Archive for November 2015

Circle in the Sand 7   1 comment

Part 7

“I’ll be over after college, okay?” Buffy stated to Angel as she tried to juggle her book bag, a jacket, a double ring binder and a paper bag filled with donuts. Angel watched the things wobble as she attempted to keep them from falling to the floor, it was the Slayer’s expression that made it funny. Her mouth was curled up in an annoyed smile and her eyebrows kept burrowing into a frown.

“Can you manage all that?” he asked and wisely kept the grin off his face so her fist didn’t have something to wipe off!

Buffy nodded as if holding a million things at once wasn’t a problem, “Yeah I can manage, no problem” even her voice was strained as she tried her damndest not to drop anything. “So after college?”

“Yeah, see you then. Have a good day” Angel watched her as she wobbled away from the front door. Too stubborn for her own good, a bit like another female he knew. Shaking his head, he closed the door and wondered if stubbornness was a trait all females had. Maybe it was in their genes or maybe they just liked to make life hard for the men.

“Buffy gone to college?” a voice made him jump a mile.

Cordelia watched as Angel visibly flinched and spun round clutching his chest, glaring her into the ground. “Scared ya did I? Good. Now you know how it feels stealth guy!” she told him. “Coffee?” she held up her cup and smiled sweetly, confirming to Angel that she wanted him to make it.

“We’re gonna talk about those lessons” Angel replied as he took the cup off her as he walked past her through to the kitchen. Flicking the switch, he set about making the coffee with efficiency that scared Cordelia! Her eyes took in the way Angel carefully measured out an exact level teaspoon amount of the granules, followed by an exact level teaspoon amount of sugar and then setting the open carton of milk between the two cups.

“You need to get out more” she stated seriously when she clicked on to the fact he was indeed watching the kettle boil. That was something. “So what have you been doing now that you’re sun capable?” Cordelia asked.

Turning to her, Angel shrugged half heartedly, “Nothing much to be honest, I don’t really know what there is to do”

“Angel, there’s tons of stuff you can do” she urged, her eyes wide with disbelief that he hadn’t yet hit a beach or gone surfing. That was an image she wasn’t likey to forget in a while, Angel in a pair of Bermuda shorts holding a surf board calling people ‘Dude.’ Cordelia shook her head to get rid of the image before she made it a reality! “There’s arcades, malls, beaches, little outdoor cafes on the promenade. Are you saying you haven’t done any of that?”

Angel nodded and lowered his eyes from her wide shocked ones, it was true he hadn’t done anything since becoming human and he suddenly felt like the layabout he had been before he was turned. Shame passed over his face, making him bite his lip; he would never change he thought.

Cordelia frowned deeply, that wasn’t right at all. Here Buffy had an amazing gift and she hadn’t took advantage of it? She hadn’t experienced any of these things with Angel? That seemed really sad to her.

“Gimme a half hour to get dressed” she stated firmly, bringing Angel’s attention back to her. “Then you and I, Sun Boy, are gonna have some serious fun time Cordy-Style. Forget the coffee or keep waiting for the kettle to boil whichever you prefer. I won’t be long”

A little stunned that she hadn’t thought him lazy or anything like that, Angel watched her literally race out of the kitchen and bounding footsteps pummel the staircase. He wasn’t sure what fun Cordy-Style meant but he knew for sure it was bound to be anything but boring.

***

An hour and a half later, Cordelia rushed down the stairs to find him reading. “What are you doing? I said we were going out”

Angel glanced up, eyebrow raised pointedly and peeked at his watch in an exaggerated movement. “And you said you’d be half hour” keeping his hair styling time to himself.

“Well, I had to shower you know, it wouldn’t be much fun for you to be stuck with smell-o-girl all day would it?” she demanded defensively. A short purple denim skirt grazed her knees, a simple cotton t-shirt clung to the swell of her breasts and her feet were encased in kitten heeled mules. The thick chestnut of her hair tied up in a ponytail, allowing her face to be viewed without obstructions.

Angel silently appraised her, he’d always thought she suited her hair tied back like that and she looked positively beaming then he realised she was still waiting for an answer!

“No” he responded having forgot what she asked, he’d been too busy checking her out!

“Well are you ready yet?” Cordelia asked and tapped her foot impatiently.

Was he ready? “I’ve been ready for the last hour and a half Cordy, I’ve been waiting for you” Angel replied dryly. Tossing his book somewhat carelessly to one side, he stood up and stretched his arms, “So what does fun Cordy-Style entail?” he asked.

Cordelia grinned.

***

Buffy walked through the halls of college, weaving her way through the throng of students with one goal in mind. Getting to class without dropping any of her stuff, yes she had Slayer strength but having to lug half your life around just for one class could weigh a girl down. Her fingers had little red marks where the large binder was cutting into her skin and her shoulder was aching from the strap of her bag. Why didn’t she let Angel her?!

“Buffy” Willow scuttled up alongside her friend, holding nothing Buffy thought bitchily. The red head really needed someone to talk to, she had just walked through the cafeteria only to hear her and Oz’s song playing on a radio. She needed a shoulder to cry one.

Why was Willow holding nothing and she was holding everything?! That wasn’t fair at all. “I don’t suppose you could give me a hand here Will?” she asked hopefully, missing the look of heart break on her best friend’s face.

“Sure” Willow immediately went to unload some of the things from the Slayer’s precarious grasp.

“Allow me to help the little lady” Riley had watched the red head go to help her friend and decided that if he was going to get noticed by Buffy then he should do something sweet like carry her books. He easily took the large binder and book bag from her, being inwardly pleased when she turned grateful eyes on him. “Hey Buffy, Willow” he greeted.

Willow scowled slightly, what about her? She needed help too you know, Oz had gone and no-one cared. Why was it whenever Xander or Buffy needed her she was there for them but when it came to her, she was alone? That wasn’t fair. “Buffy, I really need…” she got cut off.

“Are you going to history?” Riley asked as he and Buffy started a slow and casual walk down the hall. His toned muscles caused the material of his shirt to curl up, drawing the Slayer’s gaze there appreciatively and her eyes tracked a path down to his stomach.

“Uh, I’m sorry what?” Buffy asked, shaking her head of her thoughts and refusing point blank to look anymore. Bad Buffy she scolded herself, bad.

“History?” the handsome young man repeated his question.

“Yeah, gotta love history right? I mean, where would we be without history?” could she get any lamer? Sometimes being her really sucked!

Willow pouted as she watched her so-called best friend walk away after barely acknowledging she was there. Xander was the same. Last night, he’d told her she had to let go of Oz. How could she let go of the only person who had ever truly loved her? She turned away, shoulders slumped in defeat and trudged back the way she came.

***

Angel peered up at the sign above the door of the baker’s Cordelia had dragged him too. A baker’s was her idea of fun? And she told him he needed to get out more.

“I love doing this” Cordelia breathed excitedly, pushing the door open and inhaled deeply. The aromatic scent of freshly baked bread whirled around her as she got pulled to the counter by a magnetic force. Light, salty and plain old yummy; the scent made her mouth water as she feasted her eyes on the selection through the glass counter.

The shop was warm, well lit and cosy; the women working there were dressed in white coats, matching hats and their hair tied back with nets. There were three large ovens, obviously in full use cooking fresh food and keeping the room at a nice temperature. Behind the glass counter lay all kinds of bread, cakes, buns and biscuits of varying shapes and sizes, each one looked delicious.

Angel cocked his head to one side curiosly, what was so appealing about bread? He joined Cordelia’s side and looked at the different types of bread, he knew about donuts and cakes but what was all this uncut, lightly salted with sesame seeds stuff all about?

“Angel” she nudged him, “Vampires have no taste right?” she asked in a whisper.

“No”

“You’re gonna love this. Excuse me” Cordelia called for attention.

“How can I help you?” the lady asked with a warm smile as she approached the young woman and handsome man.

“Um…” Cordelia popped a fingertip in her mouth thoughtfully, drawing Angel’s gaze there for a single second before he forced himself to look away. “Could we try some stuff please? My friend hasn’t tried any of this stuff before”

The lady thought for a few seconds, wondering if she was lying but the hopeless look on the man’s face was enough to quench that thought. “Of course dear” she agreed kindly with a smile, “We make the best bread for ten miles you know”

“I know, I used to buy all my sandwiches here before I moved to L.A. Could we start with some… uncut, lightly salted bread please? And do you have any butter cus dry bread give me hiccups”

The lady beamed in approval of her choice, she went one better and took a newly baked loaf of bread from one of the ovens. Aromatic and rich, Angel’s mouth began to water in anticipation of tasting that. He could remember days when his mother used to bake things like this and he used to love it. He tried to describe how the bread smelled but he couldn’t, all he knew was that it looked divine.

“Angel?” Cordelia held out a slice that had been cut, it had a thin layer of butter on top, white in colour so it was real butter and not margerine. “Try it, it’s not gonna bite!”

He took the slice offered to him, it was very warm to the touch but not hot and the bread was soft. Angel wrinkled his nose and nibbled at the corner before taking a huge bite!

“Mmmm!” he moaned appreciatively, it seemed to melt in his mouth, the heat of the bread literally made the butter turn to liquid on his tongue. Soft and chewy, it was absolutely delicious. “Wow” Angel said after he swallowed, “That’s really good. I’ll take two thanks… Could I try some of that weird looking cream cake please?”

Oh God, she’d created a monster!

**

“You cheated” Cordelia pouted petulantly and crossed her arms over her chest, “You so cheated” she repeated when he shook his head, grinning victoriously at her.

“How in the world could I cheat?” Angel asked pointedly, making his stance a carbon copy of hers. Both people stood in a stare-out, one had accusing hazel eyes and the other had smug chocolate eyes.

“You used some of your left over vampy skills, that’s how” she replied as she now blatantly refused to look at him.

“I don’t have any left over vampy skills Cordy, if I did then I doubt I’d be sitting in the sun” he pointed out, trying to get the smile back on her face by twisting her words round a little.

“No, that would mean you’re still a vampire” she snarked back, totally aware she was being childish but she couldn’t help it. He was being childish by not admitting to the fact he cheated. “And you still cheated”

“I did not cheat, there is no possible way I could cheat” Angel exasperated with an exaggerated eye roll.

“Chea-ter Chea-ter Chea-ter!”

“Would you stop acting like a baby?”

“I am not acting like a baby”

“Oh and saying Chea-ter Chea-ter Chea-ter is being adult is it?” Angel copied her little singing, causing Cordelia to snap her head back round to look at him. Her lips tightened into a thin line and his lips curled inwards; her eyes blinked and his eyes sparkled; her cheeks inflated and his cheeks puffed out.

Cordelia’s shoulders began to shake and she covered her mouth with a hand, Angel tongue made a shape on the inside of his cheek while his lips pursed out. Suddenly, their with-held laughter exploded in unladylike snorts from her and a deep, rich and very male sound from him.

“Oh… God!” she gasped, “I’ve never heard you do anything like that. That was so funny Angel, God! Who knew you had a sense of humor?”

“Good question” Angel joked back as he settled back in the comfortable chair parked outside the quaint little cafe on the promenade. The warmth of the sun poured down on him and he could feel decades of horror slowly drift away in the waves that he could see crashing on the beach just in view. Colors were so vibrant and alive during the daytime, flowers, the sky everything seemed so rich.

He could taste the salt in the coastal air, he could feel how the sun made normal humans relax and he could see life in its simplest form. Angel opened his eyes to find Cordelia no longer laughing but looking at him wistfully with her chin in her palm. The hazel hues of her irises gleamed spun gold against the sun’s rays and the skin that had seemed deeply sun kissed to him before now looked as gold as her eyes.

Her chestnut hair literally reflected every ray of light that bore down on her, it was shining like dark, polished mahogany and she honestly looked beautiful right then. Her heart-shaped face captured her very essence, youthful maturity held perfectly by soft feminine features that lit up when she smiled like that.

“What?” Cordelia asked as she tilted her head to one side questioningly.

“I was thinking how pretty you looked in the sunlight”

Instead of the vain comment he expected, Angel was more than pleasantly surprised by the shy but beaming smile turned his way.

***

Later that night, Buffy trampled into her house followed by Spike who was making his usual sarcastic comments well known. By the look on her face, it was clear she almost at her wits end with the blonde vampire. All night it had been “The poof this, the poof that and the poof the other!

“Spike” Buffy spun round with a growl, “If you don’t shut up, I’m going to kill you”

“Don’t you like me no more Slayer?” Spike retorted, happy he was still able to something evil even if it was make comments that grated on her. The smirk he gave pushed her over the edge and she pulled out her stake threateningly. He backed off, still smirking openly at her, “Aww pet, you wouldn’t kill a harmless vamp like little old me would ya?!”

“AARRGGHH!” Buffy screamed through her teeth, threw her stake to the floor and stomped to where she knew the others would be waiting for her. At everyone’s questioning and concerned looks, she just simply shook her head telling them not to ask.

“By that silent response I take the Fangless Wonder still wanders the Earth?” Xander asked, his face showing he hoped Buffy would answer negatively.

“Unfortunately”

“Uhh!” Xander groaned as his hopes were once again crushed under Spike’s weight. He glanced at Cordelia who was flicking through a book and obviously not paying any attention to any of them or the book. He smiled fondly, remembering the good times they shared before he went behind her back and mentally smacked himself. Not that he’d trade Anya of course, but she was Cordy and how could he not have regrets?

When Spike sauntered into the living room, he caught the odd way his ex-grandsire kept looking at the brunette on the couch and smirked a little more. The blonde made the decision and dropped his lethal body down next to her. “Cheerleader” he greeted chirpily.

“Ew!” Cordelia shuffled along a little and went back to pretending to read.

“Spike!” both Buffy and Angel stated warningly.

“What?” he answered innocently, “She smells nicer than the Whelp!”

“Hey!” Xander snapped and glared at the thorn in his and everyone else’s side.

As the insults, barbs and comments got hurtled around the room, Willow’s lip popped out in a tiny pout when she realized everyone had forgotten about her again. She was here too, she silently told them, while they were too busy playing Pass-The-Insult, she was having to deal with her broken heart all alone.

Unseen, she slipped out of the room and into Buffy’s backyard where Oz had once chased her through during his monthly werewolf cycle. Willow’s pout grew into an angry frown as she started talking to herself.

“Oh Willow!” she mimicked Cordelia’s conversation from earlier, “Angel and I had the best time today, he cheated at the arcade by the way, we went to the beach and a little to-die-for café on the promenade!” her anger grew into fury.

“Oh Willow!” she now mimicked Buffy’s conversation from yesterday, “Spike may an evil soulless vampire but he still helps and I can’t stake him when he’s helpless can I? Oh no, we can’t have you staking a vampire who tried to kill you can we?” Willow snarked.

“Well if Angel and Spike are so good then why don’t you both just marry them?”

TBC…

Scorched

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Circle in the Sand 6   1 comment

Part 6

She wasn’t sure if she could do this, her heart was racing and her hands felt clammy as she clung onto Dennis’ jewelry box. Cordelia shifted her weight from one foot to the other and knocked again, “Please be in” she uttered under her breath, “Don’t be in” she contradicted quickly. “Don’t be in so I don’t have to do this. I can’t do this; I don’t know what to say”

“No” she knew she had to pull herself together for this but she couldn’t seem to, she’d never had to tell someone that their friend had died. It was hard enough coping with the knowledge herself but she didn’t know what to do if Angel started to get all guilty and stuff. “I have to do this” Cordelia stated, her voice shaky but stronger, “It’s happened, Angel has to know it’s as simple as that. Nothing I can do about it”

“Cordelia?” Buffy asked whoever she was expecting to be there it certainly wasn’t Cordelia. The surprise she felt was showing clearly on her face as she looked the brunette over and watching the brunette mutter to the box she held and fidget on the spot. It wasn’t hard to spot a nervous person, and from what Buffy could tell either Cordelia was highly nervous or she had lost the plot.

The last person she ever expected to show up in Sunnydale had showed up, so she asked her thoughts. “What are you doing here?”

Cordelia looked at Buffy standing in the doorway wearing a robe and her hair mussed up, the obvious came straight to mind and she decided she didn’t want anymore information so she pushed it aside. Like she said in her car, this was a get-it-done situation, so she got directly to the point. “Buffy, is he here?” much to Cordelia’s surprise, her voice came out less shaky and much stronger than before. She didn’t mean to sound bitchy but politeness and ‘how-do-you-do’s’ could come later.

“Angel?” Buffy questioned for confirmation that Angel was who Cordelia asked for. The slayer didn’t miss the fact that the other girl had evaded her original question that left her still wondering what Cordelia was doing in Sunnydale and not in L.A. with that other man. For the most part, the brunette looked good, but then she always had, but there was something not right with her. The other girl was fidgeting nervously, shifting her weight from one foot to the other and then Buffy noticed the tears Cordelia was trying to blink back.

A familiar feeling of dread began in Buffy’s stomach; whatever her friend-come-nemesis had to tell Angel, wasn’t good in the least. “Yeah he’s here, please come in” she urged and stood aside, frowning as the brunette edged past her and watched her fidget in the living room. “I’ll just get him for you”

Clutching tightly to Dennis’ box, Cordelia fought against the tears gathering in her eyes knowing that she needed to do this. To see this through. Glancing at the door behind her, she simultaneously considered bailing on the idea. If only she could get Buffy to give Angel the news. Then she wouldn’t have to look him in the eye. “If he’s busy just tell me. This can’t wait, Buffy.”

Buffy’s initial reaction was to tell her that she might have to wait, but she swallowed back her words once again noticing the glistening eyes and white-knuckled grip on the oak jewelry box. The urgent strain in Cordelia’s voice suggested that something was very wrong. Whatever little comment Buffy was about to make got swallowed back when she noticed the other girl blinking back tears and the white-knuckled grip she had on the oak jewelry box. Nodding, “I’ll just get him for you, sit down” she gestured to the sofa before making a move to get Angel.

She didn’t want comfort. Not here. Not now. She wanted to say what needed saying and get the hell out. “No thanks, I’ll stand because I’m not staying long. If you could just get Angel” her voice was now desperate and shaky as she continued to think about what the hell she was going to say. What was she going to say? Her thoughts were getting all jumbled up in the rapidly rising panic caused her breath to choke up in her throat, she used her free hand to waft air onto her face in an effort to cool down some.

Buffy frowned in concern and hurried upstairs towards Angel’s bedroom; keeping her voice as quiet as possible she rushed into the room, calling for Angel. “Angel, are you finished in the shower? Cordelia’s here and I think something’s wrong”

Angel came out of the shower completely naked and toweling his hair dry, “What? I missed that”

“Cordelia’s downstairs, I think something’s wrong with her” the Slayer repeated.

“Cordy’s here?” he stated in surprise, he knew that she’d rather have her teeth pulled out by an amateur dentist then come back to Sunnydale. The fact that Buffy had said something was wrong had deep concern showing in the form of a frown. “Did she say what was wrong?” he asked.

Buffy shook her head, “No, she just said that this couldn’t wait, but she looks really upset”

That made Angel’s frown and concern go deeper, had Doyle done something wrong? Had something happened? Then his stomach started to churn, had something happened to Doyle? “Can you tell her I’m just getting dressed and I’ll be right down?”

“Sure, I’ll try to find out what’s wrong” Buffy gave him a quick kiss on the lips and headed back downstairs only to see Cordelia talking to the box she held. Concern for the other girl increasing and offhanded thoughts questioning her sanity began to form. “Why are you talking to a box?” she asked, not knowing who Dennis was or the fact that he was in the box made her inquiry sound like she had voiced her concerns for Cordelia’s sanity.

Startled, Cordelia turned to look at Buffy “Dennis is inside so I’m not going crazy”

“I wasn’t implying that you were” she insisted calmly, if it hadn’t been for Cordelia’s obvious panicked state, Buffy would have been a little more firm with her.

“Where’s Angel?” Cordelia demanded, while Buffy had been gone she had a small chance to get her scattered thoughts together and decided it was best to get this over and done with. So she had sucked up her grief and thoughts as best she could with full intentions of telling her ex-employee straight. Though she had just done that, panic was still making her nerves rattle and she shook slightly.

“He’s getting dressed and he told me to tell you he won’t be long” Buffy replied tightening the belt on her robe. “Just a wild shot in the dark here, but is there something wrong?” trying to get whatever it was out of Cordelia might help to calm her down somewhat.

“I just need to talk to Angel” Cordelia replied defensively, her eyes and tone of voice telling the blonde that it was clearly not something she wanted to talk about with her. Sneaking a glance of anticipation at the stairs, she waited for Angel to come down and wished he would hurry up because she didn’t know how much longer she could hold it together.

“Alright, I was only asking” Buffy held up her hands before giving Cordelia a look that said she wasn’t being nosey, the slayer then disappeared into the kitchen to make some coffee. Seeing by now that she wasn’t going to get anything out of her, Buffy decided to let Angel handle her and let the matter go.

Hurriedly buckling his belt as he walked to the stairs, Angel had been going over and over in his head what it was that had brought Cordelia back to Sunnydale and hoping it wasn’t what he thought it was. Even without his vampire senses, he could see the tear stains on her face, he could see the way her lithe body trembled slightly and saw the way she held herself. Shoulders squared, head held high and her chest rising and falling with forced ease, she looked like she was going into battle.

“Cordy?” the old nickname came with ease, although his voice was laced with concern as he waited for her to actually focus on him. Angel knew just as soon as Cordelia locked her gaze onto his.

A choked whimper bubbled up and spilled from her throat, Cordelia’s lower lip wobbled as she tried to hold it back. But the care, friendship and concern in Angel’s brown eyes were all it took for her world to crumble and fall around her. One minute she had been standing tall, the next she was crying into his safe embrace and clutching his shirt with her free hand.

Buffy watched as Angel had enclosed the other girl into a deep, swallowing hug and let her cry. The feeling of dread turned to sadness at the heartbreaking tears that fell from Cordelia’s eyes. She had a feeling it was something to do with the man who had worked for Angel. It wasn’t right that things happened to the good guys, it wasn’t right at all. Though she had never known him, it didn’t make it any easier that a fighter had been lost.

Catching her boyfriend’s gaze, Buffy gave a quick, acknowledging nod and left them alone by quietly slipping out of the back door.

***

Handing Cordelia a cup of hot coffee, Angel sat opposite her at the kitchen table and waited patiently for her to tell him what happened. Not that he didn’t already know the outcome but he thought it would be better for both of them if she talked. Guilt was ever present, feeling as though Doyle’s death was his fault for leaving the fight though he realistically knew he couldn’t have done anything. But even if he couldn’t, Cordelia wouldn’t have been alone to deal with this tragedy.

The hot, hazelnut colored liquid burned her throat but it also soothed her panic somewhat. A humorless smile flirted at her lips, “Nice coffee, maybe you should have given me lessons”

“I doubt it would make any difference, for me to give you lessons that would mean you have to listen to me” Angel gave her a tight smile back at her little attempt to make this easier on both of them.

“For me to listen, you would have to talk with some sense” Cordelia gave back, it amazed Angel how she could be so lost and still give a good comeback. Then it really shouldn’t surprise him, he’d always known that she was stronger than she looked.

“Do you feel…”

“I should prob…”

After a few moments silence, they had both spoke at the same time leaving them both a little tongue tied. Angel conceded, “You go first”

“Okay” Cordelia took a deep, encouraging breath and told him what had happened. “There was a group of pure blood demons that had plans to kill everything with humanity inside. Half-breed demons especially. They had this light that burned the humanity from the outside in and Doyle had to shut it off.” As she told him how it happened, her voice became distant as recent, tormenting memories escaped that place at the back of her mind. The place where things she didn’t want to immediately deal with were put safely.

The horrors of what she saw flashed past her eyes, the sound of Doyle screaming out in pain stung her ears and the deafening silence that had followed haunted her.

Not even trying to imagine it, Angel simply nodded and placed his hand on top of hers, gripping lightly. He knew she would be alone if she went back to L.A and he doubted she had anyplace else to go or anybody else to turn to. “I’m sorr…” he began to say but was instantly cut off when Cordelia held up her hand.

“Don’t” she said a little too sharply, “There’s no point in being sorry, I don’t need or want it because it won’t do any good. It’s happened, nothing can be done about it and no amount of sorry can make it any different so please don’t”

Lowering his eyes, Angel felt guilty for being sorry but she was right what was the point in being sorry? What good would it do now? “I just wish I could have been there for you” he rephrased gently and kindly.

“Well you weren’t” she snapped without meaning too. Taking another deep breath, Cordelia apologized for the way that must have sounded. “I’m sorry but I’m just a little bit stressed right now. I have a lot going on what with Doyle’s death and moving to…”

“Moving where?” Angel asked curious concern filtered through his grief he wondered if Cordelia had any family anywhere besides Sunnydale. He carefully gauged her reaction; feminine, well manicured hands started to fidget with the oak box again, her eyes diverted from his and hair got flipped over her shoulder.

“Since the acting gig didn’t turn out, I started looking to break into modeling” Cordelia embellished a little. “I found an agent in New York who’s more than interested so that’s where I’m headed. The Big Apple”

“Who are you staying with?” he asked next, already knowing she would fib some more. Angel wasn’t sure whether he should be angry at her for lying to him or admire her for her independence. She might not like it but Sunnydale was her home, she had friends and people who cared about her here. She wouldn’t be alone in a place like New York where anything could happen to her and he wouldn’t know about it.

“I have enough money for a hotel until I get settled in my own apartment” Cordelia continued to fib. She wanted to stay in Sunnydale with Angel; he was all she had now well, apart from Dennis. She wanted to stay where she wouldn’t be alone but at the same time she didn’t want to admit that she couldn’t be by herself. “And I’d get another job obviously, that would help”

“What would you do?” Angel inquired next, he didn’t like the fact she didn’t feel as though she could come to him. He could feel the loneliness coming from her, could see the sad acceptance in her tear-glazed eyes and witnessed who she was behind the hair, make-up and clothes.

Underneath the womanly guise she created, Cordelia was lost, alone and scared of being that way. He’d never really gave much thought to her when he became human, sitting here now and seeing her like this he wished he’d kept better care of her. Angel might not know her all that well, but he knew better than to show her pity or sympathy because those were things she didn’t need right now. What she needed was a friend and if she’d give him the chance, he could be that friend.

The more Cordelia spoke the more she realized how silly she sounded, biting her lip to keep from crying again she tried to fathom in her own head exactly what she would do. “I have retail experience so I could easily start a career in retail management. I have secretarial experience so I could go into administration if I wanted” she answered too brightly.

“Cordelia, please just stop okay” Angel halted her next words before they had begun, “You can’t just pack off and leave, not yet”

“I’ll be fine Angel, really I will” she turned pleading eyes on him, even if she didn’t realize it the plea was for him to help her not be alone. She just didn’t want to be alone anymore, once over it would have been fine but not now. Not after she knew what it was like to be accepted for who she was and liked because of who she was. Doyle had given her that; he had given her acceptance and she was sure he would have given her love.

“Do you really want to leave?” not beating around the bush, Angel asked her directly since he figured that was the way he’d get more than fibs out of her.

Lower lip wobbling, tears making the hazel irises shine like jewels and hand grasping his strongly. Cordelia shook her head softly. “What do I have here? I don’t have any real friends…”

“Thanks” Angel commented wryly, clasping her soft hand back and subconsciously taking note of just how soft her skin was and how neatly her nails were manicured. Short, practical and still feminine; even in a crisis she could carry off still looking her best.

“I didn’t mean you” she sniffled through a laugh, “But I don’t have anything of my own, my parents are in jail for tax fraud and my…”

“You have me” he told her firmly and cutting her off again “Until you get yourself back on your feet you can stay with me.” He didn’t want to see her go it alone and in a sense, he owed her.

