Title: Candlelit Memories

Author: Aimee

Beta: Dev

Rating: PG

Spoilers: A spoiler-free zone.

Pairing: Angel/Cordelia

Summary: The electricity had been knocked out at the hotel.

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

Author's Note: This takes place after season 5, but nothing past Double or Nothing ever happened. Also, Groo never leaves Pylea. Written for damnskippytoo for Whedonland's Wolfram & Hart Fic-Fest.

The raging storm outside had knocked out the electricity, which meant no lights in the hotel. It was pitch black inside so he made his way to the supplies cabinet and felt around inside until he found what he was looking for. He pulled out a few candles and set them on the front counter. Striking a match, he lit the candles before extinguishing them. The smell of lavender permeated his senses and he smiled. He knew these particular candles had come from the woman he loved.

Suddenly, he had an idea. He grabbed Cordy's iPod and the portable dock from his office. He placed the iPod in the dock and put it on the front counter, scrolling through her playlists until he found the one he was looking for. Seconds later, the first strings of You're Still The One filled the air.

"Angel?" Cordy's voice broke into his thoughts as she came walking down the staircase.

"Down here, Cordy," he told her, going to stand at the bottom of those stairs.

"What's all this?" she asked, turning off her flashlight.

Angel smiled. "Just an idea I had," he said, taking the flashlight from her and tossing it onto a nearby chair. "Dance with me," he told her softly, taking her hand and leading her to the middle of the lobby before pulling her into his arms. She smiled as she wrapped her arms around him and lay her head on his chest.

For the next hour, they didn't say much. A word here, a kiss there as they held each other, slow dancing in the candlelight. Angel loved the way the candlelight brought out the shine in her eyes. Cordy just loved the smile that never left Angel's face.

As Feels Like Home began to play, Cordy softly began to hum along. "I love this song," she whispered, looking up at him.

"I think it sums our life up pretty accurately," he agreed.

Cordy nodded. "Before you, I was so lonely," she told him softly. "Even in Sunnydale, surrounded by so many others, I was always so lonely."

"You hid it well."

"And that made it worse. I always felt like an outsider."

"What changed?" he asked.

"I came to L.A. and met you again. For the first time, I felt like I belonged, that I was respected for something more than my social status. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had real friends who cared about me. And then, the unexpected happened," she told him, smiling.

"What was that?"

"I fell in love with my best friend."

Angel smiled. "It was the best thing that ever happened to me," he told her. "Before I met you again, I was living a life of quiet agony. I was so lonely I felt an almost physical ache inside."

"What about Buffy?"

"I loved Buffy, some part of me probably always will, but it wasn't the kind of love either of us deserved. It's not the kind of love you and I share. Buffy and my relationship wasn't built on anything so we were never really friends. We could never just talk. You and I, on the other hand, were friends long before we realized we were in love so our relationship is built on friendship, trust and affection."

Cordy gently touched his face. "I can't imagine my life without you."

"You make me so happy, Cordy. I didn't think it was possible to love anyone as much as I love you," he told her tenderly.

The look in his eyes told her more than his words ever could. His eyes spoke of a love that he treasured. They spoke of a love that he would protect at all costs. In his eyes, she saw everything he was feeling inside: all the hope he had for their future, all the love he had for her.

"You make me happy, too, Angel. I never thought I could have this," she admitted. "I never thought we could," she amended.

"It all seems almost too good to be true," he agreed. "But we finally got our happily ever after, Cordy. The Powers gave me my humanity back, but still let me keep some of my former vampire qualities like strength and speed so I could continue fighting the evil in the world."

"And you can go out into the sunlight now," she told him, remembering his first foray into the sunshine after he became human again. They'd gone to the beach for the day with the gang. Gunn had laughed at how pale he was. Angel had retorted with something about it being unfair that Gunn didn't even need to worry about getting sunburned. Cordy had bit back a laugh at that. Wes and Fred had grinned when Gunn said something about not feeling the love. Some things just never changed, regardless of the amount of time that had passed. When they got home that evening, Angel had been sunburned, but not too badly, thanks to the amount of sunscreen Cordy had forced him to put on.

"Yes, I can," he said, smiling at a memory of his own, a memory that took place just six months ago. After nearly 6 years working side by side, Angel and Cordy had wed in the Hyperion's courtyard with just those closest to them in attendance. Cordy made a beautiful bride in her white wedding dress. She had thought Angel the handsomest man to walk the planet when she walked down the aisle on the arm of both Gunn and Wesley. In a ceremony officiated by a friend of Lorne's, Angel and Cordy pledged their love to each other and promised to cherish each other for as long as they lived. It had been a perfect day.

Cordelia looked down at their joined hands. Her diamond shone in the candlelight. She loved the simplicity of the simple solitaire they'd picked out together. Angel's gold wedding band was a thicker match to her own.

"Ready for bed?" he asked, interrupting her thoughts.

Cordy nodded. "Yes."

Angel quickly blew out the candles and turned off the music. He came up behind Cordy where she stood waiting for him. He wrapped his arms around her waist, letting them come to a rest on her almost sixth-months pregnant stomach. She lay her own hands atop his, content in the knowledge that this child would be kept safe. "I love you, Angel" she whispered.

"And I love you."

Angel took her hand as they made their way upstairs. Their future had never looked so bright.