Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Angel/Cordelia, Ensemble, Mentions Spike/Buffy and hints at Gunn/Fred and Wesley/Fred
Challenge/Prompt: comment_fic: Angel the series, ensemble, everyone lives (or comes back to life) requested by geckogirl89 and whatif_au 13: No-One Dies AU, Soulmate AU, and kinda hints at the Apocalypse AU in that the series ended giving us cause to think it was the apocalypse
Warning(s): AU and a bit Fluffy
Word Count: 1,902
Date Written: 24 April 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
Angel roared. The dust had settled. The screams had stopped. He no longer had Demons nipping and ripping at him from all sides or a dragon bellowing down from above. His skin was charred. He was missing an arm, and bone was sticking out of his knee. Yet he was alive. And he was the only one alive.
He roared. He screamed. He dropped to his knees in the midst of corpses. He sobbed aloud. And then, suddenly, he heard a voice.
“You really know how to make a mess of things, don’t you, Dead Boy?”
He didn’t even bother to lift his head. He knew she wasn’t real. She was only a figment of his imagination, cast before him by his own inner Demon to make himself feel even more wretched. He should have been the one to die, not any of the good people who had and most especially not her!
“I always have,” he mumbled. It was all he knew how to do besides fighting the endless battle. He made a mess of everything. He chose the wrong girl back in Sunnydale. He almost ended the world at that time. He chose wrong again here in Los Angeles, all because he was scared of admitting the truth, and then he had still had to watch the woman he really loved die.
Tears streamed down his face. “You’re not even going to look up, are you, dumb ass?”
“Why bother? I’ll just wait here for the sun.”
“The Hell you will!”
That sharp exclamation made his head snap up and his eyes widen. She looked so real that he almost fell for the hallucination. “We have not been through all of this just to watch you die!” Cordelia waved a hand in dismissal, then looked to the men walking up beside her.
“You always were a bloody Drama Queen,” Spike retorted. He looked at Cordelia and, with a roll of his eyes, commented, “And yet you wondered why I called him the Great Poof.”
Wesley watched him carefully, seeing clearly for the first time without his glasses. “He doesn’t understand yet,” he surmised aloud.
“Of course not.” Cordelia sighed audibly. “He’d convinced himself things could only go badly for him even before I died.”
“You should kiss him, Princess, wake him up from this fairy tale.”
Gunn had been looking all around them as though he, too, could not believe what was happening. He cast a glance at the smiling, green Demon and the beautiful woman to his left. “Why not?” he finally asked. “This can’t be real. It all feels like a fairy tale. I know I died.”
“Yes, you did,” Cordelia agreed with him, “and so did I. We all did, but -- “
Gunn’s sudden shout interrupted her. “FRED!” He raised across the battlefield, jumping over corpses of the bad guys as he went until finally arriving where Fred sat, looking bewildered, beside another person who looked almost exactly like herself except for the blue streaks in her hair.
“Oh my!” Wesley broke off from the group and charged after Gunn.
“What’s going on?” Fred’s voice traveled over the distance to reach them. She sounded tired and scared, but her voice was also tinged with just a touch of . . . hope?
Angel knew better than to hope. This had to be some kind of cruel trick created by Angelus! He wanted him to feel a perfect moment of happiness so that he could then gain control of his body and kill everyone who appeared to be gathering around him again. But yet . . . They couldn’t be here! He had seen everyone of them die!
Spike shrugged. “Go ahead and lay it on him, cheerleader. Something’s gotta kick his noggin back into control. He’s about ready to cut and run now, the pansy.”
“I’m not a -- “ Angel started to snarl but then stopped himself. “I am not,” he said rather indignantly, “going to argue with a ghost.” He turned around, and his jaw dropped open as he found himself standing face to face with Doyle.
“No,” the Irish half-Demon said, grinning, “ye’re not.”
“You’re going to kiss one.” Thrills mingling with shivers shot through him as a gentle hand touched Angel’s bloody shoulder. He would know that touch anywhere! He turned back before he could stop himself. “Cordelia?”
The answer she gave him came in the form of a kiss so wild and passionate that he felt his knees go weak even before her tongue started plunging into his hot mouth. His hands released from their fisted positions and closed around her instead. He pulled her to him and deepened their kiss, moaning despite every warning that was screaming in his brain.
She didn’t feel like a ghost! He had imagined kissing her ghost before, and more. He had imagined kissing her and making love to her both while she had still been alive and after he had lost her, and nothing he had imagined had ever come close to what he felt in this moment. His tears of sorrow began to turn to tears of relief.
Lorne nudged Doyle. “He’s waking up,” he said, grinning.
“That a boy, Angel!” Doyle cracked himself up and began to laugh. His laughter carried over the devastated, burned land as he finally let go.
Lorne clasped his friend’s shoulder. They had only had brief encounters while Doyle had still been alive, but after all his years of haunting Angel Investigations and only being seen by Lorne, the two fellow Demons felt like they already knew each other.
“Ooo,” Spike taunted, grinning impishly. “Angelus is going to come out!”
