Author's Note:

After nearly a decade since the airing of Angel, Season 1, I still hold the pairing of Cordelia and Doyle as the nearest and dearest to my heart, no relationship in any show before or since has ever touched me so deeply. A week ago the familiar Irish brogue and smiling face of Glenn Quinn, the actor who portrayed Doyle and made him so beloved to viewers, came to me vividly while writing a character for an one else would be able to fill the role...and with that I decided I just couldn't take it anymore. What they did with Doyle in Angel, sacrificing him so abruptly never sat well with me. I was a wreck watching episode 9, "Hero" when he died. I swore off the show after that - told other viewers to let me know if his character was brought back because that would be the only way I'd ever watch the series again.

Sadly on December 3, 2002, Doyle's final question of, "Is that it? Am I done?" was answered with heart-wrenching finality. Glenn Quinn, aged only 32 years, passed away leaving a void in the hearts of his family, friends and fans.

This fiction is to provide long overdue closure for those of you out there who love Glenn Quinn, the character of Allen Francis Doyle and his adoration of Cordelia as much as I do. I'm giving Cordy and Doyle the happy ending they deserved, the realization of love that we as viewers never got to see.

So we're going to ignore the cruelty that was "Hero", just erase it from the record and allow these two a chance at something more...

For Cordelia and Doyle

In Loving Memory of Glenn Quinn
May 28, 1970 - December 3, 2002

"Never again." Cordelia grumbled to herself. She unwrapped Doyle's arm from where she'd draped it around her shoulders, letting him lean back against the wall outside her door for support so that she could get her keys out. He was smiling, singing softly to himself in his drunken stupor as his head slowly rolled from side to side. She unlocked the door, opening it and looking over at him angrily at first – but seeing his closed eyes and smile she had to fight back a laugh. "Well…at least not at a bar that's so far from your place." She added, taking his arm up again and helping him into the apartment. Lining it up with care she relaxed her hold on him, allowing him to fall to the couch heavily before she went back to close the door. Doyle sighed and with the practiced ease of a man familiar with passing out drunk he immediately crawled up enough to lounge across it.

Cordelia stood still watching him for several moments, a smile coming to her lips as she listened to him murmuring indistinctly. How had such a badly dressed, quirky little Irishman worked his way into her heart? She shook her head and sighed, pulling her hair back as she walked to her bedroom.

It had been almost a nightly thing for the past week, the two of them going out to bars and goofing off. She'd been so hesitant to go that first night, too, imagine her surprise when she'd found herself not wanting to go home. She'd tried to date with disastrous results…again…but upon her early return to the office Doyle had been there for her. No vampire attack and heroic rescue to greet her this time around, just those sparkling blue eyes and honest smile.

She'd sunk down beside him on the couch, whining to him about how awful it had been as he studied her with sympathetic eyes. Silence had settled over them, Cordelia turning and looking over at him wondering if he was even listening to her – she never should have doubted him. It was in his body language, the way he had tossed his paper aside and turned to face her the second she sat down, the way he leaned an elbow on the back of the couch and rested his head against his hand, ready to sit there all night if need be hanging on her every word. Doyle listened to her; he heard her more than anyone she'd ever confided in. The compliments he gave her so sincerely and the jokes he made about the pompous pretty-boy she'd been out with made her smile and laugh no matter how depressed she was feeling.

"A waste, a sin and a cryin shame for you to call it a night lookin like that, princess." He'd said as he climbed to his feet, standing in front of her and offering her his hand. "I can't very well let you go home after dollin yourself up without havin at least a li'l fun. Come on…just a few drinks…what d'ya say?"

She'd eyed his outstretched hand skeptically; I mean her…hanging out…with Doyle? But after weighing out the alternative of going home, curling up in front of the TV with junk food, Dennis the phantom roommate and a Lifetime movie for a full-on pity party she'd agreed.

Reaching out and taking his hand brought an unexpected grin to her face, maybe it was seeing the absolute surprise passing over his – he'd been so prepared for another rejection yet it hadn't stopped him from trying. Watching the amazement on his face as she stood beside him and hooked her arm with his made her heart swell. His cheeks had even reddened ever so slightly as she called out to Angel that she was 'going out with Doyle'.

