Title: Seeing Is Believing
Category: Smut, Humour, AU
Summary: Cordelia and Angel’s relationship is cast into the open when Willow catches them on film.
Spoilers: BTVS Season 3 Lover’s Walk
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 Gilly: A/C any timeline or season, preferably BTVS. Filmed/Caught in the Act. Smut/Humor. NC-17, of course. Quote by Willow or Fred: “Wow, are all vampires that well hung?”
This fic is AU starting at the end of Lover’s Walk. This is a slightly silly ficlet, but what they hey! My muse likes to try new things.
Feedback: Absolutely! Any way, shape or form. FB keeps my muse happy.
Willow waited patiently while Giles closed up the book cage. He’d locked away the red amulet they’d taken from the demon Buffy defeated tonight. The demon was a magic-user in addition to being extremely ugly and now dead.
Having tried out a little magic of her own, Willow had been so excited when one of her spells distracted the creature that she’d gone and tripped over a gnarly tree root, twisting her ankle.
“Who put that tree there?” she’d frowned at the knobby wooden root. Then glaring at the demon who had just blasted them all with a bright flash of light from his glittery red amulet, Willow figured it was to blame.
Buffy knocked the demon to the ground, “It’s just an oak, don’t blame this bloke.” Surprised at her own words, she blinked twice upon saying it, but continued to fight.
“Amusing, Buffy,” drolled Giles sarcastically. “Focus on your technique not on making derisive quips that mock me. Bloke isn’t even proper English.”
To be honest, Willow wasn’t certain what everyone else was doing during the fight as Buffy seemed to have it covered. If the amulet had done anything, no one else seemed to notice. Giles explained that it might simply have been a botched spell and Willow didn’t feel like arguing the case.
With the demon dispatched, they were all deciding what to do next. Xander claimed that he was starving and Buffy quickly piped up that she had her usual post-patrol snack attack. Cordelia offered them a ride to Main Street where the pizza parlor was still open.
Willow’s ankle was throbbing too much to enjoy pizza and so the Watcher promised her a ride back to her house, but as it was a ways back to the library, Angel had to carry her all the way back to the school to get to Giles’ car.
That was a little thrill-ride all in itself, Willow admitted. Though sometimes, Angel still scared her a little despite being good again. He’d made an effort to build up a trust with the group, but Willow found it hard to unconditionally accept him back on patrols after everything that had happened.
Especially now that Angel was technically no longer Buffy’s boyfriend.
Frankly, Willow didn’t see the break up lasting long. Not with Buffy inviting him to come along on patrols this way and keeping him involved in the research side of things as well. She said it was all about being mature about things, but Willow was not quite convinced Buffy was entirely over the vampire.
Angel was the least of Willow’s recent worries. Though Cordelia had offered to give her a ride home after dropping Buffy and Xander off, Willow had made up an excuse to wait around for Giles. She could tell the brunette didn’t believe her; Cordy was too sharp for that, but for once she actually let it slide.
After the whole kissing Xander fiasco and the accident that followed, Willow wasn’t even certain why Cordelia Chase wanted to keep her role as Bait Girl for the Scooby Gang. She’d gotten over Xander faster than a short-order cook could flip a pancake. He’d been so grateful that Cordelia was alive after her fall onto that rebar that he eagerly accepted friendship in lieu of their boyfriend-girlfriend status.
Willow blamed herself for all of it and was just grateful that Oz somehow managed to forgive her for kissing Xander and that Cordelia came out of it okay. Oz was away for the weekend with Dingoes Ate My Baby, so he hadn’t been on patrol. Otherwise, she would have snapped at the chance to ride home with him rather than make Giles do it.
Almost as soon as they arrived at the library, Angel had done one of his patented vanishing acts. One minute he was there and the next he’d disappeared without a word. Willow was kinda glad because she really didn’t know what to say to the vampire. And when she didn’t know what to say, she usually ended up saying things that just seemed to leak randomly from her brain to fill in the void of silence.
“All locked up?” Willow perked up at the sight of Giles pocketing the keys to the book cage.
