Archive for July 17, 2015

Hand in Hand. 2   3 comments

Chapter 2

It was often said that it took a special person to really appreciate working the graveyard shift. Typically it meant a fondness for bland fluorescent lighting, skin slightly more pale than the light, chain smoking, and an intake of diet caffeine that actually equaled the mass intake of lab rats.

The graveyard shift peeps are…different. Out of the box. Edgy. Non conformists. The Graveyard shift begins, for many, just at midnight. When the sky is bathed in ink, those souls of working America stumble out of their homes and lift their pasty faces to the twinkle of starshine before heading off to another day, another FICA’d dollar.

Cordilia Chase had found a whole new meaning to “graveyard shift.” For one thing, it could literally involve graveyards. The smokin’ was more…dust related, after the correct application of a stake. Caffeine was still king, however, and had a nice caramel flavor.

And the sky. It went from twilight’s gift of ribbons streaked across west in tendrils of pink and orange all the way to velvet blue-black, then slowly lightening to a dusty grey when the day awoke. And then she slept. And then woke to a new night.

It had not been easy. She loved the sun. She tried to maintain in shifts, so she could have the best of both worlds, but it meant draining time from Angel. All in all it was workable, she had some sun, and she had the Broodmeister too. It was her new reality. Night was her new day.

Tonight the sky was not offering a palate of hues to welcome the dark. It was raining outside; gently spilling down the windows making the air thick and muggy. Cordy stood at the front, quietly watching the rivulets wind their way down the glass as her hand pressed to the pane.

In her musings, she imagined the droplets to be crystals, diamonds even; streaming just out of reach of her touch. The stillness was nice and even the whimsical thoughts had a contented air to them. This was her life.

Not the one she thought she’d have, not what she ever expected; but then, did anyone ever really get exactly what they thought they would in life?

A subtle tingle at her throat shimmied; her hand lifted to cover the mark of Angel’s bite just before she felt his body a whisper away, standing behind her as he rested his head to hers. His hand reached to cover her smaller one as it lay against the glass, pressing gently to her warmth.

“What’s the matter, Cor? Rain got you all blue?” There was an intimacy to his voice, hushed and warm as his breath tickled her ear.

She smiled at the question, her gaze never leaving the spatters of rain. “Nope, no blue here. Just…welcoming night.” She turned and her smile lifted further before she tilted her head up to slide a kiss to his mouth. “Good evening’, handsome. Sleep well?”

“Sleep of the dead.” He pulled back, his forehead resting against hers briefly before lifing his head and peering outside. “Gloomy night. It been doing this all day?”

“Think so. Just got up an hour ago myself.”

Angel nodded, threading his fingers with hers before tugging her away from the window, backing towards the lobby and pulling her along. “You know this means maybe a busy night. Don’t know why, but crappy weather hauls demons out of the woodwork like ants at a picnic.”

“And if by chance it IS busy, you’re not gonna go all Neanderthal on me and think up some lame ass excuse for me to stay behind are you?”

He shook his head, his eyes carefully solemn. “Of course not, Cordelia.”

“Because I am…” She nodded, prodding him to finish the sentence.

“Strong and capable.” He parroted her earlier declarations perfectly. She nodded in satisfaction.

“And if you treat me like I’m fragile and useless, that makes me…..”

“Cranky.”

“Exactly. Cranky. And if I am cranky….”

“Things will get ugly.”

“And if things go so far as to get ugly….”

“Mr. Happy will not get any and be cranky, too.”

“Exactly!” she beamed as if he’d finally mastered a difficult equation. She patted his arm as she smiled up at him. “Now, was that so very hard?”

He was about to tell her exactly what was getting hard when Fred popped around the corner, a shy grin lifting as she saw them standing together. “Hey, Angel. Hi, Cordy. Um…rainy day, huh?”

Cordy smiled, feeling an ever present mixture of comfort and exasperation around the brainiac. “Hey, Fred. Rainy, but it’s all good.”

Fred turned her grin to Angel, fleeting before a look of startled awareness brightened in her eyes. “Oh! I took a message, hang on….” And she rummaged through her pocket, pulling out a post it note. “Um, it was a really bad connection, and the guy had some kinda accent. It was like totally the phone call from hell. Metaphor, Angel.” And Angel relaxed again.

“Some guy from Pakistan, who was going on about a scroll, cuz otherwise he has a stroll, and maybe even a stroller, and I’m not sure what that means, cuz we’re too far away to babysit…”

“Fred.”

“Oh. Sorry. Anyway, I think he said scroll, and he said, and I quote, the tree will moan and reheat the nun.”

Silence grew, and no one moved for a full minute.

“I’m sorry?” Angel leaned in slightly, as if he had trouble hearing.

“I know! It makes no sense! But I swear, that’s what it sounded like. Then I started thinking, ohhhh, maybe it’s like, spy talk and he’s some kind of agent or something…” She trailed off. “Ya know, there’s a possibility I misunderstood him.”

The cultured voice flowed into the quiet, authority in the tones. “Indeed. There are no moaning trees or heated nuns.” All eyes turned to the entry, where a drenched Giles stood, fatigue drawn upon his face. He looked around a bit before spearing Angel with a glance. “You live in a hotel?”

“Giles!” Cordy tugged her hand free and walked to Giles, throwing her arms around his neck and hugging him. “Holy cow! What are you doing here? Why didn’t you call? We would have picked you up at the airport!”

“Cordelia.” He patted her back, awkwardly, before pulling back and smiling down at her.

“You’re looking well. I had heard….” He paused a bit, as if choosing his words carefully. “I had heard that you had developed a…skill.”

She laughed softly. “Oh, a thrill of a skill. And I didn’t develop it as much as…get infected with it. Enough about that, it’s boring.” And she skittered aside, brushing off the subject.

Interesting, Giles thought. He and Ms. Chase were going to have to sit down and discuss this thrill of a skill later. “Giles, this is Winifred Burkle. She’s a genius, lives here and helps with the agency.”

Giles nodded at Fred. “The agency?”

Cordy nodded towards Angel. “Yeah, Angel Investigations. We help the helpless.”

Giles stared at Angel. “As opposed to killing them.” Angel didn’t blink, just stood there, his expression carefully blank. Giles sighed and rubbed his eyes. “I’m sorry. It was a long flight. I was going to inquire as to a recommendation for a good hotel, but….it appears that problem is solved, if it’s acceptable.”

“Well, heck yeah! Wesley is here, he’s going to be glad to see you! You know, the English homie stuff.”

Giles paused at the idea of a British homie. “Well that’s that then. It’s good that Wesley is here; we may need all the help we can get.” He paused a bit. “I’ve sent for Faith. If the connections hold true, she should be here tomorrow.”

A curious thickness filled the room, as though something was waiting to be unleashed, barely contained. It was a dread, and it was strong. Giles shook his head briefly and looked at Angel. “If I might freshen up just a bit…”

Angel nodded and picked up one of Gile’s suitcases. He smiled easily at Cordy and Fred. “Hey, I’ll get Giles settled. Why don’t the two of you order in some Chinese. Chinese ok?” He glanced at Giles, who nodded. Angel glanced at Cordy and started up the stairs, Giles following behind.

The girls stood there, unmoving for a full minute before Cordy spoke, her voice flat. “I think the word you’re looking for, Fred, is crap. Holy, stinkin’ crap.” She sighed, sitting down on the stair. “Whatever it is, we’ll deal. I can deal. I’m used to it.”

Fred nodded and sat down beside her. “Is this Sunnydale stuff?”

“Well, Giles is part of the Sunnydale stuff, but this could be bigger. He hates Angel. Only something really bad would make him come to talk to Angel.” She thought a moment. “Faith. Jeeze.”

“Faith?”

“Yeah. A slayer. And a superskank. Can’t imagine how she’s involved. One thing I know for sure.”

“What’s that?”

“This is big, and it’s bad.” She glanced at Fred. “Maybe way more than you ever signed on for.”

“Well, I’m here.”

“Yeah. I say that to myself every day. I’m here.”

And it was quiet. And Giles was here. And whatever was coming was going to make the graveyard shift look like a party.

TBC…

Nickle

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in TBC

Hand in Hand. 1   Leave a comment

Title: Hand in Hand
Author: Nickle
Posted: 07-02-2008
Rating: Overall, R
Email
Category: Angsty, humorous, adventuresome froth.
Content: C/A
Summary: Giles discovers a prophecy (shocker!) that involves Cordy and Angel.
Spoilers: A sequel to, consecutively, In the Dark and Fine Tuning, both available at Just Fic & GTC/A. Highly recommend that you read those first. In the Dark began during Epiphany and took off on its own from there. So this could be called part of the In the Darkverse.
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: Dudes, it’s been like 4 years. Be gentle.
Thanks/Dedication:
Feedback: Would be appreciated. As would currency in twenties and fifties.


Chapter 1

“One-horned demon of Candascean descent…” Cordelia read the notation before looking at the accompanying sketch. “I don’t see a horn, maybe this is the wrong….” She squinted, looking closer. “Oh. I didn’t think THAT was the horn. Heh.”

She set the book aside and made a few notes on her laptop, absently chewing on her bottom lip as she pecked away at the keys. The database was coming along nicely; Wesley would be pleased. Of course, Wesley was pleased at the Star Trek Next Generation Marathon, Elton John, and Earl Grey tea, so what made Wesley tick was an endless source of amusement to Cordy.

The lobby of the Hyperion was quiet tonight. The guys were out responding to one of Cordy’s visions; demons in the south side, yada yada, people in danger, yada yada, appetite for toes……now that was a new one.

Cordy had slipped on a pair of converse all stars and tied ‘em tight before lying down for a bit to recover from the pain inducing sitcom in her head. Didn’t hurt to be safe. And her toenails were freshly painted and nice looking, so she was playing it wise.

A handful of ibuprofen later, she was feeling better and had gotten up to work on Wesley’s current project, cataloguing demons into an instantly accessible database that they could carry around with them.

Fred was upstairs, probably asleep from the exhaustion that comes from lifting numerous tacos to one’s mouth, over and over again.

The quiet was…..quiet. Nice. Cordy had moved to the Hyperion almost a week ago; lock, stock, and shoe collection. Moved in with Angel, to be precise. Moved into the suite that was now in a construction mess as she had told Angel that the closet was too small and if she was gonna share a space with a vampire, she needed breathing room.

And a large dresser.

Since they were still in the stage where she hadn’t driven him totally nuts yet, he’d set about building a larger closet and making more room. And living with Angel…well that went beyond closet space.

Her life with Angel was taking her to places she had no map for, new roads and destinations she never thought she’d find. For one thing, he was the only dork bigger than Wesley, and here she was, falling completely for him. He had the whole handsome broody thing going, and an endless wardrobe of black.

She’d bought him some khaki Dockers and a Nautica Oxford Broadcloth shirt, button down, and he’d so looked like not Angel that she couldn’t stand it. The clothes went back and he was all broody and in black again, and it was fine. She smiled, picturing him in the preppy clothes for a moment.

He’d looked like he felt stupid and uncomfortable, and she had sighed and given up. But this was better. He was more Angel being…Angel.

He was dorky and goofy and kind and had a depth of compassion she hadn’t realized before. He was funny and geeky and strong and solid and he made her feel like she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He liked to touch, even just casually holding her hand while they watched TV, or absently stroking her hair while he read a book.

It was a new experience for her, to live with someone, but so far it was going ok.

Not that there weren’t kinks in the system. He didn’t like to go out for fun at all. Watching him drink blood wasn’t too bad, but the occasional dribble down the chin was kinda unnerving. And he took possessiveness to entirely new heights. He slept with his arm tight around her; as if he was scared she’d slip away.

He had curtailed her outings with the guys on demon recon, and tried to disguise it by telling her that Wesley was expecting a book FedEx that she needed to sign for; by telling her that some appointment was due to show up to hire them; and by telling her of a sudden need for her to sharpen some blades.

She’d seen through each and every excuse, and was still unsure how to approach him on it. He wanted her safe, she knew that, but she couldn’t be sheltered the way he was trying to. She was part of this, had been from the get go. That was a conversation that needed to be had. She’d do the talking, he’d do the listening, and she’d get her way.

Cordyland was lovely sometimes, all dreamy and totally unrealistic.

And the claiming. Christ on a pogo stick. She had never been aware of anyone the way she was of her….mate? Bloody Harry? Boyfriend with a bite? She didn’t even know how to describe what they were. She’d asked him if it was like being married and he’d gotten that panicky look on his face so she’d glared at him and said, “God you’re such a guy” before stalking away, feeling a tangible wave of relief from him.

But she knew. She knew where he was and when he was near. She often felt a pull, a tug from him in her mind. And she knew that this was about as close to forever that she was going to get. That was still a work in progress in her mind. That was the behemoth she was trying to wrap her thoughts around. So if Angel thought that sometimes she was a little snappish, a little cranky….well he had only himself to blame.

A prickling sizzled its way along her spine just before the door opened and Larry, Moe, and Curly came stalking in. She grinned at her guys, seeing the “We men. We hunt. We kill. We want cheesecake” expressions on their faces.

