Title: Folie a Deux.
Content: Cordelia/Lindsey, Cordelia/Angel
Summary: The events of Epiphany tossed about and redone.
Spoilers: See summary
Disclaimer: Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask
Thanks/Dedication: Thanks to Damnskippytoo for encouraging me to finish this when I didn’t know how to, and Starlet2367 for her words of praise and awesome beta skills. There’s a reason I love these ladies, and it’s not just because they’re hot mammajammas.
Feedback: Yes please.
“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a dive like this?”
Cordelia puts her shot glass down half drained, turning in the direction of the smoky voice, with a stare made of too many hard nights patching up broken friends and her own fractured heart.
Lindsey looks at her, not smiling, his tie undone and his hair unkempt.
“Hard day in hell, dear?” she asks in reply before turning back to face the mirrored wall behind the bar. “On second thought, I don’t give a crap so get lost. You’re ruining my good time.”
The music from the stage swells and dies, and Lindsey doesn’t move, motioning the bartender for his own brand of rot gut.
“Had lots of those lately, haven’t you Cordelia? Good times, that is.”
She turns her head sideways, and gives him a look. “You should know.” She tosses back the rest of her shot and stifles the need to cough as the bartender sets up Lindsey.
He mimics her, swallowing the whiskey smoothly before chuckling at her. His glass lands back on the bar with a dull clunk. “Who’re you fooling, Cordelia? You’re not here because you’re torn up over the evil law firm. You’re here –“
Temper flaring dangerously close to the red line, Cordelia holds up a finger. “Don’t.” She turns a gimlet eye on him. “Don’t say his name. I’m not here to socialize, and I’m not going to talk about him with you.”
He pauses. “I don’t want to talk about Angel, either.”
Smoke from the other customers permeates the air and Cordelia inhales some as she laughs. “Sure you do. You’re all about Angel, Lindsey. You wake up thinking about him and you probably go to sleep thinking about him.”
She flicks a glance down at his artificial hand. “I know you think about him when you can’t knot your tie.”
It was a low blow, courtesy of the girl she used to be, and the lines around Lindsey’s eyes tighten in response. He wants to clench that hand, she can see the muscles under his hundred dollar shirt contract with the need, but it doesn’t go anywhere.
Dead nerve endings.
She can relate.
“And you Cordelia? What are you thinking about right now? Your visions and how they’re going to kill you one day soon? Or maybe how you’re going to make next month’s rent?”
He pauses and laughs bitterly. “No. You’re thinking about Angel, and all the ways he’s fucked with your life.”
She stares straight ahead, fingers drifting over her empty shot glass. He wasn’t lying, but she still didn’t care.
He stares at her profile, and scoots his bar stool closer, making a dull scraping sound against the sod-dusted bare floor.
“And guess what Angel’s doing right now, while we’re both sitting here not talking about him?” He whispers the words close to her ear, and the puffs of his breath are hot with whiskey and the slightest tinge of cigarette smoke.
She waits, bending her head slightly and looking down at her feet hooked on the bar stool.
“He’s fucking Darla.”
Pain shimmers through Cordelia’s body like shock waves from an explosion. Hot heat burning her dry eyes and her lungs frozen in the act of taking in air.
“You don’t know that.” She says, her voice strangling on the booze coating her throat.
But he does. She can hear it in his voice. It’s not malicious, or mean. It’s full of heartache and pain and dangerously close to what she hears in her own voice when she speaks these days.
“I do. The Hyperion is pretty dramatic tonight with the lightning slashing across the balconies. Broken windows and a clear view into Angel’s suite.”
She hears it all in Lindsey’s voice, his pain painting an ugly picture she can’t close her eyes against.
Lindsey slides closer to her, his legs caging her bar stool, knee brushing her thigh.
She looks down sideways and notes it, raising her steady gaze to his face.
He’s asking her something with those blue flamed eyes, and she’s not sure she’s going to say no. Not tonight, not with the images in her head making her brain implode faster than the visions will.
His ride is a battered, ancient pick up truck.
The front seat is a bench, torn faux leather and a stick shift that only has four gears marked in faded white paint. The radio looks older than her grandfather’s cigars and brandy, and probably doesn’t get great reception judging by the static coming out of the speakers.
The back of the bar is darkly lit and perfect for the kind of wrong she’s indulging in.
Lindsey’s tongue in her mouth is not unlike velvet wetness and his kisses taste like whiskey and cigarettes.
He’s not heavy on top of her, and his hips are pressing pleasantly into her crotch, giving her the kind of pressure she’s been missing the last year or so of her life. Tilting her head back, she gives his mouth room to slide over the skin of her throat and the sensation has her closing her eyes.
She’s not imagining someone else’s mouth doing that, or someone else’s hand drifting up to the hard point of her nipple. He rolls it softly between his thumb and forefinger and she threads her fingers through his too long hair, bringing his mouth back up to hers and kissing deeply.
