Title: The Upper Hand?
Rating: NC-17 (for some sexual content and violence)
Summary: This is just a C/A story and it’s done, not even close to being as long as ‘Mother’s love‘.
Spoilers: No real spoilers- Connor doesn’t exist and I didn’t even bother with Birthday and all it implies. So, if I had to place it- I guess it would be after Plyea, but before everything else- and no mention that Buffy even supposedly died. I just figured that ‘Mother’s love’ was long enough, mentioning all of those things.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: If you want it, it’s yours- just let me know.
“Cinnamon or nutmeg.” Cordelia held up the two spices.
“Neither.” Angel grimaced.
“Ah, you want to be surprised, okay.” She smiled and turned back to the counter.
“No, Cordy. I don’t.”
“Pooh, you can’t really be that boring.”
Angel just sat his shoulders slumped and stared at the back of Cordelia’s shaking head. She never listened to him; never. He’d growl if he thought it would do any good. But she would just pout or worse glare and do it anyway.
For his own good she would say, to liven things up in his icky dull diet. Angel liked his icky dull diet. Well, actually, he really didn’t ‘like’ pig’s blood. But, it was all right, not as good as human of course, but since that wasn’t really an option, it was fine. It worked and it didn’t need to be spiced up or livened in anyway.
“Here ya go.” Cordelia smiled handing him the warm mug.
Angel reluctantly took it and he would drink it, because Cordelia wanted him to. Someday, she would listen to him. Who was he kidding? Cordelia would always have the upper hand in their relationship.
Puzzled Angel put the mug down. It was just pig’s blood.
“Ah, Gotcha,” Her smile was even brighter; laugher filled her warm hazel eyes. “Scared ya, didn’t I? I scared the big bad ‘grr’ guy.”
“You definitely scare me.” Angel took another sip. And she definitely got him. Angel didn’t know when or how it exactly it happened but Cordelia Chase definitely got him all dead heart and tenuous soul of him.
His realization that he needed her happened the first year of their working together and becoming friends. The love- he wasn’t so sure about, the love just sort of snuck up on him. He probably still wouldn’t realize it if it hadn’t been for Fred’s nonsensical ramblings about Kyerumption and Moira.
Angel still didn’t know whether he should thank Fred or hate her for that insight.
Angel’s musings were cut off as he saw Cordelia’s body tense and her hand fumble for the back of the chair. Angel was off the stool and over the counter before the scream emerged from out of her mouth.
“Cordy, Cordy.” He murmured trying to hold her body from thrashing as the pain of the vision overtook her.
The sounds of Cordelia’s yells brought Wesley, Gunn and Fred running.
The three friends knelt down beside Angel and Cordelia’s trembling form.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, Cordelia stopped moaning and shifted in Angel’s arms. “I’m fine, large demon, spikes a lot of them, razor like claws about to put an end permanently to a couples’ grope session under the boardwalk. Hurry or the guy will never get the chance to be lucky again.”
Fred glanced at the other brunette sitting next to her. Cordelia was rubbing her temples as she read the computer screen over Fred’s shoulder. “Cordy, are you sure you don’t want to lie down or at least have some more aspirin.”
Cordelia gave a small smile. “I’m fine. Really.” She emphasized at Fred’s doubtful look. “We need to keep looking. I want to identify that ugly of uglies. There was something about it in my vision. We need to know what it is- it’s important.”
Cordelia looked towards the door of the lobby. “I wish…It doesn’t feel right Fred. They shouldn’t have gone without knowing what type of demon it was.”
“But you said…”
“I know…the couple didn’t have the time, but I can’t get over the feeling that we should have somehow found the time. Let’s keeping looking.”
Fred nodded and continued to search the All Thing Demons’ website. “What about this one?”
“He’s ugly, but no. The one in my vision had five claws, not four and it was uglier.”
They both jumped as the front door slammed open. Cordelia was on her feet running as soon as she saw Angel’s unconscious form cradled between Wesley and Gunn.
Cordelia swallowed her panic as she saw the deep incisions ripped into the vampire’s chest and stomach. “Take him to his room. I’ll get the first aid kit.” She ordered.
Cordelia said nothing as she gently pulled the material of Angel’s shirt off the bloodied wounds. Cordelia refused to let her fear get in the way of what she was doing. She wiped the blood and…. Cordelia looked up questioningly to Wesley. “What’s this?” Pointing to a black oozing substance that seemed to be embedded in the cut.
Wesley peered in closer as did Gunn and Fred. The ex-watcher fiddled with his glasses. “I don’t know it must have come from the demon.”
“Wesley, you didn’t recognize what kind of demon it was?”
“No, it was obviously some species of Incisoratic demon, but I’ve never read of the one we wounded or of such demon leaving a substance in their victim’s injuries.”
“Wounded?” Cordelia asked.
“It got away, we had to get Angel out of there. We saved the couple, though.” Gunn said. “And it was hurt pretty badly.”
