Title: Mistletoe Mansion
Category: Time Travel-ish
Summary: Written for AO’s Christmas Ficathon. Items used from ‘the List’ detailed at the end of the fic.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: Enjoy and Happy Christmas everyone!
Thanks/Dedication: Thanks to Deb for the gorgeous ficpic.
December 23rd 2001, Hyperion Hotel, Los Angeles…
The radio was playing a merry mix of traditional Christmas carols and contemporary yuletide songs that morning. Humming ‘Frosty the Snowman’ rather tunelessly under his breath, Angel spooned several scoops of ground coffee into the filter and closed the lid. Then, after flipping the switch to set the percolator going, he turned back to the eggs that he was scrambling over the gas hob.
As he stirred the contents of the pan, his attention was diverted by the steady beat of Cordelia’s heart from two floors above, and his lips curled up into a soft smile. Good, she was still asleep – breakfast in bed would be a pleasant surprise for her then. Thinking of his seer caused a warm feeling of contentment to run through him. Closing his eyes, he recalled the rollercoaster ride of the past week or so…
Ten days earlier…
“Angel, could I have a word please?”
Angel looked enquiringly up from his book at the sound of Wesley’s voice. His friend was – rather disconcertedly – beaming from ear to ear, while Fred was literally jumping up and down in anticipation next to him.
“Yes?” he asked warily.
“We’ve got a Christmas present for you!” Fred near enough squealed, clapping her hands together in over-excited enthusiasm.
“Christmas is still over a week away,” the vampire pointed out.
“We figured we’d give you this present early,” Wesley explained, his blue eyes twinkling merrily from behind his wire-rimmed glasses.
“Here,” he said, holding out a small scroll, tied with a piece of silver-foil ribbon. “Merry Christmas.”
Getting to his feet, Angel took the offered item from the ex-watcher’s outstretched hand. He carefully removed the decorative festive bow, and then slowly unravelled his present, frowning when he saw the Romanian verse written on the paper’s cream surface.
He looked up at Wesley. “What is this?”
“Just read,” his friend advised.
Angel’s eyes dropped to the parchment and a peculiar thrill went through him as he realised that he recognised the words. “This is my curse,” he said, still not getting it.
“Not quite,” Wesley replied. “There’s an extra cadenza,” he said, pointing it out with his finger.
It slowly dawned on the vampire what that meant, and he was dumbstruck with awe. It wasn’t possible – surely? “How did you…? Where did you…?” he stuttered in disbelief.
“I’ve been working on it for years, only every lead I got led to a dead-end. And then, quite unexpectedly, Fred and I stumbled across something whilst we were researching that Klumclar demon a month ago. I couldn’t believe it, I’d never even thought of looking in… Well anyway – long story short – we have to perform several magical incantations first, but all you really have to do is repeat those words twice over, and it will seal your soul – for good.”
“Are you sure?”
“You think I’d tell you if I wasn’t one hundred percent certain?”
“No, I just… God Wes, I don’t know how I can ever thank you.”
“No need, what are friends for? Are you ready then?”
“Of course. Fred and I gathered together all the supplies we needed yesterday. We thought you’d want to get it over with. We can get the whole thing done in under an hour.”
Two hours later, Angel stood by the window in his room, looking out at the night-sky, still not quite believing this day was for real. He was fully expecting to wake up at any moment, but as more time passed, it gradually started to sink in that this was no dream; this was wondrous reality. His soul really was bound for eternity; he could feel the enduring permanence of it inside his chest.
Angel turned at the sound of the soft greeting. Cordelia stood framed in the dimly lit doorway, her face partially concealed in shadow.
“Hey you!” he murmured in return. “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Well, you know me – busy, busy, all that Christmas shopping to do.”
“Yes, congratulations permanent soul guy.”
Angel frowned; he could feel the miserable tension radiating off her from here. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing!” Cordelia replied, a little too quickly.
“I thought you’d be happy for me.”
The seer finally stepped into the room, her shoulders hunched and her arms folded protectively across her chest. Angel’s stomach lurched at the sight of her pale face and tear-swollen eyes. He was beside her in a second, worriedly cupping her cheek in his palm. “What’s wrong?”
