Title: More Than Enough
Posted here: 08/05
Category: Kinda angst. Kinda not. Bittersweet, if you will…
Summary: Angel and Cordy face their feelings for each other and their future together, with a teaspoon of tears and a pinch of hope.
Spoilers: This is set early S3 – ish. And I really hated it at first but then I changed a lotta stuff and ended up actually liking it so I thought what the hell, right?
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Nothing Fancy and anyone else, just ask.
Thanks/Dedication:To Daisy, Dawn, Kelvis, Kelly and Kev (whoa! K’s!) who reassured me that this story wasn’t crap (they’re fabulous liars) and told me exactly how to make it less…crappy! Thanks guys
Feedback:Hell yeah! It makes me all warm and fuzzy and stuff…
Angel slammed the vampire’s face into the wall, pivoting the stake and piercing his heart through his back.
Another vampire went flying into the large trash bin, screeching in pain as his head hit the sharp edge, then in complete agony as a stake was stabbed into his heart. Angel grabbed a vampire and smashed his fist into his face, knocking him backwards.
His hand swiftly imbedded the wooden spike into the vampire’s chest and he exploded into dust. Angel seized one of the vampires by the head and twisted his neck with a sickening crack. All that was left of the four vampires seconds later was dust, piled onto the alley floor and littering the already polluted air.
Angel sighed heavily, dusting off his coat and straightening, swiftly walking away from the floating mess of dust. He grimaced as the long scratches on his stomach stretched, stinging brutally, blood pouring out and soaking the fabric of his shirt. “Dammit, I liked this shirt.”
“So did I.”
Angel turned around swiftly, throwing up his hands and taking a defensive post. His eyes widened but he relaxed when he saw who was leaning against the wall.
Cordelia Chase raised an amused eyebrow and pushed away from the alley wall. She was wrapped tightly in a dark grey coat, flared at the sleeves and up to her knees. She crossed her arms over her chest and grinned.
“Don’t be too overenthusiastic about seeing me.”
Angel sighed. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, I was going to offer to help but I can see you managed that pretty well by yourself.” She turned and waved an arm towards the large amount of dust that was gradually settling on the ground.
Angel growled. “You followed me?”
Cordelia rolled her eyes and took a few steps forward. “Wow, you make it sound like I’m a crazed fan or something. I just wanted to see if my best friend was okay, which blatantly, you’re not.”
“I’m fine. Go home.” Angel turned and started walking. Cordelia screamed. Angel swivelled around, so fast he was sure he’d have whiplash, glancing around for any signs of danger. But all he found was Cordelia, looking guilty and trying desperately not to laugh.
“Cordelia.” He had one of those stern, annoyed looks on his face. One that told her all he wanted to do was go home and go to bed. She was pushing it, she knew, but she couldn’t help it. He was so easy! And she was determined to find out what the matter was. She snorted and then calmed.
“See, the thing is Angel, I was worried that something had upset you but after seeing that,” she pointed again to the floating dust, “I’m pretty damn sure you’re pissed off.” She took another step forward. “What I want to know is…about what?”
Angel glared. “I told you, I’m fine. Go home.” He turned around, preparing to walk away but went still when he felt a warm hand slip into his, long fingers linking with his own. He swallowed and looked down to his side. Cordelia smiled up at him.
“Well, I was hoping you could escort me.” She fluttered her eyelashes and Angel felt his heart jolt in his chest. He took a deep breath. “After all, LA isn’t exactly safe at, “she looked at her watch, “3 o’clock in the morning.”
Angel didn’t say a word. Just stared down at her without blinking an eye. Cordelia frowned. Then sighed resignedly, her voice going dramatic, releasing his hand and walking forward. “Fine. I’ll just walk home all by myself. Poor little me in the big bad city, vulnerable to all the evil creatures of the night because my knight in shining armour refused to take me home…”
Angel bit back the smile that was forming on his face, determined to brood and sulk all night long. But she was making it so hard. He hated that about her. But he loved it about her more. The way she made him smile, and laugh, and want to jump for joy, like it was the easiest thing in the world.
