A/N: Another Angel and Cordelia fic. Needed something to get the creative juices flowing to finish my one shot for the Taking Chances series and the next chapter of Ashes. Anyhow, this is basically a one shot about Angel's worst fears that brings up a question that needs a conclusion. Will he say the life changing, simple, powerful, three, little words?
Setting is Season three. Connor was never stolen, no Groo, just Angel being too much of a noble chicken to take what he wants. Humor, angst, sadness, happiness, bliss.. Hey, you need them all when writing something about Angel and his miserable love life!
Disclaimer: Joss, you own them all. I only own my imagination and inspiration. MelBelle2, favorite fan authors, and every C/A lover out there, this fic is for you! Enjoy!
Three Little Words
The rain soaked him through his clothes with it's miserable icy fingers. His body quivered, though not for any reason a human would when being attacked by nature. His was of grief. A deep grief that sent him spiraling into oblivion.
His ears were deaf to the kind preachers words as he spoke about the better place Cordelia is now in. His body numb to the warm hands of the shattered peices of his family. Nothing would be the same. The heart... his heart... was dead.
It had happened so fast. A simple mission, a vision sent by The Powers That Be. All they had to do was clear a nest of Penalie demon eggs. The parents were exterminated last week, so clearing the nest before they hatched should have been as easy as pie. Cordelia herself said so. Which was why he allowed her and Fred to tag along. Well, if he was going to be truthful, it was because he couldn't deny his seer anything now days. Because of that weakness, she was taken from him.
After burning and hacking away at the puss filled eggs, the gang had felt happy and icky. Gunn and Wesley fussed over the last egg, the tension between them over a certain Texan gone. Sure, Wesley hurt daily over not being the one who won her heart, but he was a good man who knew that she couldn't be in better hands then Charles Gunn. Time heals all wounds, eventually.
As the two snark-ed playfully at each other, Cordy's big, beautiful brown eyes sought out his. They were filled with warmth and another emotion that took his breath away. An emotion he's desperately tried to deny and hide. Partly for wanting her to have a life with a man who could give her what she deserved. But the other side was due to fear. Fear of rejection, fear of losing what they have, and fear of losing his soul. It wouldn't take mind blowing sex to open the locks over his baser, evil instincts. It would be three, simple words spilling from her pouty lips. Angel just wasn't ready or prepared to keep himself from com-busting with bliss from knowing that he had her heart.
Suddenly, a large Penalie demon emerged from the darkness. It was the mother, barely alive, but clearly waiting to strike. It was like everything went into some weird Matrix slow motion gig. Angel opened his mouth to warn his seer of the danger, his body slowly moving into action. Fred screamed while Gunn and Wesley ran toward the demon, eyes wide with fear. And Cordy. His sweet, charming Cordy, frowning as she turned to see her death coming her way.
It's claw skewered through her lower chest, piercing and mutilating her left lung. The anguish and disbelief on her beautiful face forever imprinted in his mind. Angel let out a roar as he reached the two dying females. One with blood gurgling from her shapely lips, the other grinning maliciously as all men hacked her to pieces. A life for a life was her last words as Angel literally ripped her deformed head off with his bare hands.
Angel closed his eyes as the skies weeped along with the tiny crowd. He hadn't bothered with cover as the humans and one green demon had. Fred's agonizing moans grew louder as the mahogony casket was lowered inch by inch. Then the small band of mourners paid their last respects.
Wesley flinched as his yellow rose fell and landed on the casket with a soft thud. Face unnaturally pale and gaunt from lack of sleep and food. He slowly stumbled away, disappearing in the misty rain.
Poor Fred's tears had obscured her vision, so she and Gunn had said their last goodbyes together. Their white roses joining Wesley's as the heavens continued with its watery assault.
As the crowd walked away, Angel remained. The red rose clutched tightly in his cold, dead fingers. He just couldn't do it, knowing that this would truly be goodbye.
"Shh! It's okay, Cordy. You're going to be fine!"
Her chest rattled as she fought for oxygen, drowning in her own blood. Angel could hear Gunn screaming his curses, hacking into the dead demon's remains. Wesley gave the directions to the 911 dispatcher in grief stricken moans while Fred sobbed in the corner, curled up in the fetal position.
"(Cough) Angel, I'm (gasp) so cold. God it... hurts."
"I know, Cor. I promise it won't for long." Angel said tearfully, his voice small and lost as a small child's. "The ambulance is going to be here soon. They'll fix you."
Cordelia smiled sadly, lifting up a trembling hand to his face. "No, Angel. They won't."
Her hand weakly trailed down his shirt to tightly clench the collar, chocking up more blood. Her blood was everywhere, filled with her fear and everything that made her the woman he cared for more then his Shanshu. Realization came that he truly did love her. Was in love! He couldn't deny it any longer.
"Don't leave. Don't go where I can't follow." Angel begged, still sounding like a lost child. His next plea came as a soft, wounded whisper. "Please."
Her heart began to stumble, it's beating fighting to keep the body alive. Cordelia sighed, tracing his trembling lips. "Angel, take care of everyone. Keep the family together."
"No! You're not-"
"Make sure... that Connor grows up knowing... that (gasping) I loved him. Like my own son."
Angel stopped fighting the tears, numbly nodding.
"And Angel, " her eyes grew wide with frantic need as her heart faltered. "I love you."
Then she shuddered... and died.
Angel froze, waiting for something. For her to wake up. To laugh and slap his hand away from the gaping hole as her demoney side kicked in and healed the wounded flesh. To call him a worry wart and blame him for yet again ruining yet another set of clothes. But, she didn't. She was gone.. Gone before he could declare how he loved the way she bitched about his tightness with a buck. Loved how she found the forgiveness for him over and over again. Loved how she forced him out of his dark world and into her world of light. Loved her humanizing influence, and most of all... That he loved her more then life itself.
With demon yellow eyes, Angel released a roar filled with the pain of both animal and man, of losing his mate. His pained scream was heard through out Los Angeles, and even to some towns nearby. Both humans, demons, and animals felt the pain and rage of something in the air. Beasts growled and howled, people shuddered and held their loved ones close.
Cordelia had told him once that she finally fell in love with rain. He had asked her why. Her answer was simple.
"Because, dorkus, it washes away all your sadness, if you let it. For me, at least. Just to stand underneath without Mr. Umbrella and let it wash away all my cares away. I found that secret out one night after you.. well, during your beige period."
Angel couldn't find the comfort that she did. If anything, the rain reminded him of his loss and failure. It accused him of his biggest failure and who's fault it was. It was his fault. His fault for lettering her die. His fault for letting her die not knowing how much he loved her. His fault. His...
Angel jerked out of bed, clutching his chest as spasams of pain wrecked havoc on his body. Panic had obscured years of self practice and frankly, undead habits as he stumbled hard on the hard wooden floor. Like a child, he curled up and held himself while rocking, tears streaming down his face. Grief was his merciless master as guilt and horror joined in to torment him.
Refusing to except her death, praying to a God he rejected years ago, he managed knock his cordless phone off his bedside table. Luckily, it didn't smash into a million pieces and worked just fine as he fumbled with the buttons to call her number.
Ms. Tired-and-really-annoyed answered on the last ring before the answer machine could take the call.
"I don't care if this is Jude Law begging me to be his co-star in the next romantic, Oscar winning hit, all you need to know is that I am one seriously, pissed off, woman who will kick your ass all the way to the movie premier for disturbing my beauty sleep! This better be a life or death situation! It's," there was a short pause and a gasp. "Holy crap, it's three-forty a.m.?... Angel?"
The last bit was said suspiciously.
Angel couldn't help the goofy, relieved grin that formed when hearing her sweet, sweet, voice... Never mind that it was filled with anger and a thirst for his death. "Yup, it's me!"
He heard her whisper as she counted to ten. Then, between gritted teeth, she replied, "Angel, remember when we had that talk of you being nocturnal and us mere mortals were day time folk?"
God, her irked voice never sounded so beautiful. Better then the greatest composers works of art!
"Sorry," he replied a bit too chipperly. Then clearing his throat, he tried to sound less enthusiastic. "It's just..."
How should he put this without sounding like sissy, a nut-ball, a-
"A pansy-ass soul that's neautered?" his demon offered.
"I... just had a bad feeling. A really bad feeling. Big, bad-"
"I get it, sheesh!"
"Well, I just needed to know if... you had a vision... or something."
There was a pause... A longer one then he would have liked. But at least he could listen to the faint heart beat on the other end of the phone. She must have laid the phone against her chest... Lucky phone.
"Yeah, I'm still here. Just checking my poor, sleepy brain for any demony images and gross smelly memories... Nope. Nada. Nothing. None of the above, big guy. Just one pissed off seer who's about to slam the phone on her big, dense, dorky champion. No biggie."
Angel laughed, thrilled that she was alive to cut him down to size with that razor sharp tongue.
"Okay. Sorry, Cor. Get back to your unneeded beauty sleep."
He heard a soft yawn, which brought him a warm feeling in his gut. "Angel, beauty sleep is what makes this face look so good."
"You can roll around in trash and make out with a slime demon and still be the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."
"Mm-hm. Kay." Came her half awake reply as her heart beat slowed down with the sleep that came. "Love you too, night-night."
Angel closed his eyes, letting the words soothe the wounded soul. For a few seconds, he allowed himself imagine that they were lovers, and she uttered those words with the same feelings he had for her. The sound of her snuggling deeper into her pillow brought a sigh to his sculpted lips. He envied that pillow. Lucky pillow. Lucky bed. Lucky-
The sound of her soft snores brought him back from heated fantasies. Smiling, he whispered, "Sweet dreams."
He hung up the phone with a soft caress. With a relieved yet trouble spirit, Angel laid back down to try and find sleep. It eluded him and frankly, he wasn't wanting it.
This nightmare was but one of several he's been having lately. All involving the death of his family. But this one... This one was solely about Cordelia, filled with such graphic nature and feelings. Damn, it felt too real! The desperation and loss still cling-ed to his tense, raw nerves, lingering like a bad smell. It brought up feelings that he's been so desperately fighting, ignoring. Tonight, those feelings were taking shape in explosive manner that it nearly had him running over to her apartment to lurk and watch her sleep... Again.
Ever since the birth of his son, the feelings he's tried to define in regards of Cordelia were becoming more clearer as the days go by. And yes, he's scared out of his mind. Out of all the women he's met, bedded, killed, ect.. Cordelia was the only one he could honestly say he respected and could call best friend. And with that knowledge, his sudden blooming feelings had him confused and left him aching and wanting while fearing what they would bring.
The possessions by the spirit of the dead lovers made these feelings worse, and harder to ignore. With each kiss and touch, he felt it and craved it as if it was his own. As if he was making love to that mouth and caressing that luscious body. He still remembered the taste of her. So exotic and spicy. Tasting his best friend had left him hard and aching for something he had no right to want. And the clincher of it all was that if he felt and gave himself over to those kisses, then by her whole hearted reaction, she did too. And that, boys and girls, scared him more then the rising sun did.
From the heated glances they've been sharing since then, he knew that she didn't leave that room unscathed either. At times, he would find his eyes leaving his book or son's face to roam over her face and body. His mouth would water as his memory perception took him back to that night over and over. Sometimes, she would catch him ogling her. Chocolate brown eyes would meet dark, brown with a few lighter sparkles of honey. They would lock, sharing heated and glazed fantasies. Then, she would blink, blush, give him a wobbly smile and turn her attention back to her magazine.
