Title: Promises

Author: Aimee

Beta: Dev

Rating: R

Spoilers: A spoiler-free zone.

Pairing: Angel/Cordelia

Summary: Angel was feeling uneasy.

Warning: Minor reference to character being raped.

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

Author's Note: Written for 10_fics.

Angel had been restless all night, ever since Cordy left for the night and he didn't know why. He just had this uneasy feeling, but had no idea what to do about it. So he paced. He paced between his office and Cordy's desk. He paced between the front counter and the gray circular sofa. He paced between the red sofa and the front door. He paced until Fred and Gunn couldn't stand it anymore. "Angel!" Gunn finally exclaimed.

Angel stopped his pacing long enough to glance up at his friend. "Yeah?"

"What's wrong?" Fred asked.

"I don't know," Angel admitted. "I've just got this bad feeling."

"About what?" Fred asked.

"Cordy."

"Do you want to go check on her?" Gunn asked, knowing that where Cordy was concerned, Angel was relentless. And, besides which, he had an almost sixth sense about her.

Angel nodded emphatically. "Yes."

"Come on then," Gunn told the vampire, glad to do something that would stop Angel's relentless pacing.

"Fred, you stay here in case she calls," Angel told the young brunette.

"You got it, Angel."

Fred watched as the two men slipped out the Hyperion's doors and disappeared into the Los Angeles night. She shook her head, smiling. Angel was clearly a man deeply in love. The truth was, he and Cordy were so in love and had been for quite some time. The only problem was they had yet to admit it to each other. Each as stubborn as the other. Knowing those two, they probably wouldn't admit their love till either a near-tragedy or they were damn good and ready. The thing, though, was that knowing each other as well as they did, was that they were usually spot on when they sensed trouble about the other. The very thought sobered Fred. "Hurry, Angel," she whispered.

***

"Where to first?" Gunn asked the vampire as they sped down the highway.

"Her apartment," Angel answered, his brow furrowed with worry.

Gunn pressed down on the gas petal to speed them up, knowing the only thing that would calm Angel was to find Cordy safe and sound. They rode the rest of the way to Cordy's apartment in silence.

When they pulled up in front of Cordy's apartment building fifteen minutes later, Angel jumped out of the convertible before Gunn had even put it into park. Gunn watched him sprint inside, praying that when he went inside himself, he'd find Cordy giving Angel the third degree for waking her up and worrying for nothing.

***

When Angel reached her door, he was immediately alarmed. The door was ajar; Cordy never left her door unlocked, much less open. He pushed it open and stepped inside, looking around for Cordy. "Cordy?" he called, glancing around and noting the pizza delivery box on the table. He was becoming more concerned by the minute. Where was she?

Gunn stepped inside a minute later. "Did you find her?"

Angel shook his head. "Not yet. Check the kitchen." Gunn nodded and headed in that direction while Angel went to her bedroom, praying she was sleeping. Angel knocked gently on the door and quietly opened it. "Cordy, it's me."

"A-Angel?" she whispered in a voice he didn't think he'd ever heard from her before. She was sitting up in bed, blankets wrapped around her, shivering. Angel rushed to her side, but she wouldn't look him in the eyes. He could see the bruises covering her face in the moonlight. "Cordy, talk to me. What happened?" he asked, lifting her face so her eyes met his.

And that was all it took. When Cordy's eyes met his, she threw herself into his arms, sobbing. His heart broke. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Gunn gently ease the door open, look around and slowly back out the door, leaving them alone. Angel took in the bedroom's state. In a word, it had been destroyed. Smashed belongings, clothes thrown about, but what really concerned him was the blood. Someone had fought like hell. Angel held her tight and whispered words of comfort in her ear. "What happned?" he asked.

"I-I ordered a pizza for dinner. When he got here, he pushed his way in. He attacked me," she whispered in a voice so soft he knew only his vampire hearing allowed him to hear her.

"Did he--" he started, unable to finish the thought.

Cordy nodded against his chest where he still held her. "Yes." The mere admission seemed to be more than she could handle and broke into sobs again. Angel just held her as tightly as he could.

"Cordy, we need to get you to the hospital," he told her softly.

"I know," she whispered, still clinging to him. "I'm scared."

"I'll be right there with you for as long as you want me to be," he vowed.

"Promise?"

"I promise," he told her, gently brushing her tears away.

"Thank you."

"There's no place I'd rather be than by your side," he admitted. "Why don't you get dressed and I'll have Gunn drive your car back to the hotel."

"Okay."

***

Angel softly shut the bedroom door behind him and joined Gunn in the living room.

"Hey," he greeted Gunn, who was sitting on the sofa.

"Hey. What happened?"

"Just what it looks like. She had pizza delivered and the delivery man attacked her."

"My God. What do we do?"

"For tonight, you drive her car back to the hotel. I'm taking her to the hospital. Tomorrow, we start looking for the piece of trash that did this to her. And then, we make him pay."

Gunn nodded. "You got her keys?"

Angel pulled his own keyring from his pocket and pulled off Cordy's spare key. "Here you go."

"Is there anything else you want me to do? Is there anything she needs?"

Angel shook his head sadly. "No. Right now, I think the only things she needs--"

"Is you," Gunn finished.

Angel looked up at him in surprise. "I know this is probably the worst time ever to be having this conversation, but tell her how you feel about her. We already know you love her. Angel, tell her. It may be the very thing that will get her through this."

"I don't know if now is the best time for it," he told the other man.

