SUMMARY: Cordelia has a bizarre, late night hallucination.
POSTED: 29 Aug 2008
WARNINGS: Sexual Situations
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
1) OK, I’m not actually sure I wrote this. I remember writing the first part, but I have no idea where the second came from. Perhaps I was hallucinating. And sure, the “Angel in the shower” bit is not completely new…but with a view like that, who cares? Anyway, it’s my first fic – and probably last – so go easy on me. (And let me know if you wrote this, because I really can’t believe I did!)
Cordelia Chase was already painfully aware that her life made no sense. She was used to the feeling that she would, at any moment, be forced to say something insane, like “We’re out of blood, Angel, I’ll stop by the butchers’ tomorrow morning,” or “There’s a group of butt-ugly demons attempting to rob a convenience store of all the hot dogs.” Oh yeah, that last vision was especially bizarre. But Cordelia had decided just now to not worry about the nonsensical aspects of her life, because if she tried to make sense of it, last night would most certainly scare the bejeezus out of her.
Last night…last night she had the strangest feeling that she had slept with someone. But it had to be a particularly vivid dream, right? Because there was no way that she woke up in the middle of the night to feel powerful arms holding her so tenderly that she felt like the most treasured person in the world. And she definitely didn’t turn further into those arms, sliding one slender leg between two masculine ones and nudging her face into a neck that seemed to most perfect resting place ever created. There was absolutely no way on this earth that she opened her eyes for one second in the middle of the best rest she had gotten in a week to see her best friends’ head on the pillow next to hers. No way. If Angel, as her best friend, had needed someone to hold him last night, he would have asked her. That’s what best friends did for each other, Cordelia reasoned. The fact that she had never done so didn’t bother her, she was perfectly conscious that her needs didn’t matter in this situation. If Angel needed comfort, Cordelia dispensed hugs and advice. If Angel needed blood, or a file, or someone to hold down the fort while he ran after Buffy “I’m Back From the Dead Again” Summers, Cordelia was there. Because that’s what best friends did for each other.
On second thought, Cordelia wasn’t quite sure what normal best friends did for each other. She’d never had one before Angel, not a real one. She wasn’t even sure how they had become best friends – at least, not on his part. And she didn’t want to think about how it happened on hers.
When she first began to work for Angel, she had no friends, no allies, no one to turn to for help. That changed the second he walked into her life, and for a long time he was her only friend. (Doyle didn’t count as a friend because he was constantly trying to get her pants. Friends don’t try to get in other friends’ pants. Friends Commandment number one.) Only Friend equaled instant Best Friend status. She kept her friendly gestures (the urges to hug him were aberrations, she was sure) to a minimum, certain that her certainty of his best friend worthiness would fade as she made more friends in her new home. Cordelia counted on Angel to be her rock, her fall back plan. She wasn’t sure he felt the same way, but she knew she could count on him just the same. The more she began to depend on him in her mind, the more she began to pay attention to his stuttering comments and general nervousness and realized that he was shy, unsure to how act around people. It wasn’t that he couldn’t stand her, it was that he didn’t know how to talk to anyone about anything other than helping the helpless. That sealed it. Cordelia knew they had to be best friends, because that was the only way she could help him, from a position of deep trust and affection. And then she knew he had to be her best friend, not just her only friend, because she genuinely cared about helping him.
Realizing she had been staring at a patch of early sunlight on her floor for ten minutes, Cordelia roused herself from her reverie and turned to Dennis, her roommate, her ghost, the one who would be able to tell her if she was completely insane or not.
“Dennis, was Angel here last night?” She didn’t know what she wanted to hear.
But Dennis was silent.
A piece of paper floated slowly toward her. “Yes,” it read. “Sometimes I call him when you are having nightmares.”
“Why? I’m a big girl, bad dreams don’t bother me.” Cordelia was lying. Mega-lying. Her dreams were terrible, bits of visions and overwhelming sensations of pain and fear. Last night for instance, before she dropped into truly peaceful slumber, she had enjoyed again the pain of having her skin peeled from her body in long strips, like a carrot. But why would her ghost think calling Angel would help her dreams? He fought the demons in the visions, he couldn’t do anything about the remnants in her head!
Wait…did Dennis just imply this was more than a one time deal? Oooh, he was dead…er.
“Do you call Angel often?” Cordelia demanded. “How long has this been going on?!”
