. "We performed the Ceremony of the Eternally Bonded," Angel answered, smiling.
"Am I going to like this?"
"I hope so."
"Telll me," she told him softly.
"The Ceremony of the Eternally Bonded is a ceremony that bonds two people for all eternity."
"Ceremony? As in marriage?"
Angel nodded. "Yes."
"This is forever, isn't it?"
"Tell me everything."
"According to Wes, we're both immortal now. We won't age and the only way we'll die is if either one of us is killed. If one of dies, the other will, too."
"Your soul anchors my soul now. It's impossible for me to lose it and become Angelus ever again." He looked at her, trying to gauge her reaction. "Are you mad?"
Cordy gently stroked his face. "How could I be mad?" she asked. "I married the man I love, I get to spend eternity by his side and hey, I'm immortal."
It was then that she noticed the ring on her finger. "Oh, Angel. It's beautiful."
"I'm glad you think so because it won't come off."
"I don't want it to. What kind of ring is it?" she asked, examining it.
Angel smiled. "It's called a Claddagh. It consists of two hands joined together to support a single heart with a crown upon it. Claddagh rings are symbolic of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity." Angel fingered his own ring. "Claddagh rings were first crafted more than 300 years ago in Claddagh, a fishing village on Galway Bay."
"So they originated not far from where you were born?"
Angel nodded. "Yes. Galway is located on the northeast side of the Galway Bay."
Cordy smiled that patented Cordelia Chase smile. "That's perfect."
"We should get them a wedding present," Fred said.
"Like what?" Gunn asked.
"A honeymoon?" Fred asked.
"To where? He can't exactly go to Hawaii and lie on the beach," Gunn told her. "Plus, the money isn't exactly rolling in."
"True," Wesley agreed. "However, I don't think they really want to go anywhere anyway. They 'll probably just want some peace and quiet, some time to themselves."
"I have an idea," Lorne said.
"What?" Fred asked as the men looked at the green demon expectantly. Lorne smiled as he told the others of his idea.
Angel had slid against the headboard of the bed. Cordy sat beside him, her head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, lifting her head and looking at Angel.
"For hurting you, for what happened with Connor," she told him as tears silently fell.
"Cordy, that wasn't you. You have nothing to be sorry for," he told her.
"My head knows that, but my heart won't listen," she whispered. "The things she made you believe, Angel, the lies she told you. Telling you that we were in love, that I could no longer love you because of the things in your past. You were a different person back then. You are the man I fell in love with," she told him as her silent tears turned into heartwrenching sobs.
"Hey," he whispered, pulling her into his arms. She buried her face in his chest as he rubbed her back. "It's over. Nothing and no one can come between us again. We'll be together for eternity."
Cordy lifted her head and smiled through her tears. "I love you so much."
Angel gently brushed her tears away. "I love you, Cordy. So very much." Angel softly kissed her lips. It wasn't passionate, that would come later. This was a kiss of love and friendship. It felt like coming home after a long journey. And it was. Cordy was home. Things were finally the way they were supposed to be.
"Let's go downstairs," she told him a little later.
"Yeah. I missed the gang."
He nodded. "Okay."
Angel and Cordelia walked down the stairs, hand in hand.
"Cordy!" Fred exclaimed, rushing over to give her friend a hug.
"Hey, Fred," Cordy smiled. "I missed you. All of you," she said, looking at the others. "I'm so sorry for everything that happened."
"That wasn't your fault," Wes told her.
"But I agreed to become a higher being, giving her the opportunity to take over my body."
"It doesn't matter. It wasn't your fault. Besides, I'm betting they didn't give you much choice about becoming a higher being, did they?" Gunn asked.
"No," she whispered as Angel led her to the sofa and sat down beside her.
Gunn nodded. "That's what I thought. Because I happen to know that you were meeting our friendly neighborhood vampire that night. And you wouldn't have missed that if you'd had much of a say in the matter."
Fred nodded her head in agreement. "It's true, Cordy."
Lorne smiled at her. "We know it wasn't you, princess. We know the real Cordy was screaming at the injustice, desperately trying to escape."
"But how can you ever forgive me? I tried to kill you."
Lorne shook his head. "No. She did. You would never betray your friends."
"Oh, God," she whispered, her eyes filling with tears.
Angel pulled her head to his shoulder. "Shh, it's okay, Cordy. Everything is going to be okay."
Cordelia wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him. "Thank-you," she told him, pulling away.
She kissed him sweetly and smiled. "For being you."
"I love you, Cordy."
"I love you, Angel."
"We got you something," Wesley told them a little later.
"You didn't have to do that," Cordelia told them. "You've done so much already. You gave me my life back. With an added bonus," she said, smiling up at Angel.
"We wanted to. It's not much, but we thought it was something you'd appreciate," Gunn added.
