Archive for January 8, 2016

Every Breath She Takes 4   1 comment

PART 4

A FEW DAYS EARLIER…

Lorne kept his warmly sympathetic red eyes on the brunette currently trying to pace off her agitation and wearing a hole in the rug on his floor.

“Cordelia-sweetness, if you want to be able to influence Angel then you need to reach his demon. It’s as simple and as complicated as that”. Emphasis on the complicated he thought wryly but kept that between his teeth.

“Who said anything about influence? – Just gimme a stake” she snapped back over one slim shoulder accompanied by a thunderous scowl.

Lorne stayed diplomatically silent, just raised a brow and levelled a knowing look at her face on her return trip. Cordelia saw it and sighed gustily before admitting with great reluctance. “Okay- geeze I’m exaggerating – but my God he is so damned aggravating at times it drives me …nuts- urggh”.

Flopping down on the easy chair opposite the gowned and slippered demon she tossed him a confused look. “So what was that about reaching his demon? Presuming I want to, that is,” she added with only a fraction of her previous bite.

“Well… and this is the thing, you need to get him to reveal it first and I’m not just talking about that deliciously growley face he lets out occasionally”…

WHERE WE LEFT OFF…

“No, Angel. I’m not”. The whole club went heart-poundingly quiet, waiting in tense expectation of something…

The words were hardly out of her mouth before she felt his hands tighten reflexively on her. Then he shifted slightly causing a dart of heat to shot out from her loins at the friction when his swollen sex brushed against her pelvis, hard and strangely hot even through the not so thin material of the black dress.

Cordelia felt a shiver run through her body as the heat of unwilling sexual arousal grew in her belly and between her thighs, incited by the insistently throbbing length being pressed into her. Oh no you don’t- he gets a hard on and you melt around him like some kinda desperate vamp groupie, I don’t think so

Unnerved by the strength of her reaction and frightened by the melting need to give into it she pushed against his chest in a silent demand for release. He didn’t take the hint other than to lean even closer- so close she braced herself to be devoured all over again. Then blushed when he didn’t and realised she’d all but hung her tongue out ready for him.

“Don’t tell me no” he growled low, his lips hovering over hers again. “You are coming home, back where you belong” he waited a beat and then lowered his voice to little more than a threatening undertone “even if I have to carry you there”. Topaz striations mingled with the dark brown, and then expanded to cover the whole iris when the brunette stubbornly shook her head.

“The hotel is your home, not mine” she shot back and then added for good measure, “and you can stick your job up your ass- I have a new one now”. She pulled her head back and raised her chin and their eyes clashed with furious intensity.

She knew it was harsh but the heat of her blush was still tingeing her cheeks and egging her on. Anyway she refused to let him think she was such a pushover that all he had to do was snap his fingers or any other part of his body to have her come running back. No matter how much she might want to. Shut up Cor, homesickness is for wusses. She missed the guys, her apartment and Dennis so much she shocked herself- something else to blame Angel for.

There were a few groans tossed around the room at her answer and the forgotten microphone gave off a constant low hum having been abandoned in mid flow. Over the disquiet, Cordelia could almost hear his teeth grinding under that locked rock-hard jaw. Good she thought and felt a spurt of satisfaction, it was his turn to feel helpless about something and it was about damn time too in her opinion.

Cordelia knew he had feelings for her and in an ‘up’ mood, she believed he loved her. But believing isn’t knowing and she was damn well determined to get him to admit it; especially after that confrontation in the basement when he’d treated her like she was nothing to him. She was going to make sure he never did that ever again; or her name wasn’t Cordelia Chase.

“Let me go” she insisted in a hard voice, pushing against his chest with one firmly planted palm. “Angel, I mean it… don’t make me hate you”. She warned darkly and refused to relent or soften her expression even when the topaz momentarily subsided back to hurt chocolate brown pools of male confusion.

Angel wanted to ignore her threat and even started to lift her up, then stopped and his arms trembled under the strain of the mixed signals coming from his brain. One side demanding he just toss her over his shoulder and take her somewhere private and do whatever he had to do to get her to drop this ridiculous idea; while the other side was terrified of going too far and losing her completely.

The darker, possessive side of his nature won. Lose her? Not gonna happen, narrowed dark eyes blackened with emotion bored intently into hers. “Wrong answer, Sweetheart”.

Cordelia choked on a gasp just as she found herself literally tossed over one wide shoulder. She opened her mouth to scream and turned her head to find Lorne. Only he wasn’t there- no one was. Oh crap- they were already on the stairs leading out from the club. Damn Vampire speed.

Uh huh and what the hell happened to the tables and people in between. Still struggling to adjust, Cordelia blinked and found her face next to a car door- a black one. For chrissake was he on drugs or something?

“Put me down” came Cordelia’s muffled voice from somewhere behind his large frame. Stylish black shoes with killer heels kicked in the air and led the eyes up long sheer black covered legs. She lifted her head, “dammit, Angel, my ass is showing” she growled, filled with outrage and acute embarrassment.

Angel dropped her back down to her feet but kept a tight hold of her waist, then without even looking at her face, shackled her hands with one of his and opening the car door- went to push her into the seat. Cordelia seeing her choices narrowing down to nothing grabbed onto his shirtfront with both hands in a death grip.

“Hey, will you just stop and think for a minute” she sucked in a breath and glared at him.

“I don’t need to think. Just get in the damn car” he growled back and started to herd her inside the car simply by moving in closer.

Meanwhile Cordelia, not realising she was giving away the direction of her thoughts looked down at his groin. “Don’t even think about it Cor, you won’t like what happens if you try it”. He was deadly serious; he was about one baby step away from vamping out as it was.

“Don’t threaten me,” she snapped at him, annoyed at being found out so easily.

“Then don’t push me” he replied warningly still standing far too close for comfort.

They faced off for several more tense seconds while Cordelia’s mind whirled, but short of the National Guard she couldn’t see she had any other choice. So with a last fulminating glare she reluctantly sat down and once he’d freed her hands, swung her legs into the car.

Expecting him to go around the car to get in himself; she gaped when he placed one boot on the now closed car door and simply vaulted over her to the drivers side. “Are you crazy”? She yelped sliding down in the seat and ducking her head.

Angel didn’t answer her. If she’d have seen him two days ago she wouldn’t have to ask and that was before he’d found out about her ‘career change’. The demon should have retreated back into its little hole inside him by now. But after the trick she’d pulled, it might as well have taken up a ringside seat the way he felt.

It was riding him hard even now and he knew he had a problem on his hands, mostly to do with getting her to co-operate without setting it off again. As things stood he was too unstable for this but there was no way he was waiting until he was calmer- calmer would only happen when she was back where she belonged and this whole stupid business was behind them.

“Where are you staying”? He asked abruptly turning to face her with one hand on the wheel and the other draped over the car seat; a deceptively relaxed pose to anyone who didn’t know him better.

He waited tensely for her answer. One way or another she was going to tell him where she’d spent the last few days. Not knowing where she was or who with had been driving him insane. If she had a bolthole he didn’t know about- he was damn well going to know about it for the future. If he ever let her out of his sight again that is.

Cordelia looked at him quizzically, trying to make sense of the aloof expression on his handsome face, compared to the wrathful vibes coming off him in simmering waves. He was faking the calm, he had to be; no one and least of all him with his notorious tendency to over-react, got rid of all that pent-up emotion so quickly.

“Why”? She asked him suspiciously then watched in fascination as the knuckles of the hand on the steering wheel turned white. Oh yeah- so much for calm!

“Just answer the damn question, Cordelia,” he rasped out while his whole body stiffened, the already deep timbre of his voice made harsher with struggle to keep it remotely human sounding.

Uh oh, time for some co-operation before he blows a gasket, thought Cordelia and sat up from the slouch she’d gotten into when ducking. Puffing out a breath in vexation she gave him the name of a nearby motel. Angel knew it and immediately started the engine with a roar. They took off so fast that Cordelia had to grab onto the dashboard to steady herself as the car shot away from the kerb.

“What the hell are you doing paying for a motel when you have an apartment already”? He demanded to know, shooting her a dark look full of frustrated rage, an echo from the last few days of fruitless waiting and searching.

Dumb question, “I knew you would find me there” she answered simply and felt him stiffen beside her. She did too and covered the nervous reaction by brushing the blowing strands of her hair off her face. That’s gotta sting, she winced internally, but stuck to her guns. If he wanted her back then he had to be pushed into giving her what she wanted and forget just being ‘friends’. Wesley and Gunn were her friends; Angel was just…hers. An asshole at times, yes – but still hers.

Not that she was hiding so much as making herself less accessible, according to Lorne. She frowned with that thought, she was going to have to have a talk with her green friend about that useless frickin’ sanctuary spell. Who knew tossing her over his shoulder and carting her off wasn’t ‘violence’; it certainly felt like abuse to her and now the plan she and Lorne had cooked up was shot to hell, unless…

Cordelia went silent while she mentally sorted through the maze of consequences. Typical Angel always reacting and doing stuff that no one could plan for. Of course, maybe they could go from the whole, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder part’ or in their case- demon angrier, straight to the… .

Her heart started to beat a rapid tattoo in her chest as her thoughts followed that path to the logical conclusion. Lorne had warned what would happen and had then gone into great detail, for him, on the reason why it had to happen and while a part of her wanted it- another big part was major scared.

For Angel, that flat matter of fact statement brought a vicious stab of pain into his gut and set off a mini explosion of rage in his head, tearing at reason and making the effort of remaining civilised that much more difficult. So she’d been hiding from him, refusing to let him even talk to her.

“And that would have been so bad? I’m not even allowed to talk to you now”? The pain was hidden but the anger wasn’t as he shot out the questions along with a quick snarling look thrown in her direction while negotiating the suddenly heavy traffic.

Cordelia’s jaw dropped, was he for real? “That’s rich coming from you- double standards much! Tell me, why should I listen to you after you chased me out of the basement the other night”? She crossed her arms and waited for his reply. Not that she expected him to get it. Unless it was in big neon lights in front of his face he never did- big dork!

“That was totally different”, he refuted quick to defend himself.

“How- how was it different”? She asked incredulously. Okay so she’d been expecting him to deny it but still it rankled like crazy and her blood pressure shot up along with her temper.

“I had something I had to do. I’m sorry you didn’t approve of my methods but I had no choice- it was the only way”. Angel tried a more reasonable tone. At least they were talking and maybe- if he could stay calm enough, he could get her to see his point of view.

“Daniel wasn’t just any ordinary vamp and it was just to dangerous for me to risk you guys”. Especially as he was a part of Angel’s past; that made it personal he thought, but had more sense than to say it to her.

“Says you- who knows? We may have been able to think up something that… oh I don’t know- involved the whole team”. Sarcasm dripped from her full lips in a tone that could give vinegar a run for its money for tartness.

So much for his point of view, Angel knew her well enough to know she wasn’t going to give him an inch. “It was my business,” he muttered using the excuse of watching the road to not look at her.

“Come again” said Cordelia carefully, playing dumb while seething inside. Did he just say…?

“I said it was my business; mine and no-one else’s”. Angel repeated forcefully and gave her a piercing look out of glittering midnight dark eyes before turning his attention back to the junction he was in the middle of navigating to turn into the motel parking lot.

“Yeah well- this is my business so just back off”. Cordelia finally got out after a stunned minute. Anger flared hot and strong and that combined with the awful wretched sinking feeling in her belly made for an uncomfortable mix that brought the sting of tears to her eyes. Damn him.

In frigid silence she watched him turn off the engine. Then unable to hold it in any longer, gave in to the burning anger and boiling frustration, not caring if she was giving herself away.

“Do you really expect me to just accept that you…. Big dumb A-hole urghhh” She stopped; momentarily speechless, unable to think of an insult bad enough to suit her mood right then.

Trying for calm and reason, Cordelia pressed a hand palm to her forehead and closed her eyes before settling narrowed hazel eyes on his face. “Listen to me carefully Angel- Okay?”

She let the hard edge of determination creep into her voice, refusing to believe she was wrong about them, because dammit- she didn’t have time left for doubts. But if she was wrong, then she was no worse off being away from him. In fact she’d be much better off alone because she’d seen enough of his pathetic pining to know it wasn’t for her.

“I want- and believe me this is non-negotiable; more than you’re willing to give and until you change your mind. We are finished, through and kaput- comprende”? She meant every word and the plan could go to hell, it was more at Lorne’s insistence anyway. She preferred a more direct approach and right now that involved a heavy blunt object landing on a certain thick head.

Rant over; the angry brunette slammed the car door shut, and stalked over to the motel door; not looking back even once. As soon as she was inside the door she slammed that shut behind her too with a forceful finality that could’ve frozen a desert.

***

Continue

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Every Breath She Takes 3   1 comment

PART 3

NIGHTCLUB

Angel entered the nightclub and waited to pay his way in. The bored teller busy popping gum hardly spared him a glance, too bored and jaded now to care who was paying the money- so long as they paid. The bouncers gave him a hard glance courtesy of his size and dark clothing. A look meant to intimidate him into not giving them, the girls or the patrons a hard time.

He gave them a smiling nod in return that clearly said quid pro quo . You leave me alone- I’ll leave you alone. Brushing past them without waiting to see how they took it. He walked down the metallic stairs down to the polished wooden floor.

It was busy despite being fairly early in the evening but then places like this always seemed busy. Round caged platforms were carefully placed in a triangle surrounded by chairs and tables for the gawking patrons to watch the antics of the girls as they performed to the loud beat with a heated raunchiness designed to inflame male lust.

“Can I get your drink, Sir”? The waitress was wearing nothing more than a tiny corset and stockings and staying a good three-foot away from him, likely policy for the club. He shook his head and after giving him a once over and a raised brow went on her way.

The strobe lights were a nuisance but once he learned the pattern he was able to check out the club without getting constantly irritated by the bright intrusive flashing. Nothing, no sign of Daniel, frowning he checked again but fared no better.

He spotted some stairs leading up to another level and a quick glance up conformed there was much less action going on up there. Anticipation made his spine tingle as he headed up them, moving swifter than the human eye could see. He’d been right, he thought, when he got to the top and lay eyes on the other vampire; dark satisfaction filled him, swiftly followed by an aggression that rocked him to the depths of his soul and beyond.

“Put the boy down, Daniel,” he instructed in soft quiet tone; a total contrast to the tight anger on his face. It was much darker up here. A place for illicit dealings later on no doubt, and all carried out under cover of relative darkness- a haven for a vampire.

Daniel looked up with his vampire face in full view, blood and strips of gore dripped from his fangs and open mouth. Almost hungrily his yellow eyes latched onto Angel’s face. Transfixed by the sight of his one time comrade. Aaah, Angelus! As beautiful as ever and yet so much colder too.

Angelus had known how much he’d intrigued Daniel and openly laughed at his adoring gaze all the while taunting him with his male beauty. Always keeping him at arm’s length, and constantly throwing his disgusting liaisons with females in his face. Of course back then he’d been just as delighted when Daniel had killed the female afterwards – if Angelus hadn’t already done so.

“Don’t be so touchy, my friend- he’s already dead” he dropped the lifeless form to the floor by his polished and tasselled shoes. “There’s plenty more where that came from” he waved a negligent hand at the young life snuffed out so early, simply because the unfortunate had caught the eye of a vampire.

“Not for you and not for me” replied Angel still in a dangerously quiet voice as he approached.

His face flirted with the shadows that played lovingly over his sculpted face with each step forward. He stopped about five foot away and then sat down slowly and crossing his booted feet leaned negligently back, stretching his long powerful frame within the confines of the padded seat.

“As if you could stop me” scoffed the other vampire equally as carefully, eyes gleaming with anticipation, unable to help appreciating the view so temptingly offered.

Angel’s skin crawled as that assessing look passed up and down his length but kept the revulsion off his face. “So what – you wanna throw down in here”? He asked as if he truly didn’t care. This was just a part of the game. A chess match between them as they battled for dominance, constantly reforming strategies in a fluid motion of discreet underhand warfare.

Angelus – really such coarse language, tut tut” Daniel melted his features back to the human guise of his dead host. Harsh heavy features, hooked nose and dark eyes under bushy brows. His full thick lips were still covered in blood giving them an artificial look of being flushed.

Not much improvement really, thought Angel with a smirk. Daniel noticed the smile and the resulting raised brow and felt a bubble of frustrated rage from deep inside. So typical of the vampire he’d known and loved every bit as much as he’d envied and hated him.

“Tick tock Dee, gotta make your mind up or I’m outta here”. Angel informed him with mock sorrow, sliding further down in the chair he checked his watch as if to suggest that he had better things to do with his time than wait on old ‘friends’. “Things to do, people to see, women to fuck”. He pursed his lips to hide another smile when he heard the hiss of rage that Daniel couldn’t suppress. Some things never change.

“Do-Not-Tease me Angelus; remember what happened the last time that happened and considering your new ‘soul’ I would think that would be a problem for you”. Black eyes watched with beady interest for a reaction to his knowledge of that not so secret information.

Angel just returned his stare with a blank one of his own, not dropping his gaze just maintaining a look of mild interest. Inside the demon howled and writhed. Allowing it closer to the surface was necessary but meant that his control over its more violent impulses was strained. So be it, he decided and let the darkness flood him.

“What happened to you my friend” asked Daniel sadly. The deep rich and slightly foreign timbre of his voice would have been hypnotic to anyone who didn’t know him better.

“Follow me and find out,” said Angel flatly, and then getting back to his feet, he walked towards the stairs without a backward glance.

ABANDONED CHURCH

The cold grey stone of the church was as welcoming as a hellmouth, meaning – not at all. “How typical of you to pick a place such as this, Angelus” Daniel smiled ruefully and shook his head behind an admonishingly waggling finger.

“I’d be insulted if it wasn’t for the obvious thought you must have put into it, which is really quite flattering- don’t you think”?

“You don’t wanna know what I think, Daniel so lets cut the crap”. Angel walked over to a large metal trash can and casually lighting a match- flicked it inside. A mini inferno was set off as the flammables crammed inside were instantly set alight. He tossed the matches to Daniel who did likewise with another can set beside the altar steps.

Tongues of flame flickered on the ceiling and walls of the church and black smoke billowed for a while but affected neither and gradually cleared away, settling down to a sullen drift of acrid smoke.

“On the contrary, Angelus, let’s hear what you think. Call me interested” said the other vampire coldly walking down the crumbled aisle; his shoes ringing on the old stone. His gaze swept over the empty cavernous building, taking in the broken glass arched windows and empty alter space.

His voice echoed around the peaked ceiling with its dirty frescoes of Angels and devils. “Why did you not meet me as we agreed in Venice? I was…disappointed”. He turned to face Angel still standing beside the marble font by the door.

“I didn’t meet you because I got a better offer. In fact let’s be honest. Do you wanna know why I kept you around, Daniel? Well I’ll tell you – you were so bored and jaded and pathetically lonely; and yet you thought you were such hot shit”. Angel shook his head and sauntered forward to meet Daniel in the middle of the dusty wreck of the floor.

“It was too funny before it got boring as fuck. Ya know- I was so bored I couldn’t even be bothered dusting you”. Angel sneered the last as his eyes flicked up and down the other vampire with dismissive contempt clearly written on his hard handsome face.

They stood within touching distance of one another. Both of them tall and heavily muscled. Daniel dressed in all grey gentlemanly elegance while Angel wore scuffed boots, old black jeans that moulded to his thighs, teamed with a plain black shirt and topped with his black leather duster. To an observer Daniel would seem by far the less dangerous. Appearances would be deceiving.

Daniels hands were clenched so tightly the knuckles were white- but his face remained impassive even as the rage bubbled harder and hotter, making his vision go red with the potent fire. His eyes locked on the face of Angelus, taking in the sideways smirk and knowing raised brows. Black eyes searched dark brown for some sign of playful teasing and found only scorn.

“You would have died before me, Angelus. You always underestimated what I was capable of” he snarled. His swarthy face twisting as the words pushed out through gritted teeth; slammed opened the door he’d locked over his roiling emotions.

“Underestimate you- you’re kidding right? I mean I was sick but…” Angel started to walk off to the side; circling Daniel who kept him in his line of sight, both predators keeping their gazes locked on target. Angel pursed his lips and continued, “You were so much sicker – in fact you were out there” he flicked a hand towards the stars through the high windows.

“You flatter me now” Daniel allowed a wide appreciative smile to crack his face, showing large flat teeth. “Since we’re being so honest- do you know why I craved your company Angelus? Because I couldn’t beat you; even at my own games, so no throwing stones now”.

“Mind you, as much as I adored you. I always hated the fact that no matter how many vampires I fought and destroyed you were always the one they feared more”.

It was true and something Angelus had already known. Other vampires shunned Daniel and almost always had. He was sick and evil but – and this was the crunch; he hunted and killed his own kind every bit as much as he’d done with humans; just for the pleasure of being the big bad dominant one. Angelus had dusted other vamps because they’d annoyed him which as an older vampire was much more acceptable. Plus – well he’d been a creatively evil vampire.

“It’s the name, Daniel – kinda pussyish and momma’s boy dontcha think”? Twin lines appeared in a thoughtful frown on Angel’s face as if he were truly considering the problem. Angel tilted his head to one side with one eye narrowed, waiting patiently for a response.

“And Angel – what is that”? Daniel rose to the bait as he always had. Angelus had always been able to do that to him and yet he couldn’t prevent the inevitable rise of anger.

“Ever heard the song about a man named Sue”? Angel shot back without missing a beat. God, he’d been dying to use that ever since he’d first heard it. He grinned helplessly and then gave in to the urge to give a shout of laughter.

“Such mirth while the woman you care for…” Daniel gave a moue of distaste “Lies in her hospital bed. Come now Angelus, don’t you want to know why I felt the need to sate my hunger on her”

“Let me take a guess. You didn’t bite her cos you were hungry; but to get my attention. Are you lonely Daniel, is that what this is”? Angel kept his voice light by using every ounce of willpower not to let the image of Cordelia lying deathly still in hospital while a team of LA’s finest worked to save her life – disturb the smooth expression of indifference on his face.

“What would you know about loneliness”? Asked Daniel in a hard edgy voice; the emotions thickening his accent and roughing the smooth cultured tones he liked to cultivate. He stalked away needing some space to haul back on the reins of his rage. This was the game and he always played to win.

“I know a sick bastard like you deserves to be lonely and die that way too” said Angel in a low, intent and dangerous tone. Anticipation tightened the muscles of both face and body when he saw Daniel stiffen in understanding.

“So it comes to this. It’s such a sad day when I must destroy an old comrade-in-arms”. Daniel turned back and found Angel had taken some time to back up too. They faced one another with smoke and flickering orange flames dancing directly behind their still figures.