Angel froze at those words. Cordelia lifted her mouth from his with a sigh, then cut a powerful glare at Spike. “Party pooper!”
“Hey, at least you two are together now! I have to find Buffy before I can tell her I’m alive again, and then she may not even soddin’ care.” He grumbled the last words to himself as he glanced off into the distance.
“She’ll care,” Cordelia told him with surprising gentleness. “Spike, Buffy and Angel were never soul mates. Angel and I were. That’s part of the reason why I was able to convince the Powers That Be to offer him another deal.”
“What are you talking about?” Angel whispered, feeling oddly breathless. He hadn’t needed to breathe in centuries, and yet his passionate kiss with Cordelia seemed to have left his very lungs aching. “Wait a minute. Am I . . . ? Did I . . . ?” he tried to ask but could not seem to form the words he wanted to speak. It was too impossible!
“No, you’re not human,” Cordy said, looking back to him.
God, he’d forgotten just how beautiful her smile was! He could keep from not seeing the sun for the rest of his long existence quite happily as long as he had that beautiful smile to gaze upon! But he didn’t, Angel reminded himself. Cordelia, and all the others he was seeing here, were dead. He’d seen them die!
“You’re still a Dead Boy,” Cordelia grinned as she continued, “and you’re still being frustratingly stupid. Angel, what do we have to do to make you believe?”
“But -- But it’s impossible!”
Cordelia perched her hands on her hips. “Nothing is impossible, dumb ass,” she said, cutting eyes at him in frustration. “You taught me that long ago, remember? I’m alive! You’re alive -- or, rather, undead! Spike’s alive or whatever he is, and so are the others!”
“We’re real,” Doyle added, clasping Angel’s shoulder and giving him a firm squeeze as if his touch could somehow affirm the truth for him when even Cordelia’s kiss had failed to do so. “We’re all real. Ye’re not dreamin’ this time.”
“But . . . But how do I know?”
Cordelia shrugged. “Honey, if my kiss wasn’t proof enough, I don’t know what to tell you.”
“I want this to be real, but . . . But if I didn’t shanshu and you’re really here and you really love me and -- “
“Why isn’t Angelus slicing our throats open yet? The answer is simple, Angel,” Cordelia tried again to explain as she walked forward and slid her arms around his waist. “You didn’t Shanshu. But all this time I’ve been dead, I’ve been arguing with the Powers That Be -- “
“Aye, an’ ye knae how our Princess is when she sets her mind tae somethin’!“
Cordelia shot Doyle a glare, then looked back to Angel and continued, “I’ve been arguing with them for your sake, Angel.” She raised a hand, cupped his cheek, and softly caressed him. He leaned into her touch despite his mind still trying to tell him that she was not,and could not possibly be, real. “I pleaded with them to give you a choice: the Shanshu or another wish granted of your choosing.” Her smile grew; it really was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. “I never knew you could be so careful with your word choices!”
“You passed up on the Shanshu,” Spike spoke up, looking at his grandsire for the first time with true admiration from underneath veiled eyes, “of your own free will. You asked that all of us -- all of us not be dead instead. You brought us back to life, Angel, but were going to leave yourself cursed.”
“The Powers That Be were impressed. We’d expected you to ask for my return, not for everybody’s including Spike’s. So they lifted the curse.”
Angel started shaking his head again. “This can’t be real. It can’t be!”
“All right,” Spike muttered. “My turn.”
“What are you going to do?” Cordelia demanded.
She turned from Angel. “Like you can really -- “ Her words cut off as Spike’s fist swung at her. Angel, reacting instinctively, shoved Cordelia out of the way, but Spike was feigning his left swing. His right solidly connected with Angel’s face. Angel stopped. His mouth opened but did not emit sound.
“Angel?” Cordelia asked, almost fearfully.
“Wait for it,” Spike instructed, grinning. He stepped back, fetched a cig out of his pocket, and lit it up. As he expected, Angel didn’t charge him. Instead he turned back onto Cordelia, grabbed her, picked her up, and started kissing her.
The blonde Vampire watched them for a moment. “Damn,” he snarled, turning, and stiffly started to walk away. “I’ve gotta find Buffy soon.”
“We did it,” Lorne whispered in disbelief as he watched Wesley and Gunn carefully bringing Fred and Illyria toward them.
“Nae.” Doyle shook his head beside him. He cast a prideful glance upon Angel who had yet to let up from kissing Cordelia. “He did it.” He had always known his humanity would win out in the end. “Now let’s gi home.”
“Wolfram and Hart was destroyed -- “
“Ye knae damn well where I mean!”
“I guess this means Angel Investigations is back in business?” Gunn asked as their small group reached them.
Fred lit up like a Christmas tree. “It never should have closed!” she exclaimed.
“He got his priorities a little skewered,” Lorne admitted, glancing fondly at Angel and Cordelia. Angel swept Cordy up into his arms and started to walk away, leading their small family unit, such as it was, to where everything had began with him and Doyle in Los Angeles.
“I think he’s got ‘em back now,” Doyle commented.
“He does indeed, my friend,” Lorne spoke proudly and happily as they all headed home.