In Search of a Life


AUTHORS: MULTI-AUTHOR COLLABORATION
DAMNSKIPPY with CALIFI and SCORCH and MANDERS-21 and LIOSLAITH and JENNIEC and CORNELIA’S DESTINY and FANGGIRL
SUMMARY: Not a clue. Just post the S2 Episode “Epiphany”.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 11 Mar 2004
CATEGORY: Post Episode S2 “Epiphany”
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A
WARNINGS: Language and Sexual Situations
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: (DEB’S notes as the First Poster)
1) Written as my attempt to get Califi off my back ;). She wanted a ficlet from me.
2) This is set in S2 after Epiphany. Wes is still in pain but in charge. They are back at the Hyperion and Angel is still in the dog house with Cordy. I mention a prophecy and Cordy has a vision. You can take those things and run with them or ignore them.
3) I don’t want feedback, just someone to take up the next part and write a few paragraphs to see where our collective minds can take us. So, how’s about it Cali? Fancy some post-beigy Angel groveling?


PART 1 (DEB’S BEGINNING…)

Angel hopped down the stairs intent on reaching the basement for a few slap and tickles with the punching bag. The wife beater and black workout pants said everything about his destination. That’s why Wesley didn’t bother addressing him about the newest fly in the prophecy ointment. It could wait and if Angel was in the mood to hit something, Wesley didn’t want to redirect that rage at his still bullet-recovering body. So as moments go, he let this one pass and watched Angel’s muscles glide over his shoulder blades as he reached for the basement door.

“See something you like, Wes?”

Startled, Wesley gasped and twisted around awkwardly to see Cordelia’s eyebrow raised and mouth quirked up on one side. Hissing with a twinge of pain, he reprimanded her. “Cordy, do not approach a man with a cane from behind without making your presence known in advance. You could very well be on the floor unconscious had I not been quick-witted enough to stop myself from throttling you.”

“Pfft. Two things wrong with that sentence. One, you’re not strong enough to lift a toothpick much less a cane, and two, witty you’re not. Quick or otherwise.”

Limping toward his new office, Wesley tried to regain a modicum of dignity in his obvious retreat. “Be that as it may, I think it prudent to always be aware of your surroundings and ever vigilant of predators.”

“Says the man ogling Angel’s behind and jumping like a girly man at my very loud clickety-clacking approach.”

“I was not…” Wesley began, but stopped when he turned to face his tormentor only to find her not at normal chest height but prone and writhing on the lobby floor.

“Cordy!” Wobbling as fast as he could to her side, he sucked in a ragged breath when he attempted to bend over to help her but was pulled back by the hot spear of pain shooting through his gut. “Angel!”

The cry for help had been unnecessary as Angel was barreling from the basement door, knocking over the potted palm on his way, and sliding to cradle her head in his lap like Ty Cobb stealing home.

In seconds she was safely surrounded by hard yet giving thighs and strong yet gentle arms.

“Cordy. It’s okay. I’ve got you, baby.” Angel softly assured her, stroking her face, her hair her arms…any part of her he could touch knowing somehow she needed it to guide her back. To ground her to this time and this place. To bind her to him.

“Come back to me,” he whispered over and over again, never letting her forget where she belonged.

Coming out of her vision, the sounds and smells swirled, ebbed and flowed from the future in her mind to the present outside herself. The woeful screams and acrid, vile smells of blood and urine and sweat were slowly washed from her senses as they mixed with Angel’s soothing, warm baritone voice and fresh wafts of soap and male musk. Mmmm…Angel smells. Angel arms. Angel calling me baby. What the fuck?
PART 2 (CALIFI’S ADDITION to the FIC)

She glared at him icily, recalling all the times the hard floor had become an unwelcome friend. NOWhe wanted to help? Sorry buddy- that ship sailed loooong ago, Cordy thought as she painfully jerked away from him, flinching as her head exploded with post-vision pain.

Angel flinched too at both the look and her attempt to put as much distance as possible between them. God it hurt.

“What did you see?” Asked Wes, not noticing the taut atmoshpere between them. Cordy shuffled her butt across the floor, edging away until Angel was forced to release his hold.

“Give her a chance to recover,” he said instead, throwing an irritated look at his new boss. Cordy just pfffted and closed her eyes, bringing back the details to the forefront of her mind. How soon he forgets it used to be him asking that very question whilst my head threw up mentally.- Jeez, desperate much for the brownie points!

“Big scaly demon…the sewers under that burger place- a MacDonald’s wanna-be; god knows why… Barney’s Burgers.” Cordy took a deep breath, opened her eyes and caught Wes’ intent gaze, “couple of hours before Mister Scaly chows down on a a couple of homeless joes,” she finished wearily.

Cordy attempted to rise, her breath catching in her throat when Mister-Fire-Them-All hooked gentle but firm hands under her armpits and swept her to her feet.

“No need for the grabby,” she scowled, annoyed. “I DO know how to pick myself up after brain numbing visions I get for YOU.” Angel flinched once again, but refused to let go until he’d herded her to one of the couches.

“How many times can I say I’m sorry?” he muttered lowly, an inexplicable anger surging up at the way the brunette yanked away from him as soon as her butt touched the soft velvet cushion.

“As many as you like; not listening- so don’t waste your not-needed breath.” She turned her face away and proceeded to ignore his existance, tamping down the flare of guilt at the expression of wounded puppy on his handsome face as he slowly straightened and took a step back.

Rubbing her face tiredly, and wishing to god she had a hammer to knock herself out into blessed unconsciousness from the debilitating pain, it took Cordy a few minutes to realise that the vampire still hovered like a black pall. Lifting a well-shaped brow, she just stared at him.

“Did you want something else?” she finally asked icily. Something hardened in Angel’s eyes- something she coulnd’t quite read….but it gave her the willy’s and at the same time made her mad. Who was HE to feel slighted? Hello?- He was the one to abandon them!

“I want a lot of things, Cordelia,” he replied cryptically, with a deceptively soft tone that ran through her body like a sliver of electricity…
PART 3 (MORE FROM CALIFI)

“Did you want something else?” she finally asked icily. Something hardened in Angel’s eyes- something she couldn’t quite read….but it gave her the willy’s and at the same time made her mad. Who was HE to feel slighted? Hello?- He was the one to abandon them!

“I want a lot of things, Cordelia,” he replied cryptically, with a deceptively soft tone that ran through her body like a sliver of electricity…

She chose not to go there and instead rose to her feet, making her way a little unsteadily towards her desk. Grabbing her purse, Cordy retreated to the bathroom, trying to ingnore the dark gaze that burnt holes in her back.

“Deep breaths, Cor,” she whispered to herself as she glared at her reflection in the mirror above the sink. digging through her purse, she took out the real painkillers and shook two tablets into her palm. Putting them in her mouth, she swilled them down and took a deep breath.

She didn’t get that vampire any more- well, not since he’d fired them all, threatened her and crawled back like a puppy with it’s tail between its legs.

Cordy supposed she should be grateful that he saved hers- and their lives that night- and she was….but in her mind, it wouldn’t even have been an issue if he hadn’t of kicked them to the kerb in the first place. Angel had a lot to be sorry for. All the times sh’d hit the floor when having visions that were meant for him; situations that could have killed them many time [she put it down to luck that they hadn’t been!], and Wes nearly dying fighting that vampire’s mission.

Okay, there was always the chance that one of them wouldn’t walk away from death even with him there- but it didn’t ease the ache of anger and betrayal at his abandonment, or the distress at his threat that night- all over a book!

Sitting on the toilet seat, Cordy ran her fingers through her hair and dropped her face into her hands wearily. Another few minutes and she’d be ready to face the world again…

Angel’s eyes remained pinned in the direction the brunette had gone. His head swirled with a mixure of remorse and burning anger.

He knew he’d been in the wrong- hell, he understood her behaviour…but it didn’t mean he had to like it. Falling over backwards to make it right just wasn’t working, and Angel was at a loss at what else he could do or say to make it all better. The way it used to be.

No chance of that in the next decade he growled inwardly. The other two seemed more open to letting byegones be byegones- but then again, he’d once had a much closer relationship with Cordelia Chase; and he’d blown it big style. Hindsight was a bitch.

In her eyes, Darla; evil, soulless bitch from hell had pushed aside their friendship- the vampire seemingly more important to him than his Seer. Didn’t Cordy understand that he’d had to push them away to protect them- from him especially?

If ever it came out what had kicked off his epiphany, he could kiss Cordy goodbye for good. Angel swallowed tightly, sick apprehension tightening his gut painfully…
PART 4 (MORE FROM DEBS…)

“Hey!”

“What?”

“Give me back my chocolate bunny!”

“Sorry, Will. No bunnies of the rich, cocoa goodness for you. I’m in research mode and you know my brain will implode without the recharging properties of chocolate woodsy animals.” Xander bit off the head of said animal and watched her eyes widen and then shift to a squinting glare.

“Xander,” Willow said between clenched teeth. “What about me? I’m in research mode, too, and I brought that for my recharging needs. Me, me, me!” She grabbed the headless hare from his grasp.

“Children, must we always fight over the desserts? There is an entire box of donuts right in front of you,” said Giles pointing at the big, obviously pink container with his glasses. Seeing another spot on the lens as he did so, he briskly brought hankie to glass and rubbed vigorously.

Xander scoffed at the box that he, as always, had procured for the all-nighter. “Trust us, old tweeded one. Nine out of ten experts agree that when musty old texts and prophecies are being… bandied about,” emphasizing his words with a flourish of wrist and fingers à la a British dandy, “pure chocolate is the only way to go. The tenth guy was some kind of freak health nut who voted for granola.”

“Mmmm. Who’s got granola?” Buffy licked her lips as she approached the gang huddled around the one table in the not-really a library. “I could use something healthy.”

“Sorry, Buff. Just donuts and Will’s stash of chocolate bunnies that she is apparently hoarding like…like…someone who hoards stuff.” Willow stuck her tongue out and Xander did likewise.

“Oh, goody. Healthy donuts,” she said as she opened the lid and pulled out one with frosting that matched the box color. Taking a bite, she noticed Giles’s disapproving stare and swallowed quickly. “What? Sprinkles have been known to cure diseases and certain fungi you know.”

