The sharp clack of Cordelia’s heels hitting the lobby floor shattered the haze of calculations and theorems that swam through Fred’s brain, pulling her away from the safe haven of numbers that she still felt the need to return to every once in a while.
“Is he coming down?” the Physicist asked from where she still sat in the middle of the Hyperion lobby, proud that she hadn’t retreated to the comforting shadows beneath Wesley’s desk.
Cordelia stood staring with glazed eyes at the dark corridor she had just come from.
“Huh?” the once Sunnydale head cheerleader blinked and dragged her gaze to the other woman.
“Angel? Is he coming downstairs?” Fred asked again, only to be rewarded with a blank look that soon flicked back to the top of the stairs, “Cordy?”
Cordelia chewed on her bottom lip, “hmm?”
“You OK?” the Texan asked her softly, her voice laced with genuine concern.
“What about him?”
“Is he OK?”
“Just peachy,” Cordelia muttered with frown as she turned on her heel and walked to her desk.
Wiping her grease stained hands on an equally grease stained rag, Fred extracted herself from behind the small mountain of metal and wire that was her latest attempt to be of some use to Angel Investigations and made her way over to the lobby counter. Fred watched curiously as Cordelia fiddled with the flotsam and jetsam that had built up on her desk, usually animated hazel eyes glazed over with a thousand mile stare, the kind of stare that Wesley had made his own of late.
The physicist rested her elbows on the counter as she studied Cordelia as though she were the subject of her latest science project.
The dark circles beneath Cordelia’s eyes, which they’d all noticed but never seemed to speak about, were gone. Her hazel eyes were bright, if distracted, tanned skin no longer tired but glowing.
Which is a good thing, Fred thought as she watched the other woman while she repeatedly picked up and put down the various items in front of her, Cordelia looked young and healthy, exactly as it should be. Yet it nagged something in the corner of the Texan’s busy brain.
As the Physicist watched Cordelia straighten the cup of pencils and yellow notepad for the third time since she’d sat at her desk, the sound of the front door whooshing open and shut announced either a client or a member of AI had arrived at the Hotel.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t a client. From the thump thump of heavy footfalls and the brush of what Fred guessed was denim, she knew it was Gunn without needing to turn around. In the short time she’d been here Fred had learnt all of their sounds, as she’d hidden in a room with nothing but a pen in her hand and the wall in front of her, the Texan had catalogued the noises that passed by her closed door. Cordelia’s clicking confident steps, Gunn’s easy amble, Wesley’s elegant stride. Angel was the only one she had trouble recognising, but she figured that was because he’d had a hundred and fifty odd years to practise not being seen or heard.
“Morning,” Fred quietly greeted the black man who now stood beside her, her eyes still glued to where Cordelia sat. The Seer had graduated from blindly tidying her desk to crossing and uncrossing her legs while manicured nails tapped a random beat against the arm of her chair.
“Whatcha doin?” Gunn asked, his gaze flickering between the brunette beside him and the brunette fidgeting like a nervous squirrel.
“Watching Cordelia,” Fred whispered theatrically out of the corner of her mouth.
“OK,” he nodded slowly, confused.
Slow seconds ticked by as the pair silently observed Cordelia.
She crossed her legs.
Tapped her pen against the edge of the desk.
Quickly turned the pages of the magazine she’d been earlier been entranced with, glossy images that had almost hypnotised her now flashed by unnoticed.
“Why are we watching Cordy?” Gunn whispered as the woman in question began to chew her nails.
“What’s-” Gunn started to ask what the deal was with Barbie but the question became lost in his throat as Cordelia stood, her chair rolling behind her and colliding with a filing cabinet with a dull thud.
“Angel,” said Cordelia, noticing for the first time that she wasn’t alone.
“No,” Fred shook her head slowly, “Fred and Charles,” the Texan said their names slowly as though she were talking to a child.
“What?” Cordelia gave her the Fred’s acting weird again look that they all used at one time or another.
Fred frowned and tried again, “I’m Fred and this is-”
“Hey,” Angel spoke up from were he was standing behind them.
The vampire tried not to laugh at the way Fred and Gunn startled with surprise.
