Actions

Work Header

The Picture

Work Text:

Angel Investigations was having a slow day.

Cordelia was officially bored. Tapping a pen against the blank pad of paper in front of her, she stared at the phone, willing it to ring. It didn't. She put down the pen, and began to drum her fingernails on the desk, blowing away a stray lock of hair that had fallen across her face. She looked about the office, wondering if anything would catch her attention. Avoiding the clock, and the pile of casenotes waiting to be filed, her gaze came to rest on the box of donuts that lay open on top of the filing cabinet.

Sugar seemed like a good idea. She got up and crossed the short distance to her target. Fingers with freshly painted nails pushed back the lid, and Cordelia looked inside the carton... to find only crumbs mixed with sugar.

"Rats," she muttered. This was crappy; she really wanted a donut now.

She glanced at the coat stand. Angel's leather jacket hung from one hook. A sly smile spread across Cordy's face and she moved toward it, patting its surface until she came across a familiar shaped bulge. Reaching into the inside pocket she pulled out Angel's wallet, a brown leather ticket to more sugary goodness. A vague feeling of what might have been guilt nudged at her conscience. But... she'd tell him later, so it wasn't really stealing.

Cordelia looked inside for some bills, finding a $10 note easily. She was about to put the wallet back when she saw what looked like the corner of a photograph sticking out from one of the pockets. Curiosity got the better of her: would it be Buffy, or maybe her and Wesley, or someone gossipworthy, or...

Oz? Bemusement crinkled Cordelia's brow. Maybe he had pictures of all of us, she thought, but though she looked through the other pockets, she found no other photos. Just this slightly tattered picture of Oz, which evidently Angel had cut straight out of a Sunnydale High yearbook; she recognised the pose, Oz staring straight at the camera, expressionless. Looking like Oz looked.

Why would Angel keep a picture of Oz in his wallet?

Cordelia looked at the door to Angel's office. Only one way to find out.

-

It was quiet in the office, and Angel was enjoying the peace, sitting back in his chair and listening to nothing. His tranquillity was shattered by Cordelia entering the room, heels clacking on the floor.

"Hey!" she said, smiling brightly. Angel knew that smile.

"What do you want?" he asked, resignedly. Whatever it was, she wouldn't leave him alone until she got it.

She continued to grin at him as she took the seat on the other side of his desk. "Oh, nothing. Well, actually donuts, but..."

"Well, go out and get 'em. You don't need my permission."

She gave him a 'duh' expression. "Yeah, dumbass, I know. I just don't have the hard currency, so..."

"I'll give you money then."

Cordelia frowned at him. "Stop interrupting me. I already went into your wallet..."

Angel's brows lifted a little in surprise. "You went into my wallet?"

She lifted one hand in up in dismissal. "Well, yeah. Anyway, that's not the point."

"It isn't?"

"No. See, I was looking in your wallet for some money when I found this." She produced the picture, and placed it on Angel's desk for him to see. "So, wanna tell me what this is all about?"

He gave her a look of anger. "Cordelia, I am not..."

Cordelia sat back in her chair, crossing her arms, a smile on her pretty face. "Of course, I could always just speculate with Wesley. Who knows what sort of theories we could invent? Why on Earth would Angel have a picture of Daniel Osborne in his wallet, Wesley?" She began to imitate, badly, Wes's accent. "Why Cordelia, I wouldn't know. I do rather hope you aren't suggesting any impropriety on the part of Angel..."

She trailed off as she realised Angel was ignoring her, hunched in his chair with the photo in his hands.

"Angel?"

"Sorry, Cordelia." He wasn't talking about his lack of attention.

Genuine concern coloured her tone. "For what?"

His eyes met hers briefly. "Nothing." He was silent for a moment, apparently thinking about something.

Cordelia looked uncomfortable. "I was just teasing Angel, sorry."

When he spoke next, Angel was so quiet she barely heard him. "I kissed him once."

Her eyes went wide. "You... God, I thought there'd be a really boring explanation... this is so cool! See, I knew there was a reason you rejected me in High School that time. Wait - what was Buffy all about then? Is it 'cause she's so butch?"

"Cordelia, it's not about male and female."

"Y'know, it also explains the clothes. See, I said to Wesley that no straight man could ever dress as well as you, and as for the hair. . ."

"Cordelia!"

"Alright already. So, okay, when?"

"When what?"

"When did you and he lock lips?"

Angel avoided her gaze. "He came to see us -- me -- a few weeks back."

Cordy pouted. "He did? You never said."

Angel nodded. "Yeah, sorry. Y'know Oz; he didn't want to make a fuss. It's just... he'd split up from Willow. He was looking for someone to help him with the lycanthropy, to see if he could cure it. Thought I might know people. I think he just wanted a friend, too."

"He and Willow aren't... wow."

"So we talked a lot, and... "

Suddenly Cordelia laughed. "You and him talked? A lot? Honestly?" He turned his head and glared at her. She raised a hand in deference. "Joke, joke..."

He took a second to compose himself again. "And I should have just been there for him, but... I thought that... maybe he wanted me to kiss him."

"Why?"

Angel stared at the picture. "We'd been talking about how much you miss being able to hold a person, that he was frightened of being lonely; he... was already. I remember that we just sort of looked at each other and I thought..."

He trailed off, and Cordy sat for a few seconds waiting for him to continue. She grew impatient. "And? Did he kiss you back? Was there tongues?"

"Cordy... I... yeah, he kissed back. But then he pulled away. Got up; said he had to leave."

An eyebrow lifted. "He freaked out?"

"For Oz. He said he didn't think that he was ready, he wanted to be apart from people. I tried to stop him but he left and I haven't seen him since."

Cordelia gave Angel a sympathetic look. "Bummer. You'd have made a cute couple. Kinda odd when you stood next to each other 'cause, y'know, big hulking you and little spikey him. But cute."

Angel just looked at the photo. Cordy took the hint. "Well, anyway, I'm going to get donuts. You want anything?"

He glanced at her, and shook his head.

"Cool. Well, y'know, if you ever want to talk to anyone... "

"Thanks."

"For what it's worth Angel - he was stupid to give up a chance with you." She got up to leave, making it to the door before stopping, and turning to look at Angel again. She tilted her head. "But wait... that photo was from Graduation. You must have had it before..."

Angel opened a drawer and placed the photo in it. Looking up at Cordelia, he almost smiled. "That was the first time I got to kiss him, Cordy, not the first time I wanted to."

He pushed the drawer shut.