Cordelia bit her lip and looked down at her feet. “I am happy for you, Angel. It’s just… I don’t want to lose you, you know? You’ll be going back to Sunnydale to be with Buffy and we’ll hardly ever see each other. I know it’s not that far away and we can visit, but it’s not the same. And it’s not like I’d be that welcome there either. Sure, Buffy’ll probably tolerate my presence if you ask her to, but it’s never gonna be like it’s been here in LA.”
“But ignore me; I’m just being selfish. You go and be happy – you deserve it more than anyone else I know. I’m not going to let you feel guilty for wanting to be with the woman you love. I… humph!”
Frustrated at not being able to get a word in edgewise, Angel decided to use actions rather than words to get his point across. Buffy’s death and subsequent resurrection had helped him to sort several things out in his mind. He had grieved, but he had also survived and found a way to move on with his life. That, together with their awkward reunion in a small roadside café halfway between Sunnydale and LA, had closed the book on his and the slayer’s relationship for good.
Released from the suffocating shackles of his doomed love affair, he had started to view Cordelia in an entirely different light. She had always been his friend, but he had slowly come to realise that she had the potential to be so much more than that. The obstacles standing in their way seemed almost impossible to surmount however, and so he had not allowed himself to admit the depth of his growing feelings for her.
Now though, with his soul secure, he was free to pursue his heart’s desire and he didn’t intend to waste the opportunity. So, cupping Cordelia’s face in his hands, he lowered his mouth to hers, kissing her with all the bottled-up sentiment that he had previously suppressed…
Back to the present…
Startled out of his reverie, Angel jumped as the toaster popped, ejecting the four slices of bread that he had put in a few minutes ago. He left the toast where it was to keep it warm, and continued to stir the eggs in the pan, his mind lingering over the memory of the long, passion-filled night that had followed his and Cordelia’s first kiss.
It was unfortunately an experience, which was yet to be repeated, although not for lack of interest on either of their parts. It was mainly that circumstances had not allowed it. Ever since that momentous day, vision quests had been interspersed with walk-in clients in a seemingly never-ending cycle. Most nights even he, who didn’t need much sleep, had fallen into bed exhausted. Dropping off the moment his head hit the pillow, making love had been the last thing on his mind.
Then, on the times when he had been a little more awake, he hadn’t wanted to pester Cordelia because she always looked so dead on her feet, her eyelids drooping way before they made it to the bedroom. Last night though, frustration had gotten the better of him and he had pulled her underneath him, not giving her the chance to object. The seer had responded readily enough, but this breakfast in bed was his self-imposed penance for his distinctly cave-mannish behaviour towards her.
It had hardly been his greatest performance either – the whole encounter had been the very definition of the word ‘quickie,’ lasting five, maybe ten, minutes at the most. He hadn’t even bothered to take her nightshirt off for god’s sake. After some very brief foreplay, he had stripped her off her panties, shoved his boxers down over his hips, and pushed up into her warm wetness with a low groan. Afterwards, he had this awful memory of rolling over and falling asleep within minutes. In his guilty contrition, he had forgotten that she had happily snuggled into his side and slipped into peaceful slumber moments before him.
Angel whirled round at the bright, cheery greeting. “No,” he said emphatically. “I don’t care of the world is about to end, we’re taking the day off.”
Fred giggled. “Relax – the phone hasn’t rung all morning. You’re making Cordy breakfast in bed, huh?”
“I figured she deserved it,” the vampire replied, turning back to the counter. “Sorry about being so cranky – it’s just that we’ve rarely had a minute alone since we got together, and it’s really starting to get to me. I swear the PTB’s are playing some kind of sick joke on us. I mean – who ever heard of a pre-Christmas rush at a supernatural detective agency?”
“They wouldn’t do that… would they?”
“I wouldn’t put it past them. In a way, I wish I still lived in Sunnydale – the phone hardly ever rang at the mansion and I often went for days without a visitor.”
“And I bet you were as lonely as hell sometimes too.”
Angel smiled; he couldn’t deny that. “There was that I suppose,” he agreed as he piled the toast and eggs onto a plate. “Well, I guess I should take this lot upstairs before it gets cold.”
“Wait – it’s missing something,” Fred interrupted, deliberately blocking his path.
