Walk on Gilded Splinters. 4

Part 4

Alcohol was very much needed when Cordelia stepped into Angel’s office for the second time in two months.

She’d forgotten all about his compliments earlier, her store of ‘Still a Hotty’ having been used up and discarded in the face of the last five minutes.

Buffy was back. Or had been back. And though she hadn’t exactly made a lasting good impression on Fred, Cordelia knew it was only a matter of time before the Buffy and Angel show kicked in and she really wasn’t ready for that.

“So, what did you wanna talk about?” She asked, airily, deciding that if this was the moment that Angel attempted telling her that he was giving up Wolfram and Hart to go be with Buffy, she’d poke that katana on his wall in a place that wasn’t destined to be comfortable any time soon.

He looked caught off guard by her bluntness. She wasn’t exactly a stranger to that. God, no. She’d just thought that if she got this over with, it wouldn’t be so painful. Like pulling off a band-aid maybe. Do it quick and it just stung for a moment, do it slow and Jesus, did it hurt.

“Buffy?” She was amazed her voice hadn’t cut out on her at that.

He looked confused, “Buffy?”

Cordelia frowned. Him playing dense manpire was not exactly helping right now. “You remember Buffy,” she said, “Slay-Gal Extraordinaire, all swooping in to do the saving of Angel.”

It was bad enough that Buffy had come back. But to learn that Buffy had come back, saved Angel from a psycho Slayer and quite possibly done Cordelia’s job of patching him up was like the ultimate betrayal.

Could he just tell her that he was riding off into the proverbial sunset with her and do it now please?

“She saved me, yeah,” Angel nodded, “but that was all, Cordelia. We hardly even talked, other than for her to bitch me out over my career choices.”

“Smart girl.”

“I’ve had worse,” he said pointedly.

Cordelia shrugged at that. She wasn’t about to apologize for giving Angel a few home truths. It seemed like he’d been lacking in those since she’d fallen into her coma.

“So what did you want to talk about? I’m guessing Buffy is now off the conversational menu.”

He took a drink of the punch Fred had given him – Dutch courage, maybe? – and cleared his throat, going straight for the heart with three little words.

“I miss you,” he said quietly.

That, she hadn’t been expecting. “You miss me?”

“I have for a long time, Cordelia,” his voice was firmer this time, “I just didn’t realise it.”

Cordelia glanced down at her glass. And she was supposed to say what to that? That he damn well should have? That he should have fought harder, known better, known her? Or what wasn’t her? God, this was confusing.

“I mean, I did realise it,” he continued, flustered at her silence, “When you were in your coma, you were…you were the only one I could talk to.”

She frowned, “You mean I was the only one who didn’t argue back.”

“You really think that?” Angel’s eyes flashed. “I’d have given anything—everything—to have you back with me. Even like this…”

“Like what?” Her voice sounded tired again. “On opposite ends of the battlefield? Me fighting in one corner, you in another? It was never supposed to be like this, Angel. We were supposed to be…”

“Friends,” he finished for her. “Family. And we’re not, are we?”

“No,” she shook her head, “Not any more. Not like this.”

Usually, this would be the point where the conversation ended. Where one of them backed out because it was too painful to continue, because the other didn’t want to.

Cordelia took a drink, more to have something to do with her hands than anything else, and felt the liquid burn slowly down the back of her throat.

“Why didn’t you notice?” She asked softly.

Angel’s head snapped up. She looked haunted now, her eyes shadowed by memories of the things that only they could remember.

“Wesley, I could sort of understand. He hadn’t been around in ages, but you…” she closed her eyes. “Everything that happened, the things I did… I get that you had things going on but…you knew me better than anyone.”

“If I could change it…”

Her eyes snapped open, “It’s not about changing it, Angel, it’s about moving on. I can’t talk to anyone about this and it’s driving me crazy.”

She hated how desperate she sounded. It was like an open wound, itching away at her and slowly becoming infected. It had been that, more than anything that had eaten away at her for weeks.

She couldn’t talk about it. She couldn’t spank her inner moppet and move on because nobody but Angel knew about it and, having known the majority of it anyway, did he really need the details?

The feel of his hands on one of hers drew Cordelia’s gaze upwards, “I’m here now,” he offered quietly, hoping more than anything that it wasn’t too late.

