Cordelia wasn’t prepared for this sudden change in her mate’s entire being. The last time, it was a shock seeing him after she had thought him dead.
Then, she had time to get used to the idea that her sire had been cursed with a soul. Now he had lost it. Instantly and all due to her need to tell him how she felt.
Angel always claimed to be Angelus. That Angelus was the darker half controlled by his soul. She knew that he was different as with the soul intact. While Angel might still be Angelus, the reverse was not necessarily true.
There were traits possessed by the soul that had never touched Angelus and Cordelia was left to wonder if the feelings that she shared with Angel were among them.
“Your soul,” she gasped as her mouth finally caught up with her thoughts.
“Gone.” Angelus taunted. “You fucked it out of me. Always knew you were a good lay. You just blew him away with your little confession, Cordelia.”
“My confession,” she knew all too well what he meant and tried to gauge his reaction. This could get nasty considering the way Angelus normally treated people who betrayed him.
“Telling the Soul you loved him,” Angelus released his hold on her hair letting it fall over her shoulder in a wave of dark silk. “All the times you’ve fucked each other without any consequences and all it took was those three little words. I love you.”
Cordelia looked a bit defiant as she told her sire, “I meant it.”
Climbing out of the bed and running his hands across his naked torso, Angelus let out a dark laugh. “That’s what is going to make this all the more meaningful, my cheating little mate.”
“I did not.”
“Did too,” Angelus pulled her off the bed to stand beside him.
Pointing out, “It was you— just with a soul,” Cordelia was not going to admit to cheating on him. That was just ridiculous.
“He told you that because he wanted you.”
“You know it’s true,” Cordelia countered with a glare. “You just don’t want to believe you could feel the way you do with your soul intact.”
Angelus remembered everything. “Are you his or mine, Cordy? Make up your mind and do it quick.”
“Yours. I’ll always be yours,” she confirmed, but added, “With or without your soul.”
That wasn’t exactly the answer the vampire wanted, but it seemed that his defiant childe had not changed one bit. Cordelia was always obstinate and no amount of punishment had ever changed that. He remembered the fact that her seduction of Angel started out as a celebration of anniversary of the night he, Angelus, claimed her.
“Then come over here and prove it, tigress,” Angelus backed up to the area in front of her vanity. “I want you to watch as I take you from behind. To see your face as I do it. Will it be lust in your beautiful eyes or tears? Whose name will you scream when I make you come, Cordelia? His or mine?”
There was a hint of fear in her gaze, Angelus noted with a flash of anger. She wasn’t sure what name she would call out. Cordelia moved up against him touching his torso with her skillful hands and grazing his aroused male nipples. Winding her arms around his neck, she attempted to soften his mood through kisses, but the vampire only bit at her lip and drew blood.
“This isn’t about making love,” Angelus ground out as he held her head in place with a hand fisted in her hair. “If you want my tender side, you’ll have to earn it. You’re about to be fucked, Cordelia, and you’re going to enjoy it whether you want to or not.”
Harshly, he thrust her down on the top of the vanity bent over so that her curved ass was in the air. Cordelia let out a low growl of complaint, but spread her thighs willingly. This was not the time to defy his wishes. “Go ahead,” she urged him staring back at him over her shoulder.
Angelus spread his large hand across one rounded buttocks and let his fingers wander over the sun tattoo at the small of her back. “Keep your eyes on the mirror,” he ordered.
Once her sharp gaze met his reflecting one, Angelus entered her in one hard stroke filling her to the brim. He gave it to her hard, fast and furiously reminding Cordelia of last night when Angel had been so worried for her safety that he gave himself almost completely to the demon within.
The demon who was now making a point by setting a ruthless rhythm. He was right, though. Cordelia was enjoying it despite the fact that she wanted to slap some sense into her sire.
Last night had been the first time since losing Angelus that she had experienced the rough side of sex with her vampire mate. It was something that she had missed. Tenderness and gentility were the opposite sides of the coin to this and the vampires often got off on both. Angelus had always balanced the scale with her.
Never always tender nor rough in his demands when he extracted his due from his childe or sharing sex with his mate. Feelings were something new, something Cordelia did not know if Angelus could express. Would he understand her love for him— soul or no soul?
