Cordelia stood under the spray of the cool shower, willing her body to stop trembling. Terrified. That’s what she was. What if things had gone further? What if he had turned into Angelus? Surely he wouldn’t risk bringing on the consequences for what he was doing..
What was he doing anyway? Maybe this was just his way to pass time. Okay, that made her mad. He clearly knew now how attracted to him she was. It had taken great effort to get her body under control in front of him. And he had just stood there. Looking at her. She didn’t want to play this game that he was playing with her.
She’d been burned too many times: Ricky, Xander. Oh, Angel was the master seducer of the group, there was no doubt of that. He was a vampire after all. Weren’t they supposed to have some kind of built in mojo. But why would he play with her emotions like that? They had been getting close. Hadn’t they?
Well, no more. She would help him, because, well, she just had to know that he would be alright. But after that he was on his own.
Her hand shook as she reached for the shampoo and the old musical song about washing a man right out of her hair circled in her mind. She wondered absently if they had a brand for vampires. Picking the bottle up, she filled her hand with the sweet smelling liquid and replaced the bottle, closing her eyes as she began to massage her scalp.
God, she had a knack for falling for the wrong guys. Guys that would treat her like crap, leave her, or tease her with something she could never have. She had to get Angel out of her system. Problem was he was already there, firmly situated somewhere near her heart, just left of her soul. Crap. She was really pathetic. Here they both were, in horrible danger. No answers for him, Giles’ useless books, the swords he had swiped stolen……
Cordelia’s eyes popped wide open. Why hadn’t she thought of that before? Rinsing her hair quickly, she turned off the spray and reached for her towel. She would deal with her feelings later. Right now, she had to keep them both firmly in this world.
Angel was propped up against the mound of pillows on her bed, arms behind his head, his black-booted feet crossed atop her comforter, the television on top of her antique dresser playing an old episode of Happy Days. He didn’t look up at her as she came into the room. So what? She wouldn’t let it sting.
He was sulking because she hadn’t let him finish whatever he was going to finish. Well, too bad. She wasn’t going to be something he used in the moment and threw away tomorrow when he found out Buffy could see him again. Let him act like a pigheaded idiot. She’d still help him save his own ass whether he liked it or not.
“I’m going across the patio to the pool house,” she informed him. “I think I remembered something that might help us.”
He gave a nonverbal acknowledgement. A barely noticeable nod.
Cordelia opened the door. It was after two in the morning now with just a sliver of moon showing, but she could still see the glistening water waving slightly against the tiles of the pool. Making her way around, she reached the glass doors of the pool house and went inside.
Angel clicked off the distraction of the television. He’d only turned it on to irritate her. During her little shower break, Angel had had time to think. What in the hell kind of game was she playing with him? She wanted him, he could smell it for Christ’s sake. But her rebuff had been confusing, then hurtful, and now….now he was pissed. She had erected that wall right back up.
This time it had been in the form of her slender hands, pushing him away. But she had made it clear that even though her body had been screaming out that it needed him, her mind and heart were a different story.
Hell, she’d probably been terrorized by those demons for so long that she wanted to stay as far away as possible from the “darker” side of life. But why had she gone for Xander? He was fully ingrained in the “other side” of Sunnydale. Shit, the boy practically worshiped at the altar of Buffy. Patrolling, researching, but mostly getting in the way.
Maybe it was just him personally that she didn’t like. He had given her little choice to help him. Letting her know that she was his only way to connect with the world. Well, he didn’t care how she felt about him.
Okay, he did.
In fact, it stung like a motherfucking stake through the heart.
Well, she might not want him in her life but too bad. He was. And he would protect her from the Ancients no matter her feelings for him.
Getting up from the bed, he paced to the French doors, pulling back the sheer drape. She had run to the shower, now to the pool house. Was she going to keep this up all night? He had to get control of himself, of his anger.
Mistakes were made when you got too angry. Angel rubbed the back of his neck as a strange feeling came over him.
The pool house was dark and unfortunately her parents had covered the furniture and turned the breaker off for the season. Their little money saving ventures of late were getting slightly annoying. But she could see enough to spot the glint of metal on the wall. Her father’s sword collection. Her mother had thought it ghastly and banished it to the pool house two years ago.
The swords were old, ancient probably, but didn’t that make them even better? God, she hoped Angel could use them. Maybe the swords would ease both of their moods. She maneuvered around the ghost-like furniture, with their crisp white cloth coverings.
When she reached the far wall, she stretched, taking down one of the swords, careful not to cut herself. She hoped it was sharp. It certainly was heavy. She’d have to come back for the others. Holding it by the hilt and pointing it down the way a child might carry scissors after a parent’s warning, Cordelia made the careful trek back toward the door.
She froze, dead in her tracks, ice cold terror creeping into her veins.
