Category: Angst, smut
Summary: “Don’t make me move you…” A different take on this scene in Reprise…
Spoilers: S2 Reprise- AU
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Please ask first. Thank you.
Notes: This fic was written for, and given personally to Cali. She has decided to share &post it at GT.
Dedication: A Birthday pressie to Califi Who wibbled allll the way thru it, lol
It was dark and stormy night…
Well, it should have been, Cordelia thought with a sigh of disgust. At least that would explain why she was tackling the impossible task of beautifying the crap hole that was the new home of Angel Investigations, instead of going out and allowing Los Angeles to experience the hottie that was herself.
Only her nonexistent social life seemed to be less and less important lately as the helping the hopeless gig took up all of her time. And strangely, she couldn’t find it in her to regret that fact. Ever since her never-ending visions, when the pain of millions had burned through her soul, she’d dedicated herself to this mission of theirs and never looked back.
Well, once she looked back. Once she questioned the wisdom of pursuing a destiny that seemed to be only peripherally her own. As she rushed to the hospital where the last of her only real family lay, possibly dying, she questioned, “Was it all worth this?” “Were they capable of shouldering the duty of a champion?” “Could she live through losing one more person?” And even as her head told her no, her heart told her that she couldn’t abandon the people she saw; the ones whose pain she experienced as if her own..
She couldn’t leave them anymore than Wesley could have that night. And even if it cost her her life; and if nothing changed eventually it would, she knew that she could no longer turn away from the suffering of the world, from the cries that would echo forever in her nightmares.
Some of her nightmares, anyway. The rest were filled with him. The nightly terrors were overflowing with images of him leaving her while she begged him to stay, told him that she needed him, that he was her warrior. When Buffy had come she’d had the same dreams. Of course he wasn’t her champion then, but he and Doyle were all she had. Not just in Los Angeles, but in the world. Her parents had abandoned her; she’d left the pseudo-friends of Sunnydale behind; so the dorky duo had become her world. And when half of that world had been taken, Angel became all of it.
But apparently that feeling was one-sided. No doubt there was too much Buffy in his heart for her to have a place. But Darla had a place also. And that thought made her white-hot anger burn anew. That blonde skank killed him; turned him into everything that he hated in himself. All the actions in his life that needed redeeming could be traced directly back to her.
But did that stop the big dumb jerk? Nooo. Of course it didn’t. He practically went to Hell and back to save her. That thankless slut who’d messed with his mind, made him doubt everything he was just so he would turn her, so she could have back her “boy”. Sure, she was dying, but then hey, who wasn’t nowadays?
And hadn’t that been a kick in the pants. Hearing from the doctor that she was dying. Dying. For his redemption. The redemption he’d so easily discarded when it no longer suited his purposes. The redemption that was steadily draining away her life.
A part of her wondered what would happen if she let him know. Would he care? Would he fight for her like he did for Darla? Would he face unknown trials, risk his life, his soul to save her?
But she knew that she’d never ask. Her heart had shattered so much in the last year that she knew it wouldn’t be the visions that killed her if the answer to her questions was a resounding no.
And so she’d die. But she’d go out fighting. Every vision that chipped away the years of her life was another soul saved. And that meant something. It showed the world that she meant something. That she mattered. That she helped. And these days, that was enough.
So, while Gunn took his turn with Wesley that night, she worked to liven up their tiny corner of hell so that maybe, just maybe they could pretend that things weren’t that bad. That it would all work out. That they hadn’t become the hopeless they were meant to help.
Swallowed by the inky shadows of midnight, Angel watched her. Filling the space around her with tacky, plastic flowers; hanging thin, cheery curtains that did little to hide her from his sight. It was a pointless attempt to rescue from the hands of desolation a place too firmly in its grip. Still she preserved. It was what he loved and hated about her. Her indomitable spirit; her force of will. It was one of the reasons he’d cast her out; cast them all out. But especially her.
Ever since Darla was turned; ever since he realized that the fight with Wolfram & Hart had become a war, he’d known that the only hope he had was to surrender to the demon inside him.
Not Angelus. He hadn’t lost what was left of his soul…yet. But to those instincts inside him; the ones that governed his needs and drives. The ones they would never understand.