“Don’t count your chickens,” advised Angel and then bending his waist and knees flew towards the other vampire in a burst of horrific speed, equally matched by Daniel. Their pounding footsteps beat a rapid tattoo, drowned out by twin roars from drawn back, snarling lips.

They met in the middle with a slam of their chests and then started to grapple viciously. Twisting and turning in circles they pushed and heaved at one another, neither one giving way in this first test of strength and endurance. Finally they broke apart and circled again, searching for weakness with all of their supernatural senses.

They came together again in a flurry of punches, some blocked, some not. Each vampire recovering instantly from a blow that landed would block another and then let fly with one of their own. Left and right, fists flew, smacking away and following through with inhuman speed.

They moved up and down the aisle while hardly straying of the narrow strip, neither gained ground as the fight was too even. Angel reared back from one of Daniel’s punches with his back straight and perfectly balanced on his feet, only curving his back at the last moment so that Daniel would think the punch would land and when it didn’t overbalance, exposing himself.

Daniel stumbled with no hard face to break the swing. In a smooth move, Angel dropped down in a crouch and then brought his hand slamming up into Daniel’s midriff, driving him off his feet with the force of the blow. Then while the other vampire was still recovering he lashed out with a foot and knocked one of Daniels out from under him, sending him crashing to the floor- face down.

Stepping back once Angel slammed his booted foot on the neck of Daniel; smashing him harder into the hard gritty floor of the broken tiles. Tendons and ligaments screaming in agony Daniel sprung up and before he could be knocked down again rammed a fist into Angel’s groin, doubling him over instantly.

Pain exploded in Angel’s balls- so harsh that red flashing lights blazed across his eyelids. He panted and then groaned as the agony continued with fresh surging waves tearing at his insides. Falling to his knees he didn’t even notice Daniel’s grinning face loom closer until it was followed by fresh pain from the savage head butt to the nose.

Daniel roughly dragged Angel up to his feet by the upper arms and then grasping him round the neck lifted him of the ground at least a foot from the floor. Daniel leered into Angel’s face and leaned forward to sniff delicately at the blood oozing from numerous cuts.

The choking hold wouldn’t kill him but it was damned uncomfortable and pissed Angel off – big time. Recovering enough to feel the anger Angel raised his hands and pushing them between Daniels thrust them away and broke the crushing hold.

Taking advantage of Angel still reeling from the previous blows; Daniel wound back his fist and punched Angel in the face, snapping the head back and to the side. Then followed through with a flurry of punches all aimed at ‘that’ face. Daniel could almost taste victory now and his nostrils flared at the smell of blood coming from Angel while his eyes bugged out of his skull with gleaming satisfaction as each blow landed.

Dazed and bleeding Angel let the punches come. Feeling the pain feed the demon with intermingled pleasure and rage. He’d refused to vamp out not wanting to dilute its lust for freedom but now… it was time. He came up from the last punch in full vamp face and caught Daniels fist in his palm, twisting and crushing with powerful fingers now careless of any pain.

Seeing it Daniel changed too, and the fight lost all semblance of humanity as they squared off again with renewed vigour. Daniel punched again but this time Angel simply smacked it away and lashed out with one of his own. Then taking a step back and pulling back his shoulders Angel jumped up and jack-knifed a knee straight into Daniel’s face.

Landing back on his feet with precision timing he followed up with an elbow to the same spot and watched as the blood flowed freely over the fierce visage of his one time running buddy. Daniel staggered back and using the back of his hand staunched the flow of blood from his nose and mouth.

Both of them were bleeding from almost every spot on their faces, split lips, noses and deep splits in the skin all sullenly oozed blood making them look even more monstrous in the hellish flickering light of the ruined church.

Enraged by the change of fortune, Daniel came at Angel. His snarling face a picture of savagery with the skin pulled up over flaring nostrils, lips drawn back to expose his fangs under blazing yellow eyes under heavy brows. Angel met his charge and wrapped an arm around his neck in a choking headlock before dragging him forward and pushing down – kneed him in the face three times in rapid succession.

Releasing the now struggling vampire Angel flattened him to the floor with an elbow to the middle of his back. Spitting more blood onto the floor, Daniel could hardly believe it when Angel started to walk away as if he’d become bored with their fight. Forgetting caution he rose up to follow. Angel whipped back round and raising a leg- snap kicked him in the abdomen; lifting him of his feet and sending him crashing back to the floor several feet away.

Daniel was coughing up gore when Angel approached, his arms held protectively over his middle as he watched his would be destroyer amble nearer. “Finish this, Angelus” he got out between coughs.

“Are you so anxious to die”?

Daniel struggled upright and Angel let him get to his feet, his own topaz eyes gleaming with pleasure at the sight of the pain filled face weaving unsteadily in front of him. Daniel staggered towards his nemesis with one hand outstretched as if to stop himself from falling. Angel looked at him from a slightly sideways position and he mentally counted the amount of times he’d let himself get duped by that one- uh huh that would be none.

Once near enough Daniel whirled in a circle that made his grey coat swirl around him, revealing the luxurious silver lining over the arcing leg and foot aimed at Angel’s head. When it missed Daniel simply fell on top of Angel and grabbing his face with outstretched fingers dug into his cheeks and eyes with cruel relish.

Disgusted and skin crawling at the too close contact Angel heaved him off and they both rolled to their feet again. This time Daniels kick landed square on Angel’s chest, sending him crashing into a column high above the floor. The sandstone behind his back crumbled under the pressure and sprayed the floor around him as he landed on his feet with one palm on the floor before finally falling to one knee.

Daniel ran full pelt to finish off what he’d started. Just as he got close, Angel dived to the floor and twisted on his back to bring his feet towards the oncoming vampire. Slamming them into his gut and driving him away again. Stopping himself with only a small skid, Daniel rushed him again but this time Angel got to his feet and using the column, climbed it with one foot to swing round and bring his other back around in another vicious kick to the face.

Stunned Daniel fell back and hit the floor hard enough to raise clouds of dust. Angel dived after him but hit nothing but dirty floor as the other vampire scrabbled backwards on hands on knees to gain some recovery time. He didn’t get far; Angel caught him up by his coat and threw him face down onto the altar steps.

While Daniel was still groaning from the impact, Angel pounced and placing a knee on his back to keep him down; grasped the shoulders underneath him. Then lifting himself off and using all of his considerable power, he raised Daniel up in the air only to slam him down again- harder this time.

Stepping back Angel looked up at the rafters above and then bending his knees launched himself into the air to latch onto one of them. Swinging over twenty feet in the air he used his free hand to punch at the other end. The rotten timber gave way with only a single punch as cracking sharply it splintered under his weight. Still holding onto it, he fell back to the floor to land on his feet with catlike grace.

Daniel was now half sitting on the steps and looking at the twirling wooden bar in Angels deft hands. “Would you really kill me, Angelus? When I can offer you so much”.

“You put your mark on my girl- which is bad enough. But then you threaten me with hurting her? I can’t think of anyone who deserves this more”. Angel raised the stake high in both hands and keeping his eyes trained on his old friend’s tearful and bloody face, drove it home and then watched him disintegrate.

THE NEXT AFTERNOON

“What the hell happened to you”? Asked Wesley incredulously, coming around the counter to stand with hands on hips and glare at the vampire walking with care down the stairs and down into the lobby.

“I told you last night on the phone” replied Angel wearily, wincing when he had to take the last step onto the tiled floor. Typical, this is so much worse than last night. He darted a quick look at Wesley’s face and then grimaced realising it obviously looked as bad as it felt.

Surreptitiously he looked around for Cordelia and didn’t know whether to be relieved or not that she wasn’t around to see the results of his ‘temporary psycho vamp’ gig. He reluctantly yanked his gaze back to Wesley when the man stepped in front of him, annoyed at being brushed off.

“Yes – but for god sake, Angel, you never said anything about being run over by a truck”.

“It was rough but it’s done so let’s just forget it Okay? Where’s Cordy”? What had started out as brusque ended on a hesitant note and the question seemed to hang in the air.

He hadn’t meant to ask just yet but it’d just popped out. Maybe he should try for the sympathy vote to cool her temper but somehow he doubted it work on her. She’d likely tell him it was his own entire fault and to stop acting like the walking wounded. That and a bunch of other stuff after the way he’d spoken to her in the basement.

Like always, the moment the big bad was defeated his thoughts turned back to her, only this time he had some serious apologising to do – if she’d let him that is. Every time he’d tried to close his eyes and let sleep claim him her face would come back to haunt him. At least the expression on her face did- just before she’d turned and walked away from him. Hurt had chased anger before finally all emotion was shut down, leaving a blank beautiful mask in place of her usual liveliness.

He came back to awareness when Wesley cleared his throat and looked away towards where the brunette usually sat. “Erm Cordelia has taken a sabbatical”. Said Wesley awkwardly then straightening his shoulders and after darting a searching look at a dumbstruck Angel, walked away to his office. Angel caught him after only a few steps.

Halted by the hand on his arm, Wesley sighed and turned around. Why me? Cordelia, you are going to owe me such a huge favour. He should never have agreed to this – but at the time he’d seen no other way to bring peace back to the workplace, plus she’d pulled the guilt card on him.

“What the hell do you mean – a sabbatical“? Angel growled, all injuries forgotten as panic overrode every sense. He waited tensely for Wesley to elaborate and wasn’t letting up until he had the answers he wanted.

“A sabbatical means a leave of absence” Wesley replied, choosing his words with care. Seeing the look on the vampire’s face made him feel some sympathy but still, he’d agreed to go the whole hog- so he would and then he was washing his hands of the whole messy business; let them sort it out between them.

“I’ve agreed to keep the job open until she decides if she wants to come back or not”.

Wesley knew very well that Cordelia hadn’t gone very far and would still be able to contact them about the visions, and as for the job; it was hers for as long as she wanted it – he’d told her so. Not that he understood what was going on since she’d refused to enlighten him with the details, but as always it was something to do with Angel.

Panic gave way to horror as Wesley’s words sank in. Feeling light-headed with disbelief he managed to restrain himself from shaking the Englishman until his teeth rattled inside his dumb head. “You agreed to this”? He asked and now it was his turn to be incredulous.

Wesley stiffened at the slur to his managing abilities and glared at Angel. Vampire or not, he would not be spoken to like that. He’d had a hard enough time keeping the vampire in line before this and there was no way he was letting what progress he’d made be ruined now.

“I had no choice, it was either agree or she’d resign. So what would you have done, Angel”?

Angel didn’t answer but simply grabbed his coat of the rack and headed for the basement exit.

“Where are you going”? Asked Wesley infuriated and not a little concerned by the dangerous glint in his eyes.

Angel didn’t answer that one either.

A WEEK LATER

Lorne sighed happily into his seabreeze while taking a moment to relax, leaning against the bar by the door. Patrons filled his club, happily engrossed in listening to ‘mostly’ good music, indulging in animated conversation and drinking his bar dry. What club-owner wouldn’t be in heaven he thought to himself just before a familiar silence dropped the temperature and atmosphere like a neutron bomb.

“Evening, Angel” he said without turning around.

Merle sitting at the bar at the other end, took the opportunity to slide off his chair and go hide in the john until the exit was clear. “Lorne” was the only greeting he got back so he took a quick peek, and saw his favourite brooding vamp with the ‘killer’ charm toss a frowning look at the even more than usual frozen crowd.

“What’s going on”? Angel finally asked and jerked his head towards the interior. Settling himself next to Lorne with his back to the crowd he waited for an answer.

“You’ve been a busy bee this week aintcha handsome? Lots of customers roughed up, even killed and all cos you’re in a stinking rotten and utterly crappy mood again. If you’re not careful we’re gonna think there’s some wolfy juice in your blood, and it’s the full moon making you crazy every twenty eight days- either that or…” Lorne decided to quit while he was ahead and signalled for the barman to serve Angel a drink.

The barman leaned over to hear the ‘order’, which resulted in an alarmed look at the vampire and a quick nervous nod at the green demon who employed him. Angel missed the byplay – too busy trying to figure out why his entire body was tingling.

He recognised the sensation; it was the one he got when he’d gotten close to someone he’d been stalking. An early warning if you like, to tell him he was ‘hot’. His dark eyes narrowed with sudden suspicion on Lorne who was busy inspecting his fingernails.

“I’ve been here twice, spoken to everyone I can find, and they all tell me they don’t know where she is – including you. Tell me you didn’t lie to me, Lorne” He leaned in closer to whisper the last in a voice that throbbed with repressed violence.

Lorne wished he could. Angel’s earlier visits had all been preceded by warning calls off Wes, or Gunn – but not this time. He only hoped that Roger got to Cordelia in time and warned her to stay out of the way. Mind you, by the look on Angel’s face it may already be too late. Damn vampire senses, he thought unreasonably.

“Hi I’m Cordy, what can I get you folks to drink”? Her voice already musical was loud over the crushing silence that still held the room in thrall.

Lorne prided himself on being mostly immune to Angel’s brand of intimidation, but even he couldn’t stop a gulp of fear. Angel stiffened but kept his narrowed eyes on the green demon. A low rumbling growl worked its way up from his chest; before it could fully erupt Lorne slammed his drink down and grabbed Angel’s arm – it was taut as rock and twitched restlessly under his palm.

“Now don’t go off half-cocked Angel-face. Remember the sanctuary spell”. Angel shook of his restraining hand.

“No-one keeps me from her, Lorne. Not you and not her”.

At first all he’d wanted was to find her, make things right and persuade her to come back to work. He’d been so sure she wouldn’t give up her apartment but wherever she was living it wasn’t there anymore, and after two days of fruitless searching and interrogating, his intentions had changed. Then he’d sworn that when he found her she’d find out what he thought of her ‘sabbatical’ and forget persuading, abduction would do.

With a last glare he spun on his heel and aimed right for her. Lorne watched him go and found himself transfixed by the sight of Cordelia so unaware of impending danger chatting away with careless abandon to two dumbstruck patrons, whose dearest wish at that moment was that she would go and pour her version of sunshine at someone else’s table.

Suddenly becoming aware of the tension, not to mention the terror of the demons she was trying to be friendly with; she looked up just in time to see Angel, looking like a dark dangerous thundercloud; headed right for her.

Oh CRAP! Cordelia’s eyes widened and she froze in place, the little notepad still held in her hand with the pencil poised as if to take an order. Her little black waitressing dress was short and ended just above the knee and while the neckline while decent it was low enough to partially expose the tops of warm creamy breasts. In fact she’d brought such a buzz to the place that Lorne had mentioned hiring more waitresses. Angel didn’t even seem to notice the dress. He was too busy devouring who was wearing it.

One second she was standing beside a table – the next she was leaning against the bar; trapped between the hard wooden barrier and the equally hard body of a dangerously intent vampire with a soul, whose arms caged her on either side. She’d travelled six feet in a microsecond- so fast she’d blinked and arrived.

Before she could recover from the shock of it and hypnotised by the fiery glitter in his usually aloof dark eyes, his hands speared into her hair and cupped the back of her head. She opened her mouth to speak and then found it filled with the heavy slide of his invading tongue.

*

Cordelia’s head swam, as he possessed her mouth completely again and again. Retreating only to plunge deep again in a surging rhythm that rocked her to her toes. Her hands came up to grip his shoulders and feeling them there he growled low in his throat – a warning not try and push him away. He crushed her closer and ground his body into hers as if trying to imprint himself on her.

He broke the kiss to let her breath and then captured them again, swallowing her moans greedily as he devoured her mouth. One leg pushed between hers and then the other did likewise; opening her up to settle his bulging erection in the cradle of her thighs in an explicit statement of intent.

She felt his hands grasp her hips to lift her up while he pushed his lower body closer. She moaned helplessly at the pressure of his erection against the soft folds he’d forced into contact with it as she was left literally straddling his groin.

He didn’t release her lips the whole time, and she was dizzy with the resulting tidal wave of sensation and lack of breath. He lifted his head and she sucked in a deep breath, finally able to hear a familiar voice over the roaring of the heated blood in her ears.

“Angel-cakes please; this isn’t the usual kinda show I put on here ya know”. The voice was unusually subdued, despite the hearty edge forcefully injected into it.

“Stay out of this, Lorne” he growled, and his lips were still so close she could feel the vibration of his deep voice against her cheek. His hands flexed on her hips, testing the softness of her body and in mute denial of the interruption.

“She’s coming home with me” she looked up into his stormy face and felt the incredible pull of willpower he was exerting. She swallowed hard and was amazed how difficult it was to force the words out of her mouth.

“No Angel. I’m not”

Part 4

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Every Breath She Takes 2   1 comment

PART 2

Angel carried the now unconscious Cordelia back to his car in a race of life over death. Feeling her heartbeat slow as the reduced blood pressure started to affect her life signs. Horror filled him as every torturously long second seemed to take her further away from him. “Hang on Sweetheart, please”.

He sped past gawking bystanders so fast they would later think they’d imagined seeing the large dark figure of a man, carrying a leather wrapped bundle of a girl in his arms. Her dark hair poking out from the black leather coat and one pale arm dangling.

The hospital was reached in record time and uncaring about any type of queue he rushed her inside the emergency room. He was met by a nurse who taking one look at his distraught face decided not to send him back but pulled aside the leather coat. Seeing Cordelia’s pale and waxy complexion she didn’t waste another second but immediately shouted for assistance.

Angel laid her on the bed they waved him toward and then stood back while they set to work on her. A female doctor came rushing over and took over from the nurse who then started checking vital stats.

“What caused the wounds on her neck”? Asked the Doctor tersely after a sharp intake of breath.

“She was bitten by a … animal”. God- talk about déjà vu, and this time he was just as guilty, even if it hadn’t been his bite. I should never have let her go off on her own. But he hadn’t been thinking about safety or the fact that she would have come out with him unarmed. I’ll never leave you alone again I swear.

“How long ago” was the next question, brusquely asked.

“About 20 minutes”. The doctor, a woman, gave him a sharp assessing look, disbelief evident on her face.

“Are you sure, these have closed over real fast if that’s true”. She peered suspiciously at him, and he guessed, correctly that she was wondering if he was on drugs and so unreliable as a source of information.

Angel had clotted the wounds himself, “I’m sure” he replied firmly his gaze glued to Cordelia, watching carefully everything they did to her. Knowing they were only trying to help her but feeling useless enough to keep watch anyway as they worked.

“Why don’t you wait outside, we’ll let you kn..”

“I’ll stay” he snapped out with a fierce scowl, then seeing the look of wariness and fear that crossed the doctors face at his tone and expression, forced a smile. “I won’t get in the way, I swear”. He wasn’t leaving her alone, not for a second.

They gave her a drip to replenish the lost blood and then after a few hours of observation, wheeled her into a private room. Once there they were alone. Angel sat beside her in a chair pulled as close to the bed as he could get, with one of her hands in both of his.

The hand felt so small and delicate and far too still for his liking. He wanted- no needed her to wake up so that he could see that she was going to be okay. “Wake up baby, please” he didn’t even realise that the pleading in his head had gotten past his lips until the words were out.

He laid his head next to her hip, facing her and watching her with intent dark eyes, searching for signs that she was coming round. “I’m so sorry Cordy, this is all my fault..” he whispered to her. He squeezed her hand gently with his fingers before lifting it to his lips to kiss the soft skin underneath her thumb.

After a while, lulled by the steady rhythm of her heart and breathing his mind drifted and he imagined all kinds of different scenarios where Cordelia asked him to do things or say things and in each one he gave her what she wanted and watched her smile bloom. An answering smile tugged his lips as he dwelled on the picture in his head.

Each new one was more outrageous than the last and he didn’t care. She deserved to have what she wanted the only thing was- he didn’t know what that was; she never told him anymore. Why is when you love someone they stop being so easy to read, he hated that.

“I though I had a handle on you long ago, but then I realised I didn’t. I guess we both changed Huh”.

His musings where interrupted by a moan from her and everything else just slipped away as he sat up to better see her face. Her eyelids flickered and he almost prayed that they would open. Then they did and felt his whole body swell. Please let there be no permanent effects.

“Cordy, Sweetheart you’re OK, your safe now” he told her trying to be reassuring and having no idea if he was just confusing her more.

“Where am I” it was croaky but it was clear and made sense. He almost collapsed with relief.

“You’re in hospital” he told her and he smiled when her face scrunched up in distaste. “Hate hospitals” she grouched. “Told them I don’t wanna die here. Wanna go home”.

He frowned, was she confused after all. “Cordy you’re not dying I promise”.

She opened her eyes fully and after a second they widened in shock as her faculties returned and realised what she’d said. “Crap, oh hey”. She tried to sit up and smile at him and then winced when her neck twinged. “No, no dying definitely not”. She flopped back down giving up the idea of sitting as too much effort.

Oh God he looked so worried, about her? Her hand lifted to cup his chin and jaw, smiling when he rubbed the slightly rough skin into her palm. Her thumb lifted up to explore his full sculpted lips and he looked down at her, mesmerised by the soft look in her eyes.

“Tell me you haven’t been sitting there blaming yourself for this”? She asked him still a little croakily. He looked about for the water bottle and handed to her.

He gave a crooked smile and admitted it. “How did you guess”.

She handed the bottle back to him after taking a drink. “I know you, remember. Handsome Broody Guy”. His brows rose a little at her description and he looked a little sheepish. “Better than Brood-boy at least” he offered, reminding her.

“Or Sir Brood-a-lot” she reminded him back and laughed when he gave an exaggerated wince.

Then turning serious again, “I shouldn’t have left you alone” he said ducking his head and missing her expression as she raised her eyes to the heavens.

“Excuse me. I did the walking off not you” she informed him archly, and it didn’t take a vision to be able to tell he still wasn’t convinced.

“Fine that’s it then; this is all you’re fault and so you have to come up here and make it all better”. Hell if she was going to put up with being bitten then she could damn well take advantage and get a hug. He looked confused so she scooted over and patted the space she’d made next to her on the bed.

He froze in shock wondering if she really meant what he thought she did. “Don’t argue with the patient or she might have a relapse” joked Cordelia, slightly embarrassed that he hadn’t taken her up on the offer, but determined that he would.

He didn’t refuse – just got up and with uncharacteristic awkwardness stretched himself out beside her with his face next to hers on the pillow. He watched her expressions carefully for signs of what she wanted from him, stiff and unsure of what the boundaries where.

Cordelia gave an impatient sigh for his denseness and then showed him what she wanted by grabbing his collar and pulling him closer still. He took a risk and draped an arm over her middle and curled in closer. When she didn’t object or push him away again he began to relax and let her soft warmth seep into his bones.

Cordelia thought about it, she really did, and the words even pushed at her lips desperate to spill out. “Now kiss me” but at the very last moment she pushed them back. Thinking wryly that she wasn’t exactly in any shape to storm off if he refused her. Sighing in disappointment she tucked her face under his chin and settled in against his muscular body, trying to be content with ‘so close yet so far’. Soon enough she fell asleep again, still in shock and exhausted from her ordeal.

