Rating: M (for two instances of strong language and a mildly sexual theme)
Pairing: Cordelia/Angel (Beige period)
Spoilers: For "Reprise" (season 2 episode 15)
Disclaimer: AtS and its characters aren't mine, they belong to Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Mutant Enemy and the WB. No infringement intended. For entertainment purposes only.
Archiving: Linking is welcome, but please don't repost without permission.
Author's Note: Yet another story that's been sitting on my hard-drive unfinished for several years. I know it's been done before, but this is my take on a post-"Don't make me move you" scene.
Summary: It was bad enough that he'd cut them out of his life and was now running around town playing psycho vamp in his vendetta against Wolfram and Hart. But the cold look in his eye when she had squared up to him. His none too subtle threat - Don't make me move you - that brought the betrayal to a whole new level.
She truly didn't know who he was anymore.
Heels clicked sharply on the pavement as Cordelia made her way home through the dark LA streets. Cold fury ran through her blood as she replayed her earlier encounter with Angel. She kept thinking of things she wished she'd said. Things she wished she'd done.
Like kicking her former employer and friend right between the legs.
It was bad enough that he'd cut them out of his life and was now running around town playing psycho vamp in his vendetta against Wolfram and Hart. But the cold look in his eye when she had squared up to him. His none too subtle threat - Don't make me move you - that brought the betrayal to a whole new level.
She truly didn't know who he was anymore.
She should have seen it coming. She was the one blessed - or cursed - with the visions. Why hadn't the Powers sent one to warn her that this would happen? Something so that they could have stopped Angel before he'd gone too far along this road, shutting them out in the process. But no. The Powers were happy to invade her mind on a whim and cause her unbearable pain. But god forbid they actually use the visions to help their Seer out. No, that wouldn't do at all.
She and Angel had been friends. She had known him better than anyone – or at least she thought she had. There were times, when she was alone at night in her apartment, when she'd played the last six months over and over in her head. Was there something she could have done? Something she should have said? Anything that would have prevented him from continuing along this path of self-destruction.
Her self-recriminations melted away when she remembered the real reason they were in this mess and her anger returned. She had to learn to stop blaming herself, and even stop blaming the Powers. This was down to Angel. Down to the bad choices that he made. No one had forced him to pursue his own personal vendetta against Wolfram and Hart. No one had forced him to obsess over Darla. And certainly, no one had forced him to fire his team.
She would admit it to no one, but his earlier treatment of her broke her heart. Part of her would have loved nothing more than to have curled into a ball and cry. But she refused to do so. She refused to let Wesley or Gunn she how deeply Angel had hurt her. She would allow no one to see her cry over that man…pire.
"I don't even know what you are anymore."
"I'm a vampire. Look it up."
She had always known and acknowledged Angel's true nature - she had never flinched at the sight of his demon face or been grossed out by him drinking blood. She had accepted it. But she never thought that was all there was to him. To Cordelia, his vampiric nature was incidental. What was of much greater significance to her was the fact that he had been her friend. Her family. The one person she thought would always be there for her.
Now all that had been stripped away. He was a vampire. He wanted something, he took it. He did what he wanted. Her feelings did not count anymore.
Cordy was torn between anger and grief. She was split down dead center - half of her wanting to stake Angel on sight, the other half wanting him to hold her while she sobbed.
Her internal turmoil was interrupted by the creepy feeling that she was being followed. She was in not the safest part of town, with nothing but a stake and a can of mace for protection. She knew better than to walk downtown alone at night, but she had needed the fresh air to clear her head. Now she was starting to regret that decision.
She slid her hand inside her shoulder-bag, trying to decide between her two weapons. In the end, she chose the mace. A stake wouldn't be much defense against a mugger or would-be rapist and at least mace would buy her some time to get to the stake should the thing following her be something a little more creature-of-the-night-y.
Her pace quickened. She glanced behind her, just once, to try and spot her pursuer. And ran straight into something very solid.
A snarling vampire held her by the arms, the can of mace she had been clutching clattering to the ground.
"Well, look what we have here," he said. "Dinner."
"I prefer to get to know a guy before I have dinner with him," she said. "Anyway, you're not my type."