“You guys take care of Dr. Scholl and his toe fetish?”

Wesley nodded, tugging the leather harness off that held two crossed scimitars at his back. “Really an odd thing, actually, it fed off of flesh but preferred toes. Not sure if there is kink within the demon world, but…”

“Way too much info, Wes, and thanks for the visual.” She laughed and turned to Angel, who was unloading blades from His boots and laying them on a table. “What about you, Handsome? Have some fun dealing with the podiatrist demon?”

“Is it me or are they getting weirder?” Angel pulled out a large claymore from under his leather coat and placed it alongside the smaller blades.

“Boy howdy, now that’s a question to ponder.” Gunn set two small axes on the table, throwing a bland look to Angel. “Is the demon detective agency finding that the otherworldly and violent community of demons is getting weird? Because up to now, they were so milktoast and normal.”

Angel conceded the point, nodding before he shrugged out of his coat and tossed it on the back of a chair, then leaning over Cordy’s shoulder to peer at the database. “Whatcha doing, there?”

Cordy rolled her eyes. “Well, under the beard of working on this database, I’m being kept from going on any mission that you think is dangerous, harmful, demanding, or requires any movement. That is pretty much what I’m doing.”

Silence fell for a moment before both Gunn and Wesley spoke at the same moment.

“Shazam! Look at the time! Gonna go catch some z’s and be back to happyland tomorrow!” And Gunn was out the door before they could respond.

“Speaking of which…” Wesley backed away slowly, as if avoiding a crazed animal. “Big day, need…um….rest. That’s the ticket. I’ll just pop upstairs and…um….rest.” And he shot up the stairs like he’d been fired from a cannon.

Cordy looked up at Angel, who was looking slightly scared. “Did you really think I couldn’t figure it out? Not blonde, Angel. Kinda am onto you.”

Angel straightened up and walked away a few steps, finally turning to lean back against the counter. “OK, let’s do this.”

Cordy stared at him for a moment a sigh welling up before she spoke. “Here’s the thing. Just don’t treat me like I’m stupid.”

Angel looked startled. “Cordy I don’t think you’re..”

“I know you don’t. I know that completely. You’re protecting me.” She smiled a little. “And let’s face it, Angel. You’re protecting the gang. You can’t do your best if you’re worried about me, so I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. Just…don’t lie to me. I’m not delicate.”

He looked at her steadily. “No, you’re not. You’re the strongest woman I know. I just…..”

“Worry.”

“Yeah, worry. Because I care. And I want you happy and safe and content. But safe is a huge one for me.”

“So….here’s the deal.”

“There’s no deal, Cordelia. This is the way it is.”

“Do your knuckles ever get scraped up from dragging the floor? That’s gotta hurt.”

Angel smiled a bit at that, that was his Cordy. The best defense was a good offensive snark. “Cordy….”

“As I was saying. Here’s the deal. I get this, I do. And I’m not the fighter you guys are, I’m not all Lara Croft. But there are times you need me, and there are times I’m gonna go with. Not like I LIKE fighting, Angel. Just…let me be a part of this.”

Angel’s gaze held hers, steady and warm. “OK. But my word is law on this, Cordy. I say you’re out of it, you are, understood?”

“Yes, Hitler, I got it. Jeeze. Like I want to go break nails and get smacked on a daily basis.

“You’re in a World War II place? Really? Wanna go upstairs and pretend you’re Poland and I’ll invade you?”

Cordy laughed before she could stop herself, she loved this side of him. Standing up, she gave him a considering appraisal. “I hear you got a massive gun, and you know how to use it.”

“Well now, some say I’m a marksman.” And he took her hand and led her to the stairs, her soft giggle a gentle melody to the night.

****

Somewhere in a drafty damp castle in England….

Desperate times called for strong whiskey. The hand that poured the rich brew from the decanter to the glass trembled slightly. A sip was taken, fire down his throat that pooled to his stomach. There was no mistaking the part of the prophecy that had been revealed.

He tossed the remainder of the shot back and poured another, breathing deeply. He had things to do. He needed to make arrangements, pack, contact the Organization, and book a flight. He was going to Los Angeles, and he was going to enlist the help of someone he hated.

Giles was going to visit Angel. And they were going to save the world.

Part 2

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in TBC

In the Dark. 14   1 comment

Chapter 14

All time stopped. The air was thick and silent, and Angel felt his chest constrict as the silken shirt slipped from suddenly nerveless fingers and pooled gently on the ground. All he knew and wanted, and it came alive with four little words.

Come on in, Angel.

Like a man in a trance, Angel slowly stepped easily into the apartment, stopping at the threshold until he felt Dennis’ gentle shove. He stumbled slightly as the door closed behind him quietly, closing and leaving him standing in paradise.

Actually, paradise was strolling down the short hall, firm and supple and olive-skin damp and dewey. Musky vanilla that mixed with the ambrosia of Cordelia’s arousal wafted to his senses, overpowering him. He stood uncertainly, not sure what to do.

Cordelia’s heart thudded in her chest….solid and rapid. She felt his gaze on her back…on her legs….her ass….a tingle at the base of her spine. She stopped moving and turned to face him, a flush heating her skin as she met his gaze evenly, her body on display for him to see.

And he did see. He saw sensuous curves, taut curves, and soft skin. And more than that. His gaze slid from her slender feet up her long legs…up up up….over the shadowed juncture of her thighs…the lines of her tightly sloped abdomen…up over the generous swell of her breasts, tipped with coral satin…up the graceful length of her throat, and finally his eyes rested on the gentle determination in her eyes.

“Change your mind?” Her voice was a husky tease. “I thought this was the plan.”

Angel opened his mouth and tried to speak, but all he could manage was a garbled cough. Cordelia grinned slightly. “Thanks. That’s the nicest thing anyone’s not said to me.” Angel’s eyes flared with fiery gold flecks as his hands clenched. “I don’t know if this is really smart, Angel. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering. I wanna know. I wanna know you. What do you want?”

Angel suddenly felt his feet unstick, and he covered the distance between them in three large steps. He cradled her face in his hands and kissed her, devouring her mouth with his hungrily. Cordy moaned and rose onto her toes, leaning into him as her hands rose and gripped his shoulders, flexing against his skin as his tongue stroked hers….stroked the heat of her mouth.

His lips gentled, nipping at hers as he leaned his forehead against hers. His hands slid down over her face gently, before his arms wrapped around her body, holding her close. Cordy lowered her head and pressed her face to his chest. He felt her heart thudding against him, seducing him with the soft muffled noise as her blood pumped through her body, calling to him with a siren’s voice. He pulled back slightly and looked down at the top of her head.

Cordy drew a deep breath and looked up at him. He kissed her forehead. “Last chance to bail, sweets. Once we do this, there’s no going back. Only forward.”

“Yeah. Forward. I got that. Forward means…no more games. No more plans.” Angel nodded. “No more secrets. No more hidden agendas. No more withholding of the news that ye olde gypsy curse no longer applies, for example.” Her eyebrows rose. “Had to get that piece of news from Wesley. Who pretty much knows that you’re out on a bootie call.” Angel shifted, nodding.

“Yeah. No more….” His mind searched for the right phrase. “Broodmeister.” Cordy smiled. “It’s….all new from here. I just don’t want you to wake up tomorrow and wish you could take it back.”

Cordy sighed. “Yeah, like I’ve pretty much always known you can’t take back sex, Angel.” Angel started to speak and she placed two fingers over his mouth. “Nope. I know what I’m doing. I want to make love to you, and with you. A lot. I want you over me, and under me, and around me, and in me till I don’t know where you end and I begin, and I want it over and over and over. And I want it now. C’mon, Angel….” Her voice lowered to a whisper…”Don’t you still want my heat?” And she stretched up to bite gently at his lip, tugging it out before licking it.

With a fierce rumble, Angel swept her up and stalked down the hall into her room, dimly lit by the full moon shining through the open blind slats. He lay her gently on the bed and leaned down to kiss her softly, feeling her tremble as he kissed her lips….her throat….the soft tip of a plumped breast. He straightened at her soft groan and stripped the t-shirt off over his head, kicked his shoes off, and shoved the shorts down his body in quick, succinct movements.

Cordy rose onto her elbows and looked down his body, muscled and strong. Her eyes widened as she saw his cock, thick and fully erect. She raised her hazel eyes to his and solemnly said, “Angel, you completely have my respect.”

Angel groaned a chuckle as he climbed onto the bed, covering her body completely with his. They both pressed into the bed, skin to skin. Angel’s hands slid up her sides and stretched her arms over her head, his arms stretching and his hands gliding over hers, his fingers locking with hers. He looked down at her, intent.

The clearest, most honest eyes he’d ever seen stared back up, filled with want and need and something…..something he didn’t know that he’d ever seen from a woman before. Something…giving….something that was…..trusting. That was it. Trust. Cordy’s fingers tightened between his slightly.

“What is it?”

“You. It’s just you. Wanting this.” They both spoke in hushed whispers. Angel looked over her face, memorizing each line and curve, committing this moment to his memory. “All this time….I thought about…”

“Naked me?”

Angel grinned. “Naked us.” He leaned down and softly kissed her lips, trailing lips over her cheek and along her jaw line. Cordy tilted her head slightly and he licked down the length of her throat, pressing his lips to the steady muted thump of her pulse. “So, so sweet…” He murmured, kissing the pulsepoint gently. “So warm….” Cordy shifted her body under him, feeling the thick ridge of his cock pressing against her lower abdomen.

His fingers untangled from hers and his legs shifted as he scooted down a bit, gently nipping and tugging at her skin as his mouth traced a path down her shoulder and over the ridge of her collarbone. She held still, feeling his mouth, firm and wet, as he softly kissed the upper swells of her breasts, his hands cupping the mounds and pushing them together.

“God, Cordy…” His voice was rough. “All a man could need….so perfect……” He flicked his tongue at one distended nipple, savoring the taste of the satiny skin. Cordy whimpered and he grinned up at her briefly. “Like that? How ’bout this?” And his mouth opened, taking the tip completely into his mouth, sucking and taunting the pebbled peak with his teeth.

Cordy’s breath caught in her throat and she reached down to run her fingers through his hair, holding his head gently to her. “Angel….”

Her voice was a whisper of heat that floated down to him. He nipped at her again before releasing her breast and moving to the other one. He sucked and bit softly while his hand tugged at the other nipple. Cordy’s breath came faster as her body arched into him. Fire seemed to pour through her body, pooling between her legs. She wanted more…wanted all of it…..she grabbed at his head.

“Angel” her voice was urgent. He looked up at her and saw the fierce need in her eyes. “Now. I want you now.”

He didn’t think he could possibly be harder, but at her demanding voice sent tremors through him, his cock seeming to swell even more at her words. “Cordy…” thinking was becoming more difficult. “Foreplay….”

She stroked his arms, her nails raking gently over his skin. Her voice was husky and almost desperate sounding. “Later. After. We’ll have….afterplay. You’ll see. It’ll be fun.”

He choked off a laugh as he reared up and kissed her hungrily, sucking on her tongue as his mouth ravaged hers. Her legs parted and he settled between them, feeling the sleek limbs brushing against him as his hips met hers. He reached down between them and gently stroked the slick hot flesh between her legs. God, she was wet and ready….and sooo needy. But he needed, too, and his cock was straining as he shifted, pressing the blunt tip into the wet heat of her center. He raised his head and looked down at her his eyes fierce…..his own demon shining out in golden glory.

“Who am I?” His voice was a ragged demand. He held his body still, his cock pressing just into her entrance. She looked up at him, trying to wiggle her body so that she took him deeper. “Say it. Who am I?”

“Angel…you’re Angel.” Her voice was a whimper.

He pushed in a little deeper and pulled out again. “Who belongs to me?” She looked up at him, biting her lip. He rocked his hips a bit, pushing into her body and pulling out again. “Say it, Cordy. Take it all. Who do you belong to?” She gasped as his cock stretched her as it pushed in a little further. He held his body still. “Say it.”

She groaned, spreading her thighs wider and raising her knees as she tried to pull him in more. He shook his head, lifting his hips a bit. He leaned down and whispered in her ear, “You want my cock…you take all of me. Who do you belong to?”

“Oh god…you. You. I want you….please…..ohgod….” Angel reared his head back and growled, a guttural, animal sound, as his face slid into the harsh lines of his demon. His eyes glowed yellow as he seemed to flow over her body. His hands gripped hers as he leaned down to nuzzle into her neck. His body tightened as he plunged into her wet clenched heat, pumping into her body with a force that shot through every nerve in her body. Cordy cried out, wrapping her legs around his hips and they both held still, suspended in time for a moment. He groaned again as his hips rocked, pushing in…pulling out….god she was tight. She clenched around him, caressing his cock with each stroke.

He felt his body, straining, reaching….he listened to the muted roar of her blood, racing through her body…her heart, pumping faster and faster. Her legs tightened around him and her hips slammed into his with each thrust. Her skin was flushed and damp, her fingers stiff as they flexed in-between his.

