Vamp SmackDown. 37-40

Chapter 37

Cordelia stopped in mid stride. She couldn’t take it anymore. The image of her pale face and the gaping bloody marks which obliterated Angel small fading ones kept flashing in her mind.

They had begun the further Angel and Cordelia had gotten from the hotel. The unwanted malignant feelings of desire and need for Dracula were flowing through her washing away the warmth and security that she had felt waking up in Angel’s arms. This was just gross and it was making her mad. Why was she still feeling the effects of the beckoning spell? Wesley didn’t say anything about the spell being on going.

Cordelia looked around. Why was Angel so far away? Cordelia looked down at her hand. When had she released Angel’s? Why wasn’t he next to her, holding her? Cordelia looked down at her shirt in disgust. Why wasn’t she wearing his damn shirt? That had worked before. Cordelia looked back up Angel. She needed him to stop the memories.

“Angel.” Cordelia called for the vampire to stop. She stood still and waited. Finally Angel paused and looked back. Cordelia sighed for a minute there, she didn’t think he would. Why did Angel look angry? Cordelia looked around again. She didn’t even remember walking this far. What the hell was going on?

“Angel?” The rising panic in her tone changed to a gasp. Cordelia doubled over at the force of the intense longing that consumed her. Her feet started to move taking her further and further from Angel, the physical need to find the source of her desire quickly swallowing any pretense of rational thought.

Cordelia tried to find her anger and Angel’s presence amidst the blazing hunger. “Angel,” she whispered. “Make it stop.”

Angel stalled at Cordelia’s call. He hadn’t wanted to but he sensed Cordelia wasn’t moving. He couldn’t be near her, but he couldn’t leave her, either. Angel just prayed that she didn’t come too close. His demon had been growing in agitation and aggressiveness over the last half mile. Angel had been grateful, when she released his hand and slowed.

He had continued on, keeping track of her presence but blocking out any true awareness of her scent. His demon didn’t need any more enticement.

The need to claim Cordelia had been growing with such intensity with each step closer to her apartment. Angel didn’t understand it, unless it was a delayed reaction to Dracula’s presence the night before and Cordelia’s response to it. Angel rationally knew that her description of wanting Dracula had been the result of a spell, but his demon hadn’t cared.

Still, Angel had been able to control his instincts then. Now, Angel wasn’t so sure it could be done. Angel had allowed the physical distance to grow between them, in the hope that he could gain control and understand what the hell was happening. It didn’t make any sense that his demon was beginning to react violently now to something that happened over six hours ago.

Angel turned to see what Cordelia wanted, automatically reaching out with his senses to detect if there was any danger. He felt nothing, except fear and anger from Cordelia. He involuntarily took a step forward to the young woman. His movement stopped as the full range of Cordelia’s scent overwhelmed his senses.

A deep sound vibrated from his throat, more primal than a growl. His golden eyes flashed as his demon took control. The scent of her arousal and burning hunger for another attacked him. Angel barely heard her whispered plea to make it stop, the red rage of his need to crush that hunger and forcibly claim Cordelia was too powerful.

The vampire had no thoughts of loving or pleasing, just possessing what was his.

Cordelia whimpered as Angel bodily pushed her hard against the wall of the sewer. She grabbed at him gratefully, frantically clutching at his jacket. Angel’s body surrounded her, his hands roughly pulling at her clothes. Her hips jerked as Angel strong palm opened her thighs, Cordelia gasped as he thrust into her, pinning her to the wall. His thrusts were too fast and hard, she couldn’t move quickly enough; Angel wasn’t giving her a rhythm to match. He was just pounding. Cordelia didn’t care, because with each forceful stroke the hunger caused by Dracula’s spell diminished. Cordelia stopped the decent of his fangs, pulling his lips to her, not caring that his fangs were cutting into her mouth or that his grip was pressing painfully into her hips, the false desire was leaving, soon all she would feel would be Angel, she tugged at his clothes, willing him to go faster, push harder, do something to make it all go away.

Angel growled, as his tongue tasted the small droplets of Cordelia’s blood. He sucked capturing as much as he could. If there had been any thought left in Angel it had fled with the onslaught of pure raging instinct. Angel ripped his mouth away, moving along Cordelia’s cheek down her neck, his fangs creating a scratchy trail.

