Posted Here: 22 Nov 06
Summary: Someone’s been decorating Cordelia Chase. But who?!
Spoilers: Third season, post WITW. I’m sorry if i’ve thrown people out of the arc or sound inaccurate about a detail here and there, its been a while since i’ve seen that episode. Don’t hate me.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: By all means just tell me where? GTC/A, Stranger Things, AO is a given.
Notes: I’m trying to get back to my writing and its harder than i would have thought. CA is forever and will remain my absolute favorite fanfiction genre and I still write it, so I thought I’d post it here no matter if its not up to my usual standard. I just needed this done before i left it as one of my many unfinished stories so don’t hate me if its not my usual snark and bite. I so miss those days. Sigh. Anyway. Have fun.
Christmas. Bah humbug.
Damned commercialized holidays. All of them. I don’t understand why humans put so much effort and importance in the birth of things when everything has to die.
With my arm propped against the doorway, I watched my family bustle around the hotel lobby arranging and putting up decorations for the coming Christmas. And I, like the Scrooge that I’ve been compared to, stood away from the festivities.
Their insipid need to stick mistletoe in every compromising corner is a damned nuisance. Reminds me of all the things I’m not getting.
Like the stolen kisses from Fred as Gunn moves around maneuvering her under a mistletoe sprig every now and then. And I’m not a complete insensitive prick that I would feel jealous of all the festivities surrounding us.
But yeah. I do feel like a damned idiot standing in the shadows while everyone prepares for the party. As if I needed more humans crowding my hotel.
“Would you hold still?!”
With a wince I watched the raven-haired slayer try to maneuver over her watcher who just couldn’t seem to keep the ladder steady while she stood there trying to hang holly. Might have something to do with the black miniskirt Wesley was trying to avoid.
I could imagine the view and the obvious discontentment he must be feeling trying to keep his eyes away. I had to chuckle under my breath as the ladder wobbled again.
Poor little man.
“Angel? Would like me to warm some blood for you because I was going to make a round of hot chocolate for everyone. My mother used to say hot chocolate is half the holidays, do you think it could be just the sugar rush, but my mother was more of a coffee sort, so I guess her opinion really doesn’t matter on the subject huh?”
“Fred?” I smiled at the ranting woman gazing up at me with the Christmas glittering in her eyes. As much as I wanted to share the woman’s joy, I didn’t want to be included.
Selfishly enough, I wanted to be left alone with my son. What little joy I could feel in this holiday, I didn’t really know what to say to my son about the holiday. I couldn’t explain the spiritual significance and I had no idea what to tell him about Christmas.
But she could, and she wasn’t here. “I’d love some.”
The woman’s answering smile was bright and happy. She loved to do things for them. For her, having a family after her time away was therapeutic. But lately I had been imagining wide hazel eyes and smiles that were brighter than most.
But she wasn’t here.
I winced as the demon rooted deep in my being went into endless mocking. The big bad vampire. Scourge of Europe pinning away after a crazy half wit human who wanted a big hulking ape like Groosalug!
I noticed Wesley watching me cautiously. It was only when I followed his gaze that I realized my hands were nearly ripping into the timber lining the doorway.
With a clearing of my throat, I stepped away and shoved my hands into my pockets. “Wes.”
“Will you speak to her?”
Letting out a lungful of stale breath I frowned. “Leave me be Wes.”
“I will not have you skulking about the hotel when there’s fun to be had.”
I scowled. “Give it a rest Wes. There’s nothing to be done.”
“She’s being obstinate.”
“Yeah well, there I agree with you.” Crossing my arms, I proceeded to glare across the festive lobby with disdain.
“Will you at least pretend to be smiling, for the sake of your son and Fred? It is their first Christmas.”
The watcher sighed and shook his head. “Your gloom and doom will only convince Cordelia that she was right to leave you to your brooding.”
“I’m sorry if I’m not in the mood to play martyr in this episode.”
“You are rather smashing at it.”
I pointed a finger at the smirking man. “Last nerve, watcher.”
He chuckled. “Come on Angel. We’ve been on your nerves a lot longer than this. Why is Christmas such a problem suddenly? Or is it not just the Christmas?”