She gave him a pained look, about to shake her head and get the hell out of this building when her mouth opened and it all started tumbling out.

“I’m so mad at you,” she whispered, “I’m so fucking mad at you for all of this. For taking this deal, for making him forget, for not letting me…”

He looked like she’d driven a stake through his heart at that but she couldn’t stop. Weeks of bottling it up and Cordelia was finally getting the release she needed.

“You didn’t notice,” she said quietly, “Not one of you noticed, not even when I was trying to unleash the one thing I’ve always been afraid of…”

Angel stared at her for a moment, “Angelus.”

Cordelia didn’t seem to hear. “Even after that, with Connor…” Her insides twisted and she took a step backwards, though she didn’t let go of his hand. “I was there. Throughout all of it, watching as this thing played him, as it…” Her eyes closed again.

There were just some things that she couldn’t bring herself to say. “It was so wrong, Angel, and I couldn’t do anything. I tried and I couldn’t stop it.”

She felt raw and open, exposed. She’d gotten a lot of what she’d wanted to say off her chest and she didn’t even feel a little bit better.

“I thought that afterwards, one of you would know. That you’d just look at me a-and realize… I mean the outfits alone, Angel…” She didn’t even attempt the humor on that one.

Just thinking back to the clothes she’d worn was bad enough – starting in on the things she’d done was a thousand times worse.

“It was like he was mine,” she said softly, her brow furrowing, “Those few weeks, he was just a baby and it was so easy to think like that, y’know? And then when he came back…”

He’d been so confused, so hurt and angry. And he’d been the only one there when she’d been all Amnesia Girl – the only one who’d told her the truth because he’d been sick of the lies himself.

“He kissed me,” she said quietly, “when we were training together. I’d got a move right and he kissed me and even then it felt wrong. And then Lorne did that spell and I was just here—” she tapped her forehead “—stuck. Watching as this thing tricked my friends and it used me to do it.”

Cordelia felt sick. She’d thought that talking about this was the way to go, that it would make things better somehow. She was all for making herself spank her inner moppet, she just hadn’t expected it to hurt like this.

“I spent months wishing I’d done things differently. It gets kind of boring in a coma – all you get to do is think and reflect and, y’know, think a little more. There’s so much I would have done differently. So much I would have changed.”

She sighed, looking down at their hands.

“I’m mad at everyone,” she told him softly, “Skip, the Powers…but most of all, I’m mad at me. For leaving you that night, when we were supposed to meet up. For fighting everyone else’s battle but ours. Maybe if I’d been a little more selfish, maybe it would have worked out differently.”

And that was the ironic thing. Self, first, everyone else last had been her motto for her entire natural life.

The one time it had changed everything had been screwed up beyond recognition, and what kind of message was that to send to people?

Angel sighed, “Maybe this is the way it was supposed to work out, Cordy. Because maybe to realise what you have, you have to lose everything first.”

Cordelia stared at him a moment, “Huh?”

“I lost everything,” he said softly. “I thought I was making it easier for everyone else, so that my son wouldn’t know or recognise me, so that the people it affected most wouldn’t remember. Only that didn’t work with you.”

“Great,” she murmured softly, “me and my impenetrable coma.”

“You’d have been more pissed at me if it had worked,” Angel told her and she kind of had to admit that he was right. “But you were wrong about what you said last time because I never stopped caring, Cordelia, and I never stopped loving you.”

Despite her misgivings, Cordelia felt something awfully like hope flare inside her chest. This conversation was a world away from the one she’d been expecting. Inner moppets had been spanked (well, hers anyway), Angel had declared he loved her – had never stopped, actually – and now…

She loved him too. Loved him completely and utterly and he really, really pissed her off sometimes, especially with his whole career path de jour and that’s what made this so hard. So very, very hard, actually.

“What do you want me to say, Angel?” She asked, quietly. “You work here and you go against everything we’ve fought against for the last ever. It doesn’t change because you love me.”

“Why not?”

“Because it just doesn’t,” she frowned. “What do you think, that the Powers are going to send me visions while I’m shacked up in your penthouse?”

“I think I want to try and make it work, whatever happens,” he said firmly, and this time he wasn’t going to ask if they had been in love or if they’d been working towards that in their own unique and completely fumbling away.

This time he was going to ask her outright – did she love him? – so he did.

“Do you love me?”