Angel found sleep impossible; he felt charged with an energy that hummed underneath every inch of his skin. Her breath washed over his neck and he could feel her naked breasts under the hospital gown push against his chest. She’d burrowed one hand underneath his shirt to curve it around his left ribcage, branding him with her heat.

His own hand was pressed to the small of her back and stroked her naked skin where the tie wrapped gown parted. Oh God, her skin felt like the softest velvet and it took every vestige of control and a good dose of guilt at his pleasure not to explore further and find out if it felt that way all over her body.

Being this close to her was torturous in ways even he’d never imagined. He tried to ignore it by refusing to let the words form in his head, but the demon that was every bit as a much a part of him as the soul wouldn’t let him. He could smell Daniel on her and it was driving him crazy.

Goddammit all to hell, he twitched when his body automatically wanted to crush her to him, knowing it would wake her. It was very faint but the odour was clearly coming from the bite on her neck and his face ached with the struggle to repress his tingling fangs. I should get up and leave. I’m as much of a danger to her right now as he was.

He hated himself for thinking that and so stubbornly stayed where he was, forcing his demon down and willingly suffering it’s crazed jealous twisting in his mind. One thought sustained him and he concentrated on it fiercely. He was going to destroy Daniel. The vampire would never trespass again on what was his and since he already had; well he was going to suffer first before he turned to dust.

He’s going to pay, Angel swore to the howling demon inside him. She’s only going to be safe when he’s gone. He tried to ignore the voice that told him she’d never be safe. Vampires hunted humans and even if he killed Daniel there would be more to take his place. Vampires only respected other vampires who where stronger, more brutal or destructive than they themselves were.

He should know, he’d spent the major part of his un-life climbing that particular ladder and reached the top in record time too. He smiled derisively at his own arrogance and mentally shaking himself free of the past, concentrated on the present.

The hospital bustled about its business never knowing that a monster lay curled around the woman he considered his. All the while plotting the violent destruction of a being that he’d once competed with in every sadistic arena they could devise between them.

***

Wesley and Fred arrived at dawn and while Fred kept the nurse occupied, Wesley snuck into the room. Fred followed not shortly afterwards having convinced the nurse she’d be less trouble if she gave way and let the ditzy dark haired girl visit her friend.

Angel was back in the chair, with Cordelia still sound asleep on the bed. The sheets tucked up around her shoulders to keep her warm and covered. Dark brown eyes met blue and a message passed between the two of them when Wesley entered the room.

“How is she”? Asked Wesley in a quiet voice as his eyes perused the pale face of the woman on the bed.

“Recovering” replied Angel shortly and standing up he pulled his duster from the back of the chair. “Is Gunn checking out his contacts”?

Wesley had debated arguing with Angel on this plan of his. He was after all the head of the agency now. What made up his mind not to was the certainty that he would fail to change the vampire’s course, and he wasn’t willing to push him that far.

He was uncomfortably aware that he was boss simply because Angel let him be. If he pushed him on this that status quo could well be lost. Vampires were notoriously hierarchical and Angelus had been reputed to be the worst of the lot. Beaten only by the Master in the absolute need to dominate and control every aspect of their own lives and everyone else around them.

“Yes he is” he replied keeping it simple. “He’s going to keep us both informed of any progress. You do have your cell phone with you”? Angel nodded and checked his pocket to be sure.

“When they release her take her back to the hotel and keep her there” he stared at Wesley with a stark warning clearly written on his forbidding face. “Under no circumstances do you take her home”.

“I’m aware of the dangers this vampire poses, Angel and I’m not a fool” snapped Wesley. Irritation that the vampire had thought he could be so easily swayed by the feisty brunette making his tone sharp. “I’m sure Cordelia will be happy to stay at the hotel when she’s made aware of the risks too”.

Angel wasn’t willing to take any chances; with Cordelia you could never be sure which way she would go, just on the principle of not letting her life be disrupted by her occupation anymore than it already was. He looked at Fred who was standing silently watching the by-play and casting glances at the woman causing the friction. “Don’t let her out of your sight” he told her bluntly.

CARITAS

The newly refurbished, post gang-bang incursion night-club was doing a booming business once again. Angel stepped through the archway at the bottom of stairs and scanned all of the bodies that crowded around tables and stood two deep at the bar.

As always there was the tiniest pause in conversation when the more demonic patrons realised he’d arrived, before returning to full volume once his gaze passed them by without stopping. Always aware of the nuances, the Host or Lorne as they now called him, stepped away from the table he’d been socialising at and sauntered over.

He was one of the few demons on LA that had no qualms about tweaking this vampire’s pride, ego or temper. It was entertaining at the very least and anyway someone had to do it and Cordelia, as good as she was at it; didn’t count as she already had him wrapped around her pinkie, even if she didn’t know it yet.

“Well well if it isn’t the prince of darkness come to grace us with his cheery presence”. He looked around while he said it, winking at one or two of the more concerned faces in an effort to return the ambience back to its previous relaxed state.

“Way to ruin the mood you big chump. Next time ring ahead and I’ll arrange for the jaws theme tune to be put on” he scolded with a scowl at the darkly aloof vampire. He smiled broadly for their avid audience and grabbing a black clad arm steered them over to a rapidly emptying table.

Smiling his thanks and saluting with his free hand he sat down and waited for Angel to do the same. “What’s up now”? He asked exasperated, determined to get rid of the dark thundercloud in leather as fast as possible.

“I need to find a vamp called Daniel. He’s old and dangerous”.

“Aren’t they all bad boy, so does this vamp know you personally”? Angel nodded. “Hmm so that means very old and very dangerous then”.

Angel frowned in confusion then scowled when he realised Lorne was referring to Angelus as a comparison. He shook his head to dismiss that topic, refraining from the standard denial of not being ‘that’ old and leaned on the table to make sure he wasn’t overheard. “I’ll sing if I have to”.

Lorne snickered at the obvious reluctance on Angel’s handsome face and was delighted to be able to tell him it wasn’t necessary. “Thanks for the offer but no”.

“Your buddy was here earlier and just between you and me it wasn’t for the quality of the blood. He wants you to find him every bit as much as you do”.

Angel leaned back in his chair looking thoughtful but not surprised, “Figures” he muttered and remembering the kind of mind games they used to get up to and silently groaned. “Did he happen to mention where he was staying”?

“No but he left something on the bar. I only kept it because of the look he gave me when he turned to go. Gave me the willies and then some”. Lorne got up and went over the bar.

He was back within seconds and dropped a matchbook on the table in front of Angel. It was from another club; the logo clearly emblazoned across the front. Inside the cover in a bold hand was an invitation to meet that night at 9pm.

***

Angel rang to check on Cordelia on route back to the hotel. Wesley had arranged for Cordelia to be released later in the day, possibly in the evening and so didn’t expect to be back at the hotel until much later. Satisfied with that he rang off and phoned Gunn to pull him off the search.

He still had most of the day to kill but the timing should mean that thankfully he would be on his way to the meet before Cordelia got back to the hotel. He didn’t need to see her to know she would have something to say about him going off to fight this vampire alone and he simply wasn’t in the mood to try and explain why it had to be this way.

Daniel was a part of his past and his biting of Cordelia was Angel’s fault. So Daniel was his problem and he would deal with him- alone. That was plenty enough reason for him but there was also the fact that he had some preparation to do before the final confrontation with him. The other vampire was sadistic, ruthless and smart and if he was going to get some payback, Angel had to be in the right frame of mind; or the wrong one, depending on your outlook.

HOSPITAL

The bandage was square and white and covered half of her neck. Grimacing Cordelia ignored it as she got dressed in the clothes that Fred had brought from home for her. The soft stretchy lycra pants, vest, jacket and trainers were comfortable and although Fred didn’t know it, perfectly suitable for what she had in mind.

She stayed in front of the mirror on the back of the bathroom door and fiddled with her hair. She felt bad for the trouble she was going to cause Fred, but dammit she wasn’t willing to stand by and twiddle her thumbs while Angel went on a kamikaze mission of revenge.

Wesley came into the room and after a single furtive glance at her face, looked away to avoid her too direct gaze.

“Are you more comfortable now? I’ve spoken to the doctor and you should be able to be released in a few hours”? He told in a placatory voice. He was going to murder Angel for insisting on this.

Mind you, that wasn’t if Angel murdered him first. He was uncomfortably aware that she was upset over the news that Angel intended to go off alone and that he wasn’t going to try and stop him. Information she’d prised out of him over the course of the day. How the hell she did he had yet to figure out.

“Wesley, I was ready to go hours ago -in fact make that this morning which is more than a few hours”. She didn’t try to hide her major annoyance, not that it would surprise either of her ‘babysitters’. She’d been getting angrier and angrier as the day had gone on with her being stuck in here and they had both borne the brunt of it.

She didn’t know for sure but she could guess that her longer stay was due to more than the Doctors making sure she was healthy enough to leave. Wesley and Fred shared a look behind her back, which only confirmed her suspicions. Her hazel eyes narrowed in anger and all doubts or guilty feelings flew out of her head. They so deserved this.

As for Angel, she thought with a spurt of anticipation, well she’d deal with him when she found him. Won’t that just piss him right off. A smile spread over her face which she quickly hid when Fred gave her a strange look.

HYPERION HOTEL

Sweat and blood mixed freely on his arms and was spattered over his white vest. Chunks of the cinderblock wall of the basement were missing and crumbled in a mess along the edge of the floor underneath were they been punched out.

His knuckles were raw and the pain from his hands rocketed up his arms with each repetition. Pain was good, it liked pain. He whirled from the wall and back to the punching bag, kicking it so hard that despite being chained up it swung crazily and nearly came loose, chips of plaster fell from the ceiling as it bounced back to place, only to meet another powerful kick.

Before another half hour was over, he was ready. Dark brown eyes were ringed with topaz and flashed gold as his emotions seesawed between an equally savage enjoyment and ruthless determination. Softness was beaten down, mercy had fled and compassion was a speck on the horizon.

All became still and he froze in incredulous rage. His head whipped up and a snarl escaped taut angry white lips. Her heartbeat echoed in his ears and her scent teased his nostrils. She was here. He was going to kill Wesley, rip his throat out and gorge on the remains and all while she watched.

It was Wesley’s luck that he was still en-route because it took a few seconds for the soul to reassert itself and tamp back down the violent surge of bloodlust. “What the hell are you doing here”?

Anyone else might have seriously considered running back out the door and far away at having that growled voice directed at them, if not that then the being glared at by a seriously pissed off vampire in full vamp face was sure to do the trick.

Cordelia was shocked sure, but not by that. She’d been watching him for about a quarter of an hour now and she was seriously creeped out. Even knowing him and loving him like she did, she considered just turning around and leaving until the lunatic calmed down and some sign of sanity returned.

Instead she stood her ground; in fact she walked slowly down the stairs but couldn’t stop herself from crossing her arms over her chest in an unconscious attempt at defensiveness. Several phrases passed through her mind, all of them so inflammatory that even as angry as she was; she had more sense than to toss them at his head right now.

“I don’t like hospitals” she said simply, eyeing him carefully.

He said nothing, just watched her with feral eyes gleaming. She kept her breathing even and each step was deliberately smooth so as not to make a sudden move. She didn’t know how but she could tell he was primed for something, her instincts screamed for caution.

“I especially don’t like being kept in a hospital to keep me out of the way” he still said nothing to either explain or refute her mildly voiced accusation. “I want to know what you think your doing”.

“I know what I’m doing – you don’t need to know” he snapped back, only his lips moved, every muscle in his body was frozen in place, utterly still like the predator he really was. It was a part of him that was always there but usually camouflaged with more acceptable, human attributes.

She gaped at him and her expression went from forcibly serene to outraged in a microsecond. screw caution, she wasn’t taking this crap from him. “You are so outside the realms of sanity, do you know that? I don’t need to know, is that right? Gimme a frickin’ break here”. She was almost yelling by the end and she’d closed the distance between them and now stood toe to toe with him.

“And another thing, Asshole. How come Wesley is acting like your lapdog again; cos Hello, he’s still the boss around here not you and for obvious reasons”. Her wide spread wildly swinging arms indicated the mess of the walls and then state of him.

Her rage only ignited his even more and it took a frightening degree of control not to snatch her up and shake her, scare her. Make her heart beat like a wild bird and let him drown in the intoxicating smell of female fear. “Get out of here, Cordelia” he snarled in warning.

“I-am-not mute secretary girl anymore and I never will be again, so deal with it” she snapped back not flinching from him in the slightest.

His head lowered slowly to hers, inches were all that separated his face from hers. She took a deep breath, slowly filling her lungs. She closed the distance until her lips brushed his cheek. “Are you actually trying to make me afraid of you, Angel”? Neither of them moved, locked in an almost touching embrace with invisible bonds.

Those whispered words were enough to finally let the soul take over completely again and his features melted back into human. “Dammit, Cordelia I wanted you to stay away from this”. The words were pulled from deep inside, anguished and yet resigned at the same time.

“Away from what”? She asked exasperated with him and this bullshit. “You think this is the answer; a temporary return to psycho vamp”?

He didn’t answer immediately his eyes were locked on the bandage covered the bite mark on her neck. He growled and laughed at the same time, he might have known that the demon would find something to bring itself back to the fore. “I don’t need an answer to anything Cordelia. You wanna know why, cos I don’t have any questions. I know what needs to be done”.

He reached up with one large hand and cupped the back of neck in a strong grip. She gasped when he tore the bandage off to reveal the puncture marks marring her smooth neck. She felt the vibration of his chest before the throaty growls erupted from his mouth and pulled away from him sharply. He let her go but his eyes stayed on the marks.

“What are you saying; that you’re entitled to revenge but I’m not? Not going to happen I want to kill him” she said it with her head held high and a determined gleam in her hazel eyes. “You’re not going after him alone. You need back-up”.

She was only half serious; she didn’t particularly want to hunt down this dumb vampire she’d had enough of that company last night. But if he agreed then it was only a small step to getting Wes and Gunn to tag along and then she’d be happy.

“I need you to get your ass back upstairs and leave me the hell alone” he spat out with all the venom he could muster. Fuck, what was it going to take to get her to just leave him be to get the job done.

This is so not like him , she knew she was staring but Geeze this was like some nightmare trip back in time. Did he really believe that he could just step back into master vamp mode and she’d just meekly obey like some kind of mindless robot.

He smiled mirthlessly at the look of dawning hurt on her face. She shouldn’t have come here and he was still going to rip Wesley’s head off. Later on when this was over he was going to hate himself but right then he didn’t really feel it, just knew it was coming. That was the whole point of this sick exercise.

“You wanna know the biggest difference between me and Daniel, Cor? Well I’ll tell you” he said coldly when she didn’t answer, and still with the humourless smirk he stalked her when she backed away with a look of uncertainty flickering over her too expressive face.

“Daniel hates women. Me – I love em” her eyes met his and widened when she saw the flicker of topaz within the smooth darkness she usually loved to gaze into. “Vampires don’t just retain the characters of their human hosts but the sexual preferences too. I always went for women for the fun stuff, but Daniel… no; he preferred men”.

“He’d kill women too, just not be so nice about it if you know what I mean -and that’s the vamp you want to go after. I don’t think so”.

She was silently appalled and he knew it, sometime later he’d be sorry for that, just NOT now. “Heard enough or do you want to know more” he taunted.

She turned and walked back up the stairs with her back ramrod straight. He watched her leave and then turned back to finish the preparations. He no longer needed to get psyched up; she’d finished that for him.

Part 3

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Every Breath She Takes Prol-1   Leave a comment

Title: Every Breath She Takes   
Author: Helen
Posted: 29/09/03
Rating: R/N-17
Category: Angst, smut
Content: C/A
Summary: This is in response to Impress‘s Challenge, see below for details. I’ve made this set in S3 AU – No Pregnant Darla hence no baby, No Holtz, No Groo, WITW happened but Angel chickened out of telling her rather than Groo turning up. Birthday didn’t become part demon, still having vision headaches
Spoilers: S3 AU
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: Thanks to Impress for the lovely challenge I hope you liked the result
Feedback: makes the difference.


PROLOGUE

Cordelia carefully applied the finishing touches to her lipstick and then stood back from the vanity to check out her make-up. Turning sideways she checked for lines or blotches and finding none; gave a huge dazzling smile and flicking back her hair, practiced her flirtiest look.

“Hmmm, no that one’s too obvious even for Mr Can’t-see-what’s-in-front-of-his- face”. Sighing she straightened her face and tried again, with less wattage but tilting her head a little to one side.

“Perfect that should do it” the little tilt made her hair fall to one side and teasingly revealed the curve of her neck. If that didn’t grab a vampire’s interest, nothing would. Walking through her bedroom she grabbed a pair of earrings off the bedside table and then, remembering perfume, pulled a face and raced back to the bathroom to squirt a little between her breasts.

“Not too much or he’ll probably choke and not in a complementary way”. She smiled wryly to herself and then standing in the middle of the bedroom again stood uncertainly in front of the full length mirror to eye her outfit doubtfully.

“Dennis, what to do think, too tight”? She cupped her hands over her ass, revealed in the rather tight black pants she was wearing. Not in the least hidden by the short, almost military style of her fitted shirt, which was black too but flecked with metallic gold hints that brought out her fabulous hazel eyes.

Dennis being a ghost could answer only by reaction and the light switch was flicked on and off twice, signalling out and out approval.

“Thank you, Sweetie” she said warmly, meaning it and giving him a bright smile full of gratitude for the confidence boost.

“Though why I should need a confidence boost is something I need to have a talk with him about. I mean, Geeze I’m a hottie aren’t I? Would it hurt him to at least look like he wants to kiss me again”?

The door went and she jumped in the middle of her growing tirade, she took two deep breaths and making sure she let the second one out slowly for maximum effect, went to answer it.

“Hi, you’re just on time for a change what- did Fred set an alarm for you”? Cordy winced internally. Wow, she couldn’t even let him in the door without taking a cheap shot.

Angel just shrugged and walked past her, accidentally brushing his leather clad arm over her breasts as he did so and only catching on when she blushed a fiery red, was quick to apologise. She brushed it off with a cheery smile and a casual wave.

“It’s Okay, Angel really, not to mention it’s probably the only touching they get these days”.

Then embarrassed to have let that much slip out, she asked him to wait a while she got her jacket and purse. Once she’d gone to fetch them from her bedroom it was Angel’s turn to let out a breath. Close call, another one and it was getting to the point where they were a daily occurrence.

He forced his mind away from the burning image of really touching Cordelia’s breasts and ignored the taunting of that inner voice – not the conscience, the other one. Ever since the trip to the ballet, or even earlier if he was going to brutally honest, that part of him had not let up about wanting to do things with Cordelia that no ‘friend’ would even think about, let alone fantasise about, constantly.

“Tonight is such a bad idea” he muttered and wished he could just turn around call out there was an emergency and disappear- away from the increasing temptation she represented. Don’t be such an Asshole, just control yourself for a night for chrissake. Like self-control was something he wasn’t already abundantly familiar with. Mind you controlling his bloodlust sometimes seemed a piece of cake in comparison to controlling…?

Lust, need, possessiveness– maybe even love ?

“Ready”? There she was again, his temptation and this time, given his thoughts he couldn’t prevent his eyes from straying where they shouldn’t. Damn, she had such a fine ass. His palms itched as he watched her walk through the door he’d automatically opened or her.

Sucking in another deep unnecessary breath, he closed his eyes, counted to ten and followed her down the corridor to the waiting car.

TAKING HER OUT

The movie hadn’t been that bad, at least it was something other than foreign pornography anyway and since she’d point blankly refused to follow Fred’s example and see an oldie with him, he’d let her pick. After all going to the movies was her idea.

He’d been sitting in the garden at the back on one of the stone benches, enjoying the night, star filled sky and letting the drift of the scented flowers tease his nostrils. Peace had reigned- until she came outside to join him.

“Angel”, she’d started out with that cajoling voice. The one that always gave him a sinking feeling of being done for, beaten down and ready to give up before she’d even asked for what she was after.

He’d heaved a sigh and forcefully blanked his expression, smoothing out any signs of melting on his face. He’d even considered not answering her, but known it would be a waste of time, she knew he was there anyway.

“No”, hey it was worth a shot.

“I haven’t asked yet” she replied breezily not in the least discouraged, she knew him too well by now and sometimes it was a curse. Like now. Or did she?

She’d stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. A leg turned out while she twisted one foot and smiled down at him, carefree, utterly confident and trusting. She had no idea how much of a struggle it was not to stare at her long legs, showcased by the short skirt or her full breasts, with the nipples now tightly budded from the night breeze. His mouth had watered at the sight and he’d jerked his eyes away to stare blindly at something, anything else.

He’d been forced to shift on the seat, surreptitiously adjusting his pants to hide the thickness that bulged at his groin. feeling fiercely glad she didn’t have eyesight like his. Then he’d looked back up at her and been mesmerised by the soft, uncertain expression on her face.

It was that that did him in, whatever she wanted, she was going to get.

So that was how he’d ended up taking her to the movies, because as she’d put it: since she didn’t date it was up to him to go with her so she could see a movie on the big screen.

He didn’t really see that much of it, except for the day time scenes which naturally caught his eye simply because it was a novelty to allow himself to be drawn in by those. He was too busy concentrating on the woman next to him. Not that he had much choice in the matter since he could hardly sit a few seats down and this close, her scent enveloped him.

Not the perfume she’d used but the musk that was hers alone, the individual scent that to his sensitive senses screamed of her being a warm living woman and one that, either fortunately or unfortunately his demon wanted every bit as much as the soul did.

When he thought about it, which was constantly, he realised that was why he was struggling with resisting its demands. Usually, its wants were directly opposed to his soul, the driving force that he clung onto with every vestige of sense that he had. But in this, they both wanted the same and the fight was doubly hard because of that simple fact.

Of course this rare agreement went only so far. The demon wanted possession in every way both natural and unnatural, while the soul – Okay as much as he hated, it wanted possession too. So, he’d never claimed to be a saint when he was human. But the soul at least was willing to settle for friends- friends was good, less heartache.

Her hand brushed his as she dipped daintily inside the popcorn barrel he was holding, to rummage around like she was searching for hidden treasure. The cardboard pressed down on his lap as she ferreted around looking, purely by touch, for the most succulent piece to pop in her mouth, or at least he’d thought so, until he’d found her grinning cheekily at him as she pressed it to his own lips.

“Open wide” she’d whispered and of course he heard every word as clear as bell.

Cordelia enjoyed the look of shock on his face when she pressed the sweet nugget of popcorn to his lips. Her fingers brushed the soft skin and she felt a flush rise up as memories of having those full, sensually curved lips pressed to hers rushed back.