Too much thinking. Sensations were starting to overwhelm her as her mate’s hands came up to caress her back and follow the path of her spine back down to grip her hips. He was in full game face now staring at her with his dark amber eyes watching the rhythmic sway of her pointed breasts answering his thrusts.
The items on top of her vanity were shaking as he pounded inside her. Cordelia’s hips were tucked against the edge of the dressing table and each time Angelus stroked upward, it brought a cry of combined pain and pleasure to her throat. Several crashes were heard as her hairbrush and makeup brushes hit the floor.
Cordelia’s hands pressed hard against the wall as she stared into the mirror. Calling out, she encouraged Angelus to keep it up. He could always make her respond no matter what way he touched her. “That’s it, sire. Right there. Harder!”
Redoubling his efforts, Angelus angled his cock so that he hit her pleasure spot again with each thrust. Though faster, he kept his thrusts smooth and long drawing out the pleasure. Her inner muscles teased at his erection. His balls slapped heavily against her continuously hitting her clitoris and eliciting cries of delight from Cordelia’s throat.
“Angelus!” Cordelia screamed his name at the top of her voice coming hard as he drove himself inside her. Hearing his name spontaneously erupt from her lips, the vampire let out a howl of pleasure and followed her climax with his own. He leaned forward over her back and clamped down with his fangs onto the place where her neck and shoulder met.
He sucked down several gulps of her crimson blood before lapping at the wound to close it. Cordelia was still sounding his name in a series of whispers like a mantra. Then into her ear Angelus told her, “Don’t ever forget that you’re mine, Cordelia. Mine for eternity. No one, not even the corruption that is my soul, will ever come between us.”
When the two vampires finally emerged from their bedroom, the entire household was gathered downstairs awaiting their presence. There was no need to announce that the soul was gone. Everyone including Willow had heard Cordelia screaming Angelus’ name in ecstasy.
She stood near the bottom of the steps with an excited look on her face waiting for her mistress to thank her for returning Angelus to her. Although, Willow considered, Cordelia didn’t really know what she had done on her behalf.
Angelus stopped next to Willow staring at her with a contemplative look on his face. He knew what the little redhead had done and moreover he knew why. “Looks like you got your wish, little witch. I’m back.”
Wondering what her mate was talking about, Cordelia glanced at the two of them voicing her query, “What wish?”
“Willow told Angel the soul was permanent,” Angelus revealed and waited expectantly to see how Cordelia would respond.
Instantly, anger flashed in her eyes. Then Willow was screaming and holding her head as Cordelia’s projected her thoughts into the girl’s head along with activating pain sensors. No one betrays me, you little bitch. How dare you act without my permission.
Falling to her knees, Willow begged for forgiveness. “I thought you wanted this. I just wanted to make you happy.”
Angelus placed his hand on the top of her head. “You’ve been a good little pet despite what your mistress says. For that, I’ll forgive you for returning my soul to me in the first place.”
Gulping, Willow had not thought about the fact that Angelus would remember that. “You should thank me. It probably saved you from Buffy. Instead of staking you, she did what she needed to do to save the world.”
At the mention of the Slayer’s name, Angelus stiffened. It reminded him of his promise to Buffy exactly a year ago tonight. To kill her friends and leave each one of their corpses at her doorstep. “You know something, Willow?”
“What’s that?” Questioning green eyes stared up at him from her position.
“I may have forgiven you for the soul, but the way you’ve been sniffing after my mate has been extremely annoying. I’m tired of your whining.”
Before Willow or Cordelia could say anything, Angelus tightened the hand that rested on top of the teenager’s head. With a sharp twist, he snapped her thin neck and pushed her dead body to the floor.
Cordelia let out a gasp, but knew better than to protest his actions in front of the others. Later she would tell her sire of her irritation at him for killing what was hers.
“Things are going to be a little different around here from now on,” Angelus announced as he stepped forth to address the group. Looking directly at Spike, he added, “That goes for you, too.”
Once Cordelia became used to the idea that Angelus was back in her life for good, she decided to share with him the full extent of her plans for Sunnydale and its Slayer. The evil nature of her ideas came as a delight to the vampire who immediately agreed to help her complete them. “With one or two alterations,” he informed her.