She wasn’t used to him being that direct. She stared up at him, shaken by the way his gaze seemed to burn into hers, and shook her head, “What kind of question is that?” Because, seriously, how dense was he? Could he not just look at her and see?

“Angel, I’ve loved…been in love with you for…God, I don’t even remember. Feels like a lifetime,” she murmured softly.

She felt his hand shift, his fingers lace through hers and when he squeezed gently, Cordelia sighed, “You drive me crazy,” she said quietly, “completely and utterly off the charts crazy. Do you know that?”

Angel nodded, “I do.”

“I don’t even know how we’ll make this work.”

This time, it was Angel’s spirits that soared, “Does that mean you’ll try?”

Cordelia gave a tiny smile, “That means that maybe I’m adopting my old way of thinking. That maybe being a little selfish is the way forwards.”

She didn’t know how it would work, but she’d give it a try, “It’s not over. I mean, there’s still stuff we need to talk about.”

“I know,” he nodded, “and we will, Cordy. I promise.”

She reached up then, pressing her lips against his, wondering at the fact that the haze of the alcohol had started to wear off a little. She felt his tongue press gently inside her mouth and she whimpered softly, wrapping her arms up and around his neck.

He pulled her flush against him, felt her smile against his mouth, and pulled back a little, his forehead resting against hers. “Cordy…”

“What?” She asked, impatient now.

“Audience,” he nodded towards the windows of his office, where his employees were dancing the night away. Some gazes had swayed towards the office but mostly they were ignored. He wanted to keep it that way.

“We could let ‘em watch,” she joked.

Angel growled softly, making her laugh. “We can be away from here in ten minutes.”

“Are you kidding?” Cordelia asked, rolling her eyes, “Everyone wants to talk to the Boss Man, Angel. It took us twenty minutes to get in here alone.”

He leaned down, nuzzled lightly against her neck, “What do you suggest?”

“Well you do have blinds,” she observed, whimpering as she wondered how he managed to find a spot on her neck that seemed to be directly connected to the place between her thighs, “And a lock on your door.”

He laughed against her collarbone, placing a feather light kiss there before pulling away and doing as she’d suggested, closing them both off from the world outside. When he turned back to face her she was sitting on his desk, watching as he moved towards her, legs crossed at the knee.

“I’ve missed you too, y’know,” she breathed out as he got closer.

Angel’s smile threatened to split his face, “Even with Spike taking my place?”

“Only in the Champion capacity,” she pointed out, “My own was -”

“Otherwise engaged?”

She nodded, seemed to accept that, and slid forwards on his desk. “You planning on kissing me soon?”

His smile turned wry as he bent his head towards hers again and he kissed her, long and slow, one hand sliding up to cup her cheek. She melted into him, opening up her mouth to his, and she knew at once that she’d come home, that she was right where she was supposed to be.

“Angel, I—”

She was 99.9% sure she’d been about to tell him she loved him. So sure, in fact, that when the sharp rap came at the door, she let out her ‘the entire world needs to go bite me’ humph and glared at Angel.

“Do you ever catch a break?” She demanded.

The fact that he didn’t answer it right away earned him many points in Cordelia’s book. He remained at her side, went to kiss her again, when Spike’s voice rose above the music.

“And whose bright idea was it to spike the bloody punch?”

Cordelia reared back as though she’d been slapped. The punch? Somebody had spiked… Was that what this was? Their whole conversation, everything they’d talked about tonight, a by-product of someone spiking their drinks?

Cordelia got down off his desk and pushed past him, adjusting her dress as she pulled open the doors. She was aware that her lipstick was smudged and that her previously ruffled calm was now seriously so.

Still, she managed to level her gaze at Spike. “Someone spiked the punch?”

“Ask him!” He pointed at Lorne who was currently being manhandled by an equally ruffled looking Wes.

“Geez, would you let go already? You’d think the world was ending!” Lorne griped, before a look of panic blossomed on his face, “Oh, Jumpin’ Judas on a unicycle, it’s not, is it?”

“It might,” said Cordelia, warningly. “What the hell did you do?”

Lorne’s gaze went immediately to Fred and Wes. Fred, who was looking more dishevelled than the last time Cordelia had seen her, straightened out her shirt. “Who told?”

Fred honestly didn’t look like she cared who’d told what at that moment. She kept looking at Wesley much the same way as Angel kept looking at Cordelia. Something she was very much trying to ignore.