He hadn’t just kissed her lips on that night either, but all the way down her body and ever since then, when she went to sleep, she dreamt that he’d reached the spot that he’d been heading towards. Possessed they both were at the time, but it made no difference to her now. She wanted him in her bed or her to be in his bed, whatever, it didn’t matter.

So long as she got to feel that again, for real this time. She wanted him – and really, who could blame her? He was gorgeous, handsome, huge, or okay pretty big- all over, which she’d checked out on more than one occasion over the last few weeks and heroic and big, had she already mentioned that?

Yes, she could happily admit now he was drool worthy stuff. Not that she’d ever thought otherwise. It’s just she’d become blind to it a long time ago and only recently seen the light again. So what if he was a demon, or ‘manpire’ as she preferred to think, rationalising she knew, but hey it if works for me, it wasn’t like your average Joe could handle her lifestyle anyway.

“Erm Cordy” he started to say, eyeing her strangely. His sinfully dark eyes full of confusion and wariness.

“Oh c’mon, Angel you can handle a little popcorn can’t you”? She loved it when he gave that look, his eyebrows sort of curved up above his nose and eyes and it gave him a strangely vulnerable look. Totally at odds with his usual aloof or broody expression.

“Okay we’ll share” she offered and bringing it to her lips, bit it in half and then re-offered it to him with an engagingly wide and challenging smile.

They both forgot the film, flashing in front of their turned faces as he took the proffered titbit from her fingers with his teeth. He chewed mindlessly, not tasting the sweetness of the sugar, just the miniscule part of her on it that teased his demon with the promise of more.

“Want some more”? She asked him huskily, transfixed by the hot lights that flickered in his eyes, when as if by a trick of the light, they flashed topaz. Then she blinked utterly confused when a harsh voice intruded on their little oasis.

“Hey, do you two want to pipe down, we paid good money to watch this movie”.

Violence isn’t an option, Angel repeated it several times, like a chant but couldn’t prevent a low rumbling growl, followed by a menacing look full of retribution towards the offender.

After the movie had finally finished, during which Angel had been tortured by an almost unbearably strong awareness of her every move. They decided they needed to walk off the fidgets and set off for a stroll.

Not even thinking about the night chill, Cordelia had left her jacket in the car, but rather than give up on the idea she simply hugged her arms and chose to ignore it. That was until a heavy leather duster found itself draped over her arms and laughing she tucked her arms into the sleeves, not even trying to pretend she wasn’t cold as she snuggled inside the heavy coat.

“What- was I turning blue or something”? She asked with a twinkle in the hazel depths of her eyes.

“Or something” he replied tossing her a lopsided smile as they ambled along the tarmac surface of the sidewalk beside a mini carnival. They dodged a candyfloss seller. Cordelia with a politely refusing smile, Angel with a look of horror tossed at the pink fluff that supposedly passed as something edible.

He looked uncomfortably around the crowds of youngsters and aggravated parents. Memories tripping through his mind of similar sights from an earlier life, only then the laughter and smiles had always ended in tears, pleading and finally choked screams.

“Hello, earth to Angel – you maybe wanna come back to the 21st” She waved a hand a few inches from his face, immediately drawing his attention back to her, “Deal was no brooding remember”, she was smiling at him but her eyes held a wealth of knowledge and more than a little impatience.

“Right” he pulled back his wandering thoughts and looked longingly towards a more deserted pathway over the way.

Cordelia sighed heavily and by now more than familiar with his way of going silent and haunted looking when he was brooding over his evil past, grabbed hold of his hand and dragged him, not protesting towards the less crowded sidewalk that curved around and towards a now closed park.

“Is that better now Mr Sociable. I don’t get it, how come the movies is OK, but a little carnival isn’t”?

“No movie theatres back in the day” he answered simply, keeping hold of her hand and hoping that she wouldn’t think to pull away.

“Oh Okay, I get that” she replied lightly, keeping her hand still in his and hoping he wouldn’t notice that she hadn’t pulled free.

They skirted the park wall and found a comfortable spot to lean over and look down on the dark greenery below them, spot-lit from inside. Cordelia leaned over it as it was only waist height to get a better look at the pretty picture the amber glow made against the green foliage of the mixed trees and shrubbery.

Suppressing an urge to grab hold of her in case she leaned too far, he propped a hip against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes were fixed to her face, glowing with a youthful beauty even in the darkness. His scrutinising gaze took in the more relaxed set of her face and the lack of dark circles under her eyes.

“Your feeling better”? He asked her with an undertone of anxious query in his deep voice. She gave him a sideways look and raised a questioning brow, a quizzical look on her face.

“You look- less tired” he clarified and then turned so that his arm rested on the wall next to hers. “Are the headaches all gone now”? He watched for her reaction and frowned heavily when she hesitated before tossing him a casual smile.

“Sure, all gone” she could tell he’d caught the hesitation and cursed silently, “I haven’t had a vision in over 10 days” she reminded him, facing him fully now and keeping her eyes locked to his, the expression in them direct and clear. She was getting better at lying and hated it. But what other option did she have? Tell him everything and then standby while he pushed her away for her own good. No way was she gonna let that happen.

“I’m Okay, Angel” she insisted and injected an angry note in her voice, when he continued to frown at her with those penetrating dark eyes narrowed by the lowered brows.

She leaned back over the wall and pretended a renewed interest in the scenery, anything to get away from that strangely hypnotic look on his intent face. “I’ve been offered an audition for next week” she told him to change the subject, a standard ploy that had always worked before.

He sighed and let her change the subject. But come what may and even if he had to hold her down, they were going to have a no holds barred talk about her health, and pretty damn soon too.

“Good for you, when is it”? He’d have to make sure he or one of the others was available to take her, especially after that last one with the asshole of a director giving her a hard time. He could still vividly remember the urge to throttle the little shit.

“I’m not going” she told him with a hint of ‘gotcha’ in her voice.

He gave her the surprised look she was due and caught the impish look on her face. She wanted to tell him something, a smile twitched his lips. This was a new tactic for Cordelia and he was intrigued, normally she’d just spit it out whether he wanted to hear it or not.

“Why not”?

This was her cue and she knew she had to get it just right. She couldn’t just let her tongue run away with her like it sometimes did around him. She had to explain some of her reasons without giving away the real one. Which was that she didn’t want to waste what time she had left running after acting jobs she didn’t want. She wanted to spend it with him and her adopted family, doing the work they were doing together.

“Because I’ve made the decision that I don’t want to act. I like the gig I’m doing now – vision girl is more than enough to keep me occupied”. She said it lightly but firmly, like she’d practiced.

“Cordelia, …”

“Angel” she interrupted him, knowing he was going to object to her giving up her ‘dreams’. “This is no hardship for me- it’s what I want so just say Okay, OK”.

“Okay” he replied with another of his lopsided smiles that recently gave her the strongest urge to lean over and plant a smacking kiss on the lips.

There was something else to this, he just knew it , something else to corner her about when he figured out a way to get her to open up to him. His gaze sharpened when he caught her eyes on his lips and he felt a wave of dizziness wash over him. It was a few seconds before he realised he was leaning over, closer with his lips tingling in anticipation of the touch of hers. He jolted back and watched her eyes widen in shock and then a flush bloomed over her soft cheeks.

“Cordy” he tried to catch her hand when she pushed herself away from the wall.

“I’ll be right back, just need to freshen up.” She called back over her shoulder without turning around. “I think I saw a public restroom just back a little”.

Dammit, dammit, dammit- way to rush your fences Cordy. Her feet felt like lead in her stylish pumps and the ground swished under them as she raced away from him before she really tripped herself up or something else equally embarrassing. Am I wrong thinking he’s over Buffy? He certainly seemed to be, and I’d know if he was still pining over her, wouldn’t I?

Then she started to get angry and welcomed it, Geeze, what a guy, can’t even kiss a girl in the moonlight and they called him a skirt chaser back in the day? Pfft, must have been the other way round- big Dork. She wasn’t watching where she was going and ran into the something hard and unyielding, standing directly in her path.

“Oomph” Cordelia, staggered back a little and her face shot up. Her eyes narrowed when she took in the dark shadowy figure she’d almost mown down. She swallowed her impulsive apology when she realised he must have seen her coming. “Hey ever heard of moving to the side, ya know saves on being barrelled over by angry females”.

“Not at all, My Dear. Why would that bother me at all, when I enjoyed having your body on mine so very much”? The smooth silky tones were chilling, but it was the flash of fangs that really made her face drain of all colour. Oh CRAP!.

“Creepy much? Am I supposed to be afraid of the low scary voice?” She backed away anyway and prayed Angel wasn’t far behind her.

“I’ve been watching you, what happened, did you give Angelus the slip? I’ll have to tell him he’s lost his edge”. The vampire laughed, obviously delighted at the idea.

Angelus? Oh great another visit from an old ‘friend’“You so have it wrong Asshole, and he’s right behind me so you’d better get lost” It ignored her and carried on coming, slowly- stalking her .

“Oh gimme a frickin break here, like I’m really gonna give you the thrill of a chase, Loser”. She sneered, injecting as much scorn as she could into her voice. Her hand reached out to push back a branch that brushed against the top of her hair. She stopped retreating and let the vampire get closer.

Then she let it go to twang back in his face, his hand came up to ward off the sharp twigs and she set off back the way she’d come, yelling at the top of her lungs. “Angel”.

***

Angel hadn’t moved from the wall, too busy dealing with two emotions that resulted from the near kiss and her quick escape. One was easy and familiar, which was tamping down the need that had arisen inside him to taste her, deeply and with all of the tenderness and love he could offer her. The other was sharper, far more defined and much less easy to subdue as the demon howled to give chase, finish what he’d started and not stop with just a kiss.

When he heard her scream his name, his head whipped and he was running before the command to do so had fully registered. He heard her breathing not far ahead, harsh and whimpering. He raced forward and increased his speed, darting around bushes and avoiding low hanging branches, taking a shortcut through the landscaping and following the sounds of..feeding.

Horror flooded him, followed by an all consuming rage. Who dared to touch her? whoever they were they were dust. He refused to even consider the fleeting thought that he might not make it in time.

He burst onto the scene and didn’t slow down but launched himself towards the black clothed figure, which was crushing a dazed and almost unconscious Cordelia to him as he fed on her blood.

The rage coursed freely throughout his body and exploded inside his head as he vamped out and snarling viciously, his hands gripped the other vampires face. Twisting sharply his grip made the fangs disengage from Cordelia’s throat. Before the other vampire could recover he raised his right arm and backhanded it.

He’d put all of his considerable strength into that blow and the vampire staggered back before it could stop itself. Cordelia dropped to the ground between them. Angel stepped over her so that his body stood over hers, protecting her and staring at the familiar face before him.

“You shouldn’t have done that, Daniel”. Angels voice dripped with menace and his hands clenched and unclenched with the force of the hatred that flowed so freely now.

“Well, well Angelus, we meet again. I missed you in Venice, what, must be over a century and half ago now”. The other vampire eyed him cautiously and wiped blood away from its mouth, only some of it was Cordelia’s.

“Who’s counting, but don’t worry we’ll catch up soon. Expect me”.

The darker, twisted demonic side of him wanted to end this now. But Daniel was no ordinary vampire either and the fight could go on longer than Cordelia could afford. But the reckoning would come- he would make sure of it.

“What is she to you? You never used to be such a sore loser Angelus. Share and share alike remember, there’s plenty where that came from”. The vampire features melted away to leave a dark, husky face with heavy brows and the hooked nose of someone who had once been of Jewish extraction- at least before the demon had claimed the body.

“She’s mine, nobody touches her but me” he hadn’t even thought about that answer, at least the soul hadn’t. That had come from the demon, but he didn’t care- right then it was all too true.

“Really, how unusual of you Angelus, quite novel come to think of it. However, I must point out the lack of a bite so you’ll have to forgive me for leaving mine there”. It smirked at him and he almost forgot the need to get aid for Cordelia as the demon squirmed and raged to be let loose.

“Fuck you”.

The creature laughed and bowed before backing away, melting into the dark shadows, entertained and willing to leave Angelus to see to his pet.

Part 2

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Cats in Hells Chance 9   1 comment

HYPERION HOTEL

The decision to meet back at the Hyperion rather than Wolfram & Hart was easy and immediate, Cordy, Angel, Wesley and Giles got into Angels Plymouth while Gunn, Fred and Lorne all piled into Gunns shiny new truck.

Soon enough the tired yet victorious fighters found themselves climbing the familiar stairs to enter the sparkling glass doors of the Hyperion Hotel. Gunn and Fred and even Wesley to some degree turned in slow circles checking out their old haunt for changes and just simply drinking in the memories, which over time had regressed back to those that were happy and mostly- comfortable.

“Did I ever tell you how happy I am this place is still AI?” Gunn asked the room at large, aiming at Cordelia but too busy still smiling over a feeling of nostalgia.

“Yeah” agreed Fred with a soft smile, her own mind filled with similarly happy memories of her first refuge after Pylea and the feeling of safety and family it had provided when she’d needed it the most. “I just love that too. God I miss this place”.

Then realising what she’d said she threw an embarrassed smile at Angel, who just shrugged and all but threw himself down on the nearest couch, stretching his legs out and leaning back to let his still wound-up body finally relax.

“We had some good times here didn’t we”? Agreed Cordelia, hiding a slightly smug feeling that this was her place now but at the same time wishing for a moment that things were as they used to be and that they would all troop upstairs to their respective rooms for sleep before getting back up the next day, working to help the helpless- together.

Angel pulled her down next to him when she went to pass him, “Hey- Hostess here; I need to get everyone something to drink” but she settled down next to him anyway, leaning on the opposite armrest and putting her now bootless feet over the other side so that her hip was pressed to his side and her legs covered his lap.

“Don’t worry about it Cordy, we can get our own drinks. Why don’t I do it” and the happy Texan got busy rummaging around looking for mugs and coffee for the filter machine.

“You’re a sweetheart Fred,” shouted Cordy so that she could be heard over the rattle of pottery. Then she settled back and hummed loudly in pleasure when Angel started to massage her aching calves. “We’re filthy dirty, the couch is gonna get stained”.

“I’m dirty so it’s already dirty, it’ll wash” he murmured back and watched her face out of half closed eyes.

“Say’s you who doesn’t do the washing” she replied with a wry smile, still with her eyes closed. Wow, she was seriously loving this, then a frown marred her face. She’d better not love it too much; hoping for the impossible was nothing but a road to heartache.

She heard Fred’s happy chatter and Gunns deliberately laconic replies that made the other brunette giggle. Wesley was talking quietly with Giles, absorbed in whatever weird demony watcher stuff they were talking about, looking the most relaxed she’d seen him in the presence of the older man, ever.

Lorne was standing with Gunn and complimenting Fred in his over-exuberant and totally sweet way, rapturising over her everyday coffee making skills, simply cos he was thirsty and she was making him a drink. Pfft, who didn’t know the way to that demons heart lay in his drinks cabinet.

“Yo, Barberella”, Cordy winced at Gunns new nickname for her, sort of a mix of her old one and the fact that she was all action-girl now. “Can I use a shower, kinda covered in goo here”. He held out his black long sleeved vest with a grimace of distaste on his darkly handsome face.

“Aren’t we all, but go ahead and feel free. There’s some shower gel in my room you can use so long as Angel doesn’t mind”. That was it, there was a chorus of requests for the facilities and everyone disappeared to get clean. With only four rooms with useable showers, they took turns with Cordy and Fred in Cordy’s room and the guys arguing over who was first in the other three.

Half an hour and no shower gel left later, they all congregated much happier back in the lobby. “Thanks for the clothes loan, dog” said Gunn to Angel offering a salute with his steaming coffee mug. Echoed by Giles and Wesley, all sporting various items of black or maroon clothing that with the exception of Gunn was all too big for them.

Wesley finished his coffee and laid it carefully on the counter with a smile for Fred, “So where are you staying Giles”?

“Well, Cordelia mentioned plenty of room”. He answered with an uncertain smile at the brunette.

Angel stopped what he was doing and froze, shooting her a sideways look, he leaned down to whisper “I hope you mentioned a room on another floor”.

“Why” she whispered back without turning her head.

“Cos we might keep him awake” she didn’t need to look at him to see the smirk that simply must have accompanied that statement.

She rolled her eyes and snorted, “Arrogant much, who says I plan on doing anything other than sleep”, she stretched and faked a huge yawn. “Making love will just have to wait”.

“I never mentioned sex” he replied darkly and walked away, leaving her staring after his black clothed back in surprise at his abrupt tone. Nah, it just wasn’t possible- he couldn’t still be pissed about…”?

She came back into the conversation too late to try and gather some re-enforcements; Giles was going to stay at Wesley’s tonight before finding more suitable accommodation later. She opened her mouth to re-offer a room but the words stuck in her throat when Angel crossed his arms over his imposingly wide chest, mouthed NO, and narrowed penetrating dark eyes at her.

She glared back at him but a sudden feeling of impending doom prevented her from defying him. Annoyed though she said her thanks and good byes and stormed off upstairs, fooling everyone but Angel and Lorne with excuses of being exhausted.

“What an Asshole, he can’t be serious” Can he? No it just wasn’t possible even for an arrogant, overprotective jerk like him to still hold it against her that she’d jumped to the rescue. Okay, things had gotten pretty bad and they’d made it out by the skin of their teeth, but Geeze, he would have been dust by now if she hadn’t.

She was pacing a track on the worn polished wooden floor, backwards and forwards, waiting and knowing that when he was ready he’d come through that door and then very likely the roof would come off.

She eyed the door with a dark, slightly troubled look and seriously entertained the notion of locking it. Not that it would stop him, but dammit, it would certainly give him an idea of what she thought of his ‘threat’. She was half way there when the door opened anyway and he walked inside, shutting it behind him with a solid thud.

“Going somewhere, Cordy”? He asked quietly. His eyebrows were raised in mild enquiry but the dark heat of his eyes belied that. He saw her eyes widen and then narrow again defensively.

Her body was stiff with agitation under the thin t-shirt and jeans that she’d rushed into earlier, going for comfort rather than style. He’s trying to intimidate me and dammit doing a fairly decent job of it too, I don’t believe this, this is just ridiculous. She decided to ignore that and asked instead “Is everyone gone”?

“Yeah, it’s just us”. He pushed away from the door and walked slowly towards her, his hands were relaxed at his sides and to someone who didn’t know him, he looked the picture of a casual male, confident and assured in the bedroom. Cordy knew better, he was hardly ever that relaxed unless he’d just woken up or had sex. Since neither was the case here- he was faking it.

Fuck this, “What the hell is your problem”? Ooh don’t like me just coming out with it do ya, big guy- tough. His face tightened at her aggressive question, just like she’d known it would.

“And don’t give me any of that crap about putting myself in danger, I do that every day and besides”, she held up a hand and glared at him, they were only inches apart now and all fake casualness was long gone. “What? I’m supposed to sit at home like the good little woman, while you get staked, forget it”.

“I could’ve gotten myself out and Wesley too” he snarled back, provoked by her sarcastically too accurate shot at his deepest wish.

“Oh sure- NOT, you didn’t have a cat in hells chance buddy and that’s the truth- face it, you needed me” she didn’t care that she was lighting a fuse; her own had blown already.

She rose up on her tiptoes so that they were as close to eyeballing each other as she could get, “I don’t care what you think is best for me- I know what I want and I’m keeping it”, even if ‘it’ is a 6ft plus towering idiot of a vampire with the sense of a gnat. “And lastly, if you lay one finger on me that isn’t about pleasure, I’m gonna knock you on your ass”.

“Is that so”? He replied darkly, an angry tick had started to work overtime in his clenched jaw and one eye narrowed even further as he smirked with a total lack of amusement. “Feeling frisky are we, Cordy”?

“Now you mention it- no”, crap, she hadn’t seen that cold look on his face in a long time and now she remembered why she hated it so much. “What is wrong with you, did you drink a bad pint of O2 or something, Geeze”?

She started to back way, intending to put some distance between them. She didn’t even get so far as one step before his hands snagged the waistband of her jeans, halting her. She felt him tug hard and then the buttons pull apart, she grabbed his forearms and tried to prise them away, uselessly.

She looked up at his face, but he was intent on the dark curls visible now that the buttons of the jeans were undone. She’d not bothered with panties thinking she wouldn’t be wearing them long. She gasped when he suddenly picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder.

Her hands grasped the cotton of his black shirt and she tried to haul herself upwards. Briefly she thought about elbowing him in the back of the neck to try and get herself free, but sanity put a stop to that. She really didn’t want to get into that kind of fight with him in this mood.

Her angry tirade sputtered out but was stopped when he threw her face down the bed. Dizzily she tried to rise up on her elbows but went sprawling again when her jeans were yanked down her legs. She kicked back hard with both feet but missed as he dodged.

Then the jeans were off and all she wore was a t-shirt and bra. He sat down heavily on the bed next to her and grabbed both of her upper arms, before she knew it she was lying facedown with her hips on his lap and her butt in the air. She yelled in outrage.

Jeszus, he could not be serious, this is just so not happening. “Don’t you fucking dare, Angel I mean IT”, she kicked and twisted like a wild thing. Refusing to let him get way with this. Her hand grabbed the edge of the bed and she pressed up with all of her might, teeth gritted but he simply placed an arm across her shoulders and pressed her down. He used his other arm to restrain her hips just underneath the curve of her buttocks.

“Don’t you dare, don’t you… dare” she repeated in a loud chant, bucking and writhing on his lap but unable to slide or drag herself off. Whatever the hell he was doing- now he had her like this, he didn’t seem to be in any damned hurry.

She called him every name she could think and quite a few she made up in a whirl of inventive fury but he just continued to silently hold her down until finally her struggles got less as she wound down. Tired after the last few days she just couldn’t sustain the struggle, and finally she lay panting hard and puffing out angry breaths between invectives.

“Finished”? He asked her, she couldn’t see his face from down where she was, so had no idea if he was angrier, but guessed he was. She’d been pretty descriptive in her cursing. She ignored the question.

He removed his arm from around her hips and she tensed in anticipation of the first wave of pain. The moment stretched and she squeezed her eyes shut, as the tension became unbearable. There was a cold draft that caressed the bare cheeks of her buttocks, making them feel even more sensitive.

She yelped when his hand touched her skin then quivered in confusion. Her eyes shot open again but she could tell nothing more, fiercely she wished she could see his face. Where was the pain? She didn’t know what to think and her body trembled in confusion along with her mind, no longer knowing whether to expect pain- or pleasure.

His hand lightly skimmed over the surface of her buttocks, barely brushing with his fingertips, dragging the tiny hairs and raising goose bumps all over her body. She was stiff still but starting to relax, her breathing returned to something approaching normal and her heart beat heavily in a slowing rhythm under his arm.

