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T O M O R R O W, T E N  Y E A R S, or F O R E V E R

Author: Dianna (artemisdb13@aol.com)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: An alternate ending for “Tomorrow”. Cordy and Angel are not interrupted and get a chance to confess their feelings. That doesn’t mean it goes smoothly though.
Spoilers: Late Season 3 and 4.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement intended. One line from this story is taken from the shooting script for “Tomorrow”.
Distribution: Anywhere, just ask. where it is.
Feedback: Yes, please! I would appreciate it incredibly. This is my first attempt at writing a real fanfic story.

* * *

“.....This unusual string of car thefts along the Santa Monica Bay has law officials in the area warning residents not to leave their vehicles unattended. Tourists are advised to park in private parking lots with security. In other news, Los Angeles police chief told the press that two of the suspects in today’s hostage situation were arrested on the spot, and the third was found a few hours later. They are now in custody and pending trial next month, and could be facing up to ten years in prison....”

The newscaster droned on in the television, but Cordelia wasn’t paying much attention. She was procrastinating.

Cordy clicked the TV off, “Dennis, should I call him?” She decided to ask the opinion of her friendly houseghost. Cordy pointed to her lamp on the table, “Lights on for yes, lights off for no.”

Phantom Dennis was quick to answer, and Cordelia soon found herself in the dark. Maybe Dennis wasn’t the most impartial ghost to ask, but she was out of ideas. “What if Angel feels the same way about me, and he’s just being too---” She paused in search of the right word, “----too *Angel* to just tell me straight forward?”

Without hesitation, Phantom Dennis floated up a piece of paper and pen, and began to scrawl on it hastily, “DENNIS LOVES CORDY.”

Cordelia couldn’t help smiling and sighed, “You’re the real man here, Dennis.” At least she was sure of someone’s feelings, even if it wasn’t Angel’s, or her own. But what was the harm of saying something to Angel? Sure, maybe he’d laugh---- except he wouldn’t laugh because he’d be all sincere, and.... Angel. There was that word again with all it’s ambiguities, the good and the bad, but she accepted all of them. Angel was..... Angel.

Cordelia knew that she had made up her mind. She picked up the phone and dialed.

* * *

Traffic was not on Cordy’s side. It was clogged half a mile up the expressway, as the radio station so unconcernedly announced. Cordelia could have sworn that she was literally moving in slow motion.

“This doesn’t mean anything. It’s a little bit bad luck,” Cordelia reassured herself. “It’s not like some higher power is interrupting you on your way to... confess your love to your best friend, who just happens to be a vampire with a soul.”

She had called Angel and asked him to meet her and he had agreed. Cordy felt a little bit of excitement, because it sounded like he knew why she’d asked to meet him, alone, and at an extremely romantic lookout. He didn’t object, so Cordelia knew that either meant he really did understand and felt the same way, or that he was completely clueless. But Cordelia also knew that with Angel, there was always a 50/50 chance of the latter.

“And it’s not even love for sure,” Cordy corrected herself, checking her reflection in the rearview mirror, “Maybe some feelings. Not a big deal.”

Cordelia concentrated on the road again. A white Buick was rolling along steadily in front of her. She yelled and honked at the car, “Woman in love here!” Cordelia changed lanes and zipped past the elderly driver. “Slowpoke!”

Cordelia finally saw the exit for Point Dume and turned off the freeway. She could already see the bluffs and the bay, exactly like it was before. She had come here when she was ten years old with her parents, in what could only be called an attempted family outing. Her parents ignored each other for most of the trip and yelled at each other for the rest of it. While they were arguing about something, it was always something, she had wandered away to see the ocean. She had walked to the edge of the cliffs and listened to the water crashing below onto the rocks, violent yet calming. In the distance, she saw a man and a woman, probably newlyweds, doing the same. Behind her, she knew her parents were still arguing in the lodge. But in front of her on the bluffs, the young couple was sitting on the ground together, holding hands, and happy.