Taking stock of the situation, Angelus decided what he wanted for the immediate future of his family. First, he had to deal with the competition. Sending Cordelia to the home of Richard Wilkins, he assured that the future mayor’s plans for ascension ended swiftly. The vampiress informed Wilkins that she intended to take him up on his offer of power.
“It’s just that now I want it all,” Cordelia explained with a megawatt smile.
Wilkins looked surprised having not expected the vampiress to turn on him. She had wanted no part of his plans for Sunnydale as long as he left the Slayer alone until after the ascension. Looking to his hired vampire bodyguard, Wilkins ordered Mr. Trick to defend him.
The black vampire gazed at Cordelia considering his options. Then he heard her voice in his head issuing a firm warning.
Touch me and you will be tortured you for months before you die at my hands. The images that accompanied her thoughts made it all too clear that she spoke truthfully.
Addressing Wilkins, Cordelia appeared calm. “I brought Trick to Sunnydale. Should that tell you something, Richard?”
The demon who appeared human commented dryly, “So you decided that you want the Hellmouth for yourself.”
“I won’t be alone. My sire holds reign over the Order of Aurelius,” Cordelia told him.
“The one with the soul?” Trick put in. That surprised him.
“How many sires do you think I have, dolt?”
“Now, Cordelia. Don’t confuse him,” Angelus announced his presence. “I finally realized that I didn’t need an invitation to get in. That is an interesting question, Trick. The name is Angelus. If you want access to my town, I suggest you get used to it.”
Richard Wilkins took the opportunity to try to sneak out of the room, but Angelus caught him by the throat. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Tossing him at Mr. Trick, Angelus waited for the vampire to establish his obedience to the clan. With enthusiasm, Trick grabbed onto Wilkins’ head with such force that the twist of his neck decapitated him. Blood spurted everywhere splashing the vampires with it.
Cordelia looked down at the spots of blood soaking into her designer dress. Rising from her chair, she growled angrily at Trick. “This is your one and only warning, Trick. Don’t mess up my clothes again or there will be hell to pay.”
As Trick tossed the former mayoral candidate’s head aside, he looked down at his clothes that were equally ruined. “Damn, I liked this suit.”
Angelus figured he would fit right in with Cordelia’s little band of minions. At least they knew who was boss at the mansion. Even though they had followed Angel’s orders, all of them reacted a little faster when the commands came from him. They knew he tolerated their existence for Cordelia’s sake and what the result of defiance would be.
“I’ll see you back at the mansion, baby,” Angelus told his mate after she had dabbed the blood from his face. “There is a certain someone I have to see.”
“Have fun, Angelus,” she told him after accepting his kiss. “Say hello for me.”
“That might give the game away.”
“Angel,” Buffy gasped his name as she opened her door. “I can’t believe you’re here. I’ve missed you so much.”
As the Slayer threw her arms around his waist, Angelus hugged her close delighting in the scent of her. The girl was hot for him already. It wouldn’t take much to have her on her knees or spreading those strong thighs for him. Not that he wanted it. Just the thought of her eagerness was a turn-on.
Besides, she wasn’t alone in the house. Angelus wanted to meet this new Watcher of hers and it appeared that he was going to have the opportunity to do so. The tall British man stepped up behind Buffy Summers eyeing Angelus from behind his glasses. Assessing the vampire and comparing him to the accounts he had read.
“Who is this?” Angelus played ignorant.
Buffy lifted her head away from the vampire’s chest. As if she had forgotten his presence in the room, the blonde turned her head to glance over her shoulder. “Oh. That’s Wesley. My new Watcher.”
“I am Wesley Wyndam-Price,” the young man introduced himself. He looked entirely too clean cut and carried himself like he had a stake up his ass. The thought amused Angelus.
“You have big shoes to fill,” Angelus shook the other man’s hand just a bit too firmly and enjoying him squirm in pain. “Giles meant a lot to Buffy.”
Wesley informed him, “I’m not here to be friends or a father-figure. I am here to see to her training and to ensure that the Hellmouth remains safe.”
“You seem a little young for the job,” Angelus commented and was honestly interested in Wesley’s explanation of how he got involved with the Watcher’s Council at a very young age through his father. As he finished the tale, the vampire admitted it, “Fascinating.”
Buffy was tired of hearing the two males chatter about Wesley’s dull past. Pulling Angel into the living room, she tried to bring him up to date on all of the things that had been happening to her since the last time they spoke.
