Archive for December 14, 2015

Possession Is Nine Tenths 6   1 comment

PART 6

By the next morning, Cordelia was feeling better although still creeped out from the interview at the dating Agency from hell. Deciding that the feel good factor was needed, she pulled out all the stops in choosing her outfit for work that day.

Arriving at the Hyperion she rewarded the catcalls and whistles from Gunn with a bright beaming smile and met Wesley’s questioning look as he came out of Angel’s office with an armload of books, with a hard stare that just dared him to comment.

“Thank you, Gunn. Nice to know at least one of the men of Angel Investigations has taste; as for others- well Dennis knows more about fashion than they do”. She stared at Wesley’s head as she walked past the counter to walk around it to get to her desk.

“I never said a word” Wesley protested. “Although I have to say, don’t expect me to catch you if you faint from the heat”.

“Okay- so leather pants and matching short and very fitted jacket might be a little warm for the daytime, but so what? That’s what they invented body spray for.” She deliberately ran her hands over the soft butterscotch leather at her hip and aimed a smug smile at him when his cheeks heated.

Wesley got the message to drop of the subject loud and clear. So shrugging his shoulders he dropped the books on the desk and picked up the phone, pretending to be busy and absorbed – thinking it was safer that way.

Having subdued any negativity about her, possibly inappropriate for work, outfit, she decided to beard the lion in his den and get his reaction out of the way too. “Has Angel risen yet”? She asked Gunn as she made her way over to her desk. Normally it wouldn’t even be asked this early but lately his sleeping patterns had become very unpredictable, hence the question.

“Downstairs killing a dead cow” replied Gunn, still eyeing her butt appreciatively as she went past him. The axe he’d been industriously polishing now forgotten.

She gave him a tilted look with knowing raised brows for the leer and then frowned in confusion, “Excuse me? What- we have undead-dead cows now”?

Gunn grinned unabashed and clarified with a shrug of his own, “Dunno what’s up with him now but he’s been down there since I got here”. He jerked his head at the basement door and realizing what he meant, she walked over and opened it.

Cordelia only opened it a bit but it was enough to hear the thump, thump of heavy fists on the leather punching bag. She winced at the ferocity that was obvious even from all the way up here and decided against going down to say Hi after all.

Annoyed and little disappointed she returned to the desk and waited impatiently for Wesley to finish his call. As soon as the receiver was back in the cradle, she demanded “So what’s got into him today”? Mimicking Gunn she jerked her head towards the basement.

“No idea, I popped my head down when I got here to say hello and got a grunt. Nothing else has happened since to enlighten us. Unless you know anything”? He gave her a sharp look out of piercing blue eyes.

“Don’t look at me and since when does His High and Mighty Broodiness need an excuse anyway”. She retorted defensively. Then sighing deeply she sat down and caught sight of the message on her desk, left there by Wesley. Her heart sank and she picked it up with thumb and forefinger like it might be infectious or something.

She held it out and away from her body and glancing with distaste at it, stood up to plonk it next to Wesley’s elbow. “When did this happen”?

“The call came in about a half hour ago”. Wesley advised her and after putting on his glasses, read it again. Like he’s not the one who wrote it, she couldn’t suppress some now famous eye-rolling and snatched the damn thing up again.

“So I call this number back and find out where and when I’m gonna be set-up for my debut as a porn-star? Great, let me ring my agent and tell him”

Even Wesley, known to be second most insensitive guy on the planet caught the note of aggravation in her voice, “Cordelia, you must know that none of us would let anything happen to you. This is purely to get a lead on the case”.

“Yup, you go- they turn up and we beat the ever lovin’ crap outta them and shut their sick and pervy asses down. Man, I love this job”. Confirmed Gunn with a great deal of obvious relish at the thought; swinging his axe like he was testing the weight.

“Nice thought, Gunn. Really, I mean it, I love watching you guys whaling on some poor sap” she snapped back with a dark scowl on her beautiful face.

Actually the way things were going that might be the high point of the day or week or whenever. Her enthusiasm for another date with Dan had taken a dive, which was catastrophic as far as she was concerned.

Get over it, she told herself so what if your last boyfriend was a sleazy demon surrogate. I want a sex life so just deal okay. Geeze if she didn’t get some kind of a life soon she’d end up as celibate as a nun, or Angel.

If she didn’t manage to get rid of this stupid distrust of new men then she may as well give in now. Either that or she’d have to resign herself to jumping Wes or Gunn, or Angel. A furtive mental picture of her ravishing a reluctant Angel was swiftly followed by a flood of tingles pooling and spreading between her thighs. She jerked back in her chair, eyes wide with shock and looked down in consternation at the offending area.

“What the hell is that”? The horror in her voice drew both Wesley’s and Gunn’s attention straight to her and she blushed a bright red.

“What? I was thinking about erm.. Female condoms”. Her mouth dropped as did theirs. Way to go, Cor just shut the hell up, Okay.

“Forget I said anything”, she muttered and switched on the laptop.

It was supposed to have been a joke for cryin’ out loud. She told her mutinous and still overheated body. Suddenly wishing she’d worn something less ‘Take me I’m yours’ and more nun-like after all. Obviously she’d taken the feel good factor a little too far and addled her brain.

Angel’s a no-bone and anyway. Ewww, sloppy slayer seconds and lets not forget the whole being dead thing and old too, which means old fashioned and maybe even a prude. He probably only knows one position and then only with a sheet with a hole in. He’s a tight-ass and bad tempered not to mention a loser with the whole ‘tragic lurve’ thing and … She spent the next hour reciting to herself all the reasons why Angel was so far off the menu that he hadn’t ever got on it and never would.

But none of them changed the fact that whenever she let her mind drift, her thoughts would eventually come back to the vampire. Even worse in her opinion was sometimes when flicking through magazines; she’d get all hot and flustered if she came across a half naked guy who looked like him a bit. Sometimes she’d even hide the picture if one of the guys were around and get back to it later.

This I getting ridiculous. My libido has gone seriously postal if even Angel- the only almost eunuch I know, can crank it into high gear.

Distracted she watched Wesley and Gunn leave together on a fact-finding mission, happy to be alone with her mental gymnastics. Restless with the continuous round of thoughts that had been taking her in giddy circles for weeks, she stood up and paced the length of the counter on the office side.

Plus- how unbelievable was it that having made the effort to go out and snag herself a hot guy. She’d found herself turning away the cute ones in favor of the strong silent type with dark hair and eyes. I mean c’mon, what happened to her blonde and blue eyed fixation – but no, only Dan had come to close enough to fit the bill and now she was losing interest in him too.

“And as if that isn’t bad enough I can’t even introduce him to these guys, cos hey embarrassing if they noticed he looks kinda like..” She halted the flow of words, still in denial and liking it, thank you very much. If she didn’t say it loud then it wasn’t true, dammit!

Like Angel- spit it out and stop denying you want him. I mean c’mon grope much, you love it when he catches you- ADMIT IT, her even more brutally honest inner voice taunted.

Cordelia gasped, “I do not want Angel and even if I did, Hello can’t have him, cursed remember”. There that should shut it up, Geeze did she sound that irritating when she was being all ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’, no wonder Angel glowered.

Yeah, well you know what they say about forbidden fruit, don’t you? it came back slyly.

Cordelia stopped pacing and nearly stamped her foot in frustration. “I’m not listening to you anymore you’re sick and perverted so just shut-up”.

Determined to go and do something, anything to give her too fertile mind something else to think about, she whirled around to go back to her desk. Only to bump into something solid, unmovable, damp and very male.

She fell back a step and almost sat on Wesley’s desk. Her eyes shot up to identify the cause of that irritating obstacle intending to give vent to some serious griping, when she find herself transfixed at the sight that met her eyes.

Unknown to her, her jaw dropped for the second time that day while she helplessly drank in the sight of a hot (unusual), sweaty and decidedly disheveled Angel. Then it hit her; she’d been talking out-loud, right in front of him with his super sensitive vampire hearing.

“How long have you been standing there? Has no one ever told you eavesdropping is rude”? She demanded in a high shrill voice; as complete and utter mortification got ready to dump itself on her reeling head. For the first time in her life, she now understood why people said they wished the floor would open up and swallow them whole. That sounded like a fine and dandy idea just then.

“Not long- who are you talking to and what’s this about being sick, are you ill”?

He actually looked for a second like he was going to take her temperature or something. She backed up immediately the instant that threat registered. There was no way in hell she was in any frame of mind to have his hands on her right then.

“I’m not sick, just stressed”. She told him quickly. Then holding up her hands she twirled around. “See healthy as a horse, fit as a fiddle and anything else that means- don’t worry about me”. She managed not to react when her arms brushed against his too close chest.

She was trying to divert his attention from that obvious jump back, which judging by his face he hadn’t liked one little bit. His expression had gone from intent concern, to narrow eyed laser-like focus and he’d moved closer to counteract her retreat.

His hair was dark with sweat and mussed as if he’d been running his fingers through it. The white vest he was wearing was damp enough that she could see the outline of his nipples through the clinging fabric. While his sweat pants were hung so low on his hips that if you looked carefully you could glimpse the hard muscular flesh of his abdomen between the two garments.

She looked very carefully, couldn’t help it actually. She was so intensely aware of him that her breathing deepened a little and she could feel how hot her cheeks were getting, This is so not right.

The hot flare of annoyance had cooled in his now unreadable dark eyes, but he was still standing far to close for comfort. Trying to ease the inexplicable tension, she dragged her mutinously reluctant mind off his impressive chest- Like she’d never seen that before- get a grip!, and locked her eyes on the stairs leading to the rooms.

“Erm, the showers are that way, Angel”, she pointed a trembling finger to the stairs and waited for him to step back so she could take a breath that didn’t carry his scent.

He didn’t move, seemed frozen to the spot. “Will you go and take a wash before you stink up my workspace?” she demanded desperately.

He knew how sweaty he was just then and how fastidious she could be, so he relaxed about her jumping back like a scalded cat when she’d thought he was going to touch her. An action that’d automatically raised his less than civilized instinct to crowd her for doing it.

“Sorry, I got distracted”, he muttered and backed off.

Boy had he got distracted, he’d been coming back up from the basement and fully intended to sneak past without her noticing but he’d got an eyeful of her, and stopped in his tracks. To stare, helplessly devouring the shapely curvaceous body displayed in every luscious detail by the creamy leather, what is it about leather? . Only coming to when one word had filtered through his befuddled mind, “sick”.

Without even thinking about it he’d shot over and then she’d bumped right into him and he’d lost the power of speech all over again. He could still feel the imprint of her all along his front and he’d had a sudden and intense urge to peel that leather off her, like the velvet skin of a peach.

“I just wanted to ask you… how you are? After yesterday I mean. You looked so pale and upset– I guess I was worried about you”.

That was an understatement if ever he’d made one. He’d thought of little else and last nights disastrous waste of time hadn’t helped. This was why he’d gotten no sleep, and spent all morning working out his frustration and anger in the basement; taking it out on something inanimate rather than his friends.

He hadn’t missed her wide eyed appraisal either and reading her wrong or not he’d gotten hard at the glazed look that’d come into her expressive eyes. He turned around and walked off so that she wouldn’t see his erection if she decided to do another sweep, and blindly walked over the refrigerator.

“I’m fine” said Cordelia distractedly still watching him closely her face guarded now.

He twisted of the top of the canister of blood and throwing back his head drank deeply. Cordelia watched his throat work and instead of being nauseated at the sight, not that it bothered her anymore anyway. She felt that squiggly heat sparking in her belly again. Oh shit, undead no-bone, NO bone– hello!.

Still chanting in her head, she snatched up her purse and ran for the stairs, shouting behind her. “I’m going to lunch”.

“But it’s too early” Angel protested and he hadn’t managed to work out how to tell her he’d been stalking her and her new boyfriend.

“So sue me” was the only response he got back, through the now swinging shut door.

Frustrated and aggravated all over again, not to mention still aching like a horny teenager, he stalked to the stairs to go take a shower- like the lady asked.

THAT NIGHT

“Dan, Dan Dan, when I catch up with you I think- I’m gonna have to kill you”. Angel drawled with heavy emphasis then sighing heavily, dropped down even further in the seat.

“I’m bored, my ass is numb and I have so much better things to do than wait for you to come home”. Complaining to himself was about as useful as a stress ball to a vampire (they didn’t last long), but still it relieved the tedium a tiny bit- better than nothing.

He’d struck out last night when the guy had stayed away from home and in the end Angel had been forced to give up and go back home to wait until tonight for another opportunity.

Good plan, but tonight was turning out to be just as much a waste of time and his spine was now way past tingling and instead felt like it was trying to scrape his skin off.

“I should have stopped him the first time and not waited to find out if he was a threat”.

To do what? You had no proof.

“So? I still don’t and it sure ain’t gonna stop me now”.

Suspicions is one thing, proof- another.

“Get off my case, for chrissake you sound like Wesley”

Okay, so he still had no proof but this waiting and guessing was driving him insane. The likelihood of finding something incriminating without subjecting Cordy to more hurt was slim to none and he wouldn’t let that happen. No way, no how!

He was going to have to go and tell Cordelia what he suspected and while she was going to want to stake him for stalking her, she’d at least know to be wary of Dan.

Annoyance gave way to trepidation as he gunned the engine and pulled out, heading for Cordelia’s apartment and more than likely a tongue lashing, severe enough to strip his hide.

***

Cordelia was tipsy, not drunk she told herself, just warm and fuzzy and happy. “WOW, that wine was fantastic, I love that stuff. What was it called again”? She was so going to have to buy herself some for one of her girl’n’ghost nights-in, watching old movies curled up on the couch.

Maybe she’d invite Angel and watch him get drunk. She giggled at the thought of an inebriated Angel and closed her eyes to enjoy a fantasy where he got so sauced that he’d agree to a game of strip poker and not notice when she cheated.

“What are you giggling about”? Asked Dan indulgently, as he pulled up outside Cordelia’s apartment. He’d reeled off the name of the wine but she was too caught up in the warm and fuzzies to hear it. Perfect, he thought with bone deep satisfaction. Score!

Cordelia blinked owlishly and came up from a fantasy featuring a landscape of muscular male terrain to explore and blinked again when she realized she just had a sexual fantasy featuring Angel as the male in question- again. She should be worried about that shouldn’t she?

Then she noticed Dan looking at her with question in his warm brown eyes and blushed, fumbling for the handle she smiled at him. “Sorry, I was miles away”. Dan frowned she should be hanging on his every word, not getting distracted. Determined not to lose this one, he walked around the car and kissed her.

Cordelia willingly sank into the kiss and clutched him to her. She injected every bit of warmth she could conjure up into her response and hoped that he didn’t notice what an effort it was.

She let Dan lead her into a deeper kiss and ran her hands through his curls. She frowned when her hand slid through his hair, for some reason it just didn’t feel right. To her slightly unfocussed mind, it was too long and didn’t tickle her palms at the nape like she’d imagined it would.

She jerked back and realized that she’d been imagining Angel’s hair and how she’d sometimes wondered how it would feel to rub her hand over the short hairs above his neck. Dammit, stop thinking about Angel, he’s just a friend- remember!.

“Wanna come in”? She invited desperately and was so relieved when Dan agreed without hesitation that she grabbed his hand and all but dragged him into the foyer. After some difficulty with locks and codes she finally managed to get them inside her apartment.

“Well, Dan. Why don’t you make yourself at home and everything, okay. I’m just gonna go and freshen up a minute”.

Now that she’d got him here it was as if she didn’t know what she wanted to do with him. So she turned to flee to the bathroom and give herself a good talking too.

Before she got very far, Dan snagged her hand, and the gesture was so familiar it gave her a jolt and she swayed on the spot a little. “Cordelia, you know I care about you or I wouldn’t be here. Tell me what is it you want from me”?

“Tonight”? She licked her lips and looked at him seeking reassurance in his face. It’s not wrong to want to be loved is it? So what if I haven’t known him long.

“I erm, well that is”, she laughed and swallowing her nerves, looked him in the eye. “I want you to make love to me”. She waited anxiously for his response and half expected him to be shocked at her bluntness so early on in their relationship.

He rubbed a finger over her lips and smiled deeply and affectionately. “There’s nothing wrong with asking for what you want and I would love to be able to love you”. He told her with sweet gentleness.

“Okay” she agreed and her smile wobbled a bit at how final this felt. If she gave herself to Dan, then she would have made a commitment. I’m tired of being unloved. Friends are nice but I need more. It doesn’t make me a bad person if I wait for love afterwards.

“Why don’t you go and slip into something more comfortable and I’ll go and uncork us some more wine”. Suggested Dan with a gentle push towards where he guessed her bedroom was. Glad not to have the awkwardness of undressing in front of him she smiled in agreement and left him standing in the living room.

***

Angel was just about to knock on the door of Cordy’s apartment when it swung open forcefully but silently. Before he could even form a question to the overly welcoming phantom, he assumed it was Dennis that opened the door. He suddenly found himself catching a hurtling figure of a man.

Only just managing to stay on his feet he grabbed the man’s shoulders and steadied them both. Then he found himself staring into the petrified face of Cordy’s new boyfriend. Terrified eyes screamed at Angel over a widely stretched mouth, with what looked like a kitchen towel stuffed into it.

“So that’s why no noise” He smiled grimly and then saw that now Dan was out of the apartment he could remove the gag. Before he could do more than reach up to do it, Angel dragged him down the hallway and out the back entrance into a rear courtyard.

The dark enclosed space was deserted as he’d guessed it would be, so he released the human and faced him. He didn’t know or care what he looked like in the darkness to the frightened man, but he could guess. He was only just resisting the urge to vamp out and really scare the shorts of this guy, but still there was always time for that later.

“What’d you do to Cordelia to upset Dennis so much”? He demanded, aiming a blank killer look at the man. Dan stared in shock at the hard, half shadowed face dominated by threateningly lowered brows.

Finally free of the gag the human started to stutter, “Nothing, nothing I swear. I just kissed her and then…” he fell silent and staggered to sit down. “We were going to go to bed and she went off to get undressed and then…” he fell silent again, stumped by the unbelievable.

Dennis, I think I love you. “You were seducing Cordelia”? He growled at the idea and his fists ached to wrap themselves around his throat and squeeze the life out of this little …. His fists clenched with the struggle to restrain himself.

“She was up for it, didn’t need much seducing”. He spoke absently still dumbstruck by what had happened once Cordelia left the room. He didn’t seem to realize he was talking to someone who would not take kindly to what he’d just said.

He was jolted at finding the black clad stranger was now standing, well actually looming over him. “Do you love Cordelia”? He was asked and he squirmed on his seat like he was being confronted by his father for chrissake.

Dan was a recovering a little from his fright, not exactly understanding it yet, but still. “I’m sorry, but who are you”?

“I’m a friend of Cordelia’s” was the quietly voiced reply from the shadows.

“And what? That gives the right to interrogate her dates- does she know you do that”?

“I don’t give a rats-ass what rights you think I have and I’ll ask the questions, clear enough”?

“You’re kidding right, this night is just weird, first that whatever it was, poltergeist thing and now you, psycho friend. What’s the matter want her for yourself and because she won’t have you, no-one can have her”?

“That’s enough”. Snarled Angel and paced off before he gave into the urge to smash his fist in that sneering face. “I want what’s best for Cordelia and she knows that, unlike you”. The last was tossed out as an accusation.

“How the hell do you know, you don’t know me”.

“I don’t want or need to know you. I had you investigated”. This guy was cool he’d give him that, thought Angel darkly.

“Finding what, I’m late with my credit card or maybe a library ticket overdue. I have nothing to hide” replied Dan, exasperated.

“What about the dating agency”? The voice was quiet and utterly implacable and Dan felt a weird chill looking into those eyes now only inches from his face, dead eyes, with nothing there.

“What dating Agency, I don’t use them. Look Pal, I’m sorry that you want my girl but ya know it’s just too damn bad”.

His shirtfront was grabbed and he was all but lifted of the floor by a single fisted hand. “She’s not yours and never will be”. Black rage vibrated in the snarling voice and Dan quaked and could only hang on when he was smashed backwards into the nearest wall.

“Who do you work for”? Dan’s head rang like a church bell and his entire body ached after hitting the concrete.

“No one, I’m self employed, freelance journalist”. He got out between teeth that were shaking in his head from fear.

“I don’t believe you. Guess you’ll have to do better”.

“What dating agency? I swear I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please I don’t know what you want me to say …”.

He was gibbering and his head snapped backwards and forwards when he was shaken roughly. He opened terrified eyes again afterwards to find himself staring into black ones filled with merciless ice. His feet still dangled at least a foot of the ground and try as he might he couldn’t break free from that powerful grip, was almost afraid to try.

The fear coming off this guy was rank and filled the air like between the two men and surrounded them. But there was also a hint of honest confusion mixed in with the terror in those eyes. Reluctantly Angel was forced to accept that there was no link between Dan and the corrupt agency they were investigating.

Abruptly he dropped the man back to his feet and stepped back, until there was several feet between them. “You have a history of using and discarding women, do you deny that too”?

Maybe he was grasping at straws here, but he couldn’t shake the belief that this man wasn’t good enough for Cordelia. He’d hurt her, he just knew it. Dammit, he knew the type, he’d been the type and he knew how to read this guy and his intentions were not honorable.

“Jesus, what century are you from…”, Dan stuttered to a stop after a single dark look was thrown his way. He spread his hands, “Look maybe I got it wrong but she seemed willing enough to me and hey, she’s fucking gorgeous; can you blame a guy for wanting a taste”?

“She’d not a damned fruit, you moron; she thinks you care about her”. Angel snapped back and loomed back into full view.

“I’m not responsible for what she thinks, I never made any promises and she seemed ripe enough to me”. He’d thought the danger was past, but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

He never saw it coming, the first he knew was when his right cheek felt like it exploded and he was lying on the floor beside a flower bed.

Dan looked up in shock and gaped, his cheek felt like it was on fire and his shook his head dazedly. “What did ya do that fo”, half his face was numb and the words came out garbled.

“Listen to me carefully, Dan” Angel waited until he was sure the man had stopped gibbering with fear enough to hear what was being said to him to continue.

“You get a chance to leave here with all of you limbs still attached to your body but only on the understanding that you never go near Cordelia ever again. Is that clear”?

“Yes, yes understand no Cordelia”. His head bobbed up and down to emphasize his complete understanding.

“Good, now get out of my sight”.

***

When Angel approached Cordy’s apartment the rage had drained away and now all that was left was shame and sorrow. Shame mostly, he knew Cordy was going to be hurt by Dan’s desertion and he hated that, but better now than later and another part of him was fiercely glad that Dan was gone for good.

He also knew that she would likely blame him, but he’d deal with that, and anyway he deserved her anger. So no matter what he’d just stand there and let her dish it out until she felt better, if that was at all possible.

The door opened again, before he could get to it and he hung his head when he entered, expecting to find a worried and pissed off Cordelia waiting to find out what had happened to her date and despite his resolve, not exactly looking forward to it.

The apartment was empty, at least what he could see of it. He sniffed the air and her scent was heavy in it. He closed his eyes and just for a moment luxuriated in taking it inside himself. After a few seconds he opened them again and went searching for her on silent feet, knowing she was here somewhere.

His search led him to her bedroom, she was in there lying on her bed, asleep. He stayed outside the door and just looked his fill. He should turn around and leave and he knew it but he just couldn’t get his feet to move.

The lamps were off and the only light came from the hallway behind him, the soft light spilling on the oh so feminine bed and caressing her body as she lay in gloriously sprawled abandon on top of the coverlet, wearing only tiny scraps of lace that mocked the title of clothing.

He didn’t even notice that he’d started breathing, an instinctive action to draw more of her scent inside, tasting it on the back of tongue and causing his muscles to lock in place, frozen in the absolute stillness only a vampire can achieve.

She was so deeply asleep, and helplessly drawn he moved inside the room. Half expecting the ghost to slam the door in his face to protect the woman inside. But Dennis made no move to stop him and he was powerless to stop himself from closing the distance between him and her.

He stopped at the edge of the bed and watched her face for signs of waking or awareness but she stayed safely asleep. She was sleeping on her back with one arm across her waist and the other thrown up by her cheek.

