Archive for July 1, 2015

Sentimental Value. 2   1 comment

***

Angel still wasn’t sure how he’d been roped into this. He’d tried not to exert the whole over-protective angle in the car when Cordelia had been wounded, had insisted on patching her up when they’d got back to the hotel…

And for all that? He’d been dealt with this as punishment.

Oh, it wasn’t so bad, he supposed.

There were worse ways to be spending your Friday night, especially in this line of work, but how exactly he’d got here, he still didn’t know.

A short, sharp nail jabbed him in the side and Angel turned, looking guiltily at his best friend.

“How are we losing?” She asked, darkly, “Tell me again how we’re losing.”

Angel knew that look. Angel feared that look.

He stared at her for a moment, wondering how best to answer. My game’s off, he thought, I took a knock to the head.

Actually, it was her fault. Not that he was stupid enough to say those words to her or anything (a death wish, he just didn’t have) but the reason they were losing?

Totally and completely Cordelia’s fault.

He could have blamed it on anything, really. Those reasons he’d mentioned earlier, the alcohol that seemed to be flowing quite well, despite his protests that someone would be sick in his car…

All of those things would have been a contributing factor.

Except Angel knew why he was distracted.

He watched her flicker an annoyed glance in his direction and scrambled for something – anything – to say, and finally uttered words that almost drove the final nail in his figurative coffin.

“I’m… distracted.”

Her gaze turned to the groupies. Blondes. Like she didn’t have enough issues with blondes and Angel to begin with…

“Well who wouldn’t be?” She asked, cuttingly, “I mean with your little harpies over there!”

“They are not my harpies.” He insisted, realising that he’d barely given them a look the entire time they’d accosted the trio of men at Cordelia’s side, “Besides, I noticed you’ve made a ‘friend’.”

He cursed inwardly, wondering why he’d thrown out that little statement. He could almost see Cordelia’s sarcastic air quotes round the word ‘friend’ and mentally groaned as she prepared herself for battle.

“Hey, at least my not even remotely serious flirtations got me a round from Mr. Cheap with a Buck,” she hissed, poking him again, “What’s your excuse? One boff then you’re soulless?”

Angel had known Cordelia for three years and if there was one thing she hated more than anything? It was losing. “Hey, I wasn’t even!”

“Whatever,” said Cordelia, holding up her right hand, “My point? Is that we’re losing. To Wesley.”

She didn’t seem to care that Wes had trophies for being a Champion darts player from some tiny pub back in England. Her logic – something he seemed to understand less and less lately – was that she was teamed up with a vampire.

His aim simply had to be good or else the world and its occupants were doomed.

Fine, logical, he thought. More applause…except Wesley didn’t currently have Cordelia sitting next to him.

He wasn’t sure when he’d started to notice her perfume or what shoes she wore. He wasn’t even sure when he’d started to realise that she competed with the lights in the room when she smiled, or that every time she was close to him, tiny little pin prickles stood up on the back of his neck.

He’d noticed fifteen minutes ago – right around the time they’d started losing, actually – how alive Cordelia was, how fierce her spirit.

He’d missed her while he’d been gone. Only Angel hadn’t figured on how much…

“Hello, explanation?”

She was looking at him oddly. He realised he’d been staring at her and that threw him. He couldn’t be having feelings for-Could he?

He’d returned from Sri Lanka feeling awful about not feeling worse for Buffy – the girl he’d loved with everything he had – and it had been Cordelia there to kick him back into shape.

The girl he’d loved hadn’t even been gone three months and already Angel was -looking at Cordelia waving her hand in front of his face. “Are you okay?”

Was he?

He had this weird feeling in the pit of his stomach but other than that, yeah, he was okay. Very okay, actually. He felt good, which… Okay, freaked him out, a little.

“I was just thinking, Cordy!”

“Did it hurt?”

The corners of his mouth twitched upwards and as soon as they did, Cordelia grinned at him.

“Time to play for real now, okay? No more losing to that Pansy Ass-Wesley!”

He’d rejoined the table, darts in hand, having just thrown a bull and two treble twenties. “How many times do I have to tell you?” He asked tightly, though he smiled, “My arse is not ‘pansy’.”

“Matter of opinion, dork boy,” said Cordelia, getting up and nudging Angel with her hip, “Angel’s turn, right?”

Wesley smirked. It was then that Angel realised, distractions or not? He had to win this one. No speeches about the gipper… It was all Cordelia and, he supposed, male pride.

The ‘harpies’ as Cordelia had named them, didn’t concern Angel.

The eyebrow did.

He took his stance a few feet away from the dart board and threw three treble 20’s straight off the bat, hearing Cordelia whoop behind him.

“I’m way too classy to do that whole ‘180’ voice,” he heard her tell Wesley, “But if I weren’t? I’d so be doing that right now.”

Angel had to bite back his smirk as he went back to the table, Wesley’s ire written plain across his face.

Cordelia whooped again, patting Angel’s shoulder as he sat down, “See? I knew your aim couldn’t have been that bad. Call it woman’s intuition.”

She beamed.

***

An hour later and Cordelia had emerged from The Head of Steam (not a pub she’d chosen by any means) victorious, clutching her manpire’s arm like a lifeline.

Wesley, on the other hand, looked particularly sour. “I was distracted.” He muttered.

“That’s funny,” Cordelia grinned, “That’s what Angel said when he sucked too.”

They both managed to look indignant at that one but Cordelia let it pass, her mood simply too good to be dulled by her two best friends inability to realise that even they sucked at stuff sometimes.

“I notice how convenient it was that you let Angel take all your shots,” said Wesley, shaking his head, “That could be construed as cheating.”

Cordelia’s eyebrows narrowed, “Excuse me, double-oh-dorko, but some of us have stomach wounds. What did you want me to do, bleed out all over the bar? Please.”

She noticed Angel’s little grimace – whether it was at the mention of the blood or her being wounded, she wasn’t sure. “Besides, it doesn’t matter how we won. What matters is that we did. We rule,” she grinned, squeezing Angel’s arm, “And now we’re going home.”

***

“It’s no good,” Cordelia declared, throwing her hands in the air, “We’ve been over everything. Everything! And I know I had it on the ride home from the pub because I kept looking at it in Angel’s rear-view mirror.”

She stopped any would-be chuckles at that with the desolate look on her face. Fred had ventured downstairs a moment ago to join in with the reminiscing of the night, even though she hadn’t been there.

Had even tried to help Cordelia look for it (a way to pay her way, she guessed, since she didn’t have any actual money or job prospects or anything) but so far, they’d turned up nothing and Cordelia just kept on looking more and more depressed.

If it were anything else – a shirt, maybe, like one of the ones he had bought her post-insano period, Cordelia mightn’t have minded. They were easier to replace than a necklace that had come from nine-thousand miles across the world.

And what were the chances of Angel getting all depressed again and deciding he needed to hide out and brood somewhere? It wasn’t like the love of your life up and died on you every day, was it?

Sighing, Cordelia stood up, mindful of her sucking stomach wound. “I’m going home,” she told them, grabbing her purse and keys off the counter, “I’ll be here bright and early tomorrow.”

She declined Angel’s offer of a ride home. She’d rather walk, she told him, maybe have her own little brood session on the way home and wonder why it meant so much to her.

Oh, she’d explained it alright. The guys never bought her anything. Ever. Not unless she left subtle hints like magazines with things circled and the word “want” written next to them.

This gift – aside from the clothes – was the first gift Angel had got her without being prompted by, like, crushing guilt or whatever.

It was the first gift he’d got her since their friendship had got back on track and that was why it meant so much to her. Not the nine-thousand miles or even just the general prettiness of the necklace. It wasn’t flashy or expensive but it was hers.

Picked out for her by Angel, and that was why Cordelia was so damned upset over losing it.

Sentimental value, that was it. It was the one time Cordelia would willingly admit that Wesley was right!And the one time she wished he wasn’t.

She reached her apartment an hour after leaving the hotel, noticing three messages blinking on her machine but not bothering to listen to them.

She’d retraced her steps once round the courtyard, once back to the pub and even looked in Angel’s car again before she’d given up and gone home, deciding that Phantom Dennis and a little time with the loofah could maybe make her happier.

Dennis, of course, was transfixed with the current dilemma on screen. Something about babies and infidelity and!Well, things that generally chalked up to the likes of Jerry Springer having a job.

Trash, really. But trash her ghost couldn’t keep his eyes off.

“Hey, Dennis,” she greeted him, the corners of her mouth lifting against their will as Dennis flickered her TV in return. “Jerry again, huh?”

She wondered if he knew that one of his biggest fans was actually a ghost whose mother had bricked him into a wall when he’d been alive.

Walking to her bathroom, Cordelia began shedding her clothes and trying not to think of her necklace. It wasn’t like she didn’t have a billion others.

That one she’d kinda stole from the museum that time, when Angel had dressed up as a Ratpack vampire. That was pretty.

And it had some sentimental value, she guessed, if she wanted to remember Angel going all wacko and biting Rent-a-Cop.

Eww.

“See?” She murmured to herself, annoyed, “It was more than just a necklace!”

Gently- or as gently as she could when she was that pissed, anyway, Cordelia peeled away at the bandage Angel had placed over her stomach, switching on the water.

She felt all kinds of skanky after the brush with the Nestor demons and losing her necklace had only made her feel worse. She stepped gingerly under the spray, wincing as the water hit her stomach but rode it out, waiting until the water started to work out some of the knots in her shoulders.

Tense, thy name was Cordelia Chase.

The shower didn’t work out all the knots. But when Cordelia was suitably shampooed and bandaged up again, dressed in her robe and pink fluffy slippers, she at least felt halfway human again, though she was still upset about the necklace.

She headed back to her living room, smiling as she’d noticed Dennis had picked up her clothes, and let out a yelp of surprise when a dark, hulking figure flanked her from the kitchen, carrying!A tray of coffee?

“Damnit, Angel!” She yelled, “What the hell are you doing?”

He looked pretty guilty for all of a millisecond until he remembered the reason he was here – or so it seemed – and crossed her room to put down the tray of coffee, turning back towards her.

“I just- You looked so upset when you left, so…” He gestured down to the table. There, on its surface, lay three kinds of ice cream. The three kinds Cordelia actually liked.

She blinked at him for a moment, confused. “I looked upset so you went and bought me ice cream?”

“No!” he protested, “!Well, yes but… I just thought you could do with some cheering up, that’s all.”

Cordelia sighed, “Angel!”

“That and I found your necklace.” He reached into his pocket and, much to the amazement of Cordelia, produced the very same necklace he’d brought back from Sri Lanka with him.

Cordelia gasped and rushed forward, snatching the item out of his hands, “How did you-I looked everywhere! Where was it?”

“Under the bench seat in my car,” he smiled, “It must’ve slid back there when I was parking up.”

Cordelia gawped at him again, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek, “My hero!” She declared happily, “I knew you’d find it.”

Angel chuckled and held on for just a fraction of a second longer than was necessary, before pulling away. “I brought some movies too. I thought maybe we could…”

“Hang out?” Cordelia finished his sentence for him, laughing as the TV flickered indignantly, “Think you can put up with Jerry for half an hour before we start with the movies? I’ll even share my ice cream…”

“Deal.” Angel smiled, before growing a little more serious as he watched her sitting down on her couch, “Cordelia?”

“Mmm?”

“I just… I wanted to say thanks. For what you said earlier. About Buffy.” He paused and Cordelia knew that it still pained him to talk about it, but he was okay.

He was getting better.

“I meant it, Angel. I miss her too. Not that we were ever close or anything!” Definitely not like sisters as she’d once suggested, “-But I understand what she fought for and that’s our fight too.”

She waited until he sat down at the other end of her sofa and curled her feet beneath her, staring at him. “You gave me that and that’s why I was so upset about losing the necklace. Not just ’cause you never buy me anything, I mean you don’t,” she teased,

“It’s just-I guess with Fred being here and after everything that happened last year, it’s kinda like our new start.”

Angel smiled. “Our new start. I like that.”

“Me too,” Cordelia grinned, “Of course I’ll like it even better if you keep buying me things, Scrooge…”

Angel chuckled. Only Cordelia could work both a compliment and an insult into a conversation and still have you smiling.

“Okay, kidding,” she laughed, “Well, maybe… It is my birthday soon… And after that it’s Christmas…”

End…

Ficbitch82

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

Sentimental Value. 1   Leave a comment

Title: Sentimental Value
Author: Christie (Ficbitch82)
Posted: 10/05
Email
Rating: PG-13
Category: family feel
Content: C/A friendship
Summary: Challenge given to me one year ago by Kel (starlet2367).  (at bottom of page)
Spoilers: Everything up to Heartthrob, S3.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Please ask
Notes: Not betaed. Mistakes are my own.
Thanks/Dedication:To Kel for the wonderful challenge and to Califi, who asked for some C/A fic. This is about as C/A as it gets!Without the smoochies, of course.
Feedback:


“Well, where was the last place you had it?” Asked Wesley, spreading his palms upwards as if that were the exact comment she’d wanted to hear right now.

Cordelia had had enough. Aside from wanting to declare that as the single most unhelpful comment on the planet, she’d had enough of the three men in her life – namely Gunn, Wes and Angel – who were standing around looking about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.

She stopped upturning the cushions on the sofa long enough to glare at Wesley. “Why do people ask that?” She asked, shaking her head, “I mean, seriously, if I knew where the last place I had it was, would I really still be looking?”

“I’m just trying to be helpful, Cordelia.” He frowned.

It was good that he was trying to be helpful, really it was. Usually, if Cordelia lost something, she was left to God and good nature to find it. They didn’t usually interrupt her tirades until the books she was throwing mid-search skimmed their heads.

“I know that,” she yanked another cushion upwards, “But I can’t find it. And now it’s starting to bug the crap out of me.”

Sighing, Wesley looked at her, “It’s just a necklace, Cordelia, honestly.”

“Just a necklace… Just a necklace?” She repeated. Before Mr. Condescending could even move, Cordelia had made a grab for his dagger, aptly left lying on the small table next to the ottoman.

“Oh, well would you just look at this. Wesley’s 16th century Persian Dynasty–“

“That’s Murshan,” he corrected, looking rather nervous, “And will you watch what you’re doing with it? It’s very–Cordelia!” He shrieked, watching wide-eyed as his precious dagger went crashing down into a sofa cushion.

“Persian, Murshan, whatever dork boy,” Cordelia smirked, taking the dagger from the cushion and bringing a flurry of feathers up with it, “Now tell me that my necklace is just a necklace, pansy ass.”

