Title: Night Moves
Category: Full of Angst. A little Blood and Gore. A lot of Sexual Tension and Situations
Summary: A Darkness Within fic. A blending and twisting of ‘Hero’ and ‘Somnambulist’ with Wesley arriving shortly after Angel’s old friend Penn begins to play.
Spoilers: Season 1
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
TIO GTCA. anyone else please ask first
Thanks/Dedication:Written for Darkness Within.
“We’ll get a case.” Except for a furrowed brow, Angel’s expression was almost blank as he peered at the door. “Things always work out; you know that.”
Less than surprised to find Cordelia in his bathroom when he returned, Angel looked around the small apartment. His usual confusion setting in when he didn’t find the expected selection of rented movies. That’s how it had happened last month. Cordelia had shown up at his door, videos in hand, eyes lost in hopes of not spending the night alone with painful memories.
It had been exactly two months since they’d lost Doyle and Cordelia had received his special gift. So Angel had assumed Cordelia would be waiting, videos laid out for him to pick their first movie; but maybe he’d assumed wrong. For the past couple of weeks she had complained practically non-stop about their lack of paying clients, suggesting that The Powers might cut her some slack if he was busy working on a case.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the acting business it’s that you can’t wait for opportunity to come to you.” Cordelia yelled back from her side of the door. “So get your butt out there and find us a paying client. One of us has rent due.”
“We have to pay rent on the office too.” He countered, not sure why it sounded like an acceptable comeback in his head.
“Yea but office rent gives you a place to live. What about me?”
“If things get too tight…” The thought drifted to memories of another time Cordelia had lived with him. It had not worked well for either of them. Cordelia’s lack of respect for others’ personal space the least of his uncomfortable difficulties with their brief arrangement.
Angel caught the scent of her perfume, its taste lingering in his throat. Odd, he mused; Cordelia normally saved the expensive fragrance for the occasional date. Dates she rarely bothered with anymore.
His bathroom door opened, the view greeting him not the expected sweats and t-shirt. Her hair was swept up in a loose bunch of curls leaving soft shoulders and a flawless neck exposed. Dark eyes were drawn to full lips enhanced by deep crimson gloss before traveling down her body. The black dress clung to curving peaks and valleys while two narrow straps pretended to hold it in place. Barely more than a slip, Angel mentally noted as he continued the slow trail of slender legs until stopping at black, shiny pumps.
“I thought we were watching movies tonight.”
“You maybe; but I intend to steal into the night with an incredibly handsome, and wealthy prince.”
“You have a date?” He voice blew a gravelly rasp. His throat unusually dry, it tightened against his attempts to swallow.
“Makes your life seem a tad drab, doesn’t it?”
“Cordelia, money can’t buy happiness.”
“Says the man that doesn’t have any.”
Biting hard into her tongue, she pushed back the surge of guilt as hurt washed over Angel’s face. Cordelia didn’t want to hurt him, and she didn’t want to leave him; but she had fled her past in search of a better life, and was determined this wasn’t it.
In his desperation to preserve the visions, Doyle had made a mistake. Cordelia Chase wasn’t meant to be vision girl, and she certainly wasn’t Buffy Summers. She didn’t intend to fight evil and love a vampire. Once she was gone The Powers would send a new seer. Angel didn’t need her, he only needed a source for the visions.
Relieved to hear the faint knock on the outer door, Cordelia released an audible sigh. “If I’m not here in the morning, start without me.” She murmured before scurrying up the stairs, refusing to notice the heavy boots grazing the back of her heels.
“You look amazing.” The young man offered too eagerly.
Cordelia flashed a brilliant smile, ignoring his over executed adulation. “Do I?” She innocently feigned her surprise, and glancing back at Angel offered a quick, “let’s go.”
“What’s your hurry Cordelia? You didn’t even introduce me to your friend.” Angel interjected, halting their swift departure.
“Fine! Angel…Pierce. Pierce…Angel. Happy now? Goodnight.” Cordelia grabbed her date’s arm, literally tugging him toward the door.
“You work, Pierce?” Angel casually enquired, hiking his thigh up to rest on the edge of Cordelia’s desk.
