Rating: Will be an R
Category: Angst, romance
Summary: This is based on a challenge made by Luckylyn in the challenge thread:
During BTVS years, Cordelia’s playing bait goes wrong and Buffy and the others don’t get to her in time. Tensions arise between Xander and the Scobbies as they cope with her death. Buffy plans to wait to see if Cordy returns as a vamp and then dust her. Xander wants to save her by cursing her with a soul like Angel. Xander manages to get vampire Cordy cursed. She has trouble adjusting to her new life and bonds with Angel who begins mentoring her through..
Spoilers: Well, just a few from the BTVS years
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: AA, NF
Notes: **In this fic there is no Demon Mayor battle in Sunnydale.
Thanks/Dedication: Thanks Luckylyn. You have the greatest ideas. Wish I had time to try them all.
Feedback: Sure. Haven’t done this in a while. I’d be glad to know what you think.
Angel sat, staring into the massive fireplace, his acute senses catching every crack and pop of the blaze in front of him. Loosening the bowtie at his neck, he leaned forward, deep in thought.
He shouldn’t have gone. Should have kept his distance. The separation was going to be painful enough for both of them without him dragging things out. But he knew she wanted him there and he couldn’t deny her anything. Not now. Not when he was just realizing what a complete ass he had been.
She looked so happy, her blue eyes sparkling when she noticed him. It had been perfect and he was glad of it. Glad that she didn’t truly know what was going on inside of him.
Angel’s large hands scrubbed at his face, as if to wake his mind, turn it away from the thoughts that started pouring in. But they filled him up. Took him over. The guilt consuming him.
He wasn’t in love with Buffy.
He knew there was love there. After all, she and her mission had been the lifeline that had pulled him back to humanity. Made him care. Given him a purpose. It was no wonder he had mistaken it for true love. Didn‘t injured soldiers always fall a little for the nurses who led them back to health?. But it was a false love. A love that kept you weak. A fall for the idea and what it represented, not the person. She had made him believe in himself again. See himself again. But it was all through her eyes, her feelings, her mission.
He would never tell her of course. The truth would be too much. Better to let her young heart heal on its own than to face the horrible revelation of his true feelings.
She deserved better.
Definitely better than a vampire who’s eye had begun to wander.
A low growl escaped Angel’s lips as he jerked the tie through the collar of his shirt roughly. He would not let his mind go there tonight. Christ, he was such an animal.
Angel threw the tie to the floor as he stood and made his way to the makeshift bedroom in the old mansion. His steps were angry, his movements quick as he pulled off the crisp, white shirt. He would not think about her tonight.
Not while Buffy’s heart was breaking.
But even as he denied it, he knew his mind, his body, would not obey him. Neither had for the last three months, so why should he expect such obedience from them now.
Christ, what was wrong with him? She was just as young as Buffy. More innocent even because of her lack of defense in a dark world.
And completely off limits.
But she stirred something inside him.
Something he had long forgotten.
And that dress she had been wearing…… Angel’s jaw clenched as he remembered every detail, every curve. Her prom dress had been so unlike anything else in the room. No pink, no frills. It was made for a woman. And she had done it justice.
Angel shook his head, trying to remove the picture that burned in mind.
He removed the rest of his clothing, got into bed, and closed his eyes. The image of long chestnut hair and hazel eyes torturing him.
For it was torture.
Where Buffy inspired him to be pure, to strive for goodness, to want to walk in the light again. Cordelia Chase inspired something much darker, much deeper, and definitely nothing pure.
It was as if in finding himself again he had found what he desired most. What he wanted for himself. And it had shocked the hell out of him when he discovered a desire for Cordelia.
Things would be easier though when he left in a few days. He would put distance between himself and Sunnydale. To give Buffy a chance to forget him.
And to get himself away from temptation.
Cordelia hung the beautiful dress in her nearly empty closet, smoothing the fabric and making absolutely certain the tags were still in place. She had been so nervous at the prom, not daring to move too much for fear that the small price tag in back that she had so artfully tucked inside would slip free and expose her for the fraud she was.
Sure, she didn’t have to take the dress back. Xander had paid her bill in full for the pricy designer original. But that was what made it so important for her to return the thing. As lovely a gesture as it was for him to take care of it, she didn’t want to owe him anything. Tomorrow she would take the beautiful gown back and give him the money he had spent on her behalf.
Closing the closet, Cordelia made her way to the mattress in the corner of the once palatial bedroom. Even her slipper clad feet seemed to echo in the empty space. She shivered at the sound, glad that at least the electricity had not been turned off……yet. Her steps quickened and she hurried herself under the covers of the mattress bed, not wanting to admit to herself that she was just a little frightened at being in the house alone.
