Author: Cordelia’s Destiny
Posted: Nov/Dec 06
Rating: R. Overall, N-17
Category: Romance, Humor, mild angst
Content: C/A (Primary), S/B, W/X, Joyce/Giles
Summary: An unknown force has far-reaching consequences.
Spoilers: Lovers’ Walk (BtVS 3)
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Anywhere, just let me know.
Notes: Although this universe goes AU after Lover’s Walk, it does not take place immediately afterward. The intervening events will be explained in the exposition of the story. For all intents and purposes, this story takes place two months following Lover’s Walk.
Thanks/Dedication:to my beta, Lysa. Thanks for your patience.
Feedback:My muse is starving. Please feed her!
Darkness, as thick and oppressive as the inside of a tomb, choked Angel awake. He gasped as if reliving the first panic of his undead existence. It pressed in on him, weighing him down. For a moment he panted as if oxygen starved, writhing slightly under the weight above him, his eyes wide and seeing nothing. Panic gripped him, adding to the illusion of suffocation. Struggling, he wriggled his arms out from under the weight on top of him, hands searching for what held him down.
Angel’s panic fled the moment his fingers touched warm, living flesh.
Further exploration gave him a shock he wasn’t prepared for. The nude body, hot against his, was definitely not Buffy Summers. A shapely woman fit tightly against him with curves in all the right places, pressing up against all of his right places. He groaned softly, fingers brushing her shoulders to push her away. She whimpered above him, instinctively gripping his biceps and refusing to move. Their hips shifted together and his mouth dropped open as he was unable to help his own body’s response to her movements.
Sighing, he gingerly explored further, trying to determine who she was. His hands came up, brushing her small shoulders and finding impossibly soft, silky skin. A slender neck was dwarfed in his big hands, his fingers lightly tattooed by her steady pulse. His thumbs cupped her jaw, stroking her full lips where they rested just against his neck. Her hot breath burned his fingers, and he moved them away, up into her long, wavy hair. The movement stirred her scent, and all at once, the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla surrounded him like thick, narcotic smoke.
Oh, God. Cordelia.
Rupert Giles shifted uncomfortably on the hard floor, his arm half-asleep as it pillowed his head. He groaned, head pounding, eyes opening to a blackness that defied his senses. Thick, scratchy carpet irritated his hip, eyes widening as he realized that he seemed to be without his clothing. His breath left him in a gasp as the warm mass against him wriggled, then sighed, a decidedly female sound.
What the hell was going on?
In the background, he could hear the faint clicking of the vending machine in the hall. His vision was blurry, but light appeared now, a blue glow emanating the streetlights beyond the window, but he couldn’t make out any objects very easily. Concentrating, he made out the indistinct form of a table and scattered chairs, only then realizing that he was inside the school library, stretched out in front of the stairs and beneath the window. One arm was draped around the unclothed body of a woman he had yet to identify.
As if on cue, she stirred, her mouth nuzzling his neck as she yawned, snuggling further into his arms.
“I’m cold,” she whispered, her hand coming up to stroke his shoulder. Then, as if she’d suddenly found awareness, she froze, her hand gripping him tightly.
“W-what’s going on?” Panic was etched in her tone.
That question was said at full volume, enough for Giles to identify his companion.
“Joyce?” he said in disbelief.
“R-Rupert?” she squeaked, jerking away from him, crossing her arms over her bare breasts protectively. “What happened?”
He finally found his breath again, running his hand over his jaw tiredly. “That’s what I’d like to know.”
“Oh, please. Make it stop,” Xander moaned, clutching his head in his hands and curling his body into a ball. His prayer went unanswered as the pounding continued. He had a sudden vision of the USC marching band’s drum line tapping cadences against this skull.
Whimpering, he opened his eyes, blinked, then tried to open them again, only to discover they already were. Pitch blackness pressed in on him, silence ringing in his ears. For a moment he entertained the hysteria that he’d gone blind, but as his eyes adjusted, he realized he could see a small line of light coming from underneath his door.
