Bittersweet Symphony by Lara
Some strong language and one sexual situation.
place in Season Three BtVS, sometime after Lover's Walk or The Wish.
You ain't got no al-i-bi, you UGLY! Yeah, yeah, you UGLY!!"
Cordelia Chase did
her robotic jumps, kicking her leg above her head. Sunnydale
scored another touchdown, and the crowd went wild. The peppy
cries of the cheerleaders slowly died down, focusing their attention
on the game. Cordelia winced and grabbed the left side of her
stomach. Her wound was still healing. The wound the size of her hand.
The 56 stiches holding her stomach together. Holding everything together.
She didn't know why she even came back so soon. She gripped her
stomach tightly as the pain continued.
A hand dropped on
Cordelia's shoulder and she spun around, coming face
to face with Aura. The cheerleader immediately dropped her hand to
her side, and clenched her fist tightly. She gave her friend a tight
smile. "Hey! What's up?"
"You alright, Cor? You look like crap."
"Yeah. Just a bit tired...exams, stress- you know..."
Aura looked around. "Lucky that dork Xander Harris isn't here.
He would've made it worse, right?"
Cordela barely muttered, turning away from Aura. She stared at
the football field blankly, until she felt the hairs on the back of
her neck stand up. Someone was watching her. She felt their eyes boring
into her. She spun around, into the bleachers. Her eyes searched
the crowd, and came up with nothing. The girl scanned the crowd
again, but was interrupted by the shrill screams of the cheerleaders.
Sunnydale scored again. Cordelia robotically spun around,
and began her routine.
The vampire peered
at the cheerleader from his place next to the bleachers,
watching her intently. He stared at the broken girl, completely
and utterly fascinated. He was taken by her. She had been destroyed-
heart and soul- and yet she still stood. Strong. His eyes burned
into her back. He saw her soul. Gone was that look he thought was
permanant. That condensending, superior look. What took its place was
a look of fear. Confused fear. He could relate. She still held up that
facade. And so had he. He watched her for several minutes silently.
Watching her scream, cheer, and fake happiness and laughter.
Finally, he backed away. He couldn't tear his eyes from her.
After a few more moments of stepping back and watching, he turned
and walked away.
Cordelia threw her
arms up, waving her pom-poms. Then, by a sudden bout
of paranoia, she spun around, putting her fellow cheerleaders out
of step. She blinked several times. She recognized that shadow. That
strong, eerie, shadow. He was watching her. Angel was watching Cordelia
A knock came at
Angel's door. He stared at it, waiting. He wasn't expecting
anyone, and he doubted it was Buffy. After a few seconds, the
same plucky knock echoed through his home. Angel furrowed his brow
and walked to the door, opening it. His stoic expression was replaced
by a tiny look of surprise. "Cordelia?"
brightly at the vampire. "Hi!" She pushed her way past
Angel into his home, dropping her duffel bag onto the floor. Angel
stared at the vacancy where she just stood, then, after looking around,
closed the door.
"Why are you
here?" He asked abruptly.
She looked him over
in his black sweatpants and white tank. "Is that any
way to treat a semi-casual friend that you never, ever really talk
to, Angel? God, at least be- Ooh! That is SO pretty!" She dashed over
in front of the vampire, and touched the chain around his neck.
"Is that real silver?"
Angel gently grabbed
the cheerleader's wrists, and took her fingers off
his chain. "Yeah, it's real silver- I-I mean, why are you here?"
Cordelia forced a
grin. "I just wanted to see how the only cuddly vampire
in Sunnydale was doing-" Her smile faded immediately, and was replaced
by a perfected Queen C stare. "You were watching me at the game."
He blinked. Her arms
crossed neatly just over her Sunnydale sweatshirt.
His eyes drifted down to her black leggings, covering her long
legs, which lead down to blinding white sneakers. His eyes moved up
again. The sweater was perfectly baggy, but couldn't hide the very expensive
silver charm bracelet resting on her wrist. Her hair was pulled
into a ponytail, the ends curling up slightly. She wore no make-up
except for the pink lip gloss on her lips. Her eyes were focused
on him, the stone cold glare penetrating him. He was absolutely
Angel came crashing back to earth. Cordelia gave him a flawless
pout. "LOOK. You're doing it again!"
HELLO- I'm standing right here! At least wait until I'm AT
my house, Stalker Guy!"
Angel turned away,
moving to his little table near the fireplace. "I did
watch you...at your house..." He mumbled.
opened in shock, and she quickly got herself together.
recently...Angelus." Angel replied quietly, his finger running over
the polished oak. "He-he was...drawn to you."
How...quaint." Cordelia retorted quickly, her voice unusually high-pitched.
