Pots & Kettles Blacked

SUMMARY: Cordy wakes up and feelings run high.
POSTED: 28 Mar 2004
CATEGORY: Angst / Romance / Humor
WARNINGS: None listed
Scorchy and I worked on this most of the night, and it was practically complete except for the very last little piece. I was gonna finish it and send it to Scorch to look at- but I decided, 1: to give her a break from yet ANOTHER unfinished fic, and 2: to surprise her, and hope she likes the way I wrapped it up.

The ending by some, may seem a little fluffier than mebbe it should have been, as it was written due to a few vents we both had from Couplet onwards, but then decided we didn’t want an long, drawn out angsty ending. Hoping to God you enjoy our endeavor. :bump:

Thanks: To Scorchy for assisting me in great detail and lots of wonderful writing. This is a fifty-fifty fic; no guesting, pure scorch and me. God I love that woman!

Waking up and smelling the cappuccino…

“Crap that hurt! ” Cordelia grumbled to herself as her soul connected to her body abruptly. So much for floating in gracefully! She took a few minutes before opening her eyes. “Home sweet hell, ” Cordy muttered quietly to herself, the sat up carefully and took stock of her surroundings.

“Super Sterile; how sweet.” He eyes flicked down to the blah in the back of her hand and grimaced, pulling it out quick and shuddering, the movement causing a sharp pain lower down. Pulling up the covers, she investigated.

“Typical; totally kill all my self respect!” ” She groaned, reaching down to ease out the catheter! After several attempts, she gritted her teeth and yanked it out, squeaking like a stuck pig and feeling eternally grateful she’d been absent when the Spanish inquisition had inserted it initially.

Cordelia knew there’d be no welcoming committee soon, so, grateful for her well-maintained shell [couldn’t complain about THAT], and money-buys-anything muscle stimulators, she slid out of the hard hospital bed, relieved to find a soft fluffy rug under her bare feet.

Goody, a temporary reprieve from those ewwy cold tiles. Her alert hazel eyes roamed the room again, searching for anything that resembled a closet, and blew out a puff of air on seeing three doors. Padding across the room, and flinching when the soles of her feet finally came into contact with the disaster they called a floor, she open the nearest door. “Bathroom: check”

“Exit- ooo, and it isn’t locked! Check.” walking over to the last door, her mouth widened into a triumphant grin at the treasure behind it.

“Is that a Jimmy Choo I espy with my so not little eye?” she giggled out loud, feeling good to be able to feel her chest moving and vocal chords sounding out.

Upon seeing a very nice pair of three-inch cross-strapped sandals in black, Cordy’s mouth turned up impressively. Someone around here had style with a capital S. The shoes were a matt satin in material, soft leather cushioned her feet as she slipped them on and the straps were trimmed and soft on her skin. These were most definitely Jimmy Choo originals. Slipping the shoe off she again routed through the closet.

“Hmmm, what will go with those baby’s” she wondered aloud. Her eyes gleamed with delight when she saw a very nice black blouse with pinstripes in a pale fuchsia running vertically. The blouse had elbow length sleeves, a shaped collar with buttons only in the middle of the blouse. Hanging it up on the top of the closet door, Cordy rummaged for a matching pair of black dress trousers.

After a very long and refreshing shower, shaving bits that had turned into their own private forests, and brushing her teeth till her gums ached, Cordy took one last look in the mirror above the sink vanity; glad to see her brows and glossy locks had received attention at least, she exited the steamy bathroom and dressed. Finally groomed to perfection and decked out in style, Cordy took a deep breath and walked to the door- and hesitated.
Although fully aware of her Champion’s distinct lack of visits, Cordy had real no idea of his motivation behind it. Seeing was a hell of a lot different than climbing into that thick skull- was the reason pain at seeing her like that? Resignation- or, heaven help her, disgust? The latter gave her pause. Hell, there weren’t even any closed circuit cameras in the room; had she been forgotten completely?

“Sleeping Beauty with a twist; no knight in shining Armour for Me.” she sighed heavily, her lovely mouth turning down at the corners,

Closing her eyes briefly, she went through her vague recollections of the interior of W & Hart building she’d been allowed to look in on now and again- depending of course if she hadn’t managed to piss of the odd Power now and again!

The ‘blueprint’ finally in place, Cordy again took a deep breath and opened the door, marching out and attempting to ignore the total emptiness of the vast hallway as she made her way to the only elevator there. “Not even a Nurses station- or Fire Escape; is it too late to go back?” Cordy looked up at the ceiling and asked fretfully, a bitter smile touching her soft-wine painted mouth

“Just get it over it already, Cor,” she muttered to herself. Maybe it wasn’t quite as damning as it all looked right now. Her nerves jumped a little as the elevator doors opened and she walked in and pressed the 20th floor before she could change her mind.