But sometimes, he wandered if he was just imagining those lustful glances. Cordelia Chase was a person who could read you and cut to the quick, doing it in a tactless yet respectful manner... As respectful as her Chase genes aloud her. But when it came to herself and emotions, she'd clam up and put up those walls that hid her inner most thoughts. And people told him he was the one who hid behind a emotionless mask. Who knew that a twenty-one year old mortal had him beat in that area.
Then there were other times, when he could feel her eyes burning and licking him up. One instance, a few days ago, while putting away his weopans, he felt those honey toffee eyes eating him up. He turned around, stunned to find her mouth partly open, eyes glazed and heartbeat beating a fast tempo. The indescribable feelings she stirred in him almost had him walking over and gathering her in his arms to fulfill every single fantasy he's had of her over the years... And just maybe, a few he hasn't thought up yet.
Angel closed his eyes, groaning as his hand trailed down his ripped stomach. His eyes snapped open as he realized what he was about to do. Muttering under his breath, he abruptly sat up in his bed and threw his legs over the edge.
When frustrations like this interrupt the sleep one needs; go have a long, sweaty session with the good, dependable punching bag.
Gently cradling his still sleeping son, he went to do just that.
She should be used to it now. That prickling sensation at the back of her neck that alerted her that she was being watched. After two years, almost three now, she should be calm and totally okay. But she wasn't. The staring and at times the intensity those brown eyes throw at her really is beginning to wig her out. Which annoyed her. And nobody likes an annoyed seer.
After enduring three straight hours of his staring and hovering, she finally snarled at the vamp and told him to take a picture. Like always, the puppy whined and got all broody while going back to his cage. She started to feel guilty over the incident, really. She was even going to cook up some good ol' Pigs O pos goodness and take it up to him. But no. Her personal stalker was at it again! Unseen, but definitely nearby.
It unnerved her how she could sense his presence. Well, to put it bluntly, she could feel him, inside her. And no, not that type of inside, people. Get your minds out of the gutter!
It wigged her out because that's Buffy's line. Not hers. She was vision girl. a.k.a Best friend, platonic and so not interested in dead people!
Damn it! The guy has a kid now, doesn't he have to be doing daddy things instead of driving her crazy with penetrating her skull with his puppy dog, gorgeous, sensual, yummy, chocolate eyes?.. Hey, she may love him as just a friend, but she wasn't blind! She's a warm blooded female who enjoyed watching eye candy. And Angel was definitely the perfect eye candy. Those big, hulking shoulders, sculpted boob muscles that made her mouth water and fingers itch to touch. Abs that were firm, delicious, washboard hard and shaped to make your eyes wander further down to where his happy trail wandered. Mmmm...
Cordelia shook her head, desperatly trying to push out naughty thoughts. Naughty thoughts that were linked to more then sexual attraction. To something so deep it scared her... God, she was going to kill that stupid, emotionally stunted retard if he doesn't stop with the staring and flustering part!... Enough. Something had to be done.
Standing up, she walked over to the doors, looking out with a frustrated glare. She paused, then turned her head and looked at the dark corner where the fake tree plant and a certain vampire was occupying.
"Listen up, stalker, it's bad enough that my sleep was interrupted by a certain champion of mine early this morning. But this whole anxious staring thing," she paused, keeping her eyes pointed where she thought his face would be, "stops now. You're going to ruin my radar."
The slightly shame faced and annoyed vampire emerged from the dark shadows. His lip slightly pouted before the confused look that she couldn't help but think as adorable, appeared.
"You know, radar." She sighed, rolling her eyes as she began to explain further, "The instinctual part of the brain that tells you that danger is nearby. Or that somebody is following you or in my case, watching me like some deranged hawk."
"I wasn't watching... Okay, I was, but it's only because I care and worry about you." He almost whined.
A slow and small smile took the tenseness and annoyance out of her beautiful face.
"Angel, I'm fine. I'm better then fine! Ever since The Powers demonized me, the visions have been less pain-inducing-killer-explosive in my head. I could go without the whole smelly, in your face stuff, but I'm not one to complain... Too much."
She reached for his hand as his lips turned into a small but meaningful smile. She loved it when he smiled.
"I'm fine. Connor's fine. Everybody here is fine. Just... lay off the staring."
He opened his mouth to protest, but stopped when a warm, inviting finger pressed against his soft lips.
"At least don't do it for four hours straight. Like I said, it's going to effect my radar. I don't want to be out there one night and feel that tingly prickling sensation at the back of my neck and presume its you when really, it's a big nasty, slimy demon with razor sharp claws for hands. You know what I mean?"
He looked down at their entwined hands, his smile growing bigger.
"Okay. I'll cut it down to five hours."
Her smile turned into a frown.
She rolled her eyes.
How could she say no to the puppy eyes? Darn him!
"Okay. But do it in the evening, 'cause I'm not much of a morning person. You know how I get when my morning is disrupted by an annoying, handsome vampire."
"Hey!... You think I'm handsome?"
Cordelia merely shook her head as she turned and returned to her desk. Like she was going to stroke his ego even more! Pfft!
She heard him hum a little as he went to hang out with Wes in his office. For a guy who's probably had a record of women in his bed that would fill all of America, he sure was dense to his good looks. Of course, he hasn't a reflection to show how lip licking gorgeous he really was. Thank God for small miracles, 'cause she hated to see him flaunting himself for the rest of Los Angeles's female population... He was her eye candy, after all.
The day passed slowly, with no clients or visions. It was perfect for research for a case that was pending. Angel flipped through the pages of an old demonology book that explained in detail how and where to catch a Fryce demon. They needed some of its milk to make a potion for one of their pending cases. Wesley was out getting supplies while Angel stayed to research in the office. So far, it was actually interesting... and would keep him haunted for weeks on exactly how they were going to... milk it.
He was so engrossed with it, that he didn't notice Buffy waltzing in, staring at him with old longing. It wasn't till the third clearing of her throat did he realize he wasn't alone.
"Buffy? What are you- oh, is there another Apocalypse or-"
"You know, it gets irritating that whenever I come by for a visit, it's always concluded to something apocalyptic or demony. Can't a girl visit an old... friend without being accused of that?"
Angel shifted uncomfortably. Frankly, she only visited him twice. And both times weren't just to talk about old times or how he was. Second thing is, well... There really is no reason for her to be here. Which is why the whole apocalyptic garble came out.
"Why are you here?"
The blond bit her lower lip, looking away. Angel took the pause to take in her appearance. Her clothes were slightly looser then the last time he saw her. Her cheekbones a little more defined then they should be. Her skin color slightly paler then usual. It was clear she was still just as lost as when they met up after her resurrection. And clearly not eating.
"I'm sorry. I don't know why... I'll go."
"No, wait." Angel said as he quickly stood up and ran over to block her escape. She wasn't there because of a life threatening situation, but she was there for help. Something was wrong, somethings been wrong.
The blond's shoulders began to quake as chocking sobs came from her trembling mouth. Her small hands went up to cover her face as she began to come apart. Angel quickly and gently held her to him, setting his chin atop of her head. His heart hurting for her and her pain.
As he held her, her arms went around his waist, then up his back and on to his shoulders. His eyes went wide as he realized that she wasn't just wanting a hug of comfort.
"Uh, Buffy," Angel replied, trying to untangle her hands from around his neck. But her slayer strength wouldn't give, which made him even more nervous. "Listen you're in a vulnerable-"
"I love you." she said almost desperately.
"Yeah, um, about that. You're-"
"The world is so cruel, and changing. But you," she smiled softly, though her eyes look cold and dangerously hysterical. "Us... we'll never change. Right? We'll always love each other. Only each other."
Angel closed his eyes and sighed. Yes, he loved her. But he wasn't in love with her, not anymore. His decision was the best thing for both of them, and more. He knew she was grasping at straws to cope with everything, looking for some safety zone. But he wasn't it. And, he's going to have to get her to see that, despite that she's trying to deny it.
"Yes, I'll always love you."
Her smile grew wide as she reached up to bring his face down for a kiss. But he refused.
"But I'm not..."
"I know, the curse. But... we're both different in a way now. More grown up. Maybe-"
"We could start slow, keep in touch and see each other over the weekends and-"
"Buffy, I'm not in love with you."
She grew eerily silent. Gone was the school girl love, replaced by the fearful slayer.
"Buffy, you're my first love. I've never loved anyone in my entire existence as I did you. You were the one who showed me that I could actually feel love."
Slayer wrath gone, replaced by gooey school girl.
"But that was then... I'll always be grateful for that. But, now, I'm... in... I've changed. I've moved on. I know that love can be deeper and lighter then what I learned."
"It's another woman, isn't it?"
Well, if he was truthful... yeah. He was in love with-
"What happened to you never being able to move on and find love again? Or-Or that I will always be your girl?"
"You're not supposed to change!" she screamed, trembling as her last chance of finding something unchangeable crumbling the fantasy world she thought she needed. Angel put his hands on her shoulders, trying to calm her down. It was a mistake that would haunt him forever.
Suddenly, she leaped into his arms, claiming his mouth. Caught off guard, he just stood there as she roughly kissed him, all the while weeping silently. He gently set her back on her feet, and allowed the kiss to linger as she slowly realized that it was truly over. For both of them. His patience with her helped her own epiphany of life to come, but for a price.
When they finally parted, the scent of his son and the woman who now had claim as the love of his life seeped into his senses. He hoped, prayed that she wasn't really there, that it was just her lingering scent that seemed to cling to his home and clothes lately. But it wasn't.
Both he and Buffy turned to looked at the trembling, broken hearted Cordelia Chase who held the sleeping bundle tight to her chest.
"Cordy." He squeaked. He opened his mouth, but nothing else came from it.
Both seer and warrior gazed at each other. Angel saw the pain, betrayal, and decision in her eyes. Un-shed tears gave the final touch of what he truly did to her.
"Well, guess you two crazy kids decided fate won't keep you from each other after all. Super... I gotta go home.. I'll just give you Connor and be going now."
Angel couldn't move. Even when their hands brushed each other while exchanging the baby, he still couldn't move or say anything. She leaned down and kissed the baby, saying a tearful goodbye. Then she walked away, and he just stood there, watching. It wasn't till the glass door silently closed did he galvanise into action. Ignoring Buffy's inquisitive questions, Angel ran up stairs in a blur, got Fred to take the baby, then ran back downstairs and out of the building.
Her jeep was gone. Cursing, he leaped into his convertible, and sped toward her apartment.
He knew he just about broke every traffic law, and he couldn't care any less. He was about to lose his best friend and a future with her, all because he couldn't be firmer and tell Buffy that his heart was with Cordelia now.
He made it to the apartment in record time, though it was apparent she did to. Her jeep was already parked, with no sign of his beautiful friend. He entered the complex and began zipping up the stairs, putting to use all his years of vampire speed and agility. Within seconds, he was at her apartment door. Before he could knock, the door flung open. Dennis hovered with a frightened and confused air as his roommate packed several of her clothes and other things in some suitcases.
"Cordy, listen, it wasn't what you-"
She looked up at him, her eyes aflame with anger, hurt, and something akin to defeat.
"Save it, alright? I heard all the excuses and apologies before."
"I'm sorry. Please, listen-"
"Besides," she said carelessly as she closed the suitcase. "it's none of my business. You're your own vampire, you can mack on any blond you want. It's your unlife, and if you want to endanger your friends and family, then yay you! Long live true love."
"Don't." Angel growled. God, he was tired of everyone telling him who he loved! He only loved one woman now, and she was packing. Why is she packing? "Where are you going?"