A pair of fire lit eyes stared back at her in the darkness of the room. Right next to the door. She hadn’t seen it, had passed right by it when she had walked inside. Her wall. Where was that damn thing when she needed it. She’d never be able to get that close to it. She couldn’t.
She held the sword more firmly in her hands, willing them to quit shaking. She had to move. Although she had coolly averted her eyes from the monster, if she hesitated any longer, the beast might sense that she had seen him. God help her, she could hear its breath, the slight shifting of its giant body in the stillness of the room. She could do this. She’d been doing it all her life.
Just pretend. Pretend. Acting as if she had paused to get a better hold on the sword, Cordelia walked carefully to the door, letting an old rhyme that her Gram had taught to her run a loop in her head. ‘Just last night upon the stair, I saw a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today, how I wish he’d go away,’ Even her mind’s voice seemed breathless as she mentally repeated it over again and again.
She saw his head move from the corner of her eye, tracking her as she finally reached the door. God, he was huge. His head nearly brushing the ceiling of the pool house She reached for the doorknob with one hand, the smell of sulfur and embers burning her nose.. She was just past him now, almost home free.
But then her heart stopped, or at least it felt as if it had. She heard it move. Hot breath blew across the back of her neck, so hot that she knew if her hair had not been wet from the shower it would have been singed.
“Sentinel,” the word graveled through the hot breath blowing across her shoulder now, burning her skin. Why had she stopped? She twisted the doorknob just as the massive claws came down onto her shoulders, firm enough to still her, but not slicing through her skin. The slowness of the move scared her more than anything.
As if the monster knew, now that he’d found her out, that there was no escape for her, no need for him to hurry whatever it was that he would do to her. He turned her around, the claws digging into her shoulders but not drawing blood.
She thought of Angel. He had no one to help him now. No one could see him, hear him, touch him. So her death would condemn him to Hell either way. Even if the Ancients didn’t get him, existing like that would be a hell in itself. Suddenly she remembered the sword in her hand.
Unfortunately, so did the Ancient. “I see you have brought me a gift,” his voice sounded like the hiss of steam now, with deep graveled undertones. “Do not fear. I need no assistance in drawing your blood,” his mouth stretched then in what could only be described as a parody of a smile, his dagger like teeth dripping with anticipation. She pushed the heavy sword up, meaning to slice right between his legs, but he caught it easily and tossed it aside..
She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came. Oh, God. She was truly paralyzed with fear. A small animal caught by headlights, waiting for the smash and crash.. Saliva dripped from his mouth as he lowered his head to her, the drool burning her skin worse than its hot, foul breath.
At least that sting had roused her muscles back into life. She struggled, even though it was apparent that it would do no good. She didn’t care. At least she would die fighting. At least she had tried.
The door to the pool house shattered, sending shards of glass and splintered wood into the air. Angel stood in the ruined frame, his face morphed, his mouth in a snarl. He was on the Ancient before Cordelia or the beast knew what had happened. One minute she was in its clutches and the next she was on the floor, watching as Angel rolled to the ground and out of the pool house, the Ancient in tow.
He was going to die. Oh, God. That thing was going to kill him.
Remembering the sword, Cordelia picked up the heavy metal as best she could. “Angel!” she called out through the grunts and roars. The beast was swinging at him now, and caught his side with a deep cutting swipe. Angel’s thin black sweater turned even darker in that area, a circle of blackness spreading in seconds. Could vampires bleed to death? Oh, God she hoped not.
“Toss it!” he called as he twisted away from another fierce blow. The beast growled and gnashed it fangs.
Her toss was more like a slide, but at least it reached it’s mark. Angel picked up the heavy metal, swinging it with the skill of a practiced warrior. The beast roared, swung its head through an arcing of the sword and clipped Angel in the shoulder. Cordelia could see the strain on Angel’s face at that blow, the battle wearing him down. She felt like some helpless B movie actress, standing to the side while watching her friend murdered, awaiting her turn as she screamed. But what could she do? She couldn’t leave him. Never.
He had to get to the head. That would at least bring it down. At least that had been his plan when he had brought the sword up. But the damn thing had clipped him in the shoulder with a horn. That, along with the gash in his side was quickly draining his energy. He knew Cordelia stood inside the pool house, watching the battle in horror, but he couldn’t concentrate on her now.
The fear that had consumed him for her when he had felt the heat crawl up his neck had almost immobilized him. She had been in that small place with the monster and he had let her go. His embarrassment, anger, and hurt over her rejection overriding his protection of her. He lifted the sword again and this time caught the monster between the eyes, the point of the sword going in through the densely armored skin only slightly.
He pushed as hard as he could and felt it give more. The beast lost it’s footing through the pain and fell to it’s knees.
A red haze of anger burned through Angel at what could have happened if she had been alone. No one to protect her. He pushed more, hitting whatever counted as skull on the demon. Keeping the sword in place, Angel tried to dodge the monster’s flailing claws, ignoring the rips and tears in the flesh of his legs that he was receiving from the Ancient’s frantic struggle.
