Separate Hearts


AUTHOR: Becjane (aka Becky)
SUMMARY: An enforced separation forces Cordy to face up to her true feelings for Angel.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 4 Dec 2003
CATEGORY: Romance / Angst
CONTENT/PAIRING: Cordelia/Angel
WARNINGS: Sexual Content
FICPIC CREDIT: CALIFI
AUTHOR NOTES:
1) Set in ATS season 3 sometime after Provider. Wolfram and Hart are doing everything in their power to keep Angel off balance in the hope of getting their hands on Connor. Holtz is biding his time for now.
2) For reference, in the BTVS canon Willow has split from Tara and is going cold turkey on the magic front, Xander has just jilted Anya and Buffy is trying to keep her distance from Spike. It’s all AU from the start of my fic.
3) I wasn’t going to write another crossover straightaway, but this just popped into my head and wouldn’t go away. I guess it’s not that crossovery (is that a word?!) because I’m going to concentrate mainly on Angel and Cordy’s feelings, rather than the Scooby Gang’s reactions to events.


ficpic_califi_seperate20hearts


Part 1

Angel looked up at the familiar house, then back down at the sleeping woman and baby in the car seat next to him. He closed his eyes and recalled the conversation of the night before ….
“I’m not going!” Cordy stood with her hands on her hips, her hazel eyes defiant.

“Yes, you are.” The vampire’s voice was calm and controlled, his frustration with the stubborn woman in front of him not showing at all in his firm tone.

Maybe orders aren’t the best way to go, Angel thought to himself as the young brunette’s eyes turned frosty and narrowed dangerously at him. Emotional blackmail then?

“Please Cordy.” he wheedled, his deep brown puppy-dog eyes gazing pleadingly at her. “I need to be sure that Connor is safe,” he continued, omitting to mention that his son wasn’t the only person he wanted out of harm’s way. “I can’t protect him with everything that’s going on here, and they’re the best people to make sure he remains unharmed.”

“Why do I have to go too?” Cordy pouted, sticking out her full lower lip.

“Because I can’t leave Connor alone with people who are strangers to him.”

“What about Fred?”

“No.” Angel shook his head. “I love her like my little sister, but entrust my son’s care to her twenty-four hours a day? You’re the only one I trust to look after him properly, Cordy. It has to be you.”

He watched as Cordy’s eyes softened and her face flushed with pleasure at his statement. A shy smile crept across her pretty features. “All right, but when I get back – you’re going to owe me big time, mister.”
Angel’s mind returned to the present and he reached over to shake Cordy awake. “We’re here.”

“Oh goody.” Cordy replied sarcastically as she opened her eyes and yawned.

The young seer locked her hands together above her head and stretched out her cramped muscles. Angel felt his groin stir, as her blue top stretched tightly over the full breasts that she involuntarily thrust out in the process. He quickly turned his attention to the unbuckling of his son’s car-seat to distract himself from the arousing sight.

“So exactly how are you going to explain this little bundle of joy?” Cordy asked, reaching out to smooth down Connor’s wispy hair with a gentle hand.

“I’ve not really figured that out yet. “Angel replied, then shrugged. “The truth I guess.”

Cordy looked at the house with distaste. “Are you sure this is necessary?”

“I thought we had this discussion yesterday.” Angel said wearily. “With Wolfram and Hart on my back twenty-four seven, I need Connor to be some place safe with people who have the power to protect him.”

Cordy tucked her chin length dark hair behind her ears. “I know; I’m just not exactly thrilled to be back here. I used to pretend that they were my friends, but I know they never really were. I have my parents to deal with too. How exactly am I going to explain my part-demon-seer status to them? Not to mention the baby boy I have in tow. Daddy will probably have a heart attack.”

Angel placed his hand over hers. “I know this isn’t going to be a picnic for you, Cordy, but there isn’t any other option.”

Cordy nodded and got out of the car. “Okay – let’s go and face the inevitable. You are wearing a stake-proof vest, aren’t you?”

Angel laughed as he handed his son to the smiling young woman, before reaching into the back seat to retrieve her luggage and all of Connor’s baby paraphernalia. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that, broody boy.” Cordy threw back over her shoulder, as she started up the path to the front door with Connor’s car-seat hooked over one arm.

She waited for the vampire to catch up with her, then rapped sharply on the wooden door.

“Angel.” Buffy reached out to give her ex-boyfriend a hug. “Cordelia.” she nodded briefly at the former cheerleader, her blue eyes widening slightly at the baby carrier in her arms. “Come in.”

The two of them followed the blonde slayer into the lounge area where Angel deposited the luggage in the corner of the room. Connor immediately began to fuss, so Cordy placed the car-seat on the floor, lifted him up into her arms and started to sway from side to side to soothe the grizzling baby.

“You said on the phone that you wanted us to protect something. I take it that’s it?” Buffy said, indicating the tiny boy in Cordy’s arms. “Get yourself into trouble did you Cordelia?”

“‘It’ has a name – he’s called Connor.” Cordy said caustically, scowling at the petite slayer.

“So you want us to protect Cordelia and her baby. Why?” Buffy turned to Angel.

“Connor is my son.” Angel corrected the slayer’s assumption about the baby’s parentage. “Darla’s his mother, but she’s dead now – she staked herself so our baby could survive.”

“You’re a vampire – you can’t have children.” Willow said incredulously. “How did you …?”

“Connor’s birth was foretold. Wes found a prophecy about a vampire birth.” Angel explained. “It’s a long story which I don’t have time to get into right now. I was stupid – I risked – well, *everything* and slept with Darla. Nine months later, Connor arrived. I regret many things that happened during that time, but I wouldn’t give up my son for the world.”

Angel reached out to slip a finger into the now gurgling baby’s tiny fist. “I need you to protect him and Cordy for a few weeks while I deal with things in LA. It’s not safe for either of them there right now. Wolfram and Hart know that my son and my seer are my Achilles Heel; they are bound to try and exploit that sooner or later.”

The vampire turned to an open-mouthed Buffy. “Will you do it?”

Buffy was staring in shock at the baby in Cordy’s arms. “He’s yours?”

“Yes.” Angel confirmed. “Buffy, I need an answer – I have to get back to LA tonight.”

The slayer nodded. “Of course I’ll protect them, you know I will.”

Angel sighed in relief. “Thank you.” he said sincerely, reaching out to squeeze her hand in gratitude.

Angel turned to Cordy. “I guess I’d better get going.” he said, as he took his son out of her arms.

He lifted the tiny boy up in front of his face and kissed Connor’s soft cheek, breathing in his sweet baby smell. “I love you little man – I’m gonna miss you so much.” he whispered as he held Connor close, one hand supporting the baby’s diapered bottom and the other stroking over his son’s downy head.

He lifted his gaze to Cordy’s, and saw that her eyes were full as she watched him cuddle his little boy. Angel transferred Connor into the crook of one arm and reached out with the other to draw Cordy close. “Take care.” he whispered into her hair as her arms closed tightly around him.

Cordy eventually pulled away. “You told me this was just about Connor.” she accused the vampire.

“I lied.” Angel admitted. “Wolfram and Hart are gunning for me and I need to be sure that both of you are safe. You’re too important to lose.” He reached out to brush her tears away, then cupped her chin in his free hand and pressed a tender kiss against her lips.

When their lips parted, Angel stepped away and deposited his son back into Cordy’s arms. He bent down to place a kiss on the baby’s forehead, then stood up and looked into his seer’s startled expression.

“We need to talk when you get back home.” Angel said quietly, leaning in close to speak to her to prevent the others in the room from hearing his words. He ran the tips of his fingers gently down her warm cheek then, with a heavy sigh, reluctantly turned to leave, closing the front door with a click behind him.

* * * * * * * *

Cordy placed a sleeping Connor in the bassinet, and brushed his little button nose lightly with her forefinger. The feelings she had for Angel’s baby son were growing stronger by the day, and she was desperately trying to fight them.

She touched her fingertips to her lips, as she remembered the pressure of Angel’s cool mouth against hers earlier that evening. What had he meant when he said they needed to talk? It couldn’t be what she thought it was – could it?

The young seer quickly squelched those speculative thoughts; it did her no good to think like that. Allowing herself to picture the three of them as family was a seriously bad idea; it would only end in heartache for her and everyone else involved.

I’m not Connor’s mother and Angel is just my friend, Cordy firmly chastised herself, Stop thinking that it can be more than that – you know it’s just fantasyland.

A soft knock on the bedroom door interrupted her confused thoughts, and Willow poked her head round the door frame. “Can I come in?”

Cordy nodded. “Sure.” she said, gesturing with her hand to invite the redheaded witch in. “It’s your room after all.”

Cordy was relieved that Willow now lived at the Summer’s house; the thought of sharing the place with just Buffy and Dawn had filled her with dread. Willow was the only one who had been remotely friendly to her, offering to bunk down on the floor in Buffy’s room while Connor and Cordy took the main bedroom.

Buffy was obviously not thrilled about Angel’s clear affection for her; she had been coldly polite to the seer all evening and Dawn hadn’t been much better. Cordy hadn’t seen Xander yet, but hoped that their history would mean that he’d be at least partially welcoming.

Willow came into the room carrying two mugs of hot chocolate, one of which she offered to the brunette after she kicked the door shut with her foot. She crossed the room to look down at the slumbering baby in the cot. “I still can’t believe Angel has a son.”

Cordy moved to sit cross-legged on the bed, cupping the hot drink between her hands. “It took us all by surprise too.”

“So Angel …. with Darla.”

“Yeah.” Cordy looked down into her mug, watching as the marshmallows melted into a creamy swirl in the brown liquid. Even though she’d forgiven Angel for his transgression, her heart contracted painfully at the thought of him having sex with the blonde vampire. Cordy refused to contemplate why that, more than anything else that he had done during his beige period, was still so painful to her.

“So how exactly did that work?” Willow asked curiously, as she perched on the edge of the mattress. “Seeing as I distinctly remember him staking her to dust six years ago?”

Cordy smiled ruefully at the witch’s comment. “Guess we have some catching up to do.”

“You think?” Willow said with a raised eyebrow and an ironic smile. “Come on then; it’s time to spill.”

* * * * * * * *

Angel cursed his vampire senses as he glanced over at the now empty passenger seat beside him. Cordy’s spicy perfume and Connor’s baby powder scent had permeated the comfy leather on the journey to Sunnydale, and now taunted his sensitive nostrils reminding him of their absence.

The vampire had been so focused on getting Connor and Cordy to a safe haven, that he hadn’t considered what it would mean to leave them behind and return to LA alone. His baby boy was only a few months old and being apart from him was already causing an almost physical ache inside of the new father.

As for Cordy … Angel’s growing feelings for his seer had been somewhat derailed by Darla’s appearance and Connor’s subsequent birth, but now that he had got used to the idea of being a Dad, they were beginning to reassert themselves stronger than ever.

The vampire didn’t know why he had been holding back – the curse wasn’t even an issue anymore. His soul had been anchored for a while, ever since he’d turned away from his obsessive pursuit of Wolfram and Hart. The Powers That Be had decided that they no longer required the perfect happiness clause to keep their champion on the right path, so had rewarded his voluntary choice to return to the mission, by securing his soul.

His friends, however, didn’t know any of this; for some reason the words stuck in Angel’s throat whenever he tried to tell any of them.

Tonight though, as he held Cordy close in his arms, Angel privately admitted that he was totally in love with the beautiful young woman who had exploded, like a comet, into his life three years ago. He was terrified of being rejected, but knew that if he didn’t do something about the way he felt, he would always wonder whether or not his feelings were returned.

As Angel took leave of the two most important people in his life, he decided that a lifetime of regret far outweighed the risk of being spurned by the woman he had come to love. He had therefore subtly declared his intentions by gently kissing his seer, and intimating to her that they needed to discuss something important when she returned to LA.

Now all he had to do was survive the weeks of separation ahead.

* * * * * * * *

Cordy lay flat on her back, and gazed up at the shifting shadows being cast on the ceiling, by the moonlight filtering in through a gap in the curtains. She could hear Connor’s contented little snuffles from the cot next to the bed, but her own body and mind refused to shut down and sleep.

When Cordy had agreed to come to Sunnydale the previous night, she had done so under the influence of the warm rush of pleasure that had infused her entire being, at Angel’s assertion that she was the only one he trusted to take care of his son. She, therefore, hadn’t really considered the consequences of her decision, and it was only now that the significance of what she’d let herself in for was beginning to dawn.

Cordy was stranded in a town that she’d once called home, but that now felt like a desert island to her; she was isolated from her friends, the very people she was most comfortable with, and she didn’t even have Phantom Dennis to keep her company to compensate.

Not that I’ve actually spent much time at my apartment lately, she thought to herself.

In recent weeks, Cordy had invariably found herself staying over at the hotel, ostensibly to help Angel with Connor, but in reality because her life and heart were becoming more and more entwined with that of the souled vampire and his miracle son. This was despite her best endeavours to keep a certain amount of emotional distance from them.

Cordy sighed; denying her feelings for Angel was getting more difficult with each passing day, and being removed from his presence was only serving to heighten those jumbled emotions.

Cordy turned onto her side and punched a hollow in the pillow in which to lay her head, before closing her eyes and trying to shut out the images whirling around in her mind.

She had to stop thinking like this – it was a road to nowhere but heartbreak city.
Part 2

Two weeks later

It was mid afternoon and Cordy was alone in the Summer’s household.

For the first few days, the seer and her tiny charge had accompanied the slayer to the Doublemeat Palace. Cordy, of course, was soon seriously bored, and this made her extremely bad-tempered. The constant sniping between her and the slayer had quickly reached intolerable levels and Buffy’s boss had also complained about the ‘noise pollution’ from Connor.

Angel’s son was usually a sweet-natured little baby, but within twenty-four hours of their arrival in Sunnydale the incessant crying had begun. After several nightmarish days, Cordy had eventually come to the conclusion that Connor missed his father and was, therefore, loudly voicing his protest at this unacceptable state of affairs.

Once Cordy realised this, she promptly solved the problem by calling LA and getting Fred to programme her cell phone number on speed dial for Angel. The technophobic vampire had luckily managed to grasp the concept of pressing 1 and then the green call button, and now called several times a day. The regular sound of Angel’s voice had convinced Connor that his Dad hadn’t vanished into thin air, and he had soon settled down again much to everyone’s intense relief.

Finally, in the interests of preventing World War Three from breaking out, Willow had come out of her self-imposed magic ban to cast a protection spell over the Summer’s house and garden. Provided Cordy and Connor remained within the property’s perimeter, they would be safe from attack long enough for the seer to call for help and Buffy to return home.

Cordy was currently curled up in an armchair, flicking through the latest issue of Cosmo; she had placed Connor on a blanket on the floor, and the baby boy was cooing quietly to himself as he happily kicked his little legs and waved his tiny arms about.

This was Cordy’s favourite time of day; she almost always had the house to herself and to cap it all she often received a phone call from Angel as well. It was the only time she could speak freely to the vampire; Buffy or one of the Scoobies were always listening in at other times and Cordy felt like she had to censor what she said.

Buffy, more often than not, took the phone off the seer to give Angel a progress report, which irritated Cordy no end. She usually swallowed her objections though because she thought that Angel would probably prefer to speak to Buffy anyway, and would therefore get angry if she tried to hog the phone.

Connor gave a happy little cry when the cell phone on the arm of the chair began to ring. Cordy smiled at the baby’s response. “Is that Daddy Connor? Is he calling to say hi?”

She bent to scoop the baby up into her arms, then reached to answer the phone as she settled Connor comfortably on her lap. “Hey!”

“Hey you.” Angel’s warm masculine voice sounded in her ear. “Whatcha doing?”

“Me and Connor were just chilling out.”

“You alone?”

“Yeah – Will’s at college, Dawn’s at school and Little Miss Like-to-Fight left for work an hour or so ago.”

“Good.” Angel replied, the relief evident in his voice. “We can talk properly then.”

Cordy’s heart flip-flopped in her chest; she thought she was the only one who felt like that. “You don’t want to speak to Buffy?” she asked incredulously.

“Not really – I call because of you and Connor, no-one else.”

“But I thought …..” Cordy trailed off; she was almost speechless and her stomach was suddenly fluttering with butterflies.

“You thought what?”

“Buffy is your one true love.” Cordy stated emphatically, as if that explained everything.

She heard Angel sigh on the other end of the line. “No, Cor – Buffy was my first love and in time I got over it. It didn’t kill me to live without her for two years and I coped with her death because I’d moved on. I just didn’t realise it until she was gone for good.”

“You’d feel differently if you could bone her and not go all evil.” Cordy insisted, her mind refusing to accept the possibility that Angel wasn’t as unavailable to her as she’d always convinced herself that he was.

“If that was the case, then I would’ve returned to Sunnydale a year ago.”

“What does *that* mean?”

There was deathly silence on the other end of the phone. “Angel?”

“I hadn’t intended to tell you like this.” Angel’s voice was slow and careful as if he was unsure of how to proceed.

“Tell me what?” Cordy exclaimed impatiently, her voice sounding a little shrill.

“I – uhh – the PTB’s secured my soul. It happened after my epiphany.”

Cordy’s world ground to a halt. “You mean no perfect happiness clause anymore?” she asked, her voice shaking slightly.

“Yeah.” Angel confirmed quietly. “For just over a year now.”

The seer’s hazel eyes widened and her breathing became laboured – he had kept this a secret for all this time? “Why didn’t you tell me?” she demanded.

“You weren’t exactly that approachable back then, Cordy.”

