Title: 40 Nights
Category: Angst, smut
Content: C/A, W/C/G friendship
Summary: This is Fiddly’s Challenge:Set after epiphany …
Spoilers: ATS S2 up to “Disharmony”
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Nothing Fancy, GT and anybody who wants it.
Notes: *denotes thoughts* “denotes remembered dialogue”
Thanks/Dedication: Feedback: You’re kidding, right? Hell yeah!
Challenge : At bottom of page.
Angel sat across from Wesley, his former desk between them. He was trying not to smile. “Don’t worry, Wes. I’m going to give it time.”
“Excellent. I am confident that given time, you and Cordelia will be able to repair your friendship.”
“I…” He paused when he heard Cordelia on the other side of the door.
“What is this?” Cordelia opened the door to the office. She carried an armful of clothing. “What is this?”
Angel couldn’t hold back his smile any longer. “I just wanted to get you something to say I’m sorry. I know you were upset that I gave your clothes away.”
“So you bought me about five times as many as you gave away to replace them?” He nodded. “You bastard!”
“What? I thought..”
“You’d try to buy your way back into my life?”
“No. I just thought..”
“Vain, spoiled, selfish Cordelia would forget all about being tossed out like garbage if you spent some money on her?”
She could feel tears stinging her eyes but she refused to let them fall. “So that’s what you think of me? Of course it is. Everyone knows Cordelia Chase is for sale.”
Wesley walked around his desk. “Angel, would you excuse us please? I’d like to speak to Cordelia in private.”
“I will speak to you later. Right now I think it’s best if you give us some time alone.”
Angel reluctantly left his former office. He’d hoped going shopping and buying Cordelia new clothes to replace the ones he’d given away would help heal some of the hurt. Saying he was wrong was an understatement.
Wesley waited until the door closed. “Are you alright?”
“He bought me clothes, Wesley.”
He sighed. “I saw that. They’re very pretty.”
“They’re gorgeous but…you think I’ve changed, don’t you?”
“I know you have. I am amazed and so very proud of the woman you’ve become. You have had to face some truly horrible things in this world, faced some pretty tough obstacles and you have risen to the occasion every time.”
“Then why did he think he could buy me?”
“I honestly don’t think he saw it like that. He was just impatient. It really hurt him when you said you weren’t friends.”
“What does he expect? He turned his back on us, the mission…me. Now that he’s decided to give a damn I’m supposed to rejoin his fan club? I’m sorry but I don’t think so. I don’t trust him.”
Angel stood outside the door listening. His eyes closed in hopes of pushing the pain away. Her words cut him deep and shamed him as well.
“He seems to genuinely want to make things better. Sure buying you expensive presents as an apology is somewhat insulting but look at this way. Angel went shopping for you. He pretty much prefers Hell to a shopping mall and that’s saying a lot since he’s actually been to Hell. He went to the mall despite his aversion in the hopes of making you happy, making you smile.”
“I realize that and there was a time that would’ve been more than enough for me. I haven’t had new clothes in a long time but I’ve changed. I’m not the vain shallow girl I once was. He doesn’t even know me anymore. I don’t think I can do this.”
“I know this is difficult for you. It’s difficult for all of us but we need his help. We would have died at the hands of those Skilosh demons if not for Angel. We need someone of his strength and skill. It’s not about us. It’s about the ones we help.”
“You don’t need to tell me that. I’m vision girl, remember? I know all about the helpless. I just…. Can’t we place an ad somewhere? A champion wanted. Maybe Lorne knows someone or maybe there’s a way we can ask the Powers to assign us a new one. There has to be…” A familiar twinge started in the back of her skull. “No. No. Argh! Ahhh!” She crumpled to the floor.
Wesley barely managed to prevent her head from connecting with the floor. He was surprised by Angel’s sudden appearance. Somewhere amidst his thoughts he realized their conversation was very likely overheard. He waited until Cordelia took a few breaths. “What did you see?”
“A ritual in a cave by the ocean, we have to stop it. There was a demon priest, two demons inside of a circle, three outside the circle and five sacrifices.”
“Were the sacrifices human?”