The vampire looked at her questionably and she beamed at him, producing a sprig of mistletoe from behind her back with a dramatic flourish. Stepping forward, she placed it on the tray that held the eggs and toast, a small glass of orange juice, and a steaming mug of coffee.
“There, that’s better,” she declared, nodding in satisfaction.
Angel laughed. “Shouldn’t it be a red rose?”
“Well, that’s traditional, I guess, but I reckon mistletoe is *so* much better, cus you get a smoochy kiss to go with it. Don’t forget to make a wish by the way.”
“My momma says you should always make a wish when you kiss your sweetheart under mistletoe.”
“If you say so,” Angel replied as he stepped around her and made for the kitchen doorway, tray of food in hand.
“Merry Christmas Angel!”
“It’s not for another two days, Fred,” he pedantically reminded her as he slipped from the room.
If the vampire had glanced back at the pretty brunette as he replied, he would have seen the self-satisfied grin painted across her face. He didn’t though and simply went on his way, utterly oblivious to the events about to befall him…
Cordelia Chase slowly emerged into wakefulness; at first a little disorientated to find that she was not in her own bed. When the hazy fog of sleep lifted and she recognised her surroundings though, a slow, contented smile spread across her face. Angel’s room – Angel’s bed – she was still getting used to the fact that it was *her,* and not Buffy ‘I’m so perfect’ Summers, who he wanted there. The wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee reached her nostrils, and she turned over onto her back to see her boyfriend standing in the doorway with a tray of food in his hands.
“Hey salty goodness!” she said teasingly, pushing herself up into a seated position with the heel of her hands. “Mmm, breakfast in bed. I reckon I could get used to that.”
“It’s – umm – to make up for last night,” the vampire explained, crossing the room and placing the tray on the bedside cabinet.
“Last night?” Cordelia looked at him blankly, her expression puzzled.
“I was hardly a gentleman,” he reminded her as he perched on the edge of the mattress next to her.
“I was kind of…”
“Desperate?” Cordelia supplied playfully, an amused twinkle dancing merrily in her hazel eyes.
“Yeah,” Angel said guiltily, his eyes downcast.
The seer giggled, a warm tinkling sound like the flow of mountain stream over smooth glacier rocks. “I kind of liked it actually.”
“You did?” the vampire looked up in surprise.
“Well, *yeah.* Couldn’t you tell?”
“I… it wasn’t like the first night.”
“Well, no – but it was still fun. And I really don’t think I was up to a repeat of our first – err – three times last night anyway.”
Angel noticeably relaxed, relieved that he had been worrying over nothing. Reaching out an arm, he plucked the sprig of mistletoe from the breakfast tray and held it up suggestively. Not needing to be asked twice, Cordelia shuffled forward and enthusiastically wound her arms around his neck, gazing up at him with expectant eyes.
Don’t forget to make a wish.
Fred’s earlier words rang inside the vampire’s head as he leaned down to kiss his girlfriend’s upturned lips. So, while the seer willingly opened her mouth under his probing tongue, he did…
Whoa! This is some kiss! Cordelia thought as her head suddenly started to spin.
The dizziness got rapidly worse though, and she decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good thing after all. She was just starting to panic, when everything suddenly went black…
The vampire’s name died on Cordelia’s lips as she shot upright. Opening her eyes, she took in the pristine white bedspread, the fluffy pink heart-shaped pillows, and the poster of Keanu Reeves on the wall. She looked down at her expensive, designer pyjamas, and then reached up to remove the scrunchie that held her long, dark hair in place at the nape of her neck.
With mounting horror, she clambered off the bed and rushed to the huge window, drawing back the drapes. It was dark outside, but the snowflakes were coming thick and fast, lighting the sky with their ghostly radiance as they silently descended to the frozen earth.
It finally dawned where – and when – she was.
“Angel – are you okay?”
The vampire glanced up in startled surprise at the sound of Buffy’s voice. She was standing there, looking down at him with a gentle smile on her face. She looked… young.
He glanced around, taking in his surroundings. The snow was several inches thick on the ground and still cascading down around them, but he easily recognised the streets of Sunnydale. From his sprawled position on the floor, he looked back up at the slayer. “How…?”