His legs were tangled in his sheets. Kicking, he tried to free himself but only made things worse. With a groan of pain he sat up, clutching his forehead with one hand while jerking at the sheets around his calves with the other. The harder he pulled, the more the pounding in his head increased, and eventually he gave up, flopping back onto the bed, sighing heavily and flinging his arms wide.
He froze when the back of his forearm landed on a person and not the mattress.
The complaint was feminine but muffled, and Xander’s heart rate increased exponentially. There was a girl in his bed. A girl. In. His. BED!! A huge grin broke out on his face as he realized he’d just had sex. The pounding in his head vanished instantly as euphoria set in. His chest swelled in pride. God, he felt great!
Wait a second. He’d had sex? And he didn’t remember it? And who the heck was this woman? He definitely didn’t remember bringing anyone home with him last night. And it wasn’t like he’d had a great track record with women so far. Giant bug woman, demon girls, Cordelia…well, she was hot, but not exactly his smartest choice. So who could this be?
As if realizing the same thing, his bed partner squirmed around, apparently tangled up in the sheets. He heard a rattle, then realized she was searching on the bedside table for a light, and a wave of panic overtook him. If she turned on the lamp and didn’t like what she saw…Oh, damn. What she saw! Holy Moses, he was naked from the knees up!
He scrambled for the sheet as he felt her move farther away, heard a crash as his clock tumbled to the floor, and then, ‘click,’ the lamp flicked on. For a few seconds he flinched as the light blinded him, then blinked rapidly as his eyes focused on the goddess before him.
A goddess with the most perfect breasts he’d ever seen.
And red hair.
He blinked, stunned, as Willow dove beneath the covers and gaped at him.
“Oh, goddess,” Willow breathed, a flush spreading across her face. “We’re naked!”
Xander scrambled backwards, suddenly as panicked as she was. Willow. His eyes slid shut in a mixture of relief and horror. The marching band came back for halftime.
“Did we…” she whispered.
Xander didn’t seem to hear her. “Oh my God. Willow. I didn’t sleep with Will. I’m dreaming. I’ve gotta be dreaming. Wake up, man,” he pinched himself, “Wake. Up!!”
His eyes popped open and she was still there. Still naked. Still so damn beautiful that he couldn’t help but stare.
“You’re really here,” he said in wonder.
A tear tracked down Willow’s cheek, and Xander felt something in his heart snap as he saw her confusion and pain.
“What happened to us?” she whispered.
He reached for her hand and felt his stomach twist as she flinched away from him.
“I don’t know, Wills,” he whispered back, suddenly desperate for a reason why he had to lose his virginity with his best friend but barely remember the heat of it. “But we’re damn well gonna find out.”
Every muscle in Spike’s body ached, his joints stiff and creaking. Sitting up, he groaned. Three times his age. That’s what he felt right now, as if his body would fall apart at any moment. He hadn’t felt this bad since waking up the morning after his last bout with Angelus. Underneath the bone-weary exhaustion was a sense of satisfaction that he hadn’t felt in a very long time. Maybe never. The kind of satisfaction one only found right after a long night of wild…
No. that was ridiculous. Dru was gone, and there was no one else…was there?
Yawning, he rubbed his eyes and stretched, moaning as his muscles rebelled. He made a move to get up, bracing his hands on the side of the bed. Just before he stood, something moved across the mattress. It rolled over, a warm hand with long fingernails snaking around his wrist, rubbing his skin familiarly. His breath caught and he bolted away, standing upright.
Only then did he note that he was in the old factory he’d been staying in; the place he’d abandoned with Dru months ago.
The figure spoke. “Come back to bed,” she whispered, her voice a sultry breathiness. A white sheet pooled around her waist as she sat up, her form barely discernable in the darkness. Dry mouthed, he made out her slight but enticing curves in the shadows.
“Wait!” Clarity seemed to be coming to her tone. “What—where am I?”
Apparently he wasn’t the only one who’d had too much to drink. “You don’t know?”
“N-no.” She sounded panicked. Reaching down, she grabbed the sheet to cover herself. “What happened?”