"And nevertheless creepy. I think I'm going to go now." She
turned, and in an instant, Angel was in front of her. She squeaked
and jumped back.
Angel held his hands
up. "I have no plans on killing you, okay? It was
an evil thing...you know?" Cordelia stared at him blankly. Angel nodded
to him self. "Right...nevermind." He cleared his throat nervously.
"I didn't mean to be rude- or creepy, alright?"
lowered her head slightly, then peered up at the vampire.
Almost immediately the previous exchange was forgotten. "So you're
letting me stay?"
"Sure. I-I mean...since you're so insistant..."
and plopped herself down on the marble floor. "Wait- No
She looked around. "You have anything to drink? Anything expensive
and not cheap and not really old and stuffy like you?"
then walked over to the door. "I can get something." He
paused, his hand on the door. "You'll be fine here? I'll be back in
five minutes...I promise."
Cordelia rolled her
eyes. "Go. I'm a big girl." She waved a perfectly manicured
hand at him. "Go!" Angel stared at her, then walked out of the
When Cordelia was
sure Angel was gone, she stood up, looking around. The
place was amazingly simple. Small fireplace, small table, small shelf,
big bed. By her own curiousity, she walked over to the bed and sat
on it delicately. She ran a hand over the silk sheets and wondered
if he could feel the sheets on his cold skin. She made a mental
note to ask him later. Cordelia stood again, and walked through
his place. Her shoes were silent on the floor. Now that she was
by herself, she realized how alone he was. No outside contact. No sound.
No sun. Just silence and the echo of his own voice. She stepped
over to his table and looked down at the book resting on it. Cordelia
giggled loudly and covered her mouth. Apparently, Angel was a
fan of The Great Gatsby. A fan of a book she remembered reading in 10th
grade and was secretly inspired and awed by. She picked up the book
and skimmed through it. Her eyes rested on the inner cover, on the
round script. In blue ink- Buffy Anne Summers. She must've given it
"What are you
Cordelia gasped and
spun around, dropping the dog-eared copy to the floor.
Angel stared at her discreetly. The girl slowly reached down and
picked up the book, avoiding Angel's gaze. She placed the book back
onto the table. "I-I was just...I saw- I read- it's a good book."
His steady gaze
slowly faltered. "It is." He agreed, setting the small
bag onto the table, on top of the book. "I...I got soda. And some
doughnuts. For you. Aren't your parents going to be worried? It's
"My parents? Please..." She reached into the bag, pulling
out the six-pack of Pepsi. "They never know when I'm here or there.
My father is too busy working and ogling the maids...and mother
sleeps all day- why should I care-"
"Why do you do
Angel gently grabbed
Cordelia's wrist, stopping her from moving around.
She slowly looked at him. "That. That image. The spoiled brat,
I-Don't-Give-A-Damn thing. Why."
The girl laughed
lightly. "Hasn't Buffy told you? I am a spoiled brat who
doesn't give a damn..."
me." Angel muttered, letting go of her wrist. "But why do you
act like you don't care when you do. You care for your parents."
Cordelia glared at
Angel. "What- suddenly you're an expert on my life?
How do you know what goes on and what I care about in my life? What
"If you don't
care-" Angel interrupted. "Then why do you go home from the
Bronze early so you can push your father to bed? Why beg your mother
to go out into the sun? Why wake up early just to greet and pay
the help? Why fix yourself so no one will know how much it hurts to
have your mother so sick like that-"
Cordelia said sharply, turning away from him. She rubbed her
Angel sighed, then
sat on the small step. "Sorry. About prying. I shouldn't
"No big. What
do I care...you're no different."
around, opening a soda can. "Come on, Angel. You wear jackets,
expensive clothes, put gel in your hair, sleep in a comfy bed,
wear cologne, and apparently take showers- why? You don't feel heat
or like, smell- do you want to be so normal that you do those ridiculous
and pathetic things just to fool people, mainly Buffy?"
Angel lowered his
gaze to the floor. "Yeah."
She frowned and
slowly sat on the floor. "Sorry."
not." He replied, looking at her yet again. "You were being
honest. And you were right. I admire that."
Hand me a soda." Cordelia threw a can at him, then pulled
the box of doughnuts to the floor. She opened the box, and without
delay, took one out, biting into it. Angel slowly drank a bit of
the soda, then smiled slightly. "Hungry? I could've gotten some real
Cordelia shook her
head and swallowed. "No- I'm cool. Compared to the way
I cook, and Xander's fridge- this is a treat. Can you taste that?"
slightly. "I can taste it. Doesn't fill me up though. You
"I eat. Alot,
actually. But I was just...comparing. You know, this and
"Are you okay
became interested in her soda can. It was only then Angel
noticed the dark circles under the girl's eyes. The tired look on
her face. The weariness of someone who had been through a war.