Deprived of weapons, she used the one thing she still had at her disposal. She brought her knee up and into his groin. Hard.
Howling with pain, he threw her to the ground. She landed beside her bag and she rummaged inside for her stake. As she turned to use it, a figure in black swooped in between her and her would-be attacker. A flurry of fists and feet and the vampire was dust in the wind.
Cordelia got to her feet and dusted herself off. "Thanks. But I didn't need your help. I would have handled myself just fine if you hadn't –"
Her so-called savior, Angel, turned and pinned her to the wall, still wearing his vampire visage. His large hands grasped her shoulders and he shook her, hard.
"What the hell are you doing?" he said. "Walking home alone in the middle of the night? Are you trying to get yourself killed?"
"Like you'd care!" she said.
His face changed back to its human form and he looked... hurt. "I care!"
"Like hell! You walked away, remember? You don't care what happens to any of us anymore. You made that clear," she said. Remembering the events earlier that night, she added: "Especially not to me."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"We were friends, Angel!" she said. "More than that, we were family. And you threw that away. You threw me away! Now get off me!"
"You need to be more careful, Cordelia!" he said, not letting her go. "You think you can go out, be a superhero and not face the consequences? You're going to end up dead."
"Well, I guess you'd know a little something about that. Since you're nothing more than a vampire."
He glowered at her. "Yeah, keep pushing Cordy."
"I hate you," she said.
"No. You don't. You wish you did, but you don't."
"What makes you so sure?"
"Because I know you, Cordelia. Better than you think."
"Bullshit!" she said. "You don't know anything about me."
"I know that your heart's racing. You're angry. But you're not afraid," he said. "I don't smell any fear coming from you. But I do smell… something else."
His gaze drifted down her body, his meaning clear. She shifted uncomfortably in his grasp, wanting to get as far away from him as possible.
"You want me. You hate it, but you do," he said. He swallowed slowly, his gaze moving to her lips. "You want me as much as I want you."
Growling, she pushed him hard, finally releasing herself from his grasp. She swung back her hand and sent it, full force, slapping him across the face.
He laughed, a mirthless, empty sound. "What's the matter? The truth hurt?"
"Go to hell!"
He shrugged. "Been there."
He could still smell her need, no matter what she said to the contrary. He could hear her heart beating, fluttering against her ribs like a frightened bird. Now he smelt fear, but it wasn't of him. She was afraid of herself.
Against her will Cordelia felt her eyes drop to gaze at his lips. They were full and sensuous and she found herself wondering what it would be like to taste them. She forced her eyes upwards again, to glare angrily at him, but found him watching her, a knowing smirk on his face. And something else. Something that ran through her like ice water, making her gasp and shudder.
Pure, unconcealed hunger.
He hesitated for another long moment and then stalked towards her, pinning her against the wall again with his body. His lips crashed down on hers, hungrily taking what he had wanted for so long.
She fought him for a moment, struggling against his grasp. But it was only seconds before she melted into him, kissing back with a ferocity that matched his own. She grabbed him by the back of the neck, pulling him closer, their bodies melding and he felt the heat coming off her in waves. It was intoxicating.
Somehow, they made their way to her apartment. Neither one of them remembered the journey, both too wrapped up in the other's mouth, tongue, neck and any other body parts within reach. They slumped against the front door, Angel's face buried in her neck as Cordelia struggled with the keys. Then they were inside and the bedroom seemed too far away. They collapsed onto the couch, never losing contact for more than a second.
She groaned as she felt his weight against her. She ground herself into him, feeling his hard length between them. She felt him growl into her mouth as she reached down and stroked him through his slacks.
He broke the kiss, looking at her with a mixture of desire and fear. "Cordelia…" Her name was a warning to both of them.
"Fuck me, Angel," she said, pulling him back down to her waiting lips.
"No!" he said, pulling away again. A sliver of sanity was returning to him. "Cordy, we can't!"
There were tears in her eyes, pain and anguish that went straight to whatever fragment of his soul that he had left.
"Do it! I have to end this," she said, her words coming out as sobs. "Fuck me so I can stake you!"
