Caged Hearts. 4

Part 4


Squirreled away amongst the training equipment in the basement, Cordelia was crouched out of sight and scrutinizing the cigarette that she held awkwardly in her hand.

She had already tried lighting and inhaling it, but of course that hadn’t worked out so well. The smoke had clogged at the back of her throat and now, teary-eyed and still wincing a little, she had decided she was more comfortable with the cigarette if she was just holding it like this.

It felt good in her hand- a little rebellious. She could probably get away with smoking if she tried not to inhale.

Ah, who was she kidding? Cordelia Chase was not a smoker, she valued her body too much. Her body was, after all, a temple. Hell, her body was the freakin’ Vatican City, and she and everybody else had better tread carefully around it.

Besides which, she hated smoking.

Not only did it give you cancer, but it was also grossly unattractive and, to top it all off, incredibly stinky. Ironically, this was why Cordelia had bought the packet of cigarettes in the first place.

After all, she was no fool. She had devised this plan in the early hours of the morning as she lay awake in bed, staring at the ceiling.

It had been a couple of days since her embarrassing confrontation with Angel in his bedroom, and as of yet she had still gotten no sleep – she just lay awake, tossing and turning and trying desperately not to rationalize every little detail of her and Angel’s friendship from the moment they first met because dammit, she was Cordelia Chase, and she needed her beauty sleep.

Then, in one of those moments of obscure clarity that only ever seem to come after sleep deprivation, it occurred to her that it didn’t really matter if she had any beauty sleep, did it?

Because if, one morning, she happened to turn up on the doorstep of the Hyperion hotel with messed-up hair and seemingly hollowed-out eye sockets, there would be less chance of Angel thinking sexy, non-Angel like things about her right? Right? End of problem.

It seemed pivotal to Cordelia that she find someway to put a stop to this drastic vampire behavior, and soon. Whereas he might be entitled to find her attractive, (he was, after all, a man), it wasn’t as if he actually loved her, (not loved loved her), and she wasn’t willing to jeopardize what they already had for the sake of a few rampaging hormones. She valued their friendship far too much.

With renewed resolve, Cordelia tried inhaling again, slowly. It still tasted foul but then, wasn’t that the point? She had decided, after all, that changing her physical appearance would be a last resort. No haircuts, no extensive tattoos or shaving her eyebrows off.

She’d just have to learn to adjust her behavior so that she would still be the same ol’ Cordy that Angel had grown to know and love but, at the same time, a different Cordy. A Cordy that smelled a little bit too much like cigarette smoke for his delicate vamp nose. A Cordy that he didn’t want to sniff, and hopefully a Cordy that he didn’t want to bone either.

It was a subtle plan, cunning, and it wreaked of Cordelia Chase.

“Hel-lo?” Came a familiar singsong voice from the staircase, and Cordelia balked, looking around desperately for somewhere nonflammable to stub out her cigarette. Ohcrapohcrapohcrap…

Lorne appeared in her line of view, staring over her with stern disapproval.

“Oh, so that’s where you’ve been hiding, is it? We were beginning to wonder where you’d got to.” His eyes flicked back and forth between Cordelia’s guilty face and the cigarette she was holding, still awkwardly, between her fingers.

For a moment, Lorne looked baffled, like he was watching a particularly confusing game of tennis. Eventually, he said; “Oh, pookie. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you don’t really suit the naughty Schoolgirl image?”

Cordelia grumped. “Great Lorne, because that’s just what I need right now! Image advice from a green guy in a purple suit. Y’know, that’s not unlike purchasing hair care products from Patrick Stewart.”

Lorne sighed, and leaned against a vault horse. “Snippy are we? Must be Wednesday, then.”

“Bite me.”

“Duly noted. Do we really need to have the cancer-ridden, gross-smelling, make-your-skin-age-prematurely lecture of death right now, or should I just wait until Angel finds you cowering amongst his gym equipment and watch in a detached fashion?”