Cordelia tensed, a small thought emerged through her need for Angel. It hadn’t been a memory, it had been real and that wasn’t right, unless….”Angel, stop.” Sudden knowledge cut through her desperation for Angel. She grabbed at the vampire’s face, pulling it away from her neck. Angel growled, jerking his head away, slamming her back into the wall. “Mine.” He growled descending again, ignoring her words.

“Angel, please. Stop, please.” Cordelia moved her hands again, caressing at his ridged face. “Angel.” She whispered, trying to reach him.

Gold eyes flashed into hers. “MINE.”

Cordelia nodded. “But Angel, Dracula must be doing the spell again. We can use it to find him, but if you do this, the spell won’t work.” Cordelia didn’t know how she knew this, but she knew it deep in her gut. “Angel.” The vampire stilled, listening to her tone, trying to interpret her words, trying to regain his reason. Angel growled.

The vampire didn’t want reason. Angel wanted what was his. He wanted to obliterate all traces of Dracula’s influence. He moved back to his goal at that moment willing to ignore Cordelia’s wishes and act on his own instincts, his hips moving again.

Damn stubborn vampire. “Listen to me, ‘grr’ Dork.” Smacking Angel upside the head. “Dracula’s the threat, not the spell. He needs to be dead, that means we have to find him.” Cordelia pushed at the vampire, but his strength was immovable. Angel raised his head again, his eyes flashing gold flames; his hips and body still pinning Cordelia to the wall.

Cordelia gulped, had she just hit a stubborn enraged vampire? She had, but it was Angel. He wouldn’t hurt her. “Angel.” She said tentatively.

Angel blinked. Cordelia sighed in relief as she felt his grip gentle on her hips, his face returning to that of a handsome man. She frowned at the shocked, guilt-ridden look on the handsome man’s face. “Angel, don’t.”

“Cordy, I’m….” He moved gently, withdrawing, lowering her feet to the ground, his eyes never leaving the light parallel abrasions that trailed down Cordelia’s cheek.

“Shh, don’t.” Her hands back up to his face, only this time she moved to keep him close. “You didn’t do anything I didn’t need you to do. I don’t really understand, but I did want it, but Angel, you can’t. Marking me would stop the influence of the spell and we could use it to find Dracula. He must have been using the spell again. I thought it was just a memory, but it wasn’t it was too intense. I was leaving you, going to him. If he does it again, you follow and kill him. It’s a plan.”

“Cordy…”

“No. Angel, finding Dracula is what’s important,” Cordelia said confidently, praying that Angel would accept her statement at face value. She took a deep breath. “I don’t think he’s close, though. I didn’t see him or anything. But it was that way.” She pointed in the direction she had been heading before Angel stopped her. “ Do you sense him?”

Angel turned away.

“Angel, what did you say? Do you sense him?” Cordelia grabbed at his shoulder. Angel had mumbled something.

Angel turned. “I said all I can sense is you. I…” The roughness left his voice as he slumped to the ground, cupping his head in his hands. Angel didn’t know what to do.

For once since this whole thing started his demon was silent as if Angel’s shock at the realization of what he had been about to do to Cordelia had forced it into complete submission. Angel wanted to run in the direction that Cordelia had pointed, not stopping until he found Dracula and tore the vampire’s limbs from his body, stamping his skull into dust, but he didn’t have the energy.

Angel wanted to run in the complete opposite direction until he reached the sunlight, have the burning rays take him back to hell, but he couldn’t move. Angel wanted to reach for Cordelia and hold her until he found the love he very well could have destroyed, but he couldn’t ask. He wanted to cry.

Cordelia stood quiet, biting her lip wondering what to do. They really needed to get back to the hotel and work out the details of the plan. Wesley could tell them the range of beckoning spells, with that and the direction she was pulled to they might find a clue as the to the vampire’s whereabouts.

She really needed to process all that just happened. Cordelia glanced down at Angel. Her strong dorky champion was hurting. Cordelia smiled, she knew what she needed to do.

Cordelia slipped down, sliding her body in between Angel’s bent legs. Her arms went around his shaking body, her head nudging at his hands urging them to touch her. “I love you.” Whispering against the cool skin.