“Buggered if I know. Who are you?”
His deep, British-accented voice seemed to make her jerk back as it reverberated in the quiet room. “Spike?” she squeaked, shrinking back against the wall. “Oh, God.” She sounded mortified.
Suddenly, a familiar scent registered, but he refused to believe it. “Slayer?” he said again, this time slowly, with a hint of menace in his voice.
“Oh my God,” she breathed again.
Her heartbeat thundered in his ears. “Just what the bloody hell happened here?”
Angel’s mind raced with the speed of lightning. A kaleidoscope of images bombarded his thoughts: colors, smells, sounds all blending into one hazy but incredibly passionate theme. Golden skin glistened with dewy perspiration, tangled silky hair that smelled of cinnamon and sinful gratification, breathy moans reverberating from her mouth to his, all of it mingling together in a kind of surreal dream.
Only one thing was certain: last night, he had known the incredibly selfless passion of a woman unlike any other he’d ever met. He could remember every stroke of her fingers on his skin, every satiated sigh that escaped from her lips, every scratch of her nails. Even now, his skin tingled from where her frenzy had branded him, and he knew that there would be visible marks as a testament to the greatest sex of his entire existence.
Above him, Cordelia slept on, her warm body rising and falling gently with each steady breath. He’d tried to rouse her once already after he realized who she was, but he hadn’t tried very hard. The vibrations of last night still thrummed through him. He wasn’t quite ready to relinquish the warmth of her body against his.
Absently stroking soft skin, his thumb graced the slightly wrinkled place where her upper arm met her shoulder. The other arm tightened around her back, curving down around her hip and drawing her more tightly into his arms. She felt so right here with him; it was one of the reasons he was so bewildered.
No one had ever fit him so perfectly, not even Buffy.
For that very reason, Angel could feel the weight of regret sinking in his gut. Why, oh, why, did he have to have sex with Cordelia, of all people? She was the one woman Buffy would never tolerate as his mate, not that he needed her approval. Still, the pain he’d felt as she’d told him they couldn’t even be friends had taken a lot of time to fade, but fade it had, and they were just starting to get comfortable with each other again.
Even so, their breakup had driven such a wedge between them that he’d thought they might not recover. It was a feat he’d never thought they’d accomplish: turning over a new leaf in their relationship and finally progressing to something meaningful besides star-crossed lovers. Still, they’d done it. He didn’t want to jeopardize that.
The two months since they’d killed the mayor and saved Faith from his clutches had been a veritable roller coaster of emotions. Faith, in all her desperate darkness, had had an epiphany of sorts, and had agreed to be sent to England to be trained by the Watchers Council and attend therapy for her many emotional issues. After she’d left, their lives had lacked demon villains and evil plots, but it seemed that emotional apocalypses were doomed to replace them.
Angel frowned in the darkness, his fingers pulling away from Cordelia’s tempting skin to run roughshod through his hair. Something else was bothering him: last night wasn’t just a casual fling he’d gone into with all his faculties intact. He couldn’t even begin to remember how he’d ended up here, in his bed in the mansion, with Cordelia–of all people–wrapped around him like ivy climbing a marble column. In fact, although he’d had fleeting sexual thoughts about Cordelia Chase since he’d met her, he’d never genuinely considered pursuing her. The whole experience was hazy, like a movie filmed with gauze draped over the camera lens, the images soft, muted, blurred.
Cordelia stirred against him, a wriggling serpent against his body. Stifling a groan, Angel took advantage of her movement to take her shoulders in his hands and shake her slightly.
“Cordelia,” he said at normal volume, right in her ear. “Wake up.”
She did nothing more than squirm against him again, inciting a response in Angel that he didn’t want at the moment. He couldn’t afford to be aroused by her right now. It was already bad enough that they’d been together the one time last night. Well—Angel’s expression turned to a wince of regret—maybe that was four times. Oh, God. She was going to hate him.
