Next Best Thing


AUTHOR: FRAZI
SUMMARY: A wonky spell forces Angel to lose his soul and the demon takes the next inhabitant. Cordy. Willow is summoned to despell them and Spike tags along for good measure.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 12 Apr 2004
CATEGORY: Drama / Humor / Angst
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A
WARNINGS: Language Use and Sexual Situations
FICPIC CREDIT: Califi
AUTHOR NOTES:
1) Former Title = Blood is Thicker


ficpic_thenextbestthing


PART 1

“This is the perfect way to get rid of the Kisbath demon!”

“Wesley! The thing doesn’t HAVE a head!”

“Just because it doesn’t look like a head, doesn’t mean it ISN’T!”

Cordy’s head whipped from left to right at the two men arguing in the lobby. If her arms hadn’t been holding an assortment of charms and dust and musty old books, she might have smacked them both, but the fact was that she was trying to get their attention and they weren’t paying any to her. How dare they!

“The head implies the opposite end of the side he’s standing on and there’s NOTHING there!”

“A head constitutes a brain Angel and since the demon is rather coordinated for a brainless creature, I’d say it HAS a head!”

“I’ve seen it from all ends Wesley! There is no…”

“SHUT UP! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Just SHUT up!”

Angel blinked a the mahogany haired woman standing there her soft suede heels stomping down with wicked intent onto the floor of the hotel lobby and she did not look pleased. Wesley himself, drew away from the death glare that Cordy had perfected over time. Wesley cleared his throat and pushed his glasses more firmly on his nose while Angel shoved his hands into his pants. This woman could instill fear in men and vampires, Angel realized again for the hundredth since he’d met her.

Standing there with am arm load of various ingredient Cordy seethed with silent fury. “First of all! While we stand here arguing about which side of this Kissbutt demon is up, IT’S probably eating its next victim as we speak. Second of all, Wesley, just because its constitutes a brain doesn’t make it a head! Think of Xander. Third of all! Angel, what the hell do you mean you looked from EVERY end! Can I just say Eyow? And LAST of all, this stupid stuff isn’t exactly LIGHT!” Without further delay she shoved the entire contents of her arms into Wesley’s before planting her hands on her hips. “Okay you may speak now.”

Angel blinked at her. For a second he wondered if he should tell her he didn’t need her confirmation to speak but then let it rest considering the girl did have the innate ability to make him feel exactly five inches high with just one look. He figured it was better to just not antagonize the woman further. He might have to buy her clothes. “Cordy, it’s a Kisbath demon.”

She rolled her eyes and ‘pfffed’ emphatically. “That’s what I said Kissbutt, so are we doing this spell so we can blind the ugly little thing or not?”

“Well we still need to figure out where his eyes are.” Wesley put the contents of his arms on the table and took a deep breath as he regarded the material. It was really nice of Cordelia go out and get these ingredients for them and with such accuracy too. Considering that newt testicles were hard to find. And magic wasn’t really his strong suit. Now research. Research he could do and he still felt that it was lacking since they really didn’t know where the eyes of the demon were before they threw the spell-cast dust in its eyes to blind him and then kill him.

“Considering it HAS a head.” Angel picked up a small jar with floating bits as he shot back petulantly.

“Angel, technically if it can hypnotize its victims it must have eyes and thus a…”

“Oh my god! You both are like schoolyard pygmies arguing over the last banana! Will you just MIX the ingredients so we can get on with our lives! I DO have a life unlike you two wallflowers!”

For an insane moment Angel wondered if pigmies even ate banana but when Wesley began his feeble protest he only shook his head and let her silence him.

“MIX!” She commanded pointing a finger to the assortment of spell casting material.

He watched with amusement as Wesley immediately went to putting the ingredients together to mix and sifting through the book to find the appropriate incantation. After Doyle’s death and Cordy’s unwanted visions and their final adjustment into this hotel, Angel was finally beginning to believe that the saying was true. For every door closed another opens. Besides, he’d lost enough people in his long life to realize that mourning those that you lost isn’t fair to the ones that are still with you.

And so Angel set out to rebuild his family. Again.

“Well this incantation needs to be said in the vicinity of the demon before it’s blown into his eyes.”

“Define vicinity Wes. How close do we need to be?” Angel walked to the counter and ducking behind it to grab his axe and to strap on his blades.

“A couple of yards to be on the safe side.”

Cordy frowned. “Well this Kissbutt demon is small but he packs quite a punch, how are we going to get that close without it putting the whammy on us?”

“There is no ‘us’ Cordy.”

The girl spun around and glared at Angel as he shrugged on his coat and the axe disappeared underneath it. “Well the demon’s victims were all male. YOU said so. I’d say I’m the best bet. Unless you plan to grow boobs.”

The vampire that had a hard time answering all of her questions and replying to her remarks stood there staring at her and pondered the mental image she spoke of. He could almost hear his demon cackling in the background. Stealing a glance down at his chest he quirked an eyebrow. She did say manly boobs once right? He couldn’t confirm in a mirror, but he was also called ‘salty goodness’ by said woman once before. Did she thinkg…

“Stop! Stop that right now!”

He nearly jumped at the finger poking him in his gut.

“I know what you’re doing buster. You’d think a vampire with your history and fame would not need reassurance about his sexiness.”

His mouth twitched with a smile. Cordy thought he was sexy.

“No.” She shook her head vigorously. “I am NOT babying you about this Angel. Nope. Not happening.”

Wesley cleared his throat softly and both eyes turned to him. “Well she does have a valid point about the Kisbath.”

“Wesley I can’t grow…”

The watcher’s eyes widened. “NO! I meant…I mean she is female. The hypnotic stare of the demon doesn’t affect her.” Cordy bit her cheek to keep from grinning at the shock on Wesley’s face and Angel’s misinterpretation before she grabbed the small bottle of baby blue dust that Wesley had prepared and the small note of the incantation he’d scribbled on a paper. This sure as hell was a faggy color to kill a little bad demon. But she wasn’t one to judge. The demon was a stark fashion statement anyway. Red slimy skin with yellow spots. As if. Didn’t he know polka dots were like so last century?

Angel ran a hand through his spiky hair before regarding the smug girl before him. With a relenting half sigh, half growl he thrust the hilt of one of his daggers at her. “The ugly little thing also has claws the size of a very large lobster that can take your head off. And yours is pretty visible.”

The girl whooped happily at being included and threw her arms around his neck. Yay! She got to kick butt of this Kissbutt demon! “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”

“WHOA!” Angel ducked his head before the dagger in her hand nearly caught him in the eye.

*

If things went they way they were supposed to the Fang gang would take days off. So when they tracked the demon to a local warehouse and it seemed to be resting, they made the mistake of thinking they’d have more breathing room.

“When this is over, I’m going to have a manicure.”

“There’s this lovely new old bookstore around the corner. I’m thinking of building a rather large library in the hotel.” The blue in Wesley eyes were glassy with an almost orgasmic glow. Both Angel and Cordelia shuddered before stepped forward through the dark warehouse.

“He so needs to get laid.”

Angel bit his cheek when Cordy grabbed his sleeve to steady herself while Wesley was lost in visions of dancing books and talking scrolls. “Don’t we all,” Angel muttered low under his breath, his demon’s voice a lot more assertive when it came to being laid.

It was while they were hatching eggs that weren’t even laid when the demon woke up.

The roar was loud for a little red demon with six legs or arms. And the sharp keening sounds was louder than either of them were prepared for. When the slashing claws came out of the darkness Angel shoved his seer away from him and Cordelia was thrown across the floor screaming about rude vampires. The bottle got knocked out of her hand and Wesley was flung into a row of boxes. “Cordy get the bottle!” Angel was just in time to jump away when the Kisbath launched itself at him.

The girl groaned before slowly dragging herself to her hands and knees. “Gimmie a minute.”

Angel squeezed his eyes shut and listened with his vampire hearing trying his best to duck the onslaught of snapping claws. “Cordy I might not HAVE a minute!!!!!”

“Well just keep him busy!” She crawled across the dusty floor as the sounds of snapping claws filled the empty warehouse. She grumbled when the dust coated her hands and knees. “These jeans are ruined.”

“CORDY!!!!!!!!” Angel swung his axe when one of the claws catch the hem of his coat. “Let GO of the coat right now!”

“He’s worried about his coat. Pffft! This is CK!” The seer shook her head trying to clear the buzzing in her ears before her fingers closed around the glass bottle. “AHA!”

“CORDELIA!” Angel was fighting blind and although his enhanced vampire senses were keeping him dancing out of the demon’s reach the little creature was faster than he’d expected.

Wesley stood up taking aim of the crossbow. “The larger tentacles Cordy! Go for the largest ones!” He knew he couldn’t shoot with Angel in the fray.

“There’s three of them!” She rolled to her feet and uncapped the little blue bottle. Decisions. Decisions.

Angel winced as a claw slashed across his abdomen tearing skin and he smelled the metal tang of his own blood. “Take all of them dammit!”

“HEY! Pudgy!” Running across to the struggling figures Cordy momentarily panicked when the demon turned its body towards her. Pouring the sand like dust into her palm she looked up and screamed. The creature definitely had a head and teeth and they were a few inches away from her face.

Angel’s eyes flew open at the smell of familiar fear and the axe slid into his hand. “Cordy, look out!” He saw one claw slide out to snap shut on her arm, but before he could step further he caught a face-full of the dust that Cordelia dumped all over the screaming demon and him.

“The words Cordy!” Wesley yelled, “say the words!”

Flailing blindly, the sharp end of Angel’s axe was lucky enough to cut the arm that was reaching for his panicked seer and gave her enough time to pull out the slip of paper from her pocket. Pointing a shaking finger at the demon and she started speaking the incantation in Latin.

The little creature let out a shrill howl and Cordelia stood there panting and staring down wide-eyed at the demon struggling at her feet. If the sudden gulping of air didn’t faze her the ugly creature at her feat nearly made her revisit breakfast. “Oh god, its not dead! Wesley if we live through this I’m going to KILL you!”

Angel felt his nose twitch before he sneezed the dust clouding his vision and his nostrils burned. And for a second there, the stale air in his lungs was sucked out of him and a hollow remained in his un-breathing chest. Coughing with the itch in his throat he groaned and tried to make out the squirming demon on the floor, the axe raised in his hand, but the dust had gotten into his eyes and mouth and the odd ache in his chest only deepened.

Wesley’s eyes widened as the claws stretched up towards the frozen seer and he pulled the trigger. Dust or no dust, the arrow lodged itself into its midsection. And with a last wail it fell to its side. When it collapsed Wesley walked over watching Angel groaning and rubbing his eyes sprinkled with sparkling blue dust and Cordy stood there her breath caught in her throat. “Well, I’m guessing there was more than one way to kill it.”

“You think!” The vampire blinked, his were eyes burning but his vision cleared slightly. The dull ache in his chest remained. “Good work Cordy. The demon might not be blind, but I am.”

“Well fuckity dee soulboy. When you entrust the backbone of the plan to a half pint cheerleader, it’s a wonder you don’t get castrated.”

Wesley’s head snapped around to stare at Cordelia.

Angel blinked rapidly a couple of times to make sure it was her who spoke before he leaned a little closer to look into her face. “Cordy?” When Cordelia raised her hazel eyes they were flashing with anger and a hint of cockiness he’d never seen on her.

Her usually beautiful mouth spread into a wicked sneer. “Guess again soulboy.” Then the widening of her pupils was accompanied by a gasp. “Oh no. NO! This can NOT be happening to me!”

And now he realized that it wasn’t his breath that was sucked out of him.

It had been his demon.

PART 2

PART 2

“Gettitoffme! Gettitoffme!”

“Cordelia it’s not ON you it’s inside you! And for the record, this is your fault!” Angel was trying his utmost to not touch the girl, because every time he made contact with her skin, she jumped before cursing in profuse Gaelic and he was getting piqued. He couldn’t touch her.

“How the hell was I supposed to know newt testicles weren’t the same thing as lizard testicles.”

Her hazel eyes were blazing with irrational fear and the pacing wasn’t helping, not to mention the smell of her fear was starting to grate on Angel’s nerves. Only this time he couldn’t blame it on his demon. Which to say the least, unsettled him. “Cordelia, we will figure a way to fix this don’t worry.”

“I knew I wasn’t very good at magic.”

“Well why the fuck did you suggest it in the first place you geek faced watcher!”

Wesley stared at the fuming woman now glaring down at him and he had to hide the shiver. It just wasn’t right that this woman could wield the profane vocabulary and it only came out suiting her. It was just wrong. “Angelus, stop cursing.”

“You put me in this shit Weslips! I will curse all I want with this pretty little mouth!”

Angel was still having a hard time trying to decipher when Cordelia stopped the talking and when Angelus began. At first the spurts of half words and half screams had been torturing until they seemed to find some sort of gulf in his seer’s head to complete sentences. He didn’t know if he should be happy or sad. He was glad the constant taunting and mocking was gone from his head, but knew his demon wasn’t the politest or the easiest one to get along with. He felt bad for the young woman who was now pacing erratically in the hotel lobby. “Cordelia. Sit down.”

He gently grabbed the woman by her shoulders and tried to guide her to the couch, but she jumped like a fish batting at his hands. “Don’t touch me dammit! It’s weird!”

He was about to protest when one hand was lifted between them and Cordelia sighed. “It’s okay Angel. I’ll sit. He’s just a little freaked out.”

“You would be too Cheerleader if you were touching yourself. Oh…then again maybe not.”

“Oh my god!” Her eyes widened as the mental images of previous nights ran through her mind like a mantra and the cackle in her head escalated to a purr. “Stop this instant you prying demon you! That’s private! NO don’t LOOK!”

Angel watched with amusement as Wesley ducked behind his book and Cordelia’s cheeks flushed with soft pink before she dropped herself into the couch, her hands folded in her lap. For a second he stood there watching her morph between aghast embarrassment and wicked giggles and envied the demon. Only for a second though. Because this was Cordelia. May Queen, Sunnydale snob extraordinaire and his new best friend. Nope. No envy there. Clearing his throat and pushing away the very indecent image of Cordelia alone in her bed, he looked down at her. “Look, I know this is hard for you.”

“You have no idea peaches.”

“I’m talking to Cordelia.” He squatted down in front of her, her hands fidgeting nervously in her lap and he put his hand over hers and held before Angelus could yank it away. “Cordy?” Liquid hazel eyes peeked up at him through thick lashes, the confused fear mixing with the doubt. His un-beating heart would have lurched if he had been alive. He so wished this didn’t have to happen to the girl. Angelus was a bastard and this was a violation, that shouldn’t have been subjected to the young woman. Not to her. “He’s a bastard, but don’t let him push you around.” When her eyes flashed with irritation, his grip tightened. “No listen to me. He’s not stronger than you Cordy. He might be in there trying to confuse you and trying to mislead you, but you are the soul Cordelia.” Reaching up he let the arch of his knuckles slide against her jaw as if to reassure her. “The soul’s always been stronger and you know why?” The light in her eyes had already softened and so had the hands under his. “It’s because we feel and we believe.”

A shaky ragged breath was followed by a smile. “You should have been the fucking poet instead of William, you sappy piece of shit.” She blinked before pulling her hands out from under him. “It’s okay Angel. He’s just loud and I want him out of my head.”

He held back the smile at the flickering emotions across her face as she leaned back in the couch. “Consider it done. Wesley?” He looked up to see the watcher riffling through the book. “Ideas?”

“It seems when the spell backfired, your demon was plucked out of your body and by mistake. Given the situation its probable it had to pick the quickest and nearest host. In this case Cordelia.”

