In Zaedah's happy little world, Irish half demons don't 'disintegrate-by-light-fixture.' Therefore, I give you The Game. Many thanks to ABBA, who own the lyrics below.
You're a teaser, turn them on.
Leave them burning and then you're gone…
Those words rang in her skull as she danced with a faceless man at the club. Those words echoed once at home. Those words carried her to bed and kept her awake. At 1 am, Cordelia Chase lay in bed, bombarded with most uncharacteristic desires. And at 1:30 am, Cordelia Chase gave up the thought of sleep and formulated her plan. Of course, the plan wasn't supposed to be carried out. A time occupier, a fantasy. Nothing more. She wasn't that type of girl. But the desire was there, pounding unrelenting on her brain. Those words. No matter who else she tried to conjure up, each time she repeated them she saw him. And the wicked smile wouldn't stop forming. She wanted to tease him, turn him on. And watch his reaction when she left him burning and disappeared. It was a naughty game, one she'd never believed she'd possess the skill to play. But the pounding kept at her mind, moving down into a throbbing elsewhere that wouldn't be ignored. And only he would do. She didn't bother to question why. By 2 am, she could no longer deny herself the pleasure. And Cordelia Chase went out on the hunt.
On the walk to his place, she stripped herself of her own personality, added a sway not known to her hips and pulled confidence out of the deepest marrow. Tease, turn and burn became the mantra escaping her lips as every stride brought her closer to his door. Up the stairs and to the last barrier, Cordelia listened for evidence he was there. Nothing. Hand raised, she was stopped shy of knocking by the sound of someone's approach. While recognizing the lilt, the language was unidentifiable. Smoothing down her carefully chosen dress, Cordy had all of 30 seconds to mentally review the plan before he came into view.
Black hair, green eyes and brown jacket. Her target appeared exactly as expected. Only he didn't see her right away, carrying on his relaxed conversation by cell phone, a soft laugh she'd never heard before warming her center. She wondered briefly if she should be jealous. When he looked up and found her waiting, Allan Doyle stopped altogether. A moment passed before he said something foreign to the caller with the obvious gist of 'I'll call you back' and hung up. Jealousy solved.
"What brings ye here, Princess?" His expression a study of curiosity and concern.
"Catching you in the act," she responded with added sugar in her voice.
The too-rare grin appeared, the one that included his dimples. "Of what?" Worry evaporated and he moved closer to unlock the door.
He passed through the doorway first, then held it open for her. Once inside her eyes drifted to the bed, which looked like it hadn't been slept in for days. Her thoughts began a trek she had to forcibly halt. Make him want but not get. Deny everything tomorrow. This was the plan.
"And again wit' the 'why're ye here?'"
Turning up the innocent act, Cordelia ran her hands over the obscenely short dress. "Like my new outfit?"
"2 in the mornin' fashion critique? Interestin'." He didn't buy it but damn…amused looked good on him.
"Didn't answer my question." Making a deliberate approach, she wagged her finger. "Tsk, tsk. I know what'll help. Feel the fabric." Grasping his hand, she placed it against the fullness of her hip. The immediate rush of the contact was dizzying. Something delicious flashed in those emerald eyes.
"Decidedly lackin' in fabric," he commented as his eye wandered over her. "Nearly criminal, that."
The husky tone in his voice thrilled her into almost forgetting the plan. A quick reminder of the lyrics set her back on course.
"I thought you'd approve." Despite her body's protest, Cordelia backed away from his touch. "Though criminals should be…punished."
The next level was reached, shown by the stunned tilt of his head. "And somehow I'm not the drunk one."
She offered her best scout's salute. "Not a single drop, honest."
"Clearly I need more." Doyle spoke to the ceiling and grabbed the nearest bottle of alcohol. Pouring straight scotch into a glass, he leaned against the window and downed the contents before returning his focus to her. "Definitely love the dress."
Kicking her saunter into high gear, Cordy made her way to the window under his attentive scrutiny. She let her fingers linger over his before taking the empty glass, setting it down on the window sill behind him. Prepared for the next phase, Cordy moved as close as possible without actually touching him.
"Is it the dress you love or the body under it?"
Before he could answer her lips drifted to his, just barely connecting. A molecule couldn't fit between them and she hovered there. But he backed away, holding her gaze with an intensity she hadn't thought him capable of. Then he dipped his head down to graze his mouth against her ear.
"Ye sure ye should play this game, Princess?"
Almost as intoxicating as his whispered tone was the notion of being caught. Cordelia arched her neck slightly in response and he accepted the invitation, his lips gliding across her skin. A deep, needy moan dwelled in her throat and the plan evaporated. It failed to disturb her. Her arms slid around his neck, drawing him closer as his mouth moved down to press into the hollow of her collarbone. Weak at the knees to begin with, the effort of being steady was abandoned as she entrusted herself to his arms. The tip of his tongue traced a slow path back to the spot just under her ear and she knew if she turned her head, she'd be kissing him. Such knowledge should not be ignored. Cordy tilted her head to draw his tongue into her mouth. His hands gripped her hips as he deepened the kiss, which was quickly turning desperate on Cordy's part. Her body's slow grind provided proof of his desire. Victory. She'd teased, she'd turned on, she'd made him burn but now came the leaving. But phase 4 was summarily dropped in favor of this kiss, which was better in itself than all of her previous sexual experiences. Combined.
Only he must have read the cliff notes version of the plan, because suddenly he tore his mouth away from hers. Reaching up, he brought her arms down and left her standing speechless at the window. Snatching up the bottle once more, Doyle perched on the edge of an end table. He took a long drink straight from the bottle before addressing her.
"So what was the plan? Late hour, nonexistent dress. Hit and run?"
Voice box nonfunctional. Plan down in flames. But the phoenix that is Queen C sputtered to recovery. "Apparently, you're too sober or you wouldn't be complaining."
But he wouldn't be deterred from his question. "What made you come here?"
Reengaging seductress mode, Cordy bridged part of the distance between them, looking around the room with all the nonchalance she could muster. "Didn't know I needed a reason. I thought the invitation was there from the start."
"Clubbin' tonight?" She nodded and Doyle's appreciative gaze racked over her body. "Someone rejected ye?"
Mocking affront, Cordy wandered closer until she stood between his legs. "Hardly. I rejected everyone in the room."
Something in his eyes made the game infinitely harder. He deserved an answer but detailing her logic made it seem silly. It wasn't as though she was attracted to Doyle. She didn't want him. She couldn't want him. Dear God, she never wanted anyone more. A hint of honesty wasn't breaking the rules, was it?
"A song." At his questioning expression, she continued. "The words made me wonder if I could…tempt you."
Eager to reinstitute the plan, her fingers descended to graze the evidence of her success. Grasping her wrist, Doyle pulled her hand away but she'd heard the sharp breath her touch wrought. And the sound made it impossible not to taste him again. When her lips demanded attention, there was no hesitance in his response. Doyle released her hand, seeking the small of her back to draw her near. In seconds, Cordelia was blissfully ravished, thoroughly turned on and burning for more. The moment it registered that the plan was working quite in reverse, Doyle chose to pull away, leaving her whimpering.
"Ye wanted to test me," he whispered and her breathlessness only permitted a nod as reply. "And once I'm tempted?"
"'Leave'em burning and then you're gone.'" The lyrics came to her lips before she could consider the wisdom of divulging the foundation of the plan. It occurred to her that the truth of her game might infuriate him but he simply shook his head.
"It's midnight, Cinderella. Time to flee." The finality in his tone was ice to her heated veins.
"I was thinking…maybe we could rewrite the end of the song."
The grin that suggestion earned jellied her knees. "Wouldn' fit the plan." With a tenderness she was unused to, his hand caressed her cheek. "Go home."
"But I want…" her mouth stopped short of the full confession, knowing the words weren't needed.
"Ye do now, yeah. But tomorrow…" He shrugged. "Ye still feel like this then, I'll give ye more than ye want. If not, I'll take yer plan to the grave."