“Pfft and who’s fault was that?” Cordy retorted, a note of bitterness creeping into her voice. “Besides that was ages ago – what’s been stopping you these last few months?”

Angel sighed again. “I honestly don’t know. I’ve tried to say something, but the words wouldn’t come out.”

“Am I that hard to talk to?” Cordy’s eyes filled with tears; she couldn’t help it – it pained her that he didn’t feel he could confide in her over this. “Does Wes know? Or Gunn?”

“No, you’re the first person I’ve told.” Angel answered the easy question first, then tried to explain why he’d been so reticent. “It just became so difficult to talk to you about this, and the longer I left it the harder it was to say the words.”

“Why?” Cordy couldn’t keep the hurt out of her voice.

“I .. Fuck! ..” Angel swore. “Look I don’t want to discuss this over the phone. I’ll see if I can get away for twenty-four hours and we can talk then. I need to see Connor anyway – I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to be parted from him.”

Cordy melted when she heard the vampire’s voice vibrate with emotion, as he mentioned missing his baby son. “You wanna say hi?”

“Yeah.” Angel’s voice sounded hoarse and strained.

Cordy switched to speaker phone so that she could report Connor’s responses back to Angel. “He can hear you now.”

“Hey little man – how you doing?”

Cordy watched as a big smile broke over Connor’s chubby features at the sound of his father’s voice. “I think he’s pleased to hear from you – he’s smiling.”

Angel continued to talk to his son, telling him and Cordy general stuff about his day in that singsong tone that babies always reacted too. After a while, Connor began to babble back nonsense in response, much to Cordy’s amusement.

Halfway through telling them about the research into a demon that Wolfram and Hart had recently let loose on the populus of LA, Angel’s voice cracked and he broke off his narrative. “God I miss you both so much.” he choked out, then fell silent.

Cordy could hear him struggling to fight back the tears and the escalating loneliness that she had been desperately trying to ignore suddenly overwhelmed her. “I miss you too – I wish we could come home.” she confessed tearfully.

Angel took an unneeded breath, steadying himself. “It’s not safe yet baby.” he told her, the endearment slipping spontaneously from his lips. “I’m going to drive down to see you tonight though – Wes and the others can handle things here for a day.”

Cordy wiped away her tears with the fingertips of one hand and pulled herself together with effort. “We’ll see you in a few hours then.”

“Yeah – bye till then.”

“Bye.”

Cordy hung up and gathered Connor to her, pressing her warm lips to his baby-soft skin. “Daddy’s coming to see us sweetie.” she whispered to the tiny boy as she cuddled him close.

* * * * * * * *

“Bloody Hell.”

“Cool man.”

“Way to go corn-muffin.”

“I told y’all – it’s kyrumption. Didn’t I tell y’all?”

Angel looked around at his stunned friends, smiling briefly at Fred’s excited comment.

“Are you going tell her?” Wesley asked once Angel’s confession had properly sunk in.

“Tell who?”

“Cordelia.”

“I already did – on the phone earlier – didn’t I just say that?”

Wesley rolled his blue eyes at Angel’s cluelessness “I didn’t mean about your soul.”

“What then?”

The ex-watcher didn’t reply just shot his friend a withering look. Caught like a deer in headlights by Wesley’s steady gaze, Angel shifted uncomfortably and looked down at his feet. “Am I really that obvious?”

“Yes.” was Wesley’s simple response.

“Is the Pope catholic?” Gunn sniggered.

“Angelcakes, your aura’s brimming to overflowing with all that hot smoochy loving for the princess.”

“It’s definitely moira.” Fred added her affirmation to the other’s positive replies to the vampire’s embarrassed question.

“When she gets back home – yes I’ll tell her. She’ll probably run as fast as she can in the opposite direction, but I have to know one way or the other.” Angel sighed, running his hands over his face and his fingers through his dark spiky hair. “I hope it doesn’t backfire on me.”

Wesley smiled at the vampire’s insecurity. “I really don’t think you have anything to worry about as far as Cordelia is concerned, Angel.”

“When we were in Pylea, she said she loved the Groosalugg.” The vampire pointed out, his broad forehead crinkled in concern.

“It was a fantasy, Angel that’s all. She fell for a tall, dark and handsome man; a champion who kept the population safe from the evil demons that plagued their society. Now where have I met someone like that before?” Wesley scratched at his chin as if in deep thought, but his blue eyes twinkled with friendly amusement.

Angel relaxed, his confidence buoyed by Wesley’s certainty in Cordy’s feelings; if anyone would know it would be him. Besides himself, the ex-watcher was closest to the young woman; the two of them shared a brother/sister type relationship. Sure they bickered almost constantly, but Angel was aware of the deep affection that lay behind all of that. If push came to shove, Wesley and Cordy would do anything for each other.

“I need to go and pack – I want to leave on the dot of sundown.” The vampire turned and headed upstairs to his room.

Fred blew her breath out noisily from between her lips. “Phew! I didn’t think I could stand much more of the UST.”

“UST?” Wesley asked her, a puzzled look on his face.

“Unresolved Sexual Tension – it’s a term used in on-line fan fiction for when the characters have the hots for each other, but don’t do anything about it – you know like Mulder and Scully in the X-files.”

“The X-files?”

“You have to have watched the X-files.” Fred stared at the boss of Angel Investigations incredulously.

“No.”

“I’ve still got loads of reruns to watch of what I missed while I was in Pylea – you can watch them with me.” Fred decided. He couldn’t be in the line of business he was in, and not have watched the X-files; it was unthinkable!

“So what happens when this UST gets resolved?” Gunn asked, an amused look on his handsome face.

“Those are the *best* fics.” The young Texan replied enthusiastically. “I love it when they finally get together – it’s always so hot and ….”

Fred stopped, a pink blush infusing her cheeks; she might have revealed a little too much there. “Uhh – I’ll just go and check on that research.” she stammered, then scurried off into the other room.

“I’m thinking our little Fred may not be as innocent as she seems.” Lorne commented wryly as the three men watched her retreating figure.

* * * * * * * *

Cordy frowned as her eyes fell on Buffy, who was leaning casually against the bureau in the living room. She wouldn’t normally be wearing those clothes if she was just spending the evening at home; the slayer was only decked out like that because Angel was visiting.

Buffy was dressed in a knee length beige skirt with a slit up the side that exposed her toned leg to mid-thigh. Her upper half was encased in a tight-fitting cream blouse that clung to her small breasts, making her seem curvier than she actually was. Soft leather three-quarter length brown boots completed the outfit.

The slayer exuded simple style much to Cordy’s chagrin; the seer looked down at her own outfit of well-worn jeans and a loose sweatshirt. She used to be a style-queen – how come she now resembled a harassed mom?

Cordy glanced over at the giggling baby being bounced on Willow’s knee and a warm feeling flooded her belly. Connor was the reason for her change in wardrobe; the latest designer fashions were hardly practical clothing when you were taking care of a four month old.

Cordy didn’t begrudge Connor’s impact on her life, but Angel was a man, and a vampire, with a now permanent soul. When he walked through that door, who was going to grab his attention? Not her that’s for sure.

“I need to change.” Cordy thought out loud, leaping abruptly to her feet. “Willow, do you mind watching Connor for a bit?”

“No, go ahead.” the witch replied, her attention focused on the baby on her knee.

Willow had fallen in love with Angel’s son. Cordy privately suspected that being adjacent to Connor’s innocence helped the witch deal with and resist her magic addiction. When Willow became agitated, holding the baby boy in her arms seemed to calm her almost immediately.

Buffy, in contrast, rarely showed any interest in Connor which surprised Cordy a lot. The slayer was obviously still territorial over Angel, so not making an effort to get to know his beloved son seemed kind of strange behaviour on Buffy’s part.

Cordy took the stairs two at a time and entered the main bedroom, where she made a beeline for the closet. She flung open the doors to contemplate the clothing therein. She pulled out an extremely short skirt – way too obvious; Cordy flung the garment over her shoulder onto the bed. Another pair of comfy jeans – too casual; the seer rejected that outfit as well.

Cordy went through the entire closet and finally settled on a pair of black hipster pants and a soft V-neck turquoise top that emphasised her curves and exposed the right amount of cleavage. She sat in front of the mirror at the dresser and carefully applied her make-up – not too much, just enough to accentuate her best features. She brushed her sleek dark hair until it was shining, then finished off the outfit with the necklace that Angel had bought her from Sri Lanka.

The seer stood up and twirled in front of the mirror; perfect – she looked like a young sexy woman again. If the broody vamp didn’t think she looked hot, then he was blind as a bat. It all crashed in on Cordy then. Oh my God! I’m actually dressing up so Angel will notice me.

Cordy sat down heavily on the edge of the bed, as her walls of denial crumbled to dust. She was completely in love with him; she couldn’t deny it any longer. With his permanent soul, it was safe to be with Angel now but, unfortunately, there was still the Buffy factor to consider.

Angel had said that he was over the slayer; Cordy wasn’t sure that she totally believed him though. It was easy for the vampire to say that when he didn’t see Buffy every day, but the seer still thought he would feel differently, when he was actually in her presence for more than a few minutes.

I guess the next twenty-four hours will be the barometer, Cordy thought to herself as she got to her feet and crossed to the bedroom door.

She slowly descended the stairs, a mixture of hope and dread churning in her stomach. As she reached the bottom step, there was a sharp knock on the door.

Oh God – he’s here.
Part 3

Angel stood on the doorstep waiting impatiently for the door to be answered. The familiar sound of Cordy’s heartbeat had got closer as he strode purposefully up the garden path and, to his delight, he heard it speed up the moment he announced his arrival by knocking on the front door.

His body taut with anticipation, the vampire drew in an unneeded breath as the door slowly opened; Cordy smiled shyly at him in greeting.

“Hi!” Her voice was low and breathy and her cheeks tinged lightly with pink.

Angel let out the needless air in a rush, and just stood there drinking in her familiar appearance, his deep brown eyes sweeping the length of her body. Cordy was dressed relatively casually, but her clothing clung to her curvy form so that she radiated femininity and sex appeal. She was wearing the necklace he’d given her and his eyes were drawn down to the creamy cleavage exposed by the low neckline of her sea-green top.

Look how it brings out my breasts. The memory of Cordy’s voice suddenly sounded in his head. The vampire may not have actually been thinking it back then, but he sure as hell was now.

The faint scent of feminine arousal reached his sensitive nostrils and he lifted his gaze back up to Cordy’s pretty face; her cheeks were now flushed a more pronounced pink and her breathing had noticeably quickened.

A knowing smile crept slowly over Angel’s angular features and he laughed as she blushed even deeper in reaction. He finally stepped towards his seer and engulfed her in his strong arms, breathing in her heavenly scent as he did so.

“Hi!” His deep voice came out smooth and gravely.

Cordy let out a quiet gasp as her soft curves were crushed against Angel’s broad solid chest; her arms automatically rose to encircle his back, and her fingers kneaded the hard ropy muscles she discovered there.

The seer was shell-shocked; Angel had been checking her out. There was absolutely no mistaking the look of carnal desire in his eyes, as they roamed leisurely over her body and lingered on the valley between her breasts. The vampire’s dark-eyed gaze had left goose-bumps in its wake and triggered a deep throbbing sensation between her thighs.

Cordy gasped again as Angel’s hands dropped to the small of her back and he pulled her closer, bringing their respective groins into delicious contact. The tips of his fingers rested on the curve of her butt as he held her tightly against him, seemingly unconcerned that she could feel the urgency of his arousal pressing into her hip. Her nipples tightened to hard buds and another rush of wetness flooded her panties as her body reacted to his closeness.

Realising that they had an audience, Angel reluctantly stepped back and released Cordy from their embrace. He hadn’t intended to reveal anything about his feelings for the young woman until she returned to LA, but seeing her standing there in the door frame, after being denied her company for so long, had completely overwhelmed him and he’d just acted out of pure instinct.

Keeping one arm around Cordy’s waist, Angel turned to greet the others.

“Buffy.” He nodded perfunctorily at the petite slayer.

His gaze fell on Willow, who had his small son perched on her hip. Angel’s heart contracted inside his chest, his focus shifting away from the beautiful woman at his side to the baby boy in the redhead’s arms.

“Connor.” He breathed and moved towards the witch, holding out his hands for his son as he did so.

Connor crowed with delight, lifting his arms towards his father as he approached. Angel cuddled the tiny boy against his chest and let his son’s familiar scent touch his heart.

“He’s gotten so big.” he said to Cordy, as he lifted the baby above his head and blew raspberries on the child’s stomach. Connor let out a stream of giggles at this and batted his tiny hands against the vampire’s smiling face.

Cordy didn’t answer; she was still trying to recover from that hug. Although to outward appearances it had probably seemed innocent, the seer knew better. Angel had been letting her know, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted her.

The seer didn’t know how she felt about that – was it just about sex? She needed so much more; she loved Angel with everything that she was and wanted him to love her back with equal intensity. She just wasn’t prepared to settle for a casual fling, no matter how drop-dead gorgeous he was.

Taking advantage of Cordy’s momentary distraction, Buffy moved to Angel’s side. “That’s cus he’s a little guzzle-guts, aren’t you Connor?”

The slayer reached out to stroke the baby’s soft cheek with the back of one finger. Connor studied the blond woman carefully for a few moments, before screwing up his little face and beginning to cry.

“Whoa – what’s with all the noise, little guy?” Angel said, jigging about on his feet to calm the suddenly screaming baby.

Hah! Should have made more effort with Connor before now, shouldn’t you, Buff? Cordy thought bitchily. Don’t you know babies can spot fake sincerity a mile off?

Out loud she said, “I think he’s just over-tired, it’s way past his bedtime. I’ll go and fix his bottle.”

Cordy went through into the kitchen and went about making up Connor’s formula on autopilot. She could hear the murmuring of voices in the other room, but couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying; her confused mind was too busy trying to make sense of the events of the last few minutes.

As she warmed up Connor’s milk, the seer mulled things over in her head and came up with a three point plan to test the strength of Angel’s feelings for her.

Number One (and most important) – She would avoid all bodily contact with the vampire. Cordy just couldn’t rely on her mental willpower to resist, or trust her traitorous body not to succumb, if Angel physically turned up the heat with her.

Number Two – Even though it was obvious that Buffy intended to make herself the centre of Angel’s attention while he was here, Cordy wouldn’t follow suit. If the vampire had truly meant what he said about moving on from the slayer, then he wouldn’t have any trouble resisting her come-ons, would he?

Number Three – Before she would even consider moving their relationship onto the next level, Cordy needed to hear Angel say (without any prompting) that he loved her, as well as reassuring that it was her, not Buffy, who now owned his heart and soul.

Satisfied that she’d got things straight in her head, Cordy made her way back into the other room, her emotions now firmly under control. Angel sat on the sofa with a much happier Connor in his lap and Buffy was curled up on the cushion next to him. The dark-haired vampire looked up and smiled warmly at Cordy as she held out the bottle of formula towards him.

“Thanks.” Angel said, settling Connor into the crook of his arm and putting the bottle to the baby’s rosebud mouth. The little boy began to suck rhythmically on the teat, his tiny fingers curling tightly around his father’s much larger ones, as he greedily drank down his supper.

Angel frowned when Cordy, instead of sitting down in the empty space next to him, moved to the other side of the room to perch on the arm of the chair that Willow was ensconced in.

“I hope you don’t mind the sofa to sleep on; there’s no other room at the inn right now.” Buffy said, putting her hand on Angel’s forearm in attempt to draw his attention away from Cordy.

“Cordy and Connor are in the main bedroom, aren’t they?” the vampire replied absently, his deep brown eyes still on his seer, who was studiously avoiding his gaze. “I’ll be fine in there with them.”

“But, there’s only one bed.”

“So, it’s not like we haven’t shared one before.”

“*What?*”

“It was only to help him look after Connor when he was first born; there was no funny business.” Cordy jumped in to explain, when it became apparent that the vampire wasn’t going to elaborate any further on his inflammatory statement. “I’ll sleep on the sofa – Angel should be with the baby.”

“Don’t be so stupid. It makes no sense for one of us to be uncomfortable down here, when there’s room for two upstairs.” Angel cut in, his tone sharp and frustration evident in his voice. “You’ll share with Connor and me.”

“Angel, I don’t think …”

“Cor – Look at me.” Angel deliberately softened his voice aware that, in his desperation to be close to her, he had probably come across as extremely overbearing. This was madness though; he only had twenty-four hours here and he intended to spend every moment with his family. There was no way in hell that Cordy was sleeping anywhere but in that bed besides him tonight.

Cordy finally met his gaze and Angel was shocked at the emotional turmoil he could see swirling in her expressive brown eyes. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.” Cordy insisted, but her troubled expression told him a different story.

“Look if it makes you uncomfortable, then you don’t have to.” Angel backtracked a little, perturbed that he had managed to upset her so much; sharing a room wasn’t exactly an unusual occurrence for them.

Cordy’s heart clenched at the worry and concern she could see on the vampire’s face. He was completely unaware of her decision to keep her physical distance, so this must be totally confusing for him, especially as she hadn’t raised any objections to staying with him before.

Although she wanted Angel to prove his love for her, Cordy didn’t want to play games with him – that was Buffy’s field of expertise. Her relationship with Angel was based on honest friendship and they had always been straight with one another; his beige period and her vision thing were the exceptions to the rule, rather than the norm.

There’d not been that much physical contact when they’d previously shared a bed, so she could still stick to her action plan. He was only here for a day – did she really want to sleep down here on the sofa away from him?

