A Second Chance. 6

Part 6

Angel laid Cordelia’s unconscious form on his bed. And instantly missed the feel of her in his arms. For one long moment, he hovered there, almost gave in to the urge to pick her up again. But he shook his head. There was time. Plenty of time.

Instead, he arranged her body so she’d be the most comfortable. Head positioned just so on his pillow, so she wouldn’t get a crimp in her neck. Hands crossed atop her chest. Shoes off and carefully placed, side-by-side, on the floor.

Finally, he stood back. Let his eyes wander from her head to her toes, and back again. Took notice of how pale even her sun-kissed skin looked against the black silk sheets.

Only then did he allow himself to think.

Until now, he hadn’t been. Not really. Hadn’t made a single, conscious decision since he saw Cordelia—his Cordy—being attacked outside the Bronze. All of his actions had been…instinct.

Carrying her to her car. Searching through her purse for the keys. Starting the engine. Driving to the mansion.

All instinct. Fueled by the realization that he could have lost her. Again.

The sting of grief like a fire in his chest, Angel sat on the edge of the bed. It had all made so much sense. He would be patient. He would wait. Let her get to know him again.

To love him again.

But his patience grew thinner every time he saw her. Touched her. It started to crumble, like a brick wall constantly battered by temptation and frustration. By need.

Then tonight. If he hadn’t left the Bronze when he did…

And what would his patience have been worth then?

Angel reached towards her. Let his fingers brush across the shallow gash that adorned her forehead. Across the drying blood. The feel of her warm breath against his palm made his hand tremble.

Instinct. To take her away from the place where she’d been attacked. To bring her to his home. His territory. Where he could protect her.

Of course, the question was, what to do now? What would he do when she woke up, demanded to know why he had brought her to the mansion? When she tried to leave?

It’s not too late, a rational voice whispered at the back of his mind. You can take her back. Take her to the ER. Tell Buffy and the others that you saved her from a vamp attack. Took her to the hospital for treatment. Then, you can go back to doing things the way you intended. The way you should.

But there was another voice. Louder. More passionate.

And what? You’ll go back to waiting. To watching her house every night, and making excuses to be near her. To touch her. Waiting for her to stop being afraid of you. To care about you.

Back and forth the two voices argued. An inner struggle that should have torn him apart with worry and indecision.

But none of it mattered. Because she was here.

Angel lay down beside Cordelia. Turning towards her, he draped his arm across her waist. Rested his head in the crook of her neck. Let her warmth and scent surround him. And sighed as the grief seemed to bleed away.

As the feel of her in his arms became more real, he felt as if a weight was being lifted. Ever since…the alley, he had only slept a few hours a week. Afraid of the dreams that made him relive that night again and again.

Even here, where the dreams were so enticing he’d wanted to lose himself in them, his slumber had been fitful. The dreams themselves far from restful.

Now, a wave of exhaustion crashed over him. He pressed his lips against the smooth skin of Cordelia’s slender neck. Closed his eyes. And felt something almost like contentment.

Almost like because he could feel need, like a burning ache, in the pit of his stomach. Growing as her closeness pulled at him.

But, for now, he just wanted to hold her.

Arm tightening across her waist, he let his consciousness drift away.


It was like surfacing. Swimming through a pool of ink black water, up towards a dull, blue light.

The first thing she became aware of was the throbbing. Like a small headache, concentrated on the left side, near her forehead.

And the weight. There was a weight on her right side, pressing down against her.

Still half awake, she frowned. What the…?

And, suddenly, the memory returned. An ice cold flash through her groggy mind.

The vamp swooping down on her, like a cheap Dracula imitation.

Her body slamming into the wall.

The world spinning.

Cordy gasped as her eyes popped open. Prepared to see the deserted street outside the Bronze. The vampire, fangs bared, leering down at her.

Instead, she saw a ceiling.

With that fact came another. Whatever she was laying on, it was much too soft to be concrete.

Suddenly, someone moaned closed to her right ear.

Cordy’s head whipped to the side. And her eyes snapped wide.


His head rested on the pillow next to hers, his eyes closed in sleep. He was the weight that pressed her into the mattress. His arm heavy across her waist. His leg draped across her own.


Cordelia shook her head in disbelief, her mind unable to make since of it. Her eyes glanced around the bedroom. She’d never been to this room before but, from the décor, she figured they were at his mansion. So, why was she here?