Angelus managed rather well through her tears over Giles, Willow and her mother. It was not until she started ranting over the fact that Cordelia had gutted her stuffed toy pig, Mr. Gordo that the vampire found he could no longer hold back his laughter.
“It isn’t funny,” Buffy insisted.
“If you can’t see how amusing that is in the face of everything else you’ve been through, Buff, you’ve got no sense of humor left.”
Angel’s words brought a pout to her lips. Even Wesley seemed startled at his choice of words. “That is not fair, Angel. Buffy has been through quite a lot.”
“As her Watcher, you have to know that there is more to come,” warned Angelus. “If she can’t handle the death of her toy pig, what will happen when her mother succumbs to the mysterious illness you’ve mentioned?”
Gasping at the pain his words caused, Buffy reminded him that he was supposed to be comforting her not making her feel worse.
“What kind of comfort do you want?” Angelus asked. “Soft lies? My arms around you?”
Buffy’s eyes were large and wide as she admitted that was exactly what she wanted, “Yes Angel.”
“Is that all you want?” He asked despite the presence of her Watcher who sat there agape.
“Or do you want me inside you making you forget, making you feel again?”
A strangled sound emerged from her throat as Buffy peeked over at Wesley. She wished he would just go away. Now. “That’s not possible and you know it.”
Standing up indignantly, Wesley ordered the vampire out of the house. “I say! That is quite enough.”
Rising to his feet, Angelus pulled Buffy up beside him. He addressed the Watcher, “No it’s not. There is a lot more that needs to be said.”
Looking back at the Slayer, he told her, “I came here tonight for a reason. It’s time for this to end. For us to end.”
Shaking her head, Buffy felt a fat tear drop onto her cheek. “No, Angel. I know you love Cordelia, but don’t forget about me.”
Me, me, me. The whiny little bitch was as bad as Willow. Angelus was tempted to just bite her in this vulnerable moment and be done with it, but that wasn’t the way his mate had begged him to let it end.
Taking her chin in his hand, Angelus tilted her face up to his. Kissing her briefly, the vampire stared down into her eyes for a long time before he told her, “Goodbye, Buff.”
Gripping the doorframe, Buffy stared after the vampire who quickly vanished into the dark shadows of the night. Now it was a fact. She had lost everything— including Angel.
As she turned to move back inside, Buffy noticed that someone was sitting on her porch. Perched up on one of the railings as if waiting for her turn. “Say what you want, Willow and then get out.”
Then it occurred to her that Angel had used the nickname that Angelus preferred to call her. Buff. It irritated her, but its use combined with Willow’s still form in the shadows of the porch told her one thing with certainty.
She had just kissed Angelus. Somehow, this was all Cordelia’s fault. Being with Angel, the vampiress had finally found a way to get rid of Angel’s soul and assured the return of her true demon mate.
Buffy brought the fight to the mansion. She wasn’t going to sit around and wait for Cordy and her cronies to pick off anyone else. Not that she really cared about Wesley, but he was now tied to her through his role as Watcher.
“Cordelia!” She screamed out the vampiress’ name and then added, “Angelus! I know you’re in there.”
Having felt there was no choice but to accompany the Slayer on this suicide mission, Wes continued to encourage her to leave. “It’s not too late. We can still go back.”
“And go where? Angel has an invitation and you haven’t set up residence in Giles’ house yet.” Buffy snapped at him. “Get your weapons ready or go away.”
When the front doors of the Crawford Street mansion opened, Buffy and Wesley faced the sudden appearance of ten vampires and one overly eager dog.
Tongue hanging from his mouth and tail wagging, Puppy raced across the rolling grassy hill that was next to the long driveway. He bounded up to the two humans barking a greeting.
Wesley let out a yelp of fear while Buffy rolled her eyes. If he couldn’t handle the dog they were really in trouble.
“Down, Puppy! Be a good boy,” Buffy urged him to go away.
Drusilla let out a whistle and the dog immediately raced to his mistress’ side. “That’s the nasty Slayer,” she pointed out, “not a chew toy.”
The minions and Mr. Trick spread out across the lawn while the four master vampires made a straight path for the Slayer and her Watcher. Buffy figured there was only one way she would survive this. “Angelus,” she called out to him, “this is between Cordelia and me. Keep your vamps out of my way or I’ll stake them.”
