Season of Solace. 73

73:     The Factory, Westside, Sunnydale

“The boys have arrived,” Drusilla clapped with delight. “Wait here,” she instructed and left Cordelia behind with Miss Edith as she ran from the room into another part of the factory.

Cordelia sat motionless for a moment more because she was letting Dru’s little secret sink in than compliance with her wishes. Then it hit her that Angel was really here. He had come for her.

She could hear his voice in the distance firmly demanding that Dru take him to her at once. Spike was there, too, shouting at Angel, telling him to back off. The three of them were all yelling at once until it got really quiet.

Suddenly, Angel appeared, his broad shoulders nearly filling the frame of the doorway, a look of concern and then contrasting relief on his handsome face as he caught sight of her. The tears she had been holding back for the last hour returned to sting her eyes. Bold strides carried him across the room as she shakily rose to her feet only to be wrapped up in his arms the moment he reached her.

“Cordy,” the sound of her name on his lips washed through her like a wave of heat. She leaned into him as Angel slid his hands up her spine and buried his face into the crook of her neck, rubbing his cheek there.

He lifted his head and gave her a funny look. “You smell like Dru.”

Tittering behind them as she walked in with Spike, Drusilla her arm draped through his.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Yeah, well you both seem to enjoy rubbing my neck. Vampire thing?”

Spike pulled out one of the chairs from the table and sat down, his legs sprawled in front of him, crossing his booted feet. He grabbed one of the cookies from the plate and sniffed at it. “Seeing as we’re all taking turns, I’ll have a go,” he offered cheekily, “and that’s not the only thing I’d like to rub.”

Ignoring him, Angel was too busy checking Cordelia out for scrapes and bruises. There were a few minor patches of skin that were already turning bluish-green, but nothing to indicate that she had been seriously injured. Sweeping his hands up and down her frame, he felt her taut flesh fill his palms beneath the soft barrier of the dress she wore just to prove to himself that she was okay.

He bent his head to press his mouth against the pulse point of her throat, rubbing softly, then opening up to scrape his blunt teeth there just resisting the urge to bite down. Angel let out a satisfied grunt when only his scent remained, kissing gently one more time before lifting his gaze to her overly bright eyes.

She kept her arms around him, needing his strength and touch to chase the tears away. Cordelia did not want to cry in front of Spike. That would be too humiliating. It was not his business.

“I want to leave,” she told Angel, her fingers at the nape of his neck, the pads of her fingers stroking at his hair. “Please, let’s go.”

Angel nodded, leaning in one more time, capturing her mouth with his, careless of the audience. Lips and hands clung to her as if he was afraid releasing her would make her disappear. His emotions were still running rampant. The fury he had felt, the fear, his demonic desire to kill anything in his path to get to Cordy, to protect her all swirled inside him. Add to that the untimely lust that made him want to bury his face in her tempting cleavage and Angel was having a hard time letting go.

Sliding his mouth up to her ear instead, he whispered, “Nice dress.”

He was rewarded for the compliment with a hard slap against his shoulder. “Look your fill, buddy, cos you won’t catch me in this get up again.”

Cordelia was actually grateful for the distraction, pushing back the urge to break down and cry. His big hand cupped her cheek, fingers spreading through her hair. She closed her eyes for a moment and just let herself be soothed by his touch, a sigh escaping.

“What is it, Dru?” asked Angel when he sensed her hovering nearby. He gently pulled Cordelia behind him into an instinctively protective stance threading his fingers through hers and clasping her hand.

Edging closer, Drusilla looked a little forlorn over the lack of attention. Angel recognized it instantly and caught Spike’s eye. Unfortunately, he only smirked in return, silently refusing to do anything to stop his sire from doing whatever she wanted.

Angel was not certain what to expect from Drusilla. In the past, she had been jealous to the point of murder taking delight in dealing with anyone that caught Spike’s eye. It was fortunate that Spike was quite loyal to her. Darla’s presence had also sparked jealousy, but his own sire took supremacy over his childe. And Angelus had never been one to let his women rule his existence or control his pleasure.

He wondered about her motives. Somewhere in her tangled web of thoughts and visions, Drusilla was up to something. Angel knew her actions had probably saved Cordy’s life tonight. Despite bringing her here to the one place that Cordelia probably never wanted to return, and dressing her up like one of her dolls, Cordy seemed no worse for it.

Yet, he remained suspicious.

Drusilla’s outstretched fingers came close to Cordelia’s hair, but did not actually touch it. At Angel’s curt warning, her hand paused mid-motion dropping back to her side. “Will you be happy now, my Angel?”

Though he wasn’t 100-percent certain of her meaning, Angel figured it had to do with Cordelia whose hazel eyes he sensed were now focused on him. “You saved Cordy tonight. That deserves some thanks.”

“Yes,” Cordelia agreed. Despite the fact that Dru managed to scare the heck out of her at first, she soon realized that the vampiress had no intention of harming her. Not when it was apparently up to her to make Angel ‘happy’. Hooboy!

That was just something Cordy did not want to think about right now. She wanted to get out of here and find some place to scream for about twelve hours straight, or just let go the tears that were building up.

“Thanks for the rescue,” Cordelia moved so she could see Dru. “It’s been fun. We should hang out again sometime— say in thirty years or so. Angel, let’s go.”

Angel would have asked about the details of Drusilla’s vision just to confirm the fact that the blood she had seen was Bev’s blood, family blood, and not that of Cordelia herself. There was no telling if tonight was the night that Dru saw in her vision, or if the warning was intended for the future.

The firm tug on his hand told him that Cordy was not in the mood for delays. She had been through so much tonight, so Angel decided to let it drop for now. “I need your car keys,” he held out his other hand toward Spike.

“You’ve got a bloody lot of nerve, Peaches,” growled Spike as he reached into his back pocket to pull out the keys to his DeSoto. “I’ll do it because I want you out of here, but I expect it back without a scratch.”

Catching the keys, Angel let out a sarcastic grunt, “You could tell?”

“And we’ll talk about those kittens you owe me!” Spike folded his arms across his chest.

Drusilla pressed a hand to his chest, seemingly missing the entire conversation since her last question. “Don’t you want to be happy?”

Caught off-guard, Angel growled, “Of course I do.”

Spike let out a laugh, turning his attention to Cordelia, leering at the luscious curve of her breasts visible above the low-cut neckline of the dress. “Happiness would be easy with that warm little bit tucked into your bed.”

“Shut up, Spike.” He did not need any reminders of what he could not have. Angel had already been pushed to the limit tonight. Having another vampire’s attention on her right now was not making it any easier to control his instincts. The words just seemed to come out of nowhere, but he meant every one of them, “Just put your fucking eyes back in your head before I rip them out.”

“Ooooh!” Spike laughed in the face of the threat, considering it an empty one. Angel was not about to start a fight here and now with his precious little pet being so vulnerable and in need of consolation. “Too bad your soul is such a stuffed shirt, Angelus. Guess it means you won’t be getting any anytime soon.”

A low rumble started to build up in Angel’s chest, but before it emerged into a growl, Cordelia tugged again at his hand. “Don’t even think about Angelus right now. It’s not an issue. Just get me out of here.”

Slowly, Angel reeled his anger back in. He nodded, “We’ll go.”

Cordelia sighed in relief. The last thing she needed right now was Angel getting into a brawl with Spike. She glanced at Drusilla who was watching her through the veil of her hair as she peeked out from between the shining black strands. The corners of Dru’s mouth curved upward into a secret smile, one that left Cordelia blushing.

Scene 74

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