“It’s all right; I was just being silly. We’re responsible adults after all – of course, it’s stupid for one of us to sleep down here.” Cordy smiled at Angel, watching as a look of relief washed over his handsome features.

“I’m going out to patrol later – wanna come along, for old time’s sake?” Buffy tried once again to commandeer the vampire’s attention.

Angel shook his head and smiled down at the suckling baby in his arms. “Thanks, but no. I don’t have much time and I want to spend every minute with my family.”

“But he’ll be asleep soon.” Buffy pointed out irritably.

Angel laughed, a rich deep sound. “That doesn’t really make a difference, Buffy. He’s my baby boy – just holding him in my arms is enough.”

Cordy just happened to be looking directly at the slayer as Angel spoke, and she finally understood why Buffy hadn’t made that much effort to get to know Connor.

The slayer obviously thought that she would always be number one with the vampire, therefore hadn’t viewed his son as a rival to that position. The pinched expression on Buffy’s face, as she realised this wasn’t the case, pretty much said it all.

Cordy was amazed that Buffy actually believed that Angel’s life would continue to revolve around her after the birth of his son – didn’t she know what kind of man he was? This baby boy was his flesh and blood, his child – how could the slayer think that Connor would be anything but the most important thing in his father’s life?

Cordy, in contrast, understood that Angel and Connor came as a package, but that didn’t matter in the slightest because she wanted them both. The little boy had captured her heart as much as his Dad had, and although she wasn’t his mom, she truly wanted to be.

Her three point plan suddenly seemed ridiculous; she needed Angel to be honestly in love with her yes, but she could see that not fighting for him and Connor was complete folly.

Buffy’s indifferent attitude towards Angel’s son only strengthened the seer’s resolve to go for what she wanted; Connor needed a mom to love him, not someone who would just tolerate his presence because it was necessary.

Cordelia Chase was *so* not the kind of girl to sit back and let another woman take her manpire – what the hell had she been thinking? Had she completely taken leave of her senses?

She quickly got to her feet and crossed the room to sit next to Angel as he burped a sleepy Connor. She bent to fondly kiss the baby’s head and was rewarded with a smile from both father and son. “I think it’s his bedtime. Shall we take him up?”

Angel nodded in agreement, relieved that her stand-offish attitude seemed to have vanished. “Yeah, I’m kind of beat too – it’s been a long day.”

Cordy gave him a look that told him that she knew he was lying through his teeth. She was fully aware of the human/vampire hours he kept; he hadn’t emerged from his room until late morning.

Angel didn’t care what anyone else thought though. He’d been apart from Cordy and Connor for two whole weeks and he desperately wanted some time alone with them.

He and his seer needed to talk.

* * * * * * * *

Connor protested loudly about being put in his cot, so Cordy took a shower whilst Angel gently coaxed the baby to sleep. The vampire sat next to the cradle, and rubbed his fingers in soothing circles on his son’s tummy until the tiny boy could no longer keep his eyes open, despite his best efforts to the contrary.

Once Connor was sleeping, Angel removed his boots and socks and changed into a pair of comfy sweatpants and a fitted white t-shirt. He sat on the bed with his back against the headboard and his long legs stretched out in front of him, as he waited for Cordy to emerge from the on-suite bathroom.

When she re-entered the bedroom, the seer was dressed in her night things. The blue cotton pyjamas were low-slung, showing off her tattoos, and the accompanying white strappy vest-top fit snugly over her full breasts.

The outfit wasn’t inherently sexy, but Angel decided that Cordy somehow possessed the unique ability to make any item of clothing she wore a turn-on. The lower half of his body was certainly in agreement with that conclusion, that’s for sure. He held out his hand to her, silently inviting the young woman to sit besides him on the bed.

Cordy’s stomach was doing somersaults, unsure of how to handle the situation. What if she was reading it wrong and ended up making a complete fool of herself? The anxious brunette crossed the room and took Angel’s hand as she settled herself cross-legged on the mattress facing him.

Now that the moment was here, Angel didn’t know where to start. He squeezed her fingers gently and lifted their joined hands to his lips, pressing a kiss to the back of her hand, and raising his brown eyes so that they locked with her hazel ones. The caramel orbs were wide and her pupils were dilated in nervous anticipation of what was to follow.

“I missed you.” Angel said then, a world of meaning behind those simple words.

“I missed you too.” Cordy whispered in reply, her voice shaking with her nerves, but her eyes never once leaving his.

Angel closed his eyes and cleared his throat, trying to gather his thoughts into some semblance of order, so that he could say what he wanted to say.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about my soul.” he began haltingly. “I didn’t in the beginning because … well, I guess you know why.”

Cordy nodded – Angel had been right on the phone earlier; she hadn’t been that approachable back then. That was mainly because she was still so angry and hurt over the whole Darla business. This reasoning still didn’t explain why he hadn’t told her once that wound had healed though.

“Connor and the whole Wolfram and Hart situation have got in the way recently, and before then, I guess I was just so confused about my feelings for …”

Angel broke off and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, frowning as he tried to articulate his complicated emotions.

“There was Buffy’s death to deal with, which I handled better than I expected – I told you that at the time.” Angel tried again after a few moments of strained silence. “When she came back, although I needed to see her, I didn’t feel the desperate need to rush back to Sunnydale to be with her. I didn’t understand why then – I mean for so long it was all I ever dreamed of. I do know for sure now though.”

Angel looked down at their entwined fingers and smiled ruefully to himself. “I’m not convinced that this is the best time for this. I’d intended to wait until you got home, but we’re here now and I …..” The vampire trailed off again and shook his head in frustration. “I’m so bad at this.”

Cordy held her breath waiting for him to continue, her heart thumping wildly in her chest. She realised that Angel was trying to tell her that he loved her, but she needed to hear him actually say the words before she could commit herself to returning the sentiment. The seer was terrified that her dream would be snatched away at the last moment, and she just didn’t think she could handle that.

Angel took a deep unneeded breath, gathered his courage and exposed his fragile heart to the risk of rejection.

“I love you.” he blurted out all at once, his fingers tightening painfully around hers as he waited for her response to his hesitant declaration.

Cordy’s eyes filled with tears of joy and a wide beautiful smile spread across her pretty face, causing overwhelming relief to flood through the vampire’s tense body.

“I love you too.” Cordy’s whispered confession was barely audible, but Angel’s enhanced hearing caught every single heartfelt word.

Angel moved to sit cross-legged in front of her, reaching out to tuck a stray strand of dark hair behind her right ear as he did so. Cupping the side of her face in his large hand, he bent down towards her, his callused thumb brushing over her cheekbone. Cool lips met warm ones in a slow sweet kiss.

“Cinnamon.” Angel murmured when their mouths eventually parted. “You taste like cinnamon and apples.”

“Is that good?” Cordy asked with a shy smile.

“Well duh!” Angel rolled his eyes at her, laughing when she thumped him lightly on the chest.

“Lie down baby.” His voice was low and husky.

Mesmerised, Cordy did as the vampire softly instructed, gazing up at him with trusting eyes as he shifted to lie alongside her. His gentle fingers traced her delicate facial features with a feather light touch, causing her to moan quietly at the eroticism of the contact.

“You are so beautiful.” he whispered reverently as one finger dipped into the hollow of her throat, then continued on downwards to trail back and forth along the neckline of her top.

“Ang … Mm.” Cordy’s words were cut off as Angel’s mouth swooped down to capture her lips again, this kiss much more passionate than the first. His tongue darted out to run along her plump lower lip, begging admittance into the, as yet, unexplored cavern of her pliant mouth.

Cordy’s head was reeling and her limbs felt heavy – she had never been kissed like this before in her life. She slowly opened her mouth under his to allow his insistent tongue entry.

Angel tunnelled his fingers through her hair to hold her in place, while he thoroughly explored every crevice of her hot mouth with his questing tongue. Finally, when her need to breathe became paramount, he reluctantly lifted his mouth away from her sinfully inviting lips.

Hooking one arm around Cordy’s waist, Angel pulled her underneath him, separating her legs with his knee and settling his solid muscular form over her warm soft body.

Cordy felt his weight press her into the mattress, and she clutched at his back as he rocked his lower body into the cradle of her thighs, his hands either side of her head.

“Oh Angel!” she moaned quietly and pushed her hips up into his in response.

Angel dropped his head to the curve of Cordy’s neck and latched onto the pulse point there, while she fisted the fingers of one hand into his hair. The vampire could hear the rapid beating of her heart thumping against his torso and pulsing under his mouth. He slipped his tongue out to taste the sweetness of her skin and savoured the sensation of her blood pumping wildly through her veins in arousal.

Angel repeated the thrusting action of his hips, pressing his hard throbbing erection against her liquid centre, and Cordy cried out vociferously in passion, unable to stop herself. “Oh God Angel!”

The seer’s ardent exclamation sounded extremely loud to her own ears, and she tensed underneath the vampire, awareness of where she was suddenly crashing in on her.

“Angel – Stop!” she pleaded frantically, tugging at his hair and pushing insistently against his chest. “Please Stop!”
Part 4

Angel froze as Cordy’s soft pleas penetrated the haze of his arousal; he lifted his head and looked worriedly down into her flushed face. Her lips were red and swollen from his kisses and her expression dazed with passion, but she was also biting her bottom lip in disquiet.

Angel’s gaze focused on the red mark that marred the golden skin of her sleek neck, and his stomach suddenly burned with nausea – God, she must have thought ….

“No!” Cordy caught his upper arms in a firm grip as she saw his brown eyes darken to black with guilt. “That’s not why.” She immediately knew what the horrified vampire was thinking and rushed to convince him that he was wrong.

“You sure?” Angel choked out, his voice shaking.

“Oh course, you dumbass!” Cordy reassured him in her own inimitable way. “I know you would never hurt me – your neck fetish is fine by me, broody boy.”

Angel could see the honesty of her words in her teasing gaze and he relaxed. “I came on too strong – I’m sorry, I just want you so much and I’m kind of … well … frustrated!”

Cordy grinned cheekily at him, her hazel eyes twinkling. “A hundred years of celibacy does that to a guy, huh?”

“Tell me about it.” Angel replied in mock seriousness, his tone self-depreciating.

“You didn’t come on too strong though. I do want to, so much, but it’s just …” The seer stopped and blushed.

“It’s just what?”

Cordy lowered her long lashes, avoiding his questioning eyes. “I might be kind of noisy.”

Angel laughed, tickled pink by her embarrassment. “And this is a problem how?”

“We might wake the baby.”

“Connor could sleep through a hurricane.” Angel pointed out matter-of-factly.

“Buffy and the Scooby Gang are downstairs; they’ll hear us.” The seer was forced to voice her real objection when the vampire quickly refuted her first statement.

“So?”

“Angel!”

Angel laughed at her shocked exclamation. “Come on Cor – what exactly do you think they’re going to do? Rush up here and demand that we stop?”

“Well, considering they don’t know your soul is permanent yet, I think that’s a distinct possibility.”

“Point taken.” Angel agreed, with a slight nod of his head.

“If Buffy finds out about us, then she’ll make my life complete hell.” Cordy continued, her face turning serious. “It’s hard enough being away from you and the rest of the guys as it is, without having to deal with your jealous ex as well. I’m sorry; I don’t mean to be a tease, but I’m not comfortable making love with Buffy downstairs. It’s eww!”

Angel considered her reasoning. “All right – I do agree it’d be a bit weird. Let’s get one thing straight though Cordy. What I do with my life is non of Buffy’s business anymore, she doesn’t own me.”

“You know that and I know that, but does she? I don’t think so. Little Miss Slay-Happy still regards you as her property, that was more than obvious from her behaviour towards you tonight.”

The vampire looked at her blankly and Cordy’s face split into a wide smile. “I *so* love you. You didn’t even notice her coming on to you earlier, did you?”

“I was too busy noticing you to pay much attention to anyone else.” Angel confessed brusquely, then wrapped his large hand around the nape of her neck, crushed his mouth against hers and forced her lips open with the pressure of his kiss.

Unable to resist the temptation, Cordy locked her arms around his head and returned his ardent embrace with fervour, her tongue parrying with his as her fingers curled tightly into his dark spiky hair.

Angel groaned and reluctantly tore himself away as their shared passion for each other began to escalate out of control, for the second time that night. His whole body was throbbing with unassuaged need.

“Noo don’t want you to stop.” Cordy whined in frustration. “I’ve changed my mind. Forget about Buffy.” She tugged his face back down to hers, her tongue seeking to tangle with his again.

Angel caught her hands in his and pressed them firmly down on the pillow next to her head, somehow finding the strength to spurn her advances.

“Do you really mean that or is it just the hormones talking?” he growled, his voice hoarse with arousal. “Because if we go any further Cordy, there *will* be no going back – trust me on that.”

The seer looked up at him with passion-drugged eyes, her chest heaving with every intake of air as she struggled to think clearly. She loved him so much and wanted desperately to express those feelings physically, but Angel would be gone tomorrow and she had to continue to live in this house, with people who barely tolerated her presence, alone and away from everyone she loved.

The vampire’s eyes widened in alarm as Cordy’s beautiful hazel eyes suddenly welled up with shiny tears. “Hey – what’s wrong?”

“I don’t want you to go back to LA and leave me here alone again.” Cordy cried, tears rolling unchecked down her cheeks as her determination to remain strong and steadfast in the face of adversity disintegrated. “I just want to come home.”

“Ssh baby, ssh.” Angel murmured soothingly, brushing the wet strands of her hair off her cheeks and peppering her damp face with brief consoling kisses. He rolled onto his side and gathered Cordy close in his arms, his fingers stroking up and down her back as he continued to whisper nonsensical words of comfort in her ear.

The seer buried her face against his chest, crying quietly. Angel could feel the warmth of her tears against his cool skin as they soaked through the cotton material of his t-shirt. Cordy’s distress tore at his heart, but he hadn’t a clue what to say to make her feel better. The pain of separation was getting to him too, but at the moment he couldn’t see any alternative to the situation.

The team at Angel Investigations were stretched to the limit trying to cope with everything that Wolfram and Hart were throwing at them; so until he found a way to protect them whilst he wasn’t around, it simply wasn’t safe for Cordy and Connor to return to LA.

Wesley had devised a series of clever diversions to enable him to slip away unnoticed to Sunnydale tonight, but Angel knew it was too dangerous to repeat that ruse on a frequent basis. The vampire couldn’t risk making the trip to visit them too often because he was scared of revealing their location to his enemies.

It had taken a week, but Wolfram and Hart had eventually discovered that he had sequestered his family into hiding. Although it seemed obvious, it so far hadn’t occurred to the lawyers and their cronies that he’d placed Connor and Cordy under the protection of the slayer, but it was only a matter of time before they worked it out.

“I’m sorry for being all pathetico-girl.” Cordy hiccuped as she attempted to choke down her sobs. “I know this is necessary to stop Wolfram and Hart getting their evil hands on our baby.”

The seer shuddered as she remembered the grotesque mother and baby cages that they’d discovered on their return to the Hyperion, the night Connor had been born. “We have to be strong for our son.”

Angel cupped her tearstained face in his palms and kissed her softly. “I want you both to come home too. I promise I will do everything in my power to make that happen as soon as possible. I just don’t know how long it’s gonna take. Until that time Connor’s going to need his mommy to be strong for him, can you try and do that for me baby?”

“Okay, I’ll try.” Cordy sniffled and snuggled against his chest.

Angel turned onto his back, keeping one arm looped loosely around her bare shoulders. The seer’s fingers traced patterns on his cotton-clad torso as he ran his hand through her dark silky hair. “I’m not Connor’s mom.” she informed him quietly.

Angel dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “You were the one who called him ‘our baby’ and ‘our son'” he pointed out.

“I did?”

“Yep, I think so.”

Cordy smiled to herself. “I guess I did. Is that a problem?”

“Not for me, it isn’t. I certainly have no objection to him viewing you as his mom.”

“Really?”

“Yes really.” Angel assured her. “Darla’s dead and, although I’ll tell Connor the truth about his biological mother when he’s old enough to understand, she can’t be there for him as he grows up. You can be though – if you want to that is.”

“Of course I want to – I love you *and* Connor, Angel.”

“Next time I visit – we’re staying in a hotel right?” Angel said, his voice gruff with the emotions her affirmation of love had stirred within him. “I’m gonna go mad if I can’t make love to you soon.”

Cordy giggled at the sexual frustration that was also clearly evident in his tone. “Sounds like a plan to me.” she agreed wholeheartedly.

* * * * * * * *

“Angel!”

The vampire groaned and pulled the pillow over his head to drown out the shrill shriek; it wasn’t time to get up yet.

“Angel! Get yer fat butt in here now!”

Angel sighed, pulled his head out from under the cushion, and carefully opened his eyes one at a time. Connor lay gurgling on the bed next to him, clad only in his diaper. The baby boy had a quizzical look on his cute little face.

“I think Daddy’s in trouble with Mommy.” he told Connor in a low singsong voice. If Angel didn’t know better, he could have sworn his son smirked at him.

Cordy appeared in the doorway of the on-suite bathroom, wearing just her underwear and an outraged expression on her pretty face. The violet silk bra and panties set she wore left very little to the imagination. Angel was suddenly wide awake. What the fuck is she trying to do – kill me?

“You gave me a hickey.” The seer pouted and pointed to the purple bruise-like mark on her neck. “I haven’t had a hickey since High School.”

The curtains in the bedroom were shut for obvious reasons, but Angel could tell it was past dawn because the filtered light illuminated the room without the aid of electricity. “What time is it?” he grumbled petulantly, ignoring her remonstrations.