Cordelia smiled at the memory and kept driving down the road. She was getting closer to the ocean now, and finally she saw Angel’s car. He was there, waiting for her. Angel heard her approaching and turned, cell phone in hand.

“Cordy!” he looked pleased to see her, “I tried to call you.”

“But,” Cordelia stepped out of her car and said knowingly, “You couldn’t get the cell phone to work.”

“Yeah,” Angel admitted sheepishly, “Something about the batteries not being charged.”

Cordelia smiled. Unspeakable fiends from hell don’t faze him, but cell phones are another question. There was no doubt in her mind anymore. That was the man she loved. Now, to just figure out how to tell him that. This can’t be that hard. All she had to do was open her mouth and say it. Easy concept.

“Do you want to take a walk?” she blurted out. Damn it! That’s not it. But a little movement would help, get the blood flowing to her brain so she could at least think of what to say. What idiot invented the human language? She considered how much simpler it would be to just jump on Angel and start tearing off his clothes to communicate her feelings----

“Okay,” Angel said.

“What?” Cordelia coughed in surprised. Had he read her mind? Had she said that out loud? Which wouldn’t be that unusual, since she was used to speaking exactly what was on her mind. It was her way.

Angel looked confused, “You just said you wanted to take a walk...”

“Oh. Right, right,” she quickly recovered herself.

“It’s nice here, how’d you know about this place?” Angel asked, as they began to walk along the bluffs together.

“I’ve been here before. It’s something I remembered,” Cordelia replied. Angel nodded, and seemed unsure what else to say.

They walked silently for awhile, until Cordelia couldn’t take it anymore. “Angel, the reason I asked you to come here tonight is because I need to tell you something. It‘s pretty important. I think it is anyway, and I need you to know.” It’s Angel, she should be able to tell him anything. She went on, “I don’t know if you feel the same way, and if you don’t, you probably think I’ve gone nuts----”

She waited for Angel to say something. “No, you’re not crazy,” or even, “Cordy, are you sure you’re not crazy?” But he remained quiet, waiting for her to continue her disastrous ramble. Cordelia knew she was obviously not going to get any help from him.

Angel finally spoke, “I think---- I love you.”

Oooookay. Maybe she was wrong.

“What?” Cordelia thought she was hallucinating. “What did you say?”

“I mean---” Angel began to fumble, “I mean, is that what you were talking about too?” He now had a baffled look on his face. Cordelia stared at him, and then broke into laughter. She didn’t stop laughing, which only made Angel look more and more panicked.

“Yes, dumbass! That’s what I was talking about,” she finally answered. “I love you.”

It was so easy.

Angel looked relieved at first for a moment. Then happy, as if he‘d just registered what she’d said. Before Cordy realized what he was doing, he pulled her into a kiss. This time it wasn’t the spirits of old lovers possessing them, and it wasn’t her trying to get rid of her visions, and it wasn’t an alternate dimension. This time it was real and it was perfect. Below them, Cordelia could hear the sound of waves crashing onto the rocky shore.

* * *

In the distance, a young couple could be seen holding hands on the bluffs and listening to the sound of the ocean. But little does anyone who sees us know, Cordelia thought, I’m a demonized, glowy, and occasionally floaty seer, and he’s a re-ensouled vampire on the road of redemption. No one would know that, but Cordelia wondered if anyone who saw her and Angel would be able to recognize that they were in love.

As they walked back hand in hand, Angel spoke, “I’ve been trying to tell you for a long time now that I‘ve.... had feelings for you. A few weeks...”

“Really?” Cordelia was surprised yet not surprised that he had known for that long and didn’t say anything. It was Angel, after all. The master of keeping things to himself.

“.....Plus a few months before that.” Angel finished.

Cordelia blinked and turned to look at him. “Well, why didn’t you tell me?”

“Why didn’t you?” He responded defensively.