“You spiked the punch?” Cordelia asked.

Lorne looked very guilty all of a sudden. “Well, I just…I only put a couple of drops in!” He glanced at the mutinous look on Wesley’s face, “Oh, don’t look at me like that, Smart Stuff. You two’d still be jostling around the niceties if I hadn’t intervened.”

Wesley’s mouth fell open, “So you took it upon yourself to spike our punch?”

“It worked, didn’t it?” Lorne pointed out, “It got you two to talk. Open up. Tell each other how you feel. That’s all I wanted, to see you and Freddles happy.”

“And you thought what? You’d extend some to the floundering vampire and his on-off best friend?” Cordelia frowned.

“Pumpkin, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Lorne, turning towards Cordelia. “Really. That stuff was for Fred and Wes and Fred and Wes only. It wouldn’t work on you two anyway.”

Cordelia blinked, “So you didn’t…”

“Nope,” Lorne shook his head, “Why would I? You’d get there on your own steam eventually anyway. You always do.”

“Oh.” Said Cordelia softly, risking a glance at a smiling Angel.

Angel stepped forward, taking hold of her hand and squeezing as he began to lead her back to the office, “No more interruptions,” he told them firmly, “not even if the building is falling down around our ears.”

When he’d closed and locked the doors again, Cordelia shot him a guilty look. “Are you sure my costume isn’t really for Goddess of Over-Reaction?”

Angel smiled, walking towards her and reaching up to play with a lock of hair that had worked its way free. “Judging by the way our previous conversations have gone, I can’t say I blame you.”

“There is that,” she nodded, wanting to get back to, well, what they’d been doing before. “Any chance we can forget my little outburst?”

“Already done,” he told her, lowering his lips to hers again. It was like they’d never left. Cordelia reached up, wrapping her arms around his neck and gasping softly as he slid his hands down her back, letting them rest on the curves of her ass.

She expected her mind to boggle at the fact that Angel had his hands on her ass – hello, major line crossage here! – but all Cordelia could think about was if maybe they’d done this sooner, gotten over all the things that were in the way, they could’ve had it a lot longer.

“I love you,” she murmured against his lips and whimpered as she felt him pull back.


“Don’t you dare,” she warned him heavily, pressing her body closer to his, “If you tell me how we can’t, or how we shouldn’t I’ll—”

“I love you, too,” he told her, silencing her fears quickly, “I just don’t want us to…I don’t want our first time to be…”

“What? Here?” Cordelia smiled up at him, “There are a lot of benefits to here, Angel. Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about doing it in your office.”

He laughed at that, the sound rich and warm, and Cordelia reached up, nuzzling her nose into his neck.

“All I meant,” He said as he ran one hand up her back, massaging the soft skin of her neck lightly, “Was that I wanted it to be special.”

“I’m with you, aren’t I?”

She pressed a kiss to his jaw line, peppering kisses up to his lips and working her way back again. She went further, wanting to know how far she could push him, and bit lightly on that space between his neck and his collarbone, not hard enough to break skin, but not soft either.

Angel growled lightly, his gaze darkening with need, “You do that again and this’ll be over way too fast.”

“Can’t have that,” she murmured. One of his hands had worked its way round, pulling lightly at the thin strands of rope holding her dress in place. She’d tell him that patience was a virtue but she wanted this as much as him – more now – so she let him get on with it, pulling back when she realised he’d stopped.

“What now?” Again with the impatience.

Angel blinked, “Cordy, your dress, you—”

“Wow, 250 years of getting some and this gives you problems?” She laughed as he mock-glared at her, reaching up to undo the shoulder tie and blushing slightly as the dress fell and Angel’s gaze wandered over her.

“You’re flawless,” he told her immediately, “My Goddess.”

“Duh,” she rolled her eyes, bringing him back to earth with a bump. The dress fell further and Angel reached out, cupping one breast in the palm of his hand.

Cordelia bit her lip, they were very much doing this. This wasn’t first-time fumblings with Wilson Christopher. This wasn’t even Groo, sweet, dependable Groo who she’d totally made into an Angel clone. This was Angel. Her best friend and, yeah, okay, she was—


“A little,” she admitted, without really thinking about it. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he shook his head. “It’s fine, Cordelia. We’ll go slow, okay?”

Part 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *