Title: Every Breath She Takes
Category: Angst, smut
Summary: This is in response to Impress‘s Challenge, see below for details. I’ve made this set in S3 AU – No Pregnant Darla hence no baby, No Holtz, No Groo, WITW happened but Angel chickened out of telling her rather than Groo turning up. Birthday didn’t become part demon, still having vision headaches
Spoilers: S3 AU
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Thanks/Dedication: Thanks to Impress for the lovely challenge I hope you liked the result
Feedback: makes the difference.
Cordelia carefully applied the finishing touches to her lipstick and then stood back from the vanity to check out her make-up. Turning sideways she checked for lines or blotches and finding none; gave a huge dazzling smile and flicking back her hair, practiced her flirtiest look.
“Hmmm, no that one’s too obvious even for Mr Can’t-see-what’s-in-front-of-his- face”. Sighing she straightened her face and tried again, with less wattage but tilting her head a little to one side.
“Perfect that should do it” the little tilt made her hair fall to one side and teasingly revealed the curve of her neck. If that didn’t grab a vampire’s interest, nothing would. Walking through her bedroom she grabbed a pair of earrings off the bedside table and then, remembering perfume, pulled a face and raced back to the bathroom to squirt a little between her breasts.
“Not too much or he’ll probably choke and not in a complementary way”. She smiled wryly to herself and then standing in the middle of the bedroom again stood uncertainly in front of the full length mirror to eye her outfit doubtfully.
“Dennis, what to do think, too tight”? She cupped her hands over her ass, revealed in the rather tight black pants she was wearing. Not in the least hidden by the short, almost military style of her fitted shirt, which was black too but flecked with metallic gold hints that brought out her fabulous hazel eyes.
Dennis being a ghost could answer only by reaction and the light switch was flicked on and off twice, signalling out and out approval.
“Thank you, Sweetie” she said warmly, meaning it and giving him a bright smile full of gratitude for the confidence boost.
“Though why I should need a confidence boost is something I need to have a talk with him about. I mean, Geeze I’m a hottie aren’t I? Would it hurt him to at least look like he wants to kiss me again”?
The door went and she jumped in the middle of her growing tirade, she took two deep breaths and making sure she let the second one out slowly for maximum effect, went to answer it.
“Hi, you’re just on time for a change what- did Fred set an alarm for you”? Cordy winced internally. Wow, she couldn’t even let him in the door without taking a cheap shot.
Angel just shrugged and walked past her, accidentally brushing his leather clad arm over her breasts as he did so and only catching on when she blushed a fiery red, was quick to apologise. She brushed it off with a cheery smile and a casual wave.
“It’s Okay, Angel really, not to mention it’s probably the only touching they get these days”.
Then embarrassed to have let that much slip out, she asked him to wait a while she got her jacket and purse. Once she’d gone to fetch them from her bedroom it was Angel’s turn to let out a breath. Close call, another one and it was getting to the point where they were a daily occurrence.
He forced his mind away from the burning image of really touching Cordelia’s breasts and ignored the taunting of that inner voice – not the conscience, the other one. Ever since the trip to the ballet, or even earlier if he was going to brutally honest, that part of him had not let up about wanting to do things with Cordelia that no ‘friend’ would even think about, let alone fantasise about, constantly.
“Tonight is such a bad idea” he muttered and wished he could just turn around call out there was an emergency and disappear- away from the increasing temptation she represented. Don’t be such an Asshole, just control yourself for a night for chrissake. Like self-control was something he wasn’t already abundantly familiar with. Mind you controlling his bloodlust sometimes seemed a piece of cake in comparison to controlling…?
Lust, need, possessiveness– maybe even love ?
“Ready”? There she was again, his temptation and this time, given his thoughts he couldn’t prevent his eyes from straying where they shouldn’t. Damn, she had such a fine ass. His palms itched as he watched her walk through the door he’d automatically opened or her.
Sucking in another deep unnecessary breath, he closed his eyes, counted to ten and followed her down the corridor to the waiting car.
TAKING HER OUT
The movie hadn’t been that bad, at least it was something other than foreign pornography anyway and since she’d point blankly refused to follow Fred’s example and see an oldie with him, he’d let her pick. After all going to the movies was her idea.
He’d been sitting in the garden at the back on one of the stone benches, enjoying the night, star filled sky and letting the drift of the scented flowers tease his nostrils. Peace had reigned- until she came outside to join him.
“Angel”, she’d started out with that cajoling voice. The one that always gave him a sinking feeling of being done for, beaten down and ready to give up before she’d even asked for what she was after.
He’d heaved a sigh and forcefully blanked his expression, smoothing out any signs of melting on his face. He’d even considered not answering her, but known it would be a waste of time, she knew he was there anyway.
“No”, hey it was worth a shot.
“I haven’t asked yet” she replied breezily not in the least discouraged, she knew him too well by now and sometimes it was a curse. Like now. Or did she?
She’d stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. A leg turned out while she twisted one foot and smiled down at him, carefree, utterly confident and trusting. She had no idea how much of a struggle it was not to stare at her long legs, showcased by the short skirt or her full breasts, with the nipples now tightly budded from the night breeze. His mouth had watered at the sight and he’d jerked his eyes away to stare blindly at something, anything else.
He’d been forced to shift on the seat, surreptitiously adjusting his pants to hide the thickness that bulged at his groin. feeling fiercely glad she didn’t have eyesight like his. Then he’d looked back up at her and been mesmerised by the soft, uncertain expression on her face.
It was that that did him in, whatever she wanted, she was going to get.
So that was how he’d ended up taking her to the movies, because as she’d put it: since she didn’t date it was up to him to go with her so she could see a movie on the big screen.
He didn’t really see that much of it, except for the day time scenes which naturally caught his eye simply because it was a novelty to allow himself to be drawn in by those. He was too busy concentrating on the woman next to him. Not that he had much choice in the matter since he could hardly sit a few seats down and this close, her scent enveloped him.
Not the perfume she’d used but the musk that was hers alone, the individual scent that to his sensitive senses screamed of her being a warm living woman and one that, either fortunately or unfortunately his demon wanted every bit as much as the soul did.
When he thought about it, which was constantly, he realised that was why he was struggling with resisting its demands. Usually, its wants were directly opposed to his soul, the driving force that he clung onto with every vestige of sense that he had. But in this, they both wanted the same and the fight was doubly hard because of that simple fact.
Of course this rare agreement went only so far. The demon wanted possession in every way both natural and unnatural, while the soul – Okay as much as he hated, it wanted possession too. So, he’d never claimed to be a saint when he was human. But the soul at least was willing to settle for friends- friends was good, less heartache.
Her hand brushed his as she dipped daintily inside the popcorn barrel he was holding, to rummage around like she was searching for hidden treasure. The cardboard pressed down on his lap as she ferreted around looking, purely by touch, for the most succulent piece to pop in her mouth, or at least he’d thought so, until he’d found her grinning cheekily at him as she pressed it to his own lips.
“Open wide” she’d whispered and of course he heard every word as clear as bell.
Cordelia enjoyed the look of shock on his face when she pressed the sweet nugget of popcorn to his lips. Her fingers brushed the soft skin and she felt a flush rise up as memories of having those full, sensually curved lips pressed to hers rushed back.
He hadn’t just kissed her lips on that night either, but all the way down her body and ever since then, when she went to sleep, she dreamt that he’d reached the spot that he’d been heading towards. Possessed they both were at the time, but it made no difference to her now. She wanted him in her bed or her to be in his bed, whatever, it didn’t matter.
So long as she got to feel that again, for real this time. She wanted him – and really, who could blame her? He was gorgeous, handsome, huge, or okay pretty big- all over, which she’d checked out on more than one occasion over the last few weeks and heroic and big, had she already mentioned that?