"I'm leaving." she replied with a shrug. She grabbed her other suitcase and left the room. Angel just stood there for two seconds, gaping at the spot she just occupied those two seconds ago. Then he swooped out of the bedroom and blocked her exit out the door.
"Leaving. You know, making my final exit. Out the door. Outta here. Blowing this Popsicle stand. Hasta la vista, baby. Jumping ship. Flying over the cuckoo's nest... Gone."
Angel raked his hand through his hair, trying to understand. "Why? Why now? Why over some innocent kiss?"
"Innocent kiss!" She repeated, looking so angry and irrational that steam should be coming out of her ears. "If playing tonsil hockey with your true love like that is innocent, then my closet necking days with Xander Harris is our way to saintly hood!"
"It didn't mean anything!"
"Oh, like it didn't mean anything when you used me and fired us so you can chase and eventually bone your 'skanky-ho sire', then lie about it. Then to bribe me with clothes to get my forgiveness, then leave for three months without a word so you could mourn your perfect little woman, then come back bearing more gifts and act like that wasn't a bribe to smooth things over."
Angel's mouth hang open as her gaze dropped, her lips quivering. He never thought-
"Then at the ballet, we... we were possessed but... it was still us... You told me it was still us... What, I was just something to warm Buffy's spot till she decided to come back and claim you?"
"God no!" Angel gasped, reaching for her face. She stumbled back, eyes wide with hurt. He covered his own trembling mouth, trying to come up with anything to make this better. To take away that hurt in her eyes.
"You can't leave.. All of us need you. Connor needs you."
Cordelia shook her head. "Connor will do just fine without me. He's got you and everybody else, not to mention a new mommy."
"No!" Angel growled, suddenly standing before her, desperate to get his point across. "He already has a mother."
"Oh, yeah." Cordy replied oh so softly. "The dead blond. Though she's now really deader then the undead. Unless you decide to resurrect-"
"Not her! I mean, yeah, she's his mother. But you are-"
"Really growing tired and bored of this conversation. Frankly, there's nothing keeping me here, not anymore. Goodbye Angel."
She was leaving him.. For good. She swept past him and was walking out the door when he tried his final excuse. Though deep down, he knew what the magic words that would keep her to him forever.
She paused, back stiff. Looking over her shoulder, she gave him a look of utter contempt.
"Don't worry, I would never turn my back on them, not like you. I talked it over with Wes over the phone while packing. Any time I glow and do the vision dance, I'll call ya. Turns out I don't have to be present to give the details. Thanks to that wonderful invention called the telephone."
She sighed as she turned her head away. "You hurt me, Angel. More then anyone I have ever known... You broke my heart. I'm sorry... I just can't take it any more."
Then she left. Angel couldn't move, her words cutting his heart to pieces. His mind screamed for him to go after her. To tell her those three, simple, words. Finally, he could move. He ran like he never did before. But it wasn't quick enough. She was surprisingly already down to the front door of the building. She pushed the doors open, allowing the sunlight to peek through. Apparently, the sun was just as fast as she was, preventing him from stopping her... Then, she was gone. Forever out of his life.
"Noooooooo!" Angel screamed, falling out of Wesley's chair. Cordelia and Gunn came running into the office, both holding weapons.
Angel groaned, wincing as he touched the back of his head.
"Where's the baddies?" Gunn asked, eyes looking suspiciously at the walls, as if they were hiding the culprits.
"Everything's fine." Angel muttered, glad that vampires couldn't blush. He quickly stood back up and righted the tipped over chair. "I must have fell asleep, is all."
The two friends gave him a quizzical and annoyed look. Cordy's eye caught the demon book lying on the desk.
"No biggie. Wesley's smelly old tombs could bore Mr... Boring... Mcboring himself."
Gunn chuckled, shaking his head as he left the office.
"Hey! I can't come up with a witty answer all the time! It's a lot of pressure being such a-"
"Smart ass?" Gunn offered from the lobby. The seer grinned, turning around to stick her tongue out. Angel noticed the action, causing a unusual whimper to escape his tight lips.
Cordy turned, arching one eyebrow. "You okay? You kinda bumped your head a little-"
"I'm fine!" he growled, not really wanting to talk to the one who tore out his heart and stomped on it. Even if it was only dream Cordy who did that.
"Fine, Mr. Grumpy pants! Have it your own way!"
She then stormed out of the office and went back to her desk.
"It was just a dream. Cordy isn't leaving you, or dying, or hating you with every fiber of her being. And Buffy isn't-"
The phone began to ring. Angel waited for the brunette to answer it, but apparently, she was too busy being angry with him to do it. Grumbling, Angel answered the phone, skipping the line his Cordy uses and just going for the jugular.
"Hi, Angel," came the familiar female voice. Buffy sounded nervous and kinda hopeful. "Can we talk?"
Angel's eyes became wide as saucers. He quickly slammed the phone down, eyeing it like it was the devil himself.
The next day wasn't any better. Even though he had a dreamless sleep, Angel couldn't help but being a grumpy Gus. Eventually, Lorne had taken Connor up to his room because his bad, black mood was upsetting the little munchkin. Despite his guilt over that, he just couldn't shake his anger and hurt over losing Cordelia so vividly twice now... Even if they were only nightmares, it still bothered him to no end.
Around evening and after a vision, Cordy went to try and draw the vamp out of his almost feral mood. She would have done it earlier, but with him doing all the literal growling at her, well, she was just too angry to bring a little light in his darkness. Now, she was willing to let her offenses go so that they can get some work done.
"Hey, handsome." She purposely used the endearment, since he seemed to like it so well the other day. "What's with the 'tude today? Did someone pee in your blood or somethin'?"
Her answer was another dangerous growl. A growl that neither intimated or struck fear in his seer. Sometimes, he wandered if her self preservation instinct was damaged.
As before, he didn't want her any where near his vicinity. He didn't want her cheerfulness, her smiles and whole cajoling process to get him out of his 'tude. Not after what she did to him. Leaving him like that. Twice! Sure, she only did that in dreams, but damn it! It hurt! It nearly destroyed him! She died, then left him of her own free will! What was he supposed to do with that, hmm?
He growled again, turning his head, leaning away from her as she leaned up against the counter.
"Angel." She said again in a sing song voice. Nope. He wasn't going to look at her. Sorry honey, but for once, you're getting the silent treatment.
"Look Angel, it's not like I just had a vision about some whiny, blond, damsel in distress who's about to become a happy meal for four Master vampires in desperate need of a dentist. Or that Wesley specifically told me and you to partner up and meet them at the pier where they'll lure the four big bads into a trap. Nope. No biggie."
When he merely shrugged like some teen sporting a 'tude, the seer lost some of her cheerfulness.
"Great. Just go ahead with you depresso-ram-ma. I'll just go by myself-"
"No!" Angel quickly said, grabbing her arm. When he saw the victorious glint in those mischievous eyes, the big lug realized she got him to use words now. Damn! The woman was evil. Evil!
"Come on, Angel Dearest. Tell me what's got my big guy set in permanent funk mode."
The 'Angel Dearest' part had him melting into a large pool of vampy love. Then her next words had him back to growls and glares.
"Is this yet another Buffy brood fest? 'Cause that's getting kinda old, don't ya think?"
He growled and narrowed his eyes as she waited patiently for his answer. Didn't she know that was ancient history? He hasn't brooded about his ex for years!... Okay, maybe not years, but it sure felt like it. Cordelia Chase was his new favorite subject to brood about. His new and funnest obsession... She just didn't know it, and he'll keep it that way. She might freak out and really leave him then.
"No, it's not Buffy I'm brooding over. I'm just not sleeping well."
"Oh. Good." She replied, then blushed as she realized at how that sounded. "I mean, not good because you're not sleeping, 'cause we all know personally from experience that you not sleeping is not a good thing. I meant good over not brooding over Buffy. Feeling guilty that you hung up on her three times till I was the one who finally had to talk to her on the phone. Appeasing an angry slayer is not as easy as it looks. Good thing she bought what I said about the office phone short circuiting and that you had to go out and save one of the helpless, or else I would have messed up my new pants as I swept up your dusty remains."
At his glare, she lost the grin and replied, "Well maybe not my pants... Geez! It's called a joke. You know, when one person says something funny and the audience laughs? Ha-ha and all that jazz."
Sighing, she finally tried something she's never had to use before. Bribery.
"Okay, how about this. You and me go help our friends take care of those pesky undead jerks, then we'll have ourselves a fun movie Cordy and Angel night."
Angel looked at her then looked away. Then back again...
"Can I pick out the movies?" Angel asked a bit reluctantly.
"Ah-haaaaaa!" Cordelia said with absolute relish. Angel's eyes grew wide as she grinned like some evil, enticing little witch. "I just knew that no man, dead or otherwise, could refuse my charms for long. I still reign as Boy Slayer supreme!"
Angel chuckled, falling for her enchantment. A full blown Angel grin spread across his handsome features, showing all his perfect, pearly whites. How could he ever refuse her?
"There's my smile." She said with added warmth. Her hand went up to cup his cheek. She didn't notice the way he shivered with pleasure at the contact. "Don't you know by now that I'll always find a way to make you smile?"
Angel leaned against her hand, soaking up every second of this close contact attention. "Yeah, I think I'm finally getting it."
Her hand trailed down his neck, then to his chest, stopping over where his heart should have been beating. "Good. Then it shouldn't surprise you that I have you twisted completely around my little finger."
"Mm-hm." Angel nodded, and sighed like some love sick puppy. Then the love sick puppy expression turned into the sexual, wolfish smirk. "Cordy, you didn't answer me."
"Huh," she replied, mouth slightly open as her eyes ate up his mouth. The wolfish crooked smile turned into a grin.
"Can you what?"
He leaned in, causing her lids to flutter from being in such close proximity. "Can... I... choose?"
She slowly nodded, letting out a girlie giggle. Angel stepped back, looking as if nothing had just happened. He was back to platonic, goofy Angel.
"Sounds like fun! I'll let Lorne know to watch Connor for a little while longer."
Cordelia blinked a few times before answering him with a mega-watt grin. "Sounds like a plan to me."
Angel turned around to grab his jacket from the coat hanger by the office. He felt a tap on his shoulder, distracting him from his little mission. Turning around, he suddenly found himself in a hit-and-run-bear-hug situation. Then the little sneak let out a happy squeal as she ran out toward the back doors. She stopped, turned and sighed with a happy smile.
"You're all mine tonight, Angel. All... mine."
Angel gaped as she skipped happily out the door. Her words stilled echoed around him, leaving him feeling light yet heavy, soft but definitely hard, and totally in a turn around mood. Gone was the black anger and despair, surprisingly. That is, until he went to sleep tonight and dreamed.
He shivered, pleading The Powers for one good dream, or else he just might truly go crazy.
Angel smiled, eyes still closed, not wanting to wake up. Not just yet. Last night with his seer had been everything he wanted. Fun, exciting, comfortable, and carefree. The way her body had snuggled up to his while they watched the movies, her munching on popcorn while he drank from his pigs blood that had a touch of nutmeg. Strangely, he had liked that combination. Better then her other scary concoctions.
The only thing that didn't happen was the breaking of the sexual tension. All he wanted to do was wrap his arms around her and kiss her like no man has done in her short life. Too bad, but at least they finaly spent a night together without interuption. She fell asleep in his bed, and he didn't bother waking her up. Instead, he went and got his son from his snoopy friend Lorne, then returned and put him between them. One because he knew she would feel uncomfortable in his arms in his bed without the excuse of the baby. And two, to keep his body from giving in to temptation.
