Summary: Angel reveals his true feelings for Cordelia (Late S2, probably post Dead End)
Spoilers: Season 2 (none)
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just Fic/GTCA. Anyone else please ask first.
Notes: Pardon me for the cheese factor but I *really* wanted to try the line from Jerry Maguire (no, not ‘show me the money!’) in the Angelverse. Here’s hoping it works!
Thanks/Dedication:This is for the gorgeous Christie because not only do I owe her about a million and one beautiful things, but she is also just one of my most favourite people in the whole wide world. Hope you enjoy this my lovely!
Feedback:Would love some
The shift had been gradual, Angel decided, too gradual for him to even notice until he’d been knocked off his feet in complete and total surprise. Granted he’d always known he’d cared a lot about Cordy, had always valued her friendship, her acceptance and that endearing ability to amuse and annoy all at once.
But he’d never really considered it as anything other than entirely platonic, never really acknowledged those frequent little jolts he’d felt when she’d smile or take care of him – he was hardly datable and at that time there was still a certain part of him that was clinging desperately to the past.
Despite everything they’d been through, he’d never really *looked* at Cordelia that way before – until he’d got her back.
It was a bizarre sensation he didn’t quite understand. One moment she was his best friend, his seer, a young girl and initially a distraction he’d employed in his quest to make things right. Yet the next, she was his greatest fantasy, his everything, a beautiful and alluring woman he couldn’t stop thinking about. Her briefest touch, her bluntest statement would make him ache.
Maybe it had all begun without his even being conscious of it, but there had been too many distractions along the way, too many things – people – to keep Angel from realising how he really felt. It had taken returning to his friends, learning he was wrong and understanding his overwhelming and bewildering desire to make everything all right between them and with Cordy – especially with Cordy – but somewhere between it all, between moving on from Buffy and escaping his dark obsession with Darla, Cordelia had become the most important person in his life.
She was his deepest desire, his dearest friend, his very world. It was funny, Angel decided, how he’d never seen it coming.
It had rained that day, sometime in the afternoon when she’d clearly been too busy reading Cosmo to care about what was going on indoors, let alone outside. The grass was still damp with moisture and Cordelia grimaced as her heel sank through it, cursing when she nearly toppled over.
Charles Gunn shot her a grin as she stumbled through the doors of the Hyperion. “Look what the cat dragged in.”
He laughed gently, keeping his eyes on her as she walked over to the counter. A low whistle escaped him. “You look hot, Barbie.”
She shot him a look. “Didn’t you just mention something about cat kill?”
“I was joking.” Gunn shook his head, his eyes drinking her in. Cordelia had to admit, she *did* look good. She was wearing one of the dresses Angel had bought for her – a deep midnight blue number, with slim straps that crisscrossed over her exposed back, a neckline that pooled between her breasts and a skirt that flowed like liquid down her legs, stopping just above the knee.
The ice in her eyes slowly melted and Cordelia smiled at her friend. “Good to know.” She sipped the coffee she’d just poured herself. “Is there work?”
Gunn shrugged. “If there is, I ain’t doin’ it.”
A slight movement to the left caught her eye and Cordy turned in time to see Angel jogging down the stairs. A smile touched her lips inadvertently as she noticed his brighter than normal green shirt.
He stopped at bottom of the stairs, glancing at her once, then twice in a less than subtle double take. For a moment, he just stared.
Cordelia’s stomach fluttered. Before she had a chance to ponder *that*, he opened his mouth.
“Hey.” She replied. “Great shirt.”
Beside her, Gunn snorted. Cordelia pinched him in the side.
“Thanks.” Angel said, still looking at her as though he was unable to tear his eyes away. “You uh, look…nice.”
Cordy smiled at him, twirling around in the dress. “Really? You like?”
Angel cleared his throat, nodding but saying nothing else. That was as good a reaction as any from him she supposed. Cordelia pressed her hands to her belly, smoothing down the material as she walked around him, taking a seat on the round sofa. After a few seconds, Angel followed.