Yes, she could happily admit now he was drool worthy stuff. Not that she’d ever thought otherwise. It’s just she’d become blind to it a long time ago and only recently seen the light again. So what if he was a demon, or ‘manpire’ as she preferred to think, rationalising she knew, but hey it if works for me, it wasn’t like your average Joe could handle her lifestyle anyway.
“Erm Cordy” he started to say, eyeing her strangely. His sinfully dark eyes full of confusion and wariness.
“Oh c’mon, Angel you can handle a little popcorn can’t you”? She loved it when he gave that look, his eyebrows sort of curved up above his nose and eyes and it gave him a strangely vulnerable look. Totally at odds with his usual aloof or broody expression.
“Okay we’ll share” she offered and bringing it to her lips, bit it in half and then re-offered it to him with an engagingly wide and challenging smile.
They both forgot the film, flashing in front of their turned faces as he took the proffered titbit from her fingers with his teeth. He chewed mindlessly, not tasting the sweetness of the sugar, just the miniscule part of her on it that teased his demon with the promise of more.
“Want some more”? She asked him huskily, transfixed by the hot lights that flickered in his eyes, when as if by a trick of the light, they flashed topaz. Then she blinked utterly confused when a harsh voice intruded on their little oasis.
“Hey, do you two want to pipe down, we paid good money to watch this movie”.
Violence isn’t an option, Angel repeated it several times, like a chant but couldn’t prevent a low rumbling growl, followed by a menacing look full of retribution towards the offender.
After the movie had finally finished, during which Angel had been tortured by an almost unbearably strong awareness of her every move. They decided they needed to walk off the fidgets and set off for a stroll.
Not even thinking about the night chill, Cordelia had left her jacket in the car, but rather than give up on the idea she simply hugged her arms and chose to ignore it. That was until a heavy leather duster found itself draped over her arms and laughing she tucked her arms into the sleeves, not even trying to pretend she wasn’t cold as she snuggled inside the heavy coat.
“What- was I turning blue or something”? She asked with a twinkle in the hazel depths of her eyes.
“Or something” he replied tossing her a lopsided smile as they ambled along the tarmac surface of the sidewalk beside a mini carnival. They dodged a candyfloss seller. Cordelia with a politely refusing smile, Angel with a look of horror tossed at the pink fluff that supposedly passed as something edible.
He looked uncomfortably around the crowds of youngsters and aggravated parents. Memories tripping through his mind of similar sights from an earlier life, only then the laughter and smiles had always ended in tears, pleading and finally choked screams.
“Hello, earth to Angel – you maybe wanna come back to the 21st” She waved a hand a few inches from his face, immediately drawing his attention back to her, “Deal was no brooding remember”, she was smiling at him but her eyes held a wealth of knowledge and more than a little impatience.
“Right” he pulled back his wandering thoughts and looked longingly towards a more deserted pathway over the way.
Cordelia sighed heavily and by now more than familiar with his way of going silent and haunted looking when he was brooding over his evil past, grabbed hold of his hand and dragged him, not protesting towards the less crowded sidewalk that curved around and towards a now closed park.
“Is that better now Mr Sociable. I don’t get it, how come the movies is OK, but a little carnival isn’t”?
“No movie theatres back in the day” he answered simply, keeping hold of her hand and hoping that she wouldn’t think to pull away.
“Oh Okay, I get that” she replied lightly, keeping her hand still in his and hoping he wouldn’t notice that she hadn’t pulled free.
They skirted the park wall and found a comfortable spot to lean over and look down on the dark greenery below them, spot-lit from inside. Cordelia leaned over it as it was only waist height to get a better look at the pretty picture the amber glow made against the green foliage of the mixed trees and shrubbery.
Suppressing an urge to grab hold of her in case she leaned too far, he propped a hip against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes were fixed to her face, glowing with a youthful beauty even in the darkness. His scrutinising gaze took in the more relaxed set of her face and the lack of dark circles under her eyes.