Angel sighed happily, feeling strangely warm. Upon hearing something or someone outside of his room, messing around in his small kitchen, he managed to open his eyes. He sniffed the air, waiting for the scent of just who or what was in his apartment. Frowning, he sniffed again. Nothing.
He turned and saw that he was alone in the bed. Standing up, he felt his heart beat increase faster and faster, his breathing coming in deep gasps as panic set in... Wait a minute... His heart beat?
Angel placed a tanned hand over his chest, feeling the life inside beating. His bare chest felt warm and alive! Without a second thought, he pushed open the french doors and ran through the open doors that led out to his balcony. He didn't catch on fire in the morning light, or feel the familiar sizzling and smell of burning flesh. Closing his eyes, he took in several deep breaths, enjoying both the sensation of the sun's warmth on his skin and the ability of breathing.
Cordelia's cheerful voice startled him. When he turned around and saw the two beings with her, he was even more startled.
"Your babies have been waiting for you to wake up." Cordy said with a warm smile. His mouth slightly parted as she raised the little fist of the child she was cradling to wave hello. A little boy peek out from around her blue robed covered hips, his blue eyes twinkling with mischief. His boyish grin wasn't the only thing he shared with his father. He proved that by speeding over with a dead set determination on his eager face, arms opened wide.
Angel gathered the fiver year old in his strong arms, lifting him up as the boy hugged him with a bit of supernatural strength. His boy... Connor.
"Well, you just going to stand there all day or are you going to get in the kitchen and cook us some breakfast, big guy?"
With a happy grin, Angel settled the squirming boy down and allowed himself to be pulled by him to the kitchen.
"Come on, daddy! Make chocolate chip waffles and chocolate muffins!"
The sound of his wife clearing her throat had him suggesting scrambled eggs and apple pancakes. Connor pouted a bit, then grinned and asked for Cheddar in his scrambled eggs.
As he attempted to keep his attention on getting the ingrediants, his eyes just wouldn't behave. They kept going back to Cordelia and the baby. His baby. His baby girl. Giving Connor the assignment to mix the raw eggs, he slowly made his way to the mother and daughter sitting in the chair beside the kitchen table.
Cordelia grinned up at him as he reached down to hold his daughter. Her chubby long legs kicked with glee as she looked up and smiled at him. Her dark, mahogany curls framed her cherub face, that little nose and pouty mouth the perfect resemblance to her beautiful mother. But those eyes were his, staring back at him with equal interest and awe.
Angel felt the tears of joy filling his eyes. He didn't bother to wipe them away as they trailed down his cheeks.
"Angel, baby, what's wrong?"
Cordy stood up and cupped his warm cheek. He smiled, sighing with content.
"Nothing. Everything... You... The kids... It's all so overwhelming."
"Overwhelming in a good way, or in a 'running-from-responsibilty' way?"
Angel chuckled. "The good way. I just can't believe how lucky I am."
She shook her head, smiling down at the bundle in his arms. "No, not lucky. Blessed."
The baby began to squirm and cry, tears welling up in her brown eyes. Cordy sighed, taking the whining baby. "She's hungry. Again! I just don't know where she gets her appetite from."
Angel watched as Cordy went to sit in the rocking chair near the balcony. She expertly pushed her robe apart just enough to let her naked breast out in view to the eager little mouth. Angel walked toward the pair like a moth to a flame. The scene of his child suckling form her was almost too much.
He knelt beside them, mesmerized by the sight. Both warrior and seer's eyes met, saying what silently their hearts cried out daily. With one hand stroking his child's soft curls, his other went up and stroked his wife's. He then leaned in and took possession of what is his.
His kiss was demanding, passionate, teasing, and filled with all the love his being could offer. There was even a hint of desperation, due to his fear that he would wake up and fine that this was all just a dream. When he felt his lungs close to bursting, he finally released her lips, now bruised with passion and gasping for air.
"What was that for? Not that I'm complaining or anything, 'cause... wow!"
"Just... thankful for my blessings. For all three of you."
Connor came running up, revealing his work with mixing the eggs.
"Look, Mommy! I'm a big boy, now." He said proudly.
Cordelia and Angel both gently laughed, looking at their son with love.
"Of course you are, baby. Just like your daddy."
Angel grinned, earning him a short but sweet kiss.
"I told you that I'll always find a way to make you smile. I love you too much not to."
Angel felt his chest tightened with deep emotion.
"Please, say it again."
Her hand trailed his smiling lips. "I love you, Angel. Always."
Angel's eyes fluttered open, confused at first that he was back in his bed, absent of a pulse. Then his eyes grew wide when seeing Cordy floating above him, glowing brightly as she had her vision.
Her champion sprang up as Connor giggled and gurgled at the beautiful sight of his mommy doing her nifty trick. Obviously still too young to realize that the nifty trick was usually caused by some poor soul being snacked on by the nightmares in the city.
Angel some how managed to guide her floating body away from the bed, catching her when the vision was over. She wrapped her arms around his neck, shuddering. Angel held her close, knowing that despite the loss of the life threatening pain that used to occupy each vision, she still felt and saw each killing blow of the victim. Their emotions and the attackers love of the kill. After a few shuddering sighs, Cordy wiggled to let him know that she was ready.
Setting her down in the chair by the bed, he pulled on some clothes as she gave him the details of the vision.
"A round, fluffy, pink thing is on the look out for some new human skins to wear. It's going to pay a visit by the mall, in the underground parking lot, on level 2. Watch out for its froggy tongue. Has some nasty looking spikes covering the entire thing.. Gross!"
Angel nodded then unconciously leaned down and kissed her temple. "You and Connor go back to sleep. Gunn, Wesley and I will handle the rest."
She in an equally unconscious act, kissed him back on his cheek. "Like that will be possible. Medic girl, remember. You just make sure to not let this freak slip you the tongue on your first date."
Angel chuckled, then grimaced. "That's a disturbing mental picture, Cor."
She grinned. "It's going to be more disturbing if you don't go save the soon to be human sweaters. Now shoo!"
With a grin, the champ went and did his job.
Forty minutes later...
"Oh my God, you got tongued!"
Angel winced as his two male companions helped him to the orange couch next to the office. Cordelia's worried face seemed to grow a shade paler when expecting his bloody shirt.
"Tongued ain't the way I would describe it." Gunn replied. "More like oral se-"
"Angel wasn't paying attention and slipped on the creature's drool, thus giving the demon ample opportunity to secure it's deadly tongue around his chest." Wesley explained, not wanting to hear Gunn's crude assessment of the situation.
Cordy glared at the vampire as she slowly peeled the shredded shirt off.
"Hey! I didn't slip, I was... acting as bait! Ow!"
"Quit being... Angel... Angel, what the hell were you trying to do? Play tonsil hockey with it with your boob muscles?"
Angel looked down at his bloody chest, taking in the shredded skin and meat. Yeah, some say it would look worse then it felt. Well, that wasn't the case here. It hurt. It hurt a lot!
"God Angel, you need to be more careful! Or at least, I don't know, more observant!"
Angel glared at the angry brunette as she cleaned the oozing, severely torn flesh with antiseptics. He would have been more observant if she and his two kids hadn't been replaying over and over in his brain. So technically, even though she wasn't their to distract him, it was still her fault. He snarled when she dug into one of the wounds with two of her fingers.
"Stop with the animal sounds, you big baby! You got something stuck up in there."
He froze when baby slipped past her lips. Quick flashes of his daughter suckling from her did a replay in his pain hazed filled brain. The way the little miniature Cordy had banged her cute little fist against her bare breast brought a satisfied groan passed his unflappable lips. Something about this woman bearing and nurturing his seed had struck a primal chord. Call it the caveman in him or the demon, it didn't matter. It pleased him to no end that she could be the mother of his children. Connor, and all the unborn he desperately wanted to make with her. The Shanshu never felt so close before.
Mistaking his pleasurable groan for finally having the two inch spike pulled out, Cordy held it out in front of his face, and said, "See? That wasn't so hard, now was it?"
"Oo! Let me see!" Gunn said with boyish enthusiasm. Angel shrugged, not caring to even look at the object of his physical misery.
Cordy handed the bloody spike to the eager hands, then turned her attention on getting the gauze and padding. The two bid their good-nights, leaving the champ and his seer in their own little world.
"Okay, big guy. Let's get you patched up so that you can go see your baby. He's awake and refuses to go back to sleep without his daddy to tuck him in."
Angel closed his eyes, giving in to her gentle, warm hands and the memory of the dream. God, he never wanted to be human so much as he did then. To be the romantic human hero who swept her up in his arms and take her up to his bed to start the rest of their lives together. Connor would officially have a mother to help raise and nurture him, and little brothers and sisters to grow up with and learn all that there is in life.
"And medic Cordy is done!"
Angel sighed drearily, his fantasy coming also to an end. Knowing that his Shanshu was possibly so far up in the future, that it wouldn't happen in both Cordy and his son's life time. He knew that despite the joy of being human once again would be wonderful, he wouldn't have what he truly wanted, and never knew he wanted till recently. A wife... children... No, his heart would always be hers. He knew that now. She stole it when he wasn't looking, and now he'll never get it back. And... he couldn't think of a better person to have it.
"Hey, you okay? You lookin' kinda... pale. Well, paler then usual."
"I'm always pale. I'm a vampire." He replied in a lifeless tone, not able to enjoy the banter.
She lightly slapped his arm, rolling her eyes in that adorable way of hers. "Duh! The fangs and taste for blood kinda gave you away, buddy. I was talking about your health. You coulda wound up as a meal for the fuzzball."
Her teasing tone turned serious. She traced the bandaged chest, looking lost in her own thoughts. "Then where would we be?"
"I think the question is where would you be, Cordelia?"
Her face took on confusion and blankness. "Umm... huh?"
Ignoring the tugging pain from the motion, Angel leaned forward and cupped her face in his cold palms. "Where would you be? Would you mourn for me? For us? For what could have been? For not taking the chance and just saying those three, simple words?"
With each heavy question, Cordelia's breathing became more labored, her heartbeat increased in pace. Her eyes grew wide with confusion and hurt.
After a moment, Angel released her. The brunette remained in the kneeling position, mouth parted eyes shimmering with tears. Then, as expected, her jaw tightened and eyes flashed with anger. Angel knew he pushed her too far, into the proverbial corner. He hadn't in-tented to really ask her, not out loud anyways. But apparently, he was learning very well from Cordy's 'Think it, Then Say It' hand book.
"Cordy, I'm sorry. I shouldn't-"
"Yes, you shouldn't."
The silence was thick with tension and hurt. Finally, Cordy moved, standing up while taking off her gloves.
"Some things you should know by now, Angel." Her tone was curt and cold. The vampire winced with each accusing word. "My actions alone should say something on the subject of mourning. Hell, me staying here despite finding out the one person I trusted with my heart and friendship had lied and assured me he would never sleep with Darla, or fire me, or leave when the going gets tuft. But no, you ask if I would mourn!"
"Then you ask... you ask me to answer some other things that I can't answer because I don't know exactly what your are asking me to answer. Those questions have a hidden question that you won't even answer, Angel. No, that you refuse to answer. So don't ask when you can't even say the magic words either."
Damn, he really knew how to put his foot in his mouth! But... he had to know. Had to know because he wasn't sure if he could take the first step. And as selfish as it sounded, he wanted her to be the one who did. Because... he was too afraid. Afraid of the way love would turn on you and burn your bones to ash.
Taking a few calming breaths, Cordelia managed to relax, though her eyes told a different story.
"But I guess it's up to me, isn't it?" Her question more directed at herself then him.