“Always at the wrong place at the right time.” She sighed. “Just my luck.”

“This isn’t a walk in the fucking park for me either Hazel.”

“Isn’t there a way to pluck him back! You know how it works; someone gets bonked on the head and loses their memory, or in this case their demon, and you bonk them back to make them remember?”

Angel’s eyebrows shot up. “Don’t even think it Cordelia.”

Wesley took off his glasses to rub his eyes tiredly. First they’d been up all night researching the Kisbath demon now poor Cordelia was playing musical chairs with her body between her and Angelus. Could things get any worse? “I believe I should call Mr. Giles. Angelus is right I’m afraid. Smaller summoning spells are one thing, tampering with souls is not really my department.”

Angel nodded and stood up. “Okay. Call Giles, see what he can do.”

“Yeah, call the big British geek and maybe he’ll send the slayer down here to stake me and we can all just have a fucking reunion. It’s been a while since I’ve tasted slayer blood.”

“Oh god, shut up Angelus! I’m human! I don’t bite!” The throbbing headache that was left over from the vision was slowly escalating into another migraine the more Angelus argued in her head. She wondered if she should just let him take the reins until she was feeling stronger and less suicidal.

“Well let me show you precious how well you can bite.”

Angel had barely taken in all that was shooting out from Cordelia’s mouth, before he saw her jump to her feet and stalk over to Wesley purposefully. The young watcher had barely time enough to look up before Cordelia’s mouth fastened around the side of his neck, one of her hands sliding up into his hair and fisting there harder than he would have liked before her teeth came down.

Angel’s eyes widened in the space of a heartbeat and Wesley let out a very undignified squeal.

“Cordelia!” Grabbing the girl by her shoulders, Angel was only just able to keep Wesley from getting scalped as he pulled the struggling girl away, her hazel eyes flashing with hunger and her body rigid with barely restrained control.

Wesley had slid from his chair and from his perch on the floor he stared at the feral glint in Cordelia’s eyes and felt sharp sting on his throat. Touching the red skin where her blunt teeth had bit, he tried his best not to tremble. Jesus Mary mother of Christ. Wasn’t it just wrong that he was totally turned on by that?

The struggling girl stilled. “Oh dear. Oh dear god I bit him. I DID! I bit Wesley!” Her eyes widened as she tasted the salt on her tongue, her own body shaking with the realization. “EYOW!” Turning swiftly she almost threw Angel off his feet before grabbing his shirt and yanking him close. “Eyow! Eyow! Eyow!”

The vampire stood there staring down at the woman standing there wiping her tongue on the hem of his shirt and the constant whine that was building in the back of her throat.

For once the two century old vampire had no idea how to react, besides stare like a blithering idiot while Cordelia went into a disgusted fit.

~HAW HAW HAW!!!!~

~You asinine freak! You made me bite Wesley!~

~It was him or Angel and I do so hate Angel.~

~My TONGUE touched Wesley-skin you freak! I’m scarred for life.~

~Hey I just licked. You sucked face with him. Twice.~

~……how’d you know that?~

~In your head! Hello!~

~Shut up just please! Shut up!~

~No way! This is way to much fun. I never thought being a woman could be this fun. Look at him, he’s hard.~

Her eyes snapped over to the flustered watcher on the floor as he slowly stood up rubbing his neck and her gaze dropped below his waist. “Oh god, I think I’m gona be sick.”

Angel frowned as the girl paled considerably, her hands still clutching his shirt. “Maybe you should lie down.”

Her face turned up and she met his eyes.

~Oooh, I am a rather handsome fellow now that I look up close. And I smell niiiiiice. Goddamn gorgeous if you ask me.~

~Oh hello salty goo….WHAT! NO!~

Angel blinked as she jerked away from him as if burnt. “No?”

“No, I mean.” Cordelia took a deep breath, her senses on overload and swallowed thickly. “You’re right. I should probably rest. But not here. I’ll be…going home now. Yes.” She walked over and grabbed her purse from the couch. ~Home where there is nothing to bite.~

~Still got that lofah?~

~ARGH!~

Angel frowned. “But Cordy you should stay…”

Shaking her head the young woman touched her aching temples before meeting her boss’s eye. “I can’t. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry I’ll call you if something goes wrong. I’ll see you guys in the morning. I just need to clear my head. Literally.” Her eyes snuck a look at Wesley and she cleared her throat. “Sorry Wes.” Then she was running, the sound of her heels drowning the snickering of her newly acquired demon.

Angel sighed before looking at Wesley heading up the stairs. “Where are you going?”

“I believe a cold shower will…er…wake me up Angel. So that I can research this new…development. Ahem. Could you make that call to Mr. Giles?”

Angel could have sworn he saw a disturbing twitch in the British man’s brow before he disappeared without waiting for an answer.

With a sigh, Angel shook his head. “It’s always me. Call the Scoobies Angel, you ransacked most of their lives, but they’ll listen to you. Call Buffy, you consorted with her enemy, left her in the lurch, tried to drain her, but she’ll help you. Call Giles; you only ate the love of his life; he’ll be raring to help you. I’d rather stake myself,” he muttered before picking up the phone and dialed the extension for Sunnydale.

PART 3

PART 3

Cordelia was caught between the bathroom door and the tub. One of her hands was gripping the doorpost while the other was stuck to the rim of her tub and she literally felt like she was going to snap in two. “LET GO!”

“You need to you dramatic dame!”

“I can hold it!”

“I don’t think I can hold it woman! Let go of the damned door.”

“I’m not going with you in my head!”

“Oh for! This is stupid! This is ridiculous! Will you please just go to the stupid bathroom and I promise I’ll keep my eyes closed.”

For the first time in her life Cordelia had no idea who to glare at while she stood there stretched to her limit, Angelus pulling and fighting for control even when she knew she couldn’t keep this up longer. “I don’t believe you.”

She could almost feel the demon start to give in and the grip on the tub loosened. ~Look May Queen. I don’t want to be here as much as you don’t want me to watch you go take a leak.~

~PEE!~

~PEE! Whatever! The point is you can’t hold it anymore and I’m going out of my mind will you just PLEASE let go of the fucking door before you embarrass us both!~

Five minutes and teeth brushing fiasco later Cordelia stood in front of her closet a yawn nearly tearing up her eyes as she tried to straighten her back. “Oh god, I can’t believe you kept me up all night.”

“Well if you had listened to me we could have gotten better rest.”

“I’m not that bendy Angelus and I’m NOT touching myself with you in my body.” She reached out and snatched a blue cashmere sweater left over from better days. With the most jaded man in her head, Cordelia wanted to wear something innocent. It was a natural defense mechanism. The sweater was flung across the floor an she stared as it slid under her bed. “What is your damage!”

“Oh for fucks sake it’s baby blue!”

“SO!” She couldn’t help let out an outraged snort. “ME! This is MY body. I’m the one wearing the clothes and I look damned good in baby blue you blood sucking twit born in the 18th century!!”

“First of all, you do have a delectable body and second of all you do have me in your head so tell me you have something sexier than prissy little school room miss apparel.”

Her mouth dropped open. ~Are you calling me a prude? ME! The boy slayer of Sunnyhell?~

~If the shoe fits my lady. Now where’s that lovely black leather miniskirt.~ She rolled her eyes as her hand shot forward and started rummage though her neat stack of skirts. “AHAH! This will do nicely. Got something in red Queen Bee?”

~I’m not wearing Angelus-y clothes! Now I know why Angel can’t get past wearing basic black, he has your bland fashion sense.~

~I bet you’d look damn good in leather Hazel.~

~I look damn good in anything I wear!~ Stalking over she grabbed the blue sweater, but before she could reach out and grab it her legs were swiped out from under her and she fell smack on her back onto the bed. Panting and slightly shaken from the fall, she sat up glaring. ~That’s it! I’m going to wear a tent instead!~

~Let’s not get bitter Hazel. You’ll wrinkle faster. Fuck Cor, if I had a body like yours I’d wear what accents those delicious curves best and with stems like you’ve got; a leather skirt will just say it all.~

And there with those words whispered in her head Cordelia Chase stood in front of her mirror, her lower lip caught between her teeth. God, it had been such a long time since she’d felt like a woman and a woman who could charge up a room by just walking into it. The whole let down of not being able to make it as an actress and be independent had been a harder kick in the stomach than anyone knew. From getting everything you want to scrounging and picking the next best thingCordelia Chase was just Cordy now. Somewhere along the lines she’d forgotten about the intrinsic sexiness that was a part of who she was. And after the whole demon babies incident, she had no desire to try her hand at dating.

~One step at a time Hazel.~

Taking a deep breath she grabbed a soft red sweater with a rather dipping V-neck and held it up. “I was saving this for a party.”

“Oh like you’re ever going to be invited to one. Newsflash cheerleader. You’re one of the heroes now. You don’t get days off.” Her night shirt was whipped off her head.

Cordelia’s eyes widened as one of her hands slid up her stomach and she growled. “Hands OFF!”

“How do you expect to get dressed then?”

“With my eyes closed and with you acting the gentleman!”

“Darling I wasn’t a gentleman even when I was man; will you just fucking strip. It’s not like you’ve got something I’ve never seen.”

~Not mine you haven’t.~ She couldn’t hold a smile as she kicked off her pajamas and stepped into the skirt. She couldn’t believe she was actually getting fashion advice from the Scourge of Europe. It was a tragic farce Cordelia herself would have laughed at a few years ago. Before she knew that vampires and demons were for real.

~I’m in your head. I even recall the lovely little tirade you had with yourself in front of your full length mirror. What do you think Angel would say when he finds out you’re such a fucking exhibitionist?~

“Oh god!” The defeated whine was torn from her lips as she leaned her head forward against the closed closet. Although, she had more control on her body she didn’t know how she was going to be able to make him shut up. He’d kept complaining and inciting her all night. And the shittiest part was he knew it was turning her on. He knew she wanted to touch herself and she knew that if she had fallen asleep she’d have woken up in the middle of an orgasm if he had his way. It was flattering that Angelus was so persistent, but Cordelia chase was no fool. The demon entity might have been sharing her head, but the memories flooding her mind were not just her own. They were his and Angel’s and most of them were not pleasant for her.

~Dear god Hazel Where’s the whip?~

~WILL YOU PLEASE KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF MY SEXUAL FANTASIES!!!”

~Uh……..nope? So about this little diary you keep of your sexy dreams…~

Her head thumped against the hard wood of her closet until the ache in her head clouded everything besides the splintering headache.

*

Angel walked out of his room and fixed the collar of his black shirt as he descended the stairs. Walking into the lobby he blinked when he found Charles Gunn standing at the counter with Wesley on the other side looking down at a magazine. Walking over silently he stood there listening to their hushed voices.

“I always liked the one with the red leather you know.”

Angel’s left eyebrow hiked up.

Wesley was intent on staring down at the open magazine. “I’m partial to the black silk and fishnet stocking I’m afraid. The woman does have legs to carry them off.”

Crossing his arms he glared at them both. “Bonding over porn?”

Both men jerked away from the magazine and looked turning various shades of red as they noticed Angel standing behind them. Gunn was the first to speak. “Gawd Angel! You always sneak up on people?”

“Porn?”

Wesley coughed slightly before gathering the thin magazine clothes. “Comic books actually. We were discussing the costume changes of Electra.”

“Carmen?”

“No the gorgeous ninja chick usually hanging around Matt Murdock.”

This time Angel couldn’t hold the frown. “Who?”

“It’s Marvelverse dog; you won’t get it.” Gunn stuck the magazine into the back pocket of his pants. “So Wes here tells me you guys have yourselves a situation.”

Angel sighed before walking into the little make shift coffee table and fridge behind the counter before grabbing himself a mug of blood. “Yeah. Cordelia had a little accident last night. A spell back fired.”

“Magic usually does from what I’m told.” Gunn snickered before throwing a teasing glance towards Wesley.

“I’m not all that bad. In fact I did a pretty good summoning spell when we came into this hotel. It was Cordelia’s fault really.”

“You called the cavalry?” Gunn leaned against the counter, his elbow resting against the top as Angel warmed his blood.

“I called Giles. He wasn’t happy to hear from me, but he agreed to look in on reversing the spell.” Behind him he heard the distinct jingle of the door before Gunn let out a slow whistle.

“Oh I don’t know if reversing it would be a good idea. Wes?”

“Oh dear lord!”

Angel turned, raising the mug to his lips for his first sip of breakfast and met the sight before him.

If he’d been breathing he probably would have stopped.

Framed with the slightly breezy morning and the golden sunlight that pooled in through the open door stood one Cordelia Chase. Only it wasn’t the Cordelia they met everyday. It was Cordelia chase, dark hair tumbling down her back, wearing a black leather skirt that cut below the curve of her ass, a blood red sweater than hung halfway off one shoulder and calf length boots as black as sin giving her the added inches she didn’t really need and her eyes turned to rest on the stunned vampire.

“Oh good you’re all here!” She let the door slide shut behind her and the golden aura around her disappeared as she walked towards the three men. Angel caught the distinct swagger in her gait as she dumped her bag on the couch before walking towards the counter looking irked and sexy as hell. He had to mentally remind himself that Angelus was in there. Cordelia was never this brazen! He frowned letting his eyes run over her again as his mind drifted to her rule as Queen C back in Sunnydale. Was she? “Please tell me you’ve got this figured out. Please!”

Wesley hadn’t stopped staring. Gunn was trying really hard not to smile and Angel’s eyes were fixed on the soft curve of her shoulder.

When none of them spoke she blinked leaning closer to Angel’s stoic face. “Guys?”

“I told you the fucking skirt was sexy Hazel.”

Wesley blinked startled before he cleared his throat and shifted behind the counter. Gunn let his eyes travel over the woman with appreciation and Angel felt his fingers tighten on his mug. Those clothes and she had to look at them with that come-hither flutter of her eyes? If this was Cordelia’s idea of a joke he wasn’t amused. “Did Angelus put you up to this?”

The seer blew the air out of her lungs explosively before rolling her eyes. “He wouldn’t shut up; I didn’t have a choice. Besides, they’re just clothes.”

Angel would have to disagree.

The clothes weren’t just clothes. They were a second skin and every inch was more enticing when she moved. He wondered if he dropped his mug on the floor she might reach down to…

Goddamit! Angel shook his head almost furious with this train of thought. Two hundred and some year old vampire reduced to cheap tactics because his coworker suddenly wore something he liked? What the hell was he, an adolescent teenager! Raising the blood to his mouth he started to drink. Hunger would shut out the spinning images of Cordelia Chase sliding back into his arms as his hand slid up to cup one breast possessively.

Cordelia didn’t hear the soft growl from her vampire boss as she leaned against the counter next to Gunn.

~The black dude is staring at your ass Cor.~

~I can tell you perceptive bastard!~

~Sticks and stones Hazel.~

~Can we shut up about my ass please?~

~Mmmm but what a nice ass it is.~

Wesley let out an undignified squawk and Angel reached out and grabbed Cordelia’s hand that was sliding down the curve of her own ass as he drowned his breakfast in one last swallow. The woman looked up with startled hazel eyes and he sighed. “Watch the hands.”

Her mouth spread into a blatantly seductive smile as she leaned a little closer to Gunn who now stood beside Angel with wide black eyes nearly falling out of his head. “Oh but you know what they say Angelpuss. When you’ve got it fault it.”

The muscle in Angel’s jaw worked as she ran one blood red nail down a frozen Gunn’s jaw and Angel had no choice but to grab her other hand too with half a mind to throw her over his shoulder and this time he couldn’t blame the baser instinct on his demon. “Cordelia! Get a hold of yourself.” Before I hold you for you woman.