Shaking her head in denial, Cordelia declined his invitation to stay with him “No, I can’t do that Angel, I have to learn to depend on myself sometime and I may as well start learning now”

“You can learn while you stay here, just for the time being” he tried to make her see that she would be better here with him than going things alone.

To Cordelia, staying with someone she trusted and counted as a friend sounded like heaven but still, she would lose what independence she had gained. “You could come and go as you please, no rules and you could keep a pet beagle if you wanted too” Angel didn’t know if she was a pet person but she could have one if she wanted.

“I wouldn’t be any trouble?” it wasn’t so much a question as it was a statement. Cordelia’s eyes started to fill with hope when Angel denied she would be any trouble. “I wouldn’t get a pet beagle, so don’t worry about that”

“That’s a relief” he replied dryly making another sniffled laugh escape from her, a little more seriously now Angel, still holding her hand, asked her if she was going to stay. “Does that mean you’re staying?”

Nodding her answer, she felt as if a weight had been lifted off her chest and immediately, her world became better as hope shone through the dark cloud. Then Cordelia realized she hadn’t mentioned she had Dennis with her, she was sure that wouldn’t make a difference but he might not want his home haunted.

“You know what I said about not getting a pet beagle?” Cordelia inquired her once-teary eyes now full of innocence, sweetness and light. Although he was glad he had taken away a part of the sadness, Angel found himself grow cautious at that look.

“Yeah…” he said slowly, watching her carefully.

“What about a pet ghost?”

***

Later that evening, Cordelia found herself stood outside of Giles’ apartment, half hidden behind Angel. She wasn’t sure if she could face any of the others just yet, she could just hear their questions, thoughts and little comments behind her back. Well, if they didn’t like the fact she was back then that was their problem because until she got herself back on her feet, she was staying right here in Sunnyhell.

Once again sucking up her guts, Cordelia pushed so she stood in front of Angel and found herself knocking on the door. Refusing to let her nervousness or sorrow show, she pasted the biggest, brightest welcome-me-home smile on her face. The door opened revealing Anya who looked her over once or twice.

“You can’t have him back” was the first thing said to Cordelia who blinked once or twice before recognition set in.

“You’re wish girl” Cordelia said loudly and pointed at her, “You’re dating the guy I wished revenge on?”

“Yes and you can’t have him back” Anya stated again not even moving aside to let Cordelia and Angel into Giles’ apartment until Cordelia firmly said she wasn’t there to get Xander back. “You can’t come in unless you tell me you don’t want Xander” she said as much.

Angel moved his eyes from Anya to see how Cordelia would react to the ex vengeance demon. He didn’t really know what had happened between her and Xander, all he knew was that she had ended up in hospital the same night he and Buffy broke up.

“Believe me when I say I really, really don’t want Xander back” the brunette stated very firmly. “You’re more than welcome to him. Can we come in now? I don’t want to spend all night on the doorstep, knowing my luck somebody would throw quarters at me”

Why had he thought she would be any less than who she was? Angel shook his head lightly, greeted Anya and followed Cordelia into the apartment. If it wasn’t enough that he was still getting the stares from the group, it seemed Cordelia was subjected to the stares now.

“Cordelia, you’re here” Willow exclaimed with wide eyes though Buffy had informed them she had come back she wasn’t expecting her so soon. “You’re in Sunnydale”

“Not really, I’m just a figment of your imagination” Cordelia replied her tone just a little sarcastic. After the last few days the last thing she need was the Scooby gang form of the Spanish Inquisition. “It’s good to see you too Willow”

“I didn’t mean it wasn’t good to um, see you but it’s just, well…” Willow found herself just getting in deeper the more she talked and was relieved when Xander spoke up.

“What Will means is it’s a surprise to see you here again, after all wasn’t it you who said she would rather suffer a thousand fiery deaths than come back to Sunnyhell?” Xander pointed out with a welcoming smile on his face. Though it hadn’t been quite a year since he had last seen her, she hadn’t lost her presence and was as beautiful as ever.

Looking at her first steady boyfriend, Cordelia could see the changes in him; his face showed a little more maturity, he had filled out and developed shoulders, and he held a kind smile on his face. “It’s good to see you too, Xander” she replied with an amused smile on her face.

“But not too good though right?” Anya immediately questioned, looking suspiciously back and forth between them.

“Not that good trust me. He still has the awkward limb thing going on” Cordelia assured her with a grin at Xander that showed him Queen C was still in there.

“Yeah and her brains haven’t yet migrated to her head yet” Xander commented, “So no, not that good”

“Well, it’s good that it’s that good to see each other” Anya nodded with a beaming, friendly smile in Cordelia’s direction now that she was satisfied she wasn’t after her Xander. “If you need more vengeance I can recommend…”

“No!” Cordelia quickly exclaimed, holding up her hands to stop Anya there and then, “No, I had enough of vengeance in high school”

“Well better late than never” Giles calm voice floated into the living room, with Spike closely behind him. “How are you Cordelia?” Buffy had warned him the brunette was in somewhat of a bad way when she arrived at Angel’s mansion earlier.

“I’m fine, it’s nice to see you again Giles” she greeted back a little shyly, she had always thought him a handsome man for his age. Well educated, good natured and very well spoken, and although he dressed in tweed it suited his persona. “Still wearing tweed I see”

“Never bloody changes” the blonde muttered, looking the brunette girl up and down. “Hello pet, still looking smashing I see”

“Thanks…Hey! You did this before” Cordelia half yelled, looking around in question. “Why isn’t anybody killing him? He’s Spike! Evil vampire! Why isn’t he dead? Angel?” turning frightened eyes up to the silent ex-vampire next her, she asked silent questions.

“I’ve asked myself that very same thing” Xander spoke up in glee, “Well, that’s an extra vote on my side”

“Spike’s harmless Cordy” Angel reassured her, “He can’t hurt humans anymore” he gave a smug grin in Spike’s direction. “He can’t perform”

“Steady on mate, don’t go telling the little lady about my performance” Spike glared at Angel before addressing Cordelia. “I perform just fine pet, better than that bloke next to you”

“Ew and will you stop talking to me as though we’re friends?” Cordelia demanded hotly with an equally hot glare. “Last time I saw you, you had Angel chained up and had him tortured. Give me one good reason why you think you have the right to talk to me” she challenged the blonde.

“You know what?” Xander spoke up happily, “I’ve missed her. Welcome back Cordy” the old nickname slipping in easily which earned him a stern glare from Anya.

“Yeah, welcome back” Willow piped up at last after berating herself for her earlier comment. “I didn’t mean to sound weird before, it’s just…” she shrugged helplessly with a small smile.

“That’s okay, I know you didn’t. Believe me, I didn’t want to come back here because hello! Hell hole” Cordelia remarked. Looking around now, she saw everyone apart from Buffy and Oz; she guessed the blonde was off fighting something and she didn’t know where Oz was, but she hadn’t noticed a full moon tonight. “Where’s Oz?” she inquired after a moment or two.

“He left” Willow answered, not looking at the brunette or anyone else; none of them really seemed to care that he had left her. So she figured why tell them anything.

“Oh, wow. Um, sorry things didn’t work out” Cordelia responded a little softly, she could sympathize with the red head. After all, in a way Doyle had left her but it wasn’t as if they had ever been high school sweethearts or even a couple.

“Thanks. Buffy should be back soon, I think Riley’s coming with her” Willow told the group before flinching when she remembered Angel was still in the room. Risking a sideways glance at the man standing silently observing them, she saw him look at her with familiar eyes. The witch recognized those as questioning eyes and waited for the interrogation to follow.

“Riley? That’s the T.A right?” Angel looked at Willow and waited for her response with crossed arms. The timid witch gave a small nod in confirmation and explained in more detail than what Buffy had.

“He’s also part of the Initiative, they’re like this secret government facility that…” Willow began the explanation before being cut off by Spike.

“They’re a bunch of little boys with toys that go around ruining vampire’s lives is what they are” the blonde vampire voiced with undisguised hatred.

“Let me guess” Cordelia asked in an amused manner, “They’re the ones who made you fangless. How’d they do that anyway? Did they hand you over to a vampy dentist to have your fangs removed?” this elicited a chortle of laughter from Angel.

Spike just glared at her, his piercing blue eyes showing how much he wanted to hurt her right then but as usual, as soon as the violent thoughts entered his head the warning bells went off. “No, they put a damned behavioral chip in my head” he growled “Can’t even think of hurting you bloody humans, much less anything else”

“Well, that’s a good thing right? Not for you of course but for the rest of man and womankind it’s a good thing” Cordelia replied with a humored smile. She had expected things to be awkward but she had been pleasantly surprised. In a way, she had Anya and her bluntness to thank for that. “Also good for the ex-vampires of the world” she turned her attention back to Angel. “Can you imagine the carnage if Spike had been able to play get-your-own-back on Angel?” Cordelia stated ruefully. “You’d be in serious trouble mister”

“I can handle Spike, vampire extras or no vampire extras” Angel told her, a little put out by her wording.

“Sure you could” Cordelia relented, patting his shoulder soothingly in an aid to pacify his childish outburst of I’m-tougher-than-he-is malarkey. “So Buffy’s with G.I Joe and Oz is off in the blue yonder somewhere. Wow, here’s me thinking things would never change”

As if to realize she might have unknowingly hurt Willow’s feelings, the brunette turned apologizing hazel eyes on her. “Sorry, I got a little carried away there”

“S’okay” Willow replied meekly, why should she expect anything else? If her best friends didn’t care about her torn and broken heart, how could she expect someone who had only come back to be sympathetic? One day, they would all have broken hearts and they would turn to her for advice but she would be darned before she gave it to em.

“Now that we’re all reacquainted” Giles commanded their attention with a cough and a statement. The Englishman shuffled a few sheets of paper, pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose and looked at them all, Cordelia’s smiling face in particular. “We all have research to be getting on with…”

“Not me mate, I got to get me some violence” Spike made his excuse, giving Cordelia a quick wink that unnerved both her and Angel. His blue eyes twinkled and the little smirk that flitted his lips gave him a devilish, almost irresistible charm that Cordelia refused to find likeable.

Sauntering past Angel Spike paused, raised an eyebrow before whacking his ex-grandsire across the back of the head.

“Oww!” they yelped at the same time, Angel curled his hand into a fist, ready to hit back but when he saw the vampire holding his head he stopped before his fist made contact. Cordelia stepped forward, whacking Spike on the back of his head, adding to the pain he was already feeling. In turn, Spike snapped his head up, growling at the brunette who was smirking at him and looking at him as if to say nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah.

“That’s what you get” Angel stated smugly instead of hitting him.

Shaking the vestiges of pain away, Spike rubbed his chiseled jaw and grinned, “Bloody worth it though. See you folks later, don’t fancy wading through musty books and waiting for G.I Jane to show up”

“Bye Spike, happy growling people to death” Cordelia said in a sickly sweet voice that had the vampire giving her a tight, sarcastic smile in reply. Sighing to herself, she found herself smiling from ear to ear, “I never thought I’d say this but I’m glad to be back” and she got smiles in return.

Unfortunately, Angel was the only one not really smiling. He was too busy thinking about the reasons why Buffy had never given him details about the Initiative and her involvement with them. Or how deep her involvement with Riley actually was. He would have a chance to talk to her when they went out on patrol later that evening and they could talk. That was another thing, why did Buffy keep insisting that she patrol alone?

Angel made a vow to himself to find all this out when they went on patrol.

Part 7

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Circle in the Sand 5   1 comment

Part 5

Buffy placed the rented videos on the ground for a moment so she could knock on Angel’s front door. Her attempt at home cooking had failed rather miserably forcing the Slayer to retreat to the local Chinese take away for their dinner. She knocked a few times and waited for her boyfriend to answer. “Hello in there” Buffy called through the door after waiting patiently.

She got no answer.

Knocking again, only louder this time when Buffy realised that Angel might not have heard her knocking since he no longer had vampire hearing. Her eyes rolled when she heard him call out for her to wait a minute, “Sure, I don’t mind waiting a few more minutes. After all, I’ve waited almost a year” she muttered as she picked up the videos.

Angel finally, and breathlessly, answered the door and smiled when he saw the blonde standing there, looking at him with curious eyes. “Buffy” his voice denoted the surprised delight he felt when he saw her standing there. Quickly, he kicked the cleaning apron behind the door thankful he had taken the time to take it off before he answered the door.

“Angel” at the sight of his little pleased smile, Buffy’s curious eyes tried to see what he appeared to be hiding behind the door.

“I brought food” Buffy held up the bag of Chinese take-out, “I figured since we haven’t spent much time together since you came back that you might like dinner and a movie” she explained hurriedly. “But if you have plans I can…”

“Dinner and movies sound good” Angel stopped her nervous chatter mid-sentence as he stood in the doorway, blocking her entrance.

“Great, can I come in?” Buffy asked, pointedly looking at him blocking the doorway indicating she couldn’t get in unless he moved.

“Sure” he moved away from the door to allow her into his home, not that it yet resembled a home of course but decorating wasn’t really a priority right now. Getting his life together and getting his relationship with Buffy on track was at the top of his list before anything else. “What did you rent?”

Buffy followed his lead into the kitchen where she set the videos and food down on the table. “Um, I got Devil’s Advocate and The Craft, Willow recommended it”

“Oh, what are they about?” Angel asked as he got his newly-bought plates and cutlery out for use with the food. He glanced over his shoulder as he spoke to her, trying to think up ways he could entice her into talking about patrolling with her without Buffy changing the conversation.

“Devil’s Advocate is about some evil lawyers or something and The Craft is about witches” Buffy explained as she sat down at the heavy table, watching his movements. He was beautifully sculpted, the broad shoulders in perfect proportion to the rest of his muscular body while his chest seemed to be set in marble. His hair was nicely styled, if a little messier than what it normally was.

“Evil lawyers” Angel mumbled with a petty frown, even in Sunnydale he couldn’t escape evil lawyers. He placed the plates and cutlery on the table as a little problem arose for their night, “Um, I have no T.V”

Buffy cocked her head to one side and looked at him, “You have no T.V?”

Angel shook his head sheepishly in a silent answer.

“Oh, well we can eat the take out and maybe go to my place… Scratch that, no privacy there” she countered her own suggestion.

“How about we just eat dinner and talk?” he asked with a small smile. “I’m sure we can think of something to talk about” like slaying, patrolling and finding out why she had been avoiding that specific conversation.

Buffy smiled at him, “Sure, talk is good” she agreed. They ate in a slightly awkward silence before Angel broke it.

“Did you have a good day at college?”

She nodded, “I did, got good marks for my assignment, Riley said…”

“Riley?” Angel asked curiously, he looked at Buffy and watched her face closely, ignoring the jealousy ebbing away at him. Who was Riley? What was he to her? How did she know him?

Buffy paused eating for a second, “He’s a teacher’s assistant in one of my classes, he’s just a friend” an extremely cute and hunky friend but still just a friend.

“Blonde hair, big built?” Angel questioned when a feeling of déjà vu crept up on him, the image of the kid he met at Buffy’s college entered his mind. As did twinges of jealousy at the thought of her spending more time with Riley than him.

“Yeah, how do you know?”

“I think he was the guy who told me where I could find you at the picnic tables” Angel answered. He took another bite of the Chinese food, “He told me to tell you hi”

“I’m surprised he didn’t ask about my assignment. He’s a good guy even if he is a slave driver” Buffy commented with a light smile, trying to draw some humor into the awkward situation. A pink tinge coated the apples of her cheeks as she remembered the cheeky wink her T.A had given her earlier.

“Which class does Riley help teach?” Angel asked after he swallowed a not-very-nice bean sprout. He watched her expressions closely and saw the little hue of color that coated her face. He couldn’t help but be jealous, this guy was making her blush. Making his girlfriend blush and he didn’t like it.

“Chemistry, he has a way with hydrochloric acid” Buffy replied ruefully as she began to toy with her food when her appetite left. She wasn’t sure what she had expected of their dinner together, but dealing with Angel’s jealousy wasn’t one of her expectations.

In another attempt to lighten the mood the slayer changed the subject “So, did you enjoy your Chop Suey?” she asked teasingly, knowing full well he hadn’t. His expressions had clearly told her he had found the dinner rather horrible.

”Yeah I did,” Angel fibbed with an unconvincing smile as the subject of Riley was mutually forgotten, he didn’t want her to think he wasn’t grateful. “Thanks”

Buffy nodded, totally unconvinced, “You’re welcome. I knew you would love it,” she told him innocently. “We can go to a restaurant and get it made properly next time if you like it so much”

He tried not to recoil from the thought of eating it again, “It was crunchy but not, I did like it because you bought it. I don’t want you thinking that I’m not grateful…”

“Relax Angel, I’m just kidding. I know you didn’t like it very much and I take no offence, you can’t be expected to know what you like to eat this quickly” she reassured him, letting her teasing show with a grin.

“I’m sorry” he apologized unnecessarily, “I know you were being thoughtful and…”

Buffy treated him to a big smile. “Don’t apologise” she told him, “I can see how you might find it difficult to adjust being human again. But all that matters is that you are, and we’re together now.” She wanted her and Angel to work out and knew they could if they tried, really tried this time and not run from each other like last time. He was the one thing, the one person, she would have given anything to have.

“Right” he smiled back at her, he stood and walked round to where she sat, “We are, here together” Angel repeated her words, wrapping his arms around her, trying to ignore the way they both stiffened slightly at the contact. He tilted her face up and placed his lips gently across hers in a tender kiss. They would work out, like all things it would just take time.

Buffy pulled away from his lips, her eyes showing how shy she felt at this turn of events. She smiled again as Angel leaned down for a deeper kiss, silently wondering if she would have time for a quick patrol and tried to think of a good reason why he couldn’t go with her.

***

It was early afternoon when Cordelia reached Sunnydale, the sunglasses hiding her red eyes and the concealer hiding the shadows under those red eyes. The oak jewellery box containing Dennis sat on the passenger seat, rattling in frustration of being kept in something similar to a hamster cage. “We’re almost there Dennis and you’ll be out soon, do you think I should have called first? Of course I shouldn’t, that would make Angel ask why I was coming and I can’t tell him over the phone can I? Of course not”

The oak box rattled quieter as Dennis tried to give her what comfort as much as he could. “How am I going to tell him?” her voice going from sarcastic to soft, unsure and noticeably sad. “I’ve never had to tell somebody anything like this before; I don’t know what to do or say”

The box became still as he listened.

She turned on a familiar corner, trying to remember the way to the mansion, having only dropped Buffy there once before, it was a little difficult to remember which side road to take. “Do you think I could write a letter or a note maybe? That way I won’t have to look at his face when he finds out and I won’t have to deal with his sorrow and guilt. Mine’s already enough to handle without me having to comfort him too” Cordelia’s lip began to wobble and tears threatened to spill down her cheeks.

Dennis gave an unfelt cuddle to the grieving, young woman and in turn felt his own none-existent heart break for her. He couldn’t help but damn the ex-vampire to hell for leaving Cordelia even though he knew it wasn’t Angel’s fault Doyle had died.

“Once I tell Angel, I can start making plans to get on with my life” Cordelia stated after clearing her throat for the millionth time. “I won’t go back to L.A, maybe New York or someplace exotic like Europe maybe” she allowed a grin to cross her face. “Scratch Europe, knowing my luck I’ll probably bump into one of Angelus childer that he turned during his Scourging days”

It came to something when she would rather talk about Angel’s past then discuss her future. “I know what we could do” Cordelia exclaimed as she pulled her car to the side of the road and killed the engine. Dennis braced himself when he heard the word ‘we’ come from her. “We could open up a haunted house, you could get in touch with some of your little, ghost pals. We’d make a killing on Halloween!”

Dennis sent an invisible look of disbelief through his box.

“You don’t have to decide just yet” Cordelia told him matter-of-factly, “Just think about how much fun you could have rattling chains and flinging sheets around. Hey, we could even make a small T.V movie. Angel’s mansion would be the perfect setting, oooh!” she said as waves of ideas hit her.

There was a lot to be said about bathing in denial, he thought, and Cordelia was happily sinking in that river. He let her stall, once again quietly listening to her meaningless words waiting for her to finish getting herself together. And once again, Dennis found himself hating the fact he was physically unable to do anything but listen quietly.

Cordelia’s brain finally caught up with reality after a few more moments of rambling on about their future. She took a deep breath, held it, and exhaled slowly. “Come on Chase, this is a get-in get-out situation. Just go in, tell him the news, get out and never come back” all the while secretly praying Angel wouldn’t let her be by herself again.

Clutching the oak box closer to her chest, she climbed out of the car and made her way up to the front door of the mansion. “Okay, here I come ready or not” she uttered, trying to gather her courage and get rid of her panic. Knocking on the door loudly, she waited for Angel to answer.

Part 6

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Circle in the Sand 4   1 comment

Part 4

Angel woke up bright and early the next day, smiling as the sun stung his sleepy eyes until he adjusted to the brightness. He had purposely left his curtains open so he could wake up to feel the morning sun grace his face. Last night he had gotten a little chilly but was too tired to get up and fetch an extra blanket from his closet so he had cocooned himself in his blankets and now he was sweating.

“For God’s sake!” he grumbled as he tried to disentangle his body from the sheets holding him in place. He tugged at an edge but only succeeded in tightening another section round his thighs, he growled or what might have passed as a growl, and expected the sheets to untangle themselves. “Ah, they we go” Angel said happily as he rolled around a little and felt the sheets loosen around him. He plonked his feet to the floor, hissing as his warm skin made contact with the cold wood flooring.

“Coldcoldcold” he gasped as he stood up in a hurry. The experience of having a freezing cold wooden floor on hot skin wasn’t very nice but Angel also it felt kind of soothing at the same time. It had been a long time since he had been able to feel differences in temperatures, although going from warm to freezing didn’t seem as nice as Cordelia had made it out to be. There had been a really hot day last week and she had sighed dreamily when she managed to cool down. What was dreamy about it? “God damn” Angel hopped from one foot to the other.

His impatience was heightened by a tingle in his groin area, Angel made a maniac dash for his bathroom and sighed in relief as his feet touched the bathroom carpeted mat. He rubbed his hands together as he eyed the toilet and looked down at his tingling groin. That was a feeling he didn’t think he could ever get used to, it felt weird and strangely painful at the same time. “Don’t think about it Angel” he said to himself as he grimaced and prepared to go. It wasn’t the first time since he became human that he had to take a pee and nor would it be the last.

He couldn’t help but feel a little disturbed at having to hold his thing while he went but it had to be done. At least men got to stand up and not squat like women had to do. It wasn’t just the holding it was drying it after that held a cringing factor for him.

“Ahhh!” he sighed with relief, the slightly painful tingling dissipated to leave a pleasant sensation. Angel couldn’t stop the little rush of pride flow through him as he turned to wash his hands. Desperately. “Check me out, I have a morning ritual” he commented to his reflection.

“Hello?” he asked as he prodded the glass mirror with a finger, he waved at his reflection and turned his face this way and that way. “I need a shave” he commented as he closely scrutinised his face.

He ran a hand through his messy, bed hair not being able to help smiling as the man in the mirror did the same thing. Angel set about a morning ritual, washing his face followed by brushing his teeth and now he was about to style his hair. The water came first, he watched the mirror carefully as he combed the water through the brown mop. “Now the gel” Angel muttered to himself.

A generous dollop of gel was squeezed into the palm of his hand before rubbing them together and combing his hair upwards. Angel eyed his art work continuously as he lifted and separated chunks of hair.

Finally, he was done. The ex-vampire looked long and hard at his reflection; yes he could finally say his hair was perfect. He sauntered out of the bathroom and noticed that the sun had moved quite a bit and his internal clock told him it was almost noon. Angel’s jaw dropped as he realised he had spent just over two hours styling his hair and looking at his reflection. That was almost as long as Cordelia took to put her make-up on. “I’ll just keep that little fact to myself” he said as he hurried to get his clothes on.

***

“Is that it?” Doyle’s image on the screen asked the camera, “Am I done?”

Cordelia reached out to touch the screen with shaking fingertips, her lips turned inward as she fought to keep her tears from falling. She hugged her knees to her chest as she leaned her chin on her kneecaps. “Doyle” she bit her lower lip, scrunching her face up and rocking her body for comfort.

When she had walked into the office that morning, Cordelia had opened and closed the door twice but as she expected, nobody answered her arrival. The resounding silence had destroyed her hopes and brought the all too real memory of Doyle’s heroic death flashing before her very eyes.

Those haunted, sad eyes roamed the room she stood in; Angel’s office was silent and empty. His apartment was bare all bar the few things he had left that weren’t necessary to take to Sunnydale. Doyle’s usual seat, now cold with a day of un-use was what caused Cordelia to choke back her strangled whimper and her weak legs to stumble.

He never even had a special coffee mug, he should have had one but he didn’t. It seemed to Cordelia that there wasn’t any proof of Doyle’s existence, that he was just a figment of her imagination. “No, he was here and he did exist” she said suddenly in defence of her sanity.

The sound of the phone ringing disturbed the silence that followed her weak defensive outburst.

Cordelia stared at the phone as her breathing grew deep and heavy, anger bubbled inside her aching chest. She grabbed the phone, ripping the wire out of the socket and hurled it at the wall, watching as it smashed and plastic pieces scattered to the floor below. “Much better” she said as she scrunched her face up in another effort to not cry anymore. She was Cordelia Chase, yes a crappy thing had happened and yes she hurt like hell but she would deal with it and move on.

Shaking hands smoothed down last night’s clothes, hair got swept back from her face and tucked behind her ears. Her hazel eyes shone brightly with tears and the will to survive. She had things to do, places to go and people to see. Starting with Harriet, Doyle’s ex-wife and then she would have to go to Sunnyhell and break the news to Angel.

“At least he’ll have sweet, pint-sized Buffy to help him deal” Cordelia said bitterly but that was just another she had to deal with. She couldn’t, and wouldn’t, blame Angel for Doyle’s death just because he was off living, in the literal sense. Even if he had been there, Angel wouldn’t have been able to shut off that light because he was human. But if he had been here then she wouldn’t have to go through this alone like she was.

“Come on Cordelia, for God’s sake” she hissed to herself angrily, “Doyle’s dead, stop pretending he’s going to walk in any moment now. Pull yourself together and quit being a CryBuffy”

Spinning on her heels, Cordelia marched numbly out of the office to go home, get cleaned up and show this world what she was made of.

***

Angel handed the translated text over to Giles. “I translated most of it last night” the new human explained as he put his hands in his pockets.

“Thank you Angel” Giles responded graciously, “I didn’t expect it right away you know”

“I know” Angel told him, “I kinda had nothing to do with Buffy out on patrol so I finished it” he still couldn’t figure out why Buffy kept evading his questions about patrolling with her.

“I see, thank you again” Giles repeated as he took the translated version of the text to the back room of the Magic Shop to put it aside ready to be typed up and catalogued. The Englishman walked back to Angel and noticed that the other man hadn’t moved a single inch. “Was there something you needed?” Giles asked as he walked round the counter.

“No, well, I was hoping I could talk about Buffy” he had tried countless times, over the course of the day, to get in touch with Doyle but there was no answer from either the half-demon or Cordelia.

Giles looked at Angel with a guarded expression on his face, “Is there a problem with Buffy I should know about?” he asked, watching Angel intently for a reaction.

“No, no problem with Buffy I think” Angel replied as he shifted, “I don’t know to tell you the truth, every time I bring up patrolling with her, it’s like she avoids me”

“Isn’t this something you ought to take up with her?” Giles asked pointedly, insinuating that their relationship was none of his business.

“I tried last night and she all but ignored my questions” Angel told him as he turned questioning eyes to Giles. He also had the feeling that being asked to translate the text had been a diversion to stop him from going out on patrol with her. They couldn’t build a relationship based on mistrust and paranoia over what the other was really thinking.