She looked away, as if to try and find the right words to say. When she finally looked back, all the walls she had always had up around her true feelings and vulnerabilities, were now down. It was shocking and a privilege to see behind these stone walls, but Angel wished he just went ahead and climbed them instead of forcing her to remove them herself. What kind of hero lets the lady stuck in the tower save herself?
"Angel, your death would be it. The one thing that would... would break me. To lose you forever, to never see those beautiful brown eyes twinkle when seeing your son smile up at you, to never hear that all so rare but amazing laugh that never stops sending me to cloud 9... To never get those Angel hugs when I'm down or feel you following me home to make sure I'm safe even though I'm perfectly capable of protecting myself."
She paused and grinned when his eyes widened with surprise. "Yeah, I've known for a long time about that."
The smile was gone as a grief he hasn't seen since Doyle's death filled her crumbling features. Her voice grew less controlled and more emotional as she went on. "To know that you're out of my life... for good... and no longer in this world is just... Angel, I can't even go there because it hurts... Hurts too damn much! You've become apart of my life in such a way, that I don't know or care how my life was like not knowing you."
She turned around, covering her face. Angel was immediatly up and standing behind her, hands surrounding her waist.
"Cordy, I'm so sorry. God, I can really be a... a..."
"A inconsiderate, emotionally stunted, self absorbed eunuch?"
Angel smiled, even though he wanted to prove her wrong about the eunuch part. "Yeah."
With a shuddering sigh, she turned and smiled, tears still threatening to spill over.
"The point is Angel, you're... special to me. More special then you realize. So please, can we not discuss death? There's too much of it in our lives already. Can't we just live our lives and enjoy the time we have with it? The here and now."
Angel nodded, his hand curling a strand of her short brown hair around one finger. "The here and now... Sounds like a plan to follow."
She smiled, then hugged him gently, keeping in mind his painful injuries. She stepped back to Angel's disgruntlement, his arms feeling empty.
"Well, aren't we all... angsty. So not fun."
She nodded, still smiling nervously. The walls were back up, and Angel's opportunity of answering the questions she left unanswered was slipping further away.
"Well, you need to go upstairs and get some sleep, mister. Kiss baby face goodnight for me."
"But Cordy, you can st-"
She held up her hand, while getting her purse. "No, I really shouldn't. Our Cordy and Angel fun night is over, thanks to the furry demon. Besides, Dennis doesn't like it when I, you know, don't come home. Our last few sleep overs has had his ghostly underwear tighed in knots."
Sighing yet again, Angel reluctantly nodded. "Okay. Let me slip on a jacket-"
"No following me home tonight. You're Mr. Injury-Guy, remember?"
Her tone left no room for arguments. Before leaving, she turned and said a soft, sad goodnight. Angel remained rooted to the spot, emotionally spent from what had occurred. The pain he caused yet again in yet another woman he loves heart was a testimony on his lack of finesse. Spike was right. He sucked bad with women and the emotional things. Really sucked.
The next half of the year that followed was hell. Betrayal from those closest to Angel had nearly driven him to the breaking point, both unexpected and painful. One came from a man he considered the closest thing to a brother. Taking his son. Believing that Angel could actually harm a hair on his own flesh and blood. At the time, he didn't care how poor Wes was just as much as victim to the fake prophecy as he and his son were. All he wanted was his boy back, and Wesley's blood.
Funny how working in the belly of the beast put percpective on these kind of things. Now, he understood and related to why his friend did what he did. And, over time, he's forgiven him... Though at times, when looking around and seeing where his life was, he had to remind himself of that very thing. Because the truth was, it was his fault. Every... damn... bit of it.
He failed his son when he kicked him out for dumping him to the bottom of the ocean when really, he should have brought him to full countability of his actions. He failed his son for allowing Holtz to whisk him away into that hell dimension. And, he failed his son when blaming and acting like a jealous nitwit when seeing Connor making love to the woman he given his heart too.. He failed when not realizing that it wasn't Cordelia who slept with his son, but the evil fallen Power that possessed every fiber of her being.
In short, he failed all of them. The world, his friends, his son, and Cordelia. Not just by his lack of insight or plain common sense for not noticing something was wrong in Cordelia's world before and after the thing inside got it's memory back. No, he failed by excepting the deal with evil. His arch enemies, Wolfram and Hart.
Angel gazed out at sunny L.A. from his office, lost again in the trap of his own making. Cordelia, the real Cordelia had woken up from her coma, several months later. She had a vision of all people, him. Not just about the danger of Eve and Lindsey plot to destroy him, but of the path he himself wandered from. She set him straight, reminded him of who he was. Angel. A champion for The Powers, and for her. Everything was going perfect after that...
Cordelia refused to work at evil incorporated, in which he agreed whole heartily. No way was he going to allow some purposeful, conniving evil to jade her good name or body again. When she had a vision, she would call from her new home in the Hyperion, and he would drop everything to save the helpless. This time, none of Wolfram and Heart's employees tried to cut in on the action and have the helpless sign away their souls.
Slowly, Wesley, Fred, and himself tried to find away to leave the place without getting themselves killed for it. That and Connor. Though the others didn't know that because of the memory spell performed. Just himself and Cordy.
Things at work became tense when Gunn made it clear he loved his job, with a capital 'L'. He hasn't crossed the line of telling The Partners their planning, though he hasn't made it easy. Setting up obstacles here and there. But, with Cordy's help, Angel felt one day they would break the hold over Gunn's mind.
So yeah, in a way, everything was going perfect... Except for Angel still unable to express his love to his seer. Every day, she seemed to drift further away. Hurt that he never told her what she so desperately needed to hear from him. Neither side expressed their feelings. Which when turbulence came due to a certain peroxide haired vampire telling every dirty detail of the struggle over Buffy, well, things were going sour. Which sent a vulnerable seer to another man's arms eventually. Well, a vampire.
It started of course due to Spike's unburdening his tale of woe about Buffy and his 'soddin' grand-sire!' Angel growled, not wanting to be truthful to even himself.
The origin of the budding friendship between William the Bloody and Queen C started when he visited the comatose woman, talking with her and amazingly sensing her responses, even though she was still in the mystical coma. Guess being a ghost or whatever has its perks.
Well, after a few months of his cowardice in telling Cordy how he truly felt, he one day took it out on the now comporial blond vampire, picking a fight. Knowing just what buttons to push, he managed to find Spike's easy weak spot. His love for the slayer. Then the little... then he went and told on him to spite him, which resulted Cordy's already loyalty to the irritating vampire to be cemented fully.
Fighting some visions Angel wasn't able to get to on time brought them closer. Their mutual interests into two larger then life souls brought them a common ground. Love so desperately wanted to be given, only to be rejected. Though in Angel's books, she never asked him for his love... Not with words anyways.
Then came the 'Movie Night' with Spike, Angel excluded. That led to a accident kiss... Then a experimental kiss... Then on to passionate kisses and phone calls that he eavesdropped on with his company resources. Her flirty giggles had rubbed every last nerve raw, causing the boss to slowly recede back into his funk.
He tried to tell her, warn her just who she was dating. She in return reminded him of Spike's champion resume, and pointed out the fact that Angel himself wasn't such a angel himself. Low blow, but true. When he and the twerp broke into a fight while trying to kill the latest bad in her vision, Spike got a poor baby while he was warned to keep his childish hands to himself or be prepared to meet a untimely, horrific end... The threat to scare him, only further broke his already shattered heart.
He backed off eventually, trying to regroup. Though Lorne pointed out that he only had to say the three magic words for the girl to be his. And to do it soon, because the princess's heart was being stolen slowly... Piece by piece.
Angel sighed, smiling bitterly. He thought he had more time to tell her when she and the blond wander had their first and very emotionally shredding fight. The girl who's name started with 'B' was the cause. Due to Spike running off to Italy with Angel in a fit of jealousy just because she was now dating another vampire, a rival to both by the name of 'The Immortal'. Of course, Angel lent his big manly shoulder to the broken hearted seer. He didn't go out of his way to tell her just who sent her the anonymous letter about Spike's actions. And he never will... Okay, it was underhanded and cruel, but all's fair in love and war.
Guess that included Spike, who's dramatic make up plan when he came and swooped in the hotel, reciting a poem he wrote for her. All it took was for that God awful written piece and some jewelry and some tearful groveling to get back in her good books. Now, the two were stuck to the hip... At least he still has a chance, as unlikely as that sounds. After all, despite their hot and heavy make out sessions, Angel knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have yet consummated their relationship, much to Spike's irritation.
"Guess who's wearing a new sparkly!"
Angel frowned at hearing Cordy's squeal just outside of his spacious office. Great, the idiot somehow got his girl another new piece of expensive jewelery.
"Oh my Gosh! Is that... Is that on that finger just because it looks great there or is it for..." came Fred's breathless unfinished question. That had Angel's ears burning in interest and his heart falling to the pit of his stomach.
"Oh, it looks great there, make no mistake. But it's also there because a certain vampire with a soul decided to make me his officially!"
The sound of both girls squealing brought the brooding and panicking vampire out of his office to witness them dancing and jumping up and down. Spike stood nearby, smiling with pride as the two hugged and laughed with joy. Harmony stood off to the side, looking horrified and heart broken. Angel would bet a million dollars that was exactly how his face was looking right about now.
Wesley and Gunn went up and hugged the ecstatic brunette, then clapped Spike's shoulder while giving a handshake to congratulate him. A half hearted one at least. They gave the very still vampire pitying and wary glance as he watched his seer with a cold look.
"Hey, princess! What brings you here in our neck of the woods?" came Lorne's inquisitive question. She thrust her left hand in front of his crimson eyes, hopping up and down with undisguised excitement. His eyes grew comically wide as he grabbed her hand, looked at her happy grin, then at Angel's piercing thunderous gaze, then to the happy bleached blond vampire.
Cordelia's enjoyment started to drain as she gazed at the green demon with confusion.
"Is that it? No 'Cangrats you two crazy kids' or 'Let me break out into a chorus of Celebraton'?"
Lorne plastered a huge, fake grin and gave the pouting seer a big bear hug.
"Now, now, plum cake. Don't be so blue. Of course I'm happy for you! As long as you're happy, I'm happy!"
She pulled back and sighed contently. "Good. 'Cuase I need someone to help me plan this wedding of the century and to sing my favorite love song at the ceremony."
Lorne kissed her on her cheek, all the while giving Angel a 'I told you, but nooooo! You wouldn't listen' look.
"Love too, sweetheart! I know some L.A. wedding planners that will knock you socks off."
Angel turned and left the scene, shutting and locking his office doors. His mind was in a spin. He was losing everything! And all to that... that idiot! His mission, his friends, his woman!
He needed to think. Needed to get Cordelia alone... No, he needed to go to his room and tear something apart!
Some time later and after breaking every piece of furniture in his cozy CEO apartment, a soft knock was heard at his door. He didn't need to ask who was it. He already knew. He felt her presence long before she finally got the nerve to knock, something she never needed to do in the past.
Her scent washed over him, despite the door between them. Gathering his wits and knowing this was it, his final chance, Angel opened the door while sending up a prayer for the right words to say.
"Wow... You know, there was a time when you answered the door before I got the chance to knock."
His reply was to step aside, granting her the invitation she has never needed.
