Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Angel/Cordelia, Spike/Buffy
Challenge/Prompt: comment_fic: Angel the series, Angel/Cordelia Chase, Angel spends a lot of time doing a detailed sketch of her requested by geckogirl89 and feliciacraft's request to see what was playing around in Spike's head when Buffy started calling him a champion
Warning(s): Future Fic, Character Deaths, Mentions of Suicide
Word Count: 1,708
Date Written: 6 June 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
“You’re working on that again?” Spike questions, somewhat huffing around his cigarette. Angel barely glances up at him as he traces Cordelia’s long, dark hair. “You’ve got a whole bloody notebook of those things,” Spike grumbles.
“I don’t want to forget her,” Angel admits in a soft voice that seems almost punctuated by the quietness of the room around them.
Spike looks at him in surprise. “You’re not going to forget her.”
“I’ve all but forgotten how Buffy looks. I can see her hair and her bright, solid determination, not much else. Her face is a mystery to me.”
“That’s because you didn’t love her like I did.” Spike stubs out the remains of his cigarette and immediately reaches for another one. “Don’t look at me like that, Poof Boy,” he growls, showing fang. “You didn’t. You thought it was the real deal when you had her. So did she. Hell, I never thought I was gonna get a chance because of you, but you know she chose me in the end. She chose me, and I -- I -- “ He fumbled with his lighter, his pale hands shaking, until his cigarette finally caught flame. He almost bit it as he shoved it angrily into his mouth.
“You were the one who was there when she died,” Angel says quietly. “You were there for her almost her whole life. You changed because of her.”
“We both did that,” Spike acknowledges.
“Yeah, but I got cursed with my soul. You went after yours to make yourself better for her.”
Spike’s eyes flick up at him in surprise. The question if he’s actually finally admitting that he is the better of them is on the tip of his tongue, but he swallows the words, knowing no good can come from that statement. “I did,” he says simply instead and moves on, “and I remember everything, Angel. I remember the smell of her perfume like I last held her yesterday.” His voice cracks, and he looks away from the other Vampire.
“I catch Cordelia’s scent every now and then,” Angel admits softly, also looking away. “Every time I do, it stops me in my tracks, freezes me to my core but in a good way.”
“You’re hoping she’s here. That she’s close. That she still thinks of you.”
Angel nods mutely.
“They do,” Spike says, no doubt at all in his voice. “They think of us every day just as we think of them every day. And you’re not going to forget her. You’re not ever going to forget her. Just like I’m never going to forget Buffy, or Dru.”
“You still miss her?” Angel asks quietly, knowing, but not admitting, that he too thinks of Darla from time to time.
“Of course I do. She was my dark Princess. She was the one who turned me.” He waves his free hand at himself as he takes his cigarette out with his other hand and exhales smoke. “She’s the one who helped me become all of this.”
“Not all of it,” Angel says, shaking his head.
“No,” Spike agrees, “not all of it. But I would never have been a badass if not for her. She was my first real love, so yeah, I still think of her. I still miss her. But it’s Buffy I’d die for time and again. It’s Buffy for whom I’d give my soul in a mortal’s heartbeat.”
Angel watches him through dark eyes, his words reminding him that Spike used to be a poet. He’d been a bloody awful poet back in the early days, but he wonders now if he’s written poems more recently. Maybe he’s got a stash of them somewhere like Angel has stashes of pictures he’s drawn of Cordelia, paintings he’s made using her for inspiration, actual photographs that had been taken when she was still alive, and coffee cups that he’s never washed because she used to touch them when she mixed his blood with cinnamon. It’s another question he doesn’t ask him, though, as he says softly instead, “You know I can’t let you do that, even if it was possible.”
“I know. Besides, she wouldn’t come back the same.” He takes another puff of his cigarette. “But it’s also why I won’t let you walk out into that sunlight. We gotta keep going, Angel, not for us, not for the world, but for them, champ.”
Angel’s mouth almost falls open. He blinks rapidly, barely able to withstand the impulsive reaction. How on Earth did Spike know that Cordelia had called him “champ”?! “How do you -- “
“We’re both champions,” Spike speaks softly. “The first time Buffy called me that, it made me feel like I could take on anything in this bloody world, and I could with her -- anything but her death. I know the cheerleader used to call you that too.”