The girl groaned softly her eyes sliding shut. “God! I’m sorry okay! I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night and this nocturnal psycho doesn’t need much.” With a deeper sigh that drew every male eye to the plunging neckline she pulled her wrists out of Angel’s grasp. “A cup of coffee would be greatly appreciated.”

Wesley was the first one who cleared his throat uncomfortably before stepping away. “I’ll get it.”

Walking around the counter Angel followed Cordelia to the couch where she dropped unceremoniously the skirt hiking further up her thighs. Angel wondered if this woman had the right to look this damned delicious and although, he knew she exploited every womanly trait she had to get men to do her bidding, he’d never seen his best friend this blatantly inviting.

Laying her head back against the back of the couch she sighed. “Give me some good news Angel.”

He wished he had more than just reassurance. “I called Giles. He said he’ll get back to me soon.”

Lifting her head, she watched the concern chase doubt across his face. “How soon?”

The vampire shrugged not able to meet her eyes.

A frown stretched across her forehead as she sat up straighter. “What?”

“Buffy picked up the phone.”

“I knew the slayer bitch would pop up sooner or later.”

“Angelus, just shut up for a second. Angel you okay?”

The vampire nodded before lifting his gaze to meet hers. “You know I don’t even remember why anymore.”

The hazel softened and Cordelia couldn’t help the flashing of images running through her mind. The emotions of love, frustration and betrayed anger nearly made her gasp at the mention of the slayer in context to Angel. ~Angelus! Stop the stupid kaleidoscope of doom. I get it. You don’t like the slayer. Point taken.~

~He doesn’t either anymore.~

She sighed. ~I’m realizing that. But I don’t think he does. So just shush.~

~Don’t shush me!~

~SHHHHHHH!~

She felt the demon recede huffily before she put a comforting hand on Angel’s shoulder. “Come on Broody. You’ve already realized its not the same with the whole Faith episode. She’s rather wrapped up in her world of slaying you know?”

“And I’m a vampire. I get that.” At the sound of the familiar nickname he looked up at her. In this new leather encased, and draped with red body it was hard to imagine this woman without sexual reference. The delicious curve of her throat was fully exposed. The creamed firmness in her thighs was accented with the black skirt and boots and just the curling of her dark mahogany hair was a distraction. How was he supposed to reassure her in his state when every instinct the vampire had screamed possession instead of protection? He shook his head slightly, partly to clear it and partly to her question. “But there’s been little purpose in my life before this Cordy. I sort of forgot why I was doing this.”

“Shoeshine?”

His mouth quirked at the corner. “No. It was her in the beginning.”

“But not now?”

He shook his head. Watching the utter understanding shining in those hazel orbs, the hand on his shoulder warming skin that had no right to feel warmth. And she was still here. Fighting his demons for him. “No. Not now. And while she was asking me how I’m doing and that she was sorry for being presumptuous; I knew that wasn’t what she was feeling. And while I was telling her that I missed her and that I was getting by; I knew what I really wanted to say was that I’m happy, not blissful, but happy with what I have here.” Chocolate brown eyes lifted to meet hers. “With you and Doyle before and Wesley now and even Gunn. I like that here’s finally a place that I can call my own. Call home.”

“Nice speech soulboy.”

Cordelia slapped a hand over her mouth at the insensitive observation. ~Heartless creep!~

~Sightless bitch.~

~WHAT!~

~You know this would be a good time to kiss the living daylight out of him.~

Angel blinked started as he hazel eyes widened. “What?” Maybe he imagined it, but for a split second he could have sworn she slid closer her eyes dropping to his mouth, but then she was jerking away shaking her head as she jumped to her feet. When the soft shift in her scent reached his nostrils they flared and he watched her with concern. “Cordy?”

“Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! IDIOT!” Cordelia hissed, fighting for control, trying to shut the nagging and chuckling demon out of her head long enough to control the heat building in her chest and flushing her skin. When the first image of Angel nakedness from his own eyes hit her, she reeled. The smooth chest lying in the bath tub. Perfectly muscled legs sliding under the bed covers. Powerful arms slamming into the punching bag, And then she gasped, as the first wave of dizzying pleasure shook her entire frame and she squeezed her eyes tighter, the image of Angel’s torso, the stroke of his hand and the familiar name echoing off the walls forcing her to squeeze her eyes tighter. ~Stop it! Stop it right now!~

~Hot virile male vampire with screwed up insecurities that just beg to be comforted Hazel. Where’s that maternal instinct of yours?~

~Lunching! Angel is my boss, the slayers ex-catch and I don’t take hand me downs Angelus!~

~I’m not a fucking hand me down Cor!~

~He’s my best friend you psycho! This is the one relationship I’m not fucking with; you hear me! NOT!~

Angel waited while the myriad of emotions flickered of Cordelia Chase’s face while she battled his demon. Of all the things he’d watched Cordelia do for him Angel hadn’t expected or had at least hoped she’d never had to meet Angelus again. Somewhere along the lines of helping the helpless and then helping Cordelia, he’d come to letting her help him. When he’d been trying to explain about Buffy, he’d been trying to reassure her that he wasn’t going to let anything happen to her. That no matter what crap his demon was screaming in her head, she was one of them. She belonged with him. “Cordy?”

She gulped air finally gathering enough strength to meet his eyes. “Coffee?”

And he watched her grab the mug from Wesley as soon as the man walked out with it.

He met Wesley’s concerned eyes before walking to the phone. Giles was getting his English bumpkin butt here even if Angel would have to drag it here himself. He couldn’t let Cordelia deal with Angelus. The bastard knew too much.
PART 4

He was leaning into the filing cabinet. Damn Cordelia Chase and her filing scheme. How was a non-person supposed to find anything when she filed ‘neurotics’ under ‘C’ for ‘cracked’ and ‘murder’ under ‘B’ for ‘bumped off’? Of course Angel wouldn’t be the one trying to find her file if she was here. Although, he still wanted to ask he why she’d been up all night, he had a feeling his demon was less than cooperative. Seeing her current state of helpless yawning, he let her sit this day out as long as she stayed within viewable distance of the fang gang. And Wesley and Gunn both didn’t mind keeping an eye on her today. With complete disregard to her usual whining.

Giles had agreed to bring the books over around sundown and he’d even sounded civil to Angel. Angelus was running rampant with his seer. Human and half in control of her body the demon was finally getting to assert himself how he knew best. Sexually.

And meanwhile, Angel still couldn’t shake the image of Cordelia wrapped around his body, preferably naked. And just because she was sporting a shiny new demon. HIS demon dammit. This kind of sharing should have disgusted him, but he was a vampire. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was causing those soft coppery cheeks to flush with pink and he couldn’t ignore the telltale smell of her arousal while she sat cross-legged and rigid like stone. For Angel, it was strangely erotic that the voice whispering secrets and lurid fantasies was his.

SLAP!

The door to his office hit the wall.

Angel looked up startled at the distressed expression on the watcher’s face, Angel’s arms still buried in the misfiled folders.

Wesley’s shirt was untucked, the worry lines deeper than usual and the sleeves of his white shirt rolled up unevenly to his elbows. He did not look happy or comfortable.

Straightening, Angel raised an eyebrow and pushed the filing drawer shut. “I swear, whatever it is, I didn’t do it.”

“This has to stop.”

“Okay. I’ll bite. Stop what?”

Wesley glared at the vampire’s pun. “We encourage good relations with clients, but if you don’t stop Angelus’ sleazing around in her body with anything on two legs Angel, I’m going to break something; like my head.”

By then Angel was staring at him. “He’s…what?”

“Playing the proverbial office slut Angel!” The grown man broke down into a boyish whine. “Please get her out of the lobby and ball and chain her to your desk if you have to. Please? I’ll work for free! I’ll mix your blood! Please just get him to stop dangling her hopefully under every male walking into the hotel. I’ll do anything.”

Cordelia was flirting with other men. Angelus was making her flirt with other men! As if the woman alone wasn’t enough! The weariness was probably catching up to her, he concluded.

Angel didn’t know what to do, smile or glare.

So he stopped the smile that was threatening to spread across his face because Wesley looked distressed enough already. “Okay Wesley. Would you like me to go now?”

“YES!”

He bit the inside of his cheek to not laugh at the enthusiasm in Wesley’s disheveled form. Without another word he ducked out under his arm.

“Angel?”

Turning at the door Angel looked at him curiously.

“Next time she insists on helping us. Lock her in the stock room.”

“Wouldn’t do much good Wes. She’d link all our paper clips together and make origami of all the paper.”

Wesley looked beaten. “Just get her out of there before she starts to strip.”

Angel chuckled to himself as he walked out of his office and into the hotel lobby. He turned the corner and spotted the object of his search standing across the hall with a man leaning over her, one hand braced against the wall, while she stood there pleasantly trapped under him, grinning lasciviously. Instant anger burned in his belly and he narrowed his eyes as she said something that seemed to make the stupidly smitten man snicker. He was going down.

Stalking across the lobby while Gunn talked to the group of little old ladies muttering about pygmies Angel was just in time to catch her wrist as she raised her hand to slide up into the man’s hair. “Excuse me.”

The dark haired man blinked with confusion as the brunette was yanked out from under before he could react. Looking up he stared at the large brooding man dragging the squirming girl up the stairs. “Hey!”

“Let me go you insensitive prick! If you can’t get any doesn’t mean I have to go without!”

Tugging harder on the woman’s wrist Angel dragged her down the corridor and into his room. “Shut up Angelus. As long as you’re in her body, you’re not getting any. So just deal.” Kicking the door shut Angel pushed Cordelia further into the room before grabbing her shoulders “Cordy? Dammit come on! Don’t lose it on me right now.”

The lusty haze in the seer’s eyes cleared slightly as she groaned softly in his eyes. “Shit! He did it again didn’t he?”

Angel sighed with guilt. “I’m so sorry about this.”

Shaking her head, Cordelia touched her head slightly. “It’s not your fault. I’m just really tired and he just never shuts up and the guy wasn’t bad looking or anything…”

“Cordy…”

“Right. Right. I got it.” She huffed softly. “He’s sulking. I’m okay.” With a soft sigh and without any warning, she wrapped her arms around his chest, her face buried in his black shirt and she finally let out a shuddering breath. Cordelia finally let the tension seep out
of her body and she let him hold her weight. She really didn’t have to do this alone. Not today. A yawn caught her off guard and she muffled it into his chest. “Sorry.”

His mouth rested on her hair and he held her with a smile. “You should take a nap. I’ll stay with you so you don’t seduce some unwitting man into my bed.”

“God, did that ever sound wrong.” She chuckled softly before pulling away to look up into his face. Unable to help the tug in his treacherous muscles Angel let his hand slide down her jaw softly and for the first time in two days her mouth stretched into her widest and most beautiful smile. How the hell could anyone resist this woman? Ignoring the sudden need to inhale her scent Angel picked a safer route.

“Question.”

She raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“Where’d you file ‘demon’?”

Her smile quirked into a smirk. “Under ‘B’.”

He blinked. “’B’ for?”

“Boogieman.”

He couldn’t help but laugh and gave her another squeeze in his arms before letting her go. God he loved this woman. Doyle had hit the nail on it proverbial head when he said she was the humanizing factor in his life. The one thing that didn’t make him feel like an animal.

“So you’ll watch over me?”

“To protect my seer’s honor. I see little ways out of it. Need a change of clothes?”

She stifled another yawn. “I don’t think I could bother. Just point me to the pillows. I’ll make this quick.”

Angel pulled back the covers on the bed and before he had turned the beside lamp off Cordelia had snuggled into them, her boots falling beside his bed on the carpet. One foot peeked out of the covers; the toenails screaming a wanton red and he shook his head. Angelus shared his soul’s affinity with colors. Was it just wrong that her toes were making him want to fall to his knees and suck on each one slowly? Probably, he concluded with a frown. Where the hell was his brain lately. Sans demon he was supposed to be a little less sex obsessed and to think of Cordelia this way. It was wrong.

He braved another look at her. With her hair framing his pillow he noticed she slept on the other side of the bed he usually slept on. The idea unconsciously popping into his head. This time his nagging demon didn’t tell him why, but Angel had a pretty good idea.

Dragging a chair next to her he let his chin fall on one propped up fist as he watched her. One hand curled under her cheek, her eyelashes resting against her cheeks, the steady rise and fall of her chest soothed him in a way he hadn’t expected. He always figured it was the demon just being obnoxious and horny, but this was different.

And for the first time in two years Angel pulled out his sketchpad and kohl from the bedside table.

*

“What is it with women and this need for sappy love stories?”

Cordelia settled back against the pillows next to her vampire, the remote in her hand as they watched the titles appear for Cordelia’s favorite movie. “Very few of us live them anymore.”

His head twisted around almost horrified by her claim. “Are you suggesting that romance is dead?”

“You’ve lived a few hundred lives. Don’t you think?” Snuggling into the plush pillow she settled back to enjoy the ‘new cow’ theory as Ashley Judd pranced around the screen.

“Men still buy silly candies and flowers for their woman. Hell even I have on some occasion!”

“When they were not doused in human blood.”

“Okay but there was definitely candy and candlelight.”

She couldn’t help smirk at him. “When was the last time you brought me Candy?”

The frown deepened in his brow, the contours of his nose contorting slightly. He was sure he lavished her with goodies. He was a gentleman! Okay maybe Liam wasn’t that much of a damned gentleman but he was dammit. He’d brought her candy. On some occasion. Racking his brain he counted off events that had transpired and couldn’t recall sweeteners on his list. Dammit. He hated behind proved wrong. By a woman no less. “It’s not my damned fault you’re always on a diet.”

The girl chuckled softly, the sound like morning bells on a sunny day and for a second he just watched the animated mirth on her face. The squeezing shut of her eyes and the expanse of her smile seemed to chase away shadows all around the room. “Give it up already. We’re watching this movie.”

“Cordyyyyy! It’s booooring!” If bribery didn’t do it. Maybe whining would. Hey what can I tell you; I’m a vampire.

With a sigh and sacrificing the lovely images of Hugh Jackman in her head, Cordelia turned her head to look at her vampire’s face and groaned. “Oh god not the puppy eyes.”

SCORE! But he was always the kind to push a little more.

Her groan melted into a cry of frustrating. “Stop with the lip! GAH!” Reaching out she grabbed his chin and glared at him. “You are such a melodrama queen. What do you wana watch instead?”

The leer that was returned was accompanied by him reaching out and grabbing the remote from her. Before she could protest or grab it back he had pointed it to the screen and was grinning like a madman. “PORN!”

Cordelia stared at the childlike glee in his handsome face and her breath stilled in her chest. “Porn! You and me! Watch PORN! NOWAY! You have wandering hands!” She shook her head and tried to grab for the remote. What she should have done was run.

His mouth spread into a wicked smirk before his arm hooked around her narrow waist and pulled her, toppling over him. The startled girl went sprawling against his chest and stared up into his eyes with growing panic as he purred softly. “I thought you liked my wandering hands Cordelia.”

She gulped at the predatory glint in his usual chocolate brown eyes. And the sounds from the TV filtered through her fast spinning out of control brain. “Oh god!” When his grip tightened she shrieked softly and squirmed against him. “LEGGO!” She twisted and he took the opportunity to allow her enough room until her back was against him, her legs kicking above his and her ass settled comfortably between his thighs. “Let go! I’ll hurt you! I can wield a mean PENCIL!”