“It’s my son.”
He blinked. “The chap is only six months Angel what could he have done.”
I scratched the bridge of my nose and looked into the open door of the kitchen where Fred was humming, my frown deepening as I remembered the off-key humming I would wake up to once in while before my seer became a princess.
Before the ape found her. Her damned soul mate.
But then I guess this was my fault. I was the one who’d gone ahead and been screaming to the world that Buffy had been my soul mate and I was torn in two when I had to leave her behind. I guess the powers that do all shit were having a field day.
“He didn’t do anything Wesley. I don’t know what to tell him.”
The watcher flinched and shook his head. “I don’t understand you Angel. You won’t speak to her or tell her how you feel, but you expect her to understand. We both know Cordelia is rather thick-skinned when it comes to emotions.”
“She wasn’t damned thick skinned at the ballet.” Then I nearly bit my tongue. The ballet was an off-topic. Something I didn’t much like discussing.
Not after having Cordelia’s taste invade my senses every breathing moment and then having to come home and find the Groosalug back so they could fucking comshuck and be happy. And I felt like an asinine fool for going out and getting the damned potion so they could.
I should have been the one with the fat ‘L’ pasted on my forehead, not Xander.
“But let it be Wes. She’s happy this way.”
“And what about you Angel? Are you happy this way?”
“I’ll manage.” I glared at him. “If I stop brooding will you get off my back?”
“I shall endeavor to.” Wes grinned and took the tray from Fred as she brought it precariously out of the kitchen. “Angel? Go hold the ladder before Faith falls.”
“Wuss,” muttering under my breath, I walked into the glittering lobby and grabbed the ladder just in time as the slayer slung the holly over the chandelier. But I lost my grip and the ladder tipped sideways. And no. I did not look up her skirt.
I did catch Faith, even though my eyes were glued to the front door that had just slapped open, the setting sun lighting a fire into every strand of honey blond hair. They don’t call me master for nothing.
“Okay who’s the wise guy!”
And I would have taken the time to admire the bare shoulder peeking from the festive red sweater or the jolly green skirt that left little room for imagination, but it wasn’t Cordelia’s attire that had suddenly sent the entire lobby into a state of stunned silence.
It was the dismembered sprig of mistletoe floating a few inches from her crown that caught everyone’s attention. Oh this was just going too far.
Now she was walking around with a damned mistletoe. “Cordy?”
“NO! Santa! Of course Cordy. But I guess you can’t really tell considering I have a friggin plant stuck on my head.”
“Technically Princess its not…”
The seer stuck up a hand before the Groosalug could correct her. “I know Groo. Shut up for a second.”
Taking a deep breath, those hazel eyes swept across the lobby, searching and for a moment Angel imagined it was him, but they roved past him and kept looking.
“Where’s Connor? I need my Connor fix before I kill something and with my new demon like powers everyone knows I can.” Then her eyes snapped back to me like a hawk and narrowed.
“Angel? Have you adopted Faith?”
Her arms crossed; an eyebrow arching as she leveled the full power of her hazel eyes at me. Shrinking slightly under it, I noticed her tapping one foot. “Why then are you cradling her like a baby?” I only hesitated a moment but her eyes narrowed into slit.
“Put her down!”
And no. I did not drop Faith. She slipped.
With a groan, the fallen woman glared up at me. “Whipped son of a…”
But Wesley had wisely stepped forward and helped the caustic slayer to her feet while Cordelia stalked into the hotel, marching straight up the stairs while we stood there staring at each other.
Groo cleared his throat and gave me a smile. I blame the damned holiday season.
He jumped when I growled back at him. “Friend Angel?”
Gunn slapped The Groosalug on his back. “Easy dawg. Angel just hasn’t had his O+ fix. Would you like some hot chocolate? Fred made some.”
But my mind was no longer on the ape. I watched her descend the stairs cooing to my son, her arms wrapped my child as she nuzzled his soft head, her eyes bright and her smile wide. And it wasn’t long before I was smiling back like the idiot I was where this woman was concerned.
