Title: Rocking the Baby
Summary: Cordelia talks to baby Connor about Darla, and Angel comes home. Just a slice of life before the shitstorm of late s3 happens.
Pairing: C/A subtext.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: I was thinking about how Cordelia was Connor’s mother figure in s3, and where that left Darla and how Cordelia might feel about Darla after her death, and a whole pot of other things that are hard to put into words. So I wrote. Thanks Debbie, for the beta.
Angel’s off saving the world.
Or maybe getting a double foam latte at Starbucks.
She wasn’t sure. The Powers only treated her to the show, never the curtain call.
It was just as well. She was having a moment anyway, with her other guy.
Connor stared at her, newborn eyes oddly focused, as she lifted his tiny, perfect foot up to her mouth.
Waiting to see what she’d do.
She paused, lips parted, and when the tension grew too big to contain, she pressed her open lips against the soft pad of his underfoot and blew.
He kicked and gurgled.
“What a strong boy you are,” she whispered in a cooing voice.
There in the semi-darkness of Angel’s suite, Cordelia leaned against the bed, knees hard on the ground, and gently rubbed the terrycloth baby towel around his hips and legs as she considered him.
He had his mother’s eyes.
Cordelia didn’t think about Angel’s ex a whole lot. Tried very hard not to. Darla had brought destruction with her; had driven Angel to the absolute edge, and then she pushed him over with a stiletto heel in his crotch, twisting and digging. She forced Cordelia to realize that as close to Angel as she’d been –as they’d all been - it wasn’t enough to keep him from trying to die with Darla’s harlot red lipstick smeared all over his mouth.
So yeah, she hadn’t liked Darla very much, and she liked to think about the other woman even less than that.
But now, she gazed at Connor’s small, strong body and thought about Darla again.
And she realized that the edges of her memories of Darla had been softened.
“You’re going to have questions,” she whispered, unsure of what she wanted to say. “And I’m not gonna lie to you: I wasn’t your mom’s biggest fan.” She moved again, pushing aside the flaps of the towel and reaching for the diaper, sliding it under Connor’s tiny backside. “But she loved you.” Reaching for the powder, she sprinkled some into the diaper before closing it up. “Oh my God Connor, she loved you so much.”
Connor watched her with sleepy eyes as she slipped his onesie on his body and wrapped him the way Angel showed her, securing the blanket until he looked like a yummy little burrito, and picked him up.
It took a second to get the bottle from the fridge and stick it in the warmer.
Strolling over to the rocking chair, she sat down and waited, rocking gently.
“She made sure you had a chance, you know,” she continued as she stared out of the window. “Fred said she didn’t even hesitate, she just…” Glancing down, she bit her lip. “She was brave.”
She put her face next to his.
“She was a hero.”
The warmer whistled and she got up again.
Connor was halfway through his bottle when Angel walked in, carrying a Starbucks cup.
“Hey,” she greeted him quietly, smiling at him as he approached.
“Hey,” he replied, gazing at her and then at his son. His eyes lit up as he stared down at his baby, and Cordelia found another reason to remember Darla fondly. “How are things?”
“Pretty quiet, daddy-o,” she said. “Is that mine?” She glanced at the cup he held.
“Oh, yeah, it is. Double foam latte, just like you like,” he replied, offering the coffee to her.
The nipple slipped from Connor’s mouth as he fell asleep, little spit bubbles around his bottom lip.
“Well, how about we trade, then?” She asked unnecessarily, knowing he was aching to hold Connor. She cradled Connor as she got up, but the movement was enough to jostle out a delicate burp, and she and Angel met each other’s eyes over his head, laughing softly at the sound.
Angel took Connor gently and sat in the rocking chair while Cordelia sipped the coffee and stretched her arm out.
“How did things go? Obviously good, since you’re here, but everyone okay? Gunn and Wesley?” She leaned against the window and took another, bigger, sip.
“Just your standard cleanup,” he told her, adjusting Connor against his chest. He tapped the baby’s back, hoping for more burps, and Connor obliged, letting out another, less delicate, gas bubble. Angel snuggled him close, head down against Connor’s crown.
She watched Angel holding Connor, hoping that wherever Darla was, she could see them too. And that she knew that what she’d done wasn’t in vain, that Angel would love Connor enough for both his parents.
She glanced out the window and watched the traffic go by.
“You’re not leaving tonight, are you?” Angel asked her. She turned her head back to him. “I mean, it’s getting late, maybe you should stay.”
She felt the tug again; the same one she’d been feeling since he came back from Tibet, and wondered if saying “yes” would be the smartest thing in the world.
Something inside her whispered it wouldn’t.
“Okay,” she smiled.