Cordelia winced, “Angel’s looking for me?”

“As per usual, oui. He’s been out of bed for a while now, and he’s highly offended that you’re not here yet. If you ask me, he’s looking to fill his hourly ‘staring-at-a-collegue’s-chest’ quotient, and Gunn just ain’t doing it for him.” Lorne chuckled at his own joke, but Cordelia just winced and sank further into her hiding place.

“So, it’s not just me then? Angel is beginning to act a little weird… -er? Than usual?”

Lorne cautiously lowered to his knees, guardedly checking the wooden floor for any potentially fabric-scuffing dust particles that could jeopardize his favorite suit, and leant into Cordelia, sitting with her shoulder-to-shoulder.

He shrugged, “So, he has a bit of a crush. It’s not unheard of. He probably doesn’t even recognize his feelings for what they are yet…”

“But he can’t have a crush!” Angel and crushes did not have a good track record.

“Why not?”


Lorne rolled his eyes, “Sorry, my little pomme de la terre, but if you’re going to start disputing his advances if and when he starts advancing them you’re going to have to think of a pretty good excuse. Angelpie isn’t well known for taking ‘no’ for an answer. He can be very stubborn.”

“I have thought of an excuse. ‘Because’.” Cordy reiterated. And then, because Lorne clearly didn’t quite grasp what it was she was trying to say, she said it again, slower this time and enunciating every syllable. “‘Be-cau-usse’.”

Lorne scoffed, “Sure. Fine. Whatever helps you sleep at night, poodle. The last thing I want is to be sucked into some kind of Dawson’s Creekish romance saga. Melodrama looks good on the TV but,” he shifted uncomfortably, “it really chafes my aura. You think you and Angel can work through this together, or am I going to have to intervene?”

“Again, with the ‘bite me’. Cordelia Chase knows how to handle men.”

“That, I can believe.” Lorne snatched the cigarette out of Cordelia’s hand and began smoking it properly. She grimaced at the dexterity with which he could handle a simple white stick, like it wasn’t even an object but an extension of his hand.

Cordelia had never pictured Lorne as a smoker before, but seeing him relaxing next to her as he blew perfect , smoky ‘O’s into the air, she realized it all made sense. Lorne was a diva in every sense of the word. S

he could just picture him now, dressed in a silk bathrobe, with his hair wrapped in a towel, inquiring as to why the hell his $300 champagne was going down like toilet cleaner?

It was a pretty funny idea actually. Cordelia bit down on her lip and tried to blink away the rising chuckles inside her body. Catching her facial expression, Lorne asked with some amusement, what the heck she found so damn funny?

“Nothing,” she said unconvincingly, before adding in a semi-hysterical voice, “Although I think I now understand why I’ve never seen you and Bette Davis in the same room together.”

Lorne smiled sweetly, before raising his middle finger at her, and exhaling more smoke. That did it. It was like lighting the end of the blue taper and waiting for hysterical cackling to come flying back at you.

Gasping for air, Cordelia rolled onto her side and howled with laughter, no longer caring if Angel or anyone else in the hotel knew where she was hiding.

“Oh god! And you think I don’t suit the bad girl image!” She managed, before relapsing back into indecipherable giggles. Lorne just sat next to her, smoking innocently and looking rather amused himself. It was strange moment, but oddly pleasant.

Every time Cordelia started to sober up, Lorne caught himself humming another bar of “I put a spell on you”, and the cycle started all over again. So caught up in there own private moment, neither one of them noticed the shadowy figure lurking on the stairs…


Angel was otherwise engaged.

He handed Connor off to Uncle Wes, and told him to take him out for a walk. The sunshine would do his little boy some good, he figured. Babies had their own language after all.

They needed to go out and explore the world, to discover new things like cats, and trees and other babies being pushed in identical prams. Whereas it would be some time before Connor would learn the respective words for all this other objects, Angel was confident that he still had his own names for them.

