[ Author Notes ] [ Acknowledgements ] [ Titles ] [ Afterword ]

Author Notes

Wow, it's been a really long time. Anyone reading this who started back in 2000 -- I am so sorry! I never lost my love for this story, but I lost a lot of love for Angel and Buffy -- I just couldn't swim through the bitterness enough to even write AU fic! But I always said I'd never give up on Forgiven -- and here's the proof. The story is complete -- there will be no more waiting, except for the next part to be posted.

I started Forgiven way back in the summer and fall of 2000, right after the first-season finale of Angel. And I was kind of annoyed, because I had fallen in love with Lindsey McDonald, bad-boy lawyer (I don't generally go for bad boys, but I make an exception when they're played by Christian Kane) halfway through the episode "Blind Date", and I felt Angel had behaved like a total jerk. He screwed up, changing a potential ally into a very sincere enemy, and I was way not happy.

I was also hanging out in a hotel room in Chicago at VividCon with various other fangirls, including my friend and sometime betareader Lizbet. She Trilled with me on this one, thinking something along the lines of "Well, Cordelia's always wanted to date a lawyer...." We decided to start from the assumption that if Lindsey could drag himself back to the straight and narrow, Cordy could kick his butt enough to keep it there -- so I decided to give her the chance to try.

I was trying to skip certain subplots from second season Angel once they got started, but soon found that, even writing an AU, I am far too much of a canon whore to ignore it entirely. (And a very few of them, I admit, did delight me -- I was well into this before Cordelia went into open-mouthed, fascinated amazement watching Lindsey sing at Caritas.) So you'll find a few things here that you recognize, but skewed by different choices the characters made.

It's all about choices.

I know there's an acknowledgements section right below this, but there are a few people who deserve totally massive shout-outs. ChristineinNJ was with me every step of the way on Forgiven, offering beta reading, enthusiasm, and even bribing me with biscotti upon occasion; her enthusiasm pulled me along through some slow spots when mine just wasn't enough. Lizbet helped me break this story way back at the beginning, and at several crucial points; without her backing me up, I might never have had the nerve to start an AU romance novel, much less finish it. And Christina K is always a rock star -- my most faithful beta, my biggest fan, and the reader most willing to help me whap my characters over the head and demand to know what they're thinking. She beta'd and encouraged and inserted appropriate insults, broke down transition walls, talked me through the first date and let me steal good lines, and even lent me her version of the Powers That Be. She and ChristineinNJ picked this story up after a 6-year hiaitus, and jumped right back in to beta reading with the same old love and enthusiasm, and I can never thank them enough.

Most of all, I need to thank every reader over the last nine years who has dropped me an email to question, offer support, or just nag my ass into not giving up on Forgiven. Those random emails kept this story in the back of my mind all these years, and gave me the push I needed to drag it back out into the light. So, thanks -- I hope your patience has been adequately rewarded.


More thanks to:
  • Christelle B, who never gave up, and supplied nudges at just the right times
  • Britt Lee, world's greatest brother and the authority on Bitter Guy Music
  • Dianne and Tina, who shared a hotel room with me and Lizbet as we were planning and didn't strangle either of us
  • Adam, who sat in on a later planning session with remarkable patience
  • HelsinkiBaby, for being the world's best native guide and loving this story almost as much as I did once upon a time
  • Kelly G, for beta-reading, not letting me get away with anything, and lots of encouragement (even after months! Woo and f--kin' hoo, indeed)
  • Mary Beth, for commenting, harrassing and threatening
  • Dad, for pointing out flaws in the fight scenes ("She's not going to die from that height") and always being willing to believe
  • Mom, for having faith that now I can write that pro novel and make pots of money ;)
  • Celli, for supplying the Kane CD and pointing me to "In the Darkness"
  • Alison B, for unsolicited enthusiasm (the finest kind) and betareading
  • Christian Kane, for making a bad guy look sooo good -- and making me believe Lindsey was worth redeeming. (And yeah, I'll admit -- having Christian show up on the amazing "Leverage" was a real boot to the head; the problem was keeping Lindsey from morphing into Eliot! But I think I pulled it off)


    For the most part, you can use the title list as a soundtrack for the arc (or just put on Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged Little Pill'; it works).