They thought that all he fought was bloodlust. That this alone was the struggle endemic to his nature. They couldn’t be more wrong. Vampires had many instincts, and he’d found over the years that the craving for human blood was probably the easiest of these to govern.
But the true struggle was in the need to dominate, to control. A vampire’s power stemmed from his ability to rule those around him, to ensure obedience to his will. It was the main reason that childer were created. A family of those weaker than himself, bound to by his authority greatly strengthened the might of any master vampire. It was a drive that grew the longer a vampire existed and his soul did not exempt Angel from this inherent need.
No, his soul had merely refocused it. After the curse, he’d hidden himself away from people, disgusted with the things he had done. The few times he had allowed himself to forgo that distance disaster had almost always followed and he’d learned well to lock away the need for human comfort.
But then Cordelia had come barreling into his world. She’d connected him to life again. And, over time she’d given him something that had soothed his soul and his demon – a human family. His soul had relished the feeling of closeness that he had lacked for so long, while his demon instincts found an outlet, not in domination, but in protecting what was his. Although he would never have shared this with Wesley or Cordelia, killing Vocah and severing Lindsey’s hand had felt amazing.
It was like a drug induced high to slaughter and maim the scum responsible for daring to injure those under his protection; for harming his family.
And even though he’d driven them away, those instincts still compelled him. In fact, the more he let his demonic nature surface, the stronger he felt about them. He knew they thought that he didn’t want them anymore, but they couldn’t be more wrong. He wanted them now more than anything. He wanted to keep them, lock them away from harm, force them to acknowledge that it was his strength that protected them, that he had every right to demolish their enemies.
He watched them. More often then they knew. That’s how he knew that she would be alone tonight. They thought that he’d abandoned them, but even though he sent them away, they were still his, and some nights the need to burst into their little haven and prove that to them in no uncertain terms was almost more than he could control.
When Wesley had been shot his first priority had been making sure that he would survive. The second had been revenge. Everyone even slightly involved in harming his watcher, every person who had turned a blind eye to the goings on that resulted in the damaging of what was his had suffered. Oh, the soul had reined him in enough to keep him from actually killing anyone, but they suffered. They had all paid the price for crossing him.
The line he walked these days was extremely fine, and he wondered when he would finally step across it. He knew it wouldn’t take much provocation for him to snap. Looking at the sign on the door he smiled darkly. “Angel Investigations”. They probably kept it to be defiant, but instead it had actually postponed what he was fast coming to believe was an inevitable confrontation with what basically amounted to his human childer. By retaining his name, they were, no matter how obliviously, keeping themselves under his protection, under his dominion.
For now, that was enough. At least he hoped it was enough as he crossed the street, bracing himself for the coming reunion with his willful seer.
The sound of the bells as the office door opened was a welcome one to Cordelia. Although they all paid lip service to the belief that business would pick up, each one secretly had their doubts. The thought of a new client was a relief and she turned to greet them, a blinding smile lighting her face.
That smile dimmed and finally faded away as the sight of the large vampire filling the doorway greeted her weary gaze. It was amazing, the contradictory feelings he produced in her lately. The automatic comfort she usually drew from his presence quickly faded to hurt at his continuing rejection of them. Cordelia hated the first response because it was a constant reminder of what he’d taken from her – that feeling of safety, of security, of home. But she loathed the second reaction more. Being hurt meant she still cared, a condition that made her vulnerable, and if there was one thing Cordelia Chase hated being it was weak.
She mentally berated herself once more. Hadn’t she learned this lesson from Xander, from her parents, from Doyle? And even though she knew that last one wasn’t fair, to her mind it was still true. Whether he meant to or not, even Doyle had left her in the end. How she had ever been stupid enough to open herself back up to that kind of hurt again she’d never know, but it had to stop. No more people, no more closeness, no more caring. Wesley was the last of the people she’d ever let into her heart.
Except for him it was off limits. Sure, she cared for Gunn, but she’d learned from her mistakes. She could have affection, but there was no more love in her to spare. And the sooner she discovered how to distance herself from her stupid, no longer warrior the better to her way of thinking.
