Title: Perfect Day
Posted: Feb 07
Category: ST Valentine’s Day Challenge Fic
Summary: It had started with him, and ended with him, and it had been perfect.
Spoilers: S1 (post Doyle, pre Wesley)
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: JF, GTC/A, anywhere else just ask.
Thanks/Dedication: To samsmom who requested post-fight, eggs, love. Did I fool ya? This thing kicked my ass because I had a whole other idea and had to abandon it, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Feedback: Always appreciated.
The shock slamming of a door yanked him out of sleep and Angel awoke with a start, nearly toppling off the small leather couch in the office. He winced, grabbing his abdomen in pain, his body still sore from taking out a nest of vampires the night before.
The ceiling lights fluttered on in the office and Angel flinched, adjusting to the sudden brightness. He blinked furiously, manoeuvring himself into a sitting position.
His eyesight was momentarily blurry, the muscles near his neck twitching when Cordelia laid a hand atop his shoulder, bending down to face him. Her eyes were soft, even in the harsh light of day, filled with concern.
“What happened to you?” She asked, tilting his chin up. “Are you okay?”
Angel made a face, clearing his throat as her hand slid down his chest, tentatively examining a wound near his gut. “Vampires.”
“Right.” Cordy pulled away and Angel mourned the loss of warmth, of that smooth, intoxicating scent. She returned a moment later, first aid kit in one hand, the other unbuttoning his shirt, settling between his spread knees as she made quick work of cleaning and bandaging his wounds.
When she was done, she helped him into his shirt, looking up at him with a smile, her eyes vivid. “Happy Valentine’s day, Angel.”
Was it that time of year already? It didn’t surprise him that he hadn’t remembered; it wasn’t exactly like him to pay much attention to Christian holidays. Still, her smile was brilliant, hopeful, rare since that day they’d lost Doyle, and suddenly, though the shades were drawn, there was the warmth and light of the sun in the room.
It was strange, he thought, how loss brought people closer.
“Happy Valentine’s day.” Angel replied, shooting her a smile and squeezing her hand before he released it, getting to his feet. To him, it was a day like any other but if Cordy wanted to celebrate it, he wasn’t about to rain on her parade. Hell, he was actually looking forward to it – the two of them, spending some time together.
He never cared to admit it but he enjoyed her company, enjoyed the way that everything seemed a little lighter when she was around.
It was hardly the romance that he longed for and couldn’t have, but it was her, and that was enough.
“I bought you something.” Cordelia admitted, pulling a small, wrapped package out of her bag and handing it to him.
Angel raised an eyebrow. “Cordelia, you didn’t have to.”
“I wanted to.” She stepped away from him, retrieving the morning’s mail from beside the main door and rummaging through it. Angel watched her for a minute, before carefully unwrapping the small parcel in his hands, setting aside the paper.
A smile touched his lips, something tender coiling around his heart and staying there.
Inside was a large, deep red cup, perfect for tea, coffee – or in his case, blood. Inscribed on the front in enormous, yellow bubble letters were three words – ‘World’s Best Boss’.
Angel grinned. “Thank you, Cordy.”
“Don’t mention it. So,” Cordy flipped open an envelope, removing the letter inside. “You have any big plans for tonight?”
“Nope.” Angel glanced at her, smiled. “I’m all yours.”
“Oh.” Cordy looked up, the apologetic quirk of her lips giving her away. “Angel, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you wanted to – ”
“What?” He must have stepped closer to her because her heartbeat quickened, her hands curling into nervous fists. Angel stopped in his tracks, waiting.
“I have a date.’ She blurted out, biting her lip when his face fell, a strange disappointment settling in his stomach. “We’re having dinner.”
“Oh.” Angel crossed his arms, almost defensively, concentrating on swallowing the lump in his throat as he nodded. “Okay.”
She raised her hands. “I can cancel – ”
“No.” Angel found himself saying, no sooner than he found himself wanting to take it back. He shook his head, the words coming out of his mouth uncontrolled, as though he were a stranger watching the scene rather than participating in it.
