The Broken Pieces. 5

Part 5 (Warning…B/A ahead, I couldn’t avoid it I’m afraid, tis a necessary evil.)

Saturday crept up on Cordelia Chase slowly, even though it was warm and sunny outside at eleven in the morning the brunette was still in bed, running over the events of last night in her head. She wasn’t mulling over the fact that Angel had once again managed to insinuate himself into her life as a friend though, it was the image of the sweater-less vampire splashing water on his face in her bathroom that had her staring at the ceiling since Angel had left.

The flicker of the bathroom light had snatched her from her sleep, bleary eyed Cordelia had watched Angel as he stripped off his top revealing an expanse of perfect pale skin only marred by a tattoo that the cheerleader couldn’t quite make out from her position in bed. She had watched as he rubbed the muscles in his neck, she felt a slight pang of guilt as she realised whatever discomfort he was in was because of her, because he refused to leave her in the motel alone. The guilt flew away though as she’d watched the muscles in his back shift and glide as he worked out the kinks collected from sleeping on the floor. Broad shoulders, strong arms, slim hips…….

Cordelia Chase had never felt so aware of the barely restrained power inherent in the vampire’s body. Every move he made as he washed his face was silent and fluid, there were no awkward elbows and fumbling hands. Deadly grace that plucked at something deep down in Cordelia’s being, scaring and exciting the young woman like nothing else had before. All from the sight of a very male bare back.

Cursing her stupidity Cordelia had feigned sleep as Angel had sauntered out of the bathroom, she heard the click of the light switch, the rustle of leather as Angel slipped on his jacket and after a few minutes finally the creak of the door as he stole out of the Motel room not long before the sun was due peek over the horizon. A vacuum of silence had gushed back into the room with his departure, it hummed in her ears and beat along with her heart. She wasn’t able to find sleep again that night.

A car horn sounded outside pulling Cordelia from her revelry and back into the sun drenched motel room. It was Saturday morning…soon to be lunch time, Cordelia had laundry to do, a paper to write, groceries to purchase, mundane tasks that had to be done. Yet instead of getting up like she should the young woman rolled over and buried her face into a starchy pillow, groaning with annoyance as the image of a pale sculptured back wouldn’t leave her mind.

“I’m such a desperate loser.” Cordelia muttered as she rolled herself on to her side, kicking off the sheets that had tangled themselves around her legs in the night. A neatly folded piece of paper on the bedside table caught her eye, she reached across and flipped it open.


I thought it best to leave before the sun came up,
after all it wouldn’t be much fun for you being
friends with a pile of dust.

Eat something that isn’t takeout today, OK?

And make sure the door is locked.


A broad smile swept over Cordelia’s beautiful face as she read the short note.

She finally got out of bed.


With a growl Angel threw the book he was reading across the room, while his left brain declared that Dante was an idiot his right brain, who he was trying his best to ignore, subconsciously taunted him with an image he had no right in replaying over and over and over again behind his eyes.

Angel had thought submerging himself in the familiar text would occupy his mind but as he found himself wandering through the second circle of hell the vampire’s far too eidetic memory summoned up the crystal clear image of a pair of long slender legs entangled in cotton sheets.

Cordelia’s legs.

Angel had slept lightly, aware even in rest that the sun would eventually rise forcing him into the shadows, his internal censor had roused him a mere half hour before his worst enemy had lit up the world and the vampire had dragged himself off the uncomfortable floor. That was when he’d seen them, bathed in the lingering glow of the moon were Cordelia’s naked legs. His eyes had hungrily swallowed the regal arch of her foot, the gentle curve of her calf, the dip and sweep of her knee, the dangerous power of her thigh. Angel had stood mesmerised at the ravishing scene, his soul wanted to capture it in charcoal, trace the landscape of her beauty on to paper and install it in a gallery for the world to see….but his demon wasn’t as poetic in his desires, it whispered in his ear carnal cravings of lust and blood, of two perfectly formed female limbs wrapped tightly around his waist.

