Cordelia popped up from the counter, the spoon hanging in her hand when the lobby door opened. “Angel, guys.” She went running to the door, Fred two feet behind her.
“Get to the couch all of you.” Cordelia ordered as she ran to get the first aid kit. “Who needs to go first?”
“Me,” Angel raised his hand high in the air.
“Don’t be a baby,” Cordelia shook her head. “Gunn, Wesley?”
“Girl, I’m okay, I just….” He winced as Fred gently pulled the material from his wound.
“That doesn’t look good Charles,” Fred blinked.
“Fred, here, start wiping and disaffecting,” handing the other woman some gloves and gauze.
“Wesley, lift up,” Cordelia ordered.
“Really, I’m alright, Cordy,” Wesley protested.
“You said you were bleeding all over my car,” Angel called out.
“I got better.” Wesley shoved at his glasses.
“Better my foot.” Cordy studied the two slashes on Wesley’s chest. “No stitches, though.” Cordy patted at the blood. “Wesley, you know, you really do have a nice chest, Fred….”
Fred looked over. “Uhuh,” she shoved at her glasses. “Maybe you should go take a shower.”
“WHAT?” Wesley said in shock, Gunn and Angel in surprised anger.
“Calm down, I was just observing.” Cordelia shot a look to Angel, while Fred just giggled.
“Well, stop, and hurry up, I’m really hurt.” Angel whined.
Wesley grabbed at his shirt, clutching it to his bare chest. “I can finish from here.”
“Okay.” Cordelia slipped off her gloves and walked over to Angel. “Let me see.”
“Angel, stop being a baby. You said you were really hurt.”
“Why didn’t you come to me first,” he said lowly. “And why were you looking at Wesley’s chest.”
“First, you are a vampire therefore less likely to die from blood loss, infection or go into shock and second, that was where his injuries were. As long as you’re talking and acting like a baby, I don’t get freaked. Now, let me see.”
Angel begrudgingly lifted his shirt. “I still hurt.”
Cordy traced the area of skin around Angel’s chest wound. Angel looked up at her silence. He grabbed her hand, “I’m okay.”
“You’ll live, or whatever,” she shrugged. “But, a nice warm glass of blood and bed, for all of you.” She ordered to the other men.
“I ain’t doing no blood.”
“Tea will be fine for me.”
“Idiots. Go upstairs, Angel, I’ll get you your blood and finish there.”
Wesley looked up as Angel went to the stairs and Cordelia to the kitchen.
Fred leaned down. “Don’t say a word.”
“I wasn’t.” Wesley said.
“Here you go,” Cordelia handed Angel his blood.
“Cordy, its only 12:30.” Angel quirked a hopeful smile.
“No, Angel.” She looked at the gash again, turning to pick up gauze and ointment. “So were you able to talk to Connor or did he just stab and leave.”
“You saw that?” Angel’s smile gone and staring.
“Yeah, it was good right?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because not only can you be a chauvinistic jerk, you can be a tad over protective.” She leaned down to kiss his hair. “I didn’t want you distracted. I didn’t see him getting hurt or anything like that.” Cordelia scrunched up her nose. “Though, I didn’t see any of you getting hurt either. He didn’t get hurt did he?” She asked in sudden concern.
“No and I sort of talked to him. He wanted to drive my car. I said no, should I have said yes?”
“He asked to drive your car?” Cordelia leaned down in front of Angel with a happy grin. “That’s wonderful.”
“Sure, every teenager asks that of his parents and they always say no at first. This is really good. He didn’t want to come back?”
“Oh.” Cordy slumped.
“I did offer to teach him to drive using Gunn’s truck.” Angel said again with a different kind of hope.
“How’d Gunn take that?”
“He was all for it.”
“Right.” Cordelia laughed. “Now stay still,” she pushed at his roaming hands on her waist.
“No, you’re not, you won’t be until tomorrow. Tonight was a bust for us and you know it, so don’t try any puppy dogface or growling. I’m not wasting our money just to have you fall asleep.
Angel bit down his growl. “You’re staying,” using his puppy dogface.
“Of course,” leaning down to give the vampire another kiss. His tongue licked at her lips. “Chocolate Mint?”