“So uh,” He started, biting his lip nervously as he took a seat. She glanced at him, half in confusion and half in annoyance. She thought he’d gotten over this already – the anxious little movements, the apologetic smiles – as though he was terrified she’d lash out with a scathing remark, that she’d hurt him.
Cordelia was the first to admit she hadn’t made it easy on Angel – he’d hurt her feelings, dammit – but she *had* been touched by his efforts to make things better between them, little gestures that made her realize that he really was sorry, and that he had no intention of ever abandoning her again.
Of course, the clothes had helped too.
She’d forgiven him and she *did* understand – yet still he hesitated. “So what?”
Angel’s head snapped up. “Huh?”
Cordelia smiled. “You said, so.”
“Right.” Angel nodded, standing and putting his hands in his pockets. “Is there some sort of special occasion?” At her blank look he continued. “For the dress.”
“Oh!” Cordy nodded in understanding, crossing her legs as she looked up at him. “Yeah, I have a date.”
For a moment, Angel only stared at her. Then, he blinked. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” Cordy repeated, uncertain as to why *she* suddenly felt nervous. Maybe it was the way he was still looking at her, his eyes dark, his lips drawn into a thin line. Was he mad at her?
“That’s great.” Angel said, interrupting her thoughts, his voice laced with an unmistakable tinge of bitterness. Behold the weirdness. He swivelled on his heel, walking away from her and towards the counter.
Cordelia blinked. Well, that made no sense.
She didn’t get the chance to consider it much further because the door to Wesley’s office opened and he strode out, smiling widely at her.
“Cordelia! You’re looking rather lovely.” He cocked his head when she grinned at him. “Hot date?”
Gunn grimaced. “Wesley, don’t do that…”
Beside him, Angel slammed a book shut. Cordelia winced but neither man seemed to notice. In fact, Wesley seemed more eager on ignoring Gunn’s quip then paying attention to anything else.
“So, who’s the lucky man?”
Gunn turned his head from where he was seated, staring evenly at her. “And when do *we* get to meet him?”
“Oh no.” Cordelia said firmly, shaking a finger in his direction. “You guys are not scaring off another potential.”
“I think it’s a great idea.” Angel said lowly, making something inside her clench. “Meeting him, I mean.”
“Well, I don’t.” Cordelia stood, taking the files that Wesley handed her and walking towards the cabinet. “Besides, it’s only the first date.”
“So?” Gunn crossed his arms. “He could be evil.”
“Or crazy.” Wesley chipped in.
“Or just a guy.” Angel said, the hint of a growl in his voice.
Irritation flared inside her. “What’s wrong with being just a guy?” Cordelia snapped, swivelling to face him. For a beat, he glared right back at her, his eyes dark and hot. Her heart thumped.
Wesley cleared his throat. Gunn whistled lowly.
Angel shrugged then, looking away indifferently. Cordelia scowled, turning her back on him and heading towards the filing cabinet.
He’d bought her that dress – stood in the store and held it in his hands, feeling the material between his fingers and imaging her in it, knowing she’d look breathtaking. He hadn’t been wrong. It fit her body like a second skin, clinging to every curve and highlighting her flawless form, sexily, subtly.
And now she was wearing it for another man.
Angel suppressed the growl that threatened to escape, watching her with hungry eyes as she slid a file into place, bumping Gunn with her hip when he walked past her. She shot the boy a smile – that smile – the one that made Angel’s chest tighten with complete and utter *want* for her. He slumped in his seat, feeling low.
Something shifted in the air, the quickening of a heartbeat and the faint, sweet scent of fear. Angel lunged out of his seat with preternatural speed when Cordy stumbled, dropping the file in her hand as the vision racked through her body. He caught her before she hit the ground, cradling her in his arms like the precious cargo she was.
