Category: Let’s call it suspense, with a touch of humor
Summary: Sequel to Once Upon a Time
Spoilers: Story takes place in season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after Angel loses his soul.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Nothing Fancy, of course. Anybody else, all you have to do is ask.
Notes: I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted a fic. Well, I’ve been thinking about “Once Upon a Time” quite a bit lately, which is why the idea of a sequel popped into my head. I don’t know what I did to make my muse happy… You might want to read OUaT first.Link above.
Feedback: Yes, please
She had never invited him in.
Angelus stood in the shadows of an old tree, where even the silvery moonlight couldn’t touch him. Hands buried deep in the pockets of his coat, a frown crinkling his brow, he studied the Chase residence. No one who lived there had ever invited him in. And wasn’t that rule inconvenient. Especially when he was in the mood to play.
Still, he’d been playing games like this one for decades. He knew how to get around the rules.
Lost in thought, the vampire was mildly startled when a car alarm went off somewhere nearby. Angelus’ head snapped in that direction, an aggravated growl rumbling in his chest. And he wasn’t the only one irritated by the noise. Soon, the sounds of dogs barking joined the cacophony, disturbing the peaceful quiet of the affluent neighborhood.
Sudden movement in an upper window of the Chase home caught his eye. Glancing up, he saw her. Cordelia was at her bedroom window, holding the curtains back just enough to glance outside. She was scowling in the direction of the alarm, just as he’d done seconds before, her frown making her look beautifully fierce.
Angelus smiled. With his keen, vampiric eyesight, he could see her clearly. She was dressed for bed, a surprisingly simple, white nightgown draping her body, clinging to every curve. Her dark hair was a cascade, falling haphazardly around her shoulders, as messy as she probably ever let it get. Her flawless skin, free of make-up, glowed in the moonlight.
Remembering the night they’d spent together a week ago, he could imagine her hazel eyes burning with angry fire as she glared towards the screaming alarm. The owner was just lucky she wasn’t there to deliver it in person. The thought of that anonymous mortal withering under that glare of hers made him chuckle a little. He knew vampires who couldn’t do—with all the threats, growls, and intimidation tactics in their arsenal—what this human girl could do with just a look. Not until they physically attacked, anyway. And those were the ones who would never have true power.
Finally, the car alarm stopped. A moment later, the dogs also quieted, only a few dissatisfied howls breaking the sudden stillness. And Cordelia nodded once, satisfied, but her lips still pursed in annoyance. Then, she looked down, her eyes doing a quick scan of the moonlit yard, a human instinct to check their surroundings for danger. Her eyes fell upon the shadows in which Angelus hid. And for a moment, a split second, it seemed like she was staring right at him.
Even as Angelus took a step back, just to make sure she couldn’t see him there, he felt a thrill go through his body. For a moment, he let himself imagine she could see him. Imagined her mouth falling open in shock, her eyes flying wide with panic. Imagined her face transforming with the sudden, terrible knowledge that she was his prey.
But her gaze quickly moved past his dark corner, her human eyes unable to see that deep into the shadows. Satisfied that all was as it should be outside her bedroom window, she left it, the curtains fluttering closed behind her.
Angelus watched for another half hour as her silhouette moved back and forth past the window. Even after the lights were extinguished, he still watched. Watched and let his anticipation build, a pleasant buzz that settled low in his stomach. That stoked his hunger like a fire, making it burn a little brighter, a little hotter, with each second that passed.
Tilting his head back, he let his eyes drift shut. Blocking out his surroundings—the occasional bark, the full moon hanging low in the sky, the tree leaves rustling overhead—he focused on the sensation, sinking into it, letting his skin tingle with it. And as it grew, filling him deeper and deeper, a smile curved his lips.
This was where the fun began. These moments when he considered all the possibilities, and the different pleasures each one could bring. Let them all play, like blissful dreams, through his imagination. And it was so hard to choose. It was like being a child on Christmas morning, surrounded by dozens of beautifully wrapped gifts, unable to decide which one to open first. Wanting so much to rip into each one, tear it to shreds to get to the prize inside. Hesitating, because the expectation felt so good.
But as much as he enjoyed the anticipation, sipping it slow like fine wine, he knew the real pleasure would come from bringing those dreams to life.
