Title: Sleeping with Tigers
Category: humour, growing romance. very slushy/silly in parts, but meh.
Summary: Cordelia is suffering from insomnia, and she receives an offer she cannot refuse. ~ Cheesy fluff, I know, but dairy is unfortunately my limit. *g*
Spoilers: S1 just after TSiLA
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: Cos I can’t be bothered with finding a way, I decided that Willow closed the loophole, but B/A still didnt work as at the end of the day, B couldn’t get over Aus, or the fact that Angel was a vampire. It is unrealistic to many that Angel and Cordelia could develop in this timeline, but it’s purely a fluffy, hopefully funny fic, and if you are looking for perfection- don’t bother reading my fics. 😉
Thanks/Dedication:Big thanks to Frazi & Scorch for talking me into this, and their support in helping me and encouraging me in my effort to be able to write again. and DamnSkippy for my faboo ficpic,Love you all, mwah! & licks.
Yet one more night of crappy insomnia- just great! Cordelia dragged her strained eyes from the ceiling above her bed and groaned at the relentless ache behind her lids.
How long could this go on? The guys were already looking at her weirdly and if they didn’t stop asking how she was, Cordy swore she’d either commit hare Kari or stab one of them to death…. a wooden object for her resident vampire; splinter him to death maybe?
Well, she couldn’t lie here all day, and Wes would no doubt be around in a little while- maybe a few gallons of coffee and a brain enema would help? With this in mind, Cordy threw back the covers and dragged her tired body out of bed. Sneaking a peek round the door, she was glad to find dark and seriously broody was nowhere in sight.
“You’re up early.” Damnit!. Cordy swiveled on her heel and turned to face the shadow that detached itself from the corner of her lounge.
“Sleep well?” he asked all nonchalant as he was wont to do and she grinned her widest smile, which made him almost flinch with the brightness of it.
“Like the proverbial log, Angel,” her smile dimmed a little at the instant narrowing of those too-dark eyes; eyes that could suck you in and make you pray for rescue…. or not- so not going there, she thought with a gulp.
“You still look a little tired and it’s pretty early; why not grab a few more hours,” he suggested, his face a nice shade of blank. He did it sooo well.
Turning back to the kitchen with a noticeably straighter spine, Cordy walked in and switched on the light. “I’m not tired! I went to bed early last night, what with no visions to slice ‘n’ dice my brain,” she kept her voice light, not bothering to turn around as she knew he’d followed her in, like a sentinel that never took a vacation.
“Coffee? Or the red stuff?” Reaching above for the cabinet door, she nearly jumped out of her skin when a large pale hand got there first. “Will you stop doing that?” she groused, now aware that he stood directly behind her and swearing blind he was out to wear her down and tell him all. Well, he had another think coming!
“It’s only been two weeks, so naturally you’re still going to feel a little shaken, Cor”
Cor? the shortening of her name by the usually stoic vampire had her spinning round- then regretting the move as her unbound breasts under her thin T-Shirt brushed against his hard chest. His staying in her apartment offer seemed to be coming back to bite her – in a way she’d never have thought possible. Well, not since finding out in sunnyhell that he wasn’t human, anyway. that had kinda squished her crush instantly.
But things had changed after she’d bumped into him in LA. Got to know him and looked beyond the surface…
It had to be a form of cabin fever. Had to be. Snapping her mouth shut, she lifted her hands and pushed…. Mount Etna had nothing on this wall of rock! “Angel! Human. Need to breath here,” relieved when he finally stepped back.
“And please stop with the mother hen routine. DiD I’m definitely not,” she told him with tilt of her chin before turning back to the worktop.
“DiD?” and if he didn’t move forward again! Had he ever heard of a personal bubble?
“You know; Damsel in Distress- and this kitchen? Not exactly big on space” hoping he hadn’t picked up on the slight hitch of her breath. “So go sit or something.” Flicking a quick look over her shoulder, Cordy blew out a silent sigh of relief to find he’d moved.
As she prepared the coffee and blood, Angel sat back and observed the brunette silently.
He would have had to be blind not to have noticed the dark shadows that grew daily under his Seer’s eyes, and he knew he was crowding her. He knew because it was deliberate.
