Title: Stirred Not Shaken (A Darkness Within fic)
Rating: PG/R – NC17
Category: Beige Angel in the making with angst and a little fluffy slap and tickle
Content: A/C, A/C/W friendship
Summary: Cordelia needs a date and Lindsey seizes an opportunity. Vampire and jealousy do make good bedfellows.
Spoilers: S 1
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: DW/GTCA. Anyone else, ask first.
In the Valley of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is King’
Wesley glanced up as the doorknob made a hesitant twist. It was well past normal business hours, even for the services offered by their small agency. Angel, on the other hand, had already identified the expensive odor invading his space. Content to ignore the unwelcome intrusion, he continued to scan the ancient text spread across his lap.
“Lindsey.” It was more of a mutter than a huff, barely audible to human ears. “Superiors stalking children again, or are you here to collect an award for one good deed?”
“Just stopped by to say thank you. I didn’t know saving innocents was a contest.”
“It’s not. It’s a mission.”
“Good.” Lindsey countered. “Cause if we’re making up for past transgressions, you’re going to be busy.”
Dropping his book onto the desk, Angel stood, muttered huffs shifting to a discernible growl. The men squared off; one an obvious contender, the other sizably out of his league.
“Gentlemen, please.” Wesley implored, slipping his round-lens spectacles from his face. “Helping those in need is reward enough. And since we’ve established this isn’t a contest…I suggest you both zip up.” He finished; feeling rather pleased to have found his own huff key. That is until the next growl veered in his direction.
“Angel, I simply meant-”
Wesley’s attempt to explain was cut short. This different growl so menacing it had been known to make grown men quiver in their boots.
“How was I supposed to know to read the fine print before kissing Doyle?”
All three men simultaneously directed their attention to the displeased female in their midst. Starting with the black leather boots, their gazes trailed up long shapely legs. Her body disappearing underneath a thigh-length wrap, their trek quickened to her face. Lips, pouty and glossed with crimson, led to eyes dusted in smoky charcoal and silhouetted by long, thick lashes. Dark, silky tresses swept down her slender neck, fluffs of wavy locks billowing around her shoulders. Wasn’t that how all men greeted Cordelia Chase? Peruse the flawless sculpture of her form, hoping to be invited into her intimate sphere.
“Cordelia, what’s wrong?” Angel spoke first. Years of training and meditation willing his voice calm, artfully low-key.
“What’s wrong?” She practically shrieked, jerking her wrap away to reveal a sleek, skin-hugging bodysuit that barely covered breasts to thighs. “Look at me! I can’t be Catwoman without Batman. I’ll look like a freak.”
What was the point of pretending to understand? Any pretense would ultimately end with him looking foolish. Angel shook his head. A maneuver that gained precious seconds to think, and whitewash salacious thoughts.
“That’s not the same cat suit you wore before.”
“Before what?” Her hands were on her hips now. Fingers pressed over fleshy curves, sharply tapered nails coated in red polish glistened against black leather.
Meditation had taught Angel how to avoid sensitive situations. Only, life with Cordelia rarely worked within the confines of such limited constraints.
“The one you wore in Sunnydale was different. It felt…” Seconds might be all Angel needed when dealing with a demon, but this was Cordelia. He could take hours paraphrasing the right answer, and it would still be the wrong one. “…fuzzy.”
“Fuzzy? Did you feel me when I wasn’t looking?”
“What-No.” Angel’s head jerked toward a friendly ally. “Wesley.” He paid the man’s salary, he could expect his support.
Wesley stood stiff; eyes bugging and mouth gaped, his tongue practically wagging. Angel’s hopes of alliance were lost somewhere. Obviously immersed in shinny, black leather and wrapped in long, supple legs.
“Wesley!” Angel barked, slapping the man’s arm. “Wherever you are, get back here…Now.”
“Ahem. Sorry, my thoughts must have wondered for a moment. Goodness, it’s rather warm.” Wesley tugged at his collar, popping open the top button as his tongue rolled inside his saliva-deprived mouth. “Ah Angel, you said something?”
“Forget it,” Angel groused. “Cordelia, just tell me what’s wrong.”
“What’s wrong you ask. I’ll tell you what’s wrong. Life as we know it has forever changed.” Arms flailing into the air, Cordelia wailed at the top of her lungs. “I’ve been dumped. Me! Cordelia Chase!” Her fingers jabbed into her chest, cleavage bouncing and jiggling, threatening to spill from the two strategically placed cups of tautly stretched leather.
The men goggled the lively and titillating scene. Focus narrowed on the young woman’s performance, Angel and Wesley were blind to the enemy still lurking in their lair.
“I’m Cordelia Chase. I dump. I don’t get dumped.” The show continued, and the spectators drooled, helpless to tear away from the young woman’s scintillating quandary.
“The man must be an idiot.” Wesley mumbled, his fellow gazers nodding in unison at the declared gospel. It’s been my exper-”
“Please,” Cordelia cut him off. “You only have dumpee experience. Besides, I don’t need advice. I need a date, and quick.”
“A date?” Angel asked. “All this is about needing a date?”
“It’s not just a date.” Cordelia defended. “Eric was the date.” Her arms lashed out, sweeping the breadth of her recently downsized world. “The one that could finally take me away from all this.”
“But Cordelia,” Wesley hesitantly asked. “What does this Eric have to do with your…recently departed friend?”
“I had a vision while we were on a date.” Cordelia reared her head back and yelled toward the ceiling. “Thanks a lot Doyle.” Then added when her audience continued to gawk in confusion. “You know that slimy, blobby thing you guys had to track this morning.”
