Angel soaked up the sight before him. The pale gray shirt hiding and hinting at the beauty it covered.
And it did cover Cordelia. His shirt graced her knees, the cut of the tail showed glimpses of tempting thigh. The width of its shoulders hung on her slender frame, the sleeves falling to conceal her hands. And buttons, buttons that closed the shirt, further hiding the lush body from his sight.
Angel never considered the buttons of his shirt appealing, they were necessary, utilitarian, but now they were the sexiest damn things he had ever seen. The buttons stopped at her breastbone, the valley of cleavage hinted but not seen.
Angel felt like a kid at Christmas with his very own prettily wrapped package. Or what he thought he would have felt had he been a happy child that had gotten exotic, beautiful presents.
Then again, Angel doubted that the child in the holiday commercials experienced an almost painful hard on when viewing his present. Angel couldn’t decide whether to rip at the wrappings hurrying to view his prize or take time and be delicate savoring every moment of the gift giving. It was a tough call. Angel waited for Cordelia to make the decision for him.
“Do you mind?” A small fist appeared to tug at the shirttail.
Did he mind? “No.”
“It’s just that it seemed……Dennis packed flannel, nothing sexy.” She apologized. “This isn’t really sexy either, but it’s a little late to get a negligee.”
“Oh, it’s sexy.” Angel drawled, his eyes lingering over every attribute that was before him.
“Really?” Pushing down at the material.
“You’re amazing. You’re beautiful, you know you are, you know men gawk, yet you stand here questioning the fact.”
Cordelia scrunched up her face. “I…I want you to gawk, want me. This isn’t going at all like I planned.”
“If that was your plan, it worked.”
Cordelia gasped, as Angel’s arms were suddenly around her.
“You do buttons very well.”
Angel had used his mouth and fingers to slowly unbutton every single clasp, causing pleasure at each at release. Then as soon as the shirt was fully open, it was off her in an instant. Cordelia smiled at the material draped lamp then frowned.
“I don’t.” She glanced at the shirt on top of the first. The buttons of that shirt were rolling around on the floor somewhere. “Sorry.”
Angel nuzzled into her chest. “I didn’t like that shirt anyway.” Chuckling. Cordelia had shown absolutely no patience at Angel’s shirt still being on his body. Angel shifted bringing Cordelia over him, relieving her of his heavier weight.
“You were being crushed.”
“I know, but it felt wonderful.” She burrowed into his cool body.
“You couldn’t breathe.”
“Annoying habit; breathing interferes with kissing.”
Angel laughed. “God, I love you. You make me smile and god forbid laugh.”
“That’s cuz I’m funny, as well as being beautiful, smart, loving…”
“Annoying and frustrating.”
Cordelia stuck out her tongue at the vampire underneath her. “Hmm. Angel?”
“Make love to me again.” Biting her lip.
“I can do that.”
“I know,” Cordelia wiggled closer to his now harden state. “So do it.”
“Did I mention bossy?” Angel laughed as he pulled her under, their bodies coming together in a rhythm as old as time.
Cordelia didn’t want to wake up, she was comfortable very comfortable. But the urge to get up was there. She moved silently, gently untangling herself the vampire’s body. She stood.
How she loved him, turning back to look at….Dracula. Cordelia jumped and stumbled. Her mouth tried to form words but couldn’t. She looked again. Angel’s beautiful sleeping countenance stared back. Cordelia hugged at her body trying to get a grip; obviously she wasn’t as calm about the situation as she thought.
Cordelia wanted to crawl back into Angel’s arms. She had forgotten about the threat of Dracula in Angel’s embrace. But she couldn’t, Cordelia grabbed at the nearest piece of clothing. She grasped the torn sides to her body, backing away from the bed.
The window beckoned her, she stared out into the blackness, there was no light artificial or natural, just dark never ending blackness. She stared. Cordelia leaned into the glass.
He was there. She saw him, standing in the garden, staring at her, calling her to come to him, wanting her with a promise of passion never experienced. Her body began to ache with a longing, primitive and uncontrollable, she moved closer to the window.
The sleeve of the shirt she wore brushing against her face, the smell of Angel drifting through her senses. Cordelia jerked away from the window, stumbling again. She was in a nightmare. Cordelia had to wake up.