It was that that had forced Angel into the small bathroom to splash water on his face. He’d stared into the small mirror that reflected nothing but the opposite wall as he pummelled his thoughts into order, rubbing the tense muscles in his neck roughly. A hastily scribbled note later he had left, all the time averting his gaze away from the sleeping girl. The barely dressed, peacefully dormant, exquisite specimen of feminine beauty.

He was not going to think about Cordelia in that way.

They were in the first blossoming stages of friendship and he wasn’t going to complicate their tentative relationship by thoughts of a unbelievably erotic nature. Plus Cordelia had enough problems to deal with and he wasn’t going to add to them.

And Buffy of course, I’m in love with Buffy, Angel reminded himself of the petite blonde slayer he would walk through sunlight for.


The familiar taste of guilt rose up in his throat, thick and stifling.

Angel looked for something else to throw at the wall.


It had surprised Cordelia the first time she’d set foot in the small Laundromat how busy it wasn’t, she’d imagined stressed single mothers with a herd of screaming babies filling machine after machine with clothes, but that hadn’t been the case. Even at two in the afternoon the Laundromat was relatively empty and Cordelia was beyond grateful. It wasn’t just the fact that no one she knew ever set foot in here but also that she could just be herself, she didn’t need to pretend here, she didn’t need to hide her tear stained face behind make up, she had found comfort in that the first few weeks she’d been without a home living in the motel. Nobody knew her here, there were no expectations she had to live up to in the Laundromat. Cordelia was just a dark haired girl in jeans and a T-shirt.

Sweet, sweet anonymity.

Her good mood of earlier hadn’t disappeared as she poured detergent into the machine holding her clothes, she had found herself singing as she’d dried her hair that morning, something she hadn’t done in a while. Such joviality had always felt out of place in the dingy room that was more use to pain and tears.

She’d sang and it had felt really good. Cordelia was woman enough to admit that it was Angel’s short note that had brightened up her day, the few scribbled lines meant an awful lot to her. The vampire had yet again confirmed to her that he was serious about being friends with her and it had lightened her burden a little, made her feel as though she was quite as alone anymore. As long as she concentrated on that and stopped thinking about the image of his naked back that was imprinted on her brain she’d be OK. As long as she didn’t think about how those muscles would feel under her fingertips she could hold onto her last shred of sanity. Any minute now she’d stop thinking about it…..any minute now.

I wonder if he’ll come round again tonight? Doubtful, it’s Saturday night, he’ll have a date with little miss kung fu. Gotta remember that Cor, he has a girlfriend. A very strong girlfriend that could beat your ass several different colours so it’s probably best that you stop thinking about naked Angel. Stop it. Right now. We’re friends, nothing more. I don’t want any thing more. Friends. He loves Buffy. FRIENDS. Don’t ruin that.

After switching the machine into life Cordelia fished out the green apple from her bag and sat down, her feet propped up against the wall in front of her. She listened to her clothes tumble around madly for awhile as she ate, finally forcing her thoughts from Angel to the paper she had almost finished writing. It amused her that her grades had improved since she had become destitute, her diminishing social life had meant a lot of free time for studying, the irony was that she wouldn’t be able to afford to go to college now. So it was really all for nothing.

“Irony sucks.” Cordelia said out loud between a mouthful of apple.

“Talking to yourself Cordelia? You know that’s….” Xander trailed off as he realised Cordelia Chase, Sunnydale’s society Queen was slumming it in a public Laundromat. Didn’t she have people that did her laundry for her? “Have I stumbled into the Twilight Zone?” He blinked and shook his head.

Cordelia felt like a deer caught in the headlights, what was Xander doing in her sanctuary? Why hadn’t she heard the door opening thus giving her time to think up an excuse as to why she was here? Why did it have to be Xander Harris that found her here? Why did God insist on punishing her like this!?

“What are you doing here?” Xander asked when had stared at her in disbelief for a longer than she liked.

“Duh, laundry.” Cordelia muttered rolling her eyes.


“What?” Cordelia barked defensively at him.