  • Forgiven -- Alanis Morissette ('Jagged Little Pill')
  • It Had to Be You -- Motion City Soundtrack ('Even If It Kills Me')
  • What Part of No -- Lorrie Morgan ('Watch Me')
  • Uninvited -- Alanis Morisette (City of Angels soundtrack)
  • Call and Answer -- Barenaked Ladies ('Stunt')
  • Ain't Nobody's Business -- Billie Holiday (various compilations)
  • We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This -- George Strait ('One Step at a Time')
  • Papa Don't Preach -- Madonna ('True Blue')
  • Walking on a Wire -- Lowen & Navarro ('Walking on a Wire')
  • This Side of the Morning -- Del Amitri ('Waking Hours')
  • Something's Gotta Give -- Ella Fitzgerald (various compilations)
  • Pressure -- Billy Joel ('Nylon Curtain')
  • Falling in Love -- Lisa Loeb ('Firecracker')
  • Inconsolable -- Jonatha Brooke and the Story ('Plumb')
  • Drops of Jupiter -- Train ('Drops of Jupiter')
  • My Favorite Mistake -- Sheryl Crow ('The Globe Sessions')
  • Deep Water -- Jewel ('Spirit')
  • When Seconds Count -- Survivor ('When Seconds Count')
  • Running on Ice -- Billy Joel ('The Bridge')
  • Up From Under -- The Wallflowers ('Breach')
  • In the Darkness -- Kane ('Kane')
  • Hotel California -- The Eagles ('Hell Freeze Over')
  • If You Want Me To -- Ginny Owens ('Without Condition')
  • Wait for the Sunrise -- Richard Marx ('Repeat Offender')
  • Better Days -- Goo Goo Dolls ('Let Love In')
  • Child -- Tara MacLean (unreleased)
  • You and Me of the 10,000 Wars -- Indigo Girls ('Nomads Indians Saints')


    [Spoilers for Forgiven if you haven't finished reading it.]

    And that's how it happened, pretty much as I had it plotted out from the beginning. There's a fight scene with some Krakanth demons that didn't appear until I was in the middle of it, and Cordelia got an extra part to yell at Lindsey in, but the rest of it? Pretty much as outlined 9 years ago. Darla became more important than I'd planned -- I thought seriously about writing the events in between "Better Days" and the epilogue, but honestly, it was so far outside the scope of Cordelia and Lindsey's story that it just didn't seem to fit. But her death before Connor's birth obviously changes... well, everything.

    Before you ask, I have no intention of writing a sequel. Come on, it took 9 years to write 125,000 words! I'm done! Well, maybe a few snapshots, if the muse hits. But no promises.

    But what do I think happened next? Well, if you're interested... Without Connor being born, his kidnapping by Holtz won't alienate Wes from the rest of the team... but god knows if something else will (Fred and Gunn are still a probable match). Also, no Connor means very little reason for Angel to stupidly take over Wolfram & Hart, which might save Fred. But then, who would host Illyria? Cordelia is probably still going to have to go partly demon, and I can't see Lindsey being thrilled by that, and there are always consequences. But I also don't see our girl falling for the Ascension crap in this verse -- maybe Angel would have understood her leaving to fhelp the hopless on an ethereal plane, but Lindsey never would.

    Lilah concerns me a bit -- will she still make a play for Wes? Will he still fall for it, and her? Or will W&H have other plans for her (see above re: Illyria < shudder >). And then there's Sunnydale: there's a lot more communication between LA and the Scoobies, and some niew friendships that might offer some people some alternatives (*cough*Tara*cough*) -- it probably won't make much of a difference when it comes time to fight Glory (since our gang would probably be in Pylea), but what will season 6 look like? Possibilities abound....

    I guess the point is that a lot of things that made me bitter and sad for the people I loved on Angel have changed in this universe. But there really aren't any happy endings, sunshine and puppies for this crew -- I'm just looking for better days. And for me, those days will include Cordelia surviving past the age of 24, Lindsey redeeming himself and being appreciative of it, and both of them living a life that's far better and happier than the one they had in another time and place.

    And they really will make beautiful, intelligent babies! Which makes me hope Lindsey put a clause about protection for first-born children in that contract.... And on that evil thought, I leave you, with deepest thanks for staying with me for this long and wild ride.

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    Comments to perri@neon-hummingbird.com. Last updated October 2, 2009.