In the Dark. 11

Chapter 11

Angel strolled downstairs Friday afternoon, his eyes looking about for Cordy before his foot even hit the bottom stair.

The lobby was silent and still. Angel grinned to himself; Friday always felt different from other days. Friday meant two days off. Friday meant Gunn bringing in donuts and spending the afternoon on the phone, hooking up with friends for Friday night plans.

It meant Wesley mentally girding himself for his weekly phone call with his parents, and the quiet slam bam affair with a whiskey bottle that inevitably followed. Fridays meant two days of a quiet, still Hyperion. Fridays meant Cordelia…..

Angel frowned. He didn’t know what Cordy did on the weekends.

He didn’t think she dated, because God knows she’d be babbling on about it all through the week. If there was trouble and he called, she came without question.

Then she went home. Wesley sometimes talked about the movie he and Cordy went to see on Saturday nights, or the art air she had dragged him to and the snacks she made him buy her, but other than that, Angel was clueless about Cordy’s weekends.

Angel had fallen into a nice compromise routine. He no longer spent every moment alone in the dark. He had friends now…a family. He wanted the human contact and the camaraderie….to an extent. It was still nice, on the weekends, to be alone in the stillness.

He was satisfied, or had been up until recently. A restlessness had set in and taken over. He had spent the last few weekends wandering around the huge empty building, not content to sit and read or watch baseball. There was a hole in his life now, and he knew how to fill it.

He sighed. Knowing and getting….two different things. Back in the day, he wanted something, he took it. Or ate it. Life was simple. What he wanted now….simple did not apply. Well, yeah, he simply wanted it.

He simply wanted her. She was the goal.

But this was different from anything he’d ever felt or wanted. He was having to dredge up more patience than he ever knew he had. He’d made his intentions known; he’d provided the small sample; he’d piqued her interest.

Now he had to wait. She had to make the next move. He had to be a gentleman….he had to take a more gentle, civil approach. He had to show tenderness, patience, and self-restraint. And if that didn’t work, he’d get to move on to plan B, which was to rip her clothes off her body, lick her from head to toe, make her beg, and then spread her legs and dive in, over and over, till she couldn’t think straight or speak coherently.

All in all, it was a win-win situation.

He grinned to himself as he stepped into the office and stopped. Wesley was sitting at Cordelia’s desk, his hands folded together upon the desktop. He looked up at Angel evenly. “Good afternoon, Angel.”

“Wes.”

“Sleep well?”

“Um. Yeah.” They stared at each other a moment. Angel looked around. “Where is everyone?”

“Gunn took off early. He’s apparently got…” Wesley thought a moment. “The low down on the fly about a fat do that’s on the up.” He sighed. “I have no clue what I just said.”

Angel nodded. “Yeah, I get that, too.” He sat on the corner of his desk and looked around a bit. “Cordy?”

There was a small silence. “Cordelia…yes…..I told her to go ahead and take the rest of the day off. She seems a little….preoccupied….lately, and tired. I thought a little off time would benefit her.”

Angel nodded. “Yeah. The visions….they’re hard on her.”

“Yes. They are. Cordelia, though, she takes it in stride.” Wes grinned briefly. “Being Cordy, she’s vocal about the pain, but always after fulfilling her duty with the information. She’s…” he paused. “Cordelia is extraordinary.”

“Yes she is.” Angel’s voice was quiet. Wesley looked at him a moment and then rose and walked into his own office.

“Come in, Angel. Have a seat.” Angel felt a shiver run through him, unfamiliar and alien. He rose and walked into Wesley’s office, sitting in the chair opposite Wes’ desk. Wesley sat in his chair and leaned back slightly, his face solemn. “Angel….I believe we need to talk.”

Angel shifted in his seat; he hated these moments. Wesley would drone, Angel would listen, apologize, nod, and practically run out of the room when they were done. Lower management sucked.

Wesley continued. “I’ve noticed a….tension….a distinct pressure, if you will, between you and Cordelia.”

Angel shifted again. Shit. This was so much worse than a simple employer-employee job review. This was about Cordelia.

“Yeah, we had a…thing…a struggle. But I think we’re good. I mean, she stopped kicking me every time she walked by the day you guys moved back in; she stopped calling me names….glaring at me…denigrating my parentage….” He trailed off, frowning. “Wow, she was really pissed.”

“Yes, indeed. While the kicking and name calling was certainly entertaining for Gunn and me, I am glad we have moved beyond that. It interfered with business. We’re up and running now; we’re back at a good clip. My concerns have moved beyond the professional, however…” he paused.

“And into the area of the personal.” He fell silent. He seemed to draw into himself for a moment, eyes closed, and thinking. Angel watched him and shifted again. Wesley opened his eyes and met Angel’s gaze levelly.

“You have always been somewhat of a mystery, Angel. You know that. To say you’re complicated would be….well, simplistic. Be that as it may, I’ve spent the last two years at your side, in circumstances most could never even imagine. I feel I probably know you as well as anyone who’s ever stood beside you. Truth to tell…” He sighed. “I consider you the best of friends.”

Angel looked surprised. “Wes…I don’t know…”

“Yes. I know. It’s unfamiliar for both of us, but there you are. You and I…and Gunn…we’ve formed a bond. One of good faith. We’re family here. Our circumstances dictate that we all share a bond no one else can understand.” Angel nodded, listening.

Wesley sighed. “And then there’s Cordelia.” He grinned slightly. Cordelia….I get.” He grinned briefly. “She’s quite complex, and really quite simple.”

Angel snorted. “Trust me, there’s nothing simple about Cordelia Chase.”

