Title: Holding Out For A Hero
Rating: R, I think?
Summary: Angel the vampire meets Charisma the actress one night in the park, across the prone body of her drug addicted husband. They talk. And there’s a kiss.
Pairing: This is sort of Angel/Charisma, but also Angel/Cordelia as well as CC/DB.
Disclaimer: Angel isn’t real, and he isn’t mine. Charisma is real, but still not mine.
Notes: Blame this cracktastic piece of fic on damnskippytoo
, she planted an irresistible bunny in my head, and I couldn’t not
write it. So it’s dedicated to her. She’s also my beta, but since I couldn’t have her beta her own surprise, it went unbeta’d. Any mistakes are mine.
She’s not sure how she ended up like this.
Fighting for a lost cause.
First she fought her friends, then her bosses, and finally her family.
Now she’s just fighting.
High on whatever he scored with the money he stole from her, he’s breaking dishes and turning over tables.
When he reaches for Donovan, that’s when she has had enough.
Grabbing her son, she swings him up in her arms and runs at the front door, Damien screaming in fury and Donovan crying in confusion.
It’s the last sound that hardens her resolve into concrete.
He’ll never give Donovan a reason to be scared again.
The twilight swallows her up and she walks swiftly along the sidewalk, a familiar route to a familiar place.
There was a shimmer, a bright rainbow coloring the dark like paints mixing on a palette, and Angel feels nausea rise up quickly enough to make him stop and take an accounting of things.
It stops after a moment, and he presses a hand to his belly, wondering if Cordelia mixed something into his blood without telling him.
He shakes his head to dispel the dizziness and takes another look around.
The fyarl is long gone. He can’t even smell it anymore.
Funny, he didn’t think anything short of a chemical bath would get rid of that noxious odor.
She feels like a fool, standing barefoot in the park after dark, holding her son who doesn’t even have socks on.
She’s glad there’s no one around, ashamed of what has happened to her.
She’s not a battered wife; she doesn’t need people around to witness her acting like one.
Then it gets worse.
“Think you can just take my son, bitch?”
Horrified, she realizes that Damien is high enough to not care if this is played out in public and actually followed them. He grabs her arm and tries to pull it off Donovan, and she nearly drops him. Her son cries harder as she barley catches him, and she feels a white hot anger burning through her grief at what he’s putting their son through. This is wrong.
Damien grabs and tugs at their son and she tries to kick him off, shove him off, whatever she can do, but the cocaine has made him so much stronger than he ever seemed to be before, and he doesn’t even flinch. He smells like sour sweat, the rings visible under his hundred dollar shirt.
“He’s my son, dammit, let go of the little bastard!”
She wishes she’d worn her shit-kickers, the ones her dad had gotten her two Christmases ago. Steel toed, she’d use them to kick the sobriety back into Damien’s head.
When he reaches back with his hand and lets loose a sharp slap to her face, she almost drops Donovan again, pain exploding across her cheek, scattering her tears into splashes of water against her face.
“Get away from her,” growls a voice off to her left. Then Damien’s weight is gone from her, his grabbing, hurtful hands, and she stumbles without their grip. There’s a crack like bone against bone and just as quickly someone catches and rights her, and she sees the jumbled outline of a tall man.
Wide shoulders, dark coat.
Shaking the hair from her face, she gets a better grip on her crying son, cradling his head against her shoulder and blinks to clear the pain and tears away.
Pulling away from the stranger’s hold, she looks past him.
Damien is sprawled across the sand, out cold.
She shivers in shock and the chill of the night air, and looks back up to her savior.
There’s only a fingernail-shaped moon in the sky, and it’s not enough light to make out all of his features. Hair that sticks up a little and big hands are the only things she can note at first. The outline of him is tall, though, solid. He blocks out Damien easily.
She wishes it were as easy as that for her.
“Thank you,” she whispers, a little unsure. It is dark, and heroes aren’t so thick on the ground. Bad guys, though, are scattered around LA like cigarette ashes and glitter.
This might be Damien’s dealer.
She takes a half step back, watching him.
“Are you okay?” he asks. His voice is raspy, like he doesn’t use it much. She nods, forgetting he can’t see her in the dark. “Did he hurt you?”
God, so many answers to that.
