Title: Body Art
Posted Here: 04/10/06
Category: hurt/comfort, angst.
Summary: I’ve always wondered about the Crucifix tattoo Cordelia keeps covered up, and why she got it.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask first
Notes: When I woke up this morning, I wanted to write, and Cordelia popped in, all moody and full of feeling. A sequel to Eternity My Way.
Feedback:Feedback and concrit welcome.
The night comes quietly, covering L.A. in a blanket of muted blue darkness.
Angel is at his desk, an outline in black slumped down in his chair, eyes on nothing except what he sees in his memories.
That’s what she calls it, a careful repose of stillness and reflection.
What goes on behind all that self-control she can only guess at.
She slips her bag off and lays it on top of her desk, adjusting the bandage at her left wrist a little more loosely and flicking on her desk lamp.
Walking over to his door, she leans on the frame and stares at him with arms folded across her chest, head tilting to the side as she considers him.
“Thinking thinky thoughts again, broody boy?”
He shifts his eyes up to hers.
So much pain reflected there, so much regret.
She thinks he’s probably dug the well deep enough to drown in by now, and she supposes that’s what she gets for leaving him alone for so much of the day.
She scratches at her bandage again, and his eyes follow her movements, nostrils flaring suddenly.
“You got another tattoo.”
Not a question, just a statement. She nods and turns to go back to her desk.
He follows, standing over her desk and staring down at her with eyes black and compelling, deep and troubled.
“Can I see it?”
She glances up at him as she considers his request, then finally nods.
He comes around her desk and kneels next to her chair, taking her wrist in his large hands, smoothing fingers over the bandage where it wraps tightly to her skin.
She keeps her gaze on his bent head, eyes caressing his features, resisting the urge to cup her hand over the curve of his skull and gentle him with soft strokes.
Touch heals, she’d read once, and she wants so badly to heal Angel.
He turns her wrist and takes in the blood spots seeping through the weave and his hand tighten ever so slightly, his breathing hitching softly in his throat.
“I want to see it.” He demands, voice hoarse with something forcibly muffled.
She shakes her head slightly, but he doesn’t see it because he can’t take his eyes off her bloodied wrapping.
“Maybe not,” she answers, pulling her wrist from his grip.
He tightens it, not letting her go.
It’s always this Angel she finds hardest to resist, hardest to shut out.
She relaxes her arm and he takes it for the acquiescence that it is, unfastening the catches and unwinding the bandage with a hurried motion.
She winces at his handling and he gentles the action in response, making a little noise of apology in the back of his throat.
When the last of the wrapping falls away, he takes the tip of the gauze and peels gently back, exposing the art she’d chosen from a book at the tattoo parlor.
A rosary winding around the inside of her wrist, with the Crucifix cushioned at the base of her hand.
The flesh is still swollen, red from the needle’s repeated invasion, and bleeding just slightly.
Angel doesn’t flinch, just cups her hand in his big palm and stares without moving even though it has to hurt to look at it.
“He swabbed with alcohol, right, he didn’t use anything dirty?”
She’d been to the artist twice before and rolls her eyes at the question.
He smoothes his forefinger at the edges of the Crucifix, causing aftershocks of pain riding pleasure to fire under her skin.
She shivers, and it doesn’t escape his notice.
“Why?” he asks.
She nearly laughs at his question, because she’d been asking herself the same thing all day.
Maybe to ward Angel off if he ever loses his soul again, or drugged enough to forget he has one.
Or maybe to protect herself against the yawning chasm she feels opening at her feet whenever she looks at him.
She could fall so deep if she didn’t watch it.
Fall so far, she’d lose herself.
“Lots of surprises out there, Angel, I don’t know if I’d be able to reach for a stake in time.”
It’s such a flimsy half reason, and he knows it.
He turns on his heel to face her more, stares up into her face with those needy eyes, full of reproach and guilt.
“I’m sorry I can’t keep you safe from everything.”
It goes unspoken, but it’s there between them and she feels so hopeless to help him that she reaches out with her free hand and cups her palm to his cheek.
“It’s okay,” she replies quietly, “it’s going to be okay.”
He lets her hand go to wrap his arms around her torso, embracing her and resting his head against her chest.
It’s such an unAngel thing to do that she freezes for a second before relaxing her body into his touch, unable to say no.
“Angel.” She whispers into the air above his head, feeling her own need for him rise like smoke from a fire flaring to painful life.
Keeping her tattooed arm stretched away from him, she leans down and kisses his forehead, opening her lips to taste his skin.
Does it again because she can’t help herself, feeling that chasm opening beneath her, kissing her way across his forehead and down his cheek, sucking motions that leave damp spots on his flesh, marking him.
He holds still for her, face turning upward into her kisses, breathing into her face, inhaling her breath into his body, and she breathes harder in response, her kisses longer and longer until he finishes it by turning and catching her mouth with his.
Moaning, he pulls her closer still and she arches, opening her legs to cradle his upper body against her, welcoming the thrust of his tongue in her mouth with hungry noises that vibrate through his dead flesh, waking him up inside.
His mouth is a chalice, and she devours it with lips and tongue, wrapping her unblemished right arm around his shoulders, anchoring his body to hers as they sink down under, drowning in the Rapture.
They’re the only two people in the world.
Until the jar of the phone rips him from her hold.
He stumbles backwards, horror making his eyes wide, not stopping until he’s standing at his office door.
She just sits and stares up at him, feeling like she wants to grab him back and finish. Her body is burning for him, and she’s not ready to stop.
But the phone goes on ringing and gradually she comes back to her senses, staring at him, shocked at what she’d almost let happen, how far it had gone on.
Angel turns and disappears into his office, slamming the door between them.
Later, she takes the elevator down to his apartment.
The bandage has been reapplied, and after taking a couple of pills for the pain, she feels ready to face him again.
Searching the darkness, she finds him sitting in his easy chair.
The kitchen table is in pieces all over the floor.
She looks back at Angel.
“That was Wesley on the phone. He needs you to meet him at a Chinese herbalist shop in half an hour.”
He nods but doesn’t say anything.
“Here’s the address.”
She moves forward with a slip of paper held outstretched in her hand.
“Don’t.” He clips off tightly.
come near me
She sighs and drops the paper on the ground between them.
“I won’t,” she promises.
ever again, so help us God.
She turns to go.