And amazingly enough? Doyle turned out to be the funniest, most entertaining guy she'd ever been out with. Inside of the first hour her stomach was aching from laughing, as in honest to God laughing. He was a happy drunk, the kind of guy everyone gathered around at a party; there hadn't been a moment in the entire night when she'd wanted to be anywhere else. He knew every bar and club in the city, when she got hungry all she needed to do was tell him what she was in the mood for – he seemed to 'know a guy' at every restaurant they went to. True, he was a gambler and she wasn't crazy about the idea of who might be hunting him down for his debts, but his smile, his personality, they opened doors for him the way she'd only seen money do for others.

That first night went on and the more time she spent with him the less she cared about whether her life was meeting her unrealistic expectations, for the first time in a long time she felt genuinely happy. He'd seen her back to her place, not even trying to kiss her or find an excuse to come in for 'coffee' or the dozens of other lines she'd endured in the past. He'd told her to lock up, had waited outside for the sounds of the latches clicking before turning and walking away…and she'd watched him through the peephole he and Angel had added to her door a few months earlier wishing she'd invited him in.

So maybe she had taken extra time with her hair and makeup and wardrobe selection the following morning, so maybe she had been watching the clock counting down for another chance to go out with him the next day at work, casting glances his direction whenever he wasn't looking….and yeah, when 5:00 came around maybe it had been her dragging him out the door. She'd stood from her desk quickly with a grin on her face, causing Angel and Doyle to stop their conversation and turn and look at her suspiciously.

"Hot date?" Angel asked as he glanced at the clock but noting the way Doyle's body suddenly went rigid with jealousy he immediately regretted the question.

Cordelia's posture slowly relaxed to something that would appear less excited. "No, no date…just…hungry; famished, even." She said, giving them an innocent smile as she picked up her purse, ignoring the way Angel was watching her disbelievingly. She cleared her throat and tried to sound nonchalant. "So…Doyle…did you want to show me that Chinese place you were raving about last night?"

Angel had just taken a sip of his coffee and sputtered as he nearly choked on it; he wiped his mouth and stared at Cordelia in wide eyed surprise before turning to face an equally astonished Doyle.

Doyle stammered for a minute, completely blindsided by Cordelia's words and left struggling to get his brain to function. "Umm…yeah…sure…I mean great!" His arms fell from where they'd been crossing his chest, reaching out blindly for his coat as he started toward her. "You're gonna love it, s'got a room in the back where you can have your future read by a genuine Shiachi demon…they're the ones that write the papers for fortune cookies you know…"

Angel had watched in bewilderment as the two left, standing in the suddenly empty office and only able to utter a 'huh'.

And so they'd begun their new routine, interrupted by the occasional battle in a sewer with some evil slimy nastiness. It was new and exciting, this unexpected bond with a guy she'd originally been so cold and snide to. Being together provided a much needed break from the struggles of their daily lives. Slowly her guard had been slipping, she'd found herself simply smiling in these last two nights instead of cutting him down when he'd joke about the two of them 'getting away for the weekend' or made statements of 'but that's why you find me so irresistible'. Doyle was suddenly her best friend in the world and no matter how much she tried to fight it off she could feel herself falling for his 'ample but unpretentious charms' more and more each day. Listening to that Irish brogue when he talked to her, hearing him call her 'princess', seeing that look of adoration in his blue eyes – all of it was feeding a crush the likes of which she'd never experienced. She was actually starting to get butterflies in her stomach when she saw him now, had a hard time breathing whenever they were alone together and felt inexplicably lost when he wasn't around.

She smiled down at him as she returned to the living room and covered him with a blanket, those blue eyes opening slightly and gazing up at her under heavy lids. "Thank you, Cordy. You're a real gem, d'ya know that?" He sighed contentedly and drew the blanket up around him as his eyes fluttered closed. "Getting to see you every day makes those skull-crackin visions worth the trouble…" he muttered, his body slowly relaxing as sleep took him.

Cordelia bit her bottom lip, staring at his sleeping face adoringly for a few minutes. Her stomach tensed nervously as she finally leaned down and snuck a kiss on his forehead, letting her lips linger a bit longer than she probably should have – but he was too blitzed to remember it anyway, she figured. He smelled like whiskey and cigarettes mixed with cologne; a combination that was somehow comforting to her now, it was the scent of Doyle, a scent that she associated with happiness, with companionship, with belonging. "Good night, Doyle" she whispered past her smile and ran her fingers through his hair. He let out a sigh and leaned into her hand, muttering, "g'night, princess".

The second the thought of how uncomfortable the couch must be, how he'd probably sleep so much better in, oh say, her bed crossed her mind she stood up straight and turned out the lights, going to bed alone before she'd be tempted to do anything stupid.