“Forgive me but this is something you need to speak of with Buffy, I am in no position to give advice one way or other” Giles responded kindly but firmly. He refused to lie for Buffy, even if his opinion wasn’t in favour of their relationship. In an attempt to steer the subject away from slaying and Buffy’s diversion tactics, Giles asked a question he genuinely wanted an answer to.

“What are you planning to do now that you’re human?”

Angel’s lips curled down at the edges as he took a seat around the table in the front of the shop. “I don’t know to be honest” he replied, allowing Giles to change the subject, honestly not wanting to put him in the middle of a lovers’ quarrel. They had only been back together for barely the length of a working week and they were already starting on the not trusting issue. Wasn’t that supposed to come after twenty years of marriage?

“Well, what are you good at doing?” Giles asked as he joined Angel at the table, suddenly feeling as though he had acquired another kid and fatherly advice now came second nature to him.

“Besides my past hundred years or so of questionable skills?” Angel asked ruefully.

Giles chose not to dwell on the words that made him think of how those skills were used against Buffy and Jenny a few years ago. “You are obviously an expert martial artist Angel, I’m sure you could do more than coach a class in that area”

“I don’t really like the thought of teaching kids how to fight” Angel replied, “I was thinking of opening up another detective agency but there wouldn’t be much point since there’s already a Slayer here. Cordy said that she copyrighted the name”

The Englishman gave a wry chuckle at the mention of Cordelia Chase, “How is Cordelia? She was working for you at the time you became human wasn’t she?”

“If you can call professional procrastination as working then yeah, she was” Angel replied

“Are we talking about Cordelia Chase? Xander’s ex-girlfriend?” Anya asked as she breezed past them and headed straight towards the cash register. “She can’t have him back, he’s mine, Xander said so”

“I don’t think Cordelia wants to be Xander’s girlfriend again Anya” Giles commented lightly as he silently agreed with Angel to let the subject they were talking about drop until later.

“Good” Anya replied with a beaming smile, “If she knew how great he was at giving orgasms she would”

“Anya…” Giles began while Angel’s eyebrows rose in amusement, he barely knew Xander’s new girlfriend and yet here she was talking about their sex life.

“Oh sorry, I forget how humans don’t like to talk about sex and orgasms when they’re not getting any” Anya somewhat apologised then turned to Angel with an unimpressed look on her face. “So this is Angelus, hmm I thought you’d be taller from what Darla told me”

Angel’s mouth opened and closed a few times, “I was Angelus yes, but I’m human now”

“That’s nice” Anya replied, not really listening anymore as she began counting the money in the cash register. The ex vengeance demon turned to Giles, holding up two handfuls of money pointedly. “We should advertise, we can make more money”

***

Buffy stood up as the bell sounded, signalling the end of her class, assignment in one hand and bag in the other. “Are you seeing Angel tonight?” Willow asked as she followed her friend towards the door.

“I was going to surprise him at the mansion,” the Slayer replied with a smile, “Between slaying and college, we’ve hardly spent any time together. I was going to rent a movie and introduce him to the wonder of home cooked food”

“Buffy?” Riley came up to Buffy and interrupted the girls’ conversation and holding his hand out expectantly. “The two weeks is up”

“I know and I have it right here” Buffy replied smugly as she waved her assignment in Riley’s face. “See? All written with the correct word count”

“Yay you!” Willow congratulated her friend with a pat on the back, “I’ll see you later okay? I want to get a quick soda before I suffer with Professor Filly’s Psychology class”

“Okay, I’ll meet you back at our dorm later?” Buffy asked for confirmation, “We can go over today’s notes and get some studying done”

“I’m sure you’ll be studying” Riley commented disbelievingly as he crossed his muscular arms over his chest and gave her a look.

“Studying will be done” Willow spoke up innocently, “For about five minutes before she gets distracted and decides to hit the town on a party spree. You do know about Buffy’s alcohol problem right?”

“Willow!” Buffy punched her arm and rolled her eyes, “I don’t have an alcohol problem” she said seriously to the T.A in front of them.

“I’m sure you don’t” Riley agreed with a teasing tone and a quirky smile. The little blonde girl was kinda weird in the cute sense of weird. Her blue eyes seemed to shine prettily as she joked with her meek red headed friend about a none-existent alcohol problem. Her blonde, wavy hair moved lightly around her shoulders, yes she was pretty.

“Well, here you go Mr. Finn” Buffy jolted Riley out of his general guy thoughts by handing him her assignment. “All signed, sealed and delivered as promised”

Willow smiled at Buffy’s subtle flirting with the good-looking blonde guy, inside she couldn’t help but still feel bitter about how nobody seemed to care that Oz had left her. All her friends were going about their little lives while not caring if she was hurting or not. She wanted to shout “Hello, heart-broken girl here” but she doubted if any of them would listen.

“I’ll see you later okay Buffy?” Willow asked quickly, not being able to stand around to watch their coy flirtation. It was too sickening. Without waiting for Buffy’s responding answer, she turned and headed for the door.

Both Riley and Buffy watched her sudden exit, “She okay?” he asked in friendly concern of Willow’s sudden change in attitude.

“She will be, I think she just needs time to get over Oz, her boyfriend, they broke up not long ago. Big high school sweetheart thing” Buffy explained with a sympathetic sigh as she looked up at Riley. She couldn’t help but notice how his blonde hair seemed to compliment his lightly tanned face, making his liquid-like green eyes stand out.

“Thanks for this, even if it is two weeks late” Riley broke her trail of thought, “I need to get prepared for the next lot of hellhounds”

“Oh, I’ll see you on Friday then, bright and early” Buffy exclaimed enthusiastically, “The early bird catches the worm is what I always say!”

“Unless you’ve been on a drinking binge” Riley deadpanned easily with a smile that created dimples at the corners of his mouth.

“Of course,” she joked right back. “I’ve done things with Tequila that would make your hair curl…” Buffy wanted to take her Slayer strength and use it on herself. Maybe there was a spell or something that would stop her foot-in-mouth syndrome from getting worse. “SeeyaFriday!” she ran for cover.

***

Cordelia rubbed her tired eyes as she searched through the books Angel had left in his apartment for work use, looking for a way to make Phantom Dennis able to leave her apartment. If she had to go too Sunnydale, then she wanted at least one person on her side. Telling Harriet about Doyle’s death had been hard for her, having to relive one of the worst moments of her life but the other woman had been so kind.

Dennis floated a cup of hot chocolate over to Cordelia as he gave comfort anyway he could. He had tried to stroke her hair but only ended up in making it look like she had been caught in a hurricane. “Thanks Dennis” she told him gratefully as she took the mug offered to her.

“I can’t find anything, I don’t even know what to look for” Cordelia sighed in frustrated as she put the mug carefully on the coffee table. “I’m not going anywhere without you Dennis, friends are supposed to stick together not go rushing off with the first blonde, small chested femme fatale that springs their pants. Or die”

The helpless ghost could only flutter the air around her, careful not to disturb her hair again, not when she had meticulously styled it. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, what can I do?” Cordelia asked her phantom roommate. “My parents are in jail, Doyle is dead and Angel is off playing Life with CryBuffy. You’re all I have now and where you go, I go”

The sad brunette tucked her hair behind her ears as she began researching for ways to move a ghost. She went through three more books before she found what she was looking for. “Okay, I need an urn made of solid oak, a rock and something that belonged to the ghost” Cordelia looked up at Dennis’ wall. “Do you have anything still here? I have a solid oak jewellery box that might work and I’m sure I can find a rock outside. I don’t feel right putting you in an urn even though you are dead” she added as she got up.

Grateful she had something to occupy her mind; Cordelia went rummaging around her bedroom for the oak jewellery box so Dennis could go with her. She couldn’t afford to take time to think about Doyle or how she was going to break the news to Angel. It wasn’t like she could just waltz into his life and announce “Hi Angel, great to see ya, you’re looking well. I’m fine and dandy thanks for asking. Doyle died last night, so how was your week?” was it?

“I don’t know where we’re going to live, but I’m sure Angel will have room if he’s staying at the mansion. If he’s living at Buffy’s then he’ll have lots of room, because hello! Mansion!”

Dennis watched through invisible eyes as Cordelia pushed her grief to an inaccessible part of her mind and began to invent the spell to her liking. He wished he could give her hug and be the real, live friend she said he was. Unfortunately, thanks to Mother Vorhees as Cordelia called his mother, he could do no more than take her mugs of chocolate and wrap blankets around her.

But those little gestures, Dennis knew for a fact, made all the difference in her world of pain.

Part 5

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Circle in the Sand 3   1 comment

Part 3

“I had a great time tonight,” Cordelia fibbed to her date, Hank, as she got herself out of the passenger side of his car. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, she had to open her own door, geez, was this guy a naturally born caveman? Were there any gentlemen left?

“I’m glad” Hank replied with a cocky smile that Cordelia wanted to see wiped off, “Maybe we could do it again sometime? Like say tomorrow night?”

“I don’t think so,” Cordelia denied, like she wanted to date Captain Caveman again. First, he didn’t tell her she looked nice then came his struggle with the champagne bottle and the car door. She’d rather go back to dating Xander Harris.

“Why not? I thought we were getting on alright” Hank replied with a frown as he searched her face for any plausible reason why she might be turning him down.

Cordelia’s face was priceless, “Oh we were, well up until you started boring me to death with the story of your life” she told him honestly. The last thing she wanted was this loser thinking that she was just suffering from first date jitters and calling her up for another date. At times like this, blunt honesty was the only thing that worked.

Hank frowned more as he took hold of Cordelia’s arm, “Hey!” she yelled at him as her face took on the expression of disbelief. How dare he touch her? “Who the hell do you think you are?”

“Somebody should really talk to you about your manners Cordelia, you could hurt somebody’s feelings” Hank replied as he glared at her. “I think you owe me something for the expensive dinner you cost me, don’t you?”

“The only thing I owe you for is having the ability to stop time,” Cordelia barked as she wrenched her arm free of his tight grasp. “You need to leave now”

“I am not leaving without a little payback,” Hank told her firmly as he took another hold of her arm.

“I think the lady just told you to get lost pal” Doyle spoke up as he exited the office. He had been waiting for Cordelia to come back from her dinner date, after the vampire had attacked her on her last date he had made her promise to always get dropped off outside the office.

“Doyle, it’s fine” Cordelia said through gritted teeth as she wrenched her arm once again out of Hank’s hand. “Hank, just go home” she told him.

Hank looked from the young woman to the man who had just come out of the office, “What? You’re ditching me for this guy?” he asked incredulously.

“That guy has more personality in his little finger than you could ever hope to get in your pathetic little life” Cordelia spoke up in insult. She was the only one who had Doyle insult privileges.

Doyle looked at Cordelia in a little bit of surprise when she came to his defence, “And believe me when I say that isn’t much” she added, his surprise left and he shook his head at her.

“Look I think it would be best if you left now” he said to Cordelia’s date.

Hank smirked at both Doyle and Cordelia, “Don’t worry, I’m going” he sneered, “I’m not sure why I even bothered in the first place. I knew she was a frigid one”

Doyle and Cordelia watched him, one through relieved eyes and the other through disgust-filled eyes. The brunette turned to face her friend and looked up at him, expecting to see disappointment in his face at her but she didn’t see anything of the sort. “Come on Princess, I’ll let you have a glass of scotch” he said to her as he guided her into the office.

He knew her well enough now to read between the lines of her sarcastic exterior and knew she had been genuinely afraid of her date. As he held the door open for Cordelia, “Thank you” she told him softly and he nodded in understanding.

***

“Please Giles” Buffy begged as she followed her Watcher into her kitchen, “Just this one time”

“Buffy, I will not lie for you” Giles replied as he walked back out of the kitchen with the Slayer directly behind him. “Why you don’t just explain this to him I’ll never know. Angel knows your duties and he does respect what you have to do”

“I know he does Giles but I don’t really know how to tell him he’s more of a distraction than a helper” Buffy told him pleadingly as she placed her hands in a prayer grip. “It’s not a total lie, you do need help on translating languages in your new book. All you have to do is ask him to help you while I do patrol tonight”

He looked at her pleading face, pouting lip and begging eyes, she was too much like the daughter he never had and could never say no too. Giles sighed with defeat as he shook his head at Buffy, “I will do it just this once but you must talk to Angel about this Buffy, he will understand”

“Thanks Giles, I owe you big”

***

Angel went over the items he had placed in the picnic basket he had bought the previous day when he had wandered around Sunnydale enjoying the sun on his face, warming his skin. Last night he had actually gotten cold when he was in bed, it had made him smile thinking of the things he could feel and taste now he wasn’t a vampire any more.

Like yesterday.

The early afternoon sun had been blazing hot, his eyes had hurt so much he had to go and buy sunglasses to keep from squinting. The small amount of exposed skin was red and a little sore, and he had gotten the life scared out of him by a cat. Trivial things to most humans he guessed, but when you had extra senses and a sun allergy those things never happened.

Now, he was planning on surprising Buffy at college with an impromptu picnic made up of sandwiches, which he thought she would like. Peanut butter and jelly, ham, beef and salad were the savoury selections that Cordelia always told him and Doyle were the best. He had a few pieces of cake in there, fruit and soda to wash it down with.

Angel checked the grandfather clock over to his right and saw it was time for him to go and surprise Buffy at college. He picked up the basket made of woven Wicca that contained the food he had made for them and departed for the college and Buffy.

***

Cordelia blew a strand of hair out of her face as she dumped the mail on her desk in her office before plonking down in her chair. The nice, big comfortable leather chair that you could sink right into and never care about getting out of. She wiggled around and sighed happily as she began shifting through the white envelopes signalling bills.

“Bill” she said in an unimpressed voice as she chucked the envelope carelessly to one side. “Bill” she repeated as she performed the same careless action, “And more bills”

Doyle felt his mouth quirk up at the sides as he watched the expressions on her face switch rapidly from hope, to angry disappointment and back to hope again. “You expectin something?” he asked as he nodded towards the mail Cordelia was rummaging through.

“My confirmation of the Cosmo subscription I sent for” Cordelia replied as she looked up at him with a demanding expression on her face. “How long does it take to write ‘Hello Miss. Chase, your subscription has been confirmed?’ it’s not like I’m asking for a resume or anything that takes more than five minutes to write”

Doyle opened his mouth to reply to her statement when pictures raced through his head, making him lean against the wall to stop from falling on his ass. The pictures were familiar, the fear in them was familiar and the demons were familiar. When the vision had passed, he turned fear-filled blue eyes to a pair of concerned and questioning hazel eyes.

“Whoever you just saw right now” Cordelia couldn’t help but remark, “Did they look like they could afford to pay?”

***

Angel stepped out of his car, picnic basket in one hand and closing the door with the other, he turned to face the large building of Sunnydale college. People rushing, walking and sprinting in all directions, cars pulling up and driving off, “Feeding time at the zoo” Angel commented to himself, thinking it was definitely a good thing vampires couldn’t go out in daylight. Then it really would be feeding time at the zoo.

The building itself was about four to five stories high, painted a brilliant white with shadings of other colours around the edges and window frames, making it nice to look at. He didn’t have a clue where to start so he turned to the nearest person he could find. Which happened to be a tall, well-built kid with some equally well-built friends.

‘Who is this guy?’ Angel thought wryly, “Excuse me?” he asked, keeping any and all sarcasm out of his voice, “Can you tell me where I can find the, uh, outdoor lunch part?”

The blonde guy looked the dark haired man over, ‘who did this guy think he was?’ he thought to himself as he kept his sarcasm hidden. “No problem, just follow the path to your right, turn at the first left you come to and it can’t be missed” he replied.

“Thanks, will the classes be on lunch now?” Angel thought it best to ask just in case he was early or late.

“Most are, you looking for somebody in particular?” he asked curiously, maybe he knew the girl he was looking for.

“My girlfriend Buffy” Angel replied, “Buffy Summers, petite, blonde with blue eyes” he described vaguely.

“Oh yeah, I know her” the other guy replied with a little grin, “I’m Riley Finn, I’m a T.A in one of her classes”

“I’m Angel” Angel replied just as easily though he didn’t take the hand held out to him and Riley shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets.

“Yeah Buffy should be out on lunch by now and you’ll probably find her with that friend of hers, you know the red headed girl?” Riley asked as if trying to make sure Angel really did know Buffy and he wasn’t some maniac off the streets.

“Willow and yeah I do know her friends. We go back a long way as a matter of fact” Angel told him briskly. “If you’ll excuse me, I gotta go. Picnic” he held up the basket to make a point.

“Yeah, later man. Tell Buffy I said hi” Riley replied before walking off with his friends, sending a curious look at Angel over his shoulder as he walked. That guy was just plain weird and Riley couldn’t shake the feeling he had about him.

“What an idiot” Angel muttered as he followed the directions the blonde guy had given him. The main path led him onto some grassy areas with tables covered in wrappers, soda cans and other bits of rubbish that gave him the sudden urge to clean up. A few minutes of walking, Buffy, Xander and Willow came into view; she looked so carefree as she sat there laughing with Willow.

Her blonde hair shone like spun gold in the sunlight, the cream of her top seemed to have an ethereal glow against her lightly tanned skin. She turned her head as if sensing him standing there watching her. For just a split second, Angel thought she had brown hair but quickly shook his head of the thought. He felt like he was intruding as he saw her carefree posture tense up slightly as he approached their table.

Not that he was relaxed himself, Angel just figured it was because he had been away for a while and needed time to adjust too both being human and being back in Sunnydale. “Angel, what are you doing here?” Buffy asked in surprise as he reached her table, “Not that I’m not glad to see you, because I am. It’s just…”

“A surprise?” Angel offered as the corners of his mouth quirked up slightly, he held up the woven Wicca basket. “I thought you might like a picnic,” he told her as he stood awkwardly under the gazes of Xander and Willow.

“Uh, that is sooo sweet” Willow sighed romantically as she looked too Buffy, why did Oz have to just pack up and leave? She asked silently.

“Any more sweetness and Buff will need a dentis…OW!” Xander’s reply was cut short when he felt Willow kick him really hard in his shin. “That was just wrong,” he told her with a pet lip.

Buffy smiled at his thoughtfulness, “That would be really nice, thank you Angel. Sit” she offered as she prodded Willow, signalling the red head to move up so he could sit next to her. “Anything has to be better than cafeteria food”

Angel smiled at her as he began removing the sandwiches, fruit and soda out of the picnic basket. “If you’re good I’ll let you have the cake,” he told Buffy with a half smile.

Where was the response made of laughing?

He looked at the three people who were looking back at him as though he had turned back into a vampire. “Lame joke” Angel quickly retracted as the smile left his face, “Would you like a sandwich?” he offered Willow.

The uncomfortable red head shook her head, “No thank you Angel” Willow graciously declined with a smile at him. “I have to get back to class and Xander has to get back to work”

“You sure? There’s plenty here?” Angel replied as he held up some sandwiches.

“Thanks De…uh, you. I’ll be taking one of those!” Xander commented, if he could eat Sunnydale high food then a sandwich made by Angel wouldn’t kill him either. He grabbed a sandwich out of Angel’s hand, “Thanks”

“You’re welcome” Angel replied tightly as he handed Buffy a sandwich, “That one’s beef” he told her apologetically. “I didn’t know what you liked to eat so I went by what Cordy likes”

“Beef is fine, thanks” Buffy replied as she unwrapped the plastic covering and took a bite and trying to hide her distaste at the onions on the meat. Angel looked at her with an apologetic look, “Onions” she explained as she scrunched her face up and shuddered. “I don’t like them, sorry” she told him, “What else do you have?”

“Uh, peanut butter and jelly, salad and ham” Angel replied as he tried not to look disappointed that she didn’t like the beef and onion sandwich he had offered her. “I didn’t know you didn’t like…”

Buffy waved his apology off, “It’s okay, you haven’t been human for very long so you’re out of practice and we didn’t exactly talk about my likes and dislikes of food when you were a vampire”

“Listen” Willow spoke up, “I really do have to get to class now. I’ll see you later?” she asked as she stood up.

Buffy nodded with a mouthful of salad sandwich, “Okay, outside the library at three right?”

“As always” Willow replied with a you-can-count-on-me smile, “Bye Angel, thanks for the offer of the sandwich”

“No problem, enjoy your day” he told her as she walked away, leaving him with Buffy and Xander who was now delving into the fruit. “Enjoying that?” he asked pointedly.

“Didn’t you say you had cake in here?” Xander asked as he rummaged around the basket with an over-excited exploring hand.

“What kind?” Buffy asked as she peered into where Xander’s hand was roaming, Angel had to crack a smile, it didn’t matter if it was Buffy or Cordelia, one mention of cake had their mouths watering and eyes bigger than their stomachs.

“What would you say if I told you it was strawberry cheesecake?” Angel asked teasingly.

“With real strawberries and not those horrid glace ones?”

“Real ones”

“I love cheesecake” Xander’s breathy reply made Buffy and Angel turn to him, he had cream on the corners of his mouth and remains of an eaten strawberry on his lips. “So you” he said to Angel, “What are your plans?”

“My plans?” Angel asked as he crossed his arms over his chest and looked at the boy who was eating the cake meant for Buffy who was also watching Xander, or glaring rather.

“You know, work, hobbies, intentions towards Buffy” Xander asked in an attempted fatherly tone.

“Xander!” Buffy yelped, “Give Angel a break, he’s only been human for two days, let him enjoy it”

Angel found words on the tip of his tongue that he never thought he would say. Ever. He heard them in his head, rolled the silently on his tongue and he still couldn’t believe that he was going to say them. He took a deep breath and ignored the screaming voice making him rethink his ideas to say them. “Xander’s right”

Both Buffy and Xander’s heads snapped to him, “What?”

“Of course I’m right, how could I not be right?” Xander asked as he gave Buffy a how-long-did-it-take-him-to-realise-that-fact look.

Angel ignored that rhetorical question, “About work I mean. I do need a job and not one that includes masquerading as a Catholic priest”

“When could ‘you’ ever pose as a priest?” Xander asked in a disbelieving voice.

“I had a thing for convents” Angel replied as he took an orange out of them basket and studied it intently. Rolling it around in his hand, why was it that he never noticed the little dents in the skin before?

Xander, not getting his morbid joke, thought deeply about what Angel could do now that he was human. “You could be a coroner, all that maiming experience is bound to come in handy”

“I think we should let Angel decide what he wants to do” Buffy spoke up curtly as she wiped the crumbs of her sandwich off her skirt and blouse. She didn’t want to think about why or how Angel had posed as a priest, knowing his history as she did it was guaranteed to give you nightmares. And to be honest, it wasn’t something she didn’t want an answer to.

Buffy’s watch alarm sounded, indicating it was time for her next class, she gave Angel an apologetic look. “I have to…” she nudged her head in the general direction of the building behind her.

Angel replied with a nod, “What time do you finish today?” he asked, planning to pick her up and maybe go for a drive somewhere.

“Around three but I’m meeting Will at the library after class”

“Oh, I could pick you both up if you need a ride home” Angel offered as he looked at the food that had gone relatively untouched. He should have asked what time her lunch break started then they could have had more time together.

“That would be good since nobody will let me drive”

“Never get in a car with her” Xander told Angel doubting he would want to be in a fatal accident so soon after becoming human.

“Say around 3:15?” Angel asked as he started to make a point of ignoring Xander’s remarks. “I could help with your work if you need to get some studying done”

Buffy’s face showed great amounts of relief as she smiled at him gratefully, “You are a lifesaver Angel, sometimes it gets hard combining slaying and studying I get a little behind”

“How come you’ve never asked me for help?” Xander demanded hotly and feeling insulted. “I’m help guy, I can be helpful. I helped at graduation”

“Yeah but you’re not exactly that brainy when it comes to World War Two” Buffy pointed out with a knowing smile. One of her friend’s mottos was ‘Let sleeping dogs lye’ and she was inclined to agree but it was what she needed to catch up on.

“I fought in that,” Angel confessed as horrid memories invaded his mind. He had seen and done some despicable things in his life. There was one thing he would never understand, humans killing in each other in the name of religion, something that none of them knew for absolutely certain existed.

“Oh” Buffy replied quietly, once again she was reminded that he hadn’t always been human and had a past that she’d rather forget about and pretend that it didn’t happen.

“You better get to class before you’re late” Angel broke the few moments of uncomfortable silence that always came when he spoke about his past. “I’ll stop by at 3:15 then?” he confirmed.

“That’d be great, thanks” Buffy replied in relief that he had changed the subject from his past to something more comfortable to talk about. “Thanks for lunch, maybe we could do it again sometime soon?”

“Sure, this time you might actually get to eat your cake” Angel commented wryly as he gave Xander, who was still there, a look.

“No maybe about it, that cake is mine and if I have to pull slayer rank to get it I will” Buffy playfully growled at Xander as she picked up her book bag easily. “I’ll see you later, thanks for bringing my assignment in Xan”

“Anytime Buffy, come on Angel I’ll walk you to your car” Xander said meaningfully as he stood up.

“Actually I was thinking I might take a look around” Angel replied as he put the plastic sandwich wrappers back into the basket. “Never been around a college campus before”

“Why on Earth would you want to spend voluntary time in a place that only serves to spurn out mindless automatons?” Xander asked as he jaw dropped. “Not that Buff and Willow are, uh, mindless of course because they, uh, got high…” he cleared his throat. “So you were wanting to take a look around UC Sunnydale?”

***

Cordelia watched Doyle as he told her about the first vision he received of the Scourge, his voice was shaky and his blue eyes were more shiny than usual. “It wasn’t your fault,” she told him honestly “You didn’t know if it was for real or not, hell if I had one of those mind control things I wouldn’t know if it was real”

Doyle shook his head as the images of half-breed demons that had been brutally murdered made his chest hurt. “We need to get them out of here, get them away from the Scourge”

“This Scourge, they’re bad aren’t they?” she asked as the full weight of the situation dropped in on her like a ten ton pile of bricks.

He looked at her, his more serious than she had ever known him to be “They’re death Princess”

“Okay, so what do we do?”

“I need you to go down the docks, look for a boat called the Quintessa” Doyle told her, “The captain owes me a favour, tell him Doyle’s cashin in on that favour. I’ll get a hold of a truck and meet you there”

Cordelia nodded as she stored the name of the boat to memory, “What about if that angry kid doesn’t come back?” she asked worriedly.

He thought for a minute, “Go down to 75 West Avenue, look for a guy named Lenny. Tell him Doyle needs a truck…”

“Just a question here, how many ‘guys’ owe you one?” Cordelia asked in confusion, she thought only Angel made dodgy dealings but it looked like she was wrong.

“It’s a system, checks and balances, Princess” Doyle replied not actually answering her question, they didn’t have time to discuss what he delved in.

“Right, I don’t suppose any of those cheques are literal are they?”

He rolled his eyes at her, “Tell Lenny that Doyle needs a truck pronto, come back here pick up these guys an I’ll take care of that kid. Okay?” he asked her to make sure she got all that.

Again Cordelia nodded, now committing the name Lenny to make sure she didn’t forget it. “Lenny, truck, pick up people and Quintessa. Got it. What if you don’t get there in time?”

“I’ll be there Princess, just go”

“I’m on it”

***

Doyle and the young half demon ran as fast as they could towards the boat where Cordelia was waiting. “The Scourge are comin, the Scourge are comin” Doyle yelled as he ran up to her, “They need to get off now”

He stopped at the look on the brunette’s face, “Where were you?” she demanded with a frown.

“I had to find the boy” he replied, “But we’re here now Princess and they gotta be makin tracks”

“We were worried” Cordelia told him in a half whine half accusing voice. Before he could reply to that, her hand swiftly came across his face in a stinging slap, sending his face over to the side.