A pencil drifted over and began to write on the paper. “Not often. Just for bad nights.”
“How often is ‘not often,’ Dennis?” Cordelia said through gritted teeth.
Slowly, reluctantly, the pencil returned to the paper. “He comes over once or twice a week to check on you. Doesn’t always stay.”
Damn the man…pire!! He was sneaking into her home while she slept once or twice a week! And Dennis didn’t tell her! Dead men were all the same…wait a minute. Cordelia realized she only slept soundly herself once or twice a week. Every other night, while not always as horrific as last night, she was haunted by nightmares and memories, tossing and turning. In fact, she had had this type of sleep pattern since Vocah. Oh hell. She realized it had gotten worse during The Estrangement; she could only think of two nights when she had true, restful slumber, only two mornings where she didn’t have to use a pound of foundation to cover the bags under her eyes.
“Dennis,” her voice was deadly. “Did he come over after he fired us?”
Dennis realized this was dangerous territory. Being incorporeal, he knew he shouldn’t be scared, but this girl could terrify even the dead with that tone. So he lied. “NO. I would never have let him in after he hurt you.”
“Does he sleep with m – in my bed, when he comes over?”
Oh shit. “NO.” If Dennis’ mother was right, he was going to hell as soon as he left this plane of existence. Lying was a sin, and he’d just sinned twice in under a minute.
Cordelia knew that people thought her logic was screwed up. This never bothered her before, and it certainly wasn’t going to now. If she had been logical in the way, oh say Wesley was, she would have realized there might be a connection between her own rest and the regularity of Angel’s nighttime visits. But Cordy-logic would never allow such a connection, and so she resorted to another of her time-honored techniques for dealing with confusing emotional situations: she imitated the proverbial ostrich. Pillows weren’t exactly the same as sand, but there were most likely more comfortable and didn’t creep up her nose. Problem solved.
Dennis would have been shaking if he had a body. As it was, he had to concentrate harder than usual to make the coffee correctly, as his roommate showered and dressed. When she emerged, he retreated to his wall, feeling as though he had earned an Angel-worthy brood session.
Cordy was an amazing woman, and Dennis knew that he adored her, loved her. But he also knew that his love, while true, wasn’t quite the kind that she so obviously needed. She needed someone who could hold her, could soothe her dreams with a brush of fingertips across her cheek, could reduce her to tears of sadness and anger or the heights of happiness. She needed someone she loved back as intensely as he loved her. Dennis had realized a long time ago that he was not the one, that Angel was the one her heart had chosen, although her head apparently hadn’t caught on yet.
Dennis worried about his girl. He knew what the visions were doing to her medically, but the emotional toll was the part that was really starting to become a problem in her daily routine. The difficulty sleeping was becoming more and more prevalent; her bad nights outnumbered the good by a large percentage. The emotional distress was affecting her sleep, her eating habits, and her temper.
Her troubled sleep had begun even before Vocah cursed her, but it had gotten exponentially worse since. During the summer when Angel stayed, he didn’t observe the problem too closely, Angel nearly always crept into her room and bed and kept the dreams at bay. But when he left the dreams became worse, and Dennis was beyond overjoyed the first time Angel had snuck back into the apartment.
He pretended not to notice for weeks, didn’t make his presence known in any way while the vampire held his seer all night. One night, though, her dreams had been too horrific, as she cried and whimpered in her sleep, trapped in a memory of a vision. Dennis had debated for the shortest of moments, then called the Hyperion. It took a few calls for Angel to catch on, but when he showed up Dennis threw open the door and watched as the vampire realized the extent of the phantom’s devotion to Cordy. The following morning Dennis had thrown bits of paper at the vampire until he awoke, having almost overslept. As he slipped out the door, Angel paused and glanced back. “Thank you, Dennis.”
Reliving that memory, Dennis almost missed his roommate’s exit. He observed her as she grabbed her jacket and purse. She looked distracted, but not upset, as if she wasn’t sure if the events of last night had happened or not. Dennis mentally shrugged. If Angel was smart, he would admit that Dennis had called him last night, but not that he occasionally came over under his own initiative. Dennis didn’t mind taking the blame for this one – the girl might be terrifying, but there wasn’t much she could actually do to him. He hoped.