He couldn’t hold the chuckle as the scent of her fear and the distinct musk of her arousal tainted the air and he couldn’t help dart his tongue out and slide it across her jaw teasingly. “Oh no. I tremble in my stylishly unaffordable boots.”

Her eyes snapped open and when the scene on the TV caught her eye. She slammed her eyes shut with a squeal. “Eyow! I don’t even LIKE porn! I am so NOT looking at this! Unhand me!”

Then her entire body stilled. Oh god. Sensory overload. With eyes closed and her body humming with his proximity, he pulled the last brick in her wall as his mouth brushed the rim of her ear right before his husky voice came. “Oh but I’m looking baby. The things I could do with you tied under my body the way she is right now.” The involuntary shudder made her draw in a spurt of breath as he held her to him firmly, his arms wrapped around her waist from behind.

One of her hands loosened away from her arm which she had been trying to pry to reach back and cover the mouth whispering naughty images. When his tongue slid out and flicked softly against her palm, she jerked her hand away as if stung, an electric current zipping down her spine and pooling in her gut. Oh dear lord he licked me. “Shhhhhhh! Don’t tell me!”

She felt more than saw the slow smile stretch across his beautiful mouth, her fingers itching to go back and touch the soft contours there. “Then how about I do it to you?” The suggestion was whispered into her ear and his free hand slid down her stomach slowly over the fabric of her soft cotton shirt.

Eyes snapping open, she instinctively caught his hand; her fingers threading into his with familiarity. “Tell me! Yes telling me is good.”

With her body in an erotic screaming frenzy, her eyes darted between the television and his hand gripping hers as he slowly raised both their hands above her head and her fingers slid against the side of his neck as his mouth caught her earlobe. “Hold on baby.”

With a panting gulp of breath, her fingers curled into the hair at the nape of neck as he pulled her other hands to join the first. Linking her hands around his neck and shoulders he felt her body uncurl between his, her legs stretching finally to relax onto the mattress.

“That’s it Cordelia. Just relax. Let me touch you, let my body teach you to make love with your yours until your can’t take anymore,” he purred softly into the shell of her ear and the answering shiver supplemented the soft moan building in her throat. He ran his hand slowly back down from her hands to the soft skin on the inside of her wrist, across the bone of her elbow and down the firm muscle in her forearm before dipping below her shoulder and along the side of breasts. “Hear the woman’s cries ? You’ll be screaming louder when I’m done with you.”

Her entire frame was taut with tension as his hands slide around the curve of her hip, the other arm still firmly holding her pinned back against his chest. “What is he doing to her?”

“Hmmm? You’ll find out.” He slid his hand over the belt of her skirt and shifted his hips until his hand met the firm curve of her ass encased in black leather. “Did I mention how much I like it when you wear skirts?”

Her lower lip caught between her teeth, her thighs squeezing together in a last attempt to keep him out as she fidgeted slightly in his lap. “Why?”

The smirk across her ear was a testimony to his expertise when it came to Cordelia Chase. With a precision only brought about due to centuries of practice he deftly slipped his knee between hers, spreading her legs apart without missing a beat. “Because of this baby.” His hand glided under the hem of her skirt easily from behind.

She couldn’t help the shorting of her breath, her chest tightening with the knowledge that he could unwind her this easily. The ease with which he had parted her thighs almost catching her off guard. “No don’t…”

The chuckle was almost sinful as the pinpricks of pleasure bursting across every inch of her skin where he touched her. “Why? Because you’re not wearing any panties my love?”

She froze, going deathly still as the realization came, her body unconsciously pressing back against his as she tried to evade his hand unsuccessfully. “I…um….laundry day,” she mumbled, her cheeks coloring with embarrassment.

“Cordy’s not wearing panties…” The amused purr was followed by his fingers dipping further between her legs to slide across the dampened trimmed curls there. “And Cordy’s wet and very turned on.” The husky chuckle was wicked and taunting but it only strung her tighter as she tried to fight the need to press back into his questing fingers.

When two fingers slipped past the soft folds of her labia she arched against him like a cat in heat, one leg sliding up, her foot resting on the mattress to give him more room. “You …you evil, wicked man!”

He chuckled softly, the hand around her stomach sliding beneath her shirt. “Oh you just pick new and improved ways to insult me don’t you?” A soft cry caught in her throat as he ran two fingers across the slick nub of her clitoris. “See what that man is doing to his woman? Sliding his fingers in like that? Think you can handle it baby?

The ragged moan was torn from her lips, her fingers tightening in his hair and shoulder. “Oh god!”

His tongue dipped into her ear and her brain disconnected from her body as she undulated there helplessly caught and surrounded by his body. “My naughty little kitten… not wearing panties on a working day.” The laugh was laced with wicked humor and immodest intent. “I should punish you.”

“Punish?” With body purring with pleasure like a harp string, taut and stretched to its limit. She could barely form words. “Oh god….I had little choice….”

“Oh Hazel…” The lusty growl in her ear was too recognizable. The depth almost snapping her right out of his arms as she twisted her head and stared up into the gold tinge of Angelus’ eyes.

“Angelus!”

His mouth twisted into a leer. “I might be good if you say you’re sorry.” And then his thumb was stroking slow circles around her clit and her protests were melting into throaty moans. “Are you sorry Hazel?”

And she was whimpering softly, her body arching like a bow against him and she was screaming. “Sorry! Oh god Angelus! I’m sorry!”

*

Angel looked up sharply at the groan. He’d been so busy putting the finishing touching to the contours of her face that he hadn’t noticed the soft shift in air and the heady scent escalating to a maddening aroma of pure Cordelia Chase.

Then the old breath in his lungs was thrust out of him as he saw her arch in his bed, one of her hands disappearing under the edge of his sheets and his slow brain put two and two together.

When the depth of her moans shook him to his bones he jumped to his feet, hurriedly putting his pad and kohl on the table as he rushed to her side, unable to form coherent thought at the picture she presented, his own body reacting to the sounds emanating from his best friend caught in an obviously erotic dream.

Caught between his need to see what she was seeing in her dream and rather who, he didn’t know if he should wake her or help her reach the peak she obviously wanted. And while he stood there battling his hormones and his guilty conscious, Cordelia’s back arched liked a bow, her eyes flew open as she sprang up in bed, her hands catching the sheet in fists and she cried out, “Sorry! Oh god Angelus! I’m sorry!”

And Angel stood there at the edge of the bed staring down at her like a damned fool while she panted, her eyes wild and dazed as she stared back.

*

PART 5

Wide hazel eyes were glazed with liquid fire and held his gaze with horrified guilt. Then her lips parted and a broken puff of air was liberated in a gasp. Still no words were spoken.

With nostrils flaring at the maddening scent of arousal and blood, with the telltale trace of panicked fear grazing the edge of his conscious, Angel stood at cliff’s edge of his own control. The frenzied rise and fall of her chest was enticing against the low neck of her sweater. The sheen of sweat on her neck was golden in the veiled light of the afternoon and that was when he noticed her hand was still between her thighs while she sat there.

And demon or no demon, the vampire couldn’t suppress the sharp intake of infuriated breath. In the instant it took for Angel to cross the distance of a few footfalls, Cordelia concluded with sickening realization that Angelus had done exactly what he’d been promising to do since he was unwelcomingly put into her head.

She’d woken up in the throes of an Angelus induced erotic dream.

But of all the lurid, lewd details Angelus had been whispering, she wasn’t prepared for the biting grip with which Angel caught her wrist and yanked it out from between the sheets and her trembling thighs. It was the initial shock from his vampiric speed and the cold clench of his hand that kicked her vocal cords into action. “Angel?”

If the breathy moan was supposed to cease the spiral of heat starting from where his fingers gripped the pulse in her wrist, or if she thought anything besides her glistening fingers could catch his attention, Angel figured the damned woman was mad.

Cordelia watched his tongue slide out of his mouth and glide across his bottom lip and his usually concerned brown eyes morphed into a dusky hunger.

And then her eyes slid back into her head just as her thumb slid into the cold moistness of his mouth.

Between Cordelia’s whimper of longing and Angel’s growl of contentment, neither bothered to conceal either reaction. She was suddenly surrounded by the soft caverns of his mouth and the sensual slip and slide of his tongue. Angel was intoxicated with the essence of sunshine, cinnamon and a taste that was branded on his tongue that he would always know was pure Cordelia.

Sitting there in Angel’s tangled sheets; she didn’t have enough cognition or mental control to even try and pull her hand out of the apt vampire’s grip or his mouth. She was lost. As lost as he was to her flavor. Lost to the sensation of his lips dragging across her thumb before letting it pop out of his mouth to greet cooler air. And she didn’t hear her screaming heartbeat increase a notch when the next digit on her hand was enveloped by the vampire’s mouth. Then the other. And another. Until the fire in her belly started with her explicit dream, was stroked, and suckled into a dampened wave of unadorned bliss by the time her last finger slid out of his mouth.

Then they were right back where they started: eyes meeting wide and scared, only this time laced with something new. Desire.

And neither knew what do with Cordelia’s hand.

“Fuck.”

Angel nearly fell on his ass, when the brunette’s eyes slammed shut and she finally spoke. The shock was enough to keep him from replying with ‘hell yeah’. “What?”

“FUCK! Vision! Oh Fuck! Oh god Angel, hold me!”

And in that single sick twist of fate, Angel had to ignore the raging heat rushing to his groin and crawl over the sheets to hold the convulsing girl in his arms while the stream of profanities flowed from her lips. He willed his erection to go away as her nails dug almost painfully into his arms. He was such a dirty old man for getting excited while his best friend was in obvious pain. He should have stayed in hell.

“Holy shit! Make this friggin’ stop you prickass!” She wailed, the heel of her hand pressing against her temples, her eyes squeezed shut with the effort to ward off the pain.

Angel frowned irritably down at his demon’s screeching. “Oh just suck it up Angelus!”

“Goddamn you! You don’t know, they fucking HURT!”

The vampire ducked his head when Cordelia’s elbow almost took out his eye. “I KNOW they do! Now hold still and stop being such a damned wuss!” He couldn’t help snap while the woman struggled in his lap which was difficult to maneuver considering his previous state of arousal.

And then just like it had started, the young woman relaxed in his arms, the wailing diminishing down to painful whimpers and Cordelia opened her eyes. “Oh yuck! Oh gross much! Eyow!”

Running one hand over her brow he pushed the damp hair off her face as he cradled her against his chest murmuring soothingly. “You okay Cordy?”

“No she’s not fucking OKAY!”

She sighed slightly. “I’m okay.”

“She’s LYING!”

~Will you just shut up! Let me do this!~

~Does he know just HOW fucking painful they are?~

~No. But we can talk about this AFTER we save the nice girl.~

~She looked hot though, with the blood sliding down her…~

~ANGELUS!~

“Cordy?”

Sitting up she rubbed her palms gently over her face. “Yeah. I’m fine Angel, besides the side splitting headache which won’t go away until we do PTB bidding and Angelus’ pansy whining.”

~Hey!~

His arms felt empty. “What did you see?” Angel resisted the urge to wrap them around his seer again. Knowing a line had been crossed today and there were repercussions that needed sorting out. The line was crossed when she got my demon, but this was new dammit! I’ve tasted Cordelia Chase!

“Guts being spilled and normally I’d be turned on but goddammit that hurt!”

Angel nearly growled when her prefect forehead creased with a frown. “Will you please let her talk!”

Cordelia took a deep breath before looking up into Angel’s eyes “A stray is about to wander into a vampire nest.”

Both his eyebrows shot up. “A stray what?”

Her eyes were deadpan. “A stray kitten you poof faced ignoramus! What the hell do we eat? Human! Fresh, leggy blonde with a great pair of tits by the way.”

Cordelia winced before pushing the sheets away from her body and swing her legs off the side of the bed. “It’s down by the waterfront warehouse. A fairly new pack.”

Her eyes caught the sketchpad on the side table and her eyes widened. There in firm black lines was she sleeping on Angel’s pillow with an innocence Cordelia didn’t know she still had. Not really having the courage to face the possibilities, she grabbed her boots pretending to not have noticed the sketch or the care with which he’d drawn each eyelash.

Angel climbed off his bed as she zipped up her boots. Picking up the discarded sketchpad, he opened the drawer and slid it inside wondering if she’d seen it. But judging by the lack of disgust on the brunette’s face he figured she didn’t know about him obsessing over each fine bone in her face. So he watched her stretch to her full height as she straightened her clothes. “How many?”

“About Six.” Reaching beside him, her shoulder almost brushed his arm as she picked up her bag from his chair where she’d dropped it and looked up. The tingles were ignored on both their parts. For now. “First some aspirin. Then some butt-kicking. Followed by a shower.” She forced a confident smile as her vampire boss, who’d just minutes before had her fingers in his mouth, watched her with an amused half smile.

“The aspirin for you. The butt-kicking for me and the shower for?”

Her confident smile wavered with the color in her cheeks. Okay so Broody does not need psycho demon boy to flirt. But since when did Angel flirt? And with her?

~Since his tongue was eating away all that delicious Cordelia-nectar from her own fingers I’m guessing.~

~Clam up you crude bastard.~

~Oh I just love it when you whisper sweet nothing’s to me Hazel.”

“The but-kicking is for all of us. You’re going to need help. I’m going with you.”

“No you’re not.”

“Yes I am.”

“No you’re not Cordy.”

“Yes I am Angel.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No way!”

“YES way!”

“Cor-de-lia.”

“An-gel.”

“Oh for the love of Hades lets just fucking skip the foreplay and get off the damned frustration! You both fucking need it!”

Cordelia and Angel both blinked in surprise.

“I mean the vampire ass-kicking you daft imbeciles! This headache is killing me!”

Angel’s mouth quirked in a smirk and Cordelia bit the inside of her cheek as they walked out of his room to get Wesley.

“You’re such a baby Angelus.”

“You should be talking soulprick, savior of kittens!”

Cordelia sighed and wished she was anywhere but here.

~I hear New Zealand’s very nice this time of the year. ~

~ARGH!!!!~
*

It was almost sundown by the time Angel’s Plymouth stopped outside the steel gates of the huge warehouse. The sound of the ocean wasn’t as pronounced as it should have been and the odd calm in the air unsettled him. The sun had almost disappeared behind the horizon and his fingers taped gently over his steering wheel waiting for the few seconds it took to remove the last of the sun’s rays from the sky. Turning his head to his right he watched Wesley load and tighten his bow. Then with a somnolent sigh he turned to the grumbling in the backseat. “Did the last time not teach you anything?”

Flashing hazel eyes glared back at him before the mouth twisted into a thin line. “Maybe just maybe someone will bonk you on the head Angel and get this depraved doofball out of my head.”

He wisely held back the scowl and instead threw his door open before stepping out.

Doofball.

Why did that sound to damned endearing suddenly? The blood sucking psycho was suddenly doofball?

The longer Angelus stayed in her head the more accustomed to his presence she became and it just bothered the shit out of him. It was no longer a secret that Angel found this woman sexy as hell and enticing as blood. In the past twenty-four hours, Angelus had made sure everyone became painfully aware of the importance this woman had in their lives. Ever since the dreaded neck-licking incident, Wesley had been hiding behind his books. Their resident freelancer, Gunn had been warned out of the hotel because he seemed to like Cordelia uninhibited. Angel made sure he was the first to go. But there was still himself.

And every time Angel looked at the leggy brunette with the fire his demon lighted in her eyes, Angel has this inane need to either fuck or kill something. And killing was his job.

He heard the sound of two car-doors snapping shut and tightened his fist. “Be careful.”