Angel drew circles on the creamy skin; his face absorbed, strangely intent but she couldn’t see that. Then he widened them until he was sweeping over the whole cheek, tracing the intriguing crease where each one met the top of her firm thighs. After a few minutes she lay boneless over him in a mixture of relief and enjoyment. Finally he lightly caressed between the cleft of the cheeks and dipping inside that soft furrow found her moist already. With one long finger he parted the soft folds to find the source of her honey. He circled the entrance with that caressing finger and she moaned against the bed cover.

He still kept her down with his arm over her shoulder and dimly she wondered why, but soon became too entranced over what he was doing now to really care. He found her clit and rubbed against, hard and then slow, circling it and then pushing gently, and making her buttocks rise up instinctively.

He returned to her labia and finding the hot dripping centre again, pushed deep inside. Mindlessly she pushed up against his hand, aiding his invasion and frantic for more. He found her g-spot in seconds and hooking his finger he pushed rhythmically against it. His finger was drenched with more of her liquid arousal and her moans became cries as the resulting charge of electric heat spread out from her womb in a painfully exquisite wave of pleasure.

He continued for endless minutes until she was writhing on his lap with frantic neediness, then in the midst of her heightened passion, he pulled out. She immediately protested in an incoherent murmur.

Then he slapped her ass so hard, he left an immediate red handprint and ignoring her scream, he let her up and pushed her onto the bed.

Cordelia felt like she was on fire, every part of her body was literally burning, her face was flushed with it, her veins throbbed with it and her ass – well that went without saying. But, and this is what drove her fury even higher, was the fact that she was still aroused- damn him.

She came up swinging. Her face one big snarl of outraged womanhood, and her ‘arghh’ was hoarse with rage as she aimed a roundhouse punch right at his face. He caught it in one of his and kept it cupped in his hand.

Cordelia’s eyes were narrowed and spitting hazel fire, and her cheeks blazed with humiliation and left over passion, heightened by the sheer depth of her anger. She whipped up other her hand in a heavy slap and he caught that one too and tumbled them both to the bed.

“Get off of me you sick…” she didn’t get to finish before he covered her lips with his in hard kiss just this side of punishing. She went to bite him so he lifted up his head and dragged both of her arms up so that he manacled both in one large hand. Then cupping her jaw he clamped down just enough so that she couldn’t bite down and then captured her lips again.

His tongue slid inside the hot cavern of her mouth and then he shifted his body to cover hers, legs trapping and shoulders looming. The angle of the kiss changed and he took complete possession of her mouth, his tongue massaged and twirled around hers before retreating and then stabbing inside in a rhythm that called to her already heated womb.

That heat unfurled again and silently she railed against it, but was helpless to stop it, he’d primed her too well. He leaned up to look down at her flushed face, and letting her take some breaths.

“Well you did dare me” he said with a twitch of his lips when she still looked like she wanted to kill him.

It took a moment to realise what the hell he was talking about and then it hit her, she took a deep breath and felt the vein in her forehead throb, her mouth opened to start yelling again but had to swallow the hot words when he kissed her again.

“Ah-ah-ah, no more swearing or I’ll carry on until you can’t sit down for a week,” he threatened when he’d finished kissing her. She closed her mouth with a snap and glared up at him.

“If you think that you’re not gonna regret that for the rest of your unnaturally long life- think again” as threats go it was pretty mild, but oh so very true, she’d see to it personally.

His eyebrows jerked up and he smiled in amusement. He rested his head on one palm but was cautious enough to keep her hands where they where. “C’mon Cor, admit it your aroused. Don’t deny it, I can smell it, it’s so strong I can almost taste it”.

“Yeah well, that’s the only taste you’re gonna get so sniff up”. She knew the moment the words were out, it was the wrong thing to have said, but it was too late.

“Is that a dare”? Undaunted he smirked at her and when she didn’t reply he chuckled. Bastard. “Silence means- yes,” he told her and instantly he was gone.

She didn’t even have time to try and evade him now even though she was free. Strong hands grasped her knees and pulled her legs apart and his mouth was on her before she’d done more than grab the bed cover to pull herself up. He speared up inside her and she fell back on the pillow and arched up as the mind numbing pleasure whipped across her nerves, inside and out.

“Oh God, that’s not fair” she panted out and ended with a wail when he increased the pace, notching the pleasure higher and jolting her body with charged lust that she was powerless to resist.

He didn’t answer the charge, but simply came up on his knees and cupped her buttocks with his hands, keeping her too high to do more than thrash on the bed with her shoulders and arms, leaving him free to do what he wanted. He thrust into her vagina, teasing her sensitive passage with his roughness and biting into the soft skin surrounding it with blunt teeth.

God, it was like being devoured, she could feel the hot rush of fluid that was her body’s response and he drank it in. He spread the slick heat all over her sex with his tongue, circling and laving her, between the folds and up around her pulsing clitoris, red and swollen now and begging for his attention.

“Still want me to stop”? He asked tauntingly, but with a hard edge of strain evident in his rough edged voice.

“Don’t you dare stop” she gasped out between moans and her head fell back further as her back bowed under the lash of intense sexual pleasure. “Kiss me” she demanded and he knew she didn’t mean on the lips.

He did and the top of her head felt it might come off as the pleasurable jolts became a shockwave, the instant his lips fastened ravenously around her clitoris. He sucked it into his mouth and latching on, flicked it with his tongue. She gasped when he bit down on it with ruthless care, and became lost again in a world where pain and pleasure mingled together in a swirling mass of dark shooting pleasure.

When he was sure she was too aroused to think of fighting him, he lowered her back down to the bed and pushed two fingers inside her. He lapped hungrily at the creamy juice of her arousal and fingered her hard at the same time, thrusting heavily and twisting his fingers to abrade those inner walls with each tormenting plunge.

She writhed and bucked against him and cries of wanton lust fell unnoticed from her kiss swollen lips as the flames of arousal got hotter and hotter, spreading the inferno throughout her heaving body. He pushed her higher and higher towards orgasm, and soon the tension inside her was almost ready to burst. Her eyes were tightly shut and lights danced before her eyes, she clenched the bed cover convulsively and arched her back into his tormenting hand as he left her to sit up and watch.

Her legs were spread and knees bent on either side of him, while he supported himself on one hand, planted firmly on the bed beside her right leg and dark eyes fired with lust explored the damp curls and moist pink skin of her exposed sex. His lips were full and sensually curved in a tight smile as he watched his fingers coated with her slick liquid, plunge repeatedly inside her.

“You’re so hot and wet it makes me ache all over with wanting you” the already deep timbre of his voice was rougher, the sound of it scraping along her body, and making her womb ripple with need. “When you make me angry, all I want to do is fuck you, and when I make you angry I have to”.

Speaking was a physical impossibility now as the velvet threat behind the words registered on her mind and echoed deep inside the most primal parts of her psyche. All thought splintered and fell away as she gave herself up to the erotic promise in those dark as midnight eyes.

He licked his lips and purred in approval when she got wetter and it began to seep out from between his fingers, two became three and she screamed and bucked at the unbearable stretching. Before she could recover from that, she felt his tongue again, caressing the stretched skin around her vagina, and each flick of his tongue left a trail of fire in its wake.

He removed the fingers and ducked back down to suck at her hard, draining and drinking her delicious heat, taking it inside him to coat his greedy mouth and lathing tongue. His hard hands crushed her to him again, removing all possible escape until he’d finished taking and taking.

Streaks of hot pleasure shot out from her core, pulling her into a storm of sensation that made her legs quiver and shake as the pulsing need of her sex screamed for release from the unbearable tension. She felt and heard the deep throaty growl vibrate against her sex and then screamed as everything exploded inside her at the feel of those ridges and the whisper of sharp fangs between her trembling thighs.

Her head whipped from side to side in reflexsive denial of the immediate orgasm that was just too strong, and her heels dug into the bed as she tried to draw back and up, but their was simply no escaping him. Every nerve ending sizzled in an agony of knowledge that at any moment the ecstasy could be transformed into agony. But that only increased the dark twisty pleasure as she writhed and undulated under him.

His fangs didn’t pierce her delicate skin but he mercilessly consumed everything she could give. The hot sticky fluid dripped into his mouth, making him ache with the need to claim her. His erection pressed painfully against his pants making him restless for freedom from the constriction of clothes.

Finished, drained and replete she lay back and watched with half closed dazed eyes as he stripped. Anger was forgotten, transformed into something that burned brighter and hotter and the embers of it still flickered inside her throbbing loins.

He didn’t bother with buttons but simply tore the offending material of him and attacked his zipper, like her he hadn’t bother getting completely dressed and only had the pants to get rid of before he was finally naked. She realised at the same time he did that she was still wearing the t-shirt and between them they yanked it over her head, and she fell back to the pillows with his mouth greedily latched to one tightly budded nipple and his cock already deep inside her.

He groaned loudly and retracted his fangs, returning his face to human, still rational enough to not want to hurt her and knowing his self-control was at a premium now. The plump sweet flesh of her succulent breast was an indulgence he could hardly afford as he felt his control slip down another level but mindlessly he continued to tug and scrape the hot turgid tip inside his mouth.

He squirmed as the heated tingles surged through him and ground his pelvis into hers, massaging her body with his hard muscular length inside and out, as he rocked himself into her tight clenching loins like he could join them into one. The feel of her underneath him, her curves moulding to his larger frame with sweet welcome was driving him insane. Her scent surrounded him and every supernatural sense he possessed howled with the need for more, to get closer, consume and love her.

Cordelia could only hang on as he surged frantically over and into her, her hands clutched his shoulders as he drove his hard throbbing length repeatedly deep inside her, filling and stretching her to such an extent that she sobbed with the hard unyielding pressure of it, and yet at the same time the pleasure was so intense she wanted to beg for him to go harder, faster anything to bring on the climax that hovered just out of reach.

She heard him pant and the groans that seemed to be torn from his throat as he strived for control. A hard shudder wracked through him. Oh god- he’s losing it was the only single thought that penetrated the steadily thickening haze of passion that fogged her mind and jolted her senses. She wrapped her fingers round his jaw and pulled him to her so she could kiss him, darting her tongue inside to taste and torment his with swirling caresses.

She tasted herself on him, that and the dark intoxicating taste that was purely him. Entranced she enticed his tongue into her own mouth so that she could suck on it, mimicking going down on him and making him groan louder. The vibration of it passed from him to her and she speared her fingers into his dark hair to keep him there, as the need for more than just a taste gripped her fiercely.

He levered up on both hands and feasted on her mouth while she did the same, in a dance of mating tongues that was matched by his wild, stormy thrusts. His hands clenched the bed like hers had done, only his fingers dug through the covers and into the mattress, ripping it and bringing it up with each wild plunging stroke into her silky depths.

She wrenched her lips from his to take in air to her starving lungs and dizzily felt his lips trail over her jaw towards her neck. She wrapped her legs around his hips and her arms under his to clutch his smooth muscular back. Clinging on she felt his pace increase as he pounded into her so fast she could hardly feel one thrust end before another began in an endless possession that stretched and filled her, pulling her deeper into a whirlpool of dark sinful desire.

Oblivion beckoned as the rush of sensations grew stronger. She didn’t feel the bucking of the bed underneath her or hear the crash of the bedhead against the wall. She did hear his frenzied panting growls and felt a piercing joy that finally he was going to do it. He pulled them both up, with one arm around her back until he was sitting back on his haunches, with her legs still wrapped around his hips. He crushed her to him so that she was pressed all along his front with her head turned aside. Baring her neck to his ravening mouth.

He nuzzled the tender skin, drawing the sweet blood closer to the surface until his head swam dizzily with the intoxicating scent of life. She started to come the instant his fangs pierced the skin of her throat and she felt the erotic suckle of his mouth, drawing out her blood. She bucked over him, riding his engorged shaft as he drank from her in carnal abandon, helpless to do anything other than ride the storm of a staggering climax.

Stunned, shaken to her core and still reeling from the intimacy of being invaded by him in every way, she could do nothing other than simply hold on and trust that he would be able to stop before he drained her completely. Her hands lovingly stroked and kneaded the muscles on his back and neck, soothing herself with the feel of his powerful body underneath her palms and buttocks as he relentlessly surged inside her.

Impossibly quick and before she’d even come down from the last release the tension started to ripple and pulsed inside her again. Soon thick words of shameless pleading blended together with his purring growls. He retracted his fangs, leaving the wounds to seep sullenly with her blood, which he lapped up before returning with open mouthed sucking kisses to draw out more.

Her encircling arms dug into his hard back and her nails scored the smooth skin as the building spirals of liquid heat pooled deep in her core again, draining her every bit as much as his mouth on her jugular. He kneaded both sides of her breasts, plumped out from being pressed to close to his hard chest and then travelled down her sides, following the curve of belly and hips which he then gripped in his hands to lift her up and almost off him.

His throbbing tip was still inside her, a hot promise that he fulfilled simply by slamming her down and thrusting up simultaneously. She screamed as he stabbed impossibly deep making her convulse down as another pinnacle loomed. He ignored her scream and his hands continued to forcefully slide her up and down on his impaling shaft.

Not content with that he kneeled up straight and lifting his face from her neck, he growled a command to hold tight. Then he enveloped her within his arms and flexed his hips in a hammering rhythm. His whole body throbbed and trembled under the strain of holding off the orgasm that threatened to erupt at any second. He arched up and they began to topple back to the bed as her quivering passage seized his cock, squeezing and milking him with her orgasm.

He gripped the headboard in a last single moment of sanity to avoid crushing her with his weight while he bucked over and into her, as she lay exhausted and trembling underneath his heaving body. The wood splintered under his hands and finally, powerless to stop it, he spilled his seed, drenching her womb before utterly drained he collapsed on top of her.

***

Wesley tucked the spare set of Angel’s keys back in his pocket and carried the blanket wrapped body of Cathy inside his apartment. He looked left and right to ensure he wasn’t being observed and then shut the door with a careful thud.

The End

Helen

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Cats in Hells Chance 8   1 comment

THE CHAMBER OF HORRORS

The battle raged on with a terrible ferocity; at first it had only been Gunn, Lorne, Giles and Fred against a handful of the strange masked demons. Pure rage had fuelled the human men as they hurtled into the fray, hacking , slashing, swinging and pounding away with axe and cudgel.

Lorne looked fierce with his green skin and red eyes blazing, and battle cries interspersed with the high shrill notes filled the air as they fell from his lips were deafening. He swung mightily with the cudgel aiming for heads and bodies, smashing his way through to victory over more than his fair share of demons.

Gunn and Giles didn’t slack either and the bodies were starting to pile up as they made the most of the surprise attack. Soon enough though an alarm was raised as a clanging noise rose over them in panicked notes. Fred, busy firing single shots from the handgun was perched on high ground out of the way while she picked her targets with care and precision as Wesley had taught her.

That ability became invaluable when more of the demons came streaming in all four entrances in response to the alarm. Suddenly the four stalwart fighters were facing four to one instead of two to one and more kept on coming.

Fred picked up her pace and the handgun shot upwards slightly with each bullet blasted out, but she hit her target every time. Smoke choked the air, from the torches and gunfire. Blood was spattered everywhere as screams rent the air, followed by snarls and growls, the whine of bullets and the bang of the guns recoil, joined not the least of which by more high pitched wailing from Lorne as he fought.

If that wasn’t enough confusion more demons arrived, lead by Wesley and the battle became epic as they went at each other, some bare handed, ripping and tearing, gouging at the demons that had dared kidnapped them. Pink, yellow, spiked, horned, lipless, red eyes, black eyes, clawed and not, all types were figured here and all without exception- where pissed off.

Chaos reigned and Gunn, Giles and Wesley met at the centre and looked around them trying to assess how they were doing. So far, from the looks of the bodies strewn on the floor and over the already gored stone slabs, it looked about even. Then Cordelia burst into their midst, closely followed by Angel and they all stared in shock at the pair.

They were filthy, covered in black dirt and dried blood. “What the hell happened to you”? Asked Wesley as they he looked them over in astonishment, and then frowned when he got a good look at the utter disrepair of his shirt.

“This place happened- what did you think Wesley, this ain’t no spa” snapped Cordelia who then snatched up a sword of the ground, and with a look of pure fury on her dirty face, jumped in feet first, determined to get rid of the frustration that suffused her, brought on by the terror of the last few days.

Wesley watched her hack and slash away with mad abandon and then gave Angel a look with raised brows and got a “Don’t ask” back which he settled for and between them all they formed a formidable ring.

Gunn had gone to fetch Fred and now they all stood back to back with Fred crouched down and still squeezing the trigger. Cordelia had somehow managed to keep hold of the shotgun, as damned uncomfortable as that had been strapped to her back and now handed it over to a delighted Wesley. The smile that lit his face was almost boyish and she laughed instead of rolling her eyes, in this situation it was almost endearing.

They stayed together and when one ventured too far in the heat of battle, they soon found themselves brought back into the fold as the protective circle held.
Then as sometimes happened there was a moment of peace while each side retreated to lick wounds and stare at their opponents assessingly. The kidnapped demons congregated by the far wall, opposite the humans, in an uneasy alliance given their respective breeds were more often than not at war with one another anyway.

The demons of this place huddled next to the entrance through which most of them had arrived, likely leading to living quarters. They were leaderless and still reeling from the events of the last day, from what had started out as normal to this utter destruction of their home and way of life.

Both sets of demons finished eyeballing each other and settled their gaze on the humans in their midst. Humans, demon and vampire that is. Some of them knew about the vampire with a soul and some didn’t but all were wary of this peculiar bunch of … comrades, friends, and warriors?

The humans took measured breaths and their eyes were watchful for any move to resume the battle, Giles and Wesley side by side, one with a bloodied axe and one with a shotgun levelled and primed. Nobody spoke or moved, just watched and waited. Cordelia stood over Fred who held the handgun loosely but ready with another full clip of bullets.

Angel stood a little in front of the two women and his body was taut in expectation of more fighting as dark eyes flickered from one demon to the next. Lorne moved a little from side to side on the balls of his feet, red eyes still blazing as he struggled to come down from the unusual high that was bloodlust, a new experience for him.

The stand-off remained in place and was broken only by the slow careful advance of one of the demons who reached up to remove its mask to speak to them.

The black eyes and pale spine ridged face looked fearful and very unhappy at being voted as spokesperson, it swallowed hard and maintained a good distance from the humans and an even further distance from the other group of mixed demons.

“What will it take for you to leave us in peace”? It asked in an uncertain voice.

As ever Cordelia was the first to find her voice, “Leave you in peace? Hello!” she looked at Angel and Wesley and then jerked her head at them, “You kidnapped them, we just came to get them back. So get you facts straight, we didn’t attack you first”.

The demon shrugged uncomfortably, “That matters not- we just want you to leave”.

Cordelia had heard enough “Doesn’t matter? Are you for real? I think those guys over there might have something to say about that”. She wasn’t wrong, there were very definite renewed rumblings from the mixed breeds.

“I’ll tell you what it will take,” said Angel stepping forward, not wanting another unnecessary battle when it could be avoided, even if Cordelia was still feeling the need to pummel. “We all leave here, everyone of us, and you never return to our world again, EVER”.

The grumblings from the mixed breeds increased so he swung on them and stalked forward with his face thunderous. They held their ground but stopped speaking.

“I don’t give a shit what your problem is, or if you stay here to slug it out, but I’m getting my people out of here” he growled, the rumble was quiet but full of menace nevertheless.

He turned his head slowly to face the nervous spokesman again and his eyes were dark glittering slits of black ringed with topaz lights. “You’ve had your fun, and while I’d love nothing more than to rip your hearts out and feed them to you” he looked at both groups of demons when he said that, “I won’t, this time, but get this…”

He walked with precisely measured steps until he was looking directly into the demon spokesman’s face, “Humans are off the menu, is that clear”? The fact that he’d vamped out was clear enough evidence that this display of calm was exactly that, a display. Underneath it was a maelstrom of fury that he could and would tap into at a moments notice.

The demon nodded at that gritted demand and backed away. Angel looked at Cordelia, who out of all of them was still looking angry enough to chew nails. “We’re done here” he told her, his voice hard and charged with meaningful warnings about letting it go.

After a moment where hazel clashed with topaz, she sighed gustily and shrugging with studied indifference, nodded her head even while her eyes still simmered with hot emotion.

The need for revenge for what she’d been put through was still strong and it went against the grain to let them get away with it. Her blood was up and a large part of her wanted to finish this. Kill them all and tear down this place but she knew that wasn’t possible and she even understood Angel’s reasoning, but that didn’t mean she had to like it.

HYPERION HOTEL

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Cats in Hells Chance 7   1 comment

THE CELL

Wesley played with the knife in his hand, sitting on the floor beside the body of the still and silent Cathy. Strangely enough she comforted him and he wondered why that was, idly though. He was too busy waiting for the tell tale crash of the bolts that would signal his wait was over.

“I wonder how Angels doing”? He asked her, half expecting a ghostly head to pop up with a smart-ass remark about not being that psychic.

“Probably kicking demon ass half way to the eastern seaboard the mood he was in”. He’d been here long enough that using Americanism’s seemed as natural as breathing, although his sainted Father would likely have a few pithy things to say about ‘butchering the Queens English’. “Stupid Sod”.

“Shut up Wesley”, he berated himself tiredly, “Now’s not the time for ‘daddy’ issues”. His brows rose over dull eyes, not that he’d ever really thought about his family relations as an issue. Or anything at all for that matter, they were as they were; thankfully thousands of miles away.

The bolts crashed back and calmly he stood up, the knife still in his hand now and hidden beside his thigh. He only hoped they were right that it would only be the one guard; the state he was in now, any more might be a problem. He stepped to the side of the opening door and closed his eyes to protect his night-vision from the bright flames of the obligatory torch.

He heard the grunt of the guard when it didn’t immediately spot him. He opened his eyes and raised his hand across his body at shoulder level, the knife gripped so that the blade faced outward. The demon turned to face him and they eyeballed each other for a single instant before Wesley drew back his arm in a slashing motion across its throat. It fell twitching to the ground, its head almost severed by the depth of the vicious cut.

“Nice of you to stop by” said Wesley conversationally and stepped over the still jerking body. A sense of renewed energy filled him as he approached the wrapped body and he crouched down to lay a tender hand on her. “I swear to you that no matter what I have to do, I will be back for you”.

Wesley returned to the lifeless demon and turned the thing over on its back to search it for the keys, easily located attached to its leather jerkin by a leather cord. With a strong twist of his fingers, they were free and then with a last look at Cathy, turned and left cell. He debated locking it and then did, thinking it might be safer for her.

He walked down the corridor and after checking for more guards, none of which seemed to be around. Mentally shaking his head at the laxness while thanking heaven for it, he started to unlock all of the cells doors on this block.

After a few minutes various coloured, races and breeds of demons started to warily edge their way out of the cell doors; some looking around with frantic eyes, while others were simply put- furiously angry. They all looked towards Wesley, who was studiously avoiding direct eye contact and twirling the keys in his hands.