“I don’t think so but they were innocent. We have to save them.”
“We will.” Angel couldn’t quite meet her eyes. “Maybe you should stay here and rest.”
“You’re not the boss of me or the office.”
“Cordelia, I think Angel may be right in this instance. We can..”
“No! I’m going. There was… I don’t understand why but… The vision… I have to be there. It’s important.”
“Very well but you need to focus on getting the sacrifices to safety. Do we have time to do any research?”
“No. We need to leave now. It looked like your basic slice and dice. They didn’t look especially strong. We’ll just have to wing it. Let’s go.”
“I’ll page Gunn. He can meet us there.”
“No need for that, English. I’m here. What needs killin’?”
“We’ll explain on the way.”
“I only need to know if I can use my axe.”
“Yes you can. Let’s go.”
Cordelia watched the battle go on around her. Wesley, Gunn and Angel were fighting five of the demons. She had already led the sacrifices to safety. The priest seemed content to watch the battle unfold. He made no motion to flee or fight. Gunn and Wesley worked together. She could see Wes press a hand to his side but he managed to hold his own in the fight. She unknowingly stepped inside the circle to avoid Angel and the two demons he was fighting. He used his opponents’ momentum against them. They stabbed each other and crumpled to the ground just beyond the circle.
Angel glanced around the cave. Gunn had just finished off the last demon, except for the priest who still remained motionless. Angel rushed to Cordelia’s side to make sure she was fine. He was still worried about what she’d said to Wesley. He needed her forgiveness but more importantly he needed her friendship. He couldn’t hope for either if he were replaced.
“Are you alright?”
She avoided his reaching hands. “I’m fine.”
The priest smiled at the couple in the circle. His course became clear. He threw a handful of powder into the cauldron in front of him. “Per Aevum!”
Flames shot up from the ground circling the couple then extinguished as quickly as they rose.
“Thy will be done.” The priest looked up and into a set of angry yellow eyes.
“What. Did. You. Do?”
“I completed the ritual.”
Wesley stepped forward. “But we freed your sacrifices.”
“The ritual requires spilling the blood of five demons.” He pointed around the cave. “You killed five demons. It also requires two individuals be within the sacred circle.” He pointed at Cordelia and Angel. “There were two individuals within the circle. My work is done.”
“What do you mean your work is done? What did you raise? What power did you conjure? What plague did you release?”
“They did not inform you? How very like them.”
“Who?” Wesley was beginning to get a bad feeling.
“The Powers that Be, they sent you here, did they not?”
“How did you know that? My visions aren’t exactly big with the details.”
“You’re a seer?”
“And you’re human?”
“Enough!” Angel raised his sword to the priest’s throat. “What spell did you perform?”
“It wasn’t a spell. It was a scared ceremony.” He flinched when the sword was pressed hard enough to break the skin. “It was a marriage ceremony. I believe congratulations are in order.”
Cordelia stumbled back a step. “A what?”
“A marriage ceremony”
“Who got married?”
He studied the shocked brunette. “You and the vampire are now bound. Your souls are forever entwined.”
“My soul is already bound thank you very much. Undo the spell now.”
“Your soul’s what?” Cordelia’s eyes sparked. “Since when and why the hell is this the first we’re hearing about it?”
Angel stared into three angry faces. “I don’t know when or why. Lorne told me it was bound when he read me after my epiphany.”
“You expect us to believe that? Why didn’t Lorne know sooner? Why then?”
“I’m telling you the truth, Wes. Lorne said it was probably because I normally went to him for help with a specific case. I guess this time was different. I was the one who was lost.” He chose to leave out the part about feeling confused after having sex with Darla. He already knew it was no where near perfect happiness but his curse had still very much been on his mind when he sang.
“I told you we couldn’t trust him. Let’s get out of here.”
“What about your…marriage?”
“It’ll never hold up in a California court. I say we just forget about it.”
“My child, you can try to ignore the bond of marriage I have sealed on this eve but it will not ignore you. Should you choose not to take the final step; time will complete that which you would not.”
“Excuse me? I’m sorry but I don’t speak fortune cookie. Wes?”
