“Wesley,” Fred yelled louder than was needed. Wesley poked his head out of his office staring where the young woman pointed.
Gunn practically jumped the stairs, taking the steps three at a time to get to Fred’s yell.
“Is that what I think it is?” Gunn stopped in front of the cackling air and expanding tear in the hotel’s atmosphere.
“The Portal is opening,” Wesley confirmed.
“Angel and Cordy are coming home.” Fred wrung her hands.
“I hope. Charles, the weapons as a precaution.”
Gunn got the tranquilizer guns handing one to Wesley.
The trio stood anxious waiting for the portal to fully form. Wesley and Gunn raised their guns as a figure in a leather duster jumped through.
Angel stared at the weapons and then at the faces of his friends. “Not quite the welcome we expected.” He held up the glowing globe.
“Angel,” Wesley asked tentatively.
“Expecting someone else?” He moved past his friends towards the stairs.
“Hell, it ain’t like there wasn’t two evil ass Angel wanna-bes on the other side of that thing.” Gunn snorted lowering his weapon.
Angel nodded as he kept walking. “It’s me. Actually, there were two souled Angel wanna-bes, also. Angel B and ‘little a’”, the vampire shot over his shoulder.
“Who?” Wesley quickly followed.
“Hey, do I still need to be carryin’ this,” Gunn bounded up the stairs his weapon dragging at his side.
“There was an Angelus 1, Angelus 2, Angel B, Angel ‘little a’ and you?” Fred blinked. “Oh gosh, that would be…oh gosh… five Angels that must have been…. confusing.” She ran to catch up with her friends. “What letter are you?”
“A. You made a chart.” Angel said from his seated position on the bed next to Cordelia’s body.
“I did?” Fred squeezed in between Wesley and Gunn. She nodded. That sounded like something she would do. “Um, when did I do that?”
“Later,” Angel’s attention was focused on the young unconscious woman and the glowing container he held protectively. “Just break it?” He asked Wesley.
Angel took a deep breath and tightened his grip shattering the fragile orb. The light escaped in a bright stream floating and then dropping to encase Cordelia.
“Whoa,” Cordelia shot up causing the standing occupants of the room to step back.
“Cordy,” Wesley, Fred and Gunn said at once.
“Hey,” she smiled at her friends and then looking to Angel. “Hey,” she said more softly.
“Hey,” Angel answered just as softly, brushing a feather light kiss along her lips. “Welcome home.” His hand drifted from her cheek down to hold her hand firmly.
“No place like it right?” Cordelia beamed at the relieved and happy faces of her friends. “Hi, Dennis.” She said to the blanket that wrapped itself around her in cocoon.
Wesley cleared his throat trying to get what had to be a goofy grin off his face and be serious. “Angel,” he had to clear his throat again. It was just that Wesley was very happy. Cordelia was smiling. Obviously, Angel had gotten to her before any of the Angeluses could hurt her. “Angel B, ‘little a’?”
“Versions of me sent back to fix the changes that we made the first time.” Angel said his eyes still fixed on Cordelia.
“Changes?” Wesley blinked. “Really? Interesting,” Wesley pondered.
Cordelia scrunched up her face. “Interesting, my butt. YOUR DEAD butt rather.”
“Excuse me.” Wesley nudged at his glasses.
“Angel ‘little a’ said we screwed up three times. You died on the last one that’s why ‘little a’ was sent back but it worked because here you are.” She smiled.
“Oh.” Wesley coughed uneasily.
“Wow.” Fred gasped. “Wesley was dead, wow.” She shot a glance to her friend making sure he was still there.
Gunn rubbed his head. “This time shit freaks me out,” Gunn grumbled. “So, this ‘little a’,” Gunn raised an amused brow,” ‘little a’ ain’t that too much information about your vamp self.”
Angel scowled. “Fred did it. Don’t ask.”
“Labeled beige Angel, that’s who came.” Cordelia giggled. “Angel,” she pointed to the vampire sitting next her. “Was A, so beige…”
“Being before A, ‘little a’,” Fred finished accepting at once the logic.
“That asshole, he helped?”