“You watch your pansy ass Angelboy, and leave the butt kicking to me.”

Wesley cleared his throat, watching the nerve work in their vampire boss’s temple. “Please recall you are in Cordelia’s body Angelus.”

“It’s okay Wesley, I’m a little curious to see what he can do.” There was little doubt that the saucy curiosity was all Cordelia.

And the fire was lit under Angel’s ass.

Before either of his comrades could wait for a signal, Angel’s booted heel connected with the steel door of the warehouse and it sprang open on the inside.

Cordelia’s eyebrow shot up. “Subtle.”

“Shut up!” She stared in awe as the vampire stalked inside the warehouse with a sudden air of brutal authority that just gave her the willies while she and Wesley walked behind him. The pack of vampire were frozen in their spot, golden eyes gleaming out of the semidarkness as the woman held between them let out a frightened scream. There was the distinct sound of a stake sliding into each of Angel’s hands as he tilted his head to the side to count them. “Didn’t your sire tell you one can’t feed six?”

~Wow. I look fucking cool when I’m like that.~

~Amen.~

~You have it so bad Hazel.~

~I’m not the one staring at his own ass weirdo.~

~You just let me handle this cheerleader and think limber baby.~

Cordelia could barely suppress the smile. ~Be gentle.~

~Fuck no.~

~With my legs dork!~

~Oh.~

When Angel regarded the troupe with a cocky half smile Cordelia wondered just how much of Angelus was actually Angel before he spoke. “So are you going to just hand her over or am I going to have to make you?”

Six pairs of fangs glittered in the dark as the girl was shoved behind the row of vampire who stood up before them. The taller vampire who’d been holding the girl down stepped forward slightly before he smirked and hissed his reply. “Make me.”

And then it was all a matter of mechanics. Wesley fired the first shot before he was tackled. And Cordelia let the demon’s instinct guide her muscle and bone. But it was Angel that worked like clockwork and it was a little later that Cordelia wished she’d just sat back and seen her vampire at work.

The first vampire ran past Angel and came at Cordelia, claws and fangs drawn. And if Angel had been watching her smirk would have been familiar along with the technique as she spun around in a reaping circle kick. It caught the younger fledge by surprise and he bent over in pain and obvious surprise before the stake hit home.

Cordelia’s mouth spread into a wide grin. “I did it! I DID IT! I SO rock!”

“Cordelia!” Angel grabbed the wrist of the first vampire that charged him and his leg snapped forward over his head then smashed him back into the dirt before the stake ripped through his heart. “Fight now! Gloat later!”

The second one caught Cordelia a lot quicker than she expected. Her foot struck Cordelia in the abdomen flinging her back a few paces. “AWO!”

~Fucking relax Cor, before you get us eaten!~

Her eyes widened the female vamp tried to ram her foot in her chest. “WHOA!” Cordelia rolled and flipped on her hands. In one quick motion her ankles caught the hissing vampire by the neck and rolled back to her feet hurling her into the dust. The stake met flesh before she exploded into dust. And then Cordelia was back to whooping happily and jumping around. “Did you see that! Guys! Did you see what I did!”

~You are SUCH glory hound.~

Angel had barely enough time to roll his eyes before the larger of the vampires circled around him and his boot landed in the middle of Angel’s back. Angel cried out more in rage than in pain. Spinning around with a growl and his game face he grabbed the vampire’s arm, twisted around before throwing him over his head and the blonde’s shoulder snapped as he hit the ground howling in pain. The ripples of his growl almost seemed to still time for an instant before it resumed.

And it was then that the seer took time to watch her champion at work, unable to resist the animalistic urge to appreciate every twist and stretch of muscle.

Angel at his best. Pissed and in full vamp mode.

He grabbed his last opponent’s wrist as his leg hooked into the crook of the vampire’s shoulder. Then with a feral smirk, he pulled, his booted foot smashing forward into his neck before the dust landed at his feet. She couldn’t restrain the muted ‘whoa’ of appreciation as he stood there growling and dust free.

~How the hell does he do that?~

~The sad sap was probably Scotch-guarded at birth.~

“Cordelia, look out!”

The awed woman spun around still smiling and met a mouthful of dust as Wesley caught the last one of them with an arrow through his chest.

Coughing and hacking, she batted her hand in front of her face and groaned. “Oh eyow! Gross! Wesley!”

“Would you rather he had eaten you Cordelia?”

“But my new sweater!”

Angel ground his teeth before catching the last of the remaining vampires. With his shoulder dislocated he could barely escape fore Angel had grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. “You know where you’re supposed to be?” He snarled, the gold in his eyes flashing with pointed emphasis.

“Not here. I get it. Not here.” The trembling vampire could barely get the words out.

“Get out of my city,” Angel grated out before throwing him towards the door and he watched with satisfaction as the shaking half broken vampire fled the warehouse.

Then he turned, his eyes landing on his seer, the borrowed blood still pumping in his veins and the need to claim and take still simmering under his skin. But her wide hazel eyes were blurred by the weeping girl, who threw her arms around Angel, sobbing gratefully. “Oh god, thank you!”

As Angel watched, the irate fire in Cordelia’s eyes turned cold.

And while he stood there in that choking hold, he realized why he’d been so keen on showing off and dusting the pathetic vampires like a machine while his demon whispered in her head.

Fuck. I am jealous of Angelus.
*

PART 6

~And then there was the time we tried to fucking eat Elvis.~

Another snort of laughter tore from the brunette’s lips, as Angel’s eyes veered off the road to catch the mirth dancing in her eyes in his rearview mirror.

Muffling her snort, Cordelia tried to avoid Angel’s scathing glance by ducking lower in the back seat of his convertible. ~Please don’t tell me you were the one who killed the king.~

~He’s DEAD?~

She bit back her smile. ~You didn’t KNOW? Come on Angelus, seriously though. Angel tried to eat Elvis?~

~That means he never told you about his bout with that spooky little writer girl from Yorkshire with a fetish for dark places and an avid interest in mystisim?~

An eyebrow arched? ~Writer girl?~

~Found her carrying her drunk brother home once. Really wanted to eat him, but the fucking idiot was pissed drunk and she had the audacity to snark at me about my lack of manners and bookish knowledge. So I helped her carry him into this this nearby pub, in hopes she’d let me eat her. She aparently could control her liqure better then her prick of a brother. So when I got drunk, we got to talking and I ended up confessing about my damned undeadness instead. Had that effect on most people it seemed. Left me there with some crap about reshaping some inane little character of a dark brooding man with a mysterious past and an even shadier future living in a dark desolate manor on the top of a rained out hill.~

Her mouth dropped open. ~Oh my god!~ The reference was eerily familiar.

~Although, I thought of fucking going back and eating her afterall, since the desolate moron ended up being called Heathcliff instead. That’s about as fucking prissy a name as Angel!~

~Emily Bronte! She wrote Wuthering Heights because she met you! In a pub!~

~Just about.~

She glared at the back of Angel’s head. ~He never told me!~

The demon snickered. ~There are a great many things, the soul hasn’t told you Hazel.~

Instantly, Cordelia’s sense of curiosity was roused. ~Name three.~

~His hunger, his weakness, his fantasy, just to name three.~

~Fantasy?~

The demon smirked wickedly. ~Oh if I only had forever to tell you beautiful.~

Angel’s fantasies. Cordelia was suddenly very eager to find out what kind of cravings went through her boss’ head as she contemplated her next question. Dare she ask?

~Pick a player.~

Her nose wrinkled. ~Eyow! You mean there’s one of everyone? Even Giles?~

~Fucking vampire here Cor. Go figure. Pick one. Buffy and Angel. Darla and Angel. You and Angel?~

Instant color rose to her cheeks as she bit her lip. ~To name three?~

~Want to see my favorite?~

Her eyes watched her two friends in the front seat guiltily.

~Close your eyes baby, let me show you what makes you beautiful to me.~

Unable to resist the purring seduction in Angelus’ voice and the irrefutable pull of her own curiosity, Cordelia closed her eyes and let him spin his little dream sequence. Willingly. ~Spare me the demonstration this time Angelus, I so don’t want to give Wesley and Angel a show.~

~Do you trust me?~

~No.~

He chuckled. ~You will. Now shut up and let me talk.~

Angel was turning towards their street, when the scent in the air drifted up around him. Nostrils flaring to draw the rich aroma into his lungs, Angel struggled to pinpoint the source and its identity. It was familiar. Almost intimate. Almost like…

His eyes widened and he nearly swerved off the road.

“ANGEL!” Wesley gripped the dashboard as the vampire nearly missed a lamppost, the tires of the Plymouth screeching while the Angel tired to get the car in control.

Cordelia was thrown against the door with a shriek and finally the car skidded back into its own lane in a wake of screaming curses and horns from the other drivers. Shaken from her mental images and breathing hard from the shock of their almost accident and partly from Angelus’ ‘eloquent’ story telling Cordelia stared at the dark head of the vampire driving the car, his knuckles white as they gripped the wheel. “ARE YOU INSANE?”

Angel nearly twisted around to glower at the audacious woman with half a mind to slap some sense into her. “ME!”

“Yes you maniac! This is NOT your Playstation! You can’t wrap us around a lamppost and start your game over!”

The vampire was fighting the urge to reach back and shake the girl as he concentrated on not doing exactly what she was ranting about. The delicious taste was still strong on the back of his tongue and the distinct scent of her arousal had gone straight to his groin. After he’d realized what it was. Now all he wanted to was to get his demon out of her head, so he could find out what the hell he was telling his seer, to make her that aroused.

“Random question soulful, did we have the dream about the Plymouth and Cordelia’s red bikini before or after you moved to LA?”

And Angel swerved again.

*

Wesley was already yawning, although, it was still early in the evening. Sundown had come and gone. The watcher looked over his shoulder as Cordelia got out of Angel’s convertible; the irate vampire already stalking past him and into the hotel. If the picture of Cordelia frowning down at her dusty sweater wasn’t unsettling for Wesley himself, the watcher might have just pegged Angel’s sudden need to get away from her, akin to his own. But she was their friend. And it wasn’t his demon revealing secrets in her head.

“Don’t drag your feet Geeky.”

With an irritating demon that goaded him every chance he got. “Shut up Angelus.”

“Shit, that’s all anyone ever tells me. What’s the matter, you worried Cordelia might actually see the hard-on you’re sporting?”

And Wesley spun around, his blue eyes flashing with fire. “For the first and last time, Angelus; Cordelia is my friend.” The possessed brunette blinked at him in surprise. “Unlike you, I still have motor control over my own bloody body. I do not need borrowed hormones to remind me I’m alive and for the record, the woman is indeed beautiful. The sardonic crudeness you add to her have nothing to do with the effect she has on men. And I’m a man; something you cannot be.”

Cordelia watched at the conviction on Wesley’s face before he spun around and marched into the hotel, much like Angel had, leaving her suddenly silent demon and herself staring after him in wonder.

~Think I hit a nerve.~

The woman stood in the small driveway and swallowed the suddenly welling of grateful emotion in her throat.

~Oh for the love of all that is sacred! You find HIM endearing!? Little puny geek boy?~

~You know I’ve known Wesley for a very short time, but that sounded too much like him standing up for me.~

~Men will stoop to anything to get into the good books of a woman.~

~God, can you not soil every happy thought in my life! I don’t know WHY I thought I could like you!~

~I’m gorgeous?~

~Angel is gorgeous, you’re just the devil whispering in his head.~

~Thanks for the compliment.~

With a dejected sigh, Cordelia sat down on the front steps of the hotel and watched the darkening sky start to sparkle with stars.

~Fucking hell Hazel. I didn’t want to make you miserable or make you sit here on the fucking steps making the both of us look like a couple of moony idiots!~

The brunette suppressed her smile. ~Wow. That almost sounded like an apology.~

~Fuck off.~

She chuckled. ~Can you really blame me Fangless? I mean think of it, I came to this godforsaken city with just one dress and one pair of heels and money enough to buy one drink at a bar with the only option of becoming someone’s bitch. And if it hadn’t been for Angel, I’d probably be standing on a sidewalk as we speak.~

~Remind me to kiss the gallant fool.~

~And it was Doyle who convinced Angel to actually keep me. He used to say I had a good influence on the broody dork. That somehow I made him human.~

~We can never really be human Hazel.~

~And I don’t forget it, because hello! Blood lust. Still.~ Her eyes turned misty at the memory as she replayed the scenes of her past in her head, partly for his benefit and partly because she needed herself to remember them. ~Angel might never know just what he did for me? Just like Doyle will never know what he did for me when he gave me the visions. Why he picked me.~

~Between kissing the fucking soul and you; I’d say he had good taste.~

She snickered almost wishing there were potent arms to hold her while she relived her memories. ~And even though, Wesley and I are new at this, I can’t help trust him; you know. Like I know Doyle is gone, but there’s someone else who will know the answers; maybe not all of them. But someone who’ll know where to look.~

~Didn’t anyone tell you, they need all the elements to make great drama? Beauty, bravado and brains.~

~What does that make you in the equation?~

~Every story needs a villain.~

She laughed as she wrapped her arms around her knees. ~You give yourself way too much credit Fangless.~

~I’m pure evil.~

~You’re not a villain Angelus; you’re Angel’s demon.~

And she could feel the twitching defiance to a fact he couldn’t deny or acknowledge.

~Why the fuck won’t you tell Angel you’re dying?~

At his blatant change of topic, Cordelia smiled almost knowingly, before letting out a slow breath and for the first time thinking of the convulsing pain, which she knew, was slowly and steadily killing her. She supposed it was only fair he’d twist the hardest truth in response to her straightforward statement about his existence.

~Tit for fucking tat Hazel. Now why the hell won’t you tell soulful the damned visions are killing you.~

Her lower lip was caught between her teeth. ~Because I’m his seer.~

~He can find himself a new toy to be his damned seer.~

The irrational anger built in her belly before Cordelia could suppress it, the instant flaring of it almost startling Angelus. ~I’m Angel’s seer!~

Angelus sighed slightly, his questions answered by just that statement. ~Fucking hell Cor. He’s not going to be peachy or happy about this. No matter how damned scared you are of your importance to his life.~

~I’m not scared!~

~Look in the damned mirror you beautiful idiot! You’d probably see the terror and jealousy on your face at the prospect of someone else taking your place.~

Her teeth ground together. She didn’t like Angelus at all. She didn’t like that he knew her so deeply already. Her fears were her own and that’s how it had always been with her. Her fears. Her choices. Now she had this raw, brusque voice in her head constantly testing her boundaries and convictions. She now understood why Angel was always brooding. Angelus kept questioning everything he was.

~Tell him.~

~No.~ She rose to her feet, glaring out into the darkness of the night as if trying to intimidate the taunting voice of Angelus in her head.

~Fine then I will.~

Her eyes widen as she spun around and took the first step towards the hotel. “NO!” The young woman shook with struggling control as she shook her head vigorously, willing Angelus to give in. “You can’t tell him! You will keep your…MY mouth shut about this okay! You will NOT tell him a thing.”

“Unscrupulous demon here Cor. Why the hell would I keep your secret?”

She stood there trembling with the indecision to just tell Angel and let him worry and hold her in his arms so she won’t have to fight this all alone and die alone if she didn’t. But at the same time she couldn’t bare to see what this would make Angel do. She knew it in her gut like she knew she liked Gucci over CK; the first thing Angel would do, would be to look for a way to take her visions from her. And then who’d she be?