“Yes,” Giles told her as he moved to help her to her feet. “Until we have time to do proper research on its properties, I’d rather keep the amulet than simply destroy it. One never knows when these mystical devices may come in handy.”
Angel leapt over the security gates at the Chase Mansion with a burst of speed and dexterity. Crossing the lawn in shadows, he made his way to the poolside where he stood for a long while just staring up at Cordelia’s balcony.
Though their relationship was still very new, it remained a secret between the two of them, something that continued to bother the vampire. Cordelia wanted it that way.
“Our little circle friends has a black cloud when it comes to love,” Cordelia had claimed and he could deny her nothing.
She didn’t want their love tainted by the others finding out about them. Not quite yet. Angel had to admit to himself that keeping this from everyone might not be the way he wanted it, but having Cor all to himself was also a helluva turn-on. Cordelia was far more to him than just a secret lover; he wasn’t quite certain just what they meant to each other at this point, but it was far more than just physical.
All those stolen moments out on patrol with the others near, but completely in the dark brought a smirk to his lips. Just the little looks and stolen touches they shared that no one else noticed added an edge of danger and the thrill that they might be discovered.
Cordelia was delectable bait, but it hadn’t been her beauty that caught his heart in the natural trap of her allure; it was a single moment of vulnerability she had allowed him to see.
Angel never knew what drew him to the hospital to see her that evening after her accident. He’d just gone.
Having had time to think about it, Angel figured it had to be about Buffy. Most things were all about Buffy back then. He’d been feeling sorry for himself and instead of brooding about it in the dark shell of the mansion, sought out the one person who had a reason to feel worse: Cordelia.
Strangely, Spike’s arrival in Sunnydale had been the catalyst for broken hearts and broken relationships. In retrospect, ending it with Buffy had been the best thing for both of them. Though Angel cared for her still, the passionate feelings they had once shared weren’t deep enough to carry them beyond the Acathla experience.
He’d been willing to try to put it behind them, but in the end, it was Buffy’s decision.
“I’m not coming back. We’re not friends. We never were,” she’d said. “And I can fool Giles, and I can fool my friends, but I can’t fool myself. Or Spike, for some reason. What I want from you I can never have. You don’t need me to take care of you anymore. So I’m gonna go.”
Angel hadn’t stopped her. He knew the curse was no longer an issue, but he couldn’t give Buffy what she wanted. What’s more, she was right. They’d never been friends.
Her words had sparked something within him about the importance of friendship. It was something he hadn’t seen much of during his undead life. There had been some form of companionship with Darla, Dru and Spike. Though calling Spike a friend was like calling a sharp pain in the ass just a tingly feeling, the word really didn’t apply.
His thoughts had turned to Cordelia Chase hospitalized after the rebar incident and her resulting breakup with Xander.
Maybe it was partly that he wasn’t ready to be alone again. It might have been a simple desire to see that she was okay. Though he’d purposefully distanced himself from her in the past, Angel followed the instincts that urged him to go see her. There was a vulnerability in Cordelia’s eyes as he looked at her in that hospital bed, one he had never seen before and he realized they now had something in common.
They’d become a source of strength for each other, friends, though keeping their visitations secret. Just between them. Cordelia made peace with Xander. Angel let Buffy know he’d still be there to help her with the Hellmouth, surprised that she actually asked him to stay. Slowly, they’d both crept back into the sphere of the Slayer, her Watcher and the Scooby Gang.
Only recently had things taken an intimate turn with them. Their first kiss was pure accident, surprising the hell out of them both. The second came out of curiosity. Not the third. Angel remembered that kiss and his body stirred just thinking about its blinding passion. She’d given him her innocence and he’d pledged to himself that this time things would be different.
There was so much about his relationship with Cordelia that made him all the more certain that he’d been totally wrong for Buffy and she for him.
After that first time, he’d told Cordelia they were going to take things slow. He wanted to know her and for her to understand just who and what he was before they continued with such intimacy. Because having her again would only feed his demon’s natural obsessions. It might already be too late because he wasn’t certain he ever wanted to give her up.
