Title: What Might Have Been
Disclaimer: I don't own anyone
Spoilers: All of Birthday
What was going through Angel's head during the alternate world in "Birthday"?
Angel sat on the floor rocking back and forth. Angelus taunted him and laughed at him. "No one will get there. The girl
will die. Just like she should. You can't do anything to save her. Did you think you could? That you could be her saving ANGEL???"
He hated this. The constant taunting and endless laughing. Why was he still alive? What use was he like this? He kept repeating
the address over and over and over. "171 Oak, 171 Oak......."
He smacked his head in an effort to ease his mind. The demon was buried far away but he still seemed to torment Angel with
thoughts that the visions would never be solved. "You think WESLEY can do anything? Do you think that he'll actually
find the place? Do you think he can fight with ONE arm?" Angel just wanted the visions to stop. Maybe then the
demon would leave him alone. But, he knew it was what he had to endure. He had to endure it to make up for all his past wrongs.
It was the only way.
He lurched forward and shouted, "171 Oak, 171 Oak, ......did you hear? 171 Oak, you need to go, then it''l be OK. 171 Oak,
171 Oak......." Angel shook and started tremble. He just wanted a moment of peace. A moment to think. A moment where everything
wouldn't be muddled. A moment where he could be like he had been. Before the visions. Before the taunts from Angelus.
Angel banged his head against the wall. It dimmed the pain of Angelus's threats, but he could still hear the taunting.
He wanted to curl up in a ball and escape from the world. He could hear more of Angelus's taunts. "What's the matter? Can't
handle it? You never were any good at anything, why should having visions change that? What good are you to anyone? Does anyone
even care about you anymore? They just leave you here all day long." Angel heard footsteps and began repeating the words to
himself. He was Ok now, he was, he would be Ok.
He knew that Wesley and Gunn were coming. He needed to calm himself down. He wouldn't run away this time. He had to say
here. He would show them that he was OK now. That he was not in pain. He just began to talk to himself. Mumbling words that
only he could understand. Words that comforted only him.
He heard Wesley and Gunn by the door. A woman was with them. He could hear her voice. He didn't want anyone to see him
like this. He started to rock back and forth, trying to tell himself that the vision was solved. The door started to open
and he jumped back in fear. They shouldn't see him like this. He retreated into the shadows. Away from the light. He felt
safe in the shadows. Nothing could get to him there.
He heard Wesley and Gunn trying to warn the woman from getting too close, but he paid no attention to them. He began to
talk to himself again, trying to calm down. Trying not to look at the woman who was calling his name. She reminded him of
someone but he could not remember who. Angel retreated even further into the shadows and sat against the wall. He began to
rock back and forth.
"Angel is not the same." Wesley and Gunn had tried to make Cordelia leave, but it was useless, she felt compelled to see
Angel. At the sight of him huddled near the wall, obviously in pain, she felt the need to comfort him. She began to slowly
make her way towards the trembling form. Angel started mumble something and she softly called his name, trying to get his
attention, but trying not to startle him.
"Angel." He heard a soft voice call his name. It sounded vaguely familiar but he just couldn't place it. He could see the
girl, but he didn't remember her. She came closer and he huddled closer to the wall, trying to reach him. He wasn't worthy
of a friendly touch. He banged his head once more and tried to stop the voices that told him he wasn't worthy, even to have
the visions. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore Angelus. The taunting only grew worse. He looked at the woman with pain-filled
eyes and she gasped.
Wesley and Gunn watched in fascination as Cordelia moved closer and closer to Angel. It was captivating to watch the young
woman try to reach out to the vampire. It seemed like Cordelia was intent on getting close to the vampire who was in so much
pain. She needed to touch him, to know that it was really Angel that she was seeing. She tried to calm him by talking in soft
tones but he just did not seem to respond. He seemed to just sink even more into the corner.
The girl drew nearer and he repeated, "171 Oak, did you guys find it? 171 Oak, ........" The girl grabbed his arm and he
tried not to flinch. He could see the shine of the tears in her eyes. She was getting nearer and nearer. Angelus started to
laugh in his head. "Coward! You're afraid of anything. You're useless. Useless!" Angel shivered, trying to clear his mind.
Cordelia reached out and felt hopeless. What had Angel ever done to deserve this? It just wasn't fair. Sure he had done
some bad things in the past, but he had always helped them out in Sunnydale. It wasn't his fault that Buffy had set Angelus
free. She gently cupped his cheek and whispered his name. Angel didn't deserve this much pain, no one did. In desperation,
she tried her name again.
Who was she? Why did she seem familiar? Where had he heard the name before? His thoughts were so muddled. He couldn't think
straight. He saw her coming even closer. She seemed sad. Angelus laughed harshly again. He fought with all his strength to
drown out the sound of the demon. He looked towards the wall and began to trace the numbers as he said them aloud.
Cordelia leaned forward and kissed him. It just felt so right, so natural. He seemed to calm down and stop trembling. Time
seemed to freeze.
She stood and remembered everything. She gently stroked Angel's face. She angrily confronted Skip. He tried to remind her
of what she could have, but Cordelia could not live, knowing Angel would be in so much pain. It just was not an option. She
could never live with herself knowing that her absence would cause so many people so much pain. Then, she made her choice.
She would accept her life as it was, damn the consequences. Skip tried to warn her of the demon side effects, but she did
not care. "So demonize me already." Skip bowed and replied, "Cordelia Chase, it has been an honor being your guide."
Angel could do nothing as she leaned in and kissed him. It comforted him a bit and calmed his trembling form. Then, he
felt nothing. It was over. Cordelia had saved him.