“You did that on purpose,” Gunn attempted to regain his cool calm exterior after having jumped what felt like a foot in the air.
“Maybe a little,” Angel shrugged, the corner of his mouth twitching into what may either have been a smile or the beginning of a nervous tick. “No Wes this morning?” he asked, the ex watcher’s scent was all over the black man.
Sex and misery. It was a potent aroma.
“How should I know?” grunted Gunn, he didn’t want to think about the man he had just walked away from, didn’t want to think about those three words he’d promised himself he’d never say. He didn’t want to think, period. Before Angel could ask him anything else that might make him think about confessions of love and damning silences, Gunn hustled his way around the counter and sat down heavily on the edge of Cordelia’s desk.
“OK then,” Angel muttered under his breath, his eyes purposely not meeting Cordelia’s. He could feel her eyes on him, confused about the scene upstairs.
The urge to look her way twisted in his gut, give her a reassuring smile, everything is fine, just in a weird mood. The vampire could smell her nervousness from where he stood, trepidation and confusion mixed with the lingering scent of sex.
Of him. Of them.
Angel swallowed and dug his hands into his pockets, if he looked at Cordelia right now he had a feeling he’d do something stupid.
“Sorry about not calling in last night,” he apologised to Fred because Fred was safe, he hadn’t seen her naked, hadn’t licked the curve of her hip bone, she didn’t smell of sex and need and….actually, she kinda smelt like Lorne. A whole lot of Lorne, in fact.
Angel tried not to think about that too much.
“Uh huh,” Fred cocked an eyebrow at him.
“I guess we forgot,” Angel answered contritely.
“So I heard,” the Texan nodded and returned to the dangerous heap of metal and wire that sat ignored on the lobby floor. Scratching the back of his head, Angel struggled to find the words to quell the skinny Physicists annoyance.
This would usually be where Cordelia stepped in.
With that thought Angel’s gaze finally locked onto his best friend, she sat once more at her desk, her face tilted upwards with concern as she quietly asked Gunn what was troubling him. The black man offered a weak smile and squeezed the feminine hand that rested on his thigh.
Angel’s fists clenched as if to contain the violence that threatened to spill out of his fingertips as the demon rattled an angry howl of ownership through his skeleton, for a terrible moment the vampire saw himself ripping Gunn’s head from his shoulders in a bloody display of ownership…and enjoying it. The urge to take Cordelia away from the other man rose up overwhelmingly in his borrowed blood, to throw her over his shoulder or drag her upstairs by her hair and claim what was hi-
With a sharp shake of his head, Angel tried to dispel the primal whisperings of his demon.
The demon wanted and it terrified the soul.
The soul loved and it angered the demon.
All Angel could do was batten down his baser urges and wait for it to pass, if it ever would. He’d thought he’d accomplished that upstairs in his room, the ritual of sitting alone in the shadows until the whisperings went unnoticed had helped to quell the want but upon seeing Cordelia, the woman who’s scent still lingered on his tongue, his demon pulled sharply at it’s leash.
“Angel?” Fred’s voice sounded in the recesses of his brain, Angel struggled to tear his gaze away from where Cordelia was still affectionately stroking Gunn’s thigh, silently telling himself it was just a platonic gesture of comfort and even if it were anything else (and from the smell of Wesley and sex that shrouded the black man Angel was certain it wasn’t), it would be none of his business because he and Cordelia were nothing but friends.
Cordelia was just his friend, co-worker, seer, the woman who’d promised to be with him until he became human, no matter how long it took. Cordy, who tastes of equal parts night and day, of woman, of desire that-
OK, now Fred had his full attention.
“Yes?” Angel turned his back to Cordelia and Gunn so his eyes wouldn’t be tempted to drift back to them.
“This is the worst apology I’ve ever been part of,” the Texan told him dryly, but the amusement in her eyes belied her tone.
“Sorry,” he gave her his patented half smile and crouched down beside her even as every cell in Angel’s body told him go over to Cordelia’s desk, take her upstairs and-
“They’re just friends, Angel.”
“What?” the vampire blinked, frightened that Fred had somehow developed the ability to read minds.
“Cordelia and Charles, you shouldn’t be jealous, they’re just friends.”