“You slipped and fell – not used the snow, I guess,” she informed him with a giggle, holding out a hand to help him up.
Angel hesitated a moment, but then slipped his hand into hers and allowed her to haul him to his feet. To his intense discomfort, she kept her fingers tightly laced with his as they continued to walk down the street together. He wanted to pull away from her grasp, but didn’t know how he would explain his actions.
It had finally dawned where – and when – he was.
“Oh hell!” he muttered under his breath.
December 23rd 1998, Chase Household, Sunnydale…
Cordelia’s first instinct was to panic; the second was to find Angel. She was halfway out the door before she realised that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. It was Christmas 1998, only a few months after his return from hell – there was no telling how he’d react if she turned up on his doorstep babbling on about a future where the two of them were lovers. He was still blindly in love with Buffy at this point in time; he was never going to believe her.
But if I’m here – my 2001 self in my seventeen-year-old body – maybe he is too – in his two hundred and forty – err – whatever! body. But what if he isn’t?
Indecision kept the seer rooted to the spot as she continued to debate in her head about what to do.
Okay, so if not Angel, then who? – Wesley! No, he’s not here, not yet. Giles then? Yes, yes – that’s it! Giles will help. He’ll find a way to send me back to the future…
“Yeoww!” Cordelia jumped in startled surprise as the phone began to ring. She whirled round and stared at it in amazement.
Okay, so that didn’t happen before.
This was the year that the unexpected snow had prevented her from joining her parents skiing in Aspen. It was quite possibly the most miserable Christmas in her entire life. Crossing to the dressing table, she picked up the receiver as if it was a live snake and put it to her ear.
“Hello?” she said warily into the mouthpiece.
“Yeah – umm listen – we’ve decided to have an impromptu Christmas party at my place. I was just wondering if you’d like to come – the whole gang’ll be here. Everybody’s plans kind of got put on hold, what with the snow and all.”
The whole gang? That meant Giles. “I’d love to come, thanks.”
“Right. Okay – come on over about seven tonight then.”
Buffy sounded surprised at her ready acceptance, but Cordelia didn’t really care. She desperately needed to see Giles and – if she was honest with herself – Angel too. She wanted to ask whether the vampire would be there, but knew the question wouldn’t go down too well so held her tongue.
“Are we talking a smart or casual dress code?” she asked instead.
“Smart – we’ve decided to get dressed up, make it a real party, you know.”
“Got that – see you later then.”
“Sure – bye!”
Angel sat on the bottom of the stairs in the Summer’s house, surreptitiously eavesdropping on Buffy’s phone conversation with Cordelia. He had wandered back here in a daze, trying to figure out what was going on, but coming up empty.
Luckily, the petite slayer didn’t seem to think his silence was all that unusual – which it wasn’t given his earlier mental battle with the First, he reminded himself. All that seemed like a distant memory to the vampire now, but he knew that in this time and place he had been emotionally exhausted by the ordeal.
When Joyce proposed inviting everyone over for a party, he finally roused himself out of his reverie to suggest that Buffy invite Cordelia along too. He knew changing the past wasn’t all that sensible, but he remembered his seer telling him that she had spent this Christmas at home by herself, and he simply couldn’t bear the thought of her there all alone and miserable.
Besides, he needed to see her – if his mind was here in his past body, then hers could be too. He would have to tread carefully though. If he was dealing with the seventeen-year-old Cordelia Chase, then she could easily misread his interest in her and – knowing her – would loudly declare it to the whole room, something that had to be avoided at all costs.
He glanced down at his watch as Buffy hung up the phone – nine am, still ten hours to go…
Ten hours later…
Suddenly struck with a severe case of nerves, Cordelia hesitated at the bottom of the garden path, a pair of strappy silver sandals in one hand and a cake tin filled with Rosa’s chocolate brownies in the other. Hiding out at home, she hadn’t had to keep up the appearance of her seventeen-year-old self; here she would have to and she wasn’t sure she could do it. That young schoolgirl seemed so far removed from the twenty-year-old woman she was now.
Gathering her courage, she forced one foot in front of the other, walked up to the door and rang the bell. A smiling Joyce Summers, wearing a garland of red and silver tinsel in her hair, opened the door a few moments later. “Hello Cordelia. Merry Christmas. Come on in out of the cold and get warmed up.”
