Los Angeles, Wolfram and Hart
Angel was sitting in his office, looking over at some files. But he was just going through the motions at this moment. His mind wasn't in the files at all. He was numb. He couldn't speak right now, or even think coherently.
One moment, Cordelia had kissed him and said 'You're welcome.' Next moment, he had gotten a phone call saying she had just passed away in her coma and never woken up, and when he had turned around, she was gone! Just like that!
Back in Sunnydale or even when they had first run into each other in LA, Angel had never thought he would be so numb and incoherent at losing her. But he was.
He had thought Buffy was the love of his life. But both of them had outgrown that phase now. He would always love Buffy and care about her, but his still heart had been captured by the 'biggest bitch in Sunnydale', as Cordelia called herself sometimes.
Boy had she grown a lot from those days. Back then, she was shallow, self-absorbed and only cared about being popular and the best clothes.
Well, she still did care about the best clothes, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
Then in LA, she had proven she didn't care about Doyle being half-Demon and would have tried something with him had he not lost his life. Angel doubted anyone in the Scooby Gang other than Buffy herself would be that unbiased.
Doyle had passed on his visions to her before his death, and she had wanted to get rid of them, but eventually decided to keep them as they were needed.
Then she had been given multiple visions simultaneously by Vocah that had sent her into a catatonia. Angel hadn't hesitated in cutting off Lindsey's hand to save her.
After her recovery, she had shown a significant change from who she used to be, and it was the good kind of change.
She had helped start 'Angel Investigations' to pay her bills, but from that point onwards, she also cared about helping the helpless.
Angel had no idea when his feelings had started developing, but he had known about them deep down when he had called out the director for objectifying and body-shaming her, and would have given him one brutal beat-down had Cordy not stopped him.
When she had been sucked into Pylea, he had gone through thick and thin to open a portal, and had never been more relieved on finding her alive. That journey had also blessed them with Fred.
But he never really got to explore and realize his own feelings in depth at that point, since immediately on return, Willow had informed him of Buffy dying, so he had left for a few months.
On returning, he had started training Cordelia in fighting, and she was a very good learner.
He hadn't hesitated to save Billy from eternal torture to save her from the painful visions Wolfram and Hart had passed on to her, and killed the one responsible without hesitation.
He had told her not to blame herself when Billy had used his powers to rampage LA, and had resisted Billy's touch due to not feeling any anger at all. He had almost killed Billy to spare Cordelia the burden of a life on her hands, though ironically, Lilah, who had Cordy tortured to bring Billy back, was the one to do it instead.
When Darla had died after giving birth to Connor, Angel was caring for the baby so much he almost forgot how he couldn't be with Connor every step of the way due to being a Vampire. Cordy had grounded him then.
She had helped him be a parent to Connor. She had been like a mother to his son.
The visions had almost taken her life but she had kept it a secret so she could help the team, and they had only found out when she had almost died.
Then she had voluntarily become a half-Demon to keep her visions.
At this point, he had realized his feelings for her too, but Groosalugg had returned and Cordy had ended up rekindling her relationship with him.
Angel couldn't bear to see it so he had sent them both on vacation, and during that time, Connor had been abducted by Holtz and taken to a Hell Dimension, and then he had tried to murder his best friend Wesley for his unintentional actions during this time.
Cordelia had been the one to get him out of his depression after her return, and she and Groosalugg even had a peaceful break-up afterwards.
They were going to confess to each other on the beach, but alas, he was attacked by Connor, who believed he had killed Holtz, and locked up in a box, from where he had descended to the bottom of the ocean, while she had ascended to be with The Powers That Be.
When she had returned, she had no memory, and when she had got it back, he had caught her sleeping with his son of all people.
He couldn't think straight for some time after that.
Then after the Beast and Angelus mess, they had figured out she was the one behind it all, and Angel couldn't believe it! Cordy was a good person! How could she do it?
She had eventually given birth to Jasmine, who had been in control of her body ever since she had returned from the Higher Plane, and her actions had never been her own.
Angel hated Jasmine with every fiber of his being. She had entered Cordelia, violated her body completely, and made her de-flower his son before putting her in a coma.
Even his son was so broken Angel had to make Wolfram and Hart re-write everyone's memories to give him a normal life and have all but him forget he existed.
