by Don't Make Eye Contact


It's a story older than boy meets girl . . .

Once there was an angel . . .

Who fell.


"Close your eyes." First Buffy kissed Angel, then she took a step back and thrust the sword into his heart. She watched as his eyes opened, pain and confusion mixing with the love that was still clearly there. The portal to hell pulled him in. Buffy watched her lover fall into hell. And so did Cordelia.


Cordelia watches every moment as he descends. The hell dimension that he is trapped in is a place of fire and fractured chaos. Time normally moves quicker there but time is very liquid anyway, sometimes it moves backwards, sometimes the same moment continues for what would be days on other planes. Cordelia watches as Angel survives. The fall into the dimension takes a day; the impact of his landing into a sea of blood breaks half the bones in his body. The blood keeps him alive. There is a lot of blood in this dimension and it is almost all human. Angel's mental fall takes a lot longer; he is hunted for decades at a time. He never finds peace. He has to kill countless times for self defence and the times he tries to help one of the tortured souls that is trapped there he is betrayed and damaged. There are times when his mind reverts to a primal demon state. There are times when he wants to kill himself but he keeps himself alive because he hopes beyond anything else that the girl he loves will rescue him. He remembers all he has done to hurt her and sees this torment as just punishment but he holds onto this hope, eventually he just holds onto her name. His thought processes are savaged to the point where he only thinks of Buffy and it makes him stay alive.

Cordelia watches Angel and she watches Buffy trying to come to terms with Angel's death in a one room apartment in the bad part of L.A. Cordelia knows what she has to do and she knows what it will cost. But there is one last thing she has to do first.

She walks in a direction she hasn't walked before and soon finds herself looking at a woman who she barely recognises.


"What are you deficient? Get me out of here!"

Cordelia knows that Angel doesn't hear a word she is saying. It is beginning to look like he will never be able to hear her again. It still helps her mental state to shout. She needs to vent her frustrations. She has spent what feels like days shouting, screaming, singing, whistling, even making fake orgasmic moans, anything to get someone to hear her. Anyone. Now she knows how Phantom Dennis felt. She can look into Angel's eyes, hear his every word, watch him in the shower, but he can't detect the slightest hint that she is there.

"Please hear me, Angel. I'm stuck here and I want to come home."

A very familiar face appears in front of her. She can feel her jaw dropping. It isn't hard to recognise her own features saying "Boy, I really sounded pathetic."

"Ok buster, who the hell are you trying to fool?" Cordelia hasn't spoken to anyone who can answer for months now and faced with what she assumes is incipient insanity she isn't in the mood to take any shit.

"I'm a future you, deal with it. I'm here for a very important reason but first I have to say something. Stop whining."

"Hey. I'm not whining. I'm missing my friends. And why should I trust you?"

"Think about where you are. I'm not exactly going to be something evil."

Cordelia considers this carefully. She wants to deny it but there is such a sense of peace and goodness here that she just can't doubt her double's claims. It feels like evil just can't exist here. "Ok, I'll give. Why are you here? And what do you mean 'whining'?"

"It was hard for me to hear too but trust me, you're whining. You have all this power and responsibility but all you do is wish you were back with Angel." Cordelia is about to interrupt herself but she holds up a hand to stop herself. "Which I understand completely of course. But it isn't why you're here."

"But what do you think I can do here? I've tried but all I can do is watch people."

"Didn't you save Angel when he was stuck playing that slot machine?" The future Cordelia arches a questioning eyebrow.

"I suppose."

"How did you do that?"

"I just had to do something. I could see how things were going to turn out, they were all going to die. I could see Fred, Gunn and Lorne being shot and Angel..." She breaks off and shivers at the memory.

"But it didn't happen did it? You made it not happen, you changed things. Tell me how you did it."

"I just willed it; I could see the different combinations and just made it be the right one."

"Do you think you could do it again?" It's spoken as a challenge.

"I don't know. I was really desperate."

"Let me see." The future Cordelia's eyes focus on a distant point for a moment. "Ok. Let me show you something." She reaches out and touches Cordelia lightly on the temple. A scene starts to unfold before her eyes.

It's Angel. He's standing on a hilltop, looking towards the sunrise.

She tentatively feels into his future. She can feel his destiny. It's a strange sensation, like gravity that pulls him towards the inevitable ground. She can also feel that moments from now the sunlight will hit him, his cold flesh will burn and he will turn to dust. He stands resolute. She wants to scream at him, plead for him to find cover but she knows she can't.

"You know what you can't do." Says her bossy self. "What can you do?"

She thinks ferociously, her sight turns upward and she sees the clear sky. This is what she can do. If she can't get Angel away from the sun she will keep the sun away from him. She lets her consciousness expand and allows herself to feel the weather patterns around the whole country. It all seems so simple. The clouds gather within minutes, the temperature drops. She has made snow clouds block out the sun. She's saved Angel.

Cordelia lets her vision focus back to the hillside. Angel is still there, standing and looking up in awe at the snow falling around him. Buffy is standing beside him.

"Hey! When is this?" She asks her double.

"It's around three and a half years before we became a higher being. You remember the Christmas when it snowed in Sunnydale?"

"Well I was in Aspen but of course I heard about it. You mean people weren't just making it up because they were jealous? What the hell is going on?" She advances angrily on the other Cordelia. "You better tell me what's happening right now or I'm going to quite cooperating."

"We're a higher being; we're outside of time. We can see any point in history from beginning to end. Although I haven't actually let myself look that far. That's how I came back to talk to you. I just walked in the direction where my past self was."

"But how can I have made that happen when if that hadn't happened I wouldn't have ended up here and wouldn't have made that happen?"