Angel was taking a cold shower. He knew, intellectually, that a cold shower shouldn’t actually do anything to him, but at times like these the forms must be obeyed to prevent spontaneous, independent thought about how his best friend had curled her sweet young body into his last night, nestling into him as though he were the only thing that she could trust. How her frame had finally relaxed as she allowed him to hold her, face pressed to his throat, breath tickling the sensitive area. He definitely shouldn’t be thinking about what that could mean, why her subconscious would seek him out for comfort. If he thought about it he might just die of happiness, and while he was technically already dead, it probably wouldn’t be a good experience for everyone to walk into the office to meet Angelus this morning. Because that’s what would happen if Angel allowed himself to think about it.
So Angel was taking a cold shower that did nothing because he had no body temperature, trying desperately not to reach down as he involuntarily flashed back to the moment he woke up.
He woke up warm, an occurrence that he always treasured and always ended too soon. He knew, without opening his eyes, that they were locked in the same position she had put them in when he slid into her bed last night. One arm supported her head under his chin, the other held her solidly to him around her waist. There wasn’t room for a molecule of air between them, but still he wanted to be closer.
Without his permission, the hand on her back began to move, soothing her spine in smooth strokes, pressing her against him in waves. She responded by trying to snuggle closer, hampered by flesh and clothes.
His eyes opened and he watched as his hand slid under the tank she wore, connecting with warm skin and revealing her tattoo. He moaned. He had to stop before that hand traveled down her delicate ribs, over the dip of her waist and flare of her hips to the bare skin of her thigh. He realized, though, that as he thought about how he shouldn’t do this, he already had. His hand hooked under her knee and brought it up over his hip.
He moaned again. He would stop now. His hand was definitely not traveling back up her thigh, retracing its earlier path before turning in to brush over her breast, the nipple hard and pressing against his palm. No way was his hand gliding over her collarbone, fingers skimming her elegant neck and burrowing in her hair as his head bent and he rubbed his cheek across her temple and further down, coming to rest with his lips a scant millimeter from hers.
He held there, feeling her breath against his lips, her body molded to his, his erection pressed against her intimately. Held for long moments of self-torture, surrounded by the woman he loved, the woman who was unconscious as he revealed simultaneously the depths of his emotion and weakness.
Eventually he allowed their lips to meet, as he thrust against her slowly, excruciatingly slow and tender. Their lips pressed together with only the slightest pressure, a lingering expression of love. His hand left her hair, caressing down her back, where it exerted force to increase the pressure between their hips. He felt the burn of the slow thrust, and moaned a third time, easing back with care as his tongue came out to touch her plump lower lip before he disentangled himself and sat on the edge of the bed, convincing himself to leave. She whimpered as his solid supporting frame left her alone in the large bed.
Breathing deeply didn’t help him center himself. His actions had aroused them both, and the air was filled with her feminine scent. Angel couldn’t decide if he should block it out or gulp it down, but lost the fight for sanity, allowing himself to draw one deep breath into his lungs to hold forever.
Angel gasped unnecessary breaths as he exploded, hand firmly where he had been determined it wouldn’t end up. As his breathing slowed and ended, he sank down to his knees in despair, the stirring of deep, wrenching sobs building in his chest. The water rained down, disguising the sound, and he gave into his pain.
Fred bounced down the stairs of the Hyperion, excited to start a new day. Today she would get tacos, talk to Gunn and Wesley, watch Cordy and Angel train, and fight some evil in between. Her life was full, and good. She moved behind the counter and paused, looking at Cordelia intently. The seer was smiling very slightly, the bags under her eyes were gone, and she moved with grace and not pain.
“Morning, Fred,” a little dreamily.
Angel paused on the landing of the stairs, looking down at Fred and Cordy, enjoying the sisterly affection between the two. Unashamedly, he eavesdropped on their conversation.
“You look good this morning. Not that you don’t usually look good, but you look especially good. I mean, you’re beautiful every day, but…”
“Fred!” Cordy interrupted, laughing. “Relax. I understand.”
“Oh, good. Anyway, you just look really happy today. Do you have a date tonight? Oh! Is he really good looking and rich and strong and brave? Can I help you get dressed?” Fred was working herself into a froth of excitement, but Cordy’s response curtailed that rollercoaster and confused the bubbling physicist.
“No, Fred, no date. I just slept really well last night. Best sleep I’ve had in a long time.”
Angel smiled. Worth it.