Phantom Hand of Fate. 2


Almost a week went by before Angel and Cordelia trusted themselves to anything more than snuggles and the occasional hasty kiss. They’d come so close to breaking their own rules that both knew the likelihood of repeating it.

When they’d first gotten together, Cordelia was content for their sex life to remain on the level, in her words, of a little old couple who held hands, smooched and snuggled in front of the t.v., but even Angel didn’t think that was necessary.

Though introducing Cordelia to ways of lovemaking that did not include penetration only whetted their appetites for the real deal.

Just for safety’s sake, they slept apart. Most of the time. Some mornings, Dennis would wander back from his nightly activities and find them curled up together on Angel’s bed, usually fully dressed.

With Wes now occupied with his research again, Dennis headed upstairs to check that Cordelia hadn’t gone to complain that her matchmaking scheme wasn’t working. He passed through the closed door of room 217 floating his way toward the bed where he found the vampire slumbering alone.

For an instant, the ghost pondered the still-as-death body half covered with the blue sheets. Phantom Dennis recalled Angel’s anger after his little interruption and the fact that he hadn’t received a thank you. I

n fact, the vampire had ignored him for the past few days glowering whenever Dennis made his presence known. The lucky vampire still got to be with Cordelia in other ways that a spectral apparition could only long for and somehow Angel had taken his interference as an act of jealousy rather than a timely reminder.

Satisfied that whatever Cordelia was doing, she was immediately safe from any lusty advances from her vampire lover, Dennis decided to have a little fun. Floating over to the closet, he opened the door and gazed inside at the orderly clothing. They were all arranged according to type, style and color.

Dennis let his ghostly grasp take hold of a hanger containing a red shirt and moved it to the other side of the closet in between two black jackets. Then he grabbed a white shirt and stuck it amongst the colored ones. His little task kept him occupied for some time as he finished with the closet and moved on to Angel’s sock drawer.

Hey, what else is a ghost to do to fill his time?

Satisfied that would get the vampire’s attention, Phantom Dennis passed directly through the far wall into Cordelia’s adjoining suite. She was lounging on the bed while talking to someone on the telephone.

“No, Serena,” she addressed the woman on the other end of the line, “Wes simply isn’t cooperating.”

That name seemed familiar, but it was one Dennis couldn’t connect with a face.

“No, no, I don’t think it has anything to do with that demon pregnancy thing. That wasn’t even your fault,” Cordelia commented. “Wes certainly seemed interested at the time even if you did think he was gay. Let me work on it for another day or two.”

Even Dennis had heard about the demon pregnancy fiasco. If not for the fact that Cordy was completely in love with Angel at the time, she might have gone out with her friends that night. Only a vision pointed them in the right direction allowing them to defeat the demon and its human surrogates.

“No?” Cordelia sounded disappointed when Serena declined. It was one thing to agree to a double date, but not when the guy apparently wasn’t interested.

She was in the process of hanging up the phone when a loud shout sounded from next door, “Dennis!”

Apparently, the vampire was awake and had discovered his little prank. Phantom Dennis followed along behind Cordelia as she opened the door between their rooms to find out what was going on. She found Angel growling and shoving clothing from one side of his closet back to the other. His dresser drawers were all open to some degree and there appeared to be socks in his underwear drawer.

“Having a little problem?” Cordelia automatically held her laughter to a minimum, but it was still enough to draw a dark look.

“Your ghost is a menace,” he growled.

Cordelia raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms at the tone. “My ghost? Why is he always my ghost when he’s having a little fun? You never say that when Dennis is on one of his cleaning binges or helps find the remote control.”

Glowering, Angel commented, “He’s usually the one that hides it in the first place.”

Dennis couldn’t deny it. He’d gotten a lot of amusement from watching Angel and Wes dig through couch cushions and lift furniture in search of the remote control. He would hide it on movie night and see how long it would take them to find it. Though sometimes, Cordelia’s soft pleading encouraged him to end their search sooner than he would have liked.

“He’s a pain in the ass,” Angel added as he stared back into the closet assuring that everything was back in its proper place.

The ghost was a gentle soul, but he had a playful side that seemed to gain strength as he got to know them better. Admittedly, Dennis did have a useful side as well being the only entity in the hotel that seemed to understand Cordelia’s unique filing system.

“Phantom Dennis is just looking for a little fun,” Cordelia pointed out defensively. “He’s a little lonely and needs attention. Kinda like Wes.”

“What about Wes?” That caught Angel’s attention. Hiking up his low-riding pajama bottoms, something he’d only started wearing when Cordelia started to come into his room at any given time of the day, a reminder to himself that some barriers were still necessary between them.

Her list of issues was a long one and Cordelia ticked them off on her fingers as she explained, “Wes must get a little lonely cooped up here with us. He has his own apartment, but spends more time at work than he does there. When was the last time he went out on a date? He’s studying way too much. More than necessary. It’s starting to interfere with his life.”