Her false bravado sounded convincing, thought Wesley rather impressed. He added his own warning, “Stay back or I’ll use this crossbow on any vampire that moves.”
Everyone seemed to accept his words and stopped in their positions. Buffy gave Wesley a look that suggested she had not expected that to come from his mouth. Screaming in fear perhaps, but not this.
Cordelia stepped up to face the Slayer. She was garbed similarly to the last time they had fought back at the old mine. Leather pants and vest, except this time they were blood red. “This has been a long time in coming, Slayer.”
“I should have staked you that first night, Cordelia,” Buffy told her.
“Not that you could,” the vampiress laughed. “My sire protected me.”
“Yes, Angelus. My mate,” Cordelia reminded her smugly as the vampire in question was standing closely behind her. “I’ll agree to this fight, Buffy, though I never wanted you dead— just suffering as I did.”
“Well your mate is alive,” Buffy pointed out. “That should satisfy you.”
“He does— often,” Cordelia added with a smirk twisting her words. “It doesn’t change the fact that you took him from me.”
“I saved the world from being sucked into hell,” Buffy reminded the vampiress.
“Hell hath no fury compared to mine,” Cordy countered. “I’ve come a long way from being the fledgling you defeated last year.”
Buffy snapped, “Well I’ve got nothing left to lose.”
Stepping back, Wesley found himself a little too close to the action for comfort as Buffy and Cordelia launched themselves at each other like two wild animals. Only he was not certain which one took the role of predator or prey. What he had seen of the Slayer’s techniques so far had been secretly videotaped surveillance.
He had been impressed at her ability to use the environment around her against her foes. But those foes did not know Buffy Summers the way Cordelia Chase knew her. The vampiress had a personal history with the Slayer, had witnessed her techniques and been on the receiving end of them.
Cordelia dodged the stake thrust landing a punch across Buffy’s jaw sending the girl to the ground. She stomped on her stomach before the Slayer managed to grab the leg and throw her off.
Several of the minions let out concerned cries as they saw the vampiress fall. Angelus let out a growl warning them to keep quite. He didn’t want any distractions for his mate. The Slayer was going to get her chance, but Angelus didn’t want to give her any easy breaks.
Cordelia made him promise to let the Slayer survive the night if she failed to defeat her. Buffy’s arrival after seeing Willow’s dead body was a foregone conclusion. It was only a matter of time and the vampires had prepared their family group with precise instructions of non-interference.
Angelus didn’t really like it. He should have drained the Slayer when he had the chance, not given her the opportunity to stake his mate. If anything happened to Cordelia he was certain that he would rip Buffy Summers apart piece by piece.
Vamping out at the idea of it, Angelus tried to temper his anger. He watched the fight with a wary eye. If only he had the opportunity to train Cordelia during the past year, he might not be so worried about it.
Flipping to her feet, Buffy found the stake that had been knocked out of her hand and ran toward Cordelia who was still on the ground. Before the vampiress could react, the other girl was on top of her holding the stake over her head and about to deal a striking blow.
Buffy hesitated long enough for Cordelia to grab her wrist. The blonde was certain that she heard the vamp’s voice in her head. Not only that, but she had obeyed the command to stop. Suddenly, Buffy understood the reason for Willow’s betrayal. The vampiress had enthralled the girl and was now trying it out on her.
“That’ll be the last time you tell me what to do,” Buffy rolled with her foe across the dry grass as Cordelia flipped them over.
“Know it,” Buffy was certain that she could overcome the thrall if she knew it was there.
Cordelia didn’t like the sound of that. Before she had any hope of defeating the Slayer, she needed to disarm her. The stake was just the first of Buffy’s many weapons. The rest were all natural stemming directly from her inborn instincts. After several minutes of acrobatic moves, Cordelia managed to wrest the stake away.
She tossed it as far as she could away from the site of their melee. From the corner of her eye, Cordelia noticed that Puppy ran after the stake obviously thinking that they were playing fetch.
Drat! Puppy actually liked the Slayer. She’d have to be careful that the hellhound didn’t bring the stake back as part of his game.
Wesley called out to Buffy asking her if she wanted another stake, but the Slayer knew the rules. “No interference.”
