Cordelia marvelled at the look on Angel’s face — something lifted from it as she spoke. With a groan he drew his legs up beneath him, sliding his arms around her waist, lowering her back against the foot of the bath, reversing their previous position. She sighed as he pressed down against her. She could feel his anticipation growing, every muscle tensing.
He brushed his lips against hers, just once, before wandering away across her face, stopping at her cheekbone, backtracking, then moving purposefully towards her ear. He tripped down the pathway between jaw and neck, lingered in the valley of her throat, and then rushed joyfully towards her breasts. Everywhere he’d been left tracks of fire on her skin, like he’d planted a trail of tiny candles that burned just for her.
She curled her hands in his hair, holding his head to her as he lapped and sucked, fuelling the desire she felt for him. His teeth nipped playfully, teasingly; his tongue circling, dragging over sensitive skin, drawing gasps from deep within her.
And then he was on the move again, turning his attention to her stomach. His chin dipped into the water as he kissed her belly button, and then his whole face submerged into the bubbles.
His hands slid down to her thighs, gently parting her legs, pushing them against the sides of the bath. He nuzzled his mouth at her entrance, and his tongue found the hard little pebble there, his rough tastebuds caressing her into a frenzy.
Cordelia threw her head back, crying his name over and over. He was relentless, driving her closer to the edge. Oh, God, thank-you for a lover who never had to breathe. She was vibrating, her thighs and stomach quivering, and she let go of his head to grip the sides of the bathtub. Just to hang on to something solid as the rest of her world flew away in a whirlwind of sensation and heat.
He was watching her. She gulped in another lungful of air and looked down at his face, chin resting on her stomach, rivulets of water running down out of his hair. Hello, soapy goodness. And that devastating smile spread from ear to ear. Twice in one night — that had to be a record on the Angel smile-o-meter.
Slowly, he uncurled himself from the kneeling position, splashing the cooling water, and she shivered, just a little.
“Cold?” he asked. She nodded reluctantly, never wanting to leave the sanctuary of the tub again. But that would lead to pruneyness, which wasn’t attractive. Best to get out now.
He was already up, in more ways than one, she noted with a smile. Strong arms grasped hers, pulling her to her feet. Gone were the tremors and trembles of earlier, he was steady, solid, hard — so hard…
“Cordy,” he laughed, as she threw herself into his arms, craving to finish what had been started. “I can’t dry you like this.”
“Don’t care,” she murmured.
“Well, I do.” He unwound her from his chest, stepping onto the sopping carpet.
He picked up the towel she had fetched, raising an eyebrow as he saw the second one beneath it. Cordelia could feel herself blushing. He knotted his around his waist, raising the other like a matador’s cape, sweeping it around her and pulling her close.
Gently his large hands began to rub, making slow, wide circles on her back. She felt like a cat, arching against his touch, purring with pleasure. He reached down, cupping a hand behind her knee, bringing it up to his hip, running the towel over the back of her thigh.
She surrendered completely, leaning her head against his chest, hands clasped behind his neck, pliant in his arms as he caressed the water from her skin.
Heat was radiating off her in waves. She was the sun, shining just for him, filling him with light, with warmth. He remembered a time when he would have done – did do the unthinkable — just to feel anything besides the cold. And now it was gone.
“Angel?” Her voice was thick as honey, dripping over him, coating him.
“Mmm?” He’d stopped moving. How long had he stood there, oblivious in her embrace?
“Enough with the drying already,” she whispered, discarding her towel. It flowed down her body in ripples, pooling around her feet. “Come to bed.”
He lifted her in his arms — a feather — carried her to the bedroom, and laid her on the bed, standing back to admire her.
“Too beautiful.” He shook his head. She had no right to be that perfect.
“Less puppy eyes, more touching.” She held out her hand, her hazel eyes dancing in the dim light from the hallway. He curled his fingers with hers, and let her pull him down.
“I love you, Cordelia,” he whispered, cradling the side of her face with his hand.
“Angel,” she sighed, reaching down, tugging the towel away from around his slim hips.
She gazed at him, stretched beside her, propped on one elbow, his long body a study of shadow and light. His skin pale, criss-crossed with cuts, and dappled with bruises and dew-drops of bathwater that the towel hadn’t captured. Muscles, taut and hard. Beautiful, beautiful Angel.