“Harder….god…..harder….” her voice was almost tortured sounding as he rammed into her. She felt a wave of heat begin to pour through her….an icy fire that gripped her body….”Angel….ohgodplease…….” Her body clenched around him and she threw her head back as her body arched, taking him in deep, against her womb. Angel roared as her body milked his…his senses overrun as he felt the cold seed pour out of his body and fill hers. He pressed his face deeper into her throat and sank his fangs into the succulent flesh offered to him, gulping the honeyed, coppery blood that filled his mouth and coated his tongue with its spice. One swallow….two…..three…..he sighed lustily, slowly pulling his teeth from her flesh and licking at the punctures to seal them.

Cordelia lay beneath him, her body floating back to her. She felt boneless, and her legs unclenched from around Angel’s hips and dropped down to the bed. Angel lay on top of her body, still, propped up on his elbows. Cordelia’s breath came in short pants as her heart calmed, and she pressed gentle kisses into Angel’s shoulder. His face slowly slid back into human visage, and she stroked at his cheeks and forehead as it did.

“You’re Angel.” And she pressed a kiss softly onto his lips.

“Yeah. And you’re mine.”

Cordy smiled up at him. “Wow. I have never….I mean….it’s always….not like….” She broke off. “Wow.”

“Right there with you.” They both grinned at each other and Angel kissed her before rolling off and settling on his back, pulling Cordy to his side and anchoring her there with a firm hold. She rested her head on his shoulder and stroked the sculpted plains of his chest as they both calmed. They were silent for a moment, and Angel was content. A silent Cordy could be a good Cordy. It meant her mind wasn’t turning down all the roads he didn’t want to go.

Cordy giggled a bit. “Who’d a thought that the man I can never get to talk would be so chatty during sex? Is that a vampire thing?” And the content feeling was gone.

“Oh, couldn’t help myself. It’s a thing.”

“Ahhh…an Angel thing.”

He thought a moment, choosing his words carefully. “No…you were right the first time…a vampire thing.”

She raised her head and looked down at him. “You mean each time we do the horizontal hula you bite me? Not an endless supply of plasma here, bucko.”

“No, no, it’s a sometimes thing. It’s a first time thing. It….” He sifted uncomfortably. “It kind of seals the deal.”

“Seals the deal.” She repeated, her eyebrows raising. “OK. Spill it.”

Shit. He’d been hoping to put this off. Kind of sad if they ended the evening by Cordelia cutting off his balls in anger, it having been such a nice night so far and all. He needed to be very careful here.

Veeewwwwyyyy careful….he was hunting wabbit. What he said next would be the most important words he had ever said to a woman. He’d never said them before, to anyone. They had to be perfect. They had to be gentle, and sweet, and loving.

“I own you.”

Silence. “I’m sorry, what was that?”

He mentally said goodbye to his balls. “I kind of claimed you a while ago, you know, while we were….”

“Coming like a freight train? That was the bite? You were claiming me?”

“Yeah.”

Cordelia stared down at him. “Is that some kind of vampire sex ritual?”

“Sort of. Yes. It is.” He held her to him more firmly to stave off the inevitable slapping and whacking. “Cordelia, the thing is, I claimed you to be mine. In vampire vernacular, I own you.”

Cordelia was silent. “In Cordelia vernacular, fuck that.” She was silent again, thinking. “Did you know you were going to do this?”

His eyes met hers. “Yeah. I knew. I knew back when you came for the books. I think I knew it then.”

She stared into his eyes. “Ok. Ok. We’ll deal with that later.” She pushed away from him, sitting up. Her body was still damp, and his eyes traveled lazily over the taut line of her back as she pulled the sheet up to cover her breasts. She leaned back against the headboard and looked back down at him. “What, exactly, is claiming?”

“It’s…a taking. It’s establishing…” he tried to think of how to put it so she’d get it. Without getting it. “…a relationship. I’m telling others…you know…hands off.”

“So, it’s kind of a protection?”

“Exactly!” Angel grinned up at her. “Our business and all, you know. We have the fun, you have the protection.”

“OK. I get that. Not happy, but I get it.” She looked down at him suspiciously. “Is that it? Is there more to this?”

“Um…no. That’s pretty much it.” He looked up at her. “I didn’t hurt you, did I…”

“No, no. It was….” Cordelia’s hand slowly raised and her fingers traced over the healing puncture marks. A shimmer ran through her body at the touch, and she lifted her fingers as though she had received a small static shock. “It was actually….” She sighed. “Wow. It was completely wow, Angel.” She looked down at him. “Like you haven’t heard that before.” He grinned up at her.

“Not from anyone who mattered. Not from you.” She looked down at him and lay back down, her head on his chest.

“So….you’ve claimed me.”

“I own you.”

“Right. That will so happen.” Angel closed his eyes. They’d fine tune this later. “Anyways. Here we are.” She stroked his chest softly. “One thing has gotta change. I meant it. No more secrets, no more brooding, no more in the dark alone.”

Angel was silent for a moment. “You don’t get it, Cordy. That day…” He trailed off. Her hands patted him reassuringly. “that day, I think you chased some of the dark away. You didn’t know it, but you did. You reached me, and whatever part of me wasn’t locked away in nothingness heard you. No one else could have done that. Just you. This is right for us because you’re right for me.” Cordelia sighed against him. “You…you pull me into the light. It’s you.”

Tears rolled out of Cordy’s eyes and she impatiently brushed them away. “I hate it when you do that.”

“What?”

“Become all gooey on me. Now I have to just….” She broke off. “I just have to like you.”

She raised her head and smiled down at him. “Welcome to the light, baby. I’ll see to it that you enjoy your stay.”

He grinned up at her, feeling her pressed to his side. Warm, thick blooded, smartmouthed, curvy, loving Cordy.

The End…?

And they all lived happily………..oh crap, you know they did not. But it was a pretty interesting trip.

Nickle

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete

In the Dark. 13   1 comment

Chapter 13

Cordelia stood in front of her dresser, staring at her reflection. Her hair was a tangle from her bat out of hell ride through town and her Olympian sprint up the stairs to her apartment. She looked down at Angel’s shirt, hanging off her body, the top three buttons left undone.

Shadowy cleavage showed slightly when she moved, hinting at ripe curves beneath the black silk. She smiled without humor, remembering a chant she and Harmony found hilarious at slumber parties……

I hear ya knockin’ but ya can’t come in…I’m in my nighty and it’s oh so thin….I need the money but it’s such a sin…forget the money honey come on in….

Wow. Saying it was a lot funnier than living it. She fiddled with the buttons on the shirt a bit, then grinned darkly and unbuttoned a fourth button. He was so toast. He was beyond toast. He was the piece of charcoal that had been left in the toaster too long.

Oh god. She had sat there and fallen like some stupid lovesick girl…because he was freakin’ faking sincerity. He was conning her completely. He thought all he had to do was say some nice in touch with his feminine side things and she’d just fly right over there.

Kind of like she really did, actually. She sighed. This sucked. He had made her feel so good….so wanted.

And he was lying. He really did just want to screw her. She closed her eyes. They were done. So, so done. And she was done. Her career as a seer/demon target/paranormal ick fighter was over. She was going to pack up the jeep, figure out how to pack up Dennis, and she was just going to…..

The solid knock at her door startled her out of her thoughts. She took a breath to compose herself and looked at the clock. 47 minutes. Wow. Took longer than she thought he would. She strolled down the short hall and stood 6 feet back from the door. She waited until the second, harder knock sounded before calmly saying, “Dennis. The door, please.”

The door slowly swung open. If Cordy didn’t know better, she would have sworn there was almost an air of amusement hovering over the apartment, as if Dennis were highly entertained by those wacky corporeal beings. She leaned a little, resting one hand on her hip, and watched as the door slowly opened, revealing Angel, standing outside, looking angry.

Angry as he could, considering he was wearing a pair of Wesley’s lycra bike shorts that Cordelia had laughed so hard at Wesley had never worn them again, topped with an ancient and ragged Barry Manilow concert tshirt. Cordy closed her eyes, trying to not laugh.

Angel glared at her. He felt completely stupid and he wanted his clothes back. And these shorts itched. He wanted his slacks. And he wanted his shirts. Like the one Cordy was wearing. The one she was wearing….over….he blinked. Over apparently nothing.

The lights in the apartment were dimmed just enough to glow around her, over the long, sleek length of her bare legs….bare, smooth, tanned legs that seemed to go on forever. The shirttails rounded out midthigh on her, and the black silk draped loosely around her body, hinting at the firm curves beneath.

His gaze stopped at the vee between her breasts…just under them, actually. He could see the slope of a curved mound…the tempting shadow between…..his eyes raised to hers. Cool. Soo soooooo cool. Beyond cool. The daggers shooting out at him from the hazel depths were icicle shards, my friend, and Angel knew that tonight was no longer his favorite word. Because tonight sucked.

“Cordy…..fuck.”

“No, thank you.” He glared at her a bit.

“I…..didn’t know what to say. I wanted it to be right….”

She held up a small index card and looked down at it. “I know you’re sorry, Angel, and I know you had the best of intentions…” She read in a flat monotone. “But I feel, and I’m sure you agree, that faking sincerity puts a damper on relationship honesty.” She tossed the card at him and he caught it, glancing down and frowning at the highlighted note at the end…’inject venom here’.”

“C’mon, Cordelia. This is new for me. I’m completely in the dark with this. I…”

Cordelia glanced down at the next card in her hand. “Yes, Angel, I know that even for being a worldly and well traveled Man of 250 plus years you are still strangely emotionally crippled and completely clueless when it comes to women and you do not have the mental capability necessary to have a meaningful conversation, let alone an ongoing relationship.” And she tossed that one at him, too. He sighed.

“Cordy…”

“I am so tired of this.” She dropped her hand and the rest of the cards fluttered to the floor. “I am so tired of the two steps forward, three steps back. I was honest, and open, and bared my freakin’ heart to you, dickhead, and you turned it into a joke. Were you just sitting there, rubbing your hands together in glee as Cordy the Brainless fell into your trap? Did you take the time to call some of your friends in low places and gloat at the bimbo you had reeled in?”

Angel looked shocked. “God, Cordy, that wasn’t at all….”

“Shut up.” Angrily, she felt tears gathering in her eyes. “Shut up shut up shut up. Do you think I’d care about anything you said right now? Oh, you can’t…you don’t have your fucking cheat sheet.”

“Cordy…” He fell silent. He looked down for the longest time, feeling his chances all slipping away. “Cordy, you’re right. I’m emotionally unable to do this…at least do it well. The only major relationships I’ve had have been with a bitter, sadistic vampire bitch, another with a deranged psychopath vampire, and an 18 year old slayer who sent me to hell for 100 years. My record’s not that good.” Silence.

“Now here I am. Trying to court a woman whose queen of all she sees, doesn’t take my crap, and has somehow managed to become more important to me than breathing is to her. And I have to do it with her two big brothers watching over me and a green Pylean ready to slice and dice me if I screw it up. You don’t think I want it perfect? Shit.” He shook his head.

She looked at him steadily. He sighed. “Give me my clothes, Cordy, and we’ll call it a day. “

She held still, not moving for the longest time. Finally, she spoke, her voice a little husky. “I’m good, but I’m not that good. Your clothes are all over the floor in the room across the hall from yours.” Angel gave a mirthless snort and shook his head, turning to go. “Angel…..”

He turned to face her, a bleakness settling in the depths of his eyes. She stood in the same place, her eyes fixed fiercely on his face.

“Don’t you want this shirt?”

“Oh. Yeah. Just bring it with you when….” His voice broke off as she slowly reached up and unfastened the button just under her breasts….then the one under that…then the next…and finally the last button. Her hands slowly trailed back up to the parted panels of the shirt and she shrugged it off, feeling it slide down her arms. She stood there, nude, and gripped his shirt in one hand.

He felt all sensation in his body pool between his legs. He heard her heart thumping faster and faster as he stood there and stared at her body, taut and sleek and elegant. She tossed the shirt across the small distance and he absently caught it in his nerveless fingers, holding it loosely as he drank in the sight of Queen Cordelia in all her glory. Maybe his only glance at paradise…he better commit it to memory.

Cordelia stood there, her heart racing, as she felt Angel’s gaze caress her body…felt despair begin to blanket his body. Her soul tugged a bit as she saw him, really saw him, trying to live a life foreign and different than any he’d known. She didn’t have to take his crap, and she didn’t have to be a complete idiot, either.

He’d been in the dark for so so long. Maybe it was time she led him into the light.

“Angel…”

They both stood there, transfixed by the moment. Cordelia gave a small smile and turned towards the hallway. Strolling a couple of steps, she tossed back over her shoulder in a soft and husky whisper…

“Come on in, Angel….”

Part 14

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete

In the Dark. 12   1 comment

Chapter 12

The phone rang. And rang. And rang. It rang 27 times before it stopped. Cordy knew, because she counted. She sat on the sofa and stared at the cordless receiver laying on the coffee table and counted each ring. She didn’t answer it because the caller ID said Angel Investigations.

It had said that for each and every phone call all last night and all day into this afternoon. She had finally turned her answering machine off after hearing Angel asking her nicely to pick up…..telling her less nicely to pick up….telling her to pick up, dammit….and finally telling her to pick up or he’d be right over.

