Subtlety >> Double or Nothing

C/A spice: Strong

Angel's in mourning. The lock-yourself-in-a-dark-room kind of mourning. Cordy's back from her vacation.

Cordelia enters, Groo behind her. They're both dressed tropically, tanned and rested.

Cordy holds a small Teddy with a sombrero on it. She grins her million-watt grin:

Presents for Connor, like Angel said.

Cordy: We're back! And we're bearing gif--

She trails off pretty quickly, seeing the faces of Gunn, Fred and Lorne. Immediately she knows.

Cordy: (cont'd) What happened?


Angel's room.

He sits on the edge of his bed, lifeless eyes staring offscreen. The room is still in a shambles, scorched and destroyed from the earthquake and fire.

Angel's POV -- the crib. Empty, charred.

A long beat, then the door swings open and Cordy enters. Her look is confident, strong, telling us she is unafraid. She moves to the bed, sits on the edge without a word.

Beat. Then she wraps her arms around him and puts her head on his shoulder. He lets her.

Cordy: I'm so sorry.

He closes his eyes, she closes hers. Off the two of them, in grief.

Cordy says "I'm so sorry" with a great amount of sympathy, but it's not the kind of grief that Angel is feeling. Cordy didn't lose Connor the way Angel did, he wasn't her son. There's a big difference. Instead, the pain she's feeling isn't for Connor, it's for Angel - because of how this is hurting Angel. She's in pain because he is.

Also notice how he's dressed completely in black and she's in all white. Yin and yang. Foreshadowing Tomorrow?

Angel lies on the bed atop the covers, fully clothed. Staring up at the ceiling. A beat, then Cor enters (different wardrobe than the previous scene), carrying a book. Angel looks over at her. Gently:

Cordy: I'm just here, okay?

She moves to a chair, sits. Opens the book. Angel turns his eyes back to the ceiling. Off this still, silent tableau --

I think the point getting across here is that she's there for him.

It is my deepest wish to aid my princess in her time of need. I've already brought her clothing and food for her shiv-roth with Angel.

Lorne: (remembering) The Vigil of the Bereaved. Huh. Almost forgot there was a word for it.

Groo knows the only way to help Cordelia is to leave her and Angel alone. They have a special connection. This is shown in several other episodes, when Angel and Cordy are having a moment, the rest of the gang kind of sanctifies it by standing back. Instances I can think of are Birthday when Cordy's just woken up from the coma. Angel goes to hug her and the rest of the gang comes in the room but they don't rush over to crowd Angel and Cordy. Also, in Billy, the others stand outside waiting while Angel and Cordelia talk inside the office.

Gunn has just come back, after running into the repo guy who's says it's time to claim his soul. He is not a happy camper.

Cordy: R whooh kah bay?

Gunn turns, she's moving towards him, mouth full of food, big old sandwich in hand.

Gunn: What?

She holds up a finger, chews, swallows.

Cordy: I said, are you okay?

Gunn: Yeah, I'm fine.

Cordy: (re: sandwich) Seemed kinda rude to chow down in front of Angel but I was starving so I took a little break and you are not okay, pal.

Didn't really like this part. Seemed fake. I can understand a little what it's trying to say... I guess. Cordelia is like the big sister of the household, or even the mother. Angel's the one you go to if a big slimy demon if after you, but Cordy's the one you go to for the emotional advice. She was gone for awhile, but now that she's back, everything's slowly - very slowly - but surely, returning to normal. Sandwich = symbol of normality.

Cordy lounges on her chair, one leg slung over its arm, reading her book (she's at leas half-way through it). Angel stares at the crib, silent. Big beat. They've been like this for a good long time. Then:

Angel: I think he was gonna be left-handed.

Cordy looks up, amazed that he's opened his mouth, but also, "Huh?" He doesn't look at her as he continues, just keeps his eyes on the crib, speaking matter of factly:

Angel: (cont'd) The way he'd hold onto your fingers... his left hand always squeezed just a little bit tighter.

Perhaps a small smile crosses Angel's dark features.

Angel: (cont'd) Kid had a grip... he was gonna be a southpaw for sure...

Cordelia quietly closes her book, not wanting to break the spell, listening to him.

Angel: (cont'd) You live as long as I do, eventually you lose everyone. It's what happens. I'm not sayin' you get used to it but you expect it, you deal. But he was just... (beat) ...he was just a little...

Angel takes a big breath, then:

Angel: (cont'd) You think you know something about living, cause you have this really long past. And that's really all you have, in my case anyway. Then one day you wake up and you have something else...

Cordy: (getting it) A future.

He nods. Then says, simply:

Angel: I had a son...

Cordy nods, just listening to him. Off Angel,

Angel and Cordelia have really confided in each other a lot in this past year, and this is another one of those times.Patiently, Cordelia was waiting for Angel to open up. She knows that's the only way he can begin to deal with this.

Angel and Cordelia sitting side-by-side now. There has been some silence. Both just thinking. She breaks the silence.

Cordy: I'm not gonna sit here and pretend that I know what you're going through, or that I could begin to understand what it is you're feeling. (beat) The last thing you need right now is someone saying that given time, things will get better. The hurt will go away. (then) Because things won't get better. And the hurt's never gonna go away.