It wasn’t the first time that she had been left alone in the big, rambling house. But this time was different. Everything was different.
Before, even though technically alone when her parents went on one of their many trips, the house was full of material comforts. And although the material bounty of the mansion did not bring her happiness, it did seem to fill some void, some loneliness. And then there had been the servants of course. In and out of the estate so much throughout the day that the house seemed more like a public building than a private, lonely residence.
But the servants were gone. The things were gone. Most of their items were sold to pay court and attorney fees in her parents tax evasion case. The rest pilfered by the oh so loyal staff. Stripping the walls of the house, and her soul. Laying bare the true feelings and problems that had been hidden underneath the money and power.
Now, her palace was an empty shell, much like her life. Her parents were gone, not for two or three weeks but for two to five years in institutions two hours away.
She swallowed the lump that rose inside her throat. They hadn’t even looked at her. As their sentences were read they only stared at one another. Although she had always felt like a third wheel in her parent’s marriage, it had been painful to sit in the courtroom. Unnoticed. Forgotten.
But she was an adult. Legally she could be responsible for herself. Even if she still felt a little lost..
She didn’t like that feeling.
She wanted to be strong. Independent. Rely on no one.
It was why the dress was going back.
Cordelia stared at the small lamp on the floor near where she lay. The lamp was dim but still managed to light the room enough to chase away most of the shadows.
She would leave it on.
Turning over, she closed her eyes and made a vow to herself. She would no longer rely on others to take care of her, make her happy. She would learn to take care of herself.
Razor stared at the glow from the upstairs window of the large estate, practicing his new name in his mind.
As soon as he had turned, he’d dumped the name Tony Brooks, his human name, opting for something a little more sinister. After all, most of your more notorious vamps took on a more dangerous title. Something to be remembered, to be feared.
So his first step had been to rename himself, a new name for a new birth.
Of course, he knew he couldn’t simply take the name without earning it. So, he had adopted the habit of cutting his victims as he fed. Draining them with his bite as well as the precise cuts he made with his arsenal of blades. He was fairly proud of just how artistic he was becoming. Prolonging death so that he felt every shutter, every terror filled moment as he fed. It was a high he had never known as a human.
With his name and calling card decided, he had thought that it would be years before step two of his transition would fall into his lap. But fallen it had. Or rather it had driven off alone into the night from the Sunnydale Prom.
He had been meaning to simply feed, do a little carving. But then he’d watched her, stunned. She was magnificent. All curves and confidence. Worthy to be his companion. His mate. Fate had sent him step two in the form of a luscious brunette beauty.
Razor cursed low under his breath as he turned away from the large home. He’d been so enthralled with her, so enamored by her beauty, that he had let her slip right into the protection of her home before he could get to her.
But he would get to her. And it would be…..exquisite.
Juiced from finding his mate so unexpectedly, he raced off through the night, needing to ease his hunger and create a new master piece in the process. After all, practice made perfect.
Buffy kept a safe distance from the old mansion, fearing Angel’s vamp senses outing her as the stalker she was. What a role reversal. In the beginning of their so called relationship, it had been Angel lurking in shadows. She had always felt an inner thrill that he would follow her, show up just when she needed him. Somehow, she didn’t think Angel would feel the same way. Not after their goodbye at the Prom the night before.
And it was goodbye. No drama. Which was a very strange and sudden change. Just a simple, friendly goodbye. She supposed that was what really hurt the most. The civility of it all. In their past, when things had gone wrong, when they couldn’t find a way to be together, there had been tears, gut wrenching sacrifice on both sides. She had always known that no matter what, Angel loved her, deeply. But now…
There had been something different in Angel’s words the night before. Something distant. Something final.
Maybe he had simply realized what she herself could not admit. That the curse would always stand in their way. Maybe the pain of that fact had finally worn him down. Made him give up on them.
She should leave. He was right to put an end to their tragic romance. Right to set out on his own path.
But just as she moved to make her way stealthily back to the cemetery where she had left her friends hunting the latest vampire terrorizing the local “wild life“, a dark shadow moved so quickly from the side entrance of the mansion and around the corner that she had almost missed it.
“Angel,” she whispered to herself.
She knew it was him.
Grateful that he hadn’t sensed her, she turned to go, then stopped. Instead of heading back to the cemetery, she rounded the mansion on the opposite side, sending out all her slayer senses to track Angel’s movements, making absolutely sure to keep far enough behind him in order not to be caught. She felt a pang of guilt that she wasn’t using her skills to dust the menace that had lately risen. The vamp was nasty and needed to be put down. Half vampire, half “Jack-the-Ripper” Giles had called him. But she couldn’t think about that vampire right now, not with the one slipping in and out of shadows ahead of her on her mind.
