The Meaning of Roses
by Lady Raven

Disclaimer: Yes, Joss own's them. Let's move on.
On the most important day of Angel's life, he and Cordelia reflect on what has brought them together again, and how it nearly didn't happen.
This is set about five years in the future (hopefully the second movie!), and after Angel leaves LA and comes home to Sunnydale (and Buffy!) where he belongs. This story expresses my hope for Angel and Cordy's relationship. They are bound to have one--hopefully not a romantic or sexual one (grossout much?) but they will have one.

"Ready?" the voice came from behind him.

     Angel smiled as he turned. Then his eyes widened in alarm. "You're not dressed yet?"

     Cordelia Chase raised her eyebrows, resplendent in a full-length royal blue silk robe. "Hello? I
     just got my hair and makeup finished. Now comes the part where all us girls sit around in our
     underwear so we don't wrinkle our outfits."

     "Umm…okay," Angel shrugged. He looked at Cordy before he turned back to the useless mirror   and resumed struggling with his bow tie. He sighed in frustration and told her, "I'm two hundred and forty seven. You'd think that I would have learned how to do this by now." He saw Cordy's reflection roll her eyes and come towards him, taking him by an invisible shoulder to turn him  around and take over. "Thanks, Cordy," Angel told her sheepishly.

     "Don't worry about it," Cordy told him briskly. "This is part of the untold agreement between the      sexes. The men squash the icky creepy-crawly things, and women do up ties."

     "Oh, so that's what it is," Angel smiled. As Cordy finished and stepped back to admire her work,
     he caught sight of a florist's box on the table and caught it up. "I almost forgot…this is for you."

     Cordy opened the box, and smiled. "I thought it might be this. It's kind of a tradition for us, isn't
     it?" She brought the icy-white rose to her nose and inhaled. "You've given me these on every
     special occasion. My birthday, Christmas, every opening night back when I was doing
     theatre…you even sent me three dozen once."

     "You deserved it," Angel told her. "Your first year on the soap, and you won the Emmy for Best
     Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama."

     Cordy looked at the rose and told him, "This will be just right for my outfit."

     "I still don't know what you're wearing. Not even Buffy would tell me. Okay, so I don't know exactly
     what Buffy's wearing, either, but that's only proper."

     "I've told you again and again. It's something completely appropriate for this august occasion."

     "This from a woman who wears Donna Karan to the hairdresser."

     "It's always appropriate Donna Karan." Cordy tossed him a grin as she headed for the door. She
     turned at the threshold and asked, "Are you nervous?"

     Angel shook his head and smiled. "No. I'm worried that vampires or random monsters might
     gatecrash, but I'm not nervous."

     Cordy nodded approvingly. "I'll be back for you in ten minutes."

     After she left, Angel picked up the discarded box from the florist. He was about to drop it in the
     trash, when he froze, flooded by memories. A bunch of white roses had nearly cost him what had
     brought him here tonight.

     When he and Cordy had first hooked up in LA, Angel had occasionally questioned his own sanity.
     Sure, she was efficient and usually went above and beyond the call, as such, but still…

     Cordy had demanded that he pay for a manicure every time she damaged a nail doing something
     for him, be it carving stakes, puncturing eyeballs of demons, or using his cellphone to hire a car
     with a very roomy trunk. The first six months, she'd stayed because of his habit of rewarding her
     for especially tough missions with bonuses, in the form of vouchers to Neiman Marcus, her
     favorite store. Then had come New Year's Eve.

     Their first New Year's Eve in LA, they'd ended up spending together when Cordy had discovered
     her date in bed with his ex the night before. Cordy had brought over the bottle of champagne she
     had been going to take to the party, Angel had opened his store of Irish whiskey when they'd
     finished that, until, desperately lonely and even more drunk, they'd ended up in bed together. But
     as soon as Cordelia had spoken his name and reminded him she wasn't Buffy, his fantasy-- and
     the physical manifestation of his desire--had withered immediately.

     Angel still counted that night as one of the most disastrous of his life. But it had turned things
     around for him and Cordy. Even blind drunk, Cordy had assured him that she didn't mind. With
     her usual tact, she'd told him she was surprised he'd been able to make it that far, and that she'd
     always thought that he was too much in love with Buffy to even kiss, let alone more, with anyone
     else. But she was sure that once he and Buffy found a way to be together, they'd put rabbits to

     In a mixture of gratitude and guilt, Angel--whose vampire system had already gotten rid of most of
     the alcohol--had let Cordy have the bed while he slept it off on the couch. The next morning
     Angel had cemented their friendship by taking care of her and her record-breaking hangover all
     through the next day. She'd thrown up three times, and he'd carried her to the bathroom each
     time. That was when he'd first given her a white rose. His grandmother had been a botanist, and
     told him that the scent of roses helped hangovers.

     After that, Cordy paid for her own manicures and dry-cleaning bills. But she still insisted that he
     replace any clothes beyond repair. And he still gave her the bonus vouchers.

     Cordelia gave her hair and makeup a final check, as she took off her robe and started to dress.
     She looked over to the other end of the room, watching Faith and Willow laugh over something.
     Their identical dresses--Willow's in sky blue, Faith's in ocean blue--swished as they moved.
     Cordelia looked at the white rose she'd laid gently on the table, and pondered on how some of
     these had nearly prevented her being here tonight.