“I – umm – brought brownies,” Cordelia said, holding out the tin as the door closed behind her.
“How thoughtful, thank-you,” Buffy’s Mom replied as she took the offering. “Now help yourself to some eggnog, or we’ve fruit punch of you’d prefer. Xander will take your coat, won’t you dear?”
Xander startled at the sound of his name, and Cordelia had to suppress a smile, remembering that her seventeen-year-old self did not find his dorkiness at all amusing, especially not after he had betrayed her with Willow. Hiding her grin, she bent and pulled off her fake-fur-lined boots, slipped her feet into her sandals, and then shrugged out of her bulky coat.
“Whoa – did you raid your older sister’s closet or what?” her teenage ex exclaimed, his eyes growing wide at her attire.
Cordelia glanced down at her clothing, belatedly realising that she’d unintentionally picked out something that her twenty-year-old self might wear to a party, when she’d gone shopping for an outfit that afternoon. The dress was strapless, the top-half close fitting by necessity, while the skirt flared out slightly, ending just above the knee. The fabric was a deep maroon satin, but covered with a sheer film of black gauzy material, which created a dramatic two-tone effect. The bodice was decorated with a swirling design of small, hand-embroidered flowers in deep red, purple and silver, and she’d finished the outfit off with a silver heart-shaped pendant and matching drop earrings.
“Pfft! You wouldn’t know sophistication even if it came up and bit you on the ass, Xander Harris,” she hastily retorted, tossing her hair over her shoulder in her best Queen C impression.
Her acerbic comeback was greeted with a low chuckle and her heart leapt into her throat as Angel emerged from the shadows of the hallway. The vampire’s dark eyes held her gaze for a brief instant, immediately giving her hope, but then he looked away and her heart dropped into the pit of her stomach, his lack of interest convincing her that she really was here in this nightmare alone.
Angel forced himself to look away from his girlfriend’s achingly familiar countenance for fear that his avid interest would draw undue attention. He couldn’t tell from such a fleeting glance whether his Cordy was in there or not. He thought he saw a flash of warmth and hope in those beautiful eyes, but he couldn’t be absolutely certain. Her attitude towards Harris just reeked of the teenaged Cordelia.
“Whoa deadboy! Did you actually laugh?” Xander whirled round and stared at the vampire in amazement.
“I’m known to every once in a while,” he replied with a wry grimace, resisting the urge to strangle the annoying boy with his bare hands.
Cordelia’s anger flared at the hated nickname that tripped so effortlessly from ex-boyfriend’s lips. “He’s called Angel, Xander,” she snapped before she could stop herself.
Angel’s eyes were immediately back on her again, but the moment was interrupted by Buffy calling out for him from the front room. He couldn’t not respond; it would raise suspicion if he didn’t. The vampire knew that changing the past could have disastrous consequences for the future, and it was a future that he desperately wanted to get back to. So he reluctantly turned away, still unsure as to whether 2001 Cordelia was stuck in the past along with him.
An hour later…
Buffy reached out and placed her hand on Angel’s knee, squeezing it gently. “You wanna go outside and get some fresh air?”
The vampire knew what *that* meant and he desperately tried to think of a plausible reason not to agree. There was a time when he would have jumped at the chance to make out with the slayer – as he vaguely remembered doing three years ago on the front porch, come to think of it. That time was long gone though and, unfortunately, he didn’t think ‘Sorry, but I’m in love with Cordy now’ would cut it as an appropriate excuse. Willow and Oz chose that moment to rescue him however, joining him and Buffy on the sofa.
“Don’t you think Cordelia is acting sorta weird?” Willow asked, leaning across Angel to speak to Buffy.
The vampire’s ears pricked up with interest at that.
“How do you mean?” the slayer enquired of her best friend, not that bothered about the answer.
“I don’t know – she’s kind of… quiet,” the redheaded witch replied, nodding to where Cordelia was sitting alone on the window seat, looking down into an empty glass of punch. “And – get this – she actually smiled at me earlier.”
“Now that’s *definitely* weird,” Buffy replied with a grin. “What do you think, Angel?”
“I think…,” the vampire stopped and rose to his feet. “I think I’m gonna see if she wants some more punch.”