“That’s right, Slayer. No help from your strangely attractive friend over there or else I get to ask my family to play along with our little game,” Cordelia warned her as they circled each other.
Buffy surveyed the landscape around them seeing nothing that immediately came to mind as a weapon she could use against the vampiress. That left just her, which was fine as far as she was concerned.
Taking a fighting stance, Buffy awaited Cordelia’s approach. As with all vampires, Cordy possessed instinctive abilities, but they combined with some of the acrobatic techniques she learned as a cheerleader.
Having seen these moves in action the last time they fought, Buffy expected to see them again. Her own experience cheerleading back in LA gave her knowledge that she hoped would allow her to anticipate Cordy’s moves.
The vampiress surprised her. Instead of flipping into one of her trademark moves, Cordy charged in directly. She attacked the Slayer with a series of aggressive punches dodging out of the way of Buffy’s defensive moves.
From the sidelines, Angelus realized he had seen the technique before. Glancing over at Spike, he saw his blond grandchilde grinning from ear to ear as Cordelia kept up her assault.
Apparently at least part of the time they had spent together in Mexico had been occupied by something productive, Angelus mused before turning his attention back to his mate. He’d never been a nail biter, but this nervous feeling in his stomach wouldn’t go away. It was terrible and seemed to get worse with each passing second.
The urge to jump into the fray and defend his mate was almost overpowering, but there was also something else. It annoyed him when he thought about it, but the vampire realized that these damn feelings stemmed from something far more than possessiveness.
From far more than the fact that Cordelia belonged to him and he was the only one with the right to touch her.
The feelings seemed indescribable to Angelus. What was this? Residual sap left behind by the Soul? Vampires didn’t feel love. It couldn’t be that. If she survived this— when she survived this— Angelus was going to ensure that he discovered exactly what it was he was feeling.
Surprised by Cordelia’s straight-on attack, Buffy had to adjust her defense, but her foe took full advantage of the opportunity. Only when the Slayer was off-balance did she resort to her own acrobatic fighting technique. Cordelia landed on top of her, knocking Buffy onto her back.
Then suddenly, Puppy was standing there before them gazing with his eager brown eyes holding the stake in his mouth. Both Cordelia and Buffy saw it. Both had the strength and speed to wrest it away. Only Cordelia had one advantage.
With the speed of thought, Cordy ordered Puppy to obey her command. The dog bounded around to the other side of the Slayer and released the stake into Cordelia’s waiting hand before Buffy realized what was happening. Using her vampiric speed, Cordy flipped the stake into a firm hold and plunged it into Buffy Summer’s living heart.
A cry sounded in the night. Wesley stumbled forward as he realized his new charge was dying. Angelus, Drusilla and Spike also moved closer to observe this moment. Buffy’s eyes turned toward Angelus and she reached out her hand to him now slightly delirious from loss of blood.
“Angel,” she whispered.
“Stay away from her, you bastard,” Wesley warned holding up the crossbow. Even if he died, taking out Angelus would be worth it.
The vampire stood his ground and continued to look down at the dying girl on the grassy hill. “The Soul is gone, Buff. This time it really is goodbye.”
One of the minions crept up behind Wes and snatched the crossbow away. Jude told the Watcher to be still before the master forgot about the truce between them. Seeing that he had no choice, Wesley kept his mouth shut and watched as the blond vampire whom he assumed to be William the Bloody knelt down beside Buffy.
Taking her hand in his, Spike leaned in close. “Sorry it wasn’t me, Slayer. We would’ve had a merry dance.”
“Spike,” she choked out his name as a bloody cough accompanied its utterance. The red blood staining her lips drew him down and he kissed the Slayer farewell licking his lips as he came back up.
Turning his head to glance at Cordelia, Spike saw that she was sitting atop the slight form of the Slayer with an almost shocked look on her face. “Your first Slayer, luv. Good job.”
Cordelia blinked at the sound of his voice realizing that she had really done it. Buffy was dying beneath her. A rush of near-orgasmic pleasure washed across her body like nothing the vampiress had ever felt knowing that her vengeance was complete.
Pride, triumph and strength surged through her while gazing down at her nemesis. Looking toward her mate, Cordelia exulted in the zealous expression of pride upon his face.