“You are Cordelia Chase right? Or are you her identical twin sister no one knows she has who spends her Saturdays wearing tatty jeans and a cookie monster T-shirt in the Laundromat eating apples and reading….” Xander squinted at the book on the chair next to her. “John Grisham? I’ve fallen through one of those portals Giles is always talking about haven’t I? The real Cordelia Chase is actually having her nails done somewhere right? Right?”

“You’re an idiot.” Cordelia scowled at him.

“Phew…this is earth after all, only the real Queen C can pour so much scorn into four little words.” Xander sighed theatrically. “So why are you really here? Are the hired help on strike?”

“I’m doing research for my science project, how the poor and style-less live. You can be my guinea pig if ya like.” She gave him a dangerous saccharine smile.

“I can think of less painful ways of spending my weekends thank you very much.” The dark haired boy grunted as he ambled over to a free machine, depositing his laundry bag on the floor. “Really Cor, why are you slumming it with us common folk? The Cordelia I know…”

“You don’t know me Xander, so don’t pretend you do.” Cordelia cut him off sharply, her eyes shooting fire at him. He could not discover her secret, the thought of him mocking her for the way life had fallen down around her ankles made her feel sick. No one could know.

Well, apart from Angel of course but he doesn’t count. He’s different….

“Oooook.” Xander whistled, contrary to what people thought he knew when to shut up. There was something very odd going on with Cordelia, he had noticed her strange behaviour for a while now, she’d been spending more time with himself Buffy and Willow of late, he’d seen her sitting alone in the school courtyard at lunch staring into space and it was only later the previous evening that Xander had realised Cordelia had thanked him for rescuing her from the fire earlier that evening. Little things that added up to major weirdness. But he’d been on the sharp end of Cordelia’s tongue long enough to know when to back away slowly. The cheerleaders actions warranted further investigation but he wasn’t going to get a straight answer out of her any time soon. So instead Xander dropped the subject and did his laundry.

Cordelia watched Xander as he shrugged and emptied his clothes on the top of the machine next to his. She was panicking silently, her thoughts flying a mile a minute through her head. What if he tells people he’d seen her here? What if…..

Does it really matter? The logical part of her brain spoke up. So what if people know what’s happened, at least you won’t have to pretend anymore. And it’s not like you’ve ever really cared what people think anyway. Maybe you could get some help, get out of that dreadful Motel, get a proper nights sleepĀ The rational part of her argued.

But if people find out….who will I be? I won’t be Queen C anymore, I won’t be the rich girl every one is equal parts awed by and scared off. Who will I be? Pitied, shunned, mocked? That’s what I’ll be. No one can know.

Her slightly schizophrenic thought process was pulled out of it’s mute rambling by the funniest thing she had seen for a week, genuine laughter bubbled out of her mouth and filled the quiet Laundromat startling Xander.

“Incredible Hulk underwear Harris?” Cordelia snorted, the aforementioned green boxers hanging from it’s owners hand as he tried to decide what setting to put the machine on.

“What?” Xander bristled. “It’s the Hulk, who doesn’t love the Hulk?”

“And you wonder why you don’t have a girlfriend.” She raised an eyebrow at him in amusement.

“Everybody loves the Hulk.” He muttered as he threw them into the wash with the rest of his super-hero underwear. “And you can hardly talk Cor, cookie monster T-shirt? Not exactly designer label.” Xander flopped down into the seat next to her, ignoring the look of annoyance she shot his way.

“Retro is the new chic.” Cordelia flicked her hair over her shoulder. “And who doesn’t love the Cookie monster?” She shrugged, a small smile tugging at her lips.

“True. The count use to be my personal favourite….but after I found out vampires are real, well, the cute factor sorta diminished.” Xander shuddered.

“Gotta love that Hellmouth.” Cordelia nodded.

The pair shot disgusted looks at each other when they realised they were having a moment. Cordelia Chase and Alexander Harris did not have moments.



The two mortal enemies shuffled away from each other and the status quo was returned.