The leather of his duster creaked a little when he shifted his shoulders in an effort to relieve the tension there. He jumped a little so attuned to her that it took a moment for him to realise what had made the sounds.

He stood for a moment undecided; if he stayed longer he risked being discovered but he couldn’t bear to leave just yet, soon- but not yet. So he took off the coat with the greatest of care and laid it aside. The bed dipped a little under his weight when he sat down beside her left side.

A few strands of dark hair had fallen across her face and partly covered her lips. He reached out and using just the tips of his fingers brushed them away and tucked the errant strands aside. He took another deep breath and giving in to the need to touch, trailed his fingers slowly over the curve of her cheek and then down the length of her nose.

They lingered over her mouth, tempted by her soft and full lips, wanting to trace them and feel each exhalation on his hands. Hands more used to fighting that loving, but now tingling with the need to lovingly explore her.

Sighing in disappointment he left them untouched. Like the eyes they were too sensitive and he couldn’t take the risk of inadvertently waking her up. Just a little more won’t hurt, he ignored the other voice that cautioned him to leave now while he still could.

Next he gave into the overwhelming urge and curled his hand around her throat, his skin just barely touching hers and the feel of life her blood pulsing so strongly beneath his fingers caused the hairs to rise on his arms and neck as goose-bumps raced across his skin.

The soft skin underneath her ears beckoned him and he rubbed softly and then traced the delicate shell, she twitched a little and tucked her chin into the sensations, nearly trapping hi large hand if he hadn’t been so quick to remove them.

He should have left then, he knew it. He had no right to be doing this and there was no doubt in his mind that if she’d been awake she would be clear across the room by now. That thought made him clench his hand at the pressure in his chest that was pain and need, intermingled with something else.

An emotion that darkened his eyes from warm brown to midnight dark, twisted its way through his gut. Almost indistinguishable from neediness only harder to contain and even less acceptable. Possessiveness, as much a part of him as his soul except in this case, embraced by his dark side too.

Its emergence from his emotional deep freeze was more and more apparent every day and exacerbated by his feelings for this woman. It was a foregone conclusion that as Angelus he’d never really felt it, not focused like this anyway and even Buffy had only touched the surface of it. But then she’d never accepted him, been his friend; never argued, comforted and aggravated him like Cordelia could and did.

Even when she was driving him crazy with confusion, laughter, anger or more recently lust underneath it was a deep river of love and affection to cushion the effects. But it was all in vain as she would never be his. At best she probably thought of him as a friend and protector, at worst- borderline psychotic, if he was lucky.

Angel didn’t notice that the temperature of the room had raised, the thermostat having been nudged up by an unseen hand. A light sheen of moisture formed along her body and her legs came apart in an unconscious attempt to reduce the rising body heat.

Sweat popped out on his forehead as her scent permeated the air, the increase of tangy musk making him swallow hard as moisture gathered in his mouth. He put his hand back on his knee and got ready to get up and leave, but then stopped, staring down in shock at the now open clasp of her front-fastening bra.

Had it come undone by itself? He knew he hadn’t done it but after the initial questioning all thoughts left him on swift wings. The heavy fullness of her breasts forced the lacy cups to drop away and the nipples, only glimpsed through the teasing material were now revealed in all of their tempting glory.

Oh God, it was too much; and before he’d even given himself permission he tenderly cupped the soft underside of one. She was incredibly soft and heavy too and his already painful erection hardened to an impossible degree at the feel of her warm flesh in his hand.

One finger trailed over the curve and brushed gently over the velvet pink tip and, mesmerized, his eyes were pinned to the puckered nub that formed at his touch.

He trailed his fingers up her skin and circled that captivating spot, desperately he denied the need to press more firmly and knead until the breasts were flushed and fuller, filling his palm. Only the sure knowledge that this idyllic time would end if he did stopped him.

So he moved to the other and repeated the feather-light caress, an absorbed look tightened his handsome face and there was a sensual curve to his unsmiling lips. He moved down and using his whole palm swept over her ribcage to settle on her navel, entranced by the downy feel of her skin and the incredible warmth that filtered through his hand.

Heat already filled his belly and now ignited into a flame when his fingers brushed against the lace tops of her panties. Unable to resist he traveled further, underneath the lace until the tips of his fingers met the curls that beckoned him on in a siren’s call to dip further and touch her most intimate place.

He trembled with the strength of the inner struggle not to invade further and finally with another anguished breath of useless air he pulled back. He’d been so utterly engrossed that he’d failed to notice that the door to the bedroom had drifted silently shut, the light gone but he didn’t need the false light to see every gorgeous inch of her.

That inner battle had depleted his willpower, and he leant down and nuzzled the tip of one breast, inhaling the sweet fragrance of her skin deliberately like a starving beggar at a banquet. One hand cupped the soft mound again and turning his head and opening his mouth he kissed it, again and again. Just a taste, that’s all.

A silent groan of need and delight pushed its way through him and he forgot everything but the sheer pleasure of what he was doing. His cool tongue flicked out and lapped at the hardening flesh, circling it and then sucking gently, taking her deeper and then tugging lightly with his teeth.

She moved under him and moaned throatily and his hand tightened in protest and mouth caressed the turgid flesh harder. Mindless now with the taste of her and needing more he switched to the other breast, the nipple just as tight and begging for the same touch.

Her hands came to rest by his jaw and she arched up, pressing herself closer to the source of the most incredible and intense pleasure she’d even known. Angel flinched in alarm when she touched him but settled back when all she did was press him closer and not push him away.

Guilt and conscience were silenced, drowned out by sheer wanton need, and he was past caring that she thought he was another man. Cordelia had awoken to the soft touches along her body, caresses that raised chills along her skin as nerves so long denied screamed for more, and yet still languid with sleep, she’d been content to lie still and just feel.

But the intense sensations of lightening hot prickling pleasure at her breasts had roused her as passion cleared the haze of sleep and alcohol. The need to get closer to him drove her mad and so she clutched him closer and raised herself up. Her hands threaded through his short hair and delighted with the texture and feel of those short prickles came back for more, tugging him even closer.

She made a moue of protest when those tormenting lips left her breasts and trailed wet kisses down her ribs, tracing and nipping each raised rib with his open mouth before traveling downwards to nuzzle and explore her abdomen with a tortuous thoroughness. Stopping briefly to dip inside the indentation of her belly button and swirl inside, almost bringing her off the bed at the resulting wash of dizzying heat.

Cool hands, soothing to her overheated skin, fastened around the curve of her waist and stilled the movement and then rubbed along her hips, stroking and shaping the curves. Cordelia raised her hips in a silent invitation for him to remove her panties but instead large palms curled around the cheeks of her bottom as he slid down the bed and straddled her knees with heavy muscular legs.

Even as highly aroused as she was she felt the material of his clothes and frowned, but forgot it as soon as she felt him nuzzle at the closed apex of her thighs. Anticipation and excitement zinged through her veins and she held her breath waiting to find out what he would do. She felt the rush of air as he inhaled deeply and his hard chest expanded on her thighs.

He held her still as he took in the intoxicating fragrance of aroused female, shivers of delight ran down his spine and settled with throbbing arousal in his groin. It wasn’t enough, he needed more, needed to taste, devour and ravish her with his mouth. That’s all nothing more and she’ll never know.

Angel sat back and pushed one knee between hers, forcing her closed legs open and did then same with the other, making a space for himself between them. He lifted her up to meet his lips and rubbed his lower face against the lace that separated him from her. Cordelia felt the biting sucking pressure of his mouth on her sex through the panties and moaned incoherently for him to take them off.

Helpless to resist the purely female instinct she undulated against him, needing firmer touches and pressure as a deep dragging ache echoed emptily in her womb. Wet heat pooled inside her loins and drenched the cloth that covered her sex and feeling it she demanded he take them off. Her hands clenched convulsively in the coverlet when he immediately obeyed, jerking her hips up and ripping the lacy nothing off with a twist of his hand.

Cool air washed over her, soon replaced by an open-mouthed kiss, and long slow laves of a cool tongue through the soft folds of her labia. She jerked and gasped as fiery heat shot from her loins to her womb, leaving it throbbing deep inside with an insistent demand for fulfillment.

Large strong hands clamped harder on her hips, stilling any hint of retreat with firm mastery as he continued worshipping her with carnal ruthlessness. When she managed to open her eyes she could see nothing except the black of night and then pleasure would whip her up again and she would sink willingly back into it, the inability to see heightening all other senses until she was frenzied to be filled.

Jerkily she tried to thrust against him only he wouldn’t let her, but carried on twisting and tormenting her with biting sucking kisses on her clitoris that drove her wild. Then he speared inside her with his tongue and screaming hoarsely, she writhed with the force of an unbearable throbbing tension. He retreated and then thrust again, stabbing deep inside her repeatedly until she came in a rapturous explosion of drenching heat, which he drank greedily.

Angel was locked in a cage of his own desire now and the fierce joy of making her come and being able to feast on each drop was transforming rapidly into a mindless, violent need to possess her fully. He was panting as he lapped and licked hungrily at her still dripping entrance until with a last stormy kiss on her clitoris he finally tore himself away and reared up.

He braced trembling arms on either side of her hips and hung over her, his head bent as he tried to pull back the tearing powerful lust that howled at him to take her. Take her; take now- NO! I need this, just this once- it’s your only chance to love her. He shook his head feverishly denying his furious driving need to tear his clothes off, pull her underneath him and thrust inside her hot silky depths.

She doesn’t want you, she thinks you’re another man, rage twisted in his gut and he growled low, cutting it off before it frightened her and stamping out the rage he fought with himself. He might have made it but Cordelia lunged up from the bed and wrapped her arms around his neck then unerringly found his lips and crushed them with her own.

Still quaking with the after effects of the most mind blowing orgasm she’d ever had, she matched his stormy kiss with one of her own. Greedily she traced his lips with her tongue before plunging it inside and tangling with his. When he might have pulled back she gripped harder and grasping his knit shirt; dragged it up and pulling back whipped it over his head. Instantly she was back and captured his lips again. Her naked arms twined around his thick neck and pulled him down into the kiss.

He was still reeling from having her kiss him with so much overwhelming passion and now he had to deal with her hot naked body pressed along his now naked chest. Her legs came up to grip his hips and then she almost growled in frustration before her hands ducked down to pull at his belt with fractious fingers.

He groaned when quick as she could she delved into his open pants to grasp his thick erection, wrapping her hands around the length of it, she pumped him with desperate and instinctive skill. He hissed and his back arched and hips bucked as pleasure streaked through every nerve ending.

Unappeased by one orgasm that didn’t include him, she left that fascinatingly throbbing shaft to push at the waist-band of his pants, yanking them down and then using her feet to finish the job.

“I want you inside me now”, she demanded and reached down to stroke him again, from the base to the broad tip. She loved the feel of it, silky smooth and hard like marble and needing to see it her head shot towards where the lamp should be. He saw her hand snake up and she started to wriggle up the bed towards the bedside table.

In a heartbeat he’d kicked off his boots and pants and grabbing her hips yanked her back down and away from the threatening light. He didn’t stop pulling until she was practically in his lap and then he loomed over her. With one arm to support him next to her left shoulder, he guided the tip of his sex to hers with the other. Then with a heavy flex of his hips, he drove inside the tight passage.

Her gasp and his groan drowned each other out, he felt her nails dig into his shoulders and she pushed upwards with both arms and legs as she struggled to accommodate the hard invasion. If she’d been any less aroused it would have hurt but even the intense stretching felt good to her aching core now blessedly filled with the hard surging of his thick length.

Her hands started to wander over his upper body, shoulders, neck and chest in a sensual exploration and to appease the need to learn her lover. A spurt of fear cleared his dazed passion fogged brain enough for him to realize the danger. He captured her wrists one at a time and then with one hand pressed them to the bed over her head.

Only once she was safely secured did he finish penetrating her, grunting as the tight inner walls of her passage closed over him like a tight damp fist, squeezing him in welcome as she started to rhythmically pump her hips, working herself on him in wanton reward for the sizzling pleasure of having him stretch and fill her.

She pushed at his hand in demand to be released, “I want to touch you, lemme go”. She felt him shake his head and before she could insist anymore, he leaned down and caught her lips in an endlessly possessive kiss that drained every other thought from her head and stole the breath from her body.

He matched the rhythm of both tongue and hips in a mind-blowing erotic dance that left room for nothing other than pure feeling. The blood in her veins seemed to throb along with the pounding rhythm of those heavy driving thrusts in a relentless pursuit of pleasure. She raised her hips to meet his and responded to the lusty power of his kisses with equal passion.

His head was swimming and yet crystal clear at the same time, focused on the woman underneath him, sheathing him so tight and hot and wet. He didn’t want it to end, wanted to stay here, inside her- loving her. But the pleasure was too much and tension was building. He could feel and hear her heartbeat getting faster and faster as her body got ready to burst in another orgasm that he knew would take him too.

The heat spiraled inside her and she felt again the dark, hot slide into ecstasy. Her cries were lost in his mouth as he literally devoured her in the final drive for orgasm. She could feel herself quiver and clench, holding him deep inside her as she came. Her muscles milked and squeezed his sex and helpless to prevent it he shuddered over her and with his last thrust nudged her womb, taking him over the edge too.

Totally drained he slumped over her, shaking in the aftermath and then finally he released her hands. She ran them over his sweaty back and shoulders and kissed his shoulder in a repeated caress. He was only half aware when she said his name before she dropped to sleep with him still inside and surrounding her. “Angel”.

***

Cordelia woke about an hour later and stretched, she reached out to find him but the bed was empty of anyone but her. Sitting up she blinked and realized the reason she couldn’t see anything was that it was pitch black, so she reached over and switched on the lamp, still no Dan in sight.

Frowning in confusion and annoyance she quickly checked of the clock, it was before midnight. “What, he had to leave early or something?” She clambered out of bed and ignoring the twinges between her thighs, pulled on a robe and wandered out into the lounge and found it deserted.

Scowling now and more than a little hurt that he’d just get up and leave like that she ran through the night in her mind. All was OK until a hazy recollection of what she’d said, just before she fell asleep.

“Oh shit, I called him Angel”. No wonder he left like that, so would she in his position- after she’d skinned her partner alive.

“Oh.my.God, what do I do now. How can I make it up to him”? Then she frowned as a new thought hit her.

“”Well it’s not like Angel isn’t sort of an endearment”. Unless of course she’d told him her boss was called Angel. She wracked her brain but couldn’t be sure.

Unable to wait to find out she dived for the phone and falling onto the couch, put the ringing receiver to her ear. He answered in less than three rings.

“Hi Dan, listen about tonight..” He interrupted her and after a few moment of total confusion her face went blank with shock. “What do you mean emergency and you had to leave. This was after we made love right”?

His answer made her drop the phone without even bothering to say goodbye. “Dennis”, she yelled when the power of speech gradually returned.

***

Wesley was minding his own business, putting things away and getting ready to leave and head for home, when Cordelia burst into the hotel as if the hounds of hell were after her. Although one look at her face and he decided they were more likely to be running from her.

“Where’s Angel”, she snarled without preamble, or so much as a ‘Hello’, he thought with irritation.

“Upstairs, why what’s he done now”? He asked with a great deal of ‘woe me’ and a serious case of resignation in his tone.

“Do.Not.ASK” she said and headed for the stairs.

“Don’t do that, Cordelia”

She stopped and whipped around, fury vibrating off her, “Why not”, she snapped.

“Because he already has company”

“What”? She said, boy was this night turning out weird, “By your face- do you mean a woman”?

“Exactly” replied Wesley casually and looked at her blandly and then wiggled his eyebrows.

“Are you insane, what about the curse”? Mind you, she hadn’t thought of that one herself and as for Dennis, well he was in her bad books for refusing to confirm her suspicions.

Now it was Wesley’s turn to look blank, “What curse, didn’t he tell you that wasn’t a problem anymore and hasn’t been since he returned”?

Upstairs Angel faced the woman across from him, who smiled and then after careful consideration moved one of the chess pieces before them.

“Angel Honey, it’s your buck but are you sure this is all you want to do”?

“Erm, yeah – Just remember that if I tell you its necessary jump on the bed and strip, OK?”

“OK, just remember I charge by the hour”. Damn, why was it the cutest ones were always the weirdest?

Part 7

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in Complete

Possession Is Nine Tenths 5   1 comment

PART 5

“Look, Angel I got it OK”. She gripped the sword in her hand tighter. They’d been going at it for over an hour now and she was tired, aching and- bored.

Circling, swinging, cutting and then twisting to block but nothing else, zilch, zip.“You’re not ready, Cordelia – and I’m so much stronger and you’re just a girly girl. argghhh, she mimicked him savagely in her head, OK maybe not the girly girl bit but she just knew that’s what he was thinking.

“Chauvinist pig” she muttered angrily under her breath and pivoted again to block his next swing.

“What”? Angel asked her, standing back and lowering the sword.

Damn, he’d heard her, “Nothing, not a thing, no words passed my oh-so concentrating lips”. She smiled sweetly at him, defying him to contradict her.

She lifted the sword in a mock salute and frowning he did the same. They carried on with him barking out instructions and Cordelia following them with a single-minded determination that today she was going to get her own way.

“Can we move on? I want to attack this time”. She hated to wheedle but after a week of spectacular ‘lack of’ success with hints, nudges and then outright demands, she needed a change of tactic. He might be stubborn but then so was she.

They’d paused for her to take a drink and get her breath back, so she took the opportunity to broach the ‘hated’ topic again. Angel was running a towel over his damp brow, an action that never failed to give her a spurt of satisfaction. At least she’d managed to make him sweat!

“No you’re still not ready, Cordelia, you need to concentrate on defense and then maybe”. NOT, like hell was he teaching her to attack. The minute she thought she could take someone on there’d be no stopping her. She’d get herself hurt in no time, hurtling into one dangerous situation after the next and then he’d have to wring her neck for driving him crazy with worry.

“Oh C’mon Angel, This isn’t so different from cheerleading you know”. Not that she expected him to get it, social retard that he was. “Only with a lot less applause” she finished with a pointed glare.

“Positive feedback on progress would be nice sometime” she told him sardonically and opening her eyes wide and shrugged as if to say– ‘just a thought’.

“I will when you deserve it” he told her flatly, refusing to give into the urge to pamper her; no matter how many times she batted her eyelashes and when that didn’t work, stomped off and ignored him for the rest of the day.

Could.he.get.any.more.arrogant? Hazel eyes spat fire at him. “I’ve got defense down pat, and you know it – so stop being an Asshole” she demanded with her hands on her short-clad hips and glaring at him.

Forget ‘talking’ him round. She knew him; he wasn’t going to teach her what she wanted to know unless she gave him no other choice.

“No- and you haven’t even got close to ‘pat’ on defense”. He snapped back and shot her a filthy look for the ‘asshole’ part. Then sighed in frustration and turned away from her. He stalked stiffly back to the weapons rack and slammed the blade home. “That’s enough for today, Cordelia”.

She watched in disbelief when he just walked away, refusing to even discuss it. Her breath strangled in her throat. Right that was IT. I have had enough of this Crap, she was going to show him that she was damn well ready to get to the good stuff.

He’d walked away from her without a backward glance. So obviously unconcerned about how she would react to his point blank refusal. Just for that he was going pay – big time.A red mist of rage formed behind her eyes and sanity fled from the heat of her anger. She took a deep breath and gathered herself.

Angel had only taken two steps towards the wooden staircase when he heard the whooshing sound of air being displaced and looked up to find Cordelia flipping towards him. Literally flipping the whole distance with the sword clasped firmly in two hands.

He thought she was going to stop any moment, but she didn’t – just carried on coming and he was so distracted by the flashes of warm creamy skin not normally seen, even with the shorts, that he failed to notice until almost too late that she was practically on top of him.

The next second he was pinned to the wall with a sword at his throat, “Go team” he acknowledged and then smiling into her triumphantly smug face. “But you really need to master the basics first, Sweetheart”.

He grabbed the hand holding the sword and pulled her forward a little before pushing back – hard. Cordelia could feel herself start to fall back and tried to regain her balance with frantically cart-wheeling hands, but it was too late.

With eyes wide she waited for him to catch her and when he didn’t- landed on her ass. Angel had swiped the sword from her hand in midair and then watched her land with a yelp on the hard cement floor, More bruises on her ass for her to complain about.

He stepped over to look down and raising a mocking brow, with pursed lips he framed his next words carefully. “Back to balance, then defense and then maybe in a few years- attack”. He smirked at her outraged expression. That had hit a nerve.

Think of light years beyond infuriated and add a good dose of humiliation and you were just touching the emotions bubbling away within the brunette. Cordelia furiously blew thick strands of glossy dark hair out of her face and asked in a silky smooth voice, “You think that’s funny”?

Angel recognized the signs heralding the coming storm but, after endless days of being tortured by her nearness and handling it well enough, he thought. She turned up in ‘those’ shorts. She was trying to kill him was all he could think- when he could think at all. So yeah, now he was getting a kick out of her embarrassment.

“Pretty funny, yeah”, his grin got wider when her eyes narrowed into manic slits, all she need was steam coming out of her ears and he’d be in stitches.

She waited, still on the floor and watching every move he made. When he started to lean down to help her up. She thrust out a foot, hooked it behind his knee and pulled– HARD. He was bent too far over to stop himself and went sprawling face down next to her.

Before he could do more than turn on his back she dived on him, hands outstretched for the sword which had clattered to the floor on his other side.

“Oooff”, she deliberately dug into his abdomen with her elbows and wriggled over him a bit more when her outstretched hand only just nudged the sword hilt.

“What are you doing”? Came Angel’s confused and panicked voice from somewhere over her right shoulder.

“Getting the damn sword” she puffed out straining to reach it still.

Angel didn’t move, couldn’t actually. He lay frozen while she wriggled her way over him in her ‘quest’. He flinched when her knee got too close to a part of him that was suddenly taking more interest in the proceedings than he wanted her to notice.

“Erm, Cordy why don’t you just go around me”? He hissed an unwilling breath between his teeth when she jerked back, grasping the sword and knocked against there with her elbow.

Flushed with success she grinned down into his face and then pursed her own lips every bit as mockingly as he had, “You know, you’re not getting up until I get what I want, Angel”.

He raised both brows and tilted his head to get a better view of her face, “Gimme that thing”? He nodded to the sword, and when she shook her head, set his face into a scowl and reached up to take it.

She slapped his hand away and sat up, resting it along her crossed knees. “Oh no you don’t, Angel”. She placed a hand on the blade to prevent him from taking it. For about a second he entertained the notion of wrestling with her for it.Not a good idea, hmm hot fantasy though.He jerked his mind away from that thought before it got him into trouble.

He sighed heavily and sat up, folding his legs to face her in an identical pose, “All right, Cordy have you’re say”. Like he could stop her for longer than it took for her to drive him round the bend with her persistence, making it about five minutes- tops.

“Gee, thanks” she replied snappily and gave him a dark look out of sharp hazel eyes for suggesting she wouldn’t have gone right ahead and done so anyway.

“Be honest, did you ever intend to train me to fight properly”? She saw his tiny give-away flinch and was flooded with disappointment, followed by annoyance.

“Then why bother, this is a total waste of time”. Her voice rose with frustration and she threw her hands up in disbelief.

He didn’t bother trying to protest that she’d read him wrong but just ducked his head so that he could no longer see the hurt and obvious disappointment on her face.

“Being able to defend yourself is never a waste of time” Angel replied and forced himself to look back at her. He knew what was coming next and hadn’t the slightest clue how to avoid it.

“I want more than that” she said with absolute conviction ringing clear as a bell.

“I know and that’s what scares me” He said quietly and plucking the sword off her lap, he twisted it in his hand and then handed it back. He eyed her with a stern expression and was met with her mulish one. They silently stared at one another in silent battle of wills.

“If you promise me not to go racing off into danger, then we can start with some hand to hand stuff and forget about weapons for now, deal”? It was a concession he hadn’t wanted to make but there were times, like now, when saying no became impossible.