Cordelia Chase was not sleeping. Ever since that gut-wrenching two days of endless visions, she hadn’t slept much at all. Her refusal to talk to them – him, hurt a lot. So all he had left was his inherent intimidation tactics. Aware that most humans hated to be crowded; especially his seer, it turned out to be a bonus.
Soon, she’d crack, and when she did, he was prepared to pick up the pieces and soothe her pretty little ass off. He could do that. And no, there were no ulterior motives at all – couldn’t a friend be there for another friend?
Forget that. Cordy was the family he no longer had.
It had taken nearly losing her for the vampire to realize just how important she was in his life – and nothing would ever get in the way of that again. So into his thoughts, Angel missed the quiet approach of the woman in question, actually jumping a little at the soft thud of a mug being placed in front of him.
“Wow! I’m gonna mark this down in my Book of Amazing Feats.” She grinned, plopping herself in the seat opposite him. “Me making you nearly lose your skin. Now you know how it feels, maybe you’ll not do it to me, hmm?” with a pointed lift of a nicely arched brow, Cordy lifted her mug to take a sip.
Always smiling. No matter what you threw at her, she eventually came with that delicious megawatt smile that turned men into puddles of mush. And made vampire’s like him want to keep her forever…beautiful breasts and all. Bad thoughts, Angel. Although, to be fair, it was her fault for reminding him intimately of that fact lately, what with sharing the same living space, which lead to regular sights of her parading round in night clothes. Casual they may be, but giving adequate cover? That would definitely be a no.
“Hello? Earth to Angel. Are you brooding?” Cordy asked with amusement, waving a hand in front of his preoccupied. face.
“No, I’m just…” He attempted to think of a reply that wouldn’t get her back up.
“Brooding. Yeah, I get that. Gotta do at least ten hours a day of it, huh?” Cordy ignored the warning look he threw her way and giggled softly into her coffee.
“Still having nightmares?” his blunt question threw her for a loop and for a moment she floundered like a fish on land.
“What? I don’t have nightmares any more. Have to sleep to-” uh oh. That’s right, Miss foot-in-mouth! Angel instantly leaned forward, his mouth set in a thin line.
“I knew it.” his tone was as dark as his handsome face right now, and Cordy gulped a little before leaning back in her chair.” Suddenly she felt like a butterfly squirming on a pin.
“I am so sleeping! I just meant…” she trailed off wracking her brains for a way to turn her words around.
“I just meant like-like – that log I was telling you about! Logs don’t dream, do they?” she pulled out a special smile- the smile of ‘you just gotta believe me so you forget what I said’.
Crappity crap! It wasn’t working.
“Why didn’t you tell me, Cordelia?” Uh-oh, back to the full name; that did not bode well.
“It’s no biggie,” hiding behind her coffee cup worked for all of five seconds, until his hand reached out and took it away. Her bottom lip pooched out, but the vampire wasn’t swayed.
“It is a biggie as you so nicely put it” he replied with a hint of steel in that rich deep voice, and she cringed inwardly. “The visions take a lot out of you, and lack of sleep will only add to it. You should have taken the tablets a little longer-” her hand darted out to cover his mouth.
“No more tablets- please!” those beautiful hazel eyes stared into his, and for a moment he was lost. “I hate taking drugs; bad enough I keep the Tylonol Corporation in profits, I won’t take anything else, Angel.” Flipping his hand to catch hers firmly, Angel just looked at her silently for a long moment, and then let out a short breath.
“Okay, no more drugs- but!” his expression brooked no argument and Cordy found herself holding her breath and waiting for some kind of anvil to fall.
“From now on, I’ll sleep with you,” was that thud the sound of her jaw hitting the table? Nope, that was the anvil- although her jaw did drop a fair distance.
“You’ll sleep with me? No way!” she refused, making to rise to her feet- stopped by his grip on her wrist.
“I’m not going to argue with you over this,” he warned her softly. “We’re friends – practically family, and it’ll only be until you can sleep through the night, okay?” It did sound reasonable, but Cordy had a bad feeling about this half-brained idea…. but how could she voice that bad feeling without sounding pathetic?
Not as if the Buffy-struck vampire would think of her that way- not in a million years.