“I trade, futures and options market.” His smug expression evidence of his assumed superiority.
“Hard to find a good restaurant on short notice, reservations I hope.”
“Le Petite Renard.” Pierce answered almost mechanically, leaning down to whisper at Cordelia’s ear. “Is this your employer or brother?”
“Le Petite Renard, nice place. I hear the duck is a bit dry.” Angel droned, and setting aside plans to correct any misconception of his and Cordelia’s relationship, quickly committed the location to memory. “Cordelia, how late will you be?”
“Let me see.” She feigned contemplation, brightly polished nails tapping against her chin. “Oh, I know; don’t wait up.”
Again Cordelia snatched her date’s arm, and ignoring his protests sprinted to the door as fast as her four inch heels would cooperate.
Angel stood alone in the quiet office. He had planned to spend the evening with Cordelia, sharing their grief over a fallen friend. He couldn’t remember ever doing that. Willingly sharing his brooding time with anyone, and actually looking forward to it.
He tossed the book onto his desk. Reading and solitude just wasn’t doing it for him tonight. Perhaps tonight required something more acroamatic. A little Aristotle would fulfill that order, but Angel doubted he commanded that level of patient at the moment. Maybe a Greek tragedy was what his night needed. His life felt pretty much like a tragedy.
Angel smelled Cordelia before he heard the clickety-clack of her heels. The expensive fragrance, her unique scent, but it was the fresh aroma of salty moisture that caught his attention.
Cordelia was wrapped inside Angel’s arms instantly. She was safe, and if a few minutes of honesty could be managed, it was where she wanted to be. Her body fit perfectly inside his; pressed against the contours of his chest, soft and hard melted into a seamless union.
She could stay here forever, wrapped inside the haven of Angel’s body; but then her fate would be sealed. Cordelia Chase would fight evil and love a vampire. The choice was too easy, too simple. Proof it had to be the wrong choice.
“Men are spineless pigs!” She hissed, pushing Angel away.
Her hair fell from the gold clamp, flowing down her back; her dress was dirty and torn. Pierce would die, but first, Angel needed details then he could decide how long the young man’s death would last.
“Cordelia, what happened? Did he hurt you?”
“What happened! What does it look like? I was attacked by one of your relatives…and my handsome prince ran off, screaming like a girl.”
Little had changed, her attacker would die after a sufficient amount of suffering. However, Cordelia’s trauma held one small morsel of good. It proved Angel’s point. She need him just as much as he needed her.
“Looks and money don’t guarantee a man can protect you.”
“Well excuse me for forgetting to ask if he had a spine. Silly me, I thought it was enough that he could keep me in little blue boxes for the rest of my life.”
Cordelia slumped into a chair, her hands sliding up and down the length of her legs.
“Tiffany’s. God, keep up! I listened to that wimp gab all through dinner about pigs and beans, and fractions…and things spreading.”
Angel needed a distraction. Cordelia was talking about things spreading. He needed to concentrate on her needs, which would keep wandering thoughts off his needs.
“So if Mr. Money Bag bailed, how did you escape the vampire?”
“Took him out with my ever fashionable and multi-tasking Louis Vuittons.” Cordelia lifted her leg out and up, pointing the unsuspecting weapon in Angel’s face. “They’re left over from my days of financial status. Back then six hundred and eighty dollars was a steal.”
Eyes turning dark, they faded into the shadows. From his new vantage point it was safe for wandering eyes to roll up the length of presented flesh, from the deadly tip of her four inch stiletto to the even deadlier juncture of her thighs. His jaw clinched, his misbehaving groin twitching under the burden of self control.
Her leg quivered against the pull of gravity, and control momentarily in place, Angel wrapped his fingers around her ankle guiding the warm limb back to the floor.
“I’ve seen enough.”
Angel had come to LA to avoid these situations, but this wasn’t avoiding. This was making avoidance harder to endure. Only when the face remained a stranger after the clothes went back on would the few people that mattered remain safe. Lust would be sated in a dingy back room with bodies skilled but uncaring, or not at all.
“Come on. I’ll drop you off on the way.”
“On the way to what?”
“I have something to take care of.”