“Oh, I don’t know – maybe because it’s polite to offer your guests drinks at a party.”
Ignoring Buffy’s open-mouthed shock at his pointed admonishment, he crossed to the long table, which was heavily ladened with food and drink, and scooped a ladle full of fruit punch into a small glass.
“Here.” Cordelia jumped in surprise as Angel sat down next to her and offered her a drink.
“Thanks,” she said, her lips quirking up into a small grateful smile as she took the glass. Her eyes remained in her lap though – she didn’t think she could look at him. It was just too painful knowing she couldn’t even touch him, let alone tell him how much she loved him.
“Nice dress,” the vampire commented with a furtive sidelong glance.
“I got it from Sherri’s boutique at the mall this afternoon,” she felt the need to tell him, and then felt stupid for doing so – why would this Angel be interested in her shopping habits?
“Funny – I could’ve sworn I’ve seen that dress somewhere else – LA perhaps?”
Cordelia’s eyes snapped up to his face and she sagged in relief when she found herself drowning in her boyfriend’s warm, loving gaze. “Angel,” she whispered, involuntarily reaching out towards him with her hand.
“Not here!” the vampire warned sharply under his breath, and she immediately snatched her fingers back.
“Meet me upstairs in the spare bedroom,” he murmured quietly to her, his lips barely moving as he deliberately looked away from her hypnotic eyes. “The second door on the right. I’ll go up first; you follow a few minutes later, okay?”
“Okay,” Cordelia softly agreed, her heart racing ten to the dozen. He was here; she wasn’t alone in this after all.
Angel got up and went back over to join Buffy, Willow and Oz, while Cordelia waited on tenterhooks for him to go upstairs. Five minutes later, he did, and she literally had to hold onto the seat to stop herself from immediately following him. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and hurried out of the room, not really caring whether her haste raised suspicion amongst the gathered Scoobies or not.
Reaching the top of the stairs, she practically ran down the corridor to the spare bedroom. Twisting the handle, she cautiously opened the door and stepped into the darkened room, blinking as her eyes slowly adjusted to the lack of light. A strong hand suddenly closed around her wrist, hauling her the rest of the way into the room, and she gasped in shocked surprise.
Angel’s lips crashed down on hers the moment the door closed behind her, and her hands rose to clutch at his back as he pressed her up against the wall. With his fingers threaded through her tumbling mass of long wavy hair, he kissed her like there was no tomorrow, leaving her weak at the knees.
“Oh God!” she exclaimed, when he finally released her mouth and began to nuzzle enthusiastically at her neck. “I was so scared you weren’t here too. What do you think happened? Some kind of freaky spell?”
Angel knew he should be concentrating on how to get them out of this mess and back home, but now that Cordelia was in his arms, all he could think about was having her. His brain was on short-circuit, his recently released sexuality running roughshod over his more rational thought processes.
“I don’t know – maybe,” he murmured, his voice hoarse with rampant desire. “We’ll talk about it later.”
“Angel – humph… we can’t! Not here!” Cordelia tried to protest as he kissed her urgently, while his hands reached down to pull up the skirt of her dress.
The vampire groaned as his exploring fingers encountered the lacy edge of stockings and the thin straps of a suspender belt. “God woman, are you trying to kill me?” he growled in her ear as he pulled her close, letting her feel the hard evidence of his desire for her.
Despite herself, Cordelia moaned, her hands dropping to the small of his back as she wantonly pushed her hips back into his. Angel continued to kiss her breathless, his big hands cupping her bottom and roaming over the soft skin of her upper thighs. When she felt his fingers at the zip of her dress though, she came back to her senses. “Angel! We’re upstairs at Buffy’s house – we can’t!”
“Who says?” the vampire replied as he slowly slid the zipper down, the sound harsh in the silence of the darkened bedroom. The only light came from the reflection of the moon on the bright snow outside, which lit the room with an almost ethereal glow.
The dress gaped at the top and started to slide off the seer’s body under the influence of gravity. Cordelia attempted to hold it in place, but Angel firmly removed her hands and the dress pooled around her feet on the floor. She hadn’t been wearing a bra, the boning in the bodice providing enough support for her teenage curves.
“You’ve filled out a bit,” Angel noted with a raised eyebrow.