It was take it or leave it time, she didn’t care as a huge smile broke over her face. “Deal” and held her hand out to him. He eyed it for a moment and then shook it, his palm tingling at the touch of her softer small one.

“Why not carry on with both”? Cordelia asked, leaning back on her hands and tossing him a grin, flicked back her hair and waited for his inevitable refusal.

“Don’t push your luck”. He warned sternly and then smirked at her. “And I like my hair on my head”. He pulled her up with him and saw to the second when the penny dropped.

Cordelia took a moment to figure out what he was implying, “Hey, I can too…, that’s so unfair I could have cut your head off- if I’d wanted”. Flabbergasted she placed both hands on hips and squared off with him again.

“Yeah, yeah”, the smirk got bigger, “Let’s keep our feet on the ground this time- shall we”?

NEXT DAY

“It’s Friday night” Said Cordy, not looking round. Absorbed in watching the swinging bag she was supposed to be beating the crap out of.

Punch, punch, swing punch. Sweat was pouring off her and she grimaced when her hair band slipped down over her eyes. Stepping back she tossed a look at the vampire sitting back on a chair, leg up on one knee, reading the paper like it was the holy grail or something.

“The Holy Grail is a cup or chalice” Angel told her without looking up.

“I didn’t say anything”

“Yes you did”

“Oh”, well either that or he’d added mind-reading to his list of supernatural accomplishments. Okay, so she’d forgotten to disengage her mouth from her though processes again.

She stood back up to the bag and went back to the jabbing punches she was supposed to be perfecting. This is sooo boring- how can guys do this for hours.

What’s it being Friday got to do with working tonight”? He asked her and did look up this time.

It was a struggle but he managed not to drop his eyes to the view offered and even highlighted by her soaked T-shirt, despite the almost irresistible tug of his libido to look his fill. The paper was a defense against gawking, not that he’d ever tell her that.

“I’m busy tonight with pesky human stuff, such as having fun and socializing” the sarcasm was mild for Cordelia, but then she was tired so he didn’t let it worry him.

He looked back at his paper and then as if hit by lightening, bolted upright in the chair, “Socializing”?

She rolled her eyes at him, “Did that only just sink in – yes, socializing”.

“What kind of socializing”? She looked at him in surprise when she heard the growled question. What’s his problem?

Cordelia decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and said with a huge anticipatory smile, “I have a date tonight”.

“Who with”? – No question this time, that was a very definite growl.

***

Cordelia answered the door to her apartment and smiled at her date. “Hi, you’re right on time”.

“Do I get points for that” answered the smartly dressed, handsome yet wholesome in a ‘beer and commercials’ way – man. A human man, you’re normal, average everyday Joe. Who also happened to have a sweet smile and deep brown eyes.

“Sure do” She replied cheerfully and opened the door wide in a silent invitation.No having to say ‘I invite you’ here – well and good.

“In that case I’ll always hang around for half an hour every time to make sure that I’m never late”. Hmmm, that was either very sweet or just plain dumb, she’d decide later.

She collected her bag and switched off the lights, leaving just a single lamp lit, “Back later” she called out and earned herself a quizzical look from her date. “I thought you said you live alone”.

“Oh, Erm- well yeah, but I have plants, so … I erm .. I talk to them”, she cringed, why did she always do that?

SAYING GOODNIGHT

“Thanks Dan, I had a really good time tonight” And she had, she thought dizzily. He was as fun and sweet as he’d seemed when she agreed to go out with him. Not bad for a pickup in a bar.

Dan wrapped his fingers around her elbows, lightly and smiled into her face, her eyes widened when she realized he was going to kiss her. “I’m really glad because I’d be devastated if you didn’t agree to see me again soon”.

“Oh there’s no danger of that not happening” she told him warmly and breathlessly anticipated the kiss. When it happened she waited for a hum or something, anything to make it feel special.

It was sweet and soft and really quite nice, but no sparks yet dammit, and he was a good kisser too. They broke apart and she took out her key, which he promptly took off her to open the door for her like a gentleman.

She turned inside the doorway and feeling a little awkward said, “Call me”?

Dan nodded and with a shy smile, turned away and headed back down the hallway. Passing the alcove where for some reason, the light bulb had been broken. Not noticing the dark shape standing still, silent and glaring right at him with eyes like chips of obsidian, narrowed into slits.

Angel slipped out from the niche and followed behind the man dating Cordelia. He exited the building in time to see the car the guy was driving and memorize the license plate. Then vaulting into the Plymouth he started the engine with a dull roar and tailed him.

He followed him home, got the address and then went Caritas. It was business as usual and as per usual all the demons in the place gave him a look, went quiet then carried on with their conversations as if they hadn’t noticed him arrive. He ignored them back.

Leaning on the bar he signaled to the barman, busy polishing glasses like they were crystal, “Where’s Merle, is he in here tonight”?

“Yeah, he went to take a piss I think”.

Angel gave him a pained, ‘too much information’ look but thanked him anyway, and went to wait by the door of the john. Merle came out from men’s restroom and jerked when a heavy hand landed on his shoulder. With his heart in his throat he looked up into the familiar hard face of the vampire, Angel.

“Got a minute, Merle”? The vamp was looming over him, and despite the ‘friendly’ tone and smile, he shivered. There was something goin’ on in that psycho head of his and Merle didn’t want anything to do with it.

“Do I have a choice”? He asked resigned and tried to shrug that hand of his shoulder. It gripped hard and twisted, turning and then carting him to the bar. “No” was the implacable response.

“Figures”, if they’d been headed anywhere but the bar he might have put up more of a fight – or maybe not.

A little later on. “So let me get this straight. You want me to check out this chick’s new boyfriend”. He wriggled his bony ass on the hard seat of his chair and took a sip of the drink Angel had brought him. “The same chick you couldn’t even be bothered to go see not so long ago”?

“Go figure. I’m paying this time”. They were sitting at a table ringed by others and conversation and music soared and dipped around them, interspersed with bursts of laughter and clapping.

“You said that last time” said Merle with a sorrowful shake of his head, and then watching the vamp careful like – took another swallow before he got fed the drink glass and all.

“Upfront, but I want it snappy” Angel needed co-operation and was keeping back coercion as a last ditch option. Knowing Merle seeing some greenbacks should ease the pain. He dropped a wad-full on the table between them.

“That’ll do nicely” said Merle and the cash disappeared into his inside jacket pocket as he darted his red eyes nervously around to check if anyone had seen the transaction.

“Snappy, Merle”. There was a definite threat in that smooth dark tone now the little demon had taken the money.

“I got it”. Merle said in an exasperated voice, and got out while the going was good.

NEXT AFTERNOON

It was getting on for lunchtime and Cordy’s stomach was starting to feel like her throat had been cut. So, stretching she ended her session and put the laptop on standby, just in case Wes wanted to use it.

“I’m going out” She called in the direction of the office, behind which Wesley was busy beavering away making notes on the latest demon related incident in the papers. Business was slow so they we’re having to do the supernatural equivalent of ambulance chasing. Not exactly classy she thought, but necessary to keep the cash flow from drying up completely.

“How was your hot date”? Angel asked from the bottom step directly behind her. She yelped and spun around with a hand to her chest.

“Will you stop doing that” She yelped and tried to slow her racing heart. Then she shrugged and gave him a tentative and sweet smile, “Hot – or maybe warm would be a better description – but with potential”.

Angel just jerked his head in acknowledgement and forced a smile to cross his tight face. “That’s nice, I’m glad- so when are you seeing him again” The smile wobbled but stayed in place when she told him tomorrow. That soon – this was getting serious: two dates in three days.

You can’t” he blurted out and crossed his arms over his chest when she looked at him with a blank expression and said “Come again” in that, just building to an explosion tone she used when she was getting ready to be seriously pissed.

“You can’t, we need a woman to act as decoy for the Simmersons case and that’s tomorrow night” he was relieved to realize that he was actually making sense. Wesley would back him up; he’d make sure of it. “Wes” he shouted through the office door to get the ex-watchers attention. “Ask Wes” he said with an innocent look and shrugged heavy shoulders when she gasped fuming.

She followed, stalking him back round the counter, rigid with indignation. “And you came up with this plan when”? She demanded. Wesley winced when he caught the sharp, angry question just as he was coming through the sliding door.

Not again, he thought with a silent groan, they’d been getting on so much better recently, why the change? Wanting an answer to that question he looked at Angel and raised a questioning brow.

“Cordy here thinks her love-life is more important than solving the case” Angel informed him and ignoring her outraged hiss to continue. “I told her we need a female decoy for tomorrow and that’s that”. Trying to be casual, he walked to the refrigerator and pulled it open to pour himself breakfast.

Not even tasting the cold sticky fluid, he took a deep draught and listened to Wesley’s carefully phrased response. “He’s right, Cordelia. It is necessary is there any way you can re-arrange”?

Cordelia threw Angel an angry glance, then looking back at Wesley she pouted and rolled her eyes, only slightly appeased by the delicate request, unlike his –God he can be such a clueless, insensitive …... “Fine” she said making her reluctance clear.

“I’ll call and re-arrange it for another night, but this better be worth it” she finished with a dark warning and yet another glare, this time encompassing both of them. No longer hungry she pulled her chair out again and plonked herself back on it and glumly put her face in her cupped hands.

Satisfied if not exactly happy Angel went into his office, sat down in the leather chair and settled in for a good long brood.

His interference had been impulsive, but once started he hadn’t been able to stop. If Wesley had sided with Cordelia he would have overruled them both and damn the consequences.

She deserves to be loved, his conscience prodded at him.

I’m still checking him out, when or if Merle gives him the all clear – then I’ll stand aside he argued in his own defense.

He ignored the subsequent jeering of his conscience and shut it out with a determination honed over a century of being cursed with it.

SUNDAY NIGHT

Cordelia sat at the desk, facing her interviewer and smiled with determined cheerfulness and tried not to look as disgusted as she felt at being where she was. Me, Cordelia Chase; one of the most sought after girls in Sunnydale- at a dating agency.

Never mind the fact that girls ended up getting more than they bargained for when they signed on and some ended up in some seriously sick videos that hovered so far distant from the line of disgusting – it was almost out of sight.

Automatically she scanned the room and everything else she could while answering the inane questions put to her with a feigned denseness, My acting is beyond superb – c’mon what am I, blonde?

Finally she was done and standing up she shook hands with the sweaty palmed guy and left, ducking into the washroom to scrub said hand with fervor before returning to Angel’s car.

“Where the hell have you been, the other girls came out much sooner than you did”. She didn’t waste time or energy rolling her eyes, just pointed a stiff a finger at him “Don’t even go there, Angel”. She pulled the car door open and climbed into sit next to him, saying “You’re idea remember, me I had other plans than spending the evening with you getting pimped”.

He swiveled to face her and tamped down the harsh surge of hurt anger that accusation rose in him. “Well”? He demanded instead, searching her body and face with an intense scrutiny, looking for any signs of her having gotten into trouble. For the first time in over two hours his rigid tension left him and he relaxed.

She sighed lustily, not surprised he’d refused to respond to that one. She turned to look at Wesley and Gunn in the back seat of the GTX. “I’m special” she mimicked and then returned hazel eyes to narrowed dark brown.

“I should expect a call sometime tomorrow with the details of my very first date”. She shivered at the coincidence and then pushed the damp chill away with a firm mental shove and rested her head back on the seat. “Let’s go home, I need to take a bath”. Several of them.

Angel had become so attuned to her over the last few weeks, years if he was honest, that he caught that convulsive shiver. Frowning he started the car and with only half his attention on the road, kept sneaking peeks at her strained face.

“What’s the matter, Cordy. What aren’t you telling me” He asked quietly so the other two in the back wouldn’t hear.

“Nothing, nothing at all” she denied there was a problem and ignored the tight feeling in her chest that soft voiced query caused. “Just drive, Angel, please”.

He fell silent but determined that he’d drop them off and go hunt up Merle. He had a bad feeling about this and wanted to know what the little parasite had come up with. Large hands wrapped tighter around the steering wheel as a weird creepy feeling crawled up his spine.

Did Wesley check out if this was limited to the agency, or included more casual picks ups for dates too. He knew Cordy had met this guy at a bar, where she’d gone alone. He understood the need to find a significant other, but even in this day and age women alone where targets for all kinds of predators– he should know; he’d been one of them.

MERLE

The door was knocked upon with a loud pounding, but before the demon could sidle over to the door and check the peephole, it was slammed open and the door caught him in smack in the face. Making him stagger back and clutch his throbbingly painful face with both hands.

“Oww, Jeezus, Angel, how the hell did you get in here, this building has security. In fact how the hell did you know where I live”? Merle asked querulously.

“I beat it out of a snitch”. He didn’t bother with lying, had much more important things to worry about to even consider it. Cordelia was a target for something and it wasn’t from tonight, he could feel it.

“Well now that shocks me – NOT” Even muffled through ten fingers the pure undiluted sarcasm came through loud and clear.

“Forget the smart remarks OK, I need to know what you’ve found out”

“Nothing – nada, big N O for no” was the quick reply followed by an upraised hand to ward of the now pissed as hell Vampire. “Now Angel, that’s good news isn’t it”?

“You found nothing” repeated Angel, retreating back from the demon, uncertain about how he felt about that fact.

“Hey, Angel – Buddy. If you wanted me to do a dirt job on this prick you should have just said so”. He smirked at the dumbstruck look on the vampires face. It wasn’t often you wrong footed this one so he went in for the kill.

“She a hot piece of action isn’t she, your Cordelia”? His smirk became a study of horrified disbelief when he was suddenly confronted with Angel in full fang face. Demonic Eyes glinting with feral yellow fire.

“Okaay- sorry just yankin’ your tail. Chill OK”

“What.did.you.find.out”? Snarled the vampire from about two inches in front of his face.

“Well other than the fact that he’s some kind of serial dater, nothing much really”. Wheedled the much smaller demon, holding both hands out in surrender and submission.

Silence.

“You know, dates lots and lots of women over a short period of time. Lucky guy”. Merle was a nervous babbler and never more so than right then.

“Yeah, very lucky”. The door banged shut before the last coldly furious syllable finished vibrating in the air. Merle slumped down onto the floor.

Part 6

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in Complete

Possession Is Nine Tenths 3-4   1 comment

PART 3

What he was feeling was unreasonable and he knew it, but he was still having to practically crack his teeth, clenching his jaw to stop from ranting at her. It was just that seeing her like that, being assaulted, would be forever engraved in his mind.

Whoever that guy was he had come within a scant inch of bloody death; even now he could feel the urge to kill so strongly his fingers were white around the steering wheel.

Cordelia kept her head straight but shot cautious glances at him from the corner of her eye – she could feel the tension coming off him in waves and despite feeling resentful of that – given it was her that had been almost hurt; didn’t want to say something that would tip him over the edge.

“What the hell were you doing there”? He tried to keep the snarl out of his voice but wasn’t able to keep the bite out of it.

“Trying to kick some life into my nonexistent acting career, what do you think” replied Cordy with some snap of her own and still not looking at him.

The hands gripped even tighter on the wheel, he could guess what had caused the sudden renewed interest in Hollywood and it hurt, making the anger hotter.

“Just take me home, please” Cordy added tiredly, not up to yet another sparring match with him and she shivered despite the balminess of the night; his shirt was huge on her and she’d had to roll the sleeves up several times to free her hands.

She plucked at the hem with anxious fingers, desperately wanting a shower to scrub away the feeling of skin crawling shame. If he hadn’t come along when he had… “Thanks for the rescue by the way” it came out stilted and that shamed her even more.

“You’re coming back to the hotel; you shouldn’t be alone tonight”. He shot her a dark look when she opened her mouth to argue, “Save it”.

In that moment she was tired; bone deep, achingly tired of constantly battling against him – his influence, her feelings – all of it. No-one else can make me crazy like he does. She decided not to argue, a part of her was glad of not being alone in her apartment – even with Dennis she would have too much time to think and relive.

“From tomorrow you’re starting self defense training – every day until I’m satisfied that you can protect yourself”

Fine, whatever she thought not caring and then unable to resist a dig “Well yeah – it’s not like the menfolk can always be around to protect the womenfolk now is it; psycho trips notwithstanding”

He ignored her, she managed at least one reference to his firing her and going postal at least once a day – so this was nothing new.

Typical male – won’t answer when he’s in the wrong, “So who’s training me; you? – Hah, forget that, I can go to cop night school and get some lessons there or something”.

He shot her another dark look, lips tightening with anger and another slice of pain, “They can’t show you how to fight dirty or a lot of other things I can”.

“Like I need that” Cordy scoffed, turning to face him, I almost get assaulted, I’m hurt and angry and you just won’t let up will you, fine you asked for it . “What’s up, Angel – with Darla gone you wanna have another woman to throw around; no thanks”.

Before the words were even out of her mouth, she regretted them and wished she could take then back. He tensed as if electrified, every part of him taut with disbelief and his head snapped around to look at her.

“I’m sorry that was out of line” She said, keeping her hot face averted, she tensed too and waited for him to say something, anything to break the awful expectant silence.

He said nothing to her, just made a sharp left turn – away from the direction of the hotel. After ten minutes where each mile seemed to take an hour, he pulled up outside her apartment.

She opened her mouth to speak – maybe apologize again but he cut in before she could get a word out, “Don’t say a word; just get inside and don’t come into work tomorrow. Take the day off” – his eyes were narrowed dark slits of pure rage. She got out and watched as he yanked the car into start and roared off. She hugged her arms around her body and hitched the strap of her purse higher on her slumped shoulder.

The minute she got inside the door of her apartment she leant back against it and burst into scalding hot tears. Trembling hands reached up to cover her wet cheeks and then scrub angrily at them, within seconds a towel came floating through the air and landed on her outstretched palm.

“Thank you Dennis” utter exhaustion dragged at her body but her mind was filled with whirling thoughts and images. She walked towards the bathroom, taking off Angel’s shirt to fold it and then laying it carefully on her bed; seeing it there made the tears fall faster.

She slowly undid the snaps of her pants, her dark hair falling in short waves over her face, comforting her slightly with the covering curtain of it. The shower was already running when she got inside the bathroom and a slight smile tugged at her full lips which then wobbled dangerously again.

“What would I do without you Dennis” it wasn’t a question and they both knew it. The temperature of the water was exactly as she liked it and she groaned in relief as the hot water sluiced down her body; beating her skin with soothing heat as she scrubbed roughly at every inch of skin.

After she’d finished washing she stayed in the shower; her head resting on the cool tiles. Strangely enough it was the later part of the night that refused to stay out of her aching and woolly from crying head.

Why did I say that, why? Dammit even in my bitchiest days did I ever say something so totally wrong? No. He hadn’t deserved it and she knew it, but worse was the fact that she’d finally hurt him like she’d been trying to do for the last few weeks.

Ever since that night in the ‘old’ new office; when he’d stood in front of her and threatened her, Her, Cordelia Chase, Girl Friday and best friend, she’d been out for blood, his anyway.

Before that she’d been angry and hurt yes – but afterwards it was as if she’d started to hate him and she’d welcomed the feeling, nurtured it even especially since he’d come back. Not helped by Wesley and Gunn just making a decision to take him back and leaving her with no choice but to go along with it.

The funny thing was, standing here in the shower she realized it had all been a sham, the hate had been a smokescreen to cover her own hurt; all resulting from that single destructive confrontation. The hurt caused by knowing, convinced by the look in his eyes that at that moment he had been willing to hurt her to get his way.

“Well by the looks of it I finally got my own back tonight”. She stood back from the spray and climbed wearily out of the bath. Her robe was waiting for her and several large fluffy towels – all supplied by the loving ghost.

“I guess I have some amends making of my own to do, Dennis; not exactly my forte but I have to at least try”. Just saying it made the shame less and the tears dry up – she had a plan, a vague one anyway.

“No more being Super Bitch to Angel”. That was a start – wasn’t it?

ANGEL

Angel didn’t drive back to the hotel, but drove aimlessly through the dark streets; avoiding the busier roads – looking for something to take his mind off his own dark thoughts and turbulent feelings.

“I give up” he said viciously, eyes on the road but seeing her instead. I’ve tried everything I can think of to make up for it – but no, none of it’s good enough for her. “No more – she can stew for all I care – I’ve had it with her”.

What made it worse was that he knew himself well enough to know that it was never that simple; somewhere along the way she had managed to make him care about her. Burrowed deep in his un-beating heart and he had no idea how to kick her out again.

He was as wound up as a spring and he knew damn well he would get no peace; so swearing a blue streak, he turned the car around and headed back.

He parked on the road a little ways down from the apartment block and walked the rest of the way until he got a good vantage point of her apartment window. All was dark – still cursing under his breath but resigned to the fact that he should have known better than to think he could just drive off, he entered the building.

He fished the key he still had, which she’d forgotten she gave him and which he deliberately didn’t remind her off and placed it in the lock. The door opened silently, into the apartment swathed in darkness with the only light coming from the closed curtains.

His white vest underneath the black leather duster, shone in the darkness as he stood by the door, “Easy Dennis, just checking on her”. There was no response from the ever protective ghost which was a good sign.

He walked towards her bedroom door and relaxed even more when it opened before he got there, another sign from Dennis that he was welcome. Welcome by Dennis anyway, he thought wryly.

She was curled up on her side with a hand tucked under her chin, relaxed in sleep but her face still bore the puffy look of recent tears, he felt his belly constrict at the sight.

He obeyed the impulse to get closer and crouched down so he could see her face better. His unknowingly hungry gaze traveled down her body, hidden from him by pajamas and bed covers. The scent of her warm body, so close and within touching distance teased his supernatural senses, curling around him like a fine mist of perfume – he inhaled deeply and kept it inside him, warming him.

His body still hummed with a mixture of anger and hurt, but to his shock something else started to form underneath them; something almost as dark and every bit as primal; desire. He shot up and started to back out of the room, warily watching the sleeping figure and trying to ignore the sudden heaviness of his groin.


PART 4

CORDY

She had seriously considered ignoring the ‘instruction’ to take a day off and the only thing that stopped her from going in was that it only would rile him up more if she did. Well that and the fact that – “Well duh! Day off,’ and under orders too. Not one to kick a gift horse in the mouth, she relaxed and reviewed strategies.

After some careful thought and several changes of mind; she’d decided to forgo the ‘impeccably tailored and yet hot’ look she normally went into work with; in favor of casual form fitting pants, matching vest top and training shoes. She left her hair loose and artlessly, but only slightly, disheveled and her carefully applied make-up was natural and understated. Overall she was pleased with her appearance, not too intimidating or obvious – especially to the male of the species, dead or alive, who had no idea about these things except how they reacted to it.

Thinking about that she experienced a weird little jiggle of excitement in her belly and pressed a hand to the offending area. “Hey stop that – Geeze get a grip. It’s not like he’s going to be … ya know ‘handling’ or anything”. Her belly jumped again and she slammed her apartment door shut and practically ran down the hall, before she changed her mind and called in sick.

She walked breezily in through the glass doors and down the steps into the lobby of the hotel. Startling poor Wesley who was used to the clickety clack of her high-heeled shoes to announce her arrival. So when she just appeared at the counter opposite him; he jumped a mile and nearly knocked the book he was reading onto the tiled floor.

Cordelia caught the book and smiled at him, “Jumpy much, Wes”? She asked him with an arched brow, before walking around and behind the counter to drop her oversized and overfilled bag underneath the desk.

Wesley glared at her and snapped the precious book shut, “Well I wouldn’t be if you hadn’t snuck in like that”. He pursed his lips and looked her over carefully. “Mind you, at least you’re dressed for a workout today and not a hot date”.

Cordelia ignored the reference to her clothes and busied herself tidying the already neat as a pin desk. “So Angel told you about that did he”? She looked at him measuringly. “Did he happen to mention why it came up”?

“No and I didn’t ask” replied Wesley, rummaging around under the counter for god knows what. After a few moments, he found it and came back up with a satisfied smile on his face. Holding the thermometer up in a victory salute he smiled benignly at her. “All I know is that I’m supposed to be training you in self-defense”.

She gaped at him, her mouth dropping open in shock at that matter-of-fact statement. “You are”? Her voice was raised and she was helpless to hide her disappointment at the news.