She doesn’t wonder why Lindsey picked her. She knows that if Buffy were closer at hand he’d be knocking on her door instead of tracking Cordelia down. But then he’d run the risk that Buffy would just as soon grab a stake and go knocking on Angel’s door as climb into the front seat of his pickup with him. And revenge isn’t as good if Angel’s too dusty to notice it.
Part of her thinks that too.
She supposes that makes her pathetic, but instead of dwelling on it, she just slides her hand up the knots of Lindsey’s spine like she imagines Darla is doing with Angel.
He rumbles something low in his chest and she feels the vibration against her breasts. His hand slides her shirt up, baring her torso and begins to pick and tug at her jeans but he can’t do much more than that so she helps him out.
They slide down easily enough and he gets his fingers under her panties, making her pant a little. The skin between her belly button and her pubic bone trembles with stimulated nerves and she moves little, moans a little and wishes this was all it took to forget and feel something else besides the cracks in her soul.
He rises between her legs and she undoes his pants as he slides hers down her thighs.
The night isn’t cold but she shivers at the air hitting her bared skin, and inhales the smell of old axel grease and gas stains.
He pauses and looks down at her with unreadable eyes, reaching for the glove box. His pelvis leans into hers and she moans again at the contact.
But before he can reach for what he needs, the truck rocks suddenly, back and forth and Lindsay is thrown to the side, into the steering wheel.
“What the hell?” He rasps, righting himself. She looks past him to the driver side window and a demon’s face appears there, peering in. “Oh my God!”
She scrambles up, trying to get out from underneath Lindsey, to get to her purse, but his legs are tangled with hers and all they do is throw each other off balance even more, twisting around for leverage.
The door groans and creaks and finally, with a dull metallic sound, rips away.
Night air rushes in and Cordelia and Lindsay are pulled out of the cab, and thrown to the ground. Dirt and rocks grind into the skin of her hands and she spits some dust out of her mouth, Lindsey landing beside her with a heavy grunt.
She looks up, taking in the three demons surrounding them.
“This isn’t good,” she mutters, rolling over on her hip and sitting up. She frantically yanks the flaps of her jeans up and pulls her shirt down, desperate for some coverage.
“Ya think?” Lindsey turns incredulous eyes on her as he pulls up his own jeans.
“Silence!” The biggest demon points at Cordelia with a clawed finger. “You! Destroyer of our spawn, you will bring the others!”
She looks up at them, confused, alcohol dulling her ability to think. “Are you sure you’ve got the right girl?” She asks finally. “I don’t remember destroying any…” The demon turns its head and she spies the third eye at the back of its head. “Oh.”
He turns back to her, eyeing her balefully.
“Three are responsible. Three must die.”
He stiffens suddenly, turning to the other two and then they all turn back around and consider her again. “Two are gone, two must be replaced.”
Advancing on her, two of the smaller ones grab her arms and flips her onto her stomach, holding her head between their hands. She tries to fight them but it doesn’t do much good.
“Listen, guys, there’s got to be another way…”
She rolls her eyes at the way Lindsey tries to lawyer his way out of the mess, and wishing like hell the guys were here.
Hell, she’d even take –
A grunt comes from over her head and one of the sets of hands falls away, freeing her to turn her head.
A shadow stands on the top of Lindsey’s truck, darker than the night around him, and her heart squeezes tight, pain and relief vying for space inside her body.
The Skilosh who are holding her let go and she scrambles to a standing position, helped by Lindsey’s hand on her elbow. She makes a run for the stakes in her purse but Angel has the remaining Skilosh in hand before she gets too far, beheading one and then throwing an axe at the one running towards her.
It falls at her feet, still.
Silence is punctuated by her heavy breathing and Lindsey glares at Angel.
Angel looks at her silently, taking in her unbuttoned jeans and Lindsay’s opened shirt.
She glares back, refusing to feel ashamed, knowing he can smell them.
“Are you okay?” He asks quietly.
“No,” she replies. “I’m not.”
She buttons up her pants and walks towards Lindsay’s truck. “Take me home, please.” She throws over her shoulder, walking past Angel like he wasn’t there.
Just like he hadn’t been there for months.
Lindsey grunts an affirmative, and walks around the other side of the truck, getting in with her.
The headlights shine brightly on Angel’s pale face as the truck backs away from him, and Cordelia stares past him, dry eyes unblinking.
Lindsey is pouring his third shot of Southern Comfort when Angel finds him.
The sound he makes when he realizes there’s a garrote around his neck is strangled off, and his feet leave the carpet as Angel jerks up, making the wire dig into the skin of his neck.
The pain, though, is secondary to the vamped-faced demon over his shoulder, snarling at him with a hostility that’s new and old at the same time.
The security in this building sucks, he thinks.
“Hey, Linds,” Angel speaks casually around his jagged teeth but Lindsey isn’t fooled.
