Content: C/A, F/G
Summary: This is based on a challenge by (I don’t remember who, if this is yours let me know and I’ll give you credit in the next chapter). Basically Cordelia and Angel must pretend to be married 24/7.
Spoilers: Up to ‘Waiting in the Wings’ but no Groo and no Connor.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Anyone who wants it can have it, just let me know where to look.
Notes: Darla did show up at the Hyperion but she wasn’t pregnant. Groo never showed up. Angel just chickened out.
“Good. You’re all still here.”
“English, where ya been all day and who’s the mystery client?”
Wesley glanced down at his watch. “Sorry. I didn’t realize I’d be gone so long. This case has me a little..” He studied Cordelia and Angel for a moment. They were standing rather close together. “I’m not entirely sure we should accept this case.”
“The client can’t afford to pay, huh?”
“Quite the contrary, Cordelia. Mr. Nabbit is willing to pay anything.”
“You met with David? Why didn’t you tell me? I would have gone with you. How is my favorite billionaire?”
Wesley ignored Angel’s low growls. “Mr. Nabbit is rather distressed at the moment. I would have invited you but he asked to speak to me alone.”
“Well due to the nature of the case, he wished to speak to a man.”
“Angel, he meant no offence. His investigators simply informed him I was in charge now.”
“Another demon brothel?”
Fred pushed up her glasses. “If he already hired investigators, what does he need with us?”
“He believes it may involve dark forces. It seems one of his Dungeons and Dragons cohorts has disappeared.”
“And David couldn’t discuss that in front of me?”
“It seems Jason and his wife went away to attend a marriage counseling retreat. Jason called him a few times. He claimed the sessions were very helpful. Shortly after the retreat ended, Mr. Nabbit received a letter saying he and Jennifer had decided to go away together to ‘renew their love’. They haven’t been heard from since. He’s had a team of investigators searching for them for two months to no avail. They recently discovered that three other couples disappeared immediately after attending the retreat. The families of the couples all received letters stating they were going away to ‘renew their love’ and were never heard from again.”
“Where do the dark forces come into play?”
“I’m not entirely sure there are any. I believe Mr. Nabbit is convinced the only way they could disappear without a trace is by magic of some sort. He has the utmost confidence in his investigators. Between their abilities and his computer skills, he says they would have found them or their bodies by now.”
“So English, why don’t you want to take the case? We’re gettin’ paid and it’s for a good cause..”
“Mr. Nabbit would like Angel to go in undercover and I’m not..”
“What’s the big deal, Wes? Cordy and I will go in…”
“What? Why me?”
Angel looked at his wide-eyed seer. “I don’t think Gunn would appreciate my taking his girlfriend.”
“So that leaves you.”
Cordelia tried to control her heart rate. “I guess I could handle arguing with you in public.” She continued at Angel’s questioning look. “We’re supposed to be a married couple with problems.”
“Oh right.” Angel’s mind was busy picturing Cordelia as his wife. Fighting leads to making up and making up leads to…damn..it leads to Angelus.
Wesley cleared his throat. “There’s more. Apparently his investigators already attempted to go in undercover. They were discovered and thrown out of the program. It seems there are cameras in the guests’ rooms.”
“There is a camera pointed directly at the bed. There are listening devices in the main room and in the bathroom. Also, there are cameras throughout the complex.” Wesley fidgeted. “You and Angel would have to pretend 24/7.”
Cordelia could feel her heart start to race again. Her eyes locked with Wesley’s. “Um..maybe Fred and Gunn should go.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. We have no idea who or what might be responsible for the disappearances. You might have a vision while you’re there and Angel should be able to handle anything that might try to harm either of you.” He looked over at Gunn. “Not that you wouldn’t but I’d rather not risk Fred.”
“Naw. I’m with ya there. I don’t want to risk my girl either. Plus the idea of someone watchin’ us gives me the creeps.”
Cordelia finally managed to look at Angel. “What do you think?”
Angel shrugged. “I don’t see the problem.”
Angel looked like he might swallow his tongue as his mind was assaulted with images. He shook his head to clear them. “I meant it’s a marriage counseling retreat. I’m sure we wouldn’t be the only couple not having sex.”
“Oh right.” Cordelia could feel her face turning bright red.
“Actually Cordelia does have a valid concern.”
“It’s the reason I was unsure we should accept the case. In order to attract the attention of whoever is behind this, you and Angel would have to..” He cleared his throat. “um..follow directions. It seems there are exercises the couple is expected to perform in the privacy of their room in order to open up the flow of communication.” Wes pulled his glasses off and began polishing them. “Jason was rather explicit in his phone conversations with Mr. Nabbit.”
If Angel could, he would be blushing. He would have to..damn…Angelus. “Well as much as I’d like to help, I don’t think losing my soul would be a good idea.”