4:52 A.M., she stared at the glowing red digits in confusion as they slowly came into focus, wondering why she was awake. Phantom Dennis was shaking her shoulder frantically and she moaned in frustration as she pushed him away, or at least tried to. She never liked that he could touch her but she couldn't touch him back. "Dennis…it's not time to get up yet, beat it." She whined, only to stop as a soft thud echoed in from out in the living room. She sat up in bed groggily, listening for any groaning to judge whether or not Doyle had just fallen off the couch or something. With a yawn she climbed to her feet, crossing her arms over her chest to make her lack of a bra less noticeable as she shuffled out into the darkness beyond her bedroom door. Dennis was pulling at her shoulder again, this time trying to prevent her from leaving the room and she glared at the empty space beside her. "What is your problem? I thought you liked Doyle!" She whispered, shaking her head and yawning.

"Doyle, you still asleep?" She called softly as she entered the living room, reaching over for the light switch and flicking it on, her hand froze in place when no lights followed the act. Instantly her heart was hammering inside her chest, in her experience lights not working meant a big bad was about to make itself known.

"Little Irish half-demon?" Came a whisper and her body went rigid, her eyes desperately searching the darkness for any hint to the intruder's location. "Just missed him…" The whisper said in amusement.

"Wait…what? Doyle's not a…and who the hell are you?" She demanded, her brain erupting in a million questions but hopelessly constricted by fear.

She shrieked as the man snatched her, pinning her arms behind her and resting his chin on her shoulder. "So not only did you forget my number, you forgot my name as well." He snarled angrily.

Cordelia's face contorted in outrage. "Jonathan? Why are you in my apartment?" She snapped back, yanking herself away from his grip and glaring up into his face. "And why are you…" his features changed as he growled which only fueled her outrage. "A vampire? Oh you have to be kidding me! Do I have some sort of aura that attracts you freaks? Is it my perfume? Did Chanel make a secret pact with the devil and now No. 5 screams 'eat me' to you guys?" Jonathan started toward her and she held up a hand. "Hey – back off, fang boy! What's your deal anyway? Can't you just take a hint and go eat someone able to sit through a dinner with your boring conversation?"

He glared at her, still approaching as she backed away. "You didn't answer my phone calls…and then I find you out with a little half breed? Do you have any idea what that does to my reputation?" He complained, ducking the lamp that Phantom Dennis sent flying toward his head and catching her as she tried to make a break for the door.

"Who's a half breed? I don't even know what you're talking about!" Cordy screamed, struggling against his grasp as he forced her head to the side and covered her mouth with his hand.

The door burst open, Doyle rushing in and skidding to an abrupt halt as he focused on the current situation. "And you'd be the date from hell, I'll assume." He said, his breathing labored from racing up the stairs, his head was still pounding in his not yet hung-over, still slightly drunken state. This is what he got for trying to be nice, going to grab Cordy's favorite from Starbucks so it would be waiting for her when she woke up. He'd foolishly hoped five minutes without any lurking evil wouldn't be too much to ask for. A muffled scream of 'Doyle!' came from Cordelia as she fought to get away and he gritted his teeth, feeling utterly helpless to protect her – he was getting sick of that feeling

"Don't come any closer, mutt. I'll snap her neck before you take two steps." Jonathan said, but his voice was giving away his nervousness.

Doyle tilted his head, eyeing the vampire suspiciously. What would this guy be…? He grinned as realization hit him. Jonathan was a young one, only recently turned and unsure of what his odds would be if Doyle decided to fight in demon form. Still unaccustomed to his new abilities, Jonathan could sense the demon blood in Doyle but had no knowledge of what type he was or what he might be able to do. Perfect. Doyle couldn't change, not without risking Cordy seeing his…other face…but he was one hell of a poker player. He glared at the vampire menacingly as he took a few steps closer, speaking in a low tone. "You do that and you'll never make it out of here alive. You let her go…I let you live."

Cordelia was staring at him in surprise with her mouth still covered tightly, had she missed something? Why would a vampire be afraid of….Doyle? She could feel Jonathan's body tensing behind her worriedly and had no clue why that might be.

The two men were staring one another down, waiting to see who would cave first. Finally Jonathan decided to test his luck, his vampire ego undoubtedly telling him he was invincible. Doyle's eyes widened, the scene slowing in his perception: Jonathan was suddenly baring his fangs and hissing defiantly, leaning down to Cordy's throat.

Doyle's mind exploded in terror for her, his thoughts coming in shrieks as he lost control and reacted. She was finally opening up to him, how could this be happening to them now? And was he really willing to let her die to keep his secret from her? He'd been meaning to tell her anyway…albeit in a considerably less traumatic manner

For the first time in his life he fully embraced the Brachen side of himself, let it come naturally in response to his desperate need to protect Cordelia. It was so different this time, he was acting without thought, letting his instincts guide him, rushing Jonathan and tearing his arms away from Cordy, knocking him to the ground and rolling him onto his back with surprising ease. The whole thing was a blur, it happened so quickly he could scarcely remember it as the vampire fell to ash beneath him.

Without turning to face Cordelia he sniffed the air for any hint of blood coming from where she was currently shrieking incoherently behind him. He let out a bitter sigh of relief when he found none…she was likely never going to speak to him again but at least she hadn't been injured. He struggled to slow his breathing, looking down at the unfamiliar object in his hand and trying to focus on it. The wooden stem from a broken lamp he'd apparently used as a stake was cast aside as he let his demonic appearance transform back to his human visage. He chewed the inside of his cheek, his nostrils flaring as he stared at the floor and tried desperately to find the strength to turn and face her, to look her in the eyes so that she could tear him down with words. His heart was breaking inside his chest, his eyes welling up as he damned himself for being so stupid. This would be another 'what if' to haunt him for the rest of his life. What if he'd told her earlier instead of putting it off and forcing her to learn about it so violently? His actions had just cost him the one thing he wanted more than anything else in this world – a life with Cordelia. The thought alone caused him to exhale sharply in response to the pain in his rapidly constricting chest. It had been amazing while it lasted, having her so genuinely happy to spend time with him; he tried to tell himself that at least he'd have the memories of the past week to carry with him, that even if the cost of saving her life was never seeing her again it had been worth it.

Cordelia was calling him now, her voice trembling with uncertainty and he swallowed back the tears that were desperately trying to fall, along with the familiar disgrace he felt for what he was. He couldn't say he'd blame her for this; even he'd tried to run away from it when he'd seen it for the first time.

"Doyle?" She called again and he took one last steadying breath before slowly turning to face her, sitting back and drawing his knees up, wrapping his arms around and resting his chin atop them, preparing for the admonishment and rejection he deserved.

He was too far gone by now to notice that her eyes held no disgust for him in that moment, not a trace of fear, judgment or hatred. She only looked…concerned

"Doyle?" She all but whispered seeing the look of complete devastation on his face and crawled across the floor to reach him. He was chewing the inside of his cheek still, his mouth pressed together in a tight line as he stared at her with tear-filled eyes. She knelt in front of him in the ash of the vampire he'd just saved her from, unsure what to say or how to feel. They sat in silence for what felt like an eternity as she read the emotion in those blue waters, he looked so stricken, so absolutely broken that it tore at her heart. "Are you alright?" She asked softly, reaching out with a trembling hand and trying to take his. He wouldn't give it to her, was staring at her as if waiting for a fatal blow and she swallowed hard as she gave up the attempt. For a guy who'd just charged a vampire head on and come out without a scratch on him he looked downright terrified of her. "Why didn't you tell me?" She whispered but he wasn't speaking, those pained eyes were locked with hers almost unblinkingly. The memory of his appearance just a few moments earlier replayed in her mind and she ran her fingertips across his cheek, studying his familiar face and taking a breath before asking to become acquainted with the new one. "Show me." She said, watching his eyes widen and jaw flex angrily in response.

"So you can have nightmares about it? If you don't mind I think I'll pass." Doyle said bitterly as he scowled at her.

Cordelia gave him a leveling glare. "Allen Francis Doyle, I'm not asking you to be a freak show for me! I'm asking you to show me just who it is exactly I've fallen…" Her eyes widened in surprise at her near confession and she quickly changed her words. "I've grown to care for…you know…as a friend."

He licked his lips irritably, not even noticing her slip in his current defensive mode. "If you're lookin to tell the demon in me what you think of it I'd prefer you just say it to this face so I can hurry and be on my way."

Cordelia eyed him in confusion. "What? On your way where?"

Doyle blinked several times, taken aback by her question. "Well outta your apartment, you know? Outta your life and all that."

"Out of my…" She began angrily but caught herself, sighing and shaking her head. "Doyle, did you sneak back to the bar for more whiskey after I fell asleep or something? Why would I want you 'out of my life'? You just saved it, remember? What are you so ashamed of?"

