Angel paused as they got closer to the opening at the end of the tunnel. He grabbed Cordelia by the forearms and brought her to his chest, roughly and passionately capturing and devouring her lips.
He held on to her tasting and feeling her against him until the last moment. Angel had to feel Cordelia against her before the act began. He needed to know that she was his and alive. As soon as he sensed Cordelia’s involuntarily struggle for breath, he relented, slowly lifting his head. “Are you ready?” his eyes searching all over her countenance for any signs of reluctance.
Cordelia nodded her head. “The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can go home,” she said wistfully, hugging Angel tightly.
Angel smiled and placed a quick kiss on her forehead. “Then it’s time for you to play the damsel in distress.”
“Cool, they always get the hero in the end.” She giggled as Angel picked her up a slung body over his shoulder.
Cordelia thought her stomach would lurch up through her throat as she felt Angel drop from the opening to the floor below. She clenched her eyes tighter, trying to tame her breathing and relax her muscles. Bathym had to think she was unconscious.
“Well done, vampire,” a booming voice echoed through the empty chamber. “Though, the girl is still alive. I’d hoped that you would already have your fun and just bring me the necklace.”
“Yes, well, the goody two shoes patrol, led by the ball-less wonder interrupted my complete enjoyment.” Angel said wickedly, perfectly matching Angelus tone. “Didn’t even have time for a proper taste,” he laughed, yanking Cordelia’s limp head to show the small puncture wounds. “So, do you have a room, that I can borrow for a few.” He smirked.
Cordelia forced herself not to tense at the vampire’s words. With her eyes closed all she could hear was Angelus smooth, mocking voice. A sudden irrational fear overcame her body. It sounded so much like the vampire that had taunted her in Angel’s bedroom. Cordelia’s fingers involuntarily clutched at Angel’s back.
Angel turned effortlessly, blocking her actions from the demon’s sight, squeezing her assuredly. Cordelia slowly unclenched her fists, relaxing her fingers along Angel’s back. This was Angel and he would make sure she was safe, her heart and mind screamed at her body. Cordelia gave a quick nuzzle along Angel’s coat before she made her head resume its previous lax position against the vampire’s back.
“The room, anytime now.” Angel urged the demon.
“Can’t you just kill her and get it over with. I want the necklace.”
“Yes, but where’s the fun in that?” Angel asked smirking. “You’ll get your necklace, but not until I get what I want. And I’m not even close to being done with this little prize.” He leered.
“Fine, but skip the foreplay. I think you have already done enough,” Bathym ordered, motioning to Cordelia’s neck. “Just get it over with.”
“You’re a real charmer with the ladies aren’t you.” Angel deadpanned.
Bathym grunted and moved through one of the open archways. Angel hesitated.
“What are you waiting for,” Bathym shot back.
“Sorry, just reexamining my catch,” he laughed sliding a hand over Cordelia’s ass which was facing towards the ceiling, her hips draped over Angel’s shoulder.
Bathym grunted again in disgust at the vampire’s focus on such mundane matters.
Angel started to move after the demon as soon as he heard scrambling in the tunnel above. Angel had been right. The demon was too preoccupied with the imminent possession of the necklace to bother with listening for anything but Angel and Cordelia. Angel nudged Cordelia in the ribs and adjusted his grip to allow her feet to hang closer to the ground.
Cordelia’s hand delved discreetly into her shirt and grasped the handle of the small, very sharp hatchet buried there. She waited for Angel’s next signal. The plan was, if possible, to attack Bathym in one of the smaller passageways rather than one of the larger rooms. One for the surprise effect and the other to limit the demon’s whip-like tail the room to whip.
As soon as Angel sensed Wesley and the others dropping into the large chamber he let loose Cordelia. Simultaneously pushing her to the side and pulling his sword. Before Bathym had time to turn, the vampire was whacking at his thick-skinned backside. Bathym turned in a howl of rage. Angel was able to get another stab into the demon’s tail, before he was forced back from Bathym’s enraged lunge.