~I never knew you to be so riddled with insecurities Hazel.~

~Shut up!~

~Oh I am SO scared.~

~I’m not telling. End of discussion.~

~Sorry I don’t share the same fucking sentiment so I’d have to go with my next question. What’s it worth to you Hazel?~

And her spine straightened as she realized what he was suggesting. What were her visions worth to her? He couldn’t be serious! He knew what they were worth! She was silent because of what they were worth. ~You’re emotionally blackmailing me?!~

~Duh. I’m suggesting a bargain.~.

~No fucking way! I’m not bargaining with a clinical psychopath!~

Her eyes widened when she heard her own voice call out Angel’s name.

She ducked behind a pillar shielding herself from the windows. “Oh god! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! Okay! Fine. What do you want!”

~Well….it’s got to be worth at least a really good feel and a couple of orgasms to keep quiet, babes. I do so love the way they feel in your body.~

~WHAT! NO!~

She took another step towards the door and her eyes widened.

~YES! Fine!~ When she got control her of feet, she took a shuddering breath, her fingers pressed into the throbbing ache in her temples. ~Oh god fine! I’m humiliated enough already, what’s another round of emotional Cordy bashing.~

And Angelus couldn’t help feeling intrigued at her need to keep this from Angel. ~And I expected more opposition. You disappoint me Hazel. I thought you had more stamina than the soul.~

~Fine. Let’s just get this over with.~

And yet her feet stayed glued to the ground. ~Oh come on Hazel. If it was mindless self-violation I wanted, I’d have you on your back the entire day instead of resorting to cheap tactics. I want another day with you.~

And the seer was thrown for a loop. ~Another day? What the hell for?~

~Oh for fuck’s sake do we need get into the whole I’m an evil vampire occupying a hot sexy body I can use to my whim and why speech?~

~Bullshit! I can almost feel the conniving twist and turn of your mind Angelus. What the hell do you intent to gain out of this?~

~Come along for the ride Hazel and let me show you.~

The insane whim of actually finding out what he had in mind was clouded by the sense that there was nothing to convince Angel to let her keep his demon for another day. Her own curiosity over why Angelus was doing this for more time was almost enough to make her agree. Bargain or no bargain. And Angelus had just given her a taste of the amount of information about her vampire boss. Things she couldn’t ask. ~They’ll never agree.~

~Run away with me.~

“WHAT!!!” She scoffed at the idiocy of the idea. ~Have you lost your mind!~

~Where’s your sense of adventure Hazel?~ The demon leered. ~A night on the town. My treat.

~You don’t HAVE any money!~

~But I know where he keeps the plastic.~

And an eyebrow shot up in alarm and piqued interest against her will.

~Come on Hazel. You and I both know you want to.~ A smirk twisted her lips. ~I’ll buy you shoes.~

Her eyes closed and she groaned softly, tired and confused after the last twenty-four hours. She remembered the look on Angel’s face while his mouth was wrapped around her fingers and her heart skipped a beat. There was something there. Something she’s never seen on her vampire and she knew Angelus held a lot of answers to her own questions. Now that she was unwillingly comfortable with his voice in her head, could she give him that much control over her own inhibitions?

Cordelia Chase was no coward.

But was she willing to put up with his twisted fantasies enough to find the answers?

~Duh.~

~I hate you.~

And the smirk was back, this time accompanied by a purr. “I aim to please Hazel. So you in?”
*

Adrenaline pumping through Angel’s veins he gulped down the mug of blood before wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeves. Without the taunting, ever hungry voice of Angelus, Angel couldn’t drown out his own voice which was concurrently goading him and berating him of taking advantage of Cordelia while she was obviously being manipulated by his demon. But he hadn’t been prepared dammit.

He hadn’t been prepared with his own emotions on the issue of his seer.

There was so much he needed to remind himself and to reassure the insane need to rid Cordelia of his voice in her head. He knew his demon’s fascination with her. It was the root of his own need to keep her close. Her goodness was damned enticing and he had little doubt Angelus would bring up the subject.

And Angelus was telling her first. That was something Angel just couldn’t stomach.

Grabbing the phone off the hook, he dialed the number and waited until the voice picked up. “Giles?”

“Yes.”

“Why the hell are you still at home?”

There was an incensed sigh on the other end. “We have a bit of a situation at hand. Although, I hadn’t completely forgotten your plight; I myself have to assist Buffy with a problem.”

“What the hell else could be worse than this!”

“We do live on the hellmouth Angel.”

“I need that spell Giles!”

“As much as it pains me to help you Angel, but this is about Cordelia, not you. So I have sent Willow along with Spike. I believe they should be with you in another half hour or so.”

He frowned. “You sent Willow with Spike?”

“There are a great many things you are not aware of Angel since you’ve been gone.”

Why was it that Angel always felt like he was an adolescent fourteen year old whenever this man talked to him? Condescending, righteous bastard. He hadn’t killed the woman. Then his stomach tightened and he held the bitterness back. He was as responsible for his demon’s actions as he was for his own. Which made him even more thunderous at his demon taking advantage of his seer, emotionally and physically. “Pick the short version Giles. I don’t have time.”

“Spike is working with her, for now. His motives not entirely noble, but he’s been invaluable on occasion.”

“Still chipped?”

“Indeed.”

Angel allowed a pause before he spoke again. “Thanks Giles.”

Angel sat behind his desk and rubbed his hands over his face slowly after he hung up. Could this get any worse?

“Nice pad Peaches? Where’s the bloody jaccuzi?”

He looked up and met a pair of cocky blue eyes as a red-haired witch peeked out from behind the leather clad blonde vampire.

It had just gotten worse.

With a lamenting un-needed sigh Angel stood up and walked out to look Spike in the eyes. “You got the spell?”

The British vampire held up the folded piece of paper in his hand and smirked. “You got the cheerleader?”

Angel turned and looked at Wesley.

The watcher frowned. “I thought she was with you.”

And now it had gotten past worse.
PART 7

“You LET her get away!”

“I most certainly did NOT!”

“She was right NEXT to you Wesley!”

“I don’t believe we’re attached to the hip Angel.”

“YOU let her get away!”

“I most CERTAINLY did not!”

Spike let out an exasperated grunt and propped his elbow on the little witch’s shoulder. “You think they’d be done in the coming hour or so, I do need to bleach.”

Willow muffled her snicker with her hand as Angel and Wesley shot them a dirty glance. “I don’t think they care Spike.”

“Well I’m just a puddle of mush.” Spike smirked as he met his sire’s eyes. “What gives Peaches? Besides your grip? Lose the little cheerleader?”

The reverberating growl should have been threatening if Spike didn’t know his sire was well as he did, because even when Angel leaned down into his face, he didn’t flinch. Not even when he spoke. “I didn’t lose her.” Spinning around he pointed to Wesley. “HE did.”

“Did not!”

“And we’re back to that.” Spike rolled his eyes. “Look you bloody poof, can you just pick a list of spots the little chit likes to visit and you can scour round your wee city and bring her back. Help the hopeless.”

“Helpless.”

“Not in her case.”

Angel’s brown eyes narrowed into threatening slits. “Good idea Spike.” Reaching out he grabbed the vampire by the back of his duster collar and yanked him towards the door. “You can help!”

“Oye! Let go of me you bloody sod! I can walk on my bloody own you wanker! Let go!”

Willow took a deep breath before looking at Wesley. “Shall we?”

“WHERE THE FUCK IS MY CAR!!!”

*

Cordelia walked out of the closing doors of the mall, her arms weighed down by bags. “If you weren’t in my head I’d be pissed off at your ungentlemanly-ness right about now Angelus.” A man beside the door looked up startled at the young woman clad in a blood red dress and killer heels sashaying to the parking lot, his cigarette hanging from his lips.

~Can you not talk out loud Hazel, we do have a reputation.~

~Says the big bad.~ Cordelia snickered as she threw the contents of the bags into the backseat of the convertible before climbing into the driver’s.

~I am the biggest bad.~ He leered.

Gunning the engine Cordelia allowed a soft smile to grace her rouged lips. ~Egotist. Well not so bad. You did buy me nice things.~

“For a reason Cor. Now you intend to make it to this nightclub you tell me about so we can put it to use?”

~Oh and you tend to think out loud?~

~Shit.~

The Plymouth peeled out of the parking lot in a screech of tires and sparkling laughter, just as the Desoto pulled into the almost vacant lot.

“I told you it was too soddin’ late for the cheerleader to be here. But would he listen. Nooo. Pummel the bright childe into his nice leather seat, but don’t listen to reason. By Satan poofy! Your deductive skills HAVE gotten shoddy with age; you’re a bloody stain on our very existence.”

Angel kicked the door open before he could reach out and snap Spike’s head backwards so he could say a few wise words to the man, but the congested space in Spike’s car was starting to make the undead man claustrophobic. He still couldn’t believe Spike had insisted Willow take the front seat. Didn’t anyone trust Wesley at all?

Muttering regret over siring childer, Angel let his eyes roam the expanse of the mall parking lot before his eyes landed on the security guard standing beside the darkened door to the mall. With resolved strides Angel tried not to look as murderous as he felt. Spike seemed to have that effect on him, he concluded. Adding to the insane fury at Cordelia’s stunt. “Hi. This may seem like an odd question since you see a lot of people here, but have you seen this woman.” Angel pulled a picture of Cordelia he’d found in her desk.

The guard blew out a lung full of smoke as he sized up the larger man bearing down on him without so much as a smile. Tilting his head sideways he saw a bleached blond man standing at the driver’s seat his arms on the top of the vintage car while two heads poked out of the windows watching him intently; a wispy redhead and a geeky young lad. This damned city got weirder every minute. Taking the picture from the man he looked at it closely before looking up. “Brunette, about five-eight, red dress, talks to herself?”

“Red dress?!” Angel scowled. “I’m going to kill Angelus.”

Frank handed him the picture. “But that was about a few minutes ago. She’s gone now.”

“Could you be any more vague?” Angel nearly bit out, his eyes flashing with impatience.

Wesley cleared his throat softly as he leaned further out of the car window. “Um, please don’t mind him. He’s rather worried about our friend. Um…which way did she go?”

Frank frowned at the spectacled man before glaring at the one called ‘Angel’ as if they expected him to believe that was his real name. Pointing to the exit of the lot he snorted. “That way.”

Spike’s mouth widened into his trademark smirk while Angel wished he could pound the little fat man into the ground. “Much obliged mate. Get back in the bloody car Angel. Oh and do you think you could lend me a fag mate? I’m fresh out. Marlboros?”

Frowning with distaste at Angel he stepped forward before holding out his pack of cigarettes to the blond man. “Here. There’s one left. Take the pack.”

His teeth grinding with annoyance Angel sank into the backseat of the car before yanking the door shut with a slap. There was no telling what Angelus was making her do. He couldn’t believe she’d just gotten up and left without telling them anything. What the hell was she thinking!

“Oh and I heard her mention something about a nightclub.” Frank shrugged indifferently. “If that helps.”

“Thanks mate!” Spike shot the guard a wide grin and a wink as he dropped back behind the wheel. “Nice chap. Helpful fellow. You should learn a bit Peaches. Your city’s nicer than you.”

“Shut up Spike and drive.”

“Aye, aye Captain.”

Willow groaned. “Spike, have you been watching Spongebob again?”

Frank shook his head remembering his wife’s words. Frank decided he’d put in his transfer tomorrow. “Flo was right.”

*

Cordelia nearly choked on her drink as she watched the hunched shoulder of the man walking away. ~Dammit Angelus! What was wrong with this one!~

~The fucking idiot had a mole the size of Texas! Are you purposefully blind woman!~

~I could barely see it!~

~I SAW IT~

~He was just asking for a dance!~ Maybe this whole night out with Angelus wasn’t that great an idea after all. Not only did she miss Angel slightly, being out on the town so to speak, not that Angel was any help in socializing but he did help when she whined. And although Angelus had killer taste in clothes, he wouldn’t let any man near her. What was the point of coming to a nightclub if she couldn’t dance? So far she’d been ‘unnecessarily’ rude to six perfectly decent men because Angelus would step in to point out a flaw. To the man’s face. She was waiting to be thrown out any minute for rudeness personified.

~He was asking for a fucking lap dance Hazel. I’m a man; I can tell these things!~

~And this is news? You all think with your penis! You’re MEN for god’s sake. Besides what’s the point of buying me this gorgeous dress if I can’t even show it off! All I’ve done so far is be the bitch at the bar.~

~Never took you for the mole-y kind of woman Cor.~

~I’m not! And what about the one before that! Did you really have to go into detail as to how small is dick was.~

~You know when you pump one muscle the others suffer. Basic rule of body building.~

~What! I’ve never heard that! Besides what does his biceps have to do with this?~

~ To compensate for his ‘pencil dick’.~

She let out a soft groan and leaned her head on her propped up hand on the bar as she gazed longingly at the dance floor. ~And the blonde was what?~

~What pisser opens with a line like ‘I bet I can kiss you on the lips without touching you.’?~

She rolled her eyes. ~But the poor man did not need me to tell him, ‘I bet I can make you shit your pants without touching you too if you breathe on me.’ ANGELUS!~

~Stop the mental screeching, I can hear you just fine.~

~You told the cute one that after meeting him I was thinking of becoming lesbian!~

The demon snickered. ~Come on Hazel. The look on his face was priceless. Made up for it. Admit it.~

Cordelia Chase dug deep into herself to find any vestiges of hope against his claim, but she couldn’t help the satisfactory smile from stretching across her wide mouth. ~Fuck you.~

~With pleasure Hazel. I know you like to have fun baby. Knew it the minute I met you.~

She shifted sensually on the bar stool, smirking softly as she twirled her finger in the glass of martini. ~You are so bad.~

~Bad like chocolate?~

She threw her head back and laughed, just as a man slid into the stool next to her. “Changed your mind?”

Still heady with sparring with Angelus, Cordelia let out a soft defeated sigh. “How many times do I have to flush you to make you go away?”

This time it was Angelus roaring with laughter.

The bartender held back a smile at the gorgeous brunette laughing and then at the grumbling man ambling away. It was nice to see an independent woman having a good laugh in the city of fallen angels.

*

Willow groaned softly shifted deeper into the leather seats as she yawned. “Angel, we’ve been to fourteen different clubs. I’m tired. She must have gone home by now.”

“She’s not home.” Angel stared stoically out of the window in the backseat. The rushing streetlights flickering like molten fire in his obsidian eyes. “I told Dennis to give me a missed call if she gets there and he hasn’t called.” Cordelia was coming home; one way or another. Even if he had to club her over the head.

“Bloody hell he is HER ghost Peaches. Do you really think he’d do your bidding?”

“I know an excellent exorcist.” Angel didn’t even look up to know the watcher was smiling. “Not you Wesley. YOU let her get away.”

“I most certainly DID NOT!”

Willow picked up Spike’s folded duster and draped it over her head.

“STOP!” The vampire snapped. “THAT’S MY CAR!!!” Angel nearly climbed out of the window of the speeding car.

*

Cordelia had finally made it to the dance floor. After the bout of insults she’d dished tonight, Angelus didn’t mind letting her dance one dance after all. Just as long as the man kept his hands above her waist and away from her breasts. Now while he watched the natural sway and grind of her body, he realized how fucking hard it was going to be to keep any man’s hand off her. And there and then he came to the conclusion that if any man had to touch her. It would be him. Even if I meant going back to the soulful puppy dog.