“60 floors? Wow! Way to feel small and insignificant” Soft lackluster music played around her head as the thickly carpeted elevator shot up- or was it down? she forgot. the whole cubicle was mirrored and she snickered as she thought of Angel in one of them.

“Bet it freaks him out big style; though the possibilities for…” she laughed and blushed as images of doing unmentionable things with an ‘invisible’ vampire crept into her head. Bad, bad thoughts! Down girl!

The nervous tapping of her foot reminded Cordy of her lovely new shoes that now adorned her delicate feet, and she looked down admiringly.. The generously stocked closet seemed at odds with the whole sense of abandonment. But then again, all purses in that closet held full wallets, so maybe they’d expected her wake up, grab the money [and JC’s!] and run; “And boy isn’t that tempting right now!”

“Surprised there wasn’t a note: ’Bye Cor, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!’ pfft. –And what if it had been in, like, twenty years time?”Taking a good look at her outfit, she wondered if they’d have looked so good then. Talk about last century! She blew out a puff of air and tried to cheer herself up by checking her reflection on more time.

“Goshgollygee, don’t I look good enough to eat? – Ack! So not the best thing to say right now,” she snickered again, nerves curling in her gut by the second.

But damn! She did look pretty good, even if she said so herself.

A bell pinged and the doors slid silently open. Cordy was almost tempted to check either side to see if they had the crew from Star Trek at hand to do the cool sshhhh-ing bit. Stiffening her spine, and glad she was mostly prepared, she stepped regally out and determinedly walked towards the CEO’s office, sweeping past the blonde vampire seated at her desk outside.

“Later,” she swiftly lifted a stalling hand as Harmony squealed in shock and excitement as she shot to her feet; cordy grabbed hold of the handle and opened the door before she lost her nerve, and entered.

Intense silence greeted her- that and a great view over LA. Cool. She briefly admired the vista of glittering lights that bathed the city like a Christmas tree and turned her wary eyes towards the very large desk along the far wall of the equally generous sized office.
As soon as the smooth wooden door to his office had been pushed open without prior permission, Angel had steeled himself to give the intruder a piece of his mind; unless it was one of his personal crew anyway. His dark, fathomless gaze swept over the dressed-to-kill figure of one Cordelia Chase, Angel sat there looking as though he’d seen a ghost.

His pale mouth was instantly pulled into a tight line as he used large, numb hands to push himself out of his leather chair. Stalking around the oversized desk in measured footsteps, Angel kept his gaze locked onto the brunette as he came to stand face-to-face with her.

“Hi honey, I’m home!” Cordy couldn’t resist using the corny line under his stricken stare; the vampire flinched imperceptivity at the faux cheery greeting.

“I can see that” Angel remarked coolly as he crossed his arms over his broad chest. “Would you mind telling me why you didn’t knock?” her mouth dropped open for a second, and it took all of Angel’s control to remain expressionless and uncaring.

“Pffft! What planet are you on?” Cordy quickly recovered, pushing aside her shock and looked closely at his face, inwardly aching at the remote features and deeply suspicious eyes.

“Have I woke up in Bizzarro land where I have to make an appointment to see my best friend, the brand spanking new big boss of Evil Inc?” His features tightened in response to her blatant dig at their past and the sarcastic question with exaggerated quote marks she signed in the air, and his dead heart hardened implacably and closed down.

Refusing to be interested in anything the woman in front of him had to say, Angel made the move to get her out of this office as fast as he could; it had been so long since he’d seen this side of Cordelia Chase, that his heart wrenched; then it hardened even more.

“Thank you for dropping by to let me know you’re awake” he replied tonelessly and nudged his head towards the door she entered only moments ago. She sighed heavily and tried again.

“By the way, in case you’re interested; I’m fine- except for a few indignities we SO won’t go into, like EVER.” Cordy had never tried so hard as she did now to hide the pain of his callous dismissal. “And I’m not going anywhere until we’ve at least got past ‘hi’ ”

He tried hard to stay as calm as he was while faced with the woman he’d classed as his dearest friend before she’d slept with his son. At her last statement, Angel took her words literally.

“Hi” He ignored the flash of pain that darkened her lovely hazel eyes and turned his back to her. it hurt too much to look. Hoping she’d take the hint, but knowing deep down his Cordy wouldn’t- God!Not his; never his. Why couldn’t she just fucking go?

“Harmony will sort out anything you need.” Walking towards his desk he took an unneeded breath- which shot out when a small warm hand latched onto his arm. She didn’t miss the cringe of disgust on his face.