Angel frowned at the idea. Surely Wesley was able to determine his own limitations on research. It appeared that Cordelia had thought this out quite a bit and there was a gleam in her eyes as if she was eager to tell him something. He knew that bright, scheming look and for once was glad that it wasn’t focused on him.

“You’ve got something up your sleeve,” Angel mused aloud. Heaven help his friend if Cordelia was on a quest. “Should I warn Wes now and give him a chance to run?”

Her tongue stuck out at him in automatic reaction, brow crinkling just a bit in spite of the amusement that came over her face. Cordelia explained, “I just thought it might be fun for Wes to have a girlfriend. We could all go out together instead of leaving Wes cooped up here or forcing him to tag along like a third wheel. Y’know…double date.”

For a moment, Angel realized that she might be right about Wesley feeling left out. He and Cordelia sometimes tended to get caught up in themselves at times. Then he realized what Cordelia was suggesting. Angel was still getting used to the idea of taking Cordelia out on his own much less in a group activity.

Phantom Dennis watched as Angel turned back to his dresser distracting Cordelia from the subject by grumbling about the state of his sock drawer. All of the socks were now matched up with an odd pair.


The hotel appeared deserted as Wesley returned from a brief dinner break. He’d gone to the deli across the street and walked around the block afterward to stretch his legs. Dennis greeted him with a flicker of the lobby lights and Wes acknowledged him with a nod before glancing toward the stairs.

No doubt Angel and Cordelia were ensconced in the bedroom upstairs. Apparently, they’d gotten over whatever little reminder they’d had about using extreme caution when it came to their sex life. If it wasn’t for the very real threat of Angelus getting loose and wreaking havoc upon all of Los Angeles, Wesley honestly wouldn’t care that his friends had an intimate relationship.

The two of them were already connected on so many levels considering their status as seer and warrior for the Powers That Be. Interoffice romances were hardly news. Unless one of those involved lost his soul during an unguarded moment of pure bliss and decided to maim, murder and desecrate half the city.

“Guess I’d better get back to looking for a solution to that curse,” Wes muttered. “Dennis, would you please pull the Murdock file. There is something in there that I want to cross-reference with my notes from the Sularin Compendium.”

Wesley resumed his research and noticed five minutes later that no manila folder had appeared beside him. “Dennis?”

There was no response from the ghost, which had Wesley thinking that Phantom Dennis had floated off to do something else. He could be helpful at times, but the nature of his being made him easily distracted and not exactly reliable in all situations.

Getting up from his stool, Wes walked over to the filing pile on Cordelia’s desk. The Murdock file, a recent case, was not there. Nor was it in the filing cabinet next to her desk. With a dawning realization, Wes’ eyes turned to the closed door of Angel’s private office.

He took three strides and gripped the door handle halfway turning it before it occurred to Wes that maybe he should have knocked first.

Angel didn’t normally keep the office door closed unless there was a client inside or Cordelia was with him.

Wes already had his head stuck inside the door when he thought to shut his eyes. Just in case. Clearing his throat, he waited a moment for the rustle of clothing or the sound of the vampire shouting for him to get out. When the room remained silent, he peeked out of one eye noting that the desk and the rest of the office was empty.

Letting out a deep sigh, Wesley admonished himself for imagining that his friends were spread out across Angel’s desk. Did people actually have sex on desks? There was certainly no need for it considering they worked in a hotel and had any number of more comfortable options.

Not that he wanted to think about their other options. Wesley quickly noted that there was no file on Angel’s desk and decided there was only one other place to look. If Murdock had actually paid his bill on time, the file would be in the adjacent cloak room that served as their permanent storage area.

Wesley turned the handle and walked in. A moment later, he let out a high-pitched girly shriek finding both Angel and Cordelia inside the small room. Angel had his back to the door while Cordelia was on her knees directly in front of the vampire, her red-tipped fingers curled around his clothed thighs. Instant understanding hit, but Wes found himself powerless to move a muscle.

This was hardly the first time he’d caught them in a compromising position, but not one quite so blatantly obvious as this. Wesley’s eyes were wide circles behind the frame of his glasses as he saw them both react to his interruption.

Stopping her… uh, activity, Cordelia tilted her head to the side, eyes popped open in guilty surprise as she acknowledged his presence.


Angel glanced over his shoulder, clearly annoyed by his untimely arrival. When Wes made no move to leave, Angel prompted him, “Coming or going, Wes?”

A red mist of heated embarrassment surged prompting Wesley to speak.

“I-I-I’m leaving,” he assured the vampire darting back outside, slamming the door shut behind him and leaning up against it, his heart pounding in his chest. There was growling and giggling from inside the cloak room.

Wes decided he needed to wipe that experience out of his mind. Forget all about it, best to get back to work and pretend that it hadn’t happened. Wryly, Wes figured that he now knew where Dennis had gone off to. That also reminded him that he still needed that cross-reference data.