“You should go. Have fun.”
Cordelia looked bewildered, almost as though she’d expected the Spanish inquisition. He wasn’t sure why he hadn’t given it to her. She pursed her lips, her eyes bright, still so very bright. “I’m sorry.”
Angel raised a hand as if to silence her apology, managing a small smile. “I’m gonna lie down for a while. You uh, have a good night.” He turned and made a beeline for his bedroom, leaving Cordy in the office with an odd look on her face and a familiar ache in his heart.
He watched her from the Plymouth, parked across the street from her apartment like a stalker, or a detective undercover during a stake-out. Angel liked the latter definition better, though he appreciated that the first suited him more.
The guy, her date, dressed in a suit that screamed money and a haircut that originated from the private schools of Beverly Hills, held the door open for her, taking Cordelia’s hand and helping her out. He placed a hand on the small of her back, guiding her up the stairs to her apartment.
Angel wanted to rip it off, replace it with his own. Rage erupted inside of him and his jaw hardened, his hands clenching on the steering wheel.
The breeze ruffled his hair and he closed his eyes momentarily, calming. It was hard not to think about it, not to think about *her*. Not to think about the guy’s hands –
Angel’s eyes snapped open. If he kissed Cordelia, the next thing he’d taste would be blood.
He watched with the eyes of a hawk, *something* unidentifiable pounding through him when the boy leaned forward, pressed his lips to Cordy’s cheek. She raised a hand to his chest, maybe to pull him closer, maybe to hold him at bay.
In the car, Angel sat waiting, crouched like a tiger and set to pounce at the guy’s first mistake.
But he never made one, merely pulled away with a smile and a kiss to her hand, leaving with a slight wave of his fingers. Cordy cracked a smile, turning her key in the lock and disappearing from view. The guy took a few steps, paused, then looked back.
“Keep moving, kid.” Angel growled, under his breath, eyes boring into the guy’s back. “Just keep moving…”
As if he’d sensed something wrong, the boy turned back around, sighing and jogging down the stairs. He slid quickly into the driver’s seat of his car, keying the ignition and pulling away from the curb, the glow of his taillights dimming as he disappeared into the night.
A moment later, Angel stepped out of the Plymouth, sprinting across the street and up the stairs to Cordelia’s apartment.
Barely out of her heels, the doorbell startled her and Cordy paused, dropping her removed jewellery onto the shelf above the television. She yanked the door open, her heart doing a funny little flip in her chest, even as her eyebrows shot up. “Angel.”
“Cordelia.” He shifted in the doorway, his hands in his pockets. “Can I come in?”
“Uh, sure.” She moved, giving him just enough room to brush past her, her eyebrows still somewhere near her hairline. “What are you doing here?”
“I brought you something.” Angel glanced at her, then looked away quickly, and she frowned, totally perplexed. “For Valentine’s day.”
“Oh.” Cordelia had no choice but to follow him when he dropped down onto the couch, pulling a small, perfectly wrapped parcel out of his pocket. He handed it to her with a dazzling smile, and for a moment she swore she saw stars.
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You came all the way down here to give me a Valentine’s day gift?”
Angel swallowed. “Sure.”
“Oookay.” It was beyond weird but the gesture touched her deeply, and she ripped at the material in her hands, dumping the paper unceremoniously onto the coffee table. She pulled out the object inside by the handle, the smile that threatened to split her face bursting loose.
In her hands, she held a small, blue cup, the words ‘World’s Best Friend’ inscribed into the front of the enamel.
She laughed and he laughed with her, and she found it was her favourite moment of the day. Cordelia leaned forward, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you, Angel.” She pulled back, but only slightly, his face inches away as he froze too, not moving a muscle.
Her voice caught, her cheek brushing his, his eyes setting her in stone mere inches apart.
“Cordy…” Angel murmured, “I…” The moment held its breath – and then suddenly Angel moved, his lips crashing down on hers, hard. Cordelia moaned, partly confused and yet so very *ready*, her mouth opening under his as his tongue swept in, his fingers smoothing around her ear and into her hair.