You had to get dirty to kill one of these bastards. And he was going to enjoy every perverse minute of it. Letting himself free. His true self. Angel’s roar nearly matched that of the beast as he drove the sword through bone. A loud cracking sound echoing loudly off the wall of the main house. The monster fell back and Angel moved above it, driving the sword in until it hit the brick of the patio.
He heard Cordelia’s sigh of relief. He wished she had passed out or something. But women didn’t really do that anymore. He hated that she had to see the gruesome kill, the fact that it had only just begun.. Piercing the skull was just the start. He didn’t look at her as she called his name. Pulling the sword from the monster’s head made a horrible, wet sucking sound and he sensed her flinch.
Raising the sword above his head again, he sliced down, severing the head of the Ancient and kicking it away from the body. It wouldn’t be very fun if it came to and reached for the thing. Next he went to the chest. This was the bad part. The part he didn’t want her to see. Angel wished he could convince her to go inside the house, but there was no time to argue with her. And she would argue. He knew that.
He took the sword in his hands as if it were a small knife and knelt by the Ancient’s large body. Shoving it in the chest cavity, he broke through ribs and tore through muscle, working his way around with a stabbing and sawing motion. The heart was deep, so hunks of flesh had to be removed to get at it. He dug with the blade, with his hands, the dark blood burning his skin. He was running out of time. They didn’t stay unconscious for long. He’d learned that long ago. The hard way.
He grabbed the insides of the demon’s chest with both hands, pulling the chest apart, ribs splintering as he spotted his prize. The pulsing, enormous organ. He pulled it free, snapping arteries and tissue as he yanked the heart clear of the body. It beat in his hand, a gush of flaming blood burning his palm, running down his arm. Angel tossed it to the ground near the head, walked over, and stabbed it through. The Ancient’s eyes shot open as the heart beat out it’s last pulse, a roar dying on the demon’s lips.
There. It was done. Cordelia was safe. For now.
He looked across the patio. Time to face the horror. God, he was a mess. Coated in blood and gore. He could see her, but couldn’t quite make out her face. He blinked his eyes once….twice. She was wavering now, her form going in and out of focus. Oh, God. Had the Ancient done something to her?
Was she disappearing? No. That wasn’t it. He took a step forward, he had to make sure she was alright. But his feet felt like lead. She said something but it garbled in his mind. He was sinking, falling, drowning. “Cordelia,” he whispered before falling next to the mutilated body, the blood loss too much to take, his body nearly drained.
“Angel!” Cordelia rushed to him. He was coved in the Ancient’s blood and almost the same amount of his own. “Angel, wake up,” she ordered as she grabbed his face in her hands. “Please wake up. Open your eyes.”
His eyes cracked open but he didn’t seem to really see her., an inarticulate rush of words spilling weakly through his lips. It was enough. She held on to him and said a little prayer. He was still with her. He had risked himself to save her, protect her. Had almost destroyed himself. But he was still with her.
Angel’s mind stirred. His thoughts were foggy, muddled. His senses coming online slowly, one after another. He smelled the ocean, fresh and clean. Cordelia. His eyes seemed too heavy to open so he didn’t even try. Maybe he was dreaming. Maybe he was dead. He sure liked the sensations running through his mind – or spirit if that was the case.
Cordelia’s scent was all around him, wrapping him up in a cocoon of warmth. And the taste of that blood she had heated for him was in his mouth. And something…..else. God, it was even better than before. She’d obviously perfected her skills at preparing the stuff for him because it was wonderful.
Delicious. Hot and spicy, coating his insides and feeding more than just his body, his soul. She was unbelievable. He had worried that drinking blood would disgust her and she had actually heated the stuff for him. Worried that it not only should give him sustenance but pleasure as well. He smiled, at least he thought he was smiling. Well, whatever she had done to the stuff this time was…..mouth-watering.
And that kiss. That sweet kiss that had defined everything for him. All that he had been missing. He envisioned himself kissing her, touching her. They were against the wall in her room, both frantic for a closer position. They were burning. On fire. But real flames began to leap at them, burn them. Cordelia screamed and panic shot through him. He was looking at the pool house now, flames licking their way up his neck. She was out there, trapped with an Ancient. “No!” his voice croaked out, as his eyes shot open.
Cordelia was laying next to him on the bed, fully clothed in her little short set and fast asleep. The leftover bottle, the one he had yet to drink from the night before stood empty on her night stand, the thermo mug next to it. He looked down his body to where Cordelia’s gentle hand was resting on top of one of many bandages on his bare chest.
He looked around the room. It was daylight. He could sense it even though the room seemed as dark as the night before. He glanced to the windows on the French doors which were thickly covered in layers of foil, a duct taped seal ringing the silver wrap. Not a speck of sunlight showed through.