“Excuse me but my ass is NOT pansy, as I believe we’ve covered,” Wesley huffed, taking the dagger from Cordelia’s grasp when she offered it out, checking it over with the carefulness and precision of someone who spent way too much time looking at those things anyway,

“And unlike a necklace, this dagger is–“

“Blah, blah, bliddy blah.” Cordelia waved him off with a hand, “Look, I’m not saying that my necklace is important to YOU, but to me? It has significant value.”

“Sentimental you mean?” He asked, looking at her.

“Whatever,” she frowned, “The point is? I want it back. And to get it back I have to find it. Now.” She turned to look at Angel who’d been watching this exchange with a half-bemused look, pinning him with her gaze.

“Can’t you, like, use your vampire senses to sniff it out or whatever?”

“I’m not a sniffer dog, Cordelia,” said Angel, though he smiled. “Did you check your room?”

“Well aren’t YOU guys just all sorts of useful tonight? Of course I checked my–Ah-ha!” She grinned triumphantly, yanking her arm out from underneath the couch, “I found it! I– Ewww!”

She recognised the thing immediately. A contraption devised by Wesley to behead demons, made up of fish wire and other parts that Cordelia so didn’t want to know about.

“Damnit, Wesley!” She yelled, tossing it across the room, “God knows how many times you’ve used that thing. I probably have demon neck all over my fingers.”

“Givin’ a new term to the word necklace, huh?” Gunn quipped, promptly moving when Cordelia cut a glare in his direction. “What? I was just sayin’…”

“Well don’t ‘just say’,” she huffed, “I want my necklace!”

Angel, deciding that this was starting to get out of hand, pushed himself away from the wall he’d been leaning on, “I could always buy you another one.”

Cordelia glanced up at him, folding her arms across her chest, “Buy me another one?”

Angel nodded.

“So you’re going to travel back over, like, nine billion miles just to get me another necklace?” Yeah, right. She had more chance of Jude Law streaking across the hotel naked… And whoo-boy, didn’t that produce some images?

Angel thought about that for a moment, mistaking the dreamy look on her face for slight boredom or the look that bordered on annoyance. “It has to be the same necklace?”

Jeez, thought Cordelia, mentally wincing as naked Jude Law escaped her clutches, did they understand anything round here?

“Angel, how often do you buy me stuff?”

The vampire shifted uncomfortably, looking down at the hardwood floor. The other two, true to form, did the same, scared that this was a trick question and they were about to be scolded for missing her last birthday.

Cordelia was good at that. You could be standing there talking to her about something as simple as bobby pins and all of a sudden you were being reprimanded for not buying her something on her two year anniversary of being vision girl or working for Angel Investigations or whatever other anniversary it was that week.

“I can see by your pause that it’s that long ago you don’t remember, so let me give you a little heads up” she smirked, “Darla.” Part of her, the sadistic wanting-to-make-Angel-grovel part, gave out a mini ‘yay’ as he winced.

Yeah, Bucko’ll thing twice about taking that head trip again, she thought smugly.

“The last time you bought me something, minus the coffee every morning, was post-Darla. So my point, and yes, I have one in all this, is that you have never bought me a present like that. In fact, if we don’t count the clothes that your severe guilt-trip post-insano-period produced? You have never bought me a gift at all and that, dear manpire of mine, is just wrong.”

“I… But…” Angel tried, in vain, to remember a time when he had bought her something other than coffee and those clothes.

“Breathe, Angel,” she laughed, “You’re going to blow something.”

“How about we retrace your steps?” He offered, determined to help her find the necklace now, “That could help.”

“Yeah, and it could also be tedious and annoying.” Feeling mildly guilty as the wounded look flitted across Angel’s face, Cordelia conceded, he was trying at least, which was more than the other two were doing.

“Okay, okay, step retracing. What did we do tonight?”

***

Earlier that night…

Hancock Park, at the best of times, wasn’t exactly the place to visit in LA. Filled with more homeless crazy people and weirdos than you could shake a stick at, there was really no wonder the Nester demons liked hatching here.

It was like fast food on demand.

Cordelia, already peeved at the two very large grass stains on her jeans, shot a glance over at Angel who – true to brooding form – was standing there waiting.

“I swear to God, these grass stains don’t come out and I’m gonna be pissed.” She murmured, heatedly, “Do the PTB know how long it took me to save up for these?”

“Cordelia,” Angel sighed, gesturing forward with the tip of his sword, “The guys are waiting.”

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, what are you worried about? We’re gonna catch up. You walk too fast anyway.”

I walk too fast? Angel looked at her, deliberately slowing his pace once they’d actually set off. “So where’d you guys kill the Nester’s last time?”

“Down by the water fountain. Caught ’em terrorising a bunch of kids.”

Angel frowned, “There were kids in the park after dark?”

“No, dumbass,” said Cordelia. Nester demons, though not as averse to sunlight as vampires, weren’t fond of the sun. They tended to stick to shadowy dark places so Angel could be forgiven for his misconception of there being children in the park way past their bed-time.

“We had a bunch of freak weather outbursts a few weeks ago. No sun for three days. Kinda kept us busy, y’know?”

“Mystical?”

“Yuh-huh,” she nodded, “And kinda hard to shift. It was this whole big thing with the axis of the world and– And you’re looking at me really oddly right now. What?”

Angel smiled, “I heard about that. The axis of the sun, the Sorcerers of Axitul. You guys stopped that?”

“Well, duh. Do you see the sun shining?” She looked up into an impossibly black sky only to find the moon, glaring defiantly back at her.

“Okay, I’ll give you that one. Time isn’t on my side, hence your not being crispy fried and all.” She said with a grin, “But yeah, that was us.”

He regarded Cordelia with another smile, impossibly proud of her, his friends, how much they’d accomplished.

“What?” She asked again.

“You guys,” said Angel, unable to drag his gaze away from her. He could remember the rich girl of Sunnydale, the proud, headstrong and completely selfish girl who had never ceased to amaze him with the way she acted.

How she’d changed, how she’d grown amazed him even further. “I knew you guys would be okay when I left, but…”

“We did good.” Cordelia nodded, downplaying how much they’d actually achieved while he’d been gone, “Hell, we did great, but that doesn’t mean you can go all retreaty for another three months, Mister. You’ve got work to do.”

Her statement was backed up by the fact that they’d reached the others, effectively cutting the conversation short.

Angel hmphed, realising he walked too fast even when he was trying to walk slowly, and came up beside Wesley. “What’ve we got?”

“See that wall over there?” Wesley was all business, pushing his glasses further up his nose, clutching onto his weapons like his lifeline.

Angel nodded.

“Behind that wall lies a makeshift shed used by the park for storage. Inside live five or six Nester demons. They’re not people’s homes, but I imagine they do in a pinch.”

“And this place is like an all you can eat buffet,” said Gunn, moonlight bouncing off his hairless head, “Ain’t no way they’re gonna shift on outta there.”

“Is this actually romantic?” Three pairs of eyes swivelled onto Cordelia, two puzzled, one half-bemused like they always were.

“Romantic?” Angel pressed, wondering how her brain had shifted from demon killing to romantic in a matter of seconds.

Cordelia gestured to the couple she’d been watching, walking hand in hand down one of the winding lanes that led deeper into the park,

“Look at them. All loved up and happy. And in amongst enough wackos to actually make a profit from an Insano Asylum that pays well. Seriously, what kind of vibe is that? ‘Oh, honey, I love you, let’s walk in a park where we have the potential to get raped, murdered, eaten and disembowelled all in one night’, pfft!”

Angel chuckled, turning his attention back to Wesley who was busy rolling his eyes.

“I’m just saying, is all,” Cordelia went on, unaware she’d lost her audience, “Romance my patooty. Give me a guy who doesn’t talk to my boobs all night, forgives my debilitating visions spoiling only like every event we have and I’ll be happy.”

“Cordelia, can we focus please?” Asked Wesley, tersely, unaware that Angel had tensed for a multitude of reasons beside him. “The Nesters are–“

“Out already?” Angel supplied helpfully, leaping into the fray of long legged demons without as much as a look back.

The others followed seamlessly, clutching various weapons. Cordelia, for her part, held a large sword that was surprisingly light for its size.

She could swing swift with that, her aim improving after all these years of fighting alongside her friends. “I’ll take the little one on the left.”

Glancing over, Angel almost smiled. They were all roughly the same size, slightly bigger than Angel, still towering above Cordelia. If that was what she called little…

The first ‘thunk’ of a demon fist hit him in the head. He’d been so busy making sure Cordelia was alright he’d gotten careless, provided the demon with a free shot.

“Okay. That hurt.” He frowned, kicking outwards at the demon legs. As a general rule, most demons were huge; especially the ones that liked to eat people. Nester demons however were they exception.

What they lacked in height and general hulk, they made up for in speed, agility – and an ability to rip things to ribbons with their claws.

“Watch the claws.” He called out, ducking as a pair of said claws swooshed across his head, just skimming his hair.

He heard Cordelia mutter an expletive under her breath, watched as the claws swung down again, narrowly missing Cordelia’s torso. Spurned into action, Angel grabbed the head of the demon, using a nearby tree to gain leverage, and climbed upwards, hearing the wet snapping sound of the demons neck.

One down, five to go…

***

Battered, bruised, limping and very sore, Cordelia looked up at Angel from across his office, narrowing her eyes a little as he came towards her with the First Aid kit.

“Y’know, if this is how it’s gonna be when we fight? I want a raise. Or at least a medical plan that’s actually worth something.” She said, sitting down in his chair, trying not to groan.

Pain. Lots of it. And this time, not just the vision variety.

Usually, she managed to escape most of the fights unscathed, a couple of bruises here and there, but nothing major. Nothing like this, anyway. She’d be out of a bikini for months– If she ever had a reason to actually wear one.

That demon, despite her comment, hadn’t been the smaller of the bunch. In fact, as Cordelia had soon learned, he’d been one of the biggest. Damn hunch-backed things, making them look smaller than they were. Of course her vision hadn’t shown that. Her vision, true to PTB form, had been vague at best.

Like it would kill them to send me a vision of my being scratched to hell?

Her stomach clenched involuntary, bringing a fresh deluge of blood and a frown from Angel.

“You need a hospital,” he murmured, setting the bandages and other supplies down on his desk, “I can’t…”

“You can and you are, Angel.” She told him firmly, “I’m not going to the hospital. It’s just a little scratch.”

Little? No. But Cordelia, being Cordelia, had this insane, irrational fear of all things hospital-ish. When it had started, she wasn’t sure. Back when Buffy had been fighting that Kinder Egg demon thing? Maybe.

That was her first real foray into the world of wacky demons. Or maybe when Wolfram and Hart had unleashed the slew of visions that had knocked her coma.

Or maybe even the fact that visiting every other week was starting to get annoying.

She didn’t know. But her? Very not visiting the hospital, at least not tonight.

Noticing Angel hovering out the corner of her eye, Cordelia’s eyebrows shot up. “What is it?”

“Your shirt.”

Okay, there was blood, so what? She’d ruined more expensive shirts than this, hadn’t she? Ohhhh, he meant– “Is this a ploy to get me naked?” She grinned, tiredly. “I know you haven’t had any in a while.”

Angel chuckled, forgetting to be embarrassed at her words, and gestured again to the shirt. “Cordy…”

“Geez, all right already.” She murmured, undoing the buttons slowly, trying not to wince, “Guy doesn’t get any for three years and the mention of a hint of breasts he’s all over me.”

She knew the wound was bad from the sharp intake of breath Angel gave. Her shirt was ruined already, her patience stretched thin at the idea of having to go buy yet another one… And yet still, Cordelia’s smile remained firmly in place whenever Angel looked up at her.

“You should have gone to the hospital.” He muttered under his breath, gently dabbing at the wound with a piece of gauze, soaking up the blood. He was probably used to her doing this for him, not the other way around.

“Is Gunn ok?” She looked through to the lobby to where he sat, holding an ice pack to his aching head. That was usually her, sitting with the icepack post-vision, wincing at every movement she made.

“He’ll live.”

Cordelia fell silent, watching him. She was the most seasoned one of the group when it came to patching the others up. Not a week went by when one of them hadn’t gained a minor concussion or a great sucking head wound, a scratch from a demon or a practically severed limb.

Okay, so she was exaggerating on the severed limb part. So far they’d been lucky in that aspect. No loss of limbs yet… Go team Ang–

“Ow, hey!” Cordelia yelped as Angel dabbed a little of the antiseptic spray against her great sucking stomach wound (again with the exaggeration), glaring at him in case he dared to tell her that she berated him for said yelping, like, all the time.

“I know you’re used to the whole sucking stomach wound deal… But for those of us who’ve only had it the once could we go a little easy?”

Angel winced. “Sorry.”

“You’re forgiven,” she told him, exaggerating an arch of her eyebrow, “I suppose.”

A smile tugged at the corner of his lips and Cordelia almost forgot how much her stomach hurt. Sure, the pills dulled it a little, and she couldn’t exactly whine about how much they weren’t fighting off her headache when they were soothing at least one pain…

But that smile from Angel, well, it was enough to soothe her, just for a little while.

“I’m glad you’re home.”

He looked up from what he was doing, his smile growing wider. “Me too.”

“No,” she shook her head, “I mean really glad, Angel. I get that you had to go be all retreaty and everything, but I’m glad you’re home. I missed you.”

A herd of wild horses couldn’t have removed that smile from his face. He sat there looking at her, his hands stilled at her stomach.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Okay, now you’re just getting all movie of the week,” she murmured, “Patch me up already. The night is young, my manpire friend.”

“You’re going out?” He began gently wrapping the bandage round her stomach, trying – and not doing very well – to keep the disappointment from his voice.

“Are you kidding me? Friday night, the most social night of the week,” said Cordelia, biting her lip to keep from laughing, “And you want me to stay in?”

“Well I thought…” Angel nodded downwards, uncomfortably, “I mean, you shouldn’t… You should rest. What if something happens?”

Cordelia giggled, wincing, but giggling nonetheless. “Nothing’s gonna happen to me, Angel. I have you there to protect me.”

Angel’s gaze jerked upwards, his hands totally spazzing and knocking the antiseptic off the desk and onto the floor. Thankfully the lid was firmly shut or else Wes’ office would reek of it for a month.

“You’ll be there to protect me, Angel,” she repeated, slowly, mentally declaring him a retard. Again. “We’re going out. All of us.”

“Since when?”

“Since about three hours ago,” she beamed, “Sort of like a ‘welcome home you’ thing.”

