Title: Nothing Worth Having (Was Ever Easy).
Summary: Angel goes to see Cordelia after seeing Buffy in Forever.
Disclaimer: not mine, Fox, ME, Whedon. Those are the guys with the pink slip.
Notes: not sure where this came from, but I can say that about a lof of my fic. There may be more, but for now this is it. Short ficlet.
She’s packing up the last of the office furniture when the front door jingles musically.
She looks up as Angel walks through, the cold air sweeping in with him. His face is neutral, careful not to reveal anything.
“Hi.” He says, hands clasped like a monk on his way to evening prayers. Contrition surrounds him like an aura, and he wears it like he wears everything else. So well.
She’s not buying though.
Putting the box back down on the desk, she straightens and faces him.
It’s not a dig, not a way of making him feel like shit for leaving right after he asked to be let back in, but it is a way of keeping things in perspective.
And she’s Perspective Girl these days.
His mouth pulls down, like it always does when the B word comes up.
“She’s holding it together.”
“I’m glad.” She replies, and means it.
He nods and she watches him search for something else to say.
“Well. Good night.” She turns back to her packing.
The silence behind her makes a shiver snake up her spine. She can literally feel his eyes boring holes into her back. She picks up the box and turns to find him stepping up to her, invading her space.
“Cordy. I thought –“He begins to reach for the box in her hands but stops himself when she moves it out of his reach. His hand curls into a fist. “I thought we were past this?”
She arches an eyebrow.
He glares at her; beginning to get angry at the wall she won’t stop building.
“This.” He replies, gesturing between them. “This attitude of yours. I thought you had forgiven me. I thought we were – that we were…” It’s clear he’s lost, angry, not sure why he’s not getting all his toys back when he wants them.
But she’s in no mood to help him out of the woods.
“Is that what you thought?” She drops the box again and wraps her arms across her abdomen. “You say ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong’ and we throw open the doors and invite you back inside?”
He looks like that’s exactly what he thought.
“No! I know it’s not that easy –“
“You’re damned right it’s not that easy, Mr. I’m-So-Sorry-I-Was-An-Asshole-For-Months”
Suddenly she’s as pissed off as she’s making him. “We took you back because we needed you, not because any of us are ready to forgive and forget. If you wanted that, if you wanted the star treatment, you should have stayed in Sunnydale with Buffy.”
She swallows hard, feeling her heart beating painfully behind her rib cage, her hands shaking. She’s never talked to him like this before, resentment coming out of her like water out of a sponge
She blinks away the hurt and watches as he takes a step back, staggered, it seems, by the realization that home isn’t where he left it. He presses his lips together as his eyes drill her where she stands.
“That’s just great Cordy, just wonderful, because - funny enough - I could’ve stayed. In Sunnydale. She wanted me to.” He blurts it out and she inhales sharply, feeling like he’s just stuck a knife in her chest. “I offered to.”
His confession is obviously meant to make her aware of his choices, and she wonders why she cares so much it’s suddenly hard to breathe.
“Maybe you should have Angel.” She says it quietly, feeling so tired of the raging pain he culls from her so easily. “Maybe she’s got a better offer for you than we do.”
He looks at her.
“She wanted forever.” He replies quietly.
She blinks past the burn of salty acid behind her eyelids.
“Sounds like a good offer.” She turns away and busies herself with bubble wrap.
She can hear the way his clothes shift against his skin as he steps closer.
“It felt good, Cordy.” stab, stab
The ice pick goes deeper into her soft belly.
“To be needed, just to be needed. It was so simple. To hold her, to comfort her with my arms, my mouth. It was tempting. I even kissed her.” His words are quiet, rhythmic, and she doesn’t hear anything else until -
The loud breathing in the room.
She realizes it’s her.
The walls are blurring, her nose is suddenly running.
“She didn’t need anything else, just for me to be there.”
His voice is closer and she grips the roll of butcher paper, unable to speak up, to tell him to shut up and shove off.
“But….” He trails off as she feels his fingers gripping her arm slightly, pressuring her to turn around. She resists, shrugging off his hold.
“I wanted to come back.” His voice is so soft, so much closer. “I kept thinking ‘Cordy might need me’, ‘she might have a vision, or just need help packing’.” She feels his face in her shoulder, nuzzling her skin with soft lips that drag over her flesh.
She closes her eyes against the need that piles up on top of the hurt, until she can’t tell the difference between the two anymore.
And that scares her worse than anything.
“I don’t need you, not even to help me pack.” Goosebumps trawl along her skin leisurely, making her shiver.
His hands come to rest on her hips as he steps right up against her back.
And the shivers turn to trembles.
“I know. I think that’s why I came back.” He raises his head and his mouth hovers so close to hers, she can almost taste him. “Because you don’t need me.” He whispers against her lips. “But I need you.”
She lets him kiss her, allows this seduction because she’s always wondered.
To be wanted by Angel.
It’s not such a bad thing.
She allows the kiss, returns it, and when he pulls away, she takes a step back, and touches her fingers to her damp lips.
“It’s nice.” More than nice
. “But it doesn’t change anything between us - you and me, you and this agency. You’re going to have to work for it.” She blinks, focusing on him. “All of it.”
He nods, licking the dampness from his lips.
“I know. And I’m willing to play things your way.” He turns to walk back out into the LA night, but she watches as he pauses and twists around. “For now.”
The bell jingles musically as he exists and she stands staring at the empty space where he stood for a long time.