Doyle was staring back at her in surprise; still afraid to let his guard down, fearing this was some cruel trick to build his hopes up so it would be more painful when she knocked him down. He eyed her suspiciously for a moment before speaking. "You've told me a thousand times how disgusting you think demons are…and now you're suddenly all for them?"

Cordelia arched a brow and narrowed her eyes on him. "Well I'm not joining the coalition for demon rights or anything – you're right, I don't generally like demons. It may have something to do with the fact that almost every one I've met was trying to kill me. But you're not just some demon, you're Doyle and I care about you even if you didn't tell me about this! How could you honestly believe I'd want nothing to do with you over something so stupid?" She demanded.

His jaw fell open, words failing him.

"Now…are you going to show me or am I going to have to go get attacked by another vampire before I see it again?" She asked, crossing her arms over her chest stubbornly as they sat together on the floor of her darkened apartment.

Doyle swallowed hard, relaxing his hold on his knees and sitting up straight, shifting nervously under her gaze. "Yeah? I mean…you want me to…and you're sure about this?" He asked self consciously and she nodded in absolute certainty. She watched him try to come up with an argument for why he wouldn't do it for a moment, his eyes clearly showing that this was something he despised in himself, that he had been thoroughly content with the plan to hide it until his dying day. He finally closed his eyes, muttering a curse almost inaudibly and scowling as his face transformed.

Cordelia's eyes widened, her lips parting in surprise as she focused on him in the darkness. She couldn't make out the shade of blue or green his flesh had become or the color of the spikes that were now protruding all over his face but she got the idea. He still had his eyes closed tightly, as if preparing for her to start screaming in revulsion at any given moment. In fact he was so involved in self hatred that he flinched rather severely when something touched his face. Slowly he let his eyes open, his brows drawn in sadness and shame for what she was seeing in him.

Cordy on the other hand was tilting her head to the side, her eyes wandering over his face as if memorizing his features. What he'd felt were her fingertips, his breath caught in his throat as she continued tracing them between the rows of spikes along his skin.

"I can't see the colors…" She said in barely more than a whisper and he stared at her in shock. That was her reaction? That was what she was concerned with? He struggled to breathe, his eyes following her as she stood. "Don't move, I'm turning on a light." She instructed. "And don't you change back yet either." She added, pointing at him in warning as she walked over and closed her front door, flicking on the switch at the entry of the apartment and finding it to be perfectly functional. The vamp bastard had just unplugged the lamps she could reach as she exited the bedroom; rookie hadn't known how to cut the power to the building. She turned and walked back to him, crossing her legs beneath herself and sitting in front of him on the floor again. "Wow…" She said quietly, a smile slowly creeping over her lips. "You look so bad ass!" She finally squealed, clapping excitedly as she grinned and now Doyle couldn't keep quiet.

"Alright, that does it. Cordy, what the hell?" His face transformed back to human as he spoke. "I look 'bad ass'? You must have hit your head or something; I'm a monster for cryin out loud. Besides, I thought for sure you'd be complaining that I'm not 'color coordinated', all green and blue and red and what not."

Cordelia laughed and gave his shoulder a playful shove. "Oh shut up and change back again." She teased.

Doyle shook his head at her, having difficulty now in keeping a smile from his own lips. "You are really something else, princess; just when I think I've got you figured…" He muttered in disbelief, letting his face slowly shift back to Brachen as she grinned triumphantly and scooted closer.

"You may very well be the coolest looking demon I've ever seen, Doyle – and trust me, I've seen more than anyone should ever have to. What are you so worried about? No slime, no scary fangs or drool…" Cordy said, nodding her head in approval at what she was seeing. "I think somebody just has a case of low self esteem…oh, and your eyes are so intense!" She leaned closer and her warm breath on his skin as she studied his eyes instantly sent his pulse racing. "You are such a jerk for hiding this from me! Did you see the way Jonathan reacted to you? You scared the hell out of him! And why have you not been fighting like this all along, Mr. 'Gets the Living Crap Kicked out of Himself Daily'?"

He struggled to swallow with her face mere inches from his; if the scent of her had been intoxicating in human form it was practically maddening to him now. He sighed and licked his lips, pointing to his face. "Well this isn't exactly something I'm proud of…"

Her brows drew together worriedly, not wanting to hear the answer to the question she was about to ask. "Doyle…have you been risking getting hurt this whole time just so I wouldn't see that you were half demon?" She asked in a soft tone, sitting back and looking at him appraisingly.

Doyle guiltily averted his eyes from hers. "No…well not only because of…" He bit his bottom lip to keep anything else from tumbling out before he'd thought it through. "I just avoid it so I won't get used to it, is all; worry that if I change whenever I feel like it I'll do it when I don't intend to." He said, shrugging nervously.