Involuntarily, Angel’s arms embraced the warmth. His desire to cry became even greater. He didn’t deserve the warmth of the sun; just it’s killing rays. But he couldn’t leave the warmth or the tiny breaths that were leaving trails of moist kisses on his face and he couldn’t leave the love that he saw in Cordelia’s eyes as she asked him to make love to her.

Angel wanted to tell her no, to tell her that she deserved so much more than a vampire and the sewers, but he couldn’t. He wished that he wasn’t what he was, he wished they were anywhere than in this dark place. How much more darkness could Cordelia stand before she ran away into the light where she belonged? She asked him again, her hands never stopping in their gentle caresses.

Angel shrugged off his coat, lying Cordelia on top of it, protecting her as much as he could from the grime. It wasn’t enough. The dirt touched her legs, staining her pants. It would never be enough; she would never be free of the filth if he loved her. “Angel.” Cordelia’s soft voice and touch broke his thoughts.

He stared mesmerized by the sight, the darkness of the surroundings disappeared.

“How?” Angel whispered, his finger tracing Cordelia’s features hesitantly as if it would be smacked away at anytime.

Cordelia smiled. That was vague. Luckily, she knew the question. The answer, however, she shrugged. “I don’t know, I just do, but then, I don’t know why you love me. So, I guess we’re even, uh. A perfect match- two clueless best friend in love. Of course the fact that you’re great in bed has nothing to do with it.”

“Cordy.” Angel leaned up.

“Ah, almost made you smile.” She pulled at his shirt. “Angel, it doesn’t matter how or why, it just is.” Cordelia added softly.

“I…”

“Shh.” Angel allowed her to pull him even closer until their lips met. Angel was tentative, testing the response, still unsure. He groaned. Cordelia’s tongue flickered against his lips begging entry. Angel leaned into the kiss tasting…Angel shot up.

“Angel?”

“No.”

“What?”

“I…blood…I cut you. I hurt you.” His eyes darting along her body. Angel huddled further into himself. He knew if he peeled away the torn jeans and top he would see bruises, bruises left by his hands.

Cordelia leaned up on her elbows. “You’re being an idiot. Do I have to dance around naked or would you rather me recite nasty thoughts about Dracula.”

“Cordy,” Angel growled.

“Then make love to me, stupid. Geez, what does a girl have to do to get you in bed…or in a sewer, I mean? Is it the hair? No more highlights, not blonde enough? Or is it buttons? I had buttons, but you tore them already. What is it? Geez, nevermind.” She got up.

Angel’s hand shot out. “Cordy, “ he said in warning. Regardless of the guilt he still felt, Angel knew then he wouldn’t let her leave. He managed to successfully block out the further additional thought of ‘then or ever’.

She glared. “Are you going to be all dorky?”

“I was worried about being all ‘grry’.” Angel was guilty, conflicted and amazed. He wanted to smile. Cordelia was making him want to smile again. She wasn’t going to leave him.

“Angel, I love both, I want both. But, now I’m out of the mood. I want to go home.”

Angel studied the young woman from his position on the ground. She was tapping her foot, her hands on her hips. Angel then smiled. “Cordy, I’m calling your bluff.”

“What? I’m serious.”

“Uh, ‘grry’ remember, the other part you love. Well, that part can taste how much in the mood you are- it’s drenching the air. So, I’m calling.”

Cordelia narrowed her eyes. “Maybe I want to go home frustrated. Ever think about that, hmm. Maybe, I want to just say screw you and leave. I’ve a hand and a loofah. ”

An old memory of a conversation overheard snapped in Angel’s head and with it the implication that he missed at the time. “You are never taking a bath at your apartment again.” He stated clearly and firmly.

“What?”

“LooFAHnoochtskmuch demon, my ass. You and Wesley were talking about your way too friendly ghost with a loofah. That ghost is exorcised and don’t think I can’t do it, I can.”

“You leave Dennis alone and that’s just perverted. Dennis only scrubs my back. He always leaves when….” Cordelia narrowed her eyes. “Oh.” Stamping her foot.

“When what Cordy? Is your loofah better than this,” In an instant, Angel’s hand cupped her center rubbing alternating between fast and slow, but always gentle.

Cordelia fell catching herself on Angel’s shoulders. “Are you going to stop being stupid?” She took a deep breath, pushing her hips closer to Angel’s moving palm.