Cordelia leaned against the dresser. Wake up. Her silent order vibrating through her skull, she blinked. A mirror? The reflection was a pale imitation of what she knew she was. Pasty, drawn, ethereal as if the physical life was a burden, dark hair settled over her face, two large gapping holes replaced the minuscule temporary marks left by Angel.
She stared at the spot over her shoulder; staring back at her in the glass was the vampire. Dark, heavy hair falling to his shoulders, his beautiful aristocratic features eased in a confident smile, ‘Mine’ his full lips mouthed. Cordelia wanted to lean back feel his embrace feel his cool touch, let him take her….
She jerked and screamed, “ NO FUCKIN WAY. ANGEL.”
Cordelia screamed as she felt the cool arms around her body. She struggled furiously trying to break the vampire’s hold.
“Cordy,” Angel whispered.
“Angel?” Cordelia stopped her frantic movements. “Angel?” Swirling in the vampire’s arms. “Oh, thank god.” Grabbing at Angel, burrowing deep in his arms.
Angel held her close, his hands rubbing and caressing trying to soothe her shaking form. “What is it?”
“I…” Cordy leaned back to look at the vampire touching the strong angles of his face confirming that it was Angel. “I…” She started again, blinking widely at the vampire. She tried desperately to organize her thoughts so she could say the words.
It was just a dream and she needed to tell Angel, he was getting worried at her stupid behavior. But she couldn’t stop shaking and the words didn’t want to form.
“Come here.” Leading Cordelia back to the bed, settling her on his lap. “Tell me.”
Tell him. She knew she had to, but something was stopping her. Tell him. She leaned in snuggling under Angel’s chin, breathing in his scent, touching his skin, allowing her senses to recognize him. Cordelia pushed back and shook her head. “I…I had a dream. It was just a dream.”
“What was it?”
Cordelia blinked. Tell him. Why couldn’t she tell Angel that it was dream about Dracula? It was if her tongue was frozen at the thought of telling. She was being stupid. Cordelia leaned in closer feeling the strength in Angel’s body.
He was real, the dream wasn’t. Tell him.
Spike reached the first floor landing as Wesley, Gunn and Fred were coming out of their respective rooms at the sound of the Cordy’s scream. Spike rolled his eyes passing them. “Peaches’ room you, nits”
The three humans looked from the doorway of the empty guestroom that Cordelia usually stayed in when she slept over and then to each other. Their expressions of concern changed to varying degrees of embarassment as they realized why she wasn’t where they expected her to be and why wouldn’t be from now on.
“Right, right. Of course.” Wesley shook off his embarrassment and headed for Angel’s room across the hall.
“What? Did you think they saved the shagging for your desk?” Spike turned and shook his head at the former watcher.
“Angel, said that…”
Gunn hit Wesley’s arm. “Later.”
Spike growled as Fred moved to follow them in Angel’s suite. “Get the squirt back in your room.”
“Don’t growl at her, I warned you.”
“Gunn, he’s right. We don’t know what’s happening.” Nodding to the young woman, Connor resting in her arms. Fred backed into her room, shutting the door.
“I…” Cordelia took a deep breath and shook her head. She was through with being stupid. “I had a dream that Dracula was here. It freaked me, sorry.” She looked to the group that had formed in the doorway of Angel’s bedroom.
“Spike.” Angel pulled at his pants, wrapping a blanket around Cordelia’s half naked form.
The blonde vampire was already at the opened window scanning the black night. In game face he searched for any trace of the other vampire.
“Got him.” Growling, his body disappeared as he jumped to the ground.
Cordelia started her frantic blinking again. “It was just a dream, Angel.” But the dark vampire was already gone.
“It was just a dream.” She looked to Wesley and Gunn, only this time her tone wasn’t so sure.
“Peaches, he was here.” Spike tried again to find the presence of the vampire he sensed from the window.
An instinct of danger to Cordelia, finely tuned over the last three years urged Angel to look up. “There.” Pointing in the air.
“A Bat. A fuckin bat. Dracula isn’t a vampire, he’s a friggin Vegas act.” Spike shook his head in disgust, turning to Angel. The dark vampire had solidified into the night.