Giles pushed his glasses against the bridge of his nose and sighed. “I’ll be sure to report that to the American Medical Association as they are, without a doubt, unaware of your findings after we’ve actually accomplished something on this prophecy. Do you think it might be possible to get some research done in between the consumption of processed sucrose? We are trying to avert yet another apocalypse in case you’ve forgotten the reason we are here.”

“Nope. Haven’t forgotten and do we really need to do research? Don’t I always just chop something up or snap a neck or stake it? Can’t we just go with apocalypse-stopping old school and watch something with John Cusack instead?” Buffy took another bite and waited for her watcher to come back with the non-fun reply she knew was coming.

“Yes, it does seem that stopping the world from ending has been easier than one would think. However, we still need to know when, where and what we’ll be dealing with and that, I’m afraid, still requires brainpower and tedious hours of complaining teens on sugar highs.” He turned and walked toward his office mumbling, “Why couldn’t the slayer be forty-five, a gourmand and intensely interested in Franchett’s Codex to…” The slamming of the door ended what they could hear.

“Hmm. Guess that’s a no on the Cusack then.” Buffy shrugged and plopped into a chair across from Xander.

“Yeah, I wasn’t getting the Cusack love. I’m guessing Giles is more of a Stoltz man,” Xander said musing the possibility.

Willow perked up at the suggestion taking her eyes away momentarily from the computer and her ongoing search. “Oh, yeah. I can totally see Giles fascinated by the philosophical and metaphorical aspects of Stoner Bud.”

Xander stared at her dumbfounded. “Only you, and possibly all things Giles-like, could turn a happy-go-lucky drug addict into the foundation for a metaphysical discussion. Besides I was talking about Stoltz the clueless man-whore. You know, trying to get into the pants of a hot, out-of-his-league babe while the real love of his life, his best friend, is right there in front of him all the time.”

Willow looked at Buffy and both rolled their eyes at the same time recognizing that Xander had just described his own failed relationship with Cordelia and his complete ignorance of Willow’s one-time lust. Smiling, Buffy took the best-friend zinger role and said, “Oh, that man-whore. Seems to me Giles doesn’t need Stoltz for that when the Xander man-whore is here every day.”

Bewildered momentarily, when the clue train hit, Xander puffed his chest in indignation. “Hey! I resemble that remark, but in all fairness we are living on a hellmouth. I plead the weird-shit-happens defense your honor.”

A loud, shrill beep trilled from Willow’s computer interrupting them. All eyes followed Willow’s hand as she clicked a few times, then her lips as she read for a few moments. “Uh, guys.”

Buffy got up and walked around to her back and Xander leaned in to see what was capturing Willow’s attention on the screen.

“Huh-oh,” Willow said.

Xander didn’t see the reason for the remark at first. “Is that an I-forgot-to-feed-my-goldfish ‘huh-oh’ or a my-goldfish-are-turning-into-giant-demon-piranha-and-eating-my-family ‘huh-oh’?”

“Neither,” said Buffy. “It’s the oh-shit-we’ve-got-to-go-to-LA-and-see-the-exes one.”

Xander sighed and put his head on the table. “I knew speaking the name of man-whore Stoltz would lead to no good.” He pounded his head on the table. “Why do I never learn?”
PART 5 (Califi again…)

“Well, this is just great!” Cordy ran her hands through her hair for what seemed to be the millionth time in less than an hour.

“It’s not enough that Wes is still suffering from a hole in his gut, me trying to hide that gianormous bald patch on the back of my head, and a vampire recovering from his trip to the dark side- now we’re about to be invaded by the Scourge of Sunnyhell!”

Wes removed his glasses and cleared his throat. ” The bald patch disappeared an hour after we removed the eye, Cordelia, and I’m feeling rather chipper myself.” He refrained from mentioning the obvious thorn in the brunette’s side.

“As for the-the Buffy and her friends; prophesies need to be addressed, and if that means we have to be hospitable for a few days, then so be it.” The Ex-Watcher was far from looking forward to their visit too.

“We-es,” Cordy whined, “Why do you always have to make with the sensible and rational? Burst my bubble of denial why don’t you,” she harrumphed, flicking an annoyed glance over to the vampire who sat at his new desk reading one of his musty old books.

Surprisingly, Angel hadn’t said a word about the imminent arrival of his ex-love and her cohorts, and it bugged her no end not being able to figure out what was going on in that dark head of his.

I can just imagine it, she snorted to herself, longing looks and snatched smoochies- so help me God, they’d better not do it where I can see them! The thought of them lip-locking gave her an unexpected twinge in the region of her heart, which, for a second pushed all other thoughts out of her head.

“So whats the prophesy, English?” Gunn sat sprawled on one of the couches, doing nothing in particular and enjoying the rare break from slice and dice.

“I don’t have all the details right now.” Wes admitted with a sigh. “Giles seemed reluctant to go discuss it over the phone, but promised to brief us when they arrived.”

“And when is that momentus occasion gonna be?” Cordy asked with a roll of her eyes, outwardly uninterested even as her heartbeat tripped chaotically, drawing the attention of the resident vampire, whose dark eyes narrowed as he watched her from behind his book.

The way things were between him and his Seer, Angel inwardly thought the Scoobies timing couldn’t be worse. To be honest, he wasn’t in the mood for the inevitable angst-fest that was always present between himself and the Slayer.

He also had to admit that more than anything, the thought of Cordy spending even an hour in the company of the Harris boy worried him.

Her alienation of him at the moment just screamed of possible ‘getting back together’ scenarios, and he wasnt prepared to lose her yet again.

“Tomorrow night.” Angel finally replied shortly, getting a sparing flicker of hazel for his trouble. His whole body tensed when she surged to her feet, grabbing her purse and making her way towards the exit. “Where are you going?” his hasty words had her spine freezing before swivelling on her heel to face him.

“And it’s your business, why?” For a split second, Angel wanted to get up and make her swallow and take back the disdain evident in her voice and face. Forcing himself to remain in his chair, he instead kept silent.

“Cordelia? It is rather early- are you off home?” Wes decided to take the bull by the horns and ask himself, as it was, after all a good few hours before the brunette left the hotel. For a moment, the glare switched to her new boss’ face before she visibly relaxed, quirking a faint smile.

I have a nail appointment, Wes- don’t want to meet the others with chipped varnish now, do I? I’ll be in bright and early tomorrow, so don’t have a cow.” Not waiting for a reply, Cordy turned back to the door, muttering under her breath “Sooo glad I don’t live here; 24/7 with them? no way!”

Angel watched her leave with darkening eyes as he again silently cursed the coming arrival of Buffy and co. He had a feeling things were going to go from very bad to much, much worse…
PART 6 (SCORCH Enters the Game…)

They were in there.

She could sense them like a million worms crawling around the inside of her head. Her skin itched and tingled while her hands had the almost irresistable urge to strangle something.

Or someone.

Creeping as stealthily as heels would allow, Cordy peeked through the back entrance to the hotel and spied on the people in there. One hazel eye scowered the sight as her lips curled up in a grimace.

Why couldn’t they have just corresponded via email? You could almost anything with technology, why not decipher prophesies? Of course, no-one thought about that, did they? Noooo!

Cordy vowed that if the day ever came where she met the prophecy writing people, she wouldn’t hesitate to let the leash restraining her inner bitch loose. Oh yes, that day would come the disgruntled seer promised herself, she would make sure it did.

She drew in a sharp, gasped in breath when she watched the blonde slayer reach out and timidly touch Angel’s arm. Narrowing her spying eye dangerously, Cordy silently seethed and bristled at the little move.

“How dare she?” the brunette hissed quietly, “If she thinks she can waltz in, destroy Angel and waltz back out again, she has another thing coming. I’ll die before I let her get her claws into him”

Keeping her eye on them all, Cordy tried to shift her foot into a more suitable position for spying and ended up getting her heel caught in the drain. Resting her weight on the wall corner, the brunette looked down and tried to shake her foot loose.

“Damnit! Look what Buffy’s gone and done now?” she raged quietly, trying to shake her shoe free. Hopping up and down would alert them to her presence before she had a chance to escape so Cordy had to be content in the constant shaking.

She grew angrier and angrier when the heel blatantly refused to become unstuck. The hazel orbs turned into dangerous storm clouds when she glanced back into the lobby in time to see Buffy once again touch Angel.

This time on his stomach.

A furious noise slipped past her lips as Cordy’s anger jerked her heel free, sending her tumbling ungracefully to the ground with a thud. Burying her now flaming face in her hands, the seer gave a choked annoyed yelp and kicked her feet off the stone Earth before calming down.

At the loud noises coming from the back entrance, Angel spun away from the Sunnydale crowd and hurried to see what was going on. Upon seeing Cordy face down on the ground, the vampire feared the worst and risked going up in flames to get her to safety.

Darting out into the sunlight, Angel ignored the burn and quickly scooped up a startled-into-shrieking Cordy and zoomed back inside with her kicking and screaming blue murder.

“Nyah!” she screamed, whacking her hands off the vampire’s back and ass, Cordy’s held back anger snapped. “Put me DOWN you undead ass! Put me down right now!”

Not having a clue, Angel settled the hellcat on her feet and took a few steps away from for fearing for his safety. He looked at the picture she made and noted the elevated pulse rate, the flushing of her face and the stormy hazel orbs.

“Wha…?”

“Shut up!” Cordy hissed, sounding remarkably like a seething cat. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she demanded, completely unaware of everyone watching in astonishment.

“I was saving you!” Angel shot back, coming up with a blank at why she was going loopy. But he’d be damned if she didn’t look amazing.

“Saving me? Saving me from what? A broken heel?” bending down to yank her useless shoe off to hold it up, he watched as she hopped on the other heel using her free hand to balance. “So you see me face down outside, in broad daylight and decide to ignore the pretty yellow ball that could make you go poof just to save me?”

“Well I… Uh… Yeah”

No! Angel was not going to tempt her with his heroism, was not going to make himself out to be Mr. Vampire Hero extraordinaire and he definitely wasn’t going to go there with the kicked puppy look. She refused outright to allow Angel too use his – his something and make her attracted to him while he flirted with that woman!