“Gunn, he was nice.” Cordelia defended the past Angel.
“Don’t believe it,” Gunn shook his head, stopping suddenly at Angel’s glare.
“He did, he came and killed Angel B.” Cordelia nodded.
“Killed? Angel B was an Angelus,” Wesley frowned.
“No. A future Angel that killed Angel and you,” Cordelia said quickly. “Weird, uh. He had a soul and killed you and Angel.”
Wesley coughed. “Could you not keep saying that- hearing that I’m dead isn’t…well…comfortable.”
“But, you’re not.” Cordelia smiled again. “I’m really glad about that.” Cordy moved swiftly away from Angel’s hold and hugged her startled friend. “It sucked hearing that you were dead.” She squeezed.
Wesley’s initial pat on the young woman’s back was awkward, then became more confident as his mind wrapped around all that he heard and what he knew. Cordelia was safe, Angel was alive, and he was alive. Things were good. Wesley hugged back.
Angel narrowed his eyes. Okay, unreasonable irrational jealously starting up again. He had to remind himself that he was also glad Wesley was alive. Angel relaxed his expression but he couldn’t stop his hand from reaching up and bringing Cordelia back beside him on the bed.
“Whoa, a souled you killed a souled you and Wesley. That’s just fucked up.” Gunn returned to rubbing his head. “Hey, what about me and Fred?”
Fred nodded. “Why would a souled you kill you and Wesley?” Fred asked. “Were we killed too?” She wrinkled her brow. “I made a chart?”
Angel groaned the questions would go on all night if he didn’t try to put a stop to it.
“From what I remember Cordelia, Fred and Gunn came to me at the Hyperion in the past, the ‘beige’ past. Told me about the time spells, Fred showed me a chart. Fred and Gunn remembered that Wesley had been sent back to stop Angel B from killing me. It didn’t work. I seems Angel B wanted this future so…”
Cordelia tugged on his sleeve. “What went wrong with his?”
Angel turned quickly, caressing her face. “Nobody knew for sure. There was some speculation. You didn’t know because you never experienced it because it kept changing.”
“That’s…really weird,” Cordelia sighed.
“But, it makes perfect sense.”
“Huh?” Cordy turned to Wesley.
“Yes, well, the those time lines changed before they affected ‘YOU’” he nodded.” you wouldn’t remember, therefore not ever experiencing the changes in the time line. Me, Fred and Gunn took the potion. We were able to remember enough to know that obviously some very detrimental changes occurred.” Wesley explained.
“Duh, you and Angel died.”
“Yes that would be detrimental, but I was talking about the need to get Angel B in the first place.” Wesley acknowledged dryly. “Fred and Gunn must have taken the potion and realized that time changed again hence the need to go back to Angel,” Wesley cleared his throat,”little a.”
“Uh huh,” Cordelia grunted. She scrunched up her brows speculatively. “How come Angel remembers some stuff. He didn’t take any potion and he was with me in Sunnydale so wouldn’t he be effected like me?”
Wesley studied the vampire. “Angel? Of course, it’s Angel’s past. We remember that a future Gunn and me came to warn us of Angelus. Angel remembers because in his new past- you, Gunn and Fred went to him just like he remembered about you in 1898.”
Cordy turned to the vampire. “You remember when me, Fred and Gunn came to you at the Hyperion.”
“What about when ‘little a’ came to Sunnydale.”
“I remember just as you do.”
Cordelia leaned back scrunching her nose. “Oh,” she questioned. “You still slept with Darla after knowing that I loved you. I told you that I loved you even when you were ‘beige’, sure I didn’t like you much, but I did tell you that I loved you.”
“You DID cheat on Cordy,” Fred’s wide eyes narrowed into a glare at the vampire.
“I…Damn’t, Dennis,” Angel ducked as a pillow raced towards his head.
“Oh shit,” Gunn wondered why his hand ever left his bald head. He couldn’t seem to stop rubbing it furiously. “We already heard this argument. A lot, loudly,” he begged. “I hate this time crap.”
“Angel? Did you sleep with Darla? Or was that or anything else changed because of your memory.” Wesley asked more concerned with the possible effects on the future rather than the tension creeping into the room or the possibility of more flying bed linen. “Do you know if you’re soul is still bound?”
