Disclaimer: 'Angel' and its characters are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions, 20th Century Fox, Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt etc. I'm writing this story for entertainment purpose only. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's note: I have only seen a few episodes of the first and second season and I know Connor only from the fanfics posted here on , so if I've got something wrong, please remember that!

English is not my native/first language. If you find an annoying writing error in this story, please email me (instead of mentioning it in a review) and I will correct it immediately. Thanks!

Don't Leave

By Karin

The loud screaming of an infant welcomed Angel as he opened the door to his hotel. It was an angry screaming, saying: 'I'm crying here for hours now. Why doesn't anyone come?'

Angel frowned. The lobby was empty. There was no one. Where was Cordelia? She was supposed to look after Connor while he was gone. She had offered to sit his son herself. He knew she liked Connor. Who couldn't like his son, seeing his angelic face and beautiful baby blue eyes? But that was just a proud father speaking.

The screaming became louder as he reached the nursery. Inside he stumbled upon a complete mess. Cuddly bears, toys and a blanket lay scattered on the ground. Connor was standing in his crib, his small hands around the bars. He was holding them so tightly that his knuckles had turned white. Big tears ran down his cheeks.

The moment Connor saw his father he stopped screaming. With big sad eyes he looked at Angel. Then his bottom lip started to quiver and he began all over again.

"Easy, fellow." Angel lifted him out of his crib and took him in his arms. With one hand he supported his head and with the other he cradled his son close to his chest. Connor struggled against his grasp at first, but then his warm, flushed body relaxed. The tears stopped running and the screaming decreased to a soft moaning.

"That's my boy," Angel said warmly.

He was still not used to having his son in his arms. His son. The one word he never thought he would say. After all these hundreds of years, after all the hoping, he could finally call himself a father. It was unbelievable, and yet it felt so right. As if this was predestined to be all along. They belonged together.

Connor let out a satisfied sigh. Angel smiled relieved. When he heard Connor crying like that he was afraid that something bad had happened to his son. He could have been sick or maybe something had hurt him. Why didn't anyone check up on him?

'Cordelia. Where the hell is she?'

Angel put Connor back in his crib. He grabbed the cuddly bears and the toys Connor had tossed on the floor, and laid them next to him so that if he would wake, he could reach out for them. Then he tucked his son in with his favorite blanket.

Angel's hand lingered on Connor's head. "Goodnight."

He softly closed the door behind him. As he left the nursery endearment made place for anger. Anger towards Cordelia. She was the one in charge of Connor, but instead of taking care of him, she had left him all alone. God knew for how long. He could have been dead already and she wouldn't even have noticed.

Angel checked every room. The lobby again, the office, the toilet, the library although she probably didn't even know he had one. She wasn't there.

Then he went upstairs. The only place left was the bedroom. His suspicion proved to be right when he opened one of the bedroom doors and found her lying on the bed, huddled up. Her eyes were closed, her breathing steady. She was fast asleep. Her face looked so peaceful though sharp lines revealed that her life beyond the world of dreams was far from peaceful.

Angel didn't notice any of it. His anger only increased when he found her sleeping instead of watching out for Connor. He walked over to the bed and started to shake her.

"Cordelia, wake up."

She didn't react. She only let out a soft moaning and stirred, but she didn't wake up.

Since patience never was one of his good virtues Angel gave her a good shaking this time and in a harsh voice he said: "Cordelia, wake up!"

Cordelia startled awake. Totally confused she peered the room. It took her a few seconds to realize where she was, that she wasn't asleep anymore.

When she saw Angel standing next to the bed everything came back. She jumped up, ignoring an attack of dizziness. "Is something wrong with Connor?" Her voice was filled with concern and guilt.

"No, nothing is wrong with Connor. No thanks to you." Maybe it sounded sharper than was intended, but Angel was really angry. He was furious with her for being so inattentive, so careless.

Cordelia winced under his look. "Oh my God, I'm sorry, Angel. I'm so sorry. I just wanted to lie down for a minute. I guess I fell asleep."

"You guess?" he said sarcastically.

With glassy eyes from the sleep she looked from Angel to the bedraggled blankets and sheets on the bed. "I did. I'm sorry, it won't happen again."

"Cordelia, I trusted you with my son. I assumed that you would watch out for him. You didn't. He screamed his lungs out, while you were sleeping here. Anything could have happened."