Cordelia turned around, looking at him expectantly and he could no longer hold back the smile. It broke out, taking over his face, teeth shining brightly in comparison to the dark surroundings. Cordelia grinned in response and he walked forward, rolling his eyes and taking her hand. She followed him out of the alleyway.
One aggravated and cheap vampire with a soul and one stop for ice cream later, Angel and Cordelia stood outside her front door, facing each other.
“Good night.” Angel said, reaching out and tucking a renegade strand of brown hair behind her ear. Cordelia shook her head, crossing her arms and leaning against her door.
“Uh uh. You don’t get off that easy Broodboy. I have to patch you up. And I wanna know what the matter is.” She raised an eyebrow at the silence that followed. “Don’t make me tickle it out of you.”
He took an unconscious step back, mouth quirking up slightly at the edges. Cordelia smiled.
“You stormed down the stairs and out the basement door, slamming it I’d like to add, not telling anyone where you were going, and then I found you stalking around staking and kicking the crap outta everything in site.” Her smile was replaced by a concerned look. “Seriously Angel, what’s wrong?”
Angel looked up at her, desperately wanting to tell her what was building up inside his heart, inside his very soul and slowly taking over his being. His feelings for her had been growing rapidly and the comprehension of what he couldn’t give her had hit him so clearly in the gut earlier that evening, that he had realised there was no way in hell he could drag her into the darkness with him, no way he could spend an eternity with her, loving her, wanting her to love him, and expecting her to live without sunshine, normality, sex…he winced.
The idea that he would never be able to make love to her twisted his heart painfully, ripping to shreds any hope he had of ever being happy, despite what she told him. That he deserved to be. He didn’t. If he did he would have been able to tell her, to give her a normal life and give himself to her completely. Plus, there was no guarantee she’d return his feelings.
“Uh, hello? Earth to Angel?” Cordelia waved a hand in front of his face. Angel snapped out of his reverie, eyes moving back to hers. He gave a sheepish smile and she rolled her eyes. Then suddenly they widened and she yelped, stumbling backwards.
Angel grabbed her, arms going around her waist and clutching her to him, narrowly preventing her head from hitting the floor. She looked up at him, eyes slightly dazed, heartbeat slightly accelerated at his nearness. He gulped. Her eyes held confusion. Then suddenly, they turned into deadly slits.
“Dammit Dennis!” She pushed up and Angel brought them back into a standing position, arms lingering on her for a second longer than necessary. Cordelia turned around and glared at the air.
“How many times have we gone over this? Never open the door unless you’re sure that I’m not leaning on it and there isn’t any danger of me cracking my skull! The visions do that enough already, thanks.”
Angel felt a pang of guilt go through him at the mention of the visions but Cordelia only turned around and smiled. The lights flickered on and off, signalling Phantom Dennis’s apology. Cordelia looked stern for a moment, then smiled at the air, muttering an apology for snapping and waving the subject away with her hands. She turned to Angel and gasped, eyes going wide and a hand coming up over her mouth.
Angel raised his eyebrows, hands on his hips, looking down at what she was staring at. He flinched. The wound that had earlier been hidden by his thick coat was now clearly visible, blood staining the front of the blue shirt, scratches like deep craters in his smooth flesh.
“I didn’t realise it was that bad!” Cordelia ushered him to the couch and pushed him down, running into her room to grab the first aid kit.
She came back with it in hand seconds later, kneeling in front of Angel, spreading his legs and settling in between his knees. Angel observed the concentrated, business like look on her face, as she cut open his shirt, flinching at the site of his wound, cleaning the bloody area and gently covering the wound with gauze.
“The moral of this story is, never fight with a vamp who doesn’t manicure his nails.” She grinned up at him.
Angel smiled and rested his head on the back of her couch, squirming slightly under the soft touch of warm fingers, soothing the sharp ache on his abdomen. Cordelia patted his chest and got up, throwing the bloody cotton wool into the bin and walking to the bathroom to wash her hands. Angel closed his eyes, breathing in the lavender fragrance of her and soaking in the warmth of her home.