"Then wait until you get back from the hospital. Hell, even wait till tomorrow. But tell her."

Angel nodded and Gunn walked to the door. "I'll see you back at the hotel," he told him and slipped out.

***

Angel knocked softly on Cordy's bedroom door and opened it when he heard a soft voice telling him to come in. Inside, Cordy was dressed in jeans and looking for a shirt that would hide her bruises. She stared forlornly at her closet.

"What's wrong?"

She turned to face him. "I'm trying to find a shirt that doesn't show the world what happened, that doesn't scream victim," she admitted, a hitch in her voice.

Angel took her hand and sat her down on the side of the bed. "Cordy, it doesn't matter what other people think," he told her, pushing a piece of dark hair behind her ear.

"But, Angel, look at me."

Angel smiled softly. "I am. Do you know what I see?"

"Weakling? Victim? Helpless?"

Angel shook his head. "No, Cordy. I see a beautiful woman who doesn't know it. I see a strong, intelligent woman. I see a woman who cares more about others than she does herself. But most of all, I see--"

"What?" she asked, her eyes searching his.

"I see the woman who captured my heart. I love you, Cordy."

With those words, a beautiful transformation overtook Cordy's face. For the first time since he'd arrived, Cordy smiled. It was her trademark Cordelia Chase smile. "I love you, too, Angel."

"Come on, find a shirt and let's get out of here."

Cordy nodded, walked to her closet and pulled the first shirt out that she saw. It just happened to be one of Angel's favorites, a deep pink blouse with small pink buttons. She disappeared into the bathroom to change while Angel took a good look around her home, surveying the damage. He sighed. He didn't know if much was salvageable.

Cordy emerged from the bathroom and put on her shoes. "You ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be," she told him, picking up her bag and wincing.

"You'll probably be sore for a few days," he told her, holding open her jacket for her. She slipped her arms through, smiling her thanks. "Let's go," he said.

"Wait!" Cordy stopped him.

"What is it?"

"I need to check something. I need to see if--" she said, hurrying over to her jewelry box, looking for the one piece of jewelry that meant more than all the rest. "Here it is," she sighed in relief.

"Cordy, that's the one I bought for you, isn't it? The one I brought back from Sri Lanka?"

Cordy smiled up at him. "Yes."

"But why were you so worried about this one? I can see it was lying there amid diamonds and other gems so why is this the one you wanted to be sure was still there?"

"Because this is the one that means the most. It means so much because you bought it for me. You picked it out for me," she told him softly.

Angel smiled softly and kissed the top of her head. "Come on, let's get out of here."

***

Twenty minutes later, they pulled up in front of Los Angeles General. Cordy held tightly to Angel's hand, scared to death of what she had to endure inside. Angel pulled her to him and just held her for a long moment. "I know you're scared, but it's going to be okay," he promised. "And I'll be there every step of the way."

Cordy looked up at him tearfully. "Let's get this over with."

Inside, Angel explained the situation to a kindly older nurse because Cordy was trembling too much to talk. "Please follow me," she told Cordy. "Would you like your friend to come with you?" she asked.

"Yes, please," Cordy managed to say.

Angel held tightly to her hand and helped her every step of the way, just as he'd promised. He was there as they took samples and did tests. He was there as the things they did made her cry. He just held her hand and brushed her tears away, praying they'd finish soon.

When they finally finished, they advised her to attend counseling, gave her some pamphlets and pain relievers and released her. They walked out to the convertible, hand in hand. Once there, he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a tender hug. "Let's go home."

***

Back at the hotel, Angel put the car into park and looked over at Cordy. She had gotten quieter the closer they'd gotten to the Hyperion. Now, she was silent. "What's wrong?"

"I'm nervous."

"Cordy, it's going to be okay," he assured her.

"But what if they think differently of me because of what happened?'

"They won't."

"How do you know?" she asked quietly.

"Because Gunn and Fred love you."

Cordy took a deep breath and nodded. "Okay."

Angel stepped out of the vehicle and held the door open for Cordy, shutting it behind her. As they crossed the street, Cordy slipped her hand in his. He squeezed it reassuringly.

When they stepped inside the Hyperion's lobby, Cordy was suddenly engulfed in a bear hug from one Charles Gunn. "We're gonna fix this, Cordy," he told her.

Fred wrapped her arms around Cordy. "It doesn't matter what happened. You're still our friend and we love you." It was exactly the right thing to say and it showed in Cordy's eyes.

"Thank you," she whispered.

Angel stepped up behind Cordy, sensing her turbulent emotions. "Let's go to bed, Cordy," he told her softly. He knew she'd probably had about all she could take for one day. She nodded her head in response.

***

Upstairs, Angel gave her the pair of pajamas she kept at the hotel to change into and gently pushed her in the direction of the bathroom. He changed into the navy striped pajama pants that Cordy had given him last month for his birthday and waited for her to return.

When she came back a few minutes later, he went to her and pulled her into his arms, just holding her. "It's going to be okay, Cordy. We'll get through this."

Pulling apart, Angel gently brushed his lips across hers in a kiss filled with so much love and tenderness that it made her smile despite the trauma of the last few hours. Her smile prompted one of his own.

Angel pulled back the blankets and they slipped into bed together. He held out his arms to her and she fell into them with a sigh. He only hoped that she'd be able to get the rest she needed, prayed that memories of the night wouldn't keep her awake. "I love you, Cordy."

"I love you too, Angel," she whispered as they both closed their eyes and drifted off into slumber.