“Yes, Cordelia – me, is that a problem”? He stood with his arms crossed over his shirt and tie, looking at her with piercing blue eyes in a face carefully devoid of expression.

It took her a moment to reply. “No, no problem”. She hadn’t missed the flash of angry hurt that crossed his face before he wiped it clear. She turned on the laptop with a stiff finger and stared blankly at the screen, her mind buzzing with anger and disappointment. Luckily for her Wesley, satisfied with her reply had gone back to whatever he’d wanted the thermometer for. Missing the myriad expressions that crossed her face.

“So brood-guy is in avoid mode is he? HAH – If he thinks he can just ignore me…”

Angrily she tapped in her password, getting it wrong twice before she could log in. “Well boy is he in for a shock if he thinks Cordelia Chase gives up so easily. He’s gonna be begging for my attention by the time I’m done”

She’d decided they were going patch things up and so patch things up they would – even if she had to hit him over the head with a baseball bat to get through that thick head of his. She briefly thought about asking Wesley to refuse to do it. But Cordelia balked at having to explain herself, and also knowing Wesley as she did – he would demand to know what had happened.

No she would manage Angel all on her lonesome like always.

ANGEL

Angel was asleep and as usual, disturbing dreams flitted through his vulnerable and open mind, the control he exerted over his waking hours gone. Past friends, enemies and victims chased one another through his sleep-clouded subconscious, bringing with them the usual painful pleasure and ever present guilt.

Sometimes certain memories would get stuck and loop round and it would be as if he was reliving it. He hated those the most because they were always the ones that stayed with him for days. Today was one of those days.

He dreamt of Darla and how he’d pushed her through the glass doors into his bedroom. Then after picking her up off the glass-strewn floor; forced his kisses on her before dropping them both to the bed. In his dream he leant up to look down at her and then froze. Without him realizing it the dream had taken on a will of it’s own, warping the memory to suit its needs. The face that stared back at him was not that of the beautiful blonde vampire.

Darla was gone, replaced by Cordelia. Her normally radiant face was filled with fear and hazel eyes wide with panic. He wanted to stop, tried to move off and free her. But something wouldn’t let him. The cold angry despair of that night had changed to a flash-fire heat and driven by a nameless need; he pulled off her clothes instead and not even knowing or caring if she was willing, drove himself into her soft female warmth.

The heat inside him intensified and almost frenziedly his hips plunged and retreated, slamming and recoiling in a rhythm that was both fast and hard, trying to get as deep as possible. He buried his face in the fragrant curve of her neck and jaw, kissing and sucking her skin with a hungry, open mouth. All too soon the hot wet clasp of her around him and the soft, writhing curves of her body under his nearly overwhelmed his senses, and helplessly his back arched and bracing arms trembled with the force of an approaching orgasm.

Angel awoke and bolted upright. Horror and something else had him twisting from side to side and using both hands to frantically check the bed. Realizing he really was alone, and trembling with relief and reaction; he almost fell off the bed in his haste to stand, unsteadily, beside it. He was breathing heavily for no other reason than to feel the movement of air and help convince himself that this was real – this empty room and empty bed was real, and not the dream.

Normally Angel didn’t even notice or care about his own nakedness, but today he couldn’t bear it and so swiping up a pair of sweats, he hurriedly tugged them over his hips. Covered now; he stumbled over to the bathroom, desperately ignoring his aching erection.

Unknowingly mimicking Cordelia from the night before last, Angel stood with his dark head pressed to the plain white tiles as the water poured over his still shaking body. Afterwards he stood naked and dripping on the hard floor as puddles formed around his feet, staring unseeingly at the bathroom cabinet.

“I nearly kill a guy for trying to force himself on her; then I have a dream of raping her and get aroused”. He muttered hoarsely to the empty mirror; something he usually managed to successfully ignore. Hating himself for being a sick bastard; he punched it clear of the wall and then not bothering to clear up the wreckage, roughly dried himself and got dressed.

“I can’t go down there – can’t risk seeing her”, he had a sudden horrible image of Cordelia seeing right through him and running away, disgusted and hating him. He couldn’t bear that ever happening. So he would do whatever he had to do to make sure he got control of himself and these new feelings that until recently, he would have labeled as ludicrous.

He stood at the end of the corridor leading to the stairs down to the lobby. Just out of the sight of the three people milling about, working and playing around, ignorant of the black clothed figure watching them with brooding dark eyes. There was only one way he could leave the hotel in daylight and that was through the sewers. To get to them, he would have to go down the stairs and cross a portion of the lobby to the basement door. He gathered himself and then ran.

Gunn had been standing with his back to the lobby leaning against the counter and laughing at Wesley and Cordelia arguing over the computer. Wesley was trying to get access to it for some research he wanted to do himself and the brunette bombshell was having none of it. Then feeling a weird movement of air like a breeze – only not. He whirled round; his street honed instincts on full alert. It only took seconds for him to check out the doors and the stairs and seeing nothing, mentally shrug and switch his attention back to the entertainment.

BASEMENT – NEXT DAY

Cordelia stood opposite Wesley, arms akimbo and trying to relax. This was their second ‘session’ and after yesterday she was wearing a looser, thicker T-shirt and a sturdy sports bra. Less jiggle, and less red cheeks for the both of them.

“Cordelia, please will you concentrate”, pleaded Wesley for about the fourth time in as many minutes. She nodded her head and gave him an apologetic smile, even she couldn’t deny her distraction.

So far her plan was going to hell and all because of a stubborn vampire who didn’t even have the frickin’ courtesy to be around for the plan to work. So much for gently and slowly getting back to the way things used to be with no more bitching and sniping at him – unless she had a good reason of course, then she reserved the right to bitch like hell.

Well right then, she felt she had plenty of reason, “Asshole”, she muttered under her breath her full lips pouting. So distracted that she missed Wesley almost falling on his ass, trying not to connect with a blow she should have easily avoided, if she’d been paying attention.

“Cordelia”, Wesley was shouting now – that got her attention.

“What? Dammit, Wesley there’s no need to shout, I’m not deaf OK” frustration vibrated through both of their voices, although for totally different reasons.

“This is absolutely hopeless” whined, Wesley, throwing his hands in the air and whirling around to pace away and then back again, to face her narrow eyed stare with one of his own. Neither of them where aware of the large shadow at the top of the stairs, watching them.

“Well ya know, it’s not exactly on my job description this Wes, so don’t blame me if I’m not exactly great at it”

“You could be if you tried, you just need to apply yourself”. Wesley told her, all male superiority with a trace of teacher induced smugness.

“You apply yourself – me I’m going back upstairs and forgetting this whole stupid idea” If there was one thing she hated it was being condescended too. She was leaving before she lopped his head off with Angel’s throwing axe or something – by accident of course.

She had barely set foot on the first step when she caught sight of the figure lounging against the railing at the top and blocking her dignified and thoroughly justified exit. Hot, caustic words flew into her mouth, but she bit them back.

“Hi”, she said simply and left it at that. He didn’t reply at first but just walked down the stairs until both she and Wesley could see him. “Hi” he said back to her and she relaxed, his tone sounded utterly normal to her ‘vamp moodometer’ ears.

“Problem”? Angel asked Wesley, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning a hip on the rail of the last step.

“Cordelia doesn’t really want to …” began Wesley only to be interrupted by Cordelia – “Yes I do, it’s just …”.

“Hey, one at a time” Angel held up a hand and then looked pointedly at Cordelia, as did Wesley. With the both of them making her feel like she was under a microscope or something, she started to bristle with annoyance.

How do I get myself in these situations? “It’s NOT that I don’t want to be able to defend myself – I’m not stupid”, she glared at Wesley when she said the last bit, “It’s just …”, she faltered again. Dammit how do I say I want you to do it? She was still trying to figure out WHY it had to be Angel – she just knew it did. But she just couldn’t say it.

Both of them were looking at her, bemused and waiting for her to finish what she’d been about to say, “This is such CRAP!” she thought angrily to herself. “Look, let’s just forget it OK. I’ll go and find out about some classes or something”. Her face was flushed with a mixture of embarrassment and anger with the both of them.

She started to walk up the stairs but got no more than a foot before having to stop as Angel hadn’t budged an inch. She looked up to find him looking at her with weird expression on his handsome face – hard and piercing and his dark eyes glittered with some emotion she couldn’t remember having seen in them before.

Angel felt weird, in fact he couldn’t remember ever feeling as wound up as he was now, well OK – big exaggeration, but dammit this was all about Cordelia and he was still struggling to come to terms with that little gem.

He’d done nothing but brood over and avoid her for the last few days and nights, weeks if he was honest. She was his friend of that there was no doubt – he loved her true and she still drove him crazy with her chatter at times, but since he’d only been on the receiving end of the meaner side of her tongue recently, he’d even own up to missing the chatter.

That wasn’t the problem. The problem was he’d been standing watching them for the last twenty minutes and apart from marveling at the total lack of progress – had hated every minute of seeing Wesley touch her skin, hair, clothes or any part of her person for that matter.

This possessiveness of his was getting out of hand and while one part of his brain accepted that; the other didn’t give a shit – and that part was winning hands down. But he’d been willing to give it a chance, with Wesley who he trusted to look after her and not get ideas. But a stranger and so someone out of his control – no way and over his dead body, literally.

“You’re not having some stranger teach you how to fight, and anyway – all they know about is muggers and rapists, whose gonna teach you to fight the monsters?” He raised a brow to emphasize his point and then backed it up with a thumb pointed at his own muscular chest. “I’ll teach you”.

“I agree” chimed in Wesley and got ignored by both Angel and Cordelia – who seemed to be locked in some kind of mental communication, or maybe simply a battle of wills.

It was what she wanted but that funny tingling feeling was back in her belly and it was making her feel like she wanted to argue with him some more – whoa, apply mental brakes – reverse and REPEAT that she told her mental self. Since when did arguing with Angel rank No 1 in the Cordy ‘fun things to do list’. ?

“I’ll teach you” Angel repeated, his voice was quiet and it felt like there was only the two of them in the basement.

As if from a distance she heard herself agree, “OK”, she dropped her eyes and moved back into the room, crossing her arms over her breasts because they suddenly felt full and tingly. She hoped to God the nipples weren’t tight – how humiliating.

She heard Wesley tell Angel good luck in a humorous and resigned voice and then ‘quit the field’ by climbing the stairs. Back to his beloved books no doubt, she thought sourly. She turned to face him, having felt his approach and knew when he was close.

She felt so awkward standing in front of him, dressed as she was – which was more than the day before, so she burst out “Are we over that whole thing from the other night?” He just stared down into her face so she babbled some more.

“Ya know, the …”

“I know what you mean, Cordelia”. He interrupted her this time, not wanting her to repeat it, especially now they were here, right where he’d been trying to avoid ever since. Not to mention the whole dream- Don’t go there, he ordered himself and winced.

“Look, lets just forget about that and concentrate on the here and now OK”.

Cordelia nodded, more than happy to go along with him on that particular subject. “So, how do you want to do this”?

Good question Cor, how about we start with how to protect yourself from demons and then move onto – how do you protect yourself from me, “Lets just start from the beginning; getting and keeping your balance during a fight”.

“Wesley and I covered that bit” she complained, pouting a little and frowning at him.

“So show me” Angel replied and snapping out an arm, pushed her shoulder and then caught her so that she ended up with only his hands on her shoulders and one knee underneath her ass, holding her off the floor – totally helpless.Oh yeah, this is going to be great fun, she thought sarcastically.

“It’s a good thing you move fast buster – or I’d have some serious bruises on my ass”. She was still almost vertical and had to look up into his face, which was over hers.

“Don’t worry about bruises, you’re gonna get loads of em. It’s natural during training”. Let her up, asshole, he told himself and reluctantly pulled them both upright again.

“That’s easy for you to say, super healing vamp – me I’m a mere mortal remember”. This time it was her turn to point at her chest.

Angel struggled not to follow that slender finger with his eyes, he hadn’t failed to notice the tightness of her nipples earlier, which was why he hadn’t been able to speak for a few moments while he got over that little image and his bodies reaction to it. Thankfully her babbling had helped.

“That’s precisely why you have to train harder than anyone – you’re the weakest and need to be able to fight those that are stronger than you”.

She gaped at him, “You’re kidding right, how long’s that going to take – try forever”. A thought occurred to her and her eyes narrowed into dangerous angry slits, “I’m not the slayer and don’t want to be”, she told him anger making the tone harsh.

He didn’t take the bait, “I know you’re not, Cordelia, if you were we wouldn’t be here right now”. He moved closer, crowding her, wanting the conversation ended. “Now stop stalling and get ready”.

Cordelia really, really didn’t trust that smile and did her best to ignore the things it did to her insides.

***

A few hours later, exhausted and yes, a little stiff and sore; Cordelia lay in the lobby, draped over the couch with her legs up trying to relax with her head leaning against the armrest. She heard feet approaching and cracked open an eye.

“So, how did the first training session go”? It was Gunn and he looked genuinely amused but sympathetic too, so she let him get away with the amusement.

“Don’t ask – ever”. She throbbed all over, she ached in muscles she hadn’t even known existed and worse than all of that; she was jumpy and jittery and …. Oh my God, aroused? Horrified she sat up and looked frantically around, startling Gunn who reached out a hand to steady her.

“What’s up, what’s the matter Cor, c’mon you’re scaring me here”? Gunn was passed being amused, she looked really scared. What the hell had happened was it Angel – had he done something to her?

Cordy looked at him blankly and then shocked the living hell out of him with her next statement. “I need to get laid – fast”.

Part 5

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in Complete

Possession Is Nine Tenths 1-2   Leave a comment

Title: Possession Is Nine Tenths
Author: Helen
Posted: 24/08/03
Rating: NC-17
Email
Category: Some action and little bit of language
Content:
Summary: This is in response to Cali’s S2 challenge and is AU – I wanted to add a little change too in the fact that Angel goes back as Boss!!
Spoilers: Set S2 after Epiphany [AU- no pylea!]
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Please ask
Notes: Challenge: Bottom of page.
Thanks/Dedication:
Feedback: Yes, Gimme


Part 1

ANGEL

Angel watched them through the glass of the ‘new’ offices, they were discussing what had happened and he knew he figured in the conversation. His best guess was Wesley was kinda happy about him turning over another ‘new leaf’, Gunn was suspicious and Cordy – well Cordy would be … he didn’t know and that was the worst part because her reaction was the most important.

Why that was, was something he didn’t want to dwell on, all he knew was that when she’d brushed him off at the house, it had cut him deeply. Maybe it was almost understandable, she’d been with him the longest and shared more with him than either Wesley or Gunn, but that didn’t explain the need he felt inside. He wasn’t used to waiting for things and that was one of his biggest flaws; impatience – knowing that didn’t stop it though, he wanted her back and he wanted her now!

Suddenly he couldn’t wait any longer and he got out of the car and crossed the street, pushing open the glass door but then stilling, looking at them look at him. He saw them as if in slow motion, stop talking and face him. Wesley was slightly embarrassed, Gunn arrogant and Cordy – dammit she looked – cold. Something seized inside his chest and he looked down and away from her face as he closed the door behind him.

“Angel, we were just … erm that is to say”, Wesley faltered at the look of hope on Angel’s face, his own eyes flickered and he wished for the hundredth time that he wasn’t spokesperson for the group. He cleared his throat and looked back at the other two.

“We haven’t yet decided if were ready to come back and work for you”, he finished, looking back at the vampire and steeling himself for whatever the reaction would be.

“I understand”, replied Angel quietly, he looked at Cordelia standing behind Wes and just to the side, she looked back at him, her face serene but her eyes were anything but, hot fire shot out of them.

He looked back at Wesley, “If you change your mind, you know were to find me”, he turned to leave and his hand had barely touched the handle of the door, when he heard Wesley ask in a surprised and none too happy voice, “That’s it, nothing else to say”?

He turned back, his expression a mixture of contriteness and calm composure, “What else can I say, I made terrible mistakes and lost your trust so until that changes or you’re willing to give it another shot, there’s little I can say”

Wesley opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by Cordelia as she yelped in pain, hands clutching her head, falling towards the floor. Cordy had been watching the two men, well – one man and one vampire; mentally cheering herself and the other two for not caving into Angel as soon as he deigned to show his face at their door.

But then the crushing pain of the vision obliterated all other thought and she knew she was going to be covered in bruises from a fall she couldn’t save herself from. That was the last thing she thought before the images crowded inside, and the feelings, pain and suffering and fear all suffocated her as they took over, until at last it receded and she came back to herself.

“Why am I not on the floor”? She asked with a quizzical look on her strained, pale and yet still beautiful face, then she felt the hands that were supporting her at her waist; they moved to her shoulders once she was steadier and she didn’t need to look to see it was him.

Despite herself, she couldn’t help but think back to a time when that was normal or even expected that he would always save her from hurt, but not now she resolved and moved forward so that his hands fell away from her stiffened body.

Angel felt her stiffen in his hands and was suffused with an almost irresistible urge to tighten his hands and haul her back and make her acknowledge him, even if only to shout, yell or turn round and hit him – anything but the freezing effect of her tight face and body. Instead he let her go; his expression carefully controlled so as not to give his thoughts away.

“There’s a bunch of nasty demony things about to start snacking on some drunken teens in a park, I think it’s the one around the corner from the ‘Sunshine Play center’ not far from my apartment”, she looked at Wesley the whole time but had to concentrate hard not to feel Angel behind her, all along her back.

Gunn stepped forward, “Let’s get going then”, he brushed past Angel on his way towards the door.

“Need any help”? Asked Angel, Wesley and Gunn looked back at him and then at each other.

“We never say no to help,” replied Wesley carefully – avoiding Cordelia’s eyes when they immediately shot sparks towards him.

“Fine you can drive”, Said Cordelia to Angel, her frosty expression still in place, daring him to object to the authoritive tone in her voice. He didn’t, just nodded and gestured to the door, “I have weapons in the trunk, if you want to use them”.

“We know that dumbass, it’s only been what – 3 months since we used to work for you”, this time she didn’t give him a chance to respond but just sailed out the door with her head high.

Angel watched her, chanting an internal refrain about ‘practicing patience’ and not giving in to the desire to *really* give her something to get snooty about. Check that thought, he shook his head and followed them out, closing the door behind him.

***

Later that night he sat in his favorite chair, fingers folded over his taut stomach as he contemplated the past few days and especially the last night. He sighed using un-needed breath but vaguely comforted by the action.

The fight had been over fairly quickly but vicious for all it’s speed and Cordelia – even now his belly twisted in fear, shit when the hell had she become so damned reckless, he’d had to pick her up and move her out of the way when she’d nearly got herself gutted by a steel pole that had been broken off a re-enforced steel fence by one of the demons fighting for it’s life. Not that she’d appreciated that, afterwards she’d yelled at him to ‘keep your hands to yourself, thank you’.

His brows raised again, identical to his reaction at the time, if she thought that just because he had some serious amends to make that he would let her put herself in danger – well she had another think coming! Especially now Wesley and Gunn had agreed to come back, Cordy had just stood there and glowered but he took her silence for grudging agreement too.

He was only just starting to make headway in getting back into their lives, despite her objections, and he was double damned if he was going to lose all chance to win her back because she was too pigheaded to let him protect her like he was supposed to. He might be late back to the party but hell; he was going to make sure they all stayed alive including his bossy, opinionated but utterly gorgeous and impossibly provocative seer.

He frowned, his? – Hell when had he started thinking of her as his? He cast his mind back and relaxed – thinking about it, he always had, at least as long as she’d worked for him in LA. He ignored the fact that while that was true – Cordy’s reaction to him tonight had somehow made it more personal than that, much more.

CORDY

It was late and she should be in bed, but her restless mind wouldn’t let her sleep and it was all Angel’s fault. Him and his damned ability to just get forgiven for everything – some guys were like that, you felt an almost irresistible need to just take them back time after time no matter what.

“Well not me, no way Buster are you getting off so easy”, irritated that her thoughts had circled back to him she slapped the magazine she’d been pretending to read back on the table beside the couch and stood up to pace.

“We were doing OK and sure we might have died tonight if not for him – but that was the first time … well OK there have been hairy moments but still I’m sure we could have made it out OK on our own”

Disgusted that she couldn’t convince even herself she flopped back down on the couch and watched as the TV suddenly came on, Dennis’s attempt to distract her, “Thanks Dennis but I’m not in the mood for watching anything actiony – too close to home ya’ know”, so the TV switched off again.

“I will not let him hurt me again – from now on we just work together, no more being friends or trying to pull him out of his shell – he can rot in there for all I care”, she rubbed at suddenly stinging eyes.

“So I’m back working for psycho vamp – well that’s just great”, she crossed her arms tightly over her chest and stared out with hot eyes at nothing, “He better not think he can tell me what to do like before – I’m not the same person as last time and he’s just gonna have to get used to it”

All the same she wasn’t looking forward to pitting her will against his; she hated doing stuff where she wasn’t guaranteed to come out on top. She had a mental image of herself on top of him, pinning him down by those shoulders….

She sprang back up, eyes wide and mouth open in shock at the direction her thoughts had taken her, “WHOAH, what the hell was that – Ewwww that’s gross”.

She flung her feet off the couch after having tucked them under herself and stomped to the bathroom to clean her teeth again, hoping the ritual would trick her mind into feeling tired, but doubting it would. “Dammit Angel – my life is a mess and it’s all you’re fault”.

ANGEL TWO DAYS LATER

“Were not friends anymore, we just work together”

Those words from the day before were drilled into his head and the worst part about it was that she hadn’t actually been trying to hurt him; she’d meant every word and god it hurt!

He hadn’t been able to reply past the knot in his throat but had ducked away and Wesley, sensing that had jumped in and distracted everybody, for which Angel had been grateful. Then the debacle with Cordy’s ex-best friend Harmony had happened further distracting everyone but him, but nothing took the sting away not even the grandiose scheme of an ex-human life coach turned vampire.

She brushed him off or closed him down every time he tried to talk to her about anything not strictly work related and even then she kept is short and to the point, she was driving him crazy. Then there was that sticky and awkward moment when she’d finally opened up enough to tell him some of the reasons for her anger.

Clothes and Darla, dammit he’d forgotten about the clothes and winced at the memory and then there was Darla – If she ever found about him doing the horizontal mambo with Darla before he came to his senses, damn he didn’t want to even think about what her reaction would be.

“How the hell am I going to get past her anger and make it better?”, according to Wesley the only thing was time, Angel had hurt Cordelia and she no longer trusted him – not exactly earth shattering news to the vampire, he knew that but still he needed Wesley on his side so he’d just nodded and waited, hoping the presents he’d brought her would make her soften.

There was yell from the next room and Angel stiffened, she’d found them he squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and crossed his fingers and hoped that he’d done the right thing – he’d deliberated for half the night before finally giving in to the impulse and bullying a shopkeeper he knew into opening his store in the middle of the night.

The door came open and Cordelia walked in with clothes draped over her arms, her face was alight with glee and she looked quizzically at Wesley who looked with utter astonishment at the clothes arrayed in the next room, Cordy’s eyes narrowed at his obvious shock and she swung to face Angel.

He could tell the second the truth sank in, the light went out from her face and she looked uncomfortable for a moment before smiling at him with careful and distant politeness. “Did you buy these”, she lifted her arm to indicate the colorful items.

The sinking feeling had already started in his belly so he just nodded and stuffed his hands in the pockets of his black jeans, rocking back on his heels in an awkward attempt to look casual when he said “Yeah, there to you know….”, he swallowed when her eyes narrowed on him with unmistakable anger, “replace the stuff I gave away”.

“You didn’t give away this much of my stuff so what did you do, throw in someone else’s stuff too and get confused”? She asked him with arched brows.

A stab of irritation at her tone came through the crushing disappointment and he narrowed his own eyes at her, dark brown clashed with Hazel, “No I guess I just forgot”, he said shortly. “If you don’t like them put some aside and I’ll take them back”.

She raised her chin, “Oh I like them” she told him, “You have good taste for someone who’s recently come off a psycho trip”, the sarcasm in that single sentence could have stripped paint.

Angel walked around the desk and past Wesley, leaving the room before he gave in to the urge to throttle her.