His girlfriend blushed and punched him lightly on the upper arm. “This is my seventeen year old body, dumbass. I had a growth spurt at eighteen.”
“Yeah, so I’ve noticed.”
Cordelia suddenly felt insecure. “Is there something wrong with them?” she asked, looking down at bared breasts.
“No, no, they’re lovely – all plump and deliciously perky,” Angel said, reaching out and playfully tweaking her sensitive nipples, causing a breathless moan to escape her lips.
Curling an arm around her waist, the vampire backed her over towards the bed, raining kisses down on her throat and shoulders as he did so. They sank down onto the bed together, and Cordelia sighed as Angel’s familiar weight settled atop of her and pressed her into the mattress.
“I have to say I prefer your more womanly curves though,” the vampire continued as he nuzzled insistently at her neck with searching lips.
“Good answer,” Cordelia replied as she arched up into him, finally surrendering to his highly persuasive seduction techniques.
Pleased at her acquiescence, Angel separated her thighs and climbed between them, his cool lips trailing a path down between the twin mounds of her cleavage.
“There is something decidedly erotic about this however,” he murmured against her bare skin. “Here you are on the cusp of womanhood with all those teenage hormones running rampant through your veins. You’re all ripe and waiting to be plucked…”
“Plucked! What am I? A chicken?”
Angel lifted his head and smiled at the seer’s lightly teasing remark. “Have you been by the way?” he asked, a wicked twinkle in his chocolate-brown eyes.
“Have I been what? Oh… No, No I haven’t. I’m still a virgin.”
The vampire’s eyes turned almost black with desire at her answer, and Cordelia felt his groin stir against her lower abdomen in reaction. “Eew! That turns you on?”
“Of course it does. Your virginity is a precious gift. And the fact that I get to have yours…”
Something occurred to the seer then and she tensed underneath him, no longer so compliant. “That’s all very well and good for you, but what about me? It hurts like hell,” she said plaintively.
“It shouldn’t, not if it’s done right, not if you’re fully ready. There’ll be some pain but it should fade soon enough.”
“Well, it didn’t for me.”
“It will tonight.” Angel promised, tenderly stroking the backs of his fingers over her flushed cheek. “It shouldn’t be here though,” he continued, looking around at their surroundings. “Not a quick fumble upstairs at a party. We’ll go back to the mansion – do it properly.”
Cordelia relaxed and giggled. “You think you can wait that long?” she asked, cheekily running the tips of her fingers over the prominent bulge in his pants.
“No, I think you’re going to have to take care of that for me,” Angel said, rolling over onto his back and looking over at her suggestively.
“Oh, I am, am I?” the seer said archly, sitting up and brushing her wealth of dark hair over one shoulder.
“I’ll return the favour,” the vampire generously offered as she moved to sit astride him.
“Now, how could I possibly refuse an offer like that?”
Cordelia unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, then directed him to lift his hips so that she could push them and his boxers down to his knees. As his erection sprang free from the clothing’s confines, the seer paused, her teeth worrying at her lower lip, a small frown creasing her forehead.
“Can I use my mouth?” she eventually asked, her expression still uncertain.
Angel closed his eyes and groaned. “Jesus Cordy, you *really* shouldn’t ask questions like that.”
“Sorry – it’s just, we haven’t and I… only once.”
“Just do whatever you’re comfortable with.”
“But you want me to?”
“Is the Pope catholic?”
Cordelia grinned at his strangled response. She started to lower her head towards his straining erection, but then stopped again. “What about your soul?” she suddenly asked.
“What about it?” Angel replied impatiently.
“It’s 1998 – it’s not permanent,” his girlfriend pointed out.
The vampire considered that. “Yes, it is,” he eventually replied. “It might be my 1998 body, but it’s my 2001 consciousness and my soul is part of that.”
“Are you sure? Cus I’d rather you didn’t go all crazy and homicidal if it’s all the same to you.”
Angel nodded. “I’m sure,” he said emphatically. “I couldn’t tell the difference before my soul was bound, but I can now. This one’s permanent, I swear. You know I would never risk it if I wasn’t certain.”
Satisfied that this was indeed the case, Cordelia bent her head and dropped a light kiss on the tip of the vampire’s hardened sex, causing his hips to shift against the mattress in anticipation.