“Well!” Cordy took in a deep breath to get some semblance of control over herself. “If that’s how you want to play it” she stated coolly, “You can just go and play by yourself!”

Angel wondered if she even knew what she was doing. An amused smile began to twitch at the corners of his mouth as he raised an eyebrow. “I thought you were having a vision”

“The only vision I had was of your head gracing the walls of my apartment! Which wouldn’t happen because you’d be dust and I’d only have broken nails to show for killing you so not worth the energy loss!”

Smoothing her highly wrinkled clothes down, Cordy flicked her messy hair over her shoulder and stared icily at him. “Now if you don’t mind, I am going home”

“You just got here” the vampire remarked as his lips quirked up some more. It was easy to ignore the tiny prickling the sun caused when faced with a rare specimen of unbridled and barely controlled furious Cordy.

“Take a quarter and call someone who cares!” the brunette bitched caustically. “Goodbye”

The amused and stunned vampire watched through melted chocolate eyes as his seer spun on her bare foot, cursed when she twisted her toe before limping off towards the front double doors. She completely ignored the Sunnydale crowd, except Buffy who was on the receiving end of a withering stare and growl.

A loud bang followed the brunette’s exit as she left everyone contemplating her senseless outburst in shock.

Xander gazed around the occupants who were staring at the doors before looking quizzically to Angel who was smiling aloofly at Cordy’s abrupt departure. “She knows how to make an entrance”

His voice broke the silence, the remark caused Willow to jab her elbow sharply into his ribcage. “Ssh Xander, something might have happened”

“I’m just saying” he replied with an innocent shrug.

There was no question Cordy was jealous, Angel knew for certain she was. He just didn’t know who she was jealous of. The vampire stood in silence for a few minutes, staring in wonder at the double doors before his attention was grabbed.

“Angel” Buffy spoke, trying to hide any discomfort at being around him. “Where are our rooms?”
PART 7 (CALIFI RETURNS…)

“Me jealous of Buffy?” Cordy pffted gustily as she made her way along the sidewalk, oblivious to the curious and amused stares of passers-by as she hobbled along with as much dignity as possible. “I could see that self-satisified look in his too-sexy brown eyes- I hate that asswipe, so jealousy definitely doesn’t even come into it” she explained strongly to herself.

All she was worried about was what effect the blonde whiner would have on the newly reawakened conscience of the vampire. They really didn’t need him getting all depressed and uncaring just because fluffy ruffled his feathers yet again with her big green eyes expressing pain and hurt- and a secret enjoyment of playing the “I want to, but we can’t” gig all over again.

It was bad enough when she last turned up, leaving her and Doyle to their own devices; Doyle….

Her thoughts rapidly turned to their much-missed family member and her bottom lip trembled.

Yes, she had Wes and Gunn, but no one had understood her the way Francis Doyle had- no one had ever loved her like the lovable half-demon. If only-

“Now don’t go racing down the road of maybes, Cor; doesn’t get you anywhere in this world.” she could almost imagine his expression on seeing her run like a scared rabbit from her place of work just because some interlopers had arrived to royally piss her off. She stopped dead in her tracks.

“Nobody scares me off- hell, I have way much more right to be there than those-those…” unable to find the right adjective, Cordy swivelled round and charge back the way she had come.

By the time she reached the Hyperion entrance [the front entrance this time, mind], Cordy was a little hot and sweaty- but let anyone dare used that word to describe her!- but raring to go and ready to face anything. Straightening her shoulders, she pushed open the door and strode in, head held high, breezing past every open-mouthed person along the way, until she plonked herself down at her desk.

After several minutes of shocked silence, in which she rifled through the files on her desk and booted up her computer, Cordy finally felt able to look around.

Buffy stood with he arms folded and a bemused expression on her gamine [rather thin-looking, she thought cattily] face, Willow shuffled her feet nervously, and looked away as soon as she made eye contact with the brunette, and Xander openly regarded her with amused and admiring eyes, taking in the visible differences in his ex girlfriend.

Wes attempted to appear engrossed in one of his many dusty tomes that stunk of smelly ick-demon socks [if they wore them!], Gunn sat on the couch grinning and gave her a quick wink- whilst Angel, who the Slayer kept by her side like a comfy blanket, looked pole axed- and confused.

“Well, people?” Cordy finally spoke, irritation running through her tone, “Yes, we have visitors; but the badness that is our lives doesn’t just stop because of it- busy busy!” she clicked her fingers loudly before turning back to her monitor.

Angel re-evaluated his initial guess, realising he was just being hopeful. Jealous was definitely the furthest emotion Cordelia felt regarding Buffy; the sweep of those amazing hazel eyes when they’d briefly landed on the blonde and then on him, couldn’t have been cooler or more disinterested.

Her previous reaction must have merely been due to embarrassment at being found and scooped up by her least favourite vampire after falling flat on her face, all because of a broken heel. His eyes narrowed. Dammit, she would look at him with more than that iciness- or he hadn’t been the once-feared scourge of Europe.

‘‘Friend’s only was no longer an option- he wanted to see burning passion pouring from the autumn richness of those delectable eyes, and moans of want slip-sliding from those full, luscious lips.

He flicked a glance at the blonde clinging vine and frowned a little. First he had to put his ex right, where they were concerned; if she thought she could play those little Romeo & Juliet lines on him again, like she had last time, she was in for a surprise.

He’d grown up a lot the past year and had moved on surprisingly easily. He didn’t have to look far as to the gradual reason for that metamorphosis: Pride and Prejudice had always been more his cup of tea anyway ….
PART 8 (MANDERS-21 JOINS THE FUN….)

But tea wasn’t what he needed right now. A stiff whiskey was though – nothing like a little bit of liquid courage to help him along with the daunting task of saying no to the forceful slayer – along with some blood as a chaser. He figured he should also be at top physical form when he faced off with her. Who knew how she’d take the dismissal, probably attack him with a right hook or throw a tantrum right in the middle of the lobby – he wasn’t going to chance it.

“So, Deadboy do we get room service here, clean sheets? Then again if Cordy’s your maid I’d be stripping the bed and sleeping on the bare mattress, eehh!!”

The AI gang all turned to stare at him with a look of astonishment, not that Angel or Wesley expected much more from him, but they at least thought he had a little more sense than to make a comment like that about Cordy. Although, he never did learn from the reemings she gave him in high school, so how could he have possibly learnt now.

From the corner of her eye Cordy noticed Xander shuddering with what she assumed was disgust, or possibly an involuntary twitch she couldn’t see the real difference. She bit her tongue trying to keep quite, not wanting to seem anymore irrational than she already must look to the scoobs, but in the end she just couldn’t ignore it. She was about to light a rocket up his ass, neurological problem or not, either way he was her’s to be chewed up and spit out.

“Puhlease! From the boy who wears the same underwear for a week – and don’t even try to deny it Xander, I saw your whitey tities everyday during the Jerry Springer audition that was our relationship. So please don’t give our mattress your ass worms, we don’t wan’t them!”

Cordy internally congratulated herself as she turned back to her computer, not even batting an eyelash as she dismissed him so easily. Xander’s gapping mouth only attributed to the fact that she still had it, the bitch never left, it was only hidden away for when she needed it.

Angel could see the train wreck waiting to happen, “Uhh, Wes could you show them upstairs to some rooms. Try the third floor.” He wasn’t about to have Buffy and her lackies sleeping anywhere near him.

“Right, uh, follow me.” sounded Wes as he disappeared up the stairs with the scoobies on his heel: Giles dutifully following along, Willow pulling a still astounded Xander in her wake, and a reluctant Buffy who didn’t want to be seperated from Angel for a second.

Angel took off to the kitchen to find some blood and whiskey, not necessarily in that order – maybe he’d even mix them together, add a little bite to his blood like Cordy did with her spices.

********

As soon as Angel left the lobby, Cordy headed for the bathroom needing to refresh, and to possibly change her shirt as well – sweaty so wasn’t the fashion statement she wanted to make.

She passed Gunn at the counter, each bare foot making a resounding slap against the cold linoleum floor as she walked.

“You gunna grab your extra pair of shoes from Angel’s closet, or I’m doin’ that for ya?” A knowing smile played across his face as he emerged from behind the counter.

“I wouldn’t want to be accused of snooping in his stuff and messing up his anal-retentive ordering of all things black, so you go ahead Gunn. Maybe you could grab one of my shirts while you’re there. Thanks by the way.”

“I gottcha back, girl” he called back to her as she closed the door of the bathroom.

Looking in the mirror at herself, she noticed the lines on her forehead. The perpetual frown she’d been wearing for the last however many days since Angel’s return no doubt was the cause. Only know did she stop to ponder if her persona of distain was really worth all the troubles, especially now that the scoobies had arrived. Shouldn’t the four of them band together to take their visitors head on. Wesley knew how it was to be on the outside of their little band of do-goodery, admittedly, much to her chagrin, Angel also had a fair idea of the feelings their exclusion provoked.

Resolved to at least lighten up on Angel a tad for the time that they were here, Cordy turned on the taps. After splashing her face with the cool water, she wiped her skin dry of the remaining droplets before exciting to wait for Gunn to return with her shirt and shoes.

Just as she stepped out Buffy breezed by her, her head held high and looking straight ahead of her, making a show not to be deterred by Cordy’s presence. It looked as though she was off to locate Angel, as she headed in the direction of the kitchen.

Cordy only “pffted” her view of the blondes behavior and went to sit back at her desk to resume her game of free cell. Seconds later she heard an ear piercing shriek, and turned to see Buffy barreling back into the lobby, her arms flailing and her face looking burnt red.

Angel came running out behind her moments later, his glass full of blood clutched in his hand and a red mustache lining his top lip.

“How could you drink your blood right in front of my face, do you want me to puke up my breakfast?”

Cordy could only bust out laughing at the picture the flushed and steaming Buffy made. Her eyes bugging and her reddened face painting a stark contrast to the platinum of her hair.
PART 9 (CALIFI’s BACK…)

Buffy turned her outraged eyes on the giggling brunette; her green eyes narrowing dangerously. “Are you laughing at me?” she asked in a hushed voice.