Staking was too damned good for me. Still smiling at the baby, Cordelia stood in front of me. “Someone find me a witch doctor and get this jolly holly off me before I break something.”
Now that I took in the effect, I realized it was rather adorable. It just floated there, bobbing up and down above her head, the berries twinkling as if immensely pleased.
For a moment, I envied their proximity to my seer. “I don’t know. I think it looks kind of…”
“Don’t.” A finger stuck into my face, the red painted nail nearly touching my nose. “If you say cute, the first word Connor says will be ‘dork’.”
Stake me now. For a crazy moment, I indulged in the concept that Cordelia would be teaching my child his first words, his first steps. That she’d be around to see him grow. That she’d be with me.
Not living in a damned urban house married to the ape, and comshucking like rabbits. I scowled at the ape again. Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered with getting my damned soul anchored.
Angelus would have handled the ape differently.
“It’s stuck!” she muttered, still bouncing the happy child in her arms.
“Of course it’s stuck; it wouldn’t have been above your head in the first place if it wasn’t.” Faith explained sagely as she reclined on the couch.
Cordelia sighed and looked up at me as if I had all the answers. If only, honey. “Why is there mistletoe on my head?”
“I don’t know.” It was hard, but I was managing to keep my glare from showing, but my face contorted at an odd angle. “Maybe it’s a Christmas thing. Decorating people, or something.”
“Really?” Cordy snorted. “So why aren’t you decorated?”
“You’re a dork! I want this off okay! I wake up in the morning and find this stuck to my head and Groo there suggested it might be a prank and kissing would make it go away.”
Asshole. “He would.”
“But I’ve been kissing. And kissing so hasn’t help and just so we’re on the same page, Cordelia Chase does not need help in acquiring kissage. Do you KNOW the amount of people looking at me hopefully and then with pity! Do I LOOK like I need pity-smoochies?”
I let my eyes run over her for a moment. “Not like that.”
Her face lit up with a smile that shamed the sun. “Exactly. So whoever did this; it’s not funny.” She glared across the lobby.
Everyone was silent before Wesley cleared his throat. “Um…we’ve been busy decorating.”
“The Lobby! Cordelia we would never…”
“Maybe there’s a certain someone you need to kiss to make it go away.” All eyes riveted to the specked woman who smiled weakly. “Or not.”
Stepping forward, in the pretense to soothe my own child, I placed on hand on the small of her back, the other smoothing over my son’s head that seemed perfectly at ease against this woman.
Of course, it could have something to do with the tiny hand wrapped around one plump breast. I glared down at him, nearly eaten with envy. Lucky rascal. “Don’t worry, Cordelia. Wes will find a way.”
“Before the party goers arrive.”
“Certainly. Let me look it up.” Wesley cleared his throat and darted for his little makeshift library.
Cordelia put Conner against her shoulder, rubbing his back unconsciously as she rocked him. “I’ve kissed everything from here back to my apartment. God! Like first vision day flashback, you remember Angel?”
She snickered and I couldn’t help smile back at the memory even though I was all kinds of unsettled at the prospect of Cordelia lips kissing everything on the way here. My eyes strayed to the grinning Groosalug and I had merry visions of twisting his head of and shoving it up his…
My head snapped around to meet her eyes. “What?” I couldn’t help notice the slight tinge of guilt I felt there as I looked at her beautiful face turned towards me. Like she’d heard me, but it was honest fear I saw there that made me panic.
Oh no. She had heard me. But then I noticed several people standing at her front door and realized the party goers had started arriving and as luck would have it, the first was the Scooby gang. Oh joy.
Xander’s eyebrows shot up. “Nice mistletoe Chase.”
Some twenty minutes later most of Sunnydale had arrived, and thanks to Cordelia’s current fiasco, we’d skipped the nervous glances and awkward greetings and now were gathered around the lobby around the whining woman while Fred went about serving eggnog.
“So you have to be kissed,” Spike repeated for like the hundredth time before muttering under his breath, “lucky bitch.”