Smiling nervously, she complied and entered. Angel closed the door softly, eyes caressing every nook and cranny of her body. The red dress she had on was sexy, caressing her body in just the right way to give her a classy look as well. The long slit up to her bare thighs revealed their tempting sights of golden, sun kissed flesh. Legs that begged to be explored and stroked. The torture didn't end there. Oh no. The dress showed off the perfection of the shape and weight of her cleavage, showing her curves that screamed 'I am woman!'. God, she was like an exotic fairy tale creature, meant to be immortalized in paintings and sketches. From her dark, long brunette hair from all the way to her dainty feet that was clad in high heel sandals.
"Um, if you were looking into redecorating, I'm sure Lorne would of helped." She commented finally, eyeing the broken furniture and scattered papers.
God, he wanted to touch her! To taste what was so freely given to his rival. To claim what others have gotten the pleasure of seeing and touching. To finally ease the ache inside that only she could make go away. Didn't she know what she was doing to him?
She began to look a little scared as he unconsciously stalked her. He stopped when finally standing a few inches away, eyes so dark that pitch black could only describe what his emotions had turned his eyes.
Her face tilted and cutely scrunched up in confusion. God help him, he found that so endearing!
Anger returned when just thinking about it. Folding his arms across his broad chest, he demanded, "Why are you marrying that Moran? You can't possibly be serious!"
Eyes narrowed as one hand rested on her hip while the other poked him hard in the chest. "First things first and know that I am deadly serous, bucko. If you like it or not, I am going to marry the Moran. I mean Spike!"
A scoff was his reply. Then his eyes turned soft and pleading as his hands went up to her arms, circling around the small but define muscles.
"Cordy, please. You really don't want to marry him... You can't."
She found herself softening, her anger rapidly turning to pity and sadness. "Angel, why wouldn't I say yes? After everything I... all of us has been through, don't we at least deserve some happiness?"
His hands went up to her slender, long neck, then to cup her heart shaped face. "But why? Why him?"
"Why not?" She returned, eyes showing the same vulnerability they did almost a year ago. When he asked her some questions that he didn't answer himself. Not out loud, anyways.
"Spike's been my best friend when my own stopped visiting. He opened himself up to me, letting me see everything. He loves me and has done everything he can to show and tell me that. He fought for me and our relationship when I was ready to call it quits. Nobody else here has done that."
Angel felt his heart writhe in agony at the truthfulness of her words. In all fairness, Spike's been a better friend, champion, and lover then any of them of late. So many mistakes, so many chances where he could make at least some of them right. Like this moment. Yes, she loves the other nitwit, but maybe, she wasn't in love with him. Loneliness and hurt could bring anyone together to ease their hurt.
Her eyes seemed to be waiting for something. Waiting for him. This was it. He could see the love she's had buried deep inside for him breaking through their restraints. Asking him to just say it. To be the one who would save them both. Save their friendship, mission, and love.
Angel opened his mouth, but nothing came out. As if he had a clog or something that prevented the words to come forth. He began to panic, sensing as she began to slip away. He couldn't lose her, but he was! Damn it, just say it!
"Do you honestly think that he will go through with this when Buffy is still alive and walking on this earth?"
What? No, no, no! God, he was such an idiot! Those words were not what he was wanting to say. He wandered if his mouth had a mind of it own as it plunged ahead to deliver the last nail in the coffin for their future.
"You're not going to marry him, Cordy. Spike's nothing. A nobody. The thorn in my side that's hung on to my coattails long enough. If he can't have Buffy, then he'll latch on to the next best thing that's mine. You."
And that was it. The end to everything he wanted and needed. Gone was the love and understanding as shock, hurt, then anger and a coldness that left Angel bereft out in the raging storm.
"Good to know how you really feel, Angel." she replied, stepping away. "And how you stand on things. So here's a little insight in reality."
"I don't belong to you. Never have. You so obviously made it clear that you never did by macking and chasing every skirt that walked by! Darla, Electric girl, Buffy, and Lilah Junior."
"That was under Lorne's-"
"And I'm not second best, Angel. Spike knows that. Except for you." She took another step back, determined and mind made up. "I'm Cordelia Chase. Bitch I may be, but still worthy of love. I'm marrying Spike. In fact, screw the fancy wedding and guest list. All we need is a judge."
She turned and stomped off, leaving Angel again frozen to the spot. Her heartbeat drew fainter as the sound of her footsteps grew further away. For good this time. It wasn't a nightmare or some hallucination. This was reality.
Angel broke free from the mental chains that had his love pinned down, springing into action. He ran down the hall, shouting her name. The elevator doors closed before he could get to her. Running back to his apartment, he got in his personal elevator, determined to beat her to the ground floor.
The ride seemed to take too slow, when it really only took a minute or so. He mentally thanked the evil employees for the tempered the glass windows that kept him from dying from the sunlight. At least that was in his favor.
Looking and asking questions, he was relieved to hear and see that the couple hadn't come through yet. But when the seconds became minutes, he felt a cold child creep into his soul. They didn't need to leave through the front doors. No. The underground parking lot was a discrete enough exit for that.
Cursing, he got back in the elevator and called the guards down below, issueing orders for his seer and the bleached blond to not be permited to leave the premises. If anything, at least stall them long enough to let him swoop in steal his love from Spike's arms and rush her up to his room.
The elevator doors barely had a chance to open as the vampire leaped out, running through in a black and red blur. He caught their scent along with the scent of the car, and followed. Seeing the tail end of the viper Spike stole months ago, he increased his speed and put his entire being into stopping them.
The guards lowered the flimsy metal beam to hault their progress. Instead, the driver (Cordelia) stomped on the pedal and floored it. Angel couldn't believe it, and shouted as the car broke the beam and drove out to freedom in the sunlight.
Angel stopped just an inch away from the light. Falling to his knees he screamed, "Cooooorrrrrrrdeeeeeliaaaaaaaa!"
"Angel, geez, wake up!"
The vampire groaned with loss as he twisted in his sheets, unable to hear her voice. Warm hands dug into his arms as they suddenly latched around her, squeezing oxygen Cordelia very much needed.
"Angel!... Can't... breathe!"
Gold eyes opened, demon senses taking over. Her scent surrounded and filled him. He buried his demonic face in the crook of her neck and licked, tasting her very much real golden skin. He inhaled deeply all the scent that made Cordelia the woman she was. She was real and here!
"Angel!" she squeaked.
He suddenly released her, the demon receding back into its cage, satisfied that she was here and smelled nothing like Spike.
"Cordy, you're here!"
The brunette, who had been pulled into his lap, settled her legs around his hips, smiled with puzzlement.
"Uh, yeah. Where else would I be?"
His large hands settled on her curvy hips, tight enough to let her know he wasn't about to let her go any time soon. Even though she was gently letting him know to let go, those strong hands refused to acknowledge her silent request. Personal Bubble be damned.
"Angel, are you... okay?" she asked when he refused to answer her last question.
Angel swallowed, still too emotional to speak. If he did, he might do something stupid like kiss her or claim her once and for all. Leaving his mark to tell that blond pain in the ass just who she really belonged too. Yeah, staying quiet and not letting his seer know about the possessive feelings was a good idea, a life saving idea.
Sighing, Cordelia shifted, trying to get comfortable in his lap. The movement took him by pleasant surprise, his lids fluttering closed and his hands massaging her jean clad hips.
"Angel, do you have a weapon in bed here with-"
Eyes opening quickly, he quickly released her, bunching the covers and sheets over his... (cough) eagerness. He crossed his arms over his bare chest, giving her a nonchalant look.
"So, what brings you up here?" He asked nervously. For a moment, he thought he saw a knowing, pleased gleam in her eyes. As if she knew just what she had been sitting on. But the gleam was gone so quick, that he thought it must be his hopeful imagination.
"It's nine in the morning. Came to sneak in and get my good morning kiss."
His mouth began to gape before quickly snapping shut. For a moment, he pictured the vixen coming in every morning and sneaking kisses from his sleeping body. It thrilled him to no end... till he realized it was his baby boy who got those stolen kisses. His detailed nightmare of a life that hasn't happened tried to ruin that innocent, motherly action. Twisting it into something cruel and disgusting.
"But my baby face is sleeping in, so no morning kisses." She sighed, pouting.
Shaking his head to rid of the creepy images of a possessed Cordelia and apparently his grown son, Angel gave her a wobbly smile. Her concerned look for some strange reason made him feel relieved. This was the Cordelia he loved and knew, the one he hasn't failed so dismally... Yet.
"Angel, you've been growly lately, not to mention having a hard time getting your needed sleep of the undead. My detective senses tell me that it's because of nightmares."
"Cordy, I'm a vampire. We are the nightmare."
"And you also have a soul. A human conscious. Just because you're a guy with fangs, doesn't make you any less of a victim of the REM cycle."
Irritation played with his features as the object of all his dreams and nightmares of late sat there and refused to back down. She had no idea that she was the problem. Well, part of the problem.
"Cordy, it was nothing. I don't even remember what I was dreaming about."
"Pfft!" She scoffed, not believing the white lie. "So whimpering, growling, and thrashing around is a normal occurrence while you sleep?"
"Pretty much." Angel confessed. If the dream was pleasurable or a nightmare, he pretty much would kick off the covers and do the same thing. The rumpled sheets and kicked off covers usually was his proof when he woke up.
Shaking her head and looking up at the heavens as to implore them for help, she sighed and crawled up beside him, nudging him with her sharp elbow.
"It's okay. We're friends. The best if I may add. Warrior and seer. The whole two peas in a pod thing. Whatever bothers you and disturbs your sleep hours, it then bothers me... You can trust me. I won't tell. Not even if Wes and Gunn offer me... Prada."
"Cor-" Angel stopped when a pillow whacked him in the face.
"It's not like I'm asking for some life altering secret! I'm trying to be a good friend who listens, dumb ass!"
Angel rubbed his temple, glaring at the irritated woman. Somehow, Cordelia knew how to turn your problem into her problem that somehow ends up being your fault. And since Angel doesn't like the way that pillow is twitching in her evil hands, he figured that it couldn't hurt to at least let her know a little bit of the problem.
"Fine, it was a nightmare!"
Her mood shifted to happy again, then sad and apathetic as she gave him her full attention.
"Okay, we're getting somewhere. Let me ask the obvious. It's about a blond, right?"
"What? No! I mean, Buffy was in one of them, but she wasn't-"
"I knew it!" She said triumphantly. "When you get cranky and sleepy like this, it always involves either Darla or Buffy. Angel, as a friend, I truly think you need to broaden your horizons in the female department."
Opening his mouth to correct her on her assumption that all of these dreams were about a certain slayer, he stopped... And smiled.
"My horizons, eh? And just what or who would that be?"
"Well, we women do come in different shapes, sizes, and hair colors since you obviously didn't notice with the blonds in your un-life. In fact, the right woman for you is definitely not in the blond category."
"Really? Describe the woman you see me with?"
Crossing her legs Indian style, she began to go down the list she obviously has been perfecting over the years.
"Well, taller for one. And more fuller and less petite. Definitely a pulse and a tan." she added with emphasis, giving him an annoyed look. "Not one of you super heroes, 'cause then you would let her be all leader while drifting in the background, becoming a lapdog again."
"Hey! I was never-"
"She should be someone with great taste in clothes, compassionate, understanding of the work you do. To look past the hot vampire image you got and love the dorky man inside. To be willing to sacrifice and to be prepared to give up normalcy. To love Connor and not be in competition with him for your love. And most important of all..." She looked at him with an intensity that warmed him from his head down to his very toes. "Not a blond."
"So... she would be brunette?"
"Yeah! Exactly, she would be... Uh, I mean, any color. Raven black, red hair, auburn, and brunette if-if that's what... well, if you can handle... Brunette is a good color."
"Like you." He replied huskily. Cordelia gulped, slowly nodding.
