Title: To Brood Or Not To Brood
Rating: R for sexual situation
Category: Post RofF
Spoilers: Yes, for S4 eps we have seen and for spoiler/foilers for future eps
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask
The lights of Los Angeles twinkled below like the stars hidden behind the dark and clouded night sky above. The room stretching inward, away from the balcony was dark and somber. It was the perfect place for brooding.
After all, that is what one does after losing their soul, torturing, murdering, reveling in the purity of evil, only to be gifted – or cursed – with the damn thing again. Staying away from the ones you love after committing such unforgivable crimes is easy. Hell, the brooding was even getting easier. Sitting in the dark. Thinking about how much your life sucks.
But the guilt. Well, the guilt makes you play each scene over and over in your mind until you want to scream. It eats you alive from the inside out until you almost wish for the clarity of your soulless self back. Almost. Yeah, the guilt is what gets you. Makes you realize what you are now. What the things you’ve done have turned you into.
What the people you love see you as. A demon wearing a human face. A face they looked at with love when the soul was behind it. A face they looked at with fear when the soul was gone. A face they can’t look at at all now, even though the soul is back. Who could blame them after all. How could they forgive and forget. None of them have gotten an apology. They don’t understand why. It is what they expect but that just seems too cheap of a price to pay for what they went through. They don’t understand. No one does. No one can.
“Hey, the brooding thing…” called a soft voice from inside the room, “is my job you know.”
Well almost no one.
Cordelia turned her face from the city below to the vampire who stood in the room behind her.
“There have been a lot of nights,” he continued as he walked closer to the open doors of the balcony, “that I have stood in that very spot. Thinking about all of the horrible things I’ve done. How forgiveness and happiness were things I could never have. Things that I would never deserve.” Cordelia turned to stare out into the night at nothing in particular as Angel reached her side. “I would think I was at the breaking point. That I couldn’t go on, but you … you always brought me out of it. You wouldn’t let me sit up here and wallow in guilt and self loathing then and I won’t let you do it now.”
“That’s before I knew…” Cordy’s words trailed off and Angel turned to stare at her pale and worn face, willing her to continue. Her words were the first she had spoken since that day. The day they found a way to get her soul back. She had gasped in pain and with a look of guilt in her eyes that Angel knew all too well, she had simply said ’What…? Oh God.‘
Since then she had hidden herself away in his suite, unwilling to see or talk to anyone. He had given her his room, thinking that all she needed was a little space and some time to come around. After all, she had always been the voice of reason when it came to getting on with life. She had handed out forgiveness so easily to everyone else in her life, but looking at her face now, he knew that this time would be more difficult.
“Before you knew what?” he gently prodded, aching to hear her voice again.
“Before I knew how hard it was. It’s too hard Angel,” she turned to him sobbing. “Sitting up here, not being able to stop thinking about what I’ve done. The pain I’ve caused.”
This was his opening, his only chance. “No Cordy, that’s where you’re wrong,” forcing a stern tone of voice despite the heart aching sight of her tears. “Sitting up here brooding, avoiding, thinking. That’s easy. The hard part is going down there and facing the people who love you. The people who risked their lives to get you back. You think that they can’t forgive you because they are still hurting,” his voice softened and he hesitantly brushed a tear from her cheek with the back of his hand, “but Gunn, Wes, Lorne, Fred, and Connor,”
Cordelia’s eyes closed and she flinched slightly at the mention of the boy she had used as an instrument of pain against the others. “and Connor,” he emphasized, lifting her chin and forcing her to look at him, “all knew there was nothing to forgive when we found out what had been done to you.”
“But every time they look at me they’ll see me as…”
“Cordy, when you look at me, do you see Angelus?”
“No, of course not.”
“Why?” he asked.
She stared back at him with questioning eyes, struggling for the right words to explain to him why she could never look at him and see Angelus. The man that stood before her now, brushing tears from her face, was so far from that soulless nightmare that she couldn’t even connect the two enough to explain clearly why they weren’t connected in the first place.
“Why?” he asked again in a whisper.
Then it came to her. Looking into his eyes. Feeling his hand touch her face. She had been searching too hard for some great philosophical explanation. The answer was simple. “Because when I look at you, I see you. I see Angel.”
“Why do you think it would be any different for you? Sure it’s going to be tense at first. But those people down stairs love you and know the difference between you and a warped soulless version of you.” He lifted his finger to her lips to stop the interruption that he had anticipated and continued, “ Granted it took us a while to figure it out but to be fair we did have a lot going on around here.” Angel moved his hand from Cordy’s lips to her cheek and brushed away the last stray tear.
Finally feeling the full weight of her emotional exhaustion, Cordy wrapped her arms around Angel, laying her head on his shoulder and closing her eyes. “I don’t even know how to begin Angel. How do I go down there and face them?”
Relishing the moment, Angel enclosed her in his arms, burying his face in her hair. “Don’t worry. I’ll be there with you every step. I have some experience in this sort of situation you know.”