“Of course.” Wesley felt his face flush. “It seems the investigators are aware of your..circumstances and consulted with the world’s foremost specialist..”
“There are specialists for vampires who’ve been cursed with a soul?”
“Not exactly Fred. There are other beings who have..repercussions to..romantic situations.”
“C’mon English spit it out. Is there a way the vamp can get his freak on without goin’ on a killin’ spree afterwards?”
Wesley began polishing his glasses again. “Yes. There is a…paranormal prophylactic that will protect his soul.”
“Really?” Cordelia couldn’t decide if she was happy or scared. *Angel could be with Buffy!*
“It is a rather expensive potion.” He looked at Angel’s happy expression. “An extremely expensive potion.” Angel’s smile disappeared. “Mr. Nabbit is willing to purchase it as an expense for the case.”
Angel’s enthusiasm was warring with his fears. *Cordelia and I could be together but for how long?* “How expensive?”
“The good news is the effects last for one year. The bad news is it costs one million dollars.”
“Damn! That is expensive. But hey, you get a year’s worth of happies out of it.” Gunn slapped Angel on the back.
“I’m not suggesting the two of you have sex for the case but..there may..be some…things that the counselors ask you to do that could make Angel..rather happy. No one expects either of you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. Perhaps you could fake whatever..you’d rather not do.”
Wes knew his face was bright red by now. “Yes. You could remain under the covers and..”
“I get the idea. Well it wouldn’t be the first time I had to fake it..actually it would be a first for faking the entire thing.”
The men suddenly became very uncomfortable. “Yes, well I’ll leave that between you and Angel.”
“Hey! Nobody has ever needed to fake it with me!” Angel noticed their amused looks. “I mean…nevermind.” Angel was glad he could be with Cordelia without the danger of Angelus. He really hoped she wanted to be with him too. He’d developed a lot of self control over the years, but there were limits. Even if they were to fake it, they would still have to be naked under the covers. Could he really trust himself? He looked over at Cordelia. “Could you guys give us a minute alone?”
“Of course” “Sure” “Yeah”
He heard Fred mumbling something about kyerumption as the three went into Wesley’s office.
“Cor, do you want to take this case?”
Cordelia was still in shock. She was imagining her life if Angel decided to go be with Buffy. Sure it would be expensive but he’d probably find a way. She felt tears start to form and tried to fight them.
Angel saw the struggle appear on her face. His heart broke at the sight of her tears. The thought of being with him was making her cry. He knew how important helping people was to her. She probably felt it would be selfish of her not to do whatever it took to solve the case. No matter how much it disgusted her to pretend to be with a vampire. He wrapped his arms around her. “Please don’t cry. We’ll find another way. I would never take advantage of your dedication for my own pleasure.”
She pushed him away. “I thought kissing me was horrible. Are you sure YOU want to do this?”
“I never said kissing you was horrible.”
“You said you wanted to wipe it from your memory so how good could it have been?”
“I meant..if we…The first time you kissed me was to get rid of the visions. You even kissed Barney! At the ballet you kissed me because you were possessed. I wanted to forget because we had no control over our actions. You didn’t kiss me ’cause you wanted me.”
Cordelia was confused. “But doing it for a case makes it okay?”
He looked down at his feet. “I guess you’re right. I’ll tell Wes.”
“Wait! We have to take the case. People are missing!”
“True.” Angel tried to steele himself. Being together would be another illusion. “We’re professionals. We can fake it.”
Cordelia smiled. “We’re not those kind of professionals.”
He was too depressed to laugh. “Funny.” *She doesn’t want me.*
Cordelia noticed his sad face. She wanted to cheer him up even if it meant breaking her heart in the process. “After the case is solved, you could return to Sunnydale.”
“Duh! You can be with Buffy. Wes said the potion lasts for a year. I’m sure you could figure out a way to get more.”
“Cor, I’m not going anywhere. My mission and my family are here in LA. You’re here!”
“Is my past. I let go of that dream a long time ago.” He covered her mouth before she could interrupt. “And I don’t regret it. That dream wouldn’t make me happy anymore. I’ve changed too much.”
Cordelia pulled his hand from her mouth. “Did you want to kiss me?”
“You said you wanted to forget the ballet because I didn’t want to kiss you. Did you want to kiss me?”
Angel decided to take a chance. “Yes.”
She gave him one of her high wattage smiles. “So a girl doesn’t need to fake it with you?”
“Angel, sorry to interrupt but Mr. Nabbit is on the phone. He needs to know if he should purchase the potion.”
“Hell yeah! I so don’t want to deal with Angelus by myself.” She gave Angel a wink. “Geez. Look at the time. I have shopping to do. FRED!”
“Wanna go shopping?”
“Sure. Where are we going?”
Cordelia hooked her arm with Fred’s. “Victoria’s Secret. I need something special to wear.”
The three men watched the two giggling girls stroll out of the hotel.
“Dawg, you are so lucky!”