“I’m not jealous,” Angel declared.
Fred looked at Angel evenly, her silence made him uncomfortable.
“I’m not jealous, why would I be jealous?”
Still he was answered with nothing but a knowing silence from the Physicist.
“Fred, for the last time, there’s nothing-”
“Going on between you and Cordy, yeah, that’s what she said. Just like there’s nothing going between Wesley and Charles,” Fred rolled her eyes, “y’all need to stop lying to yourselves and each other, it’ll just end badly.”
The sudden sweet sound of Cordelia laughing made whatever Angel was about to say die an instant death in his mouth. Usually, the sound of her laughter, which had been horribly infrequent since the visions had begun to take their toll, would bring a smile to the vampire’s face, whether he was aware of it or not. But this time, knowing it was Gunn that had caused that sweet sound, Gunn, whose thigh she had been touching, Angel scowled.
Fred noticed the vampire’s dark expression and felt a twist of fear in her belly, or maybe that was the cold pizza she’d had for breakfast. Whatever it was soon dissipated though as she watched his scowl turn into undisguided confusion. Fred reached out and patted his shoulder sympathetically, she of all people understood how confusing it was when you fell in love with someone you shouldn’t.
“So, what’s this do?” Angel asked her, changing the subject and hopefully putting a stop to the pitying way she was looking at him.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you,” Fred warned but it was too late, Angel had already pressed the red button that she hadn’t had time to mark with a caution label. The vampire ducked as a large throwing axe shot out from the middle of Fred’s waffle iron of death and whistled past his ear, wincing at the loud thud that resonated as it imbedded itself into the wall behind them.
“Cool.” Angel nodded, impressed.
“If you hurt her, Wesley Charles and Lorne will hunt you down and cut off your head,” Fred said before she could stop herself.
“Just thought I should let you know,” she smiled and nudged her glasses up her nose. Not waiting for his reply, not that he actually had one, Fred stood and ambled over to the other side of the lobby where she used both hands and all her strength to prise the axe from the wall.
Unfortunately it stuck firm.
“Um, a little help here?” Fred called over her shoulder.
“What’s up with the vampire?” Gunn nodded over to where they could hear the crunch of Angel pulling the something out of the wall.
“Why does everyone keep asking me that? I’m not his keeper,” Cordelia snapped, shifting irritably in her seat.
“No need to get your panties in a twist there, Barbie.”
“I don’t think Wes would be too happy hearing you talk about my delicates.”
Gunn’s only reply was a raised eyebrow.
Cordelia saw that eyebrow and raised one of her own.
They’d reached a stalemate.
“Wanna change the subject?” Gunn asked hopefully.
“Works for me,” nodded Cordelia, she didn’t want to talk about Angel’s testy mood and Gunn didn’t want to talk about whatever it was that had caused the hurt that was so plainly etched in his eyes. Cordelia had tried to wheedle the information out of him of course, but the men of Angel Inc. weren’t exactly know for being chatty Kathys about their love lives.
“So, what have we got on our favourite stalker?”
“Unsurprisingly, very little,” Cordelia sighed opening the case file that never seemed to leave her desk. “We really suck at the whole detecting gig, don’t we? Of course it didn’t help that the powers deemed it the perfect time to send me a vision just as creepy Dan was inviting me back to his place. Stupid PTB.”
“Or smart PTB,” Gunn shrugged, none of them had liked using Cordelia as the bait the night before, Cordelia least of all, but they’d had little choice. What little they did know about the thing that was stalking their client was that it was dangerous. Very dangerous. “Maybe they thought you were in over your head and sent a little divine intervention?”
“What, don’t you think I could have taken him?” she narrowed her eyes at him.
“No offence kid, but you’re not exactly known for your fighting skills.”
“Hey, I’m perfectly capable of looking after myself!”
“Sure you are,” Gunn nodded patronisingly.
“I’ll have you know one time I took on a whole bunch of demons armed with nothing but a spatula.” Cordelia stated proudly, but frowned when she remembered that wasn’t quite true. “The Slayer may have helped. A little.”
Gunn snorted with laughter and Cordelia felt the worry that had been growing inside her for her two friends ease a little. As long as the black man could laugh things couldn’t be that bad, right?