Just seeing him standing there made her mad, and she embraced the anger like a lifeline. Geez, she was dying for him and he’d left them, threw them out like last weeks garbage. And sure, he didn’t know that her time was slipping away, but that’s because he wasn’t around to tell. He didn’t deserve any tender feelings. All he deserved was her hate, and by God that’s all she was going to give him.
Cold and distant, her voice conveyed the not so subtle message that he had no business being there. Her simmering temper was fast reaching the boiling point as she watched him stride purposefully over to the bookcase as if he had a right to be there, to be anywhere near them.
“Excuse me, but that area is for employees only.” Cordelia bit out as she moved to block his path to Wesley’s dusty tomes.
Not sparing her a glance as he stepped around her, she listened as the dumbass stated the obvious.
“Yeah. You took all the books.”
Of course they took all the books. They were the ones still fighting the good fight. He was just out to destroy Wolfram & Hart and do God knew what to Darla and Drucilla. He hardly needed to read up for either of those destructive pursuits.
“Yeah, well you got the waffle iron.” She snapped back, sliding in front of him and grabbing the book he had just retrieved from his hands.
“Hey! No! You can’t take this. I-I-I’m in the middle of it.” Placing the book back in its spot on the self she picked up the only book she felt they could spare and thrust the Los Angeles yellow pages into his hands. “Here, take this one.”
Not moving from her place between the vampire and the bookshelf, she refused to let her anxiety show as he pressed his body in close to hers, passing right through the boundaries of her personal bubble. Although his voice was low, she had absolutely no problem making out his next words.
“Don’t make me move you.”
Anxiety fled as shock rushed in to fill her. He did not just threaten her. Anger quickly replaced shock at the thought that this man had been her best friend. She’d given him everything she had, everything she was, and he had the nerve to stand there now and threaten her? Over a book??? That was so not happening.
“Pfft.” Cordelia dismissed him in her usual caustic way. “You and what army?”
Her back collided with the bookshelf as, tossing the phone book aside, Angel pressed forward, demolishing what little space remained between them. Leaning in, she felt his cheek brush hers and his words blew into her ear.
“I am the army, Cordelia.”
Whoa, thought Cordelia as she shivered in response. What was that? Ruling out fear as the cause of the tingling in her nerves, her mind shied frantically away from the signals her body was sending her. Sure, she’d found Angel attractive since the moment that she’d laid eyes on him, but those feelings had been eclipsed by friendship and the knowledge that his soul would always be filled with Buffy.
Apparently blondes had an express pass to Angel’s unrelenting devotion. And that thought horrified Cordelia far more than the previous one. Admitting that his closeness aroused her was one thing. That could be easily attributed to the fact that she was a normal, healthy young woman with typical needs that had only been satisfied, and she used that term loosely, once in the entirety of her life. But this other feeling; this jealousy, that signified caring. That indicated emotions she had sworn to herself that she no longer felt for her ex-friend.
Not willing to deal with this while in such close proximity to the vampire in question she retreated behind her wall of safe and comfortable anger. Pushing him back slightly, she reached over for the book, shoving it hard into his chest.
“Here.” Fire burned in the hazel depths of her eyes as scorned practically poured out of her. “I don’t even know what you are anymore.”
The flash of amber that lit his eyes was gone so quickly that she wasn’t sure that she hadn’t imagined it. But what she knew for sure was no trick of the light was casual manner in which he tossed aside the book he’d been so determined to get just seconds before and, regaining the ground she taken with her push, pressed even closer to her, eyes piercing intensely into hers as he responded.
“I’m a vampire. Look it up.”
This was what he needed, Angel thought. This is what had been missing. He wasn’t stupid. He knew that Cordelia had come to Los Angeles because she had nothing to lose. More to the point, she had nothing at all. He and Doyle had become everything to her, and when Doyle was gone all of that attention, all of that loyalty and caring had been transferred solely into his care.
When Vocah had marked her he’d known then that he couldn’t live without that feeling; that he needed it, needed her. She gave him something that he hadn’t had before; she made his existence bearable; at times even enjoyable. Buffy had given him love, but it had been laced with angst and tragedy. He’d been her forbidden romance, at the edge of her life, always destined to be on the outside looking in.