“What was that fer?” Doyle asked as he held his stinging cheek and glared at her.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were half demon?” she demanded as she searched his face for answers.

“I was afraid you’d reject me,” Doyle replied truthfully as he regretted not having faith in the person her knew Cordelia really was. It added to his many regrets about his life but this was one regret that could turn out good.

“I’ve rejected you way before now” she told him, “I can’t believe you thought it would matter to me. I mean hello, I worked for a vampire what do you think I am? Superficial?”

“Well ac…” Doyle began but he got cut off by Cordelia.

“So you’re half demon big whoop!” she exclaimed, “That is so far down the list, way below short and poor. Is there anything else you need to tell me?”

He shook his head, “No, half demon is pretty much my big secret”

“Good. That’s out” Cordelia said with a small pout, “Would you ask me out to dinner already?”

Taken aback by her questioned demand for a few seconds he quickly recovered and gathered the courage he had been gathering since he’d met her. “Cordelia would you…” Doyle started to ask and she gave him a rare megawatt Cordelia Chase smile.

“They’re here” one of the half demons shouted, interrupting their conversation, “We have to leave. Now”

One of the pure-blood demons managed to grab a hold of Cordelia, she tried in vain to fight him off. Her hand curled up into a fist as she lamely punched the demon in his face, her panic and fear made her hand shake so the force of her punch was weak and none-effective against her attacker. “Doyle!” she screamed as the demon threatened to squeeze the life out of her, “Help!”

Doyle fought off his own attacker and ran to help Cordelia, he saw a loose, metal pipe lying around and picked it up. The lead piping made solid contact with the back of the demon’s head, immediately taking him out of the picture as he slumped lifelessly to the ground. He rolled the dead demon off Cordelia and helped her off the floor, “Princess?” he asked, concern for her written across his face and displayed openly in his blue eyes.

“I’m okay” Cordelia replied as she clung to his shoulders, “Thank you, you saved me again. But time for thanking later, we have to get these people off now”

Doyle nodded in agreement and they turned from each other to go help secure the half-demons who desperately needed their help. The next few minutes saw a flurry of hyper, panicked activity as Doyle and Cordelia got everybody below deck. The children were crying, the adults were trying to be strong for their children and Doyle and Cordelia were doing their best to keep the danger out. They turned the handle on the wheel, locking the Scourge outside and them inside.

The captain was the one who noticed the light hanging in the cargo area glowing stronger and brighter. “What the hell is that?” he yelled to Cordelia and Doyle.

“Oh shit, it’s a trap” Doyle ground out as he started to turn the wheel in the other direction but it wasn’t budging.

“What does it do?” Cordelia asked as her heart pounded through her ribcage, frightened hazel eyes going back and forth between Doyle and the bright light.

“It burns up everything human,” he replied as he gave up on the wheel. “By the looks of it, that thing’s fully armed and about to detonate”

“What are we gonna do?” Cordelia asked, not wanting to think about what Doyle would reply.

“I need to shut it off Princess” he answered, not taking his eyes off the light. “You never know you’re strength till you’ve been tested. I get that now,” he told her. Doyle took hold of Cordelia’s shoulders, drinking in everything about her.

“Doyle its suicide” she pleaded with him, “No, I won’t…”

“Too the good fight yeah?” Doyle cut her off and watched, his heart breaking when he saw her eyes fill with tears. Everything happened in slow motion for Cordelia as he gave her the most loving, tender and bittersweet kiss of her young life. She knew right then he was going to leave her and she was going to have to let him.

“Too bad we’ll never know” Doyle let his demon face show to her for the first time, “If this is a face you could learn to love”

Cordelia looked into his demon face and saw only the man who was slowly but surely inching his way deep into her heart. He turned from her, ran and climbed up the ladder to the platform and jumped. She watched and listened in horror as her only friend disintegrated before her. The last thing she remembered before sinking to the floor was Doyle’s pained scream as the light burned him from the outside in.

Part 4

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Circle in the Sand 2   1 comment

Part 2

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

Cordelia’s alarm sounded loudly, almost, but not quite, rousing her from her wonderful demon-free sleep.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

The brunette forced one eye open, groaning as her entire body complained as her every muscle stirred in contradiction when Cordelia rolled gently onto her side to reach the offending item.

TINKLE

SPLASH

THUD

The rude alarm clock swiftly followed her water glass crashing to the floor, that one open eye glared as the other eye opened in companionship. “Rude!” Cordelia snapped in a sleepy, husky voice as she fumbled her arm out of her quilt to rub her eyes of sleep.

A few grazes on her elbow were the only scars visible from last night’s battle with three vampires. “Owwww!” she complained as she woke up a little more and sat up slowly and frowned.

They had sort of coped with the fighting but without a champion, without Angel, they hadn’t coped as well as what they would have obviously. Cordelia had given up her couch to a bruised Doyle as he was too beaten senseless to walk back to his own apartment. And judging from her body’s reaction to only waking and sitting up, she wasn’t in much better shape either.

Not that she had done much fighting last night, more along the lines of grabbing the woman and getting the hell outta dodge as Doyle laid as much as he could into the fight. He had surprised her last night, she hadn’t thought he would be able to hold his own as good as he did. Even though he had received a far worse beating than she had, the first thing Doyle had asked was if she was okay, not even thinking of himself.

Thinking about the Irishman made a smile cross Cordelia’s face and his words yesterday floated through her mind.

“Ya didn’t think I’d run out on ya did ya Princess?” he asked with that quirky little grin of his. Maybe she could count on Doyle not to abandon her.

n though they had tried their best last night it still hadn’t been good enough. Only one of the vampires had gotten killed, the other two had simply ran away and Cordelia had no doubt that word about Angel would be out by now. That left a Northern Hemisphere-sized problem for them.

A knock on her bedroom door caused Cordelia glare at the noise that intruded her staring-into-space-while-waiting-to-wake up time. “Go away, I’m still asleep,” she answered with a yawn.

“Princess?” came Doyle’s equally sleepy response through the door, “Whiskey?”

She shuddered at his request; “I have diet sodas in my fridge or a bottle Chianti in my way-too-empty wine rack but no whiskey”

He pushed her door open slowly, secretly hoping to spy on her getting changed, “Are ya decent?” he asked as he peeked round her door.

Cordelia rolled her eyes, “What are you hoping to hear? That I have clothes on or that I’m naked?”

Doyle gave her a sheepish grin as he pushed her door open wider, “You okay this mornin’?”

“Fine but we need somebody who can fight” Cordelia said bluntly.

“I thought I did pretty well considerin’” Doyle responded as he stood in her bedroom doorway, leaning against the wooden frame.

“You did, well, until you got the ever holy crap beaten out of you. We need another vampire with a soul who won’t just up and leave with the first blonde he sees” Cordelia snarked. Yes, she hoped that Angel was happy, yes she hoped that he was enjoying his new humanity and yes she was bitter that he had decided to leave them.

Doyle nodded in agreement, “No problem, I’ll just nip down to the local Soul Vamps R Us store and pick up one”

Cordelia glared, “There’s no need for sarcasm, I was only stating a fact. We need another vampire, preferably one that doesn’t want us for a midnight snack. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find some local gypsies that could curse some poor, unsuspecting vampire right?”

Doyle shook his head hopelessly, “C’mon Princess, get outta that bed, I got an idea”

“Is that what the burning smell is?”

***

Angel walked through his mansion in Sunnydale, his body still feeling the after effects of helping Buffy patrol last night. He stretched his body, uncurling his muscles and popping his back. It seemed so quiet, there was no little sounds penetrating his ears, there was no scents teasing his nose and there were no small, little movements catching the corner of his eyes.

The ex-vampire stood still half-way to his bathroom contemplating the silence and stillness around him, half expecting Doyle to pop out of the woodwork trying to coax him into going to the sports bar he mentioned. Angel shook his head, Doyle without a doubt liked the ladies that’s for sure. His thoughts moved from the half demon seer to Cordelia, he knew if she was here, the silence would be completely shattered. Noises would be heard, smells would be smelt and movements would catch his eyes.

His mental reverie was interrupted by the sound of people downstairs; they were loud enough for his human senses to pick up. Angel tugged his shirt into place, smoothed down his pants and made his way downstairs, passing memories randomly floating through his brain as he walked past rooms that belonged to Spike and Drusilla.

Buffy stood in the large living room observing the fact that her boyfriend hadn’t had time to tidy up properly or unpack the single suitcase he had brought with him. The burgundy curtains that had been present since Angelus were still decorating the windows, although they were now drawn back. The antique oak furniture still dotted about the room and each piece had a hefty layer of dust on the top.

She glanced up when she heard Angel clear his throat and winced when she saw his black eye and bruised cheekbone. “I brought breakfast,” Buffy explained as she took a few steps towards him, “I figured you hadn’t had time to go shopping for groceries yet”

He nodded in response, “Thanks, I appreciate it” he told her as he took a few steps towards her. Angel watched as Buffy pursed her lips and waited for him to make the first move, he leaned down and placed a chaste kiss on her lips before pulling away and taking the bag from her.

The little kiss brought a dreamy smile to Buffy’s face as she followed him through the living room and into the kitchen. “We can get Willow to perform a healing spell on you if you’re hurt”

He didn’t really want to be reminded of last night’s patrol which ended up as a beating of a lifetime for him. “No, I’m good” Angel replied trying not to let his stiff posture show as he walked to the table to deposit the bag of groceries.

“You don’t look like you’re fine Angel” Buffy pointed out, “If you were fine why are you holding your back?”

“Slept in the wrong position” Angel replied as he took his hand away from his aching lower back. He had received a vicious kick to his coccyx from one of the vampires and now he hurt like hell, but his pride wouldn’t let her know that.

“Oh” Buffy responded as she leaned against the table, an awkward silence filled the air as Angel unpacked the grocery bag and she shifted on her feet. She looked at him, her blue eyes drinking him in, his dark hair ruffled up from sleep, his still pale skin standing out against the bruises spotted around his handsome face and his eyes as dark as ever.

She cleared her throat, “Have you given any thought about what you’re going to do?” she asked lightly as she tried to keep going with their mature plan and take things slowly.

Angel shrugged, “I’m not really sure to be honest, maybe I could have another detective agency here”

“That’s one option” Buffy supplied supportively, “I still can’t believe Cordy made you charge for saving people’s lives”

“We all have to make a living” Angel replied, “It was a good idea”

“Sorry” Buffy told him as she pursed her lips, “Do you have a license or anything?”

He shook his head, “I think that would be an obstacle in opening up an agency here now that I think about it”

“I guess it would be” she looked at her watch and sighed, “I hate to love you and leave you but I have to get to college in half hour”

“Right, you coming here after?” Angel asked hopefully as he looked at her pretty face, “That is if you don’t have anything else planned”

Buffy smiled shyly up at him, relieved that the awkward silence was being broken at last and he was asking if she was coming to see him. “There’s no place I’d rather be. You’re back home and we’re together again, I couldn’t be happier”

Angel gave her a tight smile, “Good, I couldn’t be either. Happier I mean”

“Great, so I’ll see you tonight after college?”

“Sure, I’ll be waiting”

Buffy walked up to him, leaned up and gave him a kiss which quickly deepened before she pulled away. “Tonight” she told him with a meaningful smile and nod.

“Looking forward to it” Angel replied with a lopsided smile.

She waved before skipping out of the kitchen and mansion leaving Angel alone inside as she ventured off into the daylight. Somewhere not off limits to him now that he was human.

Angel ruffled his hair a little more and winced when he caught a bruise close to his hairline and sighed, “This is gonna be tougher than I thought” he said. The flooring felt cold to his feet as he pitter-pattered upstairs to get ready for his first day in the sunshine and his first taste of life after 200 plus years. He would start by calling Doyle and saying a general hi before thinking of something to actually do.

***

“I beseech access to the knowing ones” Doyle sprinkled the dust at the gateway underneath the post office.

Cordelia watched, unimpressed, as the dust flew around the air, “That dust is a health hazard, I’m choking here” she complained as she looked around in disgust. “If I was a higher being, I would demand a suite at the Ritz or the Hilton at least. Or a luxury condo with built in spa”

The Irishman turned an exasperated gaze to her, “Princess will ya keep it down, you don’t wanna seem disrespectful to the Oracles”

“Oracles Schmoracles” she waved away his warning, “I know a fortune teller who could give us this information without making us splutter on dust”

“The Oracles are a little bit more then fortune tellers” Doyle told her, “It isn’t info we need like ya said, we need another vamp to do the fightin”

“I know, you started off pretty good before you used your head as a way to break your fall” Cordelia agreed bluntly. “I still can’t believe Angel just up and left like that. Buffy blows into town and whoosh! Off he goes all for what’s under her fake designer skirt. I hope she wears clean underwear, I’d hate to think he went all that way only to find musty vamp dust lodged up there”

Doyle shook his head, for a girl who other people saw as being very snobbish and uppity, Cordelia could be crude when she wanted to be. The funny thing about it was she did it so innocently, like she didn’t really understand what she was saying and implying. He turned back to the gateway and threw more dust at it, “I demand to see the Oracles, I beseech access to the knowing ones”

She opened her mouth to make another retort, but her words were stopped as they both got sucked into a white room with a male and female dressed in gold togas standing in front of them.

“Come forth lower beings” the female spoke.

“What do you bring us?” the male asked directly after.

Cordelia slowly turned to look at Doyle expectantly, “You never said anything about any presents so I never brought anything. What are they expecting? Matching His n Hers mugs or something nice to wear? Because those weird dressy things so don’t do anything for their complexion”

Doyle ignored her as he removed an ancient coin from his pocket and tossed to the male, “We need another champion” he told them. “Angel, the vampire with a soul, is human and has gone to live his li…”

“With the blonde Slayer by the name of Buffy Summers” Cordelia interjected, “You might have heard of her actually. Steals the souls of all those who dare sleep with her…”

“Silence” the woman told her, cutting off the rest of Cordelia’s comment that threatened to spill from her lips. The Oracle looked back to Doyle, expecting him to continue.

“As I was sayin” Doyle began again, “We can’t fight your cause without a champion, we need another vampire”

The male glanced at him, “Another vampire with a soul? I am unaware another exists”

“Me either” Cordelia spoke up ruefully, “I can safely say the world would be a much safer place if all vampires had souls. Why can’t you do that?”

“It is not our place to interfere with the way things are” the woman replied, her tone implying she agreed with Cordelia’s words.

“I thought you were all big and powerful. The Powers That Be and all that mojo”

“We are merely guides lower being, we do not grant life or death, we do not have the power to give the power of free will to those who do not deserve it”

“I don’t care if you can or can’t grant whatever to whoever, we need another vampire and we need one now” Cordelia told her determinedly. “If you won’t give us one then I’ll go and curse as many vampires as I want and you can’t stop me”

Doyle covered his face, he knew it was a bad idea to bring her along to meet the Oracles, but when she turned those eyes of hers on him, no seemed to escape his vocabulary. “With Angel human, you don’t have a champion in L.A. We can’t fight on our own”

“All will be revealed in time” the male responded.

“Life comes and life goes. That is how it works,” the female added.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Cordelia asked then gasped, “You mean Angel’s gonna have a heart attack or a stroke and become a phantom champion? If that’s the case then Phantom Dennis could be a champion, the enemy wouldn’t see him and he could whack the bad guy over the head with a big heavy book while Doyle and I roll them over a cliff”

“We shall speak no more” the female told them as she looked at Cordelia.

A few seconds later, Doyle and Cordelia found themselves back under the post office with a thud. She got off the floor, “You couldn’t have transported us a little harder could you?” she yelled at the wall. “Now my bones are rattling and I have dust in my hair and you told us nothing. Give me that coin back, you didn’t deserve it!”

Doyle raised his eyebrows in amusement as he got off the floor himself and dusted his clothes down. “How about some lunch?” he asked, hoping to stop her tirade.

It did. Well, stopped her tirade at the Oracles anyway, Cordelia turned on him, “With what exactly? We didn’t get paid last night, I used up all my savings on a new I-am-boss outfit. I’m pretty sure you don’t have a secret stash hiding under that horrendously lame Hawaiian shirt you seem so fond of. God knows why you wear those things, whatever happened to men wearing suits I’ll never know”

***

Doyle pushed the door open and hurried to the ringing phone, “Angel Investigations, we home the helpless… No we don’t, we help the homeless… We hope you’re help…”

“Doyle it’s me, Angel” Angel spoke down the phone, stopping his friend’s hopeless greeting.

“Angel man, how’s life been treatin ya for the last day?” Doyle asked as Cordelia shut the door he left open in his hurry to answer the phone.

“Born a barn were you?” Cordelia asked as she pushed past him.

“Princess, it’s Angel on the phone” Doyle told her.

“Wow, we haven’t seen him for almost 24 hours and already he’s calling. Then again if I was in Sunnyhell I’d be doing a lot more than calling after spending 24 hours there” Cordelia replied with disinterest as she plopped down on a chair.

“How’s the little lady?” Doyle asked as he looked at Cordelia’s crossed legs appreciatively hoping he wouldn’t get caught.

“Buffy’s fine, at college at the minute, but she’s fine” Angel replied, “Are you and Cordy doing all right?”

“We’re fine man, don’t sweat it”

Cordelia scrunched up her face and performed a childish imitation of Doyle’s words to Angel earning her a look from Doyle.

“Ya decided what ya gonna do now that yer outta the fightin gig?”

Angel shook his head, frowned and then spoke, “I don’t know, I was thinking of opening up another agency”

“I copyright the name,” Cordelia yelled when Doyle repeated Angel’s words to her.

“Why don’t ya open a sports bar?” Doyle suggested.

“Why don’t you join a perverts anonymous group?” Cordelia shot back. “And don’t think I haven’t noticed you staring at my legs for the past five minutes” she told Doyle knowingly.

“You checking Cordy out?” Angel asked in humour but felt a little concerned about a young woman being alone with an older man. Just look at him and Buffy, not that there were any similarities between Doyle and Cordelia and his relationship with Buffy.

Doyle and Cordelia hadn’t been and were not involved in an intense relationship like he was with Buffy and Angel was pretty sure that they weren’t even in love. He doubted anyone felt anything like what he felt for Buffy.

“I was before I got busted” Doyle confessed with a disappointed sigh.

“Do you have any ideas about what I should do?” Angel asked hopefully because he didn’t have a clue. He had often thought about what he would do if he ever became human but now that he was human, he didn’t know where to start.

“A walk in the sunshine, hang ten off the coast of Malibu, go have a cappuccino at an outdoor café, stay away from vampires…” Doyle left that one hanging sensing Angel glaring at the other end of the phone. “Get a sense of humour”

Cordelia rolled her eyes, got out of the chair and headed into her office, “How is Cordy doing?” she asked sarcastically. “She’s fine man, she’s says hi” she mimicked, “Tell her I miss her company” “Will do Angel, she says have a nice day” as she imitated Doyle and Angel, her voice alternated between a high and a low pitch.

“That woman” Doyle sighed down the phone to Angel, “Not a dull moment with Cordy around I can tell ya”

“I don’t doubt it” Angel replied, “Listen I’m gonna go so I think of something to do. Take care of her okay” it wasn’t a question. “I’ll call soon yeah?”

“Yeah, catch ya later man, an tell that blonde piece ya have to make sure ya get a tan, you’ll be beatin the females off with a stick. I guarantee it”

Angel rolled his eyes at the typical Doyle comment before saying good bye and hanging up his cell phone. What did he want to do?

***

“How’s Angel?” Willow asked Buffy as they walked across the grass at the college campus.

Buffy gave her friend a wince, “Bruised but good. I still can’t believe he’s human Will, words can’t describe how good it felt when I saw him in the sun” she replied with a smile. “It was like something out of a fairytale, he just…walked right up to me and took me in his arms”

“Uh” Willow squeaked romantically, “I’m really happy for you Buff, I’ve always known you and Angel were meant to be together”

The Slayer nodded happily, “I know we are, none so true as a love between a vampire and a slayer”

“I remember how he used to look at you like you were the centre of his universe and no one else existed. He was the tall, dark handsome stranger and you were the cute, little blonde girl who captured his heart” Willow got caught up in the romance of Buffy and Angel. “I was always a little bit jealous because I don’t think I’ll ever have what you two have”

Buffy beamed happily, “It is pretty intense isn’t it?” she shrugged, “Even still, I can’t help but feel there’s something missing between us” she sighed. “I’m happy he’s back and we’re together again but last night on patrol, he got really beat up Will and I didn’t know how to handle that”

“He isn’t a vampire anymore Buffy, he doesn’t have his super strength anymore” Willow reminded her. “You can’t expect him to be able to fight like he used to now he’s mortal”

“I know, it’s just going to take some getting used to. When we were with each other before he left, we fought side by side and now he can’t fight like that anymore and I’m going to have to get used to it” Buffy responded. “I know he can’t go on patrol now”

“Why not?”

“He’d be too much of a liability, I’d be too distracted because I’d be worried about him getting hurt and I can’t take that chance” Buffy replied as she bit her lip.

“We help you with patrol” Willow pointed out meekly, “Are you saying you don’t get distracted when Xander and I are there?”

“It’s different, you and Xander aren’t used to having extra strength then having it taken away. If you’d have seen Angel last night Will, he was fighting as if he were still a vampire and it got him hurt”

“How are you going to tell him he can’t patrol with you anymore?” Willow asked as she held back from saying what she was thinking because she didn’t want Buffy to think she wasn’t on her side.

“That I don’t know” Buffy replied with a grimace.

Part 3

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Circle in the Sand 1   Leave a comment

Title: Circle in the Sand
Author: Sunscorched
Posted: 06/07/03
Email
Rating: PG-15
Category: AU
Content:
Summary: Psychofilly‘s challenge number one.
Spoilers: Only for past seasons
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: NF, GTCA, anyplace else just ask
Notes:
Thanks/Dedication: Dedicated to Psychofilly who posted the challenge and gave me some cool advice and Lilyana, my pardner-in-crime. Hope you all enjoy.
Feedback:


Part 1

“So” Buffy started as she poured the hot water into her cup as she sat opposite Angel, “You’re human now” she stated the obvious as she didn’t have a clue where to begin. One minute she had been standing at the beach, the next a human Angel had her in his arms and was kissing her passionately.

The kiss had shaken her, it had been passionate, full of want and need but it hadn’t felt to her like the ones they had previously shared. His lips had been strangely warm which was a big difference to his cool ones when he had been a vampire.

“So it seems,” Angel responded just as awkwardly as he fidgeted, the rise and fall of chest feeling weird after 250 odd years of living without it. He couldn’t hear Buffy’s heart beating or her blood flowing beneath her skin, things seemed quiet without his extra hearing. Having no sound like that made him feel like he was in a soundproof room. He didn’t feel scared or strange without it but he missed hearing those sounds.

“Do you have any idea on what you’re going to do now that you’re human?” Buffy asked, keeping the polite tone they seemed to have agreed on. She took a sip of her tea, keeping her blue eyes on Angel across from her. Even though he was no longer a vampire, his face and eyes were as unreadable to her as ever.

Angel shook his head slightly, “I don’t know how long this is going to last. I keep expecting to wake up and this to be a dream” he told her honestly. “I don’t know”

“What about us?” Buffy asked, risking looking directly into his eyes, hoping to see what she wanted him to say reflecting in his.

A deep breath was inhaled, “I think we should take this cautiously, see how things work out. I mean I still don’t know if this is permanent” Angel replied truthfully.

“The mature plan” Buffy agreed softly, wondering how she was going to make it of the kitchen without falling into his arms. “Sounds good to me. I call you, you call me we stay in touch just not literally”

Angel nodded at her words, “I think that’s for the best, just until we know if this is real”

Buffy nodded in understanding, but the problem was she didn’t understand how could she? She had never lived without the sun, without a heartbeat or any of those things only to suddenly have them again. “Would you give any thought to returning to Sunnydale?” she asked, keeping hope purposely out of her voice and her expression neutral. Inside, her head was screaming for him to say yes and come home with her.

Angel looked at her, did she want him to go back to Sunnydale with her? Did he want to go back to Sunnydale with her? What else could he do now that he was human? It wasn’t like he had any living family or relatives and it wasn’t as if he could live with Doyle or Cordelia and take up room in their lives was it? “Do you want me to go back to Sunnydale?” he asked in a quiet voice that was filled with hope. He would give up everything he had to be with the girl he loved.

***

“Good luck to ya man” Doyle told Angel sincerely with a lewd but playful wink at Buffy as he shook Angel’s hand in congratulations on his new life.

“Yeah, go have fun in the Sun-nydale” Cordelia teased as she stood next to Doyle, blinking against the bright afternoon sun.

“I can do that now” Angel looked up at the sun pointedly, “Thanks both of you. I couldn’t have done this without you”

“We know” Cordelia sighed with a lop-sided smile, she linked arms with Doyle and squeezed his arm slightly and got a squeeze in return.

“Are you ready?” Buffy asked from her position at Angel’s car. “I want to get back in time to do some patrolling.” Angel was coming home with her and life would be good again.

Angel gave an apologetic look to both Cordelia and Doyle, “I guess this is it huh?” he asked, though he was smiling his tone and eyes were sad. “Don’t drink too much” he said to Doyle, “Stay out of trouble” he said to Cordelia firmly.

“Will do boss only you’re not the boss anymore so I’ll get in as much trouble as I want. So there” Cordelia stuck her tongue out at him in a show of childish defiance.

Angel stilled as he took her words to heart, “Angel don’t worry man” Doyle told him with a shake of his head, “I’ll take care of Princess just fine”

“That’s the part I’m worried about” Angel deadpanned.

“Angel, that was just crude” Cordelia said in mild disgust, “He’s way too short and poor”

“Angel” Buffy called again impatiently as she crossed her arms over her chest smiling happily at Cordelia and Doyle who stood just behind Angel.

“The mistress has spoken” Cordelia muttered to Doyle and earned a chastising look from Angel in response. “Sorry, geez. Go, shoo go play in some graveyards with little miss slay happy” she waved him away.

Angel gave a manly pat on Doyle’s back and gave Cordelia a quick hug goodbye. “Take care Angel,” she whispered softly in his ear.

“You too Cordy. Keep Doyle out of trouble” he whispered back as he squeezed her a little tighter and a little longer than boss and secretary or friends should. Angel pulled back and Cordelia gave him a dazzling smile, taking his breath away and putting the sun to shame. “I better go before it gets late,” he said.

Angel walked backwards for a few steps, taking a long last look at his surroundings and the two people who had helped get this far. Doyle, the Irishman who had a strong fondness for a single malt and the brunette handful next to him Cordelia, said brunette, standing with both hands behind her back and her shoulders swinging back and forth as she chewed her lower lip. Her long hair flowing loose around face, catching the sun’s rays making it shine, her hazel eyes glinting with gold…

“Angel, we have to go now so I can patrol before I go to bed, I have an early start at college tomorrow and I don’t want to be late” Buffy’s voice interrupted his study of his friends.

“Sorry” Angel replied as he turned away from Doyle and Cordelia to face Buffy and his new life in Sunnydale.

“Bye Angel” Cordelia called out with a wave, “Bye Buffy keep in touch” she said with forced sweetness, doing her best not to make any comments.

“See ya man, don’t do anything I wouldn’t,” Doyle advised, and there wasn’t all that much he wouldn’t do.

“I won’t” Angel called back as he started the engine on his car, he gave them a wave before driving off back to Sunnydale

***

“Maybe now he won’t be Broody Boy” Cordelia said to herself, “Well it’s just you and me Doyle, we’re all we have now”

“Aye Princess. An we got our own business to run” Doyle replied as the turned back to their office.