Now she had finally come back! His Cordy! Still witty and snarky and useful as always, but also selfless, kind and caring, and she had helped him see the error in his ways.
How could she be gone after that? He needed her. He couldn't do this without her.
He then felt a cold flutter of wind on his face, almost unnatural, as if to remind him he had to do it without her.
He had no idea when he felt some tears trickling down his cheeks but he wiped them.
It just wasn't fair. Cordelia deserved to be happy. She deserved the world. She deserved better than him, but if he could make her happy, he would.
Unfortunately, he would never get the chance. She would never smile again, never snark again, never crack a joke again, never ask for clothes again, never show affection for the team again, never have a vision again.
She would never kiss him again.
It wasn't fair!
Wesley was throwing darts at the target in front of him. He had gotten much better at it over the years, but today, he wasn't hitting a single target at all.
His mind was on Cordelia. He still didn't believe it. How could she have died just like that? She was supposed to be awake and be back with them, the team. It wasn't complete without her at all.
Both of them had come very far from who they had been when they had first met in Sunnydale, when she had crushed on him and he had drooled all over her face.
He had changed for the worse though. He had ignored Lilah even during sex. Now sure they had been on opposite sides, but that was too much of a dick move.
Then he had kept Justine locked in his closet, given her nothing more than a bucket, and made her listen to him and Lilah have sex. He had broken the woman completely.
His first year in LA, Faith had tortured him brutally. Now, he showed no hesitation in torturing while she stopped him.
He didn't even recognize himself anymore. He wondered if he was even worthy of Fred with what he had become.
Cordelia, on the other hand, had changed for the better, and he could still recognize her as the same woman he met in Sunnydale, only a much better person.
She deserved to live and be happy. Jasmine had taken that away from her. That thing had violated her body and mind and killed her.
He saw Jasmine's face in front of him and in a rage, threw his last dart.
It hit the target.
Fred was working on another project but her heart just wasn't in it. And how could it be? Their team had lost their heart.
She remembered back when she had described Cordy as the heart of Angel Investigations to her parents, and she had meant it. That sentence was still relevant.
She was the heart, she pointed them in the right direction, kept them grounded and realistic, and in spite of her feelings, made the practical decision.
Fred doubted she would be able to do it. She had let her emotions get the better of her many times.
She just wished Cordy was here still. She would listen to what she said, crack a joke about it too, but give some practical advice on how to handle her situation.
She admired Cordy. Fred wished she could be like her, more practical and less emotional, but with a good heart nonetheless.
With Cordy gone, perhaps she should try to ground the others. They could be even more hotheaded than her at times.
She couldn't replace Cordy, no one could. But she would do her best to not to disappoint her.
Same time, Europe
Buffy was sitting with a drink in her hand, still in disbelief over what she had heard. No, she had misheard! This was impossible! Cordelia could overcome anything! She had even scared off the mercenaries who had wanted to kill her and Faith, without any superpowers.
She couldn't die! No, she would have pulled through! She was harder to break than any Slayer in the world, herself and Faith included.
"You know, it's almost funny."
Buffy turned to see Willow sitting on the bed, tears in her eyes, also holding a drink.
"We hated each other's guts in high school, now I am crying for her", Willow said as Buffy walked to her friend and gave her a hug and a kiss on her forehead.
"I never properly apologized to her", Xander told the two as they looked at him. "Sure, I bought her the dress she wanted, and we parted on good terms, but after she shot me down after the first few times, I just stopped trying. Instead of trying to get back with her, I should have just tried to say sorry, you know."
"We never really thought much about her after your break-up, did we?" Buffy asked, a bit guilty.
"She threw away her popularity and all of her rich friends to be with me, and I spat on her face!" Xander said, disgusted at himself.
"Please don't punch a wall!" Willow pleaded, remembering when he had done that after Joyce's death.
"I would have if you just hadn't mentioned it", Xander told her.
Buffy just wished that all the ones they had lost were still here. Jenny, her mom, Tara, Anya, Spike, and now Cordy.
But they weren't, and all she could do was continue fighting the good fight all over the world in their name. They would be happy knowing people were continuing their good work in the land of the living.
"To Cordelia", Buffy said, raising a drink.
"To Cordelia", Willow and Xander said in agreement as they raised their drinks, clicked their glasses and took a sip.