Cordelia nodded. The couple was saved and Gunn was right, Angel needed to be brought home. That’s all that mattered. “Wes, these wounds are bad, but Angel should be conscious by now, he’s had worse.” Cordelia stomach lurched as she said that, but it was true.
Wesley nodded. “I know. It may have been on the account of the substance.” Wesley put on a pair rubber gloves identical to the one’s Cordelia was wearing. “Fred,” Wesley turned around to the address the young woman, but she was already out the door. “I’ll get the microscope set up.” She called as she ran down the stairs.
“Thank you, Fred.” Wesley took one of the cloths that Cordelia had used to wipe up Angel’s blood and the black substance. “I’ll take this and see if I can identify it.”
“Fred and I were looking on the website, we couldn’t find the demon.” Cordelia called after him.
“We will discover it. Angel will be fine.”
Cordelia shook her head, fighting against the tears that were threatening to fall. “How do we know that? We can’t even tell if he’s still alive. I mean he’s dead and he seems dead, for all we know he could be…”
“He’s not dust.” Gunn said.
Cordelia shot the black man a look and then softly smiled. “Yeah, he’s not dust so I guess then he’s the right kind of dead, uh.”
Gunn smiled back. “Cordy, can I get anything for you?”
“No, just make sure that there is enough blood. We should’ve enough, but double check, Angel will need at least four more bags than usual once he wakes up.”
Gunn nodded and left.
“Damn you, Angel. You’re the champion. You aren’t supposed to be the one hurt. Wake up, please.” Cordelia finally let a small tear escape.
“Please,” she begged as she tenderly taped the last of the bandages on his chest. Cordelia force a smile. “You’ll be fine. You will.” Curling up beside the vampire. He was so still and cold, colder than normal.
Angel’s body temperature was always colder than a human’s but after awhile once Angel had been in contact with them, his temperature would rise, as if the dead flesh soaked up the heat around it. Maybe, her body heat would warm him, make him heal faster.
“Wesley.” Fred beckoned the ex-watcher to the computer and pointed. “The Axis has five claws and leaves a purple substance in its victims, it eats away the flesh it penetrates. I know it says purple, but maybe they meant black.” Pointing again to the authors of the site on the demon.
“No, if that was it, we should have seen a reaction by now.” Wesley looked up as Gunn came down the stairs.
“Nada, and Cordy is passed out hugging the vamp. I was going to wake her but she’d probably just yell and get mad.”
“That was probably for the best. You didn’t detect any signs of Angel’s flesh being eaten away around the bandages or discoloration or infection.”
“Uh, gross. No.”
“Wesley,” Fred called again. “The author’s cited this text as an authority on Axis’ and other rare Incisoratic demons, but I can’t pull it up on any other web page. It’s seems to be out of print. Do you have a copy of it?”
Wesley came over and read the title. “No. Fred, please print it out for me. Gunn, just in case it was an Axis and the reaction is delayed because Angel’s a vampire, I need you to go to the herbalist and get…” Fred held out two sheets of computer printouts. One with the list of ingredients needed to counteract an Axis’ poison and the title of the book. “Thank you.” Wesley smiled. Fred smiled and pushed up her glasses.
Wesley handed Gunn the list of ingredients. “I’ll go to Anatolia’s book shop, if the book is still in existence, she will have a copy or at least know where to obtain it. Fred..”
“I’ll stay with them.”
The vampire’s eyes remained closed as he used his other senses to discern where he was. He felt great, but he wanted to know as much of everything that was going on before he reacted.
The warmth that surrounded his body felt exhilarating, the scent that confronted him was as intoxicating as it was familiar.
The demon resisted the urge to plunder the source of the pleasure immediately, he had in the last 100 years learned the benefits of patience or rather his last two aborted tastes of freedom had taught him the necessity of thinking before acting.
The seer’s body wrapped around his pretty much told him that the human’s had no idea what had happened. Angelus moved his arms slightly; he wasn’t chained. Which guaranteed they had absolutely no clue what the effects of the demon’s slashes had on the ensouled wimp.
Angelus didn’t either. He just knew he was free. Angelus lifted his head, his eyes resting on the brown head sleeping in the crook of his shoulder. The delectable, lush Cordelia Chase, Angel’s little best friend and unspoken love. This was going to be such great fun.
Angelus hid his smirk as he felt the body brush and move against him. Her warmth scorched against him. Angelus controlled himself. Angel was such a fool. The demon was going to have so much more than just fun with this piece of tasty ass.
“Angel,” Cordelia leaned up and stared in the dark eyes of the vampire. “Angel, you’re awake.” She hugged him tightly. “Whoops, I didn’t hurt you did I? Are you okay?” She sat up, her hands quickly going to the bandages. Angelus started to sit up. “Lie down, you big dork, scaring me half to death. Stay still, I want to see how you’re healing.” Angelus lay obediently back down.
Cordelia scrutinize the wounds. “They’re better. They’re better.” She said grinning and hugging the vampire again. “I bet you’re starving. Don’t move. I’ll be back. I promise no added flavoring. Lie down.” Cordelia stopped at the door and glared. “You scared me, don’t do it again.”