Gunn, who’d just reached the bottom step, clutching a pair of flimsy heels and a shirt of Angel’s paused, his expression changing from easygoing to battle-ready at the tone of the Slayer’s voice. His mouth opened to tear strips of the girl-until he saw the halting hand aimed his way. Settling back against the bannister, Gunn waited for the Cordy-sized explosion.

“Hello? Vampire!” Cordelia began with an exagerrated lift of a finely arched brow. Buffy crossed her arms tightly, still avoiding looking at the blood-smeared mouth of the afore-mentioned vampire hovering off to the side.

“I know What Angel is- but seeing him….with the blood- that just isn’t acceptable!” she ranted, unaware of the flinch of the vampires head at her unfeeling words- but Cordelia had noticed.

For a moment a red haze shot across her vision, and she had to take a very deep breath before answering.

“You say you know who Angel is – what?- is he only ‘acceptable’ when it’s for the odd fuck in the sack?” Cordelia finally retorted, all calm and rational thrown out of the window.

Angel dropped his glass of half-finished blood whilst Wes, who’d just appeared at the top of the stairs, slipped down a couple before catching himself awkwardly. Gunn straightened up with his mouth hanging open before grinning in admiration. “you go girl!” he refused to let the grin slip when Fluffy shot him a killing glare.

“And can I just remind you where you are right now?” Cordelia continued on, not letting stunned, red-faced blonde get a word in, stepping forward and still managing to look dignified even shoeless and with a rather damp sweaty top on.

“This is Angel’s home- Angel who has invited you into his home and went out of his way to make you all welcome. If he can’t be himself here- what would you have him do? hide in his room whenever he feels a vampy urge coming on?” Cordlelia’s full lips curled in disgust, “Grow up, Buffy; this isn’t Highschool any more.”

By now, she was nose to nose with the fuming blonde, and on catching the instinctive tightening of the other girl’s hands, Angel and Gunn also stepped forward anxiously worried that Buffy may forget her own strength whilst consumed with rage.

“Who the hell do you think you are, talking to me like that?” Buffy finally spluttered. “No vapid little whore is going to tell me what to-” a loud crack split the lobby and everone froze as Buffy held her cheek in shock.

“I should have done that the first time you called me a whore, Buffy Summers,” Cordelia curled her fingers into her stinging palm and turned away from the girl, shaking in a mixture of anger and shock at her reflex action, but was brought back by a hand wrapping cruelly in her hair.

“Why you little-” Buffy raised her hand to retaliate- only it was clenched into a fist. Cordelia instinctively slammed her eyes shut as it descended- then she was abruptly released.

“You’ll keep your hands to yourself when it comes to my family, Buffy.” She opened her eyes to find Angel between them, a large hand wrapped around the other woman’s wrist. “She’s called you a whore?” He turned his head to ask the stunned brunette, who shrugged and just nodded. Disbelief flickered in his darkening eyes as he looked back at his ex-love.

“You really don’t know Cordy at all, do you?” he shook his head in disbelief. “All that time together in sunnydale and you didnt even know she was- and is, so far from that descriptor that you really deserved that slap.” Buffy’s anger rapidly cooled to disbelief when he dropped her wrist with quiet disappointment and distaste.

Why had he never seen this side of the young woman before? Angel sighed inwardly, admitting to himself that he’d turned a blind eye to her sometimes unnacceptable attitude, too busy being grateful to her for bringing him something he’d never had- the love of another.

Looking back, he also recalled, that whilst Teenage Cordelia had been cutting and direct to the point of making you squirm, she’d never insulted any of the Scoobies to the extent Buffy had obviously done- to her; and was still doing.

How desperate had that made him? Willing to sacrifice his own self-respect, and ignore faults that could have been avoided if he and the others had been more able to see what their unconditional devotion had done. Angel couldn’t blame Buffy for all of it; tell someone that they are ‘special’ and above condemnation enough times and they will start to believe it themselves.

He may have moved on, but the Slayer was still surrounded by people who continued on with the blind adulation.

Reassured she was no longer a threat to his seer, Angel finally turned away and walked back towards the kitchen, stepping over the spilt blood and shattered glass carefully as he did so. After a second of staring dumbly at his retreating back, Buffy shot a fulminous glare Cordelia’s way and trotted after him hurriedly.

“Angel, wait up. We need to talk about this.” as soon as both were out of sight, Cordelia sagged with a mixture of relief and despair.Oh boy!

Relief filled her that it hadn’t escalated into more than embarrassing herself, and despair that the broody Vamp would never trully be able to move on from the blonde. After her uncalled comment over legendary night of Angelus-making, Cordelia doubted Angel would be so quick to defend her from verbal attack that was bound to be going on in the kitchen.

“I should have carried on walking, she thought morosely; jumping with a squeak when a hand tapped her shoulder.

“I got you these,” Gunn appeared at her side as she reached her desk, holding out the shoes. “I couldn’t find no shirt of yours so I grabbed one of the thousand Angel hordes in that big ole closet of his,” a grin cracked his sombre face; ” I swear that if I’d carried on walkin’ in there I’d have ended up in Narnia!”

Cordelia reached out and rubbed his arm affectionately. “Thanks Gunn, you’re the best.” Even as she smiled brightly at the young black man, her darkening eyes wandered in the direction of the kitchen, wondering how long it would take for the vampire to emerge, take her to one side, and ask her to make herself scarce for the rest of the Scoobies stay.

Then something else occured to her. “Wes, I thought you said Giles was coming too?” Realising that she hadn’t seen the Librarian both times she’d arrived at the hotel.

Wes, who’d continued down the stairs at the exit of the vampire and Slayer, strolled over towards Cordelia’s desk, retrieving a book he’d left there before showing Willow and Xander their rooms on the third floor.

“Oh, Buffy mentioned that he had to pick something up from a contact downtown- he should be back by this evening,” he explained.

“Giles has contacts in LA? Sheesh, does he know people everywhere?” Cordelia muttered before collecting the shirt and shoes up and hurrying back to the bathroom to change; glancing down at the black pure silk shirt and hoping Angel was too pre-occupied to notice Gunn had snagged one of his best ones.
PART 10 (SCORCH RETURNS WITH MORE…)

Cordelia reached out and rubbed his arm affectionately. “Thanks Gunn, you’re the best.” Even as she smiled brightly at the young black man, her darkening eyes wandered in the direction of the kitchen, wondering how long it would take for the vampire to emerge, take her to one side, and ask her to make herself scarce for the rest of the Scoobies stay.

Then something else occured to her. “Wes, I thought you said Giles was coming too?” Realising that she hadn’t seen the Librarian both times she’d arrived at the hotel.

Wes, who’d continued down the stairs at the exit of the vampire and Slayer, strolled over towards Cordelia’s desk, retrieving a book he’d left there before showing Willow and Xander their rooms on the third floor.

“Oh, Buffy mentioned that he had to pick something up from a contact downtown- he should be back by this evening,” he explained.

“Giles has contacts in LA? Sheesh, does he know people everywhere?” Cordelia muttered before collecting the shirt and shoes up and hurrying back to the bathroom to change; glancing down at the black pure silk shirt and hoping Angel was too pre-occupied to notice Gunn had snagged one of his best ones.

*~*~*

Fastening the last two buttons into place, Cordy checked her reflection in the large mirror and her half smile faulted slightly before fading into a grimace. Her hair was dusty and had bits of the garden tied into the strands, Angel’s shirt hung loosely from her form and she just felt miserable.

“Yeah well” Cordy sighed in defeat as she scraped her dusty hair back. “They’re here so it’s no wonder you feel like a-a thing from the black lagoon”

Maybe Angel would do something, like tell them all to go too hell or find themselves a real hotel or, dream of dreams, go back to Sunnydale. Not that the vampire would tell them to go away of course, prophecies were too important to be ignored in favour of seers dislikes of school chums.

She knew she was being childish and petty but she didn’t care in the least. Those goons had come into Los Angeles, her home town, and would make her life a living hell until they left.

The only small mercy was the fact none of them had any baby pictures of her to flash around.

Smoothing the black silk of Angel’s shirt down over her stomach, Cordy forced a happy smile to grace her face before turning off the light and leaving the bathroom.

“Eh, who cares? I’ll always have me” were her parting, sad words as she prepared herself for Angel telling her to take a few days off while they were here.

*~*~*

“I’ll have lunch in my room if it makes you feel any better” Angel stated in an even tone as he stared expressionlessly down at his ex. It was irritating having to hide who he was after not needing too for so long.

Buffy fidgeted a little as she turned baby blue eyes up to the vampire looking down at her. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable in your own home Angel” she spoke in a soft, feminine voice. “But…”

“I don’t mind” Angel retaliated quickly, for once in his life not being taken in by the baby soft eyes or the sweet, cute voice. After all, she was only here for a few days at the most so what harm could eating in his room do?

It would give him the perfect chance to have some alone time with that insane, psychotic and totally adorable seer of his who had been hiding in the bathroom for too long. He wondered what Cordy had been doing in there for this long.

Could she be….? Nah, she wasn’t due for another week so that wasn’t the case. That’s a shame, Angel mused, coulda got down and dirty with her. Oh well, there’s always next month!

The sound of the bathroom door opening and closing brought the vampire out of his thoughts, alerting him to the fact Cordy had finally left the bathroom.

“Yeah, sure” Angel muttered distractedly as he spun on his heel, leaving Buffy staring after him as he left the kitchen.

The dark haired vampire came to a sudden halt when he saw his seer decorated in his shirt. Black silk skimmed her chest, the over-sized shirt did more than accentuate her breasts as it fell down her firm figure, the hem skirting her thighs.

“You’re wearing my favourite shirt” Angel spoke in an even, annoyed tone as his gaze turned from admiring to fatal glaring. Eyes normally melted chocolate now shone like black onyx as he stared at his seer.

Snapping her hazel gaze from Gunn to the vampire, Cordy blinked in surprise at his annoyed tone. “Huh?”

“I said you’re wearing my favourite shirt” Angel repeated petulantly and crossed his arms over his broad chest.

Looking down at the shirt in question, Cordy scowled and glared right back at him not intimidated in the least. “I…!” she was cut off instantly.