“Hold it right there, Mister Friendly.” Cordy had had enough, and although the urge to run away with her tail between her legs was excruciating she persevered and refused to let go, gasping aloud when he roughly yanked free, stepping back abruptly.

“I really am very busy right now, Cordelia,” Angel rapidly moved away from her, keeping his gaze off hers. “If you need anything, like I’ve already said. Harmony will make sure you get it”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Cordy finally broke the stunned silence that invaded the room. “I’ve been gone for, how long now, and suddenly it’s inconvenient?” she shook her head disbelievingly. Stopping only when his desk was between them and waving one large pale hand across the files and papers littering the surface of it, Angel pointed out the amount of work he had to get through.

“I’m the CEO of one of the busiest law firms in the country, it can’t be helped if I have work to do” He explained gruffly. Cordy made a pffting sound, a sharp smile flickering across her mouth.

“Yeah, being Evil’s little toady must sure be hard work!” she sniped, falling instantly back on years of practice in hiding her real feelings. His eyes snapped to hers, and dropped just as rapidly, his strong jaw working as he gritted his teeth.

“You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you, Cordelia!” he finally replied, his voice deceptively soft, yet nonetheless venomous. Her heart plunged at the bitterness that lay just beneath the surface.

“Would I? Last time I checked, I was on an all-expenses paid vacation in glowy land cooling my not-so impressive heels.” swallowing down a sob, she swiveled and stalked gracefully towards the floor level windows, drawing the vampire’s dark-eyed gaze reluctantly, unable to resist sliding them from nape to heels.

Swallowing painfully, Angel snapped his betraying eyes shut tight and attempted to relax the tight muscles along his shoulders and neck. Her unexpected arrival had thrown him badly; hell, even if he’d had weeks of warning Angel knew it would have hit him just as hard to see her. He tucked away the shame he felt at knowing without a doubt that if he’d been notified that Cordy had awoken, he would have been long gone before she even left her room.

It left a bitter taste in his mouth, but seeing her, hearing her; reminding him poignantly of what he’d lost all those months ago was a whole lot worse.

He had to get rid of her- now!

Visions of her being manhandled out of the room by security made him feel nauseous; he may not be able to look at her, but no way was anyone touching her but him.

But he couldn’t for the life of him stand to feel her flesh beneath his own. The only weapon left was hurtful words and disinterest to drive her away.

Closing his eyes while he willed protective barriers to strengthen around his heart, Angel felt the welcoming coldness flood his body and a river of ice running through his veins. “I don’t want you in here” he spoke in a tone she didn’t recognize. “I want you out of my sight”

Cordelia froze, the pain almost unbeatable, then rested her hot brow against the cooling sheet of glass. “What; my coma not long enough for you?” God, it just HAD to be the last thing on that list of whys, didn’t it? She cried inwardly. She disgusted her dearest friend.

Drawing a hard shell around her heart, Cordy finally turned round and pinned him with flat, expressionless eyes

“You know, you could have avoided this obviously unpleasant reunion if you’d just pulled the plug months ago, Angel- I would never have been able to come back with my body dead and gone.” The sound that left his throat was far from human as the content of her words penetrated his brain.

“I may not be able to stand looking at you, but I’ve never wanted you dead, ” Angel finally replied over the hard lump that lodge in his throat, then forced the cold back where it belonged. He couldn’t back down now; seeing her every day, acting as if all was hunky dory… the disgust warring with want and driving him crazy “For the sake of my sanity, you have to leave,” Angel kept an air of dignity about his phrasing as he kept his dead eyes off hers. Her could hear the wildly beating heart bursting through her chest as she stood there looking at him.

“Your sanity?I’m stood here listening to you whine and bitch and hell, I’m starting to worry about my own!” At her choked out words, Cordy saw his whole body flinch and her face tightened angrily. You want me to leave? – Then I need more than that pathetic little speech, Angel- just spit it out and get it over with it. I deserve that much at least.” she added in a whisper.

“I can’t…” the vampire tried to get his head round the fact of the endless nightmare that had circled his brain since that night. “I’m not going to spell out my reasons, I want you to leave”

“That’s not good enough!” Cordy took a step forward. “Come on, big guy, give it to me; I’ve taken a hell of a lot more than mere words in my shockingly short life- I’m not leaving until you do.” she promised, a sliver of steel lacing her tone.

“Do you know what you did to my son?” Angel finally cracked, the acrid words bubbling up to the surface. “Do you know what you did to me?” He shot her a burning glare, his gritting teeth audible in the silent room.

“Do you even care?” his voice grew hard, an edge of bitter anger that left his throat raw from the hellish cold he felt. He rounded his desk and paced tensely, his broad shoulders hunching over as if in pain. “I can’t even look at you” Angel stated quietly, turning his gaze away with undisguised disgust.