“That’s what the book says.” Willow told them grimly. “Wesley and I found out it’s a bonding charm. Really easy to do as far as charms go ya know, but it’s pretty difficult to counter. So I guess you’ll just have to go through with whatever the castor had in mind.”
“The book says she has to be kissed?”
To say I was feeling darkly about this, would be a damned understatement and Buffy’s constant repeating of my damned childe was grating on my patience. I sat there with Connor happily curled in my arm, sleeping soundly.
I sat there sprawled in the seat, eyes fixed on the ape sitting next to my Seer rubbing her back while murmuring sweet nothings in her ear. Oh how I missed my demon.
If it had been a few days ago I would have been offering over Xander and Groo and everything male that seemed to want to right Cordelia’s dilemma. In fact, I would have dismembered anyone who would have tried.
As it were now, I wanted to be as far away from this fiasco as I could manage. “I’m going to put down Connor.” Dragging my eyes away, I quietly made my way up the stairs.
Cordelia groaned and leaned her head back against the back of the couch. “My life is over.”
Groo gently rubbed her shoulder. “Don’t be like that Princess. You’ve kissed everyone, and it hasn’t worked. There must be another way.”
Suddenly the seer sat up, a silent light bulb going off in her head. “Not everyone.”
Fred grinned widely. “ANGEL! Kyrumption! I knew it!”
I was almost on the last step, having put Connor down when I noticed the shift in the room. Everyone was standing around uneasily and Cordelia was looking right at me. With a frown, I stepped off the last landing and regarded her cautiously. “What?”
“YOU did it!”
Balking, I stared open mouthed at the fiery brunette glaring at me. “ME!”
“Yes you! You halfwit moron. YOU did it!”
“Why the hell would I do something like this?!” I couldn’t believe the gall of the woman.
Not only had she been parading herself around me with her boyfriend on her heels, she had the audacity to accuse me in public about hexing her and with the damned mistletoe!
I knew there was no justice in this world. I would have rather been blamed for faking the possession at the ballet rather than hexing my seer so she’d go around kissing half of LA.
“I don’t know! I have no idea how your puny little mind works Dorkula but I’ve already kissed everything I could think of and you’re left!”
Taking a calming breath more out of habit than necessity, I held up my hands as she stalked over to me her finger poking into my chest. “Look Cordelia, you’re obviously upset and I can understand.”
“UNDERSTAND! There’s is a dismembered Christmasy article floating over my head!”
I could feel the borrowed blood start to simmer under my skin, my brown eyes spark with irritation as I crossed my arms, “Maybe you did it. Although I don’t understand why you’d want to bond with mistletoe. I thought you were popular.”
Oh hell. Maybe that was the wrong thing to say because for a moment I felt myself turn to dust as her glare darkened. “I DID NOT DO THIS! You think I NEED this to have men kiss me!”
“I kissed you,” Groo piped up helpfully.
“Shut up!” She snapped back before snarling at me and can I just say she’s damned good at it. “Cordelia Chase does not need to bond with anything to get kissage okay? Now get rid of it!”
I held her shoulders, resisting the urge to shake her and spoke calmly. “Cordelia. I did not do this.”
I blinked. “What?”
“Prove it! Kiss me!”
And I would have, if the audience wasn’t staring at me like I was a damned lecher and if I didn’t know that she’d probably already comshucked with the ape and used up my nice potion. I was such a benevolent fool.
I really should have walked into the damned sun for being so righteous. Hell I missed my demon.
An eternity of absolution was welcome over kissing Cordelia Chase at that moment when I’d promised myself I wouldn’t go anywhere near her. Already I couldn’t get any sleep; I was a walking corpse most of the time. Everything seemed to taste and smell of her and my son constantly reminded me of the one human who I wanted to share my unlife with. My humanizing factor. My seer.
Stepping away from her, I held up my hands as if putting deliberate distance between us. “Cordelia why would I…”
“I don’t know! Kiss me already!”
“Because I don’t want to!”
“Aha!” Cordy shouted haughtily, as if she’d just discovered electricity. “I knew you did it!”
“Cordy, no I didn’t.”
“Angel, yes you did.”
“No, I didn’t.”