“Out.” Angel deadpanned, “Out? Where?”

God, sometimes? Retard didn’t even cover it. “A pub, y’know, social kind of thing? Just me, you, Wes, Gunn and Fred – if we can convince her to come out of her room for longer than fifteen seconds.”

She got the whole living in a cave thing, really she did. But this was LA, as in… Not Pylea? What was Fred’s deal? “Didn’t you have a talk with her?”

Angel confirmed that with a nod, apparently no longer freaking about the prospect of socialising, “I did. Not sure what good it did.”

Cordelia sighed, “Like I told the guys… Girl’s trading one cave for another up there. I mean, what’s not to love? She has room service whenever she wants it, a built in protection racket and tacos on demand…”

“She had it rough in Pylea, Cordy.” Said Angel, softly, shooting a glance towards the stairs, “No one can blame her for wanting to hide out up there.”

“I get that, Angel,” she shook her head, “Believe me, I do. My three hour stint as a cow? Not fun, I tell ya… Not that the being Princess didn’t make up for it or anything but…”

Oh, she missed Pylea. She missed Groo, the being waited on, hand and foot. Okay, so she hadn’t missed the whole robed guy experience but the rest? Cordelia Chase was so born to be royalty… A few visions on the side wouldn’t kill her. And it wasn’t like–

“Cordy?”

She looked down at him to find that he was putting the finishing touches on her bandaging. “Et voila…” She grinned, “No hospitals, no muss, no fuss. What was I saying?”

“You were telling me how nice it was to be Princess. Again.”

Cordelia grinned, “Oh please, like you wouldn’t have loved it.”

Angel seemed to think about that for a moment, “Actually? No. The outfit looked like it chafed.”

“Okay, ewww.” Cordelia laughed, wincing as pain shot through her stomach, “And ow. No more mental pictures like that, please.”

She’d seen a lot of things in her time – a lot of bad, awful, disgusting things. Eyeballs popping all over the place, people getting maimed and tortured and a whole other host of ick-fest… But Angel in her Princess costume? Brought new meaning to the word ewww.

He held out a hand and gently helped her to her feet, “Okay, you’re done.”

“And so will you be in about an hour, Broody, unless you prove to Wes that your aim is better than his.”

“Better than Wes’?”

Cordelia sighed. “Angel, I know the whole socialising thing isn’t your scene but, what, do you need a diagram?”

“A diagram?”

“Stop repeating everything I say,” she admonished, pulling her shirt back on and batting Angel’s hands away when he tried to help, “We’re going out. We’re having fun. It’s what people do.”

“But Cordy!”

“No ‘but Cordy’s!'” Cordelia turned to face him, hands on her hips, and for one moment? It was easy for Angel to forget that she’d just been wounded in a fight.

“We’re. Going. Out.” She said, punctuating each word as if she were talking to some small annoying child,

“Now can I go get changed because the whole bloody maimed look? So last year.”

Continue

Challenge by Kel:

How about a post-ep to Heartthrob? The crew goes off the kill Nestor demons in Hancock park and then…? Simple, short, sweet, fun. There must be darts in a pub, Angel patching up Cordy’s wounds and Cordy losing the necklace Angel gave her. You decide if they find it again.

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

One Tequila, Two Tequila… 5   1 comment

Part 5“Tequila…It Makes Me Happy…”

“Smile for the camera!” Said the annoyingly chirpy photographer.

Through gritted teeth, although still smiling, Cordelia spoke over her shoulder, “I told you…we act all nicey nice like a family should for Xander and Anya’s sake.”

Angel sighed, “Cordelia…” They pulled away and he looked at her, “Cordelia, I said I was sorry, how many times do you want to hear it?” He asked quietly.

“Don’t do that! Don’t do the Puppy Dog Eye thing! Connor does it too!” She snapped, taking a sip of her water.

“Angel, this jealousy thing…you do it EVERY single time. The other night with Spike was no different. Imagine had that actually have been a real date!” She hissed. “I mean, come on! You don’t OWN me Angel.” She said, shaking her head.

“I never wanted to own you…I just…forget it.” He sighed, walking away from her, leaving her wondering what the hell that was supposed to mean.

***

“Y’know, I seriously think Anya doesn’t like me.” Said Dawn, shuffling uncomfortably in her dress. The bridesmaid dresses Anya had picked out were nice, but a little too frilly for Dawn’s liking, “I look like…a…a…I look ridiculous!” She said, frowning.

“They’re not that bad…and…come on.” Said Buffy, smiling. “We’ve gotta be at the front of the church like…now!”

Dawn, Buffy and Willow ran to the front of the church quickly, just in time to see Anya standing outside, arm clasped around Giles’. “Giles!” Said Willow breathlessly, “When did…when did you…get…”

Giles smiled, “It was a surprise…Anya asked me to give her away…I said yes…”

“I’m all nervous.” Interjected Anya, “What if he runs away from me? I’ve seen that movie, with the woman with the big hair where she runs all the time…” She panicked.

“Anya…the WOMAN runs away!” Said Buffy, trying to reassure her.

“Well…what about that guy? The gay one…where the other gay one comes and convinces him he’s gay and then he *is* gay and…I heard stories about Xander from Larry! He could be having homosexual tendencies and Tom Selleck could be there waiting!” Anya said, shaking.

“Uh…WHAT stories from Larry?” Asked Dawn. “And who’s Tom Selleck?”

Buffy shook her head, “Never mind…point is, if he didn’t want to marry you, he wouldn’t have ASKED you, would he? He loves you Anya.” She said softly.

Anya’s eyes were brimming with tears, “I’m glad you’re not dead any more.” She whispered. “It wouldn’t have been the same without you…”

Buffy smiled, “Thanks. Okay, are you okay to marry him now?” She asked, grinning.

Inside, Xander frowned, “I KNEW there was a reason I wanted this service during the daytime. So *you* couldn’t come.*

“Oh, shut the hell up. I’m no more bloody pleased about being in this penguin suit than you are, Nancy Boy.” Said Spike, adjusting his tie yet again.

Xander looked nervously at the clock, “What if she’s had second thoughts?” He asked.

“Then I’d say bloody hurrah and bring on the Jack Daniels – the girl would’ve grown some brains!” Said Spike, rolling his eyes.

“Shut up Spike! Why I let Buffy talk you into being my best man is bey…”

“What?” Said Spike, glancing at Xander, “Buffy talked you into this?”

Just then, the notes for ‘Here Comes The Bride’ began to play…

***

“I can’t believe I’m Mrs. Xander Harris.” Said Anya, laughing.

Cordelia, was miserable. Angel had avoided her gaze all evening, spent most of it with Buffy and she was annoyed about it. He hadn’t even talked once to her. And from the look of it, Spike noticed too.

Willow, Dawn, Gunn, Fred, Xander and Lorne helped keep the spirits up – Buffy and Angel being away from the table most of the time. She knew she’d been a little harsh with him but there was no need to ignore her all damned night.

At least Connor cheered her up.

Bouncing him on her knee, her eye caught a flash of Buffy and Angel, darting into the hallway. Slowly, she stood, following them and when she got there, balancing Connor on one hip, she listened as Angel spoke, silent tears running down her cheek…

“I wanna hold you so much…at long last…” She spun, not hearing any more of the words and went over to the table, handing Connor to Lorne, “Look after him.” She whispered.

Fred stood, knocking over her drink, “What’s wrong?” She asked softly, “Cordelia?”

Cordelia moved quickly, covering the distance of the floor until a voice over the microphone stopped her. “Uh, Spike…Cordelia?” Slowly, she turned, seeing Angel and Buffy in the spotlight. Folding her arms across her chest, Cordelia watched as the first notes of a song kicked up…

You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off of you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived
And I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off of you

I love you baby and if it’s quite all right
I need you baby to warm the lonely nights
I love you baby, trust in me when I say
Oh pretty baby, don’t bring me down I pray
Oh pretty baby, now that I’ve found you stay
And let me love you baby, let me love you

Angel and Buffy sang…making an idiot out of themselves albeit good naturedly and as the end notes finished, Buffy grabbed Spike and kissed him to cries of, “Can I be blind?” From Xander.

Angel walked over to her. “You’re crying.” He whispered, reaching out and stroking her face gently. Cordelia tried to look daggers at him but all she could do was giggle.

“I thought you loved Buffy again…I heard you! In the hall!”

Angel gasped, “Practising…we were…I didn’t know the words!” He said quickly.

Cordelia nodded, “Angel I…”

“I love you.” He said simply, looking at her, “That’s why I acted the way I did over Spike and all the other guys. I love you. I want you to…be a mother to Connor. He loves you about as much as I do.”

Reaching out, Angel pushed back a strand of her hairand smiled, “I love you baby, and if it’s quite alright, I need you ba…”

“Angel?” Said Cordelia softly. His eyes met hers and he nodded. “Don’t sing.” She whispered, reaching up and kissing his lips, gently. “I love you too.” She whispered softly.

“ABOUT TIME!” Called Lorne across the reception room, then, “Jeez…get a room…”

End

Ficbitch82

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

One Tequila, Two Tequila… 4   1 comment

Part 4“Eight Tequila, Floor!”

“Ugh…I believe this is what’s known as…alcohol pukage…”

Wesley chuckled at the comment made by Fred. Her sentences usually ran in with each other, held no coordination with the previous one and had words too odd for even *him* to process. And he thought it was adorable.

Huddled over the basin, Fred leaned her head against the cool marble, having only just recovered from the ‘alcohol pukage’ from before. Gently, he took her arm, leading her over to the single bed in the hotel room.

“Come on, Fred.” He said softly.

“No…basin…pukage again!” She said, shaking her head vehemently, causing herself to become more dizzy.

Wesley smiled, “I was in the Boy Scouts, our motto, Always Be Prepared.” In his hand he held a small jug,

“I imagine you’ll feel a lot better if you lie down.” He said softly.

Nodding, and trying not to vomit again, Fred let Wesley lower her gently to the bed.

“Cordelia was real mad, wasn’t she?” Asked Fred, meeting Wesley’s eyes.

Smiling, he nodded, “It’ll blow over in a few days.”

“I dunno, I think Angel might have serious Grovellage to do…” Said Fred, shaking her head. “But they’ll make it through…Kye-rumption.”

“Isn’t that Grog made of Ox dung?”

Fred’s stomach lurched at the idea of food in Pylea, “No silly…that’s the *other* kind…this kind is when two great heroes meet on the field of battle and recoginize their mutual fate. Cordelia with the heroicism and the visions and…Angel with the herocisim and the other stuff.” She said nodding.

“It would remind me of us…” Started Fred, sleepily, “But I’m no hero…”

Watching as she yawned, Wesley’s heart skipped a beat…or rather jumped an entire note… “What?” He asked stunned.

“Well…maybe we can just have rumption…or kye…” Whispered Fred as her eyes closed, “I hear both are nice…”

“Indeed.” Smiled Wesley, glancing down as Fred snuggled into his arms.

***

“We were SUPPOSED to have sex!” Said Anya, indignantly, glaring at Xander, arms folded across her chest. “We have sex EVERY night! And what the friggin’ heck is that black eye?! We’re getting married in TWO days and you have a black eye!” She said, jabbing a finger furiously at Xander’s eye where Connor had punched him.

“Shhh!” Said Xander quickly, “I just got the baby to sleep! You can’t come in here all…tequila-ed up and shout your mouth off, you’ll wake the baby! And it took me ages too! I had to sing DISNEY!”

“I wanted sex…and now *we* can’t have any because of the baby.” Said Anya.

“Ah, the joys of parenthood…” Said Xander, flopping down on the couch and sighing, exhausted.

“We aren’t PARENTS!” Hissed Anya. “Are you going off me? Did you tell Angel to bring Connor here so we couldn’t have sex?” She asked, suddenly suspicious.

Xander stared at her, stunned, “WHAT? Are you crazy? No!!” He said, shaking his head, “And besides, if I was going off you, which would NEVER happen, I wouldn’t bring a baby into this…that would come…after or…earlier or something…” He said confused.

Anya trailed her fingers down his chest, “So does that mean we can…” She raised her eyebrows suggestively.

Xander shook his head adamantly, “No! Dead boy would string me up if he knew I…”

“How will Angel know?” She asked grinning.

Xander grinned right back, reaching over to switch off the lights. “Good thing Dead Boy Junior’s asleep…” He murmured.

***

“Slayer, listen to me…”

“SHUT UP.” She said quickly. “I don’t WANT to talk to you, I don’t WANT to look at you, I don’t WANT to listen to you. Get me?” Asked Buffy, thoroughly annoyed.

They’d all gone their separate ways, Cordelia and Angel in one direction, Wesley and the drunk girl in another, Fred and Anya, Willow, Gunn and the…Lorne, the demon…in the other.

And Buffy, predictably, was stuck with Spike.

“I didn’t sleep with Cordelia! She’s too bloody skinny for my liking…not enough meat to…what?” Buffy was looking daggers at him.

“Are you now saying I’m fat?” She asked.

Spike groaned, “What is it with you women? I WAS TRYING TO MAKE YOU JEALOUS YOU STUPID BINT!” He roared, tossing his hands up in the air.

“By saying Cordelia’s…’skinny’…” She mocked, “And implying that I’m not?”

“Much have you had to drink, luv?” Asked Spike, shaking his head wearily. “You kicked me in the bloody bollocks…” He pointed out.

“*You* slept with Cordelia.”

“I DIDN’T!”

“Well you *said* you did! And you made me say in front of all my friends that I slept with you!” Said Buffy indignantly.

“And that’s wrong, why?”

“Because it’s very gross!” She exclaimed. “It’s horrid and wrong and…”

“You still want it.” Cut in Spike.

Buffy’s cheeks flushed, but she still glared at him, “You had no right to do that!” She said.

“Tell you what luv…when you figure out what you want, give me a call and I’ll come runnin’…seems like I always do.” Spike stalked off and Buffy winced, the words being the exact ones Riley said to her not long before he left.

“Spike, don’t go.” She whispered, but he was gone.

***

Angel was having even LESS luck than Spike. “Bite me.” She said simply, walking along the street, arms folded across her chest. She was shivering from the cold and yet Cordelia *still* refused to take his coat from him when he offered it. “And again, I say bite me.”

“Cordelia I…”

“Not listening.” She said quickly.

“You’re making this incredibly…”

“Still not listening, Angel.”

“Difficult.” He finished, frowning. Then, “Oh, shit! Connor!”