His eyes narrowed as he squinted at the brunette dangerously, so what if she looked better in it than he did. So what if he found her wearing his clothes a turn-on, that didn’t subtract from the fact that it was “My favourite shirt!”

That was it! She did it on purpose. She wore his favourite shirt knowing it would drive him nuts. She did it because she wanted him to be attracted to her. She was… Was a minx.

Yes, Cordelia Chase was a minx!

“Fine!” Cordy was in no mode to deal with his insanity and moved her hands to the bottom buttons in preparation to take it off. “Here, you can have it back!”

Seeing her fingers start work on the black buttons, Angel’s gaze widened when he realised just what she was going to do. “N-No! I didn’t mean… You can wear it Cordy! Really!”

“Are you sure? Because I wouldn’t want you to think I was stealing your favourite black shirt, of which you have many.” Cordy snarked viciously as she ceased opening the shirt. God, what had gotten into him today?

First, he dove out into the sun to save her from a broken heel. Then, he had stopped that woman from punching her and now, he was letting her wear his shirt without a decent argument. If she didn’t know any better, she could have sworn he was attracted to her.

With that thought, Cordy froze as realisation dawned and the light shone into the darkest parts of her brain as she gaped at Angel through surprised, delighted and awed eyes…
PART 11 (CALIFI AGAIN…)

Her eyes narrowed thoughtfully for a second, then she glanced back at him, noticing his dark eyes were still attached to the front his shirt. Letting out an exaggerated sigh that puffed out her curvy chest, Cordy turned towards the stairs.

“Um; where are you going?” Angel finally remembered what vocal chords were for and called after the rapidly retreating Seer, who was now more than half way up the stairs.

“I can see that you really aren’t happy about me wearing this, so I’m gonna change back to my dusty old one,” her voice floated down towards the vampire and his eyes widened in guilt.

Damnit! Why did he have to hurt her feelings like that? And in front of a relative stranger; realising Buffy had followed him back into the lobby and had watched smirking at his outburst. It was only a damned shirt; albiet a very expensive silk designer one.

“Cor- you don’t have to- crap!” ignoring the occupants of the lobby and brushing past the two people who were descending the stairs, Angel rushed to catch up with his best friend.

“Cordy, I-” Angel froze at the open glass doors that normally shut off the bedroom area, and gaped.

A golden expanse of flawless skin had greeted the awe-struck vamp; his eye’s flaring amber with pure lust when his voice had startled the brunette into swivelling around to face him.

Her rounded, firm breasts were barely contained in the soft peach silk bra that was the only thing she now wore above the waist; the soft fabric so fine he could easily make out the seductive outlines of her rapidly hardening nipples that reacted instantly to his scorching gaze.

without even being aware of it, Angel had stalked silently into the room until he stood inches away and just….stared.

“Angel?” it was too much for the vampire; many weeks of frustration and probably unrequited feelings consumed him, and he did the only thing he could in such a situation…
PART 12 (LIOSLAITH SNEAKS IN…)

“Cordy, I-” Angel froze at the open glass doors that normally shut off the bedroom area, and gaped.

A golden expanse of flawless skin had greeted the awe-struck vamp; his eye’s flaring amber with pure lust when his voice had startled the brunette into swivelling around to face him.

Her rounded, firm breasts were barely contained in the soft peach silk bra that was the only thing she now wore above the waist; the soft fabric so fine he could easily make out the seductive outlines of her rapidly hardening nipples that reacted instantly to his scorching gaze.

without even being aware of it, Angel had stalked silently into the room until he stood inches away and just….stared.

“Angel?” it was too much for the vampire; many weeks of frustration and probably unrequited feelings consumed him, and he did the only thing he could in such a situation…

Cordelia watched in stunned amazement as Angel moved in a quick flurry. His movements just a blur to her human eyes.

As he stopped directly in front of her Cordelia shuddered at the sheer feral heat raging in his glowing eyes. “A-Angel? Whatever is wrong? You’re beginning to frighten me, please tell me what is wrong.”

Angel showed absolutely no sign of having heard her as he continued to gaze down at her, a hungry look emanating from his eyes making her feel incredibly, and unexplicable, turned on.

Involuntarily a shudder raced through her as he continued to stare down at her. Oh my God, you’ve really done it now! Cordelia silently cursed herself as she saw his nostrils flare as her arousal reached out and tickled his acute senses.

Glancing behind him at the still open suite door Cordelia opened her mouth to protest when a low growl emanated from deep inside her still silent friend causing her own arousal to once again sky rocket inside her.

Swallowing proved near impossible for her as she stood enthralled before him. Squeezing her legs together she tried to ignore the sopping aching dampness inside her that almost begged for him to go through with the delicious dark desires his eyes were promising her.

“Angel,” Cordelia normally firm confident voice came out as just an uncertain whisper. “Please, your frightening me.”

Even though his facial expressions never changed Cordelia just knew he hadn’t believed her claim to fright, instead she just knew he could sense her desire for him pouring off her in heady waves.

Moving a tentative hand up to touch his face Cordelia was shocked to see how badly she was physically affected by his silent seduction. Her shaking making it impossible for her to complete a gesture she had done often in the past.

Continuing to stare down into her deep hazel orbs Angel felt himself drown in her beautiful brown eyes.

Sensing rather than seeing her movement Angel caught her hand as she went to drop it back down to her side once again. Gently Angel brought it back up towards his face once again, only this time he placed a soft kiss on the open palm before moving it to rest against his smooth cheek.

Closing his eyes he let out a soft rumble from deep inside his chest, content to feel her willingly touch him once again. It seemed so awfully long since she had last stood so close to him, let alone voluntarily touched him or allowed him to touch her.

Oblivious to everything and everyone Angel and Cordelia kept their attention firmly locked on each other as they stood close, only their hands touching on his cheek.

But all too soon this brief, fleeting touch was no longer enough for either of them. Neither fought the need for futher contact as Angel’s arms moved suddenly to bring her closer to him.

The pull of his welcoming embrace was too much for the now unafraid woman as she felt Angel move and pull her into his arms.

Holding her tightly against his chest Angel let out a deep, rough sigh of pure unadulterated contentment. Burying his face in her hair Angel felt his first real relaxing moment since they had learnt that the Sunnydale crew were coming to town.

“Cordy.”

Although her name had come out as little more than a sigh Cordelia had heard him loud and clear.

Her own voice soft Cordelia responded. “What is it Angel?”

“I’m sorry…”

“Whatever for?”

“For the way I’ve been acting, the way I’ve been treating you. I’ve been a little…” Unsure how to go on Angel allowed his voice to trail off and instead buried his face further into the security blanket her hair provided him with.

“A little…” Cordelia prodded gently before suggesting. “A little unreasonable? Is that what you’re trying to get out in your own special dorky way?”

Her breathless laugh triggered his own soft chuckle. “As always you cut to the chase Chase!”

“Hardy Ha Ha,” Cordelia sarcastically snorted.

“I really mean it Cordy. Keep on the shirt, it’s not really important. I guess I just overreacted.”

“Ya think?”

Angel laugh joined her own again. Once they had both gone quiet again Angel apologized once again, “I’m really sorry Cordy.”

“Enough with the apologies already,” Cordelia sighed deeply revelling in Angel’s strong embrace.

“Alright I’ve stopped apologizing…” Angel murmured to which Cordelia snorted loudly and destinctly unladylikely.

“Thank you for your consideration my dear dear friend. Remind me to do something for you in the future,” she smiled madonna-like before adding, “not!” with a cheeky grin.

“You’re welcome.” Cordelia pinched his side in response. “Hey enough with the nails, I thought I was forgiven.”

Drawing back Cordelia met his amused gaze with an teasing glance of her own. “Hey I forgive you big guy, but I didn’t say anything about not punishing you a little bit.”

“Punishment? Retribution like this is a vampire’s forte. Sure you want to go there with me?”

“Hmm maybe you’re right. You have after all had decades, no centuries, more practice with sufferance than me.”

“Are you calling me old Cordy?”

“Well if the dentures fit…”

“Dentures…” Angel let his vampire face emerge. Flashing his fangs at her teasingly Angel growled softly. “Wanna go there with me Cordy? My fangs are real, not from any dentist or joke shop.”

Their laughter filled the air as the both indulged themselves in a childish banter and affection which had been sadly missing in their relationship over the past tense days.

Resting his forehead against hers Angel sighed deeply, “I really mean it Cordy, keep the shirt on. As you said it is one of many,” he smiled at her affectionately before tacking on. “Even though it is a designer silk original.”

“I’d say you’re a little late with that invitation buddy,” Cordelia looked down at her naked chest to emphasize her point.

“I see what you mean,” Angel agreed feeling his body’s instinctual reaction to his closenes to her half naked form. Hell, this was his reaction to seeing her, just thinking about her these days set him off, regardless of her state of dress.

Cordelia slapped his arm playfully, “Angel!” she scolded half-heartedly. “You are such a man.”

“And this is a bad thing how exactly?”

“You have been spending way too much time with me if you’re beginning to sound like me.”

“And I repeat, this is a bad thing how exactly?”

Cordelia opened her mouth to respond when cold emotionless voice cut into their private little world.

“How long have you got? There are so many reasons after all to cover.”

Spinning around to face the intruder Angel immediately stood in front of Cordelia. Blocking her half naked form from the ogling men standing behind the fiercely scowling blonde.

“What exactly is going on here guys? Why are you all standing in my private suite?”

“I think the real question here is what the hell do you think you’re doing with her?” Buffy spat out the last word unable to bring herself to even utter the other woman’s name. “I guess I was right after all, I think you owe me an apology Angel. This just goes to prove I was right and you were wrong. I just hope you believe me now before you do anymore to risk your soul.” She turned to look at her friends for support. “Not that their would be any real risk of perfect happiness with her, so I suppose you could be safe enough with her. Especially seeings as vampires can’t actually catch anything nasty.”

Her insinuations and summarizations were obvious to everyone in the room and those lurking in the hallway.

Cordelia felt her temper rise and was just about to walk around Angel, nakedness be damned, and dealing the slayer another slap. This one definitely a whole lot harder, hard enough to smack that superior smirk off her face at the very least.