Cordelia scrambled up against the side of the wall, the hatchet high in the air. She looked frantically around for a weak spot on the demon. But Angel and the demon were circling and lunging at each other so quickly that she couldn’t see an opening in their battle.
The Cordelia was forced up against the wall, almost taking perch on the indentations in the side. She scrunched up her legs as Angel came flying into the wall beside her. Bathym soon followed. Cordelia swung the hatchet with all of her might, cutting into the demon’s shoulder. She couldn’t see that she did much damage, but the demon’s howl of pain was satisfactory.
Bathym stood his tail trying to whip out to capture Cordelia. But Angel’s earlier blows had injured the tail. Cordelia was easily able to move out of its way, taking another whack at it with her small deadly weapon.
“John,” Wesley yelled pointing at Cordelia.
Gunn rushed passed the former watcher and with his axe started swinging at Bathym.
John ran towards Cordelia pressed up against the wall. He grabbed at her and pulled her out of the small hall. Once Wesley saw that Cordelia was safely out of the way, he ran head long into the fight. He had done what he promised. Now to the fight, he yelled inwardly.
Cordelia fought against John, trying to get back to Angel.
John held her fast. “In the way? Distraction? Whichever, you are a hindrance to Angel right now. Stay.” The Indian ordered. “Gunn and Wesley are there.”
Cordelia stamped her foot and with a frightful curse acknowledged John’s censure.
Cordelia winced as she heard signs of the battle. Metal striking into hard flesh, howls of pain and the thumps of bodies being thrown up against the walls. Fear overwhelmed her body. Angel would win, he had to, she ranted to herself.
Wesley and Gunn would be okay, she added to her anxious vow and prayer.
Finally a dead silence filled the air. Cordelia strained against John. Her mind and ears trying to sense any clue as to who was alive or dead. The silence lasted an instant and forever.
Cordelia blinked away her tears as Gunn, then Wesley limped out of the hall, each holding the other up. Her smile landed on them only for a moment, before her frantic gaze searched behind them.
Angel couldn’t be dead. She would have felt it. There was no way that she wouldn’t. Her life, her love, her heart and soul were intertwined with the vampire’s. If he ceased to exist so would she.
Cordelia’s heart resumed it’s normal beating as Angel staggered from the hall. She quickly brushed away the tears that were blurring her vision. Without any conscious thought but to feel Angel’s body against hers, she ran.
Angel swayed as Cordelia’s body landed against his. His broken and damaged arm rose to tentatively to hold Cordelia.
Cordelia gently pushed back as she heard his gasp of pain. “Oh, god, I’m sorry,” her gazed swept over the injured vampire. Her mind automatically took in the broken bones and bruises, calculating how much blood and bandages she would need to make the vampire well.
In the mist of her reckoning, she laughed happily. She rushed back to the vampire, placing her hands against his chest. Cordelia closed her eyes.
“Shut up, Angel,” she said sternly, never opening her eyes. She focused all of her love into the energy that the necklace gave her. The white light glowed around Angel’s wounded body, healing as it pulsated. A calmness and wellness centered in Angel’s being, slowly his bones mended and his injures disappeared. Cordelia choked falling to the ground.
Immediately, Angel dropped down after her. He held her gently as the same white light vibrated around her.
Cordelia slowly lifted her head. “I’m fine,” she said confidently. Cordelia got up and ran to Wesley and Gunn. The men were still leaning against each other. Both men tried to stand straighter too hide the more obvious wounds.
“Don’t be silly,” she chided. “It doesn’t hurt, promise.” She happily placed one hand on Wesley’s chest and the other on Gunn’s. With a different, but just as powerful love Cordelia willed the necklace to do its magic.
It was late when they all returned to the hotel. Without discussion, Wesley, Gunn and John decided to stay for the rest of the night.
Cordelia came back downstairs after showing John a guestroom. She gave him towels and pilfered toiletries from Angel.