Gunn cut in with a sigh. “Man, just kiss her, prove you didn’t do it, and we can go back to the party and eat.”
My head shot around to look at Gunn, glaring at him as if he had just ordered me to fornicate with Groo. “Gunn,” I hissed pleadingly.
“Look Angel.” Wesley interrupted quietly. “It’s rather unfair for Cordelia to have to walk around for the holidays with a bloody mistletoe stuck to her head.”
“But I didn’t bloody put it there!” I resisted the urge to stomp my foot and run out like a bereaved child. What the hell was this suddenly? A conspiracy!?
“Prove it then!” Cordelia stuck her hands on her hips and raised her eyebrows challengingly.
“Oh for fuck’s sake! Fine!” I set my jaw. I might as well have been walking to meet my death.
I stepped in front of her, and for a moment, I stared right into her eyes. Moving in just a fraction of an inch, I lowered my voice to a whisper, so only she could hear me. “I knew it wouldn’t last anyway.”
Her pretty hazel eyes blinked with bewilderment. “Wha-” But I didn’t let her continue when I grabbed her wrist and dragged her against me, my mouth covering her lips. For about the first two seconds, we were both frozen, our lips touching. Like back in the dressing room at the ballet. And I could hear her heart catch in her chest.
Fucking hell. She tasted like nothing I’d had before and I’d had plenty.
I knew more than I knew death that if I kissed her for a second longer I would never stop again. But when I made a move to pull back, she had grabbed me round the neck, and her mouth pressed hard against mine, merging, melding with a hunger I didn’t know she could have for me.
Her lips were incredibly soft, and the kiss was both gentle and furious. Like she hated how well we kissed. And for that moment I didn’t give a damn that the Hyperion Lobby was filled with people who would probably have collective cows when this was over. But for the moment I didn’t care who saw as my hand slid up her back, and she pulled herself closer in response.
Hades, I loved this woman. How could I want to keep her away from me? Mind already shot to hell, my tongue slid over her bottom lip, commanding entry, and she obliged, emitting a soft moan as I explored her mouth with a possessiveness that I’d promised never to relive.
And I knew the revisiting taste of Cordelia would keep me reeling for years. I conceded that for this kiss, if I had to stay at a distance, I would take this kiss as a last offering. The vague remembrance, that she needed to breathe, flirted across my enamored mind, but it was banished when she cradled the back of my neck and ran her fingers through my hair.
And then it was over.
Cordelia had stepped away, peeling herself out of my arms, breathing raggedly. Her wide caramel eyes watching me with growing fear.
Yeah baby. This is why I would have never done it.
“The mistletoe! It’s gone!” Fred cried suddenly, if not awkwardly.
And then all eyes were on me.
I winced. Fuck.
But Cordelia wasn’t even thinking about the mistletoe. She was staring at me, the fear giving way to fury and then without another word, she turned and stormed into the kitchen.
Dammit! I allowed her exactly ten seconds before I took off after her.
Buffy cleared her throat. “So who’s spiking the punch?”
The bleach blond vampire snickered. “Don’t look at me.”
“Dammit Cordelia, I swear I didn’t bewitch that mistletoe.” I caught her arm but she was almost heading for the back door when I spun her around. “You think I wanted to…”
But I was cut off because she had just slapped me and I stood there like a guppy, my mouth hanging open. “Wha…”
“How dare you!” She screeched, her fists clenched by her sides almost like she’d hit me again.
“I didn’t do it Cordelia, I swear.”
“I’m not talking about the mistletoe!” She shoved me and I stumbled back for a moment more in surprise than the force of her attack.
And my response was as original and charismatic as always. “Oh.”
“Yeah oh! What the hell was that!”
Rubbing the back of my neck I cleared my throat. “I just…”
“You just what Angel! Decided to give Cordy one last thrill!? Decided I needed one last kiss before you go back to being the cold bastard that you pretend to be!”
“And after you practically pushed me towards Groo. Going out and buying that potion! You wanted me gone! Why!”
“I would have thought that was obvious,” I muttered, my eyes cast low on my feet.
“Well, it’s not.”