Just as Gunn lurched from the hallway, trying to get past the trio blocking the doorway, and get into the slayer, Fred and Wesley grasped a tight hold of him. Struggling to stop the angry man from tackling the supernaturally strong woman.

But his defense was unneeded as Angel growled loudly and sprung forward grabbing his ex-girlfriend by the throat he picked her up effortlessly. Holding her several inches off the ground his feral eyes flashed angrily as he spoke through his menacing fangs, “I already warned you slayer but you’re obviously too stupid or too egotistical to believe I wouldn’t go through with my promises. You will never again speak to a member of my family, especially Cordelia, in such an insulting demeaning way. Regardless of what we are facing I will not allow you to treat my mate like that…”

Gasps were heard all around the room, the loudest from behind the enraged vampire. But he heard none of them as his demon rose to the forth and demanded retribution for the slur cast upon them both by the woman before him …
PART 13 (LIOSLAITH COMES BACK FOR A SECOND HELPING…)

Holding her several inches off the ground his feral eyes flashed angrily as he spoke through his menacing fangs, “I already warned you slayer but you’re obviously too stupid or too egotistical to believe I wouldn’t go through with my promises. You will never again speak to a member of my family, especially Cordelia, in such an insulting demeaning way. Regardless of what we are facing I will not allow you to treat my mate like that…”

Gasps were heard all around the room, the loudest from behind the enraged vampire. But he heard none of them as his demon rose to the forth and demanded retribution for the slur cast upon them both by the woman before him …

While Giles’ frantically attempted to clean his glasses for what seemed like the millionth time that hour the others were making no attempt to disguise their fascination with the four people closed up inside Wesley office.

Buffy glared at Cordelia who stood beside Angel clasping the vampire’s arm with both of hers.

This was all her fault. She had stolen her soulmate and turned him against her.

Casting her mind back barely half an hour she remembered clearly and with a red-hot rage being held aloft several inches off the ground by Angel as he choked her life slowly out of her.
His vampire face firmly in place as he growled out his threats to her as she began to loose consciousness.

“How dare you threaten my mate!” he had growled, his demon staring directly out of his eyes and into hers.

It was almost as if she was back in Sunnydale and facing Angelus once again.

Despite the others attempts Angel refused to give up his iron grip on her neck and she been begining to see spots in front of her eyes by then, and a far off pounding in her ears.

Eventually it was Cordelia who had gotten him to release her and as she fell down onto the floor on her knees she had watched in horror as Angel wrapped Cordelia tightly into his arms. Caressing her bare back as he still emitted low feral menancing growls.

Willow and Xander had rushed to her side, helping her to her feet. All the while she had been unable to tear her eyes away from the embracing couple standing just a couple of feet away.

Finally she had gathered her whits enough to begin forming full thoughts. All of them filled with pure hatred towards the brunette haired woman standing with her back to her.

“You Goddamn bitch, you’ve turned him haven’t you?” she ignored the warning glances her two best friends sent her. Ignorant of anyone else in the room but the other couple, she had shook off their hands and took a step towards them. “That’s why Angel attacked me!” she had surmissed.

Before she could take another step two things had simmuntaneously happened. Angel had shifted Cordelia behind him with an loud warning growl in her direction, and the dark skinned man who worked for Angel had escaped his friends who had been previously holding him back and had threw himself directly into her path. Hardly a bright thing to do, he was no real threat against her slayer strength.

Before things had gotten any worse Giles had returned and with Wes’ help had defused the situation to the best of his ability.

Now here she stood facing Angel and Cordelia with Wes as their moderator. The others were just in the lobby outside, within shouting distance in case anything got out of hand.

Sighing she reluctantly turned her attention back to the presence just in time to hear Wesley’s, “Buffy are you even paying attention?”

“Of course I’m paying attention,” she snapped at her former watcher.

“Hey, don’t take this out on Wesley!” Cordelia demanded.

“Gladly. I’d rather take it out on the one responsible.” Buffy smiled coldly at her high-school nemesis. “You up for it?”

Angel forestalled Cordelia answer pulling her protectively under his arm. “This isn’t Cordelia fault anymore than it’s Wes’. So back off Buffy.”

“Back off?”

The softness of her response raised the hackles on both Angel and Wesley’s backs. More trouble was brewing and the slayer was about to blow once again. They just knew it.

Exchanging identical looks they prepared themselves for the coming storm.

“They aren’t who you really have a problem with Buffy. I am. So I suggest you direct your anger towards me. Not them. They are innocent of any wrong doing.”

Buffy glanced stonily at her former boyfriend for a moment before answering.

“I admit Wesley isn’t to blame for any of this,” she conceded quietly. “But Cordelia is very much involved and at fault. She is responsible Angel. She turned you.”

“You’re making absolutely no sense. Are you even listening to yourself Buffy?”

Rubbing a soothing hand across his chest Cordelia replied to his question. “I get what she’s raging about Angel.”

“Then please tell me because I most certainly do not get it. Not in the least.”

“She thinks that I have somehow turned you Angelus-y.”

“Angelus-y?” Angel frowned in obvious confusion.

“What Cordelia means is that Buffy,” he waved a hand towards the simmering woman in question. “Somehow believes Cordelia has subjegated you. Making you act in a manner more familiar to your unsouled counterpart.”

“Why?”

Before either Wesley or Cordelia could further explain Buffy jumped in angrily demanding, “isn’t it obvious Angel? She must of did something to you to make you act this way.”

“What way?”

Disbelieving in his naivety Cordelia and Wesley exchanged a look as Buffy irrately paced forward.

“You see? That proves my point just there. You don’t even realize it’s going on. She has twisted your thinking so much you don’t even see it anymore.”

Angel interrupted her angry words with some of his own. “See what exactly Buffy?”

Buffy pointed an accusing finger at the other woman. “What she’s done to you!”

“She is in the room,” Cordelia groused as Angel growled out of patience.

“Done what Buffy? Made me happy? Given me a real home? A real family? A place I finally belong? What?”

“Turned you against me, that’s what!” Buffy burst into his tirade, tears glistening in her accusing blue eyes.

“Buffy your delusional,” Cordelia snapped as Angel looked at her in complete amazement.

Moving Cordelia behind him Angel stepped forward and placed a hand on Buffy’s shoulder.

“Buffy you can’t honestly believe that. Cordelia wouldn’t do such a thing, even if she knew how to,” he assured her. Positive that he was telling the truth.

“Well, how else can you explain what has happened since I arrived here?”

Cordelia rolled her eyes at Wesley as Angel formulated his reply.

“Buffy, I don’t know what you expected to happen when you came here but you can’t really have expected nothing to have changed in these past couple of years, can you?”

“But, I…you…I mean we…what we feel won’t ever change. We will always be mean’t to be together, right? If there wasn’t the curse I mean…”

“Buffy,” Angel groaned deeply. “I’m the first to admit what we had was very special. Something I will always cherish. But the reasons we couldn’t be together. They will never change. You were my first love and I will always look back on our time together with great fondness but…”

“But?” Buffy prodded, sure she didn’t want to hear the rest.

“But it’s over. It’s in the past and the past is where it belongs. We have both moved on since then. You can never recatch the past. No matter how fast you run.”

The tears overflowed her eyes as she threw herself against his chest. “You can’t mean that Angel. We belong together.”

“Belonged together. Past tense.”

“No belong together. You can’t give up, we can’t give up. It’s been over two years since looked into your curse, maybe there is something we can find now. Something to secure your soul for good, then nothing can stand in our way …”

A soft finger on her lips stopped her rambling as Angel slowly shook his head.

“That’s not a good idea Buffy. You have to let go and move on. You told me that, over a year ago in fact and you were right. I’ve finally let go of the past and moved on.”

“But An-”

“No Buffy. It’s the only choice. Even if my soul was still in danger of being lost, we couldn’t be together. We don’t belong together anymore, I belong with someone else now. Someone wonderful, someone who had taught me how to love unconditionally, someone who has taught me what it means to really belong.” He glanced back over his shoulder, taking in Cordelia surprised tearfilled gaze. “Someone I hope will forgive me for not telling her my soul was secure. Someone I hope will give me another chance to prove to her I truly love her and only her … ”
PART 14 (JENNIEC JUMPS IN…)

Angel walked slowly to Cordelia. Tenderly grasping her hand in his, he stared fiercely into her eyes, willing her to accept the truth of his words. Time stood still as the occupants of the office, that was now beginning to become smaller, all stood silent as the weight of emotions began to settle in. Buffy, as per her usual, was the first to recover, if it could be called that.

“I gotta get out of here, I…I have to….just get out of here.”

The remaining occupants watched as Buffy stormed out of the room, wincing as the door slammed, nearly shattering its glass window. Cordelia turned to Angel, landing a hard slap to his left shoulder.

“Ow! Cordy, please…” He followed her as she crossed to the other side of the room, in an effort to get away from him. His mind was screaming to run, but his soul wouldn’t let him go, this was a fight he wasn’t willing to loose, but if he were – he would go down fighting. Trouble was, this wasn’t something he had ever trained for – how do you train yourself for an emotional battle that could leave you truly broken, if you were to loose? NO! his mind screamed, I won’t loose, I can’t, nothing has ever been more important to me than the woman who has embraced me heart and soul. Cordelia, please, please don’t walk away….

Cordelia spun angrily on her heals to face him, “Angel, how could you do that? How could you say those things to her?” Angel felt his hope start to fade at her words. “Now they are going to think we are, like, Dating or something!”

Ok, this wasn’t fatal…yet. She doesn’t believe me, she thinks it was just for Buffy’s sake, ok, that I think I can fix.

“I would like that”

“Well, I wouldn’t, but I’ll do it. I’ll do it because I don’t think I could handle another one of your funks, and as much as I hate to admit this, I really need this job, and I wouldn’t begin to know how to find another champion to handle the visions. Wait, is your soul really secure?”

There it was. His words were finally beginning to register with her. Angel decided not to deal with anything else she had said, although the idea of her leaving and finding another champion had him ready to rip the room apart. He spoke quietly, hoping the fallout of his next word, would put them on course to the conversation he had waited, and probably would have waited for had Buffy not shown up.