“Laugh it up chuckles,” Cordelia stood and poked a sharp finger into his chest, “have you forgotten the concussion I gave one of your boys? I bet I could kick your ass,” she crossed her arms over her chest with a smirk, a mischievous glint in her eye.
“Woman, you couldn’t even bruise this beautiful body,” Gunn spread his arms out by his sides, puffing out his chest like the alpha male he was.
“Is that so?” Cordelia unsuccessfully fought against the grin that was threatening to spread across her face.
“Come on then, lets see what you’ve got,” fists raised in front of her, Cordelia bounced on her toes in before him.
“Careful, you might break a nail.”
“Scared an itty bitty little woman might dent that enormous ego of yours?” Cordelia threw a couple playful punches at his shoulder.
“Move over Tyson, there’s a new slugger in town,” he laughed and wondered if Cordelia realised just how ridiculous she looked.
Theirs was a cherished friendship, no awkward silences or broken hearts, no shattered expectations or vision induced desire. It was simple, easy, and as Gunn barely even swayed against Cordelia’s playful punches, the black man ached to have simplicity with Wesley. They’d had it once, comrades in arms, unlikely best friends, but sex and love had torn apart the simplest parts of their relationship and Gunn knew nothing could ever bring them back. If only he hadn’t said it, felt it, if only Wesley wasn’t so terrified, if only-
“You could at least pay attention while I’m trying to kick your ass,” Cordelia ceased her attack and stepped into the gap between Gunn’s legs, her hands anchored onto his broad shoulders with a concerned squeeze, “Gunn, you know you can tell me anything, right?”
In that moment he wanted to tell Cordelia, wanted to share the burden of the three little words he shouldn’t have said, tell her how wonderful it had been at the beginning, let out all the emotions he’d so guardedly held within for so long.
Cordelia watched as Gunn opened and closed his mouth, silent words forming but losing the battle for life as they were once again swallowed down. He looked at her with apologetic eyes and a gentle moment of understanding blanketed the pair.
“OK, I’ll quit nagging,” Cordelia acquiesced with a kiss pressed to the top of his bald head. Gunn’s arms circled the her waist, accepting the comfort offered with a smile.
“Isn’t there work we should be doing?” the vampire’s bass timbre shattered their peaceful embrace.
Cordelia felt her stomach flip at the sound of Angel’s voice, oddly roughened with anger, the cause of which she knew not. Stepping out of the circle of Gunn’s arms, Cordelia turned to face Angel, arms folded across his chest, jaw visibly twitching with tension as he glared at the black man.
Angel finally met her gaze for the first time since he’d joined them downstairs.
It was there again, in his eyes, the same eyes she’d found herself lost in upstairs as his strong hand had possessed her wrist for that infinite moment, silent promises of nights filled with unquenchable desire, mouths gasping, hands claiming, flesh painted with sweat and moonlight as he gave her everything he had, his, she was his, no one elses, not anymore, the rasp of cotton sheets against her back, his lips anchored to the curve of her shoulder, brutal in his beauty, raw in his passion, and all of it for her….
The prickle of heat across her skin told Cordelia she was blushing.
The heat between her thighs told Cordelia she needed to get as far away from the vampire as she could.
She watched mutely as the vampire’s nostrils flared, the brunette didn’t even want to consider what it was he was scenting, but she had a good idea anyway and it made the light pink flush on Cordelia’s cheeks darken to crimson.
Then he was gone without another word, the door to the basement slamming in his wake.
“Is it just me or is Angel looking like he might be heading towards another epiphany? And not a good one,” Gunn wondered out loud.
A loud crash resonated from the basement.
They were going to need to buy a new punch bag.
Wesley sighed as he let himself slump against the back of the sofa, the dull throb of a headache forming behind his eyes. The coffee table in front of him was awash with books and weathered parchment, each passage contradicting the next, translations that refused to match no matter how many times he tried.
He slipped off his glasses and rubbed his eyes, the urge to reach for the bottle of Scotch that sat temptingly close was strong but he resisted. The ex watcher needed to concentrate and alcohol wasn’t going to help.