She came out of the bathroom and threw her coat off. An invisible force in the air caught it, slinging it over onto the rack. She pulled her shirt over her head on her way to her room and Angel gaped, gasping when he saw her bare, bronze back, the fabulous view only obstructed the black strap of her bra.
“What? It’s not like it’s gonna turn you on anyway!” She slammed her bedroom door. Angel groaned and buried his face in his hands. If only she knew…
Moments later, Cordelia emerged, dressed in blue checked pyjama bottoms and a white tank top, slipping into the kitchen. Angel tilted his head towards the door, then back to the entrance of the kitchen when he heard her return.
Cordelia padded back into the living room, holding a big, blue mug in her hands. She took a seat on the couch next to him, handing him the mug. Angel glanced down to see big white blocks floating in the dark liquid.
“Marshmallows.” She answered, as though it were the most normal thing in the world. Angel glanced at her, a small smirk on his face.
“You put marshmallows into my blood?”
She grinned, “Yeah. Why?”
Angel stared at her for a moment, then shook his head, laughing. He took a sip and set the mug down, looking up into Cordelia’s expectant eyes.
Cordy rolled her eyes. “How was it?”
Angel looked contemplative, forefinger on his chin. “It was better than cinnamon.”
Cordy glared and then pouted, turning away from him, facing the TV. Angel smiled. God, he loved her. She was so…cute. And then she was so sexy it drove him mad. And he loved it. In a bold gesture, he scooted closer, lifting a hand and running it down her cheek, tenderly, fingers lingering on her skin and drawing small circular patterns.
Cordelia froze, body going completely still. She turned around, smiling hesitantly.
“So…do marshmallows give vampires some bizarre, personality-altering, sugar high?”
Angel ignored her, unaware of where his boldness was coming from. Sure, he was a vampire, but she always managed to make him feel like a shy little boy. His fingers continued to caress her cheek until she leaned into the touch, eyes fluttering closed. She sighed softly, tilting her head to face him. His finger travelled up the slope of her nose, over each closed eyes, around and over her temples and then down her cheek again.
Angel had no clue what he was doing. He had no idea what he was thinking when he trailed his finger over the plump flesh of her bottom lip. All he knew was that it was right, that it felt right. Then all coherent thought flew out of his head as her eyes met with his, and she opened her lips and kissed the tip of his finger, hand coming up and curling loosely around his wrist. Her tongue came out and gently ran along the length of it. Angel shuddered.
“Cordy…” His voice came out croaky and broken, purely because he was feeling so much. In this one moment, in this one gesture, they had shifted from best friends to something more, to something far more intimate, and loving, and passionate.
Cordelia raised her eyes to his and released his finger, licking her lips, eyes wide as though she was confused about what had just happened, but so certain at the same time. Her eyes held no regret though. All he could make out was…love?
Angel gulped when her hand came up and cupped his cheek, and she edged forward, stroking his cheek just as he had done to her, face mere inches from his. Their eyes were locked as she came forward, her free hand cupping the other side of his face. They stayed locked as he whispered her name and she smiled softly, reassuringly. They stayed locked and then slid shut in ecstasy, as she gently placed her lips on his, sliding them hungrily over his mouth.
Her hands trailed down his neck, sending warmth to every part of his cold body, finally resting on his chest and grabbing the remains of his shirt, pulling him closer. His mouth devoured hers, as he took over the kiss, pouring every feeling, every emotion he could never put into words into it.
Some part of him that was still thinking logically, acknowledged his disbelief that this was happening. That Cordelia was kissing him. Cordelia was kissing him.
His own hands came up to palm her face and her hands followed, covering his and holding him to her. He deepened the kiss further, brushing her tongue with his own, stroking the cavern of her mouth, exploring the depth, taste and texture.
She pulled away suddenly, gasping for breath. He leaned down and placed gentle kisses on her neck, biting softly at the skin, tasting her. She moaned, running her hands restlessly through his hair, pulling his face up to her own.