Angel glanced suspiciously around the room at the empty air, then back at Wesley. “Yes and as for the rest you tell me. I only remember what I remember,” Angel grabbed at Cordelia’s hand holding it close. “Beige, Darla, epiphany, soul permanent, shopping, prophecy, 1898…”
Cordelia tugged on his sleeve again. “What about loving me?”
Angel stared at the young woman. “That’s not something I could ever forget.”
“Oh, good for that at least.” Cordelia slumped on the bed.
“Cordy,” Angel reached for her.
She waved her hand. “Knowing that I loved you wasn’t enough to keep you from boinking Darla.”
“Eww.” Fred’s hands went straight to her ears.
“Girl,” Gunn resisted the urge to make any other comment.
Angel caught the pillow as it took flight slamming it back to the bed. “Tell him to stop, please.”
“Dennis.” Cordelia sighed reluctantly. “Let the dork explain.”
“Thank you.” Angel held Cordelia’s hand. “Cordy, I remember coming back to the Hyperion, I remember going up to our bedroom and burning the bed coverings trying to get rid of your scent.”
“Cordy, when you came to get me in the past, you made yourself at home. In my dresser drawers, in my closet, and on my bed, you acted as if you belonged here. Your scent was embedded in everything as it is in the present. A wonderful and a needed thing now, but dangerous to both of us then, you weren’t ready. You told me that. You weren’t ready to know my love or my need. I had to wait. I had to forget.
After the first night it wasn’t that hard.”
Cordelia cocked her head in question as the others quietly stepped back in respectful silence.
“I went to your apartment. I watched you. You were still so angry, so hurt. It became easy to believe that it couldn’t be true. The reality became the dream. Rock bottom happened, I imagine the slam a bit more violent, but luckily for our future and us the same. I guess. I had my epiphany. My soul was bound, our friendship restored, and our love acknowledged. If that is a change then it’s a good one or at least the outcome is.”
Cordelia raised her eyes, considering his words and expression. She gave a soft smile, her hand going lovingly to his strong face. “It was acknowledged wasn’t it in all sorts of fun ways.” She lightly teased.
The respectful silence gave way to uncomfortable coughs and shifting of feet as the other occupants in the room looked to the couple then at each other.
Wesley gave an embarrassed resigned sigh and urged the rest to the door.
The others nodded, Fred’s accompanied by a big wistful smile, Gunn’s with a grunt.
Wesley shot over his shoulder. “You too, Dennis.”
The door closed signaling the ghost’s exit.
Angel waited until all the footsteps disappeared downstairs. “Cordy?” He asked, puzzled by her tentative expression.
“You said talking could wait.” She lifted her hand to his broad jaw.
“I…” His words choked as her hand on his face was joined by soft kisses.
She peered up at his hesitation. “Angel, are you still mad at me?”
Angel leaned back. The out of the blue and incomprehensible question caused any logical answer to flee from his already over taxed brain.
He settled on an ‘uh?’.
“I kissed Angel ‘little a’. You weren’t happy, in fact you got vamp jealous.”
Should he deny or acknowledge? Angel sighed. He and Cordelia had gone through too much to let any lie or misunderstanding stand between them. He moved leaning his body against the headboard of the bed, gently beckoning her to follow.
He sighed again grateful that Cordelia had adjusted her body in between his lap, her back resting against his chest.
“That particular fact is now coated in the surreal memory of having the dual experiencing of you kissing me and me seeing that it wasn’t me that you were kissing. But, now I remember the why of it. My past self was at least smart enough to realize that leaving you doubting would get him killed. I can’t be mad that I showed some sense or that you loved me, even beige.” Angel urged softly into her hair. “I just couldn’t, at the time, stand to see another vampire, whoever, touch you.”
Cordelia rested her hands on his strong thighs and turned to face him. “It was you.”
“It was another vampire. Instinct and rationality aren’t always the same.”
Cordelia scrunched up her face. “I asked you if I was wrong to get you to mark me. Is your answer the same?”