Another slight shove to Cordelia’s shoulders made her whimper indignantly. Moving her mouth against his neck, Cordelia began to rain soft kisses on Angel’s skin, her small hands coming up to stroke his face. Thick-lashed eyelids remained stubbornly closed, and it seemed that she was searching for his mouth with both her own and her fingers. She finally found it, tracing the outline of his slightly open mouth with one fingertip.
By the time she kissed him, Angel had had just about had enough. He couldn’t take this. Couldn’t control this. Because by God, if she stuck her tongue in his mouth and did what she did last night, he wasn’t going to be responsible for his actions. He had to get away.
Her tongue slid along the seam of his lips.
Oh, damn it! He had to get away now!
Almost violently, Angel shoved her away from him and slid out from underneath the heavenly warmth of her body, the cold air of his bedroom shocking him into full awareness.
“Damn it, Cordelia, wake up!”
She sat up abruptly in the darkness, one hand pressed against her forehead as if a headache pained her.
“Geez, yell much?” Cordelia said, wincing. Her voice was hoarse from sleep. “Think you’d see I’ve got a doozy of a hangover.”
Angel sank into a chair near the bed, then suddenly realized his lack of clothing. Snatching up his sweatpants from the floor nearby, he jerked them on quickly. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Cordelia raise the sheet to cover herself.
“Why am I here?” Cordelia’s voice was cool enough to be royal.
Angel snorted. “I think that’s pretty obvious.”
“Oh, for the love of…” Haughtiness evaporated in favor of dismay. “Angel?”
A sigh escaped him. “Yeah.”
“What…what the hell happened last night?” The darkness prevented him from seeing her expression, but he could picture the consternation on her face quite clearly. “‘Cause what I’m remembering is a whole lot of sweaty but mind-blowingly amazing sex and I know that you’re Mr. No Sex.”
The words “amazing sex” immediately plunged Angel into a swirling pool of lust as he was again bombarded with images from last night. Angel jerked himself out of it before it threatened to engulf him. Walking over to the panel on the wall, he turned the lights on to a dim setting. It surprised him to find that even that small amount of light strained his eyes.
“I don’t know what happened. I can’t remember much of it either. But I don’t think we just got drunk.”
“Duh,” she replied, an eye-roll a perfect complement to her flippancy. She stood, and remorse flooded through him as he watched her grimace.
Stretching an arm above her head while the other clutched at the sheet, Cordelia attempted to work out some of the kinks, and Angel couldn’t help the sudden intake of breath at the sight of her so wanton and disarrayed from a night spent in his bed. Her dishevelment was his fault, and there was no small measure of satisfaction in knowing that he was responsible for the sexy tangle of hair, the smoky, tired eyes, and the twin punctures marking her neck.
His eyes widened. Oh, damn it. He’d bitten her. He needed a closer look, but now was not the time.
“We should get dressed,” he finally said.
“And then what?”
He shrugged. “Giles?”
“Great,” her wry tone matched her frown. ” Like that’s gonna be a fun conversation. ‘Hi, Giles. I just had hot wild sex with your precious girl’s soulmate! Wanna have some tea?'”
Hand on thrust-out hip, face opened in faux-brightness, she made a picture that could only incite Angel’s laughter. That, and her sarcasm was a welcome reprieve from the guilt he was harboring.
“I guess it won’t be an easy conversation, but do you have any other options?” He crossed the room to his closet, perusing the contents for something suitable.
Nose scrunched up in irritation, she turned sharply on a heel toward the bathroom. “No, smarty vamp, I don’t. Giles is the researchy guy. And we know this wasn’t something we thought up on our own.” Turning back, she eyed his muscled back appreciatively. “But I can’t say I didn’t have fun.”
She skittered away to the bathroom. He was pulling out a black silk shirt when he heard her gasp and wail through the half-closed door. She ran out a moment later, eyes wide, fingers pressed to his bite at her neck.
“What did you do to me?”
Angel sighed, then thanked whatever gods would listen when the phone rang with a call from Giles, saving him from an explanation he wasn’t prepared to give.
Giles’s hand lingered on the phone just a moment longer, his mind drifting as his own words and instructions to Angel faded away. He was so confused. And so unnervingly satisfied.