He waited until the scuffle of feet stopped to look up and found, as expected, he had their complete attention.

“Yes, it was me that freed you, so yes it would be damned rude to try and kill me for it” he stopped and waited for a response, which was limited to a few growls and sarcastic remarks by the English speaking ones.

“That being the case- I would suggest that you save all that rage and anger, justified I might add, at being kidnapped for the ones that did the kidnapping, don’t you think so”?

Still no answer, well he hadn’t expected it to be easy, “Either that or curl up and die because it’s going to take all of us fighting them to get any of us free of this stinking place”. He dropped the cordial gentleman act and told them like it was in as cold a voice as he could muster.

That got through. Finally.

***

WHAT A MAZE

Angel was beside her in seconds and Cordelia spared some energy to look at him as he kept pace with her. Her heart soared and the pain in her face, arms and legs receded a little. I did it, Oh my God, I did IT.

She’d gotten him out and yeah, okay, so they weren’t out of the woods yet but dammit at least she wasn’t sitting in the hotel, wearing a track in the floor and wringing her hands like some useless girly-girl. Though she knew what he would prefer and that she was likely in for a rough time when they did get home. She smiled to herself at the thought, bring it on Baby, I can so handle anything you can dish out.

Angel was checking behind them about every third step and soon enough they both heard the doors give way as the spear snapped from the combined weight of the infuriated demons. With a last knowing look at one another, Cordelia ducked her chin into her chest and pumped her arms and legs harder, reaching deep inside for more speed.

Angel kept pace with her, and when she stumbled over the uneven ground he caught her up and immediately put her back on her feet, neither slowing down in what became a team effort.

After a while they came to a bend and skidded round it, trying not give their pursuers time to catch up. Just beyond the curve was a rough entrance into another tunnel, without speaking they took it. It was much narrower than the one they’d left and soon got narrower still. Cordelia’s breathing became harsher as her body fought to take in more oxygen to sustain the pace her brain was demanding from it.

Sounds of pursuit got closer as the howls became clearer, Cordelia’s heartbeat increased even more and a momentary dizzy spell nearly made her stumble into the wall, only Angel’s strong supporting hands saved her from a painful smash into the unforgiving surface of the rock walls.

Angel kept his arm around her and looked ahead, his supernaturally strong eyes piercing the dark gloom, searching for a means of escaping the pursuit so that she could rest. He could hear the frantic beat of her heart and her breathing was so laboured it hurt him to hear it.

He saw something ahead, but it wasn’t what he was looking for; quite the opposite. His belly clenched when he realised it was what he’d first thought it was. A gap in the floor of the tunnel, god knows what it was there for, or even if it was just a natural occurrence, whatever, this was definitely the wrong tunnel to have taken. He released Cordelia for a moment to scoop up some loose stones and threw it at the dark patch.

He heard the rackety sound as they travelled down- a long, long way. His belly dropped even further. He didn’t tell Cordelia but simply picked her up in his arms and turned her so that she faced him, she gave him a startled glance and wrapped her legs around his hips.

“Don’t look forward” he told her and kissed her on the lips. She gave him a ‘look’ and tucked her head into the crook of his shoulder, trusting that he knew what he was doing- NOT. “I hope you know what you’re doing” she grumbled in his ear. Angel certainly hoped so, but no promises.

Cordelia could feel him increase their speed as his legs lifted and pounded down under her thighs and bottom, while his abdomen bunched and relaxed between her thighs in a synchrony of muscular power. She gripped him harder and simply held on.

She felt him gather himself and even take a deep breath that expanded his chest against hers, “What’s the matter”? She asked, unable to stop the question and yet a part of her not wanting to know. “Hole in the floor” Angel muttered just as he launched them both into the air.

Cordelia yelped at the feel of the air rushing around them, she squeezed her eyes shut and prayed. They almost made it; they were short by only a few inches. Angel snapped a hand out and wrapped an arm around Cordelia. He groaned at the jerk on his arm when he stopped their fall, his fingers just about gripping the rock of the floor on the other side of the shaft.

“We didn’t make it did we”? Asked Cordelia, not daring to move in case she dislodged them. Her heart was pounding like a piston engine and there was a dull roaring in her ears.

“Not quite” Angel gritted out and experimentally tried to pull them up, his fingers slipped and convulsively they clung to one another tighter.

“Can you pull us up”? She hardly dared ask, but avoiding it was out of the question, pretty soon it would be answered for her anyway. She tried to keep her breathing even and not let the panic creep in and take over her mind. It was the total darkness that creeped her out as much as the feeling of being at the edge of a precipice.

He didn’t answer her, didn’t know how to. Should he tell her a comforting lie? God he just didn’t know what to tell her. “At least we lost them,” he offered as some positive news.

“I’m going to die aren’t I”? She asked him in a small voice, not going for his little attempt at diversion. Oh god I don’t wanna die- I don’t want to be finished I have so much to live for now- STOP IT, get a GRIP, hysterical much.

“No you’re not” His voice grated like it was strained or something. No fucking WAY, was he going to let her die.

“But if you can’t pull us up then we’re both gonna fall, what if I let go…” she started to offer, her mind dulled by weariness grasped at tiny shards of reason, she didn’t want to die for nothing.

“Don’t you DARE Cordelia, I swear if you do…” he broke off and swore, his shoulders twitched and they both fell silent with mingled terror and awful anticipation. “Do.Not.Even. Think of letting go of me Cordy, or I’ll let go too”.

She huffed impatiently and tried again, “But if I’m going to die anyway”. Okayyy, I can’t believe we’re arguing about this, like I wanna die- NOT.

“You are not gonna die, now shut-up the hell up. What is it with you mortals anyway, first Wes and now you, give me a frickin break here, I’m the immortal one”.

Normally a statement like that would have her rolling her eyes and lambasting him for being such an arrogant ass, but she heard the emotions behind the words, could feel it too in the fine tremors wracking his body. So she settled for a delicate, for her, snort and said “Well yay us, we must love you then and maybe don’t want you hurt- go figure”.

His shoulders were killing him, particularly the one that got stabbed in the fight, and he knew it wasn’t going to be long before even his strength gave out. “Then don’t let go of me Cordy, if you do I’m lost anyway”. Angel wasn’t one for wearing his heart on his sleeve very often, but when he did it was almost like a neon sign.

She silently digested that, and settled her head more firmly into his strong neck, breathing in the scent that always made her feel safe and secure. “That’s not fair,” she finally whispered back, not sure if she wanted that responsibility.

He wasn’t having any of that, when they’d finally got it together, she’d made promises, including sticking around. He intended that she kept them. “Get used to it”. His voice was uncompromising and maybe that was unfair, but fuck unfair- he was 250 plus years and he was in love.

Then he frowned and after a few seconds of intense concentration, rubbed his chin against her hair to get her attention. “Do you feel that”?

“Feel what”? She muttered not willing to move away from the safety of his neck, it was dark sure, but not scary dark if she pressed against his skin.

“A draft- there’s air moving below us”.

“Whoopey doo” she replied too worn out to care about a draft. Then something in his voice must have awoken a sleeping alarm. She looked up and hated that she couldn’t even see his face. “So”? There was more than a question in that dark feminine tone, “don’t even think about going there”.

He ignored the last bit, “Hold on tight, and don’t let go”.

Her wail of “Are you crazy” was lost in the rush of air as he released his death grip on the edge of the shaft, dropping them both. The walls were much closer together now and he used his boots on either side of the shaft to slow them down.

Then he felt that rush of air again, only stronger and widened his leg, it hurt like crazy when his leg jolted as it his foot caught. But he slowed their descent enough to give himself time to firmly snag the upper edges of another hole with both hands, relieving the weight on his leg.

“Ooophh” Cordy was winded when her upper back hit the wall above the hole and she clutched him tighter, but it was much better than being squished on the bottom of this hellhole. “Sorry Cor, you OK”?

“Just fine” she snarled back, more out of the fear still drilling through her than any pain, she was going to get him back for that crap inducing scare- if it was the last thing she did. “Where the hell are we now”?

“Another tunnel or something”, He chuckled with relief when she swore a blue streak, then using both feet and his back on the opposite wall, he turned them around so that Cordy would be able to crawl inside the hole, using his body underneath to support her.

“This is just great, I can’t see a damn thing” there was a fractious note in her voice and he could feel the trembling that gave away her post adrenaline exhaustion.

“I’ve got you, Sweetheart” he kept his voice low and deep, soothing her with his voice and his hands sweeping over her back as he guided her until she felt the edges. It was totally pitch black, dark enough that he could barely make out anything, so it must seem like a nightmare to her.

“You’re doing great Cor, just pull yourself inside and I’ll follow right behind you”.

She crawled over him and felt her way inside the gap in the wall of the shaft, it wasn’t very big and a huge shudder swept over her as claustrophobia hit her hard. Okay, deep breaths. Life and death remember, a little coffin like time in a hole beneath hell won’t hurt you.

“Great, this is just great. I hate dark enclosed spaces, so obviously it’s my lucky day to be stuck down here with no flashlight, no handy lighter cos I don’t smoke and no frickin idea where we are or how to get out again”.

She used her grumbles like a lifeline, hearing her own voice constantly echoing back was better than just hearing her own panicked panting. The rock was sharp in places and her hands were sore from various scrapes. “Plus just look at me, I’m a mess- well OK can’t really see much, but I just know I look like hell, which is pretty appropriate for here I guess”.

“Cordelia” said Angel warningly, although he didn’t object to hearing her talk most of the time, having got used to it over the years, now wasn’t the time.

“What” she snapped back, knowing he was going to tell her to shut up.

“Shush, these places are like sound amplifiers you can never tell who can hear you”. He was directly behind her, as they crawled along the narrow tunnel.

“Well excuse me, for not knowing all about caves, I never lived in one” she pointed out with acerbic calm

“Cor” he growled back.

“Okkayy, Geeze, shutting up now”.

He smiled he couldn’t help it, she amazed him on so many levels, sometimes he scared himself about how much she meant to him. Could you imagine anything more overwhelming for an immortal than to a love a mortal with all of your being all the while knowing that fate could snatch them away from you at any time.

Sometimes, he drove her crazy with his over-protectiveness but he doubted she knew of the times when he managed to restrain it- just. If he had his way she would stay at his side and when that wasn’t safe, in a safe secure place he wanted to create just for her. What stopped him was knowing that she would never accept it and that if he tried to insist- she would grow to hate him.

So he tried to let her go on as she wanted, building a life on the ruins of the old one and doing a fantastic job of it- god, while it scared the crap out of him, he was damned proud of her too, talk about being pulled into two directions.

He pulled his mind of the morbid and yet not, thoughts and realised that Cordelia had stopped moving. “What is it, what’s the matter”, he was seized with the wish that he’d gone first, a physical impossibility at the time.

“This is not good” came back Cordy’s voice; strangely hollow as the sounds pushed past her body and echoed slightly in the dark and damp enclosed space they were struggling through.

“What isn’t good”? He demanded sharply, irritation poking him hard at the lack of information. He tried to see past her but it was impossible.

“This tunnel finishes here unless you want to try the vertical version of it,” she told him, her voice thick with tired hopeless tears. That was why she’d taken so long to answer.

Her obvious despair tore at him with steel talons and his own eyes stung. Dammit, give us a fucking break here.

“Start climbing” the demand came out harsher than he’d intended, but right then he didn’t care. She was not going to die here and he wasn’t willing to wait for another solution, as impossible as that was, they had to do this together.

Tears were running down her cheeks and dropped down on her sore hands, the darkness pressed in on her and she just wanted to bury her head in her hands and sob for a while. Then maybe she could get it together again and try to climb, just not now.

“I can’t” she told him and then felt a hard hand grab her ankle and shake it.

“Do it” his voice was uncompromising and suddenly she wanted to scream and yell at him, hot words bubbled up in her throat and she opened her mouth to give it to him full blast, but at the last second she bit them back and settled for a growl low in her throat.

She scrubbed a hand over her wet face and shot a dark scowl that he couldn’t see over her body at him. “Fine, I’ll do it, just don’t blame me if I fall and you get squashed”.

“I’ll cope” he replied and felt her move forward a little and then stretch. Once inside the shaft she pushed and pulled herself up with her boots and hands, scraped raw now but she ignored the pain.

After a while she went numb and it took a while for her to realise that she was practically sitting on Angel’s shoulder while he climbed for the both of them. The strong surges upwards were monotonous but comforting. She started to try and get back into doing some of the work but he stopped her.

“Just settle down, I can do this”. She didn’t argue.

***

THE CHAMBER OF HORRORS

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Cats in Hells Chance 6   1 comment

Part 5

THE PIT (Where we left off)

The cavern, cave or whatever, was like the rest of this hellish place, dark, damp and chilling. All mind-numbing gloom and enveloping darkness, lit here and there with flickering tongues of smoke riddled flame that instead of adding brightness only made the shadows dance even blacker on the uneven rock walls, giving everything an added surreal quality that was somehow more disturbing.

Talk about Dante’s Inferno- Yuck this place makes Pylea seem like summer camp, and as for the smell, urghh gag worthy. The whole place stank of terror and death, rotting things mixed in with soil, sweat and urine, Ewww gross. Though Cordelia’s reaction was less overwhelming now than when she’d first arrived and seen it up close and personal for the first time.

I am so gonna have to apologise to Lorne for giving him a hard time after that vision, sheesh. She shuddered and pushed the horrific images of that place from her mind. They’d get to that, but first things first.

They’d come here to find Angel and Wesley, Strike 1 check, but looks like they had a fight coming too, She knew she was being over emotional and allowing herself to be distracted but the relief to have found him was piercingly sweet and she intended to wallow in it for moment, thank you very much.

Not that Angel looked very pleased to see her, she thought wryly with a smirk. Horrified, shocked, stunned any of those fit his reaction better than welcoming. “Too bad, Angel- sometimes even big bad vamps need rescuing. That’s me, Rescue Girl”. She knew he couldn’t hear her, so grinned cheekily at him instead.

What the hell is she doing here? Was the first thought to cross his stunned mind when the rage of losing the kill he’d wanted so badly he’d been able to taste it, finally faded and he saw who’d fired the bolt.

All thoughts of the dead demon fled as pure shock had his face returning to human, even as he growled long and low at her recklessness. Look at her standing there all cocky confidence, like she’s not about to get her ass whipped in here – or worse. She didn’t break eye contact with him for several seconds, but lowered the crossbow and then grinned challengingly at him, hazel eyes sparkling even from this distance.

His eyes sparked topaz on seeing that provocative grin and he growled again. Almost roughly he jolted his eyes back to the demons as the danger of their situation registered now that it was no longer just him. Powerless to prevent it with the big yawning hole of the pit separating them, he saw a group of the demons break off their advance on him to attack her, and a dart of pure terror speared his chest.

Numbly he noted the closest of the demons were nearly on him. He didn’t care about that. He only cared about getting to Cordelia, but to do that, he had to kill those between him and her. Dammit, she’s gonna get herself killed. I swear if we get out of this alive I’m gonna wring her neck myself. He filled his mind with thoughts of dire retribution to ease the constriction in his chest at the thought of her getting hurt, deliberately fuelling his rage, making it burn brighter and hotter.

Furious with her putting herself in danger like this. He jerked his head to indicate the threat she was now facing, expecting to see fear chase itself across her beautiful face. Instead all she did was look at them, nod back and after blowing him a kiss, reloaded the crossbow with all the speed and dexterity she’d trained so hard to achieve.

Cordelia fired off a shot and felt the thrill of seeing the bolt aim sure and true right between the eyes above the, insert eye rolling here: stupid frickin mask, for chrissake. She knew Angel was pissed she was here and didn’t give a damn. He wasn’t the only one with a protective and possessive streak and he was just going to have to learn to deal with hers.

Dragging his burningly angry gaze off Cordelia, Angel scooped up the closest weapon lying just by the rocky edged rim of the pit. Armed now, he twirled the heavy double-headed axe in his hands, so that the twin heads chopped the air in a deadly whirl of circling, flashing metal.

“You guys are seriously pissing me off now, but don’t let that stop you”. He told them his face taut, intent and deadly serious. He spread his legs slightly to anchor himself for the coming rush and press of bodies. As he stood braced, he felt it rise inside him again, that weird rush of tingling and then the minute focus, that was somehow rage and hate combined, intermingled into one vengeful tool.

But he’d been expecting it this time and it wasn’t as disorienting. If it helped him get the two of them out of here alive, he welcomed it. He took a deep un-needed breath and held it, narrowing dark pitiless eyes as he centered all of his roiling emotions on the coming fight.

At a rough count he was facing almost two dozen of them now edging around the pit and over the stone hewn benches. Each of them bristling with weapons and some had even taken off the masks to snarl and growl in fury at the unexpected turn of events, for which they blamed him. He almost purred at the wave of hatred he could feel coming of them towards him, revelling in it- feeding of it.

With a quick darting look he counted Cordelia was faced with four, with more on the way and the haze of bloodlust was instantly replaced by terror again. Fuck, he didn’t have time for this. Rapidly changing his mind, he charged the oncoming demons, slamming the handle of the axe in the face of one, while slashing left and right on both sides, slicing deep into neck and jawbones, blood sprayed him and them with sticky gore.

The impetus of his charge was hardly slowed until they gathered themselves and used the longer reach of the swords and spear’s they carried to lunge and jab. Angel reared back, only just avoiding being gutted by a sword but was unable to avoid the spear that imbedded in his right shoulder. Enraged he gave a dull roar of mingled pain and rage. Fuck that hurts, time to fucking die, Asshole.

Grimacing at the pain, he gritted his teeth and grabbed the spear to yank it out of his shoulder. The other end was still held by his attacker. Gripping hard he yanked up and twisting the wooden handle jabbed back downwards with all of his considerable strength, stabbing the blunt end into the demons gut, left exposed when the spear had been jerked upwards and almost out of reach. “Was that good for you too”? He spat the taunt in its dying face.

He fought like a possessed thing, but it wasn’t enough for every demon he killed another took its place on the slippery battleground. Despite his rage, skill and strength Angel was being driven back by the sheer overwhelming number of them.

Help arrived from a totally unexpected quarter, when a tremendous clanging suddenly split the air and everyone froze for a moment. Then half of them turned and jogged towards, and out of the double doors at the other end of the cavern. Deciding not worry about what that alarm meant; he looked at Cordelia again – she was down to two. One was lying with the crossbow bolt in its chest; another had blood spreading around its head from a slashed throat.

That was good, but what wasn’t, was the blood trickling from her mouth and the bruising forming on her cheek and temple. Fury and fear was a potent mix and the bloodlust rose up even higher than before, a red haze again filled his vision and savagely he renewed his attack using both axe-heads, hacking and slashing at any limbs or body parts that got in his way.

The tide was reversed again as he pushed them back, his fear for Cordy making him a ferocious, thoughtless animal, acting purely on instinct. Movement of any kind was responded too with vicious speed and they fell around and under him.

They were down to four from nearly triple that number and he barely felt any of their strikes that hit him. He was bleeding from his shoulder a slash across his middle and another stab wound in his upper thigh, but none of them registered in his fevered mind. He had to get there in time, anything else was unthinkable.

One of the demons had an axe with a hook on one end and he found his own ripped from his hands, he snarled, immensely pissed off, and whipped up his leg in a snap kick in its face. It staggered back and he crouched and twisted, bringing his other leg around, hooking it behind its knees, to finally bring it crashing to the floor and toppling one of its comrades at the same time.

He wrenched free of their encircling arms and grabbing hands and looked up when he heard another commotion at the doors. He was facing them and saw more of the demons enter the room and look between him and Cordelia. Half went to him and half towards Cordelia. He was out of time, the reprieve was over and re-enforcements had arrived. Desperate he looked around the rim of the pit, his dark eyes searching for inspiration anything that would give him the break he needed.

From here you could see the edge wasn’t completely surrounded by the stone benches, only about two thirds. The last section on the opposite side and close to where Cordelia was fighting was almost totally ledge less. If he was going to help her, he had no choice but to jump over it.

With a last swinging punch and following it up instantly with a bone crunching side kick to the head of the next nearest, he gave himself some breathing space and sprinted in the opposite direction. He pumped his legs, pounding the rocky floor, pushing and reaching for more speed. The demons roared and howled with renewed energy at his ‘retreat’ and gave chase but couldn’t keep up with his ground eating strides.

He streaked around the rim of the pit and towards the farthest side where it met the wall, then gathering himself, tensed his leg muscles and pushing, launched himself into the air, tucking his legs up and then out- reaching for the ground on the other side. He landed and skidded on the rocky floor, spraying dirt from under his boots before regaining control of his impetus.

He came up behind the battle, before the newest contingent of demons had even reached the fighting woman. He wrapped an arm around the head of one and grabbing his own fisted hand on the other, he squeezed and twisted, yanking the skull out of alignment and finally with a last twist, snapped the neck.

Cordelia had been forced to the wall and the crossbow now useless lay on the floor. She’d put her training to good use, but had been losing ground and tiring fast. Several times she’d come to close to a death blow but had managed so far to block and weave, keeping her body a moving target, preventing them from cornering her. When she’d seen the new arrivals, her heart had sunk.

She’d not had a chance to get the shotgun out of the straps on her back for fear of leaving her torso exposed, so had been dodging, blocking and slashing when she could with the hunting knife. Crap, this is just great; you couldn’t have gone for something longer? , she berated herself and wide eyed, dodged another lunge from a snarling demon. Angelll, get your ass over here!

Then out of the corner of her eye she saw Angel making a mad dash around the pit. She wasn’t able to watch him for long but didn’t need too. Even from this distance she felt the whoosh of air and heard the splinter of rocks when he jumped and landed not far from her and her attackers.

Angel would have been forced to drop his axe before jumping, being large anyway he might not have made it with the extra weight. But now he was unarmed, so with no other choice he laid in with heavy fists and lashing kicks, dodging their retaliatory swipes and slashes.

One made the mistake of reaching too far, and seeing his chance Angel twisted sideways to avoid being impaled and then grabbed the demons hand wrapped around the hilt. The abrupt halt of its lunge confused the demon but also stopped it from retreating. Angel smashed a powerhouse punch straight into its pale face, it released the sword as it staggered back and he was armed again.

He reached out with one long arm and grabbing Cordelia’s arm, pulled her out of reach of a particularly vicious swing from a newcomer, fresh to the battle. Cordelia, hasn’t seen it and flashed him a grateful look and then laid her palm up to fist the hilt he slapped into her hand and hefting the sword, stabbed it deep into the chest of a demon coming up behind Angel.

Angel backhanded another and then used the movement to slam an elbow into the face of yet another. This was impossible to keep up, sooner or later they would get overwhelmed and he knew it. The number of demons they were facing now, all bristling with sharp blades swelled even more as those he’d left behind joined the fray. They were going to die, if they didn’t get out of here now.

