“Cordelia, where the hell are we going?” The vampire with a soul was dragged down the front stairs of the Hyperion, into the courtyard and out the gate by the seer, who was determined to get him away from the others for a much required ‘chat’.
The sun had only just set. Angel had already heard Cordelia call him a dumbass inside her head, more than twenty times, from Wesley’s office to where they were currently standing.
Cordelia turned around, her short brown hair blowing in the wind and into her face. “You,” she poked his chest for emphasis, “are taking me out to dinner.”
Angel’s brow creased and he frowned. Raising a hand, he slowly tucked her flowing hair behind her ear. “Can’t we just stay here?”
Cordy glared. “No, we cannot stay here because I would like to actually see some form of human civilisation once in a while, other than a vacant hotel where I happen to work with a green demon and a vampire with a soul. Plus,” she continued before he could interrupt her, “you and I never go on dates. I wanna go on a date. So guess what big guy? You’re taking me on a date.”
Angel’s frowned deepened, more at her snappy tone than at the idea of an evening out, although the latter also terrified him. “Are…are you mad at me?”
Cordelia seemed to soften at his ingenuous tone. “No.” she smiled. “I just want us to have an evening out y’know? Talk some stuff over. There are certain things that I wanna say to you, once and for all. And I’m hungry.” She said honestly, taking hold of his hand.
The vampire smiled and placed a quick kiss on her palm. “Where do you wanna eat?”
“Ooh, I like her so much.” Lorne said to Wes and Gunn, as Fred walked out of the office, having said what she wanted to.
“Did Fred just say the word ‘laid’?” Gunn asked disbelievingly.
Wesley cleared his throat. “Yes, I believe that was the term she used.”
“Yeah…ladies, you gotta love em’.” Lorne grinned before turning to Wesley. “So, my little peach plum, what can I do for you?”
“Man, that just sounded dirty.” Gunn joked.
“Yes, Lorne, I’d prefer if you’d refrain from calling me such peculiar names.” Wesley cleaned his glasses and placed them back on his nose. “I’d like you to help out with the research. Provide any information you know about mind reading, and how to remove it, things like that.”
Lorne nodded and picked up a book. Wesley turned to Gunn. “I’m going to go have a word with Fred, could you possibly…”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll do the bookworm slash research boy routine.” Gunn grabbed the thinnest book he could find and relaxed in Wesley’s chair, putting his feet up on the desk. Wesley frowned. “Gunn…”
”English, you got me enduring torture for the next couple of hours. At least let me be comfortable.”
Wesley rolled his eyes and closed the door behind him.
The ex-watcher found the physician seated behind the counter in the lobby, scribbling away furiously with a pen.
Fred jumped slightly, clutching her hand to her chest. She removed it swiftly when she saw who was standing in front of her.
“Wes!” she said, with a big smile, “what’s up?”
Wesley felt a smile creep up on his face and his heart fluttered slightly. “Um, nothing. I was just wondering, well, how you were?”
Fred’s smile faded slightly. “I’m fine. How are you?”
“I’m very well, thank you. I uh, I managed to translate a scroll the other day which I’ve been working on for a while now, so that was good.” Wesley coughed, feeling a cold sweat build up on his back, in between his shoulders.
Fred smiled again. “That’s great. Was it a prophecy?”
“No, no. Just your regular, old scroll. But, it was a hard language…to decipher. So, that’s…good.”
Fred’s smile faded completely. “Wesley…”
“Nothing quite as fancy or as hazardous as a prophecy. Although Angel seems to think that prophecies aren’t at all serious. Then again I suppose he’s survived through so many…”
“Wesley.” Fred raised her voice slightly, which managed to get the Englishman’s attention. “I…is this how it’s going to be from now on?”
Wesley looked down, unable to meet her piercing gaze. He cleared his throat. “I’m not sure I quite…what do you mean?”
Fred frowned. “You know what I mean. These awkward silences, and uncomfortable conversations about nothing personal, but about books and prophecies and scrolls, and I don’t want out friendship to be like this Wesley. I want what we had back. Because after being stuck in a hell dimension for five years, I am so lucky to have found a friend like you, and I’m not ready to give that up because of some guy who made you act violently, which is completely the opposite of what you are. You’re my friend. And you’re a good man. You’re gentle and lovely and kind and…”
Fred took a small step forward and Wesley immediately took a large step back. The young physicist felt hot tears prick at her eyes. She opened her mouth to say something that would take that heartbreaking look of his face, but the words wouldn’t come out. Wesley looked at her, the pain and self-resentment evident in his eyes. Then he looked away.