It was weird, this way that he felt right now. In all his life, Giles couldn’t remember a time that compared with this morning, a time when he’d felt so emotionally relaxed and physically uncomfortable, all at once. When he awoke, just before awareness crept over him, he hadn’t felt like he’d slept on the library floor all night. He’d felt as though he’d slept in a cloud of feathers, heated by the passion and warmth of a beautiful woman.
Then he’d shifted slightly, and pain had destroyed the bubble of pleasure surrounding him. Suddenly, every muscle ached and he had this weird feeling that something wasn’t right at all. The next few moments were the most astounding of his life: the discovery of Joyce in his arms.
And then, like a deluge of floodwater, hedonistic fragments of memory came rushing back to him. His whole body had flushed as he’d realized just how glorious making love to her had been. She was so different from him: smooth, golden, soft. They were a study of opposites, a beauty of contrasts that made his breath catch. She was a dream come to life. The perfect woman who’d always eluded him.
But she was Joyce.
It was different from the band candy incident, yet so much the same. Then, they’d been unaware of the candy’s influence on them, and they’d been subjected to all the hormonal rushes of teenagers without any of the conditioned inhibitions. But afterward, it had felt like two strangers had shagged wildly in public for the shock value of it.
He and Joyce had had only one conversation about their wild night together where they’d agreed never to speak of it again. Frankly, he could remember little of it now that time had faded, and he doubted that she could, either. Certainly he cherished the memories he did have, even if they seemed like images from a movie starring two strangers. Bottom line, he hadn’t been himself that night, and neither had she.
This time, however, it was as though two dear friends had found a soul connection and become cherished lovers. Last night, it was he, Rupert Giles, and she, Joyce Summers, who had lain in each others’ arms. Two friends with divided loyalties and unconfessed attraction for each other. It was as if all their inhibitions had been stripped away and they’d been left with only themselves, bare to the soul, free to act out their true feelings for each other in the most basic form of physical expression.
Giles sighed, burying his head in his hands as reality obliterated any euphoria that remained.
She was Buffy’s mother, for God’s sake. A woman he’d silently sworn to protect but never touch again. While the potential for a fiery and fulfilling relationship lay dormant between them, their responsibilities for Buffy were in direct contrast to one another, and it was a tacit agreement between them that contact of any kind would be minimal.
Touching her seemed tantamount to betrayal.
Just the thought of betraying her trust made him recoil inside. A shudder passed through Giles as he remembered how shocked she’d been to realize who he was and how embarrassed she’d seemed as she’d leaped up, gathered her clothes, and sailed out the door with apologies streaming behind her. As if the fault somehow lay with her.
At his desk, Giles rubbed his eyes in futility. Of all the people he knew, it had to be Joyce. A woman that he’d always been attracted to but could never have. Why couldn’t it have been some nameless woman? Someone he barely knew and could sever ties with quickly? Someone who wasn’t Buffy’s mother? Why did it have to be someone he’d have to see all the time and remember how it had felt to be inside her?
Desperate to escape this train of thought, Giles stood quickly, straightening the books on his desk. He was still reeling from the frantic phone call he’d received from Buffy just after her mother left, the one in which she’d told him of her wild night with Spike. Ten seconds after he hung up with Buffy the phone rang again, a shaky-voiced Willow on the other end, bewildered and sniffling over a hurried story of her own debacle with Xander.
A quickly placed call to Angel had confirmed the most unlikely union, the souled vampire with Cordelia. It seemed that everyone had suffered the effects of…well, something…last night. Damned if he knew what it was, though.
But blast it, he was going to find the answers to this mess if it killed him. If only he could make Joyce forget last night happened, maybe he could find his sanity again, too.
In the pre-dawn darkness, Cordelia chanced a quick glance over to Angel as they walked quickly through one of Sunnydale’s many cemeteries on a shortcut to the high school. Their feet made barely a sound on the damp grass, plumes of mist escaping from her lips as her warm breath made contact with the cool air. She shivered in her borrowed coat, the leather feeling decadent against her skin. She inhaled, taking in the earthy scent of leather and the deeper, darker complex scent she knew instinctively was Angel himself.