“Okaaay, ” she finally relented with a sulky pout, then shot him a hard look. “But there will be no telling Wesley- or anyone, right? I have a reputation to consider.” Pulling her hand away, Cordy snatched her mug and turned to the coffee pot muttering under her breath. If she weren’t so damned tired, no way would she have folded so easily.
Angel’s mouth tilted a little as he watched her pouring a fresh drink with jerky motions and not-so quietly cursing him…then the small smile faded as the import of the task ahead sunk in.
Sleeping with the fiery brunette was NOT a good idea. He’d be blind not to be aware of her delicious charms, and just her scent drove him crazy most of the time- but this was for a friend; family. If it would help in her quest for peaceful sleep and a quicker recovery, then he was all for it.
Silence reigned over the small kitchen as both thought about their new sleeping arrangements that night, and both attempting to stifle their misgivings over something offered so innocently.
By the time Cordy had hid in her room on the pretext of getting dressed [which she had, but finished ages ago], Wes had arrived and she could hear the quiet hum of male voices through the wood paneling. Unable to think of a valid reason for refusing the vampire’s kind offer, Cordelia finally drew herself together and exited the bedroom.
A small shot of relief flowed through her when her entrance only attracted an absent greeting from the English man, whilst Angel pored over yet another old book Wes had brought along. Soon enough, her apartment would look like one of those musty, smelly bookstores stuffy tweeds oohed and ahhed at. Her thrillers and romance paperbacks had made their way to a space under her bed less than 24 hours after coming home from the hospital.
“Tea Wes?” That brought her a look of mild dread, and she folded her arms defensively. “What? I’ve been practicing; I think you’ll be impressed.” With a sligh huff, she stalked into the kitchen. Sheesh, anyone would think she was completely useless in anything that related to the kitchen!
“As you can see here,” Wes was pointing to a depiction of a demon Cordelia had seen in her last ‘normal’ vision that Angel had dutifully slain before rushing back to check on his new patient.
“The claws that run down its back have quite unique qualities; for example, various rituals and spells that could have come in handy in our line of business. Pity we hadn’t known this before you disposed of the carcass,” he lamented.
“Which you would have taken to your stuffy apartment, right, Wes?” Cordelia added with a grimace. Books were enough, thank you very much. Wes nodded instantly.
“Of course. Not something to be left in the hands of the ignorant- not that I’m saying….” He stuttered, blushing a little. Cordelia merely pffted and dropped the tray onto the table before deciding where to sit.
Reluctantly curling up in the corner of the couch the vampire sprawled on, she replied tartly. “Don’t worry, Wes, I’m blissful in my ignorance.” Taking a sip of her coffee, she flicked a look over the page of the book resting in Angel’s lap. “Ewwe, black and white makes no diff to its grossness, does it?” A small yawn punctuated her observation, catching the vampire’s beady eye. Averting her gaze to her hands, she made a show of checking her nails.
He remained silent Cordelia couldn’t help but breath a small sigh of relief. No more lectures – for now, at least.
Angel’s sharp eyes went back to his book, his full mouth tightening a fraction. He knew for a fact that the brunette was most likely going to spend the day figuring out a way to get out of their new arrangement, and he was ready for whatever excuse she gave. To be honest, her couch wasn’t built for a six-two frame of dense bone and muscle, and the thought of being able to stretch out was something else to look forward to- not that he was looking forward to sleeping with the willful brunette who was also a bed hog.
In his habit of checking on her every other hour when she’d first arrived back from hospital, Angel had found her often sprawled in the middle of the big bed, her arms and legs grabbing every available inch of mattress. That would be fun. Visions of himself hugging the edge of the bed was hopefully something that wouldn’t happen. He’d merely have to manhandle her back to her side- gently of course.
Wes brought his attention back to the book, and the rest of the day was spent researching various demons and was thrown in with the odd argument with Cordelia in her attempts to leave the apartment and escape ‘boredomitis’ as she so succinctly put it. After telling them they couldn’t keep her locked up forever and a day, Angel had merely thrown her a look and she’d harrumphed and stalked into her bedroom for a good few hours of sulking.