But with Cordelia he had become her life. He knew it and he’d reveled in it. Deeper than even their connection as warrior and seer was this need to be the singular focus of her attention. Even if it was in her anger, he was driven to know that he was still the biggest thing in her world.
Sure, right now he was set on destroying Wolfram & Hart, but that wouldn’t be forever. Eventually he’d defeat them and then he’d reclaim his family. He’d have them back; have her back. And in no way was she allowed to move on in the meantime. He may need to keep them at a distance for now, but her time and energies were his, and she seemed to need reminding of that fact. Or maybe he just needed to remind her. Either way it was a lesson he’d enjoy imparting to the defiant girl.
And for one brief moment he knew he should go, that her anger and his base instincts were too volatile a combination to be contained, but the pull at his need to rule, to command was fast surpassing the common sense that was now a mere whisper from his soul.
And then even that whisper was silenced as her eyes narrowed, and furious, challenging words spilled from her perfect lips.
“How ’bout instead you take your stupid vampire attitude and your stupid vampire self and go back to your stupid vampire girlfriend. I’m sure that blonde skank would lap up your newly embraced outlook on unlife.”
It was odd, but in place of the anger he was sure such words would call forth, he instead found a smile curving his lips. Sensual and dangerous, it was the only outward sign that he had wanted this fight. Maybe he’d even come with that intention in the far reaches of his mind? Who knew? What he did know is that she had once again given him exactly what he needed – an excuse to snap that thin thread of control that had been holding him back.
Bracing his hands against the shelf on either side of her head, he returned his mouth once again to the delicate shell of her ear. Allowing his lips to brush the gentle curve he let his dark and earthy feelings fill the one word he vibrated through her.
Oh My God. The words just kept rushing through her head. She couldn’t be that obvious, could she? Why on earth, of all the times to realize she had these feeling for the big jerk, did it have to be now? Now, when he was way too close, when he was way too observant, when he was being, strangely, way too seductive.
Maybe it was Buffy. Maybe she’d taken these feelings and shoved them down because she knew that nothing would ever come of them. Maybe she just needed some kind of sign from him to bring them springing back to the forefront of her mind.
Well, if that was the case then there was one hell of a sign pressing into her hip at the moment. And while the thought that she wasn’t alone in this sick and unwanted attraction might have made her feel better; instead it made her even angrier. How dare he play with her like this? The thought beat through her as she set about distracting them from the uncharted territory they were fast approaching.
“Look, you wanted the stupid book, I offered it, and you refused. It’s not up for grabs anymore, so why don’t you just toddle off and play your mind games with someone who cares what you think. Nothing in this office – our office is yours anymore, so why don’t you just do us all a favor and take a hike!”
For a moment panic welled up in her as his eyes caught and held hers. This time there was no mistaking the gold that overtook the velvety brown, burning with resolve and barely restrained desire.
The smirk was back as his iron tone seemed to brook no argument.
“Everything here belongs to me. Some “things” are just too dense to recognize that.”
Heat shot through her at the idea of being his; the idea that he considered her his. She shuddered slightly as she wondered what was wrong with her that the thought of belonging to him seemed to thicken her blood and create a pool of warmth between her thighs. She was no slut. She’d only ever been with one man. And even that, she realized in hindsight, had been a desperate attempt to escape her growing yet hopeless feeling for the vampire before her.
She couldn’t understand how those feelings even existed at this point. How could his cruel and thoughtless treatment of her not have killed them in the weeks since he’d discarded them? And yet, there they were. And angry at herself for the weakness, she prepared to lash out at him.
It was strange. Cordelia could see, quite clearly, that he wanted her to argue. He was goading her into a fight; plainly lighting the fuse on what he knew to be her explosive temper. And yet, even knowing that she couldn’t stop her automatic response to his ridiculous and egotistical claim.
Laughter bubbled up within her and she let it overflow as she refuted his remark.
“Dense describes only one person here, although arrogant and insufferable have to follow close behind.”
And the thread was broken.
His true features rippled briefly over his face as her words sunk in. In the short time he’d been there she’d refused his request, insulted him, denied feelings that were completely obvious, and now she rejected his place as the head of their little family.