“Every time I do, I see you in bed. With my son” his face finally turned back to hers as more disgust formed. “I see you in bed with my son,” his amber-tinged eyes connected with her distressed ones for a blinding second. “You fucked my son. And I saw you do it” he reiterated harshly, condemnation in every syllable.

Her expression shut down as stone, concrete walls immediately went up around her. Her eyes became hard as granite while her posture became tense. “You fucked, raped and murdered thousands Angel” she replied evenly

Angel’s face at her words said it all as he completely turned to face her. “That was Angelus, when I didn’t have a soul” he reminded her harshly. How dare she compare that to…? It wasn’t truly me” he added strongly, arrogantly and she flinched.

“So, what you’re saying is” Cordy momentarily mused for a second. “Is that you had an evil being inside your head with you unable to do anything about it? Gee, I feel like I’m having de ja vu!” She took another step forward and circled him before halting directly in front of him.

“But the difference is Angel” her voice dropped to a sickly sweet whisper. “You were the evil being- possessed by good. ” His mouth parted soundlessly, blackened eyes finally showing a hint of uncertainty. “So you can take your double standards and kiss my well-dressed ass”

Taking a step back, she folded her arms, inwardly cringing at the tight, angry expression on his handsome face. “Unlike your soul, Jasmine only popped by for a single, one-off visit” his head snapped up when she continued quietly, watching as she chewed her lips, biting hard before looking him in the eye.

“And from what I’ve seen so far from my little perch in Glowy land, it seems to me that your own ‘visitor’ has upped stakes and ran screaming- excuse the pun.” her abused lips curled into a small bitter smile before she stepped away from his tense body completely. Her head dipped low as she again took in the magnificent view, then abruptly turned, her lovely face determined and cool.

“Tell you what, Angel. I’m gonna make this easy for you; take one last look if you can bear to, because I am so out of here.” her arms dropped to her sides and she made for the door. Pulling it open, she paused to look over her shoulder. “And Angel?” He regarded her quietly with blank eyes even as his head span with conflicted emotions.

A faux smile on her face, “Thanks for being there for me; I’ll hold that in my heart for a very long time.” the door closed silently behind her. Angel stared for a long time at the wood paneling, reason and belated understanding sliding sinuously into his brain as her words sunk in.

FUCK! What the hell had he done?

As all the pieces finally fit together, Angel growled aloud. “Not again,” Angel groaned, loss was becoming his best friend; was so used to the feeling of losing everything he had. But the knowing he had lost everything was new and he didn’t like the bitter tang it left in his mouth.

What had his life become without Cordelia by his side? She had been there right from the get-go, right from the start when they’d had was a tiny little office above a dentist and there were three of them.

Three people with no one but each other and he had literally destroyed everything. Everything that had taken years to build up between Cordy and him had just been shattered into unbroken pieces in the matter of seconds. All because he hadn’t seen the proverbial light.

That wasn’t the woman who’d paraded around like an arrogant Goddess, manipulating their family and killing without remorse. This was the woman who’d cradled his son as a babe and sang to him; the woman who had been through so much for him- hell and back; and all before her twenty- third birthday. The young woman who had sacrificed so much for him- more than once, and he’d treated the possession of her innocent body as a personal slight, forgetting in his selfish cloud of self pity that the generously giving soul that he loved was nowhere near at the time.

It took six long seconds for Angel to get moving from his spot in his office. Sprinting as fast as he could, the vampire simply broke down the door and chased after the only one ever to befriend him without question and judgment.

“Cordy! Wait!” Angel shouted, frantically looking around for the brunette who he had just possibly crushed by his stupidity. “Cordy?” no scent or sign of her either end of the long corridor.

“Harmony, which way did Cordy go?” Angel demanded, unnecessarily breathless. Harmony didn’t even bat an eye at him. Yes, she was probably the ditiziest bitch known to man but deep down, she always had and would consider Cordy her role model. And so she ignored the vampire.

After what she’d accidentally overheard at the door, she vowed never to talk to her boss again. Even in high school, Cordy never dated kids; it was always college guys. Harmony would bet her generous salary that Cordy only dated rich, handsome men now. After all, hadn’t she always said kids belong in the nursery?

“Harmony” there was a silky undertone to Angel’s voice as he purred out the warning to his inept secretary. “Where did Cordy go?”

“I’m not talking to you!” came the contradicting and very bitchy remark as the blonde popped her bubble gum.

“If you don’t tell me where she went, I will fire you” Angel warned seriously. “Right after I give you to the Senior Partners for lunch.” Harmony looked up, trying to see if he was bluffing or not.