“Yes of course. What do you mean by that? What will time complete?”
“Geez Wes! I could have asked that.”
“Yes but you didn’t. That’s why I am in charge. Now please explain yourself before my associate gets angry.” He indicated Gunn rather than Angel.
“When the moon shines upon us in her full glory four times hence, the bond will be complete.”
“What do you mean by bond?”
“They shall be linked for eternity.”
“But they are already linked. He’s her champion. She’s his seer.”
“Fat lot of good that did me, he still walked away.”
Wesley ignored her muttered comment. “Please explain the nature of the link.”
“Their emotions, their souls, their essences will be linked.”
“He’ll be able to read my mind?” *oh god*
“No. You will be able to feel each other’s emotions. You will sense each other regardless of distance. You will be able to find one another across time and dimensions. You will never be separated, not even in death. You are bound for eternity.”
“That could be advantageous.”
“You do seem to be in danger rather often. This bond would save us quite a bit of trouble the next time you’re kidnapped.” Wesley smiled at her.
“Jerk.” She pushed Wes aside and approached the priest. “So that’s it? We sense each other’s emotions and presence?”
“There is more.”
“Of course there is. Let me guess. I end up being impregnated, don’t I?”
“Don’t be silly, child. Vampires cannot have children.”
“OK. Well it could be a lot worse. We just need to deal with it. We don’t need to change our lives.” She abruptly spun around and clutched Wesley’s coat. “You need to find a cure. I don’t want to feel Angel’s emotions. I don’t know what’ll be worse the brooding or the homicidal urges or eww. Do something, Wes. Right now I’m not even sure I want the bond he and I already have. I definitely don’t want another one.”
“We’ll figure something out.” He glanced over her shoulder. “You said there was more.”
“The marriage requires fidelity.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“The bond demands fidelity. Should one of them attempt to have relations with another, they will both become violently ill. It’s not fatal but it is rather unpleasant. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have someplace to be.”
Angel, who had backed away from the group, blocked his path. “How do we undo it?”
His voice dropped in volume. “Is that truly what you wish? Are you displeased to be bound to your seer?”
“How do we undo it?”
The priest studied the vampire but remained silent.
Angel grabbed him by the throat and slammed him against the cave wall. “How. Do. We. Undo. It?” He loosened his grip slightly.
“Should you not consummate your marriage yet share your bed for forty nights, the bond cannot be sealed. Should you miss even a single night, the count will be reset. You must begin again but time is limited. Tomorrow marks the first full moon.” The priest glanced in Cordelia’s direction. “I suggest you give your decision some serious thought. Look within your heart, vampire. I do not believe you wish to give up such a precious gift. The unexpected does not always lead to misfortune.”
The priest disappeared in a puff of smoke.
“What the hell? What did he say before he poofed? Can we…annul our marriage?”
“Thank goodness. What do we have to do?”
“Share a bed for forty nights.”
“What! I don’t even want to share an office with you. How..”
“Then we stay married.” Angel stormed out of the cave. The rest of the priest’s words plagued him. *What did he mean? I don’t want to be married to Cordelia. She’s…* “But you don’t. You don’t know her at all.” He didn’t stop until he reached the Plymouth. “I’m not the vain, shallow girl I once was. He doesn’t even know me anymore. I don’t think I can do this.” He slid behind the wheel. “I don’t trust him.” He remained silent when Gunn and Cordelia climbed into the back seat. “Right now I’m not even sure I want the bond he and I already have. I definitely don’t want another one.”
Wesley cautiously looked at the sullen vampire beside him. The silence during the drive was deafening.
The car stopped in front of Cordelia’s apartment. Wesley stood and helped her out of the car. “We’ll wait while you pack a few things.”
“No. I can’t deal with this tonight. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
“Back off, Wes.” Gunn hopped out of the back seat. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Your truck is at the hotel.”
“It’ll still be there tomorrow. It’s safer there than in my hood. Come on Barbie.” He nudged her with his arm. “Buy me a drink?”
For the first time all night, a smile graced her face. “Sure.”