There was something up with Angel and it was starting to bug Buffy, sure he wasn’t the chattiest guy in the world but this was an all time record for the vampire. The couple had decided last night as Buffy walked Angel home that she would come see him this afternoon if she could find a way of getting out of her chores, when she was finally free of her mom’s Stalin-like cleaning regime Buffy had made her way to her boyfriend’s apartment, history books in hand just in case her mother asked her where she was going.

An hour later she seated next to the reading vampire Buffy was starting to think that maybe it was a good idea she’d brought her books, the way things were going right now studying was looking kinda good.

“OK, what’s up?” Buffy broke the silence.

“What do you mean?” Angel blinked as his girlfriend wrenched him out of his thoughts.

“Am I boring you cos you’ve barely said a word to me since I got here.” She said annoyed, she’d blown out a shopping trip with Willow for the vampire and she was starting to think she’d made the wrong decision.

“I’m sorry Buffy, I was just….” Angel trailed off, how exactly was he going to finish that sentence?

I’m sorry Buffy, I was just thinking about whether Cordelia Chase had eaten anything today and if she’d be free tonight because there’s this place just down the road from the motel she’s living in that’s meant to do really good chicken soup….and oh yeah, I was replaying the image of her naked legs over and over again in my brain wondering if her skin felt as soft as it looked. That’s what’s up. This morning however something else was up, something that shouldn’t have been up was up.

“…..thinking about stuff.” Angel finished wisely.

“Bad stuff?” Buffy’s beautiful face softened in concern and guilt washed over Angel.

“It’s never bad stuff when you’re here Buffy.” Angel smiled and wrapped his arm around the petite blonde, dropping a kiss on her hair.

I’m such a bastard.

“Good.” She beamed at him. “Me and the guys are Bronzing it tonight, want to come with?”

“Maybe.” Angel said noncommittally.

“It would be really nice to spend some time with you that isn’t demon related, it feels like I only ever get to see you when some nasty is trying to kill us.” Buffy shrugged trying to sound as carefree as she could.

“I know….I have this thing I have to do first but I’ll try to be there I promise.” Angel said honestly, he wasn’t lying exactly, he did have a thing to do, blood buying, and he would try to see Buffy later at the Bronze. He wasn’t lying. So why did he feel like he was?

“Thing? Good thing or bad thing? Slayer thing?” Buffy frowned.

“Vampire thing.” He said cryptically. Buffy knew she wasn’t going to get anything else out of Angel, he’d turned back to his dusty book and even though his strong arm was still wrapped around her Buffy felt like he was a million miles away.


“This is starting to feel strangely familiar.” Cordelia smiled at the vampire on her doorstep.

“I am nothing if not persistent.” Angel said dryly. With the night came freedom and as soon as the sun had gone to bed the vampire had fled his apartment, fully intending on going to the butchers about his blood supply then meeting Buffy and her friends later on at the club, but after his weekly trip to order blood was done Angel had found himself across the street from the Sunnydale Motel, hands in his pockets debating on what exactly he was doing. A half hour silent argument later Angel had knocked on her door.

They were friends and Angel had a responsibility towards her to make sure she was OK.

Keep telling yourself that bub and you might start to believe it

“You’re going out?” Angel said when he saw her jacket in her hands and her purse over her shoulder. He felt a pang of regret that he wouldn’t be spending time with her tonight.

“Oh, I was just going to grab a non takeout bite to eat.” Cordelia smiled at him, the look of open disappointment on his face surprised her. “You can come with me if you want, I was just going to go across the street, nothing special. I’m pretty sure they don’t serve blood though, but in this town, who knows.” She slipped out the door and locked it behind her, Cordelia had a horrible feeling she was rambling.

“We could always ask and see how long it takes the waitress to throw us out.” Angel said as he fell into step beside her as they walked.

“Food and entertainment, you sure know how to show a girl a good time Angel.” Cordelia laughed, it was the first real laugh he had heard from her in three days. It was a wonderful sound.

“Back in the day I was known for it.” The vampire gave her a toothy grin that had been known to send men running to the hills.

“Your back in the day was three hundred years ago.” She said wryly.