Wesley came running out of his office, a pen and paper in his hand while Gunn went in search of Cordy’s pills and a glass of water. Cordelia shook violently, grasping his arms and digging her nails in as her face contorted in pain. She cried out and Angel struggled to keep a hold on her as her body convulsed, legs and arms flailing briefly – and then it stopped.
A deafening silence filled the air. Cordy whimpered, pressing her palm against her forehead, a soft hissing sound escaping from between gritted teeth. She buried deeper into Angel’s arms, her forehead resting against his chest as she sucked in lungfuls of air, taking a moment to compose herself.
Angel pressed the tiniest of kisses to the top of her head, brushing her hair away from her face. He cupped her cheek, her skin warm against his own as he held her tight, offering her comfort in the only way he knew how.
The visions were getting worse, and they were beginning to take their toll on the courageous young woman. She’d deny it, he knew, and she’d never let him take them away but Angel wasn’t blind – Cordelia’s health was deteriorating. He swallowed. He couldn’t lose her.
His arms tightened around her and for a beat, she returned the embrace. Then, as though remembering their earlier argument, she pulled away sharply. Angel frowned.
“What did you see, Cordy?” Wesley asked, just as Gunn handed Cordy her pills.
“Vampires.” Cordy managed, swallowing the pills and sipping her water. “A gang of four. One’s newly risen.” She swallowed. “He’s hungry.”
Unable to help himself, Angel rubbed slow, soothing circles over her back, grateful when she didn’t pull away.
“Where?” Wes asked gently.
“Alley behind a convenience store.” Cordy rubbed her forehead, recalling details from vivid imagery. “Near St John’s cemetery.”
“On our way.” Gunn stood, squeezing her shoulder. “We’ll get rid of that vision hangover in no time.” Wesley followed him to the weapons cabinet, pulling out several stakes and a crossbow.
Angel curled his fingers around Cordelia’s hand, helping her to her feet and into a chair. “Hey,” He bent slightly, looking her in the eye. “You gonna be alright?”
“I’m fine.” She said shortly, leaning her head on her hand.
“Cordy,” He whispered, sliding his fingers under her chin and tipping it up when she didn’t look at him. “I’m sorry.” Her eyes narrowed in confusion and he continued. “About before.”
She stared at him. Her eyes softened then and she sighed. “It’s okay. I know you’re just looking out for me.”
Angel merely nodded, his throat clogged with emotion, not trusting himself to say anything else.
Cordelia licked her lips, pushing up against the handles of the chair and standing. She ran a hand through her hair. “I have to go.”
“You should stay here.” Angel said, wanting to see her when he got back. “If you’re not feeling well – ”
“Can’t.” Cordy cut him off, grabbing her jacket with a trembling hand. “Date, remember?”
Angel shook his head. “I don’t think – ”
Wesley glanced up, speaking at the same time. “Cordy, perhaps you shouldn’t – ”
“Don’t.” Cordelia glared them both into silence, drawing her jacket around her. “I’m not cancelling.” She cracked a smile, touching Wesley’s arm as she walked past him. “And I’ll be fine.”
Gunn reached for his own jacket. “Call us if you need anything.”
“Thanks.” Cordy smiled at him. Then she opened the main doors and walked out into the night.
Angel coughed, blinking yellow eyes as dust settled around him. One down, three to go. He turned swiftly, watching as Gunn punched a vampire in the jaw. Wesley was pressed against the alley wall, a vampire’s hands coiled tightly around his neck.
Angel lunged forward, allowing the anger simmering beneath the surface of his skin to engulf him as he grabbed the vampire by his shirt, yanking him away from his friend. The creature flew through the air, smacking into the adjacent wall.
“Thank you.” Wesley said, breathlessly.
