Title: Drawing Lines. A Darkness Within fic
Posted: 02 Oct 06
Rating: R for language
Content: Angel/Cordelia subtext
Summary: During Reprisal, Cordelia deals with a paradigm shift.
Spoilers: None. S2
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Ask please.
Notes: This was hard, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.
Thanks/Dedication:For Cali I hope it lives up to what you were wanting.
Feedback:Concrit and comments most welcome
The first thing she thinks when Angel strides through the door is that he’s coming back. He’s coming back just as she’s beginning to let go. It’s only after Wes’s soft whisper echoes her own that she realizes that he’s really not.
He’s just there to tear another little piece of them away.
And then he’ll leave. She can see it in his closed off, pissed off face.
“May we help you,” Wes says as Angel passes them without looking, without even so much as fucking acknowledging them.
She stands up, fury lighting her up inside after weeks of numb confusion, and twists around as he brushes against her chair and begins going through their meager library.
“Excuse me, that area is for employees only!”
Wes’s British sense of propriety and the wheelchair prevent him from doing more than sputter helplessly but she’s never been one bound by anything resembling tact and she’s more than ready to unleash the fury she’s been nursing since he fired them and didn’t look back.
“Yeah, you took all the books.”
“Yeah, well, you got the waffle iron!”
He pulls a book off the shelf.
“Hey! No! You can’t take this one, I-I’m in the middle of it!” She yells as she grabs the book out of his hands, moving past him to put it back on the shelf and yanking the phone book down instead. “Here, take this one.”
She shoves the book at his chest and he just as forcefully throws it to the floor, moving in close, violating her personal space in a way that forces her to back further up, until her back hits the bookcase.
There’s muted fury in his eyes, his jaw locked tight as he stares down at her.
Her heart rumbles hard inside her chest, aware suddenly of the power in his body, the leashed violence that Angel had previously kept so tightly controlled around her and Wesley.
“Don’t make me move you.”
She hears the click in her inner ear, a slight humming pop that signals lines being drawn in their friendship.
He stares down at her and she can’t see anything familiar in his eyes, no trace of the friend who cried with her when Doyle died and saved her life a few dozen times and made her breakfast when the noise in her head got too loud for her to bear alone.
This Angel locks human beings in with vampires and walks away. He’s become an unknown element, volatile and dangerous to her in ways he never was before.
He holds her gaze as he takes another, very deliberate, half step into her space, and she’s forced to blink, to look down at the exposed portion of his pale throat, before glancing back up at him, anger giving way to something darker.
She can feel her pulse pounding in her throat, heartbeat so loud her eardrums burn, and she wonders wildly why it doesn’t feel like anger or fear or –
“Give him the book, Cordelia.”
A voice intrudes, making her aware that there’s a witness to the insanity going on between them. She slants her eyes over to see Wesley rising with visible effort. “Just give him the damn thing! Let him get the hell out.”
Angel doesn’t move, and for a long second she doesn’t either, but the urgent tone in Wesley’s voice finally brings her back and she drags in a deep steadying breath, pushing Angel back a step and twisting to grab the book. She pushes it at his chest with as much force as she hopes it takes to hurt him but he merely steps all the way back as he grabs the book and swings around, heading out the door.
“I don’t even know who you are anymore.” A painful, unnamed something wraps around her voice, makes it hateful and mean.
“I’m a vampire, look it up.”
His parting shot is left hanging in the air as he slams out with his prize in his hand, leaving the wreckage of his actions behind him.
She’s shaking as she stares blindly at the closed door.
“What a jerk,” she says, her voice trembling with anger and shock and the aftereffects of fear. Behind her eyes, she feels the prickle of tears begin and ruthlessly fights them back.
“I mean if it were anyone else, I’d just say ‘get laid already.’”
He threatened her, with his words and with his body, and she can’t stop the pain from lancing through her, the hurt rolling up into a ball at the base of her chest where she knows it will sit for a long time.
She can hear Wesley’s voice, but she can’t stop talking, staring blindly at the door.
“But no, not him.” Don’t make me move you. “One decent boff and he switches to evil psycho vamp.” Don’t make me move you. “Which, in a way, would be better for everyone.” Don’t make me move you. “Better for him because he’d get some, and better for us because then we could stake him afterwards.”
Don’t make me–oh God, Angel
“Cordelia – “
She blinks and turns to face Wesley.
She follows the direction of his gaze to his side.
There’s blood blooming against his white shirt.
She feels instantly shamed. Her wounds may hurt, she may feel like she’s hemorrhaging inside, but they were entirely metaphorical. Wesley’s bleeding is real, bearing the physical stigmata of their exile with more grace and humor than she was displaying, and so the very least she can do is help him sit back down and call for help.
She can always cry later.