“I didn’t realize it until a few hours ago, not a few months, Mr. Unrequited Love.” she retorted back.

“There was never a good time. So I decided to just to wait, and leave it-- leave it up to destiny.” Angel gave Cordelia an irresistibly charming smile, and Cordelia knew he was hoping it would work its magic and that he would get out of having to explain himself. No way he was getting off that easily.

Cordy pretended not to be impressed, “So by ‘destiny’, you mean me calling you?”

“It’s not like I didn’t try,” Angel reclaimed his argument, “Things kept coming up.”

“Like what?”

“Well,“ he gestured, “There was Darla. She showed up....”

“Nine months pregnant,” Cordelia added.

“And you got mad at me, remember?” Angel said pointedly.

“Justifiably so,” Cordelia contended.

“Then there was *Groo*,” Angel continued, saying the Pylean’s name with a mocking tone. “‘Brave and undefeated’,” Angel made air quotes with his fingers, “Well-muscled, but with a vulnerable side that makes him so accessible....”

Cordelia raised her eyebrows, “Is this a private moment?”

“He’s not taller than me!” Angel exclaimed.

Cordelia sighed. Angel went on, now with a sad tinge in his voice, “And then Connor was taken away.... and he came back, but he hates me.”

“Oh, no, Angel---”

“It’s better today. We went to a movie. At least he’s not trying to kill me anymore.” Angel said reflectively.

But Cordelia didn’t hear him. She was busy looking ahead and pointing.

“Oh, no! Angel---” she cried and started running, “They‘re stealing our cars!”

* * *

Angel did a doubletake. He looked toward the place where he and Cordelia had both parked and saw two guys ---- one of them was trying to open the door to Cordelia’s new car, and the other had already started up his black Plymouth.

Lightning fast, or more accurately, vampire-fast, Angel ran toward his car just as the thief was starting to drive it away. The thief wasn’t what he expected. It was scrawny little guy with mousy hair and a green T-shirt. When he saw Angel coming after him, he looked frantic and pushed the pedal. But it wasn’t fast enough. Angel grabbed the side of the car as it was moving and seized the hijacker by his sleeve.

“Stop the car!” Angel yelled against the movement and the noise. Mousy-haired guy did as told and raised his left hand in surrender. Angel pulled Mousy Hair out of the car with some force.

“Owww!” The guy screeched and held his right hand as if it were injured.

“You’re lucky I’m having a good night, or that would have hurt a lot more,” Angel said to him, “Come on---”

Angel stopped. The mousy haired thief had uncovered his right hand and Angel could now see that his index finger was in the shape of a key. It was exactly the shape of his key, the key to his car! Angel shook his head and started dragging the thief back to where his car had been parked and where Cordelia’s car still was. He saw that the other little scrawny guy had apparently been cornered by Cordelia. It seemed that Cordy was in the middle of a tirade.

Cordelia saw him coming back, dragging along the other thief, and said, “Angel, these are the guys!”

Angel had no idea what she was talking about, “What guys?”

“The ‘string of car thefts along the Santa Monica bay’ guys,” Cordelia explained, “I just heard something about it on the news!” She turned toward the one she had pinned to her car accusingly, “Aren’t you?”

“Okay, okay, yes!” he cried in an oily voice, sounding pityfully pathetic, “Don’t---don’t hurt me again, please!”

“Oh, don’t be such a sissy, I barely touched you.” Cordelia snapped back to Oily Voice.

Angel let go of the other guy, pretty convinced that he wouldn’t fight back. “They’re also shape-shifters,” he informed Cordelia.

“Demons,” Cordelia concluded, and then announced to the two thieves, “You know what that means, guys? That means Angel and I can kick your collective asses without too much moral ambiguity.”

“That’s right,” Angel confirmed.

Scrawny guy #1 blubbered to Cordelia, “We’re sorry! We swear, we’ll never do it again.”