“Probably not. I’m a dork. Cordy, please let me make love to you.” He whispered.

Cordelia closed her eyes, her hips rocking in the rhythm Angel’s hand was creating, her fingernails piercing his shoulders. “Okay.”

“Thank you.” Angel said softly, his hands moving to remove the denim. His lips quickly covering the center now revealed.

Cordelia gasped, her knees buckled as she slumped further on Angel’s shoulders. Angel’s broad hand moved firmly to her hip keeping her steady.

Angel breathed in deeply as his tongue flicked back and forth tasting ever crevice hidden in the delicate folds. As each drop of moisture coated his sensitive taste buds, he truly wondered at his previous violent need for her blood. In this tasting, he felt no guilt, no loss of thought, just wonderment, desire and love. Angel made a promise to himself then. He would never touch the beautiful woman that gave so freely to him without those feelings being in the forefront of his mind ever again.

The other had been primal, instinctive, reflections of a dark past and predatory demon this was a promise of that demon’s redemption.

It was a glimpse of his future, his dream coming true. This was what he truly wanted. His lips and hands moved to explore more. He was transfixed at the gentle tremors of the delicate flesh as his lips and hands brushed at the skin. Cordelia wanted him, even after he had shown her, hell forced his demon on her, and she still wanted him. Angel wanted to yell and shout in joy, he wanted to bury himself in her; he wanted to know how she could still love him. “Cordy?” Angel lips brushed her abdomen.

Cordelia swayed and gulped. “Angel,” her voice raspy and gasping for breathe. “Angel, I don’t think I can stand anymore, my legs seem to be…” she trailed off slumping more as her knees buckled again, giving evidence of her statement.

Angel wanted to laugh at her apologetic tone. “Then don’t.” He whispered, chuckling softly as he had her down on his coat. Maybe, Cordelia was right. Maybe it didn’t matter, it just was.

Cordelia stared up into the fathomless dark eyes gazing at her. Her heart lurched and suddenly she got scared. Love, passion, awe, gratitude swirled in the black pools; it was all there in Angel’s eyes for her to see. She didn’t deserve it. How could she live up to it? But she couldn’t lose it, not now that she found it. “Love me, always, please.” Tears welling in her wide eyes.

“Always,” Angel promised, tenderly brushing away the small tears escaping along a path down Cordelia’s smooth skin. Angel smiled leaning down to kiss Cordelia. Angel knew that his vow would remain the truth; it wouldn’t wane away over the years. It would only lose its power when he was gone from this earth and he wasn’t so sure about then either. Angel wanted to ask her to promise the same, but he wouldn’t. His future to uncertain and Cordelia deserved so much more.

Cordelia clutched at the nape of Angel’s neck bringing him closer. “Always, me too. Love you, I mean.” She pressed her body up into Angel’s.

***

Angel lifted Cordelia to her feet. She scrunched her nose down at her dirty ripped clothes. Then looked around. “Angel.”

Angel pulled his coat up from off the ground smacked at the material trying to get rid of the most obvious grime.

“Angel.” Cordelia repeated.

“Mmm.” He whacked one more time and shrugged. He turned putting the coat over Cordelia. Cordelia slipped the coat over her torn clothes. “Thanks. Um, Angel.”

Angel stopped the wiping of his own clothes. “Yes.”

“Angel, we need to this again.”

Angel blinked. “Here, now?” He thought about for less than a second. “Okay.” Reaching for Cordelia.

Cordelia grasped her hand around his forearm, leading it to her body. What had she been thinking? Oh. “No.” Pushing away. “Not here, again, somewhere else. I don’t want the sewers to be ‘our’ place.

“Cordy, I don’t think one time,” he stopped at her arched eyebrow. “Well, okay two…okay three…okay…., okay, we will definitely, soon, wherever you want, as many times, more even.”

Cordelia blinked. She took a step and then nodded. Her legs still worked so she could do more. She blinked again. “What were we doing? No, not that,” she pushed at Angel’s arm that had snaked it’s way around her. “Right, Dracula. Back to the hotel.” She pulled at it his hand.

Angel growled at the mention of the other vampire. “We were going to find out what he took from your apartment.”