“No problem.” Angel muttered, flipping his stake between his fingers. The vampire recovered, breaking into a sprint as he came forward. Angel ducked a punch, elbowing him in the stomach. He shoved the vampire hard, sending him stumbling a few feet back. Before he had the chance to recover, the stake was slammed forcefully into his chest. The vampire screeched, exploding in a cloud of dust.
Gunn rammed his stake home, finishing off the third vampire. “Where the hell did the newbie go?”
Wesley retrieved his crossbow from the ground, levelling it as his eyes darted around the alley. “He can’t be far.”
Angel took a deep, unneeded breath, eyes widening. He spun around in time to have the creature plough in to him. Angel fell backwards, taking the vampire with him as he kicked up, throwing him over his shoulder. He scrambled to his feet, relaxing when Wesley’s crossbow whooshed through the air, penetrating the vampire’s back, killing him instantly.
Dust swirled between them in the dark, foul smelling alleyway and Angel pocketed his stake with the overwhelming urge to go home and have an hour-long session with his punching bag.
“That oughta get rid of any vision aftermath.” Gunn said with a grin.
“Yes,” Wes agreed, adjusting his collar from where the vampire had stretched it. “I wonder how her date’s going. She certainly didn’t look well.”
Gunn shrugged. “I thought she looked hot.”
Wesley shot him a sharp look. “You know what I mean – ”
“She should have stayed at the hotel.” Angel grumbled, stalking towards the mouth of the alley. “I don’t see what’s so important about this date anyway.”
Gunn and Wesley threw each other a look over his shoulder and Angel found himself stopping in his tracks, distracted by it. “What the hell was that?”
“What was what?”
Angel turned, glowering at them. “The look.”
“What look? I didn’t look.” Gunn shrugged, though his eyes sparkled with amusement. Angel raised an eyebrow, waiting. “Just interesting that you’re so…” Gunn tapped his chin, searching for the right word. “Protective.”
“I would have used jealous.” Wesley said earnestly.
Gunn glanced at him. “I considered it.”
“I’m not jealous!” Angel snapped indignantly, ignoring the voice in his head that scoffed. “I just…you know, I only…It’s because – ”
“You’re jealous.” Gunn finished for him, grinning wickedly. “So what’s going on with that anyway?” Angel refused to react, staring at him blankly. “Between you and Cordy?”
Wesley crossed his arms. “Well, that’s hardly true.”
“And what makes you the expert?” Angel asked.
Wesley scowled. “Well, I have eyes.”
“And you’ve been in a funk all night.” Gunn added.
“There’s nothing between me and Cordelia.” Angel said firmly. “We’re just co-workers. Friends.”
Gunn raised an eyebrow. “Come on. The long looks, the little smiles – ”
“The touches, the tension – ” Wesley added.
“Not to mention the shopping *you* of all people did – ”
“There’s no…I don’t…she’s not…” Angel closed his eyes, stopping his stammering. “There’s nothing going on.”
Wesley looked unconvinced but Gunn only rolled his eyes, feigning boredom. “Fine.” He brushed past Angel. “She’s outta your league anyway.” He shrugged. “Unless you just wanna BONE her, which you can’t do anyway – ”
The growl escaped before he could stop it. “IT’S NOT LIKE THAT!”
Gunn and Wesley both swivelled to face him, startled by his sudden tantrum. They merely stared at him in shock for few seconds. Then, “Whoa.”
“Yeah.” Angel agreed, a little surprised by his own reaction.
Gunn shook his head, “You and…Cordy? You have that kinda thing for – I thought you were just crushin’ man, this is HUGE!”
“Oh Gunn, like you didn’t already know.” Wesley muttered, glancing at Angel. “It been apparent for quite some time now, Angel.”
“Yeah, but it’s a little different when you hear it from the horse’s mouth.”
“Look, I don’t want to…” Angel trailed off, panicking slightly as he searched for the right words. “This stays between us. I mean it, you guys keep your mouths shut.” He said firmly, waiting until they both nodded. He made a face. “Wait, am I the horse in this scenario?”