“You two don’t need for me to play hostess do you,” she asked Wesley and Gunn as she yawned.
“Go to bed,” Angel ordered.
“We’re fine,” Wesley called. “Good night, and thank you,” he added.
“Yeah, Barbie,” Gunn said using his old nickname for Cordelia. “Thanks.”
Cordelia smiled at the care and love she felt from all three men. “Good, then, I’m out.”
“So,” Wesley asked the room in general.
“It’s over,” Gunn cut in.
“Well, no. The necklace is still there around Cordelia’s neck. Angel,” Wesley turned to the vampire. “We just may have to accept it.”
Angel growled and sighed at the same time. “Good night.”
Angel climbed the stairs. He was fine. Hell, he was more than fine. His soul was permanent, Cordelia loved him, Bathym was dead, so why didn’t he feel fine. He knew why. The necklace. Granted, the piece of jewelry itself was not evil, but still, it caused pain to Cordelia.
No matter, how she brushed it off later, Angel knew that she hurt. It was like the visions. Cordelia seemed to accept that the pain was the price required of her to help the helpless. He wondered if that was why she was so easily able to love him and accept him. Because for some insane reason, she thought it was her due.
Pain for pleasure. Pain for goodness. Pain for redemption. The short distance to his bedroom, where he knew she was waiting for him, took a lifetime. Angel wished that he were strong enough to force Cordelia away from him. Force her to realize that she was worth so much more than the pain that the Power’s offered her.
But, he wasn’t. He needed her too much, to let her go. But he had to try. Cordelia deserved it.
Cordelia’s beautiful eyes met his as soon as he walked into the door, the love and happiness apparent in her eyes and smile. Cordelia was sitting on his bed, in a black silk pajama top that he didn’t even know that he had. He couldn’t, Angel’s heart cried out. He had to his mind shouted.
“Cordelia,” he struggled.
Cordelia watched as Angel tried to find the words to end their relationship. Because she knew that was what he was trying to do. It wasn’t that much of a surprise really. Cordelia sighed. Less than twelve hours, hell more like half that time, she would have let him do it, believing that he was doing it because he didn’t love her. But now, she knew better.
Sitting up in his room, waiting for the others to settle down for the night. She had time to think. To remember, to feel everything that had passed between her and Angel. Not just in the last few days, but in the last two years.
Not just the healing or the lovemaking, but every quip, every look, every slip of past that was shared, every weird overprotective act on both of their parts, she saw and she knew. She loved him and he loved her. And she was not about to let some misguided chivalry break them apart. Cordelia thought about using sex to convince him, but decided against it.
Talk, honest, heartfelt talk was the way to go, and just maybe, maybe, the vampire would listen and realize what she already knew. Then sex.
“Angel,” Cordelia broke into his thoughts. “Angel, don’t even try, okay. I’m tired and I don’t want to fight with you. I want to sleep with you wrapped around me. I want to feel you against me as I sleep. Yes, maybe it would be better that I wasn’t in love with a creature of the night. But I am. And please give me enough credit and respect to allow me to feel what I feel. Telling me that we can’t be won’t make me not love you. It will just make us both miserable. So, don’t okay. Let’s just ignore the next Chapter of angst and misunderstanding and go straight for the sex. It’s enviable you know.” She stared at him, her gaze sure and unblinking.
Every thought that Angel had been fretting about flew out of his mind. She loved him and there was nothing he could do about it to change that miracle.
“All I was going to say was do you want the shower first,” Angel lied.
Cordelia broke out laughing. “You are one smart ‘grr’ guy. I’ve already taken mine, it’s all yours.” She giggled curling up into the covers.
Angel stumbled backwards, his eyes refusing to leave the shaking huddled form on his bed. “Umph,” he grunted as his back hit up against the bathroom door.
“Hurry,” she called, her voice still tinged with laughter, but also containing the promise of pleasure.
Angel was proud of himself. He knew that he had just completed the quickest shower in history. He took another pass under the water just to make sure that there was not a scent of Bathym on him.