Just when Spike thought the darkness would completely consume Angel, the vampire abruptly turned disappearing back into the hotel.
Cordelia was still wrapped in the blanket when Angel entered the room. “Cordy, what happened, tell me.”
Cordelia flinched at the harshness of Angel’s tone. “It was a dream.” She asserted, only this time there was hardly any confidence in her words.
“He was here. What happened?” Angel moved quickly reaching for Cordelia’s neck, jerking her head, studying the delicate skin.
“Stop.” Cordelia pushed at his hands. “It was a dream. I’m not pulling a Lucy.”
“Lucy?” Gunn whispered. “As in Ricardo? This ain’t funny.”
“Lucy Westentra, Dracula’s first character victim in Stoker’s novel. She let him in, but either didn’t tell anybody or didn’t remember having done so. Night after night, he fed from her. He eventually turned her.” Wesley explained.
“I didn’t LET him in.” Cordelia jumped up. “And the only vampire that has bitten me in the last three months is Angel.” She swung to the dark vampire, pulling at her hair. “These are yours. It was a dream.”
Angel stared at the pale remnants of his mark. He bit down his growl and desire to remake them only this time to make them permanent. Angel closed his eyes, his hands reaching for the agitated woman.
“I know, I’m sorry. But, Cordy, it wasn’t a dream. Tell me what happened.” The breath of his words brushed the crown of her head causing her body to shiver.
Cordelia studied the vampire. The dark warmness of his gaze pulled her to him. The cold anger was no longer present for her to see, just love and concern. She resumed her previous position cuddled in his embrace. Cordelia didn’t fool herself into believing that he wasn’t still angry, but she knew now without a doubt it wasn’t directed at her.
So, why was she still hesitating in telling him? Cordelia looked up to the others in the room. Maybe it was because she had an audience. She wanted them all to leave, but she knew her friends they wouldn’t- not until they knew the danger she faced.
Even Spike was rooted to his spot. The blonde vampire’s gaze was indiscernible. Was it concern, understanding even or was it just indifference? Cordelia couldn’t tell, but the blonde vampire wasn’t leaving.
She nudged at Angel. He sat her back on the bed, she wasn’t on his lap this time, but still cradled in his arms. “I was sleeping. I woke up. I needed to get up. I didn’t want to, I was very comfortable, I didn’t want to leave Angel.” Cordelia paused.
Gunn smacked Wesley as the former watcher coughed and Spike looked at Wesley.
“Missish, aren’t you? If I say the word sex are you going to break out in the bright red willies?” He rolled his eyes to Gunn. The black man nodded in agreement, until he realized whom he was agreeing with. This finding common ground with the blonde vampire had to stop.
“Cordy,” Angel encouraged, ignoring the others.
“I got up. I looked back at Angel, only it wasn’t Angel, it was Dracula in bed lying there. That kind of freaked me, I looked again and it was Angel. I thought, I was just more shaken up about the whole Dracula thing than I realized. You know, subconscious stuff. I went to the window, I’m not sure why. I didn’t even want to leave Angel. But I did. I saw him in the courtyard. He wanted me to come to him.” Cordelia scrunched up her brow.
“I don’t remember opening the window. But, I…I didn’t want to go, so I moved back away from the window and…” She paused again. “It had to be a dream. He wasn’t in the bed, Angel was and there is no mirror there.” Pointing to the framed picture hanging over the dresser.
“I saw him in the mirror. But there is no mirror and vampires don’t have a reflection. It had to be a dream. Anyway, that’s when I screamed.”
Angel sensed Cordelia’s remaining hesitation; it was fear and something else. She wasn’t telling everything.
“Love, he was out there.” Spike leaned up from the wall.
“Maybe, but he wasn’t in here.” Cordelia stared at the blonde vampire trying to convince him.
“I believe you’re right, Cordelia.” Wesley took off his glasses.
“Wes, he was here. Spike sensed him and I saw him- he had transformed into a bat, but it was him.”
Cordelia blinked to Angel. “A what? He was a bat?”
Angel nodded. Cordelia’s fear jumped in degree. Angel was going to have to find out what she was still hiding.
