Title: Breaking Point
Word Count: 2277
Prompt: breaking point, tears, changes, only you
Spoilers: You're Welcome, Shells, Not Fade Away
Pairing: Angel/Cordelia, Spike/Buffy
Summary: There was only so much a man could take before he reached his breaking point.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Otherwise, they're mine.
Author's Note: Written for fandomverse's big bang.
He'd lost Cordy. He'd lost Fred. And then he'd lost Wesley and Gunn on the same day that Lorne left. Sure, he'd stopped the senior partners from destroying the world, but at what cost? He'd lost everyone he cared about.
He'd moved back to the hotel the very night that final battle had been waged on his city. There had been nothing but death and destruction all over the city. Buildings and landmarks gone in the blink of an eye, but somehow this old hotel still stood. It'd been almost three weeks since that night.
He sighed and sank into the chair in his room. He'd been alone for much of his life, had come to expect that it would always be that way. But then he'd ran into Cordy at that Hollywood party and met Doyle. They'd lost Doyle and gained Wesley. For awhile, it'd been just the three of them. He'd met Gunn and little by little gained his trust until he was part of the gang. A little while went by and then Fred had come into their lives. Suddenly, when he didn't realize it, he went from being alone to having a family. It wasn't conventional, was even a little dysfunctional at times. But it was his.
And then he'd lost them all. He hung his head as tears slid down his face one after another until he was openly sobbing. He missed them desperately and didn't know how much longer he could last without them.
He looked up to where he imagined the powers-that-be resided. "I can't do this alone," he whispered. "I need her. I've done everything you asked, even gave up my only chance at becoming human again. Please send her back to me. I know you can do that. I'm begging you. Please," he pleaded, broken.
Emotionally exhausted, he stumbled over to his bed, stripped down to his boxers and crawled into bed. He was asleep within minutes.
When he woke the next morning, he knew he wasn't alone even before he opened his eyes. And the moment he did, tears sprang to his them in disbelief. Lying in his arms were all his dreams come true in the form of the dark-haired beauty that had stolen his heart so long ago. "Cordy," he whispered, brushing a piece of hair back from her face.
The movement roused her from sleep. "Hey, Angel," she greeted him, a tender expression in her hazel eyes.
"Are you really here?"
She smiled. "I'm here and I'm not going anywhere," she answered his unspoken question.
"I think you already know."
He nodded. "Tell me anyway. I need to hear it."
"It's not real until you hear it?" she guessed.
She took his hand in hers, intertwining her fingers with his. "The powers sent me home. They had been planning on doing it all along, but after last night, they knew you were at your breaking point so they made it happen sooner rather than later."
"Not that I'm complaining, but why?"
"Angel, everything you said last night was true. You have done everything they asked. You beat the senior partners and to do that, you gave the ultimate sacrifice-your chance to become human again. That wasn't looked upon lightly. So the powers figured they needed to come up with a new reward for you."
She nodded. "Me," she confirmed. She watched him for a moment, seeing everything he'd been through reflected in his eyes, eyes that had always told her everything he was feeling. They still did. "And Angel?"
"This is forever if you want it to be."
If his heart had been beating, he knew it would've been racing at her words. "What do you mean?"
She held up two rings, one smaller than the other. If he wasn't mistaken, they were claddagh rings. "These are not just claddagh rings, Angel; they're claddagh wedding rings. When I said this is forever if you want it to be, I meant that literally."
"But you're human and I'm a vampire. How can that be?"
"Well, that's the thing, Angel. I'm still half-demon and my half of the demon will tame the one inside of you."
"You mean we could-"
"Have perfect happiness? Yes," she told him, smiling.
And it was in that moment that the sweetest thing happened. Angel smiled. It wasn't the smile he put on for the world to see, it was the one that came deep from within his very soul. It was pure Angel.
"So what do you want to do?" she asked softly.
He looked at the rings and then back at her. "I want to marry the woman I love, but let's do this right." A look of confusion crossed Cordy's face until he got out of bed and got down on one knee. "Cordy, I have loved you for so long, I've forgotten what it's like not to. On the darkest of days, you bring a ray of sunshine. There is nothing I can't handle as long as you are by my side. Will you marry me?"
That trademark Cordelia Chase smile he loved so much slowly spread across her face. "There's no place I'd rather be," she told him. "Yes, I will marry you."
He sat down beside her and lowered his lips to hers. "I love you, Cordy," he whispered.
"And I love you, Angel."
"So how does this work?" he asked as they sat on the sofa in the lobby, wrapped in each other's arms. "Do we simply put the rings on or is there a spell or something we have to do? What's involved?"
"There's a spell, but we need someone to do the incantation."
"Will I do?" a familiar voice asked from the doorway.
"Lorne!" Cordy exclaimed, rushing to give him a hug. "It's so good to see you."
Angel smiled. "I thought you left for good. What brought you back?"
"Well, I realized that in a time of war, you have to do things you don't want to do. And that's exactly what that was. War. So I came home. And I'm glad I did. Now tell me what's going on."
So they did. The concern and sympathy was evident on his face when he learned of Angel's breaking point, but then turned joyous when they told him that they'd get to spend eternity together. "I'm so happy for you," he told them, looking from one to the other. "It's about time you got your happily ever after."
"So what do we need for this spell?" Lorne asked a little while later as the three of them sat talking quietly.
Angel looked to Cordy, wondering himself. "What exactly do we need, Cordy?"
