Title: Friendly Persuasion
Category: Smut & Humor
Content: C/A with D/K flirtation
Summary: Kate finds out how Doyle engineered Cordelia and Angel’s relationship.
Spoilers: AtS Season 1, City Of… through Rm w/a Vu
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Anywhere…please let me know.
Notes: Challenge by Califi: At bottom of page
Thanks/Dedication: To Califi, oh friend of mine, may Beige Angel fill your dreams each night and drag your muse along for the ride
Notes 2: Some parts of this fic are heavy on dialogue from the show… with my usual C/A twist on matters, that is. Must admit that I struggled with getting Kate into this fic as she is a character I would personally like to slap silly. Decided things were going to work out differently here.
Feedback: Go ahead…feed me! I appreciate hearing your opinions.
Kate Lockley walked back into the kitchen of her one-bedroom apartment, speaking to Doyle as she went. “Remind me how I let you talk me into cooking you dinner.”
“Oh, I can be very persuasive when the need arises. Comes with the accent. Women can’t get enough of it,” Doyle grinned at the response that generated. Getting a rise out of the normally unruffled detective was a fun pursuit.
Arching a dark blond eyebrow, Kate tried her best not to laugh in his face. “Is that so?”
Nodding, Doyle answered quickly enough, flirtation apparent in his voice as he leant against the kitchen counter. Kate was standing by the stove, too distracted by the Irishman’s answer to remember she was supposed to be stirring the bubbling sauce. “Absolutely, take you for instance. Don’t know how you’ve resisted me this long.”
“All of twelve minutes?” Kate glanced down at her leather-banded Timex. “You’re not short on nerve.”
“That’s called charm where I come from,” he flashed a dimpled grin that never failed.
Reluctantly, Kate found herself smiling back. He did this every time, she thought. Got her to smile. Charm, indeed. “My mistake, I thought it was blarney. Let’s cut to the chase, Doyle. We both know you’re not just here for the food. We’ve got a deal and you have a tale to tell.”
Doyle let out a long sigh. “Okay, then. Like all my favorite stories, this one begins with a girl.”
>The Offices of Angel Investigations, Weeks Ago
Angel Investigations isn’t just a business. It’s a mission for the hopeless in this City of Lights, for those who can’t reach beyond the darkness. No mission would be complete without its tall, brooding Dark Avenger-type…Angel, of course, but at the heart of it all is Cordelia Chase, ex-Sunnydale cheerleader, wanna-be actress and all-around appealing kinda gal.
“Of course this is just temporary—,” Cordelia smiled in a way that made it impossible for Angel to say no to her, “until my inevitable stardom takes effect.”
Before Angel knew it, he had a mission, an agency, and a staff of two highly talented individuals; one with the right contacts and the other with enough gumption to keep Angel from drifting back into his penchant for being a lonely, self-loathing creature of the night.
Watching Cordelia in a mixture of amusement and admiration from his position in the doorway, Doyle found he wasn’t the only one following her every move with his eyes. Angel was there at his side, equally caught up in observing the brunette’s actions as she went about cleaning the rest of the outer office.
“You’ve made a good choice. She’ll provide a connection to the world. She’s got a humanizing influence,” Doyle told him.
Angel’s mouth lifted into a half-smile, still not taking his eyes from the young woman who’d just invited herself back into his life and created a job for herself all within the space of a few minutes. After the whims of fate had thrown them together again and he’d saved her life.
The response Doyle got surprised him considering the way Angel was staring. “You think she’s a hottie.”
Doyle couldn’t disagree with that. “Yeah. She’s a stiffener alright.”
Kate Lockley’s Kitchen
“Not really impressed with that conversation,” Kate made a face and picked up the long-handled wooden spoon to stir the tomato sauce. “I get enough testosterone down at the precinct.”
Doyle looked offended. “It’s important. Totally relevant. You asked for the details. Just be ready for a few surprises along the way.”
Glancing over her shoulder, Kate turned back to her task, shaking some oregano into the saucepan and stirring a little faster. “Considering I’ve been a cop in this town for more than a minute, I’d say it takes more than a little guy-talk to bother me.”
“Don’t worry about that,” Doyle moved a little closer and inhaled the wafting steam. “Let’s just say we don’t lead boring lives at Angel Investigations.”
“Right. What was that job you were on when I met you? The bartender did it,” Kate recalled that grizzly case. “Not exactly a typical photo-op of a cheating spouse.”
