Archive for August 10, 2017

Right of Possession 2   1 comment

Chapter 2

Sagging against the trunk while thanking their pathetic asses for leaving her behind, Cordelia sighed tremulously, and then reached down to remove her last boot. After spewing out several choice curses, she concentrated on the job at hand, debating whether or not to take the boots with her. That took all of two seconds. Tucking them snuggly under one arm, free hand gripping the stake that had, up till now, been stowed snugly in her waistband, she began to gingerly making her way across the moonlit clearing.

“Eww. Gross.” the complaint hissed out between clenched teeth as the sensation of cold and slimy blades of grass slid between her bare toes. It wasn’t the most pleasant of feelings, and to take her mind off it, Cordelia instead thought of the various ways she could make the others suffer for abandoning her in the middle of nowhere, and wishing she could recall the place they entered the clearing.

Knowing her car was most probably only yards away wasn’t helping her mood at all, but the anger helped mask the fear of the possibility that all kinds of evil creepy, flesh-eating demons could be watching her from the surrounding darkness and just waiting for her to enter the cover of the trees before attacking.

As if on cue something on the periphery of her vision caught her attention, and she turned, her mouth dropping open in shock as a dark, familiar figure came hurtling towards her.

Angel?!” the name had barely left her lips when something heavy crashed into her back. A blur of brown and green came rushing up towards her face, and then… nothing as blessed oblivion swamped her mind.

*~*~*

Dark eyes raked Buffy’s pretty face with almost clinical precision. Although still vibrating with the boundless energy that came with being an enhanced human, it was clear to see that time and experiences had wrought changes, even though less than half a year had passed since he’d been banished. Features were finer and more honed and her petite yet compact frame thinner than he recalled.

After nearly two centuries in Acathla’s time-warped hell dimension, he wasn’t surprised by his unresponsiveness to the familiar face that once had him aching with a variety of emotions. Although Angel had been back nearly a month, he’d made no effort, or indeed felt the compulsion to seek out the girl he’d once loved. His release from hell had a price, and once he’d paid it, he intended to leave Sunnydale for good.

Time had inevitably changed him too. Physically, his formerly large but lean frame was now powerful with heavy, defined muscle. He’d survived the cruel, harsh environment that might have broken him. It had strengthened him physically as well as mentally, heightening his predator side until he’d literally become a fighting machine that relied heavily on supernatural senses and instincts.

Psychologically, the changes in him were far subtler, and not all what most would consider for the good. The constant struggle for survival had honed his senses, his mindset that much closer to the predator he had once attempted to keep under his skin.  Emotions had no place in the world he’d been part of for so long, and as his scrutiny of Buffy Summers continued, it absently hit him that whatever had once flared between them had definitely died along the way.

Angel continued to watch them. Memories of what once had once been nothing to do with why he lingered; determination not to lose his prey to another the only reason. After so long where survival necessitated kill or be killed, he’d long become used to hunting for his nourishment.

On first returning, he’d attempted to go back to cold/processed animal blood, but it had turned his stomach, too much to consume. The thrill of the hunt was also something he was loath to deny himself.

When he’d first ventured out into the more populated areas of Sunnydale, ever vigilant of the Hellmouth’s protector even as hunger drew him from the shadows of the mansion, Angel had come across several attacks on humans. Initially, Angel had not only killed the demons but also turned on the grateful victims blindly seeking to quench the hunger that would always be a part of him.

It was those few times which had brought home to him that, although his behavior and morality may have blurred from so long in an environment that would have destroyed him if not for the demon beneath his skin, his soul still had enough of an influence that he’d left them alive; albeit dizzy from blood loss.

The high of killing and the unexpected contact of the odd victim who threw themselves into his arms in gratitude, superficial wounds tainting the air with the alluring scent of their blood… Angel would have been lying if he’d denied still taking the occasional snack.

Even though Sunnydale’s residents seemed to harbor the unique ability to rationalize the attacks and move on without reporting them Angel was ever wary of the slayer getting wind of it- especially of victims who’d survived a confrontation with a vampire.