“Why bother, he obviously took something. I think we can safely say it was personal. I want a bath. Of course, I could always do that at my apartment.”

“Back to the hotel, it is then.” Angel pulled her towards the direction of the hotel.


Chapter 38

Cordelia bit back her sigh, trying to grab on the happiness that was rushing away like a runaway freight train. She knew exactly when her euphoria started to desert her.

Exactly 30 seconds after Angel started to brood and tense again. Though, she didn’t know exactly when that happened. It could’ve been 60 seconds after she mentioned Dracula or maybe it was 10 seconds after Angel glanced for the fifth time at the scratch marks on her cheek.

She didn’t know. But, Cordelia did know that less than two minutes after feeling the most loved and the safest of her life, she was back to feeling uneasy and chugging along to being scared again. At least Angel hadn’t let go of her hand this time. It was firm in her grasp. Cordelia knew if he even attempted to move it, she would yell holy murder.

Cordelia snuck another sidelong look at the vampire. It just wasn’t fair. Angel had been able to wipe all of her fears away. Why couldn’t she make him feel better? Cordelia wasn’t sure which was driving Angel to brood more, Dracula or Angel’s ‘grr’ display. Or were they one and the same? Cordelia sighed. She didn’t know. She had just hoped that she had at least reassured Angel that she hadn’t been mad or hurt by his overly aggressive love making style.

Hell, hadn’t he noticed that she hadn’t been exactly shy during the whole thing. Cordelia had told the vampire that she wanted it, needed it even. Didn’t he believe her? Shit, this was more unnerving than worrying about Dracula’s next move. “Angel.”

Angel stopped, his eyes resting once more on the scratches before reaching Cordelia’s gaze. Cordelia’s heart hurt as a cloak settled briefly over Angel’s eyes, hiding in that moment what he was thinking and feeling from her.

“Cordy,” Angel released her hand, but cradled Cordelia’s face before she had a chance to take a deep breath and scream. “I won’t let him touch you. I love you, so much.” He rested his forehead on hers. “Trust me, please.”

Conflicting thoughts smashed into each other. Part of her wanted to smack the vampire silly for even asking such a stupid question and for concealing whatever else he had been thinking. Sure, Cordelia didn’t doubt that her protection was on the top of Angel’s broody list, but she wanted to know what items two and three were.

But the other part of her just wanted to jump back in Angel’s arms at his declaration and the now visible love overflowing in his dark gaze. Cordelia sighed, she would let the happiness win out over her irritation for now. Cordelia smiled and wrapped her arms around Angel. “Duh. I love you, too.”

Cordelia’s smile got brighter, happy that she made the right choice. Slapping Angel wouldn’t have brought such a goofy grin to the vampire’s face. Lord, her vampire was adorable when he did that. Cordelia squeezed tighter. She didn’t want to let go, ever.

Angel buried his head in Cordelia’s hair, reveling in the scent. This is what he needed to remember. Knowing that Cordelia loved him gave him the strength of will to combat his instincts. He just needed to remember. Angel made his promise and he meant to keep it, but it was hard. Dracula’s name, the other vampire’s intent brought Angel’s raging instincts flashing forward.

Angel leaned up brushing the broken skin on Cordelia’s neck with a gentle thumb, his lips tenderly coating Cordelia’s smile. Angel could do it; he was stronger than his demon and Cordelia’s love too precious to lose because of his rage.

Angel pulled up at Cordelia’s mumbled breath on his lips, his brows arching in a questioning angle.

“I said, sewers it is,” pouting and reaching to pull the vampire closer.

Angel stepped back and chuckled. “No. We’ve a perfectly good bed waiting for us, come on,” Angel urged Cordelia forward.

Cordelia tugged back. “It’ll do for now, anyway.”

Angel turned back, his eyebrows reaching again.

“Angel, the bed’s kind of small. I mean it’s okay for us, but what about when Connor falls asleep with us? Smooshed baby,” starting to move ahead of the vampire, totally missing the return of his goofy grin.

Angel started to follow trying to remember which store web sites had the biggest bed. He had looked at so many.


Chapter 39

Cordelia frowned. Maybe the sewers wouldn’t have been that bad for their ‘place’. She looked again at the faces staring at her and Angel as they walked into the lobby.