Shuddering, Doyle nodded, “More like ‘Invasion of the Body-Snatchers’ which is just routine fare for a vampire with a soul, a seer and their Girl Friday.”
Giving Doyle a hard stare, Kate let his words sink in. The serious look on his face and his tone of voice suggested he was entirely serious despite the content of his words. “Vampire? You really did mean creature of the night. C’mon, Angel’s a little pale, but so are most of the night shift staff at the station.”
Trying to sound as if she got that it was a joke, Kate asked with a stilted laugh, “Did you stop at the bar on the way here?”
Doyle wished that he had. It might have made this easier. “Surprisingly enough, not today.”
Doblique, Los Angeles Night Club
Walking up to the attractive black man wearing a sport coat and tie, Cordelia handed him one of her new Angel Investigations calling cards. Gifting him with a bright smile, she said, “Hi! If you’re in trouble, just call this number. We can help.”
Before he could respond, Cordelia moved on to a couple sitting at a nearby table and handed over a card to the girl who appeared startled by the brunette’s interruption. “Hi,” she greeted as if it was completely natural to barge right in on their private conversation. “Being harassed by someone or something? Just dial us up, day or night.”
Then to the equally startled guy, “You look troubled. Are you troubled— or is that just your lazy eye?— Anyway, call us, we’re very discreet.”
Moves over to the next table, Cordelia was in the process of addressing its occupants when Doyle crept up beside her and grabbed her away. “Hey, hey, hey. This isn’t a marketing campaign here, princess. You’ve got to stay a bit more below the radar.”
Looking confused by his actions, Cordelia asked, “What radar?”
Doyle gave her a look that suggested it should be obvious. “The police?” Surely she had heard of them even in Sunnydale. Pointing out, “You know the service our friend Angel provides— might put some people in mind of the V-word.”
“Vampire?” shrugged Cordelia not seeing what that had to do with anything.
“No, vigilante. You know there are laws against this. You need to chat people up more casual like,” Doyle suggested. “You know, hi, what’s your name? How’s life treatin’ ya? What’s that you say? Minions of hell getting’ ya down?”
Rolling her eyes at the idea, Cordelia explained, “I’m an actress, a student of the human animal. I don’t need to talk to people to know their story.”
Kate Lockley’s Kitchen
Kate held up the spoon as a pointing device, never minding that it dripped red sauce on her clean kitchen floor. Pursing her pale glossy lips, Kate stopped him, “Hold it right there, Doyle. This is me trying not to laugh in your face. Vampire vigilantes aren’t exactly everyday fare.”
“Not the vigilante part, anyway.”
“Angel— your boss— tall, dark and stoic kinda guy— is a vampire? As in having sharp fangs and sleeping in coffins,” Kate plopped the spoon back on the spoon rest, splattering little bits of red across the white stovetop. Crossing her arms, she waited to hear what else Doyle had to say that might earn him a serious recommendation for a psych evaluation.
He knew Kate wasn’t buying it. The atmosphere between them was as thick as mud. Trying for a bit of humor to lighten things up, Doyle commented, “Oh, the fangs are there— pearly white, I might add. Angel must floss between meals.”
“The sauce may be red, but it’s hardly vampire cuisine,” the blonde detective gave him a stark stare daring him to tell her more. Just one more thing before she shut up, Kate decided, “Or is the hostess simply expected to offer her neck?”
“Well, if I was a vampire, I think I’d bite you,” Doyle muttered loud enough for her to hear. “Angel has a soul. He doesn’t kill humans for food or pleasure unlike the rest of his kind.”
Throwing up her hands in mock surrender, Kate pleaded, “Enough with the horror stories. I’d already given up on the idea of anything happening between Angel and me. If I hadn’t guessed his feelings the first time I saw him staring at Cordelia, I certainly knew it the last time I saw you guys together. So there’s no need to make up vampire tales to scare me off.”
“Maybe it is a bit of a horror story to most humans, but it’s the truth,” Doyle met her gaze with unwavering confidence.
The look in his eyes made Kate hesitate before responding. She still didn’t believe it, but something in the way Doyle spoke made her keep searching for answers. “So Cordelia Chase knows Angel is a vampire, but they’re….”
Doyle jumped in, “Oh, definitely. That’s what you brought me here to tell you.”