~You imagining those are my hands Cor?~

The brunette smiled, her eyes closed as she moved with the man Angelus was nice enough to pick. Not a bad looking guy, she concluded, but damn. He was no Angel or Angelus for that matter. ~I plead the fifth.~

~That’s fucking hard considering I’m in your head smart girl.~

Cordelia was spun into a neat circle and she chuckled. ~Give me a break egomaniac. I’ve had a rough day.~

~Yeah. Mind splitting visions can be a bitch. Always feel like someone’s putting your head through a blender while you’re still attached to it?~

~Just about. Can you please not remind me; I’m trying to dance?~

~Fuck and I thought sucking slayer face was torturous.~

Her body instantly stiffened in the man’s arms and she was rewarded with a confused glance down into her suddenly irritated hazel eyes. Smiling brightly at the man she touched her forehead. “Phew. Quick work out. Need some liquid nourishment. Be right back.” Before he could reply, she weaved through the late night crowd and made her way towards the bar. ~Blonde complex not restricted to the soul I take.~.

~Ooh, testy.~ Angelus leered viciously. ~Jealous Hazel?~

~FEH! Delusional Angelus?~

~Aww, come on Precious. Dru was always my favorite.~

Plopping onto a stool she ordered a glass of water. ~And that’s interests my macabre side how Fangy?~

~Well, she is a brunette. What does that tell you?~

~That you have a weakness for complete nutters?~

~No, that blondes don’t do much for me. If they did I’d still be playing house with my sire.~

~ Says the former Scourge of Europe. You don’t know the first THING about playing house Angelus.~ Cordelia took a sip of the water and smiled at the bartender. He was nice. In fact this whole club was nice, she concluded. ~Mental Note. Return without gossiping psychopath.~

~Still fucking present Scourge Cor. There hasn’t been anyone better than me and as far as playing house goes: it’s the meaning that changes, the words stay the same.~

~Eyowie. So buffy was what? Stand-in wife in training?~

~No. A quick fuck to get rid of the cobwebs. Angel had been celibate for decades. Go figure.~

~But a blonde?~

~Hey my dick doesn’t look at the color of THAT hair, babes.~

Cordelia snorted with laughter nearly spitting out her water. ~I don’t think that’s actually blonde Fangy.~

~And this is why I like you baby.~

Cordelia was about to speak when she caught sight of a dark head step into the club. “Oh shit! Angel. Five of clock!”

~Get out. Get out now.~

Forcing a smile at the bartender Cordelia stuck a bill to the table. “Is there a back door?”

The bartender raised an eyebrow and smiled crookedly at her. “You’re actually putting aside a confrontation lady? After the show you put on tonight?”

With a sheepish smile Cordelia muttered the first thing she could think of. “Father.”

Angelus was howling with mirth in her head and Cordelia kept her bright smile as she was lead around the bar and towards the back.

“Leaving so soon?”

Spinning around with alarm she stared into dark eyes then exhaled. “Oh. It’s you.” She nearly glared at the man she’d been dancing with. “Yeah; I have work tomorrow.”

~Just fucking get out already Cor!~

She made one last integral mistake. ~Shhhh, he’s cute!~

He gave her an indulgent smile. “What do you do?”

Cordelia’s mouth spread into a wicked leer, her hazel eyes lighting with a feral glint. “Me? Oh, I bathe in the blood of innocents and nail puppies to doors; you?”

Before she could see the widening of the poor boy’s eyes she was propelled behind the bar and towards the bartender holding the backdoor open. He grinned at her. “Come again?”

Still flustered from the eloquent mental picture Angelus had painted, Cordelia only nodded before running out into the back alley.

~Angelus! You are just unspeakable!~

~Says the woman who wanted soulboy to lick off more than her fingers.~

~ARGH!!!~

*

“I’ve never seen such beautiful food all in one place. Just look at them. Sheep all of them.”

Willow let out a tolerant sigh before she took Spike’s arm gently as his blue eyes ran greedily over the swarm of people. “Yes Spike. You are the big bad.” She reassured in her best momma-doesn’t-believe-a-word-you-say-but-agrees-because-you-can’t-handle-the-truth voice.

“Damn straight!” Spike completely ignored her tone as he grinned down at her. Willow had the decency to look cowed before his hand clamped down on hers and she was spun into his arms. “Let’s dance some, shall we Red?”

“Aaaannngeeeeeel!” Willow’s desperate wail for help was drowned in the pulsing beat of the music as she was danced away leaving Wesley and Angel to head to the bar.

“You think we should help Willow?” Wesley watched the blond vampire dip the flustered witch in an elaborate move before dragging her back to plaster against his body.

“Yeah. After we find Cordy.” Angel motioned for the bartender. “Hey. You seen this girl?” Angel held up the picture.

The scrawny man raised a crooked eyebrow before peering at the picture. “Can’t say. A lot of girls come in here.”

Angel leaned over the bar. “Look closely. She’s a friend of mine, who ran off with my car and my credit cards and demon.” His voice dropped an octave into intimidating. “Have you seen her at all?”

The bartender drew back slightly and frowned. “She’s your friend?”

“You have a hearing problem?” Angel shot back.

“No.” The bartender wiped his hand on a cloth and frowned. “She said you were her father.”

Willow tilted her head back in the fourth time Spike dipped her when Angel’s growl echoed through the entire club and everything stilled.

Spike raised a scarred eyebrow. “Who turned off the tunes! It’s sex pistols you duddy wankers, for fuck’s sake!”

*

Outside Cordelia frowned at the car blocking the Plymouth in its parking space. “What idiot…”

“That would be Spike.”

“You think he leaves the keys in the ignition?” She peered through the driver’s seat window.

“He’s a fucking idiot, but he’s not Angel.”

“Crap.” Cordelia glanced at her watch before she looked up. “Do you KNOW how hard it is to find a cab in this city?”

Before she realized what she was doing, she caught two fingers between her lips, her tongue curled and a sharp whistle cut through the silence of the night. She stumbled on the sidewalk as a cab skirted the curb. “You need a cab lady?”

~Angelus?~

~Yeah baby?~

~Can I keep you?~

~Fuck yeah. But first. Let me teach you a little something.~ Angelus lead her to the back wheel of the Plymouth and she squatted down. She watched with a twisted smirk of fascination as her fingers slowly loosened the nozzle and let the air out of the tire. ~He also doesn’t have a spare.~

~Oh my god, you are so bad!~ She chuckled.

~Not yet baby. You still have that can of pink crazy foam from the mall?~

*

“Calm down Peaches, I’m sure she meant it in the most endearing way.”

Wesley and Willow choked on their laughter as Spike chuckled wickedly on their way to the car. The seething vampire next to him had his fists clenched to his side, his jaw set in a hard line and his eyes screaming bloody murder. “Spike?”

“Yes sire?”

“Go play in traffic,” Angel growled before turning towards his car.

Spike screeched to a sudden stop and both his eyebrows shot up. “Oh I don’t know picklepuss, it seems your Seer thinks it ought to be you.”

“What?” Grabbing spike by his shoulders, Angel shoved him aside and his eyes widened. “MY CAR!”

Willow grabbed Spike’s sleeve and promptly exploded into a torrent of unstoppable giggles along with the blond vampire while Wesley tried his utmost not to pee in his pants with laughing.

On the hood of Angel’s beloved, shinny black Plymouth read the words “WANK” with an arrow to the driver’s seat.

In pink foam.

Silently, albeit with grinding teeth, Angel walked around the side of the car and fished out his spare key from his pocket. He was just about to reach for the key hole on his trunk to get his car towel when he saw the second part of Cordelia’s message.

The distinct script of her handwriting was all too evident in the words, ‘BLOWJOB FOR $5’.

With an enraged snarl he opened his trunk and grabbed the old towel. Slapping the trunk shut, he couldn’t keep the gold out of his eyes. “I’ll give her fucking blowjob!”

“Um…Angel?”

He turned to look at Wesley the ridges rippling across his forehead.

The watcher winced at the look on his face. “You do have a spare tire don’t you?”

Spike dissolved into another stream of laughter when Angel’s face morphed. The cheerleader was so dead.

*

“You think they’ve stopped looking for me yet?”

“This is my soul you’re talking about Hazel. He’s like the fucking energizer bunny when it comes to you.”

Cordelia’s eyebrow shot up at the prospect, her mind already playing various scenarios in her head as he cheeks pinked with the suggestion. Sitting in the window of the all night diner she watched her own face, her bottom lip caught thoughtfully between her teeth at the suggestion.

“You’re fucking hopeless hazel.”

“Shut up!” She hissed, glaring at herself for being so damned transparent besides the fact that he was in her body. “And you called him your soul.” She grinned. “Awwww, such brotherly love.”

“Fuck you Hazel. It’s not brotherly love.”

She chuckled and took another bite of her sandwich.

“You want more coffee sweetie?”

Cordelia looked up startled and met a pair of gray eyes. The woman smiled at her softly.

“Um no.” She shook her head. “Thanks. I’m good.”

“You need someone to talk to sweetie; because talking to yourself is not healthy.”

The brunette colored slightly and cleared her throat. “Uh, no just sorting some things out in my head.” She tried a bright smile. “I’m okay. Really. I don’t have fantasies about my boss or play with myself in the dark.” Hazel eyes widened. ~ANGELUS!~ “I mean…I’ll go now. Thanks for the uh…coffee and…well see you.” She all but ran for the door. ~Uffff! Crude much Angelus!~

He snickered and wrapped her arms around herself. ~Come on Cor. Lets go home and talk. I want my promised alone time now.~

Holding the coat around her waist Cordelia watched the horizon start to pink and a yawn caught her off guard. ~Mmm…okay, but first.~

~Name it baby.~

~Rocky road to go please.~
PART 8

The first rays of sunlight lit the front steps of the Hyperion as Angel closed the door behind him. Spike and Angel had nearly turned to dust trying to tow the Plymouth home on a flat tire. He looked up at his tiny crew. Spike was sprawled on the couch, his arms and legs hanging off the side, his head in willow’s lap who was too busy snoring to notice or care. Wesley had promptly collapsed in the chair behind the counter his head on his arms.

The mobile in his pocket rang once.

Angel headed straight upstairs. He grabbed a blanket and pulled out the keys he’d pick-pocketed from his childe and headed out the door again.

Damn sleep. Cordelia had played on his last nerve. And this time he knew he couldn’t blame it all on his demon.

*

Cordelia snuggled back against her pillows as she balanced the little tub of rocky-road ice-cream in one hand and tucked herself into the comforter. “So why are we doing this again?”

“I feel the need to bond Hazel”

Scraping out a spoonful, she suckled on her first bite of heaven and rolled her eyes. “Hah…so why ARE we doing this again?

The demon sighed. “Because I like you Cor”

“Oh god, take me now!” She pretended to stab herself with her spoon before reaching for more ice-cream with a snicker.

“You know why I hate being in this damned body?”

She blinked at the wistful tone. “No but I have a feeling you’re going to tell me.”

“I would so want to take you up on that fucking offer.”

“Pfft! Egoman strikes again.” She went about the task of eating. Sleep forgotten, she let the soft morning light from her window and the fresh smell of her sheets calm her nerves.

“You fascinate me.”

“That’s a song.”

“You’re like this pound of flesh that costs way more than normality.”

She wrinkled her nose not quite sure if that was a compliment. “Um…disgust much? Thanks. I think.”

“Well you’re food Cor. Do you know what the soul will never have the balls to tell you?”

She raised a curious eyebrow. Already expecting some more Angel secrets. “That I’m fat?” She ventured evasively.

“Besides that.”

“I AM NOT FAT!”

He snickered at her hiss of disapproval. “You asked. No Hazel. He’d never have enough balls to tell you that whenever he looks at you, I’m the one screaming to possess you.”

Taken aback by the frank admission that wasn’t tinged with wicked mocking she frowned slightly. “Why?”

“Back in Sunnydale, there wasn’t one person I could remember, not even Buffy who could stand up to Queen C.”

Her hazel eyes fogged with nostalgic haze. “I was pretty cool huh?”

“You were a goddess. And if the faggy-assed soul hadn’t been so fucking taken with the slayer you’d have been my little prezzie.”

Try as she might, her next question came out suspiciously hopeful. “You would have bit me.”

A soft purr built in her chest. “In a heartbeat baby.”

Oddly satisfied, she settled back with another mouthful. “Oh”.

“You had so much potential then. And now the urge to have you is even stronger. The fucking visions are like a beacon to every demon! And you think its hard living around you, parading inside dorkula’s head; it’s fucking crucifying Cor!”

She raised an eyebrow. “Just because of my visions?”

“Not just. With the visions, you’re potential combined with a direct link to everything that is good and for a demon that is the essence of evil itself, there’s the inherent need to decimate.”

“Not really winning points here buddy.”

“No shit. But you understand my need to taint you, tempt and taunt the darkness out of you; only I forgot the very reason that drew me to you – Queen C bows to no man.”

She couldn’t hold back the smug smirk. “Damn skippy.”

“I was hoping you would for this demon, but then these two days spent with your thoughts and dreams Cor, I’m coming to realize that I never want you to. For anyone.”

She blinked with surprise. “So you’re saying I win?”

“Fuck no.” He snorted “But you like me now don’t you.”

She was silent the spoon sliding over her tongue then her eyes widened slightly. ~Oh my.~

“Oh yeah.” He stretched her legs happily. “I am bad.”

Cordelia Chase sat there drinking in all the information Angelus has just decided to send her way. After a pause she asked, “What about after tomorrow?”

“Well, that’s up to you now Hazel.” His tone was cocky as ever. “You already know Angelus wants you.”

She glared. “I’m not going to be your dark princess, you cocky bastard.”

“Awww, you fucking love me like that way Hazel. Admit it.” His purr dropped into a soft teasing smile. “Not even a little bit?”

Before she knew it, Cordelia was smiling back unwittingly.

“There you see! I am SO bad.”

With a roll of eyes, the smile still pasted on her face, she cleaned off another spoon.

“Come on Cor. Now and then? Let the little mischief making dark goddess out to play. Don’t let the sullen prick turn you into one of his dismal disciples of dullsville. Who knows maybe one day you’ll teach that ass pansy to dance.”

Cordelia Chase laughed heartily, her hand on her belly, the gentle shaking of her shoulders almost soothing to the demon. “You have been in my head way too long Fangy.”

“What can I say; I pick um well.”

The sudden prying thought into the obvious moment suddenly silenced her retort. And for the first time Cordelia wondered about the outcome of the day to come.

~Cor?~

~Hmmm.~

~I’m gona miss you too.~

A soft shudder ran down her spine before she swallowed the cold ice-cream. The confused ache in her chest was back and this time she knew why. Licking her lips, she knew there was little point in pretending. He could read it as clearly as she could hear his own thoughts. Angelus was right. She did like him. “Good. Coz I’m hard to forget Fangy.”

“Does that mean one last orgasm before I go?”

“UFFFF!!!”

“Well there is one other thing I’ve been meaning to do.”

An eyebrow shot up.

~I want to catch up on correspondence before I go back to sully.~

Cordelia’s eyes widened when she realized what scenario Angelus had circling through his wee brain. “No. No way. I am SO not going to go with this one. Not this girl.”

~Oh, come ON! Don’t tell me there isn’t a tiny part in you that would get off doing this, Hazel; In fact, I KNOW that you want to.~

Cordelia flushed guiltily; Angelus had her there – but it still didn’t make it right. True, there was a tiny part of her that wanted to play the proverbial bitch, but not enough to hurt Angel. Not enough to give in to calling Buffy Summers. She shook her head before putting away the ice-cream. ~Nope- not going there- no way, nuh-uh.~ She hoped to God her inner tone was as strong as her refusal. She was not going to agree. Nope. She was the rock. Yup.