“I should…get back to the research.” He turned around and walked into his office. Not once did he look back.
“I don’t eat.” Angel muttered, staring at Cordelia from across the table.
“Don’t make me bitchslap your fat ass.” Cordelia warned, not even glancing up from her menu. Angel growled.
“My ass is not fat!”
Cordy smirked and patted him on the arm. “Okay. Now, what do you wanna eat?”
“You.” He replied. Cordelia laughed and threw her napkin at him. Angel caught it and placed it in his lap, smirking arrogantly.
“You want it back? Come and get it.”
Cordelia shook her head in disbelief. “What is with you today? Someone turn on your sex machine switch?” Angel wiggled his eyebrows making the seer giggle.
“You have no idea, Cordy.” He took a long sip of his wine, glancing up at the waiter who came to take their order. Cordelia smiled.
“Um…I will have a…spaghetti carbonara and he,” she pointed at Angel, “will have a…” Cordelia ran her finger down the menu card, searching for an appropriate meal.
Cordelia on a bed with no extra dressing.
Cordelia coughed loudly, slapping her chest a few times to make sure her drink didn’t go down the wrong pipe. She looked up at the waiter who was staring at her with wide eyes.
Oh great, You’re the psychopath and he’s looking at me like I’m the freak.
Angel simply smirked. Cordelia turned her attention back to the menu, which was very hard to focus on when her stupid vampire boyfriend was stroking her leg underneath the table. Cordy jerked her leg away but he caught her knee, lightly running his finger over the underside of it and then up her thigh until he couldn’t reach any further without his stretching being visible.
“He’ll have the steak, rare.” Cordelia squeaked out. The waiter gathered the menus and left them. Cordelia glared at Angel.
What the hell is your problem?
I don’t have a problem baby.
Oh Angel, just… fuck off.
Cordelia turned away from him, her arms crossed over her chest. She looked around the little Italian restaurant, at the beautiful soft lights and sparkling white tables, listening to the voices of people chatting away and the melodious sound of the music being played overhead. A new song started playing and a small smile drifted onto her face as she recognised it.
And in the arms of the angel…may you find some comfort here
Strangely appropriate. She turned her head to look at Angel. His seat was empty. Her eyes narrowed in confusion and she sat up straight, prepared to rise and look for him, until she felt two cool hands on her bare shoulders and heard a small voice whispering in her ear.
“Dance with me.”
Cordelia shivered slightly, as his cool breath touched her naked skin. She turned around to look into his eyes, dark pools glistening with love and affection for her.
“You don’t dance.”
Angel smiled warmly and Cordy felt her heartstrings pull slightly. “It depends on who I’m dancing with.”
Cordelia couldn’t help but gape at him for a few seconds before finally sliding her hand into his inviting one and letting him lift her onto her feet. He led her slowly to the dance floor, pulling her to him, moving slowly in the midst of several other couples, dancing happily to the music.
Strong arms spanned her tiny waist, large hands running down her spine to rest on the small of her back, holding her close, making her feel loved and protected. Her hands rested lightly on his chest, before she smoothed up the fabric of his shirt and laced them around his neck. He smiled down at her. I love you.
Cordy smiled and leaned her head against his shoulder, feeling the moistness of his lips against her forehead. I love you too.
For today. For all the stuff that I said in Wesley’s office. I didn’t want you to hear it but I…I wanted to say it. I’m sorry for being an ass.
Cordelia chuckled lightly into his chest before leaning up and looking directly at him. Her vampire had a soft, remorseful expression on his face, his eyes filled with equal amounts of ardour and adoration. She remembered what his demon had whispered to her earlier. She remembered what she wanted to say before he had asked her to dance and before she had been completely lost in the feel of his arms around her.
I can’t control what he thinks Cordy. I can’t…
You don’t have to.
But I don’t want you to see me that way. I don’t want you to see what I am…
“Angel,” Cordy stroked the hair on the back of his neck, one hand coming to rest lightly over his non-beating heart. “I love you. And that isn’t going to change because of what you are. I fell in love with you, not because of what you are because of who you are. I don’t care about what you’ve done or what evils are buried deep inside you trying to get out because I know you won’t let them. Because I know that you love me enough to never let anything hurt me or anyone else who care about. You are a wonderful man. You are not a monster despite whatever you may think of yourself. You help people everyday and you have a beautiful heart.” Her hand squeezed his shirt softly, where it rested over his still heart.