He scrambled out of the bathroom, a towel clutched around his waist. He stopped. Cordelia was no longer up or laughing. She was sleeping.
With a flash of major disappointment, he grabbed at the bottoms of the still unrecognizable pajamas and crawled into bed next to Cordelia.
What did she say? She wanted to feel him wrapped around her as she slept. Well he could do that. And he smiled as he pulled her closer spooning his body around her, his disappointment fading. This was happiness.
Cordelia stirred against him. “Now why did you do that?” she scolded gently, dragging his hand under her top.
“Uh,” Angel gulped as his hand felt her silky skin.
“The pants,” she mumbled. “Why? Now it will just be more work. I’m tired.” she moved his hand up to her breast as she pulled his other hand to her thigh.
“You were asleep. You’re tired” Angel gulped again.
“Hence, the reason, the pants are a bother,” she mumbled into the pillow, pressing on his captured hands, pushing them into her flesh. “But, if you are tired,” she sighed, lifting her hands.
Angel decided right then and there, that Cordelia Chase was a tease. He thought back to ever gesture, every outfit, every everything. She was a tease. But she was his tease and she only teased him. For that he was grateful, he would hate to have to go kill every male with in a 100 yards of her. His hands started to fondle and caress the areas that she had directed, slowly moving around taking in as much skin as his hands could reach.
Cordelia arched into his touch. Her hips riding into his groin. Angel growled, his hand reaching between her thighs. The area was bare, not a stitch of material covering its promise. Angel cupped her center with gratitude. The hot moisture he discovered burnt his hands, his lips and teeth scraped at her shoulder. Cordelia wiggled more positioning his hand in deeper contact with her center. She nuzzled and kissed at the arm that surrounded her. Cordelia moaned as his hand left her breast.
“Sh,”’ Angel whispered licking and kissing her shoulder blade. Angel quickly pulled at his bottoms. Stupid pants. He didn’t know where they came from in the first place. Angel’s hand returned to Cordelia in an instant, fondling and caressing her breast and torso, while his lips trailed down her back. Cordelia moaned kissing all along Angel’s arms that embraced her.
Angel’s fingers gently spread Cordelia’s thighs, as his hard shaft begged entry. Cordelia bit down on Angel’s forearm as he filled her body. Slowly, with only the movements of his hips Angel thrust back and forth. With each action, Cordelia sighed positioning her backside further into Angel’s thrusting hips. Her grip on his forearms became tighter as the tingling in her nerves reached a higher and higher plateau.
Angel’s teeth that had been merely scraping at Cordelia’s delicate skin elongated as both of their pleasure peaked. For a moment Angel thought about asking Cordelia’s permission, but he didn’t want his demon to intrude on the erotic silence. With a painful burst of will and strength, he pushed his mouth to the side, changing his bite to a kiss.
“Angel,” Cordelia moaned, pushing her hips and shoulder hard against the vampire. Her shoulder blade knocked against his mouth. He moved his head away. Cordelia’s shoulder followed, pressing against his fangs. Her warm body pushed up against his, her shoulder rubbing against his lips. A feeling indescribable came over Angel, as he felt Cordelia move.
She wanted this for him, for her. She wanted all of him. Without a word, Angel took Cordelia’s obvious permission and gently sunk his teeth into her flesh. With a sigh of relief and pleasure Cordelia molded her body against Angel’s. Her actions pushing Angel closer to his climax.
Angel trailed his hand from her chest pressing her hips tighter against his last and final thrust. Cordelia whimpered and gasped as the tingling in her nerves cascaded down filling her whole body.
Angel nudged and licked at Cordelia’s shoulder, cleaning up his mark. Cordelia clutched at his arms bringing them tighter around her body. Not once had they disturbed the spoon configuration that Angel had created when he first came to bed.
“I love you,” Cordelia whispered as sleep overtook her.
Angel nuzzled his face into the crook of her neck. “I love you,” he answered as he felt for the first time complete and utter contentment.