“About 8am.” Cordy told him absently, her attention still focused on her own dilemma. “Do you know how difficult these things are to cover up?” She screwed up her nose in disgust and went to study herself in the bathroom mirror again.

Angel rolled out of bed, placed up a few pillows around his son so that he couldn’t roll towards the edges of the bed, then followed his girlfriend into the bathroom where the disgruntled seer was still fussing over the mark on her neck.

“Do vamp hickeys take longer to fade?” Cordy asked worriedly when she sensed his presence behind her, despite not being able to see his reflection next to hers in the mirror.

Angel began to chuckle – the look on his seer’s face was priceless. “It’s just a normal hickey Cor.” he reassured her, touching the mark he’d made with two cool fingers.

He gently turned Cordy to face him then and looked her up and down, his eyes darkening with desire. “Did you wear this just to torture me?” he growled, tracing the edges of her bra with his forefingers, raising goose bumps on her golden skin.

“No, I was getting dressed when I noticed the – Angel!” The seer gasped when his large hands began to slowly map the curves of her body and he bent to nuzzle behind her left ear with his cool lips.

A sharp knock on the bedroom door a few moments later caused them to spring apart.

“It’ll be Willow.” Cordy hissed in panic. “She brings me up a cup of coffee every morning.”

The seer pushed Angel firmly away and turned back to the mirror. “Go and answer it. Tell her I’m in the shower or something. I can’t see anyone until I’ve covered this up.”

Angel sighed; he wished they could just be honest about their relationship, but he respected Cordy’s choice to keep things a secret. The seer was the one who had to live here though. Angel knew that Buffy could, and would, make things difficult for Cordy if she found out the truth about the two of them.

The vampire, therefore, reluctantly did as Cordy had asked and went to let Willow in; his heart heavy with the knowledge that they wouldn’t be alone again until the slayer left for her shift at the Doublemeat Palace later on that afternoon.

* * * * * * * *

“Don’t you have to go to work yet?” The question came out a lot sharper than Angel intended, but Buffy was getting on his nerves big time. Ever since he and Cordy had ventured downstairs with Connor that morning, the slayer had been hovering like a bee round a honeypot and it was driving him insane.

Cordy had told him the previous night that it was time to introduce some solid food into Connor’s diet, and because she recognised that it would kill Angel to miss out on such an important milestone in his baby boy’s life, she had suggested that he try Connor on some mushed up baby cereal for breakfast that morning.

Buffy, who obviously had no concept of how important an event this was in his son’s development, had interrupted Angel’s creative efforts to feed his son, with a request for the vampire to help her reorganise her training area in the basement. The slayer seemed genuinely surprised when he refused to hand over the job of giving Connor his breakfast in order to help her out.

Angel wouldn’t have missed the spectacle for the world though. Most of the baby food ended up anywhere but in the little boy’s mouth, but Connor seemed to enjoy himself immensely and was all sunny smiles and happy giggles afterwards. Cordy had insisted on taking a polaroid shot of Angel holding his sticky food-spattered son for him to take back to LA to show the others, because ‘you both look so cute and adorable.’

“I’m not going into work today.” Angel’s thoughts were drawn back to the present when Buffy answered his question. “I swapped shifts with one of my colleagues so we could spend some time together. It means doing a double-shift tomorrow, but I don’t mind.”

Cordy resisted the urge to scream when she heard this; she’d been looking forward to the time when she’d have Angel and Connor to herself again, and now it looked like that wasn’t going to happen.

Connor began to cry then, his little sobs for attention sounding tinny through the baby monitor that stood on the mantle. Cordy automatically got to her feet to go see to him, and grinned as Angel immediately did the same.

“We’ll both go.” Angel decided, taking her hand and firmly leading her out of the lounge and up the stairs to the main bedroom.

Angel reached over and turned the monitor off, before scooping Connor up into his arms to find out what was wrong. The less than pleasant smell emanating from the baby indicated a diaper change was in order, so the vampire reached for the changing mat, and settled himself cross-legged on the floor to change his son.

Cordy flopped dejectedly across the bed, her chin resting in her cupped hands. “I can’t believe she’s not going to work.”

“Me neither.” Angel gave her a tight smile. “I thought we would get the place to ourselves for at least a few hours. I really need some time alone with you and Connor before I go back to LA. We’re going out as soon as the sun goes down okay? I don’t have to leave until about midnight, so we’ll have a few hours to ourselves at least.”

Cordy nodded. “I predict I’m going to have a sudden craving for ice-cream.” she decided.

“Connor will need some fresh air too – he’s been cooped up inside all day.” Angel added to their plausible excuses for escaping the confines of the Summer’s house.

“Just as long as Buffy doesn’t decide to invite herself along with us.”

“If she does, then I’m going to tell her that she’s not welcome. I know you want to keep our relationship a secret, but there’s only so much I can take. I’ve been as patient as a saint with her all day.” Angel replied, as he expertly secured a wriggling Connor into his clean diaper.

“Yeah I know. I have to say your avoidance tactics to her come-ons have been truly masterly. It’s just a pity Buffy is so thick-skinned and can’t take the hint.”

Cordy pursed her lips, as she tried to think of a way to avoid letting the cat out the bag with regard to the new development in their relationship.

“We could sneak out while she’s not looking.” she suggested a few moments later, a conspiratorial twinkle in her eye. “The rest of the Scoobies usually land on the front doorstep around dinnertime, so they won’t notice us slip out the back.”

Angel laughed. “You are a devious woman Cordelia Chase.”

“I like to think so.” Cordy agreed with a wicked grin, then she suddenly gasped, her hazel eyes going wide. The seer touched her fingers to her temples and closed her eyes as she involuntarily levitated a few inches off the bed.

Recognising the signs of a vision, Angel quickly pulled Connor’s little sweatpants up and his small t-shirt down, then moved to sit next to Cordy on the bed with his baby son in his arms.

Connor’s rosebud mouth formed a perfect ‘O’ when he saw Cordy floating and he pointed at her with one tiny finger as he tugged on his father’s hair with his other hand to get his attention.

Angel winced; his son had a strong grip. “I know little guy; it’s a new skill she’s just acquired. As you grow up, you’ll realise that your Mommy and Daddy are not exactly normal human beings.”

Once the vision was over, Cordy dropped back down onto the bed, but lay still and kept her eyes closed.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Angel asked, a trace of panic in his voice at her silence.

Cordy rolled over onto her back and finally opened her eyes to reveal hazel orbs that were glistening with unshed tears.

“Baby – what is it?” Angel asked concerned, reaching out a comforting hand towards her.

Cordy laced her fingers through his and finally spoke. “Fred – some kind of big grey demony thing was attacking her. It’s gonna happen tonight – you have to leave as soon as possible.”

Angel shook his head. “I’ll call Wes and Gunn to warn them; they’ll be able to handle it. I don’t have to go back until later.”

“No Angel. Why would the powers show me what was going to happen if you weren’t needed to rescue her? The visions are meant for you.”

Angel didn’t reply straightaway; he knew she was right, but didn’t want to face the inevitability of leaving her and Connor behind again. “It’s too soon.” he said brokenly.

“I know.” Cordy replied, her voice was thick with tears. “But we can’t let anything happen to Fred, you know we can’t.”

Angel took a deep unneeded breath and tightened his fingers around hers as he cuddled Connor close to him. “What time is it?”

“Three pm.” Cordy said, glancing at her watch. “Do you know what time sun down is?”

“About seven.”

“Four hours then.” The seer’s voice was quavering with suppressed emotions.

“Yeah.” Angel whispered, his own eyes now also full of tears. “Four hours.”

* * * * * * * *

Four hours later ….

Cordy sat on the bed and watched as Angel packed his stuff into his backpack. She was desperately trying to keep her feelings in check, but was failing miserably in her efforts. She looked at her watch – six forty-five – it was nearly time for him to leave. Oh God! What am I going to do without him?

The seer had willingly taken on the responsibility of caring for Connor, but it was still a daunting task for the young woman. She had essentially become a single mother overnight and that wasn’t something that had been on her list of things to do before she was twenty-five.

Neither was falling in love with a vampire of course, but Cordy wouldn’t change either state of affairs for anything. She just hoped that the three of them would be back at the Hyperion and living together as a proper family very soon, because she wasn’t sure how much longer she could cope alone.

Angel secured the straps on his bag and looked down at Cordy, who was gazing up at him with sad liquid eyes. “God, I’m going to miss you so much.” he croaked out as the emotions overwhelmed him.

Cordy flung herself into his waiting arms and buried her face against his throat; the vampire could feel the silent tears shaking her body. He tugged gently on her hair, and forced her eyes to meet his before their lips came together in a series of desperate and frantic kisses.

When they eventually drew apart, they stood enclosed within each other’s arms, their foreheads touching. “I love you.” they both whispered at the same time.

Angel placed another soft kiss on her full lips, then turned to look down at his sleeping son in the cradle by the bed. He stroked a finger down Connor’s warm cheek. “Goodbye little guy – be good for Mommy okay?”

He bent to kiss the baby’s forehead, then straightened, picked up his backpack and slung it over his shoulder. “I guess it’s time.”

Cordy nodded, not trusting herself to speak for fear that she would break down completely and beg him to take her and Connor back to LA. Angel didn’t need that burden of guilt placed on him. It wasn’t his fault; they’d all been forced into this situation by Wolfram and Hart.

Angel wrapped an arm around Cordy’s slim waist and pulled her close to kiss her again. “Goodbye.”

“Bye.” Cordy whispered in a barely audible voice as he released her and turned to open the bedroom door.

The vampire glanced back over his shoulder as he stepped out onto the landing. “I’ll call you.” he said softly.

The two of them exchanged a long lingering look and then he was gone.

Cordy lifted a blanket-wrapped Connor from the cot and lay down on the bed with her son in her arms. When she heard Angel’s car pull away a few minutes later, the seer couldn’t stop herself from bursting into tears of anguish.

How long will it be before I see him again?
Part 5

LA, three weeks later …

Angel closed the door to his bedroom, shutting out the sound of Wes, Gunn and Fred arguing over who had eaten the leftover Chinese takeout in the lobby fridge. He twisted the key firmly in the lock, then tugged on the handle to double-check that the door was secure; he had plans for tonight and interruptions would not be tolerated.

The vampire crossed the room and unplugged his cell from the charger – five bars; the phone was ready to go. He stripped himself to his boxers, then settled comfortably on the bed with his head and shoulders propped up by a mound of soft pillows.

Angel deftly pushed the now familiar buttons on his cell and waited for Cordy to answer, a smile of anticipation lighting up his angular face.

“Hello.” His seer’s honeyed voice sounded in his ear.

Let the games begin.

“What are you wearing?” he drawled seductively without any preamble.

* * * * * * * *

Ten minutes earlier in Sunnydale …

Cordy closed her eyes, sighing contentedly as the hot bath water lapped gently at her naked skin and soothed her aching limbs. The heady scent of the bubble bath she’d used infiltrated her senses, calming her overwrought mind.

The seer had originally been reluctant when Willow had offered to take Connor off her hands for the night, but she was now glad that she’d agreed to the witch’s suggestion. Cordy loved Connor with all her heart, but she had got to the stage where she really needed a break, and some time to herself to recharge her batteries.

The seer glanced over at the small digital alarm clock that stood on the bathroom shelf – 22:30 – nearly time for Angel’s phone-call. Timekeeping while she was relaxing in the tub was sacrilege as far as Cordy was concerned, but she was prepared to make an exception just this once; missing the call wasn’t something that beared thinking about.

Knowing that she’d be alone in her bedroom at that time, Angel had taken to phoning her later on at night. This allowed the two of them to talk privately and away from prying ears and eyes. Their conversations of late had been heavy on the angst however, meaning that Cordy, more often than not, hung up the phone in tears.

Caring for Connor kept the seer busy and prevented her from dwelling too much on her loneliness during daylight hours, but at night when the still darkness and the empty space besides her in the bed made the pain of her solitude all the more acute, she cried herself to sleep on a regular basis.

Cordy stepped out of the bath and pulled a warm fluffy towel around her body, securing it firmly over her full breasts before making her way back into the dimly lit bedroom. She pulled open the middle drawer of the chest that stood next to the closet, and rifled through it in search of some clean night-clothes.

The only thing she could find was a blood-red satin negligee that she’d bought a couple of months ago with – she could admit it to herself now – Angel in mind. She hadn’t plucked up the courage to wear the sexy night-dress while she was in LA though; full clothing or comfy pyjamas had been the order of the day back then.

With the change in their relationship, it was different now, so Cordy dropped her towel and slipped her head and arms through the neck of the night-gown, letting it settle naturally over the generous curves of her body. The negligee fell to mid-thigh leaving her long tanned legs and toned calves bare.

The satin fabric felt cool against her warmed skin and her nipples puckered, the sensitive buds stimulated by the disparity in temperature and the sensual glide of the slinky material over her naked flesh.

The phone rang, sounding loud in the still room and making the seer’s heart leap in her chest. She quickly turned to answer it. “Hello.”

“What are you wearing?”

Cordy almost dropped the phone in shock. “*What?!” It came out as a high-pitched squeak.

“You heard me. What are you wearing?” Angel’s tone was deliberately pitched low and suffused with enticement and a mild hint of dominance.

The seer’s insides slowly clenched and released as the rich masculine timbre of the vampire’s voice stirred her senses and started butterflies fluttering in her stomach. Their continued isolation from each other had been weighing heavily on both their psyches recently, and Cordy correctly surmised that Angel had dreamt up this wild and sexy idea to help them both release some tension.

She never once imagined that their first time would be over the phone though, but who was she to argue with what fate had dealt her? Having some naughty and flirtatious fun would bolster her flagging spirits no end.

“A negligee.” she replied, deciding to play along. “Red satin.”

“Fuck!” Angel swore as his overactive imagination conjured up that luscious image in his brain.

Gotcha broody boy! The seer smiled in satisfaction at his desire-filled exclamation.

“What else?” Angel demanded impatiently, once he’d got himself back under some semblance of control.

Cordy looked down at her satin-clad body. “Nothing.” she said, telling him the truth because she knew it would be a turn-on for the frustrated vampire.

“No panties?” Angel’s voice was hoarse and strained in her ear.

“No panties.” The seer confirmed with a slight nod. “You want me to put some on?”

“No, sans panties is just fine by me.”

“Perv!” Cordy laughingly admonished him. “So. Where do you want me?”

Angel laughed. “Now there’s a question. How about lying on your back on the bed?”

The seer moved to do as the vampire instructed, positioning herself on the firm mattress with her slim ankles crossed over each other and her free hand resting lightly on her belly.

“You ready?”

“Yes. No wait – we should switch to speaker phone; this’ll be easier then. You know how to do that right?”

“Err – Speaker phone?”

Cordy rolled her eyes in despair at his cluelessness. “How come you’re always such a retard when it comes to modern technology? You seem to be quite an intelligent manpire apart from that – most of the time anyway.”

“Hey! Watch who you’re insulting tactless girl.” Angel shot back in mock protest.

Cordy laughed at his offended tone, then proceeded to explain how he could change the listening mode on his phone. By some minor miracle, the vampire managed to accomplish the task without cutting her off and having to ring back.

“Okay – what now?” Cordy swallowed her apprehension and drew in a deep breath. “I’ve never done this before.”

“Well, you wouldn’t be the only one.” Angel told her wryly. “Believe it or not, I’m a beginner to the phone sex scene too. We’ll just see how it goes, okay? Do you want to know where I am? What I’m doing?”

“Yes – And tell me what you’re wearing too.” Cordy added as an afterthought.

“Okaay. I’m in my bedroom on the bed. I’ve only got my boxers on because I didn’t want the restriction of too many clothes.” The vampire paused for a moment, letting that sink in, before continuing with his narrative. “I’ve been thinking that I should have gone with my original no clothes idea though. Just imagining you in that red satin creation has me rock-hard; these boxers are far from comfortable right now.”

Cordy blushed furiously at his frankness, but giggled nonetheless. “Aww – poor baby.”

Angel ignored her teasing sarcasm. “Close your eyes please.” he instructed softly. “I’m going to tell you how I’d touch you if I was there with you. I want you to touch yourself in the same way and imagine it’s me – all right?”

“Okay.” Cordy murmured in response, obediently complying with his request to shut her eyes, bringing his beloved face to the forefront of her mind as she did so.

“First, I’d run my fingers over the contours of your beautiful face, before rubbing my thumb along that gorgeous pouty bottom lip of yours.” Angel began, his voice low and melodic.

Cordy copied his description with her fingers, trying to mimic the feather light caress that she remembered from when he had touched her three weeks ago. Her own digits didn’t quite have the same effect but, coupled with her imagination, it was close enough. Her heartbeat sped up and her breathing became heavier as her arousal swelled.

“Now I’m going to use two fingers to find the pulse-point in your neck. Got it?”

“Mmm.”

“Can you feel your heart beating under your fingers? What about the blood rushing through your veins – can you feel that?”

“Yes.” Cordy whispered breathlessly in reply to the vampire’s urgent questions.

“That pulsating sensation you’re experiencing would be at least ten times magnified if it was my fingers there.” Angel told her, his speech vibrating with something dark and indefinable. “The feeling of the blood pumping through your veins is a taste pure life and that’s incredibly erotic to a vampire, even to one who doesn’t drink human blood anymore.”

“Hence your neck fetish.” The seer couldn’t help quipping, despite the mesmerising quality of the vampire’s words.