PART 2

CORDY

It was a hot day and Cordy had gotten sick and tired of sitting back at the office – with nothing to do but surf the net and flip through magazines all day. So she told Wes she was going out and simply left.

It has nothing to do with Angel being due to rise – she told herself; confident she was convincing herself at least, maybe not Wes though, who had given her a resigned and yet understanding look before she’d managed to slip away.

She wandered through the mall wishing she could just go home but knowing that would be the first place Angel tried to get hold of her – so she didn’t.

She came upon a shop she loved and the sign proclaiming ‘sale’ would normally have had her salivating at the prospect of some bargains, but nothing caught her interest as she browsed, totally out of character for ‘shop-aholic’ girl.

She was wandering down the aisle when she heard herself say “Angel’s gonna hit the roof” – Whoa, were the hell did that come from?

“Huh I sooo don’t give a crap” she told herself fiercely, snatching a piece of lingerie off a rail and looking at the tag but not really taking it in and beside it was purple, Oh gross not my color.

Yeah but he’s you’re boss again.

“So what – what’s he gonna do fire me again”! Her eyes narrowed at the thought, so tall dark and broody’s gonna have a fit, because she took off early – well screw him and his overbearing, arrogant….

“Can I help you”? Asked a friendly voice, causing Cordy to blink and focus on the Sales Assistant that was smiling at her cautiously and pointing at the underwear she was crushing in her hands.

ANGEL

He paced the lobby, boots ringing on the tiles and pierced Wesley with another look from under angrily lowered brows, “Did you at least ask her where she was going” he was all but snarling and didn’t give a rat’s ass!

“No” replied Wesley calmly, only briefly looking up from the book her was using as a reference. “It didn’t come up”.

Angel had to bite his lip to prevent the hot words of rebuke that were poised on the tip of his tongue.

He stiffly made his way to the basement door and slammed it shut behind him, on the other side he clenched his fists and raising his face upwards gave a silent growl of frustrated rage.

God, how he hated having to pretend to be all ‘stable and non-emotional’ guy to appease the others. Most of the time he understood why and didn’t resent it – after all it was deserved with all the crap that had happened during the whole ‘beige’ period and Darla insanity.

He was making progress with both Wesley and Gunn – but getting nowhere fast with Cordelia; damn her unforgiving hide – which more and more these days he felt an urge to take a strip off. Infuriating wench!

He felt pumped up and knew that he would end up giving Wes the willies if he stayed up there – so he stripped off his shirt and tossing it over the railing, headed for the punching bag to work off some of his tension.

CORDY’S APARTMENT

Cordy was sitting comfortably on the couch, a bag of potato chips next to her feet – tucked up under her bottom in her favorite slouching position, watching a golden oldie on the TV – Who doesn’t love good old Frank in Casablanca.

The lamp lit her perfectly and he could see her through the window from the roof of the building opposite; she casually flicked her hair back and picked up the bag of chips to start munching – intent on the screen and totally unaware she was being watching.

Narrowed dark eyes flickered over her and surveyed the apartment, even from this distance and knowing it was hopeless he sniffed the breeze, helpless to stop from checking it out. From what he could tell – she was alone. He walked away with one final unknowingly, longing look at her.

Cordy’s neck tingled and she rubbed it absently, then something made her look up and stare out of the window behind her – nothing, at least nothing she could see!

She shook her head to free the mental cobwebs and stood up to stretch and meander her way for a nice hot soak in the tub.

THE HYPERION HOTEL – NEXT DAY (AM)

“Angel, you’re up early” Said Wesley in a surprised tone, looking blankly at the dark haired vampire as he strode down the stairs, and heading for the office.

“Yeah” replied Angel uninformatively; disappearing through the wooden frame, dark eyes searching for her and not finding her. He spun around and with hands on hips – glared at the ex-watcher.

“Where the hell is she now”? He demanded, not waiting for a response before stalking around the lobby and checking all of the obvious places, before coming back to stand in front of the Englishman.

“Erm – she mentioned something about a hair appointment” Said Wesley, clearing his throat when the vampire looked like he was about ready to explode.

Angel raised both hands in a gesture of frustrated disbelief, ” A hair appointment”? He tried to keep his voice down but could hear the edge in it himself.

“Yes – exactly” replied Wesley raising his brows and watching as Angel’s narrowed too – before he turned away, hiding his anger and frustration.

“Angel”, Wesley followed him into the office, “We need to talk”

“Not now, Wesley” replied Angel doing his damndest to look busy – too busy for enlightening ‘chats’ on his behavior around Cordelia.

Just then both men heard the clickety clack of high heels on the tiles of the lobby and before Wesley could even blink, Angel was out the door.

Cordelia almost skidded to a halt when she found herself confronted with a broad, black covered chest, appearing like a solid wall in front of her startled face – Angel.

“Angel, what are you doing up”? It was the first thing that sprang to her lips – damn now he knew that she’d skipped out when he was ‘supposed’ to be asleep.

“Never mind that”, he crossed his arms and took a deep breath, trying to loosen the tension her presence always seemed to cause him – “What the hell do you think you’re doing skipping work twice for personal stuff”?

CRAP! “I think I’ve burnt the midnight oil enough in the past to deserve a break when we’re quiet don’t you?” she snapped back, pushing past him to drop her bag on the counter and walk around it to her desk, trying to put some distance between her and him.

She didn’t know he’d followed her until he leaned down, arms braced on the desk to glare down at her, “I’ll be the judge of that – ‘Boss’ remember”?

“As if I could forget that joyous fact – Boss“; sarcasm, deadly sharp dripped from every syllable.

She stood up and faced him, her arms crossed in an identical posture to his and ignoring the fluttering on her belly that she attributed to nerves.

Wesley stood in the doorway of Angel’s office and watched the pair with concern written on his face – wishing he could disappear and not have to witness the pure electrical charge that seemed to arc between seer and vampire again.

It used to be me and Cordelia that fought like cat and dog, but now – well call me insane but I wish that hadn’t changed. He didn’t like this new ‘dynamic’ between Cordelia and Angel – it seemed a little too hot for his piece of mind.

“Don’t you think we should be …” Wesley didn’t get to finish the sentence, an attempt to distract them – before both turned on him.

“Shut up, Wesley” their voices and eyes fierce and full of resentment at the interruption of their feud.

Well excuse me for interrupting your ‘bonding'” Wesley snapped back angrily and pointing towards the door, “but we have a visitor”

Both Angel and Cordelia had the grace to blush when they saw the timid looking man standing at the top of the stairs and looking down at them with a slightly shocked expression.

“Hi David, how are you”? Asked Cordelia with false cheer, Angel just looked at him and stuffed his hands in his pockets trying not to look embarrassed at being caught having a ‘spat’ with one of his employees.

CORDY

“What an Asshole”, OK she was repeating herself for about the millionth time, but she was entitled. “Is there any woman out there as unlucky as me – visions from hell, visions of hell, the boss from hell – I mean c’mon, gimme a frickin’ break here” she said appealing to on ‘high’ with rolling eyes.

A quick check of her watch had her cursing under her breath and trying to walk faster in the damn shoes she was wearing – she loved them and all, but damn they we’re not suited to mad dashes over distances greater than twenty foot.

That was Angel’s fault too, she could hardly believe it when he’d actually refused to let her leave early; well OK, at first but then all of a sudden he’d caved in – all charm and smiles, Suspicious much?

Only not early enough and she was still going to be late. Dammit – why had he waited to almost the last minute before deciding she could leave? “Dumbass”.

Luckily the bored security guard at the desk had just told her to go on up and she was finally here, she knocked at the door and took a deep cleansing breath; smiling hard because she’d read somewhere it released endorphins into your blood and made you ‘feel’ happier and – boy! Could she do with some of those right now.

The door was opened by a tall – really big man, obviously a bodyguard and she smiled and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Cordelia Chase and I’m here to see Mr Bottomson” – ack what a name but beggars couldn’t be choosers and she so needed her acting career to take off right now.

The guard gave her a once over and then smirked at her – knowingly? Huh, what was his problem? “Sure right this way Cordelia” He said smarmily; so incongruous with the way he looked.

She followed his broad black-jacketed back into the apartment and looked around with little interest; trying not to tug at her cropped slinky top, which didn’t quite meet her low-slung brown velvet hipsters. For some reason in this situation she hated the fact that her midriff was bare.

“Ms Chaste, welcome to my home” said an effusive voice, she turned around and frowned at him, “It’s Chase, but thanks”. She took the proffered hand and inspected the ‘industry’ contact that her reluctant agent had arranged for her to meet with.

He was a walking cliché, too tanned, too old, going to paunch with designer gear to cover it up and lots of gold bracelets – Ewwww!

“Apologies, apologies – come in and get comfortable, I’ve just uncorked the wine”. He smiled at her – well not her face just her breasts. “Thank you Donald you may leave now and do make sure you shut the door behind you”.

“Sure Mr Bottomson” He sounded disappointed and cast the now seated Cordelia a wistful look, which unsurprisingly – raised her discomfort level by several notches.

“You understand why I’m here don’t you”? Asked Cordelia, deciding to go straight for the kill – and then get the heck out of dodge.

“Why certainly I do sweetness, you’re yet another wannabe starlet and you want me to pull some favors and get you in the door, am I right”?

Put like that it sounded as sleazy as hell – crap!

“That would be nice – but what do you expect in return for you’re pulling favors”? Asked Cordelia; a sinking feeling pulling at her insides – as if they were weighted with lead or something.

“You look like a smart girl Cordelia so I’ll cut to the chase” – he smirked at his own totally intended pun, “Take off your clothes and we’ll work it out”

Cordelia only just refrained from rolling her eyes; stopped mainly by the fact that she didn’t dare take her eyes off the glistening orbs of the slime ball in front of her. “Like that’s ever gonna happen”.

“I beg your pardon” the slime balls eyes narrowed and lips pursed at her sarcastically deadpan response, uttered with total calm assurance.

“So you should; you are nothing but a dirty sleazy old man and if you try and lay a finger on me – I’ll snap it off and feed it to my dog” or vampire – hah, at least I have one of those!

“I don’t like being teased Ms Case, or having my valuable time wasted – I was told you were desperate”.

Cordelia cut in with a cold tone, “That maybe so – but there’s desperate and then there’s desperate, so you can kiss my a-” She didn’t get to finish before a glass of wine was thrown into her face, she gasped and blinked.

Before she could recover her eyesight, hard hands grabbed her by her shoulders, ripping the thin fabric of her top with cruel twists. She yelped loudly and pulled herself flatter, trying to evade his hands and raising her knees to stop him from pressing his body to hers, but he was so damn heavy that all he had to do was lever in and she was being crushed into the couch cushions.

Before she could scream or sob in fear and anger – she heard a strangled ‘yowdle’ coming from her attacker and looked jerkily upwards as the weight was removed from her in a sudden burst of movement – in a daze she watched as the fat bastard went flying into a wall; landing with a literal splat in a comical splayed pose – before dropping to the floor, face scraping the wall and leaving a trail of blood.

Jerkily she turned her head and stared into furious dark eyes – she looked down his body to the hand that was still clutching the bodyguard by the scruff of his neck. Angel dropped the half strangled man to jerk off his coat and then started to unbutton his shirt.

Cordelia watched in a daze, uncomprehending but too overwhelmed by the past half hour to wonder why he would do that. The question was soon answered when he handed the garment over to her.

“Here, put this on” he told her gruffly, the expression on his face showed he was furious with her – but he wasn’t going to unleash it on her until she was safe and in a better frame of mind to receive it.

Part 3

Challenge: 

Recap of the details: S2 after Epiphany. Don’t want the clothes bribe working. There is major subtext and sexual tension through most of it, where Angel is slowly starting to question his reactions to anything to do with Cordy and how he becomes more aware of her as time goes by. Cordy is still angry and wary of him. Angel alternates between trying to appease her and getting pissed off with her. Gradually the possessiveness/jealousy cant be ignored when she starts dating a guy on a regular basis, and he finds himself stalking them on her dates- relieved to find out it hasnt gone beyond kissing.Though that pisses him off too! Cordy is also questioning her response to Angel. She too finds herself covering hot responses with anger. Tension spirals.

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in Complete

A Christmas Day Well Spent   Leave a comment

Title: A Christmas Day Well Spent
Author: Amanda  (aka Manders)
Posted:
Rating: PG-13
Email
Category:
Content: C/A, duh!
Summary: “I got you a Christmas gift, its nothing great but its special, I remembered that you wanted it from before…”
Spoilers: Post S4
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Anywhere just let me know
Notes: This is my absolute first dive into writing fic, so if it’s lacking I have an excuse! It’s not really very christmasy, but just go with it! Kat, you’re the best beta ever, thank you for all your help! If you hadn’t of asked I’d still only be a reader of fic, now thanks to you I can say I write.
Thanks/Dedication: For Cali, I told you I would show you my appreciation for your great talent one day!
Feedback: Duh! Yes please.


Slowly walking down the private hallway to her door he peered through the expansive windows into her room. His stomach squelched at the apprehension he felt for the lack of times he’d managed to visit her bedside.

He tried to dismiss his concerns,*running a formerly evil law firm and saving innocents is demanding*. Rubbing his side to try and ease the burning he felt in the lining of his belly – he swore it felt as though his blood had been mixed with holy water – the vampire instincts that had kept him alive for over two and a half centuries kicked in as his heightened senses tried to assess what lay in wait for him.

His sensitive ears picked up the incessant beeping of the heart monitor, keeping him from ambling in there like her stillness really didn’t bother him at all.

As he inched closer towards her doorway the foot of a luxurious deep mahogany bed came into view. Coming nearer, an outline of a figure under the blankets could be seen, and he found his eyes fixated on the prone body as his gaze followed the curves up to the head of the bed. Foolishly believing that he was ready to see her lying comatose in a bed after so long apart and so much happening he stepped through into her room. He froze as her breathtaking countenance registered in his head; his seer, his best-friend, his love was even more beautiful in eternal slumber, if that was at all possible.

Sighing with the relief that for one more day he could memorize each and every individual feature that made up her mesmerizing beauty – although sadly she could not grant him her dazzling smile, he dragged the chair over to sit at her bedside.

Reaching for Cordelia’s limp hand resting beside her on the mattress Angel weaved his fingers through hers to try and establish some semblance of a connection. The prospect that one day she may be able to reply with disdain to his ‘archaic dribble’ brought a reminiscent smile to his handsome face. Not knowing what exactly to say to her when he knew she wouldn’t give him a reply, he decided to just start with why he was here.

“It’s Christmas day…but I’m sure you already know that.”

His eyes went to hers, anticipating a “duh” to easily slip from her mouth, but he was sorely reminded that nothing would be escaping from between those luscious lips except her discarded breath.

“Fred tells me that she comes to visit you a lot up here, that’s good…not that you’re here…but that you can hear a familiar voice…” he trailed off feeling that persistent knot in his abdomen tighten.

Angel welcomed the uneasiness he was feeling, if only to remind him that as his un-life continued on filled with the power, wealth, and prestige of Wolfram and Hart, Cordelia was locked away somewhere; someplace he just couldn’t find or reach this time. The doctors and all their tests professed that her brainwave activity was of the living but he begged to differ. As testament the days, weeks, and months passed by as she remained in an indefinite sleep; Angel knew to her that was far from what she considered to be living.

Because of his mission – it never should have become hers, he sees that now – Cordelia’s vibrancy and her unique positivism for what was to come tomorrow was ultimately stolen from her; that stabbed him the deepest of all. His part in her distress fuelled the guilt that was eating him from inside out. For so long before Cordelia had wormed her way into his life and slowly changed his reclusive, stoic demeanour, emotions had been scarce and those that arose were firmly guarded by his emotionless exterior. Now, however, the only thing that kept him from walking into the sun were the emotions that she inspired in him.

Brought from his solemn reverie by the red and green twinkling lights of the Christmas tree that decorated the corner, Angel reached into his suit jacket. No longer did he don his leather duster, it simply wasn’t the appropriate armour for a CEO.

“I got you a Christmas gift, it’s nothing great but it’s special, I remembered that you wanted it from before…” his mind drifted to a time when his seer was very much a part of his daily amusement.

***

“No wonder her CD’s doing more suckage than my vacuum during a jackass-who-shall-remain-nameless inspired cleaning frenzy, she can’t sing!”

Sitting at her desk supposedly fulfilling her duties as Angel Investigations secretary, Cordelia scanned the pages of Connor’s magazine that she’d found wedged between the cushions of the couch. As far as she was concerned Holtz had spent far too much time teaching Connor to fight and not enough on picking up after himself. Just then she heard the door to Angel’s office open as he made his way towards her.

“Cordy, do you have the Jameson’s file?” Knowing her filing system rarely accounted for client’s names he threw her something she’d remember, “The couple who had the Thykras demon living under their bed?”

A look of recognition crossed her face, “Talk about the ultimate birth control. Imagine finding out that your biggest childhood fear really wasn’t a myth – right as you’re going at it in bed. And I thought my one and only sex-capade was traumatic.”

Swallowing hard, Angel pretended to have not heard her end remark as he took the offered file from her hand, sex and Cordelia in the same thought only produced excess saliva and that had already pegged him with the unfortunate name ‘drooley.’

As Angel flicked through the contents of the file, Cordelia thrust the discarded magazine in his way making him sigh at her choice of behaviour in acquiring his attention once again.

“I want to add this to my way short Christmas list.” Cordelia announced, motioning with her eyes to the magazine cover.

Closing the file and sitting it to rest back on the desk, Angel folded his muscular arms across his broad chest. “What, a subscription to Rolling Stones magazine? Why Cordelia, I didn’t know you had such a deep passion for music news.” Angel’s mouth upturned into a tiny smirk as he teased his seer.

“I don’t you dumbass,” she replied with a cutting edge. “But now that you mention it my subscription to Cosmo’s up next month and you could stick it under office expenses.” Her tone sweetened as she tried to hide the habitual reproach that had seconds ago slipped from her mouth.

“Nice try, but I really don’t think you reading Cosmo’s ‘Six easy steps to master a manicure’ or ‘How to pleasure your man 69 ways’ is going to benefit any of us here at the office.”

“Oh I don’t know about that Angel, I’m sure I could use one of those articles to help you out.” She replied with an all too obvious meaning. “Then again, considering you’re really just a prissy boy hiding behind that dark scowl and leathery goodness, it’d probably be your nails receiving the divine treatment.”

His lax and drooling jaw suddenly twitched into a tight line, her attack on his masculinity squelching any trace of the naughty fantasies brought forth by her suggestive remark.

With flick of her wrist and the follow through of her hand, Cordelia was quick to halt the direction of that rapidly souring conversation.

“Getting back to me and what I want, I was talking about the Rolling Stones CD ‘Forty Licks’.”

Confusing Angel’s blank stare of astonishment as his equally blank stare of confusion, Cordelia clarified, “You know, the band.” Her face dropped with resignation, “or maybe you don’t.”

He truly was a pop-culture retard and it looked as though after all she’d done to try and bring him closer to the world in which he ‘lived’ she’d failed miserably. In the end if you didn’t understand something as fundamental to the evolution of music as the Rolling Stones then there simply was no hope left for you.

“Yeah, I know, I just thought you were a little young for that era.”

Too caught up in her relief that he in fact wasn’t doomed for all eternity, it took a split second for Cordelia to process what he’d said.

“Era?!…Jeez Angel, what are you deficient? Era is to imply a time been and gone, when people didn’t bathe. Hello, they’re still here, and they look pretty clean to me! Besides, too young? I knew who Barry Manilow was, and they were all friends back in the day, right. I mean when you all share a line off the coffee table, how could you not be? I know, I’ve seen Studio 54.” Cordelia finished with a point of her finger as if she’d just explained it all.

“I really don’t think Barry Manilow would have done ‘a line off the coffee table’ as you so aptly put it, especially not with Mick Jagger. Anyway, vampires don’t usually do coke themselves they’d rather ingest it through a human, the blood is like an expensive Irish whiskey to a thirsty man, bitter at the first taste but improves decidedly the more you consume. It’s highly addictive stuff which invokes an instant high the moment the tangy elixir crosses your tongue and slides down your throat. Your whole body undergoes a tingly warmth, and your cold dead body feels alive from head to toe, it relaxes you to the point where…or so I’ve been told by…by…Spike, that’s who told me.”

Seeing her disbelieving eyes and her mouth ready to reply, Angel’s head dropped quickly to the edge of the desk to locate the file…*wait, what the crap , where’s that fucking file?*

Abruptly scanning the surrounding area for the piece of shit that had him evacuate the safe haven of his office, he was determined to make a grab for it and run. Finding it in the clutches of his highly intuitive seer, Angel recognized the calculating smirk on her face for what it was – the I’m-gunna-manipulate-the-hell-outta-you-to-get-the-truth-to-what-I-really-want-to-know smirk.

*Here goes with the trying to explain my ass out of this one. Huh! When did I start feeding from users? Was it in Prague, with Spike, or London maybe.*

Angel was snapped from categorizing his many days of drugged up mayhem as Cordelia inquired, “Mick Jagger’s a vampire? What, your vamp-dar can just sense a vampire without having to be physically near them, pfftt! I don’t think so!”

“What do you think his over-sized rubber lips are for? Huh? I’ll tell you what they’re for, to hide his fangs.”

Knowing when he’d been handed a gift horse and not wanting to break its stride right into another topic of discussion away from himself, he helped it along. “Besides, Manilow so rocks – he’s a legend in his own right. He has concerts just like all those popular singers. I know ’cause I went to one of them.” It was now his turn to use his snippet of pop-culture participation to defend his argument.

“Name one song he sings,” Cordy demanded, and as Angel’s mouth opened to reply she cut him off, “besides your beloved, much massacred, ‘Mandy’.”

As predicted by the all-knowing Cordelia, he had no hope in hell of answering her – probably because he’d used that get out of jail free card a couple of years back when he returned to Sunnydale – but felt stuttering was a much better option than nothing at all.

“Aghh…there’s…that one about the other girl…or guy…or both…”

“That’s what I thought you’d try but fail to say.”

Finding it easier from experience to wait it out for her to breeze into a vocalization of her approaching thoughts rather than trying to guess what would tumble from her unpredictable mouth, Angel calmly stood telling himself that his need for that worthless file and not his need for Cordy time – no matter how confused he became – was the reason he remained.

Just as he’d predicted she exclaimed with a look of pure disgust, “Couldn’t he have at least picked a less ‘Hi, I’m a skanky blond bimbo name’?”

“I think his parents named him Barry, but now that you mention it I see its skanky bimbo merits…” he mumbled while contemplating this enlightenment.

Her expression turned to that of utter bewilderment as his inability to keep up and as a testament continued on, “Amanda just smells of peroxide and herpes cream. Cordelia would have been a much more sophisticated and elegant individual to sing about.”

“Nuh uh, you can’t promote your own name! That’s like those fanatical moms at baby shows that swear their ugly little mutt of a kid is the most gorgeous face ever. It’s completely biased. It’s just wrong.”

Her eyes darted from side to side frantically as Angel’s disregard of her statement had her desperately searching for the appropriate answer. The day he ever won an argument concerning the talent of Barry Manilow was the day she literally kissed Little-Miss-Likes-to-Fight’s ass, and that was certainly out of the question.

Replying with the first thing that popped into her brain, she cried “Sach!”

Eyes bugging from their sockets, Angel inquired “Snatch? Did you just suggest he sing about a female’s genitalia?”

If his face could flush from the blood rushing to his head he’d be able to light the way for Santa’s sleigh and give poor over-worked Rudolph a rest. But it wasn’t his vampirism that was the immediate problem; it was that his blood was all concentrating at the wrong head.

“Angel,you perve. Of course not! I said SACH. Let me clarify that for you.” She spelt the letters slowly, “S-A-C-H. Now we can both move beyond the sexual roadblock your primitive male brain erects. It’s amazing, men really do think about sex every 6 seconds.”