Cordelia’s eyes were immediately on him, “What’s wrong?” She asked, panic flitting through her eyes. Connor…no…he had to be okay…

“Nothing’s wrong…I just haven’t picked him up from Xander’s yet…”

“WHAT?” Cordelia sputtered, “YOU LEFT CONNOR WITH *XANDER*???” She stared at Angel, “Please tell me that you and I fell into the twilight zone?”

Angel looked at her sheepishly, “Uhm…” Cordelia stalked off, Angel trailing behind her saying words that were NOT for the faint of heart…

***

Minutes Later **

“Just a minute!” *scuffle*

“Be right ther…OW! Xander!”

Cordelia couldn’t supress a grin as Anya and Xander arrived at the door, Anya’s hair standing in angles Cordelia didn’t know existed and Xander’s shirt buttoned the wrong way. “Bad time?” She teased.

“Worst.” Said Anya, “We were just about to have the orgas…”

“ORDER PIZZA!” Said Xander, clamping his hand over Anya’s mouth as he spotted Angel. “So, Dead Boy, looking kinda…pale there…” He babbled.

Angel nodded, distracted, “Came to pick up my son.” He said stoically.

Xander rolled his eyes, “Still haven’t mastered the art of Social Conversation have you? It’s polite to say, ‘Hello Xander, how are you? How was your night of babysitting my child? How did…”

“Xander, shut up.” Said Cordelia impatiently. “I’d like to go home sometime today…”

Anya, who had briefly disappeared from sight, reappeared again, laden with all the things Angel had brought along for Connor. “Here ya go!” She said, dumping them in Angel’s arms and gesturing for Xander to go get the baby, “We’d like it if you didn’t ask us to do it again.”

Cordelia rolled her eyes and smiled as Xander handed her Connor. “No naughties you two…” She winked as she walked down the corridor, not stopping to help Angel with anything.

~Payback is a bitch.~ She thought to herself, still annoyed.

“Cordelia, I…”

“STILL NOT LISTENING!” She called out, frowning.

Part 5

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

One Tequila, Two Tequila… 3   1 comment

Part 3“Six Tequila, Seven Tequila…”

“No time to explain, here.” Angel held the baby away from him, Lorne stood behind him with a bag of diapers, Gunn with a bag of food and Wesley armed with all the baby books in the world…or the Hyperion at least.

Xander Harris stood, looking at Angel, “Woah, what? Angel, shirking your responsibilities is…”

“Who’s shirking? I’m not shirking I’m…asking a friend to baby sit for me?” Said Angel hopefully.

“When did we get to the friendship phase, Dead boy?” He asked, taking the child from Angel and smiling, “Hey Connor…who’s a lovely widdle baby b…what?”

Xander stopped at the strange looks he was getting from Angel, “Don’t tell me you don’t go all gooey around your kid.” He said defiantly.

“He sang Disney earlier, the great big sap…” Said Lorne, grinning.

Xander grinned, “And here I thought you only knew Barney…” He waited for the others to catch on and shook his head, “Oz would’ve got that…” Xander looked at Connor, then up at Angel,

“Okay dead boy…you got it, I’ll look after him. Just…don’t stay out late. He’s your child, you made your bed, you can lie in it…”

“WHAT is he talkin’ about?” Asked Gunn, puzzled.

“Parent euphemisms…” Explained Wesley with a smile.

“And in English that would be…” Said Gunn, even MORE puzzled.

“That was bloody English…” Said Wesley through gritted teeth, “He’s…pretending to be a parent…responsible…”

“Works better than it does in real life.” Said Angel, pointedly, handing Xander the other stuff, “My card’s in there. It has my cell…if you can’t get through on that Wesley’s is in there and Gunn’s pager. Failing that we should be at the Bro…”

“Angel! I’m not dumb…I’ve looked after a kid before!” Said Xander.

“Somehow, I doubt that first part very much…” Replied Angel and turned, walking off down the corridor, casting a last worried glance at his son.

Xander glanced down at the child in his arms, “Stick with me kid…” He grinned, impersonating his best Marlon Brando voice. However, Connor didn’t seem to like it…and saw fit to place a small fist into Xander’s eye with a *thwump*…

“You can *so* tell you’re your father’s kid…” Said Xander, tears filling up his eyes. Of course…this wasn’t from Connor…he’d just got a bit of…dust or…something in them…

***

“Fred! You have to sit!” Said Cordelia, laughing. The others were laughing too, a very Tequila Slammer-ed Fred, had just confessed her undying love…for Jonathon’s cologne.

“Don’t wanna!” Said Fred, “Want more tequila!” She lunged for the table, intent on grabbing the bottle, when Spike grabbed her round the waist,

“Not for you, luv…think you’ve had quite enough…”

“Mmm…vampire smell nice…” Said Fred, attaching her nose to Spike’s upper torso, “Angel smell nice…but Angel Cordelia’s! You the Slayer’s! Me want a vampire!”

Cordelia blushed, Buffy blushed, Spike grinned, then Cordelia yelled, “HUH?! Angel isn’t *mine*…”

“Denial’s the first sign of love, Dorcelia…” Said Fred, wagging a finger and giggling at her mistake.

“Great…” Said Cordelia, “I’m getting love advice from O Drunken One of Another Dimension…next I’ll be getting fashion advice from the pale, undead and creepy one…” Said the brunette, gesturing to Spike.

“HEYYY!” Said Spike indignantly, “There’s nothing wrong with my attire!”

Cordelia laughed, good naturedly, “Oh please…did you have to kill an entire flock of cows to look *that* stupid?”

“Herd.” Replied Spike, slightly miffed.

“What?”

“HERD!” He repeated.

“Heard what?” Cordelia raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow.

“H-E-R-D!” Yelled Spike, “HERD OF COWS…God, are you always this stupid? It’s FLOCK of SHEEP and HERD of COWS!”

“Boy, you really like your animals, dontcha?” Asked Fred, giggling. The others burst into laughter and Spike shook his head,

“Dunno why I bleedin’ bother…” He said, rolling his eyes.

A presence at his side made Spike look up.

Noticing Angel standing at the corner with the other poufy watcher, a black kid and a green demon, Spike thought he’d put a couple of theories to the test. Knowing his sire would know that he’d had sex in the past couple of days, (vampire senses left a lot to be desired) he grabbed Cordelia and pulled her close, delighting at the EXTREMELY pissed off look on Buffy’s face.

“Dance with me Dorcelia…” He grinned. Of course, Fred’s scent was mingled with Buffy’s but Cordelia, being the last one against his body would make the ‘Green Eyed Monster’ that was Angel believe he’d had sex with her.

“Ew!” Cordelia pushed him away, “I think NOT…”

Angel was over in a second, having spotted his Seer moments after she’d pushed Spike away. “Cordelia I…” Suddenly, he stopped. Yellow (but not quite yet green) eyes turned on Spike.

“You had sex with her, didn’t you?” He asked, a growl erupting in his throat.

Spike smirked, Angel was playing *right* into his hands, “Yeah? What of it mate…”

A punch to the jaw sent Spike sprawling. The music stopped and Angel whipped round on Cordelia, “You had sex with *him*?” He asked.

Cordelia’s eyes widened, “HUH?” She stared at him incredulously, “Are you INSANE?”

Spike stumbled to his feet…only to be knocked down again by a knee to the groin from Buffy. “YOU’RE TWO TIMING ME? WITH *HER*?”

“Wasn’t…aware…I was bloody…one timing you luv…” Choked out Spike. His plan had *so* backfired.

Cordelia however didn’t like the …with HER…thing attached to Buffy’s sentence. “And what’s THAT supposed to mean?” She asked.

“Uh…can we establish the how and why for BUFFY IS JEALOUS PART?” Asked Willow, “You’re having SEX…with SPIKE?”

Buffy blushed, then frowned, looking at Angel, “What’s that supposed to mean…with *HIM*?” She asked, “What’s wrong with *him*?”

“What’s right with him?” Retorted Angel. “I thought *you* would know better!” He said, glaring at Cordelia.

“Oh, wait a minute…” Said Buffy, “I get it…I’m only allowed to sleep with ONE of your kind, is that right?”

“No!” Said Angel, “I just have trouble with dealing with the fact that *she* slept with Spike.” He jabbed a finger in Cordelia’s direction.

“Oh, so it’s okay that I’m sleeping with Spike, but not her?” Asked Buffy angrily then gasped. “Uh…what I meant was…”

“I AM NOT HAVING SEX WITH SPIKE!” Yelled Cordelia. “I wouldn’t touch him with HERS!” She said, pointing to Buffy.

At that, the group in the middle of the argument noticed the laughter. Wesley was clinging to Fred, tears streaming down both their cheeks laughing.

And Lorne was leaning against a post, where Gunn had took up position next to Anya – all creased with laughter.

“What’s SO funny?” Asked Cordelia, frowning.

Lorne managed to control himself long enough to say, “You just got visited by the Green Eyed Demon, sweetcheeks…”

Both Cordelia and Buffy glared at their counterparts, “We *so* need to talk…”

And at that, Fred took it upon herself to feel particularly queasy…and then a little sick…and then a *lot* sick and then…Wesley was stroking the back of her hair softly as she vomitted relentlessly on his shoes.

“Ah, young love…” Smiled Lorne.

Part 4

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

One Tequila, Two Tequila… 2   1 comment

Part 2“Three Tequila, Four Tequila, Five Tequila…”

“No really, I was shtuck in a WHOOOLLLLEEEE big other dimension thingy!” Said Fred, giggling as she waved her arms to encompass the size of the ‘whole’ she meant.

“So, we’ve established it was big then?” Said Anya, grinning at Cordelia, Willow and Buffy.

“Fred?” Said Cordelia softly, “I think you’ve had a little TOO much to drink…”

“Pssshhtt, naw! I can handle my drink!” Said Fred, having knocked back a series of Tequila Slammers. “Okay, so I’ve mightn’t have had much in the ways of practish but…”

Fred burped, giggled and promptly slid from the seat she inhabited to the floor. “Ouchee…ma butt…”

Cordelia couldn’t help but laugh. “Fred, you’re such a dork!” The awkwardness of before had been forgotten about, at least on Cordelia’s part anyway and they’d been having a great time.

Anya was *very* pleased with her hat. Buffy and Willow had stuck a learner driver plate on her hat along with a mock veil and various shapes and sizes of coloured and non-coloured condoms.

Dangling from her wrist were a pair of handcuffs, pink fluffy ones…to which Anya had exclaimed, “Ooh! Xander has a pair just like it!” Eliciting giggles from the rest of the group.

“I don’t want to know about Xander’s sexual habits, thank you.” Said Cordelia, laughing.

“Oh please…don’t pretend like you’re not jealous!” Said Anya, shaking her head, “You totally want him!”

Cordelia almost spat out her drink, “What is it with people thinking I’m hung up on Xander?” She asked. “Angel was the same before we…”

“Jealous! Angel was the jealous one!” Laughed Fred, “And Wesley…he’s just a big ol’ sweetie…”

“Hung up on WESLEY?” Asked Willow, “This just can’t get more disturbing…”

“Well, excuse me Miss ‘I Think I’ll Be A Lesbian Now’…” Snapped Cordelia, immediately rising to the defence of her friend.

“Talk about disturbing…I mean, one minute you’re all lusting after a guy and then next your requirements have changed to anything without a penis?”

Willow blushed profusely but then the entire gang started to laugh as Fred squeaked, “You bat for the home team?”

“Uh…I don’t think you’re supposed to say that to a girl.” Said Buffy, grinning.

“I thought I was tactless.” Said Anya, shaking her head and grinning.

“You are!” Said Willow, laughing, “I’ve never known anyone talk as much about orgasms as you and…” She looked up, something catching her eye, “Buffy, vampire.”

The Slayer’s head snapped up and she blushed, “It’s only Spike…it’s not like he can harm anyone…”

“‘Ello girls… *SLAYER*…” Said the peroxide vampire pointedly, “And ‘ow’s things in this corner of the Bronze.”

“Spike…this is a GIRL’S night…no guys allowed, do you *remember* the concept?” Asked Buffy, sarcastically. “How did you get in anyway?”

“Showed muh teeth to the guy on the door…thought it was scary.” Said the neutered vampire, proudly. “See, still some of the big bad left…but you know that better than anyone, right slayer?”

Buffy’s cheeks flamed and she glared at the blonde vampire, “Spike…bite me…”

The other girls watched as sexual tension crackled in the air, Spike sidling up to Buffy and whispering, “Been there, done that luv…”

Buffy whirled round to whack him but Spike caught her wrist, “Now now slayer…” He chastised, grinning, then, his face slid into a genuine smile, “Want to dance, pet?”

The tenderness in his eyes had Cordelia, Willow and Anya almost salivating whereas Fred giggled, “Nice monster…” She picked herself up off the floor and stood next to Spike, sniffing him.

Spike’s eyes widened, “Uh…what’s she?” He asked, puzzled.

Cordelia yanked Fred from the ever-grinning Spike who was sort of liking having the women’s undivided attention, “She’s human…”

“Yes, just strange.” Said Anya, nodding emphatically.

“Pot calling the kettle black…” Murmured Willow, rolling her eyes and watching as Spike led Buffy out onto the dancefloor…WILLINGLY!

“I wanna dance!” Fred jumped up and went over to the dance floor, swaying her hips (what she thought was seductively) on the dancefloor next to a three foot stud (no, not a horse) by the name of Jonathon.

Willow gasped, “Uh…Cordelia, we need to save Fred…”

The three girls got up, sashaying towards Fred, in time to hear her say, “But…you’re lovely…you’re so sweet and you make my head feel kinda fuzzy and it’s nice. You make me get these feelings somewhere I shouldn’t really get them and…”

Cordelia yelped, pulling Fred away from an embarrassed Jonathon, “You do *not* love him.” Said Cordelia pointedly.

Jonathon looked up at Cordelia Chase, she was different from High School, “No…she doesn’t.” He said simply, “It’s my aftershave she loves…”

Cordelia groaned, “Fred!”

***

“Hurry!” Barked Angel at Gunn, glaring at the younger man.

“English, if you don’t tell him to stop criticising my driving I’m gonna turn round and go right back to LA…” Bit back Gunn, shaking his head.

“As fascinating as this is, Children…” Said Lorne, “I have to pee…” The green demon frowned as Angel told him unequivocally to ‘hold it’.

“As much as my penis is certainly a friend, I don’t feel comfortable ‘holding it’ in front of others.” Said Lorne, “STOP the car. Besides, your son’s gonna want something to drink and you can’t deprive him…”

Knowing he was right, Angel frowned, “Okay…next gas station, we stop…”

“Geez…” Said Gunn, “Angel, you gotta calm down…Cordy’s gonna be fine…”

“Did you hear what he said?” Asked Angel, “GREEN-EYED demon…not fun. How many green eyed demons are there?”