“Cordy?” he whispered, his eyes asking permission to pass the point of no return.
“Follow me,” she breathed, taking his hand in hers, drawing his fingers over her breast, thrilled at his touch. Shivering, she raised his palm to her face, licked it, tasting soap and skin, drawing his forefinger and thumb into her mouth, sucking hard. His other arm trembled beneath him, and his eyes flashed with desire.
She took his wet fingers; dragged them down her neck, moistening the hollow of her throat. She ached for him even more, watching her proud warrior submitting, meekly allowing her to guide him where she most needed him to be. He must have known, better than any man, how to touch a woman, yet he let her take the lead.
She pressed his hand to her mouth again, running the pads of his fingers around her lips, her tongue darting out to meet them. Arching upwards, brushing the cool roughness of his hand across her breasts, she painted her own salvia around one nipple. Then the other. They puckered beneath his fingertips.
His strength failed him, bringing his face down into the pillow of her breasts. He took a small nip of the flesh, sending sparks flying. “God, Cordy, you have no idea,” he rasped.
“Shhh,” she smiled, pulling his hand down, over her stomach. Fire erupted beneath it, her thighs dampening. He shifted, drawing himself up over her, kneeling beside her. His free hand curled into her hair, caressing, cupping her head and tilting her face up as he bent to kiss her.
His lips slid away, down her neck, back to her breasts, taking a nipple into his mouth. She felt herself lifting, pressing against his teeth, needing more. She pushed his hand lower, between her legs, fingers entwined with his, plunging them into her. His head snapped up, eyes locking with hers.
“Think I need lessons, do you?” he said, panting, a half-smile playing across his face.
“I want…” she gasped, pushing his fingers — her own — deeper.
“I know what you want, Cordy.” He thrust, once, sending her hips flying off the bed.
“I want — more,” she moaned.
“You’ll get it,” he said, his voice coarse. He placed his other hand over her stomach, caressing, pressing gently downwards on her womb, as if he were trying to absorb the heat through his palm. Holding her still, he began to move, his fingers plundering her, his thumb stroking her clit.
Her own hand slipped away, curling in the sheet. Small tremors shook her thighs, her belly. Sparks of heat crackled in her toes, arcing upwards, seeking release.
He must be coated in her by now, dripping off his fingers and wetting the sheets.
God, she was gonna come again, and he was right there, watching her, his eyes so full of love… And then his face went fuzzy and the room turned upside-down. She could hear her own voice, chanting his name, distant, gasping.
When he came back into focus, he was smiling. “Told you I knew what you wanted.”
“You forgot something,” she murmured, retrieving him from between her thighs. Twining her fingers with his, still slick with her juices, she reached for his cock. She pulled along his length, squeezing, making him touch himself. He gasped, his eyes rolling back, stomach quivering.
“God, Cordelia,” he groaned. The want on his face fuelled her own even more.
“I want that, too,” she whispered, stilling their hands.
“Then take it, baby,” he said raggedly, sliding his arms around her, rolling her on top. She knelt astride him, the anticipation delicious as she hovered over him.
“Angel, I love you.” She bent forward, kissing his scarred chest. His fingers laced in her hair, holding her head to him, as she gently lowered herself down, over him, enveloping him.
He filled her completely, and she gasped as she settled all the way.
“Okay?” he asked, stroking her hair.
“Better than,” she said, sitting up, leaning her hands on his chest, feeling his hard nipples under her palms. Slowly, she began to move, getting used to his size, his feel. His hands slid onto her hips, guiding her, urging her on. The air in the room began to hum. “Do you feel that?” she whispered.
He sat up, clasping her to his chest, forcing her to stillness. “I feel…” he brushed the tips of his fingers across her face. She could smell herself on him, and it was intoxicating. She crushed her mouth to his, eating him, lips, teeth, tongue. No more playing.
He must have sensed the shift — one moment she was in a tender embrace, the next, on her back, Angel above her, hovering between her thighs, barely inside her.
“Angel,” she whimpered.