And becoming Cordelia Chase’s nightmare.
Cordelia practically ran to her car. She hated being out after dark, especially when she was by herself. She’d planned to be out of the mall long before night fell. But there was a sale at one of her favorite boutiques, and she couldn’t resist treating herself to a little shopping spree. Trying on clothes, being ‘oohed’ and ‘awwed’ over by the salesgirls. And, before she knew it, it was dark outside.
Cordy cast a wary glance around the well-lit parking lot, relieved to see that she wasn’t completely alone. The there were plenty of shoppers coming and going, who would hear her screams if there was trouble and, at the very least, glance in her direction to see what was going on. You were never safe going outside at night in Sunnydale. But bad things were less likely to happen to you if other people were around. Like human criminals, most demon baddies didn’t like witnesses either.
When she finally reached her candy-apple red sports car, her anxiety dropped several degrees. Ever since finding out that some pretty nasty things went bump in the night, Cordy began to look at her car as a kind of armor. Armor that wasn’t just a barrier between her and danger, but also a fast escape. Plus, she’d used it as a weapon once or twice against assorted vamps and demons. Because, no matter how big and scary they might be, nothing much stood a chance against several tons of sports car crashing into them at sixty-five miles per hour.
Juggling her shopping bags into one hand, she reached into her purse for the keys, having to search a little longer than she’d liked. (When would she learn to have her keys in her hand before she left wherever she was leaving? That was one of the top survival rules for the residents of Sunnydale.) As she cursed herself for not being prepared, she suddenly found herself wishing Xander was here. That happened a lot lately, thoughts of Xander popping into her head out of nowhere. She’d be brushing her teeth, or taking a test, or chatting with one of her friends, and would suddenly wonder—wistfully, which was truly embarrassing—what Xander was doing at that exact moment. Then, this montage of Xander-related memories—them kissing, them holding hands at the movies, them teasing each other—would flash through her mind.
She couldn’t understand it. She’d thought she’d be over Xander by now. She’d lost interest in guys who were richer, cooler, and much better dressed way faster than this. But, rather than losing interest in Xander, she seemed to be getting more and more into him every day. And the way he’d been acting lately probably had something to do with that.
After she’d laid a heavy guilt trip on everyone she could think of for standing her up at the Bronze a week ago—where she’d run into Angelus, who could’ve taken that opportunity to do who knew what to her—Xander had been acting the part of the perfect boyfriend. Pulling out chairs, opening doors, helping her put on her coat. He even took her to dinner at an actual restaurant, instead of grabbing something to eat from the drive-through at Happy Burger. He’d been so sweet, so considerate, she lost all desire to rub in the guilt and make him feel like dirt after just a couple of days. Which was some kind of record for her.
Finally, she found the keys. Pulling them out with a little “ha!” of triumph, Cordelia pushed a button on the keychain, unlocking her car with a soft, squeaky ‘beep-beep’. With a sigh of relief, she opened the door.
Cordelia let out a startled shriek, and jumped a good two inches off the ground. Most of the shopping bags, which she didn’t have a great hold on anyway, fell out of her hands. Her shoulder slammed into the open car door.
“Sorry about that,” the voice continued, the words dripping with insincerity. “Didn’t mean to scare you.”
Cordy stood frozen, nerveless fingers clutching the one bag she hadn’t dropped. Her heart thudded in her chest, so thick and hard, she could feel the pulse point at her neck throbbing. A shiver raced up her back, a current of electric fear that made her tremble.
Cordy looked into the dark, shadowed interior of her car with hungry eyes. She imagined diving inside, slamming the door shut. Imagined tires squealing as she sped away, leaving nothing behind but the smell of burnt rubber. And the stupid shopping bags, which were a symbol of how she’d gotten into this mess in the first place.
She would’ve tried if she thought she had half a chance of actually getting away. But she knew she didn’t. That he wouldn’t let her.
So, she took a deep breath, one that shook all the way down, so wasn’t very calming. Her spine straightened with a snap as she held her head up. Wiping all traces of fear from her face, she turned.
Seeing him standing there, another shadow in the darkness, made her heart pound even harder. And, when she spoke, it was barely above a whisper.