“Can’t I go?” Cordelia asked, innocently unaware of the forbidden thoughts concentrated on her.
“No.” His voice was gruff. Even if he could explain, Cordelia wouldn’t like the explanation. “Trust me, you don’t want to know.”
“Oh, gonna be messy huh?”
“With any luck.”
Her night had been a disaster. Pierce being a boring and spineless jellyfish only a small piece of the disaster overwhelming Cordelia’s life. Suddenly rich and handsome weren’t enough; she needed brave and interesting; and God forbid, substance. This was Angel and Doyle’s fault, and they weren’t getting away with it.
A new rule was in place; one she refused to break even for Angel. Cordelia had braved that uncharted path with Xander Harris, and would rather die than tackle another fixer-upper. Angel wasn’t a total loss, he did have hidden depths; but he loved Buffy. At least he did, and whether that was still true or not didn’t matter. A fixer-upper with a broken heart was too much to take on, even for Cordelia Chase.
She needed a good night’s sleep. Too many serious thoughts made a girl…well too serious. Tomorrow, when the sun was shining, everything would fall into place. And just as likely, Cordelia mused, the IRS would give back her inheritance.
His night had gone from bad to worse. First Cordelia had ditched him for a loser simply because he had money and status. Then she had run into his arms long enough to arouse those pesky yearnings that were getting harder to suppress.
Even his secret place had been a disappointment. The one that didn’t mind appeasing the needs of a vampire with a soul. And if the bodies of strangers lost their appeal, where did that leave him? With pent-up frustrations and hungry for more than warm, fresh blood, that’s where.
Angel’s immediate problem was far worse than his fading attraction to a brothel. Cordelia would be returning in a few hours, oblivious to what might be waiting for her if he didn’t get a handle on his emotions.
Sleep was out of the question. Sleep led to dreams, and lately dreams led him to the joys of killing. Even if it was only his subconscious, Angel couldn’t risk getting comfortable with the familiarity of his bloody past. The sun would be up soon, and control was always easier in the light of day. Yea right, Angel mused, and the Gypsies will tell me my soul is mine free and clear.
To say things had been tense the past week would be an understatement. Cordelia and Angel were being civil, and Cordelia hated forced politeness. Better to just say what’s on your mind and hurt feelings be damned. Civil was not how she and Angel worked. She talked, Angel ignored, they bickered then took care of each other. Their system worked for them…until lately.
The one bright spot in her dismal world? Kate Lockley had come by this morning with colorful snapshots of dead people. The work of LA’s newest serial killer. And Angel being, well Angel, had rushed to help the blonde detective slash damsel in distress.
Like all bright spots did, Cordelia’s had a downside; and being a lucky girl, hers had two. Angel had gruffly announced, in front of Kate no less, her job was answering phones and filing not working cases.
Being left behind wasn’t Cordelia’s quandary. That small development could easily become personalized alone time. No, her wrath was directed at Angel’s easy acceptance that they wouldn’t be paid for their services.
Concentration on her paperwork didn’t take long since she didn’t have any. More time for me, Cordelia reasoned, her eyes traveling to the open doorway of Angel’s office for the umpteenth time. Kate’s file was in there. The one with notes and obviously grotesque pictures Angel refused to let her see.
Angel didn’t lock them away and he knew her to be snoop; so it stood to reason he expected her to sneak a peak behind his back.
Bracing herself for a horror show, the pictures were almost a let down. Not at all what she had expected. The victims hadn’t been mutilated; so why was Angel so insistent that she not see the them? All the victims were young, and female. The oldest looking to be in her mid twenties at best.
However that wasn’t the common factor that drew Cordelia’s undivided attention. Each victim’s cheek had been slashed. Two carefully placed cuts intersecting in the middle to form a perfect cross.
Cordelia shivered then considered she may be looking at the pictures from the wrong angle. Maybe it was an X instead of a cross. Maybe the psycho wasn’t flamboyant after all, he was just crossing them off his list.
“Whatcha doin,” husked over her hunched shoulder and was quickly met with a blood-curdling scream.
Lost in her exploration, Cordelia had failed to catch the squeak of their door’s rusty hinges.
