Subtlety >> Redemption

C/A spice: Mild/Medium

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"Iím interested," Angel said. "Itís just that Whitney Tyler reminded me of someone I met... a long time ago."

"Anyone we know?" Cordelia asked.

Angel hesitated. "No. This was a long time ago."

"As in, before the invention of the automobile?"

"Yes."

Cordelia shrugged. "Ancient history."

Angel felt uncomfortable. Memory of the young woman aboard the Handsome Jack was one of many he no longer wanted to remember. That young woman and hundreds like her were reasons he was in L.A. now. "Right. Nothing interesting."

Cordelia gave him a high wattage grin and her full attention again. "Oh, do I sense dish in the offing? An old, unrequited, love? A secret tryst? She made a sour face. "Or someone you put the bite on before you got reunited with your soul and now regret?

Angel blinked. Even after all these years Cordeliaís lack of social graces could surprise him at times. She prided herself on telling it like it was, even if she sometimes missed the big picture.

"Just be warned," Cordelia went on, "If this is one of the maudlin, self-recriminating, poor-me-I-used-to-be-such-an-evil-vampire moments, Iím really not interested."

Still, there was something vaguely secure about Cordeliaís lack of tact. It seemed eternal, something that could always be counted on.

"That whole act," Cordelia said, "is just too entirely much like the maudlin, self-recriminating-poor-me-I-never-wanted-to-be-the-Slayer mantras I used to have to put up with from Buffy. I mean, you were what you were, and you are what you are, and youíll be what youíll be."

* * *

"And if you'd come back and I was dead? Ripped to pieces or hanging from the nearestĖ" Cordelia looked up-"metal thingy?"

"I'd have felt bad," Angel assured her. He took the box Doyle had carried in, dropping to his knees and shaking the contents out onto the pavement.

"That's not good enough," Cordelia said.

Angel hesitated, knowing it was hard for Cordelia to actually see that they had other problems at the moment. He looked at her. "I'd have felt really bad. Probably the most bad I've ever felt."

Cordelia smiled. "You mean that, don't you?"

Angel nodded. "Yeah."


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