He moved her hand over slightly, not wanting to lose the contact but needing to check his wounds. He moved slightly and lifted the bandage on his side. The wound was no more than what looked to be a pink scar now. In another day or two it would be as if it had never been there. He had never doctored his wounds before. He healed so fast it seemed silly. Why should he care?
But she did.
He must have been able enough to help her as she had gotten him inside before light. That could be the only explanation of how she had managed. His boots and shirt were off and he spied a laundry basket on the floor near the armoire, full of blood-soaked towels and wash cloths. Some of the blood his, some the Ancient’s. He looked at the windows again. And then down to the sleeping woman beside him.
She had taken care of him. She had seen him kill the Ancient. Seen him dive into its chest with his bare hands and pull out its heart. He wondered how long she had stood there after the deed had been done before coming to his aid.
Not long. He was sure of that.
She was exhausted. He could tell by her breathing. She lay with the side of her face turned toward him on the pillow, one arm at her side, one tucked firmly under the pillow. He wanted to kiss her. To wake her up and finish what had started between them the night before. Instead he pulled the cover that was folded at the end of the bed over her and brushed a lock of hair from her cheek.
Her sleepy eyes blinked a little then closed, “You’re awake,” came her soft, drowsy voice.
“Yeah,” he brushed her cheek again just because he had to.
“Good.” Her eyes remained firmly closed.
“Do you need something?” he only asked because he selfishly wanted to keep her awake, hear her voice again.
“Sleep,” she answered and snuggled deeper into the pillow.
Angel watched her as her breathing became deep again.
A decision came to him then. He would not seek the cure for his curse until he found hers. He was the only one who could protect her from the Ancients. And he wasn’t leaving her to deal with them alone. And if that meant he would never be cured. So be it. He thought of the body that must still be on the patio. Christ, he didn’t want her to wake up to that. The cleanup wouldn’t be too hard.
A couple of days and the thing would be ash. Ancients decomposed quickly. But it would take about two days before it could be swept away. Right now he was sure the thing was still all guts and gore. He would just have to keep her from looking out until he could do the job of cleaning up.
The logistics of him staying with her until he could cure her weren’t really that difficult. No one else could see him and she had access to her room from an outside door. Anything he needed could be brought in without her parents ever knowing. Not that they were going to be a problem. It seemed as if they had already pushed her out of the nest. At least as far as they could before she graduated.
Sitting up, he stretched. He felt…..good. Not very sore at all but there was something…..different. He began pulling off the bandages, noticing that she hadn’t nursed the ones on his legs, his tattered pants still in place. Getting up, he tossed the crumbled bandages in the trash can next to the computer desk and noticed that there was a message, opened and displayed on the machine.
Giles. He must have answered their email. And it appeared that Cordelia had read it. Sitting down, he read the reply:
From what I gather from your email, you are trying to convince me that Angel has been affected by the banishment of the Ancients. I find this highly unlikely. Are you sure you didn’t visit the school’s haunted house? I know they were planning on a theme along those lines? Of course their spells and understanding of the true order of the Latin words were far off the original one found in the Greek version of the legend…..
“Guess they were close enough,” Angel mumbled to himself. He didn’t like the way Giles was wording his reply. As if he didn’t believe Cordelia. He was treating her the same way Buffy and Xander had, just with a little more maturity. Had she really fooled them all so much? Did they really think that she was nothing more than a spoiled rich girl who would act on any impulse for attention?
…Of course, I can’t give you a direct reference because I seem to be missing some key literature on the subject. I won’t ask how you obtained these or if you even have them, but I do expect them back Monday morning. That you saw him is every indication, however, that he is not suffering from this curse. In the legend, only the Sentinels could see the ones trapped on the border. When the Ancients would try and slip in and out of villages by using the ability to disappear and reappear behind the veil that hides this demon Hell, the Sentinels were born. A balance of sorts. Keeping the balance in check and giving the humans a defense against them, a warning of sorts.
The humans then hired the Latro, mercenaries strong enough to kill the Ancients as long as the battle was about seven to one. But the demons were finally cursed to the border permanently. As for the Sentinels, their bloodline was severed. I made a notation in one of my books. One that seems to be among the missing. The Sentinels could still see them of course, never having lost their ability to see both sides. It seems that because the Sentinels could still see them, they could still be harmed by them. Eventually, one was killed by an Ancient. One of the Ancients drank of the Sentinel’s blood. No one is sure as to why or how the demon knew to do this, but the Sentinel blood released the demon from the curse. Allowing it to once again walk the two worlds.
The humans that found out about the Sentinel blood and its power feared what would happen if more were used. So they hired the Latro. This time, to kill the Sentinels. The very people who had helped protect the world from the demons. The Latro wasted no time wiping the Sentinel line from the face of the Earth. This is all very old and a legend at that. But if you have come into contact with Angel and he is trying to convince you to help him in any way, stay away from him. Let me know immediately if he contacts you again. I know you have been through a lot, Cordelia. And trauma can make us act out in ways that are destructive. Let me help you deal with things.