She had snatched the phone up, said she was fine, quit calling, she needed a break and hung the phone up before he could get a word in edgewise. Then she turned the answering machine off. And now she sat like some stupid girl….who was a seer….and was having conflicted thoughts about her friend/former boss/vampire who wanted to further their relationship.

Into the bedroom, apparently. She shook her head. Jerry Springer wouldn’t even buy into this one.

The phone began ringing again and she sighed, laying down and pulling a pillow over her head. No, no, no. Go away. She had to think. God please just let her think. Think about her life. Her freaky, wacky life. She heard the muffled ringing stop and she lowered the pillow, slowly reaching over to turn the ringer on the phone off.

Nothing like a little passive aggressive action to show ’em what’s what. That was her. Cordelia Chase, Queen C if you’re asking. Queen of the passive aggressive tango. She breathed deeply. That was so not her.

There wasn’t a passive bone in her body. She wasn’t passive when she asked for her first bra at the age of 8. She wasn’t passive when she was 15 and she told Derrick Watson that kissing him was like kissing a wet squeegee and to call her when he had improved. She wasn’t passive when she was 18 and more or less wormed her way into a job with Angel Investigations. She wasn’t passive when she dealt with Angel at all….till now.

Now she hid in her apartment with only Dennis for company and pretended that by not picking up the phone, she was avoiding dealing with the problem of What To Do When You Were Caught In Between Doing a Vampire and Being Celibate Girl Forever. Hmmmmm. What to do…what to do.

She had called Aurora, now at USC, hoping for clarity, but realized that sharing your Vampire dilemma with a girl whose biggest worry was discovering her true color palate before Spring Formal really wasn’t going to provide any kind of insight. Her life had taken some really strange turns, and she realized sadly that the pool of people she could turn to who would understand was really, really small.

A wading pool, actually.

So here she was, alone with a ghost, contemplating the hotness quotient of a souled Vampire and wondering what would happen during intercourse if Angelus appeared, or if she had a pesky vision.

Would that count as visionous interruptus? Was there anyone else on the planet who had this problem? Because she needed a little coffee chat with them. She needed to know….what to do. What to do if she was more than friends with Angel. What to do if she just closed her eyes and leaped.

She rose and wandered into the kitchen, absently thanking Dennis when a glass floated to her out of the cupboard. She filled it with water and wandered back into the living room. It would be nice to have some kind of template for organizing her life. But truth be told, her life was more beyond the edge than anyone she knew.

God. Torn up over Angel. Dorky, snarky, monochromatic Angel. He of the broody silences. King of solitude. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound but unable to share a single thought or feeling that wasn’t a command. She sighed. Maybe Derrick Watson had improved his kissing technique. And had grown past 5’3″. Maybe she should give him a call.

Because, a little corner of her mind mocked, that would the wrong number to be dialing. You want to dial it up, not down.

Yeah, Cordelia thought. Dial it up to what?

There was the question. Suppose she and Angel….hooked up. She grimaced. Dated? Courted? Pitched woo? She couldn’t think of the euphemism for a contained relationship with a two hundred year old vampire who was possibly bipolar and had a double personality thing going.

Suppose she and Angel got together. Was he just lonely? Desperate? Oh, please, she smacked her head. No one settled for Cordelia Chase. They hit the lottery just right if they got her attention. She giggled. Right. The lottery in hell, maybe.

Maybe Angel had glommed onto her because who the hell else would get him…would understand his life? Maybe she was convenient. She didn’t realize she had spoken aloud till a piece of paper floated down and rested on her knee. She picked it up. “Books not convenient” was scribbled on the scrap. She looked up.

“Dennis…what do you……oh…..” she frowned a bit. “The whole books thing wasn’t convenient…to me?” A large sofa pillow rose and smacked her on the head. “Um. OK. It wasn’t convenient to Angel?” she felt a soft whisper of caress against her cheek. “Well, yeah, that little incident took some planning and daring do. He just wanted to irritate me.” She sighed.

“And boy, did he. He just wanted me there…he wanted me….” Her voice trailed off as she remembered. She remembered feeling the determination in him. She remembered the way his eyes had held hers as he removed his shirt. And oh god…she remembered the way he felt stretched out over her, taunting her, teasing her into a frenzy.

He had wanted her that day, beyond just wanting a sheet tango. He had wanted something from her soul….she closed her eyes, remembering the begging husky voice….
You want to take my empty soul and fill it up…. you want to save me. C’mon, Cordy, save me.

Was that it? He wanted her for…..for her. Because she was Cordy and he was Angel and somehow he started writing Cordy hearts Angel in the little notebook in his mind and now….her eyes flew open. And now he was making it real. He didn’t want to get laid. He wanted her heart. She clapped a hand over her mouth. And ohgodhowdidithappen….she wanted his. His little, dried up, unbeating heart. OK, dead guy, but she could deal with that.

She looked down at the silent phone, lit up with “Angel Investigations” in the caller ID readout. The man had patience, she had to give him that. She took a breath and reached for the phone, hesitating before answering it.

“Hello.”

Silence.

“Um. Hey. Sorry. Didn’t think you were going to answer.”

“But you called anyway.”

“Yeah. Thought there was a chance…..” His voice trailed off. “So…what’s up?”

Cordelia grinned to herself. “Nothing. Hanging out. Chatting with Dennis.”

“Kind of a one-sided conversation, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, well, that’s the way I seem to like my men. Strong and silent.”

And she got a strong silence from the other end of the line.

“Angel? You there?”

“Yeah. Listen…” there was a pause. “Um. I want to apologize…”

Cordy sat back on the sofa. “Yeah? For what?”

“I’ve been a little….”

“Demented?”

“Um, I was going to say overbearing, but…”

“OK…I completely buy overbearing. So…you’ve been overbearing…..”

“Yeah. I just came to some realizations, and I think I may have come across too strong….”

“Noooooo….” Cordelia drawled out.

“Really. I know. I’ve been a lot. I saw a need in my life and I didn’t consider your feelings at all. I just….” He seemed to fumble for a moment. “I feel like I know what I want, and I just want it to happen.”

Cordelia was silent. This was good. Way better than she expected of him. He went on. “I think…..I think about you all the time. We’ve been through so much, Cordy…so much. I think our experiences…our life in the past…has….laid the groundwork for a future. I think we have a future. At least I want to try and see if maybe…..” His voice trailed off, unsure….a little lost. “Say something.”

Cordelia was silent, feeling a lump in her throat. This man…..this man, for having a nonfunctioning heart, had the best heart in the world. Her voice came out husky when she finally spoke.

“Angel. God. I…..I….I don’t know what to say. This is…this is new for us. I mean…shit.” She felt tears in her eyes. “I just assumed when I fell in love, it would be with someone who, you know, was studly and handsome and funny and rich. With a tight sixpack. I didn’t think about how great it would be….” She broke off.

“Cordy?” His voice was a whisper.

“How great it would be if I fell in love with a friend. Someone who was a FRIEND. I mean, how great is that?”

Angel was quiet for a moment. “I’m coming over.”

“No.” Cordelia thought a moment. “This is too fast. Too much. I want to do this right. I want to be sure….” She closed her eyes. “Ok. I know. Meet me at Patricios…you know, the Mexican food place with the little courtyard out back? Meet me there tonight and we’ll talk.” Angel was silent. “C’mon, Angel. Let’s do this right.”

“Alright. Patricio’s. 8:00 ok?”

She smiled softly. “Perfect.”

“Cordy…” She waited, holding her breath. “You’re not just my friend. You’re my best friend.”

Oh, jeeze, it would be hard to get up off the sofa if she completely melted into a puddle of goo. She muttered a goodbye and hung up, taking in a deep breath. Looking at the clock, she saw that it was 3:30. She rose and wandered into her bedroom, deep in thought. He’d called. And said just the right things.

He cared. He cared about her, not just for her.

She was his best friend. Oh god, how many women heard that? He was Angel, champion to the world, and he wanted her. She felt her heart racing as she paced impatiently across her room. Screw doing it right. Screw Patricio’s. Screw 8:00.

This was the real deal, and she didn’t want to wait any longer. She slipped her feet into her skeechers and trotted to the front door, snagging her car keys on the way. Turning to the empty room, she called out,

“It wasn’t convenient at all, Dennis. And I don’t think this will be, either. But I gotta know instead of just wondering.” And she was out the door.

***

35 minutes later, she was standing in the silent lobby of the Hyperion. The office lights were out and all was still. She looked at the stairs. The long flight of stairs. That went up. To a hallway. That led to his door. She slowly gripped the rail and climbed the stairs, her feet silent on the padded floor.

Up the stairs…down the hall. Outside the door. She paused, her hand on the knob. This was it. Go on in. So she did.

Angel’s suite was softly lit, and fresh clothes lay on the bed, ready to be put on. She paused, hearing the shower running in the bathroom. Oh jeeze, this was a little more than she had planned on. She sat down on the bed, thinking. Maybe she should go back downstairs and wait.

Because sitting here while he scrubbed up and then trotted out naked…..she frowned, seeing some index cards next to the phone with Angel’s scribble all over them. She picked them up and thumbed through them curiously.

‘Say hello. CONTRITE’ Cordy frowned. What the hell?

‘OVERBEARING. INCONSIDERATE. Pause for Cordy to get in her digs.’

‘IT’S YOUR FAULT. Try to sound sincere.’

‘do not push. Make her come to you.’

‘life experiences…common ground’

‘try to get a commitment for drinks tonight. Be charming. Agree to meeting….get to her place after. Get the invite.’

A slow rage had begun to build in Cordelia. Angel had used fucking CRIBNOTES? He had to remind himself to be contrite? TRY TO SOUND SINCERE? Fuck. Fuck a duck.

Oh, yeah, she had an invite for him. An invitation to go to hell. Fuming, she turned the card over. Suddenly, a red haze covered her vision as she read the back.

‘Make her think she’s in control. Drinks, charm, invite, and BINGO. She’s all mine.’ Followed by several doodles of Spongebob Squarepants.

Sonofabitch. Asshole. Bingo? She was a bingo? He had planned that conversation? His little off the cuff agreement to meet for drinks was planned? So he could get her home? So he could get the invite? So he could…..oh dammit.

She took in a deep breath, trying to keep herself from grabbing up a stake and dusting his pasty ass. But she wasn’t going to do that. She was in control. She didn’t just think it, Dracula, she knew it.

She glared at the bathroom door before rising, her mind made up. Carefully placing the cards back on the table by the phone, she thought a moment. She didn’t have much time.

***

Angel leaned into the warm spray of the shower, letting water sluice down his cool body. Tonight. Tonight, tonight, tonight. Suddenly his favorite word. Tonight, he’d have Cordy at his side, in his bed, under his body…..he frowned as his body stirred at the thought.

Okay, hold that thought. He grinned as he stepped out of the shower and toweled off. Not a problem. Cordelia had held all his thoughts for weeks now. He grinned into the empty mirror above the sink. Ah, the blank look of a man in want.

He walked out into his bedroom and towards the bed, frowning at the space where his clothes should be. Maybe he forgot to set them out.

He turned to his dresser and pulled a drawer open. Empty. As was the next drawer and the next and the next. He furiously yanked open the last drawer quickly and slammed it shut, turning to the closet. Pulling the door open, he stared into the empty space.

A couple of empty hangers were scattered on the floor, and there was one hanger hanging off the rod with a card taped to it. He frowned, pulling the card off. It was his phone call notes. Written across the back in black marker were the words ‘come and get ’em.’

Fuck. He was so screwed.

Part 13

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete

In the Dark. 11   1 comment

Chapter 11

Angel strolled downstairs Friday afternoon, his eyes looking about for Cordy before his foot even hit the bottom stair.

The lobby was silent and still. Angel grinned to himself; Friday always felt different from other days. Friday meant two days off. Friday meant Gunn bringing in donuts and spending the afternoon on the phone, hooking up with friends for Friday night plans.

It meant Wesley mentally girding himself for his weekly phone call with his parents, and the quiet slam bam affair with a whiskey bottle that inevitably followed. Fridays meant two days of a quiet, still Hyperion. Fridays meant Cordelia…..

Angel frowned. He didn’t know what Cordy did on the weekends.

He didn’t think she dated, because God knows she’d be babbling on about it all through the week. If there was trouble and he called, she came without question.

Then she went home. Wesley sometimes talked about the movie he and Cordy went to see on Saturday nights, or the art air she had dragged him to and the snacks she made him buy her, but other than that, Angel was clueless about Cordy’s weekends.

Angel had fallen into a nice compromise routine. He no longer spent every moment alone in the dark. He had friends now…a family. He wanted the human contact and the camaraderie….to an extent. It was still nice, on the weekends, to be alone in the stillness.

He was satisfied, or had been up until recently. A restlessness had set in and taken over. He had spent the last few weekends wandering around the huge empty building, not content to sit and read or watch baseball. There was a hole in his life now, and he knew how to fill it.

He sighed. Knowing and getting….two different things. Back in the day, he wanted something, he took it. Or ate it. Life was simple. What he wanted now….simple did not apply. Well, yeah, he simply wanted it.