Wesley squinted at his watch with tired eyes, five o’clock, day was inching towards evening at a snails pace and the prophecy was still no clearer than the first time he’d stumbled across it weeks ago. The Englishman found himself wishing he hadn’t called the Hotel earlier to tell Cordelia that he wouldn’t be in today, using the excuse of a headache to explain his unusual absence, but he had and was now stuck with the pleasure of his own company for too many hours.
It wasn’t that he was avoiding Gunn, Wesley had convinced himself as he’d dialled the Hyperion’s phone number, he was just…taking a personal day. Yes, that was it. Taking a personal day to tackle the pile of laundry that had sat ignored in his bathroom, pick a few things up from the market, call some old friends in England to catch up.
Yet the laundry still sat unnoticed, cupboards were still bare, England went uncalled.
Too caught up in trying to translate the prophecy, Wesley argued with the guilty little voice that whispered in his head. I’m not avoiding Gunn, I simply need to make sense of this last passage, it’s important, well, it’s probably important, if it’s a prophecy at all and not just some mystical shopping list written in what is starting to resemble Sanskrit.
He wasn’t avoiding Gunn.
Slipping on his glasses with yet another sigh, Wesley picked up the large tome from the small table and resumed his reading.
Coward, his Father’s stern voice whispered in his brain.
Wesley was beginning to believe the old man was right.
The Hyperion was too quiet and it was giving Cordelia the weebies. The snap of the filing cabinet closing echoed around the vacant Hotel and the young woman found herself wincing at the sudden interruption to the silence, like she’d somehow offended it. Being alone in the imposingly large building wasn’t high up on her list of fun things to do of an evening, she should be out being young and carefree at some fabulous star studded party, not tiptoeing around the empty office waiting for the resident vampire to return from wherever it was he’d disappeared to for the entire day.
Hell, Fred had a better social life than she did, OK, it was only dinner with Lorne, but still, Cordelia silently grumbled to herself as she strolled into the lobby, even that’s better than attacking the solved case files just for something to do.
The only advantage of sitting amongst the sea of paper and post-it notes was that if she was thinking about why Mr Fowley was filed under G then she wasn’t thinking about Angel and the way he kept looking at her.
Because Cordelia really didn’t want to think about that.
So, Fowley was under G because….?
No, there was no logical reason for it. He hadn’t been German, he didn’t somewhat resemble a gerbil, he hadn’t groped her ass during any of the times he’d been in the office.
Oh, wait, maybe it was a K?
“Ugh,” she groaned and threw Mr Fowley onto the increasingly large, unstable pile of files. Cordelia’s back ached, her eyes were tired from reading in the dim light and her body was refusing to co-operate with her brain. Actually, her brain was refusing to co-operate with her brain.
All the case files in the world wouldn’t be enough to erase the dark gaze-
“No, I’m not thinking about it,” Cordelia declared, her voice ricocheting around the empty office, “very much with the not thinking about it. In fact, there’s nothing to think about. Uh huh, this is me not thinking about nothing,” she frowned, “or, you makes know, something that actually makes sense.”
Unable to force her concentration for a moment longer, Cordelia stood up and stretched her arms over her head with a satisfied groan as tense muscles were forced into movement for the first time in an hour.
“Why didn’t I take up Gunn’s offer of pizza and a movie?” the young woman asked the vacant air in front of her as she carefully stepped around the mountain of solved cases and made her way into the silent lobby.
But Cordelia knew why, it was just wrapped up in the quagmire of things she was very much not thinking about.
He seemed…jealous, the thought sprang up in her mind out of nowhere.
“Shut up brain,” she muttered as she began to pace the floor.
No, he didn’t seem jealous, he was jealous, her brain amended. It was there for all to see in the dark possession that simmered in his eyes, in the taught line of his jaw, in his tight, clipped words.
Jealous of Gunn.
“Which is ridiculous!” Cordelia exclaimed as she continued to wear a groove in the floor, “Angel has *no* reason to be jealous of Gunn, we’re friends, nothing more, not even friends that have sex, and hello? Gunn? Very much in love with Wesley, even if it is a great big stupid secret.”
Wait, Cordelia literally stopped in her tracks, that’s not the point here.