He thought she was delusional. Or simply making it up. But what about his answer? Hadn’t his message gone through? He apparently had either screwed it up or Giles had refused to answer it, thinking it was Cordelia again, or maybe because he knew it was Angel.
Angel moved the little “rat” thing Cordelia had shown him how to use that moved the little arrow on the screen and clicked the “x” on the message, wanting it gone. Behind that message was another. The time on it was just a few minutes after the first. He must have answered the first one before reading Angel’s. It was very short.
Cordelia must be mistaken in what she is seeing. Regardless of what is affecting you, it would be impossible for her to see an Ancient. Are you sure she is not seeing yet another one of our many species here in Sunnydale? It was Halloween. Possibly a costume? Whatever her condition or delusion, I will help the girl. But, you must stay away from her. Is that clear? I have spoken to her parents this morning, prompting them to call her. She has assured them she is alone now. I don‘t know how long you were with her, or even if you will get this message in anyway. But I will deliver it to you again soon. That is a promise. But Cordelia is safe and alone in her home now. And it will stay that way. Do we understand one another? You have done enough damage to the women in this town. Do not add another one to your list by convincing her she is part of some long dead bloodline. The girl has been through enough. Even if it were true, it would be hopeless. There would be no cure. The Sentinel line was not a curse, but a blood right. Their power inherent. Leave the girl alone, Angel. For Gods sake let her be.
There was no sign off. He couldn’t blame Giles for his hatred. The women he referred to had been and were the closest ones in his life: Mrs. Calendar, Buffy. But the email was enough info to let him know that his situation was hopeless. For as he suspected when he read some of the text the night before, leaving out a few bits as not to scare Cordelia, Cordelia Chase was a descendant of the bloodline. That had to be the answer.
She was a Sentinel. The bloodline destined to warn the world about the Ancients. But now no one believed in Ancients. Humans tended to forget what they couldn’t see. Living in the moment of their short lives, forgetting their past. And that trapped them both. Because if Giles was correct, the cure to leave the dimension was the blood of a Sentinel. Cordelia’s blood. She was what the Ancients were searching for. And she was not only their key out, but his.
He glanced back at her on the bed. It would never happen. They would never get her. And he would never leave her.
Turning back around, he sat his elbows on the small desk, placing his face in his hands. She had read the messages. They had been opened on the screen. That meant she knew he had betrayed her secret and what she was and why. What would he do know? He wouldn’t leave her. But would she let him stay? She would have no choice. She had taken care of him and now he would do the same for her. She had been so selfless. Not running and cowering but waiting and watching the battle, hoping he would be alright. Taking him in and covering windows and wounds. Washing him, staying with him.
A horrible thought began to take root in his mind.
She had read the emails.
He turned in the swivel chair very slowly, and looked at her. He wouldn’t go to her, not at first. Surely she hadn’t…….but he remembered his thoughts as he had regained consciousness. He would test it first and find out that she hadn’t risked herself yet again. Rising, he went to her restroom, the window there was also covered as the ones in her room. Angel stood away from the window, not allowing the sun to touch him as he peeled back the tape and foil from one corner.
The patio was clear. No sign of the Ancient or the battle.
But it wasn’t because it wasn’t there. And that knowledge knotted in his gut.
He took purposeful, hard strides back to the room and lifted Cordelia in his arms on the bed. The arm under the pillow slipped out and hung at her side. There was a bandage dotted with blood on the side of her forearm.
The taste. The mouth-watering taste had been hers. The hot, spicy delicious taste that he had savored as he woke had been her sacrifice for his cure.
“Damn it! Cordelia!”
She roused and smiled at him a little. “Good morning,” she tried to stretch in his arms but his hold gave her little leave.
Sitting her back down against the headboard, he lifted her bandaged arm. “What did you do?” anger seethed from him.
He was mad? She’d saved his sorry butt and he was mad! She’d been thrilled to know that she was his answer, that the cure was there all along to give him. Of course, she had only cut herself enough to draw a little, hoping that it would be enough but prepared to go further when he woke if he needed it.
“Did it work?” she asked
“Did it work? Did it work! Hell yes it worked! I can’t see the damn Ancient’s bloody carcass that I know is out there on that patio,” he stabbed his finger in the air toward the French doors.. “Now what are we going to do! Christ, Cordelia! How am I going to protect you now?” he sank down and sat on the bed, pushing his hands through his hair.
“You’re not responsible for me, Angel,” although she couldn’t stamp down the feeling that crept its way into her heart at his words. “I’ve been dealing with this all my life. Last night was just….”
“Too damn close,” he looked up at her. She was sitting with her back against the headboard, her long hair framing her face in loose, messy waves, her eyes shining, her arm bandaged. She hadn’t given him much, thank God. He would know if there was more of her in his system.