“Angel, we can’t…”
“I love you.” It slipped out before he could stop it, before he could bite his tongue. It just felt perfect in that moment, and he couldn’t resist, with the woman he loved in his arms, kissing him and touching him like it was the last thing she’d ever do.
Her eyes widened and she pulled back slightly, hands still covering his own, cupping her face. “You…you what?”
Angel gulped, leaning his forehead against hers, breathing heavily. He placed a kiss on her nose and she whimpered.
“I love you Cordy.”
Her mouth opened and closed as though she was thinking of something to say, or trying to get out whatever she wanted to say. He traced the shell of her ear and she shivered, eyes closing as he pressed a gentle kiss to her lips.
She lifted a shaking hand and bit her lip, touching his mouth. He kissed her trembling fingers and smiled softly.
“I…I’m in love with you Cordy. I have been for a long time now. I just…it took me a while to realise it.”
Cordelia looked faint. Angel could see the emotions rushing over her face as she contemplated what he had just admitted. Then suddenly, the most gorgeous smile he had ever seen, broke out on her face, lighting up her eyes and the entire room along with it.
“You’re in love with me?” She giggled, feeling slightly giddy. Angel raised an eyebrow but nodded. Cordelia laughed, a sound that brought warmth to his cold heart. Then she got up, a cheeky grin planted firmly on her face.
“Just excuse me for one second.” She bit her lips and dashed into the kitchen. Angel barely saw her darting form as she vaulted over the coffee table and landed with a soft thud on the floor, running past him and around the corner.
He heard her squeal in delight, which caused him to raise the other eyebrow in complete and utter confusion. There were no eyebrows left to raise when his vampire hearing picked up what could only be her feet, bouncing up and down on the kitchen floor.
Seconds later, Cordelia came bounding out of the kitchen, a sober look on her face. But her cheeks were red and her eyes sparkled and her mouth was involuntarily twitching upwards. Angel’s own lips mirrored her expression. Then he remembered the sound of her squealing and just the visual of her doing so while jumping up and down on her kitchen floor was too much for him. He burst out laughing.
Cordelia gave him a confused grin, merely because she could no longer hold in her amusement at her childish behaviour. Christ, she had squealed like an over exited teenager. But why was he laughing?
The vampire was bent over on her couch, in what appeared to be a fit of hysterical laughter. Cordelia made a strange face and then tapped his shoulder.
“Hello? What’s so funny?” Suddenly, a knot of insecurity and dread bundled in her stomach and her eyes narrowed. She jumped of the sofa again.
“Was that a joke? Was your little confession meant to be funny? What, now you get off on stepping all over my heart?”
Angel immediately stopped laughing and leaped up, grabbing her arms and running his hands soothingly up and down. There were tears streaming down his face from laughing so hard.
“No! Cordy, how…how could you even think I would ever do that to you?”
Cordelia looked at him suspiciously, then softened slightly. “Then…why were you laughing?”
The image of a bouncing Cordelia popped up in his head again and Angel chuckled, cupping her face and kissing her forehead. Cordelia swatted him away, hands on her hips.
“What was so funny?”
Angel frowned at the lack of Cordelia in his arms and then shook his head, smirking. “You were squealing.”
Cordelia’s eyes widened and she slapped her hand over her mouth. Angel cracked up again, his mirth reminding her freakishly of Angelus.
“And you…you were…” Angel snorted, trying desperately hard to get out a sentence, “jumping up and down.” The vampire made a gesture with his hand, flapping it about, mimicking her earlier actions. Cordelia reddened considerably and slapped his arm. Which only made him laugh harder.
“Ugh, shut up!” She shrieked, biting her lip to keep from laughing. But unfortunately, Angel chuckling had the same effect on her as she had on him. He made her want to smile. Soon they were both cackling hysterically, clutching their stomachs in pain.
When they had both calmed down slightly, Angel took hold of Cordelia and brought her into his arms, cradling her body to his own. Cordy sighed and wrapped her arms around him, chin resting against his chest as she looked up at him. He was gazing at her adoringly and something deep inside her pulled, sharply, but it felt wonderful
Angel eyes seemed to darken slightly and he frowned. “There’s still the curse, you know.”