“Yes”

“Then why are you not out there with Buffy? I don’t get it, this is what you have been waiting for, been brooding for.”

“You heard what I said”

“Yeah, that was pretty good, by the way, I think she bought it. OK. I don’t know what your motivation is, but I’ll do it. But not before we have another heart to heart about the meaning of personal bubble.” She was rambling now, nervous of his words, of her reaction to him earlier, nervous of her heart breaking if she gave in to her dreams and desires to him.

Angel had unceremoniously dumped her, fired her, with no regard to her place in his life. For Cordy it was clear that to Angel, she had no place in his life, and now this, the words Cordy didn’t even know she had dreamed of hearing. Could she trust him, would she? Her mind was spinning, her heart pounding in her chest, no, she couldn’t do this now, she couldn’t let herself be hurt like that again if Angel went on another of his ‘dark trips’ under the guise of helping a wayward evil from his past.

But he was proving to her right now that maybe he wouldn’t. Angel had just declared his love for her to Buffy – the one obstacle from his past Cordy had felt sure they could ever overcome if she were to be honest with her feelings, if she would ever allow herself to take that step. Angel took advantage of her silence, a rare moment indeed, to interrupt her thoughts before it was too late.

“My motivation is that I love you. When I fired you, it was because I couldn’t face all of you, and your recriminations. I needed to embrace my demon in order to defeat Darla and Dru – and I couldn’t do that with any of you here. As it turns out I couldn’t do it without you here either.” He stopped to collect his thoughts. He knew he had one shot at this, and he wasn’t about to blow it by bumbling through what he wanted to say to her.

“As dark as it got for me, as much as I tried to push everything, and everyone out of my life, I still found myself looking in on you,” he turned to Wesley and added, “all of you. Something kept tugging, and pulling at me. I couldn’t NOT make sure you were okay. Then I found out that you pretty much were, and that aided in my descent. That is until I realized that that wasn’t where I wanted to go. Something was missing, and that something was you. It was you who kept pulling my soul back. It was your friendship, and acceptance that kept me grounded.”

Cordelia took that opportunity to interrupt. “Friendship, Angel, you just said it was our friendship that pulled you back. You can’t mistake that for love.” She ended quietly, looking away as she struggled to speak.

“I get that, Cordy, I really do. But with you…God, I don’t even know where to begin…I just know it’s love. Cordy, there has never been anyone who has made me feel this way,” he held his hand to her before she had the chance bring up his relationship with Buffy. Angel needed to have his say first before she put him on the defense.

“Being with Buffy was…more than I thought I deserved. I loved her…love her…but I don’t think I was ever in love. It was never us in that relationship, not the real us, not the real me. I spent my time with her trying not to be the person I was, to be worthy of her affections. But with you, I can’t help but be the person I am, the one you introduced me too, allowed…no encouraged me to be.”

As the volume of emotion continued to escalate, neither Cordy nor Angel noticed as Wesley quietly slipped from the room. He was well aware that this conversation was a long time coming. Over the last year he watched as his two friends had become closer, and now, with Angel’s soul secure, he was never happier that they could finally connect. He silently prayed as he left the two most stubborn people he had ever met, finally expose their heart’s desire to each other, at least Angel was. Please Cordelia, please let yourself be happy.

“Angel, I…I don’t want to hear this right now. It’s too much, after everything that’s happened, I don’t know if I can handle this. I can’t let myself be hurt like that again, and we were just friends. Can you promise me, you won’t hurt me like that again?” She wanted this so badly, but she knew her heart would not survive if he were leave her like that again.

“No”

Her heart broke, they weren’t even together, together, and already her heart was breaking.

“No, Cordy, I honestly don’t think I can promise you that I won’t hurt you. One of the downfalls of finding the real me, is that sometimes that real me can be a real bastard. But, I can promise you that I have never wanted to try harder not to, I can promise you that. Cordy, please, please gives us this chance.”

Cordy wobbled, and struggled to sit as the power of his promise washed over her – bringing with it a warmth she had never known. She knew in her heart that he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t hurt her. Truth be told, she knew she couldn’t promise the same either. He admitted he could be a bastard, and she knew she could be a bitch as well. The raw honesty served to break down the last wall around her heart. Now it was just a matter of how brave she was willing to be. Cordy decided that although the stakes were very high, she was willing to risk it. She never wanted anything more in all her young life, and she was willing to risk it.

She looked up slowly to meet his eyes, growing stronger as she watched him wait as if his life depended on what she was going to say next. She rose to stand in front of him and took the leap.

“I love you, too.”
PART 15 (CORNELIA’S DESTINY POPS IN…)

She looked up slowly to meet his eyes, growing stronger as she watched him wait as if his life depended on what she was going to say next. She rose to stand in front of him and took the leap.

“I love you, too.”

Angel stared at her, shellshocked. Okay, so he’d just declared his undying love like a schmuck in a Hallmark commercial, but he hadn’t really considered that she’d actually acquiese so easily. He’d thought of a few responses: yelling, tears, denial, scorn, but never that she’d actually say the words back to him.

“What?” he said, his voice hoarse, as his eyes drunk in her emotion-filled face. “Say it again,” he demanded.

Cordy smiled, somehow not at all annoyed by his overbearing behavior this time. “I love you, Angel,” she said softly.

That was all it took for him to close the remaining distance between them and throw his arms around her, crushing his mouth to hers.

Shocked was a word that perfectly described Cordelia’s feelings as Angel’s lips touched her own. God, to kiss him? Like this? In a way that actually meant something? Cordelia had never died, never experienced heaven, but she had a mini-epiphany in that moment that this was just about as close as she would get, being in Angel’s arms.

Growling, Angel pulled her even closer, one hand going under his own black shirt she wore, tracing random patterns on the soft skin of her back. His tongue invaded her mouth, rubbing against hers, and Cordelia moaned, arching her back to flatten her breasts against his hard chest. Her hands came up, clutching at his biceps for balance, and gave every ounce of passion right back to him.

After moments that seemed like an eternity of bliss, Angel pulled his mouth away from Cordy’s to let her breathe. Short, warm bursts of air peppered his face as she struggled to catch her breath. His eyes slid shut as he reveled in the feel of her body against his. Finally. Tasting her had been like finding the answer to all the mysteries of the universe. Everything slid together and clicked.

Slowly, his lips trailed along her jawline and Cordelia’s eyes slid shut.

“God, Cordy, I love you so much,” he breathed in her ear, then sucked on her earlobe gently.

“A-angel,” she said, obviously having trouble finding her breath.

His mouth trailed back down, moving to her neck, and he hovered just over her pulse, licking it briefly. “What, baby?”

The sexy, deep timbre of his voice made her shiver, her eyes sliding shut as she almost lost herself to him again.

“We can’t do this, not right now.” God, it was so hard to be a good girl.

“Why the hell not?” he sounded annoyed, but pulled back away from her to study her face.

“We’ve got company. Angry company,” she reminded him, and he scowled. “Not only that, but there is actually an apocalypse in the mix, here, too, not just the unholy terror of a pissed-off slayer.”

“No,” he said, shaking his head, tightening his grip on her once again. “I’ve waited 250 years for a woman like you, and I’m not about to let real life get in my way. We always get separated somehow, Cordy. There’s always something that comes between me and happiness, always something that’s more important.”

“But this is–”

“No!” he growled again. “I love you. You love me. We are what’s important right now, Cordelia. We are.”

As if to punctuate his determination, he kissed her again, this time more slowly, slow enough that she could pull away if she’d wanted to. If she’d wanted to.

Cordy protested against his mouth, a muffled mmmph, but he paid no attention. Never breaking the heated kiss, Angel slowly walked them over to Wesley’s desk, pushing her back against it, her butt resting at the edge. Pushing a few things aside, Angel grasped her ass, pulling her up and settling her on the desk. Arranging himself between her outspread thighs, he pushed against her, and Cordy gasped again when she felt the evidence of his desire for her strike her right where she wanted it most. He broke the kiss, resting his forehead against hers.

An almost evil smile curled across Angel’s mouth as his eyes darkened to almost black. “Like that, baby?” he said huskily.

Cordy could only nod.

“Then maybe you’ll like this, too,” he said, grinding his hips against hers again. His tongue came out, licking her lower lip gently, slowly, before sliding it back into the warm depths of her mouth. His hand stroked her inner thigh, moving higher, higher, and then–

“Oh, bloody hell!”

Giles’s voice ripped into the haze of their happiness like a machete hacking through underbrush. Guiltily, Cordy jumped away from Angel, her flushed face showing her obvious embarassment.

“Giles!” she said shakily, trying to push Angel off of her. “We didn’t hear you come in.”

“Obviously,” he stated dryly, his arms crossed in irritation. “I could hear the yelling from the lobby, and then when Buffy came out, crying, and Wesley following close behind, that gave me a clue that somethings serious was afoot.”

“Well give the man a medal,” Angel groused under his breath, still grasping Cordy’s hips tightly despite her protest. Louder, he said, “What is it, Giles?” There was an obvious undercurrent of annoyance in his voice.

Giles chose to ignore it. “While I understand that the two of you have some serious things to, ah, discuss, now may not be the best time. We didn’t come down here just so you and Buffy could rehash your relationship problems. This apocalypse is serious business, not something to be shelved for pleasures of the flesh.”

Angel growled at this, but Cordy’s hand on his chest kept him from jumping the watcher.

“You’re right, Giles,” Cordy said, an apology in her tone. “Angel and I can continue this later.” That comment was accompanied by a meaningful warning gaze into her new boyfriend’s eyes.

Before Cordelia could continue her peacemaking, Angel turned to stand facing Giles, crossing his own arms. “And just what could be so important that you have to talk about it right now?”

Giles glared at him. “If we don’t talk about it right now, Angel, you might not have a Cordelia to continue . . . ” he trailed off, gesturing at them haphazardly . . . “whatever the bloody hell it was you were doing.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Watcher?” Angel said, stepping closer, his hands dropping to his sides and clenching into fists.

“We came down here because the prophecy concerns you. And, more importantly, your seer.”

“What about her?” Angel’s tone was filled with dread, and behind him, Cordelia’s eyes were wide as saucers.

