Bittersweet Symphony by Lara


Contains: Some strong language and one sexual situation.


Notes: Takes place in Season Three BtVS, sometime after Lover's Walk or The Wish.


"U-G-L-Y 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?"

Aura grinned. "You alright, Cor? You look like crap."

Cordelia nodded. "Yeah. Just a bit tired...exams, stress- you know..."

"Yeah." Aura looked around. "Lucky that dork Xander Harris isn't here. He would've made it worse, right?"

"Yeah." 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 Chase.


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?"

Cordelia smiled 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 hypnotized.

"HEY-" Angel came crashing back to earth. Cordelia gave him a flawless pout. "LOOK. You're doing it again!"

"Doing what."

"Watching me! 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 your house..." He mumbled.

Cordelia's mouth opened in shock, and she quickly got herself together. "E-Excuse me?"

"Not recently...Angelus." Angel replied quietly, his finger running over the polished oak. "He-he was...drawn to you."

"Well. 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 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?"

The cheerleader lowered her head slightly, then peered up at the vampire. Almost immediately the previous exchange was forgotten. "So you're letting me stay?"

Angel blinked. "Sure. I-I mean...since you're so insistant..."

Cordelia squealed and plopped herself down on the marble floor. "Wait- No killing?"

"No killing."

"Good!" She looked around. "You have anything to drink? Anything expensive and not cheap and not really old and stuffy like you?"

Angel hesitated, 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 room.

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 to him.

"What are you doing?"

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 late."

Cordelia snorted. "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 that."

"Do what."

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..."

"She's told 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 do you-"

"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-"

"SHUT UP." Cordelia said sharply, turning away from him. She rubbed her eyes roughly.

Angel sighed, then sat on the small step. "Sorry. About prying. I shouldn't have-"

"No big. What do I're no different."


Cordelia spun 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."

"No, you're not." He replied, looking at her yet again. "You were being honest. And you were right. I admire that."

"Being right?"

"Being honest. 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 food-"

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?"

Angel nodded slightly. "I can taste it. Doesn't fill me up though. You don't eat?"

"I eat. Alot, actually. But I was just...comparing. You know, this and Xander's-"

"Are you okay with him?"



Cordelia suddenly 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."

"None taken..."

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?"

Angel concurred quietly. "Want me to kill him for you?"

Despite herself, 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."

"You didn't..." She looked at him in dismay. "You didn't stalk me then, did you?"

Angel shook his head. "I visited. I heard what 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."

He nodded. "Yeah. Well..." He trailed off, not knowing what to say. Finally, he bit into the doughnut, chewing slowly. He furrowed his brow in thought.

The cheerleader looked up, and grinned. "Can you taste that?"

Angel smiled back. "Yes."

"You're really 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."

"Maybe I will."

"No you won't."

"I know."

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're not a mean person. Just..."

"Honest?" 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."

Cordelia sighed. "Yeah. They don't listen to anything I have to say...but it beats being alone."

Angel nodded. "Right."

"Hey-" She 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..."

"I won't." He frowned. "What's your point?"

"Well..." Cordelia gave a shrug of her lower lip. "Why aren't you at least pissed off? She played you like a fiddle!"

"I was." 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."

"I can 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! 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 lightly.

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 up noticably.

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-"

Cordelia grabbed Angel's wrist, and pushed his hand back reassuringly. She 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 her.

Cordelia's eyes opened ever so slowly, and she gazed into Angel's eyes. The sad look remained. "Thank you." She whispered.

"For what."

"For making me feel wanted."

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 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 it.

Angel grabbed Cordelia's wrist, making her face him. "'re a beautiful person-"

Silently, Cordelia 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 whispered.

Cordelia giggled. "Yeah! We should tell them!"

Almost immediately, 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.

Angel watched 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.


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