“There is a demon in you somewhere but that’s because of who you are. And I accept you for it. I love you for it. The day that you told me you loved me, I knew that when I said it back, I would be accepting the whole package. And I still said it. Because that’s exactly what I want. I’m not the kind of girl who says something I don’t mean. I love each and every part of you. And I don’t want you to ever lose a part of yourself, because the history and the demon and the man and the soul are what make you up, and that is who I fell in love with.”
Angel looked at her for one long moment. His eyes were unreadable but the way he was looking at her made a blush creep up her neck and her legs turned to jelly. She swallowed once, looking down at her feet. I have pretty feet.
She heard Angel chuckle and then felt the pressure of his index finger against the bottom of her chin, pushing up until she was looking at him again. And then he kissed her, so gently, so sweetly, that for a second she forgot how to breathe and her legs almost gave out from underneath her. But he held her close, preventing her from falling, arms surrounding her like a comfortable, protective barrier. In these arms she felt cherished, safe, treasured, wanted…loved.
Jeez, enough with the smaltz already.
Shut up, deadboy.
The walked up the street, towards the Hyperion, Angel’s arm firmly wrapped around Cordelia’s waist, the girl in question snuggled deeply under his arm. The warm L.A night air whistled softly, caressing Cordelia’s skin as she walked. Her loose white skirt flowed freely around her knees. She tucked several stray strands behind her ear before addressing the vampire.
“You think we’re gonna end up insane?”
Angel chuckled and kissed the top of her head. “Aren’t we already?”
“Alright, okay. No. I think Wes will find a cure and we’ll be back to normal before you know it.”
Cordelia smiled up at him. “I like being like this though.”
Angel grinned. “I thought it was an invasion of privacy?”
Cordy hit him lightly. “Well, it was, I just…I feel like I’m really connected to you somehow. Like I know you inside out…no pun intended.”
“You do know me inside out Cor. You know me better than anyone has ever cared to.”
“Yeah, but it’s not the same. Oh well, at least you don’t have to worry about…” Ooh…come to mamma!
Angel stopped abruptly, startled by Cordelia’s last statement. “I don’t have to worry about…what?”
Cordelia looked back to him from where she had been staring. “Huh?” She slapped her forehead. “Oh god, you can hear me!”
Angel gave her a look that clearly showed he thought she’d lost her mind. Cordelia was glancing between him and just behind him and Angel was confused as hell.
“Um Cordy? What was the ‘come to…whatever’ for?”
For the really hot guy standing behind you. Cordelia cringed realising what she had just thought. Angel’s eyes narrowed and he turned around, glancing at a handsome stranger who had seated himself on a bench. He was silent for a moment. Then…
He’s not good looking!
That’s cos you’re a guy!
You don’t appreciate the finesse of a good looking man. But then again, I suppose you’re not all man. And I have heard those rumours about you and Spike…
Angel jerked his head back to his girlfriend, eyes widening in panic. “I…what rumours? Nothing happened between me and Spike!”
Cordelia rolled her eyes and linked her arm with his. “Can we go please? Not exactly liking the idea of standing in the middle of the street, talking about your gay lover…”
“Cordelia!” Angel clamped his hand over her mouth and glared at her. “Shut up!” he hissed. Cordy bit his hand and he snatched it away. She smirked and grabbed his arm again. Angel reluctantly let her take it and they began walking again.
He wasn’t that good looking.
“Jeez, Angel, let it go. What do you want me to say? That you’re the best looking man on the surface of the earth without a doubt, despite the a fact that I haven’t seen half the world’s population?”
Angel looked at her for a second before smiling. Yes.
Cordy rolled her eyes and kept walking. “Hello, have you seen Brad Pitt?”
Angel pouted slightly. “Well, at least you’re never gonna see him in real life.”
“Hey! I might do. Aspiring actress here!” Plus who needs Brad when I see you and Gunn every day?
Angel stopped hastily, turning to look at Cordy again. “What?”
Cordelia’s face paled and she smiled a little too brightly. “Nothing! Let’s go…”
Angel grabbed her by the arm as she brushed past him, swinging her around to face him. “Whoa, you think…Gunn is good looking?”
I think he’s hot. Cordy hit her head in frustration. Angel was right, you really couldn’t control your thoughts. The vampire was rendered speechless. Finally, when he spoke, it was more of a growl than a sentence. “You think Gunn is hot?! Why? Why? Why would you think that?!”
Because he has a really big… axe. “Dammit!” Cordelia slapped both hands over face, crying out in aggravation. “Me and my big brain!” She glanced up at Angel. His expression was scarily…well, expressionless. He remained completely still, eyes golden.