Cordelia’s face fell. She had forgotten all about the damn curse. The seer bit her lip in frustration. Then something seemed to occur to her and she glanced up.
“Was that why…was that why you were so upset?”
Angel nodded slowly. Cordy sighed, releasing warm breath onto Angel’s face and his eyelids drooped, closing. She touched his nose with her own and his eyes flew open, both pairs of irises containing despair. Then suddenly, she brightened. “So?”
Angel rolled his eyes. “Cordelia…”
“Sex isn’t everything, Angel. And since my last experience, the outcome isn’t exactly a bed of roses. Yeah, okay, when you look the way you do and there’s like, 250 years of experience in that dorky head of yours, the very thought makes me tingle.” She shrugged. “But I’ll settle for hugs and kisses if it means I get to hear you say you love me.” She grinned at him.
Angel swallowed, leaning his forehead against hers. He didn’t know how long he could go, holding and touching Cordelia without taking her. His demon screamed for it but the soul held back, knowing that Angelus’s return would be inevitable if they ever went that far.
Almost as if sensing his hesitance, Cordelia smiled, squeezing his waist. “Angel, not to be disrespectful or anything, but this isn’t a repeat of the Buffy and Angel saga, okay? This is you and me. Best friends who fell for each other, despite the odds and the obstacles. And it doesn’t have to end in tears.” She stroked his cheek. “I love you. I will always love you. And the fact that you’re my best friend? That makes me love you even more.”
Her hand trailed down his cheek and over his chest, coming to rest over his heart. “I won’t let us end in a tragedy. I won’t let us lose what we have because that’s not what we do. That’s not who we are. We are two people who accept each other, love each other, trust each other…and that’s all that matters to me. Not the sex, not the gut wrenching emotion, not the written in the stars crap.” She clutched his hand and gestured in between them. “This is what means something. Okay?”
“But…I can’t give you normal…”
“Pfft! Who wants normal? Hello? I’m Cordelia Chase. Do you really think I’d settle for normal?”
Angel sighed. “Cordy…”
“No, Angel. I don’t want normal, okay? I want you.”
Angel didn’t say anything. He just stared at her, amazed by the woman she had become. A huge weight lifted from his shoulders. Doubt still lingered but she was right. Life was about living in the now. And Cordelia didn’t want normal. Buffy was a woman who longed for it. She was an important part of his past and a part of him would always love her for teaching him how to love someone.
But as hard as she tried, she could never truly accept what he was, never really had the understanding or the trust in him to be his friend. And that’s where they failed.
But that wouldn’t happen with Cordy. Because that was where she succeeded. Because she was Cordelia. His best friend, a woman he fell so hard and fast for that she knocked his feet out from underneath him without even blinking an eye. And the trust and acceptance and friendship that shone from her eyes made his heart ache with joy.
He smiled and leaned down, kissing her lips softly before pulling her flush and enveloping her in his arms, hugging her to him tightly. “I love you.” He muttered into her hair.
Cordelia smiled up at him. “I love you too.” She yawned suddenly, jaw stretching wide enough to be a record breaker. Then she covered her mouth sheepishly. “I’m sleepy.”
“Yeah. I should probably get going.” Angel looked at his watch only to have his wrist slapped down by Cordelia.
“Why? You can stay here.”
Angel raised his eyebrows. “I don’t…I don’t think that’s such a great idea.”
“Why not? It’s not like you’re gonna get up in the middle of the night and ravish me.” Angel diverted his eyes and Cordelia gulped. “You’re not are you?”
“No, of course not. I just…I don’t think it’s a…”
“Yeah, whatever, you’re staying.” She pulled him through the dining room and through the bedroom doors.
“I can take the couch…” Angel protested lamely.
“No, you can sleep here.” Cordelia disappeared into the bathroom, and Angel could hear the tap running as Cordelia brushed her teeth. Then she reappeared in the bedroom, pulling back the covers and getting underneath them, patting the space next to her. Angel didn’t move, standing still as a statue right next to the bed. Cordelia rolled her eyes.