Angel’s fingers graced the small marks. Images came to the surface as he stared at the marks. Memories of Angelus that had been vague dreams now rooted in reality as he recalled his most recent past Angelus’ first encounter with Cordelia, then his second and then his third with the added bonus of Angelus 1’s appearance.
Good God, why in the hell had Cordy been out fighting vampires alone. He cringed, knowing without hearing the reason. Damn visions. One way or another they would get Cordelia killed.
Angel looked at the young woman who was waiting for an answer. This was not the time for scolding or a recounting of the fear and anger that those images invoked. He took a deep breath. “Yes. No. But. Cordy, I wish…no…I…I never with a soul would’ve discussed or chanced discussing ‘marking’ with you. I’m not even sure I would’ve ever considered it except as a hated dream. But, once it happened by Angelus, then yes, I’m truly amazed and grateful that you trusted me enough to allow the marks to become mine in love and not just as an instinct of possession.”
Cordelia glanced up and smiled. “Have we talked enough,” she whispered leaning into his lips.
“I have and you did insist,” wrapping his fingers through the thick silk gracing her neck bringing their lips together.
The kiss was not gentle, the hunger and need too great. Angel’s hand combed up through Cordy’s dark strands urging her lips for greater access.
Cordelia complied eagerly as she shifted and scooted closer. She sighed deeply into the kiss, her hands gliding over the material of the shirt, reaching the under the labels of the leather coat pushing it away.
Angel reluctantly removed his hands from the silk of the dark hair, shrugging his coat off as his body leaned in pushing Cordelia back on to the bed. Once the confining garment hit the floor, Angel’s hands instinctively reached back for Cordelia.
Angel stretched his body out alongside Cordy’s, resting on an elbow as his other palm flattened wide on Cordelia’s belly.
“Angel?” Cordelia asked at his stillness.
“Just want too look for a minute.”
The hazel eyes twinkled. “Deciding if you still like what you see?”
“It’s been awhile,” Angel drummed his fingers on the tautness of Cordelia’s stomach. “What if?” Angel’s eyes widened. “What if I’ve been effected by some sort of time change or you have? What if I can’t make you ‘gooey’ anymore.” Angel opened his mouth wide. “What if….”
Cordelia reached up wrapping both of her arms around his neck and jerked. “Nothing’s changed, dumb ass, you still are hopelessly NOT FUNNY, and I’m definitely ‘gooey’.” She manufactured an exaggerated scowled.
“Oh, if that’s the case.” Angel swooped in seizing her lips. His hands moved, his fingers teased at the hemline of Cordelia’s cotton shirt, blunt well-shaped nails drew circular patterns along the delicate skin. Angel breathed in the scent of the woman he loved as it became thicker with each swirl of his tongue and pressure of his hands.
A low rumbled vibrated within in his chest, the sensory awareness of his heightened five senses delighted a thousand fold at the rise of her chest, the gasping small breaths, and the tingling and twitching of the delicate flesh under his fingers. “Cordy,” his voice heavy with emotion and desire. “I can’t wait.”
Cordelia lifted her head, her soft laugh coated with her arousal. “Who asked you to? I thought we established that I was the insistent one.” She dragged her tongue over her bottom lip inviting more attention to its fullness.
Angel’s hands acted on pure instinct. Rips, snaps, and thuds sounded through the room as in a blur the barrier of clothes landed in a messy pile on the floor.
Mirth took over Cordelia’s desire drenching her soft laugher with happy giggles.
Angel caged her naked body under his and raised his brow in question.
“Perfect example of the advantages and disadvantages of a love-lust-driven vampire,” Cordelia tried to stifle her laugh.
“Well, the quickness definite advantage,” she waved at their naked bodies. “The need for a new wardrobe at the drop of lusty growl- a disadvantage. I’m thinking you are going to need to go shopping again.” Cordelia smirked, her hands palming over the wide pale strong chest, tracing the chiseled cool fleshed.
Angel dipped in gracing her smirk with a kiss. “Shopping isn’t so bad as long as the dressing room is large enough, you’re there…oh and a mirror.”
Cordelia’s nails scratched up to his shoulders. “A mirror?” she cocked an amused brow.