“Damn it Angel! You almost gave me a heart attack.”
“Unless you have a good reason to be sneaking around my office, it’s not your heart that’s about to feel my anger.”
Huh? Was Angel threatening her, and with what?
“You’re the detective, you figure it out. Gees Angel, what’s with you?”
“You’re my problem Cordelia. You don’t listen.”
“Well whoop-de-do. I never listen. What’s the big deal about this time? The pictures weren’t even all that gross.”
Cordelia was walking, walking and talking her way to the door. Whatever was going on, Angel was a loose cannon and she didn’t intend to be standing in the line of fire when he went off.
Somewhere between her spluttered admission and foolish dash, her wrist became trapped inside a large hand. This assumption was based on the two fists pressed against her back; the small one was obviously hers which meant the larger one wasn’t.
“You need to learn there’s consequences to not doing what you’re told.”
His breath was hot, and his voice carried the hint of a threat. This wasn’t her Angel. Cordelia wasn’t surprised she had irritated Angel. That was an everyday occurrence for them, but Angel had never touched her in anger…until now.
“Is there a problem here?”
If not for the fists still digging into her back, the familiar voice might have held more promise. But regardless of her current situation, Cordelia could feel relief meshing with the nervous tingles fluttering up her spine.
Loosening his grip, the hand holding her wrist fanned out before returning to the small of her back. It was a small concession on Angel’s part, hardly the encouragement Cordelia was hoping for.
The detective’s arrival was an invasion of privacy. One that Angel wasn’t prepared to forgive. A distant voice, quiet but crystal clear whispered its deadly notion. Kate would be pretty with a small but permanent decoration on her left cheek.
“What do you want Kate?”
Attention still narrowed on Cordelia, the force of his words blew down her exposed cheek. The voice was the same, angry and menacing. Why Kate Lockley had returned didn’t matter. Her intrusion offered an opportunity to escape, and Cordelia wasn’t about to pass it up.
“I need to go.”
Kate’s advantage in strained situations was that she never strayed from detective mode. Being a cop was her life and she was adept in trusting her instinct. This scene was simple even for a rookie; Angel was angry and Cordelia was scared. The particulars weren’t important. Kate needed to encourage a peaceful separation then get on with solving her case.
“If you need to go Miss Chase, I suggest you get going.” Trained calm firmly in place, Kate offered a practiced smile. Too much and it wasn’t believable, but too little would reveal hidden tension. “I need to go over new evidence with Angel. It’s classified, so if you don’t mind.”
That was her cue. Now she needed Angel to agree. “Angel, I should leave so you and Kate can talk.”
Cordelia held her breath waiting for Angel to respond. It was simple really, yes or no, not much room for anything in between.
A hand still pressed against her back, the other slipped into her hair, his fingers working through the silk strands.
“Go home,” he whispered. Her hair caught in a gentle grasp, her face tilted up meeting parted lips that grazed across cheek. “I’ll call you later.”
Relieved that Angel’s hands fell free when she stepped away, Cordelia seized her opportunity and dashed from the office, barely slowing down to grab her purse.
The large glass pane rattled as the door slammed shut behind Cordelia’s swift exit. Kate’s signal to find out exactly what she had interrupted.
“I know we haven’t known each other long, but that was strange; even for you.”
“You’re right Kate; we don’t know each other; and my relationship with Cordelia is none of your business.”
Maybe not the response Kate hoped for, but it was one she expected. The accused rarely gave up information willingly, and right now Angel’s behavior was suspicious. He might have an office and a sign on the door, but he was a detective without a license and as far as Kate could tell, without a past.
“I wasn’t aware you had a relationship with your secretary.”
“Like you said, you don’t know Cordelia and me.”
Neither of them had time to volley empty threats. Angel might be mysterious, but Kate had to admit, it seemed to help her with bizarre cases.
“There’s another body. I thought you might want to work the crime scene with me.”
The detective had made a healthy decision. His life with Cordelia was private, and he wasn’t going to let Kate or those women who kept showing up in his dreams intrude. Angel needed to know if he recognized the latest victim, because soon he had to decide where the dreams ended and reality began.