His cock could attest to that! The day had barely begun and his mammoth flesh felt like a worn out party balloon at a fourth grader’s birthday bash. Her smile, her scent, like sticky cake smeared lips, had inflated him. But just as the now disinterested child brings all puffing to a halt, he is left abandoned to deflate. Thought to be deserted, but seconds later a fruit punch stained pout secures it once again. Her laugh, her touch – form is breathed into the stretched skin. But once again it’s over before it really began.

Hissing can be heard as the tightness recedes. There will always be another to come along – her breathy voice, her beautiful face, and her glistening skin all make the next time easier to inflate again. Stretched more times than can count, it’s left unfulfilled and forgotten once again; the process destined to be repeated by the days end. Finally, like the over blown party balloon, his penis is inflated as far as it can when all he desires is some semblance of a release.

“Gunn, I could so kiss your smooth chocolate butt right now.”

The remark from her sharp tongue disintegrated any evidence of its bloated size, like the prick of a pin to the balloon’s skin. A release, but far from the one he was hoping for. Like a cross to the flesh, Cordelia’s betrayal of affections brought him from his sexual analogy while depressing his all too familiar “happy” friend. He fumed internally * I’m not supposed to ever add that verb to my oh so full palate of experienced emotions but my big mini-me visits this state not so far off her estimated 6 seconds a day. Such is the irony of un-life. When was he ever going to reach his godforsaken redemption? An existence filled with sexual frustration was the worst punishment of all.*

Leaving him stuck in his brooding mode, Cordelia charged towards Gunn for the succulent treasure he’d traversed the treacherous land to find – well, actually just her vegetable fried rice he drove two blocks to pick up at Ling’s Wok. She was starving so to her it may as well have been the map to the Lost City of Atlantis or the buried crown of King Charles, or whatever else was of great mystery to civilization today.

“Don’t let Fred hear what ya’ gunna do to m’ass Barbie, or she won’t let me out to fetch ya dinner. My girl’s territorial when it comes to my booty; her clammy little hands need something to hold on too.” A teasing smile adorned his face.

Unloading the various foods he’d picked up from numerous takeout joints because the three of them couldn’t come to an agreement, Gunn claimed his pizza and Fred’s half a dozen tacos and headed for the stairs.

“Speaking of Fred and her clammy hands, I’d better get her taco’s to her before they get a mind of their own and she starts writing all over the walls again.” With a humongous grin and enthusiastic strides he bound up the stairs to her room.

Gunn’s resolute excitement at the mere mention of the once skittish and fragile Fred, did not go unnoticed by the ever observant Cordelia. Although Fred idolized Cordelia and strived for any measure of acceptance from her as a friend, as a sister, Cordy was the first to acknowledge her jealousy of the blossoming Fred. To have someone that loved her with all his heart, as Gunn so clearly does for Fred, was all she’d ever wanted from life; what she to this day had never received from anyone and started to believe she never would. *Depressing much!*

Determined not to be sucked in by the glowering vibes radiating from her desk area where she’d left Mr. Broody himself, she offered to share with him her fried rice. Often she encouraged him to eat her food even though he had no real physical use for it. She contended that practice makes perfect and vowed to cultivate him into the human male prototype that all women desired before the eventual day that he shanshued.

“Want some blood risotto, Angel?”

Jolted from his deep thoughts, Angel missed her question completely. “Huh?…” Not wanting her to read into his distraction and reach the underlying reason – the mind torture that she more commonly dubbed brooding – he quickly added the universal answer to the unknown: “Yes!”

Disappearing into the hotel’s kitchen to nuke a mug of blood, Cordelia left Angel to wonder what exactly he’d agreed too. *A pay raise? A week’s paid vacation? Or the most terrifying, a full day’s excursion to the mall with a no limit spending allowance*. He visibly cringed at the prospect of fighting his way through the throngs of aggravated shoppers during the height of the Christmas rush.

Cordelia soon emerged with a mug and handed it to her clueless champion. Praying to any power that would possibly listen that he hadn’t agreed to just that, Angel accepted the mug without a second thought. Taking a giant gulp to try and appease his suddenly dry throat, he almost choked at he congealed lumps squishing between his teeth. He spit back into the mug holding the rest of the obviously gone bad blood.

“Cordy, I think maybe this blood was left out in the heat. Did you check the package date on the container?”

“Of course I did, it’s fine. I just made it a hearty meal for a manly manpire. I added the staple of every man’s diet; carbohydrates in the form of rice, keeps all men regular. Did I stress the man part enough, ’cause I could keep going.”

“You mixed rice in with my blood?”

Her unfazed countenance prompted him to repeat his words, “rice…and blood?”

“It’s good for you Angel, stop being a baby and just drink it. You’ll love it.” She graced him with her dazzling smile, the one he loved more than his un-life itself even though it so clearly had him wrapped around her finger.

He returned her contagious smile with one of his own, grinning from ear to ear at how much she brightened his day. “First cinnamon, now rice. When will you ever cease to astound me with what you find to contaminate my blood,” his playful tone hiding the seriousness of his adoration for her.

“My guess is never ’cause gosh I’m amazing, but you’ll just have to stick around long enough to find out. I already gave you my promise, so now you have to keep up your end of the bargain.”

With that she turned to walk away, “I’m off for a full body massage and pedicure, so now you don’t have to pretend that you came out here for that file anymore.”

His smile faltered, how the hell did she know him so well. He prided himself on his ability to keep his next move masked to the opposition, this came especially handy in an expensive game of poker or a physically demanding fight. But then Cordelia was far from his opposition, she was, in his eyes, his perfect mate.

“Don’t forget, ‘Forty Licks’, Christmas, buy it!” She threw over her shoulder as she disappeared through the lobby doors.

***

Coming back to the present, Angel eyed the CD he held in his hand. He had remembered exactly what she’d said that day and he didn’t even have to ask the sales girl to help him navigate his way around the store with its staggering number of displays. Cordy would be so proud of his accomplishment.

However, it was something else she’d said that day that now reverberated through his mind like the incessant tick of a clock – at first its presence goes unnoticed, but when you become attuned to the sound you can’t block it from your thoughts. Humming a song, or swearing out loud, you try anything to make it stop distracting you from life. *Try harder* you tell yourself, it’s the only way! Nothing works and you end up caught by the rhythmic beat anticipating the tick, but all the while unsure that the reassuring sound of the hand will arrive.

That’s how it’d started in the recesses of his mind. At first it poked at his resolve, demanding entry to his conscious, but ultimately not registering in his brain. But all things left to fester, pick up steam until finally they can’t be contained. Her voice full of the unrelenting faith she held for him ran through his mind, “But you’ll just have to stick around long enough to find out. I already gave you my promise, so now you have to keep up your end of the bargain.”

Burning acid resumed it’s torture of his stomach as her voice picked up strength finally bringing her remark to the forefront of his thoughts, “But you’ll just have to stick around long enough to find out.”

Realization hit him full force almost making him heave at the gravity of his epiphany. When she needed him to stand by her he’d done just the opposite, leaving his sleeping beauty to remain in the imposing glass coffin of Wolfram and Hart – abandoning and betraying not only her but their collective promises. Plagued by his sorrow and the guilt stemming from his inability to fix her condition, Angel had tried to force her existence out of his life and deny that the loss of her affected him at all.

The fact that he’d never expressed to Cordelia his true feelings had only been compounded by the thought that he may never again be granted the chance to make his love known to her. Destroyed and distraught, Angel’s only instinct had been to try and move on with the goal in mind of one day mending that void in his heart. However, he now had the luxury of hindsight to see where he’d gone wrong.

Speaking the words he longed to say, Angel allowed his feelings to escape in hopes that she’d be able to register them even in her slumber.

“Cordelia Chase, I love you. I always will.”

Remarkably the immense pressure he shouldered and the sorrow that consumed him began to lift; his stomach lining no longer felt ablaze as if it was scorching through to his muscle and flesh.

Dragging the back of his free hand down the porcelain of her face, Angel caressed her cheek before standing and making his way over to the CD player against the wall.

At the moment he turned, his back facing the bed, Cordelia’s eyelids fluttered, fighting to open to her surroundings. His affirmation of his love for her was all her subconscious had needed to wake her from her self-induced coma – her body’s defense against the traumatizing events had landed her unconscious and unable to be induced to awaken. Memories of all that had transpired flooded her brain akin to the force of one of her past visions, but without the debilitating physical pain; however the same could not be said for the emotional strain.

Desperately wanting to call out to the only person that could comfort her, Cordelia suppressed the urge afraid Angel may not hear her plea because the atrocities Jasmine committed once she’d hijacked her body and mind had driven him away from her side.

But as her sight cleared and the disorientation receded, her gaze locked on the figure across the room and she knew she was wrong to have ever doubted him. “Angel,” she whimpered her call, sobs wracking her weak and frail form.

In an instant he was by her side, one hand searching for one of her own, and his other cupping the side of her face, “Cordy” he replied in disbelief.

Cordelia began to apologize, “I’m sor..”, but was cut off as his lips descended upon hers. Caught under the pressure of his mouth trying to communicate the depth of his feelings through their desperate embrace, her bottom lip trembled from the sensations that coursed through her being. Tears of joy streamed down her ashen face as her fears were negated by the feel of his touch.

Tasting the salty wetness on the top of her lip, Angel broke from the all consuming kiss and his questioning eyes rose to lock with hers seeking the answer to her tears.

His worries were assuaged as her hazel irises shone bright with her love for him, but he also caught the underlying elements of her feelings of security and contentment shining from her orbs. He felt her faith in him unjustified, and needed to not only reassure her but also himself that he’d never let his devotion to her sway again.

“I’m so sorry I left you Cordy, but I’m here now and I’m never letting you go.”

With that said, he dipped his head for a soft kiss to affirm her lively presence. Caressing her lips with the rough of his tongue, Angel requested entrance into the warm cavern of her mouth for his masterful flesh to explore.

The sensual pleasure that Angel lavished on her inviting mouth had her mind reeling with the emotion of it all, but through the haze her mind formed the one single thought of how great her Christmas day had turned out.

The last two minutes of Angel kissage had easily made up for the previous hours of the day stuck in a coma with no conscious thought – which to her pretty much equated to being dead – so all and all, it was a Christmas Day well spent!

The End

Challenges

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in Complete

Thoughts   Leave a comment

Title: Thoughts
Author: Zanita
Posted: Apr 4 2005
Email
Rating: R
Category: Short/Drabble
Content:
Summary: The 2nd in my ‘Moments in Time’
Spoilers:
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:
Notes:
Thanks/Dedication:
Feedback:Yes please.


The lights from the city shone weakly through the curtains of the balcony doors and muted the room in a soft glow as her scent lingered in the heavy air and whispered to his desires.

Lush and sweet, a plum so succulent it was ready to burst. So thick he could taste it on his tongue Closing his eyes he focused on the sound of her retreating foot steps, they were hurried as she tried to get as far away from him as possible.

He’d hurt her. Cracked her just a little more and felt the sharp remorse of it the moment the words were out of his mouth.

‘I don’t NEED you Cordelia. I don’t need you here trying to get into my head. Trying to help. I don’t need your help. Just get the hell out!’

The shouted words echoed through his head, sliced another piece of his heart off then added themselves to the long list of hurtful things he’d done to her. But doing them was the only way to keep her safe. Safe from him.

She thought she knew him. Knew what he really was. She believed in the good that he did and the remorseful persona he showed her. Not that that was a lie, he too believed in helping those that couldn’t help themselves. But he was so much more than the champion she believed him to be. He was a demon, a vampire always.

Experiencing Angelus in Sunnydale gave her the knowledge of what he was but she couldn’t seem to admit to herself exactly what he IS. To tell her the deviant thoughts that ran rampant at all times would have her screaming and running from him even faster then she did tonight. To let out all those things lurking just below the surface, dirty, nasty things, would satisfy his utmost desires and surely come close to killing her.

Love never came into it. To love her would be to lose himself in her and that too would kill her. So he kept her at a distance with words. When he’d turn around and realize she had snuck into his heart again, he would push her away.

It was killing him inside little by little, but better him than her.

~fin~

Zanita

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in Complete

Moments in Time   Leave a comment

Title: Moments In Time             MiT ficpic          
Author: Zanita
Posted:
Rating: R
Email
Category: Zanita
Content:
Summary: Just a look at a moment.
Spoilers: ATS
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:
Notes: I haven’t written anything in a long time. I have bits and pieces of some of my fics done but just can’t seem to fit them together. Anyway this is just my way of trying to get back into writing……anything. I may not write another one or I may have a whole slew of them in me, either way, this is kinda of just me trying to find my muse again.
Thanks/Dedication: Ok, this is a re-post of a drabble I did in February. The beautiful kyrieane spent the morning playing beta with me and the difference is phenomenal! Take a look!
Feedback: How about, if you do, make sure it’s brutally honest?


The wind swept streets echoed the eerie silence back to him as he walked boldly, yet soundlessly through it. The night’s shadows finding him, enveloping him, clinging to him like a lover. He embraced them in return, using unnatural abilities to be seen and yet passed over. His appearance was outwardly calm, yet lust pounded in his ears. It overwhelmed him until he thought of nothing else but the hunger. Hunt the prey, his demon said, feed on that of warmth and innocence. Drink your fill and rejoice in the death you bring.

He could hear the man’s heartbeat quicken at the sudden realization of a presence behind him. It thrilled him to smell the fear of the man, made his own senses heighten as the sensation swept through him. He moved swiftly, letting one heavy footfall resound and watched eagerly as his victim spun around quickly to confront his stalker.

The man saw mostly darkness, sinister and foreboding. Then as if melting out of the night, the figure moved into a splash of street light and then he saw death. In the chiseled cheekbones, in the strong jaw, in the dark eyes that looked into his soul and cared nothing for it’s life. ‘Not human’ some unknown place whispered inside, and watched as the truth of it was shown to him.

Slipping into game face within a moment, the freedom of letting loose his true being was a release in itself. Power surged as his brow tightened and his fangs slid into his mouth. With the grace and speed of an immortal, he had the man in his arms, plunging the razor sharp incisors into the pliant flesh beneath his mouth. He felt his victim’s arms encircle him and hands grasp the taught muscles of his back.

The liquid, thick and pungent, rushed into his mouth. Coating his tongue, sliding slickly down his throat. Ecstasy swirled through him flushing his skin and tightening his loins. Hips thrust against the man, pulling him closer. The demon had made demands, he would take everything this moment had to offer.

His throat worked slowly, methodically as each swallow increased his pleasure and filled him with the warmth he craved. Again and again he drew this man’s life into him until all he knew was the taste and feel of him. Only he existed. And the taking of that existence was branded upon him forever.

The breeze ruffled the demons’ hair and swayed his long black coat. The man made no sound. His face now relaxed and at peace, hands gently curled in the creatures clothing. To any passers by it would seem only as if this were old friends meeting anew or lovers on a rendezvous, the scene poignant and private.

Hardly more than a few heart beats went by, each one feeling the length of an hour. The blood slowed in his mouth, he felt the man’s arms slip from around his body to hang limp at his sides. With one last draught, he withdrew from the now empty vessel. Lifting his hand he closed the lids on the lifeless eyes. And touched his now warm lips to the cooling forehead.

Laying the corpse gently on the ground, he swiftly re-traced his steps, his human face emerging once more. Approaching the opening of the alley, he could smell the stench of the demon he mutilated only moments earlier. Moving closer to the gory mess he bends down and he stares at the bloody remains of the demon he had allowed to escape, giving him spare moments for his hunt. His soul makes a silent acknowledgment to his demon, accepting the necessary evil of his charade.

“Angel!”

Raising his head he watches as his beautiful seer runs to him to assure herself with her own eyes of his safety.

“I hate it when you run off to fight alone.”

A weary, yet sad half smile touches his lips. “I know. But sometimes it can’t be helped.”

Standing up and pulling his Broadsword from what was left of the things’ torso, he could feel his soul scream with what he’d done. But his demon was quiet and satisfied, the hunger abated, the gnawing lust controlled. And to that end, what he did, couldn’t be helped as well.

End

Zanita

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in Complete

The Summer of 4-6   Leave a comment

Part Four

She saw him struggling with himself. Some internal battle. And felt a need to reach out and smooth his brow. To bring him comfort in any way. She waited while he collected his thoughts. Angel unable to sit, began pacing the small living area.

“I’ve only had to do this once before. And it’s still wasn’t under the same circumstances. So I most likely will really screw it up.”

“Okay…..?”

He continued his pacing. Trying to find the least most shocking part of who he wais.

“Angel?”

“I know. Just….gimme a minute…”

“All right.”

“You know……that there is pure evil in the world….vampires, demons…..”

“Yeah. Just had a crash course in that subject…”

“But what you don’t know is that there are also demons that *aren’t* evil.”

“Pfftt. Whatever.

“No. I’m serious Cordelia. There are creatures out there that go about their business everyday and never harm a soul. Some, even, try and help humans.”

“You’ve got to be kidding? Demons? Help us? Why would they?”

“Just like there can be evil in a human, there can also be goodness in a demon.”

“You *really* are serious about this…..Okay, let’s say there are ‘good’ demons. What do they want? I mean from us? If they don’t want to rip us limb from limb for fun or find us rather tasty with ketchup, then what?”

“They don’t want anything. I mean, other than to live their lives in peace.”

“Live their lives?……. Live their lives?! What kind of ‘life’ do they have?”

“They’re not much different than humans. They work, find mates, have children…..”

“Oh my God. This is really way more then I *ever* wanted to know…..”

“It’s a lot to take in….”

“Hoo boy, it is!”

“…”

“Okay, so what does this all have to do with you?”

“Some time ago, I was in Romania…”

“Boy you get around, don’t ya?”

“Yea, I did…..Well I was there and there was a band of Gypsies….”

“Okay, *now* you’re telling fairy tales….”

“Cordelia, please?

“sorry”

“I did……..something, to one of the daughters……and because of it they put a curse on me…..”

Cordelia opened her mouth to let fly another flippant comment, when she looked into his eyes. So much pain, so much suffering. She didn’t understand. Why was this man, so young, so tortured? What is it that made her heart ache for him so?

“What was it?”

“They cursed me with a soul…..”

“How could they…I mean, didn’t you already have…I don’t understand….”

It was physically painful for him to speak the next words. He felt his demon dance with glee at what he was about to admit. He knew the next thing he said would drive this beautiful creature out of his life forever.

“The night I was cursed, I *was* a demon without a soul……..”

Disbelief was the first emotion to pass through her. Then came astonishment. And she waited for the revulsion, the fear and panic that was sure to follow….but it never came. She sat, looking at this man, a man that had helped save the lives of herself, the slayer and her friends. A man who had touched her heart and lit her passion on fire with a kiss. A man who was really not even a man at all. And the last emotion to wash over her was compassion. Compassion for the grief and suffering that was now coming off him in waves.

She rose, and he knew she would walk out the door. He couldn’t watch. He hung his head and let the shamefulness engulf him. But he never heard more than a few foot steps, never heard the door open or close. Her tender hand was laid on his head, her soft body, sat, pressed against his side. And her arm reached around him and pulled him to her, laying his head on her breast, his arms coming around her waist. And she held him, for a minute, an hour, a year, he did not know.

All he knew was…..she had stayed.

One arm wrapped around his shoulder, the other hand caressing his cheek, Cordelia cradled this half broken man and in the time he lay against her he slipped quietly into her heart.

Neither knew how much time had passed as they held each other in the stillness of the night. They did know that nothing would ever be the same for them again. Cordelia stood, urging Angel up with her arms and walked him to the bed. She took his coat from him and laid it on the chair, then quietly unbuttoned and removed his shirt. He was still for all of this, like a small child. When she gently pressed him to sit down on the bed his eyes rose and met hers.

“Don’t.” She said. “Tomorrow.” She knelt before him and removed his shoes and socks, laying them neatly by the wall. And then turned and walked into the bathroom and softly shut the door. He took her offer of privacy and removed his pants. Pulling down the blankets and sheets he climbed into bed. Exhausted and disconcerted, unknowing what she was going to do.

He heard the bathroom door open and padded foot steps. The light was switched off and he saw her figure move toward the bed. Silhouetted against the faint moonlight he looked upon the beauty of this woman and his heart ached with it. Silently she slipped under the covers and into his arms. He relished the feeling of skin sliding against skin, her legs entwining in his. Laying her head on his chest, her hair cascading over his arm, she curled into him. Both of his arms encircling her, his cheek settling atop her head and slowly and contentedly they fell into a deep and peaceful sleep.


Part Five

Angel came to his senses slowly, which was odd. Normally he came fully awake at once, body tensed, eyes snapping open. Today he felt the need to snuggle down in the covers. To just lay here in the warmth of the bed. Warm bed. Warm body. He flexed his hand and found that it was full with a warm soft breast. He slid his leg up and felt his knee brush soft curls. His erection twitched and realized it was nestled against more warm flesh.

Cordelia Chase.

The memories of last nights events rushed back to him. The Bronze, the sensing of her, the dance they shared, the kiss, the talk. A sliver of despair shot through him as he thought about what he had tried to tell her. He felt the familiar pooling of guilt in his gut, he’d made her accept what he really was. No. He hadn’t made her accept it. She just….did.

Cordelia stirred. She felt a heavy weight laying over her side. She was holding a very masculine hand in her own and that hand was cupping her breast. Along with a very manly leg wedged inbetween her thighs.

Angel.

His deep, sleep filled voice murmured next to her ear.

“Good morning.”

Turning toward him, she laid on her back, her hand never leaving his, his never leaving her skin. Her eyes blinked slowly as she took in his face, studying it, memorizing it. High cheek bones, square jaw, sculpted lips, deep set, intense, dark eyes. His hair was tousled, his jaw had stubble. And he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.

“Good morning to you too.”

She was soft and supple, radiating heat. His body ached with a fire all it’s own. A need to dissolve into her, become a part of her rose up in him. A wanting his body had never known, alive or un-dead.

Tracing his fingers on the underside of her breast, she closed her eyes and her lips parted in a breathy sigh. Angling his head, pressing a soft open mouth to hers, he gave her the barest of kisses. Her tongue darted out to touch his just as he was pulling away. That small gesture caused him to tremble and languidly plunge into her mouth.

Cordelia’s hands crept up to the back of his head, delving into his hair, pressing him closer. His thumb scraped across the hardened peak of her breast, her back arching in response to his touch. He broke the kiss and nibbled at the side of her mouth, down her jaw line and across her neck. His mouth latched on to a spot just behind her earlobe, alternating between sucking and running his blunt teeth over the area, bringing her to the point of panting. Leaving a wet trail, his tongue traveled the column of her throat to her collar bone and down to her right breast, laving the already hardened nipple. Her hands, still tangled in his hair, dragged him into her. He drew her breast deep into his wet mouth and she could feel the pull of it in her loins making her hips lift in response.

He placed his open hand around the curve of her ribs and with the slightest of pressure he traveled the flat plane of her stomach. His fingers reached the soft curls that rested between her thighs. He delved in and with two fingers parted her folds and exposed the distended nub that throbbed there. Placing a finger on each side he squeezed and simultaneously pulled back. Exerting more pressure his fingers slide back down and up again. Groaning deep in her throat, she tossed her head from side to side, fisting her hands in the sheets. As his hand moved lower again, one finger found her hot, slick opening and delved inside. Her passage was so tight. Her walls clenched down making it tighter as he began a rhythm of moving in and out of her.

The small sounds coming from her mouth combined with the scent of her arousal threatened the release of his demon visage. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold his human face. Raw need ravaged his gut, he had to stop before the mind numbing hunger overtook him completely.

He suddenly rolled his body away from her. Making her feel bereft of its loss. He lay on his back, sheets pooled around his waist, eyes squeezed shut. He tensed his body and clutched his hands into fists physically forcing the monster to retreat.

Cordelia watched him with wide eyes. Seeing his whole body break out in a sweat, it was obvious to her that he was in pain. Her soul cried out to him, wanting to take that pain inside herself. Moments passed and slowly his body began to relax, his face smoothed out but his fists were still clenched at his side.

“Angel?”

He heard her speak his name but could not answer. Another wash of shame poured over him. His mind raced, needing to find some suitable lie to tell her but coming up with none. He sat up, putting his elbows on his knees he dropped his head into his hands. Once again he felt her reach out to comfort him, her gentle touch moving soothingly up and down his back. It was too much, her compassion. He shut his eyes and a tear slid slowly down his cheek.