He leaned over to her then and kissed her hard. Kissed her out of fear and anger. Kissed her because he couldn’t save her, kissed her because she had saved him, kissed her because he had to, because he loved her.
He loved her.
“Why?” he whispered against her lips.
She pulled away slightly, her shoulders still locked in his big hands, her breathing heavy. “Because you needed it, because it saved you.”
He shook her little, “And what about you?”
“You read the email,” she looked at him, her eyes full of emotion. “I’m not cursed. So there’s no cure.” She stared at him. Really looked at Angel. His face was so torn, panic in his eyes. For her. He was cured. He could leave. But he was there, worrying over her. Over something that just was. That couldn’t be changed.
This time it was Cordelia who leaned in and kissed him. Kissed him with everything she was, because he had stayed, because he cared Because she knew he wanted her, not because she was a cheerleader or looked hot in a sexy costume. But because of who she was, what she was.
Angel growled deep in his throat and….oh God, she loved that sound.
Turning her slightly by her shoulders, he laid her back across the narrow part of the bed, hovering above her, kissing her back fiercely. Cordelia pulled at his shoulders, urging him down, needing him closer. He lowered himself down onto her, pressing her into the soft mattress. She sighed and snaked her arms around his neck, nipped at his lips before diving back into the kiss.
Jesus, this was so much better than the wall. He could feel every part of her through the little clothing that separated them – his ruined pants, her soft short set. And, oh shit, the way her breasts pushed against the weight of his chest made him want to roar.
Unable to help himself, he began to move against her: a slow, subtle rhythm, simulating the vision taking form in his head of what he wanted to do to her, of what he would do to her.
Her legs slid open slightly, just enough to let him settle himself exactly where he wanted to be.
He moved against her again, pushing himself against the middle seam of her shorts. Cordelia made a small whimpering sound in the back of her throat. Her hands moved to his shoulders again, her nails digging into him, sending a little sting through his entire body.
He lifted his head and buried it into the side of her neck, kissing and licking his way over and around every sensitive spot. “Closer,” he whispered through the burning haze in his head. “I need to get closer.” He wanted more than close though, he wanted in. In her body, her mind, her heart.
He ran his hand down her side, finding the hem of her t-shirt and pushing it up a few inches, needing to get at skin. She was so soft and warm. But when his hand found the pucker of her healing wound a few inches up, he ran his fingers over it gently and raised his head. His face close to hers, he asked, “Does it hurt?” His voice was rough with desire, determined not to hurt her but finding it hard to go slowly.
“No,” came her nearly breathless response. God, he was crushing her. She could feel every part of him pressed against her, pushing her so deep into the bed she could hardly breathe. And she loved it.
Angel raised up and away from her, pulling the shirt up enough to see the wound. The stitches were still partly visible but dissolving and he ran his fingertips over the injury again, making her flinch. “I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?” he asked, worrying about the weight and pressure he’d been putting on it.
Pushing herself up on her elbows, she answered, “No,” and glanced away. Her hand moved down to cover the area. God, she’d forgotten about the awful looking thing.
She wasn’t hurt, she was embarrassed, and Angel hated it. “Don’t,” he pushed her hand away gently and positioned himself further down the bed, resting his chest between her legs. He pushed her shirt up more and kissed her wound. Whispered against her skin as she looked down at him, “It’s healing well. It looks much better than it did in the hospital.”
A sensation shot through her. A chill or maybe a shiver. “You were there? You came to the hospital?” she whispered so softly that he imagined only his ears could have heard the question.
He looked up at her, his face just above her exposed skin and nodded, kissed it again, and then ran his hand down the curve at her side above her hip. The curve he had intended to explore the night before. He kissed there too, losing himself in the taste and warmth of her skin.
Cordelia laid back and closed her eyes. She would stop him in a minute, but, God help her not yet. She wanted to enjoy the feel of his touch a little longer. The way it made her body burn and shiver at the same time. But she was risking it by letting him continue. Had she saved him simply to let one curse take the place of another?
“Angel,” she breathed heavily. “Angel, stop,” she leaned back up and pushed his head away with shaky hands.
He looked up at her, then crawled up her body, keeping her caged under his, pressing her back down on the mattress. He leaned down and kissed her. Hard. Desperately. And though she tried to resist at first, soon she was as lost as he had been, matching his passion on equal ground. As hard as it was, he pulled away. “Why, Cordelia? I know you want me. Maybe even as much as I want you.” He ground his hips between her legs and watched her eyes flutter closed for a moment. He was a bastard. He knew it. But damn it! Why was she rejecting him?
When she regained herself, she placed her hands on his shoulders. This time not grabbing them out of passion, but pushing at them slightly. That goddamn little wall again. Pushing him away. Separating them.
“Do you want to turn into Angelus?” she asked incredulously. “Because I sure as hell don’t want you to.”