Cordelia shook her head and gave him an understanding smile. "Well we don't keep secrets, right? Is there anything else I should know about you?" She asked, staring into his eyes deeply.

Doyle gave her a shy smile, letting his face shift back to human again. "No…the half demon thing, pretty much my big secret."

Something occurred to her and she tilted her head to the side. "Where were you?" She asked in a rather shrill tone, recalling that he'd been gone when Jonathan snuck in.

He sighed, his shoulders slouching in defeat. "I woke up and wanted coffee, figured since you were so nice in letting me pass out here I'd grab you the usual from Starbucks…which I'm sorry to say is probably laying in a puddle downstairs, that's as far as I made it before you started screaming."

"Oh…" She said, looking away from him as her mind struggled to take all of this in.

So not only had he just rescued her from certain death, willing to risk her hating him forever in order to do so despite his apparent crush on her…and had been risking his own safety to prevent her from seeing his demon side in the past…but he'd been out there, hung over predawn walking the streets in search of a Grande Latte for her.

Seeing the sudden distant expression on her face Doyle started speaking again. "I can always go grab you another one, you know. It's not the end of the world…"

"No, Doyle…it's not the coffee…" She said with a weak smile as she looked into his eyes. "It's just…" He watched her patiently as she trailed off, waiting for her to sort things out before cutting in, yet another reason why her heart was aching in that moment. "I…I don't deserve you being so nice to me all the time." She finally finished, her lips pressing together as she looked at him in embarrassment.

Doyle's eyes widened in surprise. "Princess, you deserve all that and more! What are you talking about? Me grabbing you a coffee and maybe staking a vamp here and there? That's nothin. If I were rich I'd be buying you houses and cars and designer what-nots, but me being nice to you? Way less than what you deserve."

Her eyes watered up as she stared at him, he was speaking the truth as he saw it, completely sure of his words despite her hesitancy to believe them, despite her self-doubt and worry that she wasn't good enough for anyone to truly care for.

She was leaning forward before she even thought twice, pressing her lips to his sweetly and sighing at the contact. Doyle let out a soft moan, his body tensing in surprise but instantly relaxing as he returned the gesture.

Her brain kicked in and her eyes flew open, she pulled away from him and stared at him in shock as he struggled to open his eyes.

"Wha…umm…" He stammered breathlessly, clearing his throat, shaking his head, blinking and trying to focus on her. "What was that fer?" He finally managed, his accent notably thicker as he stared at her.

Cordy wrung her hands, her eyes darting around the room worriedly. "I don't know…for being you?" She said in uncertainty, not really sure what had driven her to do it. He was smiling when she finally worked up the courage to look at his face again. "I guess I just…"

She didn't get any further than that before Doyle had reached out and ran his fingers through the back of her hair, drawing her closer as he kissed her deeply.

It was Cordy's turn to moan into an unexpected and…wow, yes an extremely talented kiss. Her eyelids fluttered closed the instant their lips met, succumbing to the self-admission that she'd been starving for this. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders as he pulled her into his lap, the feeling of his arms wrapping around her in turn made her entire body buzz pleasantly.

His hands were wandering over her back gently, up over her bare shoulders and arms slowly as if trying to make the moment last forever, as if he was being permitted to touch something priceless and precious that he felt he was unworthy of. The realization that he believed that to be truth brought on more happy tears, she'd never imagined having a single man holding her as something sacred and treasured would bring her so much joy.

It took her a moment to open her eyes as he pulled back from the kiss; he was pressing his forehead against hers, his mouth hanging open as he breathed heavily. She was still running her hands over the back of his neck and through his hair which was making it extremely difficult to think straight. With a great level of difficulty he managed to swallow and speak, though his voice was straining considerably. "Princess…are you sure about this…cuz I don't think I could take it if tomorrow you were all…" He began, his eyes closing as he tried to keep himself in check.

"You know what?" Cordy whispered and watched his face tense painfully expecting her to retract the offer. "You're right…this is all wrong…" She said softly.

Doyle gritted his teeth and nodded as he squeezed his eyes closed tighter, the feeling her climbing from his lap and standing nearly killed him. He could hardly breathe, was wondering what in the world would possess him to ask her that question when he felt her tugging on his hand. He looked up at her in confusion as she finished her sentence.