“I could be persuaded to develop fetishes for other areas of your body.” Angel suggested playfully, responding to her lighter tone. “Your perfect breasts are one possibility that spring to mind.”

I have perfect breasts? Interesting. I thought he had a thing for flat-chested women.

“Tell me baby – just how much delectable cleavage does that night-dress of yours expose?”

Cordy opened one eye and looked down at herself. “Not that much.”

“Just a tantalising hint then; I’ve always found that so much more erotic than a garment that flaunts pretty much everything.”

“Don’t you want to see *everything*?” Cordy asked archly, raising her eyebrows suggestively even though she knew he couldn’t see her.

“Yes, of course I do, but I’d prefer to be the one that reveals every glorious inch of your body though. I can’t do that if you’re already showing it all off, can I?”

“No, I guess not.” Cordy agreed. “So undress me then Angel.” she breathed, her voice husky with need.

“Oh I already am, sweetheart.” Angel’s voice had deepened with his burgeoning arousal. “I’m hooking my fingers in the straps of your night-dress, and sliding them down your shoulders, unveiling those wonderful breasts of yours.”

Pushing her negligee down so that it gathered around her waist, Cordy moaned as her heated skin came into contact with the cooler air of the bedroom. Keeping her eyes firmly closed, she imagined Angel’s hot-eyed perusal of the naked flesh that had just been exposed to him.

“Do you like what you see?” she asked coyly.

“Oh God yes! You’re so beautiful.” The vampire groaned harshly. “You making me so hard baby.”

Cordy could faintly make out a soft rhythmic noise on the other end of the line, but it took a moment for her to register what the sound meant. Liquid fire burned through the seer’s veins when she realised Angel was stroking himself whilst imagining her voluptuous upper body bared to his lustful gaze.

“I need you to touch me again.” she requested urgently, as her clitoris began to throb mercilessly, begging for similar attention to that which her partner’s sex was obviously receiving.

“I’m cupping and squeezing your breasts – I bet they’re just the right size for my hands.” Angel drew in a deep unneeded breath, then carried on. “I’m circling your nipples with my thumbs now – does it feel good?”

“Oh yes!” Cordy let out a series of soft moans as her thumbs teased her rosy nubs to hard erect points, sending shock waves to her core and flooding it with creamy arousal. “Please Angel, I need more.”

“I want to see all of you now, so I’m stripping that night-dress off your body and getting rid of my boxers as well.”

Cordy kicked off the negligee so that she lay nude on the bed, and tried to imagine Angel equally naked beside her.

“Bend your knees, put your feet flat on the mattress and open your legs for me, Cordy.” the vampire growled in a commanding tone, his voice gruff with his arousal.

The seer did as she was told, her heart beating wildly in her chest as she waited for her next erotic instruction.

“I wanna feel how wet you are, so I’m going to take my middle finger and stroke it up the length of your sex to test your readiness for me.”

Cordy’s finger came away glistening with her overwhelming desire. Her readiness was not the problem; what she really needed was for him to hurry up and get on with it. Time to light the blue touch-paper I think, the seer decided.

“I’m soaking wet for you, Angel. Do you want to taste how much I want you?” she asked seductively, then settled back to await the explosion. She was not disappointed.

“Sweet Jesus Cordy!” Angel groaned hoarsely. “Torture a guy why don’t you?”

Cordy slipped her right hand between her thighs and began to hastily circle her clitoris with several fingers, giving into the dire need to touch herself. “Tell me what you’re doing to me.” she ordered, exhaling sharply with the pleasure of the contact.

“I’ve got my head between your legs and I’m using my tongue to lap up all those sweet juices you say are flowing from your body.”

“Oh God!” Cordy cried out, completely immersed in their shared fantasy now.

“I’m pushing two fingers up inside you and licking and sucking on your clit – do you like that baby?”

“Oh yes!” Cordy moaned encouragingly, as she tossed her head feverishly back and forth on the pillow. Her harsh gasps for breath made her incapable of uttering more than a few passion-filled words in response to the vampire’s question.

Angel raced on, beginning to sound desperate. “I’m so hard for you, Cor. I just can’t wait any longer. I need to be inside your hot body now. I’m positioning myself at your entrance, then slowly pushing inside and …”

“Oh God!” they both cried out simultaneously as each visualised the moment of their joining.

“Oh Jesus Cordy, I’m so close.” Angel groaned, a long drawn out sound.

“Oh me too!” Cordy cried out fervently in reply, clamping her thighs tightly around the hand that was rapidly pumping between her legs, inciting her to new heights of arousal.

“You’re so hot, so tight – oh you feel so good.” Angel chanted mindlessly, as he lost himself totally in his imaginations of their lovemaking.

Teetering on the brink of orgasm, Cordy began to rock her hips, simulating the movements that she’d be making if Angel really was there, on top of her, and thrusting deep and hard into her molten core.

The vampire’s voice suddenly changed in pitch and became frantic. “Oh God! Here it is – Oh fuck, I’m going to come. Oh Cordy, yes – this is it – I love you – Oh yeah, I’m coming …”

The sound of her lover revelling in orgasm finally pushed Cordy over the edge as well. She cried out her release, arching her back off the bed and digging her heels into the mattress as she climaxed in long shuddering waves. “Oh Angel, I love you too, so so much.” she moaned in ecstasy.

Slowly coming down from her high, Cordy collapsed back onto the mattress, her cheeks flushed and her body covered in sweat. “Wow!” she gasped when she’d recovered enough to speak.

“Wow about covers it.” Angel agreed, his voice warm and affectionate.

Cordy put her hands up to her flaming cheeks and began to giggle uncontrollably. “Oh my God – I can’t believe we just did that!”

Angel started to chuckle as her mirth infected him over the phone line. “You’re not embarrassed are you?”

“Yes – No, not really. That was pretty intense though.”

“And fun, I hope.” Angel replied. “I thought we both needed to relax and let go a bit. The last few weeks have been pretty rough, and I didn’t want our relationship to suffer for it.”

“It won’t cus we won’t let it.” Cordy declared fiercely. “We have to find a way for me and Connor to come home soon though, Angel. That was amazing, but I want the real thing more than ever now.”

“Me too, baby. Oh God, me too.”

* * * * * * * *

Willow looked up from her books as she heard a faint moan permeating through the wall. Was Cordy in pain?

A deeper masculine groan followed and the witch’s eyes widened in shock. She had a man in there? Where the hell did she get him from?

Unable to contain her curiosity, Willow got up and pressed her ear to the bedroom wall, trying to fathom out what was going on. The redhead listened for a few moments in growing astonishment. She may not have been able to decipher the words, but Willow recognised Angel’s distinctive tones immediately.

The witch had sensed the closeness between the pair three weeks ago during the vampire’s visit. She hadn’t missed Angel’s indifference towards Buffy either, even though the slayer appeared to be blind to it. Cordy had been pretty tight-lipped about the nature of her relationship with Angel when Willow had questioned her about it – only conceding to say that they were close friends.

They were having phone sex in the next room however, so that certainly meant that they were a whole lot more than just good friends! Willow pushed herself away from the wall, her cheeks burning hot, as she suddenly became fully aware of her aural voyeurism.

The witch took a couple of deep breaths as a myriad of questions whirled around in her head.

What about Angel’s soul? Surely neither Cordy nor Angel would risk unleashing Angelus again? Did this mean that they’d somehow found a way round the curse? Why had neither of them said anything if that was the case?

Willow flushed a deeper red and shifted uncomfortably as the sounds from the adjoining bedroom increased in volume. It was a good job Buffy was out patrolling, or she’d be having a pink fit round about now.

“Oh Angel, I love you too, so so much.” Willow could actually make out the words of Cordy’s climactic cry and then there was silence, followed by the sound of quiet laughter a few moments later.

Willow checked on a peacefully sleeping Connor, then returned to her studies with the quiet murmuring of the phone conversation in the next room as accompaniment. After half an hour, the sound of voices ceased, but a few minutes later Cordy’s anguished sobs could be heard through the wall.

Willow’s heart went out to the sobbing seer. She had heard Cordy crying herself to sleep before, but her sympathy for her increased tenfold now that she knew the full extent of the seer’s loneliness. Willow missed Tara’s presence in her life with a deep physical ache and she realised that Cordy must be feeling the same thing in reaction to being separated from Angel.

It was obvious to Willow that Cordy was keeping her and Angel’s coupledom a secret to avoid Buffy’s wrath. The witch was not going to break that confidence because she knew that what Angel and Cordy did with their lives really wasn’t any of Buffy’s concern anymore.

Willow did need to make sure that there was no risk of Angelus though, so she and her former classmate were definitely going to have a talk tomorrow. Cordy was going to tell her exactly what was going on between her and the vampire – whether she liked it or not.

* * * * * * * *

Angel stood in the shower, washing himself off. As he relived the earlier phone sex session, his penis stirred with renewed arousal. The vampire groaned and turned the water to ice-cold in an attempt to get his inflamed body back under control.

It was no use though – ever since he and his seer had declared their love for one another three weeks ago, he had been in a constant state of arousal. Almost every thought he had of Cordy led to an erection, meaning that he was continuously having to slip upstairs, or into the bathroom, to take care of the bulge in his pants before any of the others noticed his predicament.

Angel didn’t completely understand his total lack of self-restraint in this matter. He was a vampire who had endured nearly a century of celibacy, but one who now found himself unable to control his desire for Cordy at all. Thoughts and fantasies of his beautiful seer filled his every waking moment and the majority of his fevered dreams as well.

With a frustrated moan, Angel leaned back against the cool tiles, closed his eyes and reached down to take his hardened sex in his hand, conjuring up an image of a naked Cordy in his mind’s eye as he did so. The vampire quickly brought himself to completion, and came with a loud shout of her name a few minutes later.

As he recovered from his orgasm and cleaned himself up for a second time, Angel made a decision. There was nothing for it; he had to find a way to get Cordy and Connor back home to LA. That would mean taking drastic, and probably downright dangerous, measures to deal with his Wolfram and Hart problem, but it was necessary for the sake of his sanity.

He was going to go crazy with lust if he didn’t have Cordy back by his side and in his bed soon.
Part 6

A week later

Willow watched as Cordy paced back and forth across the kitchen in agitation, almost wearing a hole in the floor as she tried, unsuccessfully, to calm a screaming Connor.

“Can’t you shut him up?” Buffy demanded testily from where she, Dawn, Xander and Willow were sitting at the counter researching the latest demon to throw his gauntlet in the ring with the slayer. “We’re trying to concentrate here.”

“He’s just a baby, Buffy.” Willow jumped in before Cordy lost her rag with an unsympathetic Buffy. “He’s been upset and grizzly all day.”

“Do you think he’s sick?” Cordy asked the witch, her hazel eyes wide with fear. She placed the back of her hand against Connor’s forehead. “He’s all hot. Maybe we should call the doctor.”

“Cordy – he’s just worked himself up into a state that’s all.” Willow soothed gently. “His temperature was fine a few minutes ago. Here – why don’t you let me try?”

The redhead twisted in her seat and held her hands out for the crying baby. Willow suspected that Connor was picking up on the seer’s unsettled mood; Cordy was wringing her hands in anxiety. The witch began to bounce the baby on her knee, cooing quietly to him in calm, soothing voice. “Ssh sweetie – what’s the matter hey?”

Angel hadn’t rung for several days now and to say Cordy was worried was an understatement. The seer had tried calling the hotel, Caritas, everyone’s cell phones and apartments, and nothing – no answer from any of them.

The only thing stopping her from getting in the car and driving straight to LA was little Connor. The seer couldn’t leave her baby son here alone, but equally she couldn’t take him with her, because she had no idea of what kind of danger she might be walking into when she got there.

So, stuck in a Catch-22 situation, Cordy remained in Sunnydale getting more frantic by the minute.

“Why don’t we take him outside for some fresh air? A walk in the park?” Willow suggested to the worried seer. “It might help calm him down.”

“Please do.” Buffy agreed insufferably. “He’s giving me a headache.”

“Cordy.” Willow warned when the seer’s face turned thunderous and she started to round on the petite slayer in fury.

Cordy risked letting her secret slip out if she allowed her anger to get the better of her, and that wasn’t going to help matters one iota. Buffy would hit the roof when she found out about her ex-boyfriend’s relationship with the seer and, what with everything else that was going on, that was the last thing that Cordy needed right now.

The infuriated seer took a few deep breaths, counted to ten and tried to calm down. “I’ll go get the stroller and his diaper bag.” she decided, turning quickly to leave the room before she said something to Buffy that she’d later regret.

“What is her problem?” Buffy demanded harshly once the retreating seer was out of earshot.

“Angel hasn’t called for days – Cordy’s worried.” Willow reproved her friend with a slight frown.

“So? He’s probably in the middle of a case or something. Does she expect him to drop everything just cus she says so?”

The witch sighed – there was no arguing with the slayer in her current frame of mind. “I think you could be a little bit more understanding, Buffy. Not hearing from Angel makes Connor really cranky and it’s hardly a picnic for Cordy to look after him when he’s like this.”

Willow looked down into the little boy’s flushed face; his big blue eyes were still full of unshed tears, but he had quietened down a bit. The witch tenderly stroked the baby’s hot cheek. “You miss your Daddy, don’t you little one?” she murmured to him as she got down from the stool she’d been sitting on.

And your mommy misses him too. Willow thought silently to herself, as she took Connor through into the hall where Cordy had set up the stroller ready for their walk.

As the witch strapped the fretful little boy into his pushchair, she cast her mind back to her conversation with Cordy a week ago ….

Flashback

Willow waited until Buffy and Dawn left the house before confronting Cordy about what she’d heard the previous night. It wasn’t as easy to start the conversation as she thought it would be though.

The witch sat curled up in an armchair endlessly debating how best to broach the delicate subject, until finally the unsuspecting seer unintentionally gave her the opening she required.

“Thanks for taking care of Connor last night, Will.” Cordy said, glancing over at the redhead with a smile of gratitude. She was sitting in a nearby chair playing peek-a-boo with Connor, who was ensconced comfortably in her lap. “I really needed the break and some alone time.”

I bet you did, Willow thought, smiling inwardly at how the seer had utilised her ‘alone time.’ “Don’t worry about it. I don’t mind looking after such a cutie. How was Angel when you spoke to him by the way?”

The young witch grinned as Cordy’s face stained pink at the mere mention of her vampire lover.

“Oh – um – okay.” she answered, a little ruffled. “How did you know he called?”

“Err – he calls every night, doesn’t he?” Willow chickened out of telling Cordy the real reason she knew, then sharply berated herself for doing so.

If there’s a risk of Angelus you have to do something – stop being such a wimp and make her tell you what’s going on.

“I kind of heard you too.” the witch added in a rush before she lost her nerve, her cheeks growing hot with embarrassment.

“Oh my God!” Cordy looked over at Willow in mortification, her face flushing the colour of a ripe tomato.

“Look, I don’t want to pry or anything, but if there’s a risk of Angelus getting loose, then I need to …”

“It’s okay Willow.” Cordy interrupted the witch’s flustered tirade to reassure her. “Angel’s soul is permanent – the Powers That Be anchored it.”

“Oh.” Willow said with a sigh of relief. “That’s good – I only just bought some new fish. It’s taken me this long to get over the trauma of losing the last lot.”

“You won’t tell Buffy will you?” Cordy pleaded, her hazel eyes beseeching. “We don’t plan on keeping our relationship a secret forever, but it’d make things really difficult if Buffy knew about Angel and me. You know how she’s gonna react.”

“Unfortunately yes.” Willow replied with a grimace. “Don’t worry; I won’t say anything. Are you sure about Angel though? I mean him and Buffy …”

“Had the forbidden love of all time yada, yada.” Cordy interjected sardonically, screwing up her nose in disgust. “Spare me.”

“Sorry, but all that Romeo and Juliet crap makes me want to barf.” The seer quickly explained her outburst, off Willow’s startled look. “Angel had his chance to return to Buffy, and he didn’t take it. He says he loves me and I have no reason not to believe him.”

The witch nodded in understanding. “So how long have you two been together?”

“Err – about three weeks.” Cordy looked over at Willow with a sheepish expression on her pretty face. “We only confessed our feelings when he came to visit last month. I didn’t know about his permanent soul until then so I never dared say anything before.”

“So you um – well you know – with us downstairs?”

“No, of course not!” Cordy exclaimed. “I mean I *really* wanted to, but I couldn’t, not in Buffy’s house. It just didn’t feel right.”

“And last night?” Willow couldn’t help her inquisitiveness despite knowing it wasn’t remotely any of her business.

“It was Angel’s idea.” Cordy said defensively, relieved that Willow actually seemed to be okay with her relationship with the vampire.

Willow laughed at the seer’s justification for her naughty behaviour. “Sounded like fun.” she teased with a cheeky wink and a knowing smile.

Cordy began to giggle, blushing to the roots of her hair. “Oh my God – I can’t believe you heard us. I’m so embarrassed. I didn’t realise we were that loud.”

“It would be wise to check that Buffy’s out on patrol before you repeat the experience, I think.” Willow advised, still laughing.

Cordy sobered up a little, then graced the redhead with her wide beaming smile. “Thanks Willow. You’re the best. I thought you’d be on Buffy’s side.”

“If you love Angel and he loves you, then I’m okay with it. It’d be different if he was still with Buffy, but they split up years ago. Both of you are free and single; you’ve not done anything wrong.”

“Go tell that to Buffy. I’m sure she’ll have the totally opposite opinion.” Cordy replied, running her fingers through her short dark hair and tucking it behind her ears.