Admitting the fact, “I was curious about them. They seem like such opposites, but it is obvious to me how they feel about each other.” Shrugging as if she wasn’t dying to know the details, Kate said disinterestedly, “Just thought you’d actually tell me something instead of spinning campfire stories.”
“There are things in this world that may sound like fairytales or nightmares, Katie, but they’re as true as me standing here,” Doyle put his hand on her shoulder, a move that drew a nervous glance. He kept it there. “You may have asked me here tonight, but I’ve come with a purpose. I’ve come to open your eyes to the truth before it comes home to bite you— literally.”
Looking a little angry, Kate moved away from Doyle’s touch. “This is bullshit, Doyle and you know it. Vampires? Please don’t insult my intelligence. If you want to cover up for Angel’s borderline illegal investigational methods, that’s one thing, but don’t ram this stuff down my throat and expect me to play along.”
The blond had fire in those icy blue eyes. Remaining calm, Doyle informed her with a hint of a smile dimpling his cheek, “Lucky for you, the PTB want you on our team, Katie girl. They’ve sent me a little vision to help you understand and accept that there are things that go bump in the night— and that it’s Angel’s mission to make a difference.”
“PTB?” Kate asked cluelessly.
“Powers That Be.”
Kate’s jaw dropped open and then closed with the click of her teeth. “Obviously, I should’ve guessed.”
“Hmm,” Doyle sensed her impatience and rising hostility. “Well then, considering the drippy sarcasm and icy glare tells me you’re about five seconds away from kicking me out the door, I’ll just get started.”
Hallway Outside Kate’s Apartment
“You’re fidgeting,” Cordelia pointed out as she watched Angel straighten his collar for the third time.
Denying it, Angel sounded out a gruff response, “Am not.”
Cordelia didn’t bother hiding her laughter. “Then why do you look like you’ve got ants in your pants? Sheesh! It’s just cop lady, not a demon lair. Dinner and a little conversation won’t kill you.”
It helps that I’m already dead. Angel wasn’t so sure about any of this. Telling Kate about their mission was one thing. Asking her to be a member of the team was another. But this was just going too far. With a moan of discontent, he looked like he wanted to head for the nearest demon-infested haunt just to escape, “Dinner.”
“I know you’re not a foodie, Angel, but Kate will understand— assuming that Doyle hasn’t wimped out on telling her the truth,” Cordelia grabbed his sleeve and pulled him back toward the door.
Since there was no way out of this, Angel gave in, commenting, “Doesn’t seem right that the news comes from him instead of me.”
That came across rather ironically to Cordelia, “Yeah. Finding out you’re a vampire tends to shock a girl’s system. Been there. Felt that.”
She knocked on the door.
Angel remembered that Cordelia had done a 180-degree turn from pursuing him to avoiding him after learning the truth about him being a vampire. “I’m glad you’ve finally gotten over the shock.”
Flashing a grin, Cordelia said, “That was before I learned about the perks of having a 240-yr old vampire.”
“Having me for what?” Angel asked teasingly.
“As a boss, of course,” deadpanned Cordelia far from meaning that.
Angel stepped forward, his tone dropping into a deep range that hinted at as many promises as his words. “The job comes with perks.”
Cordelia’s back was against the door, one hand still holding the bottle of wine they had brought and the other fending off the approaching vampire. Sarcasm was her weapon of choice against that seductive suggestion. “Filing, cleaning up demon goo, buying wholesale pigs blood, working on Friday nights. Oh, yeah. Lots of perks and the list goes on.”
Moving even closer despite the hand that tried to hold him at bay, Angel leaned down to let his cheek brush against hers, whispering in her ear, “There might be some other fringe benefits.”
Head tilted up, Cordelia felt his lips grazing the soft skin of her throat. “Like what? Can’t think of any,” she teased throatily and shivered with aroused awareness.
Pulling back, Angel figured he might need to remind the tempting little vixen as he put a hand on the door behind them and closed in to kiss those smiling lips. Before he could connect, the door opened and Cordelia let out a startled cry as she started to tumble backward. Angel was still leaning forward, now against the invisible energy barrier that kept him out. Only his lighting-fast reflexes saved Cordelia from a hard landing.
Angel reached forward and caught Cordelia before she moved beyond his reach. He pulled her back into the safety of his strong arms, holding her now laughing form close as he lifted his gaze toward Kate Lockley who was staring at Angel as though she’d never seen him before. The vampire’s eyes flicked over to Doyle who stood behind her in the background before turning his attention back to their hostess.