Cordelia blinked her eyes. Not again, she grumbled. Spread out before her was a forest. She waited. Soon, Mocha and Tweety came up towards her.
“Hi,” Cordelia called.
Tweety buzzed happily around her head for a moment then flew off.
“Okay, so where is she going?” Cordelia called the wolf. The canine cocked her head at Cordelia. The young woman studied her spirit guide, the wolf looked happy. Which was weird, because how did you know that a wolf was happy. But Mocha was.
Soon, Tweety came back. She would fly a few yards, then dart back into the woods. Finally, she stopped, or rather flew in circles in the air between Cordelia and the trees. Slowly, a large huge black wolf emerged from the greenery.
Cordelia stumbled closer, her eyes never leaving the large wolf. “Angel?”
She looked around expecting to see the vampire to appear. But no one appeared. She glanced again at the wolf. The great canine had moved until it was directly in front of Cordelia. She knelt down and stared into his deep brown eyes. “Angel? Angel has a spirit guide? You?” She asked brushing her hand against his coal black fur. The wolf nuzzled into her touch. His teeth very gently nipping at her wrist as his tongue licked at her pulse point. Cordelia laughed and got up. “Mocha, watch out for him. He likes to bite,” she giggled to her power animal.
Mocha barked happily running up to the dark wolf. The male wolf sat as the young female wolf rubbed and nicked at him. Then with a small growl and bark, he stared at the female. Mocha cocked her head, then barked. She walked up to him, playing no more games, she caressed her head against the dark wolf, the male responded by cupping his large head over hers. Tweety flew happily, not stopping above anyone.
“Well, Mocha, if you’re sure, but I don’t know?“ Cordelia laughed. She looked down to the black wolf. “ If you were a really good spirit guide then Angel would be here. I know it’s my vision quest and all, but that never stopped everyone else from showing up.”
“Cordy,” Angel called from the woods.
“Angel,” Cordelia ran to him. “You’re here,” she laughed hugging him tightly. She leaned back and looked at his puzzled expression. “Yeah, I was a little wigged out the first time, too. But at least we’re together,” she beamed at Angel.
“Who knows? But, Bathym is dead and history, so we don’t have to worry about him. I bet it’s just the ‘Wise One’ or even the annoying twin set that felt the need to clear up in questions we may have left. They will tell us where to go.” She pointed to the animals. “Hey, Mocha, pay attention, stop that.” She yelled trying to get the wolf’s attention. The brown wolf was playing with the bigger black wolf in the grass field. “Angel, stop him. He is distracting her.”
“I don’t know? I think it’s the other way around if you ask me. She’s all over him.”
Cordelia glared at Angel. “Listen here, ‘grr’ guy, this is my vision quest, you behave and make him behave,” she ordered pointing at the wolves frolicking in the field.
“I don’t know, it looks like they’re having fun.”
“Angel, until we know why were here, were here, so unless you want to stay here.” She gestured to the wolves.
“But, it’s daylight,” Angel looked to the sky.
Cordelia sighed. “Yes, but it’s also not real, not really. I mean the love is,” she pointed to the wolves. “But we can’t stay here,” she gestured to Angel and her. “Not forever, not even for awhile, if I know the Powers like I do. Angel, I wish I could give you sunlight, really I do, but I can’t. Can’t you be happy with what we do have?”
Angel transferred his gaze from the bright sun-filled sky to Cordelia’s anxious expression. “Now, who’s doubting,” he smiled grabbing her hand. “Okay, so do I whistle, say here boy, or what? I never had a pet or at least one that I didn’t eat,”
“Eww, there is such a thing as too much information.” She scrunched up her nose.
“Cordelia, my family had livestock. At the celebration of my first Communion, my father slaughtered Fluffy, my pet lamb, for dinner.”
“Fluffy? Eww, no wonder you ate father. I say he deserved It.”
“Cordelia,” Angel said shocked.
“What? I love you, I can’t help it if I have less than charitable feelings for you dad.”