“I do love him though, Willow. More than anything in this world and I love my Connor too – don’t I sweetie?” The seer bent and pressed a sweet kiss to her baby boy’s forehead, whilst gently caressing his rosy cheek with the back of her finger.

Connor smiled sleepily at her in response, his eyelids fluttering as he tried to fight the fatigue that was starting to overtake his little body. The baby’s internal body clock was telling him that it was nearly nap time.

“Mommy loves you, little guy.” Cordy whispered softly in her drowsy son’s small ear. She stroked her hand tenderly over his downy head, and cuddled him close, humming softly to him as he dropped off cradled in her loving arms.

Willow smiled at the perfect picture of motherhood she presented – she couldn’t believe this was the same Cordelia Chase that she used to go to school with …

End of Flashback

“I got it.”

Willow’s thoughts snapped back into the present as Cordy descended the stairs with Connor’s diaper bag slung over her arm. The seer’s pretty face was pale and drawn and she had dark circles under her red-rimmed eyes. It was obvious that she’d been crying again.

If Willow had had any doubts about the depth of Cordy’s feelings for Angel, then they’d been swept away by her reaction to his lack of contact over the last couple of days. The seer was making herself ill with worry over what could be happening in LA, imagining all sorts of grim scenarios. Willow had heard Cordy throwing up in the bathroom earlier this morning and also trying to muffle her pain-filled sobs for Angel last night.

The witch was surprised that Buffy hadn’t picked up on the reason for Cordy’s overwhelming concern for the vampire. She supposed it was because the slayer, for some reason, no longer saw Cordy as a rival for Angel’s affections. Buffy was going to get a big shock when she eventually found out the truth, and discovered that she couldn’t be more wrong in her assumptions.

Willow helped Cordy manoeuvre the stroller down the steps and out of the front gate, then the two of them set off in the direction of the park. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, Cordy eventually spoke, voicing her fears for Angel’s welfare.

“I’m scared Will. Why hasn’t he called yet?” she burst out, her concern evident in the voice that shook with suppressed tears. “It’s been days now. He told me he had a plan for sorting out Wolfram and Hart, but he wouldn’t tell me what. I’m so afraid he’s gone and done something stupid. What if they’re all dead? Oh God, what would I do then?”

Cordy finally gave into her panic, stopped in her tracks and broke down in tears, covering her face with her hands. Willow took the anguished seer’s arm and wheeled the stroller over to a bench that stood under a huge tree. They sat down and Cordy buried her head in the witch’s lap sobbing out her distress.

Willow stroked Cordy’s dark hair in sympathy while she waged a war with her own inner demons. She eventually gave into the desire to ease her friend’s pain though.

Willow took a deep steadying breath, closed her eyes and concentrated, muttering a few words in Latin. She was somewhat surprised to find that it wasn’t that difficult to keep control of her addiction; it must be something to do with using magic for the right reasons, she decided.

Cordy sat up when she realised what Willow was doing. It took a minute for the spell to work, then the witch opened her eyes and smiled reassuringly at the anxiously waiting seer.

“Cordy – it’s okay. I can’t get a fix on Angel because this locator spell only works on humans, but Wesley and the rest of your friends are alive. If the others are all right, then I’m sure Angel is as well.”

“I hope to god you’re right.” Cordy said tearfully, her fears somewhat allayed. “Thanks Willow. I know how hard that must have been for you to do.”

“Hey, no prob’s – what are friends for?” Willow replied, squeezing the seer’s hand in compassion.

* * * * * * * *

“I’m going to try and call the Hyperion again.” Cordy told Willow when the two of them arrived back at the Summer’s house an hour or so later.

She picked up the phone in the front hall and dialled the number of the LA hotel, waiting impatiently while it rang a few times before eventually being picked up.

“Yo! Angel Investigations – we help the helpless, how may we help you?”

“Oh my God Gunn! Where have you all been? What’s been going on? Why hasn’t anyone phoned, or answered any of my calls? Is Angel there? Is everyone all right?” The questions tumbled frantically from Cordy’s lips as relief raced through her body at finally being able to contact one of her friends.

“Whoa! Slow down barbie. One question at a time, my head is hurting.” Gunn’s voice was weary and mildly dispirited.

“I haven’t heard from any of you in days – tell me what’s going on.” Cordy demanded, her stomach knotting with a horrible sense of foreboding.

“Err .. Isn’t English there yet? ” Gunn sounded distinctly reluctant to answer her questions which only served to fill the seer with greater panic. Why is Wesley coming to Sunnydale? Where is Angel?

Cordy started at the sound of the front doorbell, and her heart began to pound in dread as Willow answered the door to admit a bruised and battered Wesley into the house. The seer sucked in a horrified gasp, and gripped the phone tightly in her hand as she took in the ex-watcher’s appearance.

Wesley was walking with a slight limp and holding his side; his face was covered in purple and black contusions and a blood-encrusted cut decorated the length of his left cheek. It was the grave look on the Englishman’s face, however, that stopped Cordy’s heart beating in her chest.

Wesley looked on in stunned alarm as Cordy’s face turned ashen and her hazel eyes darkened with an intense grief. She dropped the phone receiver with a loud clatter, as her breathing started to come in sharp hysterical gasps.

As her vision turned to grey and her blood ran like ice through her veins, Cordy could vaguely hear the sound of someone screaming, but didn’t recognise that the pain-filled wails were emanating from her own throat. “Oh my God, Angel! Not my Angel! Please no! Please not my Angel!”

The distressed seer swayed dangerously on her suddenly unsteady feet, before her knees buckled and she fell to the floor, her agonised cries echoing around the hallway and bringing the rest of the Scoobies running.

Wesley dashed forward, almost tripping over his feet in his haste to reassure his friend. “Cordelia no! It’s okay – Angel’s hurt badly, but he’s still alive.. um .. well still undead is probably a more accurate description.”

The ex-watcher knelt down in front of the seer and rubbed her suddenly cold hands between his much warmer ones. “He’s going to be fine, Cordelia. I promise.”

Cordy was practically hyperventilating with her fear and panic, so it took a moment for Wesley’s assurances about Angel’s non-dust status to register in her bewildered mind. Once her brain had properly processed the words, she flung herself into his arms, sobbing hysterically with her crushing relief. “Oh God, I thought …”

“I know. Ssh – it’s all right.” Wesley whispered soothingly into her ear, as he wrapped his arms comfortingly around her violently shaking form.

Cordy eventually calmed down and pulled away from him, wiping her tears away with her fingers. Wesley stood and helped the seer to her feet, keeping one arm around her waist as he led her through into the lounge. They sat down, side by side, on the sofa.

Cordy looked down at her hands that were still shaking in reaction, then raised her red and swollen eyes to meet her friend’s sympathetic blue ones. “You said he was hurt.” she said, her voice quavering. “Is it bad?”

Wesley nodded soberly. “Pretty bad. Wolfram and Hart had all their lackey’s weapons anointed with a mystical potion that can delay a vampire’s advanced healing processes. The potion is very expensive to make – I doubt even a law firm as powerful as Wolfram and Hart have the resources to manufacture it on a large scale. I believe it was their last ditch defence and they used it. Angel’s wounds won’t kill him, but it is going to be a while before he recovers from them.”

Cordy nodded, gradually getting her emotions back under control as her breathing settled back into its normal pattern. “What happened? He refused to give me any details about what he had planned when I last spoke to him.”

“I’m not surprised.” Wesley told her, sighing in resignation. “His plan was extremely reckless to say the least, but somehow it worked. It was more out of luck than anything else in my opinion though. Wolfram and Hart have agreed to a semi-truce – for now anyway.”

“He just barged in and went all terminator on them, didn’t he?” Cordy guessed, rolling her eyes in despair at her boyfriend’s foolhardiness.

Wesley nodded, shooting a tight smile in the seer’s direction. “Angel decided the only way to defeat Wolfram and Hart was for us to fight back with everything we’ve got. I’ve never seen anything like it Cordelia – I’ve observed his skill in a fight before, but this was just .. ”

The ex-watcher shook his head in admiration. “He was like a machine, systematically destroying everything in his path, despite the injuries inflicted on his own person in the process. He certainly succeeded in frightening Wolfram and Hart into abandoning their current campaign against us. They’ve lost several of their key players over the last few days so, unsurprisingly, have agreed to restore a normal level of hostilities.”

“Does that mean me and Connor can come home?” Cordy’s pretty face was filled with an impossible hope as she waited impatiently for Wesley’s answer to her question.

Wesley smiled broadly at her. “Yes, that’s why I’m here. Angel sent me to pick you up; he wants you both back in LA as soon as possible.”

“Oh!” Cordy put her hands to her mouth, her eyes overflowing with tears again, but of happiness rather than anguish this time.

She leapt to her feet and rushed across the room to take her son from Willow’s arms. “We’re going home Connor.” she told him, planting a soft kiss on his cheek and beaming at him with pure unadulterated joy.

Connor’s round face split into an answering smile and he gurgled, bouncing up and down in her arms, infected by her ecstatic mood. Wesley laughed as Cordy began to twirl around with the little boy cuddled against her chest.

“We’re going home to Daddy. Yes, we are.” she crooned happily to Connor as she danced around the room with the giggling baby. “We’re going home to Daddy, little guy. We are.”

The delighted seer finally skidded to an abrupt stop before an amused Wesley. “I’ve got to go pack” she said, almost jumping up and down in her excitement. “Here hold him while I go and get our things.”

Cordy thrust the baby boy into her friend’s hands, then practically skipped across the room to make her way up the stairs. As she got to the doorway though, she found her path blocked by an irate slayer.

“Since when is he *your* Angel.” Buffy grated angrily, her blue eyes flashing with barely contained fury.

“Since he told me he loved me the last time that he was here.” Cordy retorted defiantly, not bothering to soften the blow.

“He so did not.”

“Did too.” Cordy childishly stuck her tongue out at Buffy. Nothing was going to destroy her good mood – she was going home at long last and she, Angel and Connor were going to be a proper family. She was dying to get away from Sunnydale and back to where she belonged, so didn’t have time for Buffy’s drama queen act.

“Excuse me – I need to go pack, Angel wants *me* home.” The seer quickly pushed past the slayer before she had time to react to the pointed jibe.

“She’s lying.” Buffy turned her furious gaze on Wesley as Cordy took the stairs two at a time in her haste to leave. “I know she’s lying – Angel wouldn’t be interested in her.”

Her ex-watcher resolutely squared his shoulders and prepared to face down the slayer. “She isn’t lying, Buffy; Angel is extremely interested in Cordelia. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he is completely in love with her, and she with him. A lot of things have changed in the last few years; you are no longer the centre of his world – that space is occupied by Connor and Cordy now.”

Buffy shook her head in disbelief. “No, it’s just because they can’t make him perfectly happy like I could – they’re the safe, second choice.”

Wesley laughed incredulously at the slayer’s self-centredness. “The Powers That Be secured Angel’s soul over a year ago. He could have come back to you then if he wanted, but he stayed in LA instead. I think that’s very telling, since Connor hadn’t been born and Angel’s relationship with Cordy was essentially platonic back then.”

“A year! She didn’t tell me that.” Willow clapped her hand over her mouth as she realised what she’d just let slip.

Buffy rounded on her friend. “You knew! You knew and you didn’t tell me.”

“Yeah, I knew.” Willow admitted, shrugging her shoulders. “Only for sure last week though. I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d react like this. I never thought I’d say this, but I think Cordy is the right one for Angel. She loves him, Buffy; I have no doubts about that and she totally adores Connor too.”

“What does the little brat have to do with anything?” Buffy snapped, her jealousy of Angel’s baby son finally escaping her in the worst possible way.

“Really Buffy, Cordy aside, do you honestly believe that having a child wouldn’t make Angel perfectly happy?” Wesley put in, trying to reason with the stubborn young woman. “Connor is a dream come true for him. He needs somebody who will love him and his baby boy equally. I don’t think you have the capacity to do that, do you?”

“And Cordelia does I suppose?” Buffy said acerbically.

“I think she’s proved that over and over in the last few weeks.” Wesley said quietly, smiling at Willow who was nodding in agreement. “I’m sorry that your fantasy bubble has been burst, truly I am, but you need to face facts – Angel has moved on; Cordy and Connor are his life now, not you.”

Buffy shook her head, trying to ignore the persistent nagging thought that Angel had deliberately chosen to not come back to her when his soul had been made permanent. “No, Angel’s just confused about what he wants. I have slayer issues to take care of here first, but tell him I’m coming to LA to see him in a few weeks time. We can talk properly then.”

Wesley sighed in resignation. There was no use arguing with her, Buffy wouldn’t believe that her relationship with Angel was over until she heard it from the horse’s mouth. “Okay, I tell him.” he agreed reluctantly.

* * * * * * * *

As the car drew up outside the Hyperion, Cordy was suddenly, inexplicably, nervous. She’d been so happy about coming home that the reality of facing an injured Angel hadn’t sunk in.

The seer was beside herself with worry now though. Wesley was hurt pretty badly, and yet it had been him, not Angel, who had driven to Sunnydale to collect her. “It’s bad, isn’t it?” she asked her friend.

Wesley nodded, knowing immediately what she was asking even though she hadn’t spoken two words to him since they left Sunnydale behind. “He’s badly hurt Cordelia. It’s not pretty; I think you should prepare yourself for that. It is a shock when you’re so used to seeing him quickly bounce back from all manner of horrible wounds, believe me.”

Cordy nodded, her eyes welling up with tears. She slowly got out the car and reached into the back-seat to unbuckle a sleeping Connor from his car seat. She headed through the courtyard with the slumbering baby in her arms.

“Cordy, Connor – you’re home!” The seer found herself engulfed in Fred’s excited embrace, the moment she stepped through the double doors into the Lobby.

“Yeah. We’re home.” Cordy forced herself to smile. “I’m sorry guys, can we catch up later? I really need to see Angel.”

Gunn nodded. “Sure thing. Good to see you princess.” he said, reaching out to squeeze her shoulder comfortingly.

Cordy made her way up to Angel’s bedroom, her heart pounding like a bass drum in her chest. She twisted the doorknob and slowly entered the classically decorated bedroom, her eyes immediately drawn to the still figure on the bed.

“Oh God!” she breathed in alarm, tears spilling down her cheeks as she took in the state of Angel’s broken body.

The vampire’s face was unrecognisable; his eyes were swollen shut, and every inch of his pale skin was purple and black with bruises. Various cuts on his brow and puffy lips still oozed scarlet blood. Cordy dreaded to think what other horrors were hidden underneath his torn clothing.

Lorne got up from where he was seated by the bed watching over the injured vampire, and quickly crossed the room to take Connor from her arms.

“How about I take the little pumpkin for a bit, princess?” the green-skinned demon offered, patting Cordy on the shoulder before leaving her alone in the dimly lit bedroom.

Cordy took a deep breath and moved closer to the bed. “Angel?” she whispered softly.

Angel felt like he was swimming under water; the muffled sound of voices at the surface teased his senses. His nostrils flared as the familiar scent of his seer’s perfume stimulated his sense of smell. “Angel?”

Angel compelled his eyes to open, moaning in pain as his swollen face protested the movement. “Cordy.” he croaked, forcing the words past his parched throat.

“Oh God Angel.” The vampire felt the bed dip as she sat next to him and reached out with tentative fingers to gently touch his face. “Look at the state of you.”

“Everywhere hurts.” Angel told her, swallowing painfully; his larynx had been badly bruised by a Streflar demon who had tried to strangle him.

“Has someone patched you up?”

“Fred – a bit.”

“Not enough.” Cordy said critically, lifting his shirt and wincing at the exposed deep wounds that criss-crossed his chest.

The seer got up and searched for a pair of scissors and the first aid kit, then proceeded to strip him of his dirty clothes in order to bathe and bandage all of his dreadful injuries. Finally she helped him into a comfortable pair of sweatpants and tucked him back up in bed.

Angel actually felt a whole lot better once she was done, and sighed contentedly when she settled on the comforter next to him, being careful not to accidentally brush against any of his painful injuries. He breathed in the sweet smell of her hair and felt the hypnotic pull towards sleep.

“Connor?” he asked, forcing himself awake again and trying to sit up as the thought of his son suddenly intruded on his consciousness.

“Lorne is baby-sitting; he’s fine.” Cordy told him, placing a gentle hand on his chest and pushing him back down on the mattress again. “You need to rest, you can see him tomorrow.”

“Mmm.” Angel nodded and closed his eyes again. “I wanted you in my bed, but I didn’t mean like this.”

Cordy giggled as she lay her head next to his on the pillow. “We’ve waited this long; I think we can manage a few more weeks of abstinence.”

“Speak for yourself woman; not being able to touch you has been driving me totally crazy.” Angel murmured drowsily, curling his fingers around hers. “I can’t even kiss you properly.”

Cordy lifted her head and kissed him gently on the lips. “I promise it’ll be worth the wait.” she told him with a contented smile. “All that matters is that we’re back together.”

“I love you, Cor. I’m so glad you’re home.” Angel declared softly, just before his injured body’s need for rest overcame him.

“I love you too, Angel.” Cordy whispered to her sleeping manpire, then closed her eyes and succumbed to her own exhaustion.

* * * * * * * *

Lorne peeked around the door and smiled at the slumbering couple on the bed. He tiptoed across the room and placed the baby boy in the cradle, then turned and left the reunited family alone to their peaceful sleep.
Epilogue – Part 1

Three weeks later …

The door crashed open, straining on its hinges. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Angel looked up from the drawer he was searching through to see an agitated Cordy standing in the door frame, a horrified look on her pretty face. “Umm – looking for some clean boxers.” he replied, not quite sure what all the fuss was about.