He simply wanted her. She was the goal.

But this was different from anything he’d ever felt or wanted. He was having to dredge up more patience than he ever knew he had. He’d made his intentions known; he’d provided the small sample; he’d piqued her interest.

Now he had to wait. She had to make the next move. He had to be a gentleman….he had to take a more gentle, civil approach. He had to show tenderness, patience, and self-restraint. And if that didn’t work, he’d get to move on to plan B, which was to rip her clothes off her body, lick her from head to toe, make her beg, and then spread her legs and dive in, over and over, till she couldn’t think straight or speak coherently.

All in all, it was a win-win situation.

He grinned to himself as he stepped into the office and stopped. Wesley was sitting at Cordelia’s desk, his hands folded together upon the desktop. He looked up at Angel evenly. “Good afternoon, Angel.”

“Wes.”

“Sleep well?”

“Um. Yeah.” They stared at each other a moment. Angel looked around. “Where is everyone?”

“Gunn took off early. He’s apparently got…” Wesley thought a moment. “The low down on the fly about a fat do that’s on the up.” He sighed. “I have no clue what I just said.”

Angel nodded. “Yeah, I get that, too.” He sat on the corner of his desk and looked around a bit. “Cordy?”

There was a small silence. “Cordelia…yes…..I told her to go ahead and take the rest of the day off. She seems a little….preoccupied….lately, and tired. I thought a little off time would benefit her.”

Angel nodded. “Yeah. The visions….they’re hard on her.”

“Yes. They are. Cordelia, though, she takes it in stride.” Wes grinned briefly. “Being Cordy, she’s vocal about the pain, but always after fulfilling her duty with the information. She’s…” he paused. “Cordelia is extraordinary.”

“Yes she is.” Angel’s voice was quiet. Wesley looked at him a moment and then rose and walked into his own office.

“Come in, Angel. Have a seat.” Angel felt a shiver run through him, unfamiliar and alien. He rose and walked into Wesley’s office, sitting in the chair opposite Wes’ desk. Wesley sat in his chair and leaned back slightly, his face solemn. “Angel….I believe we need to talk.”

Angel shifted in his seat; he hated these moments. Wesley would drone, Angel would listen, apologize, nod, and practically run out of the room when they were done. Lower management sucked.

Wesley continued. “I’ve noticed a….tension….a distinct pressure, if you will, between you and Cordelia.”

Angel shifted again. Shit. This was so much worse than a simple employer-employee job review. This was about Cordelia.

“Yeah, we had a…thing…a struggle. But I think we’re good. I mean, she stopped kicking me every time she walked by the day you guys moved back in; she stopped calling me names….glaring at me…denigrating my parentage….” He trailed off, frowning. “Wow, she was really pissed.”

“Yes, indeed. While the kicking and name calling was certainly entertaining for Gunn and me, I am glad we have moved beyond that. It interfered with business. We’re up and running now; we’re back at a good clip. My concerns have moved beyond the professional, however…” he paused.

“And into the area of the personal.” He fell silent. He seemed to draw into himself for a moment, eyes closed, and thinking. Angel watched him and shifted again. Wesley opened his eyes and met Angel’s gaze levelly.

“You have always been somewhat of a mystery, Angel. You know that. To say you’re complicated would be….well, simplistic. Be that as it may, I’ve spent the last two years at your side, in circumstances most could never even imagine. I feel I probably know you as well as anyone who’s ever stood beside you. Truth to tell…” He sighed. “I consider you the best of friends.”

Angel looked surprised. “Wes…I don’t know…”

“Yes. I know. It’s unfamiliar for both of us, but there you are. You and I…and Gunn…we’ve formed a bond. One of good faith. We’re family here. Our circumstances dictate that we all share a bond no one else can understand.” Angel nodded, listening.

Wesley sighed. “And then there’s Cordelia.” He grinned slightly. Cordelia….I get.” He grinned briefly. “She’s quite complex, and really quite simple.”

Angel snorted. “Trust me, there’s nothing simple about Cordelia Chase.”

“Maybe simple wasn’t the right word.” Wesley leaned back. “Perhaps…..easy.” Angel snorted again. “Easy, that’s it. Easy to know. Easy to look at, certainly. Easy to trust. Easy to respect.” He paused. “Easy to love.” Angel started slightly. Wesley watched him for a moment.

“Very, very easy to love. I must say, having Cordelia at my side, giving me her own brand of world view, her own way of care….that’s what I always imagined having a sister would be like. I would imagine that a brother would tolerate a sister….bedevil a sister. I think a brother would care for a sister, and occasionally… take a stand when it was warranted.”

Angel leaned forward. “Just say it, Wes.”

Wesley blinked. “Oh. I had some more carefully constructed observations; perhaps I should cut to the meat of the….” He broke off at Angel’s impatient expression. “Yes.” He paused a bit. “Angel….you seem….intent upon her. You seem to….” He paused again and Angel wiggled in his seat a bit.

Wesley glared at him briefly. “Oh, hold still, I hate this as much as you do. You….you want Cordelia.”

Silence fell between the two men. They stared at each other, the words hanging in the air like smoke.

“You do, don’t you? You want her.”

Angel nodded. “Yep.”

Wesley closed his eyes briefly and took in a deep breath. “May I ask in what capacity?”

Angel suddenly felt an alien nervousness run through him. He felt cornered….trapped. His eyes widened as he realized what was going on. This was the equivalent of the girl’s father grilling the suitor about his intentions. Yes, sir, I receive a fund of 10,000 pounds a year.

The estate is not entailed; I inherit. I am a gentleman, sir, I plan on receiving the seat in the peerage. Your daughter will not want for a thing. Indeed, sir, we shall summer in the country and enjoy the season in town.

Shit. This was two centuries later, and his end would be more…why yes, I do largely probono work ridding the world of demons and evildoers with the aid of a seer, a bald street urchin, and a James Bond wannabe with a huge brain. I live in an abandoned hotel, but I’ll make sure the rats don’t hurt her.

We’ll vacation in Alaska in the winter so I can wander around 24/7 outside and not turn into dust. And as the girl in question has the biggest fucking shoe jones I’ve ever seen, she’s probably going to want for a lot.

Shit. He was screwed.

“Wes….I want her. I don’t want just anyone…I don’t want just to not be alone. I want her.”

“In what capacity?”

“Fuck. I’m just figuring that out, Wes. I gotta share with you?”

“Yes, you fucking do.” Angel looked at Wes, startled. Wes almost never cursed. “This isn’t a new sword or a good vintage bottle of o positive. This is Cordelia.”

Silence. Angel sighed. “I don’t know just when it happened. There was something..always….something even before I….well, before. But Wesley…” his voice was firm. “I have her back. She’s back, and I’m back, and we’re staying.”

Wesley regarded him for a moment. “You’ve thought of the ramifications?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I doubt that one.” Wesley looked down at his hands. “And Cordelia….?”

Angel’s voice was firm. “I’m pretty sure she feels it, too….an attraction…more than just an attraction…she feels….”

“Ownership?”

Angel was silent a moment. “Yeah. That’s what we feel. Us vampires. We feel ownership.”

“Cordelia’s not a vampire.” Wesley opened his eyes. “And there are no plans to make her one, correct?” An underlying steel laced his voice. Angel nodded.

“I wouldn’t do that to her. C’mon Wes. I don’t want to hurt her…”

“No, you want to own her.”

“I want us to own each other.”

“I see.” Wesley sounded resigned. “Have you discussed this with Cordelia?”

Angel grinned briefly. “I’m still alive.”

“Indeed. So the answer is no.”

“The answer is hell no.”

Wesley closed his eyes briefly. He shook his head. “She seems skittish. She has to be aware that you feel something…”

“Well, yeah, she knows I want her. You know…want her. She just doesn’t know the full plan.”

Wesley’s eyes popped open and he fixed a baleful glare at Angel. “Ah. There’s a plan. Yes, there would be, because those are always so successful for us. Do tell me of the plan.”

Angel nodded. “Yes. The plan is to charge ahead and take her before she knows what’s happening and make it a done deal. By the time her head clears, she and I will be an us and we can go on.”

Wesley looked at him incredulously before giggling a little hysterically. “Oh my. Yes, that’s quite a plan.”

Angel nodded. “That’s the way to deal with Cordelia.. Just take charge.”

“Yes. Cordelia being so biddable and all.”

“It’s a plan.”

“A bad one.”

“Still a plan.”

There was silence for a moment, then Wesley rose and walked to a side table, reaching for a tumbler and the decanter of scotch he kept there. He no longer disguised its presence with an airy wave and the “for medicinal purposes” excuse.

He now responded to Cordelia’s teasing with a “mind-numbing to do the job” excuse. He poured a measure into the glass and knocked it back, breathing in as the delicate fire poured down his throat. Angel watched him, stoic and still. Finally, Wesley spoke.

“So….you are taking Cordelia as your….”

“Mate. Consort. Permanent pain in the ass.”

Wesely grinned, briefly. “The rest of us should be so lucky to find a pain like that.” He poured another measure of scotch, then reached for another tumbler, pouring some for Angel. Walking to him, Wesley handed Angel the glass and paused, looking steadily at him.

“This will be interesting. I certainly wish you luck.” Another giggle escaped. “Lots of luck.” Wesley shook his head, the amusement slowly fading from his face.

“But know this, Angel. I stand by you both, I support you both. Don’t ask me how, but somehow, I want to think that this can be…right. But hurt her in any way….make her regret this life….make her wish for a happier circumstance…..I will destroy you. I won’t think twice.” His gaze was somber, and Angel could hear the resolve in his voice…see the commitment in his eyes.

“Wesley…I hurt her in any way….I’ll hold still for you to do it.” They regarded each other silently before clinking glasses and downing the scotch.

Chapter 12

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete

In the Dark. 10   1 comment

Chapter 10

Lorne grinned down at Cordelia. “S’matter, sweets? Tequila not on the menu tonight?” Cordelia shuddered, ignoring Wesley’s chuckle.

“No, no, no. And more no. Been there, done that, upchucked bunches.”

“On my shoes.” Gunn muttered.

“Yes, and I said I’d get you a new pair.”

“They were vapor trainers, Barbs. You can’t afford ’em.”

“Neither can you.”

Gunn finally grinned at her. “Don’t sweat the small stuff….and compared to what we do, your ralphing on my shoes is small stuff. Forget it.”

Cordelia grinned back and leaned over to kiss his cheek. “I love you.”

“Back at ya. Can we be done with the Oprah moment now?”

Cordy laughed and looked back up at Lorne. “How ’bout a raspberry tea?” Lorne shook his head.

“Such a waste, Cordycakes, but you got it.” He sauntered off to the bar and Cordy grinned at Wesley and Gunn.

“Wow. We’re out on the town. For fun. No drowning of the sorrows, no Lifetime channel movie of the week drama, no angst….we’re just, for once, normal friends out for a drink, like normal people, in a normal place…” She trailed off as a green, scaly hand set her tea down in front of her on the table.

She looked up into the demon server’s one eye and smiled. “Thanks.” The server shuffled off, and Cordelia sighed. “Ok, not so normal.”

“Maybe its our normal.” Wesley’s voice was thoughtful. “Maybe people like us have a different normal than other people.”

“People like us?” Cordelia thought a moment. “You mean, all the other people wandering around who slay bad evil demons, have head-splitting inducing visions and have bloodsucking nonliving friends? People like that? ‘Cuz I kind of like thinking we’re in a minority here. Nine to five burbsville, that’s normal.”

Gunn snorted. “I’ll take this life, thanks.” Wesley glanced at him. “I will. Flexible schedule….casual Friday every freakin’ day…” their server set a new longneck down in front of Gunn; he sighed, staring at the scales stacked on its hand. “Ya meet lots of interesting people…and nonpeople.”

They all three sat there, drinking, lost in thought. Cordy trailed her fingertip listlessly around the rim of her glass. Looking at Wesley, she took in a deep breath. “So, Wes…how’s it going?”

Wesley paused, his hand gripping his drink halfway to his mouth. “Um…alright.” He looked at Cordy, then at Gunn. Gunn looked back, a little confused. “I suppose one could say I’m doing pretty well. Back in the saddle, so to speak.”

Cordy nodded, impatiently. “Yeah, great, whatever. The thing is….how’re we doing? The team?”

“Oh. Fine, I suppose. Business is a little down, but that’s only to be expected, what with the reorganization, and all.”

Gunn spoke up, “Yeah, and I personally think a downturn in demon happymaking is a good thing. Call me crazy, but a little break from snapping necks and being sprayed in goo….I’m tight with that.”

Cordy sighed. “Yeah, I just meant…..Angel. We doing ok with Angel? You both good with him?”

Wesley and Gunn exchanged glances. Wesley seemed to gather his thoughts before he spoke. “Yes, Cordelia, we’re fine. The transition has had its bumpy moments…his tendency to take control for example…but overall, I’m quite satisfied….”

“Satisfied…yeah, that’s it.” Cordelia broke in, lost in thought. “I’m satisfied. I mean, there was the thing, and I had the fear, and then there was the other thing, and the whole silence, and then that thing with the voice, that low one, ya know….” She trailed off and came back to the present, seeing Wesley and Gunn staring at her.