So he’d made demons his prey though Angel’s tastes had become refined. These specific demons were too much of a prize for a vampire -especially one cursed with a soul, their blood a rare delicacy. Being so close in taste and nutritional value to human, they had the added bonus that due to their hulking size double the quantity flowed through their veins. Draining just one would keep him sated for a good while.

Angel assessed the demon taking mental notes of the way it moved, the speed in which it recovered from the slayer’s powerful kicks & punches, and its inability to do more than defend itself against its much smaller, fast moving adversary.  Quickly gauging its size, Angel figured out from what he already knew that the demon fighting for its life was the female.

This particular species mated early and remained together for life. A small satisfied smile curled his pale mouth at the knowledge that this left the larger male to him easing the irritation he’d felt at the slayer’s presence.

The demon began to falter at the duel assault of both Buffy and Harris, who shot bolts that mostly connected and sunk into its leathery hide. Angel’s satisfaction grew on seeing the exact moment the demon decided to flee into the surrounding coverage of the dark woods, knocking her to the ground and making a run for it.

With hardly a moment’s hesitation, Buffy sprung to her feet and took off after it closely followed by Harris and Willow.  Angel turned instantly to follow them and then paused on seeing that Cordelia had been left behind.

Nothing was more tempting than picking off a straggler, and Angel doubted the male he knew was lurking nearby would pass up the opportunity of an easy meal. As if on cue the male came silently but rapidly out of the cover of the trees and made a beeline for Cordelia who had pushed away from the trees she’d been leaning against to begin a tentative trek across the clearing.

Instinct took over and he approached at a run, bone shifting under the skin of his face even as he exited his hiding place. A large twig hidden by the thick grass snapped under his boot, drawing startled hazel eyes in his direction, and Angel muttered curse when her mouth parted, his name tumbling from her lips an instant before the demon barreled into her half-turned back.

Before she’d even hit the ground, Angel’s boot had connected with the demon’s chest taking advantage of its forward momentum. Instantly it staggered; focused so fully on its’ prey that Angel’s sudden attack had been unexpected.

Before it could regain its balance, Angel kept up his assault, curled fists connecting with its face and torso with savage accuracy taking advantage of reflexes that were even slower than the female’s due to the fact it also carried at least 200lbs extra weight.

Almost belatedly, the demon seemed to remember his razor sharp claws and brought up both arms attempting to deflect Angel’s flurry of punches and kicks as well as get in a few blows itself. But it was too late to avoid the inevitable, and all too soon for the demon, its attacker had managed to get it into a headlock and sink deadly fangs into its throat.

Unfortunately, with double the blood going through its veins, it took a lot longer to drain the demon, thus was slower in having the affect to weaken it. To avoid being thrown off its back, Angel altered his heavy grip and wrenched its head around until a satisfying crack broke the air.

Following its now limp and heavy body to the ground, Angel continued to feed until sated, retracting his fangs and releasing the rapidly cooling corpse to step away and straighten up to his full height.

For several moments, euphoria filled him, enjoying the feeling of almost-human blood coursing richly through his veins. Head tilted back, eyes half closed, Angel purred with satisfaction, as the hunger that rarely left him was sated almost fully for the first time since he’d been cursed with a soul.

Then the sound of a steadily beating heart brought him back to the present, his eyes snapping open and turning to rest on the still figure lying several feet away. The purr turned to a low growl, a scowl darkening his features.

For a moment, he’d forgotten the presence of Cordelia Chase, and now, realizing that the heavy blow had obviously not killed her outright, Angel wasn’t sure if he felt relief that an innocent life hadn’t been taken or anger that it left him with a major problem.

She’d seen him. Not only that— recognized him. That brought potential discovery by the slayer and her watcher.

Various options slid through his mind as he approached her, most ending with a quick death by his hands, but all reluctantly quashed; not completely by the presence of a soul, still buried deep enough to be a bleep on his moral radar. No, his decision had more to do with part of his conditional release.

Dropping to his haunches, Angel reached across and carefully turned the supine body over, taking in the graze and forming lump on her temple. On closer examination, he noted she’d hit a large branch, which, luckily for her had already begun rotting into the earth. Angel didn’t doubt that if the wood had recently fallen, the blow would have killed her.