Lorne sighed, “From where I’m sitting, I can see only one.” He said cryptically.

Had Angel not been sprinting into the Gas Station, he would have caught that last comment…however, Gunn and Wesley both caught the comment and looked at the Anagogic Demon, puzzled.

“You mean…Angel’s jealousy is the…demon?” They asked.

“In all kindsa ways…” Said Lorne with a slight smile, “Let’s just say, you’ve gotta be cruel to be kind…”

Part 3

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

One Tequila, Two Tequila… 1   Leave a comment

Title: One Tequila, Two Tequila…
Author: ficbitch82 (aka: Angelicgal82)
Posted originally: 12-19-2001
Rating: R
Email
Category: Humour
Content: C/A
Summary: Response to “The I Have A Penis So Someone Else Has To Write This Story Challenge” “…Just read…you WILL love it!”(Cal)
Spoilers: ATS 3 Xover/BtVS
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:
Notes: CHALLENGE:  (At bottom of page).
A/Note: Just to clear it up, ‘Hen Night’ is the same as a ‘Bachelorette Party’ lol…sorry for the confusion!
Thanks/Dedication:
Feedback: for more fic like this, I would send Christie choccies!


Part 1

Cordelia stood at the counter, applying her make up, a nervous Angel hovering over her shoulder.

Okay, what I don’t get is why they invited me. Me. Cordelia Chase, Self Professed Queen of Mean and they’ve invited me to Anya’s hen night. I can’t say no…’cause that’ll just look petty.

//And we’re all going down in a few days time anyway for the wedding so one night isn’t really going to matter is it? Although, if Angel has anything to do with it…//

“Do you have to go?” //He’s practically whining! Dork.//

“Yes. If I don’t show up it’s just gonna look petty, like I’m not over Xander or something…” Placing her make-up bag down on the counter, Cordelia watched as Angel shuffled nervously on his feet.

“What?” She asks, exasperated.

“Aren’t you?” He asked quietly.

“Aren’t I what?” //God, does he *get* more cryptic with every sentence?//

“Over Xander?” Angel’s voice became kind of…quiet then, like he were almost afraid to ask the question.

//Is he…no…he’s not…he IS! Angel’s jealous! Of Xander. And I can’t help but laugh.//

“Oh please! I was over Xander…funnily enough, not long after I had a rebar shoved through my stomach, ringing any bells? I figured my loser magnetism wouldn’t last my inevitable stardom in LA so…I got rid…”

Cordelia stood, calling up the stairs, “Fred! Are you ready?”

A muffled shout came back down, “Ercantairdis…”

Cordelia frowned, “What the…WHAT?”

Angel pouted, “Cordelia…what if Connor wakes up? You know you’re the only one who can get him to sleep.”

“Then it’s about time you learned, ‘Grrr guy’.” Said Cordelia with a grin, “He has to get to know his Daddy and showing him your vamp face isn’t a way to shut him up…FRED!”

She showed up at the top of the stairs, wearing…that God awful sack from Pylea. “Ready.” She smiled. “Fred, that isn’t the dress I gave you.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head.

“It uhm…it was ripped…and it didn’t fit in with the parallels of my body…” Stammered Fred. “I CAN’T WEAR THIS!” //Ah, so that’s what she said upstairs…//

“Sack. Off.” Said Cordelia, folding her arms across her chest. Reluctantly, Fred pulled the sack from her body to reveal a deep blue dress, short…sleeveless…and admittedly, looked better on her than it did Cordelia.

“Angel, I’ve been going over the…wumph…” Wesley stopped in his tracks seeing Fred.

“You’ve been going over the WUMPH?” Asked Cordelia, stifling a giggle.

“Is that like a new…thing? Should we be researching? Do I need to stay here?” Asked Fred, hopefully.

Cordelia frowned, “Wesley would have made a completely sane comment had he not noticed how hot you look in that dress. Am I right, or am I right?”

“Well…I mean…of course…you look…stunning…I mean…wonderful.” Stuttered Wesley.

Cordelia laughed as Fred blushed, then looked at Angel, mock-accusingly, “How come you never look at *me* like that?” She asked.

Angel sighed, ~If only you knew the half of it.~

***

He brooded. He brooded, pouted, whined, moaned, sulked and even resorted to trying to get Connor to say ‘Ma-Ma’ to the point where I snapped and hit him upside the head with my lip brush. //I’m only going to be away from him for…what? Nine hours? Dork.//

“I can’t believe Angel let us take the car!” Said Fred, bouncing happily in the seat.

Cordelia smiled at this, “Yeah, that’s only ’cause he wants it back by tomorrow night and that’s a surefire way to bring me home.”

“Well, yeah…” Said Fred, “But…your time runs at least three hours after everyone elses…”

Cordelia scowled, “I’ll have you know my time keeping is very…accurate…” She said then laughed, “Okay…maybe not…oh, look. Home sweet home.”

The Welcome To Sunnydale sign came into view and Fred suddenly got nervous, “Will your friends like me, or will they think…”

“Woah, back up there…friends? Nuh-uh…acquaintances, yes. And yes, they’ll like you.” Parking the car outside the Bronze and taking the keys WITH this time, Cordelia led Fred inside the club.

“Wow…wow…WOW!” Said Fred, “I was too young to go places like this before I went to Pylea…but…wow!”

Cordelia smiled, the Bronze really had changed, it still wasn’t as good as LA (smug thoughts, smug thoughts) and its nightlife – not that Cordelia *had* much to base that on but it was still pretty good for being in Sunnydale and all.

Making their way over to the table where Anya, Buffy and Willow sat, Cordelia smiled, “Hey…”

She was receiving shocked looks from the lot of them…WHY?

“Cordelia you’re being…nice!” Said Willow.

Cordelia’s mood instantly darkened somewhat, “I am? Better change that then…guys, I’d like you to meet Winifred Burkle, my best friend.”

Winifred Burkle beamed at Cordelia, and then her friends, “Hi…” She said shyly.

“I’m Buffy, this is Willow and this is Anya, the Bride to Be.” Said Buffy, introducing the others.

“Hello.” Said Anya with a bright smile, “Did you bring a gift?”

Buffy laughed, “Anya…Wedding…Gift’s come at the Wedding. So, how’s…everyone in LA?” Asked Buffy, trying to maintain a degree of casualness.

“You mean, everyone meaning the guy who broods a hell of a lot and goes by the name of Angel?” Said Cordelia, for some reason getting a little annoyed at this,

“Fine…and thanks for asking, Wesley’s fine too.” She said brusquely. “Drink anyone?” Cordelia stood and walked away quickly, having to remind herself to breathe.

“What’s her deal?” Asked Anya.

Fred, a little miffed at being left alone with people she’d only just met, shook her head, “In love with someone and she doesn’t even know it yet…”

***

“Angel, calm down, Cordelia can hold her own!” Said Gunn, shaking his head.

“It’s not *her* holding her own I’m worried about…it’s someone *else* holding her own…” Said Angel, now having convinced himself that she was still in love with Xander and had gone to claim him as hers again.

“Okay, come on. Haven’t got all night. Sun’ll be up in a few hours time.” Said Angel, carrying his son up towards the steps of the hotel.

“What? Where are we going?” Asked Wesley.

“Sunnydale.”

“Angel, this is madness…” Said Wesley, “You’re acting like a jealous teenager and…”

“Evening kiddies…” The green, Anagogic Demon bounded into the hotel, impressively chirpy considering his LACK of nightclub, place to sell his wares.

“Ooh, look at Mr Tall Dark and Feminine…anyone else feeling a kodak moment coming on?”

Connor gurgled and pointed at Angel, “Da-da…” Then promptly, burst into tears.

“See!” Said Angel, triumphantly, “He wants his Mom…who am I to deprive him of anything? Sssshhh…” He tried to soothe his child and then, realising he had no other option, began to sing the song that Cordelia sang to soothe him every night.

‘Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head, close to my heart
Never to part, baby you’re mine’

“Ooh, *love* the use of Disney there, AngelCakes but…if I were you…I’d be hot-footing it to Sunnydale, right now…” Said Lorne.

Angel’s head snapped up, “What? Why?” He asked.

“A demon…a big, green eyed monster…”

“I’ll get the weapons…” Said Wesley, running up the stairs as Angel got into Gunn’s truck, along with The Host, Gunn…and seconds later, Wesley.

“Drive. Fast.” Said Angel, a growl erupting in his throat.

Part 2

Challenge: 

*Okay, no matter how much Will & Grace I watch, I’m still a little too male to do this story right…so here’s what I’m talking about: *Fred and Cordy go to Sunnydale, and have a girls night out. Not being a girl, I’m not too familiar with anything but the cleanup. *Drunk Fred. And I do mean drunk. *Embarrassing Revelations of the Romantic Variety.

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

Merry Christmas.   Leave a comment

Title: Merry Christmas
Author: Christie aka angelicgal82/ficbitch8282
Posted:
Email
Rating: PG
Category:
Content:
Summary: It’s Christmas in the hotel and Angel’s spending it exactly the way he wants to
Spoilers: Set just after the beginning of S2.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:
Notes: Yes, the title is ultra lame. But it’s Christmas. You all forgive me.
Thanks/Dedication:For Cali. Who asked for Christmas fic.
Feedback:always appreciated


It had been Angel’s idea to spend Christmas at the hotel. He’d surprised Cordelia with his insistence, actually.

She’d expected him to brood alone in his room for half the day, come out and ooh and aah appreciatively over the gifts she was sure he’d like and then head back to the Brooding Den for much pensiveness over the awful things he’d done back in the powdered wig days.

Angel had done none of that and Cordelia was starting to get a little suspicious.

The big-ass industrial kitchen that no-one ever used was rife with a host of smells to make the average vision girl’s mouth water.

Gunn was staying well out of way with the Game Boy game she’d picked up for him earlier that week and Wesley– Wesley was drooling over some translation or other while Cordelia hovered.

“You’re not supposed to be in here,” he observed, popping his head over the top of the refrigerator door.

Cordelia’s eyebrow arched. “I thought I’d see if you wanted some help,” she told him, biting her lip to keep from laughing as he stepped out from behind the door. She’d have been less surprised if he’d been naked. “What the hell are you wearing?”

“My Christmas present from Gunn.” He explained, lifting the 15 pound turkey as if it were the easiest thing in the world and trying to avoid any major spillage. They’d each been allowed to open one gift before dinner – Angel’s insistence again.

His gift from Gunn had been the gaudy kind of apron – the one with boobs and the maids outfit – the works. She honestly hadn’t expected him to wear it.

Cordelia had wanted to open them all – especially the big one gift-wrapped at the back of the tree, decorated with gold paper, a silver bow and a tag with Angel’s (slightly girly, if she was honest) writing.

“I don’t see why we can’t open the presents now,” she pouted, “Dinner won’t be ready for forever and it was always tradition that we opened the gifts first.”

Angel looked at her, amusement tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Cordelia–“

“I’m exercising serious restraint here, Angel. Do you know how hard it is seeing them lying there? It totally defeats the whole purpose of a gift! They’re made to be unwrapped a-and–“

Angel let her rant run its course until the air was practically blue and Cordelia’s pout had turned into more of a scowl and stepped forward, pressing a small, box-shaped gift into her hand.

“I was going to wait until later but…”

She was about to say that she was more concerned with the big-ass gift under the tree. She was about to say that they’d agreed – three gifts each (that was a totally fair number) – on account of the fact that visions had been lacking and clients had been even more sparse.

She’d been about to say that apart from the beautiful Pashmina shawl that she was sure Angel couldn’t afford, she’d spotted two other gifts under the tree and that the one in her hand equalled gift number four.

Angel smiled indulgently. “Are you waiting until after dinner to–“

He didn’t get the rest of the sentence out. Cordelia had torn off the paper already and was snapping open the little lock on the box. “That’s for me?”

It was a stupid question really, considering the fact that she was the only girl who worked at the hotel but– Still. “You bought me that?”

Angel nodded and for a moment, doubt crossed his face, “You like it?”

She smiled, but it was watery. She remembered seeing it months ago on the one shopping trip she’d actually gone on with Angel and looked at it in the window of some ass-old jewellers that specialised in antiques.

When she’d went in to try it on a week later (nothing wrong with window shopping) the necklace had gone.

“It’s the one–“

“Grace McCandless wore. I know.” He nodded, “I went in when you ordered me out of Socks.”

Cordelia grinned, “Saks?”

Angel just smiled again. She could forgive him that one, since he’d bought her the necklace she’d been eyeing for weeks, though it was way out of his price range. Her face threatened to fall then.

Could he actually afford this? The Pashmina shawl had probably cost him a few thousand bucks alone– Unless he’d gone all five fingered discount Angel but that wasn’t really his style.

Sensing that something was off, Angel caught her gaze, “Cordelia?”

“Not that I don’t love the gifts or anything,” she cautioned, lest he take them away and send them back to the stores he’d got them from or whatever, “Because really, they’re beautiful, it’s just… Not only can we really not afford this? But Christmas… It’s not really your thing is it? I mean, I wasn’t even around last Christmas but the amount of brooding must’ve been immense.”

She seemed to realise what she’d said because she opened her mouth again, her words coming out in a rush, “And who could blame you? It’s not a regular occurrence being visited by the ghosts of years gone by… Unless you happen to be Scrooge and– Hey,” she laughed, nervously, “Vampineezer Scrooge.”

His face really fell then and Cordelia realised that she hadn’t just put her foot in it, she’d thrown her entire leg in. “I didn’t mean that! I mean… Look at the gifts! And all the food! And–“

“Are you trying to say thank you, Cordelia?” Asked Angel, hopefully.

Cordelia’s mouth closed abruptly. She was getting used to reading Angel, recognising patterns and signs that he was in for Brow City and a broodathon a-and this new Angel who knew how to read her was disconcerting, and frankly? A little weird.

“I– Yes, but that’s not the point, Angel… What gives? There’s no snow, I don’t have a Christmas miracle to offer you unless you happen to like me mixing up the black on black look for your incredibly pale ass and there you are getting all with the joys of Christmas. Did I miss a memo?”

She didn’t mean to be suspicious, really she didn’t. But it really was a little strange, wasn’t it? Especially considering his last Christmas which was spent in the clutches of The First.

“Okay,” Angel sighed, putting the towel down on the counter, “You wanna know what’s going on?”

