“What? No. That’s impossible. She’s standing right-”
“Oh. Sorry. When… when did she die?”
Angel hung up the phone and sat heavily against his desk. Cordy was dead. She’d been dead for hours. All the time, they’d been trying to get ahold of him, but no one at the hospital had been able to get a call through to Wolfram & Hart. No surprise, really. Cordy hadn’t wanted them to know. And however she’d accomplished the feat of being solid while being a specter, was there any doubt that she could’ve kept the phone from ringing? He didn’t think so.
God, he missed her already. It was worse now. At least before, he could see her. She’d have been unconscious, but at least she would’ve been alive.
And now she wasn’t.
He swallowed hard, and rubbed his knuckles slowly. The others were waiting for them. For him. They were waiting for him. He had to go. Had to get up and… He couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe.
How was it that he could still smell her perfume? He could still feel her arms around him. It had felt so wonderful…. He couldn’t even begin to remember the last time someone had hugged him like that…Or kissed him like that. God, he could’ve let that go on forever. And what she’d said… Almost said. Twice… “Why do I always fall for the dumb ones?” and “That’s not the man I fell in-” She’d stopped herself then. But he wished to God that she’d continued. To hear someone say “I love you”… It had been too long since he’d heard that from anyone. And while he knew his friends… his family, loved him… It was different.
Oh. His family. Their family. He had to tell them. They would have to know. There was a funeral to be planned.
He forced himself up, one thought constantly running through his head. ‘Cordy wouldn’t want me to just sit here. I have to keep going… For her.’
Halfway to the door of his office, he stopped and looked back at the place where Cordy had last stood. He wanted to cry, but the tears just wouldn’t come. He’d been so close to crying when he thought she was just LEAVING… but now that he knew she was already gone… Completely gone.. The tears wouldn’t come now.
He sniffled quietly, and pulled his jacket tighter around him, then headed out across the lobby and to the elevator.
He didn’t cry in the car on the way to the bar where he knew the others were waiting. He felt sick to his stomach as he climbed out of the car and went inside… then froze.
There, sitting at the bar, was his entire family. Every person he loved in the world… And Spike. But all together. They were all talking and laughing, having so much fun together. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen this group have fun. Fred, Gunn, Wes, Lorne, and Spike… All of them. Together. And somehow he knew. THIS was Cordy’s legacy. She’d gotten him back on track, and, in so doing, she’d brought the family back together again. And even really brought them closer than they’d been in months.
In spite of himself, Angel felt the corners of his mouth turn up in a small smile. He could still feel Cordy with them. And somehow he knew, she’d always be with them, as long as they were together.
He swallowed, and approached the bar, greeting everyone… Including Spike. He sat down and ordered a drink, holding up a hand to stop Fred when she asked if Cordy was coming separately from him.
Angel waited until he could feel the alcohol taking effect, then turned and quietly requested that everyone be quiet for a moment. Then he told them, almost word for word, what had passed between him and Cordy… And then he told them about the phone call.
Everyone was silent, even Spike, for the longest time. The noise in the rest of the bar seemed to fade down to nothing, as if the group was all alone… But they were still a group, Angel noticed. They weren’t retreating into themselves as they might have only a few short days earlier. And when the tears started, they leaned on each other.
Spike shifted around and put a hand on Angel’s back just for a brief second, whispering that he was sorry. Angel nodded, the tears that had escaped him earlier now flooding without a sign of stopping, but he didn’t shrug his Childe’s hand off his shoulder. Spike took this as encouragement, and sat down again.
Everyone cried, and talked about Cordy. About the last day. About what she meant to them, and how much they’d missed her. They talked about funeral plans, and about the pain. And by the time the group left the bar, they’d begun to heal. And Angel? He had a new goal.
He’d told Spike once that there was no hope for them ever getting to heaven, but now he wasn’t so sure. He decided that he WOULD get there, some day. That he would see Cordy, and Doyle again. See everyone they’d lost. First and last soldier down. And as they drove back to the office, Angel’s goals finally slipped back into where they should’ve been all along. He’d keep on chasing infinity. And some day, he’d reach it. And she’d be there waiting for him.
Don’t worry, Cordy, he thought to himself. I won’t make the same mistakes again. I’m going on… For you.
Goodbye, Cordelia Chase. I love you.