“You’ll go back to the hotel and research.”
“Yes…I was just about to say that.”
Cordelia smiled at him. “Thanks Wes.”
“Get some rest. Perhaps I’ll have some good news in the morning.”
Angel watched the pair walk into her apartment building. His knuckles turned white as his grip on the steering wheel tightened. *That’s my wife* “Are they…”
“What? Oh you mean…they are friends. He’s very protective of her as am I. This situation is… Things were already rather tense. There must be an alternative to sharing a bed.”
“And if there isn’t?”
“Well let’s just cross that bridge when we come to it.” He glanced over at Angel. “Is there any reason we aren’t moving?”
“I think you should go check on Cordelia.”
“Don’t worry. Gunn will take care of her.”
“Why will his truck still be there tomorrow?”
“You said his truck was at the hotel and he said it would still be there tomorrow.”
“I believe he plans to spend the night here. Now if you…” He paused when he heard the steering wheel crack. “Angel?”
“I thought you said they were friends.”
“Friends don’t spend the night at each other’s places.”
“Really? I seem to recall hearing a rather humorous story about Cordelia staying with you at your former residence. I know you lived with her after the explosion. I stayed there for a few days as well. Gunn and I both stayed with her after a rather upsetting vision.”
“Are you going up there or not?”
“I can help Cordelia more by researching back at the hotel.”
Angel opened his car door.
“You’ve been disinvited.” The car shook when the door slammed shut. “Dammit man! What part of give her time is so difficult for you to grasp? You cannot buy your way into her good graces. You cannot force your way back in either.”
“I can’t lose her.”
“Perhaps you should have thought about that sooner.”
Angel sank into his seat. “She said she wanted to replace me.”
He sighed. “I don’t think she meant it. She never suggested doing that until tonight.” He removed his glasses and began cleaning them. “Did she ever tell you about her parents?”
“They lost their money to the IRS.”
“Yes but I’m talking about before that.”
“She doesn’t like to talk about her past.”
“Her father used to buy her mother jewelry every time he’d been caught having an affair, every time he’d been caught in a lie. Her mother would accept the expensive gift and forgive him. Then the cycle would begin again. She grew up believing that was how men and women should behave. In case you haven’t noticed, she’s not that girl anymore. Neither her forgiveness nor her friendship is for sale. Well perhaps for a minor transgression but abandoning her was hardly minor.”
“I wasn’t trying to buy her forgiveness. I thought because she couldn’t stake Harmony that she understood why I couldn’t… I just…I thought… She was so angry that I gave her clothes away.”
“One of the items you donated, a blouse I believe, was the last thing she bought for herself before the IRS seized her family’s assets. The only reason she hadn’t lost that was because it had been in her locker at school. It was the only designer original she had left from her days of wealth.”
“Maybe I could..”
“Gunn went and got it back for her. He gave the girl a different shirt.”
“You need to be patient. You hurt her deeply. You can’t expect that to go away the moment you decided you’re sorry.”
“You can hardly blame her for being cautious.”
“I may have forever but the clock is ticking on our marriage, remember?” He started the car.
“What else did the priest say?”
“When he explained how to annul the marriage, I thought I heard him mention something about a gift. It may be a clue to figuring out an alternative.”
“It was nothing. Just drop it.”
Challenge: – Set after epiphany but Cordelia is still really hurt by Angel’s wrong doing’s. She doesn’t just forgive him like she does in the series. *Some how though they accidentally get married (it’s up to you how that comes about) and they can’t annul it straight away, there’s a clause that they have to sleep in the same bed for forty nights running, without having sex, to annul it. If they don’t sleep in the same bed for even one night they have to start over again. Okay going on just as Angel and Cordelia are agreed that they can do this some guy comes along that Cordy really, really likes and makes Angel re-think his relationship with Cordy. This guy can not be evil in any way, he has to have a genuine interest in Cordelia and she in him.1) Obviously has to be set in season two after epiphany. 2) Has to be real angst, you know stuff you have to work through. 3) Saying that it can’t be a sad ending has to be a happy ending. 4) So it has to be smutty or they don’t stay married.