Angel stared at her for a moment, his eyes roaming her face before looking back into her eyes. He was such an idiot. He’d been so concerned about her, the Ancients, being stuck on the border of hell, then not being stuck, that Angelus had been the furthest thing from his mind.
Okay, he was smiling. The jerk was smiling and that just pissed her off. “Ugh!” she pushed against him harder this time with her slender hands, her face full of anger. “Just get off me.”
He kept smiling like an asshole. He couldn’t help himself. It wasn’t him she had rejected last night. Not him now. She was afraid of Angelus.
He took her hands and pressed them down on the mattress above her head. “Cordelia,” he said her name, not even registering her small struggle, his lips an inch from hers. “Angelus is gone.”
She quit struggling. Froze. “What?” she breathed.
“He’s gone, Cordelia. I lost him. Or he lost me. It seems if you’re evil enough, once in hell you stay there. So that part of me did.”
“Oh,” she said in a small voice, suddenly more aware than ever of his body. His hands pinning hers, his chest crushing her breast, the rock hard bulge in his pants snuggled firmly between the vee of her legs. And Angelus was long gone. Suffering in hell as he should. Angel was free. Truly free.
Angel almost let out a chuckle when she strained up and took his mouth fiercely, but it died quickly on a groan. She was on fire again. Just as she had been the night before. And she was burning him up from the inside out.
He let go of her hands because he had to touch her again. And as soon as they were free, her fingers smoothed their way up his bare, broad chest. She took his face in her hands as she kissed him wildly.
God, he loved her like this. Hot. Passionate. Wanting him as much as he wanted her. No fear. He wanted her chest as bare as his, but he couldn’t stand breaking contact long enough to get the fucking t-shirt off of her. He lifted his hands between them as they kissed and grabbed onto the neckline of her shirt.
Somewhere in the distance, beyond the blazing heat of their kiss, Cordelia heard a ripping sound and felt cool air against her chest. And when Angel broke their kiss and raised up, she found the source of the sound. Her shirt was no more than a few rags laying on the mattress at her sides.
She looked at him but he was eyeing her lace bra now and she knew it would be a casualty as well. He reached down, seemingly hypnotized by the sight of the creamy cloth, or maybe by what was held beneath it. His hands came down slowly, stroked her breasts through the material. He ran his thumb over one tight nipple and then with both hands he tugged. A snap was the only sound made by the small scrap that held the thing together between her cleavage.
He didn’t look up at her. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her tight little nipples growing hard in the cool air. He shouldn’t have ruined her clothes, but he was getting impatient, desperate beyond the point of a slow, teasing strip to arouse her. He would arouse her in other ways, her promised himself. “I’m sorry,” he was still staring down, “I’ll buy you another one.”
That comment sent a whole new spike of desire through him. The thought of going into a store and picking out something strappy and sexy for her to wear only for him elicited a growl from somewhere deep inside his chest.
Oh, God. That growl again. It turned her on almost as much as his hands did. He was so wild. Free. She would have thought the fact of someone literally ripping her clothes off would have terrified her. But it didn’t. Because it was Angel. And she loved him like this. Out of control for her. Because of her.
Finally, he looked up at her. Kept eye contact with her as he slowly lowered his head, his pink tongue coming out, giving one beaded nipple a soft lick.. She arched back, her body a long, lean stretch of curves and hollows offered up to him. He licked again, a third time, then took her breast in his mouth.
Cordelia’s hands found his thick locks of hair, tangled in them as hi head gently moved. She felt a slight scrape across her nipple. Oh….God….his teeth. Teasing her. Her head cocked back, a soft moan escaping her lips.
“God, I love that sound,” Angel whispered, his breath cool against her breast. “Let me hear it again, Cordelia,” he went to the other breast, giving it equal attention.
Cordelia couldn’t help herself. The sounds escaping her now, although soft, seemed loud in the quiet room. But she didn’t care. She was lost. Trapped in the moment with Angel. She felt his mouth leave her breast and begin its way down her rib cage, her stomach, stopping for a moment at the curve of her waist, stroking it with his hand, kissing it softly.
His body reached the edge of the mattress, he let his bare feet slip to the carpet, then knelt at his knees on the floor. Cordelia’s mouth was slightly parted, her face flushed as she raised herself up on her elbows. She opened her eyes and looked down at him.
God, she was sexy. He’d been ready to peel off his ruined pants and bury himself deep inside her. But from the way he was feeling, things would be over too quickly if he moved that fast. He knew he couldn’t hold out long. Not this first time with her. His massive hard-on was already weeping for him to just fill her up already.
And he wanted to be inside her, needed it.
Positioned as he was, the smell of her arousal, that unique and spicy fragrance, hit him hard. He licked his lips. There were other ways to get inside.
Angel ran his hands against the elastic waist of her shorts. Gently, he hooked his fingers through the bands of both the shorts and the small silky fabric of her panties. He pulled them down slowly, enjoying the shivers he felt vibrating from her skin as his hands lightly brushed against her smooth long legs.