“Angel shouldn’t be jealous because he and I aren’t together like that…except,” she realised, “we kinda are. Even if it’s just so the visions won’t kill me and exactly how insane does that sound? Sex to stop dying? The PTB so need to get themselves a hobby.”
Going off topic again Cor, she reminded herself.
Cordelia sat down on the nearest sofa with a defeated ugh.
It was no good, she was thinking about it now and couldn’t stop.
“This is because of the oral sex,” Cordelia narrowed her eyes accusingly. “everything was fine before the oral sex.”
“Well then,” she stood up as she came to a decision, “we just won’t do that again and everything will be Jim Dandy. Easy. No harm, no foul, it’s not like it’s necessary or anything.”
But you liked it, a voice that sounded suspiciously like Faith murmured in her brain.
“That’s not the point, it was unnecessary-”
Who gives a crap if was necessary or not, it was *good*.
You enjoyed it.
You want him to do it again.
“I really don’t.”
The way the stubble on his jaw brushed against the inside of your thigh, the way his tongue-
“I’m not listening, I’m not listening, I’m not listening!”
Cordelia covered her ears with her hand and screwed her eyes firmly shut, until the devil on her shoulder was drowned out by her loud denials.
Arguing with the voices in her head? It was official. She’d finally lost her mind.
“Ugh!” she stamped her foot against the tiled floor like a spoilt child.
When two strong, increasingly familiar, hands grasped her shoulders, Cordelia let out a yelp of surprise.
“Is it a vision?” Angel demanded, face taught with concern as he almost lifted her feet off the ground.
It took Cordelia exactly three cartoon blinks to figure out what Angel was saying.
“No,” she shrugged out of his grip, “eager, much?”
Angel opened his mouth to say something but quickly changed his mind, instead he opted to take a safe step away from her.
A full minute ticked by in nothing but silence.
One minute became two.
Two became three.
“Where have you been?” Cordelia broke the uncomfortable stand-off.
“Out,” the vampire shrugged.
“Still in a fabulous mood I see,” she arched an eyebrow at him.
“On your own?” the vampire ignored her comment.
“No Gunn?” Angel said the black man’s name as though it left a bad taste in his mouth.
“No,” Cordelia crossed her arms over her chest and stood her ground.
“Thought the two of you might be….”
Angel raised his eyebrows but didn’t answer her question.
“Look, I don’t know what bug has crawled up your butt today but I have a feeling it has to do with last nights….” Cordelia wiggled her hand and jiggled her eyebrows, ignoring the issues Angel suddenly seemed to have with Gunn.
Still she was answered with nothing but an impenetrable silence.
A furious flush of pink burst suddenly across her cheeks as Cordelia desperately struggled to find the words she needed to say, her eyes darted maniacally around the lobby, anywhere as long as it wasn’t Angel.
Why is this so difficult? she thought frantically, it hadn’t been this difficult last night, or even this morning for that matter, OK, it was a *little* awkward this morning but not like this. What changed? This is all his fault, his stupid, jealous, dumbass, socially inept, orally fixated fault!
And why isn’t he disputing the fact that his crappy mood is because he went down on me? He’s meant to be disputing!
“You know, it’s not like I made you do it,” Cordelia bit out defensively, now more angry than embarrassed.
A muscle twitched in Angel’s jaw.
“So,” she flicked her hair over her shoulder, trying for carefree but only managing jumpy, “I’m thinking that should go on the list of things we don’t do, cos it’s making you all-”
She felt it in the base of her skull first, a prickly tingle, like an army of spiders were crawling beneath her skin and into her brain.
“Oh you have GOT to be kidding me!” yelled Cordelia as the vision began to splinter through her brain.
An alley, familiar, the cold yellow lights of a club, footsteps behind her, getting closer, thick black dread in the pit of her stomach, he’s found her….
A cool finger trailing down the middle of back, a flush of goose bumps and desire as a kiss was stolen from the nape of her neck….
Hard pavement, cold metal, hot burn slicing through flesh….
Shuddering breath, rumpled sheets, soft laughter….
Blonde hair matted with blood and dirt, clothes ripped, thighs torn, hate staining the air….
His hands on her breasts, chin on her shoulder, safe, wanted, forever….