Climbing up to Cordelia’s balcony where the French doors were unlocked, he walked right in. Clearing his throat, he tried not to sneak up on her, knowing that she hated him popping out of nowhere. She’d been standing at her dresser, brushing out her gorgeous hair and automatically looked into the mirror upon hearing his voice.
Only her own reflection greeted her and Cordelia turned, a huge smile brightening her features. “Long time no see. Must be an hour tops.”
After a long, weighty pause, Angel let his fingers wander over her face, placing a soft kiss at the corner of her mouth before admitting, “Missed you.”
A Week Later, Friday Morning
Skittering over to the open office door, Willow poked her head in and focused on the Englishman sitting at his desk pouring over an old tome. This was far more important than trying to find information on that amulet now gathering dust in the weapon’s cabinet.
“Giles, we have a poltergeist,” Willow blurted the news.
Buffy’s ears perked up with interest, “A ghosty with the mosty?” Having just entered the library with her two best friends, Buffy glanced around and saw nothing strange.
Getting up out of the chair he’d just settled into ten minutes before, Giles took a look out the door into the main room. All seemed quiet. “The library doesn’t appear to be haunted, Willow. No one has died in here…recently.”
“Stuff keeps getting moved,” Willow complained as she walked towards the table. “I left research materials out there, but then I found the books on the floor.”
Trying not to snigger at his friend’s theory, Xander simply announced to the group, “We should ban all research until we get to the bottom of this.”
“No such luck,” Giles lifted a brow, his closed mouth twisting at one corner. Honestly, he hadn’t noticed anything when he came in having gone straight into the office. “There is a simple explanation for this. I’m certain paranormal activity has nothing to do with it. This is a school library. People are in and out of here all day long.”
Willow bumped into Buffy after she bent over to pick up the books. “Uh…sorry.” Then turning, she moved to place them on the table, managing to step on Xander’s foot as she moved out of the way. “Bigfoot!” Mumbling, Willow finally set the books back on the table and carefully turned to face Giles again. Asking, “What about nighttime? We’re the last ones to leave and the first ones here every morning.”
The Watcher slowly pulled his glasses off, taking a moment to tap the tip against his mouth as he pondered her words. “You have a point there.”
“Maybe we should do a spectral analysis,” Willow suggested almost eagerly. The idea of a ghost was kind of fascinating.
“Ghost slayage…how would we do that?” asked Buffy of Giles who looked back at her with a frown.
Xander suddenly sounded enthusiastic, “Can we have an exorcism?”
Sighing, Giles popped his glasses back on the bridge of his nose. “Try looking for your ‘ghost’ with more conventional methods before we call for the experts.”
“Ghostbusters?” asked Xander.
Clenching his jaw closed, Giles walked back into his office to continue his research.
“I don’t think he believes me,” Willow’s bottom lip poked out in a pout. “Giles doesn’t believe me. I just know I left those books on the table. I wouldn’t put them on the floor or leave papers all over the place. And that chair was knocked over.”
Supporting her friend, Buffy agreed, “Something or someone was here. We could stake out the library. Set a trap and watch to see what happens.”
Buffy figured the culprit was probably someone she could get her hands on, maybe a prankster. But she wanted to be supportive of Willow’s theory. “No worries, Willow. We’ll toast that ghost.”
“Guess so,” Willow looked a little disappointed that Giles hadn’t been more serious about her ghost theory. She wasn’t so closed-minded as to think it might be the only possibility. One way or the other, Willow was determined to find out who was behind these library capers. Better to cover all the bases. “A stakeout sounds good to me.”
Rubbing his hands together, Xander grinned, “Cool. Can we bring pizza?”
On her lunch break, Willow went to one of the payphones in the student lounge. She’d been thinking about this problem all morning and finally come up with a solution that would give her the proof she needed one way or the other. If this wasn’t a ghost, then she wanted hard evidence to prove the culprit guilty.
After dialing a number, she heard a familiar female voice on the other end of the line. “Rosenberg Electronics, how may I help you?”
Willow whispered despite being alone and far out of the hearing range of her friends. “Clara? It’s me, Willow. Is Uncle Hershel around? I need a favor for school.”