“Angel. Please, look at me…”

The sweetness of her voice, full of caring, sunk into his soul. Touching something in him that he knew he could never have and did not deserve. In a flash he was filled with a rage, knowing what he must deny himself! He leapt out of the bed, dragging the sheet half way with him. Trying to cover herself she pulls her knees up to hide her nakedness, while he turns and stands before her.

“Did you know what you were sleeping next to Cordelia!?! Hunh!?! Did you!?! Well let me tell you! You were letting a murderer, a rapist, a twisted thing with no conscience, a demon! put his hands and mouth on you! Did you enjoy it!?! Because I did! You have no idea the things I want to do to that ripe, lush body of yours! Immoral, wicked things! Things that would make you cry out in pain and pleasure, never knowing which! What about my ‘true’ face!?! You want to see what I really am!?!”

In one stride he had her, grabbing her by the shoulders he lifted her up, her knees barely touching the bed. He let a menacing growl escape his mouth as he let his demon half take over. Squeezing her forearms even tighter, he shaked her so hard her head snapped back.

“Is this what you want touching you!?! Is it!?!”

Amber eyes glow and white fangs glisten, waiting for her to display her disgust. Slowly she raised her head, her eyes blazing with a fury of her own.

“Don’t.”

Shock loosens his grip on her and she wrenched her arms out of his hold. In his maddened state he had failed to realize that he could not sense any fear coming from her. Her angry stare pierced him as she climbed off the bed. He stumbled back from the raging beauty standing before him. She took a step closer.

“How dare you.”

And another step.

“Did you think you could just bully me into leaving? If you didn’t want me here, you just needed to ask me to leave. If you’re doing this for some perverse pleasure, than guess what? I’m not gonna play your little game.”

Another step closer and she was face to face with him. Bodies only a breath away, she stared him down.

“Your head is so fucked up, you don’t even know what you are. Whatever your deal is, I will not be treated like a piece of dirt to be ground under your foot. You got that?”

Stunned beyond belief, his face morphed back to it’s human form. They stood there, toe to toe in the dusky light filtering through the curtains.

Neither knowing what the other’s next move would be.


Part Six

Cordelia stood with fists clenched at her side, mouth shut tight in anger, eyes blazing with temper. She watched as the demonic face dissolved and Angel’s human face appeared. Eyes wide, jaw slack he simply stared at her. Cordelia fought the urge to pummel him with her fists as her indignation swelled in her again mixed with the passion he had just so recently stirred in her. That he had dared to shame her, make her feel dirty for sharing her body with him was beyond cruel. She didn’t know why he’d done it but she was sure as hell going to find out.

“What the hell is your brain damage? One minute you’re all over me and the next you go all psycho. I want a god- damned explanation and I want it now. I don’t care if you are half demon or whatever, it doesn’t give you the right to try and make me feel like shit.”

“Vampire.”

“What?”

“I’m a vampire.”

“Yea, I guessed that, what with the bumpy head and pointy teeth.”

“I-I’m sorry.” He said, bowing his head in contrition.

“Oh! No way are you gettin off with that! I want to know what the *hell* just happened.”

Folding her arms over her chest she realized she was standing there completely naked and so was he. Her eyes wandered from the crown of Angel’s bowed head, down the front of his very expansive chest. Unable to stop herself she continued down his abdomen and stopping at his very large…

She whirled around and grabbed the rumpled sheet from the floor. Wrapping it around her she then grabbed the blanket and tossed it at him.

His head came up as the blanket hit him in the chest.

The corner of her mouth twitched.

“This might be a little easier if all our bits and pieces aren’t hanging out.”

She returned to the bed, bunching the bottom of the sheet so she could sit with her legs crossed. As soon as she’d situated she looked at Angel again. He was still standing there staring at her with his mouth hanging slightly open.

“What? I told you I wanted an explanation and I expect to get one. Now get your un-dead ass over here and spill it.”

“My un-dead….?”

“Just because you’re not getting any older doesn’t mean I’m not. Now sit.”

The commanding tone, which he hadn’t heard directed at him since he’d been alive, spurned his movements. Wrapping the blanket around his waist he trudged over and sat at the bottom of the bed.

“Okay, start at the beginning.”

“The beginning?”

“Yeah, I wanna know how you got…..like this.” She said flipping both her hands at him.

“Like this?”

“Yes. And are you going to echo everything I say?”

“sorry”

“Just tell the story.”

And he did. He told her of a happy child hood with loving family and friends. Told her of a Father/Son relationship that had turned bitter and cruel. He told her of a defiant young man, full of bravado and selfishness. And he told her of the night he died.

Completely immersed in the telling of it, Angel sat completely still as the memories came to him one by one and he formed them into words. He wove a story for her so rich with people, emotions, colors, sounds, that Cordelia sat enraptured with it.

The sun dipped low and turned the California sky a burnt orange and crimson. As dusk fell, the room started to darken. Angel’s last words of crawling his way out from his grave trailed off into silence.

He had watched her face as he told the story of his life. Watched the myriad emotions wash over her. Her look gentle in his remembrance of his Mother and Sister. Her eyes twinkling as he spoke of the mischief he’d gotten into as a boy. The sadness as the rift formed and grew between him and his Father. Her outright laughter at his antics in the taverns. And the sweet, sweet sorrow that filled her as he recounted his death. And he watched as her eyes filled and one after the other of her tears fell down her cheeks. Unheeded, unchecked, she wept for him, as none other had.

Going to her he pulled her onto his shoulder and lay down with her. Soothing her as she had him. Ever so gently she reached up and lay her hand on his chest, covering his un-beating heart.

“how long has it been…..since you felt your heart beat….”

“245 years”

“so long ago.

“yes”

“and your soul…..”

“100”

He thought back on the loneliness, the self imposed isolation. The excruciating journey that had brought him to this day, here, with her.

“where were you all this time”

“hiding. from myself, from the world”

“what made you stop”

“a fulfillment of a promise”

“who’s”

“mine”

“why”

“a mission”

They lay quietly. And he wondered how to tell her about the prophesy. A prophesy about him and a slayer and the destruction of the world. An edict stating that he must stand by her side and give her strength until she could stand on her own.

For if he does not, in her final battle, she will lose and humanity will die

TBC…

Zanita

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in TBC

The Summer of 1-3   Leave a comment

Title: The Summer Of …
Author: Zanita
Posted:
Rating: N-17
Email
Category: Angst, Romance, BtVS2
Content: C/A AU
Summary: What *really* happened that summer? What if Cordelia lied and didn’t go to Tuscany and opted to stay home for the summer instead?
Spoilers: Background up to first season BtVS I guess
Disclaimer: Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: AA, GTC/A, NF, anyone else please ask
Notes: Watched this ep yesterday and the whole episode I kept thinking “Why is Angel acting like that? What is he hiding?” And Voila! My idea. If you like it I’ll keep writing it. The writing style that came out of this prologue is very different than “Provisions” if it sucks tell me!
Thanks/Dedication: To Califi, Si Crazy, Lilyana_Vamp, Tipdip, C.C., Impress. Thank you so much for the encouragement!
Feedback: Please!


Prologue

He knew Buffy was back. She’d been in town a full night and day. She had not sought him out, just as he had not sought out her.

He knew she had left town full of fear and uncertainty and most likely spent the last three months in a morbid gloom. His guilt surfaced again, nagging at him. His summer months had been spent in pure abandoned bliss. What had started out as a single casual meeting at the bronze had turned into erotic filled nights and days flowing with laughter and joy.

Cordelia.

The thought of her made his loins stir and his heart fill with warmth. A dark haired woman-child with the beauty of a goddess.

Walking in the shadows of a clear moon filled night he stopped and closed his eyes. Bringing up the memory of a face full of innocence and eyes filled with laughter. A face that he’d watched night after night with looks of wonderment turning into pure ecstasy. A face with eyes that looked into him and saw his soul.

He never asked why she stayed with him. And she never asked if it would last. He experienced things with her that he’d had with no other woman. They connected in a way he’d never known with another being.

Opening his eyes, he continued his solitary trek. Closer and closer he came to his destination and with every step he wanted to turn back. To flee the meeting that he knew was inevitable. To change his course and head straight into the soft warm embrace of the one he now thought of as his and his alone.

He turned the corner and silently approached his destination. The house was quiet and dark. He could see her window from where he stood under the old tree that grew beside it. That tree, once a magic path that lead him to a fair haired girl and school girl kisses, was now a desolate ascension that would take him away from the woman with chestnut strands that laid across his chest night after night as he slipped into a contented slumber.

His emotions torn. His soul in anguish. He made his decision.


Part One

Three months ago:

Cordelia slammed her bedroom door in anger and listened to the satisfying boom the solid oak made. Picking up one of three of her suitcases, that had taken her a week to pack, she heaved it onto the bed. Unzipping it she started ripping the neatly folded clothes out and stomping over to her walk-in closet to re-hang them again and muttering to herself.

“Stupid, stupid parents! What sane teenager wants to go to Tuscany and look at musty old things? They promised me St. Croix. They promised! Aggghhh!”

Yanking a satin covered hanger off the rack she shoved the skimpy David Cardona dress on it and shoved it back on the bar. Going back over to the bed she grabbed a handful of lingerie and headed to her dresser. Wrenching the drawer open she shoved the expensive silk in to it and slammed it shut. Standing there in an utter fury she clenched and un-clenched her fists. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath she repeated:

“I will not allow them to get to me, I will not allow them to get to me, I will not…”

She stopped her mantra as a thought struck her.

“Ha!”

Going back to her closet she grabbed the dress she had just hung up.

“This will do nicely. Mommy and Daddy dearest wouldn’t dare miss their plane and if I just happen to not be here when they leave for the airport….well….what are they gonna do?”

Taking off the blouse and skirt she had been wearing she slipped the creation over her head. The light weight chiffon drifted over her skin making her feel like she was wearing almost nothing. Choosing a pair of high heeled strappy shoes she slid her feet into them and turned to look at herself in the full length mirror.

“Perfect!”

Grabbing her clutch and her keys, one last check that her makeup was okay and out her bedroom door she went. Since her parents rooms were on the other side of the house there was never a need to be sneaky. She just traipsed down the stairs and out of the house. Getting in her car she thought that she was sure to meet up with Aura or Harmony and she could stay with one of them until her parents plane took off.

“Stupid parents!”

***

Angel paced back and forth in his living room. Sticking his hands in the pockets of his black slacks and then pulling them out again, dragging a hand through his hair. He’d stop, sit on the fire place, pick up the book he’d been trying to read and immediately set it down again starring off into space. Then he’d shake it off and start all over again. He’d been doing this for the last hour.

“Damn it!”

He stopped his pacing. Looking around the sparsely decorated room, the cold floors and gray walls he knew he couldn’t stand it another minute.

“Why should I let her do this to me? I didn’t do anything to her. She’s probably off living it up with her old LA friends while I just sit here.”

Thinking back on the conversation he and Buffy had yesterday, the day she left, he reminded himself that she was the one that decided she wanted to stay an extra month with her Father. And she was also the one that stood just in the doorway and gave him the flippant “See ya in three months, have a great summer!” As she waltzed out into the sunshine where she knew he couldn’t follow.

“You know what? I think I *will* have a great summer!”

Going into his bedroom he changed into a clean. black, cotton dress shirt, grabbed his leather jacket off the chair and strode out the front door.

***

The Bronze was jumpin’, school was out and summer had come to Sunnydale. Cordelia pulled up to the building and parked her car. Checked her lipstick in the rearview mirror, gave her hair a pat down and climbed out. With a flick of her wrist she engaged the alarm and strutted in the front doors of the Bronze

Angel slipped in the back door but there was no need to be quiet about it. The music was blaring as bodies bumped and slithered against each other. Doing an age old dance Angel had seen a thousand times before.

Male pheromones calling to female ones. Adrenaline racing, energy surging, a sexual tension high. In today’s day and age many would go home with partners and some wouldn’t even make it that far. Grabbing and groping in dark corners or in the back ally. He’d stumbled on many a couple in mid copulation since coming to Sunnydale. But there were still some, a few mind you, that would go home to their own beds, alone and merely fantasize of the ones they had been with here tonight.

Standing on the edge of the throng of people, hidden by shadows, he watched. Wanting to join them but not knowing how. Still unsure of his place in this world of the living, he simply observed as he always had.

A small tingle hit his spine. Nothing much more than that. Just a sense of something he should take notice of near by. Scanning the area he couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, no threat or danger. Still the feeling persisted. He adjusted his view, first left, then right, trying to see the front door. A large pillar was obstructing a small part of his field of vision in that area. Concentrating harder he waited, his patience paid off as a figure moved to the right, then stopped. He could make out long hair and a voluptuous body profile. He waited for her to step into a lighted area.

***

Cordelia sauntered into the club. Head held high, a swing in her hips. She titled her head to the side taking inventory of the who’s who in Sunnydale that was here tonight, ticking off her mental list and discarding most she saw, as they were beneath her and not worth her time. She searched the gathered groups to see if any of her so-called-friends were there.

She felt a small tugging sensation and she took a step to her left. She wasn’t sure what it was, just a need to move a bit. She turned toward the dance floor, confused by the feeling, she scanned the people there. Again came the tug. So she took another step and stopped, which put her underneath a small hanging lamp.

***

Angel watched as the woman turned and stepped in to a soft glow of light. Recognition crossed his face and he wondered why he’d felt her presence when she’d entered the building.


Part Two

Cordelia’s eyes flicked this way and that, then landed with curiosity on the shadowy figure across the dance floor and found herself mesmerized by the intense gaze in which she found herself in. With the music pulsing around him, Angel moved around the dancing couples, his eyes never losing connection with hers. Approaching her he saw a small frown dip between her brows. She watched him move closer and closer until he was standing before her.

“Hello Angel.”

“Hello Cordelia.”

He stood, hands jammed into his pockets, suddenly unsure as to why he’d come over to her. She clasps her hands in front of her and fiddled with her keys.

“So, uh, where’s Buffy tonight? Hangin’ with the creepies?

“No, she uh, left. To visit her Dad. In LA. For the summer.”

“Really? Isn’t she supposed to be here protecting all us helpless, un-superhero-y humans? You know, by like, killing all the things that go bump in the night?”

“Yea. Well, it’s been quite since she killed The Master. His minions either left town or went into hiding. It should be pretty quite for awhile.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me. That was so horrible. And creepy. And a whole lot of disturbing.”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah. So, you’re what? Done with classes? Down time from work? Or just independently wealthy?”

Trying to understand what she meant, he realized that she didn’t know he was a vampire. That she wass fishing around with her questions looking for clues to tell her more about who he wais, what he did.

“Uh, something like that.”

“Well, which is it?”

“I guess a combination of all of them.”

“Okay. I can take a hint. You don’t wanna spill, that’s okay with me………so are you like ashamed of what you do?”

“….”

“Fine, fine. Whatever. So. What are you doing here?”

“Good question.”

“Wow. You are really good with the vague, aren’t you?”

“Sorry. I meant that I really don’t know. I thought this is where I wanted to be tonight but it turns out it really wasn’t.”

“Yea, I know what you mean. I was hoping there’d be at least a few of my friends but I’ll I’m seeing is ‘loser’.”

“….”

“Oh. Not you! It’s just everyone else that I wouldn’t give the time of day to.”

“Ah, thanks..”

“So. You wanna dance?”

“I don’t dance.”

“Pfft. Everybody dances! Come on, it’s a slow song, you can’t screw that up much.”

Grabbing him by the arm she pulled him out onto the dance floor. Taking his hands she placed them on either sides of her hips and wrapped her arms around his neck. For a moment he was completely frozen. Other than Buffy, he’d not touched a woman in over a hundred years. And Buffy was no woman. Sweet and fragile. Innocent even in her calling. But Cordelia, feeling her body under his hands he realized, this was no mere girl. She casually pressed her hip into his, breaking through his thoughts.

They started moving slowly, awkwardly at first. And then she almost melted into him. Barely touching. And yet he could feel her all around him. Her scent invaded him, a hot, musky smell that reminded him of a tropical forest, clean with rain but with hidden, heavy undertones. He noticed her height as the top of her head brushed his cheek. He felt her fingers curl in his hair at the back of his neck and his hands moved up her waist and then back again in an unconscious caress.

She’d danced cheek to cheek, body to body with hundreds of guys. But never had she been so immersed in someone as she was right now. His body swayed with hers to a rhythm only they can feel. She shifted and her inner thigh brushed against his, causing a pleasant sensation to creep up her leg and settle in her belly. Titling her head up, she was caught in the dark eyes she saw there. Moved by the emotions swirling behind those iris’s, her lips parted and she issued a small gasp.

He noticed her intake of breath as if in surprise and wondered what it is that she saw. His eyes travelled over her face, taking in the flawless skin, the high cheek bones, the full lips. One hand moved to the small of her back and then up her spine. He lowered his head and pulled her closer to him. He could feel her warm, sweet breath fan his face and watched as her eyelids slowly closed in expectation. His lips came down to claim hers.

Abruptly someone knocked into her from the side pushing her off balance. He tightened his hold on her so as not to let her fall. The intimate spell broken. Taking a step back, out of his embrace, she pretended to straighten her dress, trying to cover the emotions swirling through her body.

His body went ridged, hands clenched at his side. Berating himself in his head as to why he would even attempt what almost happened. Flustered but pulling herself under control she gave him a big fake smile.

“So, you hungry? I’m hungry. I’m thinkin’ Italian. I’ll drive.”

Turning on her heel she headed toward the exit. Not knowing what else to do, he followed her out to the car.

Pulling away from the Bronze she covered her nervousness with non-stop chatter.

“You like Italian food right? I mean cause if you don’t we can always go somewhere else. I’m not sure what else is open this late. Chinese maybe? No, it’s after ten, they’re closed. Um, I’m sure we can find something else if you want…”

“Italians fine.”

“Oh, okay. Great! I think I’m in the mood for Chicken Piccata. God it’s incredibly fattening but you gotta admit it’s just so good! When the lemon and butter sauce hits your tongue, mmmm……”

“It does sound good.”

It didn’t take long to reach the restaurant. Pulling into the parking lot, Cordelia let out a groan.

“Oh damn.”

“What is it?”

“See that middle aged couple in the window over there? The man in the gray suit and the woman in oh so drab brown?”

“Um, yeah.”

“Well they’re good friends of my parents. And if I go in there they’ll see me and will be sure to call and tell my parents.”

“Are you not supposed to be out this late?”

“Oh God no. It’s not that. It’s just, well, you see, my parents are leaving tomorrow. They’re going to Tuscany for the summer.”

“I don’t understand. Why is their friends seeing you a problem?”

“Well because I’m suppose to be going with them. But I’m kinda not gonna be there in the morning when they leave for the airport.”

“Why wouldn’t you be?”

“Because I don’t want to go. They promised me that we were going to Saint Croix and then tonight they just tell me that they’ve changed the plans and I have to go. But I don’t want to. So I figured if they couldn’t find me then they’d leave without me and I wouldn’t have to be dragged through that boring ol’ country for what would seem like an eternity in hell.”

“Oh……well, why don’t I go in and order to go and then we could take it back to my place……..if you want..”

“Sure. Yea. That would be…great!”

Reaching in her purse she went to give him some money. He stayed her hand with his and got out of the car. As she watched him walk to the door of the restaurant, she rose her brow and shook her head.

“Why Buffy would leave that much hunk alone for a whole summer is beyond me.”

Angel walked into the restaurant, observing the dim lights and intimate settings. Rich smells of food wafted around the room. This was alien to him. Something he’d never experienced. Sure he’d eaten the ‘patrons’ at expensive dinning halls, but never the food. While growing up his family was never poor but they were never inclined to eat at posh restaurants either.

After ordering her food, he had a few moments alone, he wondered to himself why he had asked her to the mansion.

Considering the strange events over the past half hour he wasn’t sure it was at all wise. The sensations he had felt were new. Nothing he’d experienced before. He knew what lust was. The raw, carnal sexual hunger that went hand in hand with feeding. He also knew simple sexual desire from his nightly visits to the tavern when he was human. But this? This was all that and more. At the moment he had no words to describe it. He just knew it was there and it was very real.


Part Three

Sitting in the car alone, Cordelia replayed the last half hour in her mind. The ‘tug’ she felt right before she saw Angel. The dance and the feelings from touching him brought out in her. She couldn’t say she hadn’t wanted the kiss they almost shared. She had, more than anything. She just couldn’t understand why she wanted so badly. This was so unlike her. He was Buffy’s boyfriend. And she was no Ho’. She walked a fine line with dating. Giving out just enough to keep them coming back while still keeping her virginity and pride intact was definitely a high wire act.

Angel came out of the building and got in the car. She pulled out of the parking lot and onto the street. As they drove he gave her directions to his apartment.

Taking the bag with her dinner in it he went up the steps to his place with Cordelia following behind him. Walking in the door he went straight to the kitchen with the bag and started getting a plate ready for her. Cordelia wander around the small space. Looking at the statue in the enclosed glass and running her fingers over it. That’s how he found her. Gazing at the statue with an almost adoring look on her face.

“Do you like it?”

“Yes it’s beautiful.”

He handed her her plate of food and they walked over to the small living area and sat down.

“It’s one of the few things I have left from when I was in France.”

“You were in France?”

“Yea during the Revol…ah `Remainder` of my French studies…”

“You studied French culture? Hunh. Wow. You just don’t seem the type…..Not that there’s a type. And that you couldn’t be one.. type, that is.”

“It’s okay. I know what you mean.”

She smiled apologetically and dug into her food.

“Mmmm. God this is so good……hey didn’t you get anything?”

“I ate before I left. I really wasn’t hungry.”

“Oh. Ok.”

He watched her as she lifted a small carrot to her mouth. They way her lips envelope the fork. The sensuality that she has, performing such a small act. She looked up at him and caught him watching her with a definitely hungry look on his face.

“Angel, are you sure you’re not hungry? You’re watching me eat like you’re starving or something.”

Embarrassed that she’d caught him, he stood up and walked towards the kitchen.

“No, I’m really not. Sorry about that. Ah, I was just thinking I was thirsty, would you like something?”

“Oooo, yes please. What cha got?”

Angel opened his refrigerator and of course he found only his blood. Then rummaging in his cupboards he came across a bottle of wine. He leant around the corner of the door opening with an apologetic look on his face.

“Ah, it looks like all I have is water or a bottle of merlot…..sorry”

“Oh, that’s ok, the merlot ‘s fine.”

He popped back into the kitchen and got two glasses. Asking himself for the third time tonight what the hell he thinks he’s doing. Walking back to the sitting area he handed her glass to her. And she smiled her thanks at him. The smile, a genuine one, stopped him in mid pass. Dazzling him. He shook it off and sat.

“Ah sorry.”

She was very confused by his behavior. She didn’t know him well enough to know if this was normal for him or not.

“It’s okay…..um, so Buffy’s at her Dad’s for the whole summer huh?”

“Yes.”

“Are you going to go visit her or anything, I mean that’s a long time to stay away from your girlfriend in the beginning of a relationship. Don’t cha think?”

“No. I don’t think I’m going to go see her. I kind of got the impression when she left that we weren’t much together any more…..”

“Really.”

“Yea.”

“What is she? Blind?”

“Excuse me?”

“Or did you do something to piss her off?”

“…”

“I mean your too big a splash of salty goodness to be sayin hasta leuego to for no reason, if you know what I mean.”

“No. I don’t know what you mean.”

“I mean you’re like a major hottie! But also nice, and a little on the dark and dangerous side, which is always appealing, and shoulders, wow do you have shoulders! And I am making a total ass out myself right now so I’m just gonna shut up and eat.”

She bowed her head into her plate and started shoveling food into her mouth. He could see that she was blushing. An appealing stain of red starting at her collar bone and reaching the tips of her ears. It was then he realized that she was just as attracted to him as he was to her. And just as unsure about it as well. Trying to be reassuring he reached over and took her plate, setting it down on the small table between them. She was’nt willing to look him in the eye so he lifted her chin with his hand, a small smile playing over his lips.