“Oh,” Cordelia blinked as the vision ebbed away and the world gradually came back into a fuzzy focus.
“You OK?” Angel asked her softly, the anger and jealousy he’d been battling with for most of the day now nowhere in sight in the face of what really mattered.
“I-” she trailed off as the emotions she’d felt just before the flashes ended continued to make her skin tingle and her heart beat just a little too fast. With unsure fingers, Angel smoothed down the few strands of hair that had tangled as Cordelia had convulsed in his arms on the lobby floor. Hazel eyes met his own brown orbs and Angel felt his arms tighten around her of their own volition.
“What did you see?” his voice was barely a whisper, scared that anything louder would shatter the way Cordelia was looking at him.
“Forever….” Cordelia murmured as her nails grazed gently across the back of his neck, Angel’s gaze became lost on the plump flesh of her bottom lip, the cadence of the word linger on the glistening pink.
He wanted to hear it again.
“Shit!” Cordelia said instead as she bolted out of his arms as the important part of the vision suddenly burst to the forefront of her brain and how exactly had they end up so tangled around each other so quickly? the thought rose unbidden in her brain as she swayed slightly at the too fast movement.
“Huh?” Angel blinked.
“Vision, try to pay attention!” she snapped sharply, ignoring the way her skin felt as though it were humming from his embrace.
“Right,” he nodded, ignoring the way his fingers itched to touch her, “what did you see?” Angel repeated his earlier question, a large part of him hoping she’d repeat her earlier answer even though he knew she wouldn’t.
“Only our favourite stalker getting all homicidal with some poor clueless blonde!” she exclaimed, her eyes wide with shared terror.
“Not our client….um, Andie?” Angel asked, shamed that he couldn’t recall her name.
“No, Amy’s a brunette, this girl was definitely blonde,” Cordelia shuddered as flashes of blonde hair matted with blood assaulted her memory.
“Where and when?”
“Behind the club we were at last night and like, now.”
With that Angel strode over to the weapons cabinet.
“We should call the guys,” she trailed after him.
“I thought you said there wasn’t much time?”
“Then we shouldn’t waste it.”
“Fine. Gimme an axe,” Cordelia relented, her hand outstretched as she waited to be passed a weapon.
“You’re staying here,” the vampire ordered as he plucked out a long broad sword.
“I’m really not,” she grasped a small throwing axe only to have it snatched back out of her hand.
“Cordelia,” he sighed, irritated.
“Angel,” the young woman mimicked his annoyed tone as she snagged the axe back.
“You’re not coming,” Angel reclaimed the weapon.
“Yes, I am,” Cordelia stole the axe once more but this time hid it behind her back before he could make a move for it. “Look, we can either spend the rest of the evening playing pass the parcel or we can go and save the very scared girl who’s about to have her intestines torn out and worn as a tiara. I know which one I’m gonna do,” with that she turned her back on him and made it exactly two steps towards the door before the vampire caught her arm, halting her dramatic exit.
“It’s not your decision to make.”
“Excuse me?” Cordelia instantly bristled.
“Warrior” Angel gestured to himself then pointed at Cordelia, “Seer. Do you need it spelt out for you?” he saw a flash of hurt pass over her face but it quickly turned to righteous anger.
“You know, you’re really starting to piss me off,” hands on her hips, foot tapping an irate rhythm.
“Look, just go upstairs and-”
“Wait for the big Warrior vampire to get home like a good little woman? Pfft!”
“I wasn’t going to say that!” Angel barked angrily, not that it had any effect on the young woman. With a deep breath the vampire tried to calm himself down, his entire body felt like it were on edge, his demon pulling roughly on it’s leash ever since the night before.
Angel knew from experience that ordering Cordelia didn’t work, so he tried a different tact.
“Cordy, listen to me, this guy knows you now, if things go wrong you’ll be the one he goes after, I’m not willing to take that risk.”
Cordelia knew he didn’t want her to be in any danger, that he was worried his best friend would somehow get hurt, that his ordering her to stay here was just his way of looking after her.
She understood, she really did.
“Tough,” Cordelia hissed furiously, turning on her heel and stomping out of the Hotel before Angel could stop her.
She was just too pissed off to care.