“I like to see you from every angle. I always want to see you.” Angel leaned back down, brushing his lips against her forehead trailing down to capture her lips again. Love, hope, sweetness, and warmth wrapped up in fire, lust, and sin. This woman was everything. Angel groaned attacking her lips with a hunger encompassing a century of desire and years of friendship, trust, and love.
Angel’s hands scooped down the indentation of her waist, expanding fingers wide as they covered the belly, his lips moving from Cordelia’s giving her a chance to breath, tasting the salty sweet skin as he moved.
Cordelia gulped several breaths. Breathing was becoming very difficult. Every time she tried, Angel would touch her kiss her and her body would tweak and forget that breathing was necessary for her survival.
Her tongue worked double time giving moisture to her lips as the pleasure gasps sounded. Cordelia tensed as Angel found her nipple. She wanted to cry at the sensations created by his hands and lips. “Angel,” she moaned, the wetness pooling in the v of her legs.
Angel looked up, gently releasing the taunt pink nipple.
“You said you couldn’t wait.” Cordelia breathlessly whined rubbing her thighs and calves over his hips and down his legs.
“I’m not.” He smiled with a slight quirk. “I’m tasting and touching.”
Cordelia pushed up focusing on Angel’s teasing expression. “Screw the tasting and touching. I need you now.”
“But, Cordy,” Angel tiptoed his fingers over her body. “I definitely remembered that you like me touching and tasting you.” He leaned up. “Did that change?” He asked in put on concern.
“Screw you.” Cordelia’s brows complemented her glare.
“Better yet, screw you,” Angel chuckled, adjusting his hips over Cordelia’s.
“Please.” Cordelia gasped as the tip of his penis scraped against her heat. “Stop teasing, why are you teasing?”
“Just wanted to make sure I still could,” Angel plunged driving into her center. He winced as a loud purr vibrated in his chest. “Oh god, Cordy.” He groaned sinking into her. Any pretense of teasing dissolved as the warmth and heat surrounded him. Cordelia’s rapid beating heart, the mewing gasps of breath on his neck, the tight legs that wrapped around his hips driving him further into the velvety depths were too much, the pleasure as overwhelming as the love and acceptance that allowed it.
“I love you,” Cordy mumbled kisses into his chest as her hips matched his irregular frantic thrust.
Angel growled his response, strong hands cupping at Cordy’s ass bringing their joining tighter escalating the sweet friction between the bodies.
Cordelia closed her eyes allowing the feelings to encompass her raising her closer to the edge as each movement of love proved that Angel knew every inch of her body.
“Cordy,” Angel urged the hazel’s eyes open. Cordelia stared into the demon’s eyes. “Mine.” His growl vibrated against her hot flesh.
She smiled her acknowledgement and clutched harder at the broad shoulders as Angel buried his face into her neck reaffirming that her body and life were his wiping any and all memories vague and clear about Angelus. Cordelia gasped as the sharp fangs pierced her skin causing a twitch of pain dulled by the intensity of the pleasure.
Angel’s hips jerked as the sweet tangy blood flowed down his throat reaching his dead heart making it do a false dance. Thoughts of ownership drifted and changed to the truth. Without, with a soul, he had marked Cordelia Chase but it meant nothing not really. Angel didn’t own her, she owned him with every sacrifice, with every soft touch, with her love. Angel needed her love more than he needed blood.
Vampires couldn’t starve, but he would cease to exist without her. The truth caused his balls to squeeze and spasms to shoot his dead life into her welcoming one.
Cordelia gasped, colors and sparks flew as she rolled upwards to a sparkling plateau, choking and limping as the pleasure peaked bursting and cascading down into a trembling flow that melted her nerves and muscles.
Gunn and Fred sat around Wesley’s desk.
“All I’m saying is three days.” Gunn insisted.
Wesley shook his head. “They are perfectly aware that we have more questions.”
“And, I’m saying that we’ll be waiting three days for those answers. Last trip through a swirly portal kept them locked up in the bedroom for that long. What do you think, Fred?”
Fred blushed and squirmed a bit, shrugging. “They love each other a lot.”