“You’re so easy,” she commented playfully.
“Hey! You try being virtually celibate for decades, and then tell me who’s easy.”
“And how long are you going to use *that* line to tempt me into bed?”
“For as long as it works, I guess,” Angel replied with a low chuckle and an impudent grin.
Cordelia giggled. “I should feel bad, shouldn’t I?”
“Doing this,” the seer explained, waving her hand between them to illustrate her point. “Upstairs at Buffy’s house – when she’s downstairs completely oblivious.”
“We’re not doing anything wrong, Cordy.”
“In this time and place we are.”
Angel sighed. “But in our time, we’re not. I refuse to feel guilty for loving you, Cor – I’ve waited too long for this. Just as long as no-one here finds out, we’ve nothing to feel bad about. Besides, we’re not actually doing anything,” he added pointedly.
“Oo – someone’s getting impatient!”
“Yeah, someone is, because *someone* is taking her own sweet time to…urghh!”
The vampire broke off with a low grunt of pleasure when Cordelia unexpectedly took him into her mouth. Curling her fingers round the base of his penis, the seer experimentally swirled her tongue around the head, and felt a delighted thrill of satisfaction when Angel let loose with a strangled “Oh God!” as his hips bucked up off the mattress in reaction.
Breathing heavily and unnecessarily, Angel pushed himself up half-seated position so he could see what Cordelia was doing. Her inexperience showed, but it also made her actions unpredictable, heightening his sensual enjoyment. Reaching down with one hand, he combed his fingers through the silky strands of hair, immensely aroused by the tentative nature of her oral explorations.
Turned on by the sensual power she currently had over him, Cordelia’s ministrations grew bolder as her arousal increased. Taking more of him into her mouth, she repeatedly slid her lips up and down his hard shaft, sucking lightly, while the tips of her fingers began to wander over the taut muscles of his lower abdomen. All this added fuel to the fire of the vampire’s need, and she could sense the building tension in him as his harsh grunts of pleasure filled her ears with their music.
Angel was poised on a knife-edge, needing something to tip him over into the abyss, which Cordelia unwittingly gave to him when she lightly stroked two fingers over the sensitive flesh between his inner thigh and groin. Biting his lower lip to hold in the cry of completion hovering at the back of his throat, he let go of his control and erupted into her mouth, his eyes closing and his neck arching as ecstasy flooded his veins.
“Sorry,” he gruffly apologised as he slumped back against the mattress, completely spent.
“For what?” Cordelia asked, moving off him.
Angel sat up and tugged his pants and boxers back up over his hips. “Err – for the lack of warning,” he replied, zipping them up.
The seer laughed at his sheepish answer and he grinned at her, and then reached out to hook his arm around her waist.
“Now, I think I said something about returning the favour,” he said, his voice dropping in pitch as he pulled her towards him.
Closing her hand over his, Cordelia reluctantly stopped his fingers as they stroked down over her stomach, heading with purpose towards the elasticated edge of her satin panties. “I think that’s gonna have to wait. We’ve been gone a while. They’re going to get suspicious. Plus I’m kind of noisy.”
“Can’t disagree there,” the vampire said slyly, then laughed when she swatted him with the back of her hand.
“You’ll just have to make it up to me later,” the seer said over her shoulder, as she climbed off the bed and bent to retrieve her discarded dress off the floor.
“Anything for you, baby,” Angel replied, his voice low and seductively melodic.
There was a short silence, and then the vampire sighed, his thoughts returning to their predicament. “We need to find out what’s going on.”
Cordelia nodded, turning her back to him so that he could zip up her dress. “Should we talk to Giles?” she asked.
“Not just yet. Let’s see if we can figure it out ourselves first.”
“I’m not sure, but something must have triggered this.”
“Like what? All we were doing was kissing good morning – how could that send us back in time?”
“The mistletoe,” Angel said slowly, things gradually starting to click into place. “Fred – she told me to make a wish.”
Cordelia froze at that, her blood running cold as her heart lurched inside of her chest. She whirled around to face him, her eyes filling with tears of hurt and anger.
“And you wished to be back in Sunnydale?” she said brokenly. “With Buffy?”