“Your feeling better”? He asked her with an undertone of anxious query in his deep voice. She gave him a sideways look and raised a questioning brow, a quizzical look on her face.
“You look- less tired” he clarified and then turned so that his arm rested on the wall next to hers. “Are the headaches all gone now”? He watched for her reaction and frowned heavily when she hesitated before tossing him a casual smile.
“Sure, all gone” she could tell he’d caught the hesitation and cursed silently, “I haven’t had a vision in over 10 days” she reminded him, facing him fully now and keeping her eyes locked to his, the expression in them direct and clear. She was getting better at lying and hated it. But what other option did she have? Tell him everything and then standby while he pushed her away for her own good. No way was she gonna let that happen.
“I’m Okay, Angel” she insisted and injected an angry note in her voice, when he continued to frown at her with those penetrating dark eyes narrowed by the lowered brows.
She leaned back over the wall and pretended a renewed interest in the scenery, anything to get away from that strangely hypnotic look on his intent face. “I’ve been offered an audition for next week” she told him to change the subject, a standard ploy that had always worked before.
He sighed and let her change the subject. But come what may and even if he had to hold her down, they were going to have a no holds barred talk about her health, and pretty damn soon too.
“Good for you, when is it”? He’d have to make sure he or one of the others was available to take her, especially after that last one with the asshole of a director giving her a hard time. He could still vividly remember the urge to throttle the little shit.
“I’m not going” she told him with a hint of ‘gotcha’ in her voice.
He gave her the surprised look she was due and caught the impish look on her face. She wanted to tell him something, a smile twitched his lips. This was a new tactic for Cordelia and he was intrigued, normally she’d just spit it out whether he wanted to hear it or not.
This was her cue and she knew she had to get it just right. She couldn’t just let her tongue run away with her like it sometimes did around him. She had to explain some of her reasons without giving away the real one. Which was that she didn’t want to waste what time she had left running after acting jobs she didn’t want. She wanted to spend it with him and her adopted family, doing the work they were doing together.
“Because I’ve made the decision that I don’t want to act. I like the gig I’m doing now – vision girl is more than enough to keep me occupied”. She said it lightly but firmly, like she’d practiced.
“Angel” she interrupted him, knowing he was going to object to her giving up her ‘dreams’. “This is no hardship for me- it’s what I want so just say Okay, OK”.
“Okay” he replied with another of his lopsided smiles that recently gave her the strongest urge to lean over and plant a smacking kiss on the lips.
There was something else to this, he just knew it , something else to corner her about when he figured out a way to get her to open up to him. His gaze sharpened when he caught her eyes on his lips and he felt a wave of dizziness wash over him. It was a few seconds before he realised he was leaning over, closer with his lips tingling in anticipation of the touch of hers. He jolted back and watched her eyes widen in shock and then a flush bloomed over her soft cheeks.
“Cordy” he tried to catch her hand when she pushed herself away from the wall.
“I’ll be right back, just need to freshen up.” She called back over her shoulder without turning around. “I think I saw a public restroom just back a little”.
Dammit, dammit, dammit- way to rush your fences Cordy. Her feet felt like lead in her stylish pumps and the ground swished under them as she raced away from him before she really tripped herself up or something else equally embarrassing. Am I wrong thinking he’s over Buffy? He certainly seemed to be, and I’d know if he was still pining over her, wouldn’t I?
Then she started to get angry and welcomed it, Geeze, what a guy, can’t even kiss a girl in the moonlight and they called him a skirt chaser back in the day? Pfft, must have been the other way round- big Dork. She wasn’t watching where she was going and ran into the something hard and unyielding, standing directly in her path.
“Oomph” Cordelia, staggered back a little and her face shot up. Her eyes narrowed when she took in the dark shadowy figure she’d almost mown down. She swallowed her impulsive apology when she realised he must have seen her coming. “Hey ever heard of moving to the side, ya know saves on being barrelled over by angry females”.