Angel grinned, finally getting it. This crazy, frustrating, loving woman had as much as to gain and lose as he did. To love each other would not be easy or safe, yet neither could walk away. Not when they found just where they finally belonged. Three simple words, right?
Angel reached up, tracing the outer edges of her lips.
They were suddenly interrupted by the french doors bursting open. To both of their surprise, the Groosalugg stood there, in his tight animal hide skins and long hair and bulging muscles.
"Oh hell, Groo?" Angel gasped, looking between Cordy's glazed expression and the big lug's adoring passionate eyes.
"Princess," he said more gently, kneeling by the bed and taking her hand. "I've given up my kingdom and came here to tell you something."
"You've got to be kidding me!"
"What is it?" she asked breathlessly.
"Alright! I get it!" Angel shouted at the ceiling, earning him some more shocked looks. "I get the picture. Just let me wake up so I can tell her."
Angel woke up growling. (This time, for real.) Looking at the clock, he saw that it was still really early. Six-Thirty would leave the hotel mostly alone and quiet. Fred would be getting up and cooking herself some breakfast while Lorne would be waking up to make some more calls on the progress of getting Caritas fixed up for the second time. Which left him and his son time to sleep a little longer.
But not this time.
Oh yeah, to say that he had an epiphany would be correct. Something or somebody was telling him something. That Cordelia would leave one day is true. By death, marriage, or when he Shanshu's. She would no longer need the visions or him, free to pursue old dreams and goals. For other then friendship, he's never had anything to offer her. Except for one thing. Himself.
As Angel went through the motions of getting ready for the day, despite that it was an unusual hour for him, he went through every reason why he should tell her of his feelings, and why not. Both sides of the list were long and facts of the pros and cons. Things that needed to be taken in consideration.
By the time he was done with his shower, he knew what he wanted and needed. Her. Sure, she may not see him anything other then a close friend, but at least he would know. But despite of the pain and rejection, he believed that this unreadable future was something worth to risk for. He may not deserve her, but he sure did need her. He'd die for her. He'd live for her. He'll sing for her, if that's what it will take to have her.
She was his light and sun, as corny as that sounds. His better half. And as scary as it is, he had to know. Had to let her know about his three word secret.
Leaving his bathroom with his towel wrapped snugly around his waist, he was a little startled to see the bringer of nightmares and beautiful dreams sitting on his bed. She looked up from her position on the edge of his bed, holding the happy baby in her arms. For a moment, he was taken back to his dream of their happy little family. The way she held Connor was exactly the way she did in his perfect dream.
Pinching himself, he frowned, then shivered. Okay, this seemed to be real.
"Hi... Um, isn't it a little early for you to be here?" He asked, more then a little confused. She smiled shyly, looking back down at the happy bundle in her arms.
"Yeah, it is. But I wasn't sleeping too good, so I decided to go ahead and get an early start on the day. To say hello to my two guys."
Again, he pinched himself. You would to after non stop dreams and nightmares.
"You're up early too. Bad dreams?"
Angel paused in picking out the clothes for the day. Her question was innocent enough, but it hit a nerve nonetheless.
"You don't know the half of it." He sighed.
"Oh... Well, I'll let you get dressed and ready for the day. See ya-"
"Stay!" He half pleaded and growled. His tone softened when she tensed and the baby let out a little wail. "I mean, don't go. Please."
She visibly hesitated, then nodded. Taking the baby with her, she left the bedroom and sat in the couch in the living room. Using his speed, he quickly dried off and put on some black slacks and a dark navy blue button up shirt. Not bothering to style his hair with his hair gel, he went and joined the nervous brunette. Time to face his fears and grab the bull by the horns.
Neither said a word, lost in thought. The silence wasn't uncomfortable, not like it would have been three years ago. Cordy never liked lengthy lapses in conversations, but as of late she seemed contented sitting with him in silence. But this morning, Angel was not comfortable or contented by it. His decision to spill his guts on everything has him both flying high with happy emotions and trembling with nervousness of a school boy. Amazing after over two hundred years on the earth, he sill could feel young as a nervous youth in the full swing of puberty. Mind racing, chest contracting, stomach doing flips and cartwheels as the palms of his hands begin to sweat.
"S-So," Angel began. Clearing his throat, he continued, "my chest feels better. All the wounds healed up nicely!"
Cordy nodded, giving him a sideways glance as she held Connor in her arms. "That... sounds great!... I'm glad, really."
Again, silence lingered. Both of the love sick beings would have sat there all day if it wasn't for a certain little bundle of joy who decided to liven things up a bit. The baby gurgles and kicking of the feet had both relaxing and chuckling at his little antiques. Grabbing his Daddy's finger as his hand went to tickle him under his chubby chin, he began to eagerly suckle at the flesh, hoping the goofy smiling vampire would take the hint.
"Looks like your son is trying to give you a hint." Cordy cooed, smiling at the hungry infant.
"It's still a little early for his breakfast, but then again, this kid's hungry all the time."
"Gotta appetite, don't ya, Baby face!" Cordy said softly as the baby banged on the cold flesh for nourishment. "Well, little big guy Jr., tell big guy Sr. to get off his behind and get you some of that nasty smelling formula before you decide that Vampire fingers will be your first solid food experience."
Grinning, Angel went and prepared the formula as Cordy talked and cuddled with his son. As he stood by the stove as the formula heated up, he studied Cordelia's face and what her eyes spoke. Her eyes told little Connor that he would always be her little boy, her smiling lips spoke of all the adventures they would have as he grew, and the tone in her voice painted a picture of maternal, unconditional love. A love that matched his own. Any nervousness he had melted like snow in the spring.
Testing the liquid on his wrist, Angel quickly joined the two on the couch, handing the brunette the bottle. With a happy grin, Cordy began feeding the hungry infant, who now sighed with contentment. After all, he now had both adults that he depended on and cared for the most at his beck and call. It doesn't get better than this for a baby!
Placing a hand on the back of the couch behind Cordelia's head, Angel gazed at her with a awed smile. The seer could feel his gaze, though she didn't dare turn to look. The memory of last night still playing like a bad rerun in her mind. She had came there to try and settle whatever the thing that was between them, to find answers that would hopefully give her some peace of mind. But seeing Angel walking in the bedroom all wet and in a towel had brought up all her butterfly's in her stomach, along with the fear of her sudden desire. Desire that she didn't want to face. Denial is so much more fun then facing reality. God, she definitely needed to have another long talk with herself. That is, if she can get away from the glue that had her bound to this tempting little fella... She was in deep trouble!
Angel smirked when she shivered, her heart rate faster then before.
"Do you ever think about that night of the ballet?"
The smell of her excitement, fear, and sudden arousal filled him up, enticing the demon and the dead Irish lad from long ago. She was sugar, spice, and everything sensually nice.
"You know, I thought we agreed to not discuss that certain night."
"You're avoiding the question."
"And you're annoying me with questions that really do not need to be asked, Angel!"
"Actually, that was one-"
"Keep it up, and the first word our adorable son is going to learn is dork. And guess who's going to go by that name." Cordy seethed in a sing song voice as she smiled down at the feasting baby.
Her eyes couldn't help but peak at her silent friend. Instead of the hurt, puppy dog look, there was this breath taking smile. The full, teeth one that always had her either forgiving him of all offenses, or giggling like some mindless Angel chippie. And damn, she was now doing both!
"What's with the grin?" She giggled, inwardly cringing from her chippie voice.
"You said our."
Eyes widened, mouth opened and golden skin suddenly turned into a sexy rosy hue. Taking pity on the suddenly speechless woman, though obviously enjoying flustering herfor a change, Angel moved away from the topic. The next one directed on to a path where it would eventually lead to confessing feelings and taking a step hopefully toward something new and beautiful.
"I think about that night. At least five times a day."
Well, maybe not exactly a different direction.
"Okay, what's with you and the reminiscing? First, you're all happy to forget it, even saying that you're just dying to wipe it from your oh so picture clear memory!"
"Hey! I didn't-"
"Then, you keep giving me these mixed signals with your 'Bedroom eyes'-"
"You were heavy on the 'Bedroom-"
"And just when I think I'm going to go nuts with your stalkerish behavior, you pull a 'grr' on me whenever I look or say a word to you. Hello! I am not your doormat!"
The conversation (or wrather lack of one) was completely spiralling out of his control. If he didn't get a handle on it soon, then this annoying, beautiful woman was going to chase away what nerves he had left to declare his feelings.
"It's like you have a split personality, which if you take Angelus into consideration, then yeah, you actually do. What the H-E-L-L is your damage lately? And why am I suddenly the one the person who reaps the crappy benefits from it?"
"Da-... Can we do this without my son witnessing it?"
Both looked down at the baby, who stopped his suckling to stare with wide eyes at his two favorite people. Why was Mommy making that face? She only makes that face when Daddy opens his mouth. With the teat still in his mouth, the baby's face crinkled as he prepared o start fussing his protest at the sudden change of mood. Both adults suddenly smiled to widely and began to talk and sooth his troubled heart. Sighing, the infant settled down and aloud himself to drift back to a place between sleep and wakefulness. He never noticed the empty bottle being taken or his Daddy placing him back in his crib in the bedroom.
Satisfied that his son was settled, Angel went back to try and salvage the situation. Strange how when he's finally ready to open up to the one person who always tells him that every day, she refuses to let him get a word in edge wise. Then again, that part is normal. Hard to compete with one who was a master at words.
Sitting back down beside her, he found relief to see that the anger was gone and replace with confusion and guilt.
"Angel.. God, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to just... fly off the handle like that. I would blame it on my night of hardly any sleeping, but that wouldn't be the truth."
"I know. Just like I can't say it's the dreams that has had me all," Angel paused, the grinned as he raised his hands to mimic Cordelia's way of miming his vampire status, "Grr!"
This got him a smile filled with mirth. He reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, ending with a soft caress tracing her jawline.
"Angel, after last night, I kinda figured that. What's got you all... Bipolored? You mentioned yesterday that you haven't been sleeping all that well."
Grimacing, Angel answered softly, "I haven't."
Working and building a friendship with the vampire all these years has taught her some things. She's learned to read and gauge his moods, and know that his eyes and certain grunts and growls spoke more coherently then his stumbling words do. That handy trait came in handy with his simple answer. Pain, anger, regret, and a certain hint of desperation was there, calling out for her to help. Another emotion was there also, scaring her just as much as his ruse to go over memory lane of the ballet did. Deciding to tackle down one problem at a time, she began to dig to find the solution to his lately grumpy mood and the cause behind it.
"Well, since the problem occurs at night, I'm going to lean toward your sleeping time. Are you having any freaky dead blond dreams again?"
And like in his last dream, he found himself suddenly reluctant to discuss them. All he wanted to do is confess his love, get the girl, and forget about the horrible feeling of being lost without her in his evil nightmares. Is that asking too much?
"No more secrets, remember Mr. Never-Hide-Life-Changing-Things-From-Each-Other-Again?"
"Their only dreams, Cordelia. Not life chang-" Angel couldn't finish, considering that if he ever lost her in any shape or form; that would be the end of his sanity.
"So the problem are dreams. Something that I can handle without having a nervous breakdown. Okay, tell me all about them," she said with a cheerful pat on his knee.
"Can't," he replied, though he enjoyed how her hand has yet removed itself from his knee.
"Pfft," she scoffed. "Like I'm going to let you get away with not sharing feelings, Broody. Now come on, best friend here. Perfect opportunity for you to unburden yourself. A shoulder to cry on... So start unburdening yourself already!"