He looks at her.

Cordy: (cont'd) The truth is, if you lived another two hundred years, you'd never forget how Connor was taken from you. (then) And you shouldn't. (beat) You loved your son, Angel. And you're gonna go on loving him. And missing him. (another beat) And you'll go one living. You'll do that, too.

Angel: I don't know how.

Cordy: You don't need to. The "how" works itself out. Life'll just keeping happening. There'll be people who need our help -- and so we'll help 'em. (finally) 'Cause that's what we do.

He looks at her, maybe not comforted by that so much as appreciative of the simple truth of it.

Cordy knows that Angel doesn't need people reassuring him. What she tells Angel isn't a consolation to make him feel better. It's just being honest.

As they hold the look between them... they both start to become aware of a soft sobbing coming from outside the door.

Cordy goes to the door. It's Fred, who thinks Gunn is in danger. Angel comes to to the door as well and asks what's wrong. He's listening to the things that Cordy said. Here's someone who needs help and he's going to help.

Hotel lobby. Fred is talking about Gunn. Angel, Cordy, and Groo listen.

Fred: Don't you see? He hurt me! And the only reason he'd do that is to protect me from something! And whatever it is, it's gotta be bad because... this hurts like hell.

A beat as this registers for all of them. Fred's sheer certainty is enough to cast out doubt. Finally:

Angel: Then I guess we better help him.

All eyes go to him. He looks to Cor.

Angel: (cont'd) We are not losing another member of this family.

Off Angel's determination.

Again, Angel's taking what Cordy said to heart. He won't let losing Connor defeat him. Life goes on. He still has other people he cares about and he's not going to lose them, too.

Cordy has pinned Angel for a dumb planner since season two.

Angel: I choose the game. I win, we walk outta here. Gunn's debt disappears. You win -- (beat) You get us both.

Angel's at a table, holding the cards, confident.

Cordy: Brilliant stall tactic, bought us some time. Now what's the plan?

Angel does an overhand shuffle.

Angel: (re: cards) This is the plan.

Cordy: Really?

Angel: Really. We're gonna win Gunn's soul back.

Etc, etc, etc.

Groo: Angel, if we must rely on luck, I prefer the odds of my sword. We should fight our way out.

Angel: (shakes his head) Gotta disagree, Groo. Fighting puts all of us at risk. My way's safer.

Fred: (a bit panicky) If you win! -- But if you lose your soul, won't you go evil and start killin' everybody including us? (to Cordy) Am I wrong...?

Fred and Groo look to Cordelia for her opinion.

Cordy: Not wrong in theory, but I gotta go with Ace (indicating Angel) on this one. Sorry.

Angel: I'm gonna win.

He starts toward Jenoff. Reaches under his jacket, pulls out a stake, hands it to Cordy.

Angel: (cont'd) But if I lose... You know what to do.

Close in on Cordy's face.

Angel: (cont'd) Just make it quick.

She takes the stake from Angel.

Cordy: You know I will.

I see what's going on, Cordy and Angel have subtlely inferred a secret backup plan between the two of them. What, she's actually going to stake him? I don't think so.

Anyway, Angel and the casino owner aka Soul Sucker, Jenoff plays High Card Draw. Jenoff draws a nine. Angel draws a three.

Angel: A three?

Gunn: A three...?

Jenoff: A three! You lose.

Angel's eyes lock with Cordelia's as she raises the stake. It looks like she's about to plunge it into Angel's chest but instead, she SLAMS it into Jenoff's hand, pins it to the table. Jenoff roars.

Cordy: (to Angel) That quick enough?

Angel grabs his axe, swings it and lops off Jenoff's head.

Angel: Works for me.

The last scene of the episode.

Angel stands in front of Connor's crib, considers it as he has throughout the episode.

Cordelia stands, in the doorway behind him. Watching silently. Angel stares at the crib for another beat and then, having come to a decision, steps forward and begins to fold it up.

Cordy watches for a beat then exits, leaving Angel alone as he continues folding the crib. ready to put it away. Ready to try and move on.

Extra Quotage

Cordy: Wow.
Fred: I know, hunh?
Groo: I am sorry this has come to pass.
Angel: I'm a little confused.
Fred: About what? What was unclear?
Cordy: (what they're all confused about) Well... upstairs -- you said you thought Gunn was in danger.
Fred: He is!
Cordy: Right... and you think that because...
Fred: He broke up with me!
Cordy: Ah.
Fred: But not really!
Cordy: Oh. (then) No?
Fred: No!
Groo: That is good. I am most relieved.
Fred: What? No! This is worse! Much worse! I wish he had broken up with me!
Cordy: Fred, I hate to say this, but... are you sure he didn't? I mean, those things you said he said to you...
Fred: I know I said he said those things to me, but he would never say those things to me!
Cordy: Those things he said?
Fred: Exactly! That's how I know he's in trouble!
Cordy's still lost. Groo just is on general principle. Angel tries to comprehend --
Angel: (clueless as ever) So let me get this straight: (beat) You and Gunn are dating?

Cordy: Angel --
Angel: I know.
Groo: We are surrounded.
Angel: I know.
Fred: We have to save Charles!
Angel: I know!

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