"I...I don't ever want to see him again."
Angel slowly slid
off the step and onto the floor. He rested his soda onto
the floor. "He hurt you. Didn't he?"
She nodded morosely.
"I-I think I was in love with him...and with Willow!
I mean, GOD- at least BUFFY!" She looked up. "No offense."
The girl sighed
shakily. "Why would he do that? I- thank God I didn't sleep
with him! I-I mean, I thought the big dork loved me too...I thought
he looked past the whole groping and kissing deal- I mean, he made
a spell for me! Got me a pretty little chain- with a heart! He met
my parents- he...he defended me! But-" Her chin trembled slightly,
and she quickly stiffened up. "But there was always that thing
with Buffy. I knew he still liked her even after we- that's why I
never thought Willow...she had Oz, you know?"
quietly. "Want me to kill him for you?"
Cordelia laughed. "What?! No! No..."
The vampire smiled
slightly, and reached for a doughnut. "I know how you
feel...not exactly...but- at the hospital- I could relate."
didn't..." She looked at him in dismay. "You didn't stalk me then,
Angel shook his
head. "I visited. I heard what happened...no one visited
you except for Xander...thought I would-" Angel shook his head.
"I wanted to look out for you."
Cordelia lowered her
head yet again. "Thank you."
"Yeah. Well..." He trailed off, not knowing what to say. Finally,
he bit into the doughnut, chewing slowly. He furrowed his brow
looked up, and grinned. "Can you taste that?"
Angel smiled back.
handsome when you smile, you know that?" He froze, a slightly
confused look appearing on his face. "Not that you don't look
hot with the whole mysterious and brooding thing, but..." She shrugged.
"You should smile more."
The two sat in
silence for several seconds. After finishing off his doughnut,
Angel looked at Cordelia. "Can I ask you a question." She looked
up. "Why do you act like a bitch? I'm talking to you right now...you're
not a mean person. Just..."
Cordelia offered. Angel nodded. She nodded in return.
"People tend to think honesty is a bitch trait- so I give it to
them. I could care less about what they think. Especially those damn
Scoobies- at least my friends liked the bitch deal-"
"You do it so
you can have your little circle."
"Yeah. They don't listen to anything I have to say...but
it beats being alone."
brought her legs up to her chest. "What about you? Why do you
act all passive and broody like that? God- if Buffy would've dumped
me like that- I woulda killed her!" She grinned nervously. "Of course
I'm joking...please don't kill her..."
He frowned. "What's your point?"
Cordelia gave a shrug of her lower lip. "Why aren't you at least
pissed off? She played you like a fiddle!"
Angel muttered. "Still am. She keeps pulling me..."
Cordelia gave a
short laugh. "HA! Got it from the source! I TOLD Xander-"
Her eyes widened. "No- I'm not saying- I just knew- sorry."
Angel sighed. "Buffy...she
makes me feel human. Feel alive." A dark look
came into his eyes. "But she also kills me. Over. And over."
relate." Cordelia whispered, walking her fingers over the cool floor.
The vampire stopped and stared at the girl. "I feel dead sometimes.
Like I don't have my own identity. Like it's all a lie." She
lowered her gaze to the floor. "I tried to be like my mother...all
elegant and powerful...but it didn't feel right. I mean, I
could pull it off- but after she got sick- it was like a lie, understand?"
Angel nodded quietly. "I-I think I realized it was a lie when
I saw her sleeping one day- she was the prettiest corpse I'd ever
seen...I was like, fifteen when I saw her. Pale and tired and sad.
That's when I decided to take her place and prove it wasn't a lie.
That I can be powerful and elegant and rich-" She looked up at Angel.
"I did everything I had to so I could keep my image. Got a raise
on my allowence, got my car, got my clothes- I was Cordelia Chase.
But- but everything changed when I dated Xander. He wanted me to
be...be...BUFFY! All nice and stuff when- honestly- she's really a bitch.
But anyway- he wanted me to be this other person- and I did! I changed
myself for him!" Cordelia stood up, her eyes brimming with tears.
"So when I fell on that fucking bar- when I was actually DYING- I
decided that when I GO- when I go- I'm not going like Buffy's clone
or Willow's clone- I'm going like CORDY." She stopped herself from
ranting any further, and lowered her head, shaking.