     Just before Cordelia had won her role on the soap opera, Buffy had surprised her by coming to
     see her in her final theater production. Cordelia had been thrilled, and they'd chatted happily in
     her dressing room afterwards, Buffy rummaging through Cordelia's flowers while Cordy removed
     her makeup.

     Buffy wanted to know everything about Angel's latest adventures, and Cordy had been happy to
     oblige. She knew better than anyone else how much Angel missed his Slayer, and she could tell
     that Buffy missed her vampire lover just as much.

     "Wow," Buffy said, admiring a large, elaborate arrangement of purple orchids. "Who sent these?"

     Cordy shrugged. "Some big-business type. I used to be impressed, until Angel told me what they

     "Meant?" Buffy asked.

     "Yeah. You know, how flowers used to mean things?" At Buffy's vague nod, Cordy continued,
     "Well, when I first started to get flowers, Angel taught me the language of flowers. His
     grandmother was really into gardening and stuff."

     "So what do purple orchids mean?" Buffy asked.

     Cordelia gave a sniff of disgust. "They mean, 'I await your favors'. I'm not shopping for a guy to
     play mistress too, thank you very much. All kinds of flowers mean different things. Yellow tulips
     mean 'Hopeless love' and China Asters mean 'I die of jealousy at your feet'. Co-dependent much?
     Dahlias mean 'Treachery and Misrepresentation'."

     Buffy had her back to Cordy, and her voice was odd as she said, "And roses mean love, don't

     Cordy looked at Buffy, and realized what had happened. Buffy was looking at the arrangement of
     white roses, and Angel's name on the card. Cordy licked her lips before pulling off the most
     crucial performance of her life. "Well, there are two schools of thought on the meaning of roses.
     But in either case, it depends on the color of the rose."

     "Does it?" Buffy asked.

     Cordy continued casually, "Oh yeah. White roses, like the kind Angel sends me, stand for
     friendship, or for love dead and forsaken. Pink roses mean romance-- y'know, the really sickening
     kind--or love new and expectant."

     Buffy turned to Cordy, and the fingers of her right hand encircled her left wrist. Cordy
     remembered the wrist corsage Angel had given Buffy to wear two months ago, when Giles and
     Joyce were married, and smiled as Buffy asked, "What about red roses?"

     Cordy took one last look in the mirror and smiled. She wouldn't be the center of attention today,
     but then she wasn't supposed to be. She checked the time with Willow and Faith, and went to
     collect Angel.

     When she entered, Angel took one look and grinned. "And here I thought that I'd be the best
     looking one in a tux today."

     Cordy did a model's three-quarter turn, displaying the tuxedo she wore, tailored for her, with her
     hair in a Gibson-girl type bun, low on her neck, with a few ringlets around her face. Most women
     would have looked like they were attempting drag, but Cordelia looked even more feminine.

     "Now you know why I insisted on waistcoats, instead of those dorky cummerbunds." She tilted her
     lapel, showing the white rose in the buttonhole, and said, "I was just thinking, how Buffy saw the
     bunch you sent me that last time at the theatre?"

     "Oh, yeah," Angel sighed. "I was thinking of it, too."

     What neither of them had known at the time, was that Buffy had come to LA to tell Angel that Giles
     had finally confirmed that his curse had no loophole this time. Thanks to half his library being
     destroyed during senior year, Giles' estrangement from the Watcher's Council and the Romany
     people's incredible secrecy about anything, let alone their old magicks, Giles had taken until the
     end of the Scooby Gangs' freshman year of college to be completely sure.

     Buffy had come down to LA to inform Angel, and spend the summer with him. When she'd seen
     the roses, Cordy's talking about the language of flowers and her own insecurities about her
     relationship with Angel had coalesced into being convinced that Angel didn't want her anymore. If
     Cordy hadn't dismissed that notion immediately, Buffy would have gone back to Sunnydale the
     same night.

     As it was, Buffy and Angel had spent all the summer together--most of it in bed, with brief cameos
     for Slaying, sightseeing, and Buffy visiting her father. By the time Buffy went back to college,
     Angel had organized another Guardian for the LA Hellmouth and followed her home.

     Everyone had been apprehensive at first about how Buffy and Angel's relationship would work
     out this time, but Cordelia had been certain from the start what would happen. What had brought
     them here tonight.

     She gestured ahead of her, and asked, "Shall we?"

     As the opening strains of the love theme from 'Romeo and Juliet' soared through the air, Angel
     turned to face the double doors. He had a last moment of panic, and asked his best man--er,
     person--"You do have the rings?"

     Cordelia rolled her eyes again, and showed him the ring box she held in her hand. Angel gave her
     a small smile, and Cordelia nudged him. "Look, Angel, here comes your bride."

     Angel saw Buffy, and his smile widened. Willow and Faith, the maid of honor and bridesmaid
     respectively, both looked wonderful, but Angel had eyes for no one but Buffy. Buffy was
     breathtaking as she walked down the aisle in her white satin gown, escorted by Giles, holding a
     bouquet of crimson roses.

     Red roses. Meaning passion, or love perfect and triumphant.

                                           The End