He half growled in growing discontent.

It would have saved him the hassle of deciding what to do with her, he thought, shoving down the faintest flicker of shame that attempted to prick his conscience.

Running large hands through his already tousled hair, Angel checked out the rest of her for other injuries, dark eyes narrowing in subtle male interest on seeing that her silky blouse had lost several buttons, gaping open to display the rounded curve of one full breast snugly encased in fragile blue lace.

Nice! The thought popped unexpectedly into Angel’s head, and with an annoyed grunt he quickly checked for broken bones then rose to his feet and turned his attention to the demon. His brow furrowed in thought, considering the options left open to him, until, with a resigned sigh, he moved over to the corpse and, hefting it up, he strode over to the nearest thicket of bushes and dumped it. Satisfied that it was concealed, he turned back to unconscious girl and lifting her up, he eased her onto his shoulder.

The slightest chance of the slayer or her cohorts believing Cordelia’s claim to have seen him wasn’t worth the risk. At best Buffy could check out the mansion just to put her mind at rest; at worst…

Fuck. All he’d wanted was to do what he’d agreed and get out of town without anyone being the wiser. Taking the brunette with him, although appearing to be his only option right now pissed him off and made him wish he could have just killed her and be done with it.

Angel just hoped they didn’t find the demon’s body. If the Watcher knew anything about this species, and the vampire was positive he did, then he would no doubt be aware that it hunted in pairs. Said Watcher would also know of its ability to consume its victims quickly, leaving no trace behind. Their companion was easy prey and for the time being, it suited Angel to let them believe Cordelia Chase was dead.

Chapter 3

Posted August 10, 2017 by califi in TBC

Right of Possession 1   Leave a comment

Title: Right of Possession 
Author: Califi
Posted: 27/05/2006
Rating: R/N-17
Category:  Angst.
Content: C/A
Summary:  Unbeknownst to the others (incl Buffy) Angel is back from hell. His intention to leave Sunnydale (after honoring a bargain that got him out of hell) just as secretly is compromised, leaving him with a moral dilemma.  WARNING: If you are hoping for an Angel with finer feelings and morals, this fic isn’t for you. His moral ambiguity through out this fic may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Spoilers:  BtVS, Season three, (Post Hell,)
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt created the characters in the Angelverse. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:  GTCA. Anyone else, please ask first.
Notes:  This is the result of a challenge put forward myself,  that ended up with several Authors (shoutout especially to Cydnestorm & Impress) putting forward ideas (in other words, I write it, and other DW members take part by suggesting material to include.
Thanks/Dedication:to Lysa, who agreed to Beta the fic for me (yay!) and to all DW members who’s ‘interactive’ suggestions have made their way into RoP. *hugs*
Feedback:would be yummy icing on the cake.


Chapter 1

Although the moon was at its zenith its pale rays barely penetrated the dense woods that both predator and prey threaded stealthily through. Neither relied on its illumination to see.  After twenty minutes of tracking two particular demons, Angel was confident that they hadn’t picked up on his presence.

Not so the night before when their roles had abruptly been reversed. One he could have handled; two were a force to be reckoned with.  So far, tonight was going as planned, and a small satisfied smile curled his lips when finally he’d picked up on two distinct trails. They’d separated. From what knowledge he had of their hunting habits, Angel knew it wouldn’t be long before the distance between them would be enough for him to make his move.

Satisfaction fled on hearing voices breaking through the relative silence and he cursed virulently when the distinctive sound of fighting followed quickly after. Picking up his pace, he followed the sounds of the struggle.

Angel’s nostrils flared as the scents of the interlopers reached him, scowling heavily as recognition hit. Reaching the skirmish he used the cloak offered by the surrounding darkness to remain hidden where he could easily observe the ongoing battle. Irritation flared at the possibility that their interference would cause him to lose his prey.

*~*~*

Life for their little group had certainly changed in the past four months. Once implausible relationships had shifted into more complicated ones, and then shifted again. Friendships were tested, love was gained and lost.