Wesley came to stand next to Giles in the doorway, an open book in his hands, his face white and his expression stricken. Weakly, he gestured toward the pages.

“It predicts her death.”
PART 16 (FANGGIRL HOPS ABOARD THE FIC TRAIN…)

Cordelia grasped Angel around the waist and pressed her forhead against his back and tried to find comfort she so despretly needed. He turned into her and took her face in his hands and it was then that he saw it… Love and also trust. Trust that he would fix this, trust that he would save her. He bent down to whisper in her ear… “I will always save you.” She gasped at that and the tears began to fall unwanted yes, for Cordelia was strong but she was also scared.

Angel turned to Giles and Wesley focusing on his friend. “Wes, this is not gonna happen… so what do I need to kill, maim and or torture to stop this.”

Wes look from his book back to Angel and his face was ashen. “It’s not that simple Angel.”

“Well make it that simple.” Angel looked at the men he felt himself start to crumble. ‘Not gonna happen either’ he thought. ‘I gotta be strong for Cor’ With that he made his resolve.

Wesley saw the change of emotion’s flying on Angel’s face and could only feel himself traveling the road with his friend. “Angel”. Wesley said after a moment.

“Please Wes. Give me something.” Angel said finally. “Giles help him.”

Giles took off his glasses and wiped them. He had never seen so much emotion from the Vampire even with Buffy. “Of course Angel.. we will all stay and help. All of us.” Meaning if a slayer was needed she would be here.

“Thanks.” Was all Angel could get out and he turned back to Cordelia who was uncharistiscally quiet.

“Cor?” He said as he picked up her chin.

What he got was a reaction he didn’t think possible. “Angel I have to go…”

“What!” He was in shock. “Go where.”

“To my apartment… to to… I don’t know I just I have to get out of here.” She went to run past him and he grabbed her arm.

“Cor we can just go upstairs and talk or…” Angel was pleading with her. Maybe this was part of the prophesy maybe she leaves the safety of the hotel… maybe she never comes back.

“Angel let me go… I just need some time.” She looked at him put her hand on his chest. “Angel I will be back I just need to be by myself for a couple of hours I have my cell.”

“But….” Angel tried again. She waived him off and shot to the door. He went to follow.

“Angel let her go…” Wes said calmly.

“Never!” He yelled. He looked around at all the faces and stopped on one.. Buffy.

“Angel?” She said.

“Buffy can I talk to you?” He finally said

“Sure.” She smiled weakly.

This was it the conversation that would put the period on the sentence of there relationship… he was going to ask her to protect Cordy. He was going to ask her to save him by saving her.
PART 17 (FANGGIRL SWEEPS IN FOR A BACK-TO-BACK…)

As Angel closed the doors to the garden so they could speak in private Buffy let out a inaudiable sigh.

Angel put his hand on her shoulder not sure totally if he was trying to steady her or himself.

“Buffy look I know that…”

Buffy looked at him her eyes glasses over from unshed tears. Her thoughts were racing as were the man in front her she had to let it go, let him go. This is were it would begin or end as the case maybe and she had to be strong. Because when all of this is said and done she wanted to part of his life and to do that she needed to let this happen.

“I know Angel…. just go find her I will be here and we will start the research.”

Angel looked at her more closely he was taken aback by what she had said and smiled lightly. His hand had moved to her cheek for a light caress.

“Buffy….” He couldn’t find the words she had surprised him and he knew this new grown up Buffy was one he would charish as a wonderful friend.

“Thank you.” He started towards the door to make his way to finding Cordelia. He heard with his vampire hearing the hitch of a breath behind him. He turned to see the tears that were threatening before graze down her beautiful cheeks.

“Buffy?” He said he was torn now… to find his love and confort her or comfort his old love. He didn’t need to think long for she waved him off.

“Go, find her Angel she needs you. I…. I will be fine.” She said and turned not wanting to see him leave.

He had nodded and seeing her turn he thought it best to do as she had said and go find his Cordy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Later….

After looking everywhere and he had been all over the city her apartment the park the coffee house she liked even the diner he secretly knew she frequented for those hamburger and french fries she swore she didn’t touch. He came up with nothing and that scared him.

“Cordy were the hell are you dammit?!” He said out loud to the night wishing she would answer him. Then a thought and as if his question had been answered he smirked.

“You are a sly one Miss Chase….” With that he was off to a place he knew that was sacred to her where she felt at peace with everything.

Before the car had even came to a stop he saw her and he knew she had heard the car as she had said ‘that old thing has a definate chug chug sound’ for her shoulders hitched. He came to a stop and fly out of the car.

“Angel stop!” She said without even turning.

He ignored her and continued to make his way towards her. She was a vision herself standing on the cliff and the moonlight even in this most awful of nights when her fate might have been decided and out of his hands all he thought was ‘Beautiful’.

“I mean it Angel just go.” She went to turn when she was grabbed.

“Not gonna happen…” He relished in the nearness of her.

“Why not Angel I said I wanted to be by myself for awhile.” She looked at him.

“See I have this problem when my seer takes off in an attempt to make me worried. I need to find her.” He tried to smile but again he looked into the eyes of a woman he loved and for the second time tonight he had seen anguish…Buffy’s because things were ending and Cordy for things that had just begun.

“Well Mister said seer did say to worry she just said she wanted to be alone and that meant by myself I can’t be alone with you here.”

He let a small smile grace his handsome face. “My point exactly Miss Chase.”

“Geez Arrrrg Angel can you just…”

“Nope.”

“whatever.” she said in a tone so much like the Cordelia of old.

“Seriously Cor. I can’t leave you I love you and I am worried and just talk to me okay… we are going to fix this. I will fix this.” Angel now had a determination in his voice that made Cordy look him in the eyes seeing just that determination and love.

“Can you? I mean I know you will try but this is the on high people who put this together. I have to believe it.” She lost all momentum to leave and colapsed in his arms.

“Why believe it huh? We can change it. I know we can.” Angel said pulling her and asking for an answer. “Why do you think I can’t save you.” He sounded hurt.

“Well…” She wiped her eyes and sniffled.

“Well what Cor…” She was hesitating. “Baby come on tell me.” He caressed her face and dired a tear with his thumb.

“Angel if we prove this wrong I am scared that well….” She hitched a breath. “That the Shanshu prophecy can be changed too….”

“Oh Cor…”

“No Angel… I can not let that happen after all that we have fought for…. you have to see that light at the end of the tunnel and if saving me stops that I…. I ….”

“Cor. This doesn’t make the prophecy any less then it is but I will save you and right now you’re important not something that may or amy not happen years and years from now…”

“I just want you to…” She had lost it and flew in to Angel’s arms and let out the tears… ” and I am scared… really scared Angel.”

“Shhhh honey I love you and we will get through this and everyone will be happy and it will be fine. OKay..”

Cordelia looked back at him.

“Okay??” Angel said again.

Cordy looked and nodded slightly “Okay”

“Good let’s go home.” He went to lead her towards the cars.

“No let’s stay here for a little bit.”

“For a little bit” He smiled and kissed her passionatly.
PART 18 (MANDERS-21 RETURNS…)

She found herself frozen in place as she was released from Angel’s grasp, shell-shocked from the intensity and passion he so obviously held for her. Blinking once and then twice, she could finally feel her mouth again. Her lips were slightly swollen and tingling from the assault – if only all those Hollywood oldies could get a hold of Angel instead of a syringe full of collagen there’d be no chance of botched puckers.

“Umm, do you still have that blanket in the trunk?”

“Yeah, but it’s the middle of summer Cordy. You could stand here naked and you’d never know the difference.”

“More like you’ll never see the difference if you don’t find something for me to lay on. I’m so not about to get a muddy stick poking me in the butt while we’re rolling around on the ground.”

Eyebrows snapping up and mouth hanging wide, Angel clued into just what she was sugeesting – well more like spelling out in clear plain English for him.

A satisfactory smirk played on Cordelia’s face as Angel dashed for the plymouth and began grappling with the weapons in the trunk to find the blanket they kept in there for victims of her visions. She’d aptly named it “The Comforter” for reasons aside from its obvious function.

A giggle escaped her when at first she heard Angel cursing at the weapons for their disobedience, but soon erupted into an outright laugh as his skull connected with the open trunk door.

Finally prevailing as the successor over his beloved weaponry, Angel made quick work of closing the trunk and speeding back to her side. A ‘cat got the cream’ look was plastered on his face as he exhitied to her the blanket he held in his securely in his hands – she could swear that he thought the blanket would escape, and foil all the fun about to be had.

“Got it!”

“Good boy!” She sarcastically remarked, referring to the way he was acting just like an excited little boy heading for the candy store. But she couldn’t really blame him as a devilish fantasy of what was to come ran through her own mind. One with slick skin, taught muscles, and pleasure filled cries, all culminating in passionate bliss. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on one particularly hard muscle.

“Wip it out….the blanket I mean.” Blush crept to her cheeks as her thoughts and words clashed.

“Baby, have a little patience and it will come.” He winked saucily at her, making sure the meaning of his words weren’t lost.

Encircling her waist with one arm, he headed them over to a patch of ground that had some semblence of seclusion from the open cliff. His fingers squeezed her hip as he kissed her temple, bringing her into the cradle of his arms. Letting go he took the side of the blanket in his hands and shook it, guiding its fall as it floated to the ground.

Turning back to an expectant Cordelia, Angel gestured to their makeshift bed with a flourish of his arms, “Tada.”

Cordelia came forward and grasped his face between her hands. Placing an innocent peek on his lips she thanked him for his handywork. “It’s perfect.”

“Your perfect.” His response was nothing short of the undeniable truth of his feelings, and it brought tears to her eyes.

Not wanting to turn into a weeping mess right when things were supposed to get hot and heavy, she took the initiative to get things started. Pulling the tie that held her halter dress up at her neck, Cordelia loosened the knot. Coming undone the material dropped away from her frame, and pooled at her feet, leaving her completely naked to his gaze.

“Am I a succulent enough feast for our little picnic?”


…TO BE CONTINUED…

WANT TO ADD TO THIS OASIS MULTI-AUTHOR FIC? SUMBIT IT TO LYSA.


 

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