The reality crashed in on her. He was rejecting her. "So you're sending me home instead of…" she shrugged the thought's completion.
"S'what ye deserve for taking advice from ABBA."
Rising from the desk and skirting around her shock-immobilized body, Doyle held the door open once more for her. Closing her eyes in an attempt at composure, Cordy tossed back her hair and squared her shoulders.
"Shame you passed on the only chance I'll ever give you, little Irish man." Extra sway thrown in, she left without casting an eye to him.
Back in the safety of her room, the high of the night wearing off gave her pause to consider her boldness. The plan had worked, in theory. She teased, she turned him on and the passion of his kiss measured his burning for her. And she had left him. But they were both unfulfilled in the end. And Doyle was the one that made her depart. Somehow she'd imagined she'd be able to walk away with no feelings on the game. But it was clear she suffered the greater loss. The balance of the night was spent in contemplation of his self-control and subsequent dismissal. Had he let her stay, there was no question that she'd have foregone the conclusion of her plan and they'd have…
And then horror set in. In the morning, she'd have to face him. She needed a strategy and called Dennis in for a consult. Running through her options verbally helped as her non-speaking phantom gave indications of approval or rejection. The steps were laid out for tomorrow's course of action and she finally drifted to sleep, knowing the next chapter would be a more profound change than the last.
At the first hint of daylight, Cordelia was already carefully applying her make-up. Plans A through M had been finalized before sleeping, she now focused on the pep talks given in strict tone to her reflection. The drive to the office was without incident and she spent the initial 20 minutes concocting the perfect coffee blend for her boys. Deciding to let Doyle's mood upon arrival dictate which plan to initiate, Cordy fiddled about the office waiting for her target to enter.
Plans, like games, are only as good as one's commitment to them. She discovered this too late, as Doyle barely got in the door before she was pinning him to the wall, all frantic lips and vice-grip arms. His response was immediate and damned thorough. But quickly interrupted.
When he pushed her away, Cordelia leaned back in embarrassed panic. When he sank down the wall to the floor, she breathed great relief. A vision, however ill-timed, was not a rejection. Dropping to her knees, Cordy waited in silence until his tremors subsided. For a long moment, his head remained buried in his arms and she prayed for patience. Not only did she have to share him with the PTB, she'd have to inform Angel that a message was received. So much sharing should be outlawed.
Seven grueling hours later, Angel vanquished a being who mutilated teen girls after raping them. Upon returning to the office, Doyle was quiet. Cordelia reasoned that the horrors the PTB had shown him were still troubling him. She'd never before considered the toll the visions took on Doyle; to have his mind forcefully invaded and bombarded with the evils of the world, all the while enduring the accompanying pain. Of course, he'd customarily drink it away and tonight she finally understood why.
Plan 74-E called for desperate measures to ensure she spent the night with him. Resigning herself to bar hopping, she knew the alcohol requirement would be worth it. Apparently, though, Doyle had other ideas because she found him in Angel's library pouring over an ancient volume. Reclined on a small sofa, his feet were propped on the coffee table. Plan 83-G needed false bravery to force bold initiative. To ensure she got his attention, Cordelia straddled his legs, bending at the waist to swipe the book from him. His eyes drifted up slowly, pausing at the breasts she displayed so provocatively before he continued to her waiting gaze.
"May I propose a different kind of research?" Every ounce of Marilyn Monroe was channeled in her voice.
Slowly lowering her body onto his lap, her arms slid around his neck. Suitably confined within her embrace, Doyle's hands sought her hips as desire stole away the haunted look in his eyes.
"And the details of yer… proposition?" Damn, now he was teasing her. It was sexy as hell.
"Well, let's just say it requires a hasty departure. Preferably away from Angel and visions and any other interruptions."
"And if I say no?"
Brushing her lips to his briefly, Cordy beamed her most innocent smile. "But you won't. Cuz you said if I still feel this way today, you'd give me more than I want."
He grinned at the reminder. "That I did. And I'm a man o'my word."