Cordelia gave him a little surprised look, “You still want to run Angel Investigations?” she asked, hoping against hope that she would still have a job.

Doyle returned her look, “Ya didn’t think I’d run out on ya, did ya Princess?” he asked with a little smile. God, she was beautiful when she smiled like that, it was like her whole face lit up and that smile was contagious so Doyle found himself smiling back at her. “People need people like us, we can fight the good fight ourselves”

“And no vampire He-Man to do the fighting. Not that I’m totally helpless, but there’s only so much I can do with a book while screaming for help” Cordelia told him.

“I’ll have you know I’ve been known to knock a few heads together in my time” Doyle exaggerated a little bit.

“That was probably your head getting knocked off somebody else’s” Cordelia replied as she watched him automatically open the door for her and stepped inside. He could be so sweet sometimes and a complete bonehead at others.

“That hurt Princess” Doyle feigned a pained expression as he placed his hand over his heart. “That crackin sound is my heart breakin”

Cordelia gave him a look, “You are such a… I don’t know what you are” she brushed past him into Angel’s office and sat in the chair behind the desk. “Hello promotion” she said in an excited, breathy tone “You do realise that this means I have to have a raise?”

“How do you work that one out?”

“Easy” she replied simply, “If I’m going to be in charge of Angel Investigations now, then I need to look the part. And looking the part means I need new boss type clothes which takes money. In order to make money, you need to have a vision so get to it”

Doyle looked at a loss for a second, “I can’t just blink my eyes and have a vision”

“What about if I hit you over the head really hard, would you have a vision then?”

He was about to answer but the familiar tingle lanced through his brain as a vision hit. Cordelia immediately got out of her seat to fetch his usual glass of single malt to relieve his headache. Doyle shook a little as the vision subsided and he saw the mug placed on the desk in front of him, he raised his blue eyes gratefully to Cordelia who only smiled in response.

“Or I could just talk about you having visions and voila” she said with a beaming smile, “So, what have we got?”

***

Angel stood awkwardly in Buffy’s living room, shuffling under the weight of everybody’s intense study of him. Xander was just plain staring at him with ‘What did you ever do to deserve this?’ clearly written on his face, Willow was just sat still, her eyes flickering back and forth between Buffy and Angel.

“So” Xander was the first to speak, breaking the uncomfortable silence in the room, “I, uh, guess I can’t call you Deadboy anymore can I?”

“Xander!” Willow scolded before turning back to Buffy and Angel, “Well you look, uh, the same as you did the last time I saw you”

Angel only nodded in reply with a tiny, tight smile to the red head.

Giles rubbed his head and removed his glasses, “Well this has come as quite a shock I can tell you,” he told Angel. “I suspect it must be rather strange for yourself”

“You could say that” Angel replied curtly.

An awkward silence descended on the room until Buffy spoke up, “Angel, I have to go on patrol now. Will you be okay until I get back?” she asked lightly.

“I’ll go with you” he replied, wondering why she didn’t ask him if he wanted to go with her.

Buffy shared a look with the others, “Are you sure? I don’t mean to sound uppity or anything like that, but you’re human now. Do you think you could manage it?”

Angel frowned, but realised she was only being concerned about him, he nodded, “I’ll be fine, no problem” he replied.

Buffy nodded, “Okay let’s go. It’ll be just like old times”

“Oh the romance of smooching between vamp dusting” Xander blurted out, “Oww!” he said when Willow stood on his foot.

Willow smiled encouragingly at the Slayer and Angel, “Okay, we won’t wait up have fun” she said.

“Right, bye guys” Buffy replied as she led Angel out of her front door, eager to leave the stares and unspoken thoughts behind as she shut the door after Angel.

After they left, the conversation immediately began. “Whoa, can I just say that I so did not expect that” Xander breathed out.

“It’s a shocker all right,” Willow agreed as she turned her wide eyes to Giles, “What do you think?” she asked.

“What do I think about what?” Giles asked in return, determined not to share his thoughts about Angel with any of them.

“The Fonze” Xander replied as he rolled his eyes, “About not-so-dead-Deadboy and his remarkable return to the human race”

“I am not at liberty to say at this particular moment” Giles replied, “Suffice to say I only want what is best for Buffy and if Angel is best for her then I shall support her”

“But you don’t, do you?” Willow asked.

“Again, I am not at liberty to say Willow, I have to know what Angel’s intentions are before I go jumping to any rash conclusions” Giles replied in the same none-judgemental, even tone.

“I thought he was Cordelia’s boss on some kind of soul-saving mission in L.A” Xander pointed out. “If he’s here and she’s not, wouldn’t that make Cordy by herself in L.A?”

Willow shook her head, “From what Buffy told me, there’s a man working for him too called Doyle who’s stayed in L.A with Cordy”

“Poor guy” Xander commented with a chuckle.

“That’s not very nice Xander” Willow chastised, “You weren’t exactly the world’s greatest boyfriend you know”

Xander’s face went from laughing one minute to guilty the next as he remembered Cordelia falling through the stairs and being impaled on a rebar. “Thanks for reminding me Will, one massive guilt trip coming up”

“I was there too,” Willow reminded him lightly as her own face became a little guilt-ridden. “She may have changed Xander, we have changed why couldn’t Cordy?”

“I know Cordy changed better than anyone here Will,” Xander replied, “But charging people for saving their lives just seems a little…” he shook a hand from side to side. “You know?”

“We all have to make money to survive in some way Xander, it wasn’t just the helpless who got charged you know. It is-was-is a fully working detective agency,” Willow told him.

“All I’m saying is Cordy can’t be that much different from senior year at high school. It took her three years to stop calling us losers, how much could half a year change her?”

“Maybe, but I doubt we’ll ever find out because I’m sure the words ‘I would rather have my skin peeled off by a potato peeler than come back here again’ came from her mouth” Willow told him.

“We can be thankful for small mercies then” Xander responded, not wanting to admit he still had leftover feelings for Cordelia Chase, his first real girlfriend.

***

Buffy slammed her stake through the heart of the last vampire before hurrying to help Angel off the ground where he was lying breathlessly. She held her hand out to help him up, “You okay?” she asked with a frown on her face as she looked at his bruised face.

Angel dusted down his coat and ran a hand through his hair, wincing when he felt a lump forming on his hairline. He nodded, “Yeah, just wasn’t really expecting to, you know, get beaten to a bloody pulp”

Biting her lip Buffy looked up at him, “We should get home, get you patched up”

“What about you? Are you hurt?”

Buffy shook her head, “Slayer here, super strength remember?”

“Yeah” Angel replied as they started walking, or rather Buffy walked while Angel kind of hobbled after her. He looked around the graveyard, it hadn’t changed from the last time he saw it before he left Sunnydale for L.A.

L.A.

A soft smile tugged at his lips as he thought of Cordelia and Doyle still there, wondering if they were going to keep the business open or close it. “What are you smiling about?” Buffy asked as she awkwardly laced her fingers through his and felt him squeeze her hand back.

“Doyle and Cordy” Angel replied, “I was just wondering if they were going to keep the business open or close it”

Buffy shrugged, not really caring what would happen to his old business. “Oh. Don’t get me wrong Angel, but why would they keep it open? You’re not there to fight anymore”

He wasn’t a vampire anymore and if he was breathless from a fight with a few dimwitted vampires, then Buffy doubted he would be able to hold his own with some of the demons on the Hellmouth. Granted he had fought better than Riley or the others who worked at the Initiative, but that was only due to the fact of his experience in martial arts.

“Doyle gets visions from the Powers, I doubt Cordy or Doyle would let the hopeless save their own lives” Angel told her. He had only been in Sunnydale for a short amount of time but he already missed the noise of the traffic and people, Sunnydale seemed too… quiet without it. The familiar feeling of guilt crept in as he thought about leaving Doyle and Cordelia by themselves, fighting what was his fight.

But it wasn’t his fight anymore was it? He was human now and with Buffy so how could it be his fight?

Part 2

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Blessing of the Son 10b   1 comment

***

The dark haired vampire exhaled sharply and ran his hands through the near black spikes as he replayed the entire confrontation over again in his head. Had he defended Cordelia as well as he should have? Angel didn’t think so, but he couldn’t have raised his voice or physically fought in anyway because of his son. If Connor had come down and seen him laying into a girl, who knows what the little boy would think.

Taking a deep and highly unneeded breath, Angel slowly exited the garden through the large arc and timidly walked over to join the young mother sitting on the stairs with a guilty expression marring her drawn features. Hazel eyes flashed with a light show of emotion and her hands shook a little, he guessed she’d been upstairs with Connor and had seen the bandages on the little boy’s hands.

Wearing a simple pair of black pants and an oversized jumper, Cordelia looked dwarfed by the baggy top as she peered up at him through long, dark eyelashes that fluttered. Her defiantly set chin was cupped in both palms while her elbows rested on her knees, espresso curls were tied back from her face and her mouth was twitching from side-to-side. “I didn’t mean to walk in and overhear everything”

She never got an answer when she’d knocked at the front door and so she’d inched inside via the smallest gap she could fit through. Upon hearing the argument between Buffy and Angel, Cordelia had tiptoed upstairs to take clean clothes to Connor. However, when she’d heard Buffy refute Angel was her son’s father the brunette had tiptoed back down fully intent on going in there and saying something.

Angel’s response had brought a tiny grin to her face, Cordelia knew only too well just how sarcastic he could be when he put his mind to it.

Dropping down beside the young woman, Angel curled his heavily muscled arm around her, comforting them both. “I’m sorry for not taking care of Connor” like that one apology made up for putting his only son in danger by not thinking to lock the door. “I should have…”

Leaning her head in the crook of the vampire’s shoulder, Cordelia let herself simply be held by him for a second before replying to his apology. “You have nothing to be sorry for Angel, Connor’s condition takes a lot of getting used to. Believe me” she turned her face up to look at him, shaking her head at the shame all over his handsome face. “If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine for not going over absolutely everything with you before I left”

“I’m a vampire who’s also sensitive to sunlight, I should take better care of myself in that way too” Angel wryly spoke with a twinkle of amusement in the depths of his oak orbs. It was true, he never bothered to keep himself totally safe from the sunlight and he only now thought of wondering why. “At least Connor can’t burst into flames”

“At least you can be in artificial light” Cordelia stated with a smile and expression that asked what exactly it was he had to complain about. “This whole thing is one big, giant mess”

He couldn’t argue with that at all. “If only you’d told me, I would have gone with you”

“If only I’d known what to say to you”

“If only I hadn’t killed…”

Sighing deeply as she relaxed into the tensing body of the vampire admitting to murder, Cordelia had to force her eyes to stay open. “There are way too many ‘if only’s’ here”

Again, he couldn’t argue with that. “I can’t apologise enough for what happened to Connor” Angel buried his face into the soft tied back strands, inhaling her scent deeply and relished the sweetness of it. Sitting on the bottom concrete stairs was no place to have a serious conversation. “Come on baby”

At his use of the affectionate name, Cordelia smiled dreamily and let the vampire pull her into a standing position. “They’re gonna find out you know”

Angel led the brunette over to the leather chair next to the flickering fire and sat down, watching as she flopped in front of the fire, peering at him through serious hazel orbs. The apples of her cheeks were puffed up with the held-in breath, the rounded shape making her look like an older and female version of his son.

“I know” he agreed, “If they haven’t figured it out already.” The only two that knew for certain Angelus had been the one who got her pregnant was Spike and Faith. Angel could lay odds down that after Cordelia referred to him as Angelus the other night, Willow had an inkling too. “There’s too many gaps in our story Cordy, they’re not stupid. Well, except Harris…”

“Xander isn’t stupid Angel, he maybe a little slow on the uptake but not stupid” Cordelia remarked in amusement. He’d never made it a secret that he didn’t like the dark haired young man. It still amazed her that Angelus had never made it his mission to drive him insane.

The scowl he gave for that defence had her chuckling for a few moments. His forehead furrowed in the middle, scrunching his eyebrows together and the tip of his nose curled up a little. It was too serious of a time to make any light-hearted comments or humorous gestures.

Turning her gaze away from the vampire, Cordelia fixated her eyes on the floor she was sitting on and fiddled with the zipper on her boots. “Do we tell them the truth?”

“Do you want to? I don’t want them getting a worse image than what they’ve already got” Angel spoke quietly, as though he might upset her by accident. That was the stark truth of it, the people that proclaimed to help and not judge until they knew the facts were probably now listening to Buffy’s side of things and going along with whatever the slayer said.

“I’m not ashamed of loving you back then, I never was” Cordelia nibbled her lip, unsure of how Angel would take that. Sure, he was still Angelus but the soul hadn’t been present when they got together and he might feel uncomfortable in knowing how she felt. “I’m still not ashamed and I’m certainly not ashamed that Connor is your son”

She would never know how much those words meant to him. Angel had to bite his tongue hard to keep from showing how he had been affected by her statement. “That means a lot” he said instead, voice thick and husky with underlying emotion. “I’m not ashamed of you and Connor either, no matter what Buffy tries to tell me about you”

“I never slept around Angel, not even after you” she told him unnecessarily with a hint of a smile on her naturally coloured lips. “But you probably knew that”

He couldn’t help the boost to his ego at the confirmation of celibacy. A part of the vampire swore that no other man, alive or un-dead, would be good enough for her while a part of him felt sad because she’d been on her own for five years. To Angel, those five years had seemed like a lifetime, God only knows what they must have felt like to her.

“Yeah, vampire” Angel reminded her with a slight smile, it wasn’t the fact he’d be able to scent another man on her but he would have felt it. “I would have felt it if you had Cordy”

Inquisitive hazel orbs peeked up at him, trepidation written in the bright pools. “Have you, um, has there been anyone else for you?” This wasn’t something Cordelia wanted an answer to but she couldn’t help herself.

Angel shook his head, lowering his own gaze away from hers. “No” when he remembered everything after getting back from hell, all he wanted was her back with him. He couldn’t remember a time when he had needed her more. Except for right now. “Cordy…”

Cordelia’s eyes snapped to his, her mouth parting a little as her breathing began to deepen. Hazel orbs were engulfed by dilated black pupils as his expression instantly changed from seriousness to lust. She watched in silence as Angel joined her on the floor in front of the fire, entranced by the way the red and orange flames highlighted his unnaturally pale complexion. The warm glow made his darkening oak gaze shine like tigers’ eyes, the rich shade brightened by the firelight.

Cupping her face in his palms, Angel stroked his thumbs across the apples of her cheeks before slamming his mouth down onto hers. Raising up onto his knees, the vampire shifted to allow Cordelia to lock her fingers at the nape of his neck, bringing herself in closer.

His tongue swept out to caress her soft, swelling lips as he used his harder mouth to manipulate hers. Angel moaned low, the vibration ran through his chest and made her shiver with sensation. Cordelia opened up to him, dipping the tip of her tongue inside the cavern of his cool yet hot mouth.

Her breasts became crushed up against his chest, the material of her bra and jumper felt rough on the aching sensitive flesh. Angel slid his hands down her face to her shoulders and then glided his touch over the slope of her cleavage to take her breasts in a firm hold. “Baby touch me” he whispered hotly, trailing wet lips down the hollow of her throat.

“Can I come down now? Or is the lady still here?” Connor’s grumpy yell sounded from the top of the stairs, making Cordelia and Angel fall away from each other guiltily.

The young mother touched her tingling mouth with her fingertips, a sheepish smile formed on her kissed lips as she shrugged helplessly at her son’s father. “Oops!”

Angel loved his son, really he did but one of these days, they were going to have a talk about timing. Her hot little hands had been so close to where he wanted them to be and that mouth wasn’t as bruised as he wanted to make it. “Yeah” the vampire spoke in an abrupt tone, “Oops”

“You can come down now Connor” Cordelia hollered back as she straightened her jumper out to look presentable for the five year old. “The lady’s gone now”

“You’re not kissing her are you dad?” the little boy asked in revulsion as he bounced all the way down the concrete stairs, carefully minding the door in case it opened again. “Cus that’s gross. Are you going to work again tonight mom? Dad said he’s still going to the park”

The brunette contemplated going to the Magic Shop that evening. “I’ll call Giles and tell him about my conversation with Buffy” Angel spoke, offering to give her a night free of being badgered. “He’ll understand”

Shaking her head, Cordelia denied she wanted to take the night off. She couldn’t afford to have a night off. “No thanks Angel, I have to face her sooner or later, I may as well get it over with. Besides, I need the money”

“You don’t have to worry about that” Angel told her seriously, she didn’t need to worry about that, he’d take care of Connor and her. He wanted to take care of his son and Cordelia, he loved them. “If there’s anything you need…”

“No Angel, I spent five years learning to be self-sufficient and gain my independence” Cordelia denied his offer of money. She didn’t feel right listening to him offer her financial help, it wasn’t like Angelus buying her gifts this was him giving her hand-outs and she’d never had to do that in her life. She didn’t intend on starting that now.

“But thank you” she smiled so warmly at him that the vampire felt a flush. She was so beautiful when her face lit up like that. “And you, you little monster” Cordelia grabbed her son around his waist and brought him in for huge cuddle, moving them both away from the direct light of the fire.

“Aw mom!” Connor wiggled and wangled but failed in his escape. “Get off me!”

“Nuh-uh buddy! I want smooches and cuddles and everything and you’re gonna give em to me.” Cordelia spent the next few minutes lavishing her son with mom kisses and evil-mom kisses under Angel’s amused gaze. “We can still go to the park but we have to be home earlier than usual, the removal van is bringing our stuff”

Connor’s face went from scowling to elated in a split second as he grinned at his parents. “Alright! I get all my toys and stuff. Dad, are you coming back with us after the park tonight? Please? You can show mom how super strong you are”

***

His son had fallen asleep on the way to Cordelia’s house, having been worn out from their time in the park. Cordelia had also been pretty tired too and had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs. Angel was the only left awake in the quiet house and now he found himself watching the sleeping brunette.

Not sure of the exact time, the vampire just knew it was still too early to be awake. Propping up one elbow, Angel peered down at Cordelia and made himself quite content to watch her sleep. This was one of the things he had missed the most, waking up in the wee hours of the morning and finding his body hot after hours of absorbing heat from the deliciously curvaceous one he was wrapped around.

Everything would be quiet, the only sound would be the human heart beat and steady breathing disturbing the peace.

Though the bedroom would be dark, his vision wasn’t obscured and he was able to take in every inch of her. From the long, straight chestnut hair to the slope of her breasts to the shapely slender leg entwined with a sheet. Her arms would be over his, warm little hands covering larger cooler ones with feminine fingers locked tightly with his.

Angelus had often been overwhelmed but never shied away or tried to deny it; he never had any control over what Cordelia brought out in him and he loved that. Sometimes, he would just lay quietly and enjoy it, other times he would wake her up just to get some attention. Either way, it always ended up with him inside her.

Snapping out his thoughts, Angel once again focused on the sleeping woman next to him and smiled, wondering what she was dreaming about. Maybe it was about him, maybe Connor or maybe it was she was dreaming about something completely different. As long as her dreams weren’t cold, harsh and terrifying nightmares, he was happy.

Cupping his cheek in the palm of his hand, Angel watched as he trailed a fingertip down the sleep-dewed soft skin on Cordelia’s face, smiling lightly when her nose wrinkled in protest. The espresso coloured curls lay haphazardly around the feminine features, softening the defiantly-set jaw line and shaping the already defined cheekbones.

In the darkened bedroom, he could see her with crystal clarity how her lips parted in response to the feel of his fingertips lightly skimming her throat.

His gaze was drawn to the bite mark, hardening at the memory of how her easily his fangs had slid into the butter-soft skin on the delicate throat. Hot, rich liquid had burned as he swallowed, the taste the catalyst the vampire needed for completion given freely from his human lover. Tracing the puncture wounds, Angel felt the pulse throbbing steadily under his touch, enjoying it and indulged himself a little more.

Angel curled his hand around the hollow of her throat, the vibrations flowing throughout his body, causing him to harden as the humanity appealed to his nature. Everything about the female body next to his was an erotic contrast to his; hot to the touch where he was cool, skin was smooth while he was roughened and where she was softly curved, the contours of his body were harder, more refined.

Against him Cordelia stirred in her sleep as he moved closer, a small light murmur escaped the lips as Angel slid his palm down across the gentle slope of her cleavage. She arched into his caress, making him increase the pressure as he curled his fingers around her breast, the material of the shirt he gave her slid off the back of his hand with the move. Angel moaned deeply when he felt his erection slide deliciously into the back of her burning thighs.

The scent of spicy arousal teased his senses, sending a smirk flickering the corners of his mouth up as he placed his lips at the throbbing pulse picking up in speed as her blood pressure began to heighten. Angel revelled in the knowledge he still had that power over Cordelia, the power to make her hunger for him as she slept, the power to make her body rise and the power to bring a muffled moan spilling from her throat.

Opening the few buttons she had fastened, Angel eased the material away from her abdomen and his fingertips glided down the heating body, the roughened skin rasping across the smooth surface of her skin. Perspiration made the natural complexion glisten in the dark. Sweat infused with the scent of sex covered the whole of her body as his cock pressed further into her ass. He wanted it, wanted to fuck her till dawn like he used too, wanted to wake her up with the hard feel of him inside her.

Cordelia whimpered, in her dream he was doing the things he used to do to her. Cool fingertips taunting the sensitive nipples until they were hard and responding to the sensation of his rough play. A hiss worked from her mouth when Angel nipped at the skin of her throat, causing the blood to rush to the surface staining the skin a light purple. Her leg curled over his powerful thigh, allowing his erection to slide into contact with her covered sex; what he was doing felt so real.

“Baby, I’m going to make love to you” the warning was hissed out through gritted teeth before Angel soothed his bite with a slow, hot flick of his tongue. His fingers reached the curve of her mound and he stilled, pausing momentarily as he wondered if she would want him to stop. However, that thought was quickly put to rest when her hips pushed hard on his, moaning his name in her sleep.

Angel slipped his hand down into the cotton panties, squeezing his eyes tightly shut when her neat curls teased the skin on his fingers. A male groan sounded when the silky feel of her sex made his hand wet with arousal; retracting his touch from her panties the vampire brought his glistening fingers to his face. Inhaling the intoxicating scent, Angel flicked his tongue out and teased himself with a simple taste that proved to be not enough to sate his hunger.

Cordelia pushed harder against his cock, bringing an explicit swear from Angel as he wrapped his hand tightly around the female thigh curled over his, leaving finger marks where he squeezed. It wasn’t enough, it would never be enough until he was inside her, fucking hard enough to form tears in her eyes and his name spill from her mouth in a scream. “Angel”

He could scent how badly she wanted him, could feel on his fingers how wet she was and knew how easily he would be able to penetrate her body with one smooth move. Replacing his hand under the cotton panties, Angel gave into the need to tease her sex as he parted the hot folds of her labia making more arousal flush onto his fingers.

The roughened skin on his fingers rasped over the sensitive inner petals as he searched for and found the throbbing pearl-hard bud of her clitoris. Moving in slow circles over the bud, Angel grunted when Cordelia bucked hard against him as he covered her sex with his hand, rubbing the heel of his palm over the exposed bud.

“You want to be fucked don’t you?” he whispered in her ear with an amused lilt in his voice, giving full reign to his desire to play with her.

Pressing his hand firmly over her pussy, using the touch to hold her still he crushed his erection between her thighs, forcing a loud moan from her mouth. Angel paused for a second, trying to hear above her breathy moans to see if his son sleeping in the room across from his had woken. After the assuring silence, the vampire happily continued in pleasuring himself and her.

Dipping his fingers further down, he smirked when her body instantly opened up allowing him to penetrate her body. Angel locked his molten gaze onto Cordelia’s face as he eased inside her, feeling each one of her vaginal muscles contract tightly around his intimate caress.

Any doubts he may have had regarding her being with someone else disappeared as the tight sheath melted around his penetration. “Good girl” she would have been spanked otherwise.

Her breathy moans got heavier as he slipped a thick male finger in and out of the silky velvet alcove, each time the penetrations got a little faster and a little harder. The heel of his palm brushed her sensitised clit and the shaft of his touch stimulated the inner G-spot, bringing sweetly sounding sex noises from her drying lips.

Angel ignored the argumentative moan as he slipped his hand once again from the hot body and moved out from behind her. Turning Cordelia onto her back, the vampire bit back his smirk when he saw the slight smile flutter over her lips she’s awake he was startled to make the discovery not having picked up on it sooner.

How could he? Arousal already had her heart rate up and breathing deep, so had waking up apparently. Angel wondered how far she would let him go.

Spreading her legs open, he skimmed his hands up the inside of her thighs and kept his gaze on her face, watching as frustration mixed with ecstasy as he teased her with a light, fluttering caress that didn’t satisfy. His fingers curled around the cotton panties and, in one flick of his wrists, removed the material keeping her from him.

Angel dropped his heavy gaze to the place that held the most interest for him and a wicked smile curled his lips up. In the dark, he could see the intimate red blush that tinted the sensitive flesh as wet heat glistened brightly.

He was so close Cordelia could feel his breathless exhale caused her muscles to hold on to the finger now sliding inside her; her hips arched off the bed as she moaned quietly. Her hands lightly fisted the bed sheet underneath her, tugging every time the pressure inside heightened. Pulling away from her, Angel used a gentle but firm touch and parted the luscious petals to expose every part of her to his hungered gaze.

The exposed clitoris pulsed with blood making the pearl look incredibly tasty, leaning close enough to do just that, Angel darted his tongue out, licking first the bud with a teasing touch before sliding the tip down to the entrance to her body. A harsh groan sounded as the taste of pre-climatic rain hit the back of his throat as he slowly entered her deeply, massaging the heated inner walls with his tongue.

Inside, she was like silk against his rough skin; the velvet walls soothed the cool feel of his touch. His tongue darted into the heated cove, licking every droplet of liquified sex. The heat scalded his mouth as Angel flicked the tip of his tongue up to twirl rapid circles over her distended clit, making her moan softly and her hips jerk off the bed.

Pulling away from the her body, the vampire licked his lips clean of the female spice before using his hand to pleasure her. Cordelia bit back a whimper at the feel of his thick, hard fingers replacing his tongue. Hips arched high off the mattress, forcing his touch deeper inside reaching a place only he knew made her cry out.

Angel wet his own parched lips as he continued to be enthralled by the vision of his fingers moving slowly between her thighs. The soft material of his boxer shorts became painfully tight as it curled around the erect shaft begging for the mercy of release.

Cordelia’s hands had left the bed sheet and moved onto the vampire’s shoulders, the flawless marble skin was soon scored with pink scratches as his penetrations got harder and deeper when she felt him taste her, drinking her in. Her hips arched high off the mattress when Angel covered her sex with the whole of his mouth, his lips taunted the sensitive flesh surrounding the entrance and his thumb began to torment her clit.

Her face was a tight expression of the pleasure her body was receiving, eyes squeezed shut and mouth parted to allow the deep breaths to be exhaled sharply. “Angel…!” At the sound of his name on her lips, Angel increased the pleasure, driving his tongue deeper into the hot cavern and drank every bit of pre-orgasmic liquid falling from the body he wanted to be his again.

He loved doing this to her, making her come on his lips and tongue before taking her hard and fast; he loved to feel the hot flush of climax burn his mouth as he drank deeply and he loved it when she begged to taste herself on his kiss. At the feel of her hands leaving his shoulders, Angel felt his own arousal increase when he watched Cordelia cup both her breasts, stimulating the dusky pink pebbles and turning them into hardened, red peaks.

Clamping down on the need to scream his name in frustration, Cordelia pacified herself to teasing him right back. She remembered how much he loved to watch her bring her own body pleasure, remembered how hard he would come when he made her watch him in return. Her soft fingertips tugged and taunted the responsive buds until throbs shot from her breasts to her clit, exuding more burning rain to pour onto his tongue.