“She was way more than a cheerleader,” Angel growls, his hands suddenly balling into fists.
“Relax.” Spike blows out another breath of smoke. “Don’t you think I know that? They were our soul mates, Angel. That’s why it hurts so much being without them; it’s like somebody’s taken and torn a big, bloody piece out of us.”
“They have,” Angel whispers. “For a while, I felt like my very humanity died with her.”
“It didn’t though.” Spike shakes his head. “They made us what we are today, Angel. Their love made us better men, better Vampires, better champions. They brought out all the best in us, and if we let that go, then we’re wronging them. We’re bringing shame to their memories, and I’ll be damned if I don’t think they’d cry looking down at us screwing up everything. That’s why I still fight.”
“Don’t think I didn’t see you slipping the other night, old man,” he continues when Angel remains silent for a while. “I saw you almost let that Demon get the better of you. Would have too if I hadn’t been there to cut its slimy head off. You can’t let them win. We have to fight and really fight. When we go from this world, we want to be ready.”
“I am ready,” Angel whispers, staring down at the illustration he’s been making of his precious, beloved Cordelia through the tears welling in his dark eyes. “All I want is to be with her again.”
“Don’t you think that’s all I want,” Spike counters, “to be with Buffy? But it’s not gonna happen if we don’t do the best we can with the time we have left here. We have to serve our time. We have to be good soldiers, be the best we can be not for us, and not for this bloody, stupid world, but for them. If we fail them, we fail us. Then it won’t matter if you remember her or forget her. You’ll never be with her again.”
Angel looks up, and for the first time in a long time, he doesn’t bother to hide the sight of his tears from the other Vampire. “Do you really think we have a chance at being with them again?”
“I have to believe it,” Spike tells him strongly, rubbing out the second cigarette, “because if we can’t be with them again, what’s the point of any of us this? The Powers That Be said they made Cordelia your Seer so that she could be your link to humanity, right?” Angel nods mutely. “Well, what’s the point in having a link to humanity if you don’t get to stay forever with the frigging Happy Meals?”
He leans closer. “We’ve done too much good,” he says, “to still be condemned down there.” He kicks a heel of his black boots hard against the floor for emphasis. “As long as we keep doing good . . . I don’t know how long it will take, but yeah, I believe we’ll go up or we’ll go wherever they are. And I have to believe in Heaven. I have no choice. Buffy told me it’s where she was the first time she died -- “
“That wasn’t the first time.”
“Bollocks, man, the first time she died and stayed dead a while! You know what I mean!”
Angel nods slowly, gravely. “Yes. Yes, I do,” he says, remembering when Cordelia’s spirit had visited him. She had called him champ then. She had told him he had to do the best with what he was given. He had just never stopped to think about the repercussions of failing to do so without her in his life. He swallows, though he has no need to, and looks again at the portrait before him. Etching with his pencil, he makes her smile bigger, brighter, but he still can not capture the fullness of her beautiful smile. He never has been able to.
Spike stands, walks across their room, plucks his duster off the wall, and shrugs into it. Rolling a third cigarette between his fangs, he looks back to find Angel watching him. “You don’t have to come,” he says, “but I feel the need to bash some heads together.”
Angel’s eyes drop again to Cordelia’s sweet smile. “She always wanted me to play the hero every chance I got.”
“Well, here’s another chance. I’m sure someone somewhere’s doing something they shouldn’t be.”
“That’s the world we live in, huh?”
“For now,” Spike replies.
Angel’s gaze still lingers on Cordelia’s inked face. “Are you sure I won’t forget her?”
“Sure as I am you’re still a brooding, bawling baby sometimes,” Spike says, smirking at him and turning back toward the door.
“Hey!” Angel protests, but Spike’s teasing remark has him on his feet in a flash. He shuts the notebook and puts it carefully on his desk. Then he hurries out the door after the blonde Vampire who still has too much nerve and snark even after all these centuries.
“For what it’s worth,” Spike mutters as the door shuts behind them and Angel hurries to catch up to him, “I am too sometimes.”
Behind them, in the closed room, unheard by the living, one voice speaks quite fondly, “That’s our boys.”
“Yeah.” Another laughs as two ghosts, lingering as they to be rejoined by their still living better halves. “That’s our guys.”