“Shhh, baby, I’m yours,” he said, and his body came down on her, driving into her. The tenderness was gone, replaced by fever. She clutched at his back, accepting it, wanting it more than the air that was rushing in and out of her lungs. His hips cannoned against hers, faster, higher, harder. She felt his cool tears raining on her face. Heard the incoherent sounds of pleasure rumbling in his chest. Felt the tempest begin where his body melted into hers.
Her whole world exploded in a shower of brilliant white light, and even as she drifted back down from heaven, she felt him flood into her, gasping her name. She forced her eyes open to watch him come, and his expression made her cry. His face, normally heavy with guilt, with sorrow and regret, looked so different in that one moment of release. Pure happiness, unadulterated bliss.
This was the worst part, Cordelia thought — the waiting. She pulled her robe tighter around her, and drew her legs up onto the chair. The stake clutched in one hand felt solid against her palm — but not comforting.
The craziness of what they’d just done took her breath away. Weak, weak, weak, she chastised herself. So much for being his rock — his safe haven. Dammit, he was vulnerable and shaken, and she should have known better.
Even the tiniest little sliver of doubt about the prophecy’s validity should have been one tiny sliver too much. They should have just made the best of what they had. No-bone Angel was better than no Angel at all.
Sure, he believed that the prophecy had worked. She knew there was no way in the world he’d ever have risked any of this otherwise. But earlier he’d also believed that he was powdered-wig-boy and that Cara was a Happy Meal. It didn’t exactly make for a sparkling track record in good judgment.
She sighed, trying to get off the mental ferriswheel. Hugging her knees, she waited.
The moonlight had gone now, and the gentle patter of raindrops against her window was almost comforting. Far away, a weak flicker of lightning lit the sky, just visible through the curtains. A gentle, low rumble shuddered around the heavens. Her spine prickled. This had better not be the Powers getting all metaphorical on her.
“Cordelia!” Angel sat bolt upright, gasping. She jumped, almost falling off the chair.
“Angel?” She gripped the stake tighter. He put a hand up, clutching at his chest, his eyes scanning the room. Sweat beaded on his forehead.
Oh God, she couldn’t do this, not again. Not now. “Angel?” she repeated, her voice shaking.
“Cordy.” He swallowed hard, getting his bearings, his wild breaths subsiding. “I dreamed — how long have I been asleep?” he asked, glancing at the window.
Okay, not a particularly evil question. Her heart dropped back out of her throat and resumed its proper place in her chest. “About an hour. You dreamed what?”
“It — it doesn’t matter.” He looked heavenwards, his eyes misty. “I’m still…”
“Angel.” She breathed the word out in a long sigh. He was still Angel. No more Angelus.
“Oh, God,” Angel whispered. The sense of relief was palpable. It was more than that. It was totally overwhelming. He ran a hand through his hair. “Oh, God.”
“It worked.” Cordelia’s eyes were wide as saucers. “Angel, it worked!” she shrieked, leaping onto the bed. “Don’t you get it?”
He just sat there staring at his hands. What on earth had made him take such a risk? What had made him so sure that his soul wouldn’t be ripped from him again? *I think maybe we’re not alone in this*.
Kate’s voice in his head was the last thing he expected right then. But the sudden memory brought clarity. Something had let him into her apartment uninvited that night. Something had tricked him into feeding from Cara. Something had told him it was safe to consummate his love for Cordelia. He didn’t know what. He didn’t want to know.
“Angel, don’t you get it?” Cordelia repeated, her pretty features pulled into a frown.
“Yeah, I get it,” he said quietly, and at last, he really felt he did.
Another rumble of thunder made the air vibrate outside. The rain was thick now, enveloping the apartment in a snug cocoon.
“Do you want to celebrate?” Her voice dropped to a low purr, and as she advanced on all fours, her robe slipped open.
He smiled, letting go of all the fear, reaching behind her head and pulling her face down to him. “I think I do.”
“I love you, Angel,” she said, her mouth against his. He kissed her, lips parting, allowing their tongues to dance together.
His hands entered the tent of her robe, slipping the light, silky garment aside as he cupped her breasts. “Cordy,” he moaned into her mouth. Her lithe body descended on his, rubbing against his instant erection through the thin sheet.
“Mmm, déjà vu,” she murmured, reaching down to push the offending barrier away, curling her hand around him.
“Get used to it,” he whispered.