“Every damn minute.” Gunn scoffed.
Cordelia kept her eyes closed, clutching the arms that embraced her. It was Angel, her Angel, holding her making her feel safe. She didn’t have to be brave anymore.
The strong body wrapped around her gave her the time to finally deal with the fact that she had been scared to death in Sunnydale without him. Cordelia hugged the arms closer. Just a while longer and the last remnants of the fear would fade and she could regain her strength.
“Angel?” Cordelia whispered as the body and the arms she needed moved leaving her bereft of her save haven.
“Shush, go back to sleep,” Angel called softly as he got up.
Cordelia crawled to the foot of the bed, settling on her stomach. “You’re getting dressed?” The young woman kept the whine out of her voice. Maybe he was hungry and he’d be right back to take her in his arms again.
Angel pulled his sweater down and taking his shoes to the bed. He sat next to Cordelia, running his hand through her hair and down the smoothness of her back not wanting to leave but knowing that he had to.
Angel had awoken with an intense need to make sure that Wolfram & Hart never gave Angelus another opportunity to threaten or touch Cordelia. Making love to Cordelia, marking her, holding her while she slept had done nothing to alleviate the threat of Wolfram & Hart and the past Angeluses.
“I’ve a promise to myself to keep.”
“Promise? What promise?” Cordelia didn’t like that sound of that. Some how, she doubted he promised himself that he would leave her to eat.
“Stopping Wolfram & Hart.”
Cordelia sat up studying the vampire. She definitely didn’t like that or his tone. “You’re sounding a lot like ‘little a’.”
“That’s who the promise was to.”
“Figures,” She shook her head. Angel was going to leave her to go after Wolfram & Hart. That was not right.
“Cordy,” he reached out cupping her chin. “Wolfram & Hart need to realize once and for all that they can’t keep going after you.”
“I don’t want you to go.” Cordelia shook her head again.
“Cordelia, I have to.”
“No, you don’t.” She insisted getting upset that he was about to deprive her of her save haven to go fight Wolfram & Hart.
“Yes. I do.”
“Like you had to go after Darla, like you had to get revenge against Wolfram & Hart.” She wrapped her arms around her knees.
“It’s not the same.” Angel said purposely. “You understood that.”
“And when did I become so enlightened.” She narrowed her gaze.
“Cordelia,” Angel shook his head. He didn’t want to argue with her. “When you came to me in the past. You told me that Wolfram & Hart would be dealt with when we got home. Well, I’m home.”
“I told you this why?”
“What do you mean?”
“My purpose of going to you in the past was for you to go to 1998. Revenge against Wolfram & Hart has NEVER been my priority. Family and the mission, Angel, so why would I talk about revenge.”
Angel got off the bed. “They have to be stopped. You understood.”
Cordelia shook her head. “If you are going to use words that I never said as justification then use them right.”
Angel turned. “I…”
“No, Angel. You can’t convince me that I became revenge girl. “
“Cordelia, they can’t keep…”
“I get that but you aren’t going off on some sort of solo search and destroy on the law firm. We are a family. If you have to do this now, then we will go downstairs to that family and decide what we are going to do – together, Angel,” resigning herself to the situation, she would have to be strong for a bit a longer.
The young woman got off the bed reaching for her jeans. “Together.”
Angel grunted in frustration at Cordelia’s unyielding tone. Arguing with her would be useless. Angel promised his past self that he would cause real damage to the law firm. It seemed he forgot Cordelia’s inevitable reaction to his plans.
Together she said. “Fine, let’s go discuss this with the others.”
Cordelia narrowed her gaze as she pulled her shirt down, suspicious at Angel’s sudden acquiesce. “That was uncharacteristically quick.”
Angel met her gaze unwaveringly, keeping his thoughts out of his expression. He would get what he wanted. She incorrectly assumed that the others would be against his desire to destroy the law firm.
Cordelia had been in coma. She hadn’t seen Wesley, Gunn, and even Fred’s acceptance of his more violent questioning of the Wolfram & Hart lawyers. “You’re right.”
Cordelia’s gaze followed the vampire out of the room. If she was right why was she beginning to think she was wrong.