Cordelia appeared dressed to kill as she sailed through the library doors, her hair bouncing around her shoulders in long waves. To the group gathered there in jeans and t-shirts, it was obvious that the cheerleader had arrived under protest. “Why am I here again? There’s a really hot band playing at the Bronze tonight.”
“Stakeout,” Xander explained the reason they’d called. He hadn’t given her details on the phone, just told her they needed help.
Arms akimbo, she stared at her ex with a look of disbelief. Since they appeared to be setting up camp in various sections of the room, Cordelia let out a soft pfft, “Of the library? Don’t we spend enough time here as it is?”
“We have a ghost,” Willow told her as she deliberately set out papers and books on the main table.
A laugh burst from Cordelia at the news. Then seeing the redhead’s serious expression, she tried to ask for details on this supposed specter. “As in ‘They’re heeeeere!’ or the I-want-my-own-ghost-Patrick Swayze variety?
Buffy giggled at the thought of having Patrick Swayze hanging around the library. No such luck. Reminding Cordelia, “Hellmouth Central here.”
“Yeah,” Cordelia snorted, “so our ghost is not of the hot and hunky.”
The words suddenly made her think of her own hot and hunky guy. A warm feeling spread throughout her chest, rising up to her cheeks and Cordelia hoped the others didn’t notice that her skin was flushed. Just the thought of Angel made her tingle and melt in want.
Those large skillful hands touching her in all the right places; his hard male body pressed to hers; the kisses that drove her wild; and just the way that he looked into her eyes all made Cordelia tremble at the thought of being with him.
“You okay, Cor?” asked Xander with a frown. “Maybe you should just go on over to the Bronze. Or just go home. We can handle this.”
“Go on,” Buffy encouraged her. It hadn’t been her idea to invite Cordelia in the first place. “We don’t need your kind of bait for our ghost tonight. Besides…Angel will be here later just in case there’s a fight.”
The blonde Slayer frowned at her words and then shrugged. It wasn’t her plan to make her words rhyme, but lately she was doing it all of the time. She was too busy thinking about it to notice Cordelia’s reaction to the mention of the vampire’s plan to show up.
Cordelia’s heart was fluttering fast. She’d hoped Angel might come by the Bronze, but the truth was that the club wasn’t exactly his scene. The band would’ve been fun, but suddenly she didn’t feel like leaving. The thought instantly bothered her.
What was she thinking? I’m volunteering to hang here for a lame stakeout of the library when I could be dancing at the Bronze. Crap! It’s happening again. Get out of here, Cor. Get out before Angel shows up.
Backing toward the door, Cordelia tried to make her escape. She didn’t understand the reason, but this wasn’t the first time she’d gotten this feeling. It was just that the others were never around when it happened. Only Angel.
“Going somewhere?” Angel’s voice suddenly sounded behind her.
With a yelp of surprise, Cordelia whirled around. “Skulk much, Angel? Geez, will someone please buy the vamp a bell,” she pleaded loudly even as her eyes hungrily looked their fill.
Angel brushed passed her, noting her flushed skin and the sparkle in her eyes. Her heart was hammering in her chest, though that might have been the shock of his surprise entry into the library. As he moved by, he trailed a finger across the back of her hand. Cordelia trembled at that slight touch.
“Anything interesting tonight?” The vampire had no idea of their mission. He’d just come at the usual time and hoped to make a quick round before heading off to the Bronze to find Cordelia. This was Friday night and it had surprised him to find her here of all places.
“We’re ghost hunting,” Willow volunteered the information. “We have a poltergeist.”
After a long silent pause, Angel met Cordelia’s gaze as she settled against the table, leaning back with her hands pressing flat and her legs stretched out before her. “A ghost? Here in the library. Interesting theory, Willow.”
The young witch immediately dived into an explanation of the many reasons for her suspicions. Listening patiently, Angel shoved his hands in his pants pockets and let her talk uninterrupted. While he kept his ears open, his thoughts were all focused on Cordelia.
He didn’t have to look her way; her presence alone filled the room, an intoxicating mix of scents and sounds that made his body react instantly. In that dress— why did it have to be red— she was intoxicating, beautiful, irresistible, but he’d just as soon see it on the floor. The thought of what might be underneath it was a tantalizing notion.