For a moment she lost track of time, of date and name and all other things that seemed unimportant in comparison. His lips took priority, his hands, his body – solid beneath the flat width of her palm.
Cordelia didn’t know where her mind found the strength or agility to take hold of the reigns but she abruptly ripped away from him, breathing heavily, strangely satisfied when he stared at her through dazed, lusty eyes. “Angel – ”
“Yes.” He made a grab for her hand, pulling it into his lap and keeping her close. “Yes?”
She was tempted to smile. “Angel, what’s going on?”
Angel sighed and she knew *exactly* what was going through his head. He hated explanations, hated words and stringing sentences together – much preferred actions and to just get back to the kissing. Not that Cordelia would have minded doing that either but he wasn’t getting out of this so easily.
“Come on.” Cordy said, squeezing the fingers that wrapped around hers. “You just kissed me.”
“You kissed me back.” Angel said right away.
Cordelia glared at him. “Do you really wanna go down that road for your explanation?”
Angel shook his head and released a breath, raising her hand to his lips and kissing the back of her palm in apology. “No, I…” He huffed, got to his feet and began pacing.
“Cordy, it’s just…when you told me you had a date tonight…” He swallowed, looking up at her with wide eyes. “I didn’t like it.”
She stood too, coming around the other side of the coffee table, her arms crossed. “Because I left you alone on Valentine’s day?”
“No! Well, yes.” Angel made a vague, unclear gesture with his hands. “Not because it’s Valentine’s day, because – ”
“Because you were jealous?” Cordy asked, her voice timid, her stomach turning a violent cartwheel when he looked up, simply staring at her.
For a moment, Angel said nothing. The silence stretched thin in the small room, suffocated her, hammering inside and taking flight from within. Cordelia braced herself, counted the beats of her pounding, erratic heart as Angel took a step closer, then another, until all that separated them was a foot of wooden flooring.
“I wanted to be with you tonight, Cordy.” He admitted, his voice gravelly, his body strangely warm from even a distance – or perhaps that was hers. “I wanted to be the one taking you to dinner, holding your hand, kissing you goodnight…”
He trailed off, bridging the gap as his lips hovered over hers, tentative and suddenly uncertain as tension smothered the air and space and time, thick with lust and unsaid words. She watched his lips, wet and open, tingles shooting across the surface of her skin.
Cordelia moved first, rising on her toes and closing the space between them, kissing his mouth. Her hands rose, cupping his cheeks and giving in as Angel took control, deepening the kiss, conducting a slow, languid exploration of her mouth.
Shivers scattered on her skin and he caught them beneath his palms, bringing her closer and into him. She moaned when he nipped at her bottom lip, knuckles brushing her jaw as a hand stroked through her hair.
The day, though appropriate, seemed insignificant now, unimportant compared to this kiss. And yet, she thought, it had started with him, and ended with him, and it had been perfect.
She’d slept in this bed alone almost every night since she’d moved in – and yet now it seemed emptier than ever. They’d agreed he’d sleep on the couch, that they’d sleep in different rooms because she hadn’t wanted him to leave – yet knowing Angel was right next door was killing her, her body aching in all the right places with carnal longing, heat seeping from every pore and making it hard to breathe.
Cordelia flung the covers off, kicking them away with her feet as she leaped out of bed, furious steps carrying her across her bedroom and into the living room. She walked through the first rounded archway, coming to an abrupt halt at the sight in front of her.
Angel was fast asleep on the yellow couch in the centre of her living room, his arms crossed over his chest in peaceful slumber. His normally stern face was relaxed, his lips quirked only slightly at the edges. Cordelia wondered what he was dreaming about, wondered if it featured her.
Softly, she padded over to the sofa, bending her knees and perching on the edge. A smile touched her lips, feet silently making their way off the ground and tangling with his as she slid in beside him, snuggling beneath his chin.