Not names that can be conveyed into any kind of language of course, but more a secret name, devised from the mere touch and the sight of the thing. Ah, the innocence of youth.

Besides which, it had been brought to Angel’s attention that he, himself, had been acting like a “grouchy bastard” all morning.

So, Cordelia was still a little jumpy after their last encounter in his bedroom. Angel was still doing his best to shrug it off. He always knew that Cordy was the curious type, but why in God’s name would she want to go snooping around a vampire’s bedroom anyway, what the hell was she expecting to find?

His stamp collection? Angel shook his head. Finding your best friend subconsciously masturbating in his sleep is a pretty good way to put a dent in your relationship.

Ordinarily, Angel wouldn’t be quite so bothered. Two hundred plus years of existing, if not living, puts to rest any qualms a person might have about nudity or sex, so why did he feel so raw? Was it because he had been dreaming about Cordelia at the time?

He’d dreamt about Cordelia before, but nothing quite so vivid. It made looking her in the eye very difficult. Partly because looking her in the eye sent Angel back to that naughty-dream place where Cordy was perpetually bent over his knee and being spanked red raw with a wooden paddle, but mostly because Cordelia kept blushing and dashing out of his line of vision. It was as if she could read his train of thought.

But then, she had always been good at that.

Angel growled distractedly. Why did she have to keep avoiding him? It wasn’t like he was dangerous or anything. He was still the same old Angel, her best friend and her hero. The only guy she knew that would willing throw himself under a moving train if he thought it would make her smile, and similarly, pretty much the only guy she knew who could probably stand up afterwards and dust himself off.

Angel wandered into the bathroom and headed towards the shower. Instinctively, he knew exactly how to turn the taps to get the right temperature he wanted. He let the water run for a while, until a thick steam began to cloud the bathroom mirrors that he really wasn’t planning to use anytime soon anyway, and only then did he begin to strip off his clothes. First the shoes. Then the sweater. Then the other things.

Absently, he stepped into the shower, letting the heavy spray hit him full force, trying to drum some sense into himself.


He reached for the nearest bottle of shampoo and was annoyed to find it was hers. Again, she had invaded his life, so personally. A bathroom was quite a personal place, wasn’t it? Somewhere where a person strips naked, and goes to bathe?

This shower, a restricted cubicle,. was Angel’s place where he had to be naked and cleanse, and despite the fact that Cordelia had a thousand other bathrooms in the hotel that she could choose from, this is the one she chose to be naked and bathe in too. No wonder his head was so full of her. She left him little room for escape.


He knew what the shampoo would smell like before he even opened the bottle. It was the ridiculously expensive stuff – the stuff that Gunn said cost more than his car insurance. It smelt expensive too – sweet and feminine, yet oddly enticing. Almost as if little tendrils of shampoo particles were traveling up his nose as he breathed them in, clinging to the back of his head and pulling him closer, closer to the scent. It smelt like Cordy hair.


He knew he should put the bottle cap back on the shampoo and leave it at that, but he couldn’t. Not now. She was the one that invaded his shower space, she was the one that conveniently left her shampoo bottle on his shelf, in his bathroom, where he could find it.

Although he couldn’t bear the thought of washing himself with her soap, her shampoo, having to carry her scent with him all day, where ever he went, no escaping… he hardened anyway. She was driving him fucking crazy.


Slowly, and carefully, he replaced the bottle cap and resolved to wash himself. No soap, hell no. Cordelia had been teetering on the forefront of his mind every minute of everyday for a while now, and as a result, suddenly his nerve endings seemed too sensitive to touch.

Soap, strangely, felt too sensual to rub over his skin, so he decided to forgo it, and merely let his calloused hands roll water over hardened muscle, carefully avoiding his painful erection that silently screamed for attention.


His eyes closed, he felt his back pressing against the shower wall, and his hands inching lower despite himself. Wasn’t she the one that invaded his personal space? Christ, he loved Cordy but he was only a man. He’d touch himself and think of her, but just this once.