“So that’s why we’re here,” Willow finished up. When the vampire didn’t immediately comment, she waved a hand in front of his face, accidentally hitting him on the chin.
Angel glanced down at the horrified teenager who immediately started to apologize for the accident. “Sorry, Angel. I’m really sorry.”
“I’ve been hit a little harder than that before, Willow,” he chuckled and the redhead stared back at the smile on his face as if she’d never seen him do that before. “It’s okay, really.”
“Sheesh! Can we get this stakeout started?” Cordelia asked just wanting someone to give her assignment that would take her mind off Angel for a few minutes.
The evening felt like an eternity of torture. Not only was it the most boring night they had all had in ages, there was no sign of a ghost or other prankster making an appearance. Finally, after midnight had come and gone and Xander had eaten the last of the pizza, cheese-flavored popcorn and chocolate YooHoo he had brought for the group, they decided to call it a night.
For the first time in hours, Buffy spoke louder than the whispering they had kept too. “Let’s roam home. I-I mean we should call it quits for the night. We can come back tomorrow to see if things are alright.”
A little whine sounded as Buffy listened to what was coming out of her mouth. These rhymes were starting to get to her. She caught the look Angel sent her way, one full of confusion, as if he wasn’t certain if she was serious or trying to make a joke.
Willow shuffled tiredly over to Giles’ office for a couple of minutes, grumbling that she was going to catch her ghost one way or the other. When she reappeared, the group was ready to leave having gathered their things.
Cordelia sighed in relief as they headed to the door. It was better in a crowd. Feet all moving in one direction. One step after the other. She focused on the door, on the way out and not on Angel.
“I made it,” she sounded surprised as she stepped out into the hall.
Putting an arm around her in friendly fashion, Xander quipped, “Eight hours without a mirror. That must be some kind of record. Must’ve been a bore not being able to check your makeup every ten minutes.”
Actually, Cordelia had been too busy stealing glances at Angel. Their assigned hiding places were almost directly across from each other and if they sat just so the others couldn’t see them. He made love to her with his eyes. Just looking. That intense and unblinking stare.
There was no doubting what Angel was thinking, not the way his hungry eyes ate at hers. She squirmed under that gaze, her body reacting as if he’d touched her with his hands. Had he undressed her in the deep, dark realm of his imagination as she had done to him tonight?
Cordelia had lost count of the number of times when the urge to sneak over to his hiding place had hit with a blinding force. Each time, she beat it back and held on to her senses.
What was it between them lately? They’d started out as friends. Angel was being so patient with her when it came to their romance, to making love. In fact, he had far more patience than she, often being the one to slow things down. He had an iron control that balanced out Cordelia’s energetic enthusiasm, but things had been so different this past week.
Neither one of them seemed to have control.
Cordelia offered her friends a ride, noting that Angel was not amongst the group. She wanted to get out of here, to get home, but for once, she really wanted their company. Just to play it safe.
“Nah!” Buffy stretched her arms over her head. “We’ve been cramped up all night. I’ll just walk home. It’s only a couple of miles.”
After that, Cordelia knew that Xander and Willow would follow. “Goodnight, then.”
The trio waved their goodbyes and Cordelia stood by her car as she watched them go. Once they had turned the corner, she pressed the button on her key ring to pop the door locks. Gripping the door handle, Cordelia couldn’t seem to will her hand to open it up. She felt that same pull that had brought here last night and the night before that and the night before that and every night for the past week.
There was no choice but to obey that urge.
Turning, she headed straight into the school. Cordelia lifted a hand to the library door and pushed it open. With a resolved sigh, she stepped through, her hazel eyes sweeping around the room. A voice sounded from the shadows, causing her to jump even though she expected him to be here.
“Looking for me?” Angel asked stepping forward to wind his arms around her back to front and pulling her into his strong embrace. Kissing her temple, he said, “Tonight is the last time, Cordelia. We have to stop this.”
“I know,” she turned in his arms, a cry on her lips just before he crushed them with his own.