Cordelia hacked and slashed with the sword creating some space and blocking the thrusts of others aimed at both her and Angel. Her arm, no scratch that, her whole body was aching like a sonvabitch, but she kept on going, what option did she have?

Angel must have sensed how tired she was getting because the next second, she felt him grab her by the waist. Angel wrapped his arms around Cordelia’s body and tucked it into his side, protecting her with his much larger, harder body. Then he dove for the floor, Cordelia understanding what he needed her to do, scrabbled desperately over the hard rock on her hands and knees.

They skirted the wall in a tumble of limbs too fast for the demons to keep up with and their vicious stabs stung the impervious rock behind the escaping vampire and woman. Once clear of the horde they staggered upright, Angel steadying Cordy as he lifted her almost off her feet and rushed them both towards the double doors. They might have made it, if one of the demons hadn’t guessed where they’d been heading for and tried to the head them off.

Angel ducked under an axe, meant to sever his head and drawing back his arm, drove a pile-driving punch straight into the demons gut, doubling it over and then head butting it on the way back up. The delay was costly but Cordelia made it to the door, Angel not far behind, whipped around to hold them off, giving her a chance to escape.

“Get out of here, run,” he yelled at her, not taking his eyes of the demons coming after them. Beyond infuriated now, they were snarling and snapping, showing blood stained teeth and fangs. All were rank with sweat and death and intent on exacting revenge. They wouldn’t give up their prey easily.

“Like Hell”, yelled back Cordy, not even considering it for a second. She reached behind her back with one hand to wrench the shotgun free, and at the same time grabbed the waistband of Angel’s pants with the other to yank him back. Not expecting anything like that from her, he fell back towards the doors she’d partially closed.

She stepped to the side of him and levelled the shotgun. A demon face almost kissed it, before she blew it off. The terrific blast of the shotgun reverberated in the air and with her ears were ringing, she staggered back into Angel, who returned the favour and hauled her the rest of the way out of the cavern.

Between them they got the doors closed and Angel kept his back to it to keep them that way, despite the heavy banging from the other demons on the side. Without being asked she hunted for something to block them, the heavy bar usually used was missing. Fucking typical but she found a spear which when he saw it, Angel eyed doubtfully.

“What? Like I have something better up my sleeve, get real”. She playacted checking the tight black wristband of her bodysuit. “This is it, Dumbass unless you have a better idea”? She glared at him and raised a brow, annoyed that he didn’t appreciate her initiative. She was tired, sore and pissed and he was giving her a hard time cos she didn’t carry a 150lb wooden bar on her? Get real, Buddy.

He didn’t have a better idea and he ignored the name-calling, which he knew- she knew- he hated. With no time for arguments, he just nodded and watched as she rammed it home between the two metal brackets. “It’s only gonna hold for about 30 seconds tops. So get ready for the race of your life”. He told her grimly and got ready to push himself away from the door.

“Okay, let’s get going then, delaying only makes me nervous”, she told him and set off in a sprint, knowing he would follow and catch her up almost immediately.

***

BUTCHERS BLOCK

Once inside the antechamber, after that weird little trip into the funny light thing, as Cordy put it; they had all agreed after a short, heated argument to splitting up in pairs, with Cordy finding Angel and making up her own pair. Gunn and Fred teamed up, leaving Giles with Lorne.

They’d been ordered by Cordelia for heaven’s sake, to wait a few minutes before leaving the room, to give her a chance to sneak out and find wherever they’d got Angel. Then they were to concentrate on finding Wesley, Lorne having been able to tell that from his vision-trip. When they’d been found, they would all meet up here again.

“Who else thinks Cordy’s gotten damned bossy for those ‘not so fashionable anymore’ boots” asked Gunn with a sulky frown. “Damn, that girl can ride roughshod over anyone”.

A part of him missed the fashion obsessed Barbie he’d first met and come to love, but knew that was just sour grapes cos he’d ended up sitting here while she went off on her own commando mission.

“This is so not right. Me, Charles Gunn bad-ass demon killer; sitting around waiting for super action-chick to do the demon booty kickin”.

“Leave her alone, Charles she’s worried about Angel and you know it makes sense, she can slip around without being noticed far easier than with all of us trooping about and giving the game away”. Snapped Fred, wound up with the waiting too.

The pretty dark haired woman, paced around the little room, sidestepping any bodies that got on her way; the room was too small for the four of them, plus the bodies of the two guards they’d dispatched on arriving.

“I do not ‘troupe’ and no one sneaks better’n me,” he argued, still pouting darkly.

“Give it up Gunn, believe me when I tell ya, life is so much easier when you just accept that it’s the females of any species that runs the show”.

Lorne imparted that bit of unwelcome, pearlish wisdom from his perch by the door, head back and eyes closed. He opened his eyes to look towards Fred and winked, making her laugh and breaking the tension a little. Gunn just shot them both a disgusted look and didn’t comment.

Giles hardly heard any of it, too busy mentally wishing himself anywhere else, why the devil do I always end up with the bizarre one? Someone up there hates me, that’s why, he mentally whined about being lumped with Lorne, all the while his face was perfectly straight.

Lorne looked at him so still and silent and wasn’t fooled, chuckling again he clapped a hand on the stiff shoulder of the Englishmen. “Stick with me baby, I won’t lead you astray- well at least not much”. Lorne laughed at his own joke and then sobered when Gunn decided it was time to get moving.

“Okay, Cordy’s had enough time, we need to get this show on the road before any more of those” he pointed at the dead guards, “decide to come in here”.

Lorne waited until Gunn and Fred had carefully crept out the door and then deliberately grandly, gestured that Giles could go first out of the door. ”After you, Sugar”.

Giles gave him a filthy look, cleared his throat, glared again and then without a word, strode to the door. Hmmphh, Sugar indeed.

They almost tripped over Fred and Gunn, standing frozen and staring with gaping, horrified faces at the scene before them. Fred stepped back and blinked like she was hoping to make it go away. Gunn steadied her with a warm hand on her small back. “Take it easy, Fred” he said softly, but there was a dangerous glint his brown eyes. “This is why we’re here, to end this”.

There was a large chamber directly ahead, encircled by the tunnel they were in. It had at least four entrances into it with strange demons busily bustling around carry gruesome platters of god knows what, but unfortunately each of them could guess. Like Angel before them they saw the huge stone slabs bloodstained and covered in dismembered body parts, some whole enough to be recognisable as human. As for the carcasses, strung up…

They all gagged a little at the sights and smells and averted their eyes for a moment, even then still seeing the grisly, macabre scene in their mind’s eye, burnt there by sheer revulsion

“Indeed” agreed Giles stiffly when he’d mastered his own response enough not to sound as unhinged as he felt. His normally serene and calm expression was gone and his eyes burned with anger and disgust.

“This must be stopped no matter what the cost”. He looked at his ‘partner’ and noted that for the first time since he’d met him, Lorne was obviously in no laughing mood.

“This is what I saw in my vision, only I concentrated on Angel, when I could”. He admitted and tried not to barf at the bloody scene, literally now in the flesh and blood.

“Cordy’ll find the boss-man and Wes is all mean, lean killing machine now. These people dead or alive need our help”. Replied Gunn, not taking his eyes of the sight before them and tightening his grasp on his huge, personally crafted curving axe.

“Won’t we need Angel and Wesley to do this”? Asked Fred, stiffening her spine nevertheless, prepared to do what she could. She might be a small skinny girl from the sticks but she could do some good here- even if it killed her.

“Maybe, but I’m not prepared to wait” was the terse reply from the large black man. They looked at one another, solemn with purpose.

“Ready” asked Giles, strangely elated to be here with these people he’d never had a chance to meet before and who only minutes ago where aggravating him like an itch he couldn’t scratch.

The gung-ho Gunn, stalwart Texan, and now serious demon all seemed like such a good fit, but what amazed him was the total acceptance that this was what had to be done and so would be. In that instant, his confidence in their ability to win the day irrationally soared. Bugger, rational.

They all took deep breaths and sent a prayer up to whoever was listening. “GO” finished Gunn with a roar and they all charged into the chamber of horrors.

THE CELL

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Cats in Hells Chance 5   1 comment

BACK IN THE CELL

Angel had taken off his coat and given it to Wesley, who draped it over the ragged bundle that covered Cathy’s limp form. Now he buttoned up Wesley’s oversize denim shirt; it was a snug fit for him but was still a great improvement over the sliced and diced black shirt he’d been wearing.

“At least this way they won’t tell that you’re healed. Element of surprise and all that” said Wesley, rubbing his chilled arms and grateful for the stained T-shirt he’d had on underneath it.

Angel just gave a grunting assent and carried on closing the buttons like his unlife depended on them being closed properly. His head was whirling and his skin was itching like crazy. Overall he felt like he was about to crawl out of his skin or just go mental, if he didn’t do something now. He was jazzed in way that he couldn’t recall ever being before – even as Angelus, and he was only just keeping himself under control, so fuck conversation.

Angel could feel Wesley watching him, assessing every move and knew he’d got the ex-watcher worried. Good, he should be worried – if he stopped to think about he’d be worried too. Blood had never affected him like that ever before. It had been like a thousand ants running through every nook and cranny inside his body. Then everything; skull, torso and even his legs had seemed to catch fire.

It had been like dying all over again and then waking up – totally pissed off and ready to kill anything that moved. He knew he was going out for the fight of his life and instead of just being resigned; the thought of it excited him – and that pissed him off even more.

Once souled he’d ended up fighting and killing more times than he could count, but never for the thrill of it – that was Angelus, not him. Only now that fine line seemed to have been erased and he had no idea if it would ever come back.

Cathy’s soul had gone back into her body and it was just the two men who heard the bolts being drawn. Angel nodded at Wesley who moved back to stand beside the woman’s body. Angel slipped down the wall to sit slumped and clutching his middle.

The guard stepped inside, alone this time and locating the vampire poked him with a boot. Angel gave a moan and shook his head weakly and then got hauled to his feet with rough hands. One of Angel’s own slipped to the side of the demon and locating a knife-sheath, slipped the blade free.

He jerked one hand up startling the guard who slammed him against the wall, just as Angel used the other to toss the knife at Wesley, who caught it in mid-air. The knife disappeared from sight within in seconds. The guard not even realising anything had happened threw the vampire towards the door.

Drachnar arrived just as he was being dragged outside. “Angel, so are ready for another bout”? He said heartily but his face was pure gleeful expectation, the black eyes taunting. Angel hung his head and remained silent, letting the demon think what he wanted. Drachnar laughed, delighted that the arrogant vampire had been cowed. He looked towards the cell.

“Your human friend won’t be going this time. We have the usual planned for him, so don’t expect to see him again”.  Drachnar waited to see if that taunt would rouse a response and when it didn’t, frowned in disappointment and jerked his head to the guard to get moving.

BACK IN THE PIT

Once in the pit Angel been given a sword immediately, tossed next to his feet for him to pick up. He picked it up very slowly trying to maintain the impression that he was severely wounded, and then let it hang limply at his side.

The benches were packed with onlookers and the dignitaries, including Drachnar were already seated. It was eerily silent and he waited for the commotion to begin that would herald the arrival of his opponents. His arms trembled at the enforced inactivity and he twitched to still them.

Taking in deep breaths, he slowly blew out of his mouth. For vampires, oxygen was entirely superfluous except for speaking. But he found the movement of his dead chest soothing, usually. Not now though, the sound of air escaping his mouth echoed in his sensitive ears and under lowered brows his dark eyes flickered restlessly from side to side.

Something skittered over in the corner of the dirty pit and his eyes zeroed in on it and his body went taut. Even from the distance of over forty feet he could see the shiny back of the bug as it scuttled away. He relaxed and loosened the reflexive grip on the swords hilt.

Pandemonium was suddenly unleashed up top and he grinned, delighted shivers running down his back. About damn time, he thought and surreptitiously he moved his feet apart, balancing himself without making it obvious.

Wesley’s shirt was tight across his chest and the tug of the cloth was annoying and distracting him. He had to fight down the urge to just get rid of the damned thing, but if he wanted them to underestimate him and throw them off balance he needed to hide his lack of wounds, at least until it was too late.

Three bodies landed solidly in the pit with him and this time he didn’t tense but kept his muscles loose, he looked up from under dark brows and stared at them assessingly.

They were leaner but taller than the first three and they held their weapons with assurance that told of experience. Two swordsmen and one axe wielder, he gave a mental shrug – not caring so long as they were good.

The smell of blood, death and adrenaline came off them in waves and raised his aggression level by several notches. He breathed deep and kept it there. They followed the same ritual as before and bellowed at him, fists clenched as the crowd went wild. Unseen by them Angel smiled, bring it on.

They came for him in a single roaring charge. His head came up and his hand tightened on the hilt and whipped the blade up in front of his chest and face. Wicked dark eyes glinted with topaz fire as he vamped out and fangs elongated as he opened his mouth in a snarl of his own.

In microseconds they were only feet away, he dropped to a crouch and bunched his legs, snapping upwards and launching himself over their heads to drop gracefully behind them. They faltered and swung crazily around, shocked that the easy target had suddenly changed to mortal foe. Angel was only just getting started.

The last to complete the turn found the vampires blade thrust, two handed into it’s back, impaling it between the thick shoulder blades. It screamed and scrabbled to free itself. Angel yanked it free and ducked an axe, bringing his fists holding the hilt in a bone splitting punch on the axe wielders nose and breaking the cartilage with a scrunch.

It backed away holding its face and choking on its own bile. Angel spun to face the last, which had come around to his unprotected side. He grinned at it and they circled, both swords whipping around in their hands, the sound of steel chopping the air raising the tension.

Simultaneously both drew the swords back in a double handed grip at shoulder level, looking for an opening or sign of weakness, eyes locked. Angel reverted back to human, a mocking gesture of confidence to any demon that knew vampires.

“You gonna point that thing at me all day”? He didn’t give it a chance to reply but swung the sword to the side with one hand. The demon thrust directly forward and found its blade knocked down and away. Angel yanked his back up and sliced off a part of its jaw.

He felt movement behind him, the whoosh of a blade being raised high in the air. He stepped back quickly until he was almost within touching distance, still facing the bleeding demon he’d just cut. He thrust out the sword hilt in front of his body and then stabbed back and felt the blade sink into flesh, then twisted the hilt for good measure and heard a gargling scream.

Yanking the sword free he met the other demon’s charge, enraged now at having its blood spilt. Their blades met in a clash of thunderous steel. They hacked and slashed with blurring speed, back and forth and around the pit.

The swords slashed from side to side as the two combatants blocked and parried. Powerful muscles bunched when they came together, both trying to force the other onto the floor or into a wall. With teeth clenched in fierce snarls of adrenaline-induced rage, they went for the kill again and again only to be thwarted by the others skill.

Angel felt the tingles increase along his skin and a strange heat spread out from his chest, rising up into encompass his head. He shook his head to clear it and locked eyes back on the demon. That’s when the weird stuff started to happen.

Everything around him seemed to slow except for him. He saw to the minutest detail the demon take a deep lungful of air. Then almost individually he saw the muscles of its meaty arms tighten and gather, getting ready for another strike.

It raised the sword over it’s head and Angel heard its grunt and the whistle of the blade before it had even started its downward descent. To even a trained observer it would seem as if the demon was bringing it down in a stabbing motion, but he saw the glint in it’s eyes and then the slight hesitation it gave at a crucial point.

He didn’t know how he knew, but he did, it was a trick. He raised his own so that the blade ran down his side from chin to hip, blocking the sword that had been twisted to change direction mid-flight. The demon snarled and opened its mouth to show blood stained teeth and fangs.

With his free hand he punched it and then using the momentum spun around and brought the blade to neck level. Still reeling from the blow the demon tried to block, but again as if in slow motion Angel saw the move and raised his left leg, swiping the demons sword out of the way as his own sliced through its thick and unprotected neck.

Time sped back up as the head came off the shoulders and the body hit the dirt packed floor with a thud, blood pumping into the hungry foulness of the floor. Angel staggered back, disoriented by the change of speed. What the fuck is going on? He raised his free hand to touch his brow and rubbed hard. His fingers were already covered in blood and he smeared his own face with it. His nostrils flared and he growled, hungry and confused.

Movement to his right had time slowing again, he went with it – what other choice did he have. He reared back from the swing of a double-edged axe and blood splatterd the wall from the demons hand as it dripped down its back and arms from the wound he’d given it earlier.

It brought the axe up for another swing and Angel vamped out, stalking forward he caught the axe in mid-swing. With his hold he jerked the demon down and dropping the sword, punched it in the face. Again and again he jabbed and punched at its swiftly mangled face, until it could stagger back no further and its back was pressed to the grimy wall.

Its hold on the axe loosened and Angel wrenched it free and raised it high over his sweat-drenched head. Feral yellow eyes glinted in victory as he brought the axe down with all of the power of his arms and its heavy weight, hacking straight through the skull.

He was alone in the pit and surrounded by bodies and blood. Still vamped out he whirled around with his head tilted to see the crowd around him, staring down. Silent and intent. His own system was still drenched in pure unadulterated demonic frenzy, only now it was transforming into rage with no more release for its savagery.

“What, is that the best you can do”? He roared at them. “I thought you guys were so hot that you couldn’t be beaten”.

Viciously he kicked one of the fallen demons. “Well guess what. Not so fucking invincible now are they”?

No one answered him. One of the demons seated on a throne, signalled and more of the demons stood up from the front benches, slowly they started to remove their masks. Angel laughed at the sight.

“Fuck this I’ll be here all day kicking your ass. Tell you what, why don’t we make this more fun and I’ll join you up there”. The cocky statement was hardly out of his mouth before he was sprinting around the pit.

Around and around, his boots squelching on bodies and gore but not slipping. When he had enough speed he lifted his leg and started to run the wall, getting higher and higher, faster and faster. The crowd watched in dumbfounded silence. Completely mystified by what had happened and unable to guess where he would come up.

Chaos reigned as they scrambled back from the edge and away from the psychotic vampire. He leaped over the edge and then gathering himself, before they could respond to his exit with violence, leaped onto the wooden stage housing the three thrones.

The demons tried to jump out of the way, intimidated despite their own cruel natures by the sheer speed and recklessness of the enraged vampire. Angel grabbed Drachnar and yanked him of balance to fall face down on the floor where the vampire jumped on his back with both feet, making him jerk with the weight and keeping him down.

At almost the same instant he reached up and snagging another by the shoulders grasped its head in both arms and twisted until its neck broke, then letting it drop limply to the floor of the now crowded stage, snapped a kick at the throat of the last, crushing it. He left it die from lack of air and turned his attention back to the demon on the floor.

It was all over in seconds and he stepped off the demon and let him get back to his feet.

“Very impressive Vampire, truly you have outdone yourself. But tell me what do you hope to achieve, there is no escape from here”.

“I promised I was going to kill you. Ask around. I always keep my promises, it’s a soul thing”. Answered Angel more than happy to face off and just get it done.

Angel leaned in closer and glared with yellow eyes into black, “I don’t care if I get out of here or not so long as you die”.

Just then a new voice rang out, clear as day but vibrating with annoyance. “I hate to disagree with you, Angel. But I happen to care a lot”.

Before the last word had finished being spoken there was a whoosh of air and Drachnar gargled and scraped at the arrow sticking out from his throat. Black eyes widened and then he toppled onto his side, crashing into one of the chairs before coming to lie next to it, jerking with death throes.

Snarling with frustrated rage at losing his quarry, he spun towards the voice. Standing over the other side of the pit and only now being noticed by the stunned crowd, was Cordelia with the crossbow still in her hands.

“Get over it”, she told her snarling lover.

Part 5

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete

Cats in Hells Chance 4   1 comment

Part 4

THE PIT (Where we left off)

The pain had been beyond incredible, impossible even. So much so that it’d crowded everything else out until finally, blessedly cancelling itself out as well. Then he felt nothing for a while. Until suddenly it was back, sharp and searing. His eyes were shut but he still saw the red haze of pain – like blood.

“Kick him again”, said Drachnar to the heavily muscled guard. A heavy foot thudded into the fallen vampire again, aimed straight at the vicious wounds on the chest and body. Nothing – no response this time, not even a moan of pain.

Angel felt it, but he was too far gone for it to reach him properly. He floated in and out of awareness – even vampires can let go and just float away when the body became unbearable to be inside. That’s what happened here. He heard voices but only snatches – sounding as if they were underwater and almost impossible to understand.

“Put them back ……. in ……… her ……… survive ………… next ……. round”, there was laughter and then a single last word that filtered into his head, “…hours”.

Angel and Wesley were dragged up from the pit by their arms. Drachnar watched as the rope was tied to their wrists so that their bodies, unconscious not dead, could be hauled up the stone walls.

He turned to one of guards still down in the pit with him, “maybe he’ll eat her”. He smiled grimly at the thought and then grasping one of the ropes tossed down; climbed up the wall, fast and agile despite his weight and bulk.

***

WOLFRAM & HART

“Well it appears we’ve found out exactly – nothing”. Said Giles resignedly; giving up trying to help. He stood out of the way and watched Cordelia as she flipped through papers and looked under books – frantically searching for a clue on where the vampire had gone.

“Well, other than the fact that by the looks of things, Angel has done well for himself”. He continued, mildly envious of the spacious apartment and lovely old antiques.

Cordelia didn’t seem to hear him, still busy rummaging around. However after a few seconds she surprised him by agreeing in a calm tone. A façade totally ruined when she threw up her hands, “This is do damn typical of Angel – GOD!, I could scream sometimes”. The volume of her frustrated voice gave some credit to that threat.

“Me, I get yelled at and threatened with house arrest if I cause him the slightest teeny tiny bit of worry. But it’s OK for him to do it to me? NOT”. By the time she was finished ranting she was breathing deeply and her eyes were narrowed to angry sparkling slits in her flushed face.

She seemed to forget the Englishman was even there as she stormed over to another set of elevator doors. Smaller and more discreet than the one they’d used to come up in. She punched the button to call it hard enough to break a slim finger causing Giles to flinch and eye her stormy face warily.

As the doors of the elevator opened with a muted ping, she whipped around and pointed a finger at him. “When I find him, I’m gonna kick his ass and see how he likes it, Asshole”. Giles raised a brow at that rather surprising statement, but forbore to comment.

If there was one thing he’d learned over the last ‘far too many’ years watching over temperamental females, was never contradict them when they were in total indignation mode. He especially had no intention of letting it slip that right at that moment he greatly sympathized with the missing vampire.

She was still silently simmering when they stepped out into Angel’s office. A gentleman at heart, Giles had automatically stepped back to let Cordy out first and so when she halted in her tracks, after barely clearing the door; he almost ploughed into her back.