Her dismissal infuriated him; it inflamed his senses; and it hardened him to the point of pain as her words came coated in the scent of her unwilling arousal. That fragrance flooded the air around him ’til he could taste it with every breath he purposefully pulled into his lungs.
His submersion into his vampiric instincts had magnified his need to dominate those around him, and nowhere was that drive more prevalent then here, now, with Cordelia. They threw around the word family, never truly understanding what it meant to a creature such as himself. And because of his soul he had suppressed those needs. But the tender ministrations of the soul were no longer the ruling force, and his head was filled with the other side of “family” life. The vampiric side; rife with lust and sexuality, with burning days of passion and endless nights of pleasure.
And while normally, even with the demon this close to the surface he could control these urges, knowing the she, no matter how reluctantly, wanted him too, freed him from his self-imposed restraints and gave him leave to indulge his needs – to seize, to own, to possess.
He was startled out of his thoughts by a faint rumbling sound, surprised to realize that it was coming from him. The press of her warm soft body, the taste of her on his tongue, and the thoughts of the delights he’d teach her tonight combined to produce a gentle purring that vibrated through him.
He could see the wary light return to her eyes at his reaction to her taunts. He knew that she expected his anger, not the obviously sexual response she was receiving. Wondering what her answer would be to the apparent intent in every straining muscle of his hardened form he simply stared down at her; his amber eyes refusing to release her worried gaze.
“You should get out of here while you can. Gunn will be back any minute.”
Angel silently question whether she understood that her threats would be far more effective without the slight quaver in her voice. Not that she needed to learn to deliver threats. She was under his protection, and if anyone needed threatening in her life that was not only his job, it was his pleasure – as a number of young men had learned after the Warren Christopher debacle. He hadn’t wanted Cordelia to be alone or unhappy at the time, but he found that he didn’t like the thought of men’s hands touching her.
And although he knew that Christopher had been her first, so she could in no way be considered easy, he couldn’t help shake the need to ensure that the opportunity never presented itself again.
At the time he attributed his feelings to the genuine concern that one of the few people he’d ever cared about not be hurt once more. But standing here now, crushing her body into his, he realized that his feelings had run far deeper than that. Oh, the concern had been legitimate; but the nameless force that had driven him to trail discreetly behind her and her dates, waiting until they’d left her for the evening before issuing the terrifying warnings that ensured they would never approach his stunning seer again, that was jealousy, possessiveness, the beginnings of obsession.
They were feelings that belonged to the side of his nature he’d now freed, and they poured over the captive brunette in a way they hadn’t touched another in years.
He’d loved Buffy. But as much as those feelings had been real, they’d only been generated by half of his being. And as long as his soul had been in place, he’d been careful never to let this side of his nature touch her. Even when the soul had fled his obsession with her had never been accompanied by the passion, the sense of ownership, the jealousy that Cordelia and her place as the most treasured of his family engendered in him.
A deep chuckle replaced his purr as he listened to her bluff. He’d made absolutely sure that there’d be no interruptions by the newest member of their little gang tonight. He wondered if maybe he’d somehow sensed the inevitability of what he now knew would be the conclusion of this night’s events.
“And here I thought this was Gunn’s night to keep the vigil at Wesley’s bedside. He certainly seemed to be settling in for the night, earlier.”
The anxiety that Cordelia had covered with anger was rapidly returning as tiny tendrils of fear slid up her spine to curl around her heart. He knew. He had been watching. How else could he be so confident about Gunn’s whereabouts? The thought that he’d planned this, to be alone with her tonight, shook her more than anything else that had happened so far. It spoke to premeditation, to a dangerous intent; it painted a grim picture of a stalker-like mentality that, given recent circumstances, she didn’t understand.
Well she wasn’t just going to stand there and let obsesso vamp push her around. Okay, she thought with a mental eye roll, unless she developed superhuman strength in the next thirty seconds she was going to have to stand there, but she’d be damned if she’d do it silently. She was Cordelia Chase, and she refused to be silenced by some wayward pervy feelings – his or hers.