“Hey, it’s ok. Thank you. It’s…..very flattering that you noticed. Really. Please don’t be embarrassed. Okay?”

Their eyes met and she could have swore her breathing completely stopped. Angel felt something move inside him. He moved his thumb up and ever so gently pressed it against her bottom lip. Applying another small amount of pressure he opened her mouth fully as he lowered his head bringing his mouth over hers.

Her lips were full and soft. His tongue swirled inside her mouth. It glided back and forth eliciting small moans from her throat that she wasn’t even aware of. But Angel was. Skimming his tongue lightly along her lips he gently sucked on her bottom lip. Her mouth opened for him again and he delved inside. Losing himself in her taste. Bringing the kiss down, he again let the tip of his tongue trail across her parted lips then dip slightly into her mouth. Kissing her slowly, sweetly. He kept repeating this. A touch of his tongue, a press of his lips, each time more intense than the one before. Each time he kissed her she moaned and Angel took it that much deeper. Going on and on as if to stay like this, with her, forever.

Warmth pooled in her belly. Oblivious to everything but what he was doing to her mouth. Her breaths were coming in little gasps, becoming more aroused then she’d ever imagined she could be. She triesdincreasing the speed of the kiss but his actions demanded it was kept slow and deliberate. Making her body quiver in frustration.

In every way a man could, he wanted inside this woman. A need clawed at his gut, his erection straining against his pants. He trembled with the wanting of her and then his demon lurched inside, making him growl low and deep in his throat. Afraid of his overwhelming desire, he pulled away and stood up. Turning his back to her as the passionate hungering threatened to bring him into full game face.

Cordelia sat stunned. Completely unable to form a coherent thought other than he had taken away his skillful mouth and she felt bereft of it. Looking up at his back she whispered his name.

“Angel?”

“God, I’m sorry Cordelia. I’m so sorry.”

“Why?”

“I should never have brought you here. Never let you believe I was something I’m not.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I can’t believe nobody told you. I thought for sure at least Xander would have warned you.”

“Angel? I have no idea what you’re talking about. Will you please look at me? What. Is. Wrong? What did you make me believe?”

Struggling with his shame. Everything in him telling him that if he tells her what he really is she’ll run out screaming. That he’ll lose, whatever it was that he was feeling and never be able to get it back. The demon inside him laughed at his discomfort. Taunted him, teased him. Told him he was what he was and he couldn’t change it. She could be nothing to him but a tasty snack.

But there was something in this woman-child. Something that told him different. That she was different.

That just maybe….

Part 4

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in TBC

Provisions of the Heart 4-6   1 comment

Part 4

Striding into the lounge after being buzzed in, Angel walks up and slams his hands on the bar.

“I need answers.”

“Well Sugarplum, to get an answer you need to ask a question.”

Standing in his robe, the precog demon sips his seabreeze and watches the champion he was destined to help.

This boy’s abuzz with anger, angst, apprehension and all those other “a” words.

“We die Lorne. We all die. Cordy leaves and then Gunn and Wes and we all die alone. And she did this thing with her vision. She let me see it somehow. And she senses my thoughts.”

“Okay kiddo, still not in a form of a question.”

“Why would she get a vision like that?”

“If I would have to gander a guess I would say it was a warning of what’s to come?”

“…”

“Well, how about ‘If it’s not stopped that’s what will happen’?”

“…”

“You know this all already Angelcakes. Her visions are given to her so you can stop them. So, and again I’m guessing here, you need to ah stop it.”

“I know that. But “how”?”

Angel rubs his forehead, racking his brain, he just can’t understand how they all got to this place in their lives. He heaves a sigh.

“I don’t know how I got here.”

“The fact that you keep coming back, and in the middle of my naps I might add, begs to differ with that.”

“…”

“Listen, I told you, what? A week ago? when you came to me? That you were at a crossroads. The path to finding Darla was not your path and you took it anyway. I’d said it led to a bad place and well…..look where you are?”

“I don’t need lectures right now Lorne, I need answers.”

“You have all the answers Sweetcheeks, you just haven’t found the right questions.”

“So what are the right questions?”

“I can’t give you those. You have to find them yourself. It’s all part and parcel of your journey.”

“…”

“I can tell you that it has to do with past, present and future loves though.”

“What….?”

“It’s the “L” word isn’t it? Not in your vocabulary much……tends to confuse you…”

“…”

“Whether you want it, need it or even feel you deserve it, you still got it. And from several sources I might add……I should be so lucky….”

“What are you talking about?”

“Love, in any form, takes work. You have to nurture it, nudge it along, help it blossom. You can try and ignore it and hope it will all go away, you know, because that always works. But it doesn’t. Each person that is close to you, stays with you. And the consequences of denying yourself those bonds are painful. They form bricks in a wall that stops you from being close to others.”

“Okay, you really need to stop with the metaphors. Flowers and bricks……?”

“You remember that big light bulb going off over your head recently? The one that showed you you need to re-connect with those you care about. It’s not just the ones here in L.A. Those that don’t know how you feel about them need to be told. People in your past and present. “

“…”

“You do remember the big knowledge infusion you got? Right?”

“You mean this all has to do with me seeing Buffy?”

“I said it was all tied into your epiphany, not your a-buff-a-ny.”

“Sooo, this doesn’t have to do with Buffy….”

“Have you been listening to anything I’ve said?!?”

“…?”

“What? Do I have to start naming names? You know who the people are that you care about. You need to find them and tell them, honestly, how you feel. That’s about as straight forward as I can get.”

“But how is talking to these people going to stop Cordelia from leaving? Stop us all from dying?”

“Every action has a re-action Angel. Every act of kindness or cruelty, a consequence. You affect many lives on your road to redemption. And if you’ve learned nothing else so far, it’s that those small acts matter. “

“I still don’t see how this is going to do anything. Besides make me look stupid.”

“Do you have *any* memories of what you were like that first hundred and some odd years after getting your soul? Before you became this big hunk of hero-sandwhich that stands before me today?”

“Well….ya….”

“And did you get here all by your big-broody self?”

“Ya. I mean no. I mean……what do you mean?”

“What I mean Angel, is that now that you have learned, somewhat, that people matter, as individuals to you, that you need to not only acknowledge it internally but express it outwardly. And those people are just the stepping stones on the path to the big splash in the pond we all call true love.”

“I’m suppose to fall in love? With who?”

“If you don’t want me to smack that fat melon of yours that you call a head, I suggest you don’t ask me that question again. Now get going, that Seer of yours is all tied in knots and could probably use a shot of that man-pire comfort you give right about now.”

“Oh ya, I need to call her. Can I use your phone?”

“Behind the bar.”

Angel reached around and grabbed the phone, putting it on the bar in front of him. Picks up the receiver to dial and stops. Set’s it back down.

“What about what she did? You know, with the vision and the thought thing?”

“What about it?”

“Well….. how’d she do it?”

“Got me Buck-a-roo. The morbid picture show you partook in? My guess is she’s always been able to. Came with the whole vision package. Don’t know about the other. But our Cordelia doesn’t like to share the wealth when it comes to dealing with the pain and misery. Especially with you. She’s very selfish like that. What with the loving you and all.”

“What? She doesn’t love me. She hates me. I mean, I know she cared about me… and cares about the mission… and Gunn and Wesley. Just you know….not…the love…..kinda love.”

“Well I *know* you don’t believe that’s true. But hey, what’s one little lie between you and yourself?”

“…”

Loves me? Like a brother or, or a Father, no not a Father. Most definitely a friend. I know we’re close. Or, we were. I know now how I feel. But it could never happen. Just because I think of her in that way…….which is kinda not right……she could never….would never…..would she…..?

Lorne sat at the bar watching the wheels go round in Angel’s head. Watching his scowl go deeper as he really thought about what he’d just said.

Okay, I just may get in trouble for that one. Not suppose to let slip with the whole true love thing. And twice in two minutes. Eeee. But hey, what’s a demon to do? I tell ya. Giving me that kinda info and attaching a no blab clause is just not the smartest thing when you’re dealing with a demon who’s first love in life is gossip.

“Ah, Angel?”

“Ya?”

“Cordelia?”

“Oh, ya, right.” He looks at the phone blankly.

“It won’t bite. Promise.”

“So, I do need to go to Sunnydale then…..right?….and talk to Buffy?”

“Don’t know Bro. Do ya?”

“Yea, I do…….how am I going to tell Cordy? This is really not the right time for this.”

“Is it ever?”

“I guess not.”

“Well, I’m going back to bed. Been a big week with all the lawyers coming in unsure of their life expectancy. You know, what with the not being able to keep some vampire out of their 75 year review and ending up with one pissed off Senior Partner. But hey, who am I to gripe? I’m just a bar owner. Toodels.”

Angel winced at that last part as he watched Lorne saunter off to his room in the back.

“Oh, and Angel? Just so, you know, you have it straight? Your past love is just that…..past. Your true love is, well, true.”

Grabbing the phone he dialed the hotel to update his Seer on the next plan of action.

She’s so gonna rip me a new one over this……….


Part 5

“Cordelia?”

“….”

“Cordy?”

“…”

“Cor?”

“I don’t believe this. I don’t FUCKING believe this!”

Angel held the phone away from his ear as Cordelia’s voice screamed over the phone line. He’d just finished telling her why he had to go to Sunnydale and thought she’d hung up on him.

“I know. It’s not a…”

“Oh you don’t know anything buddy. You have no idea. Figures. The lives of the people I love are at stake and it turns out that Buffy is at the bottom of it all.”

“I don’t think Lorne meant…”

“I know what he meant all right. The next time I see that green, aura reading, mojo man I’m gonna give him what for….right between the eyes!!”

“What he said was….”

“What he said was you need to go see little ole Buffy because only she can make your boo boo better. That’s what he said!”

“Ahhh, not really. It was more like…”

“Like sending you off on a treasure hunt? What? What was it “more like” Angel? Hmmm?”

“If you’d just calm down a minute I can finish telling you what he told me. And I never said I was going to see Buffy.”

Yet.

“No, you didn’t. You said you had to go to Sunnydale and tell people you cared about them. That’s what you said. And to me it translates to ‘You’re leaving LA and going to Sunnydale to tell Buffy she is the love of your life and you have to stay and help her fight the good fight just to be by her side and you’re never coming back.’ ……ever…..that’s what you said.”

“Cordy….I’m not….I will…..I mean I won’t….she isn’t……or she was…but not……and………I won’t leave you. I swear.”

“…”

“Cordy?”

“…”

“Do you believe me?”

“No Angel. I don’t think I do.”

Crap.

“Cordelia. I will not ever leave you again…….I swear it. Please….”

“I don’t want to talk about it any more Angel. Go do what you have to do.”

The click on the line sounded like a death toll in his ear. He slammed the reciever down and raced out of the bar straight for the sewers.

The trip that took him normally 25 minutes, took him 10. And in that 10 minutes his fear turned to frustration and in his frustration was anger. An anger at her and himself. That they couldn’t get it together long enough to stop ending up at each others throats. They had to talk this out.

As he ran up the basement stairs, all he could do was pray she hadn’t left. Coming to a stop in front of Wesley an Gunn in the middle of the lobby he growled.

“Where is she.”

Both sets of male eyes looked in the direction of the courtyard. Angel stomped up the stairs and out the door.

She was standing right in the middle of the courtyard, bright sunlight all around her. The highlights in her hair glistening, her skin glowing, warmed by the sun. His face softened. His anger melted. He could never stay mad her. But being bound to the periphery of the garden was frustrating when all he wanted to do was grab her by the shoulders and shake her.

She heard him barge through the hotel doors. She glanced at him briefly and then turned her back to him.

“Don’t do this Cordelia.”

“…”

“Don’t shut me out now. Not when we need each other so much.”

“…”

“Please…..”

It broke her heart to hear the pain in his voice. All she wanted to do was go to him and wrap her arms around him. To have him lay his head on her chest. To hold him close and comfort him.

But he doesn’t want that from me. He took his comfort in Darla and now he’s going to go and soothe his pains with Buffy.

“Angel. I understand what you have to do. And if it will save Wes and Gunn’s life than you have no choice but to go. You need her. I get that. I really do.”

“But you don’t. Don’t you see? I think what Lorne was trying to tell me with all the bricks and flowers stuff, is that I need to say thank you. That I was so close to being nothing when Whistler found me that I practically didn’t exist. And she was the first step toward my journey to……this.”

He opened his arms wide, noting everything and everyone that meant so much to him.

“I never would have made it out of the alleys and sewers if it wasn’t for her and if not for that I never would have found my place here. With you…….and Wes and Gunn. I need to thank her for that. And that’s all.”

She turned around slowly, unsure and scared. Wanting so badly to believe him. That he wouldn’t leave her alone again.

He’s trying. He really is. He wants to make this right. I can see it. I just……’sigh’

“Okay……..I’ll believe you.”

“You will? I mean, you do?”

“Yes.”

“Then, will you come with me?”

“With you?”

“To Sunnydale.”

“To Sunnydale?”

He chuckles softly, “Yes. Sunnydale. With me. Today.”

“Why?”

“Why??”

“Yes. Why?”

“Hm. Mm. Why…..?”

“Can we stop with the repeat-o dialog?”

“Uh, sorry. I guess because I want you there…….with me….in Sunnydale.”

“Oookay. But why do you want me there?”

Lorne said I needed to be honest. That I needed to tell the people I cared about how I feel about them. And I care about this woman more than anyone on earth……

“Because I care about you?”

“Okay, one, that didn’t make any sense and two…..is that a question?”

“No, no. Because I care about you.”

“I get that. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. But that’s not an answer Angel……it’s a statement.”

He paced back and forth in the shadowed area of the courtyard jamming his hand through the top of his hair.

Why is it so hard to explain what I’m feeling…..just say it…

She’s looking at him with a confused expression on her face. Waiting, patiently. But that won’t last long with her.

She’s going to get very impatient, very soon if I don’t get it together.

He stops his pacing and faces her.

“I do care about you Cordelia. A lot. And this trip to Sunnydale is going to be hard for me. And when things are hard…..you’re there. To help me. Get through them I mean. Everyone thinks that I’m so strong and can shoulder any burden. But I’m not. I mean I’m not weak or anything, you know I can beat any demon that comes my way. In no way a sissy here…….”

Cordelia smiles, she can’t help herself.

Always with the machismo. Got to make sure his manliness isn’t compromised……God, what a dork.

“….but with the other stuff. You know the ‘life’ stuff. You….show me….and talk….to me…..you help me work it out. Get through it. Understand it………..and that’s why I need you to go to Sunnydale with me…….to help me not screw everything up……….Why are you smiling?”

“I’m smiling because you’re a dork. Which in my language means a really sweet kinda guy.”

“And that’s good…….right?”

“Yes, that’s good. And yes, I’ll go with you. I kind of understand what you’re trying to tell me. That you’re basically crap at the whole human emotion stuff. And I know that. I’ve always known that. But I guess I forget sometimes. Because excluding all the ‘creature of the night’ stuff you’re really just a man. And *no* man likes to share his feelings. Even though you are a little bit more phobic about it than your average ‘Joe’.”

“Thank you for that.”

“You’re welcome. I’m a big person, I can admit when I’m wrong.”

“…”

“Okay, so maybe not every time I’m wrong.”

She gives him a smirk and a roll of her eyes. With a quick turn she walks up the stairs throwing a

“To SunnyHell it is!”

Over her shoulder.

Angel takes a much needed, not needed, breath.

That was close. I can’t stand this roller coaster of emotions much longer. And we still don’t know how much time we have before the vision becomes reality. I guess as long as she’s with me in Sunnydale, she can’t pack her bags and walk out of the Hotel…..And this trip better be all hell-fire worth it or *I’m* gonna punch that ‘aura reading, mojo man’!


Part 6

The drive to Sunnydale was uneventful. Both thought that it would give them a couple hours to talk things out. It would be good to be alone and sort through a lot of the emotions that had been churning for the last few days.

What actually happened was far from that.

Angel driving, squirming in his seat when he thought he’d screwed up enough courage to say something. Cordelia waiting expectantly for him to speak, watching one emotion after the other play over his face. And then he’d give up the internal conflict and sit quietly again.

She knew she wasn’t doing any better than he was. The twisting and turning of her hands in her lap. The fiddling with the radio stations. Staring sightlessly out the window at the passing scenery. Trying to find a starting point to the troubles they had was practically impossible. She understood Angel’s inability to figure out where to begin all too well.

So the drive was quite. The silence heavy with unspoken words. Then they hit the outskirts of town.

“Um, Angel?”

“yea”

“Do we have a place to sleep?”

“I thought we’d stay at the mansion…..If that’s alright with you?.”

“Oh, yea, forgot about that place. Sure, that’s fine.”

“I figured we’d go straight there since Buffy would be out patrolling any way and I’m still not sure what I’m going to say to her.”

“You mean you’re not going to do your patented “Stalker of the Night routine”? Trail her around spying on her behind her back, then leave town?”

“Cordelia…”

“What? It’s not like you haven’t done it before. I mean you could just stick with that, except you could, you know, catch her alone, say ‘thanks’ and we could be headed back to LA in no time!”

“I don’t think that’s what Lorne meant when he said I needed to tell people how I felt. And besides, there’s someone else here that means a lot to me that I’ve never said a word to.”

“Someone else? But there isn’t anyone else.”

“Yes. There is. Willow.”

“Willow?”

“Yea. I owe her a lot. I mean “a lot”. And she’s always been a friend to me. She never held the things Angelus did against me. If I ever needed help, she was always there. I never told her how much that meant to me.”

“Willow hunh? Wow, who’d a thunk it. I guess you’re right though. Out of all the scoobies she was always the one who gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. Even me. Well, until that whole thing with Xander, but she got me back good with the kissing thing. So I think we’re pretty much even now. And even the tiniest of accessions seems to bring people together. What with all the death and destruction.”

“Yea, I guess that would happen.”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”

“No. That’s okay.”

They sit quietly both lost in their own thoughts of the past. Angel starts out slowly, carefully choosing his words to tell her of that night.

“The night I left Sunnydale……..the night of the ascension?……. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done…….Not just because of Buffy. But to leave the security of what I had known for three years…….To strike out on my own. To choose to be alone again……..It was rough…..I knew my place here, I was Buffy’s boyfriend…….I stuck to the shadows and helped when I was needed. It wasn’t much of a life but at least it was more than what I had had. And as hard as leaving was, it was still the ‘best’ decision I ever made. I found Doyle…….. or he found me. And…….I found you. …….My mission. My place in this world. And I’d do it all again. Even those first 3 months of hell. Just to be right where I am. “

Trying to see her reaction to what he said and yet not be obvious, he glances at her out of the corner of his eye. She’s staring straight at him, her expression thoughtful.

“You know, you don’t say much very often and when you do it’s usually some weird, retarded view of things. But every once in awhile you can come up with some pretty amazing insights………I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks.”

“No problem.”

They drove the last few minutes to the mansion. Pulling up the long drive way Cordelia let out a low whistle.

“I forgot how big this thing was.”

“Yea, I got it for a killing. Literally. I killed the owner.”

“Okay. You never have to mention that again.”

“Sorry. I’ve had an agency come in every couple weeks and keep the place up. I’ll have to check and see if I’m getting my money’s worth.

“Well as long as there’s clean sheets on the bed and hot water for showers I’m good.”

“There is, I called ahead and had them make up the rooms and stock the cupboards and refrigerator in case you were hungry. Had them turn the heat up and put some rugs on the floor too. I know how your feet get cold.”

Opening the door and stepping out, Cordelia looks across the top of the car in wonderment.

“You did that….for me?”

“Well……yea……”

Feeling a bit awkward Angel looks down and scuffs his foot on the pavement.

“…..I know how you get hungry in the evenings and you like to eat. That you wear your fuzzy slippers like they’re a lifeline. Or when you’re upset or unsure you wring your hands and……and a whole lotta other stuff…….”

Angel trailed off thinking he better stop while he was ahead, before he mentioned that she slept with her hand curled under her cheek or that she put something in her bath water that made her smell like a fresh spring morning. Or that he knew she had a mole on her left shoulder blade and one on her hip.

That sweet look of appreciation on her face would turn quickly into shock And of course that would also lead to questions which she would make me answer and that shock would definitely turn into anger. Because telling her that I’ve gone to her apartment to check up on her without her knowing would really piss her off and since that’s the only other thing I could say besides the truth that I was watching her because…..because……well……’because’. And what was that Lorne said about a lie between me and myself?

“Thank you Angel.”

“What? Oh…… your welcome.”

“Shall we?” Stretching her arm out in invitation to the front door, she smiles and tilts her head.

“Sure. Yea.”

Angel fishes in his pocket for the key, unlocking the door he steps aside to let her enter. She stops half way into the entry way and turns around to wait for him. Angel flips on the lights and a thousand memories bombard him. They’re so strong and unexpected it throws him, he leans against the wall to balance himself.

“Angel!” Cordelia runs to him, ducking under his arm to grab him around the waist so he doesn’t fall. “What happened? What is it?”

The memories pass quickly and he rights himself. “It’s nothing. I just……I wasn’t expecting…..I haven’t thought about this place, the things that happened here, in so long. It just came back to me all at once.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t stay here then? I’m sure we could find a hotel or something.”

“No. I’m fine. I had thought I’d put all of it behind me. That it was just part of my past, that I’d gotten over it. I guess Lorne was right…….I’ve never dealt with any of it.”

Looking down into the face of his closest friend he could see the worry etched into her features. He could also feel the warmth of her body pressed up close to his side, her arm around his waist, her hand on his chest, resting over his un-beating heart.

As hard as this is going to be, how could I *not* go through with it? If for no other reason than to earn the trust of this incredible woman back. She holds a secret place in my heart that nobody, not even Buffy can penetrate. In that place she’s mine and I’m hers.

Angel pushes back those haunted desires that creep up on him for this beautiful woman. Pushes them down into that secret place and holds them there. Where only in private, alone with his thoughts, does he close his eyes and bring forth the curve of her face, the depths of her eyes, the scent of her skin. Only in the safety and seclusion of his room does he let his fantasies run wild and safely sate his cravings for this dark haired beauty.

“Angel?…….you have a weird look on your face. Are you going to be sick?”

Cordelia quickly untangles herself from him and takes a few steps back eyeing him suspiciously.

“No. I’m fine. Really.”

Shaking off the remains of his thoughts he strides through the room to the doors of the courtyard. Unlocking them he pulls them open to let in the fragrant breeze and to give himself a minute to pull himself together.

He can hear her tentatively walking around behind him. He turns his head slightly to see her picking up a statuette from a pedestal. Nodding appreciatively, she sets it back down and walks around the back of the sofa, trailing her fingers along the hard wood surface. He laughs to himself as he sees her crane her neck around trying to see through the entrance to his old bedroom. He speaks suddenly and she jumps a little, startled at being caught snooping.

“You’ve never been here before? Have you?”

“No. I never have. I wasn’t exactly one of your bestest buds when we lived here.”

“No. I guess you weren’t. I’m sorry about that.”

“Now why would you be sorry about something like that? It’s not like you had any control over it. I chose to be the way I was. I could have been nicer, but I wasn’t. But I’m not that person any more anyway. So, you know, water under the bridge and all.”

She watches him, noticing broad shoulders, tapered waist, long legs with determined steps, as he moves through the room toward her. The pure gracefulness of his movements catches her breath in her throat every time she lets herself watch him. Stopping in front of her, he searches her eyes. She sees his hand come up to the side of her face, a strong masculine hand and ever so gently he puts a stray hair behind her ear. His fingers lingering softly on her jaw. Then he lets his hand drop to his side.

“I am sorry…….I missed out on three years of knowing you.”

Flustered by the caress, she stammers.

“O-oh. W-well that’s okay, you probably wouldn’t have liked me that much back then anyway.”

“I can’t believe that’s true Cordelia. I did know you a little and what I saw, I liked.”

Confused by his straight forward comments and unsure how to handle the feelings he evoked in her she moves away from him. Walking to the curtained opening she stops.

“So what’s in here?”

TBC

Zanita

Posted December 14, 2015 by califi in TBC