“This is so not the time to be cheeky Angel.”
Running a hand through my hair, I decided I owed her at least that much. “I couldn’t do it anymore.”
“Do what exactly?”
“Put myself through this damned torture.”
“God Angel,” she rubbed her temples wearily, “can you please stop your evasive martyr dance and tell me already?”
“I love you.”
“Sorry?” For a moment I thought she’d fall off her feet, but she seemed to grab a nearby counter and hung on.
I shrugged my hands already evasively in my pockets. “I love you. And shit Cordy, I’ve tried not to, really, I have. Ever since the ballet, I’d go through the day, ignoring the fact that you’re cooing over that ape of a boyfriend.
Concentrating on my work, I’d be doing fine, and then I’d be sitting at your desk remembering that thing you do when you sneeze and you wrinkle your nose right afterwards and it would all fall apart. I know it would be hopeless, that I’d get over it. The taste of you. The way you felt in my arms.”
I shook my head with a bitter laugh.
“Dammit Cordy if you knew, the many times I just want to wrap you in my arms and keep you close. When the damned need is like necessity. And back there, I didn’t want to kiss you.”
She listened. Very quietly she stayed there while I finished my lamenting rant.
“Then why did you?”
I couldn’t stop the small, dry laugh. “You can only say ‘kiss me’ so many times before you get your wish. You don’t need mistletoe to get your kissage remember?” She hadn’t looked at me yet and I winced.
“This is where you tell me you hate me and call me a dork.”
“I never hated you,” she whispered, shaking her head sadly. “But you are a dork.”
“I hate you now.”
With a flinch, I nodded. “Right.”
“Do you want to know why I hate you, Angel?”
“Not particularly, no.”
Her hazel eyes lifted, defiant and accusing. “Because you’re an arrogant butthole who thinks you decide what I want. I decide. Okay?” Her finger poked right in the middle of my pectorals and I winced.
How does she always find that spot?
“Cordelia Chase does not need anyone ruining her life. I’m perfectly capable of ruining it for myself; I don’t need you to add to my stupidity. So don’t stand there telling me you HAD to kiss me buster because I know you wanted to. I am a hottie and you wanted me the moment you saw me in that bikini and don’t you dare deny it.”
My mouth twitched and it only seemed to make her glare harder.
“Don’t smirk at me! You think I LIKED being pushed away! So I was confused! And I had every right to be, not like you said anything to me and what with the stupid mistletoe trick.”
“Oh shut up already and kiss me!” Her hands curled into my black sweater and yanked me against her, her hands greedily reaching for my neck and I smiled against her mouth before she took away all mirth and reason and replaced it with honey dukes and caramel desire.
My mouth came down hard on her. Hungry and insistent. Filled with longing and love and desire. The same fire that had burnt in my belly for days. Hands and lips kissing and touching every inch of skin we could reach before I lifted her onto the hard polished surface of the counter and climbed up after her.
“Angel? Cordy? The tree’s up!”
Dragging my mouth away, I looked down into her eyes, my body humming with that odd purr she could call out of these dead bones while she grinned up at me as if I’d given her the world. “The tree is up.”
She chuckled, her fingers still playing in my hair. “So I hear.”
Her finger pressed against my mouth gently. “I’ll break it to him. Gently. But I have a feeling he knows.”
“Considering you’ve been growling at him all the time.”
I had the decency to smile sheepishly. “Oh.” See what I mean? original and charismatic. She has that effect on me.
“Come on Angel. I want to celebrate Christmas with my family.”
She pushed and after several tries and stolen kisses I finally let her up, my arm wrapping around her shoulders possessively as I kissed her temple.
Somehow, I didn’t think my son would have problems understanding the importance of Christmas now and I had a feeling – neither would I.
That night Cordelia Chase was tucking in a yawning Connor while the vampire turned down the sheets of the bed. Giving the baby a conspiring wink she whispered softly. “Bewitching that mistletoe was so the best idea I’ve ever had.”
Angel looked up and blinked. “What was that?”
“Nothing.” Grinning at the smiling baby she shook her head.
“I’m just talking to your son.”