“Two hundred and forty one actually

“Yeah cos that sounds so much better.”


“How about garlic?” Cordelia asked between mouthfuls of baked potato.

“Complete fallacy.” Angel shook his head in the negative. “Although it does give me indigestion which could be a vampire thing I suppose.” He wondered out loud making the brunette snort with laughter. The playful banter had followed the pair into the cosy diner, something neither were use to but enjoying immensely. They had ordered food, sharing a secret smile when Angel ordered a very rare steak and continued to chat throughout the meal.

It was…..easy.

“Holy water?”

“Burns like a bastard.” Angel nodded.

“So you guys aren’t as all powerful and immortal as you make out you are then, a little bit of sun light, stake, cross, holy water and poof the undead are dead….er. I’m starting to think Buffy’s over dramatising the whole slayer deal.”

“It’s not quite as easy as that Cordy.”

“Oh please, if she armed herself with a crossbow she wouldn’t even need to do all that punching and kicking she likes so much, hell, Willow could do the slaying armed with a crossbow. Although her hand eye co-ordination is a little frightening, one time during aerobics she managed to send three people to the nurses office, which is quite an achievement for someone so little.”

Angel was discovering how much Cordelia liked to talk…and how much he liked to listen to her.

“Why aren’t you and Willow friends?” He asked her bluntly.

“Why aren’t you and Xander friends?” She raised a perfect eyebrow at him instead of answering his question.

“Because he thinks I’m a homicidal killer….which, granted, I was. He can’t seem to get his brain around the whole soul deal.” Angel shrugged. “That’s completely different from you and Buffy and Willow though, if you gave them a chance..”

“Is this the part of the evening when you tell me how I don’t have to be destitute and alone?” Cordelia wiped her mouth on her paper napkin then dropped it on her plate. She knew Angel just wanted to help her but she really didn’t want to spend another night discussing the joke that was her life.

“They’re good people, if you…”

“If I gave them a chance they’d laugh in my face Angel, I don’t need that.”


“So why aren’t you on a hot date with your girlfriend tonight?” Cordelia abruptly changed the subject, Angel let it go knowing from the time he’d spent with the cheerleader how stubborn she could be.

“I’m meant to be meeting her at the Bronze later.” He only just remembered, he glanced at the clock on the wall, it was still relatively early and he was in no rush to get to the noisy teen infested club.

“Try saying that again with a little less feeling. It’s not really your scene is it, the Bronze I mean.”

“I’m not exactly a people person.” Angel said dryly.

“I would never have guessed.” Cordelia scoffed good-naturedly

“And the thought of spending another night with Harris doesn’t exactly fill me with glee.” The vampire muttered darkly.

“You know he’s a good person Angel, if you just gave him a chance….” Cordelia said from behind her coffee cup, her eyes dancing with mirth.

“Ha ha.” Angel growled at her then broke out into a smile.

They were both doing that a lot recently.


The streets were quiet in Sunnydale at night even on a Saturday, while other towns came to life in the evening the small hamlet found directly above the mouth of hell was eerily deserted after sun down. The unexplainably high death rate had decreased since Buffy Summers had moved there but the residents still drove home quickly and never went out alone.

That was just the way things were. Although Cordelia had only learnt of the existence of demons the summer before she had always known that there was something freaky about the town she lived in and it wasn’t just the fact there was only one Starbucks there either. So the discovery that vampires were real didn’t really rock her world too much beyond repair and hence the fact that she was spending her Saturday night strolling through the cemetery with the creature of the night she’d just had dinner with made a strange kind of sense to her.

Cordelia had intended on heading back to the Motel but the night was warm and the scent of honeysuckle drifted through the air, so the pair had unconsciously began walking across town as they talked about everything and nothing, comfortable in the quiet times that floated in every so often.

“You don’t need to baby-sit me at the Motel tonight Angel, I’ll be fine really.” Cordelia tried to convince the vampire.

“I don’t like the idea of you alone in that place.” Angel frowned.