They both gave the hint of a slight smile as Cordelia pulled back slightly from the embrace. “You said they were down there. Fred, Wes, Gunn, Lorne, and Connor,” she swallowed hard after pushing out the last name. “You said they would forgive me, that they love me. What about you?”
Angel felt himself tense. It had been so easy speaking for the others. The explanation of their feelings was so simple. She was one of them, part of their family unit. They loved her and needed her back to fill the void where that family’s heart once was. But it was different for him. He felt all of that and so much more.
He had tried so many times to tell her. He wanted to explain to her how he almost went mad when he thought her soulless self had slept with Connor, how his perfect day illusion had been based on having her love, how when Dinza had shown him where her soul was trapped he had moved heaven and earth – literally – to get her back. “I told you. There is nothing to forgive and I love you.”
She smiled with relief, “Thank God. Even if everyone else was alright, I don’t think I could bear it if you weren’t okay.” How could she tell him all of the things she had wanted to say that night at the beach? How could she tell him that her love for him as a friend had grown into so much more. That that love had made this whole ordeal so much more unbearable because she had inflicted the most pain on him.
Angel moved his face even closer to Cordelia’s and cupped the side of her face in one hand. “I’m more than okay Cordelia. I have you back. You’re here with me and … I love you.” He fixed his gaze hard with hers. “I’m in love with you Cordy. I have been for a long time.”
Cordelia began to fight back tears and answered in a shaky voice, “Angel, how? After everything that has happened, how can you love me?”
“Cordy, do you love me?”
Everything she had rehearsed the night she raced toward their doomed rendezvous swirled through her mind. None of it seemed appropriate now. None of it fit.
“Cordy, despite my past with and without my soul, do you love me?”
“Yes, but..” Angel silenced her with a gentle brush of his lips against hers, sending a shudder through her body. Then he drew back, leaving her breathless and dazed.
“No more excuses, no more obstacles. We have both sacrificed what we have wanted for too long.” With those words finally said, Angel crushed Cordelia’s body to his, claiming her mouth with a long and passionate kiss. He could hear her heart thundering in her chest, as her hands clutched to him for dear life. Her mouth eagerly responded to his with both hunger and need. As fast as their desperate embrace had began, it ended when Cordy pushed back.
“Angel, we can’t do this.” His heart sank. What was he doing? This was too fast for her. He had needed to hear her words of love and feel her touch for so long. It had never occurred to him that this was all too much for her.
Too fast after all she had just gone through. He wished she would let him show her how much he loved her. “Angel, as much as I want this,” Cordelia gestured and with desire fevered in her eyes continued. “We both know we can’t. You can’t,” she finished with regret at the painful reminder of his curse.
Angel smiled. That’s what she was worried about. He had forgotten. How could he have forgotten that she didn’t know? He finally had her in his arms, he really didn’t want to waste any of their precious time together explaining how he had defeated his demon, beating it into submission during his out of body experience with Faith.
There would be time. He would explain everything to her. But not now. He smiled at her again. “A lot of things have changed since you’ve been gone.”
“Really?” she asked with an arched brow and a tentative smile.
“Really. I haven’t been able to look at you without wanting you. Knowing that now it was possible .. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to rush you. We can take this slow. If we’re patient…” His words were cut off by Cordy’s mouth.
“You know patience was never one of my virtues,” she whispered as she pulled back only inches from the touch of his mouth. She swallowed and moistened her full lips. “I want you so much right now Angel.”
Angel leaned in tracing her moist lips with his tongue, sending a shiver down her spine. His mouth descended to her neck, leaving a trail of wet kisses in it’s wake, while his artistic hands slowly traced every curve of her body. With Angel backing her into the room, Cordelia frantically began to release the buttons of his shirt one by one. When the offending garment was discarded, exposing his broad chest and strong arms, Cordy found herself wedged between his body and the bed.
So lost in passion, she hadn’t realized until that moment that Angel had skillfully disrobed her, causing her body to tremble from the chill of the cool breeze blowing in from the balcony and the intensity of the brown eyes in front of her now drinking in every inch of her exposed flesh. “You are so beautiful Cordy,” came his ragged whisper as he began to gently ease her down to the bed. In an urgent need to have him inside of her, Cordelia fumbled with the zipper of his pants.
Taking his moan of pleasure in a deep kiss as her hands brushed against his sex slightly, she pushed his pants down over his hips. She arched into him, her body pleading with his to fill her. Teasing her, building her desire with his every move, he rubbed himself against her hot, wet center once, then twice. Looking into her eyes, he whispered, “I love you, Cordelia” and entered her in one long, slow thrust.
He had wanted to take this first time with her slowly, savoring every moment of it. But soon need surpassed want as his slow movements became urgent, pushing them both to the edge too close, too soon. Her shuddering climax came hard and fast, forcing her to cry his name in such a way it aroused him past any control he had been desperately trying to grasp.
With one last thrust that plunged him deeply inside her, he called out her name. Sagging down atop her smaller frame, he buried his head in her neck, whispering words of love in her ear.
Cordelia lay there in Angel’s arms all night. Feeding off of his strength. Knowing that with his love and support she could get through anything, even this.