He tossed the garments aside and rose. Cordelia was still watching him, her chest rising and falling quickly. Crawling back up on the bed, he lay slightly to the side of her, his weight half on and half off her body. A perfect view of her face and the entire length of her body if he chose.
Cordelia laid her head back as Angel’s mouth descended on hers. His hand crept up to her face, gently stoking her jaw, her chin. His fingertips ran down the sweeping curve of her neck, played with one tight nipple, then drew down further to her flat stomach.
He pulled away from the kiss slowly and looked at her, loving the way her hazel eyes were dancing, sparkling. He slid his hand between her soft thighs. His finger was a whispered stoke as it lightly brushed against her. She gasped, her eyes closing, her head arching back at the light touch. He brushed against her again, this time with more pressure.
“Oh, God,” she whispered. “Angel,” his name came out on a breathy sigh.
Something was happening. She’d read enough steamy romance novels to know the delicious details about sex, but after her first time she wondered, frustratingly, just what an orgasm would actually feel like. She’d tried to explore the notion herself, but had never been able to go through with the…….independent version of sex. But….oh…..she was beginning to think that she was about to find out just how mind blowing one could be.
Angel loved the look of her while he was touching her. He stared at her, felt the warmth of her deep breaths against his face. Slowly, he slip one finger inside of her, brought it out and slid it in again, picking up a rhythm as he repeated the action over and over, his thumb brushing against the perfect spot with each small thrust and repeat.
Her hips rocked against his hand and he felt the twitch of his cock, still trapped within the confines of his pants, as if the thing was reaching out, jealous, eager. He looked down the length of her body, down to where his hand disappeared between her legs, watched as her hips rolled against him. Christ. He had to taste her. Removing his hand, he wrapped his arms around her, kissed her as he situated them more comfortably on the bed, laying her down so that her head rested on the pillows at the headboard.
He hovered over her, parted her legs again with his. His big arms caged her as he savored the kiss for a moment, then broke away, shifting farther down the mattress. He kissed the curve of her waist, her hip, making his way down inch by inch. He brushed his hand down the inside of her thigh. Then, he lowered his head, opened his mouth, and licked her.
“Oh, God,” he heard her gasp and a self-satisfying smile spread across his face. He traced up her pick flesh again with his tongue and her back arched up off the bed. He kept going, getting deeper and deeper inside until he got a true taste of her. He closed his eyes as he swallowed, groaned as the taste of her slid down his throat. Better than her blood. Placing his hands on her thighs, he opened her more, needed to get deeper. He brushed his mouth from side to side, nuzzled into her. Felt her grab the sheets and arch off the bed. God, she was going to come any second now.
He growled, clamped onto her thighs and split her wide, diving in deep with his tongue, pulled out, then flicked over her most sensitive spot, before diving back in. Finding a rhythm that drove her over the edge.
Cordelia shattered, coming violently. Her body pulsing with liquid sparks of pleasure. She heard a scream before realizing it was her own voice. She arched, bucked but Angel held her down, dragging out the orgasm, his mouth blissfully ruthless.
When he felt the last shudder run through her body, Angel raised his head, prowled back up the length of her body, settling his weight on top of her.
She looked up at him, her eyes glassy, a small smile on her face.
He slid into her slowly. And although she was more than ready for him, stretched to accommodate him, she was so tight he was suddenly afraid he might hurt her. “Are you alright?” God, was that his voice? It sounded ragged, strained.
“More than alright,” she looked at him, stroked his strong jaw. He was so big, but the pressure of him pushing his way inside of her was exquisite.
His muscles tensed, bunched at his shoulders, as he pushed himself in to the hilt.
They both gasped with pleasure.
He drew his hips back, pushed in again, His hips began to rolled into her, stilled, then rolled again. She felt his hand go between their bodies. He stroked her, his hips still moving in that sweet relentless rhythm.
Cordelia’s head kicked back. It only took a moment before heat gathered inside of her, exploded.
The contractions of her orgasm gripped him, stroked him. “Oh…..God, Cordelia” he whispered. His head dropped down beside hers as more of his weight pressed down on her. His hips pulled back quicker, his thrusts harder. She opened her legs wider as his pumping rhythm became wilder, more urgent. He whispered something unintelligible against her ear and she wrapped her arms around him, feeling the muscles in his back tightening. He kicked his head back and roared as the orgasm took him over. Spasms shook his whole body, his large frame tensing as he pushed himself in hard.
She felt him pulsing inside of her, aftershocks quaking through him.
He collapsed on top of her, his full weight making it almost impossible for her to breath.
Realizing he was crushing her, he rolled to his side, taking her with him. He kept himself in, not wanting to leave, and wrapped his arms around her.
Angel held on to her, quiet, desperate to keep her cocooned in his arms. Away from danger.