“You tried to kill her!” Angel reminded her sharply. “So tell me; where did she go? I mean it”
“Taxi!” Cordy yelled as she picked up her walking speed to reach the curb before someone else ran off with her cab

.A grateful expression crossed her face, the only pleasant emotion to appear since she woke up. Climbing into the back seat, the brunette slammed the shut just as Angel reached the cab.

Turning to look at the vampire, Cordelia treated him to nothing more than a sarcastically sweet smile and matching wiggle of her fingers.

“Drive on please” Cordy instructed as she sat back, waiting for the car to move. All she felt was a sudden breeze as her door opened and Angel shoving her over. “Oh lord, now he goes all Stalker Stu. Could my life get any worse?” Cordy shuffled over to the other side as she spoke, climbing out of the cab she just got into.

“C-Cor… Damnit!” Angel unhooked his shirttail from the seatbelt buckle and climbed out after her. Looking at her back, he watched with a startling wave of panic she had just ran right across one of the busiest roads in L.A. at night. “Are you INSANE?” his voice went high pitched with heightened frantic panic as he blazed after her

“I thought you were my friend, so I guess you could call me insane” Cordy hollered over her shoulder as her walk picked up speed once again.

She blatantly ignored her name being yelled over the traffic and other nighttime noises in favour of entering the nearest, nice-looking shop. Shoving the nice glass door to the shop wide open, the vampire came to shocked standstill when he saw the million strips of silky nothing hanging all around him.

“Oh God!” Red, green, blue, black, purple, yellow… women’s underwear was hanging up for all to see in every colour he could think of. It was just hanging there, doing nothing but displaying itself. Then he saw Cordy admiring something towards the back of the store.

As he got closer, Angel saw it was a red sheer number with tiny straps and what looked to be no crotch. No crotch? What… Then how…? He didn’t want to think about their uses.

“Cordy, can you just stay still for…” Acting as though he hadn’t even spoke, Cordy turned to fully face the vampire and held up the highly adult piece of lingerie.

“Hey, can I ask what you think about this? It’s for the next kid I seduce with my evil feminine wiles.” She opened the fingers holding the garment and let it drop into his outstretched, pleading hands.

Sauntering off without a care in the world, Cordy left Angel stood there looking like a giant gamut holding a raunchy red bit of nothing. As if just realising just what it was he was holding, he dropped it to the floor like it burned his hands and forced his numb legs to move after the brunette. On the way out, Angel found himself trapped by a small, politely smiling lady with thick dark hair and professional clothing. “You seem a little lost sir, can I help you with anything?”

“Sorry. Not my size” Angel manhandled the nice lady. Picking her up by her arms and depositing her to one side out of his way in order to carry on chasing his ex-seer.

Jogging as fast as she could away from him, Cordy saw an alley and though she knew better, she figured it would be a good place to hide. Ducking into the dark shadows, the brunette let out a sigh. Taking large gulps of oxygen to replace the lost air, she sneaked a peek round the corner to see if he had continued to follow her.

Her doe eyes scanned both ways before she closed them in order to lean her body against the dirty alley wall. The skin on the back of her neck prickled up as a sense of knowing pooled in her stomach causing her mouth to quirk up in a smile of distaste

“I know you know I’m here” Angel’s low, gruff voice penetrated her ears when he finally decided to speak.

“I know, I’m just ignoring you in the hope you’ll go away” Cordy remarked casually without ever opening her eyes to look at him.

“You can’t ignore me Cordy. I won’t let you” Angel retorted with a touch of anger lilting his deep, throaty voice. “Will you just look at me?”

“Nope, I don’t want to see the man who tried to kill me back in Sunnydale.” She returned, a hint of acid in her light tone.

“I made a mistake!” anger got the better of him; causing him to raise his voice and forcing her eyes wide open with his use of the word mistake. “I made a mistake Cordy,” he repeated strongly, trying to get through to her. Raising an eyebrow up at the vampire, the brunette pursed her lips outwards as she contemplated her answer.

“A mistake is when you say yes and you really mean no. A mistake is using the wrong key in a lock. A mistake is when you confuse an evil power as your best friend… Would ya look at that?! You’re right. You did make a mistake” Before she had a chance to turn away and run from him again, Angel latched an iron grip around her arm. His cool flesh seemed to sizzle from the heat of her bare skin.


“It’s a damn good thing you’re a vampire” she snarked cattily. “That’s gonna take a lot of scrubbing- good job you like a bit of pain. Makes it easier with all that bleach you’ll need to erase my kid seducing evil touch” unneed air rushed out of his useless lungs; that comment stung like a bastard.