Scrawny guy #2 nodded to Angel, “Yes, we mean it. We-we-we know who you are.”

“Why are you stealing cars?” Cordelia asked, “Haven’t you got anything better to do with your--- mutant abilities? Like, say, join the X-men?”

The two thieves looked at each other, and Oily Voice spoke, “We’re shape-shifters. We usually do glamours on people for a living.”

“Like plastic surgery,” the other one said, “Smaller nose, lose the wrinkles, but no pain. It‘s a legit profession! We have a license.”

“Very profitable,” the first one added.

Angel rubbed his eyes wearily, “Which brings us back to the original question, why are you stealing cars?”

Mousy Hair admitted, as if he couldn‘t be blamed, “Glamours are in an all-time low demand! We had to find something else to cover for awhile. Business is slow right now, because of the bad economy.”

“And that whole Botox thing,” Oily Voice chimed in.

Cordelia just eyed the two of them back and forth in disbelief, and then turned to Angel, “This is so sad.”

“Yeah, it’d be like me using my vampire abilities to join the ballet,” Angel commented, then added on second thought, “Except without the, um, bad mental image.”

“So what should we do, turn them into the police? But how would we explain that they‘re shape-shifters?” Cordelia asked for Angel’s opinion.

“Don’t do that, please. We won’t do it again --- we’ll return all the cars!” Both Mousy Hair and Oily Voice cried.

But Angel had something else in mind. “How about this?” he began speaking in what he thought was his most threatening tone, “If we hear about anything like this happening again, we’ll know it’s you. And you can be sure we’ll track you down.”

Cordy looked confused as to how they would do that, but Angel inclined his head toward her, “She’ll track you down.”

“Uh-huh....” Cordelia got the drift and played along, “With my visions. Did I mention that I have some special abilities, too?”

The two nearly reformed thieves grew wide eyed and terrified, “V-v-v-visions?”

“That‘s right. From here on out, anything wrong you do, I‘ll know. I‘ll see,” Cordelia continued, ignoring the grin that Angel was trying to hold back, “And I’ll come after you. So watch your every step.”

“That’s exactly what she can do,” Angel added, “Spread the word.”

Tweedledee and Tweedledum nodded in unison, backing away from Cordelia.

“And there better not be even a scratch on my car!” Cordelia barked.

Oily Voice put his hands up in defense as he and Mousy Hair started making their way away from her and Angel, “I’m sorry! But you do have ten years.”

“What?” Cordelia called after them.

Mousy Hair clarified, “On your car. Ten years warranty.”

Angel shook his head as he watched the two car thieves get farther and farther from him and Cordelia, “That was... bizarre.”

“That was weird as hell. I can’t believe we’re letting them go,” Cordelia said doubtfully.

Angel smiled wryly, “They’re weird, but I really don’t think they’ll do anything after you put the fear of you in them.”

“This is so what my fantasy of a romantic meeting involved,” Cordelia sighed.

* * *

Despite everything that had gone wrong this year, Angel couldn’t believe how lucky he was. Despite how truly bizarre this evening had been, to him it had been the perfect night. He was back home at the Hyperion Hotel and Cordelia was wrapped in his arms. He could feel the warmth of her skin. He could smell her hair. She was his closest friend first and foremost, and now they were in love but the transition didn’t feel strange at all. It simply felt like the way it should be.

Cordelia let out a small yawn, “I’m exhausted.” She looked up at him, “Aren’t you?”

“We did do a lot tonight,” Angel answered, “Scared some demons...”

“Stopped a grand theft auto crime spree,” Cordelia laughed a little.

“Professed our undying love for each other,” Angel offered.

Cordelia blushed and smacked him lightly on the arm, “Angel, who in the modern world says ‘professed our undying love’?”

Always count on Cordy to bring me into the 21st century, Angel thought, How did I ever survive without her?

Angel suddenly became serious, “How is this going to work?”