“Angel?” The vampire pushed past her, hands in his pockets, quickening his pace so that Cordy had to almost sprint in order to keep up with him.
“Angel!” Cordelia finally jumped in front of him and put both hands on his chest. “Stop! Okay? Look, why are you making such a big deal about this? So I find a guy attractive…big deal! I find you attractive. I love you. Just because I think a guy has a nice one eyed snake down his trousers doesn’t mean I’m gonna fall head over heels in love with him like I have with you. I don’t understand why you’re making such a huge thing out of this!”
Angel didn’t move. Once again, he simply looked at her, his dark eyes squinting as if trying to study something. He wasn’t even thinking so Cordy was left completely clueless. Then she saw the little light bulb flash above his head and groaned.
“When did you see his…axe?” Angel ground out angrily. Cordelia ran a hand through her hair, taking a deep breath.
“It’s a whole big story Angel. I…he came over to my apartment…” Angel growled. “Shut up! It wasn’t like that. He just came over as friends do, and I didn’t realise he was in the bathroom. So…I just walked in and I caught sight of his…thing…and I yelled and he yelled and there was a whole bunch of yelling.” She ran her hand through her hair again, shoving the annoyingly loose strands out of her face.
“Anyway, for weeks after that I was teasing him about it. He swore me to secrecy. Believe me, I would’ve loved to have told you. Dennis and I even nicknamed it the ‘meat truncheon’!” she snickered, her giggles quickly ceasing at the infuriated look on the vampire’s face.
“What I didn’t tell him, because his ego is already the size of North America, was that after that I found him…kinda attractive. Not that I didn’t before, cos y’know, Gunn’s got a cute face. And he’s a nice guy.” She put her hands on Angel’s arms, running them up and down soothingly. “But it’s not a big deal. I swear. Gunn’s hot. You’re hotter. That guy on the bench is hot. Brad Pitt is hot. Jude Law…”
“I got it!” Angel shouted. “I got it, thank you.” he took a deep breath, something she knew he didn’t need to do, running his hands over his face. When he removed them, he had this insecure, yet boyishly curious look on his face. Then came the dreaded question. She heard it in his head before he actually said it loud but by the time he had said it, her face was in her hands and her skin was a deep crimson.
“Was his…axe, bigger than mine?”
Cordelia groaned loudly, shaking her head, still contained in her small hands. Why are we having this conversation?
“Because you saw another guy’s penis Cordelia!” Angel yelled, unaware of the strange looks he was receiving from people on the street. Cordelia, if it was possible, burrowed her face even deeper into her hands.
“And you named it Cordy! You don’t have a name for my penis!” Several people had now stopped to stare at the strange man, yelling about a penis in the middle of the street. Cordelia finally lifted her head from her hands, breathing deeply, telling herself to do so in her head. Angel was still glaring at her, hands on his hips.
“Well? Is it?”
“What?” Cordy asked, tiredly.
“His axe? Is it bigger than mine?”
Cordelia decided the best thing to do was to just ignore him. So she turned around and began walking again. Angel followed her, walking frantically beside her on the sidewalk, continuously asking about Gunn’s ‘axe’.
Cordelia tried to disregard his presence, but by the time they reached the gates of the Hyperion, he was driving her crazy. She slapped him on the arm and began walking again but Angel, being the persistent creature that he was, pursued her all the way to the entrance of the hotel where she finally turned around and lost it.
“Fine Angel, you wanna know the truth? Suck it up cos here it comes. Yes, his axe is bigger than yours. Not by much, but he’s taller so he gets an advantage. Compared to his meat truncheon, you’re just a…a…jumbo sausage!” She waved her arms emphatically, trying to find a gesture that would be suitable.
Angel stood at the bottom of the stairs staring at her, his mouth hanging wide open. Stupid Gunn with his stupid meat truncheon…His eyes lowered slightly, giving him a sad and shameful look and suddenly, Cordy felt bad. She sighed and walked over to him slowly, cupping his face in her hands.
“Sweetie, I…I like jumbo sausages.” Right, cos *that* doesn’t sound weird! A small smile involuntarily crept up Angel’s face. Cordelia grinned and leaned up, kissing his forehead once.
He felt the anger and jealousy fade slightly at the warmth and the gentleness of her touch. Almost as though it calmed him. But there was something that was still bothering the demon…hell even the soul was pissed off.
“Angel, where are you going?” Cordelia called out to the retreating figure, who had left her embrace and was now pushing open the doors of the Hyperion.
The vampire’s retort nearly gave Cordelia a heart attack. “To see if Gunn’s axe is really bigger than mine!”