"I know." Tears appeared in her eyes, particularly out of shock. Images of Connor being dead, hurt or taken by the horrible creatures of the night flashed before her eyes. "This is totally my fault."

"Yes it is," he totally agreed with her. Then he murmured under his breath: "But what else could I have expected from you?"

Cordelia gulped as she caught a few words. It was one thing to be angry at her – she could perfectly understand his concern for Connor and his safety – but insulting her was something else.

"Why are you saying that? I apologized, didn't I? I said I was sorry. What else do you want?"

"I want you to act responsibly. You're not a little girl anymore, Cordelia. Wake up and welcome to the real world. There's more to life than make-up and clothes."

With eyes wide open she stared at him. "Do you really think that's all I care about?" She spread out her arms. "Clothes and make-up?"

Angel shrugged. "Is that so surprising? It's all you can talk about. While everyone else is worried about the world going to hell, you worry about not having enough money to follow the fashion."

The blush on her cheeks disappeared. Instead all color drained from her face. "And you never wonder why I act that way? Why I am so 'shallow' as you call it?"

"Should I?"

Cordelia gasped at his cold question. "No, you don't. I doubt if you ever have. Do you have any idea what I have been through these last couple of years. Do you even want to know? Do you even care?"

"Now don't make such a drama of it."

Cordelia shook her head tiredly. "I'm not being dramatic, Angel. I'm being realistic. This is how I protect myself. Maybe it's not the right way, but I don't know any other way. I don't have anyone to protect me. I don't have anyone. I'm alone."

Angel grimaced. "Welcome to the club, Cordelia. Everyone is alone. You're no exception. But it doesn't justify your behavior."

"And it doesn't justify you in being such a jerk."

Anger took over her. It was an easier feeling to deal with. It always was. A hard mask came over her face; her eyes narrowed. She put her hands on her hips, letting her bitchy side take over.

"What is this, Angel? The 'be-a-total-ass day'?"

When he didn't answer, she continued with flashing eyes: "You don't care about me. You have never cared about me. All you care about are my visions. Do you even know what they did to me? I felt like I was going crazy. They took away everything I had; they took control over my life. But you don't care, do you? All you care about is Buffy, Darla or whatever blonde comes your way."

"That is not true," Angel tried to defend himself, but it was a weak attempt. His words lacked all conviction to make her believe otherwise.

Cordelia snorted. "Oh no? Whenever they need your help, you are always there for them as the knight in shining armor. You forget everything else around you; all your attention goes to them. You don't see what's in front of you."

His voice was dark when Angel said: "All I see is someone who I can't trust with my son."

"Yes of course, it was wrong of me to fall asleep. You can't make me feel guiltier than I already feel, Angel. If something had happened to Connor…" She shook her head. "I don't know what I would have done. I love him, probably more than you know. Sometimes it feels as if he's my son too."

"Well, he's not."

Cordelia gulped. She suddenly felt cold, as if an icy hand clasped her heart. Shivers ran down her spine. She blinked away the tears that threatened to overwhelm her. "That was low, Angel. Is this your way of punishing me for making a mistake? Making mistakes is human. Oh, but wait…" She paused, then the hurtful words gushed from her lips. "You wouldn't know. You're not even human."

She knew her remark was just as mean and low as his was, but she didn't care anymore. After everything that had been said that last comment was the limit. No more playing nice. It was one against one now, and things were going to get nasty.

Angel seemed to writhe under her comment. "Get out," he said huskily. "Now."

His hands were clenched and he was shaking over his entire body. Cordelia knew that his vampire features would soon take over, and that wasn't something she wanted to wait for.

She grabbed her purse from the bedside table. "I won't say go to hell, because you've already been there, but you get the picture."

She turned around and left the bedroom before Angel could say another word. He heard her heated footsteps going down the stairs. A minute later the door slammed shut.

Angel sat down on the bed and buried his face in his hands. A deep sigh escaped his lips. Slowly he calmed down and it was then that he realized what he had said to Cordelia, what he had destroyed. After Darla he'd done everything to regain her trust and friendship, only to throw it away again.

'What have I done? How could I have said those things to her?'

He had taken out everything that had happened the last couple of months on her. Frustration had lashed bitterly through his words. He had lost control at the expense of her. Regret took over him. He had hurt her before; he had hurt her again. Twice the hothead, twice the fool.

'Now how am I going to make up for it?'

To Be Continued…

I hope you liked my story. Please write a review to let me know what you think of it and if you would like to read the next part. Thank you! : ) - Karin -