Okay, since she was alive, she could assume Angel had saved her. After she got knocked out, but before she got chomped on.

He’d saved her. But why did he bring her here?

As she tried and failed to think of an answer, her mind drifted. She wondered if this vampire had met the same fate as the other. If Angel had sliced him to pieces, too.

She shivered at the memory. And her heart thudded in her chest as other memories followed. Angel staring at her. Walking close behind her, like her personal shadow. Sneaking up on her in the library.

And her house. Somehow, his showing up at her house didn’t seem quite so innocent anymore.

A groan drew her eyes back to Angel.

“No,” he muttered, as he frowned in his sleep. “Don’t…no…”

Cordy wondered what he was dreaming about. Why he sounded so bereft. So lost.

Then, the restless vampire turned over onto his back.

And Cordelia was free. And all she could think of was getting out of here. She could think about the weirdness of this whole situation—wonder why Angel did what he did—later. Leave now. And without the awkwardness of Angel waking up.

Slowly, she sat up. And the throbbing in her head intensified.

Gingerly, Cordelia touched her forehead. Felt the gash there, caked in dried blood.

Something else to think about later.

Eyes glued to the vampire, she eased out of the bed. And almost tripped over her shoes. Deciding the heels would make too much noise against the bare floor, she picked up the pumps.

Cordelia hurried, swift but silent, across the room. With one last glance at Angel, she slipped out the door.


Angel woke with a start, dreams of blood and death fresh in his mind.

He was alone. He was always alone when he woke from the nightmare. So, at first, the truth didn’t register.

Then he caught the scent of her. Of vanilla, and sunlight, and Cordelia. Too real to be his imagination. The scent lingered in the silk sheets, a memory that had already started to fade.

And he remembered that she’d been here. That he’d brought her here, and why.

And he realized she was gone.

Frantic eyes darted around the room, even though he knew he wouldn’t find her there. Panic slammed into him, like a fist to his heart. Screamed through his head, drowned out everything else.

But even as fear invaded his body, sunk in and slithered through all the dark places, something else sprang to blinding life.



Cordelia walked away from the mansion, arms folded against the chill. Leaving had seemed like the sensible thing to do. Until she was out here. All alone. In the middle of the night. And walking alone in Sunnydale was such the bad idea.

She considered going back. Forgetting, for the moment, that Angel’s behavior the last few days had sort of creeped her out. Creepy or not, she’d feel safer walking home if he was with her.

With a sigh, she stopped. Turned.

Then, she heard her name.


It was a roar that ripped through the mansion. Tore into the night like claws. Animalistic. Hungry.


Suddenly, Cordy couldn’t breath. Her heart leapt, like a frightened jackrabbit. Something primitive and small whimpered inside her. Froze her in place. The mansion towered over her like a living thing. Glaring and angry.

There was a crash from inside. Like something breaking.

And Cordelia ran. Hair whipping around her face. Heels sinking into the moist grass.

She ran, panting from fear more than anything else. Blood rushed through her ears, so all she could hear was her own pounding heart.

She ran, blindly. No idea where she was running to. Just that she had to get away from here.

A powerful body slammed into her back, knocked her off balance. She would have fallen if not for the two powerful arms that wrapped around her body. Pinned her arms to her sides.

The panic of being caughttrapped—shot through her. And Cordelia started to struggle. To scream and kick, the heels of her designer pumps pounding into his shins.

“Let me go!” she exclaimed. “You…blood-sucking, undead…freak.” And she struggled harder. Her hands clawed at whatever bare skin she could reach. Her head crashed into his chin.

He was unphased by it all. Didn’t grunt once as her body battered against his. Didn’t stagger or falter. He just held her, calm as he waited for the storm to pass.

His body was like a brick wall, solid and unmoveable.

His legs were like polls planted in the earth. Solid and unshakeable.

His arms were like two steel bands wrapped around her. Solid and unbreakable.

“I won’t let you leave me,” he growled, close to her ear. “Not again.”

And, suddenly, he pulled her towards the mansion.

Cordelia bucked and twisted, tried in vain to slip out of his grasp. Her shoes slipped off as her feet dragged through the grass.

“No!” she screamed as he pulled her inside. “Let…go!”

But her demands went unheeded. Instead, Angel pulled her towards the wall.

Towards the chains.

Part 7

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