Her quick glance at his face hadn’t given her much information; he was staring straight ahead as they walked, his stoic expression set in granite. The hotly passionate lover she’d discovered last night had retreated beneath familiarly closed features. But that was where the fascination was, wasn’t it? How she’d never realized his fuddy-duddy ways were merely a facade?
They exited the cemetery and as the high school came into view, Cordelia seized up in anxiety, her feet coming to a halt on the sidewalk.
Angel noticed her abrupt stop immediately and turned to face her. Apprehension was written over every tense line on her face and his features softened as he came to stand in front of her, concerned brown eyes holding hers.
He was a bulwark of strength, and Cordelia felt her tension easing just from being in such close proximity to him. Her fingers tingled as she fought an urge to reach up and place her palms on his chest and take solace in his strength.
Forcing a smile to belie her jitters, she shook her head at him. “Um, you’re in my way.”
One dark eyebrow raised in amused disbelief. “You’re the one who stopped.”
“Rock in my shoe.”
“Uh-huh,” Angel answered dryly, half a smile on his handsome face. “Wanna try again?”
Sighing, Cordelia looked away from his knowing gaze. “So I don’t have a death wish. Is that so wrong?”
Confused, Angel looked from her to the high school behind him and then back again. “Death wish?”
“Duh,” she mocked. “Pissed off slayer versus gorgeous and fabulously manicured but defenseless regular girl. I think my Celebrity Deathmatch is gonna end up with my claymation head ripped off.”
The MTV reference went way over his head, but Angel ignored it. “Buffy won’t do anything. We’re not together anymore.”
“Right.” Disbelief colored her tone. “I don’t think the ‘Property of the Slayer’ tattoo on your butt comes off that easily.”
“I have a tattoo on my butt?”
She swatted his bicep. “Angel! You’re missing the point!”
He grinned and Cordelia was suddenly devoid of air. Damn, the man was beautiful.
“Look, we couldn’t help it. And you’re taking this all really well,” Angel commented softly, surprised at her lack of hysteria. The Cordelia Chase he’d known before last night was more likely to scream than anything else. She wasn’t bait girl for nothing.
She frowned at him. “What do you expect me to do? Cry?”
“Most girls would.”
“I’m not most girls,” she countered, and the twinkle in her eye caught him off-guard. Cordelia Chase had layers. From the looks of it, lots of them. He’d misjudged her; they all had.
“No, you certainly are not,” he admitted, and the small smile that curved his mouth made his eyes melt to the color of liquid milk chocolate. Strong hands rose to cup the soft skin of her jaw, and long fingers lightly traced over it as he searched her face for answers that neither of them had.
“You—” she gasped as his fingers slid over the bite marks on her neck. “You certainly knew what you were doing last night.”
He noted her sensitivity to his mark and felt an answering possessiveness deep within. “If you mean that I know how to please a woman in bed, you’re right. But I must’ve been delusional when I chose to be in bed with you.”
Shock, then annoyance snapped Cordy’s eyes open. “Delusional? I was that bad? I mean, I know I have no experience, but I have natural talent. At everything.”
A chuckle escaped him; he couldn’t help it. “That’s not what I meant. It’s just that this creates a world of problems for us. We may not be together, but I don’t want to hurt Buffy’s feelings unnecessarily.”
She sighed resignedly. “So you admit she might go postal on me.”
“She won’t.” There was a promise of protection in his voice that made her feel warm inside.
Softening against him, she added, “And Xander’s feelings, too.”
“I thought you didn’t care what Xander thought after he and Willow—well, you know,” he finished lamely.
“I don’t care what he thinks,” she insisted, but he could see the truth in her eyes. “But he’ll be mad anyway.”
Reluctantly, Angel slid his hands from her face and sighed. He stepped back.
“Let me at ’em,” she answered sarcastically, but the cool hand Angel slipped in hers went a long way to help her actually start moving again.