Buffy could remember a time she and Cordelia were more alike than she cared to admit, and their unexpected alliance painfully embellished that fact. Before her fateful calling had reared its ugly head, she too enjoyed the simpler things in life: popularity, vanity…indifference to those around her. And like Cordelia, falling for the wrong guy had knocked her world off its axis.

Their personal lives had all gone to hell in a handbasket. Thoughts of hell quickly reminded Buffy of two names that still caused conflicting emotions: Angel and Angelus.

She swallowed hard and forcibly pushed thoughts of the vampire out of her mind. Or was it vampires? It wasn’t really her Angel that had done those evil things. Buffy held onto the concept despite knowing better. Hopeless love refusing to die, she supposed, a dangerous mindset when preparing for slayage. So she turned her mind to the latest developments that were still of a personal nature, but was kinda glad that this time at least her heart wasn’t so intimately invested.

Finding out that Xander and Willow had a ‘thing’ going on— behind Cordelia’s back no less— had been a major surprise to Buffy. That almost fatal fall taken when fleeing after catching them together— to say she was amazed that Cordelia was actually back and helping out several weeks down the line was an understatement.

After taking a quick peek at Cordelia’s profile, her features unreadable, Buffy sighed under her breath and climbed out of the car. Part of her wished the older girl had stayed away. The atmosphere in Cordelia’s car had been more oppressive than it had been at the library, and Buffy couldn’t recall the last time Willow, who’d huddled in the back seat, had regressed into the shy persona of the girl she first met within minutes of leaving the school grounds.

Guilt: another not so subtle supposition.

Buffy had loved despite the intuitive warnings of a slayer and a woman. And in her pursuit of this doomed, great love she had risked the lives of her friends and the innocents she was charged with protecting. Even now this sat heavily on her slim shoulders. Shaking her head in an attempt to clear it failed miserably as ‘what ifs’ filled her mind yet again.

“Um, can we walk to patrol next time?” The timid, quivery voice had Buffy turning on her heel in surprise. Mainly due to the fact that she was so deeply into her thoughts she’d not even heard Willow approach. Distractions, tonight of all nights, would be dangerous.

Willow’s face reflecting the deep unease she’d felt at being in such close proximity to Cordelia confirmed Buffy’s theory. Guilt shadowed eyes that furtively watched as Cordelia climbed out of the car moments later. Buffy sighed again. Maybe that was why she felt so antsy tonight. Nothing at all to do with the demony lecture Giles gravely impressed upon them earlier.

Well, maybe a little.

For a moment, Buffy rethought the wisdom of bringing her friends along. Granted, some time had passed since the accident, and her biggest Big Bad to date was now out of the picture, but she hadn’t failed to notice that Cordelia occasionally favored her side, especially after patrol. Giles’ earlier and repetitive warnings about what she was about to face tonight, also had her wondering if she’d made the wrong call agreeing to let Cordelia be ‘Bait Girl’.

With a heavy sigh, Buffy hooked her arm in Willow’s and both turned away to begin a slow trek across the grass towards the patch of trees. As they neared the dense line of trees along the offbeat road on the outskirts of town, they stopped and waited for the other two to catch up.

“Oh, boy,” Willow’s softly muttered words caught Buffy’s attention and she looked back to see that Xander still hovered by the car, obviously waiting for Cordelia to lock the doors. Even from this distance she could see the tentative yet hopeful expression on his face.

*~*~*

Cordelia spotted her ex-squeeze-slash-rat-bastard-cheat standing right behind her. “Hover much?” she hissed through thinned lips while locking the car door.  Turning abruptly, she stalked around the hood before allowing Xander time to think of a reply.

As soon as they left the roadside, she cursed under her breath when the fine heels of her Italian boots instantly sunk into the soft grass. Probably not the best decision she’d made tonight. Make that the third, she corrected herself wryly. The first had been turning up at the library for the fourth night in a row and second, offering to be Bait Girl. The boots she could deal with.

As she stared straight ahead her eyes, that landed on Buffy and Willow watching from the distance, narrowed angrily. They were probably afraid for ‘poor’ Xander’s safety because he was alone with her. They’d gotten this far with the Harris family jewels intact, hadn’t they?