Wesley looked at him oddly. “Er…right, well, perhaps we should head home. We’re all tired and I’m sure this evening hasn’t been easy on you, Angel.”
Angel frowned, turning his back to them as he walked towards the car at the front of the alley. “I’m fine.”
“See?” Gunn said with a grim smile. “They’re made for each other.”
The punching bag had certainly been alluring but a desire far greater than violence had Angel dragging himself to Cordelia’s front door after dropping Wesley home. He stopped at the top of the stairs, hesitant, not really sure why he was here but sure that he wanted to be.
Part of him, the man, wanted to her be alone, so he could just *be* with her. The other part, the demon, wanted the date to be there. After all, four vampires had done nothing to calm his anger…
Angel cleared his throat, knocking on the door. He heard the clicking of heels against a wood floor and then it opened, revealing Cordelia, still clad in the outfit she’d worn earlier that evening. She’d removed her make-up, her skin radiant beneath the soft light of the passage lantern.
“Angel?” She looked surprised, though she smiled coyly when he was unable to look away, unable to really do *anything* but just stare at her. He was certain she glowed.
His gut tightened with hunger.
“Hello.” He cleared his throat when she raised an eyebrow. “You look nice.”
“Thanks. Again.” Cordy rolled her eyes. “And you mean aside from the bags.” She touched her eyelid, ran a hand through her hair. “I blame vision hangovers.”
“You always…” Angel bit his lip. “Look beautiful.”
She shot him a small smile. “What are you doing here, Angel?”
He swallowed. “I just wanted to see how you were. Who you were wi – ” He trailed off, losing his nerve. “Um, how are you?”
Cordy’s eyes narrowed but she let it slide. “I’m fine.” She said tiredly. “The real kinda fine, not…ya know.”
Angel nodded. “How was your…” He choked out the word. “Date?”
“Good.” Cordy said with a rueful smile. “I wasn’t all there, but he was nice.”
“Oh.” His heart burned yet Angel was aware that he’d run out of excuses to stay. “Well, I should probably…” He took a step back, turning towards the door.
“Why did you really come here, Angel?” Cordy asked, stopping him in his tracks. He noted equal measures of hope and disappointment in her voice and it confused him beyond belief.
“I told you, I just – ”
She gasped suddenly, interrupting him and coming forward, her hand curling around his elbow and then sliding down his arm until their fingers intertwined. “Are you hurt?”
Angel squeezed her hand. “No.”
Cordy pressed a palm against his shirt, warming him. “Are you sure?”
There was a beat, maybe two in which he simply stared at her, the softness in her eyes warming everything inside him, making his dead heart feel as though it would begin pounding with the sheer thrill of it in his chest.
Her lips quirked a little. “You’re staring at me.”
His throat was clogged and desire rocketed through him. “I know.”
He was grateful right then for what he was, the sudden acceleration of Cordelia’s heartbeat thrumming loudly in his ears. He caught the slow movement of her throat as she swallowed, the slight flex of her fingers in his own.
“Angel – ”
He led her to the couch, guiding her onto the coffee table as he sat opposite her, the superior height of the coffee table bringing them face to face. Angel’s hands wrapped tightly around Cordelia’s and he pursed his lips, new to this sensation of butterflies and excitement.
He’d certainly been in love before, but never with someone like Cordy. Never with his very best friend.
Cordelia was beginning to get impatient. “Angel.”
“There’s something I have to tell you.” He murmured, squeezing her hands. “I don’t really know how…”
“You can tell me anything.” Cordy said reassuringly, freeing one of her hands and rubbing his shoulder.
Angel grabbed her hand, bringing it back between his own. “I um…I just…”
“Just?” Cordy asked encouragingly.
“I…” Angel ran a hand through his hair, stifling the growl that threatened to escape. God, why was this so hard?
“Angel, what’s going on?” He heard the edge in her voice before she even knew she’d given herself away. He was scaring her.