“Hey there Sugarplum, come and join me for a drink. I just love Angel’s drinks cabinet. I have no idea why but it always makes me thirsty”.

Since he couldn’t see over the blonde wig from behind her, Giles stepped around the motionless Cordelia. Only to stiffen in shock when his eyes lit on a brightly coloured demon, happily lounging back in a big leather chair and nursing some kind of exotic cocktail.

“And just who the devil are you”? Giles demanded, moving to stand just a little in front of Cordelia, but enough for the demon to realize the woman wasn’t alone and defenceless. Lorne’s eyes widened as he took in the threatening stranger, protecting Cordelia? From him? He almost felt complimented but then remembered that wasn’t his forte, he left the art of intimidation to a certain vampire that shall remain nameless.

“I’m Lorne, Host with the Most– or at least I was. Now head of Entertainment and you are?” Asked Lorne genially; his red eyes gleaming with interest and a small smile tilting his lips.

“This is Rupert Giles, ex-watcher from Sunnydale. Say Hi to the nice demon, Giles it’s OK, He’s a friend”. She arched a look at the still defensive man beside her who frowned darkly at her sudden humour. A rapid change in mood to say the least, he thought disgruntled.

“You know this creature?” He asked her incredulously and then recovered enough to toss a frown at Lorne, and a quick apology “Sorry– it’s just … a surprise”.

“Don’t worry about it Handsome. I get it all the time – must be my stunning good looks that makes ‘em jealous”. He gave Giles a saucy wink and then chuckled at the expression on the Englishman’s face. “You’ll get used to me” he advised cheerfully and raised the glass in a salute.

Do I have to? Thought Giles but managed to keep that comment between his teeth. Who was he to judge people for having demon friends after all?

Then there was the fact that Angel was boss here in LA. That in itself was hard for him to picture; his memories of Angel consisted of a brooding, shadowy creature taking directions from the slayer but otherwise, solitary and silent– not precisely leader material.

Cordelia sat down in the chair next to the demon, an earnest look on her beautiful face. “Lorne, I need you to tell me what you know about where Angel and Wesley have gone”.

“Gone, but sweetcheeks, I thought Angel was with you, and please what’s with the blonde wig”? He was giving her a quizzical look that expressed his lack of admiration for the blonde confection still clinging to her head and covering those gorgeously glossy, brunette locks.

Self-consciously she patted the wig and then frowned at him, “Forget the wig, Angel and Wes are missing and we need to find them”. She sat back in the chair, raising the hem of the skirt even further and causing Giles to uncomfortably avert his eyes from the long shapely limbs displayed by the short skirt.

“I have a bad feeling about this Lorne and I hate having bad feelings, cos hey– worry lines”. She flicked a hand at her face to emphasise the point and Giles couldn’t prevent his eyes looking heavenwards as if praying for guidance from on high.

“Oh and don’t we all Honey. Tell you what, why don’t you sing a tune for me– might save me some time and you some extra wrinkles”.

He smiled when she gave him a dirty look. Then turning to Giles he said cheerfully, “Feel free to cover your ears, tuneful she isn’t– just wish I could do the same”.

“Owww” Lorne rubbed the throbbing part of his arm that she’d punched with venom.

“I can sing, I just don’t have time for – you know, warming up and stuff” said Cordelia; defending herself and glaring at her friend and then Giles too – just in case he decided to join in and gang up on her.

Giles held up a hand to halt the byplay, “Can we just get on with it; otherwise we’ll be here all day, discussing the merits of your singing abilities or lack of them”. He was starting to get a headache and remembering Cordelia’s singing from High school, wanted it over and done with as quickly as possible.

“What does singing have to do with it anyway”? Asked Giles, confused and irritated by the turn things were taking, he walked over to the desk and perched a hip on it.

“He’s anagogic – I sing and he looks into my soul and sees what’s what in my life”. Cordelia informed him absently all the while running through songs in her mind, discarding one after another and successfully hiding a mental cringe about having to do this.

Angel you are in such big trouble – this is gonna deserve a ‘big, no expense spared and no complaining’ shopping spree.

Giles looked at Lorne with renewed interest while he digested the news about his abilities, “Really”? Then he looked confused again. “How will that help us find Angel and Wesley? We already know where Cordelia is”.

“The amount of time Angel and the Princess here spend wrapped around one another like the proverbial yin and yang. I’m only surprised they haven’t melted into a puddle of mutual lust. This’ll work – trust me”.

Cordelia took a deep breath, as did Lorne and Giles when they realised she was ready. Then steeling herself, she launched into a song that she secretly loved and listened to obsessively, when Angel wasn’t around of course.

“When you cried i’d wipe away all of your tears”

Giles watched intently as Lorne stared into Cordelia’s face. The red eyes of the demon entirely focused on the young woman. He saw the glass the demon was holding, tilt and the liquid inside pour out onto his bright blue suit pants; but Lorne didn’t notice, glued to something now flashing before his horrified inner eye.

“When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears”

A bright light, jagged rips in reality and a feeling of being in a cage. Masked monsters and stone slabs dripping with blood and entrails

“And I’ve held your hand through all of these years”

A dark pit lined with stones. Wesley falling, fighting and death, sharp prongs and finally a ripping pain followed by a red haze.

“But you still have all of me”

A dark pitiless room, more pain only from someone new and then feeding, blood filling and surging, bringing….

Lorne jerked back so hard he toppled the chair backwards. It righted itself before it hit the floor but Lorne slid off it and onto the carpet. He sat slumped with his back to the chair. His eyes were open but glazed and unfocused and he wasn’t moving so much as a muscle.

Cordelia stopped singing and leapt up to join Giles now kneeling beside Lorne. She grabbing the demon’s hand and squeezed hard, trying to bring him round, desperate to know what it was that he’d seen. Giles looked at her and raised a brow, a worried look on his questioning face. She shook her head not wanting to get into explanations of what was ‘normal’ – HAH, when did normal ever apply to them?

“Lorne, can you hear me? C’mon a little sight seeing tour and you’re all zombified – it won’t wash with ex-vision-girl”. She tried to make a joke of it but she was seriously worried now. This did not look good – not good at all.

Lorne choked and came back to life. He tried to get up but didn’t have the strength or coordination so fell back again. His eyes searched for and then latched onto Cordelia’s. Her heart sank into the pit of her belly when she saw his distraught expression.

Lorne told her; swallowed hard and fought back the feeling of despair that threatened to make him weep like a baby. “It’s too late, they’re done for”

“That’s bullshit” said Cordelia after a shocked silence. Then leaping up she towered over the demon with eyes blazing, shouting at him. “Don’t tell me that, Lorne – don’t you ever say that. There is always hope”. She grabbed him by his shirtfront to haul him back in the chair, helped by a stunned Giles.

She was almost in the demon’s lap with her hands on either side of the armrest and leaning in to say, “Now tell me everything you saw – everything”. He gulped at the fire in her eyes and told her what he could remember.

Afterwards the three of them went silent, appalled at what they’d heard about the hellish place that Angel and Wesley were trapped in. Cordelia was pacing backwards and forwards, whirling around and almost wringing her hands in agitation.

Every part of her body felt as if it was hurting and she couldn’t possibly sit down or she’d go mad. Lorne’s description of them being only just alive, reverberating around her head.

“You have no idea what caused the change from normal glimpse to ‘all-out vision’? She asked him. Not stopping her pacing except to throw a desperate glance at Lorne, needing to understand.

“Something took me over” and Lorne was still recovering from the shock of that too. “I could feel it hone in on me and then – whammo it was like a big screen surround sound with visual effects, the whole works”.

Just saying it out loud made him feel it again, the sheer tunnelled focus of it and then the feeling of being zeroed in on. “After that I saw what it wanted me to see”. He looked at Giles, who was watching Cordelia with a distant look on his weather-beaten face.

Even with her arms hugging her body tightly, Giles saw the fine trembling in Cordelia’s tightly held body and wished he could say something to make her relax. This was a side to Cordelia that he had never seen before and quite frankly it amazed him; so much for the self-absorbed prom queen image.

Cordelia stopped pacing and turned to face the two men. “I won’t lose him or Wesley and that’s final”. With her hands fisted at her sides and face filled with resolve, she continued. “I don’t care what it takes – I’m going in there and getting them both out”.

“I realise its dangerous and that I’m asking a lot but if I want to win this – well, I can’t do it alone”. Dammit, she could feel her eyes start to water and squeezed them shut. Hating the loss of control at a time when she needed it the most. Before the green demon could scramble up to go to her, Giles strode over and took her hands in his callused ones.

“Of course you’ll get him back, both of them and there’s no question that I’ll help you”. Giles sighed and wished he was better at saying just the right thing. “At least we know where they are now and have a good idea how to get there”. Awkwardly he patted her shoulder, wishing he was less reserved and able to just hug her.

Lorne had no such inhibitions and joined them. His red eyes filled with determination. He wrapped both arms around her in a big hug. “Make that two of us, Princess. I’ll just pretend I’m Clint – riding into hell to save the day OK”.

Cordelia gave a watery smile at the image of Lorne wearing leather chaps and a cowboy hat, just like he’d intended her too. She hugged him back and smiled at Giles to reassure them both that she was done with the emotional stuff for now.

“You’re absolutely certain that we can’t use anyone from here?” Giles asked Lorne. “It would be terribly useful to have some reinforcements”.

Lorne shrugged “All I know is that someone from here started this whole thing but the problem is I don’t know who. So who do we trust”?

“Angel’s had spats and fights with most of departments heads involved in the demon underworld and the way he works; you know that means enemies”. Agreed Cordelia; all business again.

“No, we can only trust ourselves and maybe Gunn and Fred – do you know where they are”? She asked Lorne.

“Well I know the legal beagle’s outta town with a client. But Fred’s downstairs in the lab, shall I go fetch”? Cordy nodded and made shooing motions with her hands.

“Hurry back with her but don’t say why until we’re all safely upstairs. Then we’ll get suited and booted”, She watched Lorne leave the room and then turned to meet Giles’s questioning look.

“Suited and booted”? He asked.

“Sure, Angel has a whole room filled with every weapon imaginable. It’s a homicidal maniacs Disneyland up there”.

Giles smiled at her quippy tone “I’ll tell him you said that”.

“Don’t bother – I already did”.

LOCKED UP

Wesley woke up and then blinked to make sure his eyes were actually open. Again he saw nothing but blackness and that disoriented him even more. He felt a movement by his leg and reached out a hand.

His fingers touched cold leather, so he pushed slightly and was rewarded with a groan. He pushed harder when realising it was Angel’s arm.

“Stop, that frickin’ hurts” grumbled Angel and moved his arm back and away. His chest, and all the way down to his navel felt like it was on fire. If he’d had the strength he would have thumped Wesley for waking him further, he’d been enjoying a fantasy of being far away from here and wherever Cordelia was. Thanks, Wes.

Angel heard a rustle from Wesley as the man tried to sit up. Then he heard hissing noises as Wesley gritting his teeth to ignore the pain from his own wounds. He admired him for trying to move. There was no chance he was doing likewise; he’d had enough of pain for the time being.

“How deep are the wounds”? Asked Wesley from the blackness that even his vampire eyes couldn’t penetrate.

“Dunno” replied Angel after a few moments of appearing to thinking about it.

Wesley seriously didn’t like the slurring of Angel’s voice and worried even more now, he made his way over to investigate. His fingers touched sticky blood and felt the wounds weep further. Angel grabbed his hand and growled in anger at the fresh surge of agony.

“What the fuck are you trying to do, Wes”?

“Find out how badly off you really are” was the terse response. Wesley tugged his hand free and sat back. “You’re still bleeding; shouldn’t that have stopped by now”?

“Yeah, maybe – but those damn spikes nearly sliced me in two, so it’s gonna take a while”. Angel didn’t mention the fact that he’d lost a lot of blood, too much of it. His face was no longer human; having changed the moment he’d come too and smelled Wesley’s blood. That information wouldn’t go down well and he knew it, so he kept silent.

“What happens next do you know”? Asked Wesley after a few minutes of silence as both mulled over their current predicament. Although he could guess, he preferred not to as in his current condition, he knew they were both dead if he was right.

“From what Drachnar said, we fight again. As for when – a few hours is my guess” said Angel from his prone position on the damp floor. Wesley cursed, he’d been right after all. “We won’t survive another round. Not even you in the condition you’re in”.

“No” answered Angel simply – what could he say it was the truth. He was in no condition to fight anyone and wouldn’t be for some time, certainly a lot longer than a few hours.

Angel licked his dry lips, God he was starving, hunger crawled up inside him and he shifted restlessly. “Wesley, move back” he demanded harshly surprising the other man.

“Why” asked Wesley but shifting further way anyway, curious at what had caused the harsh tone in the vampire’s voice.

“I lost a lot of blood”. Angel admitted and grunting in pain managed to sit up enough to move further away himself. Wesley stayed silent for a whole, pondering minute.  Angel would swear he could actually hear the wheels turning and he stiffened when a thought hit him.

“Don’t even say it – not one fucking word” said Angel and each word was growled out in rage. Wesley sighed and laid his head back against the dirty wall. “What good does both of us dying serve”?

“I came here to save your life, not take it. Now shut the HELL up ”.

Put like that, Wesley decided to shut up. It was all very to think about nobly sacrificing yourself for your friends but without any guarantee of success anyway – it was pretty bloody pointless.

“Sorry for getting you into this mess” he offered as he tried to make himself more comfortable for the wait. He stiffened up again when he heard another growl.

“Let’s not bring that up either or I might change my mind. What the hell were you thinking about, going in alone like that”?

Wesley winced and tried to muster a defence but got distracted by a weird shape forming in the far corner. At least he thought it was a corner, he blinked his eyes and stared. He could actually see some definition over there.

Angel saw it too out of the corner of his eyes and turned his head to it. Topaz eyes glinting now in the darkness as the growing light reflected from them. “What is that, do you know”?

“I have no idea” replied Wesley. Both of them kept their eyes firmly trained on the now glowing corner, as an outline started to become visible. “There’s a bundle of something directly underneath. Or am I seeing things”? He asked the vampire.

“No I see it to, it looks like a body” said Angel. Wesley tossed him a frowning look. “How come you didn’t smell it then”?

“What am I a blood hound? Gimme a break, there’s a lot of blood between here and over there”. Angel snapped back and then winced as the movement of his chest pulled at the wounds.

“Sorry” said Wesley absently as finally the shape emerged fully. The glowing figure was definitely female and was crouched over the body. Both of them stiffened, wondering what was going to happen next.

“Hello again, Angel” said the figure.

Great it’s Casper the Friendly Ghost – where’s Dennis when you need him, “Er, Hi, do I know you”? Asked Angel meeting Wesley’s perplexed look with one of his own and shrugging his shoulders, gasping again at the pain. Don’t frickin’ move, Asshole.

Wesley did a double take when he saw Angel was in full fang face – knowing he only did that when he was either getting ready for a fight or simply overwrought.

“We never actually met”. Said the figure. The face was clear as day and yet while definitely that of a woman; was too indistinct to tell individual features and it was the same with the body. “You knew me by the name of Cathy”.

Wesley’s face registered shock at the news, he looked at Angel who nodded towards the body. Wesley crawled towards it, watching the glowing figure warily. He reached the dirty bundle of rags that covered it and reached out to what he assumed were the shoulders. Just before he turned them towards him he looked up at the face close to him. “Do you mind”? He asked politely.

“Go ahead, Wesley. But its not a pretty sight”.

Even forewarned Wesley flinched at the sight that met his eyes. The features of the woman who had befriended Cordelia were only just barely recognisable. “I did warn you” she said and then looked down at her physical form sadly.

“Every time I manage to heal myself, they come back and mangle me up again. That’s why they keep me around – pretty crappy really”.

Understatement, thought Angel but just looked at the face of the woman. “So what are you”? He asked indicating her less substantial self. “Soul or something”?

“Something like that – but lets not worry about that OK. I have a proposition for helping you and maybe in return you can get me out too”.

“We’d love too”. Wesley said carefully, trying not to be rude. “But if you can’t help yourself how can you possibly help us”?

“Angel needs blood to heal and get strong again. Only he can’t take yours, Wesley or risk killing you. But there’s plenty in there and I can’t get much more damaged than I already am”. She indicated her body and watched Angel’s face.

Angel winced and shook his head, she grinned at him, “Not too appetising huh”?

“Its not that really”, or maybe a bit that. He shook his head again and leaned back to shut his eyes. “I don’t drink human blood”. No matter how hungry I am he told his desperately starving self, ignoring the growing, gnawing ache.

“I’m not human or at least not just human. Nor am I demon and believe me my blood can heal you faster than anything else you ever dreamed of. Not to mention giving you a hell of kick”. She cajoled him.

He cracked open his eyes as she approached him and shook his head from side to side vehemently. “I’m not drinking your blood”. Cathy smiled a little at that incongruous statement coming from a vampire in full fang face.

“Why not, Angel. I don’t need it at the moment and besides, a vampire bite is nothing compared to other things that have happened to me and some of those very recently too”.

She looked over to Wesley as if appealing for his help in convincing Angel to drain her blood. Wesley looked down at the body by his feet and feeling slightly sick, picked it up in his arms. Even as weak as he was just then, he didn’t struggle under the slight weight.

Now that the body was closer to him, Angel could smell the blood under the skin and he growled low in his throat, glaring at Wesley with as much fury as he could muster. “Get that thing the hell away from me, Wes. NOW”

“Angel, please think about it. If you don’t drink my blood, you and Wesley and hundred of others will die and this place will continue. Is that what you want”?

Wesley dropped stiffly to his knees beside the vampire and spirit, laying the body carefully on the floor. He looked into the face of the vampire he considered his friend and a part of his adopted family and said, “I think you should do it – she’s right, it’s the only way”.

“Think of it as a gift, Angel. I give it to you freely and in return you may be able to save me from the possibility of an eternity of torture. Believe me when I tell you – bite away”.

After a moment Angel sighed and gave in – he held out his arms. “Bring her here”. Wesley complied, feeling weird and almost light headed about literally dropping Angels dinner in his lap. Ignoring his protesting chest, Angel sat up and arranged the body to give him access to the neck.

“Do you mind not watching”. He said to them; uncomfortable with an audience and they both turned away so that their backs were to him.

Angel turned the head gently and avoided looking at his ‘victims’ face. Mangled or not the features were still human and he did his best to ignore the part of him that wanted to celebrate in that fact. His fangs sank into the skin and closed his eyes at the sweet coppery of taste of blood – filling him and surging down his parched throat.

Wesley heard the sounds of the vampire feeding and managed not to throw up. When it stopped he turned around to find Angel had already laid the body on the floor, straight and covered again. He was about to ask how he felt then, when Angel stiffened and his head jerked back. His thick neck bowed and features scrunched up as if in agony.

“What the hell is going on”? He yelled at Cathy and caught the heavy body of the flailing vampire. Yelling “Ouch”, when the hand he put behind the dark head to protect it, was crushed against the wall.

“He’ll be OK soon. I told you my blood isn’t human but he should be fine” said Cathy standing out the away and giving him room, even though she was nothing more than air in reality.

Wesley stretched Angel out as best he could and sat back waiting for the spasms to subside. When Cathy knelt by Angel’s thrashing head, he went to push her away but his hand passed right through. “Should be” he snarled, “you never mentioned ‘should be’ before he drank – did you”?

“Well I’m sorry, Wesley but this is a first for me too. I’m not normally around for the after effects ya know”. They both gave a silent sigh of relief when the vampire went still. Helplessly Wesley watched as Cathy set a hand on either side of Angel’s head – by the ears.

“Now what the devil are you doing”? He asked her; frustrated at not being able to prevent her from doing whatever she wanted.

“The last gift I can give is knowledge. These creatures have made it their life’s work to fight, kill and maim and each generation has passed that knowledge on over thousands of years”.

“The ones you faced where just babies really, still in training. The next ones won’t be and so I’m just evening the score a little. Being psychic and stuck here a while, I sort of soaked up that knowledge and now I’m passing it onto him”.

“Handy little trick” said Wesley still glowering at her. “You’re just full of them aren’t you. Remind me to finish my research on you when I get back”.

Cathy just looked at him with a carefully blank expression and continued. “Angel will know what they know – but will still be heavily outnumbered. So I’m banking on his temper to make sure he gives out more than he gets”.

The sudden and savage growling coming from the vampire in question had them both warily backing away. “Angel”? Realising his voice was croaking Wesley cleared it and tried again. “Angel, how do you feel”?

“I’ll give you three guesses” came the gravelly reply from floor level.

***

WOLFRAM & HART

Giles stood staring in wonder at the array of swords, axes, cudgels and other medieval and modern paraphernalia of warfare. “You do realise some of these belong in a museum don’t you?”, he said to no one in particular – just satisfying an inner need to say it out-loud and thus relieve his guilt.

Guilt at the sheer excitement of actually being able to use some of them. Cordelia gave him an arch look as she passed him to reach inside a now open glass cabinet to casually unhook a large crossbow and quarrels.

“You try telling that to Angel and he’s likely to take out your tongue. He loves this room”. She rolled her eyes and mouthed “psycho” to herself. Boys and toys – they were all the same.

Giles caught her expression and flushed at being caught out. “Yes well, that’s good then – lets get ‘suited and booted’ shall we”. He smiled brightly at the others and still blushing, picked out an axe for himself and helplessly fondled the antique handle.

“Hey, Giles – get a grip” Snapped Cordelia and raised yet another brow. “I knew I should have just picked yours out. We don’t have all day Okay”.

“Arghhh, I think it’s kinda cute” said Fred and gave the Englishman a big supportive smile. Plus he is kinda cute too, she thought to herself and fluttered her eyelashes at him. She was delighted when his face turned even redder.

“Easy there Tiger, I think we need to let you out of the lab a bit more – get used to company ya know” said Lorne, patting her dark head as he headed for his own choice. A heavy, metal spiked cudgel.

Fred went for the modern firearms as the older hardware was too heavy for her to use effectively. Anyway, Wesley had got her into using guns and she’d been training with him for months now. She was pretty good, even if she did say so herself.

Cordelia tucked another knife into a sheath at her waist. That meant she had three, the crossbow, a hunting knife and the shotgun – just in case. ‘Loaded for bear’ as Gunn would say she thought in satisfaction. They were as prepared as they could be.

She checked them all out; all wearing black – check, no shiny stuff to give them away – check. “Right let’s get going”.

“Yo hold up, if ya’ll think your goin’ off fightin’ without me – you’re just crazy” said a voice from behind them. They all whipped around and all but Giles relaxed when they spotted the large man in the suit.

“Gunn” chorused three of them. “Where”? Asked Giles as he scrutinised the thousand-dollar suit and neat black briefcase.

***

BACK IN THE CELL

Posted January 8, 2016 by califi in Complete