The Slayer’s blood was pouring from her body now staining the grass. Its smell was intoxicating and Cordelia found herself running her tongue along her fangs. “Buffy,” she brushed a hand through the blond strands of her hair. “You deserve so much more than this simple death, but that is all I am going to give you.”
Standing, Cordelia realized that she didn’t want anything from Buffy Summers. Not even her blood. Nothing that would stay with her after this moment. “Wait until she’s dead,” Cordelia ordered her minions.
“Then let the Watcher have her body. Let him take it and bury it in the ground where it will stay. Buffy deserves that much in death. After all, she saved the world— a lot.”
Suddenly, Angelus yanked her flush against him wrapping his strong arms around her blood-covered form. A serious gleam replaced the delight in her triumphant victory over the slayer. After covering her mouth in an ardent kiss, Angelus commanded, “Don’t ever make me agree to that kind of deal again, Cordelia. It’s my right to defend you.”
Confused, “Did I look like I needed defending?”
“Against the best Slayer I’ve ever seen?” Angelus raised an eyebrow as if hesitant to give her the answer. “You were amazing— my wild tigress in action.”
“What was that?” Cordelia queried guilelessly. “I don’t think I heard you.”
“Amazing,” he repeated louder giving her due respect. Then Angelus was cupping her face and looking serious, “No more schemes unless I’m in on the deal. No more fights unless the family is allowed to back you up.”
“Next time I’m fighting a Slayer, feel free to step right in.” Cordelia encircled his neck reaching up to touch her cheek to his. Joking, “We can turn it into a family picnic.”
Setting her at arms length, Angelus intently gazed into her eyes as he demanded her obedience on this matter. “I’ll have your word on it, Cordy. No games.”
Now that her revenge against the Slayer was over, Cordelia honestly had no other major schemes in the works. I would be an easy promise to make, but she hesitated because Angelus seemed overly insistent upon her vowing to behave. He was being his usually overprotective self, but there seemed to be something more to it.
“Swearing on a stack of Bibles might hurt a bit,” she quipped. “Care to tell me why I’ll be torturing myself to make you happy?”
Frustrated with Cordelia’s tendency to turn everything to amusement, Angelus growled out, “I don’t want eternity without you.”
Stunned at her mate’s confession, Cordelia realized that other than pure lust, this was the closest thing to honest emotion Angelus had ever expressed to her. The vampire was not one to wear his feelings on his sleeve, at least not the ones akin to love.
Angelus was a master of the darker emotions and could manipulate the sensitive yearnings of those he encountered, but to experience that same sentimental attachment seemed impossible to imagine.
Yet there was truth staring down at her from the depths of Angelus’ eyes. From her own new understanding, Cordelia recognized more than mere possessiveness, more than just obsession. It was the same stirring emotion that bound her heart to her mate— love.
He wouldn’t know it. A vampire like himself determined to cast off any shred of similarity between his nature now and when his soul resided within would not willingly admit to such a feeling.
Cordelia knew this for a fact, but did not balk at the thought. A vampire like Angelus had never been offered love in its truest form. He would think it a weakness, an emotion that preyed upon the strong. Not until he experienced it. Not until he could know the give and take of it. Love Angelus? There was no question in Cordelia’s mind.
Touching her fingertips to the vampire’s face, Cordelia reached out with her thoughts and showed him the depths of her feelings. There was neither demand for reciprocation nor any attempt to alter Angelus’ unwillingness or inability to reach an accord with his own emotions. She simply shared her own.
Angelus. My sire. My mate. My love. You are my eternity.
They were entangled in each other’s arms before Cordelia even finished communicating her love for her vampire mate. Angelus broke the kiss with a low rumbling growl, “You and I have an overdue appointment with our bed and a certain mirror.”
Clinging closely to Angelus, the vampiress rested her head on his shoulder as they strolled back to the mansion. The glorious darkness surrounding them was lit by moonlight and the stars and filled with sounds of creatures heard only after sunset. Her vampiric senses stretched out to listen and heard the soft sobs of the human Watcher follow the Slayer’s dying breath.
It was all ahead of them now, Cordelia realized with complete contentment. They owned Sunnydale and the Order of Aurelius would reign supreme over the Hellmouth.
Between Angelus and herself there was nothing unattainable. Eternity together might not be long enough.