Maybe it was the demon in him, hell, maybe it was just the man but in displaying her own weakness, she gave him strength.
“Cordelia, I just…tonight, when you weren’t there…” He sucked in a breath, looking up at her, his stomach turning a violent cartwheel. “I just wanted to be with you. Wherever you were, whatever you were doing – I wanted to be there more than anything.”
There was a stunned silence that followed his revelation, in which Cordelia’s face barely registered any emotion apart from astonishment. But her breath caught in her throat, her heart quickened and began to pound and all Angel could do was stare at her, terrified and enthralled as colour began to fill her face, her eyes fluttering as she took it all in.
“Angel – ” Cordy whispered.
“Cordy – ” Angel interrupted her nervously, squeezing her hands. “For a long time now I feel like I…that is, I think I’m…” He swallowed hard, raising one of her hands and pressing it flat over his heart. Her eyes were wet, and his own were suddenly moist and he found it difficult to speak. “I love you.”
Cordy’s eyes closed and tears wet her cheeks one after another, her pulse racing as his finger slid across her wrist. He was disheartened when she pulled her hands away, placing one in her lap and swiping at her eyes with the other. When she didn’t speak, he felt his stomach drop.
Emotion clogged his throat. “Cordy – ”
“Shut up.” She ordered softly, her voice weary, gentle and a little amused. Angel’s mouth snapped shut, his heart in his throat, his expression confused.
Cordelia said nothing, but simply stared at him, her now dry eyes sparkling with something soft, tender. He opened his mouth to speak but once again, she cut him off.
“Shut up.” She repeated in the same tone of voice, shaking her head at him affectionately. He blinked. Her eyes twinkled. “You had me at hello, Angel.” A smile suddenly broke out on her face, bright and brilliant and breathtaking, and he felt borrowed air rush out of his lungs.
“You had me at hello.”
The universe stopped. Just like that, all that was left was this moment, his trembling heart and the girl in front of him with the smile that threatened to split her face and make him burst all at once.
Angel reached for her, but she was already on her way forward, crawling into his lap and palming his face, gently fusing her mouth to his. Cordy wrapped her arms around him and they sank deep into the leather of the sofa, her legs on either side of him as he kissed her hungrily, ate her mouth beneath the arched window of her home.
Cordelia’s hand swept across his cheek, scrunching into the soft strands of hair at his neck and holding him close to her, his own hands spanning the slim circumference of her waist as he brushed his tongue against the plump swell of her lower lip, begging entry. She opened her mouth to him and Angel deepened the kiss, pressing her willing body closer to his.
He brushed his knuckles against the soft skin of her jaw, reluctantly releasing her when she pulled away to breath. She smiled against his mouth, breathing heavily. “Only human.”
“Sorry.” Angel murmured, brushing a strand of hair away from her face. Cordelia slid her arms around his back, pressing a closed mouth kiss to his cheek before snuggling beneath his chin, her hand resting over his heart.
Angel kissed her forehead tentatively, unsure of what to do as his hands hovered over the small of her back, finally settling there. The shift between them had been so sudden, he didn’t know how to react. But he certainly didn’t want to ruin the moment –
“Don’t brood, Angel.” Cordy muttered, drawing patterns over his collarbone with her index finger. Her voice was tinged with unmistakable humour. “It was just a kiss.”
Angel looked down at her, a smile curling his lips. “Just a kiss?”
“Mmm hmm.” She sat up, her nose circling his in a shy, sweet gesture. Her eyes were vivid as they locked with his. “Wasn’t it?”
Damn. Unable to resist, he curled his fingers around the back of her neck, urging her forward and kissing her again, languidly, taking his time. Cordelia grinned as Angel nipped at her lips, giving both sufficient attention before pulling back slightly, brushing his thumb affectionately against her chin.
“Well,” He smirked. “That makes it two.”