“Why are you out of bed?” the seer demanded.

“I needed to take a shower. The bed baths have been fun, but they don’t exactly clean the hard to reach places very effectively.”

“Why didn’t you call me? You could slipped and fallen – anything could have happened!”

“Relax Cordy, I’m fine.” Angel began to laugh at her over-protectiveness even though it warmed him from the inside out.

He reached down and loosened the towel that was wrapped around his waist, letting it drop to the floor. “See – all healed now. Not a blemish on me.”

The vampire’s smile broadened as he watched Cordy’s eyes grow wide with shock, when he revealed his muscular body so casually to her. The seer glanced behind her at the open door, her mouth dropping open and her cheeks flushing bright pink at his total lack of modesty; anyone could walk past and see him in all his naked glory!

Angel strode confidently across the room to shut the door before turning around to face his flustered girlfriend. He leaned offhandedly against the wooden panel and folded his arms across his bare chest.

“So – you still have that red satin night-dress?” he queried in the same tone he’d used when he’d greeted her on the phone with ‘What are you wearing?’ over a month ago.

Her heart thumping with growing excitement, Cordy silently padded across the room to her chest of drawers and pulled out the night-dress to show him.

“Did you want to watch me put it on?” she asked coyly, dropping her gaze and peering seductively up at the vampire through her long dark lashes.

Even though watching her undress would be a major turn-on for Angel, he wanted to experience the full effect of the night-gown, so he shook his head in the negative. “No, go and get changed in the bathroom. Don’t be long; I’ll be waiting.”

Cordy nodded, and went through into the on-suite pushing the door shut behind her. Fingers trembling, she quickly disrobed, her breathing quickening and her panties becoming damp with her aching desire for the vampire. Just the mere thought of finally making love to Angel, to have him touch her in a way she’d only imagined up until now, caused her nipples to harden to tight points and turned her insides to jelly.

The seer reached into the cabinet, found her favourite perfume and sprayed her pulse points with the subtle scent. As an afterthought, she removed her panties before making her way back into the bedroom. The scene that greeted her on her return immediately flooded her uncovered sex with liquid arousal.

Angel sat in the armchair by the bed, with one foot flat on the floor and the other propped up on the mattress. He looked, for all intent and purposes, like one of those marble Greek statues. His pale skin, stretched taut across the underlying muscle structure, glowed with an ethereal radiance in the room’s dim light.

The vampire’s sensual pose immediately drew Cordy’s gaze down to his groin and her pupils dilated in reaction to what she saw. Even flaccid his size was impressive, and her clitoris began to throb as her body responded instinctively to the erotic sight.

The aroused seer sucked in a sharp breath as Angel’s penis began to twitch and swell, becoming engorged with blood at the image of her voluptuous body encased in the sexy blood-red night-dress.

Angel growled in frustration when Cordy unconsciously licked her lips, as she watched his sex harden to its fullest proportions. Fantasies of that gorgeous pouty mouth surrounding his throbbing shaft with its wet warmth immediately bombarded his over stimulated brain.

Cordy gasped when she suddenly found herself, flat on her back, pinned underneath the vampire’s solid form. As Angel’s mouth descended to cover hers in a hard demanding kiss, she clutched at his back, massaging his ropy muscles with her fingers. The vampire’s cool tongue forced its way through her lips to explore every crevice of her hot pliant mouth.

Cordy craved the touch of Angel’s cool hands and lips on her heated skin and his rock-hard sex thrusting deep within her body, with an overpowering intensity. She had waited so long for this moment to arrive that she was now in complete sensory overload.

Her own tongue participating enthusiastically in their passionate embrace, she wound her legs around Angel’s waist and deliberately pushed her hips up into his, pressing her heels into his firm backside for leverage.

Responding to her wanton gesture, Angel pushed his groin into the cradle of her thighs, eliciting a moan when the action brought his hard length into contact with her sex through the satiny material of her night-dress.

“Off.” Angel grunted hoarsely, tearing his lips from hers and tugging roughly on the hem of the deep red negligee.

“Yes.” Cordy agreed breathlessly, sitting up so that he could remove her clothing in one swift move.

Angel caught her hands as she started to lie back down on the bed, shaking his head. “Sit against the headboard.” he instructed gruffly, getting to his knees as she quickly shifted to do as he asked.

The vampire reached down and caught hold of her slim ankles in his cool hands, then lifted her feet to his mouth and delicately kissed the end of each toe. He separated her long tanned legs and placed the soles of her feet back on the mattress so that she was splayed out before him.

Angel knelt between her spread thighs, sat back on his heels and just looked her, his deep brown eyes burning hot with lust. Cordy shivered as his dark-eyed gaze swept the length of her exposed body, from the hollow of her throat, over her round breasts with their dusky pink tips, and down to rest on the dark triangle of damp curls that guarded the entrance to her womanhood.

Angel lifted his eyes back up to meet hers and smiled. “You are so beautiful; I don’t know where to start.” he murmured reverently, his look of carnal lust suddenly replaced by one of simple adoration.

“Kiss me.” Cordy whispered in response to his declaration, her heart beating wildly at the intense feelings provoked by this expression of admiration for her curvaceous body.

Angel duly obeyed, leaning forward and bracing his hands against the headboard as his cool lips moved slowly over hers in a hot sweet kiss. When they broke apart, he bent to nuzzle at her neck, trailing one hand down her body to rest lightly on her slightly rounded stomach.

“Tell me what you want.” Angel whispered seductively in her ear, his dancing fingers circling her navel, and inducing sparks in her belly that mutated into a fresh rush of moisture at her already slick centre.

Cordy arched her neck into his exploring mouth, moaning as the vampire began to suckle gently on the pulse point there, drawn by the steady flow of her blood pulsating beneath his questing lips.

“Touch me.” Cordy breathed in answer to his request. “Oh God, please just touch me Angel.”

Angel nipped lightly at her skin with blunt teeth, then soothed the bite with the flat of his tongue before pulling away to look his fill again. He laced his fingers through hers and lifted her arms above her head, placing her fingertips against the wall so that her back arched and she involuntarily thrust her full breasts out towards him.

“Stay.” He whispered softly, and released her hands to trail his fingers lightly down the length of her arms and the sides of her body, to settle for a brief moment in the dip of her waist.

The vampire then swept his hands together over her ribs, and upwards to cup and mould her creamy cleavage in his palms. He brushed his thumbs over her already engorged and sensitive nubs, before pinching them lightly between his thumb and forefingers.

“Angel!” Cordy cried out loudly as a jolt of pleasure ran through her at his actions.

Placing a cool hand flat between her shoulder blades, Angel dropped his head to suckle one pink nipple into his mouth, causing the seer to lift her bottom off the bed, and arch up into his touch as another wave of wetness collected between her open thighs.

His keen sense of smell immediately detected the scent of her growing desire for him, so Angel dipped his hand between her legs running his fingers up the length of her sex to gather up the moisture concentrated there.

“You really are soaking wet for me.” he commented, releasing her breast to suck her creamy arousal from his fingertips. He closed his eyes and hummed with pleasure as her sweet and spicy flavour stimulated his taste buds.

Cordy’s colour was high, her damp hair stuck to her flushed cheeks, and her breathing coming in soft pants. “Oh Angel please.” she begged, besides herself with her need for him. “Oh God – I want you; I need you in me. Now!”

Angel’s self-control snapped at her soft demand and, catching her around the waist, he effortlessly lifted her so that her shoulders were against the wall and she was squatting with her hands clutching the top of the headboard for support.

Kneeling between her spread legs and holding onto her hips, the vampire teased her red and swollen clit with the tip of his erection, coating himself in her essence and making her cry out again as he stimulated her most sensitive spot. Angel had wanted to make their first time last, but they had waited so long for the opportunity that now the moment was here, it was destined to happen in a frenzy of raw need and savage want.

There would be time enough for slow passionate lovemaking later; right now all he wanted was to be buried deep inside her hot channel as their two bodies finally become one. Unable to wait any longer, Angel pushed up into her hot core in one smooth hard stroke, his large hands cupping the twin globes of her ass to hold her still for his penetration.

“Oh God!” Cordy cried out with a mixture of pleasure and pain as the vampire buried himself to the hilt, the headboard crashing against the wall with the violence of his initial thrust. His thick length stretched her relatively untried vagina to the limit and her inner muscles clamped down around him in protest.

“Are you okay?” Angel gasped out between gritted teeth, holding himself still until he felt her begin to relax her vicelike grip on his throbbing sex.

“Yes, I think so.” Cordy replied breathlessly, taking a few deep breaths as the pain of his penetration subsided, and her body began to adjust to the size of him. “It’s been a long time and you’re not exactly small in the trouser department.”

Angel laughed at that, then pulled gently out of her, moaning at the loss of her hot walls around his aching shaft.

“Angel – it’s okay. I didn’t mean you had to stop.”

“I know.” The vampire replied, palming her face in his hands and kissing her. “I think a different position might be more comfortable for you though.”

Cordy melted into a puddle at his overwhelming concern for her. “I love you.” she whispered, tears sparkling in her eyes while they moved so that she lay underneath him on the soft mattress.

“I love you too.” Angel replied, before sliding slowly back into her, a low groan of ecstasy escaping his lips as her slick wetness enveloped him in a warm welcoming hug.

“Better?” he asked softly, watching as her eyes closed and her pretty face contorted with pleasure when he filled her to the brim again.

“Mmm.” Cordy replied, bending her knees towards her chest so that he sank in deeper still, bumping up against her cervix. “Feels good.”

“Are you sure?” Angel asked, then groaned as Cordy flexed her hips and deliberately clenched her inner muscles around his engorged sex. “Cor!” he protested with a low moan.

Cordy giggled, and opened her eyes to look up at him with a mischievous twinkle and a playful pout on her full lips. “Get yer butt moving, broody boy, cus this girl wants some serious lovin’ tonight.”

Reassured that he was no longer hurting her, Angel finally let go of his barely there self-control and started to plunge repeatedly into her tight wet core, his hands placed either side of her on the bed for leverage.

Cordy opened her legs a little wider to accommodate him and clutched the sheets between her fingers as he pounded her into the mattress with strong deep thrusts. The clitoral stimulation, caused by his size and his movements atop of her, sent shock waves throughout her whole body and quickly brought the seer to the edge of orgasm.

“Oh God Angel – Harder. Please .. Need .. More.” Cordy gasped out between heavy pants, her fingernails drawing blood as she clutched at his shoulders desperately trying to find her much needed release.

Angel groaned, his thrusts becoming almost brutal as he complied with her demand, shifting his weight further onto his hands and hunching his shoulders with the effort. The vampire’s head was spinning, his vision blurry, as the force of his movements rocked the bed and slammed the headboard rhythmically against the wall.

He was so close – the long awaited culmination of his desire for the writhing woman beneath him was more than ready to burst like a tidal wave through the crumbling dam of his heart and soul. Cordy’s climactic scream and the sensation of her rapidly convulsing core around his painfully hard sex finally pushed him over the edge into oblivion.

“Oh God Cordy, yes.” Angel cried out loudly, his upper body going rigid as his cool seed poured out of him in long pressurised spurts, his hips jerking uncontrollably between her spread thighs. Finally spent, he collapsed on top of the exhausted seer, gasping as her burning skin seared his much cooler flesh with heat.

Slowly coming down from his high, Angel was shocked to discover that Cordy was shaking with sobs, her tears dripping onto his neck as she buried her face against his collarbone, and wrapped her arms around his broad back.

Angel pulled gently out of her and rolled over onto his back, tugging his seer with him so that she was sprawled across his chest. He slipped a concerned finger under her chin and lifted her tear-streaked face to his. “What’s wrong baby? I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“No.” Cordy shook her head in denial, salty tears still running down her cheeks. “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying – I’m not sad – I’m happy!”

She took a deep breath trying to steady herself. “I never knew it could be like that.” Cordy confessed quietly. “It felt like you actually became a part of me.”

“That sounds really sappy, doesn’t it?” she added after a brief pause, tucking her damp hair behind her ears and grinning sheepishly at him.

Angel smiled and kissed the end of her nose, running his fingers down the length of her spine to squeeze her bottom gently in his palms. “Yep, but I don’t mind.” he murmured, leaning forward to kiss her slowly and thoroughly, opening her lips with his probing tongue.

Cordy cupped his face in her hands and kissed him back, humming in contentment as their mouths fused together and their tongues slid past each other in long slow strokes. Angel rolled her back underneath him as he felt his lower body begin to stir with renewed arousal.

“I want to kiss and taste every inch of you.” he softly declared, before beginning to descend the length of her curvy body, pressing his lips against every square centimetre of exposed golden skin.

Cordy closed her eyes and surrendered completely to Angel’s gentle touch as he slowly, but surely, began to make love to her, communicating the strength of his devotion in every single sensual kiss and caress.

* * * * * * * *

Fred smiled in amusement as she watched Gunn trying to calm an agitated Connor by bouncing him up and down on his knee. Wesley ventured out of the office, the inevitable book in his hands. “Haven’t Angel and Cordelia emerged yet?”

“Nah – eighteen hours and counting. The vamp is one lucky son of a bitch.” Gunn replied with a wide grin.

Angel’s not the only lucky one, Fred thought silently, remembering the cries of feminine ecstasy that had kept her awake most of the night; the souled vampire obviously knew what he was doing and Cordelia was reaping the not so inconsiderable rewards.

“I’m going to need to change rooms, or get better soundproofing if they carry on like this.” she commented wryly, making both men laugh.

“Hello?”

Three heads swung towards the Hotel’s double doors at the sound of the clear female voice. A petite blond woman stood on the top step, her hands on her hips.

“Buffy.”

“Don’t look so surprised to see me Wesley; I told you I would be coming to visit.”

“Yes, you did.” Wesley agreed with a heavy sigh. “I’m not sure that this is the right time, however.”

“Don’t be stupid, of course it is. Where is he?”

“Err – um. In his room.”

“Which is where?”

“Buffy, I really don’t think he wants to be disturbed right now.” Wesley told the slayer, frowning at Gunn when he snorted with laughter at the ex-watcher’s statement.

“Wesley!” Buffy exclaimed, then shook her head in exasperation. “Never mind, I’ll find it myself. I can feel his presence with my slayer senses anyway.”

Three pairs of eyes watched as the slayer strode confidently across the Lobby floor and up the stairs.

“I hope they locked the door or the B-word is about to receive the biggest shock of her life.” Gunn said with a sly wink at the baby in his arms.

“Where are you going?” Wesley called after Fred, who was scurrying towards the staircase.

“To eavesdrop – what else?”

Gunn and Wesley exchanged a look, then got up to hurry after the inquisitive Texan.

* * * * * * * *

Cordy woke to the sensation of cool fingers tracing patterns on the soft skin of her belly. She opened her eyes to find Angel’s chocolate gaze focused on her face, his head propped up in his hand as he watched her come awake

“Hey!” she said softly, gracing the vampire with her wide beautiful smile. She linked her fingers together above her head and stretched, groaning as her aching muscles protested the movement.

“You a bit stiff?” Angel asked with a teasing grin, his hand still circling her navel.

“Just as long as you aren’t again!” Cordy joked back with a cheeky smile. “I think I’ve discovered muscles in places I didn’t know existed – I’m not gonna need to go to the Gym for weeks.”

“Honey, I’m here to give you a workout anytime you want.” Angel laughed as he leaned in to kiss her. “You only have to ask.”

“Angel!” Cordy half-protested when he released her lips to nuzzle at her neck, his wandering hand slipping between her legs to stroke the moist folds of her womanhood. “We have to get up.”

“I’m already up.” Angel mumbled against her skin, pressing the evidence of that against her hip as his callused thumb circled her clitoris, causing the seer to clamp her thighs around his hand with a soft moan of his name.

Tugging the sheets down to expose her full breasts to his perusal, Angel removed his hand from between her legs and straddled her nude form. He bent and closed his lips around one of her sensitive nubs, fondling her other mound of soft feminine flesh expertly between his fingers.

Cordy sighed, laced her fingers through his spiky hair and held him to her as she unconsciously started to undulate her hips, trying to quench the aching desire building at her centre. Angel had just moved to suckle her other breast into his cool mouth, when the door to the bedroom suddenly banged open.

Cordy squeaked in alarm, pushing Angel unceremoniously away, and tugging the sheet up to cover her nakedness.

“Oh my God Buffy! What the hell are you doing here?”
Epilogue – Part 2

His brain fuzzy with sexual excitement, Angel growled and reached for Cordy again, unhappy at the abrupt suspension of his worship of her perfect breasts. Why had she pushed him away?

“Oh my God Buffy! What the hell are you doing here?”

The vampire froze; the words having the same effect on his arousal as dousing his private parts in frigid ice-water would have done. Twisting around, he spied a scandalised Buffy standing in the door frame, her mouth hanging open like a goldfish.

Great! That’s all I need.

“Get out!” Cordy’s shock and embarrassment was quickly replaced by anger at the slayer’s rude interruption.

How dare she barge her way in here like she owns the place? And what the hell does she think she’s doing ogling *my* manpire!

“I said ‘Get out.’ Are you deaf or something?” Cordy stormed, quickly reaching out to pull up the comforter and concealing Angel’s rapidly deflating erection. She glared at the stunned slayer with an icy look that had ‘Hands off – he’s mine’ written all over it.

Angel smiled inwardly at his seer’s possessive look and gesture, but tamped down his amusement to deal with his troublesome ex-girlfriend.