Every single person’s questioning look turned to concern as they saw her dirty and disheveled appearance. Well, except for the blonde vampire, Spike just stared. Cordelia bet real money that was a sniff he just did.

“No bed for now, that’s for sure,” mumbling to Angel. Cordelia looked behind her. The vampire was gone. Where did he go? She looked back to the others. Well, she found him. Angel had Lorne pressed up against the counter.

Well, Cordelia always knew Angel was quick. But that was impressive. Though, she wasn’t real pleased to see the tension build back up in the vampire, he was so still and Lorne was turning blue.

Cordelia glared at the blonde vampire. He kept staring and sniffing. Finally, Spike leaned back against the counter, his gaze now shifting to Angel going all intimidator on poor Lorne.

“Spike,” Angel nodded towards Cordelia, leaving the hotel lobby as quickly as he entered a piece of paper clutched in his grip. Cordelia’s body turned as he went past her. “Angel?”

The dark vampire stopped suddenly and was back in front of her. “Under no circumstances leave Spike,” pulling her roughly into a fierce kiss. Cordelia blinked and he was gone.

Cordelia slowly turned back to the others. Why were they all staring at her? Cordelia glanced back at the door to the basement. Angel left without his coat. That wasn’t right. Cordelia tugged the leather closer to her body.

“Cordelia.”

Cordelia turned back to Wesley. “Uh.”

“Are you all right? You look…”

Cordelia shook her head. “I’m fine. Where’s Angel going?”

“Lorne brought a list of possible leads on Dracula.”

“Oh.”

“Cordy,” Wesley moved closer. “You’ve been hurt,” Pointing to the scratch marks on her face. “What happened?”

“I’m not hurt,” snapping back. “I…I fell.” Cordelia shot a glare at Spike’s cough.

Spike shrugged and got more comfortable against the counter. Spike didn’t quite understand but he had been concerned when Angel and Cordelia entered the lobby. His eyes going to the cheerleader immediately, his first thought had been that grandsire had broke bad with the young woman and hurt her.

But, again he didn’t understand his relief when he realized that Peaches might have broke a little bad, but not Angelus bad. Though, Spike looked again at the door Angel just ran through, Angelus was not that far. Spike couldn’t help but wonder if Cordelia knew just how close.

“Did you find out what Dracula took?” Wesley asked accepting Cordelia’s explanation about her appearance.

“We never got there. Dracula did another spell.” Cordelia scrunched up her face turning back towards the basement door. “Spike, shouldn’t you go with him or Gunn?”

“Chit, he can take care of himself.” Spike said. “And, it seems I’ve been assigned as your personal body guard. Come here, chit, let me guard you.” He held his arms out. Spike smiled at her glare letting his arms fell back to his sides. A glaring cheerleader was much better than an increasingly worrying cheerleader.

“Cordelia, tell us what happened.” Wesley demanded, his glasses firmly in his hands.

Cordelia took a deep breath. “We were on our way to my apartment. Then I felt it, the spell. Dracula wasn’t near, but the spell was powerful. Um. I…Angel…we were able to break the influence…uh, that’s when I fell.” Cordelia looked up at Wesley. “I was heading east before…um…it stopped. How far does a beckoning spell reach?”

Wesley pushed the glasses on his head. “Usually, it’s within a small radius, but depending on the specific spell and item used, it could be several miles. We need a map of the sewers.”

“Got it.” Gunn went to the drawer of Cordy’s desk.

“Yes. Cordy, where were you? How far from the hotel?” Wesley urged.

Cordelia shrugged. “Half way, maybe? I’m not really sure.”

Wesley frowned. “That’s okay, we’ll figure it out. Oh, Cordy, put this on.” Handing her a bright stone attached to a chain.

“Yuk, and why?”

“It’s a general block to beckoning spells. It will help give resistance while we search for the exact spell.”

“Uh, no. I’m thinking that we should just let it be. If Dracula does the spell again, I go and Angel…and you’ll follow. Viola, we find him.”

“Peaches okayed that brain fart?” Spike cocked a brow.

“Yeah, and shut up.”

Spike rolled his eyes. Well, at least he better understood his babysitting duties. The cheerleader would be glued to his hip until Angel got back. She wasn’t wandering off on his watch. There would be hell to pay after his grandsire killed him. Spike squirmed, Angel trusted him that much? Things were getting really weird.

