Glimmer by Niamh
Welcome, Season Five.
thanks to Calendar for searching through "You're Welcome" for my
mystery Cordy quote. I've been away from the fic-writing part of the fandom for
awhile lately, but, really, after an ep like "You're Welcome," the
angst muse reared her head once again. And how could she not?
The words had hit him like
a physical blow. Later, much later, after he'd
had time to process the events, he would not remember much about the
generically sympathetic voice other than the fact that said voice had
delivered to him news both impossible and devastating.
And with those
words, Angel felt the entire world fall away. Dead. Cordy
-- *his* Cordy -- his voice of reason, his conscience, his friend,
his confidante, and though she'd never been his lover, he *had* loved
her. And, he believed now, she him.
And she was dead.
Logic, of course,
dictated otherwise. He *knew* what he'd seen -- and the
others had seen her too. She'd been *there* -- warm, vibrant, *alive*.
He'd felt her living body against him, arms flung around his neck,
her mouth against his. Angel had been all-too aware of her scent, her
heartbeat, her breath hot against his face as she exhaled into the kiss.
He'd cataloged every nuance, every moment, because part of him simply
couldn't believe that she was alive, that she was all right, and that
she was there -- with him.
But then, she wasn't
any of those things, was she? Cordelia *wasn't* alive.
She *wasn't* all right. And, god *damn* it, she wasn't there with
Shaking his head
slowly, Angel ran a hand over his face, still trying to
absorb the enormity of the situation. On a very primal level, he refused
to believe it -- it simply wasn't possible. Either it was a very
bad joke played in extremely poor taste, or he was going crazy. He was
even willing to accept the possibility that the parasite was still inside
of him, taunting him with what he most wanted while at the same time
tormenting him with his deepest fears.
blinding, brilliant, convincing smile -- the face behind the
desk, the face of Angel Investigations. She was... light. Illumination
made manifest, sunlight incarnate -- and he had basked without
fear of immolation.
And now, contrary to
what he'd always believed about sunlight, he felt as
if he would die without *that* light.
Not only had she
brought sunshine to shadow -- she had been and would always
be his heart. Her trademark honesty had succeeded more times than
not, because Cordelia had a gift for making him see, making him understand
when the others didn't. For whatever reason, he could more easily
ignore Wesley, Fred, Gunn, and Lorne (and had on more than one occasion
and, yes, sometimes with disastrous results), but whether it was
something in him or something in her, Angel had always found it more
difficult to ignore her. Or, at least, if he'd managed to ignore her
advice, he always felt the worse for it.
'I naturally assumed
you'd be lost without me, but this?'
'I am lost without
'You just forgot who
And now she was
gone. Gone. He could not visit her; he'd never again hold
her warm, slack hand in his cool, firm one, spending hours in silence,
an endless mantra rolling through his head, begging her to wake,
pleading with her to use the strength he knew she had -- the strength
she'd transferred to him on more than one instance and simply wake
But she never had,
And she never would.
A harsh, hoarse sob
wrenched through his throat. In over two centuries, he
hadn't needed air, but now he felt the need to draw a breath -- and found
that he couldn't.
*Had* she been
there? Had it all been a hallucination? A dream? A very convincing
No. No, her scent
still lingered in the room, her taste still clung to his
lips. Angel could still feel her warmth in his arms. She'd been there.
And, more to the point, she'd been *real*. And she'd saved him.
She'd saved his
life, certainly. She had come through. Crisis averted --
the Champion would rise to fight another day (or night). She had been
there for him to depend on. It had all felt so natural, he'd almost
forgotten that she'd ever been anything but right there next to him.
They'd fought side by side, and it had felt... natural. Normal.
But, more than his
life, she'd saved his soul. This time it hadn't been happiness
that posed the insidious threat. This time it had been apathy,
disgust, frustration -- the things that kill the spirit in most everyone
else. The dissatisfaction that had been growing in his gut over
the past several months was becoming unbearable, and Angel had long
felt that he'd begun to wander from his path. He felt further and further
away from his meaning -- his calling. In fact, he'd never felt *less*
like a Champion than he did lately.
And wasn't it
fitting that Cordelia's final act was to set him back on his
Her final act. Or
perhaps it was more accurate to call it her curtain call.
Tears he hadn't felt
form were already making slow tracks down either side
of his face. The ache inside throbbed like a sore tooth as the truth,
the reality of the situation settled over him like a heavy, oppressive
blanket -- wet wool that he could not fling free. She was dead.
He could not change it, he could not fix it. And while she had saved
him, he hadn't been able to save *her*.
A fine tremor
invaded his limbs, rendering them nearly useless, and Angel
slowly lowered himself to the floor, leaning his back against his desk.
He was cold -- far colder than normal -- and he wrapped his arms around
himself to protect himself against the chill while at the same time
trying to preserve the fading traces of Cordelia's touch. Once that
was gone, it was gone forever.
He would not forget
how she felt in his arms, against his mouth. He wouldn't
*let* himself forget.
And with that
promise to himself, a single terrifying thought ricocheted
through his mind -- would the others remember? If it had all truly
happened, and Angel was convinced it had, would they be left with knowledge
Or would the Powers
let him shoulder this burden alone? Was he doomed to
remember? Was that his fate -- to remember that which others forgot? It
had already happened more than once -- Connor, the son known only to him;
Buffy, a few scant hours (indeed, it felt like little more than minutes)
of humanity. These were his memories, and his alone. Would he be
the only one to remember her final moments?
promised himself that he would not let her down.
'Oooh, no. That's
for you to figure out, bubba. I can tell you who you were.
A guy who always fought his hardest for what was right, even when he
couldn't remember why. Even when he was miserable, which was, let's face
it, a not-small portion of the time. He did right. And that gave him
something... a light... A glimmer. And that's the guy I fell in-- The,
um... The guy I knew. I see him around here, and maybe I'll start believing.'
'Let me know if you
From the far reaches
of his consciousness, Angel heard a muted trilling.
At first he pushed himself to his knees -- the movement took more
effort than he would have believed possible, and he suddenly felt every
one of this two-hundred some-odd years. His hand closed over the cold
receiver and he brought it to his ear. He was momentarily confused by
the dial tone buzzing and when the trilling continued, he reached inside
his jacket and withdrew his cell phone, answering it.
It was Lorne.
Dream!" the demon's voice crackled over the cellular phone. "What's
taking you two so long?"
'You can explain
things to the gang... once you understand.'
Angel's mouth felt
dry suddenly; they *did* remember.
And now he was
starting to wish they didn't.