Fred handed Cordy a box about the size of a laptop. It was wrapped in a beautiful dark blue paper, the word Congratulations stenciled within the paper. It felt light. Tearing off the paper, Cordy lifted the lid off the box. When she pushed aside the tissue paper, she gasped. What she found inside touched both their hearts. Tucked inside a picture frame was a marriage license from the city of Los Angeles. In the eyes of the law, they were officially husband and wife.
"Oh, you guys," she whispered, tenderly brushing her hand across the surface. "How did you do this?"
"I called in a favor," Lorne told them.
"Thank you," Angel told him. "Thank you doesn't adequately express my gratitude, but it's all I've got. Thank you all"
"You're welcome," Wes told him.
"Anyone hungry?" Fred asked.
"I'm starved," Cordy told the young woman as the others nodded their heads in agreement.
"Pizza? Tacos?" Fred asked.
"Pizza," Gunn and Wes said.
"Tacos," Lorne said.
"I vote tacos," Fred said.
"Well, that's two for pizza and two for tacos," Angel said. "Looks like you're the deciding vote, Cordy."
"Hmm, they both sound good, but I'm going to go with tacos. I'm craving mexican goodness," she said, smiling.
"Guess that means I'm going out to pick it up?" Gunn asked.
Cordy nodded. "You know it."
"Anyone else wanna come?" he asked.
"Sure. I'll come," Wes told the black man. "Let's go."
"Can I see your ring, Cordy?" Fred called across the lobby to where Cordy stood behind the front counter, pouring drinks. Wes and Gunn had just returned with their tacos.
"Sure," Cordy smiled, looking at her newly acquired accessory. "I'll be right there."
"Here, let me help with those," Lorne told her, taking three of them from her.
She smiled. "Thanks, Lorne," she said, following him to where the others sat. They all sat on the floor, except Angel, who was on the sofa. She sat down next to him and handed him his blood.
"Thanks, Cordy," he told her, smiling.
Cordy held out her left hand to Fred, the others crowding around. "Oh, that's so pretty!" Fred exclaimed. She looked up at Angel. "You did good."
Angel couldn't help the laugh that bubbled out. "Thanks, Fred."
"Is that a—" Wes started.
"Claddagh?" Angel asked. "Yes."
"What's a Claddagh?" Gunn wanted to know.
"They are of Irish heritage and symbolize love, loyaty, friendship and fidelity," Angel told them, looking down at his ring, relishing the feel of it on his finger.
"Do they all have diamonds on them?" Fred asked.
Angel shook his head. "No. I wanted something extra special for the woman I love."
"A special ring for a special couple," Lorne said, raising his drink in a toast. "Here's to the new Liam and Cordelia Angel."
"Thanks, guys," Angel said, taking a sip of his blood.
"You look happy," Cordy told Angel after the tacos had been devoured.
"I am," he acknowledged. "I've never been happier," he told her, pulling her against his chest.
"Quite a change from 8 hours ago," Wes said. "I'd never seen you as miserable as you looked when I walked into that room to tell you how we could bring Cordy back."
"And honestly, you've been pretty heartbroken for the better part of the year," Fred told him. "It was like you didn't know how to live without Cordy."
Angel nodded. "I didn't. Not really." He paused, gathering his thoughts. "She's been my anchor for so long, I didn't know how to live without her. Even when we thought it was her, it felt like I'd lost her. I—"
"You what?" Cordy asked, turning to look into his eyes.
"I didn't want to go on without you," he confessed.
"Oh, Angel," she said, kissing him.
"We're sleeping away from the hotel tonight," Lorne told them as he, Wes, Gunn and Fred pulled on their jackets. "This is our last gift to you. Your first night as husband and wife should be just the two of you. Enjoy it."
"Where will you be?"Angel asked.
"At Wes'. The man has the most bedrooms in an apartment I've ever seen," Gunn said, laughing.
"Thanks, guys," Cordy told them.
"See you tomorrow," Fred said, pushing the door open. The others followed her into the Los Angeles night.
Angel turned to Cordy with a smile. "Ready for bed?" he asked, taking her hand and leading her up the stairs.
"But I'm not tired," she said as he pushed open the door to room 217.
"Who said anything about sleep?" he grinned.
Cordy's laughter could be heard throughout the hotel.
Angel gently pushed her onto the bed and lowered his mouth to hers. This kiss started out gentle, but soon turned passionate. He wanted to show this woman just how much he adored her.
Later, much later, they lay enveloped in each other's arms, covered by only a sheet, sated. "You're amazing," he told her.
"So are you," she said, kissing him.
"Tired now?" he asked, grinning.
Cordy yawned. "Yeah."
Angel laughed and turned out the lamp, plunging the room into darkness. "I love you, Cordy."
"I love you, too, Angel," she said, taking his hand and touching the metal that now circled his finger. She entangled her fingers with his, loving the feel of his hand in hers and the freedom to do so.
Angel kissed his wife goodnight and closed his eyes. Cordy followed suit, knowing that, for the first time in a very long time, she was right where she belonged. In her husband's arms.