“Maybe simple wasn’t the right word.” Wesley leaned back. “Perhaps…..easy.” Angel snorted again. “Easy, that’s it. Easy to know. Easy to look at, certainly. Easy to trust. Easy to respect.” He paused. “Easy to love.” Angel started slightly. Wesley watched him for a moment.

“Very, very easy to love. I must say, having Cordelia at my side, giving me her own brand of world view, her own way of care….that’s what I always imagined having a sister would be like. I would imagine that a brother would tolerate a sister….bedevil a sister. I think a brother would care for a sister, and occasionally… take a stand when it was warranted.”

Angel leaned forward. “Just say it, Wes.”

Wesley blinked. “Oh. I had some more carefully constructed observations; perhaps I should cut to the meat of the….” He broke off at Angel’s impatient expression. “Yes.” He paused a bit. “Angel….you seem….intent upon her. You seem to….” He paused again and Angel wiggled in his seat a bit.

Wesley glared at him briefly. “Oh, hold still, I hate this as much as you do. You….you want Cordelia.”

Silence fell between the two men. They stared at each other, the words hanging in the air like smoke.

“You do, don’t you? You want her.”

Angel nodded. “Yep.”

Wesley closed his eyes briefly and took in a deep breath. “May I ask in what capacity?”

Angel suddenly felt an alien nervousness run through him. He felt cornered….trapped. His eyes widened as he realized what was going on. This was the equivalent of the girl’s father grilling the suitor about his intentions. Yes, sir, I receive a fund of 10,000 pounds a year.

The estate is not entailed; I inherit. I am a gentleman, sir, I plan on receiving the seat in the peerage. Your daughter will not want for a thing. Indeed, sir, we shall summer in the country and enjoy the season in town.

Shit. This was two centuries later, and his end would be more…why yes, I do largely probono work ridding the world of demons and evildoers with the aid of a seer, a bald street urchin, and a James Bond wannabe with a huge brain. I live in an abandoned hotel, but I’ll make sure the rats don’t hurt her.

We’ll vacation in Alaska in the winter so I can wander around 24/7 outside and not turn into dust. And as the girl in question has the biggest fucking shoe jones I’ve ever seen, she’s probably going to want for a lot.

Shit. He was screwed.

“Wes….I want her. I don’t want just anyone…I don’t want just to not be alone. I want her.”

“In what capacity?”

“Fuck. I’m just figuring that out, Wes. I gotta share with you?”

“Yes, you fucking do.” Angel looked at Wes, startled. Wes almost never cursed. “This isn’t a new sword or a good vintage bottle of o positive. This is Cordelia.”

Silence. Angel sighed. “I don’t know just when it happened. There was something..always….something even before I….well, before. But Wesley…” his voice was firm. “I have her back. She’s back, and I’m back, and we’re staying.”

Wesley regarded him for a moment. “You’ve thought of the ramifications?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I doubt that one.” Wesley looked down at his hands. “And Cordelia….?”

Angel’s voice was firm. “I’m pretty sure she feels it, too….an attraction…more than just an attraction…she feels….”

“Ownership?”

Angel was silent a moment. “Yeah. That’s what we feel. Us vampires. We feel ownership.”

“Cordelia’s not a vampire.” Wesley opened his eyes. “And there are no plans to make her one, correct?” An underlying steel laced his voice. Angel nodded.

“I wouldn’t do that to her. C’mon Wes. I don’t want to hurt her…”

“No, you want to own her.”

“I want us to own each other.”

“I see.” Wesley sounded resigned. “Have you discussed this with Cordelia?”

Angel grinned briefly. “I’m still alive.”

“Indeed. So the answer is no.”

“The answer is hell no.”

Wesley closed his eyes briefly. He shook his head. “She seems skittish. She has to be aware that you feel something…”

“Well, yeah, she knows I want her. You know…want her. She just doesn’t know the full plan.”

Wesley’s eyes popped open and he fixed a baleful glare at Angel. “Ah. There’s a plan. Yes, there would be, because those are always so successful for us. Do tell me of the plan.”

Angel nodded. “Yes. The plan is to charge ahead and take her before she knows what’s happening and make it a done deal. By the time her head clears, she and I will be an us and we can go on.”

Wesley looked at him incredulously before giggling a little hysterically. “Oh my. Yes, that’s quite a plan.”

Angel nodded. “That’s the way to deal with Cordelia.. Just take charge.”

“Yes. Cordelia being so biddable and all.”

“It’s a plan.”

“A bad one.”

“Still a plan.”

There was silence for a moment, then Wesley rose and walked to a side table, reaching for a tumbler and the decanter of scotch he kept there. He no longer disguised its presence with an airy wave and the “for medicinal purposes” excuse.

He now responded to Cordelia’s teasing with a “mind-numbing to do the job” excuse. He poured a measure into the glass and knocked it back, breathing in as the delicate fire poured down his throat. Angel watched him, stoic and still. Finally, Wesley spoke.

“So….you are taking Cordelia as your….”

“Mate. Consort. Permanent pain in the ass.”

Wesely grinned, briefly. “The rest of us should be so lucky to find a pain like that.” He poured another measure of scotch, then reached for another tumbler, pouring some for Angel. Walking to him, Wesley handed Angel the glass and paused, looking steadily at him.

“This will be interesting. I certainly wish you luck.” Another giggle escaped. “Lots of luck.” Wesley shook his head, the amusement slowly fading from his face.

“But know this, Angel. I stand by you both, I support you both. Don’t ask me how, but somehow, I want to think that this can be…right. But hurt her in any way….make her regret this life….make her wish for a happier circumstance…..I will destroy you. I won’t think twice.” His gaze was somber, and Angel could hear the resolve in his voice…see the commitment in his eyes.

“Wesley…I hurt her in any way….I’ll hold still for you to do it.” They regarded each other silently before clinking glasses and downing the scotch.

Chapter 12

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