Unacceptable was Angel’s initial reaction, borderline punishable coming a close second. Occasional dates he would allow. After all, Cordelia was young and needed more in her life than visions and demons, and death. What kind of date last until three in the morning? Was this man in her apartment when she called about the vision? Had Cordelia disclosed the details of her vision while nestled in bed with some stranger? Well he was a stranger to Angel. Overnight stays required his approval, which meant there would never be any. Had Cordelia learned nothing from her mistake with Wilson Christopher? He certainly had.
Angel’s body stiffened as possible scenarios played across his mental view. Meditation techniques be damned. This wasn’t the time for measured reactions. “What were you doing on a date at three in the morning?” His voice was gruff, any urgency of careful paraphrasing falling to the wayside. “Was this guy in your apartment when you called me?”
“Noooo. We were on our way to my apartment.” Her hands returned to her hips, their tight press calling attention to the slim, curvaceous outline of her waist. “But rolling on the sidewalk and salivating like Cujo pretty much killed the mood. If you know what I mean.”
Eyes narrowed more intently, gold flecks rimming eyes dark with barely concealed lust. “No. I don’t. Maybe you should stay in tonight and explain it to me.”
Ensconced in her young world of emotional perplexities, the tell-tale signs of a clinched jaw and clouded eyes were lost to Cordelia. “Stay in? Are you insane? No way buster.” Her hand balled into a small fist, Cordelia shook it at Angel daring him to defy her. “This is the party of the year. Everyone that is anyone will be there…and that includes me.”
Lindsey MacDonald was witnessing what could only be evil’s interpretation of heaven. He had watched the vampire throw his weight around, stampede through the underbelly of LA spouting his newfound atonement and redemption. And now the great, holier-than-thou Angel was little more than a jealous schoolboy. Yes, life was good, and gloriously wicked for those who had the foresight to strike while the iron was hot.
“I’ll take you.” Lindsey stepped forward. His smile was warm and innocently boyish, his voice timid and uncertain. “It’s at La Chaleur; right?”
“Yes, how did you know?” A smile stretched across her face, its intensity lighting up the room.
“Like you said; it’s the party of the year and only the elite make the guest list.”
“And yet you weren’t invited.” Angel flouted, looming over his despised adversary.
“One the contrary, I have a standing invitation.” Lindsey pulled a small rectangular card from his wallet, holding it up for the arrogant vampire’s inspection.
It was bright gold with glittery specs; and Angel had a sudden urge to shove it in a place that would permanently mar and taint it. There was one thing he was absolutely certain about in an uncertain world. Cordelia would not go out with Lindsey MacDonald.
“I’m impressed, and more important, you’ll fit the costume.” Cordelia beamed, her eyes glued to the shimmering slip of paper. “The suit’s downstairs; follow me. I’ll help you get changed.” Excitement returning in leaps and bounds, she ushered her stand-in to follow. “Angel, you don’t mind if Lindsey uses your bedroom-no-good.”
Angel vaulted toward the elevator, his strides broad and quick. “Cor-” The elevator doors slammed shut, flashes of bare skin and the gleam of her smile still burning his face.
“What the hell just happened here?” He bellowed, swerving around to Wesley.
“Well, it seems…ahem…” Wesley tugged on his shirt, letting air underneath to cool his sweat-laden skin. “Cordelia is Catwoman and Lindsey will soon be Batman. Other than that, the facts are a bit hazy.”
“Can you at least pretend to help?” Angel stomped back and forth, his hand scrubbing across the back of his neck before moving to scrub over his face. “La Chaleur is French for heat.”
The name certainly fit, Wesley silently mused. His face was a blur of sensations, revealing only traces of his mounting nervousness. Discretion was a virtue when the situation called for calm and collected, but now was not the time for gentle persuasion. Angel was a time bomb, and the clock was ticking. The situation called for deliberate reaction.
“Good Lord man, get a hold of yourself. Cordelia is not interested in Lindsey MacDonald.” Temporary insanity and fantasies that existed in a lonely corner of his mind fading into the background, rationale was taking charge. “The man’s evil for heaven’s sake. He is simply fulfilling an immediate need.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of. Lindsey will not be fulfilling anything for Cordelia. That’s my…”
“Your what, Angel?” Wesley retaliated with a weary shake of his head. His new boss was good at heart, but stubborn as mule. Getting Angel to see reason was likely beyond his urbane training, but if Wesley had accomplished little else since arriving in LA, he had learned to persevere. “It’s not your job to oversee your employees’ social life, and it’s certainly not your place.”
“Cordelia is not just an employee.” Angel angrily countered. This wasn’t the time for rationality. The situation called for diving headfirst and worrying about fallout later. “She’s….”
Angel’s voice faltered, and Wesley swallowed down the lump in his throat as he watched angry, dark eyes battle against fear This wasn’t someone distressed over his charge. This was a man afraid of losing someone important to him.
“I care for her too Angel. Which is all the more reason to respect her choice of companions. Cordelia is a grown woman, albeit young and inexperienced, she has earned the right to make her own choices.”
His continued trek back and forth across the room slowed to a tired trudge. Defeated by sound judgment, Angel slumped into a chair, a surrendering sigh blowing from his lips. “You know, I hate it when you’re logical.”
Wesley slipped his glasses onto his face, his index finger poking the frames until they settled in just the right spot on the bridge of his nose. “Yes well, it’s a curse.”