Angel stood in the shadows of the towering pine tree, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his duster. Eyes gazing upward, hungry for another glimpse of her.
Come back, an inner voice begged, longing for her to hear him. Please.
But the curtains remained shuttered against the night.
Angel closed his eyes. Took one deep, unneeded breath after another. He was so close. Nothing separated them but a stretch of moonlit lawn. A pane of glass that would shatter with one blow.
He was so far away. Because he’d never been invited inside. And that barrier, stronger than brick or steel, made it impossible for him to go to her.
Eyes still closed, he turned his face up to the moon. Again and again, his mind replayed the few brief touches they’d shared.
Holding her hand as he pulled her to her feet. Fingers squeezing her shoulders as he draped his coat around her body. Chest pressed against her back. The warmth of her against him. So brief. But more than he’d had in forever.
After so long—without her hugs, and pats on his arm, and pecks on his cheek—he should be happy with the impossible. She was alive and whole. So close, he could taste her in the air. And that should be enough. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Instead, impatience thrummed through his body. Clawed at his skin from the inside. Made his teeth itch. Squeezed his unbeating heart until, for the first time in 250 years, he knew what it was like to suffocate.
Jaw clenched, he rubbed that spot between his eyes. He wanted to feel her. All of her. Against him. Through him. Inside him. Wanted to bury himself inside her, and forget what it was like to miss her so much, every muscle ached with it. To feel his heart shredding, and know it would never stop.
Fuck waiting. Fuck patience.
His eyes snapped open.
And she was there. Bathed in moonlight. Hair, made black by the night, cascading around her shoulders. Silk white nightgown draping her slender curves. Glowing silver blue.
Smiling that smile that had been ripped away from him, leaving emptiness and pain behind.
Her hazel eyes no longer looked at him like he was some distant stranger. These were eyes that knew him. More deeply, more completely than anyone had before.
“Cordelia,” he whispered, unable to believe she was really there.
“Angel,” she repeated. And her smile grew even warmer. Her eyes more knowing.
He growled with anticipation and need. And she didn’t flinch away.
She didn’t retreat when he lunged towards her. Didn’t recoil when he took her in her arms, hands clutching at her gown, roving across her body. Didn’t struggle when he put his hands to her head, powerful hands clenching her hair in his fists. When he brought his hungry mouth to hers, tongue plundering deep inside.
Didn’t resist when he pulled her to the ground…
Angel woke with a start. The dream so fresh in his mind, he could still feel her. Taste her.
His mind raced, images weaving through ever corner, feeding his need. His hunger.
Beneath the silk sheets, his body throbbed. Phantom sensation, dream memories, danced across his skin like whispers. Making every nerve ache. Crave.
Gasping for air he didn’t need, he struggled into a sitting position. Pressed one trembling hand to his forehead.
And was surprised by the ridges he found there.
Squeezing his eyes shut, Angel tried to push through the emotions, the sensations, that were drowning him. Swamping him with a feeling close to panic.
What if I can’t get close to her? What if she never wants me?
What if she tries to fight me?
He forced himself to stop breathing, to stop moving. Begged his frantic thoughts to be still.
With time, he found something like calm. His demon face receded. The images dancing like sparks through his mind became less vivid. His panic faded.
But the longing remained.
Feeling oddly exhausted, Angel fell to his back.
Eyes still closed, his mind replayed the temptation of dream. It had felt so…so right.
It still felt so right.
But Angel shook his head. He knew it couldn’t be that way. He had to move slowly. To take his time. To make Cordelia accept him again.
He had to be patient.
No. He couldn’t move too fast. He didn’t want to scare her away.
He didn’t want her to be afraid of him.