“Don’t stop” Angel pulled away long enough to growl the order at her, the spun gold that previously shone as corona around his crystal orbs now completely engulfed the dark gaze in a hypnotic show of melted gold. His cock was hard, the material of his boxers became increasingly annoying as the softness continued to slide around his shaft, providing no relief from the pressure slowly building in his balls.

It had was so long since he’d been with a woman, since he had been with this woman that he knew there was no way this encounter was going to last.

Cordelia shook her head, it was hard enough to keep her own climax from taking over without him asking her to pleasure herself. “No, if I’m gonna come then I want you hard inside of me, making love to me” she paused as a wicked smirk flitted on her swollen lips. “Fucking me”

In a flash, Angel easily removed the restraining boxers and carelessly discarded the unneeded material over the side of the bed. “You asked for it” a roguish grin quirked up his mouth as his body blanketed hers, the sheets falling completely away from him. Cordelia reached down and pulled the sheets back over his lower body, somehow thoughts of her son swept through her clouded mind

“Connor” she mouthed in answer to his quizzical expression. A responding grin crept along the vampire’s face and he nodded in full agreement. “Be quiet”

Threading her fingers through his ruffled dark hair, Angel didn’t wait for her to initiate the kiss. Crushing his lips to hers, he swallowed the moan that came when his erection slid down her sex, the shaft grazed the pearl hard clit and the tip teased her body with penetration. His tongue tasted of her and Cordelia relished it, sweeping her hotter tongue over his, she succumbed to his domination with pleasure.

The feel of her rasped against his excited state, adding the already painful pressure in his balls as Angel pressed his hips down into the burning cradle of her thighs. She bucked up, lips moving away from his to gulp in oxygen he had stole and she hissed when his hand moved down her body. “Please?” she hated begging for anything, it was against her nature to beg but he always seemed to warrant it.

“Please what?” Angel hissed, nipping her lower lip with blunt teeth then soothing the bite with a loving lick of his tongue. “Please do this?” he took his shaft in a firm grip, circling her clit with the tip of his cock before sliding down the sensitive labia until he felt the soft velvet of her body begin to envelope him.

Not penetrating deeper, the vampire purposely waited for Cordelia to answer him. A wicked smirk faded as quickly as it appeared.

Instead of giving him what he wanted, Cordelia wrapped her long, shapely legs around his waist and locked her ankles securely at the top of his thighs. A sinful grin quirked her mouth up and her eyebrows quickly rose and fell. Using her more feminine muscles she pulled him down on top of her, biting her tongue to keep from moaning loudly when his sex slid inside.

Deep inside, the heat burned hotter than the sun; scalding him with molten liquid as pre-climatic rain made her unbelievably slick. So wet and so soft, Angel found no resistance to the deep penetration. Soft, velour walls closed around his shaft, gloving his sex in a world of torturous bliss.

A wave of agonised bliss was expressed on his face as crushed, wet velvet encased his erection in a furnace of searing heat. Breathing unnecessarily heavy, Angel held still as the pressure in his balls grew unbearably. Withdrawing from the tight sheath, the vampire slowly penetrated, grunting when the hotness once again engulfed his aching cock. “Oh God!”

His fingers dug into her hips trying to keep her from bucking up until he had some semblance of control over his body. Angel wanted nothing more than to let go and go wild on the body beneath his, wanted to dominate and prove he still owned her. A feral expression replaced the bliss as he began to smoothly glide in and out of the feminine alcove.

Cordelia tried to move but his hands held her hips firmly against the mattress. Want you in deeper, her thoughts rang out loud and clear on her ecstatic expression as Angel ground into the intimate setting. Penetrating with a slow thrust that stimulated the G-spot with expert precision, whimpering when he hit the place that made her body weak.

Around each hard inch of his shaft, Angel felt her muscles contract viciously every time he pushed inside. It was so fucking good, feeling all that hot wetness just showering down on him, coating him in pure liquid fire as his thrusts got harder. When he allowed her body to move with his, the stimulation for him was enough to bring the demonic change to his handsome features.

For a second, the vampire paused wondering if it would make a difference to how she felt about him, maybe she would only want the demon. The demon that had originally captured her heart five years ago.

“Stop and I will kill you” Cordelia growled in frustration when the pleasure invading her body momentarily ceased. The scowl on her face softened when she saw Angel turn away from her, no doubt trying to hide the change. “Angel, don’t be an ass” now was no time to soothe and boost his ego, “I don’t care about that. What I do care about is taking advantage of a No-Connor moment”

The spun gold gaze that returned to lock with her melted toffee ones sparkled with unbridled lust and something she didn’t, couldn’t, understand. Angel pushed up on his hands so the weight of his body was no longer crushing hers. Low growls were emanating from the vampire’s throat as he did nothing more than look at her through hypnotising orbs.

Fangs glinted a deadly white as he smiled down at her, appearing the predator he was. His forehead, nose and cheeks were made prominent as the demon visage completely took over as the soul relinquished the tight leash on it’s demon. Withdrawing from her body, Angel ignored Cordelia’s frustrated expression and pushed her onto her side.

He liked this position, it allowed him to feel every inch of her body and still left him dominant of her pleasure.

Curving her slender leg high over his thigh, Angel slipped his hand from her feminine muscle and located the body he had left unsatisfied. The heat burned his fingertips as he entered her, causing Cordelia to muffle her moans. “Like that baby?” he whispered, his panting breath a cool breeze on the nape of her neck.

“I’d like it more if it was you” she turned her face to peer over her shoulder at the vampire. A little smirk flashed across her face that quickly turned into a tight-lipped moan when the feel of his masculine fingers moved faster. She was already close to climax from the oral stimulation and coming without him deeply inside was not going to happen. “No, want you inside”

Cordelia hissed and moaned with the loss of pleasure as Angel slipped his fingers slowly out from between her thighs. Licking the spilled liquid from his thick digits, the vampire’s chest vibrated with a low growl as he gripped his hard shaft firmly and moved to touch her core with the sensitive tip.

Instantly, she relaxed the velveteen muscles and opened up to him instinctively. Squeezing his eyes tightly shut, Angel muffled a male moan against her neck at the feel of being gloved in the hot sheath. Each and every part of her hugged him, holding his cock in a tight wet fist and refused to let go. “Baby!”

Oxygen clogged up in her throat as he filled her, the tip of his erection touching her cervix. “Deeper” Cordelia’s voice was muffled by the pillow as she clenched a handful of the cushion in her shaking hand. “More” she wanted a lot more than what he was giving.

Slamming her hips back into his, the brunette choked back the scream caused by the sensation of his cock stimulating her inside out. The tip of his sex crashed directly against her cervix, sending a stinging wave of pained pleasure through her and his shaft massaged the raised, sensitive G-spot.

The roughened skin on the pads of his fingertips rasped over the hard bud of her clit while her softer fingertips closed over his free hand, securing his hold on her breasts. Angel clenched his jaw tight, moving in a way that had the hot, lithe body writhing in his arms. His cock repeatedly crushed inside her, movements were graceful and almost fluidic as he took possession of her.

Cordelia couldn’t breath or think straight, the vampire was determined to send her over the edge. Driving hard and high inside her, Angel groaned a little loudly when the alcove began to cave around his shaft, drenching his thighs and balls in liquid sex. His fingers rubbed her clit, sliding down the desire-swollen petals to touch the over-sensitised inner folds.

Her fingernails dug sharply into his hand as she bucked back, pushing so hard into the intimate setting of his male thighs she made the vampire choke back a high-pitched moan. Orgasmic vibrations ran like shockwaves through her body, causing the velveteen walls to pulse as climax began to take over. This was what he wanted, her in his arms and coming hard.

“Come for me baby, let go” Angel whispered that, and other naughty words, into the shell of her ear as he fucked her in an almost punishing way. Feral, animalistic and carnal, the vampire just wanted to possess what had been lost to him. The hand on her breast moved up to smother her mouth when she started to involuntarily get louder.

She was getting so tight inside he found delicious resistance to each move he made. Having to struggle to keep from moaning loud every time he pushed past the deliciously soft resistance, Angel buried his face completely in the crook of her neck. A hot shower of climatic rain soaked his cock and fingertips teasing her sex. “Oh God Cordy!”

Whimpering behind his hand, Cordelia reached round to clutch his shoulder for purchase as the orgasmic throbbing got harder, his penetrations got deeper and he seemed to swell inside. Her muscles tightly fisted his shaft, holding him in place and refusing to let go. Then her body went stiff, hazel eyes closed against everything as she fell, taking Angel with her.

His balls tightened with the building pressure as he rode her through the climax that had her screaming into the pillow. Angel felt her crack wide open, shattering around him as his movements became frantic. Driving into her body repeatedly, he groaned as the pressure grew intensively before he snapped.

Back arched into hers, his hand stilled as his hips pushed once, twice more before his fangs sank into the delicate flesh protecting her jugular. Thick, red and delicious human blood raced into his mouth, coating his tongue in an elixir more precious than anything else. Tasting of orgasm, of softness and of the spice only Cordelia possessed. Angel drank as he ejaculated in long, sharp painful bursts that left his body reeling under the relief.

The only sounds in the quiet bedroom were her heavy breathing and pounding heart as the afterglow of love making bathed them in a heady tranquillity. Angel licked the puncture wounds free of stray blood droplets, delighting in the unique flavour before curling his arms around the brunette.

“Sssh” the vampire whispered when he felt Cordelia go to speak, “Sleep baby, we’ll talk tomorrow.” There wasn’t anything to be said.

“Angel” she turned her head to look at him through glazed hazel orbs, “I’ve never stopped loving you.” That was all she wanted to say and hoped it wasn’t too much for him right then.

Angel simply smiled aloofly at her, his still golden gaze heated with every emotion possible. Silently, he thanked God that when he got his soul back Willow had made it permanent. “We’ll talk tomorrow, baby”

Snuggling back under the covers, Cordelia sighed in deep contentment when his arms wrapped completely around her and the vampire tucked her in. “Okay” before she had even finished the word, she was sound asleep leaving Angel awake, happy to watch her.

TBC…

Scorched

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Blessing of the Son 10   1 comment

Part 10

Kicking the ball across the floor to his dad, Connor frowned as he realised his mom had been gone an awful long time. She said that she was just going to pick the car up from the Magic Shop, see Giles about working tonight and come straight back. “Dad, when did mom say she was coming back?”

Looked like he wasn’t the only one who noticed the length of time Cordelia had been gone. Gently kicking the ball back to his son, Angel glanced at the grandfather clock he had moved to a safe corner and noticed the brunette had been gone an extra hour. “You’re mom has only gone to pick up the car and get some clean clothes, I’m sure she won’t be long”

The little boy wasn’t the only one missing Cordelia, Angel loathed letting her walk out the front entrance to get things both his son and she needed. She should have been here, with Connor and him, so much had been lost out on and any time away from either of them meant longer for him to share in their lives. He wanted to hear every story no matter how sad, happy or if it seemed unimportant, Angel wanted it all.

Leaning down to pick up the ball, Connor guessed his dad was right. “She will come back won’t she?” he threw the ball to the vampire who caught it easily in his hands. “I mean, she won’t go anywhere without us?”

Angel shook his head “No Connor, mom wouldn’t leave us and she certainly wouldn’t leave you, she loves you” he assured the little boy while irrational panic began to bubble up inside his clenching stomach. No, Cordelia had said she wouldn’t leave again, he needed to trust her but…

“She wouldn’t leave dad” Connor scoffed, that hadn’t been what he meant. “Mom wouldn’t go anyplace fun without us” what had his dad meant?

Angel berated himself for almost slipping up and causing his son unnecessary upset, the vampire gave himself a mental kick in the head. “No son, mom won’t go anywhere fun without us”

Speaking of fun places “Are you still gonna take me to the really good park tonight like you promised?” the little boy turned big puppy eyes on the vampire. “You said you would because I was too tired last night”

“Cross my heart” Angel promised and crossed the place his heart lay still inside his chest. “Are you hungry yet? I could make you an omelette” anything to take both his and his son’s mind off Cordelia’s absence. “How about some juice? I think there’s still some left” he would have to buy Faith some more orange squash, Connor and Cordelia had polished it off this morning.

Connor shook his head, “Naw dad, I’m not hungry yet. Are you hungry? I can make sandwiches” he stated proudly with a large smile that was pure Cordelia. He had his very own cutlery set, plastic of course, but his mom had taught him how to butter bread and lather it with peanut butter.

Angel found himself blinking at the idea of his five year old son making him lunch, somehow he could see it happening. An amused chuckle brought a smile to the vampire’s face as he walked over to and sat down in his chair. “No thank you son” he grinned at the little boy, “I’ll make my own lunch” when you’re not here to see me drink.

Once again picking up his ball, Connor balanced it on the top of his foot before bouncing it off his knee with an expression of total concentration, he began to count the number of bounces. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Aw!” he missed and his ball rolled towards the door.

“Hey, five is great” Angel pointed out, trying to make the smile come back to his son’s face. “Even I can’t do that many” he doubted he could do one, let alone five. Running a hand through his hair, the vampire let out a tired sigh and marvelled at just how energetic Connor was.

He’d also noticed some other things about his boy, Connor had exceptionally good eyesight, co-ordination, hearing and other little bits that had Angel wondering if his vampire side had caused the little boy to receive benefits. This made him curious about his son’s strength, wondering if that maybe effected too.

Connor carefully avoided the small beam of sunlight that filtered under the gap in the door as he leaned down to pick up his ball. “Dad you want to play more soccer? I promise to let you win this time”

More soccer? What was so great about soccer? Angel wondered if he could somehow train his son to like something none energetic, like listening to music or drawing or he could stake himself before anyone found that his unnatural energy resources weren’t up to par with a five year old. “Why don’t I teach you how to draw?” he suggested hopefully.

“But that’s boorriingg!” his son grouched with a frown that had Angel laughing out loud. “Unless mom was right about you being really ancient old and that you’re really an old man that looks young and has no energy and who needs a walking stick!”

Offhandedly, Angel wondered what the little boy would say if he stated he was 247 years old. Deciding against it, the dark haired vampire shook his head and watched Connor enjoy throwing it up and catching it with ease. During the short time of knowing him, Angel found his son was like a miniature version of Cordelia and couldn’t help but wonder what she had been like at that age.

He smiled at the image of a five year old little girl with long brown hair tied up in bunches sneaking out of her room late at night to steal some chocolate. Angelus had discovered that little piece of information when he had asked Cordelia if she had ever done anything bad. She had been so innocent, so good despite her flaws, before he had tainted her.

Shaking away memories of the past, Angel refocused his gaze on Connor who was now trying to spin his ball on his finger without much success. “Dad, want to play catch?” No sooner than the question had been asked then his son launched the ball towards him.

Getting up out of the chair, the vampire threw the ball back to the little boy watching as Connor nearly dropped it but only just managed to retain balance. “Good save.” The triumphant grin that was sent his way told him it had more to do with skill than luck “Do you want to be a soccer player?”

“Naw, I wanna be rock star” Connor bounced the ball before throwing it back to Angel, “Mom said that if I ask real nicely and if I’m real good and everything, Santa will bring me a drum set this year.” He looked sad for a second before shooting a glance up at his dad, “Dad, I don’t think I should tell mom that Santa isn’t real, she’d get upset… You did know Santa wasn’t real right?”

Angel’s mouth and the muscles in his jaw twitched as he tried to keep a straight face, his son looked so serious about the dilemma of not wanting to upset his mom by revealing Santa didn’t exist. “How do you know?” the vampire asked after clearing his throat.

“Kelly said she saw her dad putting the presents under her tree at Christmas time” Connor explained seriously with an expression that matched his tone. No, the little boy decided firmly, his mom would never find out that Santa didn’t exist.

“Don’t you think mom knows he doesn’t exist?” the vampire enquired, keeping a straight face was making his jaw ache. He’d never really expected to have this conversation with anyone, let alone a five year old little boy that was his son.

If he kept thinking that, he might start to believe it was real and not something brought about by a sudden wave of insanity.

Connor stated with a serious expression, his big brown eyes peered up at his father as he nibbled on his lower lip. “Santa doesn’t visit grown-ups, just kids and mom said she saw Santa when she was little. But I think it was really her dad dressed up. I don’t think we should tell her”

Angel agreed entirely. Lowering his voice to a cunning whisper, the vampire graced his son with a private smile and little wink “Me neither. When it comes to Christmas, you can dress up as Santa”

“Aw dad!” Connor shook his head, “I’m to little to be Santa silly” if his dad didn’t know that then there was something wrong. “You have to be the one to dress up as Santa and wear the big furry hat and the big red coat and the black boots.” That image was funny!

***

Buffy had paced outside the front entrance to the mansion for a while now, wringing her hands together and thinking about what the hell she was going to say to the vampire. She had gone over and over last night’s revelations in her head, the sight of Angel carrying the kid had completely knocked her for six. Then the startling news of him being a father that’s a laugh had caused her brain to shut down.

There was obviously some mistake, Angel was a vampire and vampires couldn’t have children, not unless they sired. Human children couldn’t be born to a dead man, even if he was technically the living dead.

The blonde slayer shook her head, clearing those thoughts away as she concentrated once again on the situation at hand. Cordelia was laying the blame of her pregnancy at Angel, that in itself was a downright lie. He would never sink so low as to sleep with the school whore.

Not that she had fact to prove the brunette had slept her way through Sunnydale of course, but it had been the way Cordelia had used herself to get what she wanted. Not just the lack of evidence but that was how Buffy preferred to think of her.

As a vapid whore whom she and Angel had once upon a time called Sporedelia.

No, she decided firmly, Angel was in no way the father of the kid. All thoughts were immediately banished from her head as Buffy reached out to open the front entrance to the mansion.

Doing as she always did, the slayer swung the door wide open and allowed sunshine to pour throughout the foyer of the mansion. No sooner had Buffy stepped inside only to be suddenly surrounded by the startling sound of pained cries from a child.

***

If Angel hadn’t been standing as close Connor as he had been, his son would have completely engulfed in sunlight. Thankfully, the little boy was safe and secure tucked into his father’s arms as the vampire backed into the darkest corner of the foyer quickly.

Connor had been told over and over and over again by Cordelia if something like this was ever to happen, he had to be brave and stay as calm as he could. Curling his arms between his small frame and his father’s chest, the five year old protected his hands until Angel got to a safe part of the large area.

He was trying to brave for his dad but the light was really bright, it hurt his eyes and face when the door opened. He could feel the skin covering the back of his hands stinging from where he had covered his face. Connor wished his mom was here.

“It’s alright son, it’s okay. Hush” Angel attempted to keep the furious growl ripping from his throat, his large hands held his son tightly and as securely as inhumanly possible. His gaze, darker than night, shone with a corona of gold as he focused in on the intruder, intent on vengeance.

Against his chest, the angered vampire could feel his son shaking in fear, childish tears soaked his shirt as Connor muffled his crying. If his heart worked, Angel knew it would be beating a tattoo on his ribcage. Hearing his son cry with fear was all but tearing him apart, he’d promised Cordelia to look after him and he’d failed.

He’d failed his son, Cordelia and failed as a father. Angel had been right all along, he wasn’t meant for this, didn’t deserve to have this.

“Buffy shut the God damn door!” Angel snarled at the stunned blonde who was stood looking blankly at him. “The fucking door!”

Snapping out of her shock, Buffy swung round and shut the door, leaving the large foyer in safe darkness. Her face was pale, blue eyes were wide with surprise and her hands shook with adrenalin. The sound of the sudden crying had seemed to shut down every instinct she had, making speech and movement impossible.

Pressing his lips against Connor’s wet cheeks in loving, comforting kisses, Angel noticed the red rash that the sunlight had caused. “It’s alright now baby” he cooed, his normally strong voice was shaky and unsure. “Light’s gone now” now he knew why Cordelia took medical supplies with her everywhere she went.

Buffy kept silent as she watched Angel pass her, his gaze never leaving the kid once as he took him upstairs.

Once the vampire was out of sight, the blonde finally found the will to breathe again as she sank to the floor. Her hand came up to press against her pale forehead, lips parting to gulp in oxygen and her heart racing a mile a minute.

What was Cordelia’s kid doing with Angel? Buffy’s thought process began with the one she wanted to know most of all. What the hell gave her the right to leave her kid with Angel? The brunette had to have given the vampire some kind of sob story to get him to baby-sit for her.

The only other explanation was the fact Angel really was the kid’s father and Buffy knew that couldn’t be true. She couldn’t think of any other rational explanation for why the kid would be here at the mansion when he should be with his mother.

She got up off the floor and stood waiting for him to come back down.

***

Connor’s lower lip pooched out in a pout as he dried the tears on his sleeve, peering at his dad through glassy brown eyes. The skin on the little boy’s face was dewy from crying, the normally pale complexion had only been exposed for a mere second and was slightly red.

Though he hadn’t been badly hurt by the light, it had been the fright that had caused the little boy to cry. Connor sniffled, using the back of his sleeve to wipe his nose as he watched his dad get his cream from the overnight bag.

“Dad, I don’t want the cream on” it smelled and was cold and he wasn’t hurt enough for that.

Ignoring the complaint, Angel faced his son and swallowed heavily when his gaze landed on the red tint around the little boy’s nose and cheeks. Drying tears left stains and the big brown eyes were full of receding fear as they looked back at him. The vampire searched for any amount of blame from his son and wished he found it.

“You’re getting some” the vampire had been strongly instructed by Cordelia that if any light, no matter how small, should come into contact with Connor he was to use the cream. Angel had told her there would be no need for it’s use. “There’s no use arguing”

Connor scowled deeply at his dad, watching in disgust as the large white tub was opened up and Angel came closer to him. “Urgh! Da-ad, I’m not really hurt see?” One little finger gingerly touched his face and he grimaced at the small sting the touch elicited.

“Of course you’re not” Angel’s voice was even as he knelt down in front of his son, his fingertips coated in the aqueous cream as he prepared to touch the obviously sore skin on the five year olds’ face. He had to do this, Cordelia said he had to but he didn’t want to cause Connor any discomfort.

Anymore than he already had of course. If only he’d locked the entrance then Buffy would never had walked straight inside. His own sensitive skin had been caught a little but that could wait until his son was taken care of. Right now, he didn’t matter.

“I’ll be as gentle as I can, cross my heart” Angel used all his willpower not to give into the newly forming tears in Connor’s eyes as he began to apply the cream to the affected area.

“Ouch!” the little boy grumbled though it didn’t hurt, he just didn’t like the cream.

Slowly, his face was covered in a soothing layer of paraffin mix and the redness began to fade under the healing ingredients of the medical formula. One glance from Angel had Connor lifting the backs of his hands for treatment. “You have to put the cream and bandages on my hands now dad” he instructed, his mom would be proud of him.

Grimly smiling at his son at the offered advice, Angel nodded. “Your mom told me son, you can show me how to do it” though he knew how to apply bandages, the vampire figured Connor wanted to show he could take care of himself.

“Okay, well” the knowing five year old began with a hiccup, “You have place one end at the bottom of my hand here” Connor pointed to the edge of his palm. “Than you have bring the bandage round and round and round my hand and use the tape to stick it with because I don’t like the pins”

“Like this?” Angel followed the instructions, fixing them to make it so the white protective dressing was secure and repeated the same on his son’s other hand. What kind of father am I? I let my son get hurt after three days. Connor would be better off without me, so would Cordy.

Beaming in pride, Connor closely examined his father’s first attempts and looked for ways he could make it better. His large brown eyes no longer shone with tears as he smiled childishly at his dad. Then he remembered his dad was allergic to sunlight and immediate concern took over. “The sunshine hurts you too”

The vampire peered down at his own hands, they were burnt from the light and in much worse state than his son’s but it didn’t matter. “I’ll be okay” Angel told him gruffly, hiding his hands from the little boy’s view “It doesn’t hurt”

“Have some of my cream, it’ll make your hands all better. It smells real bad and it’s real cold and it’s all gooey but mom says anything that bad has be good” Connor told him. “And mom’s always right”

A wry smile quirked Angel’s lips up as he wondered if his son’s cream would help with the already healing sunburn. Deciding to humour the five year old and see if it worked, the vampire re-opened the tub and prepared to lavish his burnt skin in the thick formula.

“Wait dad, lemme do it” Connor dipped his little fingertips into the tub before his father could say otherwise. “I’ll be real gentle, promise” he smoothed the cream over the vampire’s skin on both hands before glancing down in triumph at his work. “Cool, I think I’ll be a doctor and not a drummer”

Angel swallowed against the wave of feeling that near enough crushed his heart. His son, his little five year old son, had shown him nothing but love and kindness after he had failed him. He truly hated himself right at that moment but he vowed to make it up to Connor and Cordelia in anyway he could.

“Listen son” he began seriously, “I need to go downstairs with the lady to talk to her and I want you to be on your very best behaviour and stay up here”

“Why?” Connor asked, blinking inquisitively.

“Because I need to talk to her in private” Angel replied.

“But… Why?”

“She needs to be told off and I have to do that privately”

“Why does she need to be told off? Why do you have to do it? Doesn’t she have a mom?”

“No son” the vampire explained gently the small boy, “Her mom was very poorly and now she doesn’t have a mom.”

Connor blinked again, “Mom says that when people die they go to different places. Like the Indians go to a real big hunting place and the Christmas people go to God and live in heaven. Did that lady’s mom die?”

Angel smiled in fond memory of Joyce Summers, it was only overshadowed by how hard Buffy had seemed to take it. Even now, almost three years on the blonde slayer didn’t seem to be handling it. Not that he could blame her of course, losing your mother must be one of the hardest things to have to cope with. Just like having to cope with the fact of killing your own mother.

“Yes Connor, she did. But she’s not poorly anymore and she’ll be in heaven, just like mom said”

“That poor lady” Connor pouted, that would be horrible. Having no mom to cuddle or make you breakfast in the mornings or hot chocolate before bedtime. “She can share my mom if she wants to” he was sure she wouldn’t mind, after all it didn’t take much to make extra hot chocolate.

“I’ll be sure to tell her son” Angel made a mental note to tell Cordelia how amazing their baby boy was. “Now you be good and stay here, I’ll come get you when it’s okay to come down”

“Alright dad” leaning forward, the little boy gave the vampire a ‘mans’ hug that strictly involved no kisses. Until Angel planted one on his rounded cheek, “Aw you’re worse than mom” Connor grouched, ducking away before he got anymore.

***

At the sound of the vampire’s heavy footsteps on the stairs, Buffy spun round to place a solid blue gaze onto him. Her deceptively fragile arms were crossed defensively over her petite chest and blonde hair hung from a neat ponytail.

Angel made no effort to talk as he walked through the archway and into the back half of the mansion that led out to the garden. He was feeling almost serene, posture was relaxed, his gaze a stunning shade of deep oak and his mouth was quirking upwards. The vampire wasn’t exactly sure where this peacefulness came from, but he was enjoying it.

Just like he was enjoying the loud, rapid thumping of the slayer’s heart, just like he was enjoying the nervousness floating off of her in waves and just like he was enjoying the slight fear that hinted around the edges of the anxiety.

Buffy refused to feel the slightest bit guilty for what happened to the kid, it wasn’t her fault. How was she to know he would be in here? Not that she even gave knocking a second thought but she never had too. The slayer was about to speak when the vampire in front of her suddenly turned around to face her.