“Easy,” Cordelia replied with no trouble, “Your place today, my place tomorrow.”

Angel knew that Cordelia understood what he really meant, “And in the long run?”

“You mean the inevitable future?” she responded, “All I know is that I’m going to be with you.... And don’t forget your Shanshu.”

“But that’s not going to be tomorrow,” Angel reminded her, “Or any time soon.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Cordelia said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, “Whether it’s tomorrow, ten years, or forever --- I’ll wait.”

She said nothing else. She gave him a classic Cordy smile before she closed her eyes and snuggled back into his arms again. Angel put his hand over Cordelia’s and watched her drift off to sleep. His Cordy, beautiful and amazing, fast asleep and waiting for tomorrow.

* * *

After sleeping for what felt like a long time, Cordelia sensed the pale morning light on her face. The night had passed and it was morning. It was another day. It was tomorrow. And she and Angel were in love. She felt Angel’s presence near her, his hands clasping her own, and she wanted to just lie there forever. Cordelia opened her eyes to see a blurry image of Angel next to her, except he was no longer on the bed but sitting next to it. But it was Angel, and they were in love. She had repeated it in her head many times already, and it only sounded better each time. In love. In love.

Cordelia smiled, “Hi.”

Angel didn’t speak for a minute, but his eyes lit up, “You‘re awake.”

“Yeah, but I’m still kinda woozy. I must have been more beat than I thought.” Cordelia started to sit up, but then stopped short. It was morning. She and Angel were in love. Sunlight was streaking through the room. And Angel wasn’t bursting into flames.

The first thing she thought of was their conversation last night.

“Angel!” Cordelia jolted up, a thousand thoughts running through her head, “What’s going on? You’re not on fire.”

Fire. Apocalypse.

Angel only stared at her like he couldn’t move, and mumbled, “Special windows--- Cordy? It‘s okay, slow down.”

Cordelia tried to get out of bed, but suddenly felt an unexpected wave of dizziness and pain in her head, an unfamiliar kind, nothing like the pre-vision pain she was accustomed to before she asked the Powers That Be to make her half-demon.

Demon. Beast. Destruction.

She looked around the room again and took in her surroundings, and realized that she was no longer in Angel’s room at the hotel. It was new. She didn’t understand. She had never seen this place before.

A new world.

The pain was growing now, pounding, heavy, like a weight that had been dropped into her head. She gasped, for air, for something.

“Hey, hey, everything’s going to be all right.” Cordelia heard Angel’s voice in the background, anxious yet trying to be comforting, but being drowned out by the words and images that were rushing at her now. She couldn’t breath, couldn’t think, could only see and hear and feel. This was worse than a vision----

Death.

Sacrifice.

Birth.

Sleep.

-----because it was a memory.

“Cordy, do you--- do you remember?” She could hear Angel’s voice clearly now. She could feel his hand grasping hers tightly. She remembered. The lookout, the ocean, the sound of waves....

It wasn’t real. Everything else was. The sleep was real, but it wasn’t in Angel’s arms. She had slept longer. She had only had a good dream.

“Oh, God. How long has it been?” Cordelia could only choke out the few words, and waited for Angel’s response to prove that it was just a dream, and that she would have to face reality.

Angel didn’t answer.

She couldn’t stand it anymore. Cordelia turned to look away from Angel, because when she looked at him, all she could see was their kiss by the bluffs, all she could hear was “I love you.” And it wasn’t real.

“How long has it been?” Cordelia asked again, not wanting to be awake a minute longer with the comfort of a false dream that she knew could only be shattered. She braced herself for what Angel was about to tell her, but deep down she already knew. Ten years. Ten years in prison. Ten years warranty. Tomorrow, ten years, or forever. She already knew the answer, but she had to hear him say it to make it real. She waited.

But Angel was merely smiling as if he had just had every birthday wish in his entire unlife granted at once.

“I would have waited for you forever.”

It was his only reply.

* * *

End.

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