“So I made a mistake about it being you who screwed my kid” Angel snapped at her, reaching his limit. “Get over it!”

“Why should I? You didn’t” her reply came quick and hard. “I have nothing to get over- you seem to be the one here with the whole blaming problem” She reminded him shortly.

“I’m not blaming you, Cordy-”

“Sure sounded like that to me,” she returned heatedly, “I. WAS.NOT. THERE. Get that into your thick, stubborn head- so don’t expect an apology.” Her mouth tilted for a second, as she cocked her head.

“If you need one so bad, why not dig up Jasmine and shake one out of her?” Her nose wrinkled as a thought occurred to her. “But forgive me if I don’t join in, stinky rotting smells an all.” In a mind-boggling instant her expression closed off as she added quietly.

“If anyone deserves an apology, it’s me, come to think about it,” her lips pursed, lifting a hand between then whilst he stood there, shocked into silence.

“I was the one body-knapped” she ticked off her fingers, “The one raped, Impregnated AGAIN!” she glared at the sky, scowling “- and let’s not forget nearly being beheaded by my best friend- and then sliced and bled by him.” he flinched as those particular memories reared up and smacked him between the eyes.

“In between macking on Fred, Jasmine- Buffy and Backdoor Eve, of course; but that’s really none of my business, is it Mister Stud?” if possible Angels face turned an even paler shade of white.

At his stunned, guilty expression, Cor pointed towards the sky “Bird’s eye view, remember?” she reminded him, her eyes narrowed as she continued, not bothering to wait for him to speak.

“I think the one time I ever did the horizontal mambo pales into insignificance compared to your shenanigans, Angel.”

“You forgot Groo” Angel finally found his voice- though it came out as more of a growl at the mention of the Pylean Warrior’s name. He didn’t even consider mentioning his son; as she said, it wasn’t her.

“Pfft. I wasn’t THAT deranged, jeez!” she returned swiftly. “I actually managed to clear my head long enough to think about that particular faux pas- God knows how, cos I’m telling ya; my head never felt right after my wonderful, life-changing birthday.” her brow furrowed in humiliated anger. God was she so sucked in by that Skelator lookalike!

At the vampire’s expression of confusion, cordy sighed heavily.

“Angel, look. You know it and I know it- now! I took the bait that day from all-giving Skip in the ass.” touching his arm briefly, “Jasmine got a foothold as soon as I was demonized- that was their Big Plan.” she explained softly.

Thoughts and realizations revolved round and round his head as Angel stood there like a guppy. It all made sense now…I should have known, dammit! His mouth opened and closed as he struggled to find words to say that wouldn’t screw this up anymore than it already was. She was right; he owed her so many apologies it would take more than the brunette’s lifetime to give them.

The next few seconds seemed to disappear as Angel felt a strong arm circle his neck, attempting to choke the unlife out of him. He blinked once and found that Cordy had simply dashed to the side, letting him fight by himself. Clamping his hands around the arm circling his throat, Angel flipped the vampire over his shoulder with ease. He was pretty pissed off with the way this day was turning out to be a 24 hour vacation to hell.
“Okay” Angel wasted no time as he vamped out, relishing the aggression buzzing through him. “Now you’ve pissed me off. First, my best friend wakes up from her very long coma alone.” Angel booted the vampire hard in the solar plexus. “Then, she comes to find me, someone she trusted and I would say loved, only to have everything she’s ever done thrown in her face”

“The love bit is kinda on that fine line right now, bub” Cordy threw in as she checked her well-manicured nails.

The fallen vampire was victim to another boot to his solar plexus, the kick sending him smashing into the wall. “Not only that” Angel scooped the beaten to a pulp vampire by his dirty shirt collar. “But I have the nerve to accuse her of screwing my son!”

“And can I just say ick to that?” Cordy chimed in sweetly.

Ignoring her comment, Angel curled a strong and unmovable grip around the throat and slowly crushed the unneeded windpipe. “She doesn’t give me a chance to apologize, not that it would make a damn bit of difference, she just left.” Angel smashed the back of the vampire’s skull off the wall with a sickening crack.

“Only doing what you so nicely asked,” she reminded him, the sweet this time so rich he could almost feel the cavities developing in his back teeth. The other vampire’s head hit the wall again.

“She has the insanity to race across the road right there without watching where she’s going!” He doggedly continued his tirade, attempting to shut out the brunette’s little add-ins.

“You really picked the wrong fucking day to piss me off!” Angel snarled right before rendering the vampire half unconscious with a solid smack to his face. Unsatisfied, he shook his enemy awake “Listen to me when I’m talking to you!”