"What am I, Yoda? How the hell should I know?"

"You're a big help."

"Remember you said that when you have to listen to it. I don't think we can understand it while we're still thinking like humans."

"Arrgh. This is just too frustrating. I don't know who you are; I don't know what I can do."

"You can do anything you can conceive of. You can make any change, affect anything you want, change how people think, heal or kill. But there's a price."

"Always with the price, why aren't things ever easy?"

"Purely to piss us off."

"That's what I thought. Seriously, what's the deal?"

"Everything has to be balanced. If you heal a soul then the enemy can destroy one. If you kill one demon, the opposition can kill one of your people. I don't quite understand it yet but it's an ancient agreement between the two sides. Things have to balance out." She shrugs helplessly.

Cordelia narrows her eyes suspiciously. "So who explained it to you?"

"Well I did just then. I've had enough experiences since to know how true it is. I've done things with the best intentions and then seen the consequences. There are times when I have just been so paralysed with indecision that I have let things happen because I knew that I should only intervene when things were at their worst." The future Cordelia's eyes suddenly seem a lot older, there's a lot of guilt and sadness in them. "And everything has so many consequences that I just can't untangle them all, I just have to make a guess and hope for the best. There's so much I wish I could undo; Wesley taking Connor, Darla being turned back into a vampire, Doyle's death." She says the last in barely a whisper.

"Why can't we?" Cordelia asks herself gently, her heart hurts from the memory.

"It was a choice between him dying or Angel. Could you make the choice to change things?"

Cordelia shakes her head, not for anything could she kill Angel.

Her future self smiles kindly. "You've got a lot to learn, trust me I know." With that last comment she fades away leaving Cordelia on her own once more.

"I guess I better see what I can do then?" She says to herself.


It's like watching a horror film where she is the star. She can see the three-eyed Skilosh demons waiting for her. She can see the corpses of the family who owned the house. And she can see herself entering with a clueless expression and an unpaid bill.

"Get out of there. That was not a fun demon impregnation." She remembers it well, in her life of vision headaches, psychic attacks and weekly fighting of demons that pain stood out.

She's slightly sick at the memory of it. She can barely stand to watch herself. "Get out of there!" She shouts, her mind full of images of the hideous Skilosh standing over her.

"Aaah!" Her human self is hit by a vision of the Skilosh standing over her. She comes out of the vision, turns around and sees the Skilosh standing over her. "Well that was helpful." She says crossly.

"I didn't know I could do that." Replies Cordelia to deaf ears. "Or I would have done it sooner."

The implications start to wash over her. "I sent me that vision? Did I send all of them? What if I don't do something that has already happened?" It feels too big, too difficult for her.


Cordelia watches as Angel pounds on Kate's door, unable to cross the threshold and save her. She has no idea what is going to happen. She's pretty certain that Kate survives her suicide attempt but she doesn't know how. The future is a tangled mess of possibilities. Should she intervene? Is it worth the risk?

In many ways it's a small act. She likes Kate but her life will have no great impact. She will become a private investigator in San Francisco, make a small but modest living and feel tremendous guilt every time she dips into the money her Father left her. She won't fight evil or save souls. Cordelia feels the weight of responsibility on her as she realises she is ruthlessly analysing whether she should let Kate die because there will be no tactical advantage to her living.

But the effects on Angel if she dies will be immense. He's in a fragile state and the death of Kate will shatter his newfound hope. He will be heartbroken and spend days brooding by which time Cordelia, Gunn and Wesley will all be dead and then he will really snap.

She dissolves the barrier to him. Angel saves the day.

Cordelia wonders if she could have changed things in any other way, made a colleague of Kate's visit her, tried to heal Kate's shattered psyche, hell, even called 911 for her. But she hasn't, she has just waved her magic wand and fixed it in the most simple way she could see. Now she has to live with the consequences.


Cordelia leaves her younger self, remembering the pure thrill of it all before the responsibility started to really crush her. Now it's time to do one last thing. She watches Angel's life again, the high and low points. She focuses her vision on him in Hell.

Magic on the material plane is all about rituals and special words and chanting and ingredients. Things are purer where she is, all she has to do to affect things is to focus her will and be willing to make the sacrifice necessary to get the thing done. There is only one way to save Angel from hell. For one person to rise from a hell another has to descend from a heaven. Balance, it's always about balance. Cordelia walks to the edge of heaven; she focuses her will and steps off.

She falls and it's more than just falling. She can feel the effort of pulling Angel back into the world. She can feel the power and wisdom slipping from her and burning up. Her sacrifice has to be blind, she can' think about if it is worth it, she can't think about how things will turn out, all she can do is think of the bargain she is striking. She has to give of herself, of her strength, of her goodness. The rage and hate and evil laced through Angel like blood, centuries in hell changing him for the worse. Cordelia takes the evil into herself, replacing the peace she has known with Angel's torment. She pulls out the anger and bloodlust and even the memories of hell. She takes from him the memories of hell and gives of her own mind. She gives it gladly. It is her sacrifice.


Angel feels the ground beneath his body. For the first time since he can remember the stone is cool against his skin. It's quiet. He can't smell his hunters. His mind is still feral but deep inside he feels different. There is peace there, and love. It will take him a while to understand it all but when it matters it will be there.


The woman looks around at the strange surroundings. She has no idea where she is, what her name is or why she is here. She doesn't feel that there is hate inside her, and rage, the power of a higher being perverted by hell. It won't affect her yet. It will take time to remember but when she does the world will burn.


She turns at the words. "Who are you people?"

It's a story older than boy meets girl . . .
Once there was an angel . . .
Who fell.


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