Cordelia caught the look on Kate’s face and tried to break the ice, “Kate, hi!” Holding up the bottle of wine, “We brought you this. Angel picked it out. He— knows wine.
The comment made the blonde go pale and Kate was still doing a great impression of a mute, gaping fish. Cordelia offered her a smile anyway. “Not so much in the jokey mood? Bad vampire humor anyway. Guess Doyle told you.”
Nodding silently, a little shocked by everything Doyle revealed, Kate kept staring at Angel, her blue eyes wide saucers. Feeling uncomfortable himself, Angel said simply, “Hello, Kate.”
Silent for another tense moment, Kate finally found her voice even though it came across as strangled, “Doyle says you need an invitation to get in.”
Angel quipped, making light of the subject, “It helps.”
When Kate said nothing else, appearing lost in thought, Cordelia motioned with her hand in a sign of encouragement. “That’s your cue, Kate. You say, ‘Angel, I inv—'”
“Not so fast,” Kate snapped back to life, nostrils flaring with her indrawn breath.
Cordelia looked at Angel and then over at Doyle who simply shrugged. The PTB may want her on their team, but free will still gave Kate Lockley the right to choose her own path. There was no guarantee she would accept this despite the info the PTB sent his way.
“Doyle told me you’re a vampire,” Kate began, “but I can’t see it, Angel. You look like a man to me.”
“Trust me,” Cordelia subconsciously fiddled with the long neck of the wine bottle, “he’s all—”
Angel cut her off by growling her name, “Cor…”
Turning her eyes to his, Cordelia asked innocently, “What?”
“Let me handle this,” Angel could do without the innuendos right now. He’d already been far enough along when Kate opened the door. “Please.”
Giving him free reign to botch things up, Cordelia let out a soft, “Pfft.” Then adding, “Go for it, dorkula.”
Kate pressed her lips together and then said to Angel, “Guess you’ve been around for a while so you’ll know the old saying: seeing is believing. Show me the truth, Angel.”
His response was a simple shift of flesh and bone as Angel morphed into his vampire visage. The brow furrowed becoming an overhanging ridge that shadowed dark topaz eyes. Sharply jagged teeth appeared between his lips as Angel attempted a smile to make himself appear less frightening. Kate’s expression suggested he should keep his smiles to himself. She turned pale, but never once looked away, staring him right in the eyes.
“So it’s true,” Kate sounded bitter about being faced with a shocking reality she could no longer discount as fiction. “The whole world is caught up in a sham.”
Angel let his vampire features fade back to their human form. “People see what they want to see and ignore the rest. You’re a cop. You know that.”
The horrified look on Kate’s face unsettled Cordelia. Not that she wanted Kate to look at Angel the same way she did, but her vampire was sensitive enough without being subjected to instant contempt because of who he was. Defending him, “Angel’s one of the good guys. The best. He’s trying to make a difference. It’s his mission.”
Glancing down at the fiercely protective look on Cordelia’s face, Angel corrected her softly, “Our mission.”
Kate only returned, “Mission impossible if half of what Doyle tells me is true.”
“Not if the PTB have any say,” Doyle promised her. “We start small. One person at a time.”
Looking at Cordelia who stood with the vampire’s arm around her shoulder, Kate had to ask since her curiosity about their relationship now contained a vein of disbelief, “And you two— you actually….”
Rolling her eyes as the woman couldn’t seem to finish her sentence, Cordelia simply commented with a conspiratorial smile, “Every chance we get.”
No longer pale, Kate stood red-faced as blood rushed to her cheeks. Damn her fair skin, anyway. She was a tough cop, not a blushing ingénue. Fortunately, she wasn’t the only one off-put by the brunette’s bluntness. Both Angel and Doyle stared as her name left their lips simultaneously in groaning censure, “Cordelia!”
Sensing that she’d said something disturbing, Cordelia finally figured out that Kate hadn’t been talking about sex at all. “Ohhhh. You meant dating. As in doing things that don’t involve a bed. We do that too.”
Doyle shrugged sympathetically and Angel rubbed the nape of his neck as if that might make the whole conversation go away. He never knew what was going to come out of Cordelia’s mouth. While it sometimes made him cringe, her spontaneity certainly kept him on his toes. The corners of his mouth curled up, eyes crinkling in amusement as he accepted Doyle’s conciliatory shrug.