“Angel, just put vampire out of his misery before you bore him to death” Cordy suggested from the sidelines, not once looking up from her nails. “I wonder what colour group is in this summer… Since the last one I remember was Autumn, if I go in a complete circle that would make it Winter. Hmm… Ice blue or a frosted pink. So many colours, only 20 nails”

“No wait…” she stalled for a second as she realised it was Autumn now. Angel had paused to look over his shoulder at her abrupt gasp. “It’s not Winter, it’s Fall again. That means rich, warm colours are in. Bring on the deep bronze that match the natural surroundings of the falling, crunchy leaves… Hmmm!” His eyes rolled in exasperation.

“Do you have anything I can use for a stake?” Angel growled over her rambling as he held onto the vampire tightly. “I have my hands full” as if to prove his point, he lifted the smacked into oblivion vampire up.

“You have one in your pants that seems to be used quite a lot” Cordy offered the remark without a bat of her eyelids.

“Cor,” he growled warningly. Was she ever gonna let that go- besides, it was only the once- Angel winced, rapidly shoving that hazy yet sickening memory deep before it caused permanent brain-melt.

“Plus it wouldn’t have gone with my new outfit.” she added, ignoring his muttered cursing.

His eyes wandered down to the shoes she wore and noticed the wooden tipped heels. “Give me a shoe.” He grimaced when his hand started aching from holding up the vampire for so long. He needed to let go but despite him being unconscious, it was still too risky to let him go.

“NO!” Cordy shrieked defensively, crushing both her new JC’s into the ground to prevent any stealing by anybody. “You are not going to use these to kill that dirty thing!”

“You can have however many pairs of shoes you like” Angel grunted at her. “You can have a personal God damn fitting with a shoe maker. Just give me a shoe!”

“No! I would rather let Jasmine have my body than defile these Jimmy’s with that thing you’re holding!” Cordy hollered in sheer outrage. Her hazel eyes wide with realization he was serious about using her shoes as stakes. “No! These are my shoes. You cannot take my shoes!”

“Cordy, stop being so damn childish and GIVE ME A SHOE!” Angel snarled over his shoulder. This wasn’t the time for her to give him a lecture on the reasons she wouldn’t give him a shoe. “You’ll get it back”

“You think I want my shoe back after it’s been in that?” she screeched in disgust. “He doesn’t even look like he’s had a bath in weeks… Ew! You sooo better not come anywhere near me until you’ve bathed more than once” she paused for a split second,

“And that’s just for touching that scraggy old vamp; lets not even mention the other reasons for excessive washing,” she added snidely. “Oops, too late, I kinda already did, didn’t I?” She smiled sweetly into glittering, narrowed amber eyes.
“Cordy, just give me the very nice wooden tipped shoe please” Angel asked nicely through teeth gritted so hard, he was sure he heard his fang break. His hands were really aching now and he was close to losing his temper all over again; which would be a bad idea considering the long list of badness she’d caught him out in.

Cordy knew he was expecting her to start yelping over the priceless pair of shoes again and so she did the exact opposite. With a saccharine smile, she bent down to slip off one of the beautiful shoes and held it just out of his reach. “Here. Did you want it for something? I can’t remember”

“Stake the evil vampire, Cordy… And I don’t mean me” Angel added as an after thought just in case she got any ideas.

“Oohh, good job you clarified there; could’ve gotten nasty!” With a sigh of longing for the strength to stake Angel, Cordy gave in and slammed the heel of her new shoe into the vampire’s chest, stepping back quickly to avoid the dusty cloud of remains.

“There goes my first pair of new shoes” she grumbled in dismay as she held up the barely worn in let alone shoe high between her forefinger and thumb. “And here I thought it was safe to return to the world of decent shoes!”

“There’s more to life than decent shoes,” Angel shook out his hands and flexed his aching fingers, missing the shadow that crossed the brunette’s eyes.

“Yep, but in the right shoes you can cause an extreme amount of damage” she replied with a pointed glance down at the dusty remains of the now none-existent vampire.

“I mean, if I were to take this very heel and shove it where you would never get a tan, that would cause damage. My point is, given the right situation and the right pair of shoes, anyone can have a perfect moment of bliss” Instantly, the almost light camaraderie they’d briefly shared melted away, and the air crackled with renewed tension.

Cordy folded her arms in an instinctive move to close herself off, leaning back against the wall. Angel paused then walked over to stand uncertainly in front of her. Her lovely eyes were downcast and she’d pulled in her bottom lip and was chewing on it fretfully. Without thinking, Ange lifted a hand and pressed the pad of his finger against her soft flesh until her pout popped out.

“Don’t,” somber hazel eyes lifted to regard his darkened gaze. Drawing in a deep breath, Angel stood for a few seconds staring closely into her lovely face.