She smiled brightly. “Yeah, it’s good.”

Her friends looked at each other and seemed to reach some conclusion, nodding to each other. Gunn leaned forward. “Cordelia, you know we love you.”

“OK, yeah, I love you two, too.”

Wesley spoke up, “But we’re concerned that your anger with Angel….well….it has been a little distracting.”

“Yeah. I know.” She met each gaze. “It has been with me, too. Really distracting. Kind of….all involving, you might say.”

“We do say.” Cordy shot Gunn a disgruntled glance.

“Got it. I’m over it. I’m moving on.” She was quiet a moment. “It’s good.” Wesley smiled at her and Gunn leaned back in his chair, drawing a long pull of beer. “It’s just….does he seem different?”

“Angel?”

“Yes, Kojak, Angel. Does he seem a little different to you guys?”

Gunn thought a moment. “Well, he seems a little more…relaxed. He seems happy. But aren’t we supposed to ixnay the appyhay?”

Cordelia started. “Well, yeah, he can be, you know….oh, I love the rain happy, just not, why thank you, I’ll be glad to play hide the salami with you.happy.” Wesley grimaced.

“Well put, Cordelia. You’re almost ready for tea with the Queen.” Cordelia rolled her eyes and sat back, thinking.

“So…he’s in a better place, wouldn’t you both say?”

“Uh, news flash…we all are, Barbs.” Gunn raised his beer in a toast. “A better place in which we can buy cool beer instead of cheap beer.”

Cordy spotted Lorne chatting up a customer in the corner. Rising, she made vague ‘I’ll be right back’ motions with her hands as she walked to him.

“Well, no, can’t say that happiness waits just around the corner, pal, more like down the block, through the town, on the train, across the country, but hey, hang in there!” Lorne smacked the demon on the back and chortled, turning and grinning as Cordelia stepped to his side.

“Cordycakes! Light of my life, sea in my breeze, what can I do for you?”

Cordy shifted nervously from one foot to another. “Oh, you know. MOTS, Lorne. I just wanted….I have this teeny little thing….on my mind…kinda….hooookay……” She set her jaw and her brows drew together as she suddenly opened her mouth and belted out “Everybody run….Homecoming Queen’s got a gun…Everybody run….Hooommmmeecoming Queen’s got a gun….”

Her voice trailed off as she looked around, noting the appalled stares. “Hey, it’s a comedy classic. Cut me some slack.” She looked back at Lorne. “So?” Lorne stared at her a moment. “OK…the song is goofy….” He remained silent. She began to fidget. “And my singing isn’t great..ok…good….” she sighed. “I suck. I know.”

Lorne shook his head. “No, no, sweetie…well, yeah, but more to the point….YEAH.” He laughed and threw his head back. “It’s about time.”

“What?!!! What’s about time?” Cordelia waved her hands in the air. “Kinda a need to know basis here.”

“Yeah. What’s about time?” That low, quiet voice, there it was. Just behind and above her ear. Cordelia stilled, and slowly tilted her head back to look over her shoulder at Angel.

He grinned down at her. “Kinda funny. You singing a song about a homecoming queen. One with a gun yet.”

“Yeah, well, it was Sunnydale. What Can I say?”

Lorne chuckled. “Gotta mingle. You two crazy kids mingle, too.” His eyes met Angel’s over Cordy’s head. “Mingle away, the night is young.” Cordy’s gaze went back and forth between the two before Lorne walked away, whistling. Cordy looked back up at Angel.

“I think he wants us to mingle.” Angel said down to her, deadpan.

Cordy looked back at Lorne’s back as he walked away. What the hell was it about time for? She sighed, and motioned with her head for Angel to follow as she went back to the table.

“Angel.” Wesley’s signaled to the server and pointed at Angel. Gunn tipped back in his chair and sipped more at his beer. He looked at Angel for a moment.

“So, I hear you’re distracting Cordy.” Cordy choked on the sip of tea she had just taken and Angel leaned over and helpfully whacked her on the back. She glared at him and swatted his hand away.

“Really? I had no idea I had…distracted her.” Angel sat back in his seat and looked seriously at Cordelia.

“You know, with the Queen C, time has to heal the wounds. But she’s back.” Gunn grinned. “Long live the Queen.”

Cordelia sent him a withering glance and frantically tried to think of a way to change the subject. Wesley watched her a moment before speaking.

“So….Angel. Patrolling?”

“Yeah. Walked the docks and came by to see if you all were here. Kind of quiet lately.” He smiled slightly. “It’s kind of nice.”

“Hey, I’m on the same page.” Gunn grinned and clinked his beer against Angel’s. “Quiet and tame is good.”

Cordy played with the rim of her glass. Angel watched her quietly, drawing on his beer. Wesley and Gunn began telling Angel stories about Angel Investigations, the Lost Months.

“So then, Wesley jumps up all Lord of the Manor and begins wailin’ on this poor schmoo. I’m trying to not let my buggin’ eyes rest on his trophy wife’s massive cleavage, and Cordy…” Gunn let out a snort.

“Cordy finally loses it and stands up, telling everyone to shut the hell up and then she just marches over to Miss Clevage 2004 and yanks the icon right out of her purse. It was priceless. I thought Wesley was going to have a stroke.”

“Yes, well, Cordelia didn’t follow the plan.” Wesley muttered.

Angel grinned. “Does she ever?”

“Hey.” Cordelia managed a frown. “I can follow the plan plenty well, when it doesn’t involve my evening turning into a bad episode of Masterpiece Theatre.”

Wesley pretented to ignore that and continued on, “That was a good case, yes. It reminds me of….” He droned on and Cordelia listened halfheartedly. Angel was nodding and laughing along with Wes and Gunn, but he seemed a little fidgety. His knee kept brushing up against her leg. It was…..distracting. She started, sending him a look.

He wasn’t fidgety. He was flirting again. He suddenly looked at her and winked. She sat back, eyes wide, and looked at Wesley and Gunn to see if they had noticed. They hadn’t. She snuck a look back at Angel and he was once again looking at Wesley, nodding as Wesley talked.

Okay. She looked around and spotted Lorne, leaning against the bar. He was watching her. She looked at him, a question on her face and he grinned and waved.

Either she had something slipped into her tea causing some kind of funky dreamtrip, or…..she took in a breath. Or Angel was hunting. Angel was hunting her. She popped up from her seat and yanked at Angel’s arm. “Hey. I need to talk to you.”

All three men stopped talking and stared up at her. She ignored Wesley and Gunn. “C’mon. I need to talk to you now. About….” She glanced at the other two. “Um. “Filing. I need to speak to Angel about filing, because, it’s….um….” She looked at Angel, hoping for a save.

“It’s all filey?” Angel offered, helpfully. She glared at him and dragged him off, leaving Gunn looking confused, and Wesley looking thoughtful.

Cordy stalked through the crowd and down the back hall, stopping outside of the door to Lorne’s apartment. Turning around, she blew her hair out of her eyes and glared up at Angel. He grinned down at her.

“Look, muffin. I think there’s been a misunderstanding, here. What with the thing and all, and the, you know, the thing, and you kissing me….”

“It was mutual, Cordy.”

“Ok, but I was surprised…so really that doesn’t count as kissing you back. I was….taken aback.”

“Yeah. Taken aback for 5 minutes.”

“Shut up. I’m onto you. You want…..you want…..” She blew out a breath, exasperated. “Just what the hell do you want?”

Angel stared down at her for a long moment. “So so many things, Cordy. Right now I want to grab you up and hold you close and kiss you stupid, but I think that would make you mad. I want….” He paused, thinking.

“I want a lot, a fucking lot. And I’m going to get it. But it’s going to be mutual. You’re not going to be able to play that ‘I was taken by surprise’ card.” He leaned down so that his lips brushed against hers. “I want the whole package.”

She held still. He raised his head and smiled down at her. “I’m walking towards the light, Cordy. Deal with it.” And he turned and walked back to the club. Cordy leaned against the wall, stunned. Deal with it. Deal with…what? What did he want?

OK, she had the general picture of what he wanted, but….really….what did he want? She looked down at the floor, lost in thought. A pair of yellow patent leather shoes came into her view. She sighed.

“Hey, Lorne.” She looked up at his green, grinning face.

“Sweetiebabyhoneycookie, I hear your song without you singing a note. Loud and clear.”

“Yeah? Is the song you’re hearing called ‘what the hell is going on here because I am totally lost and confused’?”

“Cordy, they’re playing your song. Well, the song you’re heart’s singing but you’re not seeming to hear.” Cordy looked at him blankly. “It’s a little ditty called ‘c’mon, Angel, how about a little hot monkey love?’ I think it’s destined to be on your top ten list.”

“Are you crazy? I can’t….we don’t…..” She broke off. “He doesn’t…”

“Yeah, he does. He does really really mucho.”

“We can’t. I’m mad at him.”

“No you’re not.”

“Yes I am.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“Oh for gods sake. We can’t. The curse. The not making with the happy thing. How fun would that be? Do I look like a character from some fifties soap? Oh jeeze.” She covered her face with her hands. Tears filled her eyes. “Oh jeeze.” Lorne patted her back softly. “Oh jeeze.”

“Yeah, I got that one, poopsie. You know, I think you better go to the source for this one. Something tells me this is a situation best sorted out in the 1st and 2nd person, leaving the 3rd person out altogether.” He leaned over to kiss Cordy’s forehead. “Don’t fret, Cordelia Gertrude Chase.”

Cordy buried her face against his shoulder, giggling through the tears. “Gertrude?”

“Yeah, I figure the ‘rents that tortured you with ‘Cordelia’ followed it up appropriately.”

Cordy wiped her tears away, smiling up at him. “What’s wrong with Cordelia?”

“Oh, bonbon, if only we had time to answer that.”

Cordy swatted Lorne on the arm and took in a deep breath. “OK. I wanna go home. Tell the guys I left, but give me a few minutes, ok? I don’t want company. From any of them.” She looked at him. “Any of them at all. I need to think.”

“Princess, you got it. Anything at all.” Lorne’s voice turned serious. “Anything, Cordelia Chase. You’re a special girl. I’d do anything for you.”

“Oh, Lorne. Marry me.”

Lorne laughed and backed away, hands in the air. “No. Numero uno, don’t want to burden you. Once you go green, nothing’s as keen.” Cordelia rolled her eyes. “And B, C, and 4, you are so taken you’re never coming back. Even if you don’t know it yet.”

Cordelia held his gaze and nodded, walking to the back door and leaving to go home alone.

Lorne stared at the closed door a moment and shook his head. Better get the popcorn; the show was about to start.

Part 11

PS: The song Cordy sang is Julie Brown’s Homecoming Queen’s got a Gun. I don’t mean to offend anyone; I know every school idiot seems to be toting heat lately and I certainly don’t want to be dismissive of that, but this song, written in the ’80’s, is a stitch.

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete

In the Dark. 9   1 comment

Chapter 9

Cordelia breezed into the Hyperion, heels clicking across the lobby as she walked into the office. She set the drink carrier on her desk and reached to push the message button on the answering machine. She sipped at her latte and listened, writing down two messages to get back to later.

Later…when Wesley and Gunn were here….and Angel. Later meant Angel. Angel up at the crack of noon, sauntering downstairs, wandering into her line of vision. Staying in her thoughts.

Cordelia sipped absently and leaned back in her chair. Angel in her thoughts had changed from fantasies of torturing and staking him to….she didn’t know. She had several scenarios all lined up. They differed in style, and atmosphere, but all ended with him begging for forgiveness and her holding his life in her hands.

She loved those fantasies. Especially the begging. She had loved the begging in high school…..please, Cordelia, c’mon….go out with me. Now it was….please, Cordelia….I am the wrongest of wrong… the deepest of the low…forgive me or just kill me….I’m so unworthy…..I am shamed at the total wrongness of me.

Cordelia smiled to herself. Men, they fantasized about nude supermodels on beaches asking for help with suntan oil. Women, they fantasized about the men in their lives uttering the magic phrase….I was wrong.

And god, she bet she didn’t even know just how wrong he was. She knew there were three months of not knowing whatever the hell he did to get himself through the day, and the night. What had happened, or almost happened, between them was just the tip of the iceberg, and she was chilly enough.

She didn’t want to know anymore. She shivered a bit and sipped at her latte again.

“Cold?”

Cordy jumped in her seat, sloshing latte on her top. She spun around to glare at Angel, lounging in the doorway. He looked down at the spatters on her top and frowned.

“Jeeze louise, Angel…..get a freakin’ bell…learn to clear your throat…whatever.”

“Sorry. You seemed…preoccupied.” His eyes raked over her top; she shifted a bit. “I’ll get that cleaned…”

“No. Never mind…I’ll fix it…” She frowned, getting up and walking past him to go to the restroom and sponge at the damp spots on her shirt. As she walked past, he met her gaze.

“Good morning, Cordy.”

His brown eyes held hers levelly. “Um…morning. ‘Scuse me.” And she walked on, shaking her head. Good morning? When the hell had he said good morning to her before. He hadn’t. Not even three days ago, when she had awakened alone in his bed and had come charging downstairs, rumpled and tousled, shaken that she had spent the night.