Conscious of him dogging her heels, Cordelia quickened her pace putting most of her weight on the soles of her feet to keep heel sinkage to a minimum. Rolling her eyes after hearing him clear his throat for the tenth time, Cordelia swiveled round to face him, one hand settling on her hip. His deer caught in the headlights expression was the only thing worth looking at, she thought with a sharp bitterness that just wouldn’t quit.

Before Xander could get over his surprise at the sudden confrontation of fiery hazel eyes pinning him to the spot, Cordelia opened her mouth and informed him icily, “If this is you trying to apologize again, save it.”

He persevered; the rehearsed apology so far not fully given chance to recite on the tip of his tongue, but she forestalled him with a sharply raised hand then jabbed her finger in a hard poke to his chest.

“I may be here with you losers, but this isn’t your get out of jail free card, so get that thought out of your dumb ass head now.” Her lips curled, showing clearly the displeasure she felt in even looking at him, but after a breath, she continued on.

“Unless it is of the ‘watch out for the sharp claws’ variety, do NOT talk to me.” Finished she turned her back on him.

“Cordelia, I-”

Her spine stiffened at his hesitant response and without turning back warned frostily, “The talking portion of the night with me is now over.” Satisfied with the thick silence that followed, she continued walking.

As they entered the cover of the trees, Xander sighed thickly before moving ahead to flank Buffy’s other side. Cordelia eyed their backs, a scowl curling her lips. Typical. Five seconds of attempting to make everything right between them and he gives up like the spineless rat he is, then does the expected- runs straight to the other girl he’d always put before her too.

Letting out a sharp breath, Cordelia cursed herself virulently for her contrary thinking. One thing she knew for certain: it was over. But that didn’t stop her wanting at least a shred of her self-respect back. Never would it have occurred to her the possibility that she, Cordelia Chase, would become the laughing stock of the entire school- and it was all their fault.

Which brought her back to the question that had bugged her for the last hour: Why the hell am I here again? She bit back a resigned sigh. Oh that’s right, helping the hopeless. Only Cordelia wasn’t quite sure why helping the hopeless was becoming so important to her.

As she watched them stride ahead through the clearing just beyond the trees, The Three Musketeers came to Cordelia’s mind, and as she thought of who fitted each of those characters, her footsteps gradually slowed until a growing gap separated them.

…Realizing suddenly that being alone in a dark woody place was definitely not of the good, Cordelia quickened her pace, but just three hasty steps into the clearing and pain exploded down her left side. The air whooshed out of her lungs before she even hit the ground, only half aware of Buffy’s yell of alarm– and then the heavy weight that pinned her abruptly disappeared.

Rolling onto her side with a pained groan, Cordelia looked up dazedly to see the slayer doing what she did best: delivering a roundhouse kick to what must have been, in her opinion the ugliest demon they’d had the misfortune to come across. Wincing, She muttered ‘oh, crap’ as Buffy rebounded like a rag doll when her foot connected with its broad chest. The demon hadn’t even budged at the impact.

Renewed fear flooded through her quickly as it crossed her mind that she was way to close for comfort. The sight of razor sharp talons lifting in an arc only to luckily miss their aim when Buffy dodged back sent Cordelia scrambling frantically to her knees.

A whoosh sounded out above her head a little too closely for her liking causing her to forget about rising.  Instead, she literally crawled out of the way until her hand thankfully connected with the solid bark of a tree. Glancing behind her and confident that there was a big enough gap from the tussling figures, she climbed shakily to her feet.  Almost instantly her ankle gave way, wrenching the tendons painfully and her pain-filled eyes dropped to investigate.

Great! She cursed angrily under her breath on finding that one of the heels of her new Italian boots had snapped like a twig. Another whooshing sound pulled her attention away from the annoying discovery and she was just in time to see a bolt sink into the demon’s sinewy neck.

Noticing another protruding from its shoulder, Cordelia looked around and saw Xander holding up a reloaded crossbow, obviously waiting for another clear shot. Willow stood a few feet to his right, her face deathly pale and eyes impossibly wide with fear. She clutched a small cloth sack close to her chest, and Cordelia recalled that it had some kind of sucking-of-demon-strength mojo inside.