Evening crept up on them pretty quickly, and Cordelia’s alarms were going off by the time Wes was readying himself to leave- then a vision kicked in and all else was forgotten but the pain and ickyness of cinema with surround sound stereo.
“Don’t forget those claws,” was the first thing Wes said when she finally related that it was yet another of the same demons she’d envisioned a few nights before. Angel glared briefly his way before settling her on the couch gently, eliciting a slight flush over the Englishman’s features.
“It’s okay, Wes, ” Cordelia jumped to his defense sending her own glare, not so patented at the hovering vampire, adding, “And don’t even think of bringing them here, kay?” with a short nod, Angel reluctantly straightened and walked over to grab his duster. “I won’t be long,” he assured her just before they left.
“Don’t rush back, she muttered, closing her eyes and resting her head against the back of the couch, missing the small quirk of the vampire’s mouth as he closed the door softly
After a long and relaxing bath, Cordelia settled into bed garbed in warm T-Shirt and long pajama bottoms- just in case, and closed her eyes in readiness to sleep. Instantly, her inner vision began a kaleidoscope of horrific faces of torment and tormentors. Her eyes shot open and groaning, she turned onto her back.
Breathing deep in measured beats, Cordelia attempted to settle her racing heart- then her door opened- just great! Her eyes snapped shut and she turned on her side to curl up. Maybe if he thought she was asleep he’d go away. No such luck. She could feel his eyes drilling into the part of her head visible for several minutes before he disappeared into the bathroom.
Angel bit back a grin as he shed his ruined clothes and stepped under the shower. Cordelia’s heart had been racing ten to the dozen and hadn’t fooled him for a second. He’d tasted the fear rolling off her in waves as soon as he’d entered her room, and instinctively knew that part had nothing to do with him; although he couldn’t say the same for her rapidly thudding heart.
It couldn’t be easy for her to have him, a vampire, in her bed, but Angel refused to back down. This insomnia was bad for her health. On top of the visions, her lack of sleep would eventually compromise her mental state and he couldn’t have that. Thinking back to her fear and pain at the hospital, it still sent shivers of dread and helplessness down his spine, and for a moment, he leant against the tiled wall, attempting to center himself.
He was doing the right thing. If he repeated that to himself a few million times, the tight knot in his belly would hopefully dissipate.
Angel couldn’t recall the last time he’d actually slept with someone- just slept, that is, and a small part of him felt vulnerable at the thought of being observed deeply asleep and unaware. Shaking his dark head, he reached up to turn off the shower and stepped out of the bath. After drying himself off and roughly rubbing a towel through his hair, he retrieved the sweat pants he’d brought in and pulled them on.
That was yet another thing. Since having to bunk up with Cordelia, wearing clothes to bed had become a necessity. He doubted her still rather innocent sensibilities could take the sight of him walking around nude. Too long had gone by for him to feel even a modicum of embarrassment, but needs must. But he still missed the freedom of sleeping unrestricted.
Switching off the light before opening the bathroom door, Angel soundlessly entered her bedroom. Her heart still gave her away, even though she’d seemingly remained in the same position, curled up- except now she hugged one side of the bed. His mouth quirked again as he rounded the bed and pulled back the covers. Gone were the standard pajama shorts, and the T-Shirt she wore engulfed her body.
Narrowing his eyes, he recognized it as one of his old ones- pre-blown up building. The little minx must have swiped it when she’d stayed at his basement apartment all those months ago. A small part of him actually liked her wearing his clothes, as she smelled of him, and as vampire’s were naturally possessive about their possessions, of which she was one [though He’d never tell her that, of course!], it felt good having her wrapped in his scent.
Lying flat on his back, Angel regarded the ceiling for several minutes before turning his head and eyeing the tip of dark, rich hair still visible above the covers.
“Good night, Cordelia,” grinning openly when the small lump tensed even more, and a muttered ‘night’ was returned.
Closing his eyes, Angel relished being able to stretch out his long legs, happy to find that her bed was generous enough for his feet not to dangle over the edge of the mattress. Within minutes, his brain shut down and sleep crawled over him.
After what seemed an eternity of wide-awakeness and painful awareness of the big hulk lying inches away from her, Cordelia’s eyes finally fluttered closed and, for once in what felt like forever, her mind finally took her to blessed dreamland…