Cordelia nodded. It’d make all this easier. And if Angel was seriously forcing the festive she’d find a way to unforce it and they’d get with the eating and the opening of gifts. Simple!

“It was the Shanshu prophecy,” he started, “It… It got me thinking, was all.”

He paused and Cordelia took that as her cue to jump in. “Angel– I thought you were okay with that…” Not that she would blame him if she wasn’t or anything but…

They’d had that talk. He’d gone, spanked his inner moppet and she thought they’d been okay.

“I am okay with that,” he nodded, “That’s my point. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but… I’m a little slow to catch on,” he smiled, “I realised that I have something that I’ve never– I have family, Cordelia. I have something I didn’t last year – something I haven’t in… Well, never, and that’s new to me. I’m just trying to celebrate it the best way I know how.”

“Through lots of gift giving?” She asked, hopefully, her face relaxing into a smile. Okay, now she felt better.

It was weird – all year they’d been about tiny little epiphanies, about finding people and losing people and learning what was important and the one day Angel had the biggest epiphany of all?

He managed to totally freak her out in the process.

“Through lots of gift giving,” he grinned, “So… You gonna get out of my kitchen?”

Cordelia started to laugh and reached up, kissing Angel’s cheek, “Okay. Merry Christmas, Broody. And don’t take too long with the cooking, okay? Some of us are dying to open our other presents.”

Angel chuckled and hugged her briefly, watching as she headed out of the kitchen. He turned back to his turkey only to find her at the door again. “Cordy?”

“Thanks, Angel,” she said softly, “For the necklace and… Well, y’know, family. Christmas at home was– Well it was never like this, that’s for sure.” She smiled.

Angel nodded. “You’re welcome.”

FIN

Ficbitch82

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

Downward Spiral. 2   1 comment

***

Three days had passed since he’d last spoken to Cordelia and the black-hole-of-Darla-shaped-despair had multiplied.

Cordelia had refused to talk to Angel after tending her resignation.

Actually, she’d refused to talk to anyone. She’d remained stony-faced and in pain even as their ghost had tossed Angel through the attic door itself, it still wasn’t all he deserved in her book.

He’d remembered his latin then, much to Cordelia’s annoyance. Okay, so it sorta had something to do with his getting his hands on Wes’ book again, but still–She’d been reunited with her shoes when the burst of bright light happened and that was it over with.

Pervy Dead guy had crossed over to wherever it was creepy-ass poltergeists crossed over to and now they were left holding the pieces.

Literally.

When Wes had shot from the room they’d been locked in, all bat-out-of-hell like and took one look at her, Cordelia had shot him the death glare. He didn’t want to know. Really.

It was Angel who’d had to explain. About the dress that she couldn’t return now, about the fact that he’d broken a couple of her ribs and finally, about her quitting and he did it all looking like he’d been staked through the heart and, miraculously, lived.

It was Angel who’d watched and felt his heart sink as Cordelia had hopped up into Gunn’s truck, leaving him no choice but to deliver Wes home instead.

“Have you heard from her?”

“No, Angel,” Wesley sighed, “I have not, in the last five minutes since you asked, heard from Cordelia.”

He’d talked to her early that morning and again late afternoon, neither of which he’d told Angel about.

She sounded quieter than usual, worse than she had the entire time they’d been fired only, when pressed, Cordelia had got angry.

“I’m so sick of everyone asking how I’m doing. I have seven broken ribs, I just quit my job and have no way of paying rent, all in all? I’d say I’m pretty shitty, actually.”

Wesley didn’t have the heart or, indeed, the gall to suggest that Cordelia come back to work. He’d offered to quit with her, to start their own team up yet again because if that’s what she wanted, then that’s what he’d do.

She hadn’t got back to him on that and Wesley had thought that perhaps leaving Cordelia to her own devices was best.

Whichever path she took (and he’d stand by her, no matter what) she had to decide on it herself. It was no good camping outside her apartment and demanding she see sense.

No, Cordelia had to make her own decisions. All they had to do was wait.

———-

It had taken three days, a vat of ice cream and a round of bitching at Phantom Dennis to even clue Cordelia in to the fact that maybe she’d made a mistake.

The PTB had kept the noise in her head to a minimum over the last couple of days and Cordelia couldn’t work out why she’d panicked until she realized that they may have actually taken her quitting seriously.

Of course, that thought had made her all the more pissed. She had been serious. Why the hell should she work for Angel or even with Angel when he hadn’t even spared her or his mission a thought in the last three months?

Why the hell should she have every social event ever ruined because the PTB had, like, no sense of timing whatsoever?

Why the hell had Angel got to walk away, abandon his mission, when she was stuck there with visions she hadn’t even wanted in the first place?

She was too young for this, damnit! She was supposed to be out partying, dating rich playboy milionaires that’d take her away from this lifestyle and never let her think about it again.

And here she was, hugging the empty vat of ice cream for support.

She was feeling pretty miserable, slouched on her couch with the TV providing a low hum of noise in the background when Phantom Dennis switched stations on her.

He cranked up the volume and tuned her in for the pep talk of doom on some lame-ass movie that was playing.

“Dennis, cut it out,” Cordelia frowned, reaching for the remote and shutting off her set. She already felt like she’d made the biggest mistake of her life to date and her ghosty-roommate wasn’t helping.

The set flickered again, this time to an actor doing sad-face and Cordelia snapped altogether. “Jesus, Dennis! Do you want me to hire an exorcist? Really?”

The set shut off, the apartment plunged into silence and Cordelia immediately felt bad. It wasn’t Dennis’ fault. Was he not the ghost who’d brought her the vat of butter pecan from her freezer just one hour ago when she was really at her lowest ebb?

“Dennis, I’m sorry–” Cordelia started. It wasn’t fair to take her frustrations at Angel out on anybody, least of all him.

Frowning, she got up and grabbed her jacket off the back of the couch. “I’m going out.”

———-

An hour later and Cordelia had realized two things. One; her credit card was maxed to the absolute limit, something she’d discovered after she’d tried to buy the way over-priced shoes at Neiman Marcus that she didn’t even want anyway but would totally make her feel better…

And two? She had no job, no official prospects and going back to Angel Investigations would be like crawling back with her tail between her legs and she had way way too much pride for that.

She was feeling pretty miserable when she stepped off the sidewalk. She never even saw the vision coming.

The pain exploded behind her eyelids and Cordelia barely had time to let out a whimper before down she went, scraping her knees on the ground beneath her.

A series of flashes, a huge demon dripping spittle that burned like acid, and suddenly it was over.

Cordelia blinked, seconds away from tears as the world bled back into focus around her, a guy kneeling over her and cradling her head so that it didn’t hit the floor.

“You’re okay,” he was saying, though his words seemed slurred and hazy through the pain. “We called for help.”

He was older than her, probably in his 60’s with tired eyes. He looked like he’d seen it all and then some and now he’d met with her on the night she’d had a vision.

Lucky guy.

She moved to get up, winced, and let him lift her, still feeling a little shaky on her feet. “You whacked your head pretty hard,” he was telling her, “the EMT’s are on their way.”

“I’m fine.” It was Cordelia’s standard response for the usual people, except the usual people weren’t around here. She was out, again, in public, embarassing herself horribly following a pretty shitty vision.

She tried to be gracious in batting the guys hands away, it wasn’t like he was trying to cop a feel or anything, but time was of the essence on this vision and if she didn’t call it in–

“Shit.” Her stuff was littered across the sidewalk. Her money clip, pepper spray, stake and keys had all survived. Her cellphone, however, had smashed into little bitty pieces on the ground.

Her night had just been upgraded from bad to worse. She turned to the guy who’d stopped her skull from ending up like her cellphone. “I don’t suppose you have a cellphone?”

He looked immediately apologetic, shook his head. “Never had one. Don’t believe in ’em. You should probably wait for the EMT’s anyway…”

“I’m fine,” Cordelia told him again, “Really. I just–I need to call my friends. They’ll come get me.”

“I have a cab,” he offered, gesturing behind him to the yellow cab he seemed to have abandoned hastily when Cordelia had gone down. “I’ll take you wherever you wanna go, free of charge.”

Her eyebrows lifted. Her first instinct was to be suspicious; after all, random kindness from strangers wasn’t something she was used to, especially not in LA.

“Free of charge?”

He gave a smile and Cordelia realized that his eyes were brown, crinkled at the edges. He reminded her of an older Wes.

“You look like you’re having a rough night, is all.”

Okay, she couldn’t disagree with that.

He asked where she wanted to go and Cordelia told him, no hesitation. It didn’t occur to her to head home.

She had enough money in her purse to get back home on a bus, her credit cards maxed to the absolute limit – she couldn’t have paid him if she’d wanted to.

She’d tell herself later that the hotel was closer, that taking the guy halfway across the other side of town and way out of his way just wasn’t fair. She’d get Wes to drop her off once they’d killed the thing in her vision.

The guy was pretty polite. He’d talked quietly on the way to the Hyperion, introduced himself as Sam in a voice as soft as a murmur and left her to ride out the waves of pain that were written all over her face.

He didn’t ask once what the hell was the matter with her and Cordelia had upgraded him from kind, random stranger to a prince among men.

He helped her out of his cab and to the door of the Hyperion, cupping her elbow in his palm.

“I’ll get you some money,” Cordelia started, as she reached for the door handle but Sam shook his head, no, smiled a little.

“I’d want someone to help my daughter. If she were,” he paused, choosing his words carefully as if he were trying not to offend after everything he’d done for her, “in trouble. Go on now.”

“Thanks,” said Cordelia, “Really. You’re–Pretty much a lifesaver.”

He ducked his head and gave a tiny wave as he headed back to his cab.

She pushed open the door to the hotel. At first glance, the place was deserted. No Wes researching, no Gunn… Definitely no Angel, and Cordelia felt a stab of uncertainty.

Before she could even get the words out of her mouth, he appeared, his brow wrinkled in concern. “Cordy?”

She figured she should feel mad. Within the space of three seconds he’d crossed the room, hand at her elbow where Sam’s had been to lead her into the lobby and if he thought she’d missed the way his nostrils had flared at the blood, he was very much mistaken.

“What happened?”

Cordelia winced as he lowered her carefully into the chair, treating her like spun glass. Her bloody knee scraped painfully against the denim of her jeans. “Duh. Vision. Apparently the PTB didn’t get my memo about quitting.”

It was Angel’s turn to wince at the tone of her voice and he looked down.

Her heart squeezed involuntarily and she was thankful Angel wasn’t looking at her properly because she really had to work to keep her face impassive. “You wanna know what I saw or not?”

———-

Credit wasn’t something she’d wanted to give Angel again any time soon (if ever) but he’d jumped at her vision pretty much as soon as the words had left her mouth.

Wes and Gunn were out of the hotel, following up a new case that’d landed on their desk just that evening. They’d cultivated new informants when they’d been Team-Angel-Without-The-Angel and this particular informant had an aversion to vampires which, lucky for Cordelia, meant that Angel had got to stay home while they went and did their thing.

He’d offered to take her home first but her apartment was right out of the way and time was of the essence on her spittle-demon.

She’d waved him off, watching him collect his broadsword like the dutiful little soldier he was trying to be these days and sighed.

He wasn’t making it very easy to be mad at him. Her earlier assessment had been wrong – she hadn’t had to crawl in here, tail between her legs. No, her vision had given her some lead-in, at least, and a hefty dose of concern ala Angel that usually got her mad.

There was no mad here. She just felt… Well, tired, really. Her head hurt from the vision and Cordelia couldn’t help but thinking that she’d made a huge, huge mistake in quitting.

That, and a little voice was needling at her, telling her to cut the guy some slack. He didn’t have to answer her vision, after all.

It was testimony to Angel that he had, in fact, though that opened a can of worms that Cordelia didn’t want opened.

“He owes me,” she’d argued with herself, annoyed that she’d even tried cutting him some slack, until she realized that she was actually arguing. With herself. And that pretty soon the guys in the white coats would come take her away.

She’d stomped her foot at that, acting almost petulant at the inner voice that was actually making some sense right now, and headed upstairs to shower.

It wasn’t until she emerged on a cloud of steam, knee sans-blood and hair and body both wrapped in a towel that Cordelia remembered that Angel had sold all her clothes.

The crank intensified. Not only had she not been able to find any halfway decent painkillers, but now she had no clothes either?

Deciding that not only was this turning out to be worse than Halloween but that Angel owed her (again), Cordelia pulled the towel from her hair, dropping it onto the floor of the bedroom she often used if she was too tired to go home post-vision.

It felt weird walking into Angel’s bedroom after months of never being in it. Actually, it felt weird walking into Angel’s room when he wasn’t there all overhanging forehead and skulky manpire act.

She’d been there a couple of times. Mostly to wake him, those last few months, when he’d been sleeping more and more and she’d worried about the same.

It hadn’t really changed much.

She pulled open the closet door, aware that the assault of black was almost going to be too much–And then paused, dropping to her knees.

On the floor of Angel’s closet lay bags. Dozens of bags filled with an array of colors and fabrics. Puzzled, she began rooting through, wondering when it was Angel had turned into a big cross-dressing freak.

It wasn’t until a moment later that she noticed the clothes were all her size.

Infuriated, she stood and kicked one of the bags, watching it up-end and spill its contents across the closet floor. What, Angel thought he could buy her back? As if she were honestly that shallow?

Okay, she’d give him that she was shallow – hell, she’d made a name for herself out of it. But seriously? That just stung.

She stepped back and grabbed one of his oversize t-shirts, ready to stomp back down the stairs and wait for him to return so she could give him a piece of her mind when her gaze caught on something she hadn’t seen in about a year.

High on the shelf was a tape, labelled in Angel’s block letters: DOYLE.

———-

He found her lying on the sofa in Wes’ office, illuminated by the glow of the TV she was no longer watching, wearing a pair of his sweat pants and one of his shirts. A glass of water lay on the table beside her, a small piece of white residue beside it – a telltale sign that Cordelia had taken something for the vision headache.

She was asleep.

Angel sighed, feeling his gut twist. He wanted her back, needed her back. Not because of the visions. But because–she was his friend and he missed her, damnit.

She was different to a year and a half ago, when she’d first breezed into his life. Her hair was shorter, sure. Her clothes hung a little differently, she’d lost weight in the last few months too.

But she was beautiful, still, and so very young compared to him.

Her breathing was even, her chest rising and falling with a gentle rhythm that seemed to soothe him, he wasn’t used to seeing her so still.