Wes and Gunn had looked up, surprised at her mood, and Wes had explained that they decided the night before to let her sleep. He wondered if she had a bad dream or something. Cordelia had looked at them, equally surprised at herself. She had slept all night in Angel’s bed.

All night. She hadn’t slept all through the night, even in her own bed, since the night Angel had fired them. And she had done just that here. In his bed. Alone. In his….she frowned. In his different bed. That wasn’t the same bed. It was different…..maybe new?

She snuck a look over at Angel, hidden behind the newspaper. After a bit, he lowered the paper, frowning at her. “OK…I get Doonesbury…I finally get Non Sequitur…but Zippy…..completely over my head.” Wesley chuckled. Cordelia stared at him, suspiciously.

“Um…no one gets Zippy, Angel. It’s there to taunt us.” And she had turned and gone on out the door to go to her apartment, missing the grin on Angel’s face as he lifted the paper back up and mentally patted himself on the back for his display of clueless dork.

So mark today on the Cordelia Chase calendar of cataclysmic events. Angel said good morning. She sponged at her top uselessly, sighing. The days of boutique shopping were over. If it didn’t come from Target or Walmart and cost less than 12 bucks, she didn’t want to know about it.

She gave up on the spots and opened the door to walk back to the office, colliding with Angel, who stood right on the other side of the restroom door.

“Holy fucking hell, Angel. What is your deal?”

Angel rocked back on his heels a bit, hands in his pockets. “Well, sailor, I just wanted to say I was sorry again….for the top thing…..”

Cordelia snorted and brushed past him, stalking back to the office. Angel followed slowly, appreciating the sway of her hips as she walked on those stilts she called shoes. Cordy sat back down at her desk and looked around.

“Quiet day. We don’t get a few cases soon, I’m going to have to take drastic measures.” She chattered on, trying to fill the oppressive silence.

“You ok?” Angel’s voice was calm. She looked up at him. “Moneywise.”

“Oh…yeah….I always get by.” For some reason, his question discomfited her. They might have been two friends…one concerned about the other….like they used to be. She met his gaze. She didn’t snipe at him anymore; he thought he’d laid the law down on her, but the truth was, it was getting harder and harder to maintain such ongoing venom.

So….the Queen had settled in her throne a bit and scaled back her full frontal attacks. The air of antagonism had been replaced by a civil air of tolerance. Very proper. Very controlled. She was so bored with civility she was about to lose her mind. She wanted the old days, when she would snark for a raise and gripe about money and he’d ignore her.

But things had changed. More and more lately, the Angel/Cordelia show had flipflopped, and now it seemed…..he was snarking and she was ignoring. Or trying to. And his snarks weren’t really snarks…they were more….Cordelia sat back, stunned. Angel wasn’t snarking. He was….

“Hey. You’re FLIRTING with me.” She paled, hearing the words screech out before she could stop them. She clapped a hand over her mouth, her eyes wide as she stared at him in horror. Maybe he hadn’t heard her correctly. Maybe he thought she said…

“Flirting with you?” He seemed genuinely amused. “Now, there’s a thought.”

“OKAY…yes….a silly, nonsense, whoa, went to the Bahamas for a moment brain freeze thought. Boy, where did THAT come from?” Cordelia laughed loudly, a little hysterically. “Because of course….there is no…flirting. None.” She rose, agitated, and skittered around the desk so it separated them. “Don’t know what I was thinking….” Her voice trailed off as she met his gaze.

He hadn’t moved. He stood there, arms folded over his chest, his expression unreadable. “It’s just not…..” He didn’t move. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Angel…..” Silence. “Were you….flirting? With me?” Ohgodohgodohgod.

Angel stared at her across the desk, not moving. Finally, he spoke in a low voice as he slowly walked around to her. “Cordy…I’m surprised at you. You’re a pretty accomplished flirt. You know how it’s done. That wasn’t flirting. That was….” He stopped several inches from her, not crowding her.

Her heart raced and she felt frozen. “That was one friend caring about another. Making sure that friend is ok.” He held her gaze. “We’re friends, right?”

Cordy stiffened, remembering a heated voice whispering in her ear…”And we’re not friends?” as he held her body flat against a wall. She stood still, and watched the memory flood into Angel.

He straightened and pushed his hands into his pockets, and his gaze seemed to shutter over.  He’d been trying. She knew that. He’d come in out of the dark, little baby steps, and maybe he needed…..

“Yes, we’re friends, Angel.” He seemed to freeze. “Truth is, we always were. We just got a little lost from each other, all of us. This friend is ok.” She walked to him and rose to her tiptoes and briefly kissed his cheek.

“And this friend…” she poked him softly in the chest. “This friend is good to care.”

Angel felt heat and want and need pour through him all at once…and something else. Something light and….joyful. Joy. It was going to be ok. He felt the space where his heart lay contract briefly. It was going to be better than ok.

Cordy grinned at him, her first genuine grin in a long, long time. She walked back around the desk and sat, pleased that the air seemed lighter, and that her little faux pas was going to slide on by unacknowledged.

Angel watched her, knowing exactly what she was thinking, and then leaned on her desk. “Just one thing, Cordy. Hey, how ya doing? Everything ok?” Cordy looked up at him, a little confused.

“That was me being a friend.” A wicked grin tilted his lips. “Hey cute thing…you look good enough to eat. That….” He rose, walking to her side. “That was flirting. “Now this….” Suddenly, he leaned over and yanked her up, pulling her to him and pressed his mouth to hers before she knew what was happening.

His mouth moulded to hers, slanting over hers with firm grace and strength. His hands wrapped gently around her wrists, holding her lightly still.

Cordy was too shocked to move. She held still, her senses swimming. Had she been able to think, she would have pushed Angel away and whacked him upside his gelled head. But she couldn’t think, because her mind was completely clouded over.

He tasted so good…and his mouth…ohgod his mouth. All over hers. He pulled back a bit and rested his forehead against hers.

“That was…” He closed his eyes and fell silent. “We’ll figure that out as we go along.”

Cordelia breathed in deeply as if she had run far….she didn’t move at all. His hands still held her wrists softly and his fingers traced light patterns over the pulse he felt beating a rapid tattoo. Her eyes opened and she pulled back slightly to look into his face….to see his eyes.

His eyes settled on hers, and she could see gold flecks flaring in the chocolate depths. He slowly released her wrists and stepped back, turning to walk out of the office without another word. Cordelia plopped back down into her chair, a dazed expression on her face.

“Holy cow. I mean…..yowsa. I just…….we…..I mean…and I really really mean…..” She gave up trying to think coherently and dropped her head to her desk with a thud. That was just…..something. She didn’t even realize she was speaking out loud. “That was really hot.”

Around the corner, Angel grinned, pretty happy with life at the moment. Get used to it, Cordy. Because things were going to get a lot hotter.

Chapter 10

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete

In the Dark. 8   1 comment

Chapter 8

She slowly stalked across the lobby towards him, feline grace and leggy charm. Her hazel eyes locked onto his, sending tremors of heat through his body.

He watched her, lazily reclining in his leather office chair, feeling his body harden as she stopped to face him across the huge walnut desk. Cordelia’s face glowed in the soft light.

“Angel….I….I just can’t do this anymore. This pretence…this sham. I tried to stay angry at you, but I know I’m just trying to hide my true feelings.” She stroked at her collarbone listlessly. “I…..I want you, Angel. I burn for you.” Her hands both rose to tangle in her hair, her lush body slowly undulating as her hands slid down her face, down her throat, down over her breasts. He watched, impassively, feeling his cock swelling as she touched herself, caressing her ripe, full breasts.

“God, please, tell me you feel it, too….I know you do. I know you want me.” She climbed up on his desk, sweeping the papers and files away. She crawled across the desk, the scent of her arousal filling his senses. She leaned to lick at his lips, biting his lower lip before pulling back and staring into his eyes. “Take me, Angel. Take me now.”

“Bite me, Gunn.” Angel was startled out of his daydream as Cordelia’s less than loving voice bit across the lobby. He jarred his knees against the too small legspace beneath his desk as he jumped in his chair. Looking around to see if anyone had noticed, he shifted a bit, leaning forward to hide the thick bulge beneath his jeans.

Gunn leaned against the counter, glaring at Cordy. “I’ll slay the demons, I’ll bury the pieces, I’ll wash your car, I’ll watch Oprah. Just don’t make me deal with those beady-eyed little critters. Ugh.” He shivered.

Cordelia, arms full of rat traps, turned to Wesley, who slowly lifted the newspaper he was reading till he was completely hidden behind it. She stared at him a moment, then trudged to the basement door.

“Be back in a moment. Maybe you can both pass the time looking for your balls and go online to ebay and buy a spine.” They both breathed a sigh of relief as they heard the door slam and her footsteps echoing down the stairs.

Angel sat still, waiting for his body to calm, then casually rose and walked to the basement.

“Better go help her. We really don’t want the wrath of Cordelia on us all day.” Gunn grinned and nodded in agreement. Angel opened the door and slowly walked down the stairs, not making a sound. He paused at the bottom of the steps, grinning to himself at the view.

Cordelia, down on her hands and knees, faced away from him, trying to push the trap between a set of shelves. Her top had ridden up over her back, giving him a perfect view of the delicately traced tattoo on the small of her back . Her ass, round and firm, wiggled a bit as she worked the trap back into the furthest reach.

She crawled backwards and stood, huffing at the dust in the air.

He wiped the grin off his face as she turned and shrieked, startled to see him standing there.

“Dammit, Angel! Wear a bell or something. Jeeze. What is your deal?”

His voice was calm. “Came to help you. I know this isn’t fun.”

“Oh. OK.” She seemed to be a little off center, not sure of him at the moment. He walked, stopping a few inches from her. She fought the urge to back up. Looking around, she picked up two traps and shoved them at him. “Here. I haven’t done that corner yet.” She pointed across the room before picking up another trap and walking in the opposite direction.

Angel watched her a moment before setting the two traps. Then he walked to the stairs and waited for her. She took a step up, ignoring him.

His voice was calm. “Gonna thank me?”

Her back stiffened and she turned around to face him. “OK. Thanks for earning your paycheck, Angel. I really appreciate your being able to work at your job.” She turned and started up the stairs. So quick he was a blur, he shot in front of her and blocked her way up the steps. She backed down one step, her eyes raised to him.

He sat on the higher stair, trying to be not intimidating while being, well, intimidating. He sighed. She needed to hear this, and this was the only way he was going to get her to listen.

“Move.” Her voice was quiet and low. “I mean it. Move or I’ll call Wes and Gunn.”

“Just want to talk.”

Silence. Her gaze was thunderous. “Fine. Talk. Then move.”

He stared at her for a minute; she finally looked away. His face was unreadable, his voice was calm. “Maybe you didn’t understand me last night. The punishment portion of the entertainment is over, Cordy. I was wrong, and I know that, and I’m back. You’re angry, and you don’t trust me, and I get that. But this queen bitch thing, it’s done. I let you get away with it…”

“You LET me…..arrogant much? You don’t LET me do anything.”

He stared down at her, deciding to let that pass. “All I’m saying is….let’s go on. All of us. Let’s try…” he paused. “Let’s try to be better than this.”

Cordy stared back, fire lighting the hazel in her eyes to a fine blaze. “Fine.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.” Cordy let out a sigh, feeling some of her anger draining out with it. She looked up at him, feeling the words tumble out before she even knew they were being formed. “I’m tired of being mad. It’s too much work.” He nodded, looking down. “Is this what it was like for you? Did you just…..get tired?”

“No.” He looked back up at her. “I got awake.” He held her gaze calmly. “You asked where I was. You said you couldn’t find me. You did. I’m right here.”

Cordy felt warmth creep through her heart, flowing through her blood and coursing thorough her body. She couldn’t have moved if her life depended on it. He slowly raised one hand and stroked along her cheek, relieved when she didn’t jerk away. She watched him, almost hypnotized as he slowly pulled his hand away. He rose, stepping aside.

She climbed the stairs past him and opened the door, stepping out into the hallway. He followed behind her and was turning to close the door when she shrieked and flung herself backwards, into him. He grabbed her shoulders and held her close, holding her arms as she writhed, screaming.

God, he hated this. She seemed to fold into herself, inching towards a place dark and painful whenever she got a little gift from the fucking PTB.

Footsteps pounded as Wesley and Gunn came pounding from the lobby. Angel held Cordy to his chest as she gasped, coming out of her vision. She clutched at his arms, hanging on as her eyes pressed shut against the light.

“Oh god….” Angel looked at Wesley, who trotted to the restroom to get aspirin and water. Cordy shuddered a bit before taking a deep breath.

“Um….samo samo….demon…two big horns…” her brow crinkled. “Ewww. Pus oozing scales. Corner of 31st and Hanthorne. He’s…..he’s….” She looked up at Angel. “He’s….eating a dog?”

Gunn hovered over her, confused. “He’s having a hotdog?”

“No…” Cordy looked up at Gunn. “A dog. Bowwow. He’s eating a DOG.” She looked up at Angel. “We’re supposed to help the helpless dogs now?”