"I can't do this with vamp ashes all over the place…I mean, come on – how skeevy would that be?" She said in disgust before giving him a sly smile and urging him to stand. Once he was in front of her, his hands resting on her hips as he stared at her in amazement she leaned forward and kissed his lips again sweetly. "I'm completely sure about this, Doyle. In fact I don't think I've ever been so sure." She whispered, taking his hand and leading him to her bedroom.

They were kissing one another hungrily the instant the door closed, peeling off clothes and running their hands over every inch of new skin as it became available to them. She was trembling in his arms, those happy tears running down her cheeks seeing the outline of his smiling face in the darkness.

Okay, so Doyle was really pale, she decided as she pressed a kiss to the nape of his neck and smiled as he shuddered and moaned in response…but it didn't seem wrong on him…his skin was like moonlight, natural and inviting somehow.

And yeah, he wasn't exactly model material…but it was actually refreshing. Doyle was real. He wasn't putting up a front or trying to be anything other than himself with her, he came to her as he was and surprisingly that was exactly that she needed him to be. After all the fake men she'd convinced herself were perfect only to learn that they were just using their appearance to hide their flaws it was a breath of fresh air to be with Doyle. His honesty was contagious. She felt like herself when he touched her, not the façade she wore, like he could see her for what she was instead of what she wanted to be. Her walls crumbled in his presence. His gaze rendered her bare of all pretenses, and as she stood before him, the first person to truly see who she was inside, his eyes told her even in darkness that he found her to be perfect.

Despite being nothing at all like what she'd imagined her dream guy to be, having him touching her, kissing her bare shoulders, whispering her name – it was all leaving her completely breathless. He laid her back on the bed as he moved to cover her body with his own under the sheets, staring down into her eyes deeply between kisses, running his hands through her hair and she couldn't recall ever feeling so beautiful.

They watched the pleasure in one another's faces as they began moving together tenderly, wrapping their arms around each other as if holding on to life itself. She was kissing the side of his neck and moaning as he held her tight, wondering how it was even possible that Doyle was the first man to make love to her as opposed to just having sex. She had a new found understanding of the term. He was so gentle with her, so respectful and caring; she'd never guessed it could be like this.

She smiled listening to the sounds of his breathing beside her ear as he nuzzled his face in her hair, savored the moans of unmasked pleasure that were escaping him as she ran her hands over his shoulder blades. Their bodies tensed as they moved closer to their climax, kissing each other madly, holding on tight as they were both swept up in ecstasy.

Cordelia never wanted to let him go. He collapsed to the bed beside her and pulled her over to him, kissing her forehead and running his fingers through her hair as she rested her head on his shoulder and tried to gaze up at him. "That was…" She breathed and he smiled down at her pleasantly dazed expression.

"The first of many times, I hope." Doyle said and entwined his fingers with hers, sighing contentedly as he rested his head on her pillows. "You know this is so much more comfortable than that couch of yours." He teased and she grinned up at him, waiting for him to lean down and kiss her.

"I like having you in here much better." She said softly. "Good night again, Doyle."

He smiled. "G'night again, princess."

Angel knocked twice before looking around to make sure no one was in the hall and impatiently forcing his way through the door. It was nearly noon and neither of them had shown up for work. He couldn't reach either of them by phone and was something far beyond worried at this point.

His eyes went wide seeing the tell-tale scattering of ash on the floor of the dark apartment, he could see two sets of footprints there, signs of a struggle…the curtains were still drawn and he cursed under his breath. He should have known that something was terribly wrong when he spotted the discarded Grande Latte in the entryway to the building.

"Cordelia!" He called, his eyes scanning the apartment fearfully as he cautiously ventured into its interior. He turned quickly as a sound reached his ears, finding Cordelia stumbling down the hall toward him and he gasped. Her hair was hopelessly disheveled, a baggy shirt was hanging to her knees, her neck was covered in bruises and he rushed to her. "Cordy! Are you alright? What happened?" He demanded, turning her head to the side. "Jesus…were you bitten?" He asked in panic, turning her face the other way to look at the other side of her neck, searching for punctures to accompany the bruising.

She was pushing his hands off of her and groaning at his frantic questions, waking up to your boss practically knocking your door off its hinges wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. "I'm fine, really."

"But…but your neck…" He began worriedly and she arched a brow at him.

"That wasn't a vampire…that happened to have been a demon." She said, pushing past him and shuffling toward the kitchen. She'd gotten next to no sleep, not with Doyle lying beside her and the two of them finally getting the chance to be together without interruption. There was a lot to be said for the stamina of a half demon…which meant she really wasn't up for this unexpected visit.