“Yes, Cordy.” Angelus gave a sheepish smile. Cordelia flashed him a beautiful smile and went running down to the lobby.
Angelus got off the bed. ‘Yes, Cordy’. Jesus, the ensouled wimp was whipped. He needed a shower and to get this show on the road. But, first, Angelus stilled and sensed the heartbeats in the hotel. Lovely Cordy’s, of course and sweet innocent loony Fred’s. Angelus smirked.
Fred didn’t think that Angel was a beast. Well, he was just going have to show that little cute Plyean refugee that just wasn’t true. No, lame ass heroes. Where could Wesley and Gunn be? Angelus thought about that. He had planned on killing all of them, well except Cordelia at least not right away, she deserved special attention, after all, it was her that made his ensouled counterpart so pathetic.
She was worse than the Buffmonster. Well, Cordelia was his priority, he didn’t want to take a chance that they would figure out he was back, not before he had her safely away, but there still maybe time to play and kill Fred before the dumb heroes get back.
He’d play it by instinct.
“Cordy,” Fred jumped up as Cordelia came running down the stairs.
“He’s awake and healing fine.” Running into the kitchen to get the blood.
“Angel’s awake, wonderful.” Fred smiled.
Cordelia paused and looked around. “Where’s Gunn and Wesley?”
“Wesley went to get a book that he thinks will identify the demon and Gunn went to get some ingredients, just in case the black oozy stuff was poisonous.”
Cordelia scrunched up her face as she put a mug of blood in the microwave. “Poisonous? He seemed fine. But,…” Cordelia remembered her earlier unease about the vision. “That’s a good idea.”
Cordelia glanced around the empty room starting to get worried, until she heard the shower running. “He must be better,” she smiled to the young woman that had accompanied her back up the stairs.
“Angel, hurry up dinner’s getting cold.” She called heading towards the bathroom door. She jumped back as the door opened and the vampire strode out with nothing but a towel wrapped around his lean hips.
Angelus debated about that but decided that he would wait too shock the seer and well, the towel would be enough to make the other woman all fidgety. He was right.
Fred just gaped; her face turning bright red and she turned quickly around. Cordelia didn’t notice Fred’s embarrassment. Cordelia just shoved the mug at the vampire and looked again at the wounds on his chest, her finger tracing each line.
Angelus swallowed his growl at her touch, her obliviousness to his semi-naked state and the smell of pig’s blood. He would show Cordelia that he was not a eunuch.
Cordelia scrunched up her face at the vampire. “Don’t be growly, I told you I wouldn’t spike it. Geez.” She smiled and hugged him. Angelus had to move the mug to keep from spilling it at her embrace. “Now, drink it, you need it. You lost a lot of blood.”
“Erm,” Fred said her back still turned. “Angel, I’m glad you’re better, but you should probably still rest, Wesley and Gunn went to find out what kind of Demon attacked you and the possible effects of the black oozy stuff. It may not have effected you now, but it just might, so.”
“Angel, she’s right. That stuff was just gross and not normal. Well, demons in general aren’t normal, but you know what I mean. Drink it, I’ll get you some more and you lie down.”
“Cordy, what about you? Are you hungry? You haven’t eaten since way before the vision. And the guys will be back soon. About I go to that Mexican place down the street and get take out?”
“You just want tacos. But yeah, I am kind of hungry. You go and I’ll stay and make sure stubborn ‘grr’ guy eats and rest. Angel.” Cordelia turned pushing the mug to his mouth.
Angelus sighed and took a sip. He was hungry, but pig’s blood was definitely not on his menu of choice. That was standing before him. But he drank and let Fred leave. He would have time, after he took Cordelia away.
After all, she was his priority. He couldn’t take the chance that he would waste this opportunity by playing with Fred and having Gunn and Wesley come back. Who knew, by the time he killed all of them Cordelia may escape. Angelus knew he would find her, but all that time wasted.
Anyway, if they did figure out what happened, their fear would just be an added bonus. He could wait for them, but not for Cordelia.
Angelus handed Cordelia the empty mug. She smiled.
“Could I have some more?”
Her smile got even bigger. “I’ll be right back, now put some clothes on Fred almost fainted seeing you’re manly boobs, and get back into bed. You need to take advantage of this Angel, I’m waiting on you, won’t happen every day, you know.”
Angel went to the closet and pulled out some clothes. Leather and silk always a comfortable combination. He sat on the bed and thought. Angel was one stupid vampire and his stupidity had prevented Angelus from even seeing the truth.
Or rather, Angelus’ own desire to taste and destroy the seer had blinded him from sensing Cordelia’s true feelings for the vampire. She wanted him, or she wanted the ensouled one, she was just better at the denial thing than Angel.
Clueless idiots, both of them. But it made it all the more fun for him. Angelus would make the seer scream his name, beg for him, then terrorize her until she screamed in hate at Angel and him, then he would take her again, then….well, then one way or another she would die.
He got up and went downstairs.