He looked down at her, equally confused. “Maybe the dog is an appetizer.”

“EWWWWW.” Cordy rose, flushed from her vision and a bit wobbly on her feet. Angel reached to steady her, his eyes dark with concern. She leaned into him for a moment, sighing, before her inner voices kicked in and she shoved him away, grumbling as she reached for the aspirin and water from Wesley.

Angel watched her a moment, his brows furrowed in a frown, before looking to Wesley and Gunn. “Ok. I guess we go check it out before he moves on to the main course.” He glanced at Cordelia as she ewwed again.

“Stay here and rest, Cordy. We got this.” She lowered her head, her eyes closed. Angel looked at Wesley, who looked back, sharing a look of worry. Wesley spoke up.

“Angel’s right, Cordelia. We’ll go make the world a safe place for Lassie. You rest.” His voice was gentle as he put his arm around her, guiding her to a chair and sitting her down. Squatting down beside her, he looked up into her face, willing her eyes to meet his.

Cordy sighed, meeting his gaze as he continued, “They’re getting worse, aren’t they?” Cordelia nodded, tears filling her eyes. Wesley kissed her forehead. “Rest. No phone. No work. No going online and ordering shoes.” Cordy’s lips lifted in a small smile. “Rest.”

She nodded.

Gunn walked back from the weapons cabinet. “Barbie, just get your z’s on and when we’re back, I’ll take ya home. Be good and I might spring for a concrete at Custer’s.”

Cordy grinned tiredly. “Passionfruit mango kiwi. Double.” Gunn grinned and headed to the door, followed by Wesley. Angel stopped beside her chair, stooping down beside her.

“Cordy….” She looked up at him, pain still burning in her eyes. “Baby….go lie down. Let the aspirin kick in.” She sighed, nodding miserably. He looked at her a moment before rising and stalking to the front door, charging out thinking that someday, he’d track down the fucking powers that be and show them a little of his own powers that be.

Cordelia sighed as she heard the door slam. Tiredly, she rose and walked to the phone, making sure the answering machine was on. She looked around before walking to the stairs, climbing them with her mind numb and her head churning with pain.

Stopping in the hallway, she looked around, realizing that none of the rooms were really habitable, except Angel’s. She stood there, letting the thought of a soft bed carry her feet to his door. Opening it, she staggered across the room to the bed, dropping down onto the smooth, cool surface.

A dog. Jeeze. A huge, fluffy, shrubby-clipped poodle. She frowned to herself as she began to drift off, clutching a piece of fabric to her face as her mind began to ease. Had she told them that…to look for a poodle cut like hedges? She smiled sleepily as she fell asleep. She smelled Angel. Was he here?

Her last thought was….something was different…..something was new.

***

Later that evening, she slept blissfully on, clutching Angel’s discarded shirt still to her face. Angel rested in a chair beside the bed, his feet up on the edge, chin rested on steepled fingers as he watched her sleep.

Watched her sleep in the new bed that had been delivered yesterday, on top of a new bedspread that covered new sheets on new mattresses. He had tainted the old bed with his hatred and his anger. This bed….he watched her, intent.

This bed would be christened a hell of a lot differently.

Part 9

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete

In the Dark. 7   1 comment

Chapter 7

Wesley gritted his teeth and yelped, the fiery pain lancing through his body with all the fury of…

“Oh, for God’s sake, Wesley. I haven’t even touched it yet.” Cordy’s voice was exasperated. He opened his eyes and looked down to where she held the cotton ball over the shallow gash in his arm. He raised sheepish eyes to hers.

“Ah. Just practicing.” He looked away and braced himself for the fiery agony of pain.

“I keep telling you, the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t hurt. It’s all in your imagination.” Cordry dabbed at the cut, making sure it was cleaned out. “It’s the alcohol that’ll sting like hell.” She finished dabbing at it and inspected it closer.

Wesley held stoically motionless. Cordy lowered her head and blew on it softly. “That’s a good boy.” Wesley rolled his eyes. She grinned, reaching for the gauze and covering the cut before taping it.

They had just cleaned out a nest of shoklar demons down by the piers. Easy kills, but a couple were pretty feisty. They had all stumbled back to the Hyperion slightly damaged and covered with demon goo. Cordy had tended Gunn and Wesley….and that left….

Angel grinned, pulling his shirt off and pointing to the claw marks on his chest. Cordy sighed, not really seeing a way around this without making a scene. Keeping her face expressionless, she walked to him and sat down, looking closer at the wound.

“Yikes…one of ’em got ya good.” Angel nodded, leaning back and closing his eyes. He had always lapped up being tended after battle; the knight templar accepting his accolades. Cordy smiled to herself. He really was a dork. With a really well-sculpted chest. Cordy caught herself.

Whoa. Do not go there.

Angle watched her from beneath lowered lids. He could hear her heartrate increase. It hadn’t done that when she tended Gunn or Wesley. Nope, it was him. Dorky him. Over the last several days she had softened in her attitude towards him. He had been careful and considerate and sensitive, and she was beginning to warm to him.

Yep. Just a matter of time and careful hunting, and she’d be practically climbing over him, just begging to….

“Hey, Dumbass. Still with us?” Cordelia smacked him on the shoulder. He opened his eyes, glaring up at her. She looked down at him calmly. “All done.” She began gathering up the first aid supplies and walked to the office to put them away. He watched her hips gently sway as she moved and grinned to himself. It was all about strategy.

Wesley sighed, gingerly picking up his jacket and looking about for a moment. “I believe I’ll shuffle off for now….good work, Angel, Gunn.” He looked around for a moment more before sighing. “What a bloody strange life we lead.” And he walked out the door. Gunn nodded his head, his eyes tired.

“The man speaks the truth. And so do I when I say I’m beat. I’m gone.” And he was out the door, letting it swing closed behind him. Angel looked at the door a moment, then grinned to himself, rising and beginning to put his shirt on.

Then, remembering Cordy’s touch and her attention to his chest, he shrugged it back off, leaving it on the chair. Cordy walked back out of the office.

“Wesley, you better…” she looked around at the deserted lobby before looking questioningly at Angel.

“Went home.”

“Oh.” Silence. “Gunn?”

“Home.”

“Oh.” She looked around a little nervously and then smiled brightly and trotted over to pick up her duffle bag and sling it over her shoulder. “Well….busy day, busy, busy, busy….” She trailed off, puffing a small breath out. “Guess I’ll see you tomorrow.” And she was out the door before he could respond. He sat back, scratching absently at the freshly tended wound as he listened and waited patiently.

In the distance, he could hear her footfalls as she clicked her way to her car, parked in the back. He heard the tired sigh as she fumbled with the key to unlock the door; he heard the silent pause and pictured her, sitting there, lost in thought. He heard the soft clink of the key as it entered the igniton.

And then he grinned as he heard the soft cough of the car engine, sputtering as it tried to turn over.

There was a silence and then several muffled thuds accompanied by vicious cursing. Angel’s grin grew wider. His Cordy could embarrass a sailor.

His Cordy. He looked around, startled, as if someone else had voiced it and brought it to his attention. When had that happened? When had he made the leap from wanting her goodness to wanting her, parcel and package?

And he knew he did, with a certainty beyond any he had ever known. She had bitten off more than she knew when she had saved him; when her voice had brought him back. She had chosen him. He was taking her up on the offer.

He knew it wouldn’t be that easy. There was that whole thing where she loathed him, but he didn’t see that as insurmountable. He liked a challenge. And he had a feeling Cordelia Chase was worth the effort. Gold flashed in his eyes briefly. And he did so enjoy a good chase. He had a feeling that with Cordelia, the hunter could easily become prey if he wasn’t careful.

A good hunter stacked the odds in his favor. He used all the weapons at his disposal. He used the element of surprise. He always controlled the circumstances. And it helped if he knew how to disconnect the starter to a car so it wouldn’t run.

***

Cordelia slammed her fist against the steering wheel. Fuck. Fuckity fuck. Shit. Shit shit shit. Damn. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the steering wheel, sighing. Stupid car. Stupid life. She couldn’t call Triple A; she had already exceeded her allotted roadside assistance calls. She reached for her cellphone and paused; Gunn had been so tired. She couldn’t call him. He had put in a rough couple of days.

Wesley knew how to turn the ignition and that was about it. She looked out the window and glared at the hotel. The last cookie in the jar was in there. She climbed out of the car and slammed the door, pausing long enough to kick it before turning to stalk back around the corner into the front entrance.

She looked around, spotting Angel seated at his small desk, legs crammed into the tight leg space as he studied a file. She walked across the lobby and he looked up, surprised.

“Cordy. Forget something?” Mel and Denzel had nothing on him.

“No…no….” she broke off, hating every moment of this. “My car won’t start.”

Angel popped up. “What’d you do to it?”

Cordy gaped at him. “I tried to START IT, dorkhead. I put the key in and turned it.”

“Ok…ok…tell you what.” Cordelia glared at him as he rounded the counter and walked to her, his shirt still unbuttoned. “I’ll give you a ride home and then I’ll come back and take a look at it. It’s probably some small problem that I can take care of.”

He gave her his most winning smile. She squinted back, her brow furrowed, as if wondering who she was speaking to.

“Ok.” She seemed hesitant. “That’d be….ok.”

He dialed the smile down a notch. “I’ll take care of it, Cordy. I know cars.” He casually checked his pocket for his keys and took her arm, walking her to the door. He ignored the way she jerked her arm back as she huffed a bit. They walked out into the night and she turned to him.

“Listen, the offer is nice; why don’t I just take the bus…”

“I’ll give you a ride.”

“Angel…”

“Cordelia.” There was such implacable steel in his voice she gave up. It wasn’t the first time she’d heard it. Angel often became so exasperated with her, she heard “Cordelia” uttered in just that tone, and she knew he was immovable.

Pick your battles, Cordy. She grimaced. God knew there were probably plenty ahead.

If she hadn’t been so wary of being in the car with him, she would have enjoyed the ride. She loved riding around in his huge old dorkmobile, with the top down. On a beautiful night like this she would have enjoyed having her hair lifted and tossed by the wind.

But she sat tensely glued to the passenger door, silent all the way to her apartment. Angel pulled into an empty space in front of her building and turned the engine off. He had been silent all the way, feeling her tension seep through him. He glanced over at her as she reached for the handle.

“Cordy?” Her hand froze on the handle as she turned to look at him. He paused a moment, thinking. Finally, he spoke; his voice low and even. “Grace period is over, Cordy.” She looked at him blankly. “I mean it. I gave you the space, and the target, and I’m done. I put up with your crap and your anger, and it’s over. We’re moving on.” He looked at her levelly.

She stared at him, feeing anger beginning to stir. “Just like that. I had my cut of the anger pie and now I’m supposed to be full up?” His gaze remained level. “It really doesn’t work that way, Angel. You almost did Angelus proud, there. Set a trap, baited it well, caught me. You don’t think I was terrified?”

“I know you were. I’ll have that face….those eyes….God, that’ll haunt me forever.” Angel’s voice was low. “But it was wrong, and I pulled back. Because it was you.”

“You pulled back because somehow, you tapped into the know that you were about to rape someone.”

Angel glared at her before pushing his car door open and climbing out. Cordy quickly unlocked her door and leapt out before he could come around to tower over her. He walked casually around to her side and motioned her to walk.

“You don’t have to come up, I can walk from here.”

“It’s dark, Cordy. I’ll see you to the door.”

She sighed. They walked silently up the outside stairs to her doorway. She turned to him at the door. The light over her door was broken, and the only light was the silvery shine of the moon. His body was outlined solid and huge, and she looked up into the shadowed planes of his face, trying to see his eyes.

“Let me fill you in on something Cordy, give you a little something to go to sleep by. There wouldn’t have been another “someone.” There was you. I wanted you. I needed you, and somehow, you gave me what I needed. I’m sorry I frightened you; hell, I frightened myself. But that’s the last fucking time I’m apologizing. We’re moving on from here. Get on the same page because I’m going ahead.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

He looked down at her, silent and dark. A shiver ran down her spine, as if something important had just happened and snuck by her without her actually seeing it. He nodded towards her door. “Go on in.” she just stood, looking up at him. Her face glowed in the moonlight and her huge hazel eyes seemed to burrow into him, giving warmth to his cold heart.

He grinned slightly. “I bet you put an uninvite on your apartment, didn’t you?” She nodded, still not saying a word. He leaned down close to her ear and whispered “That’s ok, Cordy. We’ll take care of that another time.” Then he turned and swept down the stairs silently.

Cordelia remained still for the longest time before turning to her door, absently thanking Dennis as he opened it for her and closed it behind her. She walked slowly into her bedroom, dropping her bag on the floor before flopping face down on her bed.

Oh god. She felt as if she was in the dark, looking for something floating just out of range. And somehow, Angel was pulling all the strings.

***

Angel drove back towards the Hyperion, enjoying the breeze of the warm evening. His eyes were shadowed with intent and purpose. Soon enough. Cordy’s path home would be the steps to his bed. And they’d both burn from the heat.

Part 8

Posted July 17, 2015 by califi in Complete