Dark oak eyes revealed nothing, expression remained calm and Angel looked as carefree as she had ever seen him be. “Do not raise your voice” he stated in a casual voice, “Say what you have to say and make it quick. My son’s mother will be back soon and I already have to explain why her baby boy has bandages on his hands”

Buffy took a deep breath and locked a serious blue gaze onto rich hypnotic ones. “I don’t even know where to start” her head moved from side-to-side as her hand pressed her forehead before she rubbed her face. “Angel this can’t be serious” she began with where her jumbled up thoughts took her mouth. “You cannot be the father of that kid”

“But I am” Angel stated simply, he wasn’t going to sugar coat anything just so she could feel better. This wasn’t about her at all, this was about Connor and Cordelia, not Buffy and the slayer didn’t like it. “And his name is Connor, not that kid”

“You’re a vampire! It’s impossible for you to have kids” the blonde returned with an expression which clearly showed how she felt at the easy acceptance of Cordelia’s kid as his own.

The vampire merely shrugged, “And yet my son exists”

An incredulous laugh escaped her bubblegum pink lips as Buffy’s blue eyes widened in sheer disbelief. How could he just believe the kid, Connor, was his son? Surely he had to know he wasn’t the father. That was just impossible. Angel”

“Buffy” Angel returned calmly, not a sign of any reaction came from him as he blatantly refused to give her what she came here for.

The slayer clenched her jaw and took a deep breath through her nose as she gave the vampire a hard stare full of ice. “Angel, this isn’t funny. You can’t let Cordelia tell you that you’re the father. You can’t let ‘Connor’ believe that lie”

“There is no lie for him to believe” he wasn’t ashamed of either his son or Cordelia and he refused to let her make him ashamed. The truth was a stark contradiction to that, he was so damn proud of his son and of how the young mother had brought him up.

Pressing the palms of her hands together, Buffy blew out a deep breath as she decided that anything she said revolving around Connor wouldn’t be listened too. “Where’s Cordelia?” it was a simple, short question spoken in a tone that carried a world of meaning behind it.

“Picking up her car from the Magic Shop then getting some clean clothes for Connor and her until she can take him home tonight” Angel’s lips quirked up a little at the thought of going to their house tonight. After the park visit of course because he had promised.

“She left you to deal with ‘Connor’ on your own when you don’t know anything about his disease?” Inwardly, Buffy knew that was probably overstepping the mark but at this point she had to try anything to get through to him. “Irresponsible don’t you think?”

It took all he had to keep the demon restrained, preventing himself from either snapping her neck or slamming his fist into her face a few times. Angel forced his body to keep the relaxed posture and the calm expression on his face.

“The only irresponsible thing Cordy has done is trust me to take care of our son. I should have locked the door, that’s now in mind for future reference. And he doesn’t have a disease, it’s a genetic disorder”

Ignoring the added comment about her use of the word disease, the petite slayer pursed her lips, not missing his point at all. “I’ve never needed to knock before, how was I supposed to know ‘your son’ was here?”

“That’s the reason the door should have been secure” Angel explained as though he hadn’t picked up on what else she was trying to say. “To stop someone from walking in unexpectedly causing an accident to a little boy like Connor, or to me”

She knew the amount of times she had openly walked into the mansion, allowing harmful sunlight to pour in, sunlight that could either cause the vampire some serious damage or worse. Buffy nodded, giving him that at least since she couldn’t deny she had done that in the past. “I get that”

Angel wondered is she would have kept doing that if the situation with his son hadn’t happened. “Next time, knock. I could be doing anything” and since Cordelia was back in his life, he meant the word anything in the literal sense.

“Don’t you think Cordelia should be here?” Buffy enquired, getting the topic off herself and back to the prior one. She didn’t want hear about all the times she’d invaded his privacy without a thought of the fact she might be interrupting. “After all, Connor is ‘her son’ and her responsibility”

“Connor is my son too, therefore also my responsibility” he remarked easily.

“But you don’t know how to take care of him because you can’t know anything about his disease. If he was my son, I wouldn’t leave him for a second in the care of a stranger”

Angel couldn’t stop himself from visibly bristling at the words. Buffy didn’t have a damn idea on what she would do if Connor was her son. “I’m not a stranger to Cordy, I’m her son’s father and if she can’t trust me to look after him for an hour, who can she trust?”

“That’s not my point” she debated, trying to keep the frustration she felt towards him right now out of her voice and off her face. “My point is Cordelia was so quick to leave her own son in order to do something she wanted to do”

“She went to get clothes for the son she selfishly and carelessly left with his father”

“Right” Buffy pursed her lips again, “How long has she been gone? An hour? Two?”

Angel raised his eyebrow at the blonde who was trying to find fault with Cordelia’s leaving Connor with him. “Why are you trying to find fault with Connor being left with me?”

“Because you can’t see that Cordelia has already started taking advantage of you” Buffy snapped a little, not really caring if she sounded angry and bitter. She had a right to be angry and bitter right now. “She hasn’t even been back for a week and already she has you wrapped around her little finger, willing to do anything she asks”

Angel kept his gaze steady as he inwardly seethed at the crap she was trying to pull with him. “Where Connor is concerned yes, I will do anything she asks because I know it’s for his best interests”

“You trust her that much?” Buffy deadpanned.

“Yes”

“Well” the blonde sighed as she changed the subject to something a little more personal to her. “Cordelia said Connor is five, right? If he’s your son then that means you cheated on me with her”

“There’s a lot more to it than that Buffy” Angel commented seriously, still not giving her any kind of reaction as that would only give her satisfaction that she was still able to get something out of him. “Don’t go throwing accusations around when you don’t have any of the facts”

Blue orbs gazed at him, encasing him in sheer ice. “You have a son who is five years old” Buffy began with the things Angel claimed as fact. “Five years ago, we were together and in love. Now, it comes out that you have a son to someone else, Cordelia Chase no less, and you expect me to believe you didn’t go behind my back?”

“Either you’re not Connor’s father or you did have an affair” she stated matter-of-fact. “Which is it? Either way, one of you is lying and I’m guessing it’s her because I don’t believe that you would lower yourself to sleep with that vapid whore”

“Cordelia Chase is as far from being a vapid whore as you can get” he couldn’t stop the growl that accompanied his defence. “I’m confused here” Angel’s handsome face showed the confusion as he took in the blonde’s heated words and ignored everything but the insult to his son’s mother. “Isn’t a vapid whore someone who sleeps around? Goes with a guy on the first date?”

“The definition you’re looking for is called Cordelia”

“Didn’t you sleep with that guy, Parker was it, on the first date?” He’d meant it when he said that he’d had enough of being talked down to. He refused to stand around and listen to Buffy insult Cordelia or Connor at all. The little boy who had so kindly offered to share his mother with the blonde didn’t deserve to be insulted and neither did the strong, young woman who had raised his son to be a loving and caring child.

Buffy’s face tightened as her eyes grew thunderous, her mouth turned into a grim smile as regret and shame crossed her petite features. “That was a mistake Angel and you know it. I didn’t ask to be used like that, I regret what happened with Parker everyday”

“And Cordy didn’t ask to get pregnant by me” Angel spoke truthfully, he still wasn’t sure how they had been able to conceive but how or why didn’t matter. Not to him and not to the mother of his son. Connor had been born and he was the only thing that mattered, him and Cordelia both mattered. “Vampires are supposed to be infertile, I’m sure Cordy didn’t expect Connor to happen”

“At least we agree on something” it looked like the vampire wasn’t as clueless as he appeared. “If you know that you’re infertile then how come you’re taking the blame for Connor?”

“Operative word being supposed”

She wasn’t getting anywhere with him, she couldn’t get through the fantasy Cordelia had painted for Angel through her kid. Buffy knew all Angel wanted was to be normal, be a part of humanity and having a son gave him part of what he wanted. “If you weren’t infertile then how come you didn’t get me pregnant?” What was she upset about? The fact Cordelia Chase proclaimed to have his child and she didn’t really irked the slayer.

Angel shrugged, “I don’t know just like I don’t know how my son was born” the chances of conception happening on the first go more often than not didn’t occur. He hadn’t slept with Cordelia just the once, it had been over and over and over again. The weekends when there had been no school for her the next day had been spent in nothing less than bliss.

“Shouldn’t the fact that you don’t know how he was born tell you something?” Buffy stared up at the dark haired vampire, pleading with him to see sense and how he was being used by the brunette to play dad for her kid. “If you’re the father and you don’t know then how am I expected to understand?”

“You’re not expected to understand anything since you don’t even know the half of it”

“Then tell me, I deserve to know”

The father shook his head, denying her quest for answers “Not yet, not until both Cordy and I are ready to give the answers you want”

Why was he being so frustrating? Why wasn’t he telling her what she wanted to know? Why was he putting Cordelia before her? Why was he acting like she didn’t matter to him?

Buffy bit back her yell of frustration as she snapped blue orbs away from his impartial face and away from the expression she could never read. “You sleep with her behind my back and yet you want to wait until your mistress is ready before you tell me what I have a right to know?” There was so much subtext in the one simple sentence, so many insults towards the brunette in that one word.

“A mistress is a woman who has an affair with a married man” Angel divulged on the meaning of the descriptive the slayer had used for Cordelia. “I didn’t think we were married back then”

“We were still together. You remember our relationship Angel, I know you do” Buffy’s voice was low and thick with emotion as the memories of her time with the vampire came rushing back with the way the conversation was going. “Yes but we were still in love and if you did sleep with her behind my back then as far as I’m concerned, she is no better than a mistress”

“If I did sleep with her behind your back, then what does that make me?” he asked lightly, she had so much to say about Cordelia being the bad in all of this but what did she have to say about his part?

“The way I see it I’m no better than Cordy, if anything I’m worse for allowing her to lead me astray” Angel found his words particularly amusing considering it had been him who had done the leading not the other way around.

Buffy noticed the quirking of his lips as a smile began to form, “You think this is funny? You think going behind my back with her amusing?” Without realising, her voice had risen in volume and anger.

He resisted the urge to shut her up anyway possible, this wasn’t something he wanted to talk about when his five year old son was just upstairs. “Keep your voice down Buffy, Connor’s upstairs and to answer your question, no it wouldn’t be amusing if I had gone behind your back with Cordy”

“If you never cheated on me with her then how come you’re the father of a five year old?”

“If and when Cordy and I are ready to divulge the sordid little details of our adulterous affair, then you’ll get your answers” Angel refused to say anything to his ex-girlfriend at all. What had happened between Cordelia and Angelus, himself, was a private, intimate secret that neither wanted to be tarnished anymore than it already had been.

Shaking her head, Buffy down right refused to let him off the hook without a fight. “You were obviously a part in her leaving town, was it your idea for her to leave? Hide the fact you got her pregnant? If he’s even yours, which I still don’t believe”

Angel tensed at the way she made it all sound, twisting the situation anyway she saw fit in order to get the answers she thought she was owed. “I don’t care if you believe I fathered Connor or not; I know it’s true, so does Cordy and my son. As long as they believe what’s true, then it doesn’t matter to me what you believe”

“Did you get her to leave town?”

“I let her walk away yes, but I didn’t tell her to leave” Angel simply responded with as close to fact as he could without giving anything away.

Buffy stood in front of the vampire in silence as she contemplated the words he had used, trying to piece everything together so she got some form of answers. “You let her walk away, what did you mean by that?”

“Exactly that, I let her walk away from me” Angel cursed himself for the millionth time for doing that. If only he’d called her back, all it would have taken was three simple words. Don’t go Cordelia, that was all and she would have stayed.

“You make it sound like you didn’t want her to leave”

“I didn’t”

There wasn’t much she could say to that. Glancing around the overgrown garden, Buffy couldn’t help but wonder if she had ever been here, standing where she herself was standing now. The thought of Cordelia Chase in his bed with him, his hands covering her body was enough to make hatred bubble up in her stomach.

It was disgusting to think about, Angel and Cordelia Chase, the preppy May Queen and spoilt bitch extraordinaire having sex. No, it wouldn’t have happened, it couldn’t have happened but here he was saying in no uncertain terms that it did.

“What was she like?” Buffy returned her ice cold blue eyes to the silent vampire, shamelessly enquiring about the brunette’s ability in bed. “Pouting lips, heaving bosom? God knows she has plenty of that” acid dripped from her tongue.

Angel wondered how long she was planning to spend trying to get answers she wasn’t going to get until they were ready to be given. “You want the details of my sex life with Cordy? Why? So you can make it sound like that’s all it was?”

The slayer’s gaze never changed, the ice never leaving the blue orbs. “It would have been just sex with her, nothing more” she told him, refusing to listen or believe otherwise. “It wouldn’t have been like it was for us”

“It wasn’t sex between Cordy and I” the vampire was crystal clear on that, his voice never wavering unsurely. Dark oak eyes warmed as his own erotic memories began to surface from the secure place in his mind. “But that isn’t any of your business Buffy so stop asking”

Her jaw dropped to the floor as she spoke in an astonished tone that described exactly how she felt at being told it was none of her business. “Not my business? Excuse me if I think my boyfriend going behind my back is my business”

“Fine” Angel stated with a low growl, “If you want the details of it then you better be sure you know what it is you’re asking.” God, he could tell her in vivid detail where, when and how he had took Cordelia. Could tell her each and every time he had made her body burn with orgasm and could tell her all about the one time she had gotten him to beg for it…

The muscles in his jaw twitched under the intense pressure needed to keep his mouth shut, denying her what she asked of him. Angelus chest rose and fell with deep, controlled breaths as he kept silent. Her blunt teeth softly bit his stomach, brushing her tongue over the bite before moving further up his hardened body.

Cordelia captured a small, dark brown male nipple between her teeth and bit down, sending a blast of pained pleasure straight to his already excited state. “Say it and I’ll give you more”

“Bitch” Angelus’ voice was low, carrying a deadly undertone that matched the ferocious fury blazing in his midnight eyes. He was so fucking hard, having been whipped into a frenzy with teasingly soft, little licks and touches on his entire body only to deny him release.

Her breasts teased his chest while the ends of her hair brushed down over her shoulders to tickle the skin on his arm. Everything added to the onslaught of sensation his body was under. Hot and wet, her body teased his with penetration as his cock became nestled against her core.

“Ah, ah, ah” Cordelia’s voice was light and airy as she drew his lower lip into her mouth, sweeping her hot, wet tongue across the drying mouth. Biting down, the vampire’s body vibrated with a warning growl as he clenched his fingers tight around her upper thighs. “That’s not the magic word”

Angelus’ expression was a show of hatred, rage and lust as he was made to beg for what he wanted. “Please”

“Please what?” Cordelia scraped her core over his shaft as she moved down his body.

All he wanted was her mouth around his cock, sucking him into oblivion. The vampire was in hell, the flames burned from the inside out and it wouldn’t stop until he begged. “Please, use your mouth” his voice was slightly high with the force of restraint.

“Good boy”
Angel snapped out of the memory to find himself shaking, hard and begging for it all over again. Buffy was still stood in front of him, her blue eyes wide as she observed the vampire drift off to somewhere far away where she couldn’t reach him. Her eyes were heating up rapidly as the vampire’s unnecessary breathing began to deepen.

“Thinking about the details?” Buffy’s voice was a shadowed husky whisper of it’s usual femininity, “Or are you thinking about our details?”

The vampire’s self-induced arousal instantly began to recede with the realisation of two things came to mind. One being his son was still upstairs and two Cordelia wasn’t here to get the payback he’d promised for both times. “My thoughts are private” Angel responded praying the brunette would hurry up and come home, “As is my love life with Cordy”

Buffy’s mouth perked up in a sardonic smile as she retaliated against the insinuation that the vampire was already involved in a love with the brunette. “She’s been back less than a week and already she’s making a play for you” she gave a quiet laugh. “And you say she isn’t vapid”

Angel’s gaze narrowed at her, he had stopped counting the number of times the slayer had deemed Cordelia a whore and it was really getting on his nerves. “Buffy, please don’t make Cordy out to be a whore, it does nothing but make me angry” the calm way he spoke gave the slayer chills. There was nothing on his face or in his eyes that told her he was angry.

“Why not? It’s the truth isn’t it?” Buffy shot out at the vampire, having had enough of him not doing anything but defending the brunette and not giving her any signs to how he was feeling. Not that she ever knew how she was feeling but that would be something right she could do with right about now. “You have no idea how many guys she had in school and how many guys she had when she left!”

He knew how many Cordelia had slept with before and after high school. “Yes I do” Angel snapped at her, his arms uncrossing and dropping to his sides where his large hands curled up into hard fists in an attempt not fight with his son upstairs. “Cordy has only ever had one lover and that was me”

“I suppose you believed her when she told you she was miss innocent” Buffy stated with a shake of her head. The brunette cheerleader had flirted and dated all the way through high school, she’d heard the rumours from some of her dates about how great a lay she was. “I heard the rumours Angel but you can be forgiven for believing her because you didn’t go to school”

Angel laughed, actually laughed a full-on genuinely male laugh at her words. “I’m a vampire Buffy” at one point, he had assumed Cordelia was a girl who slept around but he’d berated himself over and over for that judgement. She’d been so tight when he’d taken her virginity she’d bled. “I know an innocent girl”

“I’m sorry but innocent and Cordelia don’t belong on the same page. You never saw the way she was in high school” the slayer snapped at him. “She…”

“She what Buffy?” Angel snapped right back, “Flirted with the football team she cheered for? Dated a few boys? I seem to remember you dating a few guys back in school too, does that mean you slept with them?”

Buffy stared at him, not really believing he was being like this with her. “Don’t you dare put me on the same level as her, I’ve never screwed someone else’s boyfriend” the blonde was positively seething with rage at the way Angel was making her out to be. “Yes I dated guys in high school that doesn’t mean I slept with them”

The vampire smirked as she stated his point clearly and precisely. Raising his eyebrow at his ex-girlfriend, Angel cleared his throat and spoke, wanting to end the conversation before it got any further. “Why is it that Cordelia can’t date without having sex but you can?”

“Because she likes the attention”

“Doesn’t every teenage girl like attention? Isn’t that the very reason why they flirt and date in the first place?”

She was getting nowhere and fast. Angel was talking as though Cordelia was some kind of saint or something, which she certainly wasn’t. He seemed to be blind to her faults and not realise just how much he was tangled around her little finger. Buffy was a little more than angry, she was so far beyond angry she couldn’t see straight for the rage was blurring her vision.

Straightening her body, Buffy took a deep calming breath as she prepared to launch into a speech that gave the vampire a detailed description of just who Cordelia Chase was when Angel stopped her before she could start.

“Don’t even think about it Buffy” Angel stated warningly when he saw the expression he knew so well cross her face. “I won’t let you come into my home and insult the mother of my son anymore than you already have. You’ll get your answers when Cordy and I are ready, not before. Now I strongly suggest you leave before you say anything you’ll regret”

“You’re kicking me out?”

“I never invited you in so I don’t think my suggesting you leave can be classed as kicking you out”

“Fine” Buffy stated simply, “Don’t say I didn’t try to get you to see sense. I hope you enjoy playing happy families with a son that probably isn’t yours.”

Angel couldn’t stop the near-blissful smile that turned the corners of his lips upwards at the thought of being part of a family, his own family. Something he’d never really had in his life. “I’m sure I will, thank you”

At those final words, Buffy gave a slight nod as she shook her head in dismay and turned to leave through the foyer. There wasn’t anything she could say that Angel would listen to, talking to the vampire would only be a waste of breath. He would learn through his own mistakes.

“Go out this way, I don’t want another accident like earlier” Angel nudged his head towards the exit through the overgrown garden. He stood in the same spot as he had been for the last God knows how long, waiting until the slayer had left with a loud slamming of the large gate near the back of the garden.

If Buffy had gone through the foyer, she would have walked directly into Cordelia who had arrived back around ten minutes ago.

Part 10b

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC

Blessing of the Son 9   1 comment

Part 9

The car ride back to the mansion was silent, neither Cordelia nor Angel knew exactly what to say about what happened in the Magic Shop. Though he wasn’t ashamed of the fact he was Connor’s father, Angel felt guilty for putting both his son and the brunette on the spot like that. He doubted she had wanted the news to be revealed so soon or in that way.

He didn’t feel guilty for defending his son and Cordelia, if anything he was proud of himself for saying something instead of just letting his annoyance slide. After the damage he caused after losing his soul, Angel never felt as though he had any right to complain or say anything for that matter; he just kind of sat there and took it.

But after hearing Buffy openly brand his son, an innocent five year old, as a mistake he had had enough.

Enough of being talked down too, enough of the expectations and enough of the condemnation which came his way every time he was looked at. Angel was tired of looking for acceptance he would never get off the people he helped pretty much every other night.

he was tired of his past being thrown in his face and he was tired of being the one blamed for everything that went wrong.

When Cordelia and Connor had come into his life no less then two days ago, Angel felt as though everything had suddenly fell into place, like it all finally made sense. The openness, the trust and the acceptance of the brunette had shone from those hazel orbs the second that toffee gaze had landed on him.

He was a vampire and she didn’t care.

She had loved him five years ago and she loved him now. Angel heard the way her heart beat rhythmically in her chest when he looked at her, could see the flush on the naturally glowing skin at the first sweep of his fingertips and the shy, little smile that appeared when she thought he wasn’t looking. Beside the physical reactions, there was a lot more for him to read.

The way Cordelia’s voice would fill with respect when she spoke, the way she valued his opinion, trusted him with their son. She simply treated him like he mattered, like he meant something to her. Angel knew she loved him because he loved her just as much, he couldn’t love a woman in so deep a way if it wasn’t returned.

Cordelia, oblivious to the vampire’s thoughts, felt guilty Angel had heard what was said. Figuring being a mother had changed her attitude; she thought she would have been able to keep a lid on her mouth when it came to revealing the news of her son’s father.

God only knows what he thought of her now. Arguing with Buffy and snapping at someone who had a right to be angry at her.

Glancing out of the window, the young mother watched as the streetlights blurred as the car drove past them and the sparse traffic. Hugging her arms, Cordelia attempted to ward off the chill coming in from the night air outside. It was okay for her, she didn’t have to put up with needing to be around the slayer as often as Angel did; he was the one who was going to get the backlash from this.

Changing her gaze from the window, the brunette looked back at Connor fast asleep on the back seat and a wry smile quirked her lips upward. It looked like vampire energy was too much for the five year old to handle; her son had met his match it seemed.

Angel darted his gaze towards Cordelia, his chest ached when he noticed her checking on their son and a warm, loving smile flickered at his as yet un-kissed lips. She was so beautiful, he couldn’t fight the attraction towards her and he didn’t want to.

She was the mother of his son, she had accepted him without a soul and made that side of him feel more than cold, hard rage.

What he had felt for her five years ago still ran deep; deep enough for his soul to feel empty when she had gone to work despite having Connor there. For once in the co-existence of demon and soul, Angel was at peace. The demon once consumed with a frightening intense anger, now purred and salivated at having it’s escaped pet back where she belonged.

The soul merely allowed those feeling to evolve into something so much more than love.

“I’m sorry”

The apology from Cordelia almost went unheard as Angel wallowed in just how good his life had become in the last two days. He’d been so busy sitting there, thinking of everything he had been given and what he’d been a part in creating that he’d forgotten the woman dominating his thoughts was sitting right next to him.

“Pardon?” Angel attempted to keep the smile from his face in order to be serious, but it just so damn hard. He was happy that the others knew who fathered Connor and wasn’t going to let their judgement or their opinions ruin anything for Cordelia, his son and himself.

“I’m sorry Connor and you had to walk in on that” Cordelia couldn’t face him, couldn’t face the closed off expression that maybe on his handsome face.

“You have nothing to apologise for Cordy” it had been too long since her nickname had past his lips. “They were bound to find out sooner or later” Angel told her wisely with an unneeded sigh and a little shrug.

As he pulled on to a road made of loose gravel, the vampire couldn’t help the wince as passing thoughts of ruined paintwork made him shudder.

“You’re right” Cordelia agreed, “Maybe I should have told them before you arrived with Connor.” She knew that would have made the arguments with Buffy a lot worse as the blonde would have branded her a liar and God only knows what else. “I just didn’t want…”

The sound the engine was shut off before Angel turned to face the brunette with understanding and a sad agreement written in the dark brown orbs. “Sad to say I know what they can be like. It’s a good thing you didn’t, though I wish we could have told them together in less of a shocking way”

“Don’t let this go to your head but you’re right again” the young woman slyly smirked at the vampire. “Thanks for sticking up for Connor and me, you didn’t have to”

“Yes Cordy, I did” the vampire stated in no uncertain terms, “I wasn’t about to let Buffy o-or anyone brand my son a mistake or let her think you didn’t take care of him.” Angel gave her an unwavering glance which brooked no arguments “Okay?”

Cordelia nodded, not arguing as there was no point when he spoke in that voice with that expression on his face. “Okay”

The corners of his mouth flickered up as a spark lit up the dark brown depths as he focused on her lips. The brief touch of her lips still warmed his as the vanilla could still be tasted on his tongue. Angel watched as her tongue dipped out and swept across the fullness of her lower pout, making the gloss shine deliciously. “Kiss…”

“Aw dad, you can’t kiss her! Mom’s a girl”

Angel dropped his forehead against Cordelia’s, a laugh filled with both frustration and amusement sounded from him while the brunette giggled at her son’s timing. “Guess he’s awake” the vampire sighed, turning to look at Connor who was now sat up glaring at them with a tired scowl on his face.

“I don’t want to go to the park mom” the five year old looked guilty as he rubbed his eyes with a curled up fist, yawning almost continuously. He felt bad about not wanting to go to the park, his mom had promised and she’d been looking forward to it all day. She’d said how she would push him on the swings and the roundabout; he loved his mom and didn’t want to let her down.

“Too tired baby?” Cordelia asked him with a motherly smile designed to comfort her son. “You had a long night last night and no doubt you had your dad playing all sorts of games” one glance at Angel’s expression confirmed her words.

Connor pouted, he knew his mom had wanted to take him to the park “But you promised me park time and dad can come too because he’s like a real dad now”

“Connor, your dad has always been a real dad” she supplied, not knowing what the little boy’s words meant. “And you’re right, I did promise park time but we can go another night baby when you’re not so tired. Dad can still come if he wants to”

Angel couldn’t help the smile that crossed his face; he knew a guilty expression when he saw one. “I’ll take you both to a really good park tomorrow night, cross my heart” the vampire stated, he knew where there was one on the outskirts of Sunnydale. “But for now, how about mom and me take you to bed so you can get some rest?”

Cordelia granted the vampire with a highly impressed expression, silently congratulating him on his award winning compromising skills. “Your dad’s right, let’s get you to bed little man. I want to get out of this car”

***

While Angel was putting Connor into a useable room upstairs, Cordelia took the opportunity to wander around through to the courtyard where she and Angelus had often sat. Her gaze landed on the same rose bush he had taken flowers from, then her remembering hazel orbs ran around the rest of the area; each section had another memory that brought an ache to her chest.

There was a small place near the archway where water had come out, creating an indoor waterfall. Walking over to that area, Cordelia moved the branches away to stop the sharp twigs from clicking her clothes and stinging her bare arms. She couldn’t see where the water had come from, the overgrowth covered that part of the stone wall.

Her hands trailed over the cold stone, feeling the cracks that flawed the smooth white bricks and remembered as Angelus made love to her in the exact place she was standing in. Leaning her forehead against the wall, the brunette breathed in the ghostly scent of him and allowed the memory of the vampire’s first approach…

Smacking her lips together, Cordelia double checked the colour was even before tending to the strands of hair the wind had ruffled. Her fingers gently teased out the small tangles as her other hand flicked her fringe back to where it was supposed to be. With a smile of appreciation, the brunette decided not to mess with perfection and left her hair to fall naturally, admiring the way it fluttered around her bare shoulders.

Her father was throwing a high-society party at their house, everyone who was anyone was going to be attending and she had been instructed to be on her very best behaviour and look her best. In order to both please her parents and get into the society section of the newspaper, Cordelia had bought a stunning deep red silk dress that clung beautifully to her physique.