"But Cordy," he whined, "I can't talk about them with you."
Gone was the cheerful smile as rain clouds came to cover up Ms. Happy-Sunshine. Angel kicked his own ass mentally for that.
"Why not? Just because I act like a air head during the Sunnydale years, doesn't mean that I really am! And I can be just as soothing as our dear sweet Fred, pal! I can so sooth those pants off without lifting a finger."
And why did she have to say that? Now, he had the hot picture of her giving him a seductive, mega-watt smile while giving him orders to strip, all the while in a dominatrix leather outfit... The tantalising flick in his over heated brain was forever burned in his category of fantasies.
"Oh for craps sake, Angel! You're zoning out on me again." Her puty lips suddenly turned into a sad frown. "Is this your insane polite way of telling me that you really do think that I'm a air head?"
"What? No! Damn it Cordy - I would never - You're seeing to much into - Urg! Fine! It's you! You're the reason I can't have a decent good night sleep. Happy now?"
"Oh... Oh!" Her eyes widened as she jerked her hand away. "Ewww! Angel, you over the hill perv!"
He knew he should be miffed with her over the hill comment, not to mention perv. But since he was way over the hill in human terms, and lots of his dreams and fantasies were not at all gentlemanly, he could find the humor in the situation and look past it.
"No, Cor. I'm not talking about the sex dreams I have of you."
And yes, he let it slip on purpose that he did indeed have sex dreams of his seer. And from her heated gaze, she didn't really find that little bit of information so 'Ewww!' after all.
"Really?" She asked with a pleased smirk.
He only smiled in response. Can she blame him? She was drop dead gorgeous, and he was a guy after all. Dead, but very much a male with eyes and a large libido... Despite that she thought of him as a eunuch.
"So, these dreams are of the nightmare variety." She stated, getting back to the topic before he could actually answer her stupid mouth's question. For the first time, she wished that she took a class in being a Tactful person.
The knowing smile vanished, replaced by a wounded one. "Yes... You left me," shaking his head, he continued on flatly, "First, you died a horrible death. I tried to save you, but I wasn't fast enough."
Cordelia remained silent as she reached out and took his hand, entwining her fingers with his. He squeezed her hand, then covered it with his other one. "I had to watch as they lowered your casket down in the earth. It was all my fault."
"Then, you walked in and saw something that wasn't what it looked like, got mad, packed up your things and left, then had my baby. That one wasn't bad at all, but then Wesley struck a deal with Holtz and kidnapped Connor which ended with Connor and Holtz in a hell dimension and - and Connor coming back a month later sixteen years old. Then you left to the higher plains and came back all possessed, slept with my son, the being possessing your body getting pregnant with herself and me and the others going to work for Wolfram Hart, which resulted with you waking from you mystical coma and setting me on my path again. And then you and Spike getting engaged and leaving to find a judge to marry! You left me, Cor, more then once!"
"Whoa! Baby? Spike? Are you crazy!" She laughed, the thought of her and that bleached blond every tying the knot was funnier then the thought of marrying Xander Hraris. And that's saying something. "Angel-"
"Every time I lost you, I couldn't say the right words to make it better, to keep you. I couldn't - the words, they always seemed stuck and... Damn it, Cordy, you should know how lost I would be without you!"
His words stopped flowing as soon as she straddled on top of his lap, one hand covering his mouth while the other rubbing circles over where his heart should be. "Just stop, okay? Let's get some things straight. First off, I'm stile alive." She grabbed one hand with the hand that covered his heart, and placed it over her own that was beating. He couldn't help but shudder that the large, cold hand also got to touch her breast. Not that he was complaining. "Feel that? That's my heart, very much beating and alive. And second, if I was going to leave you, I would have done that long ago during the first year of our time here in L.A.. Besides, I get mad at you all the time. In fact, it's an every day occurrence. But I'm still here, aren't I?"
He nodded since she still refused to uncover his mouth... Again, not that he was complaining. Touching was good. And the position they were in was absaloutly better then fantasy or dreams. The urge to shift his hand a bit and squeeze her plump flesh was an ever present temptation that he barely was able to resist.
"And third, a baby? I think that one is self explanatory. You see me every day with Connor, so it's natural to dream of me being Mommy Cordy to the rest of your unborn children."
The way his eyes darkened and how he shook his head no broke through that little denial trip on her part. But she wasn't ready to face feelings that may or may not be between them. Not just yet.
"And I am not going to discuss your creepy, supernatural, soap WB drama dream of the meltdown of our adopted family, especially about possessed me and Connor. That's just... icky. Frankly, I blame that portion of your dream on some childhood trama during the years of yore. In fact, let's put the rest of that crazy nightmare with Wolfram and Hart and Spike under that category as well. I mean, come on! Spike? Couldn't you at least dream me with someone with a pulse and less with the peroxide? Like... Jude Law, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt. Or even Groo! Yes, Groo!"
Angel tore his mouth away from her warm hand and growled, "No! Like hell will I dream of that Konan the Barbarian coming in here sweeping you out of my arms again!"
Her eyes widened comically at this. "Again? You didn't tell me that!"
"It doesn't matter because I realized I was having yet another nightmare and that I finally excepted my epiphany on us."
Angel watched with wander as her facial expressions shifted from scared, angry, then finally to awe,. Releasing the hand over her heartbeat, she hesitantly settled them down on her lap as she nibbled her lower lip.
Angel could literally feel the further shifting of their relationship. And this time, he wasn't paralyzed or too late to say those three simple words. For when fate comes over to give you a opportunity, you don't let it slip away. The lesson of his nightmares has taught him that much.
Cupping her cheeks with both of his large hands, Angel waited till she stopped shifting her eyes away. Finally, she allowed herself to be still and face her own feelings. Even though she desperately wanted to run from them due to the risks involved. Angelus at the bottom while fear that she was just someone to substitute for a certain blond slayer at the number one slot.
"Last night, I asked questions that I myself wouldn't answer, not out loud anyways. The truth is, I know where I would be if anything took you away from me. And it scares me, knowing the truth that unlike Buffy, I couldn't move on and continue with this good fight. Not knowing what could have been if I only allowed myself to face what's been inside for some time now."
"Angel... What are you trying to say?"
This conversation eerily reminded her of the night of the ballet, when he kept stumbling over his words about how she's become an amazing woman, and that they grew... Wait, grew into what? God, he was trying to tell her something like he is now. Half of her waited on tender hooks, anticipating what she already knew in her heart. The other wanted him to falter like before, and to suddenly just chalk up their night to another wacky thing in the A.I. lives.
"I love you."
And just like that, he felt free like a old man getting paroled after several years of incarceration. To say it out loud was such a relief and exhilarating experience.
"I love you, Cordelia Chase. I can't pin point exactly when, all I know is that I do." He said with more passion. "I fell in love with my best friend, and it... it's the most scariest and comforting thing I ever done."
The silent woman somewhat unnerved him. For one, he was kinda hoping for the sentiments to be returned. Or at least something along the lines of feelings that were not platonic.
"You're in shock... Or are you appalled?" Still nothing. "Blink if you can here me?"
She blinked.. Then blinked again. The glazed looked now gone, at least.
"You're... in love... with me?"
Angel quickly nodded. He didn't want to leave any doubt in that area. "Yes. Nothing in the platonic category. This is... this is real."
"Is that what... you couldn't tell me? In the dreams?"
"Yeah. You either died before I could, or I would screw up my chances some how."
Shaking her head, she repeated, "You're in love with me."
"Yes," he replied patiently, releasing her face. "I am... You know, it would help if you would tell me if you feel the same way... Or run away... screaming... and pretend that everything I said never happened. You know, this is why I do not flap. Action is my strong suit."
She turned her head, shoulders shaking. With a startling realization, Angel stroked her hair comfortingly. "Listen, I'm sorry. Please don't cry."
Suddenly, laughter erupted from the brunette, starting Angel to silence. Laughter wasn't what he expected. And the crappy thing about it was that she was laughing... at him! One of his worst fears when imagining telling her while in the shower. That and her accusing him of being a creepy vamp and that she was going to get a restraining order on him.
"I'm sorry!" She said she calmed herself down. Her smile soft and a soothing embrace to his rattled heart. "It's just, you know," she gestured between them, "us. Having this conversation. Nobody back in Sunnyhell would believe this actually happening. Hell, I'm trying to comprehend it myself."
"Cordeila, what's Sunnydale got to-"
"Besides that, I guess I find it funny how I've tried to avoid this conversation for a long time myself. Too afraid to recognize what's been between us for a little while now." Angel felt hope bloom when she shyly cupped his face in her smaller hands. "Denial is my middle name when it comes to love. But, not any more... I love you too, big guy. And for the record, my love isn't in the platonic category either."
The shifting of their friendship now complete, the two was left with only one more thing to do. To seal it with a kiss. Or two. Feather like tastings for both, letting the reality of their understanding sink in with its pleasant warmth. After a minute or so of the light kiss-age, Angel took charge and deepened it, needing to lay it all on the table. Soon, he swept them up in a journey of passion and love. Both delighting in how their lips seemed to meld perfectly against the others, delighting in exploring places where only possession by spirits of lovers have allowed. Soon, they settled to a softer note that was sweet and satisfying.
"Wow." Cordeila said breathlessly.
"That just about sums it up."
After a moment of enjoying their new found love, Angel brought up some issues that had played a part in his last relationship.
"We can't ever... you know."
"I know." She sighed. "And I'm not going to lie and say that it doesn't suck, 'cause it does... A lot."
"And I am immortal. It could be over a hundred years before I ever reach my Shanshu."
"Not to meniton you're old... Really old. And tight with a buck."
"Money doesn't grow on trees, Cordy." Angel grumbled.
"Duh!" She replied with a teasing grin. "But, despite of the many obstacles, we still have love and our friendship. Sex is just icing on the cake. I can do without the icing, as long as I get my cake goodness."
"That's you, dumb-ass." She answered with the typical roll of the eyes.
All teasing aside, Angel grabbed one hand and kissed each of the tips of her fingers. "It's not going to be easy."
"Nothing is. But after getting me some of those Angel kisses, I don't think I can give those up. Or you."
"Funny, I was going to say the same thing about you."
After sharing some more kisses, the couple went and snuggled in the bed for couple of more hours. Both shared things like they never have before, somehow falling even deeper in love with each other, if that was possible. Both knew that this wouldn't be easy, or perfect. But, it seemed with their friendship and the deep love that they shared for one another, they might have a fighting chance. Maybe once they got Wesley to research the curse, a cure could be found or a loophole. It could happen. In the world they live in, nothing is impossible. And if they didn't find a way, then other pleasurable routes could be taken without actually doing the act. But until they reach that point, they would be satisfied with their mutual feelings and enjoy the day.
Amazing how life can change and problems can be overcome. Some can't be solved, while others you have to strive to fix. In Angel's case, his was based on fear and denial. The same could be said of Cordelia. But in the end, what it took to ultimately have victory over their fears was amazingly enough three, little words. Let us take a lesson from this and learn to take risks when it comes to love. For if you never open yourself up to the opportunity the door for love, you'll never get hurt; but you'll never be loved either.
Three little words is sometimes is all it takes.
A/N: I know, I made the ending a little cheezy. But it is something I've come to believe in. I would usually take time and jazz up the ending more with the characters, but it is 4:30 a.m., way past my bedtime. I'm about to pass out as it is. Hope you enjoyed my tale, and that I kept the characters in... well, character. Sometimes, when you have a picture in your head, it doesn't exactly come out the way you planned it. Anywho, thanks for reading!