She frowns, though, watching him. There’s a certain way he holds himself, that even though she can’t make out all of his features, makes him more familiar to her than her mind can process.
He might feel the same, since he cocks his head while she tries to think of where she knows him from. She gets the sense that he’s frowning, trying to place her too.
“Cordelia?” he whispers.
Well, the girls in LA do tend to be kind of homogenous, and she can’t say she hasn’t played into it. Straight hair in a sloppy knot, bracelets, and layered t-shirts above a hippie skirt. She and the other girls she meets at auditions are merely different makes of the same Hollywood model.
Being an actress sucks sometimes.
“No, sorry,” she replies, oddly disappointed. “Charisma.”
“Charisma,” he repeats, considering it. She waits for the inevitable crack about her name but he only seems to be rolling it around in his mind, feeling it out.
Donovan sniffles and she blinks, stunned that he managed to make her forget her circumstances for a second.
He looks behind his back before turning back to her.
“Boyfriend giving you a hard time?” he asks, sounding curious.
She shakes her head.
“No, husband trying to take my son away and drain my finances,” she corrects him. The pain the words cause make her belly throb, but they are thresholds she needs to cross in order to make things right again, for her and Donovan both. So she feels every miserable pang without flinching.
“He won’t bother you again,” the man promises, and there’s a quality to his threat that makes it more of a promise. Something she can believe in.
Horror dawns and she takes another quick look at her loser of a husband.
“Did you kill him?”
“No, he’s still breathing. But he won’t bother you again, I promise.”
She snorts a little, shifting Donovan onto her hip.
“Do you always promise things you can’t guarantee?” she asks cynically, and then watches the slash of his teeth flash in the dark as he smiles.
They were very white, gleaming almost. like a wolf in the forest, waiting, waiting
“No, not usually, but I think I can in this case,” he responds softly, with surety.
“Why? You don’t even know me.” This is LA. No one wants something for nothing. Donovan tugs at her t-shirt, reminding her of where she is. She needs to get him inside.
She needs to get away from this stranger that makes her feel safe and unsure at the same time.
“You remind me of someone,” he whispers. He looks at her long enough that she wonders if he’s seeing that someone instead of her.
“Who?” she asks, curious despite herself. The sand is getting cold under her feet, the warmth of the sun leeching away from the granules. She needs to go but somehow she’s still here, with him.
“A friend,” is all he says, and she nods.
“You should go inside,” he steers the subject around to her, nodding at Donovan.
“I should.” She agrees.
But she can’t stop staring.
He waits, staring back, and then nods as though he comes to a decision.
He leans down and kisses her, softly at first, and then when she doesn’t move away, he steps closer and deepens it, one hand on her elbow, the other snaking gently over the forearm she uses to hold Donovan to her hip.
He surrounds them both, and she has a sudden revelation.
He reminds her of David.
David who never told her he loved her, but touched her like he did.
She almost cries, hating herself for being so stupid.
He lifts his head when he tastes the tears that fall between their mouths and backs away, like he just woke up from a dream.
“I’m sorry,” he says, touching fingers to his lips. “You look so much like her, I forgot –“
She shakes her head, laughing at how pathetic they both were.
“It’s okay,” she interrupts his awkward apology. A breeze picks up, chilling her, and she gathers Donovan closer to her chest, shielding him as best she can.
“I’m going to go back to my house and call my lawyer, Dee – she’s a shark so she’ll make sure Damien’s too scared to look in my direction, much less bother me again,” she tells him, stepping past him and then Damien’s still form. “You go back to your friend, tell her you love her.” She gives Damien a passing glance. “Before it’s too late.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” he agrees with a nod. “But I think I should walk you home first.”
She smiles in ready agreeement, and he falls into step next to her.
“So, this Cordelia girl, what’s she like?”
“It would take longer than a block for me to explain Cordelia,” he replies.
The night becomes like a comfortable blanket, blanketing them as they walk and talk.
A few minutes later, Angel becomes dizzy again, just as Charisma’s voice fades away mid-sentence.
He looks up and around for her, trying to stem the rise of the nausea at the same time.
The scene is the same, but the quality of the air is different. Charisma is gone, her perfume and the sound of her cooing baby with her.
He realizes he can smell the fyarl again.
He takes out his cell phone and calls Cordelia, unsure of what has happened, but very sure he wants to hear the sound of her voice again.