The Hyperion roof at night, pinprick stars and the thin curve of a moon. She leans against the faded brickwork and watches him near.
"Is this it?" he asks, wonders. His sword falls, his steps falter. "The others --"
She smiles. "Almost."
Once, in Sunnydale, after Xander, before poverty, Halloween on the Hellmouth. She stands outside the Bronze and looks up, looks up and sees his shadow on the rooftop across the street, a hint of profile, shadowed and slim. She imagines his eyes on her corseted costume, on the arch of her neck, the bare lines of her shoulders. Imagines him thinking, maybe maybe if not for Buffy then maybe maybe, and tosses her hair back.
When she opens her eyes, the rooftop is empty.
His fingertips find the side of her knee, the curve of her thigh, the fall of her skirt slipping indecently high. She lifts one foot and rests it on the ledge and waits, wants.
He steps between her legs, one hand on the bricks behind her head, his other tracing whispers towards her hip. "Cordelia," he says. "I love you."
She hums. "I know."
Once, in the Hyperion, Connor's first Halloween and the scent of baby talc heavy in the air. She dresses him in black and white, a tiny suit, a colour concession, and slips a pair of toy sunglasses on his nose. He bats them off with a squirming frown and she laughs. "Baby in Black," she says, picking them up again, "not so much."
Angel hands out candy at the door, fangs pronounced and a black cape snapping at his heels. A little boy hides behind his mother's legs, a little girl stares wide-eyed. The mother eyes him nervously.
"Boo," he says dryly.
They scatter, chocolate in hand, while she laughs with Connor on the steps.
"Dork," she says affectionately as he moves back to sit beside them.
He frowns. "You're the one who said I had to wear a cape."
Cape, yes. The vamp face? His choice. Definitely his choice. "You'd have preferred my costume?" she asks, eyebrow raising. "All sequins and rabbits drawn that way?" When she shifts Connor on her lap, the slit in her shiny, sparkly dress inches higher.
His gaze skims her bare leg, her bare shoulders, her scarlet red wig. "Why? You think it would fit me?"
She snorts. "If it does, I'm never eating again."
From the door behind them, a chorus of children sing-song, "trick or treat!"
Angel looks at the bowl of candy in his lap, and the baby in hers. "Trade you?" he offers.
Grinning, she shakes her head. "Not on your unlife."
He gets to his feet with a sigh. "I hate you."
With Connor's hand in hers, she waves him off. "We love you, too, Count Dorkula."
He kisses her, the taste of coffee and blood and minted chocolate between them, and hands back the visions. His hand skims higher. His fingers press into the bricks. It was worth it.
"Thank you," he says. "For everything."
Her tongue slides against his, promising, a tease of what's to come.
Once, in his office, tempered glass and butter-smooth mahogany. She leans against his desk and tilts her head to the side. Curls her fingers around the heavy wood edge and watches him order around lawyers like they're people, like they're mission-worthy and not at all examples of how so very, very lost he is.
When he comes back to her, he has a coffee in hand, all double half-caf non-fat skinny latte and exactly how she likes it.
She places it on the desk, unsipped. "Troubles?" she asks.
He looks back at the departing crowd of vultures, then back at her. He shakes his head. "Halloween preparations."
She raises an eyebrow. "No rest for the wicked, huh?"
"Masquerade ball, actually. You'll love it." Moving, he rests against the desk beside her, nudging her shoulder with his own and leaning in close, smiling too hard. "We'll dress up, make a night of it -- it'll be great!"
There's a pause following his enthusiasm. Shifting, slowly, she presses a kiss to his cheek and laughs. "Now I know you're evil."
Humidity in the air, lightning on the horizon. Though the stars remain above, she can feel the changing pressure, the coming storm. Her back arches from the bricks, her foot shifts on the roof ledge.
"Close," she says, moving her hand to the edge of his shirt, to his hip, warm fingers slipping on his skin. "So close."
His mouth slides down the curve of her throat and anchors there. "I know," he murmurs, repeats. "I know, I know, I know."
Once, in the office, after Doyle, before Wesley, Halloween in LA. They sit on the windowsill and watch the rain fall, watch the world grey. Blood and candy corn and the touch of his thigh against her toes. She is a girl this year, and he is Angel, and they are quiet, so quiet.
When she looks away from the window, when she finds him watching her, soft and thoughtful, she smiles.
Slowly, he smiles back.
She pushes him away, pushes herself up and turns them around. He picks up his sword and leans against the ledge, lets her stand in front of him and place her hands on his shoulders.
"It's time," he says. His sword hangs heavily in his hand. "I'm not done."
One more fight, one more battle. Then --
"Yes," she says. She kisses him.
Thunder and lightning and rain now. The smell of blood. The promise of steel and claws and fangs in the streets below. This is the end.
On his chest, her fingers flex.
"I'm waiting," she says, smiles, and pushes him over the edge.
(In the alley, in front of him, ready, the dragon roars.