He turned, aimed the remote at the TV to switch it off, which was when he noted the tape sticking out of the VCR.

Angel felt a pang and he looked back at Cordelia, pressing a different button instead and turning the volume right down to a low hum.

Instantly, Doyle filled the screen.

“When the chips are down, and you’re at the end of your rope you need someone that you can count on. And that’s what you’ll find here – someone that will go all the way, no matter what. So don’t lose hope. Come on over to our offices and you’ll see that there’s still heroes in this world…”

Angel swallowed, he’d watched the video a dozen times, more, and it never seemed to hurt any less.

“Is that it? Am I done?”

His throat worked as the tape cut out and he looked down, flicking off the set. He’d lost almost everything for this fight; some of it — Cordelia — through his own stupidity.

The glow from the TV faded and Angel sat there for a moment, not noticing that Cordelia’s breathing had changed or that she was awake.

“I was snooping,” she said quietly, after a minute had passed. “I found that.”

Her words were tinged with sadness, not anger. Angel turned towards her, letting his gaze sweep over her face. Her eyes were red and puffy.

She’d been crying and he hadn’t noticed, initially. He went to tell her it was okay when she continued.

“I found the clothes.”

She didn’t sound mad about it, but she didn’t sound thrilled either and Angel hurried to explain.

“I was going to give you them but I thought–I thought you’d think I was trying to buy your friendship and–I didn’t wanna do that.”

She seemed to think about that for a moment, weigh her options before she spoke again.

“I’m right, y’know.”

“With what?

“What I said. About people coming back from the powdered wig days to bite you in the ass. It’s always gonna happen, isn’t it?”

“Cordy–“

“Angel, let me finish,” she frowned, moving to sit up on the couch. “I’m still mad at you, okay? You hurt me, more than I thought possible. More than I knew anyone could after–” Cordelia paused, refusing to say Xander’s name aloud and bring him into this.

This, no matter how she compared it, was different.

“I bounce back. That’s my thing. I spank my inner moppet, move on, and usually do it all wearing killer pumps and a skirt that’s three inches shorter than my last one, but this…”

It had taken a bag full of Xander-heads that she’d cut from photos and reading about spells ala boils on the penis for her to start even getting over the guy – and he hadn’t even been worth it, not when he’d traded her in for a mousy, boyfriend stealing little wimp like Willow.

Angel was different.

She wasn’t in love with him, the guy had some major fixer-upper issues going on and she so did not hate herself that much.

No, Angel was different because Angel was her friend. Her first real friend. And that was what had stung the most.

“I spent about 15 years of my life hanging with people who only wanted to be around me ’cause I was rich or popular and I was fine with that, way back when. They weren’t real friends. You were. And that’s what’s hard about this, I guess.”

“I really am sorry.”

“I know you are,” she nodded, “I don’t know anyone who flagellates the way you do, Angel. You’ll dissect it and you’ll think of ways you should’ve done this and should’ve done that and, y’know, for a while? That’s fine. You have a forever, you have time to make it up to me.”

Angel glanced up at her, barely daring to hope. “Does that mean–“

“That I’m coming back to work?” Cordelia smiled before she could stop herself. “I guess it does. I mean… If you think you can use me?”

He found himself warmed by those simple words. It had been him who’d reached out to Cordelia way back when, offered her a job and, later, she’d admit, a lifeline. Now, roles reversed, he’d come to realize how much he needed her.

Doyle had been right; Cordelia was a humanizing influence.

Angel reached out, placing his hand over the top of hers and squeezing gently. “I can’t do this by myself.”

Cordelia grinned, “Y’know, you’re pretty slow to catch on for a guy whose had about a billion years of experience.”

“Two hundred,” he amended, then, “I guess I’m still learning.”

“Yeah, well, I guess me too. You’re not the only one who lost their way for a while there.”

She glanced back towards the tape sticking out the VCR. “The visions suck, Angel, I’m not gonna lie. But helping people, doing what we do… It’s worth it, y’know? Even if the Powers do see fit to screw up every attempt at a social life I have…”

“You gonna see him again?” Angel asked, even though there was something in him that made him not want to know.

“Who, Lane?” Cordelia thought about that for a second, wrinkling her nose.

“As much as it pains me to say this considering his investment portfolio? I don’t think so. We’re from different worlds. The closest he’s ever come to a demon is his mother and believe me when I say no weapon forged could ever slay that beast. I don’t think it’s meant to be.”

And though initially she’d been narked at that, thinking of all the things she could’ve had being at the mercy of one Lane Daniels for all the right reasons? Cordelia found she didn’t actually care.

“I’m over it. Well, I’m kinda over it. I’m getting there,” said Cordelia, wiping the smile off her face and replacing it with a sombre expression, “I know what could help.”

He looked ready to offer her the world if she wanted it and Cordelia knew she’d made the right choice in saying what she had tonight.

“Those clothes. Upstairs? They’re too pretty to return and my closet is seriously feeling the pinch tonight.”

“They’re yours,” said Angel, feeling more at peace than he had in months as he got off the sofa to go get her bags.

“And Chinese?”

“Now you’re pushing it,” Angel joked, chuckling to himself as he headed upstairs, leaving Cordelia alone in the office.

She sat back on the sofa, glancing at the TV again. She could hear Doyle as plain as if it’d been yesterday, not a year and a half and a few dozen viewings of that tape later.

“Someone that’ll go all the way, no matter what,” she murmured, smiling to herself. “Yup. Even if they do get lost along the way sometimes.”

~ FIN ~

Ficbitch82

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete

Downward Spiral. 1   Leave a comment

Title: Downward Spiral
Author: Christie (aka ficbitch8282/angelicgal82)
Posted here: Oct 2014
Email
Rating:
Category: Halloween Ficathon 2009
Content: C/A & the gang.
Summary: The Gang go out to investigate a case, much to the chagrin of Cordelia who was supposed to be on a date. She goes – unwillingly – and winds up locked in a room with Angel.
Spoilers: Everything up to but not including Disharmony in S2. Also? I’ve fudged the timelines about a bit for BTVS/ATS and where Cordelia’s birthday falls. I cheat. Mercilessly.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask.
Notes: Not beta-ed. All mistakes are mine. Okay, I’m a little rusty. I don’t even remember the last fic I wrote, if I’m honest. But here this is. An awesome prompt that lead me to kicking myself for all of a month over. *G*
Thanks/Dedication:To Livvie for the awesome prompt of: (bottom of page)
Feedback: Appreciated.


This was officially the worst Halloween of Angel’s life ever.

There weren’t many things that could earn a night that title. He’d lived through a couple of plagues, the Depression, he’d seen a lot of sick and depraved things. Caused about three quarters of them…

But this, right here. This was fear.

He waited, holding non-existent breath as the first ring came and went. The second, the third…

And when finally the call connected, and Cordelia snapped out a harsh, “The world had better be ending!” Angel finally knew what it was like to truly fear for your life.

———-

“The one night a year we actually get off and I get called in on a case? How unfair is that?” Cordelia demanded, stomping down the stairs and into the lobby.

She was officially over the demon-killing business. Her second year of being Vision-Girl and the one night she’d been guaranteed by, like, all those in the “know” that business would be quiet?

Was, thus far, turning out to be the very opposite of quiet, despite her best efforts and her continued prayers that her cellphone wouldn’t ring tonight.

Dressed to impress in her Elvira, Mistress of the Dark costume and looking for a night that didn’t involve visions, vampires or demon-goop, Cordelia was ready for a night of relaxation.

A night of date-type fun with a guy who not only had a pulse and didn’t carry a deadly weapon, like, everywhere he went; but also had enough money to buy a small country.

And here she was, standing in the middle of the lobby with Angel who looked – and rightly so – like she was about to shove her foot somewhere unpleasant.

Still on shaky ground on account of the whole Going-Crazy-and-Firing-His-Team-Horribly? Angel was in grovel mode. Worse? Angel was in needy-grovel mode. And he wasn’t letting up.

“Cordy, we need the whole team there. I know you had plans–“

“You’re damn right I had plans!” Cordelia snapped, dumping her clutch on the desk in front of her and watching with a frown as the contents spilled out – cellphone, pepper spray, keys, stake and cash.

Quiet night or not, living in Sunnydale had pretty much guaranteed that Cordelia never left the house without some kind of weapon in her purse.

“Do you know how many times I’ve had to blow this guy off because of a case? I’m officially running out of excuses and he doesn’t seem to get why the supposed secretary-slash-all-round-awesome-assistant of a detective agency has to be there for every case.”

Because, honestly? They’d been worked to the bone these last couple of weeks. And while Cordelia so didn’t mind the money that was currently being frittered away in her account, there was such a thing as being run into the ground.

Not that the guys were complaining. Angel was pretty happy just to be working again and all yay-team! over helping those helpless.

Wes? Well, he was a geek – the guy was only ever happy when he could consult his books over something and Gunn?

Gunn’s axe had seen more action in one week than she had in 3-years as reigning champ of Hotties at Sunnydale High School. And that was saying something.

Cordelia was tired. And so very much in need of that elusive thing called fun. On the one night of the year that most of the demons of the world wanted to behave? There was a ghost somewhere that didn’t and Angel Investigations had officially been hired, much to her annoyance.

She looked at Angel who was erring on the side of uncomfortable and waited a beat before arching her eyebrow. “Well?”

“I–I was… Do you think maybe you should get changed before we hit the road?” He tried not to look. A valiant effort, really… And Angel was nothing if not chivalrous but he still didn’t manage it.

There was quite a hefty amount of leg on show, if he was honest. A split up the side of her long, dark skirt revealing longer legs, hidden by dark hose.

And then there was the top half. Which would have been all kinds of interesting if he dared look.

He didn’t.

Cordelia’s gaze darkened, “And what’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing! Nothing, I just thought–” What he thought was that her outfit was wildly inappropriate for working a case but since he didn’t dare suggest that to her, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Looking browbeat, Angel glanced at his shoes. “We should go,” he mumbled, hefting his broadsword from the crappy little desk he’d been given, right between the coffee pot and the phone.

“Clock’s ticking,” he reminded her gently. “Wes and Gunn are already there.”

Cordelia rolled her eyes, “Well, whoop-de-friggin’-do. You’re buying me dinner after this, I hope you know.”

—–

Things, of course, weren’t that simple.

After meeting Phantom Dennis’ mother and unleashing all hell on the bitch herself, Cordelia had assumed that the haunted house gig would be a walk in the park. Open and shut case, back home in time for Angel to supply her with Chinese and be on his merry way back to the hotel to brood.

Alone.

Things, of course, didn’t go to plan.

“We’re locked in.”

Angel knew this.

“Did you hear me?”

He had.

“Angel?” Her voice sharpened considerably when she said his name.

He turned to look at her, tried to look everywhere but below her neck, and didn’t miss the look of annoyance on her face. Or the undercurrent of fear. “I’m working on it.”

“By pounding on a door that’s been locked for 20 minutes? Shouldn’t you be, like, conserving energy in case the old guy comes back?”

He bit his tongue, painfully aware he was still on probation regardless of whether he’d given up leadership or not and settled for smiling patiently at her instead.

“You look like a serial killer when you do that,” she pointed out, sitting down on a crate and glancing at her nails.

He’d been banging on that door for what seemed like forever and, unlike the headache raging behind her eyes, help wasn’t coming.

At all.

“What I want to know is what the hell Wes and Gunn are doing,” she murmured, incensed that they’d been abandoned by their friends. Well, maybe abandoning was stretching it a little.

It was Angel who suggested they go their separate ways, right before he’d remembered that he wasn’t in charge any more.

Fearless leader guy was now Wes, only he didn’t look so fearless when he was suggesting the same thing Angel had in a less manly, more throat-clearing voice.

Cover more ground, he’d said, which had suited Cordelia down to the ground. Covering more ground had meant getting out of here faster… Or it would’ve, if Wes hadn’t paired her with Angel and the ghost haunting the house hadn’t seen fit to lock them in the attic upstairs.

Right now, Angel was hammering on the door like being locked in here with her was the worst torture he could think of in his actual serial-killing unlife.

“What’s the deal with this place, anyway?” She asked. It looked like something out of a lame TV show. All fake spider-webs and equally lame Halloween-style dressing, pumpkins, the lot – not convincing at all until you saw the extreme dead-guy coming at you with an axe.

He was very real. And very, very pissed that people were in his house.

“I mean it’s obviously haunted–” (and Cordelia had to give Angel bonus points for shoving her behind him when Creepy McScary had come at her even if the ensuing chase had ended up with Angel locking them in with no way of getting out) “–but all this stuff?”

She plucked at the fake spiders-web with a fingernail and rolled her eyes. “Please. It doesn’t even look real. Do these people just really like Halloween or what?”

“The guy was from a TV station,” said Angel absently, still trying to find a way to get them out. He’d tried shouldering through the door but even that hadn’t worked. “He told me the name of the show… Ghost–something?”

He hadn’t been listening. Not really. Wes had handled much of the conversation from the guy, Angel had been too busy trying to think of a way to get himself back in Cordelia’s good graces after falling into a black hole of Darla-shaped despair and firing them all.

It was Angel who’d half-suggested Wes and Gunn to go on ahead, scope out the place. It was Angel who’d jumped at the chance to wait for Cordelia, drive her over.

He hadn’t been expecting her outfit. Or, in fact, the wrath at her failed date. Had he not heard her on the phone to a fellow Sunnydale graduate, telling her that the guy wasn’t really her type?

Angel had, of course, but if Cordelia knew that she’d accuse him of eavesdropping which–Okay, he had been, but he didn’t like the idea of Cordelia being out there aone with a guy he hadn’t personally vetted.

“Ghostfacers?”

Angel glanced over at her and made a face, thinking for a moment. “I think that was it, yeah. You know it?”

“Know it?” Fire danced in her eyes now and she hopped down off the crate, wondering when her apparent lot in life had changed from bound-for-superstardom to working-for-people-who-just-didn’t-get-her. Ever.

“Jesus, Angel, do you guys ever even listen to me?”

Her voice pitched at that and Angel knew she was pissed. He felt like a heel. Aside from wondering whether this was before or after he’d fired her, he didn’t honestly have a clue what she was talking about. “Uh…”

“Don’t strain yourself.” She held up a hand. “It was three months ago. And, to be fair? You were kinda obsessed with the blonde and skanky one.”

She’d had an audition with one of the executives for the TV station that produced Ghostfacers. He was kinda creepy, if she was honest, but Cordelia was willing to overlook that for the fact that he’d offered her the lead in his show and who did scary and screaming better than her?