“Not at all, My Dear. Why would that bother me at all, when I enjoyed having your body on mine so very much”? The smooth silky tones were chilling, but it was the flash of fangs that really made her face drain of all colour. Oh CRAP!.
“Creepy much? Am I supposed to be afraid of the low scary voice?” She backed away anyway and prayed Angel wasn’t far behind her.
“I’ve been watching you, what happened, did you give Angelus the slip? I’ll have to tell him he’s lost his edge”. The vampire laughed, obviously delighted at the idea.
Angelus? Oh great another visit from an old ‘friend’“You so have it wrong Asshole, and he’s right behind me so you’d better get lost” It ignored her and carried on coming, slowly- stalking her .
“Oh gimme a frickin break here, like I’m really gonna give you the thrill of a chase, Loser”. She sneered, injecting as much scorn as she could into her voice. Her hand reached out to push back a branch that brushed against the top of her hair. She stopped retreating and let the vampire get closer.
Then she let it go to twang back in his face, his hand came up to ward off the sharp twigs and she set off back the way she’d come, yelling at the top of her lungs. “Angel”.
Angel hadn’t moved from the wall, too busy dealing with two emotions that resulted from the near kiss and her quick escape. One was easy and familiar, which was tamping down the need that had arisen inside him to taste her, deeply and with all of the tenderness and love he could offer her. The other was sharper, far more defined and much less easy to subdue as the demon howled to give chase, finish what he’d started and not stop with just a kiss.
When he heard her scream his name, his head whipped and he was running before the command to do so had fully registered. He heard her breathing not far ahead, harsh and whimpering. He raced forward and increased his speed, darting around bushes and avoiding low hanging branches, taking a shortcut through the landscaping and following the sounds of..feeding.
Horror flooded him, followed by an all consuming rage. Who dared to touch her? whoever they were they were dust. He refused to even consider the fleeting thought that he might not make it in time.
He burst onto the scene and didn’t slow down but launched himself towards the black clothed figure, which was crushing a dazed and almost unconscious Cordelia to him as he fed on her blood.
The rage coursed freely throughout his body and exploded inside his head as he vamped out and snarling viciously, his hands gripped the other vampires face. Twisting sharply his grip made the fangs disengage from Cordelia’s throat. Before the other vampire could recover he raised his right arm and backhanded it.
He’d put all of his considerable strength into that blow and the vampire staggered back before it could stop itself. Cordelia dropped to the ground between them. Angel stepped over her so that his body stood over hers, protecting her and staring at the familiar face before him.
“You shouldn’t have done that, Daniel”. Angels voice dripped with menace and his hands clenched and unclenched with the force of the hatred that flowed so freely now.
“Well, well Angelus, we meet again. I missed you in Venice, what, must be over a century and half ago now”. The other vampire eyed him cautiously and wiped blood away from its mouth, only some of it was Cordelia’s.
“Who’s counting, but don’t worry we’ll catch up soon. Expect me”.
The darker, twisted demonic side of him wanted to end this now. But Daniel was no ordinary vampire either and the fight could go on longer than Cordelia could afford. But the reckoning would come- he would make sure of it.
“What is she to you? You never used to be such a sore loser Angelus. Share and share alike remember, there’s plenty where that came from”. The vampire features melted away to leave a dark, husky face with heavy brows and the hooked nose of someone who had once been of Jewish extraction- at least before the demon had claimed the body.
“She’s mine, nobody touches her but me” he hadn’t even thought about that answer, at least the soul hadn’t. That had come from the demon, but he didn’t care- right then it was all too true.
“Really, how unusual of you Angelus, quite novel come to think of it. However, I must point out the lack of a bite so you’ll have to forgive me for leaving mine there”. It smirked at him and he almost forgot the need to get aid for Cordelia as the demon squirmed and raged to be let loose.
The creature laughed and bowed before backing away, melting into the dark shadows, entertained and willing to leave Angelus to see to his pet.