“Friggin side show.” Spike grumbled.
“Angel, I’m not disputing any of that. I’m merely saying that I believe Cordelia is right in that he wasn’t actually in this room. What she has described is very close to the effects of a Beckoning Spell.”
“He did that mind mojo on me?”
“No, he just did magic. Correct me if I’m wrong.” Wesley glanced to Angel and Spike. “For a vampire even with the power, there has to be contact between the vampire and human, physical contact.”
“Dracula kissed my hand. It was Eww.”
“No. It is my understanding that the contact has to be more…substantial usually involving frequent feedings.” Wesley looked at Angel for confirmation.
“It depends….about the feeding part, anyway. That is the ultimate goal, but the power over the human can come through sustained contact of a different sort, be it pleasurable or painful or both for the human. The frequency or the degree of the contact depends on the power of the vampire and the weakness of the victim. Dracula has not had an opportunity to have any sustained contact of any sort with Cordelia. Believe me, “ Angel smiled into Cordelia’s wide eyes, his tone low and loving.
“It would take more than hand kissing to get you to do anything you don’t want to. If that worked, I would’ve kissed your hand everyday since you took over my life and bent me to your will.”
This time Gunn joined Wesley in his embarrassed coughing and shifting of feet. Spike rolled his eyes but couldn’t stop the fidgeting of his hands. He chalked it up to just being embarrassed for the wussiness of his grandsire.
Angel gently cupped Cordelia’s face, giving a gentle smile waiting for one in return. His grin got bigger as Cordelia face lit up, shaming his attempts at smiling. Satisfied for the moment that Cordelia was okay the fear dimming, Angel turned to Wesley. “Beckoning Spells?”
“Yes.” Wesley shoved his glasses back on and tried to copy Angel’s urgent and professional tone, though it was a bit hard. Just looking at Cordelia’s smile was enough to make anyone go all nervous and mushy. “There are a variety to choose from, all designed to bring a person to another, subjugating the target’s will.” Wesley paused.
“What?” Angel asked.
“Usually for the incantations to work, the spell caster must have a personal object of the individual they wish to enchant. The more…the personal objects can range from a book or some object that belongs to potential victim or something more personal, hair, blood, certain items of clothing, perhaps. It depends on the goal of the spell caster.”
“He didn’t take any of my hair or blood. You were there, Angel, he didn’t did he?”
“But he did ransack your apartment, love. No telling what he pick pocketed on the way out after leaving his ‘gift’.”
“Angel, where are you going?”
“Cordy, if he took something from your apartment, we need to know. Dennis, didn’t mention it, but I better go back.”
“I mean- I’m going with you.” Cordelia knew the vampire was right, but she also knew that she needed to be near him right now, she couldn’t have him out of her sight or away from her touch. She needed him to make sense of what had happened to her, she needed to get rid of the memory of the aching want she had felt in Dracula’s presence.
Dracula had done something to her, a spell- whatever. Cordelia wanted the effects gone for good. Cordelia needed everyone to leave them alone. If they didn’t in two more seconds she was going to scream again.
Angel started to argue then stopped. The anxiety was back. He could feel it vibrating from her body. “Cordy?”
“I’ll go with you, how else are you going to figure out what I’m missing. I’m not letting you go alone.”
Angel heard the plea behind her statement. She wasn’t going to be left alone, not just alone; she wasn’t going to let him leave her.
“I could go, Peaches. Casper and I seemed to reach an understanding of sorts. I took out the bleedin trash, he has to let me in this time doesn’t he?”
“Angel, please.” Cordelia said.
Angel’s dark gaze remained fixed on Cordelia. “Cordy and I will go in the morning. Everybody just try to get some sleep. Wesley, assume that Dracula did take something from Cordy’s and….”
“Search accordingly. Yes. The decent thing about beckoning spells is that they always have a counter. Yes. Well. Goodnight. Um, I’ll go tell Fred, so she doesn’t worry all night. I’ll need her help in the morning.”
“Good idea,” Gunn followed immediately. Maybe, he could get another goodnight kiss out the pretty young woman, once Wesley finishes with his instructions.
“I just want to go to the bathroom, okay.” Her expression neutralized the exasperation in her voice.