“Cordy, I think that is dangerous.”

Spike nodded encouragement to the jr. Giles.

“Pooh, I’ve resisted so far…well..” Cordelia looked back to the basement door. She had when Angel was near her. Why did he have to go all ‘grry’ after the leads? Cordelia glared at Spike. “You should’ve gone.”

“Chit, I wished I had.” Spike didn’t need or want this particular responsibility.

“Cordelia, you have resisted, I wonder why?” Wesley chewed on the arm of his glasses.

Cordelia shrugged. “I didn’t at first, but then I guess ….I don’t know. Angel was there and it stopped.”

Wesley swirled around. “Angel? No. Of course.” Wesley slapped his head and sat down.

“What?” Cordelia moved closer a long with all of the others.

“It so simple. How’d I miss it?”

“Gee, tell us and maybe we could fill you in on what an ass you were?” Cordelia glared.

”Cordy, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a not only a work of fiction but it’s a treatise on the vampire. None of his victims knew he was feeding, influencing them. It correlates with every thing I’ve read on beckoning spells. But you’ve known, affected okay, but you knew. And that’s because you knew.” Wesley shot up pleased with himself.

“Uh, can I tell him he made no fuckin sense?” Gunn looked around.

“Let it flow.” Spike rolled his eyes.

Gunn flinched. Damn. Again, he agreed with the vampire.

“Cordy, you’ve been able to resist because you know who and what Dracula is and what he’s trying to do. You know that whatever feelings the spell induces is just that a spell. So you resist.”

Cordelia blinked. “Oh. Do you need me anymore? I want to take a bath.” Cordelia headed for the stairs. “Why are you following me?” She turned smack against Spike.

“Chit, think of me as super glue until Peaches gets back. Let’s just ‘stick’ together. I’ll hold the soap.” Spike winked.

Cordelia waited she wasn’t exactly sure why, but she did. When they were out of the sight and hearing of Wesley and the others, she turned on the blonde vampire.

“You want to stick to me? So, stick, come on Spike, let’s stick.” Cordelia brushed up against the vampire.

“Whoa, get away, stop. Are you nuts?” Spike pushed at the young body thrusting towards him.

“Hmmph. No. I’m just not in the mood for your attempt at witticisms.” She cut, her demeanor polar opposite from only a second ago.

“I get it. No more ribbing and NO more rubbing from you. I don’t need Peaches going all granddad on me. I’m doing you’ll a favor, you know.”

“Hmmph.” Spike caught the door before it slammed in his face.

“Chit, I meant it, I’m next to you until the poof comes back. I’m not taking the chance of you wandering after Dracula in some fogged out lust trance.”

“I’m not LUSTING after Dracula.”

“Not now, sure. But, if he does that magic again, bang goes the hormonal hotwiring, flash goes the heat in the belly and off you go. And if it happens, I’m not losing you. Jr. Giles may not have mentioned the lust factor of beckoning spells, probably make him blush, but you and I know and from the looks and smells of you, Peaches knows too. You all right?” Spike reached out to touch the scratch marks.

Cordelia slammed away his hand. “Angel didn’t hurt me. I’m fine. I told him last night. He’s not…we’re fine. You don’t know what you’re talking about- I don’t know what you’re talking about. And for your information, Wesley is not a jr. anybody. His name is WESLEY.” Cordelia slammed the door of the bathroom.

***

Cordelia leaned back against the shower wall, wishing the last 24 hours could wash away along with the dirt and grime that coated her body.

Had it only been 24 hours ago? She had woken up knowing that Angel loved her. She had walked into the nursery to see Angel and Connor. Her men. Cordelia had been so happy. Dracula only a minor blip on their trouble radar. Even Angel’s worry that Dracula would come after her hadn’t dimmed her happiness, not really.

He was just another bad guy that Angel would fight and win. Cordelia still didn’t doubt that they would eventually defeat Dracula. She just hated that he was messing with her mind and that it was affecting Angel.


Chapter 40

Spike couldn’t help but glance appreciatively at the towel wrapped body that came out of the bathroom. The chit was really quite a tasty piece.