"Well, most of it is pretty basic stuff that you'd find in any spell, but there is one thing that is special to this particular spell."
"And what is that?" Angel asked.
"Me," a voice answered. When they looked up, Buffy stood in the middle of the lobby. When they looked up in surprise, she smiled. "For being detectives, you aren't very observant sometimes," she laughed.
She stepped forward and pulled Cordy into a hug. "I'm so glad you're back," she whispered. "You're good for him."
Angel stepped forward and wrapped his arms around his former love. "It's good to see you."
"It's good to see you, too."
"Not that I'm not glad to see Buffy, but what does she have to do with this spell?" Angel asked.
"Angel, the last ingredient for this spell is a drop of her blood."
"But why her?" he asked, clearly confused. "Is it because she's a slayer?"
"No, Angel," Cordy told him, shaking her head. "It's because-"
"I was your first love," Buffy told him softly.
He nodded, smiling. "So not an ordinary spell, then?"
Cordy laughed. "No."
Angel and Cordy stood in the circle that surrounded them, which was comprised of various magical ingredients that had been mixed with Buffy's blood. As Lorne spoke the incantation, Angel slid Cordy's ring onto the third finger of her left hand. Buffy smiled as she watched. Cordy took Angel's hand and slid the ring onto his finger. Just as Lorne finished the spell, a bright blue light shot from Angel's ring to hers and then encompassed them both in it. It was as if the powers were giving their blessing. And then it was gone.
Lorne smiled at Angel. "You may kiss your bride."
Angel gently pressed his lips to hers in their first kiss as husband and wife. He smiled into her eyes, feeling happier than he'd ever been before. Finally, he looked up at Lorne. "That wasn't part of the spell, was it?"
"Of course not, Angelcakes. But every marriage should begin with a kiss."
Buffy rushed forward to hug and congratulate them. "I'm so happy for you both." She handed them a small box. "This is for you."
"Oh, Buffy, you didn't have to get us anything," Cordy told her softly.
"I wanted to," Buffy assured her. "Open it."
Angel quickly pulled off the silver paper and opened the box inside. He didn't know what to expect, but he certainly wasn't expecting to find something he thought he'd destroyed several years earlier. "The gem of Amarra," he said, staring in disbelief.
"You may have given up your chance at becoming human again, but I think after all this time, you deserve to go out in the sunshine. Walk on the beach with your wife and then watch the sunset. Go to the park and enjoy a picnic on a perfect summer day. In short, live the life you deserve."
"But how? I thought I destroyed the only ring in existence almost five years ago."
"Turns out, it wasn't the only one. There were two more. I found them in the rubble that was Sunnydale." She hugged them both again. "I have to go. When you get back from your honeymoon, give me a call. We'll have a picnic."
She got to the door before Angel stopped her. "Buffy?"
"Tell Spike I expect him at that picnic," he smiled. "He doesn't need to hide. You're good for each other." She smiled brightly before nodding and slipping out the door.
When they turned back, Lorne had medium-sized box for them. "I couldn't let you get married and not give you something," he told them simply.
Cordy took the box from him and slipped a finger under the wrapping. Secured to the lid of the box was an envelope. She removed it, handing it to Angel and lifted the lid. Inside was a certificate, the seal of the city of Los Angeles in the corner. Upon closer inspection, tears filled her eyes. It was a marriage license. "Oh, Lorne."
"You may not have gotten a normal wedding, but in the eyes of the law, you are husband and wife."
"Thank you so much," she whispered, hugging him tightly.
"Open the other one," he told Angel.
Angel nodded and slid his finger under the unsealed flap, pulling the documents out. There, in black and white, were the details of a honeymoon package, paid in full. All they needed to do was to decide on a destination. "Lorne, how can we ever thank you?" Angel asked their friend.
"Angelcakes, you just did."
They decided to spend their first night as husband and wife in the hotel while they decided where they wanted to go for their honeymoon. "So where do you want to go?" Angel asked when Lorne had left, saying he'd be at Caritas. He wanted to see how much damage had been done; he wanted to remodel and reopen his old club.
She watched him studying the gem of Amarra that now adorned his right hand. "How about somewhere with lots of warmth and sunshine? I want to see you in the sun."
He smiled. "Sounds perfect."
He reached into his bedside table and handed her a small box. "I bought this for you a long time ago, but never got up the nerve to give it to you. Now seems a good time to finally do that."
She lifted the top off a small box and gasped. Inside lay a diamond encrusted heart-shaped necklace. "Turn it over," he told her.
"In all my life, there has only been one thing I couldn't live without. Only you," she read. "Oh, Angel," she whispered.
"I think we both know how true those words are," he told her softly. She nodded at the truth in his words.
"But now we'll be together forever," she said, smiling.
"How are you doing?" he asked.
"What do you mean?"
"You've been through a lot of changes today. That's not always the easiest thing."
"I'm fine, Angel. Really," she told him when he raised an eyebrow. "I've been living in what others would call heaven, anything you want whenever you want it."
"But?" he prompted.
"But I couldn't have the one thing I really wanted. You. I just wanted to come home. And today all my dreams came true. For the first time, I am completely happy."
"Come on, Cordy. Time for bed," he told her, pulling her to her feet.
"But I'm not tired."
"Who said anything about sleep?"
Her laughter could be heard throughout the hotel as he quietly shut the door to their room.
The next morning, they loaded their suitcases into his car. They put the top down and headed for the airport in the bright morning sunshine. Destination: Hawaii. Yeah, life was good.