Angel stared at
Cordelia in complete shock. He never expected her to blow
like that. Slowly, he stood up and wrapped his arms around her. She
shook her head and tried to shove him away, and he quickly tightened
his hold around her. Cordelia eventually relaxed into his grasp,
and started crying, burying her face in his chest. Angel rubbed
Cordelia's back lightly, letting her release everything that had
weighed her down for months. Her cries were the saddest thing he had
ever heard. Pain, anguish, fear, anger, and sorrow all in one. Her
arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him closer. Angel moved into
her touch, his hand now stroking her hair. He quietly spoke soothing
words to the cheerleader, trying desperately to calm her.
Cordelia lifted her
head slowly, the tears streaming down her face. Angel
lifted his hand, gently wiping her face. She gazed into his eyes,
into his soul, and saw everything she had been going through. All
the pain and suffering. He really knew how she felt. He wasn't lying.
She swallowed hard. "I-I'm sorry...I shouldn't have-" Before she
could finish her sentence, she had pulled Angel to her, kissing him
Angel pulled away,
staring at the girl. "Cordelia- no. You're really- we
can't-" He stopped himself, then slowly leaned forward, kissing Cordelia
back. He felt connected to her. He knew her. He knew who she was
and where she was coming from. He felt her soul. She was so warm and
gentle to him. This was completely new.
They backed up
slowly, tipping over the cans of soda, until Cordelia tumbled
onto Angel's bed. Angel's hands drifted over her shirt, lifting
it up slightly. He gazed at her scar, still fresh. Still red. He
looked up at Cordelia, then gingerly kissed her wound. Cordelia gasped,
in surprise and slight pain, as Angel's cold lips gently carressed
her closed gash. She grabbed the side of his face and pulled
him up to her, her mouth on his yet again. His shirt was pulled
and removed, discarded to the floor. His hand ran down her thigh,
lifting her leg onto his hip. Angel kissed Cordelia slowly, his
hand moving into her pants. Cordelia let out a hoarse squeak and stiffened
Angel pulled his
lips from hers. "You've never..." He trailed off, knowing
she got what he was trying to say. She nodded slowly. Angel started
to pull his hand away. "I-I can't do-"
Angel's wrist, and pushed his hand back
smiled slightly, then kissed him again. Angel returned
the kiss, and began to gently stroke her. Cordelia gasped in his
mouth, her hips reaching for his fingers. Angel's mouth moved down
to the girl's neck, running his tongue down her collarbone. He started
to get aroused, and forced himself not to. He couldn't have any
pleasure...punishment. He was still being punished. But that didn't
mean he could give this torn girl some feeling. Even if it only
lasted for a few minutes. It was something.
He started to
increase his stroking, paying close attention to how Cordelia's
body reacted to his touch. He rubbed in all the right places,
her cries telling him he was doing something right. Her leg pulled
their bodies closer together, and he ran his fingers over her opening,
feeling her get more and more excited. Cordelia moaned loudly,
her back arching with each stroke. Angel placed his mouth onto
Cordelia's, kissing her hard. His fingers stroked and pressed hard
onto her button, her screams getting louder. Her hips began to jerk
uncontrollably and he felt her orgasm crash against his hand. Her
nails dug and scratched into his back. He kept stroking, letting her
body jerk until she was spent.
Angel pulled his
hand from between Cordelia's legs and out of her pants.
She had her eyes close, her heavy breathing slowly decreasing. He
rested himself on his elbows over the cheerleader, not wanted to crush
opened ever so slowly, and she gazed into Angel's eyes.
The sad look remained. "Thank you." She whispered.
"For making me
Angel moved off the
girl, letting her sit up. She yanked her sweatshirt
back down, and tried her best to smooth out her hair. He picked
up his shirt, putting it back on.
After a few seconds,
Cordelia stood up. She walked over to the door.
"I-I should go..."
Angel followed her.
"It's late...you can stay for the night- I'll sleep
on the floor-"
"I have a
car..." She picked up her bag and made her way to the door, opening
Cordelia's wrist, making her face
a beautiful person-"
stood on her toes and kissed Angel. A gentle, almost
loving kiss. She pulled away and smiled at him. A genuinely happy
smile. "So are you...Broody."
Angel smiled back.
"Buffy and Xander would be so mad, you know that?" He
"Yeah! We should tell them!"
an awkard silence followed. Cordelia sighed, and looked
up at Angel. "I need to go."
He looked down at
his hand, holding her wrist. "Right."
Cordelia opened the
door fully. "Let go of my arm." He did so. Cordelia
walked out the door, then turned around. "Go back to her." She
said quietly. "You know you love her." She paused. "But think about
what's good for you, okay?" She gave him a million-watt smile, then
took off running up the stone stairs.
Cordelia go, then looked down at his hand. There rested her
silver charm bracelet. It had fallen off her wrist. He gazed at it
for several seconds before putting it in his pocket. He closed the door,
one charm standing out in his mind. The heart.