“Don’t you have places to be, the undead to stalk? I’d hate to cut into important things like your psycho lawyer killing time.”
As she watched the muscles of his face tighten, she could feel that action mirrored throughout his whole body where it pressed so intimately against her own. A growing rage was simmering in the amber depths of his eyes and although the part of her brain charged with survival pleaded with her to cower, her spirit, the essence that made her the fighter that she was couldn’t surrender and so, could not relinquish the only weapon in her arsenal – her voice.
Cordelia had always been a master in the weaponry of words. Her parent’s emotional abandonment had begun far earlier than their physical desertion, and she’d learned early to create a safe distance between herself and people she could actually learn to care for. It was the reason that she’d made Harmony her best friend and perpetually pushed away Xander and Willow. And in retrospect hadn’t that been the right decision.
As soon as she’d let them in she’d begun to care. They were the kind of people it was impossible to feel nothing for, and whether they believed it or not, she was the kind of person who found it difficult not to feel. And what had happened? Once she decided it was safe to love, that things didn’t always go bad, a lovely piece of rebar reminded her not to take lightly her childhood lessons.
And so she went back to her ways. Oh, not completely; still, she rebuilt her walls as best she could. But vulnerability had caught up with her once again and when Angel rescued her from certain death she’d taken it as a sign that maybe he was safe enough, maybe he could be trusted with her affections.
Well she’d learned this lesson yet again. And this time she’d make sure it stuck. On the bright side, at least it hadn’t taken impalement. But God, it felt like it had.
And that brought a rage to her eyes that met and surpassed the vampire’s.
“Look” she snarled as much at her weakness as at him. “Take the damn book and go. We don’t need it – just like we don’t need you.”
What the hell was with him, she wondered as the palpable desire flowing from him seemed to increase tenfold and a sinister yet seductive expression settled on his face. This was supposed to be driving him out of here in a fit of rage. It certainly wasn’t meant to egg him on. And yet that was exactly what it seemed to be doing as he leaned impossibly closer until no sliver of space was left between them. Her face was pressed into the wool-covered expanse of his sweatered shoulder as his head came to rest on hers. She could feel him turn his face into her hair as he audibly pulled her scent into his lungs.
Shock held her immobile as hands that had previously caged her against the bookcase slid onto her shoulders, leaving trails of fire in their wake as they skimmed over the soft fabric of her flimsy blouse and, crossing came to rest on the curves of her waist.
It was odd how every time she believed they were as close as two beings could be; he proved her wrong by maneuvering them into even greater contact. This was no exception as his hands clenched and the obviously aroused vampire settled himself in the cradle of her hips.
Her wispy skirt and delicate lace underwear were in no way a barrier to the large shaft pressing firmly into her rapidly heating core. And even knowing the wrongness of this situation, she couldn’t stop the dampness that was beginning to gather in reaction to his nearness. Whether due to the bond between warrior and seer, or simply because he had protected her for so long, on some basic level deep inside her, her body recognized his strength as necessary to her well being and responded to it in all of its forms. The fact that its manifestation now was accompanied with forebodingly erotic undertones merely called forth and answering desire in her own body.
Although the words he spoke came from somewhere above her head, she didn’t hear them so much as felt their growl reverberating through his chest and pushing into her own.
“I think, Cordelia that you need me much more than you’re willing to admit.”
There was no mistaking that Angel was no longer talking about whether their little group needed him to fight. No, his words burned with passionate intent, and overflowed with the confidence of his assertions. But then he would be confident, ’cause hello, vampire senses, she thought with self-disgust at the fact that she couldn’t keep her unwanted response hidden from him.
Feelings of all shapes and sizes bombarded Cordelia and in desperation she began to struggle against the muscled form that imprisoned her. Frustrated as he toyed with her, letting her gain a precious few inches before dragging her back into alignment with his straining erection in a rough parody of sex, she fought to deny what they were both feeling.
“Pfft. In your sicko dreams, buster.”
As far as insults went, it probably would have been far more effective had it not been said in such a breathless, quavering voice, but at this point she was just glad she retained the ability to speak. An ability that was fading quickly at the vampire’s seductive reply.
“And not in yours, Cordelia?”