Knocking lightly on the cloak room door, Wes reminded the ghost, “I still need the Murdock file.”

Seconds later, a manila folder was pushed out from beneath the door.

Sometime later the door to the cloakroom opened up, its squeaking hinges jarring Wes from his research. Angel and Cordelia were still talking between themselves over the situation they’d created.

“How was I to know we’d be interrupted?” Cordelia asked her cheeks still pink as Wes glanced in her direction.

Angel muttered his answer, “We’re always interrupted. If it isn’t Wes popping in on us it’s Dennis with his icy blasts of air, floating furniture and knotted sheets.”

“They mean well,” Cordy shrugged getting over it despite the look of embarrassment on Wesley’s face as they approached him. “It’s not like Wes walked in on us on purpose.”

Noting the scowl on Angel’s face, Wesley responded promptly, “Not at all, though I must say that the cloakroom is meant to be used for business matters.”

Snorting, Cordelia’s mouth opened up into an amused smile, “Risky business.”

“Precisely,” nodded Wesley obviously not thinking about Tom Cruise. “Very risky. Good thing that I did walk in, even though the mental scars will take years to fade.”

Ignoring the jibe remark, Angel assured him, “It would’ve been fine.”

“There are no guarantees with this happiness clause,” reminded Wes giving the vampire a hard stare and tilting his jaw up a notch.

“We know that. I just don’t like the idea of being under constant supervision when Cordelia and I are together.” Then Angel narrowed his gaze as he thought back to his conversation with Cordelia earlier in the day.

“Maybe Cordy’s idea about getting you out of the hotel is a good one.”


“Finding you a date,” Angel answered with the upward curve of his mouth at one corner.

“Hah! I knew there was an ulterior motive,” Wesley turned to point at Cordelia who was grinning slyly.

“You scared off Serena,” exasperation sounded as she spoke. “Now I’ll have to find someone else.”

Angel leaned up against Cordelia’s desk, arms crossed and suddenly liking the idea of setting Wes up just to gain a little figurative breathing room. “What was her other friend’s name? Emily?”

Wes gaped.

“Oh, she’s hooked up with the lead singer of Exotic Crush,” Cordelia named a band that neither one of the guys had ever heard of and would probably never hear on stage.

“Thank goodness for that,” Wes said stiffly. “I told you I’m not looking for romance at the moment.”

Cordelia shifted her weight from one foot to the other, contemplating who her next candidate might be. “I suppose that I could call Harmony.”

“Harmony!” Wes sucked in a strangled gasp. He barely knew the blonde from their Sunnydale days. From what he had experienced at the prom that was one match he certainly wasn’t going to take.

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard from her, but she always talked about moving to L.A., so there’s a chance she’s in town,” Cordelia explained straight-faced.

Okay, so she wouldn’t do that to Wes, but it was fun to see his eyes bug out that way. Knowing how he’d react to the suggestion of dating her ditzy former friend, she hoped the idea would open up his mind to better possibilities.

Considering the way he was glowering at her, Cordelia added some further incentive. “You’d be helping us out. We could all go out together. That makes for less time for Angel and I to get into trouble.”

“Tempting,” Wes admitted that the idea of keeping a close eye on them was a good one, but he was too close to finding the cure for Angel’s curse to get distracted now. “Somehow, I’ll have to resist.”

Cordelia sent Angel a conspiratorial glance. Now that the vampire seemed to be on her side in arranging someone for Wesley, she felt certain they would find him the right woman.

Catching the look she sent Angel, Wesley warned her irritably, “I wouldn’t go on a double date with you two if my perfect match walked through that door.”

Angel decided they’d irritated Wes enough that it made up for him walking in on them. “We have something else you might be interested in.”

“Doubtful,” Wesley responded thinking that they’d run out of human options and were now going down their list of potential demoness match-ups.

“You’ll like it,” grinned Cordelia grabbing onto Wesley’s sleeve and dragging him down the hall toward their surprise.

Wesley looked back at Angel slight panic rising in his chest. “No, I won’t. I’m too busy doing research.”

“That’s the point,” Cordelia returned as she opened the door to his new office and library. “Surprise!”

“My own office?” Walking into the room, Wesley glanced around at the tidy space with the tiny decorative touches that suggested they’d both had a hand in designing the office and its décor.

“Hope you like it,” Cordelia figured he would. “You’ll have to share my PC until we get a few more cases, but other than that this is all yours.”

Feeling a little overwhelmed at the effort they’d made on his behalf, Wesley felt the sting of salty tears at the corner of his eye. Turning away to examine one of the potted plants, he surreptitiously wiped away the evidence.

Sometimes Cordelia and Angel were so self-involved that his efforts went overlooked, or at least it appeared that way. Nice to know that wasn’t the case.


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