“I see you’ve been getting to know my friends,” he continues, dragging Lindsey’s head back.
“Just the pretty ones,” he chokes out, knowing Angel won’t kill him.
The rope jerks tighter.
“Stay away from Cordelia, Lindsey.”
Lindsey tries to turn his head to glare at Angel and only succeeds in tightening the garrote into his flesh.
“What, you want her too? Using Darla isn’t enough for you, you selfish, undead asshole, you have to have Cordelia too?” He chokes the words out, wishing he had a stake, a pencil, a fucking toothpick.
He’d make the sumbitch work.
“Darla isn’t mine, Lindsey, you dumb hick,” Angel says against his neck. “And she isn’t yours either. You’re just gonna have to learn to live with that.” There’s no vindictiveness in Angel’s voice, just understanding, and that’s something Lindsey can’t fight.
He goes still, stops trying to struggle, and waits for the garrote to cut through his flesh, cut his veins, end everything.
Angel leans into him.
“I’m sorry she’ll never love you, Lindsey, and I’m sorry I failed you when you came to me. Sorry you made the wrong choice.”
The pressure on his neck disappears in the blink of an eye and he nearly collapses, reaching out one hand to the table in front of him for support.
“Cordelia,” he says, his voice sandpaper rough.
The vampire pauses at the open front door but doesn’t look back.
“Stay away from Cordelia, Lindsey. Forget her name, forget what she looks like, forget what she feels like. This is the only warning you’ll get.”
Then he’s gone.
She feels him coming like a distant storm, ozone charging her skin everywhere.
When she opens her hung over eyes, she sees him standing over her. “I didn’t invite you in,” she whispers, knowing it doesn’t matter.
He’ll always find a way in.
“I came to say I’m sorry,” he replies, sitting on the edge of her bed.
She sighs, the anger leaving her alone with the hurt and ashes of the last few hours.
“For what, exactly, Angel?” She turns on her side and props her head in her hand, staring at the outline of his wide shoulders. She can’t see his face, but she can hear the regret in his voice. “For being a super-powered jerk for the last two months?” She pauses. “Or for something else?”
He’s still, and she knows he’s not going to make any confessions to her tonight. A fact that hurts her more than she thought she could be.
“Would you have slept with him?” He bends his head before looking at her again. “I mean…if the Skilosh hadn’t interrupted?”
She blinks in the dark, leaning back to stare at the ceiling.
“What do you want, Angel? Reassurance of your place in the scheme of things? You, then everyone else?” She turns her head to stare at the shadow of him. Which was so appropriate because hadn’t he been nothing but a shadow haunting Angel Investigations for a long time now?
“I would have, yes.”
The thrust is clean and quick because she doesn’t want to draw this out any more than she has to, the need to hurt him long past.
Only she thinks she does.
“But – and this is the pathetic part – it would have been about you.” She turns back to the ceiling, staring. “Just like everything else is about you.”
The silence stretches between them and then she hears a rustle of movement.
Angel climbs on the bed and straddles her body over the covers, knees at her hips.
He leans over her and she wonders if this is what Darla saw earlier – his shoulders blocking out everything, closing them in on the bed until there was nothing and no one else left in the world.
Or maybe it’s just her that feels that way.
He presses a hand over her heart, feeling it beat under his palm.
“I wanted to give up tonight,” he whispers in the air above her. “I felt so lost, so cold and alone and hopeless. I tried to –“
She knows what he tried, what he actually did, but he won’t say it. Even now, he won’t say it.
“And then I knew what I was missing.” His fingers curl into her chest, like he’s trying to cup something. “My heart.”
He leans down and kisses her on the mouth, just a peck.
“Is that why you slept with Darla?” She makes the final cut as his lips hover over hers. “Because you realized you missed me?”
It’s not really a question, just a way to bury the knife deeper.
He doesn’t say anything, no stammering or excuses. He just sighs and climbs off her, sits on the edge of her bed again.
“It wasn’t about missing you, Cordelia. It was about trying to lose myself in oblivion.” He turns his head in her direction and his eyes are like pinpricks in the dark. “Everything was so hopeless; I just wanted to lose myself.”
“So why didn’t you come to us, Angel?” She asks quietly. “We’re all about helping the hopeless, or did you forget?”
“Because I forgot how I felt when I was with you.”
“And how did you feel?” she asks, heart hammering.
There’s a moment of silence before he whispers.
She breathes for the first time in months, and moves on the bed, kicking off the covers and taking hold of his shoulders before swinging a leg over to straddle his lap.
He cups her hips, surprise written on his face.
She leans into him, presses her forehead to his.
“Well,” she sighs, voice full of tears. “Duh.”
Angel pulls her closer, arms tight around her.
There’s still so much to work out – where Darla was, whether Gun and Wesley could forgive him, her missing clothes – but for right now, everything is perfect again.