“We would appreciate some privacy to get dressed if you don’t mind.” he told her pointedly, making it clear by the tone of his voice that he wouldn’t tolerate a refusal on her part.

“I’ll be waiting downstairs.” Buffy huffed, deeply offended by his unequivocal dismissal of her. She turned on her heel and slammed out of the bedroom in high dudgeon.

“Who the hell does she think she is?” Cordy was shaking with rage, as she angrily tugged on some clean panties and a pair of navy combat pants.

“Cordy – just let me deal with Buffy okay?” Angel implored, trying to calm the situation down, as he zipped up his pants and pulled a grey sweater over his head. “I know she was out of order barging in here without an invitation *but* I do owe her an explanation as to why I didn’t return to Sunnydale when my soul was anchored.”

“You’re not going to change your mind about us, are you?” Cordy asked him, her voice small and her hazel eyes suddenly wide with fear.

Angel crossed the room and wrapped one arm around her waist, fisting his other hand in her silky hair. “Of course not. I love you.” he reassured her softly, before bending to kiss her with unrestrained passion.

Cordy opened her mouth under his to allow his tongue entry, moaning as he pulled her closer and the soft material of his sweater stimulated her uncovered nipples to hard points. The vampire eventually released her mouth, but reached down to palm her still bare breasts in his large hands instead, lightly teasing their dusky pink tips with his thumbs.

Her confidence in his love for her returning, Cordy smiled at his actions. “I think you have a one track mind.” she teased him playfully, even though she knew that wasn’t really the case.

They had spent the last eighteen hours in bed together but, in between bouts of lovemaking, food and sleep, they had also talked and opened their hearts to each other. Cordy had shared things with him that she’d never told anyone else about and Angel, in turn, had confided in her about his past with an honesty of emotion that she somehow knew he hadn’t before given to any other woman in his life.

Rubbing his nose gently against hers in a tender Eskimo kiss, Angel smiled down into Cordy’s shining eyes. “Just making up for lost time.” he said, then stepped back from her with genuine regret. “You’d better get dressed before I have to give into the temptation to ravish you again.”

Cordy laughed at his rueful tone, and moved to her chest of drawers to find herself some clothes to put on. She slipped her arms through a simple white bra and fastened the clasp behind her back, then rummaged through her T-shirt drawer to find a suitable top to wear.

Smiling wickedly, she pulled out and donned a motif T-shirt that she’d bought eighteen months ago – the words emblazoned across the front had a completely different meaning now. Angel threw back his head and laughed his rich deep laugh, when Cordy turned to face him with a decidedly evil twinkle in her hazel eyes.

“I suppose that’s one way of marking my property.” he declared, then reached out to take her hand in his. “Come on – Let’s get this over with.”

Buoyed by the fact that he hadn’t made her change, Cordy let the vampire lead her out of their bedroom into the corridor. She was nervous about how Angel was going to deal with the situation, but was determined not to let Buffy spoil her good mood.

“You not going to go all spineless vamp like you usually do when Buffy’s around, are you?” she bluntly asked him as they ambled, hand in hand, towards the main staircase. “She can’t just show up here and disrupt our lives whenever she feels like it. If you don’t tell her that, then I will, and you better back me up or your life will not be worth living.”

Angel sighed and stepped around to stand in front of her, lacing the fingers of his free hand through hers. “Look, I’m as pissed off as you about her unscheduled little visit this morning, Cor.” he told her, a serious look in his deep brown eyes. “I know what I used to be like around Buffy, but it’s different now. You just have to trust me.”

“I do.” Cordy replied, squeezing his fingers and meeting his steady gaze with her loving one to emphasise the point. “You’re not like that with me.” she added, pursing her lips into a mock pout.

The seer wasn’t really that bothered; she liked that he didn’t give in to her every demand like some of her previous boyfriends had done. Their relationship was one of give and take on both sides and she was happy with that.

Angel dropped a gentle kiss on her jutting lower lip and palmed the side of her face in one cool hand. “No, because I don’t have to be.” he told her, somewhat cryptically. “But that’s a good thing.”

The seer wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that statement, but guessed that it had something to do with the way she accepted and loved him for everything that he was. It was completely natural to Cordy to love both sides of him; he was just Angel, her man-pire. She wasn’t blind to the fact that Buffy had only really loved his human side though.

To her delight, Angel kept his fingers firmly entwined with hers as they descended the staircase into the Lobby. Buffy couldn’t fail to miss this silent statement of togetherness, which was compounded by the seer’s subtle as a sledgehammer choice of T-shirt.

The top was baby blue with ‘Angel’ written in silver and black lettering across the front of it. A cockeyed golden halo encircled the ‘A’ of the vampire’s name, which was strategically positioned right across the full breasts that Angel had been so enthusiastically suckling on a short while ago. Cordy felt a thrill of satisfaction burn in her belly when the slayer’s eyes narrowed and turned frosty at the sight.

Observing the thunderous look on his ex-girlfriend’s face, Angel glanced towards Wesley who was perched casually on the arm of a chair, an open book in his hands. The vampire frowned; the ex-watcher’s pose was suspicious for a start. Wesley almost never did anything casually, despite becoming less uptight in the last year or so. His book was also upside-down.

Angel suppressed a grin as he looked around at his other friends, who were likewise trying to appear like they’d been in the same position for ages, when it was clear that they hadn’t been.

The vampire’s gaze eventually fell on his son, perched precariously astride one of Gunn’s jean-covered knees. Connor’s round face split into a wide sunny smile when he saw his father looking at him and Angel couldn’t help smiling back at his baby boy.

Releasing Cordy’s hand, the vampire addressed Wesley. “Do you mind if we borrow your office?” he asked, gesturing towards the pertinent room.

“No, go ahead.” came the brief reply from the Englishman.

Angel jerked his head towards Buffy, indicating that she should follow him, then strode confidently across the Lobby. As he walked past Wesley, the vampire reached out and turned the ex-watcher’s book the correct way up, winking craftily at his friend as he did so.

Passing by Gunn, Angel affectionately tapped his son’s button nose with one finger, then ushered the slayer into Wesley’s office and shut the door firmly behind them.

The short silence that followed was broken by Connor’s happy gurgles as he spotted Cordy and lifted his tiny arms out towards her. Cordy’s focus immediately shifted from her contemplation of the closed door to the baby on Gunn’s knee.

Although she wouldn’t have swapped the time she’d just spent alone with Angel for anything, she’d missed her little boy in the short time that they’d been apart. She swept him up into her arms, kissing him soundly and blowing raspberries on his tummy.

Geez, I’ve got it bad, the seer thought as she looked down into Connor’s big blue eyes and pressed another kiss on his downy head.

“I missed you little guy, yes I did.” she said to the smiling baby in her arms, as she bestowed a final kiss on his soft rosy cheek.

“Interesting T-shirt.” Gunn commented, with one raised eyebrow and tongue firmly in cheek.

Cordy sat down with Connor in her lap, looking partially ashamed of herself. “I suppose wearing it was kind of mean, but she just got me so mad barging in on us like that.”

“I don’t think Buffy’s going to take the hint unless she’s slapped around the face with it.” Wesley said gravely, shifting to sit properly in the chair that he’d been balanced on the arm of. “Hopefully Angel will finally be able to convince her that it’s over between them.”

“I think what she walked in on just now, probably qualifies for being slapped around the face with it.” Cordy said, a naughty twinkle in her eye and a pink flush staining her cheeks.

“You and Angel weren’t playing scrabble then?” Gunn queried, a faux innocent look in his chocolate brown eyes.

“Naked Twister actually.” Cordy shot back immediately, making her friends laugh at her unabashed sauciness.

“You go girl!” Gunn said, once their laughter had died down. He reached out and squeezed the seer’s shoulder lightly with one big hand. “We’re all really happy for you both. Glad you two finally got down and dirty.”

“I knew you and Angel had moira.” Fred asserted, a dreamy look on her pretty face.

“Moira?” Cordy asked her friend, puzzled by the unfamiliar term.

“It’s the gut physical attraction between two larger than life souls.”

“Oh.” Cordy nodded, then grinned. “Well, there’s certainly been plenty of moira going on between us in the last day or so.”

“Yeah, we know; we heard. Better than a loofah I take it?” Wesley asked completely straightfaced.

“Wes!” Cordy sharply admonished her friend and blushed, as she lifted a squirming Connor so that he was standing upright on her thighs and facing out towards the centre of the room.

She bounced her adopted son up and down on her knee, eliciting a stream of baby giggles from him. The action also brought his diaper-covered bottom in closer proximity to her face, and she screwed up her nose at the offensive smell emanating from the tiny boy. “Eew! I think somebody needs a change.”

Cordy got to her feet and crossed the room, holding Connor against her hip with one arm around his middle. Before heading up the stairs, she cast a quick glance towards the office, where she could see Buffy standing with her arms folded across her chest and a scowl marring her pretty features.

Cordy sighed in relief; the slayer obviously wasn’t happy with what she was hearing, meaning that Angel was being true to his word. The seer turned away and left him to it, cooing quietly to Connor as she ascended the staircase.

* * * * * * * *

“Don’t look at me like that Buffy.” Angel said, when the slayer turned her hurt blue-eyed gaze on him, the moment they entered the office. “It doesn’t work anymore. I don’t need your approval that badly.”

The look was one that, in the past, used to make him rush to apologise for every minor misdemeanour she’d convinced him that he’d committed. Now it just irritated him immensely because she had no right to act like he owed her something. The time when she was the most important thing in his life had come and gone.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Buffy glared accusingly at the vampire, her eyes icy blue.

“About my soul you mean? After it happened, it took me a while to get things straight in my head, to decide what I wanted. I sorry – I should have told you when I finally realised there was no future for us.”

“What about Darla, Connor – not to mention Cordelia?” Buffy spat out the last name with particular venom. “How could you betray me with them like that?”

Angel stared at her incredulously. “Let me get this straight – it’s all right for you to move on and be with someone else, but it’s not okay for me?”

He shook his head at the audacious accusation she levelled at him. “Darla was a mistake; I’m the first to admit that, but it wasn’t you I betrayed when I went down that road. My friends, my *family,* they’re the ones I showed no regard for when I let Darla and Wolfram and Hart get under my skin.”

“And why is Connor even an issue? He’s my son. My love for him is completely separate from anything I feel for you, or any other woman for that matter.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.” Buffy hurriedly tried to backtrack on the Connor issue, realising it was a no-win situation.

“The trouble is, I think that in some way you did. Even if I still loved you – which I don’t by the way – Connor would be number one in my life. You, however, always want everything to revolve around you, and you can’t stand it if something or someone else gets in the way of that. You are going to end up a very lonely and embittered woman if you carry on like that, Buffy.”

“Don’t try to turn this back on me, Angel. You were the one who slept with your sire and fathered a bastard. And to cap it all you’re now boning the cheerleading whore!”

“Don’t you dare talk about my Cordy like that.” Angel growled furiously, his brown eyes flickering to gold with the strength of his anger.

“What’s the matter? The truth hurts does it? I know Cordelia, Angel. She’s an expert at using her body to string men along until she’s bored of them. This morning’s sordid little display was proof positive of that – I didn’t think you were dumb enough to fall for it though.”

Vamping out without even realising it, Angel grabbed hold of Buffy’s upper arms in a tight grip, and slammed her against the wall in fury. “Now you listen to me.” he grated, his yellow eyes piercing into hers with a cold and frightening rage. “Nobody – not even you – speaks about a member of my family in that way. Nobody – you hear me.”

Reigning in his overwhelming desire to throttle her, Angel released the shocked slayer and shoved her roughly away from him. “There was *nothing* sordid about what was happening between Cordy and myself earlier. We love each other and were expressing that in the privacy of our own bedroom, just like countless other couples do every single day and night. You had no right to barge in on us like you did.”

“Well, excuse me for not realising that you’d have your face buried in her tits.” Buffy burst out, her eyes flashing and her voice shaking with her anger.

“That’s not the point. This is my home; you can’t just waltz in here whenever you feel like it. I have other priorities now and they don’t include you.”

“You don’t mean that.” Buffy shook her head in disbelief. “You can’t mean that.”

“Just go home, Buffy.” Angel said wearily, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “Cordy, Connor and my friends – they are my life now. I think it best that you stay away until you accept that. I won’t have you ruin what I’ve waited my whole life for.”

“Cordelia Chase is a cheap tramp.” Buffy declared as she marched past him out of the room. “You’ll regret throwing me away when you finally come to your senses and realise that.”

“No, Buffy. I won’t.” Angel replied calmly, placing a warning hand against Gunn’s chest as he came to his feet in fury on hearing the slayer’s insult of the seer. “Cordy is my heart, my soul and a brilliant mother to my son – she’s all the woman I’ll ever need.”

“You’ve changed Angel.” Buffy tutted in disgust at his heartfelt declaration. “I don’t know you anymore.” she added, then swept out of the hotel in a whirlwind of pure rage.

“And good riddance to you too.” Gunn said, as doors closed with a loud crash in her wake.

The slayer’s last statement still hung in the air. “No, Buffy; you really don’t.” Angel muttered under his breath in reply.

* * * * * * * *

“Pooh! You are one very stinky boy, aren’t you, Connor? What have they been feeding you hey?” Cordy removed the very poopy diaper and began to clean up the baby’s soiled bottom with a cleansing wipe. “I don’t suppose you’ve had a bath recently either, have you? No, well neither has Mommy. Daddy got her *very* hot and sweaty, so she’s not smelling too sweet right now. What do you say to you and me taking a soak in the tub?”

The seer took her diaper-less baby through into the bathroom and placed him on a towel on the floor, as she filled the bath with pleasantly warm water and shed her clothes. Kneeling next to Connor, she removed his little T-shirt and vest, then climbed into the tub with him, slowly lowering the small boy into the water whilst supporting his head with one hand and cupping his now clean bottom with the other.

“There – you like that, don’t you little guy?” she crooned to him as her baby boy happily kicked his little legs and splashed his tiny arms about in the water. To her astonishment, Connor had turned into a total waterbaby in recent weeks, whereas before he had hated being bathed, kicking up an almighty fuss whenever water was within a few feet of him.

Reaching for a soft sponge and some baby soap, she quickly washed Connor, singing to him to keep him happy. Like all little boys since the beginning of time, he still didn’t like this part of the bathing ritual! Finally when he was rinsed clean, the seer settled back in the tub with Connor propped up against her bent legs, so that the warm water gently lapped over his small body, but his head was kept above the water-level.

The baby boy gurgled happily at her as she tickled his little tummy and kissed his tiny toes. “What’s this Connor?” she said, reaching for a small plastic yellow duck and showing it to him. “It’s Mr Duck, isn’t it? What sound does he make? He goes quack, quack, doesn’t he? Yes he does. Quack, Quack.”

Cordy was so focused on Connor that she didn’t notice that they were no longer alone in the bathroom. Angel was constantly amazed by the range of feelings that this woman had the capacity to provoke within him. If she’d been alone in the tub, then the vampire would have been overwhelmed with desire for her nude curvaceous body, but watching her affectionately play with his son just filled his unbeating heart with tenderness.

“Hey – can I join in?” he asked, finally making his presence known when he had looked his fill.

“Well, I don’t know. What do you reckon Connor? Is there enough room for Daddy?” Cordy carefully turned the baby around so he could see Angel. The little boy clapped his tiny hands together at the sight and Cordy smiled. “I guess that means yes.”

“Buffy gone?” Cordy asked, as the vampire slipped into the tub behind her and she settled back against his broad chest, Connor cradled in her arms.

“Yeah.” Angel dropped a kiss on her bare shoulder and reached around her to slip a finger into his son’s curled up fist. “He likes the water.”

“Yeah – we should take him swimming, they’re open at night.”

“I think this place has a pool – I remember seeing something about it on the plans.”

Cordy twisted around to look at him. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Seeing you in an itzy-bitzy bikini every day would have been too much of a temptation.” Angel joked and bent to kiss her, his lips moving slowly over hers.

“Oh!” Cordy jumped and pulled away from him in shock, as she felt a tiny mouth latch onto her right breast and begin to suckle. “Connor!”

Angel smiled and quickly reached down to halt his baby son’s instinctive reaction to the close proximity of an exposed female mammary gland.

“No.” Cordy stopped him, stroking Connor’s little cheek. “He’s okay. It feels .. nice.” she said, tears sparking in her hazel eyes at the warm feeling of motherly tenderness that Connor’s unexpected actions had stirred within her. “I guess this is how it feels to breastfeed your baby.”

Angel kissed away the single tear that escaped to run down her cheek. “I’m sorry you won’t ever experience that with a baby of your own. Maybe I’m being selfish asking you to be with me – there are so many things that I can’t give you.”

“Angel – just stop okay?” Cordy reassured him, smiling through her tears. “You and Connor are all I’ll ever need. I don’t think I’m missing out – I’ve been here since the day he was born and I love him. He’s my son even if we aren’t biologically related.”

She lifted a drowsy Connor, who had released his hold on her nipple and placed him so he was snuggled against her chest. Her bodyheat kept the baby warm and lulled him sleep. Angel wrapped his arms around them both as Cordy settled deeper into his embrace, resting her head in the crook of his neck and sighing contentedly. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Angel pressed a kiss to her temple and stroked two gentle fingers down Connor’s back. What he’d said to Buffy was right – he really had been waiting his whole life for this.

He finally had a family that filled his life with love and hope for the future. This was that elusive something that the vampire had searched nearly two hundred and fifty years for.

It had been well worth the wait.


…THE END…


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