Giles had taken great pains to warn the little witch that the powder had to be used carefully; apparently having the same effect on a Slayer as their quarry.  Cordelia hoped to God that Willow stopped visibly shaking enough to get it right when the time came. Otherwise a broken heel would be way down on her list of major disasters.

On seeing that Buffy’s constant attack was finally having an effect on the demon, Cordelia risked looking away to assess the damage to her boot, and then proceeded to go over her options. There weren’t many: remove them both or break the other heel off. The latter thought didn’t go down well. Three hundred and eighty dollars down the drain, jeeze!

Deciding they might be salvageable- considering they were one of a kind, she bent down to unzip them. As she was about to remove the second boot a loud thud sounded a little too close for comfort and her head jerked up, eyes widening at the sight of Buffy sprawled on her back only feet away from her. Before she could think to move, Buffy had sprung back to her feet agilely and took off after the now-fleeing demon.

Cordelia’s mouth gaped in disbelief as both Xander and Willow chased after her without once looking back until the trees and inky blackness veiling them swallowed them up.

Chapter 2

Posted August 10, 2017 by califi in TBC

Getting to Know You 15   1 comment

nb:Very short chapter, which read, will clarify why.

Part 15

The last hours of school couldn’t come soon enough for Cordelia. Visions of white sandy beaches and turquoise sea as clear as Venetian glass, taunted her throughout the boring dissertation that the English Teacher had decided to read out to the class.  Checking her watch for the zillionth time, she willed it to speed up and put her out of her misery.

I should be so lucky.

Her mind wandered back to two days before, when her parents had unexpectedly arrived home – only to inform her they were off again on Saturday morning.

Cordelia had instantly jumped at the opportunity to escape from SunnyHell, if only for a while. Literally begging to be included in their plans. Reminding them that school closed for Summer recess on Friday, when her mother attempted to use that as an excuse not to take her along.

She’d turned beseeching puppy-dog eyes towards her father, promising: “You won’t even notice I’m there.” This tactic had never worked with her mother, be he usually folded when exposed to the well-learned and perfected gaze from his ‘Princess’.

Or, it could have simply been the near-desperation in clouded eyes that did it. Whatever.

Her father had agreed, and in less than a day she’d be flying  first class, naturally, to Bermuda.

The bell finally rang. Cordelia held back, waiting for the initial rush for the door to be over, before shoving her books into her bag and rising quickly to head out of the classroom. Towards freedom. She’d given Harmony and her ex-Cordettes short shrift, and had no problem ignoring them after that, but…  A much-needed break from the-now two Musketeers and the Watcher was definitely in order.

Since Sunnydale High wasn’t exactly humongous, it had been impossible not to figuratively bump into them. And unfortunately there had been times when she’d had to visit the Library to grab books needed for her classwork. Xander -surprisingly, turned his eyes away after the initial glare each time they’d seen each other. Which suited her fine.

Willow, on the other hand, would catch her eyes and smile that weird/sad little smile that always tightened her throat, and made her mostly want to throttle the girl. Cordelia did not need- nor want her pity! With grinding teeth she’d skim the shelves for books needed for study, feeling the burn of her gaze on the back of her neck. The knee jerk reaction to turn and bitch her out stifled, for fear something might slip.

Mostly, Giles would be closeted away in his office, which again suited her fine. Not thinking for a second that he hadn’t thought long and hard on their very brief conversation. Her confidence, calm and “leave me the hell alone, I’m busy” persona had so far worked when occasionally confronted with his concerned and oftentimes deeply searching gaze.

Each night, she’d go home feeling drained and not a little depressed. Then spend hours rebuilding slightly cracked walls.

But finally, Cordelia could put all that behind her… until Sunnydale High inevitably opened its doors once again.  But by then, she hoped enough time would have gone by to bring some sort of normality to her World. ‘Normal’ hadn’t been part of their World for a long time, but the remaining ‘Scoobies’ would probably be concentrating on some other Big Bad by the time she got back.

One could but hope.

TBC

Califi

Posted August 10, 2017 by califi in TBC