Angel's jaw dropped open and he followed her. "A demon? A demon? Cordy, tell me what happened." He pleaded to her back as she reached into her fridge. "Was Doyle with you? What happened to him? Oh God, just tell me – is he okay?" He asked, bracing himself for horrible news.

"Mornin'" came a groggy voice from behind him and Angel turned slightly.

"Morning, Doyle…" He answered out of habit before doing a double take. "Doyle!" He said in shock, his worry suddenly shifting to confusion as the shirtless half-demon cut around him, buckling his pants while walking into the kitchen.

"Thirsty?" Cordy asked, grinning at Doyle as she offered him a glass of juice.

"That's a drastic understatement, princess." He said with a smile, taking the juice and a kiss from Cordy before leaning back against the counter.

Angel's jaw nearly hit the floor.

"You're up a bit early, aren't you?" Doyle asked with a yawn, scratching his chest and laughing when Cordelia pointed out a few 'bruises' she'd left there.

Angel's brain was struggling to come to terms with what he was seeing. "I'm…so… ummm…what…" He stammered, holding up a hand and laughing nervously before closing his eyes, groaning in confusion and pinching the bridge of his nose.

Cordy leaned against the counter beside Doyle, sipping her juice and watching Angel with her head tilted to the side.

"Does he do this from time to time?" Doyle asked with a smirk.

She nodded as she opened a box of snacks. "Give him a few minutes."

"So the two of you…are…and…what…" Angel stuttered, pointing out into the living room in frustration.

Cordelia had just popped a cracker into her mouth and started off with an 'mmph' before chewing and answering. "That was the guy I went out to dinner the other night with, you know – the really boring one? Yeah, apparently he was a vamp and would have shown up sooner but he was afraid of Doyle. Who, by the way, did you know is like this wicked cool looking demon when he changes? You should have seen that guy's face, he was so scared." She smiled up at Doyle adoringly, feeding him a cracker and kissing his cheek.

Doyle grinned down at her, giving Angel a slightly embarrassed shrug.

"So you…you finally fought in demon form? Damn it, I've been telling you to do that this whole time!" Angel complained.

"Well it…thank you, princess…" He said, momentarily distracted by Cordy offering him another cracker, continuing with a full mouth. "It just sorta happened, he was about to bite her and I don't know…I kind of snapped."

Angel stared at the glowing couple in astonishment. "But what about when you and I were about to get killed? You always gave me that, 'it's not my style' speech!"

Doyle laughed. "Well it's not to say you're not cute and all that, Angel…but you're really not my type. I guess I just needed the proper motivation, seeing Cordy in trouble like that definitely did the trick. Was far easier than I'd thought it would be, taking out that vamp – I mean like no sweat. Maybe embracing a little family culture might not be such a bad thing after all; with the way lurking evil seems to follow this little beauty around I really need to find out what all I'm capable of." Doyle said, kissing her forehead as she gave him a hug. She looked up at him and bit her bottom lip; waggling her eyebrow suggestively and watching him smirk.

Cordy cleared her throat, turning and giving Angel a meaningful look. "Which is precisely what I was doing before someone came barging in here." She said, arching a brow and walking over to escort Angel from the apartment.

"But…I…." Angel began as she snagged his arm, still having dozens of questions.

"No buts, oh – and we'll need to borrow your car later." She said, stopping at the door and frowning at the splintered frame.

Angel looked away guiltily as he spotted the damage. "Wait, my car? For what?"

"To bring Doyle's stuff here…well, the stuff that he's keeping because you can bet your ass he's not bringing any of that furniture in here." Cordy informed him, putting her hands on her hips.

"You're…wait, WHAT?" He asked in shock, looking back and forth between the two of them.

"Well his place is awful and seeing how he did help me get this apartment…and how we are together now…and how he's like a vampire repellant and we do need to budget our money with you not wanting to charge half our clients…we're going to live together and share expenses." Cordy explained, grinning back at Doyle.

"I'm…ummm….oh God…" Angel complained, rubbing his temples. Just a week ago things had been so normal, Doyle had pined for Cordy, Cordy had pined for designer clothing…now he seemed to have unwittingly stepped into the Twilight Zone.

"So we'll be by later, k?" She said, pushing him out into the hall and smiling at him before pointing at the damaged door frame. "Oh, and in the mean time you should probably figure out who you're going to have repair this."

The door shut in his face, leaving him to stare at it in shock for a moment, once again only able to manage a 'huh' before turning and walking away.