“Will you ever be able to forgive me, Cordy?” He finally asked. If his heart had been already beating it would have stpped then at the ache of hers reflected in those lustrous orbs.

“For what, not being beside my highly uncomfortable sickbed when I woke up; not throwing me a big welcome home party- leaving me at the hands of people who more than once attempted to kill me?” she blew out a breath that whispered across his mouth, warming his cold flesh temptingly. “How many times can I do that, Angel?” Cordy finally asked.

The vampire braced his large hands against the wall either side of her shoulders and leaned in, his dark head lowering to rest in the crook of the neck. “”I’ve fucked everything up,” he whispered brokenly against her warm throat. “I don’t deserve you in my life.” Cordy slammed her eyes shut to halt the instant flow of hot tears that filled her eyes, her arms lifting to wrap around Angel’s broad back.

As if sensing a mute invitation, his hands left the wall and he hugged her soft body as close as possible into the cool cradle of his own, the heat driving away the last vestiges of mind-numbing cold.

“No you don’t” Cordy finally replied baldly, reaching up to thread her fingers through the thick strand of hair, scratching his scalp soothingly when he’d flinched in reaction to her words “But I’m not going anywhere soon, so we have plenty of time to work on it.” His grip tightened convulsively until she pulled at his hair. “Human; need air, big guy.” His head abruptly lifted. Loosening his deathgrip but not letting her move away.

“Human? How-?” his surprised rich brown eyes stared down into hers, quieting when a warm finger pressed against his mouth.

“Are you losing your vampy senses? Must be those totally weird necrothingy windows,” she teased lightly before becoming serious. “Apparently I wasn’t dying- just made to feel like I was,” Cordy revealed, smoothing his broad back when he tensed before continuing quietly.

“I was never actually demonized- not demon, anyway- it was the effect of Jasmine invading me that gave me all those added, pretty cool abilities- with a few hidden extras.” Her nose wrinkled up and she shuddered, and it was Angel’s turn to smooth her back.

After a few minutes of silent mutual soothing, Angel reluctantly drew back, feeling her skin chilling beneath the flimsy blouse she wore. “You’re getting cold; you’ve been in a temperature controlled room for months,” he reminded her as she mewled a little at the loss of his supporting strength as tiredness finally crept up and fogged her mind.

“I don’t want you catching a chill- not after just getting you back, Cor.” She grimaced and pouted.

“Did I tell you how much I hate it when you’re right?” a small smile hovered on her mouth, drowsy eyes looking into melted chocolate pools.

“Can’t I be right for once in my life, woman?” he returned, surprising her with a swift peck on the lips. Both jolted at the whisper-soft contact and stared deeply into each other’s eyes.

Slowly, their faces closed the distance and they shared their first real kiss. Both groaned at the sensation of cool and warm fusing together, their combined tastes blending as they hungrily explored each other’s mouths. After what seemed a lifetime their lips separated with a soft popping sound, but even then they kept their faces close, pressing brows and rubbing noses gently. With a long-suffering sigh, Angel finally pulled back.

“Need to you get you warm now,” he murmured softly. A soft giggle escaped her lips, the growing smile blinding the vampire with its brightness. “Oh, I’m definitely warming up now,” she husked, before blinking and sighing herself, “but you’re right; I’m pretty whacked too.” Stepping back reminded her that one foot was shoeless. Angel glanced down and smiled, moving way to head towards her discard shoe.

“No way am I putting that back on, so don’t waste energy getting it, Angel.” With a huff, she turned unsteadily on her remaining heel to stalk out of the alley- squeaking when her feet left the ground a second later.

“And no way am I letting you hobble back,” Angel cradled her against her chest, happy when the brunette settled against him contentedly, and began making his way back to Wolfram & Hart.

“We still have a lot to talk about, you know,” Cordy finally broke the companionable silence. A few words and a quick rumble with a street rat doesn’t make everything back to how it was before.” The vampire walked on silently for a few seconds before glancing into her pensive face.

“I know that- and we will, I promise,” he replied softly, a shadow touching his beautiful eyes. Dropping a soft kiss on the top of her head, Angel rubbed his cheek against her hair before whispering, “God, I missed you so much!”

“Now he tells me!” Cordy rolled her eyes even as her heart tightened at the heavy intensity of those words breathed through her hair. “Come on. Pick those big feet up and get moving, cold, tired best friend here, buddy.”

“Big feet, fat ass…and the self-confidence bashing never ends,” he grumbled even as he picked up his pace, a slight bounce in his step as his undead heart swelled with hope he never thought he’d feel again.

Angel and Cordelia tucked the past behind them and looked towards the future with every step they made…



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