She told Angel as much, frowning, and added that one Todd Landers (the same guy who’d offered her what amounted to the lead in this show) had been more interested in her talents on the casting couch than off it.

“You didn’t get the part?” Angel felt his chest swell a little.

“Eww,” Cordelia glared at him, killing the chest-swell with just one glance, “What do I look like to you, a hooker?” Then, “Don’t answer that.” She didn’t suppose her Elvira outfit put her in the virginal category, exactly.

“Anyway, the show’s a total fake. I mean, for one? The special effects are totally lame. Nobody actually buys it.” She pointed to the spiders-webs and then the pumpkins, accordingly. “You see what they dress their set with?”

Angel had to agree but the parts he had been listening to and which he hadn’t told Cordelia yet were currently running a marathon in his mind. “How do you explain the ghost?”

Her eyerows shot up, “How do I explain the ghost? Uh, newsflash, Broody – that’s your department. All I know is that the creepy-dead guy is way more real than Ghostfacers have ever done so either they’ve stumbled onto an actual haunted house in their play for ratings and called in the real paranormal detectives…”

“Or?”

Cordelia frowned, “I don’t have an or. You’re the detective,” she made a shooing motion with her hands, “Go. Detect.”

———-

“I’m gettin’ kinda tired of this,” said Gunn, glancing at Wes who, much like his former employer, was whaling on a door that was showing no signs of opening. “Vampires, I can deal with. The odd demon? Hey, why not. But ghosts comin’ at me with an axe and then lockin’ me in a room for an hour?”

“You’re not being helpful…” Wesley pointed out, hitting the door. Again. “And it hasn’t been an hour.”

Gunn rubbed a hand over his head, exasperated, “What do you want me to do, Wes? I figure you got the monopoly of bangin’ on a door over there. You let me know how that works out, yeah?”

Wesley sighed. Gunn was right. They’d been stuck in here for twenty minutes and all they’d worked out was the fact that the door wasn’t opening and the house was indeed haunted.

“Where the hell are Cordelia and Angel?”

———-

“What made Wes take this case anyway?”

Angel glanced over from where he’d been sitting, frowning at the fact that all they were doing was waiting around for the ghost to either come and kill them or let them out. He felt helpless, unsure of whether Wes and Gunn were okay, and more than uncomfortable with the close scrutiny Cordelia had him placed under.

It was the first time they’d been alone together in months; the first time, definitely, since Darla.

“We don’t usually go off so little and it’s not like I had a vision or anything.” For which she was utterly, utterly thankful.

Angel had explained to her about Wesley checking the background of the place. An executive of Todd Landers had shown up earlier that day.

They’d been filming in the house for a week, despite the lies to the shows ‘fanbase’ that it was filmed live on All Hallows Eve; a creepy, spooky, spectacular.

And just three mornings ago, one of their camera crew had gone missing.

The police, of course, hadn’t taken their claims seriously. In the harsh light of day, things had a tendency of looking less spooky and their cameraman – Jonathon – had a tendency of bailing when things weren’t going to plan in his life.

Though none of the crew could honestly say that Jonathon wasn’t having a great time as of late; none of them could say that he was… Which was where Angel Investigations came into it.

“Not like it matters now,” Cordelia mused, doing most of the talking since Angel was staying quiet and it was, almost literally, killing her.

“I mean, we’re obviously supposed to be here, given the fact that it’s actually haunted but… You guys got nothing today?”

They’d afforded her the luxury of getting ready for the Date-That-Wasn’t; the costume party that she’d only scored an invite to that morning when Lane’s other date had come down with mono or herpes or something and there was enough desperation in that alone, the fact that she’d actually agreed to the date.

She’d gone to a Halloween shop to find that the last decent costume there was Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and though initially, she’d thought that it was maybe a little passé, she’d tried it on anyway and found she could really work the Mistress of the Dark angle.

Now? There was no chance of her even returning the dress.

She’d had to rip the split in the leg even higher in order to run and the killer pumps which had almost actually got her killed? Were lying in the house somewhere, probably being carressed by some creepy, pervy dead guy with scaly hands and a shoe-fetish.

“No suspicious deaths, no suicides… Nothing before this place went on the market.”

“And after?”

“Repair guy had his hand cut off by the garbage disposal. Realtors complaining about weird noises – and now the camera-guy from that show…”

Cordelia frowned, glanced at the lame-ass decor again. “He’s pissed about them selling the place? Geez, it’s not like it’s a palace or anything. Has anyone thought about just saying ‘hey, you’re dead, get over it and move on?'”

They’d done the legwork, she knew. Their police contact was lacking after Kate had tried to off herself, so Wes had been downgraded to Cordelia’s part of the investigation in her absence; the internet.

He’d even called her to ask how to work ‘that Google thing’, which Cordelia had explained oh-so-patiently while waiting for her nail polish to dry.

They’d come up with nothing on the house before it had gone up for sale and her date with Lane Daniels, playboy extraordinaire, was officially over.

“It probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway,” she muttered under her breath. Then, remembering Angel had all kinds of super-hearing skills, she made a face. “With Lane.”

“Lane?” Angel snorted, “That was his–“

She cut him off with a death glare. “Shut up. He was rich, okay? And he knew people. And he was really, really hot.”

Which just served to plunge her into a darker mood. Okay, dating Lane Daniels probably wouldn’t have worked out. He was a playboy with a mansion and a fantastical amount of money that Cordelia had once had herself.

She was a secretary living in an apartment with a ghost – talk about being from different walks of life.

The guy was rich, sure, but Cordelia was looking for… Well, something different, she guessed. She’d touched on it briefly when she’d been talking to Aura earlier but she hadn’t gotten into it too much; the guy was filthy rich, after all.

“I’m sorry,” Angel tried, turning his palm outwards in a sign of surrender.

“You’re not sorry,” she frowned, drawn back to the here and now – the now, of course, that involved her being locked in an attic with Angel and feeling more pissed by the nanosecond.

“You didn’t even want me to go on the damn date anyway and what was your alternative? Staying at the hotel and playing Pictionary with you and Wes… To which, thanks, but no thanks. I’ve not entered little old lady-dom yet.”

Her date with Lane had been her last ditch attempt to hold onto a social life that was virtually non-existent, what with the visions and all. And if there was one night a year she was sure one wouldn’t happen? This was it.

“I’m 19, Angel, not 90. Occasionally? I want to go out and do normal stuff. Date. Be kissed. Maybe have a guy cop a little feel and not knock me up with demon spawn, if that’s not too much to ask but no…”

“I’ve said I’m sorry,” said Angel, looking miserable, “but Wes thought–“

Cordelia continued as though she hadn’t even heard him, voice rising in pitch with her words, “The Powers That Be are, apparently, against me having a social life. Or any kind of life, really, and y’know what really bugs me about all of this?”

Angel didn’t but he had a feeling he was going to. He opened his mouth to protest, to tell her that they’d talk about this when he’d got them out of here and somewhere safe but Cordelia got there first.

“You got to walk away.”

His mouth closed abruptly, his shoulders slumping. As usual, Cordelia had jumped from one thing to the next and had managed to stake him to the wall with her blunt observation of what he’d done all those months ago.

What, exactly, could he say to that?

Her eyes were bright now, shining with unuttered fury. “You gave up your mission and walked away. Meanwhile, other people – like vision girls who had no option whatsoever in giving up said life were stuck there. Still with the visions. And on the one night a year she’s actually got a chance of having a normal life and maybe getting laid? Who spoils it? You!”

Angel was officially flustered. Aside from her catching him out of left field with the comments he’d known had been simmering for the last two weeks, she’d just admitted to–wanting laid?

This was too much. Forget talking this all out, he’d rather impale himself on the end of his broadsword – he did not want to talk about why, exactly, Cordelia hadn’t been laid tonight.

He went to open his mouth, give some approximation of an apology that, even though sincere, wouldn’t come close to making it up to her but Cordelia got there first, squaring her shoulders as if bracing herself for a fight.

“What? What can you possibly say to me that’ll make this okay?”

He didn’t know and that, honestly, made him feel more helpless than he ever had in his whole 246 years of living. He didn’t know how he could make this right, didn’t even know how to start.

He’d hurt her – immeasurably – the fact that she’d even told him he’d hurt her feelings had clued him in that much, had just scratched the surface.

Making it right was the hard part.

He’d tried, over the last couple of weeks, to be the perfect friend. To be there for her when she needed him, the way he hadn’t been those last few months because he’d been too interested in Darla and everything else he’d let himself get caught up in.

Since then, Cordelia had held him at arm’s length.

He had high hopes of getting back in, simply because he couldn’t imagine his world now without his friends in it, without Cordelia in it. He’d tried buying her clothes, a closetful, in fact, but they lay in his own closet in bags, untouched and gathering dust.

The move felt cheap. He felt like he was trying to buy her friendship back and he didn’t want to do that. Now or ever.

“I can’t say anything.” He finally settled on. “I know I hurt you, I know I scared you. And I can’t do anything to change that.”

“You’re right.” Cordelia blew out a sigh. Pettiness had gone out the window about three weeks ago. There was only so much grovelly Angel she could take, after all.

Underneath wanting to make Angel pay for what he’d done simply because he deserved it lay the real reason Cordelia was holding him at arm’s length: she was scared to let him back in.

“You can’t change it. And you can’t make it up to me. How do I know that next week, someone else from the powdered wig days isn’t going to show up and make you go all nutso?”

“They won’t.”

Cordelia frowned, “What, and you know that for sure? Every year running we’ve had someone from the past come back and bite you in the proverbial ass and y’know, 250 years of past is a lot for someone – anyone – to compete with.” Especially her.

Hell, she’d had to compete with Willow for Xander and all they’d had was 13 years of friendship as history. Angel had had a bicentennial.

“You don’t have to be vision girl to see where this is gonna end up.”

He stared at her a beat. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t trust you anymore.” And there it was. Out and laid bare. She watched as Angel flinched, as he shrank back against her words, and she really couldn’t seem to care.

That wasn’t half of what he’d put her through the last couple of months when he’d been off doing God knew what with Darla.

“It took a year and a half to get our business up and sputtering. It took you five minutes to walk out on us, which by the way? I think is some kind of record.”

“I was trying to–“

Cordelia scoffed, didn’t let him finish. “What, protect us from the scary-ass monster you were gonna become, locking those lawyers in that dungeon? I saw you as Angelus and came out the other side so spare me the bullshit, okay? I’ve at least earned that. You walked away because it was easier for you, nobody else.”

Angel sighed, remembering the Cordelia of old for just a moment and wondering if she’d have been easier to deal with than this Cordelia right here.

Shallow and popular, the old Cordelia had lived to make the lives of others a living hell – those less fortunate than her and, let’s be honest, those not as high up the money or popularity scale.

He didn’t see any of that now. Sure, there were glimpses from time to time. She still had that acid tongue, that sharp wit, could cut a man to pieces with her words alone and that was exactly what she was doing here.

He deserved all of it.

She’d taken the visions because of him. She’d stayed, fought, even when Angel himself had lost his way, when he couldn’t see a reason to continue and she’d come out the other end.

It was more than he’d done.

Shamed, Angel turned back towards the door, not knowing what he could say to her, not knowing how he could thank her for what she’d done, what she was continuing to do when the temperature in the room dropped.

He spun towards her, right as the ghost came out of nowhere and lunged.

Angel felt a wave of panic and dove, shoving her out of the way. He flattened his body atop hers, and in that split second, the ghost disappeared and Angel realized he’d thrown himself on top of Cordelia. And he was a damn sight heavier than she was.

He scrambled up, raising himself on his elbows to check her over, frantic. “Cordy? Cordelia?”

She grunted and turned to look at him, clearly in pain. “I think you just broke about seven of my ribs,” she sniped, so very much over this.

It was 9.30pm. She was officially supposed to be on her way to getting pleasantly buzzed from the alcohol, not being thrown to the floor by Angel, regardless of whether he was saving her life or not.

He helped her to her feet and it was testimony to just how much pain she was in that she let him. “I’m–“

“Do not apologize,” she snapped, batting away his hands, “don’t you dare apologize.” Because honestly? She was done with apologies. She was done with grovelly-Angel.

And needy-Angel.

And I-fucked-up-please-note-my-kicked-puppy-look-and-forgive-me-Angel.

“I am SO done with this.”

Every event she’d ever had since Buffy had come to Sunnydale had pretty much sucked. Her 17th birthday? She’d been invited to attend a college party at an actual fraternity house by hot cute college boys who’d really seemed to listen when she talked.

Only, by some stroke of sheer bad luck, Buffy had been invited too and they’d almost been eaten by a demon.

Her 18th birthday had been marred by the Homecoming incident which had seen her running up against Buffy for Queen (as if anyone else deserved that title) and, shocker here, because of Buffy?

She’d lost out to Holly Charleston and Michelle Blake who, really, had only secured votes by the sheer amount of handjobs she’d given out to the football team behind the bleachers.

Graduation? Their guest speaker had turned into a giant snake and tried to end the world and on her last birthday? Angel had confessed to dreaming about Darla.

A lot.

All in all, Cordelia was gonna go out on a limb and say that the PTB officially hated her – especially since they’d seen fit to ruin yet another night: Halloween.

Her life wasn’t even hers any more. Forget going out and having a social life – she was 19 years old and too scared to even date on account of the drool-fest post-vision and the sheer what-the-fuckery when she had to explain that the guy she worked for; the guy with the extreme aversion to sunlight was, in fact, a goddamn vampire.

“I’m gonna get us out of here.”

“I’m not talking about the house,” Cordelia snapped, holding her stomach as if that’d stop the feeling of her insides spilling out,

“I’m talking about this! This job! This–This life. These stupid visions! They’re ruining my life, Angel – if they don’t kill me some other part of this job is gonna and I’m nineteen. I don’t wanna die.”

Angel looked at her, trying to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach that told him that everything he’d tried so hard to regain over these last couple of weeks was slipping away from him.

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying I quit, Angel,” said Cordelia, “I’m saying I’m tired of this fight and I don’t wanna do it any more. I quit.”

Continue

Livvie‘s prompt:

A haunted house, pumpkins and Cordy dressed up as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Okay, some of the parts of the prompt were only in passing. Brief word mention, in fact. But I tried, Liv. And to my lovely fanartist, Nikkiwawa. Who made me such a pretty, pretty ficpic! (Link broken, sorry myC x) And who has had to put up with me being the worst author in the world and saying ‘I don’t know what I want, anything’s fine, really!’ *cuddles her up*

Posted July 1, 2015 by califi in Complete