“Peaches. He may not have been in here, but he was in your pretty little chit’s head, playing his mind fuck games. That ain’t good.”
“Spike,” Angel growled a warning.
“Hey, I’m just telling it as it is.”
“Spike, don’t.” Angel forced his anger back down. Angel took a deep breath. “Spike, this may take longer than I hoped and Dracula more of a threat than I considered. How long can you stay? Do you need to get back to Buffy?”
“You’re asking me to stay again.” Spike said just to clarify.
“Yes. I will need you to help keep her safe and Connor. Dracula hasn’t done anything to indicate that he knows of Connor’s existence, but he may. Not to mention all of the other humans and demons that want him dead or dissected. I can’t do both right now. I need you. Gunn, Wesley and Fred are strong, trustworthy and dependable, but they are just humans. I’d feel better if you were here.”
Spike face remained impassive his eyes never leaving Angel’s. Spike’s blank stare concealed the confusing and complex thoughts and feelings running rapid through the blonde vampire. “Sure, why not? Nothing better to do.” Shrugging.
“Yeah, whatever. Don’t shag too hard.” Spike retorted.
“Go to bed, Spike.” Angel got up and headed for the bathroom.
Spike blinked, his face finally showing the confusion he felt about Angel’s request and his own response. Where was the hostility? Spike wanted the hostility back. It was familiar, comforting. Angel wasn’t supposed to be civil to him, but he was- again.
His grandsire hated him and the feeling was mutual. Hell, Spike would even settle for the mocking disdain of Angelus, right now. This was just confusing. Spike wandered back to his room.
Buffy looked around at the empty crypt. She had yelled, but no response. She had looked and no evidence that Spike was there. Where was he?
Probably causing trouble somewhere. She bit at her lip. He had been gone when Dawn came around after school and he was gone now. She would give him until tomorrow to show up and explain himself or …She would get to the bottom of this.
Buffy left determined to find out what the vampire was up to. She pushed down the worry. Spike was like a cockroach, an unwanted pest able to survive a nuclear war and all other attempts of extermination.
He was all right.
Cordelia was staring in the mirror when Angel walked into the bathroom.
“I can smell you.”
Angel stopped, that didn’t sound real flattering coming from her. Sure, he thought it all the time in regards to the beautiful young woman, but he loved her scent.
She scrunched her face and turned to face the vampire. She had put on his sweater. Angel frowned, that sweater had been in his hamper to be taken to the cleaners, but it did better explain Cordelia’s comment.
He watched the young woman, the arms of the sweater balled in her fist wrapping around her body.
“I can smell you.”
“You’re wearing a dirty sweater.”
Cordelia couldn’t help put laugh. “A doofus clean freak, I fell in love with a doofus clean freak.” Shaking her head still laughing.
Angel was just glad to see her laugh.
“No, I can smell you. You knew, didn’t you?”
“That you could smell my dirty sweater? It hadn’t crossed my mind to even consider it.”
“No, silly, that I wasn’t telling everything. You know, I really do love you.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Cordy?” Angel was confused about Cordelia’s change in demeanor. He had planned to wheedle, argue, and beg whatever secret she was hiding out of her. Angel had expected her to be resistant, not laughing at his soiled sweater or bringing up the subject herself.
“Really, Angel, this sweater had a couple more wears in it. You are so anal about your clothes. It must be that vamp super noggin.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him back towards the bed patting the empty space next to her as she sat.
“I didn’t want to say everything in front of the others.” She scrunched her face, hesitating again. Cordelia took a deep breath. Angel wasn’t going to like what she had to say. But, she had to tell him, so he could fix it.
“I wasn’t even sure that I could tell you, something was…I don’t know, it was like something was blocking me from even telling you that it was a dream and about the other stuff, but I put this on and now I can. Weird, uh.”
Angel didn’t say a word; he was about to hear everything without cajoling or arguments. He waited.
“When I was at the window, I saw Dracula and he was calling to me. It was a hunger, a want, intense…” Cordelia searched the air for the words. “It was stronger than anything I ….I wanted him.” Cordelia searched Angel’s face, her lips crumbling under the bites her teeth made.