Angel never awoke but his arms opened, wrapping loosely around her, pulling her into his protective embrace. She sighed, her eyelids drooping as sleep overwhelmed her, her mind, heart and body suddenly content at simply being here with him.
The smell of bacon and coffee awoke her and Cordy stretched, surprised at the amount of space she had. She blinked, opening her eyes slowly, adjusting to the sliver of light that shone from the window onto her bed.
She sat up, confused. She was in her bedroom, the bedcovers wrapped neatly around her. Her neck was slightly sore, and she was positive she’d crawled onto the couch beside Angel the night before. How on earth had she ended up back here?
Cordy slid out of bed, straightening her little shorts and the strap of her wifebeater, slipping her feet into her fuzzy slippers. She jerked the door handle, stepping out into the dimly lit living room where the curtains were drawn and the table lights were on.
A clattering from the kitchen caught her attention and she padded across the room, entering the small space beneath the rounded archway. Angel stood in the corner of the kitchen, bustling over a stove of eggs and bacon, shirtless and clad only in his slacks.
Cordelia swallowed, licked her lips.
Her heartbeat must have sped up because he suddenly looked at her, the most gorgeous smile curling his lips. “Morning, beautiful.”
Her heart flip flopped like a fish out of water. “Hey.” She took a few cautious steps, uncertain of how to proceed. He took the lead for her, his hands circling her wrists and pulling her close, kissing her.
Cordy slid her arms around his shoulders, shuddering when his hand came into contact with the small of her back, her body warm and flush with his as she tilted her head, changing the angle.
When he pulled away, she smiled, biting her lip. “I swear I went to bed in a different place.”
“I said the same thing when I woke up.” Angel said with a grin, kissing her forehead and releasing her. “I carried you back to bed when I got up. Didn’t want you to be uncomfortable…”
Something tugged at her heart and she cocked her head, content to simply watch him. Angel ushered her into a chair at the table, setting down a plate of eggs and bacon in front of her a few seconds later.
Cordy leaned her head back, looking up at him. “Can I keep you?”
He grinned – she loved it when he did that – leaned down and kissed her mouth.
The breakfast was delicious, as it always was when he played chef. Cordy had no idea how a man who never ate could cook so well. Maybe she’d take lessons from him now that they were…what were they exactly?
“Angel,” She started, finishing off the last slice of bacon on her plate, “What are we doing here?”
He shot her an odd look. “Eating breakfast?”
Cordelia dropped her fork noisily, glaring at him. “Angel, there are still things to think about. Hello? Evil alter ego? Mass, merciless murders -”
“Try saying that three times fast.” Angel interrupted, stealing a slice of toast from a plate on the table and nibbling on it.
“I’m serious!” She stamped her foot, feeling like a petulant child even though she was being the adult in this conversation. “Bad things could happen! You’re not datable and I’m – ”
“Incredible.” Angel cut her off again, standing and towering above her. He cupped her cheeks when she opened her mouth to speak, silencing her with a kiss. “Amazing,” He continued, kissing her again. “Perfect.”
Cordy closed her eyes, sighing when he dropped his forehead to hers. “Perfect could be a problem.”
“I wanted you to know how I felt, Cordelia.” Angel murmured, serious now. “I *needed* you to know. The rest we’ll just have to take as it comes.”
She gripped his hand when he gave it to her, doubt colouring her features. “Do you really think that’s possible?”
“You made Valentine’s day enjoyable for me for the first time in two hundred and forty six years.” Angel tilted his head with a smirk. “Anything’s possible.”
She helped him clear the table, the melodious sound of clinking plates and glasses being placed and washed in the sink filling the silence for a while. They worked together, every accidental brush of skin provoking a secret smile shared between them.
When they were done she held his hand, finding it fit there perfectly, as though he’d been moulded and crafted just for her. Cordelia smiled at him, sated and on cloud nine.
“Thank you for breakfast.”
Angel smiled again, and she swore she’d never tire of it, never tire of him. “Anytime.”