“I’ve been there for a few months now and nothing has happened. I lock the door, push the chair up against it, I have the stake and cross Giles gave me under my pillow and a baseball bat under my bed. I’m secured up to my eyebrows and armed to the nines. I’m good, really.” She implored him, it wasn’t that she hadn’t liked Angel sleeping over the night before, quite the opposite in fact and that was why it wasn’t a good idea for him to be staying with her.


“And I won’t be curling up and crying myself to sleep tonight either.” Cordelia answered his question before he even asked it.

“Only if you’re sure…”

“I’m sure I’m sure Angel. I’ll be OK, really.” The brunette smiled reassuringly at him. “And that means no sleeping outside more door either.” She added quickly.

The truth be told Angel was relieved that Cordelia was so adamant about him not needing to spend the night, the mere thought of sleeping in the same room as those legs that went on for miles was torture and lord knows what else he might see this time. So no, he wasn’t going to contest the issue too much.

“It’s a deal, but if…”

“Any trouble and I’ll shine the bat signal I promise.”

“You know you could let me finish a sentence once in a while.” The vampire chuckled but became suddenly still as his senses alerted him to danger in the area.

“Where would the fun be in that? Hey, what’s up? Angel, what are you looking at….?” Cordelia grasped his arm as he scanned the surrounding area, her eyes wandered over the cemetery but she couldn’t see anything.

“Wait here.” He ordered gruffly before he slipped around the crypt they were standing next to.

“Where are you…..OK, rude much?” She huffed and stalked after him in the direction he disappeared to. Cordelia wrapped her coat tightly around her and shivered but not from the cold. “Angel where’d you….OOOPH!!” The air was knocked out of her lungs as Cordelia was barrelled to the ground from behind, her world went momentarily black as she bumped her head but quickly came back into view when she felt herself being yanked up by her hair.

That was when she screamed.

“ANGEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Cordelia struggled as best she could against her unseen assailant but he was too strong and she had no weapons, her eyes watered from the pain in her scalp, she felt rancid breath on her neck as she wondered where the hell her self declared vampire protector was. Just as she closed her eyes awaiting her fate the presence behind her disappeared in a cloud of dust causing her to drop heavily to the ground.

“Are you OK?” Angel knelt in front of Cordelia, worry etching his handsome face.

“You know what I said about you people being easy to kill? I take that back.” Cordelia grimaced.

“I told you to stay where you were.” Angel frowned at her, he’d felt the newly risen vampires presence ahead of them but it had doubled back and hit Cordelia from behind, Angel had only been a few steps behind it but the sight of the young woman being lifted up by her hair had instantly terrified him. He was meant to look after her and here she was getting attacked by a newborn vamp.

“And I ignored you, we should both learn something from this.” She struggled to her feet.

“Did he get you?” He brushed her hair away from her neck, revealing an expanse of unbroken skin, he heard the sudden intake of breath Cordelia sucked into her lungs as he his thumb gently glided over the area, he listened as her heart beat echoed in his ears….but not from fear.

“I think I just bumped my head.” Cordelia whispered. Angel was standing so close, too close, she could smell the leather of his jacket and the light aroma of coffee on his breath. So far this evening she had managed to banish the image of him half naked in her bathroom from her brain but his sudden close proximity to her was overloading her senses and the memory flashed before her once again.

“I think you might get a bruise.” Angel murmured back, running his thumb lightly over the faint red mark above her eyebrow, the side of her face cradled in his strong hand. “But I don’t think it’s serious.” He tucked her mussed up hair behind her ear with his other hand, his gaze never leaving the pink seduction that were her lips. He watched mesmerised as her tongue snaked out and nervously licked them. Her perfume filled the air around him but it didn’t disguise the sweet aroma that was pure woman, deep and thick and full of desire.

“Angel…?” Cordelia sighed as he traced his thumb across the plump landscape of her bottom lip, his eyes dark and hungry sent delicious shivers up and down her spine.

“Well isn’t this cosy.” Buffy Summers called out from where she stood ten meters away “Would one of you mind telling me what the hell is going on here?”

Part 6

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