“I needed comfort.”
“Where you going.”
“To steal some sweats and a t-shirt,” going to his dresser.
“Oh.” Angel bent down to take his shoes off, he winced a little standing to take off his pants.
“I’m alright,” he said as Cordelia turned around sharply at the sound.
“Do you need more blood?”
“I’m fine, Cordy, I’ve had worse, much.”
“That’s not really comforting,” she mumbled, changing quickly.
“I wish you’d do that slower.” Angel stood staring trying to catch glimpses of as much skin as he could.
Cordelia turned pulling the t-shirt down, “That’s because I’m changing for bed, not doing a striptease, buster.”
“Fantasy 53 is you doing a striptease for me.” He grinned.
“53? There’s a 1-52?”
“Oh, at least up to 100, then you have the sub variations of each, and the sub variations of those, you would need Fred to get the exact number.”
Cordy blinked. “Then how come, all we get to is breaking furniture, does that have a number?”
“A lot of numbers. Unbridled lust ends even the sweet ones.”
“Oh,” Cordelia scrunched up her face and crawled in the bed, Angel moved in beside her pulling her and the covers in between their bodies.
“Maybe next time, we can make a concentrated effort to start with something other than unbridled lust.”
“You don’t like unbridled lust?”
“No. I like, definitely like, but…” thinking,” does you being manacled to the bed have a number.”
Angel lifted his head. “Maybe, but that we only did as precautionary measure,” he squirmed a little not wanting to go into that particular fantasy any further.
“Oh, well, I was just wondering what say 53 would be like if we added tickling and whatever number that one was.”
Angel gulped. “Unbridled lust, broken furniture and the completion of sub variation of fantasy number 67.”
Cordelia peeked over her shoulder. “You really do spend too much time up here alone don’t you?”
“I’ve have had them downstairs. There is the few with you on your desk, not even counting the ones in Wesley’s office, which you remember once was mine.” Angel grinned as Cordelia lightly smacked him.
“You really are bad aren’t you, not sweet at all.”
Angel pulled positioning her over his chest, lifting finger to trace down her profile. “I’m whatever you want me to be, Cordelia,” he said lowly.
“No, Angel, you’re who I want, whatever that may be. I love you. ”
Angel gentle caress changed his palm brushing her face, moving down to her neck forcing her lips to his. He devoured everything she offered, ignoring the twinge of something volatile under his skin. His kisses became rough, soft- his hands following the same madding pattern all over Cordelia’s skin.
He could lose himself so easily right now. She loved him with total acceptance; it wanted to make him shout for joy, it scared the hell out of him, finally recognizing the flicking of danger within his being.
Angel shot up, pushing Cordelia away.
“Cold Shower?” He grimaced, trying to smile.
“Oh.” Cordelia bit her lip. “Sorry.”
“Never apologize for making me love you or want you okay,” Angel leaned back down on the bed with a semblance of sanity, lifting her chin with a finger. “I just need a shower.” He kissed her quickly and went into the bathroom.
Angel twisted the knobs, forcing the pressure at the highest level. It wasn’t a cold or hot shower he needed just time to think rationally.
He stripped sinking to the bottom of the tiles, letting the water’s pressure beat at his body. He didn’t know whether to scream or just be in awe. Cordelia Chase, the woman he loved, could take his soul with out even trying. No sex needed, that was a new one. Angel slammed his head against the wall.
Why couldn’t the damn thing come with do and don’ts? Christ, he had been worrying about a physical slippery slope, fighting his instincts to just take what he needed, who knew that he’d have to worry about Cordelia loving him with such overwhelming power.
Angel slumped further down under the pounding spray. At that moment, he truly hated his soul -he wanted so much to damn the consequences and go to her, forcing, seducing her into onto his body, make her accept him in her, feel the heat the joy. Except, she wouldn’t forget the consequences for either of them- that is the only she thing wouldn’t do for him. Angel lumbered to his feet, hesitant to leave the safety of the shower, hoping that she would be gone.
Cordelia was dressed back in her street clothes. “I should go home.”
Angel nodded slowly, now wishing she would stay.
Cordelia frowned. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, Cordy.”