“Come on! I’m tired.” She pouted. Angel didn’t move. He just stammered.
“C…Cor, I don’t…”
“Ugh!” Cordelia sat and slid over the covers until she was sitting on the edge of the bed. Then she stood up and took his hands in her own. “Angel, what’s the matter?”
“I just…I don’t think us sleeping in the same bed on the first night after we say we love each other is a good idea.”
Cordelia nodded. “Okay. Fair enough. And I think that you’re being a dumbass and making a big deal out of nothing. But that’s one of the things I love about you. So,” she released his hands and grabbed the bottom of his shirt. He squeaked.
“Hmm?” She lifted up the ends of the fabric, gently running her hand over his cool skin and the wound that was rapidly healing. He swallowed hard, sucking in a breath at the intimate caress. She lifted the shirt higher until it wouldn’t go any further because his arms were still by his sides, steel binds refusing to loosen.
“Angel?” She murmured.
“Yeah?” His voice was husky.
“Lift up your arms.” Her eyes locked with his and he knew he couldn’t refuse her anything. He raised his arms and the remains of the tattered shirt slid effortlessly over his head. Instead of moving away, Cordelia came closer, pressing her palm against his pectoral, close to his unbeating heart. Angel gasped when her warm skin came in contact with his nipple, causing the bud to harden under her fingertips.
Cordelia didn’t know what she was doing. Well, she knew what she was doing, she just knew she shouldn’t be doing it. But it felt good and right and perfect. So she didn’t stop. Her mouth settled softly over his Adam’s apple, kissing down the slope until she reached the place where neck met shoulder. Then she bit down, hard.
Angel groaned, palming her face and kissing her breathless, tongue diving into her mouth to taste her unique flavour. She caressed his chest, warming it with her touch and Angel purred into her mouth, shivering. When he pulled away, she trailed kisses down his chest painfully slowly, tongue sneaking out to touch lightly over sensitive areas of his skin. He growled lightly, fisting his hands in her hair and bringing her lips back to his.
He kissed her again, hunger for the other all but suffocating the two of them as their tongues battled, lips firmly locked together, nails scratching over pale skin and through dark hair. Angel’s mind raced ahead of his heart and he released her suddenly, causing her to look up at him from under her eyelashes, confusion and then realisation defusing her passion. Angel’s heart broke.
This was all they could have. Whatever had built up in between them, whatever passion and lust and love, stopped right here. Because they couldn’t take it any further. They couldn’t take the risk.
He brushed away the tear that slipped down her cheek with his thumb, pressing his lips to hers once more in an effort to soothe her. Cordelia wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her head into his chest, struggling to contain the tears, if not for her benefit, then for his. Because she promised him that they would be different. That they would be okay.
Angel picked her up, placing her onto the bed and underneath the covers. Then, instead of walking away, he slid in next to her, arm coming around her waist and pulling her flush against him. Cordelia threw an arm over him, tears drying quickly on her face as he embraced her, taking comfort in his presence. They would be okay. They had to be. She buried her nose into his neck. Angel shuddered.
“I knew you were ticklish.” Cordelia mumbled into his throat, smiling against his skin.
Angel chuckled softly, stroking the silk curtain of her hair and kissing her forehead. His heart sank slightly as he realised that this was all they would ever have. Despite the love, despite the tenderness, despite the laughing and joking and reassurance that everything would be all right, this was as far as they could take their love.
Unless he shansued, unless there was a miracle anchoring his soul, unless there was a guarantee that Angelus wouldn’t make an appearance, which Angel knew would definitely be an occurrence, just by the way his heart swelled with love whenever he looked at Cordelia, this was all they could share with one another.
Angel glanced down at the brunette in his arms, eyes fluttering sleepily as her heartbeat evened out. She was so warm, so full of love and life and energy. So full of acceptance and trust. And she loved him. She loved him. A vampire. A monster. Her very best friend.
He kissed her cheek as she drifted off, pulling her closer. This was all they would ever have. But for now, it seemed more than enough.