Angel laughed and shrugged at the same time. He finally believed what Cordelia had been trying to tell him along. She loved him and would never judge him or his past. “Whistle or call?” He asked smiling.
“Oh, nevermind, they’re coming. We have more stamina than that don’t we?”
“I’m not sure, you were asleep the last time.”
“I was not.”
“I don’t know,” Angel shrugged, deciding to follow the big black wolf into the forest. He wanted to get out of Cordelia’s hitting range.
“Did you hear him?” Cordelia grumbled at her spirit guides. Mocha and Tweety brushed up against her quickly then ran and flew to catch up with Angel and the black wolf. “Fickle”, Cordelia shouted after them, running to catch up.
She reached Angel, ready to start complaining. But she stopped, when he grabbed her hand and pulled her close. Cordelia smiled and walked beside him.
They walked for awhile, when Cordelia paused. “Angel, the Wise One usually shows up that way,” she pointed off into the distance. “Why don’t you go. You can scout the terrain and make sure everything is safe.” She smiled encouragingly. Cordelia didn’t want Angel to see the wall of souls. He would either get all guilty or angry with what her visions really entailed.
“Cordelia,” Angel questioned.
Cordelia ignored him as the sounds of wailing filtered through the forest.
“Cordelia?” he asked this time more urgently.
“Just go, I’ll only be moment, please just go,” she whispered the tears already starting to form in her eyes. Mocha and Tweety were suddenly beside Cordelia, embracing her and protecting her.
The large black wolf growled, moving with Angel closer to the young woman.
“No, STAY,” Cordelia cried running into the direction of the increasing screams.
Angel stumbled back at the force of Cordelia’s cry and the volume of the wails.
The humming bird hesitated from following Cordelia and Mocha. She flew up to Angel than down to the wolf. The wolf took off. Angel followed his spirit guide and Cordelia closer to the agonized cries.
Angel only paused for a moment when he saw Cordelia up against the wall of souls. Her brow pressed against the solid clear wall. The swirls of sorrowful faces flowing and pounding up next to her. Angel ran up to her, not moving her but embracing her as she reached into the wall.
“I help them,” Her tears falling.
“Yes,” Angel reassured, pressing her close, willing his love, comfort and protection on to her shaking form.
“Sometimes, it really hurts,” she said in a weak, little girl voice.
Angel held her tighter. He couldn’t fix this. This was the visions. He knew it. He wasn’t sure when, but at some point his sorrow at losing Doyle turned into anger at the half-demon. Doyle left Cordelia with this. A gift? It was a horror.
Cordelia pushed away at Angel. “No,” she said simply, negating his thoughts. “This is a gift. And Doyle knew it. He said he had to atone, I never thought I had anything to atone for, but obviously I did. But there is a point when it is no longer penance but a need and a gift. Doyle knew that. He helped them, now I do. You help them. It is a gift,” she reassured Angel.
“It’s just a little difficult at times, but never doubt that it’s not worth it.” Cordelia clutched Angel’s face in her small hands. “Never doubt. You have the inclination to get all doubty, but don’t, okay. Promise, me.”
Angel stared at her earnest beautiful eyes. Cordelia really believed it. She didn’t want not to help. She wanted Angel to feel the same. And most of the time he did, but sometimes, Angel had doubted. But that was before that he knew that he could accomplish something, before he knew that it was the small things everyday that counted, before he knew that Cordelia loved him and believed in him, enough for the both of them.
So much she carried on her beautiful, frail, human shoulders. Angel couldn’t let her do it alone, not any longer.
“Yes,” He grabbed at Cordelia’s hand and together they both penetrated the wall. “We will both help.” The wails slowly decreased until silence descended over the forest and the wall disappeared.
Cordelia wiped her tears and laughed softly. “If it was really so simple, but it’s a start, right?” She smiled at Angel.
Angel nodded, keeping a hold on her hand. “Now where?” His own eyes from weeping.
“Follow them.” Cordelia said, pointing to the animals that already started to move.