Her body shook, wracked with her weeping. She began hitting him, punching him on the chest as the tears ran freely down her face.
Angel carefully climbed off her, and gathered her into his arms. She continued to fight him at first, but her punches had no power behind them. In the end, she gave herself up to him, allowing him to rock her, making comforting noises into her hair as she cried.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm so sorry, Cordelia."
"No! Don't say you're sorry," she said. "It's too late for sorry."
"I know," he said softly. "I know."
She pushed him away, crawling away from him on the couch and drawing her knees up to her chest, hugging herself tightly.
"Is that all this was?" he asked. "A way to kill me?"
She nodded and then changed her mind, reluctantly shaking her head. "I can't do this anymore, Angel. I can't live like this."
"In constant fear. Every time I see you, it tears me apart. I don't know who you are, what you've become. And every time you show up, I wonder if you're you. Or him."
"Him?" Then it dawned on him. "Angelus."
"Yeah," she said. "It's going to happen someday. You know it is. And I… I can't keep waiting for that day to come."
"So, you decided you'd make it happen instead?" Angel moved forward and grabbed her arm. "Cordelia, do you have a death wish? You know what he'd do to you!"
She shook her head. "I'm ready. I'll do it, you know." There were fresh tears in her eyes as she looked at him. "I promised you I'd kill you if it happened. And I will."
"If he doesn't kill you first!"
"I don't care. I don't care anymore. I can't keep feeling like this."
"Loving you!" The words escaped her lips uncensored and she slapped a hand across her mouth to prevent a further betrayal.
His face softened as her words impacted on him. He understood her pain, he shared it. But for him, he channeled it elsewhere. Into his rage. Into his continued struggle against Wolfram and Hart. But Cordelia was not one to mask her pain. She saw the truth and spoke it freely, unused to having to censor herself in anything. Denying her feelings, ignoring them was not something she would find it easy to do.
He pulled her close again and this time she barely resisted him. She had lost the urge to fight and that scared him. Cordelia Chase was a fighter. He hated the idea that he had broken that ability in her.
"I'm so sorry, Cordy," he said. "I know it doesn't make a difference, but I am. I never meant to do this to you."
"Then why did you?"
"I've lost sight of everything," he said. "And now, I don't know how to go back. I don't know how to let go of any of it."
"If you keep going after them, you're going to lose yourself completely," she said. "Or end up dead."
"Then why keep doing it?"
It was a fair question, one that he had asked himself again and again. He knew he'd never win. He knew that the more he fought them, the darker he became, the closer to his demon he grew. He knew that Wolfram and Hart had already stripped him of everything that had mattered to him. No, that wasn't true. He had thrown it all away, thrown away his friends, his mission, because of them. To fight them. And he had no idea if it was even worth it.
But even now, even acknowledging that fact, he still couldn't stop. He had to continue. They had to be made to pay.
Slowly, he drew away from her, dropping a feather-light kiss on her temple as he did so. She looked up at him, wiping away the tears, knowing exactly what he was thinking. She knew he was going to leave and go after them again. And she was going to do everything she could to stop him.
Reaching out, she touched his face. He closed his eyes, relishing the warmth of her touch, covering her hand with his own and leaning his face into it. He sighed. This woman would be his undoing. Even though he had pushed her as far away as he could, she was still here, drawing him in, making him weak.
He leaned forward and kissed her again, much more softly than before. He cupped her face like a precious object and allowed himself to indulge in her just once more. She sighed into his mouth, matching his gentle kisses, stroking his tongue with her own.
He wanted more, but this was all he would allow himself. He broke the kiss and stood up, backing away from her warmth and the temptation that lay there.
"Stay," she said.
Her face fell. "Why not?"
"You make me feel…" He looked at her, his eyes brimming with emotion. "Too much. I can't do what I have to do if I'm around you. I need to go."
She shook her head as she got to her feet. "No. You don't need to go anywhere. Going after them is not the answer."
"I know," he said.
Taking one last look at her, he turned and left, shutting the door behind him. Cordelia sunk back onto the couch, emotionally spent.
One thing was certain. She now knew who he was. He was a stubborn, complicated, self-destructive vampire. And, despite her better judgment, she was in love with him.