Bad thoughts, death wish thoughts, even. Cordelia ignored the vampire and went straight to her duffle bag taking it back into the bathroom.

Cordelia pulled out her clothes, studying her shirt, her fingers rubbing hesitantly over the small marks on her neck. Cordelia glanced up catching her reflection in the mirror. Cordelia frowned and slowly drew her hand away from her neck.

Cordelia bypassed Spike as she exited the bathroom, stopping in front of Angel’s closet. She was tempted to go get one of Angel’s shirts. Cordelia bit her lip, undecided. Wesley had said that her ability to resist wasn’t because of Angel.

Still, she wasn’t completely convinced. Cordelia knew what she felt during the ‘dream’ experience and in the sewers. Cordelia sighed, shaking her head at the door, she needed to find out if Wesley was right.

Spike’s eyes never left the young woman. The towel was now gone. In its place was a pair of jeans and simple t-shirt, showing off a tease of a tattoo at the cusp of the low waistband of the pants, Spike noticed in approval.

The bright design was certainly strategically placed on the chit’s backside to give off the most optimal tempting effect. Spike narrowed his eyes upward towards Cordelia’s neck. Spike seriously doubted that the young woman knew that she was fondling at Angel’s mark, her fingers’ manipulations bringing visibility back to the fading wounds.

“It won’t do any good, you know. They’re going bye, bye.”

“What?!” Turning.

“Those little babies are fading fast. In a day or two, any evidence of Peaches’ nibbles will be gone, like they were never there.”

Cordelia jerked away her hand. “Angel’s mark….His mark…. of ownership, you mean.”

Spike shrugged. “Whatever. No wonder he’s a basket case. It must be frustrating the hell out of him.”

“I don’t follow.” Cordelia stared.

Spike shrugged again and looked away. Maybe he had already said too much. The possible fallout from his speaking his mind wasn’t something Spike usually concerned himself with, but in this particular instance maybe he should start.

“Oh, nevermind, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said cuttingly.

Spike swung back around, getting annoyed at her tone. “I tell you what I know- I know that Peaches loves you, I know that he’s a vampire, whose soul makes him a wuss about almost everything, but it doesn’t change that particular truth. I know that Dracula’s pissing in his playground, trying to take his most prized toy. He’s walking a tightrope right now, between that soul of his and his baser and more violent instincts. And you should know that, too. After all, you’re the picture of pure acceptance, but is it acceptance or just denial or god forbid stupidity?”

“I get that he wants Dracula dead. So do I.”

“That ain’t all he wants, love.”

Cordelia blinked, flashes of Angel in the sewer, his true vampire visage glowering, his strength pushing her against the wall. She had experienced as Spike put it, Angel’s baser and more violent vampire instincts.

Cordelia didn’t want to be a ‘sex slave ‘ or ‘pet’ or ‘prized toy’, even to Angel’s ‘Master’. Did Angel want her as a ‘sex slave’, as his property? Cordelia couldn’t believe that. She was obviously missing something.

“What if he marks me again….really marks me? Will, I be some sort of slave?” Cordelia’s tone no longer snapping just contemplative.

Spike’s earlier warning signals to just shut up and just watch the chit, flared up again. He knew that his grandsire would not be pleased at all about this conversation. “Don’t you think these are tidbits you need to find out from Peaches?”

“You’re here, he’s not. I want to know.”

Spike sighed and began to understand how the chit could order Peaches around. Though, Spike couldn’t decide whether it was her glare or tone, both were regal, daring you to deny her. The cheerleader would’ve made a helluva vampire.

“The mark is just a symbol. Humans did it, still do. They branded their cattle and slaves, collared them even. Any property they think valuable enough they ‘mark’. Hell, wedding rings are the same, just not as blatant. Sure, cloak the vows in God and love, but once that ring is on the finger, the human is claimed as taken. It’s a symbol, love. It gives the right to be royally pissed if someone poaches. It’s the culmination, not the beginning.”

Cordelia listened, then nodded and turned to leave.

Spike couldn’t tell if her nod was one of understanding, but he could tell he had just been dismissed. Well, he wasn’t leaving, determined to stay put. Shit, she was leaving. “Hold on, chit, where you going?” Moving to follow.

Cordelia stopped in mid stride. “To get Connor and wait for Angel.”

Chapter 41

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