“But…,” Kate faltered leaving off the, “he’s a vampire” part of her comment. “This is all a little overwhelming. I think— dinner’s almost ready.”
As she started to turn away and head back to the kitchen where the timer was now buzzing, Angel called out, “Uh, Kate?”
Numbly, Kate turned back, “Yeah?”
As Doyle and Cordelia were staring expectantly at her, Kate realized that part had not been just another bad vampire joke, “You really can’t come in without one.”
“No,” Angel said truthfully.
“Huh,” Kate looked interested at that, but turned back toward the kitchen again. Two steps later, she looked at him over her shoulder, “Guess you’d better come in.”
Kate Lockley’s Dining Room
Having allowed Kate the time and space to finish preparing dinner, they were all now gathered around her small table. Doyle and Cordelia were carrying on a conversation having nothing to do with the reason for them being here when Kate finally broke in with, “I can’t think. There’s just too much to take in all at once.”
“Living in Sunnydale kinda kept us on our toes,” Cordelia explained that she had a bit of an advantage when it came to accepting the strange truth that was reality. “There was always a new Big Bad popping up with some apocalypse.”
“The Hellmouth is a little different than L.A.,” commented Angel as he poured red wine into the fragile crystal goblets Kate had salvaged from her mother’s belongings when she’d moved into her own apartment. She kept her attention on Angel’s actions and tried to hear what he was trying to explain, “Sunnydale was more a focal point for demonic activity. Here in L.A., there are whole societies of demons ingratiated into everyday existence.”
Kate gulped down a large swallow of the wine before saying, “Doyle told me you two knew each other in Sunnydale. I didn’t realize you were together before you came to L.A., but that makes sense.”
Considering the way they looked at each other, Kate would have guessed they’d known each other for years. Only it had taken her time to accept the fact considering her instant attraction to dark-haired gods…guys…vampires, apparently, meant she was once again looking in the wrong place. She’d even gone as far as accusing Angel of being a serial killer and now she wondered if that hadn’t been close to the truth.
Angel thought of Cordelia back in her Sunnydale days and the lengths he had gone to in avoiding her. And the way she always managed to catch him privately when Buffy wasn’t around, or worse, when Buffy was right there to witness them together. Not that he’d been doing or thinking anything he shouldn’t have been while talking to Cordelia, dancing with Cordelia or rescuing Cordelia. Being evil again for a while and having tackled her to the ground that one night might have been excused as simply reacting without any conscience whatsoever. Unless he’d just been doing something he wanted to all along.
Not ready to admit that to himself even now, Angel told Kate, “We weren’t dating back then.”
Twirling his fork in the large pile of spaghetti on his plate, Doyle grinned as he said, “I take all the credit for getting these two together.”
“Credit?” Cordelia rolled her eyes. Grabbing her unbuttered roll from her bread plate, she looked like she considered hurling it at his head. Nose in the air, she sounded her disbelief at his words, “Pfft. Is that what you call it?”
“Don’t look so hoity-toity at me, princess,” Doyle mocked her as he sat back in his chair. “You two would still be staring at each other from across the office if it wasn’t for me. Just took a little friendly persuasion is all to get you in the game.”
Kate found the idea somewhat strange considering the fact that Doyle obviously had to know that Angel was a vampire by that point. “You were playing matchmaker.”
“From the moment I clapped eyes on her,” Doyle readily admitted. “Kate, I’m a seer. I get visions of people in danger. Sometimes, the PTB include a little post script in their messages. I knew someone important was about to walk into Angel’s life again and when I met Cordelia, I immediately understood the impact she could have on this miserable vamp’s existence.”
Angel, who had put a small amount of spaghetti on his plate for appearances sake, stopped pushing it around his plate as he told Doyle, “Either you’re a better actor than I suspected or you’re taking more credit than you deserve.”
Challenge by Califi:
C/A with mild D/K flirtation. NC-17. Smut/Humor.
*Angel not so keen on Doyle’s interest in Cordelia and is even less keen when she outwardly seems to lap it up. So he decides to keep them apart socially. Difficult as he has to spend more time with her than inhumanly possible. Then she leaves her apartment cos of ‘antlery’ cockroaches and the heat turns up even as he realizes there is more to CC than he originally thought.
*Use the line: C: You know, Angel, it’s actually a lot harder being one-dimensional than it is to be like me – ask Kate!- she even has a gold star.