She bit her lip walking towards the vampire, her hand reaching out to caress the wound on his stomach. “Are you sure? Seem kind of broody all of a sudden,” she softly questioned.
Angel forced himself to smile bringing her fingers to his lips. “You make me broody.”
Cordelia scrunched up her brow. “I don’t want to make you broody.”
“You can’t help it right now,” placing a gentle kiss on her brow.
“Oh.” lifting her eyes to his face, a twinkle in her eye. “Tomorrow, if you rest, I’ll make you happy.”
Angel chuckled. “You already do, Cordelia, so much that it hurts.”
Cordelia stepped back, her eyes puzzled at his sad chuckle. “Uh, I guess I should….do you need me to get you some more blood. I can just…”
“I’m fine, Cordy. I’ll see you tomorrow.” kissing lightly again.
“Angel, you shouldn’t brood. Connor helped tonight. That’s good. And we’ll go to Anita’s tomorrow, right?” Going to the door.
“You know me Mr. Broody ‘grr’ guy, can’t help myself.”
Cordelia shook her head.
“Cordelia.” Angel called out.
She turned and waited.
“I do love you.”
A great bright smile transformed Cordy’s face. “Me, too.”
Cordelia took one last look at Angel’s closed door. Something was definitely wrong with him, but for the life of her she couldn’t figure it out. It was more than normal frustration that never made him broody, just frantic or angry. What in the hell happened in that shower?
“Cordy.” Wesley came out of his office.
Cordelia started. “Wesley, what are you doing still here? I thought I told you to rest.” She scrutinized his torn shirt.
“I will, just wanted to finish up something.”
“Boring research can wait until tomorrow.”
“I thought you were staying.”
“Now you want me to?” Her hands on her hips.
“Sleep, Wesley. It’s good for you.” She shook her head and left.
Wesley stared after the young woman. Maybe he should have told her how close he was to discovering a counter spell for the curse. No. He wanted to be sure first. He jumped as his pocket rang.
“I need to see you.”
“No, Lilah, you don’t.”
“Yes, Wesley, I do- and if you care about your little family then you need to see me. 30 minutes, your apartment. Don’t worry this isn’t a seduction, unless, of course…”
Wesley stepped out of car, heading up the walk to his apartment. Lilah stepped in beside him. “Aren’t you scared that you might be seen?”
“Only Cordelia and Angel’s bedrooms were bugged or at least attempted to be bugged, ” She shrugged. “But you’re bedroom’s clear, so if you want…”
“Lilah, why are you here.”
Lilah shook her head, getting to the point in her own infallible way. “For a drink and some advice.”
“Quit Wolfram & Hart, get a conscience, give to the United Way, and wear red more.”
“Not the advice I was looking for.” Lilah raised an elegant brow.
“Lilah.” unlocking his door.
She glided past him, looking around the living room. “Where’s the bottle?” looking at the empty table.
“It seems that I’m no longer in need of alcohol formed goggles.”
“Cute. Here,” pulling out a file from her briefcase, now getting straight to the point.
“I really need a drink.”
Wesley sighed and went to his cabinet and put a bottle and glass on the table.
Lilah filled her glass. “That is Wolfram & Hart’s latest project.”
“This is…” Wesley quickly leafed through the papers a feeling of dread crept up from his toes to squeeze his bowels.
“The return of Angelus.” Lilah cocked her glass.
Wesley slammed the file shut. “Why are you giving me this?”
“I’m not going to stop it, I can’t my job- my life depends on it, in fact I just signed the paper work to push it into the critical stage, but it if fails, then oh well.” She cheered again.
“You can’t be serious.”
“About my job- my life, yeah, damn serious.”
“Lilah, have you gone insane, has Wolfram & Hart? Angelus is nobody’s friend or ally.”
“I got that- I got that from you, Angel, even Cordelia told me that I hadn’t actually seen the ‘real’ bad side of Angel, all while she gave a fashion discourse on my shoes. She knows her shoes and I imagine her vampire.” Lilah conceded.
Wesley looked back through the papers. “Those self-denying fools.” Looking at the pictures of Angel and Cordelia running into Anita’s Brothel.