Angel jumped soundlessly over the tall iron gates in front of the massive stone house. It was a beautiful estate, if not a little pretentious. High enough to keep undesirables out but made of iron pickets so that no one missed the view of wealth from the street, the fence alone probably cost more than most homes in the small town.
He looked up to a window, the only one lit with a soft glow, and wondered if that was her room. Probably not. Cordelia Chase had better things to do than hang out at home on a Saturday Night.
Moving across the lawn, he took in the over grown grass. It seemed out of place somehow. The house, fencing, and gate seemed to be meticulously built. Not the type of home to have an overgrown yard.
Angel began to stroll the property, knowing he had no business on the grounds but unable to stop himself.
When he had awakened from his fitful day of sleep, the idea had come to him to pass by her home, possibly get a glimpse of her. After all, there was no harm in just seeing her, she certainly wouldn’t be able to see him. And even though he had mentally chastised himself, clearly marking it as a bad idea, his feet had found their way to her street.
What had happened to his stanch self control?
Maybe he had loosened the reigns on himself because it didn’t really matter. Because he was leaving.
The thought knotted in his gut and for some reason he began to wonder what Cordelia’s future would be like. School was over, so she would probably be heading off to some very expensive party school of a University. She would join one of those silly Sororities and marry some boring jackass that would be able to give her a home just like the one she had now. From princess of one castle, to queen of another.
He puzzled at his anger over this imagined future for her, anger that seemed to be focused on her. As if she had no right to live that life.
A life without him.
Christ, he didn’t even really know her.
Rubbing the back of his neck with his hand, he couldn’t help but be a little worried about his sanity. The girl didn’t even like him. Oh sure, she had flirted enough when she had thought he was just a man, but since finding out the truth about him, she hadn’t so much as looked at him. Especially since his return from Hell.
No, the girl was terrified of him. And rightly so.
Angel suddenly stilled by the corner of the mansion, all senses on high alert.
He was not alone.
He searched the shadows and spotted his target crouched beside the row of garage doors that jutted out from the opposite side of the house.
Leaping silently three stories, Angel landed on the roof, making his way across so that he loomed above the shadowed figure.
He gave himself a moment, then descended, his black boot eliciting a crack from the head of his opponent.
Angel felt a sharp sting near his ribs as he hit the ground hard. He was on his feet again quickly, and standing face to face with a vamp equal to him in size and menace. He saw a glint of metal in the other vampire’s hand and only then noticed the wetness on his shirt.
A red blaze of fury washed through Angel’s mind. This vampire was laying in wait not for another vampire, but for a human. And he was hunting not just food, but sport. The fact that he was doing so outside of Cordelia’s home made the fire in his mind burn even hotter.
Angel swung his fist hard, hitting the other vamp in the middle of the forearm, knocking loose the blade from his hand. The sharp steel clanged to the ground. The vampire’s face twisted with fury, he charged Angel, sending them both tumbling to the unkempt lawn.
They struggled furiously. Angel grabbed the jacket of the other vampire, pulling him to his feet as Angel himself stood. He tossed the vampire into the brick wall, sending a shower of small paper squares that had been tucked inside the vamp’s jacket fluttering to the ground.
A black and white image of Cordelia smiled up at Angel from the grass below.
Angel froze, giving the vampire ample time to reach down for the blade. Angel felt the hot stab to his side. Heard the vampire’s hurried footfalls as it disappeared into the night.
“Angel!” Buffy’s voice carried through the night as she climbed the massive fence.
Nothing registered. Not the fleeing vamp, not Buffy’s voice. He reached down, not caring about the dripping blood running down from his body, and picked up a photo of Cordelia in her cheerleading uniform, one of her sitting with the other members of her class, still more of her at what looked to be different school events.
“Angel, your bleeding,” Buffy reached out for him.
“What?” he looked a little dazed.
“Blood,” she pointed at his ruined shirt, the slashed leather coat.
Angel glanced at the wounds, then looked back to the photos in his hands.
“Come on,” Buffy ushered him toward the front door of the large house. She hated involving Cordelia Chase in their business and Angel wasn’t in any physical danger, his wounds would heal quickly. But Angel clearly needed a moment to collect himself. And to be honest, so did she. When she had followed him through the town to Cordelia’s home, she had had a moment of burning jealousy. Seeing him scale the fence, lurk around the shadows of the house had made her imagine the impossible, the most horrible…….but, clearly it had been the vampire he was tracking. He must have sensed it in the area. She should have known better than to think that Angel would be coming to Cordelia’s home for any other reason.