Angel refused to react at her words. The fact that he smelled Cordelia’s fear at what had happened and heard the disgust and guilt in her soft tone, helped a little. The words that should’ve driven him to a rage didn’t because of the voice that was speaking them. “Go on.” Angel forced his hand up to gently caress her hair.
Cordelia gulped. “That’s must have been when I opened the window, I really don’t remember doing that, but that was when…I don’t know, I was wearing your shirt,” she pointed back to the bathroom floor. Her gaze following to land on the shirt she had just discarded, the one that Angel had been wearing earlier, the one she had ripped off him.
“The material brushed my face and I smelled you. It was gone; whatever the spell was doing to me stopped for an instant. I turned to go back to bed, to you, where I really wanted to be. But then I saw myself in the mirror, which wasn’t real, but at the time it was. I looked pasty, ugly, pale, your marks gone, his there- big, bleeding holes. Then he was behind me, I felt the same thing as before, it was gut….it wasn’t me, it was something else, but it was powerful. I was leaning back towards him going to let him touch me, and then it happened again. I could say, I heard you breath but that’s not possible, but I knew you were with me, maybe it was the smell, the feel of you still on my body, I just jerked and yelled. Calling for you. Angel, I want him gone, dead, dust, whatever. He can’t do this to us. We just found each other, really found each other, love and everything. I won’t let him destroy it.”
Angel jammed down his demon. He pulled her in his arms. “He won’t and he will be gone, obliterated from this earth. You are mine.” Growling, his demon not quite as successfully curbed as Angel intended.
“You’re mad at me.” She mumbled into his chest. “Mark me again, do something make him go away.”
Angel’s demon rage fled at her heartbroken tone. “Cordy, I love you. I could never be mad at you.” He paused at her raised eyebrows. “Well, I could, but not about this. Dracula used a spell. We’ll stop it. And he will die.”
Cordelia didn’t even stop to wonder how Angel’s promise of a beings death could bring her comfort. “Angel, could you make love to me again?”
Angel didn’t bother to answer. He just moved, in an instant the sweater was on the floor and Cordelia’s body was covered by his greater weight. Angel’s need to reclaim what was his overwhelmed him.
Spike stared at the ceiling of room. What was he still doing in LA?
He’d gotten what he came for, or rather he didn’t, but at least he knew that Peaches wasn’t a threat to his relationship to Buffy. He smacked his head. He didn’t have a relationship with the slayer, whatever they had was just plain unhealthy and twisted.
The beautiful young woman could teach vampires a trick or two about seductive torture.
She had the ‘give pain, give pleasure, back to pain with the promise of more pleasure’ scenario down pat. She was vicious. Spike knew the drill but that hadn’t stopped him from falling into the trap like some weak willed human pet. Spike growled.
Spike wanted the good old days back, the days when everyone followed the rules. He was a bloodthirsty killer that hunted slayers rather than follow them around like a beaten puppy. Angel was Angelus, a cruel sardonic bastard that subjected Spike to constant ridicule, frequent beating and occasional torture.
Those were the days, he knew what to expect and feel in regards to his grandsire, he had loathed him. It had only been because of Dru that Spike endured the other vampire’s presence. But now, he was in LA helping him. Why? Spike hit the pillow. Angel asked. He didn’t order or threaten and the chit called him family to the little squirt.
Fuck, he didn’t have a soul and he was more pathetic than Angel.
“Angel?” Cordelia’s breath brushed against the vampire’s chest.
“What about Spike?”
Angel opened an eye, glancing down at the dark head nuzzled into him. “What about him?”
“Is he staying? Do you trust him?”
“Yes…and…yes. He’s got the chip.” Angel said to justify his statement.
“Hmmph. That only means he can’t bite and hit. But…are you sure, about the trusting apart.” Cordelia moved her head up to face Angel’s.
Angel was silent and then he nodded. “Yes.”
“Okay.” Cordelia leaned back down draping herself further around Angel. She sighed sleepily. “Then, we better get more blood. Nite. Love you.” Cordelia buried even closer into Angel’s body as she fell asleep.
“I love you,” holding Cordelia’s sleeping form even tighter. “Mine,” Angel added in a low growl.