“Actually, they were pretty smart, really pure luck that we found out. I picked the most worthless informant that seems also to be a horny bastard, in more ways than one, and just happens to get his rocks off there on a nightly basis. Now, I see why he’s so worthless, he’s spending no time on the streets just in between the sheets, so to speak. But, from all reports the Enchanted Room, while maximizing pleasure, won’t do a thing to Angel’s soul. Gets his love and his joy.”
Wesley stared up at her. “If there is no danger.”
“Read on. You haven’t gotten to the really good part.”
Wesley scanned the rest. “Will it work,” he asked finding immediately what Lilah was talking about.
“In theory. That little spell cost a lot of money and magical staff hours. But, we won’t know until Angel and Cordy’s next love session, which if they hold true to the week to week sessions, should be this weekend.”
“What can Wolfram & Hart hope to gain, Angelus won’t work with them.”
“They don’t want him to…they just want him to kill Cordelia.”
“Well, once he kills Cordelia, which everybody seems to think he will do first off, then he will be captured, and his soul restored, viva the gypsy curse, which we have – tab E’” Lilah pointed with her pinky, her hand still around the glass of whiskey. “Angel will be useless as a champion after that, easily controlled, I believe is the goal.”
The tightness in his bowels threatened to erupt. The plan could work. Wesley smashed his face rubbing it harshly trying to think. He needed to get back and tell Angel. Once Angel knew there would be no going to Anita’s. Christ, he needed to make sure that Angel was still at the hotel. Wesley knew both of his friends well enough that strict schedules may not be possible for either one of them.
Lilah poured another drink watching Wesley as he pulled at his cell phone. “Answer, Answer,” he mumbled repeated.
“Fred, where’s Angel.”
“Asleep, like we’ll should be,” she yawned. “Is something wrong.”
“Please get him for me.”
Wesley looked at the ceiling as he heard murmured conversation, Gunn’s deep tones obvious in the room. He couldn’t think about that.
“Wesley, he wouldn’t take the phone. He’s….something’s wrong with him.”
“Wrong, what do you mean?”
“Wesley, what’s happening?”
“What do you mean- wrong?”
“I mean he’s just sitting in his chair staring at the wall in the dark. Like he did when Connor and Cordy were gone. Did something happen to Connor? Y’all just saw him.”
“No, Fred. But Angel’s there?”
“I just said he was. Wesley, Wesley.”
Wesley hung up the cell phone on Fred’s voice.
Gunn leaned up on his elbow. “What’s up?”
Fred shrugged and went back to bed. “I don’t know. Things are getting odd, one minute Angel’s whistling the next he’s all…broody, and Wesley’s paranoid.”
“You’re just figuring that out. Let’s go to sleep,” Gunn pulled her back in his arms.
“That’s your plan, make sure Angel’s not getting horizontal with his seer.” Lilah shrugged.
Wesley glared. “Why are you telling me all this?”
“Like I said, I think it’s a bad idea. To a meager extent Angel is controllable, but Angelus- I just refreshed. Capturing him may not be as easy as we think and if he gets out in to the wild world every one is free game. Me- I’m worried about. Angel assured me that Angel’s enemies aren’t Angelus’ friends.”
“Wow, you’re a genius.” Wesley rolled his eyes. “I need you to get me Malochav’s book from Wolfram & Hart’s library.”
“I brought you the file.”
“I need the book. If this is Wolfram & Hart’s goal, then they will try a different tactic once this fails- the book has the information I need to make up a spell to restore Angel’s soul.”
“The gypsy spell is in the file.”
“Not that one- one that will make it permanent.”
“We have that information? How come I don’t know that?”
“Minimal use of your library card?”
“I don’t know if I can get you that book. I don’t know if I WANT to get you that book.”
“Lilah, you’re already dead,” he held up the file.
“I’ve plausible deniability on that.”
“I need that book.” Wesley demanded.
Lilah rolled her eyes. “Fine. I’ll call you in an hour.”
“Lilah, thank you.”
“I didn’t do it for you but for me.”
“I know, but regardless thank you anyway.”
“Does that mean you’ve missed me, been thinking about us.”
“No, it just means thank you.”
“Right, red, uh, I knew you liked that teddy number, I guess I’ll be buying a new one since you ripped the other one to shreds, ” Lilah smiled and left.