Strapless and long without being over the top, the red dress heightened the brunette’s statuesque figure, making her appear in her early twenties and not someone in their late teens. Around the visible part of her throat, a delicate silver necklace with a ruby clutched in a detailed claw fell to the curve of her cleavage, drawing attention to one of her best features.

Cordelia wasn’t stupid, she knew how attractive her physical appearance was and she knew how to use it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it had been her motto when it came to parties like this. She just might meet her future husband here, not that she wanted too but it would please her parents and give her security later in life.

And if she was going to secure herself someone worthy then she had better look nothing less than perfect.

Despite the effort put into her appearance, Cordelia had once again found herself bored to tears at the party not having anyone but Aura to talk too. Since her father had fixed her up with the son of a chairman, Aura had forgotten all about her friend and focused on the young man completely.

The brunette had often enjoyed walking around the well-groomed garden at the back of their manor, finding the places she used to hide when she had been young.

The uncomfortable heels on her feet were held in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other as she walked around barefoot, made-up hazel orbs swept over the orchids, roses and other flowers before landing on a space to sit. Placing her glass down, Cordelia pushed the loose, soft soil off the top of the smooth wall and sat down, a heavy sigh falling from her nude, glossy lips.

She wasn’t sure how long she had sat there in that spot, Cordelia hadn’t cared, she was just content to sit there in the tranquil setting of the garden.

***

Angelus had been making progress in his plan to destroy the slayer’s life piece by piece, deciding the best way to get to the girl was through the people she tried so hard to protect. Making her watch as her friends, her family, were killed one-by-one and watching in turn as she realised she couldn’t protect them all the time.

Friends and family had no place in a slayer’s life for that exact reason; too many innocent people would be caught in the cross-fire between good and him. All the more for him, Angelus smirked with sick sadistic pleasure as he visualised each kill he would make in the forthcoming future. For his first slayer kill, he would have to make this nothing less then special.

To start with, he would need something to attract her attention, something that would let her know his exact intentions but yet something subtle. A little eye-opener, something with a touch of class and a taste of blood smooth silk. With that thought in mind, Angelus had set out with every intention of finding that something; every instinct was running on high as he followed where his head took him.

Now, the black diamond gaze of the vampire was locked tightly on the brunette bathed in the soft glow of the night, her hair glinted with a touch of frosted silver as the moonlight caressed her. Bronzed skin was flushed with a dazzling array of colours as her body glitter caught the light, sparkling in all the colours of a rainbow he would never see.

Her almond-shaped eyes were defined with sultry, smoky shadow and long, dark lashes that cast shadows on the apples of her cheeks. Lips shone with transparent gloss, making the feminine mouth look soft and supple. The lithe body was encased in silk, a deep red silk that melted around the hour-glass figure a seventeen year old shouldn’t have.

Breasts were full, well-shaped and pert with youth. Hidden behind silk and no doubt a strapless bra, the slight slope of cleavage only teased Angelus and gave him an idea of how those breasts would look naked. A slit in the length of the dress allowed his gaze to wander down to see a long, shapely and slender calf straighten out.

The vampire had retained few of his human wiles, the urge for a good bar brawl, women and art. Angelus loved art in any form; paintings, sculptures, poetry, especially the art in the way he killed. It was an art to integrate himself into somebody’s life, get to know them, make them trust him before killing them.

It was an art to work with life, an art to create life and an art to destroy life.

It was also an art to capture life and immortalise it, bring every emotion to the forefront, make it shine from still eyes and make words pour from unmoving lips. Right now, Angelus wanted to capture the vision in front of him as she unknowingly left herself wide open for the kill. He would kill her, in due course, but not before he drew, tasted and had her.

The vampire leaned one strong shoulder against a tall oak tree, listening as a sigh fell from that supple mouth and feeling the warm breeze flutter over the coolness of his own. His arms became folded across his chest as he simply enjoyed looking at the young brunette, admiring the natural beauty that lay hidden under the make-up and pretty dress.

Cordelia scrunched her face up as she peered down at her feet, lifting one foot and then the other, inspecting the clear polish on her toes. Another sigh fell from her lips as a wry smile quirked her mouth upwards. “Aye me”

Angelus heard her speak and instead of some witless, sarcastic and self-involved remark, she spoke a very well known scene from Shakespeare.

“She speaks!” He whispered with a smirk.

“Oh Romeo, Romeo!” Cordelia stated, her mouth turning into a full smile “Where for art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, but be sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” She got up from her place on the wall, beginning a lazy stroll towards where she didn’t know the vampire was hiding. “Stupid, boring play”

“Why couldn’t we have been studying something more interesting?” she grumbled the dislike towards her English teacher and the play currently in discussion. Descending into silence, Cordelia once again resigned herself to enjoying the peace and quiet.

On the ground, the soft blades of grass tickled her bare feet and made her scrunch her toes together in an effort to stop the tickling sensation. In the air the breeze picked up and became chilly, flushing her warm skin with goose-bumps. Moonlight paved the way for her to walk safely across the grass without stepping on anything that would cause an injury.

The vampire grinned, wondering what this particular teenage girl would find more interesting than a classic romance full of tragedy and heart break. “Just what would that be Cordelia?” His deep, rich voice pierced the silence, the masculine sound ringing out around the expanse of the quiet garden. Startled birds flew from the tops of the few oak trees and Cordelia stood perfectly still like a deer caught in oncoming headlights.

Hazel eyes frantically danced all around her, trying to see who had intruded on the private grounds and wondered if someone from the party had followed her out here. It had to be a man she knew, he stated her name as clear as day with no mistakes or hitching, thus meaning whoever it was had been watching her for a while.

“Excuse me, this is private property so if you’re not from my father’s party then leave before I call security” Cordelia stated in a very firm, very high voice as she continued to search for the owner of the deep, throaty voice. Clutching the only weapons she had, her shoes, tightly in her hands the brunette began to take subtle backward steps, intending on making a very quick getaway.

“Forgive me for intruding” Angelus made no move to show himself as the mock apology fell past his mouth, “But I have never seen true beauty till this night” the line came easy and was followed by another. “There is no way you can call security from here baby”

“Really?” she sounded so self-sure and confident under the heavy weight of his stare. A smug smirk flashed on her mouth before it disappeared, Cordelia raised an elegant and regal eyebrow as she reached into the side slit in her skirt. Angelus watched as a cellular phone was extracted from a secure, unseen holder.

“Pardon me a moment while I call 911”

The vampire had to applaud the girl and gave her credit, looked like Cordelia Chase wasn’t as stupid or as naive as she was made out to be. Angelus watched as the cell phone was flipped open and she began punching on the small keypad. “Do you really think the police or security would get here in time?”

His chilling words instantly halted the dialling for help and the brunette’s bravery began to take a back seat to the fear-filled lump gathering in her throat. Closing her phone, Cordelia swallowed it back and welcomed the numbing defensive bitchy attitude she used every day.

“You really think I would let you make me your victim?” her statement was accompanied by a smirk as her posture straightened and shoulders squared. “A little, pathetic intruder like you is not going to scare me”

She had come face-to-face with demons and vampires thanks to one Buffy Summers. An ordinary person was not going to scare her at all. Well, not much anyway.

“I don’t want you as my victim Cordelia, at least not until I get what I want from you” Angelus replied, still hidden in the shadows made by the trees. His black, amused gaze never once left the stunning brunette as she faced off with what she thought to be an every day intruder. He wondered if she would still be as brave if he showed himself.

“No!” her voice was firm and laced with fierce determination not to allow the intruder to do that to her, she would rather die fighting him off than have that done to her. “You can go to hell before you get to touch me in any way. I would rather choke to death than let a pervert like you destroy my life, not that you could. It would take someone a lot bigger and a lot less of a coward to destroy me”

Her face became smug once more, “Besides, even if you do get away after leaving me half dead, there’d be enough evidence to put you away for life. And with my father being who he is, do you really think you’d get it easy?”

Cordelia’s was full of self-assurance and importance, trying to make it sound like touching her would be a very bad idea. “People like you make me sick”

“Have I ever told you how much your spirit attracts me Cordelia? No? Shame on me” the cheerleader couldn’t miss the underlying amusement hidden under the crushed velvet tone. Angelus was happy just to watch the fluttering emotions wash over her feline features, seeing the hazel orbs flicker from toffee to caramel with hints of gold speckled in the pretty irises.

He damned the soul that had burned bridges with this one.

Cordelia took one more step away from the direction of the smooth voice, the cell phone now clutched in a shaking grip as she desperately tried to see into the trees where she was sure the intruder was hiding. Seeing nothing, the brunette gathered the rest of her courage and played the perky, silly cheerleader best she could.

“My spirit? As far as I can see I’m not a spirit, too alive to be one of those”

Distaste at the sudden attitude change welled up in the vampire’s mouth, Angelus wondered if he had made an error in his judgement of her. Maybe she wasn’t how she appeared tonight; maybe she was just playing up the grown-up clothes and make-up to the full. Art was nothing if there was no substance in the picture, no details to be brought to life and no essence to capture.

He chuckled wryly to himself; the act that put him off was what no doubt usually attracted males to her.

Seeing the perky, silly surface of Cordelia would probably give someone the idea that she could be shaped into being what they wanted her to be. While laying underneath was a young woman with enough fire to make hell seem cold. Angelus knew better now and was determined not to let this little show put him off getting what he wanted.

“That type of behaviour only serves to annoy, not amuse baby. Don’t hide from me”

“I’m not the one hiding here pal, you are” those words sounded like a challenge even to her own ears. Sucking in a deep breath and forcing the shaking of her body to cease, Cordelia trained every human instinct she possessed to where the intruder was hiding. “This game is boring me, either get off my property or show yourself”

The grass crunched under the weight of his footsteps, his large hand pushed his body away from the thick tree trunk as he slowly left the shadowed area and walked to where she could see him. Her breath lodged in her throat as her eyes scanned the vampire currently making Buffy’s life hell.

For the first time in her life, Cordelia Chase was speechless.

Angelus glanced once up at the moonlight “Nice night” he commented casually as he continued his lazy saunter until he was within touching distance of the brunette. He didn’t make another move, simply stood there and gave her a moment for the shock to wear off.

Green flecked hazel eyes searched his face unseeingly, wondering if he was really there or if this was a nightmare brought on from the night when he had tackled her two weeks before.

The silver moon shine gave the pallor of his complexion an ethereal glow, the gelled strands of his hair shimmered as though it were wet and his gaze looked pure black. His lips were tilting up in a smirk as Cordelia studied him intently, her orbs tracing every line of the vampire’s features as though to memorise them for all eternity.

His cheeks were a little rounded due to the smirk, his chin and jaw were defiant and his forehead crinkled up with little laugh lines. Angelus let her continue before breaking the silence between them. Thick, masculine fingers wove through the long wavy strands of silky espresso coloured hair, letting them fall separately between his fingers, tickling his skin.

Cordelia frozen to the spot, pinned into place by a gaze so black it made the night seem bright. When his hand touched her hair, she expected her head to be yanked to the side while he drained her dry. Forcing herself not to flinch from the cold caress, the brunette resigned herself to the fact she was going to die meters from the safety of her house.

“Walk with me” Angelus ran the roughened pad of his thumb down her paling cheek, relishing in the humanity that warmed him.

What was his game? Was he trying to lead her into a false sense of security? Make her feel safe, get her trust before revelling in her sudden terror right before he killed her in cold blood? Not likely.

“I’m not a fool, Angel” Cordelia removed his hand from her face, dropping his touch like it scalded her. “I won’t let you play one of your games with me, if you’re going to kill me then do it. I can’t stop you from doing that but I can stop you from making me into a trusting idiot”

Ignoring her, the vampire took her arm with a small amount of struggling and curled her smaller hand in the crook of his elbow. “Walk with me” the threatening undertone made her take notice that it wasn’t a request this time. “It’s a nice night Cordelia, enjoy it with me”

The solid and unmoveable grip covering her hand prevented escape, not that she tried. Figuring he was just playing nice-nice with her, Cordelia went along with it while she used her free hand to fumble with the cell phone. Sadly, Angelus noticed what she was doing and easily retracted the cell phone from the tight hold it was in.

“Baby I’m hurt” Angelus mocked as the phone was deposited into his jacket pocket. “Can’t a guy simply enjoy a moonlit stroll with a beautiful woman without her wanting to gossip with friends?” he tutted and shook his head. “I thought it would be romantic”

“What do you want? A gasped-in delighted breath, slap my hand to my forehead and swoon?” Cordelia haughtily remarked with a sneer, refusing to give him anything, not even fear.

Angelus genuinely laughed out loud, the way she said it made his words sound incredibly cheesy and made him cringe a little in the knowledge he had used something like that. “When you put it like that, it does sound pretty bad”

Cordelia scoffed at the understating description used, deciding if she was going to die then she was going to go with him remembering her. “For a vampire the likes of you, I would have expected something a lot, shall we say, classier.” Death was easy to accept if you put yourself at ease she thought.

People could go blue in the face telling you there was nothing to be afraid of but that meant nothing if you didn’t believe it.

Halting their slow walk, Angelus tugged the brunette so he was staring down into the hazel orbs, startled at his sudden move. Using his fingers, the vampire brushed the fringe away, wanting nothing to disturb his view of her face.

“What would you have me say?” the vampire purred, “Would you have me say I want to take you home with me? Take that dress off and take you to my bed?”

Her mind went completely blank the moment the words ‘his bed’ left his mouth, leaving Cordelia speechless for the second time in her life. The first had been when he had first approached her mere minutes before.

Angelus continued, not aware that the brunette had no power of speech. “What if I said I wanted you to model for me?” he would get what he wanted; even if he had to subtley threaten her. “I have never seen true beauty till this night” the line from the infamous play once again fell from his lips.

“I’m sorry” Cordelia shook her head disbelievingly. “I’m not the knd of girl that poses nude just because some guy, or vampire in your case, lays a really bad line on me. I have way more class than that, besides Daddy would kill me if word ever got out that his little girl posed for a cold blooded killer. I can see the headlines now.” Sarcasm dripped like acid from her tongue as she refuted his efforts to be nice.

The look that passed through the hard black orbs made her shut up as Angelus leaned close enough to her face that her now shallow breaths fluttered against his lips. His hands took hold of her upper arms and, strong fingers gripped the skin tightly as he lowered his mouth to the pulsating jugular hidden beneath delicate, soft skin. “If you treat me like a cold blooded killer baby, then I’ll act like one”

Sharp fangs scraped the skin, the stimulation drawing delicious blood to the surface and infusing his senses with the scent of feminine heat and life, but surprisingly the fear wasn’t as strong as it should be. Angelus smirked against the hollow of her throat as he decided to see how far he could he could push Cordelia so fear poured from her like a rain storm.

The brunette’s eye drifted shut as the feel of his cool lips descended on her heating flesh, a sharp scrape made her closed eyes snap wide open as she realised what was slicing her throat. A choked whimper of relief sounded when no bite came and then a soft pleasured moan escaped Cordelia’s drying, glossy lips as Angelus began to tease. “Angel”

His lips tugged on the skin, fangs nipped gently and his cool tongue caressed the area softly, soothing the love bite now appearing on her throat. The vampire’s iron hold on her loosened, allowing his hands to roam her back. A moan vibrated through his chest as he felt the heat burn his palms as he touched her. Angelus sucked harder, drawing more of her skin into his mouth and pulled her body flush against his.

Cordelia’s eyes squeezed tight shut as another moan of pleasure fell from her mouth, her small hand came to rest on the vampire’s marble cheek and she tilted her neck, increasing the pressure on the highly sensitised area. Her breasts were crushed hard to his solid chest, the silk material of her strapless bra felt rough against her nipples, making her hiss.

Angelus growled in protest as he let go to trail wet, hot lips over the contours of her jaw until he found her mouth. Soft and supple and pliant, the vampire manipulated her mouth into a deep kiss, dipping his tongue inside the warm cavern to taste hers. God, he wanted her here and now, wanted her on the ground with her legs spread wide and her body open, wet and ready to take him.

A last tug on her lower lip signalled the end of the brief but in no way chaste kiss. A mixture of fear, confusion and embarrassment caused Cordelia’s cheeks a pretty pink as she gazed into the hypnotising onyx orbs. Before she could open her mouth to say something, anything, a fingertip was pressed to her tingling lips.

“Ssh” Angelus mimicked, only removing his fingertip when he was satisfied she would be quiet. “Meet me by the tree tomorrow night, if you don’t you won’t like the consequences”

Was he for real? Did he think she was so stupid to venture out of her house after dark to meet a known psychopath?

“I’ll be sure to bring your ex with me Angel” though breathless and heavy, her voice came out steady and unwavering; Cordelia prided herself on it.

A low chuckle grated on her nerves as he merely laughed at her threat. “What would tell you her? That I saw you in your garden and was so enraptured by your stunning good looks that I’m forcing you into letting me paint you?” He chuckled again, this time a shake of his head accompanied the smooth sound.

“Besides,” Angelus smirked victoriously at her “How would you explain my mark on your throat?” Cool fingertips traced the purple love bite soothingly, running over the raised skin before those fingertips trailed a line of icy heat towards the sloping of her breasts. “Please bring her Cordelia, I would love to see the look on her face when the truth came out”

“Truth of what?”

“Just how attracted I am to you. Now” Angelus shut her up with another finger to her lips. “In my time, I’ve been known to be ruthless, I guess you could say a little heartless where humans are concerned. If you’re not here tomorrow night at, shall we say eleven pm, then I’ll make sure you’re bathing in a bloodbath”

The chilling coldness in the vampire’s voice brought tears of fear and helplessness to her eyes. She had no choice but to do what he asked her to do. Though she hated herself for giving in and calling his bluff, which she knew it wasn’t, Cordelia gave him a short nod of agreement.

“Eleven it is… No wait! Not eleven, make it…” her father had handed out late supper invitations to some of his associates who had sons for nine tomorrow night. Cordelia hated herself even more for using her possible death as a way to get out of being fitted up. “Ten”

That way, she could put in appearances and then feign either illness, PMS cramps or say she had a late date. Anyway she chose to lie would lead to the same conclusion; her outside facing a soulless vampire without any defences while her family was safe inside.

That surprised Angelus so much his eyebrow rose quizzically, he expected her to say later “Ten it is and don’t be late.” He would get the reason why she wanted to meet him an hour early. “Let me walk you back to your house Cordelia, I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you”

***

Anticipation of being alone with the brunette had already brought his body to a hardened state, the arousal circling his brain only increased the desire to touch her. Having discarded his leather jacket, the black pinstripe silk shirt could be seen skimming his broad chest with the soft material curved around the contours of his shoulders.

Walking in quiet steps so as not to disturb the dreamy expression that softened her features. The vampire wanted to know what she was thinking of, which memory it was that had her nails absently trailing across the hollow of her throat.

Angel saw where Cordelia was stood and a smile washed over his mouth. He remembered taking her there under the small, indoor waterfall.

“Connor settled?” The sound of Cordelia’s voice held a knowing smile to it as she opened glazed hazel irises to look at the stealthy vampire.

Angel blinked, he’d forgotten how she knew he was there no matter how quiet he was. Stopping his walk as his thoughts turned to his son now sleeping upstairs in the room that had once been used by Drusilla. Though he had a wonderful night with his son, the vampire was more than glad Connor was now asleep; for more reasons than one.

“God yes” the reply brought a breathy, heavy laugh from Cordelia as she turned her back to the wall and faced the vampire she’d just been fantasizing about. She couldn’t help but see him as Angelus as that was who he was to her despite calling him ‘Angel.’ “Thank you for letting him stay the night”

“He’s your son Angel, he can stay whenever you want him to” the brunette sighed, wondering if it mattered to Angel how she saw him.

“What if I wanted him to stay all the time?” Angel resumed approaching her, wondering if it mattered to her if he had a soul. How weird that sounded to him, most of the time it mattered if he didn’t but with her the soul might be an obstruction in rekindling their romance.

Cordelia laughed again, amazed and delighted at how taken the vampire was with Connor already. “Then I would ask where I would fit in”

“What if I wanted you to stay all the time too?”

“Then I would want to know if you only wanted me because I’m Connor’s mom” the brunette stated truthfully, though what had happened between them in her kitchen would leave no doubt in her mind about whether or not he wanted her.

The question wasn’t that at all, the question was why and what he felt for her. “Or if this is because of my time with Angelus, with you before your soul was returned… How did you get your soul back?”

A pained expression flashed across the vampire’s face before it was replaced by an expression unreadable to her. Moving close enough to take her hands in his, Angel leaned his forehead onto hers and closed his eyes. He would have to tell her that soon but not yet, he needed time and assurance that she wouldn’t leave him because of it.

“Not yet baby, not until I know for sure you won’t leave me again”

“I won’t leave again, cross my heart” a relieved sigh breezed across her lips as the fearful expression on his face was replaced by a one of peace and reassurance. “I won’t push you Angel, I’ll respect the fact you need time” Cordelia ran her fingers through the gelled dark brown spikes. “J-just tell me you want me for me and not because I’m your son’s mother”

Angel took a moment to think of the best way to answer her, he could either take her against the wall and act out their memory or he could he take her to bed and make long, slow love to her until she begged for mercy. Or he could simply tell her in the words he wanted to say but thought would never get the chance.

“I never stopped wanting you Cordelia. When you left, I left too” it was the closest to the truth he could give her just yet. “I went numb, apart from anger and hatred, I was empty.”

If his soul had been intact that night, Angel had no doubt he would have waited for the sunrise to happen. He had the demon’s dark, emotionless state to thank for keeping him alive.

Tugging herself out of the vampire’s tightening grip, Cordelia smoothed her palm down his cheek and brushed the warm, soft pad of her thumb over his mouth. “I don’t want to be with you if you only want the family side of this”

“There hasn’t been anyone else since you Cordelia, I haven’t wanted anyone ‘but’ you” Angel all but growled at her. He was here, she was here, they could have everything together now she was back where she belonged. Wrapping a large hand around her upper arm in an iron grip, the vampire tugged the brunette back against his chest, nuzzling the bouncy curls he was so fascinated with.

Breathing deeply, Angel inhaled the remnants of spicy arousal and the soft, sweet unique scent laying hidden underneath the heady spice. His hands moved up to tangle in the espresso curls, threading his fingers through the silky strands and watched as they separated and fell back down to her shoulders. The vampire swept his lips over her cheek, trailing flirting kisses on the surface of her skin and tasted the vanilla.

“I love your hair like this” he murmured against her hotter mouth, dipping his tongue through her parted lips to tease hers with little, taunting flicks. Cordelia sighed, not being able to help but melt into him, responding to his teasing kiss with soft flicks of her warmer tongue over the sensitive spot where she knew his fangs were sheathed.

Angel moaned as his mouth tingled with the sensation, letting her play for a moment longer before gradually decreasing the kiss until a final tug said it was over. “Come with me” his voice was gravely, low and husky as he took her hand, leading the brunette through to the foyer so they could sit.

Her eyes took it all in, every little place held a memory of Angelus and subsequently of Angel. In the arching the vampire was walking under, Cordelia had walked into the wall when she had been busy staring at a shamelessly naked vampire.

The foyer they were now entering still held images so strong and vivid, the young woman could swear they were happening right then and there. On the leather chair Angelus had told her was specifically his, Cordelia had sat on his lap and slept. She had straddled him, riding him hard until he came, voicelessly sounding out her name.

By a well-lit fire, Angelus had allowed her to draw him as he drew her, only to end up surprised when he received a comic interpretation of his vampire face. The bottom of the concrete spiral staircase was where Cordelia would drop her pom-poms only to have the vampire order her to pick them up.

So many memories of happy times, funny times and bad times, like when Angelus had tried to clean blood off his knuckles after a fight. And a time when Buffy had gotten close to staking him, providing the vampire with a gaping chest wound. No matter what she remembered, Cordelia cherished it all.

Angel moved past her, kneeling down in front of a barely flickering fire and proceeded to place some logs on it to make it pick up before it died out completely. Cordelia watched in contentment as the vampire crooked his finger at her in a ‘come hither’ movement as he dropped lazily into his chair.

As soon as Cordelia was comfortable sitting on his lap, the vampire engulfed her and pushed her head to rest on his shoulder. His hands stroked her bare arms smoothly and soothingly, male fingertips touching the body, and woman, he loved but thought was lost.

“Talk to me” his breathless sigh drifted across her forehead before his lips pressed softly down. His hand moved down her arm to curve over her now flat abdomen, imagining how it would have felt when she carrying his son. An ache full of longing made his chest hurt but only for second, it was replaced by another, better ache.

“About what?” Cordelia curled up her legs until she was completely snuggled into his reassuring body. Her hands smoothed down the crinkles on the black pinstripe shirt, feeling the muscles flex under her caress.

Angel shifted a little, the heat of her body and the scent of her was making him react. “Being pregnant, what was it like?” he asked, voice thick with growing arousal and curiosity as he continued to feel her stomach. “I wish I had been there, wish I had never missed it”

The hazel orbs once more glazed over and Cordelia was forced to wipe away a stray tear falling down her cheek. It was stupid how she got like this sometimes, crying for no good reason especially now when Connor and her were with Angel. “It was hard at first but I got used to it”

The vampire’s frown went unseen as the scent of salty tears replaced arousal, why was she crying? “Why are you crying?”

Sniffling back a laugh, the brunette wiped her watering eyes and shook her head, waving away his concern. “I get like this sometimes, ever since Connor was born. I don’t why” that wasn’t true and he knew it.

He could always tell when Cordelia fibbed to hide what she was feeling, it wasn’t hard to spot the weak but noticeable tremor in her voice and it wasn’t hard to hear the way her heart rate picked up. “Talk to me baby” Angel urged, using his finger to tilt her chin up, his heart almost breaking at the sadness in the hazel.

Her forehead scrunched up, making the flawless skin wrinkle with a deep seated sadness that could never be removed. “When I was pregnant, it was hard. When I was sick, o-or if I just needed someone to talk too, there was no-one there.” Alone, that was what she had been.

To Cordelia, her bed at night had been cold and empty; too large even though she was pregnant. The sheets always felt like ice, never warm and comforting, only cold. Her little one bed roomed apartment was silent, never any sounds of voices or any smells apart from her own.

On mornings when she would get up, the loneliness was sometimes crushing when she went into a room and there was nothing and no-one there. It was just cold and empty.

She bit her lip in an effort not to give in to the tears threatening to fall. “When I had my first ultrasound, I had no-one to share it with” her voice cracked.

Cordelia had for hours, crying softly and silently to herself as she took in the sight of her unborn baby on the photograph. Hoping the phone would ring or there would be a knock at the door, but as usual there was nothing.

As she talked and cried softly, Angel’s heart shattered for what the woman he loved had gone through. Being so far from home, from everything Cordelia had ever known. A young woman that had once filled his life, sitting in a cold apartment pregnant and alone.

“Ssh baby” the vampire whispered, folding his arms tighter around her wanting to take the memory of that chill away, replace it with warmth his body couldn’t give. Cordelia was home now, with his son and she wasn’t going away again.

He’d keep her this time, he would ask her to come back if she ever walked away and Angel vowed to make sure Cordelia would stay. This was where she belonged, both her and Connor.

Connor had been up for a while, waking up to find himself in a room he didn’t recognise at first he had set about looking for his mom and dad. When he had heard his mom start to cry, the little boy had immediately headed for the top of the spiral staircase.

Peeking round the corner, Connor saw Angel comforting Cordelia and taking care of her like he promised. His dad hadn’t lied, his dad said he loved mom and he never let her down.

Silently, the five year old went back to play with the toys in his room, happy that his dad was taking care of his mom just like he promised.

Part 10

Posted November 1, 2015 by califi in TBC