His fingers trailed uncertainly across his shaft and he hissed and the slight sensation. God, he was raw. He needed this. He’d get it out of his system. He’d feel better once he’d got it all out of his system.


Boldly, he wrapped his hand around his cock and began to stroke. He could see her now, in his mind’s eye. She’d be bent over the headboard-… no! Against the wall. Long, soft legs would trap his hips to hers and he’d start to move inside her slowly, drawing out low moans as he palmed her breasts and gnawed gently on her neck.

Angel like that idea. Cordelia would probably draw her long nails across his back, urging him on, finding that small area just above his ass that makes him growl and speed up a little faster in their love making. She’d dig her nails in his ass cheeks, and suddenly, the wall wouldn’t be enough for him.

He’d pin her to the bed at that angle, yes – that angle, the one that barely brushes her clit but somehow, manages to hit the sweet spot deep inside her, and of course, she’d lose all sense of coherency. She’d thrash, and mewl and beg and he’d slam into her harder until she couldn’t come anymore, and only then would he satisfy himself.

Angel came with a pained growl, and, eyes still closed he sank to a seated position in the shower, letting the water drum his weakened limbs. He didn’t dare open his eyes until he was certain the evidence of what he’d just done had washed entirely down the plug hole.



“What the hell is going on here?”

Angel didn’t bother raising his voice. The training area of the hotel’s basement was fairly small, and a threatening voice could really carry when it wanted to. S

ure enough, the laughter paused mid-wheeze and the little smoky ‘O’s that seemed to be localized somewhere behind the vaulting horse stopped entirely. In half a second, Angel was over the other side of the room, leaning over the vault horse and glaring down at two guilty faces, their mouths hanging open in perfect shock.

“Lorne,” Angel asked patiently, “are you smoking?”

“What, this? No, this is Cord-” Cordelia kicked him, hard, “.. ow! Yes, it’s mine. I’m a smoker, happy?”

Angel’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. Was that why Lorne was always wearing so much aftershave? To hide his secret nicotine habit? Angel didn’t like the sound of this.

“But you’re a singer, Lorne. Those things can’t be good for your throat, and besides… they’re bad for the lungs. Everybody knows that.”

“Lungs, schmungs. I have four of them. Big deal.”

“But Cordelia doesn’t,” Angel hissed, “I can’t believe you’d just sit there and let her breathe your secondhand smoke! Damnit, Lorne!”

Cordelia scoffed, “Woah, woah! Wait a minute there, buddy! Me and Lorne were having a conversation, okay? In my line of work, I’m statistically more likely to be mauled to death by rabid hell monkeys than catch The Big C, so back off, okay?”

Angel growled, “I was only thinking of you.”

“Well, don’t.” She pulled her tongue out for emphasis, and Angel was shocked by the sudden and inexplicable urge to push her up against the nearest wall and show her what tongues were really meant for.

“Okay, that’s it. I think it’s time you and I got some fresh air, don’t you?”


“Good. Let’s go.”

He went to grab her wrist but Cordelia flinched. It was only a slight movement, but it was not missed by Angel. All at once, he felt something inside himself wheeze, like his heart was suddenly too heavy to stay in his chest.

It was a familiar feeling. So familiar… but he didn’t immediately recognize it for what it was. It took him a couple of seconds before he it occurred to him…

Heartbreak, really?

Suddenly, fresh air seemed like a far too good idea.

“Y’know what?” Angel growled, “I’ll leave. I think I’ve got some stuff upstairs to sort out anyway.”

And in a flurry of black, he quickly and quietly melted into the shadows. Cordelia rose to her feet and looked around the dim basement, unable to see him. She figured it was safe to assume he disappeared back upstairs to practice yet more weird vampire behavior.

“Okay, ” she looked down at Lorne, who was still smoking defiantly, “maybe it was just my imagination, but I could swear he was wearing my shampoo.”

Part 5

Posted in TBC

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