Angelus gave an exaggerated disappointed sigh. ~Oh well, looks like not only will you have to return the FOUR pairs of shoes you bought today on Angel’s card, but I’m going to have to spill the beans about those lovely brain blending visions.~

Cordelia’s eyes widened at his blatant blackmail. ~You wouldn’t! – You promised! I gave you your one day Angelus!~ She reminded him frantically.

~ Doll, you’re talking to Angelus, soulless demon incarnate here – where’s the phone again?~

Cordelia faltered in panic as she rose and started for the living room. ~She’ll come here and KILL me – you do realize you’ll have my grizzly death on your hands? Besides, I like being alive and kicking! So said you liked me this way.~

~Don’t sweat it, Hazel, Soulboy already told her why he needs Willow – so blame it all on me; big bad demon mind was too strong for sweet innocent Cordy.~ His voice softened to a wheedle. ~Just think of all those things you wanted to say and couldn’t – and YOU come out smelling of roses; or cinnamon and vanilla, which can I just say: Mouth-watering on you baby.~

She rolled her eyes, her lips curling up inadvertently at the crude compliment. ~Oh god I can’t believe I’m considering this. I blame lack of sleep.~

~Blame me baby, I’m easy. Come on Cor. I’ve waited since she fucking sent me to hell to have my say to her. Do you know how damned long I was there?~

A soft frown marred her forehead, as Cordelia contemplated the answer. The demon took the opportunity to get his way. Cordelia’s entire body shook with the impact as memories and flashes flooded her mind, her fists clenching. Hazel eyes widened and blinked spasmodically trying to shut away the images. With one hand on her temple, Cordelia fell back into the couch, heart thumping like a wild bird in her ribcage as the crescendo in her head died into the familiar darkness and she opened her eyes, reeling for the realization. Angel had been in hell. Angel had survived hell. And Angel had never said a word about it.

“Oh god, he never said anything.” Betrayed anger built in her belly. ~I’m supposed to be his best friend dammit!~

~Cordelia?~

Trembling from the sick comprehension of just how much of Angel she didn’t know, she felt her own eyes sting with tell tale moisture.

~Awww hell Cor don’t! For one Angel is a better man, vampire – whatever the fuck he’s going by these day because of it. And at least the slayer is out of his hair. It was fucking unnatural, but he never did listen to me.~

So maybe, just maybe there was more to Angel leaving Sunnydale than just to protect the love of his life from the very demon in her head. All this time she’s been convinced that no matter what happened, Angel still lived the torrid tragic Romeo-Juliet love farce, but while Angelus had been living through her thoughts and dreams, Cordelia had had a chance to see Angel’s. And although, the slayer was there, she found that Buffy wasn’t Juliet. ~She didn’t know.~

~Well she’s about to find out. Hand me the phone.~

Tired and overwhelmed with the events of the past two days, she took a deep breath. ~Just so we’re on the level, this is for Angel.~

~Fuck Cor, you didn’t have to say it,~ the demon grumbled morosely.

She nearly smiled at the defeated sadness in his tone. She figured she was going to burn in hell for finding Angelus endearing. Endearing of all things. No one was going to believe her. Cordelia rose from the couch and picked up her cordless. ~Keep in mind that I did protest and that you are a big bad demon too strong for sweet innocent Cordy, because if you breathe a word of this to Angel, I swear I will get inside his head and hunt you down with a putty knife!~

~Oh you know just what I like baby,~ Angelus purred.

~Lets get this over with.~ Cordelia hit power on the little phone and let Angelus take the reins as she sat back and let the mayhem unfold. It was fair, she reasoned. The poor demon had been stuck in hell and then with Angel’s angsty, broody thoughts. Now that he was finally out and about, almost, this much mischief she could allow. She marveled at her acknowledgment. Was she really feeling for the Scourge of Europe? ~But lemme just hide in a far away dark corner for a VERY long time.~

~Sit back and relax baby, time to rekindle old flames into a fucking inferno.~ He chuckled maliciously. ~Oh I am good.~ Sure fingers tapped out the rarely used numbers as she folded ungracefully, flopping back on to the couch with a hard thump.

“Buffy Summers.”

“Hey Buff!”

“Cordelia?”

“Nope, not Cordeeelia; didn’t soulboy tell you about my little vacation from his saintliness? Good, then sit back and forget about the dulcet tones of my bunk buddy, and let’s catch up, hmmm?”

*

Angel was walking down the corridor to Cordelia’s apartment door, his coat tails smoking slightly from a very close brush with sunlight and he did not look happy. Tired and incensed at her behavior, not to mention being in cahoots with his deadly double, Angel wondered if he should just take the girl over his knee like every instinct in his body was screaming or just arm wrestle the girl. Already Angel was having trouble keeping the possessive impulses on a minimum. The taste of her on the back of his throat was still fresh. And it further enraged him that they hadn’t even been able to talk about it.

Whatever the hell Angelus had in mind with this fiasco, Angel wanted to talk about it. Now.

It was almost seven in the morning, and after trying her phone countless times in the last hour and getting her answer machine, he’d been about to assume she’d headed out again and go on a mega search of LA regardless of the pesky sun problem – then he’d tried one more time and found the line engaged.

And now he stood, undecided outside her front door. He allowed the doubt to skirt once whether maybe it was completely innocent. Once was enough. A muscle worked in his jaw. Where Angelus was concerned, innocence was not even a concept! Raising his hand to rap the door, Angel stopped when the cackling laughter poured from the other side of the door. And then he heard the clear honeyed tones of his Seer – and froze.

“Awww, Buff, don’t be like that- Faith was a really good fuck! How could soulboy resist?” The hint of cruelty in those softly spoken words had Angel’s boot lifting to kick in the door. Only Dennis took that precise moment to open it wide. Angel stumbled in from the momentum, nearly going sprawling across Cordelia’s rug, his booted foot landing with a loud thump that left no doubt that he was here. He caught himself when his horrified eyes latched onto the brunette lounging on the big couch with an ‘uh-on’ look on her lovely face. Then her lips parted into a vicious grin. “Hey Wussboy.”

“Gimme that.” Angel snarled, swooping forward he dove over her coffee table to grab the phone.

“Fuck off, dickhead, I’m not finished yet!” Angelus snarled back.

Angel nearly climbed on top of the struggling girl, trapping her torso under him before he stretched forwards and finally wrestling the piece of squawking plastic from the weaker human woman. Jumping off the couch, Angel pinned her to her seat with a furious glare. “Buffy?”

“WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!!!”

“Slow down Buffy…”

“Angel?”

“Yeah, I just got here…”

“Did you have sex with Faith?”

“WHAT?” Angel’s eyes widened in sheer mortification, as his ex girlfriend shot rapid questions at him with deadly precision.

”You actually had SEX with Faith? You told me you didn’t do more that swap spit – and what’s this about you losing your soul not because of perfect bliss but because I was so BAD at it that your demon left in protest? – And is it true that you think I’m a whiny, flat-chested little slut who sleeps with anyone?” Angel attempted to interrupt but Buffy was on a raging roll and practically growled at him to “SHUT UP AND LET ME FINISH!”

“And while we’re at it, how about how you didn’t lose your soul with FAITH cos YOU and your demon enjoyed it so much more with a girl who knows what to do with her mouth?”

The vampire’s mouth dropped open in shock, his dark head swiveling slowly around to stare at the Angelus-infested brunette who sat there casually munching on choc chip cookies, stopping mid crunch to say “Oh don’t mind me, carry on.” Then his attention was dragged back to the enraged voice of the blonde, whom, he was intensely grateful, right at this moment, was a good two hours away.

“You know, Angel, if all that wasn’t bad enough, finding out that you had secret fantasies about Cordelia and used to jack off before and AFTER you lost your soul? – And then not forgetting that it was the thought of getting back to ‘shag Cor’ that kept you going in hell! Please tell me that Angelus was lying, Angel?” His mouth opened and closed like a goldfish soundlessly; how the hell could he tell her what she wanted to hear, when all of it was true – accept for the insults and Faith?

“I didn’t sh – sleep with Faith, Buffy- and I hold nothing but respect and admiration for you, and…” He blinked when he saw the snickering brunette leaning closer on the couch to listen, the old T-shirt she wore stretching away at the neckline; the plump globs of enticing flesh distracting him for a minute before he looked into her mocking Hazel eyes and walked away from the avidly listening Angelus/Cordy and lowered his voice, “and that night will always be special to me; you know that.” He assured her truthfully – well, it was true at the time, anyway. Now he had visions of sugarplums dancing his head all in the lovely shape of one Cordelia Chase. He was going insane.

A long silence followed his response.

“So the rest was true,” it was no longer a question, and for a second Angel wasn’t sure what was left. He was about to try another reassurance, before Buffy spoke again. “Look, I’ve got…. things to do; get Willow to call when you’ve done the delousing, okay?” Before Angel could respond, the connection was severed abruptly. With exaggerated slowness, he switched the cordless off and turned around to quietly regard the equally silent brunette, searching for any sign of the woman he’d grown to love.

Cold, wickedly mischievous eyes stared back at him, completely clear of even a hint of remorse in those hazel depths, and he sighed heavily. He had to get out of there right now. He had to go before the urge to kill Angelus meant the inevitable demise of the beautiful, innocent host he at present resided in. Without a word, Angel turned and walked to the door; his shoulders slumped as he opened it and exited with controlled steps.

~Well, that was entertaining!~ Angelus couldn’t keep the victorious tone out of his inner voice.

~Shut up, Angelus,~ Cordy resurfaced, her eyes filling with regret and guilt as she stared at the closed door sadly, recalling the dejected slump of Angel’s shoulders. “You’ve done enough.” Before Angelus could protest or stop her, she was off the couch and yanking her front door open.

~Touchie. Running to lick his wounds Cor, I thought you were made of stronger mettle.~

~I hurt him you insensitive prick! That was never the plan.~ Her socked feet skidded across the hardwood floor as she raced down the stairs.

~Such language. You wanted to hurt Buffy though.~

~Yeah, but not at this cost.~ She was to the front door of the apartment building when she caught the barely blanket-covered figure about to step out into very bright and blazing sunlight. “ANGEL!” Darting forward she grabbed the vampire’s arm firmly and yanked him back, the blanket falling away just before she had hauled him back into the safety of the hallway. Angel glared down into her bright hazel eyes wide with fear and wrath. “You stupid vampire! What are you; suicidal? You could have poofed!” Leaning up on her tip toes she fingered the tips of his slightly singed hair in place before patting the smoking strands back in place. “Dork!”

A thick eyebrow arched as he saw the woman fussing over him ignorant of the insane, furious, very vampire like gold eyes flashing at her in annoyance. Always did know she liked the hair, he muttered inwardly before stepping away from the heat of her body. Even in the soft white T-shirt and grey boxers, she looked all tousled and beautiful. His fingers itched to claim and mark. To himself, her and everyone else that she belonged with him. “Dork?” He repeated her favorite word with an ice in his voice that brought the soft hue of chastised pink to her cheeks.

“Look, I can explain…”

“Can you?” His voice dropped to a hiss, the gold in his eyes fading to scathing chocolate. “Can you really Cordelia, because I don’t see any reason for what you did. What were you thinking! How could you dammit! The running, the stealing from me, and even the stupid jokes with my car,” he grated out the last word with a growl, “put aside Cordy, how could you do this! How could you let him!”

He saw the guilty wince and he knew the truth as she fidgeted under his gaze. “He’s strong…”

“Bullshit!” He snapped and the guilt in her eyes narrowed into the usual calm of Cordelia’s hazel eyes. “I’ve seen you handle him Cordy. You sat back and you let him. No; you HELPED!”

“Look, the running away I won’t lie about. I agreed there, but…”

“Why?”

The brunette sighed softly, her arms crossing across her chest defensively. “Just…because Angel…”

“What the hell kind of answer is that!” He leaned closer to her, his voice like sandpaper as her gaze locked with him and there for the first time, Angel saw furious betrayal. And he was confused.

“You want an answer! Well then hold on to your panties Broody because the answer is that I WANTED to!” Sparking rage licked at her coppery fine boned features and Angel wondered what the hell he’d done to be on the receiving end of the patented ‘death-glare’ when he was the one who’d been romping all over LA looking for her. But she wasn’t done. “Because you call yourself my best friend, but you tell me nothing. And I never took you for a coward Angel, so when your demon promised answers instead of you; I took the next best thing.”

His teeth ground together as he resisted the urge to eat her. “You could have asked…”

“No, YOU should have told me.” Her finger poked hard into his chest and his forehead creased when the girl didn’t seem intimidated at all by the threatening growls building in his chest, the sharp jut of her nail digging painfully into his flesh. “YOU should have told me you didn’t love Buffy anymore – I wouldn’t have had nightmares about you finding shoeshine and leaving us! YOU should have told me I look gorgeous even when I’m rumpled and sleepy – I could have spared myself the fitful anxiety attacks; not to mention felt happier for my short sad life! And YOU should have told me Buffy sent you to hell instead of Angelus. YOU Angel. YOU!”

The last poke came harder than the rest and he winced stepping back slightly. “So you sic’ed Angelus on her, because she sent me to hell?”

The insane implication of his obvious conclusion made her draw a deep breath as she mentally willed the swelling anger in her belly to die down a little. “No I was still wondering why you had failed to mention and I was tired and exhausted and FURIOUS!” She glared up into his eyes. “And before I knew it Angelus had the phone, but yes.” Angel’s brow shot up when the haughty woman’s nose went up in the air with an air of smugness. Did she not know how close he was to actually throwing her over his lap? “Yes. I sat back and let him tell her.”

“Tell her what? Lies!?” He gave her an incredulous snarl.

A perfectly shaped eyebrow arched as she regarded him with cool deliberation. “They were lies?”

And Angel had the decency to look sheepish. “I didn’t sleep with Faith.”

“No but you considered it.”

His eyes shot up wide. “I did no such thing!”

She rolled her eyes, her hip stuck out in a blatantly reproachful jut. “Please – LIVING with your demon here.” She pointed to her head emphatically.

He glared down at her, his own arms crossed. “Doesn’t he ever shut up?”

“No. Thus with the whole lack of sleep in case you’ve missed it.”

“No I didn’t miss it.”

The distinct husk in his voice reminded her of the afternoon in his bedroom and she held back a shy tilt of her lips. “Well.” Rubbing the bridge of her nose nervously, she went back to her defensive stance, with her arms crossed and her nose in the air. “Anyway, I didn’t think anyone would believe him.”

“Buffy did.”

“Lo and behold.” Her mouth twisted into a smirk. “Goes to show she is as dumb as she looks.”

“Cordy…” The warning was potent in the stoic glower of his chocolate eyes. She nearly smiled when she noticed the murderous rage was gone, now he only looked mildly irritated. But that was normal in her prescience. He wore the look so well.

~GAH! CHOKE! WHEEZE!~

She nearly laughed at Angelus’ disgusted tirade before she regarded her vampire with a tell tale smile. “Whatever. Truth is Angel, I was pissed. At you for not telling me –for never really considering me your friend…”

“Cordy…”

“Nuh uh!” Reaching out she grabbed his mouth with the soft pinch of her fingers, effectively holding his lips shut. She tried not to grin at the dumbfounded widening of his eyes. “Not done platypus mouth.” She fixed him with an even glare instead until she’d had her say. “I was pissed at you for not letting me be a part of your life and at her for hurting you. I mean GOD Angel!” With a stamp of her foot she let go of his soft mouth to see him lick his lips as she looked away; trying to gather her thoughts before meeting his gaze with a disappointed tinge to hers. “If I could know about the bloodbath and massacre did you really think that I couldn’t handle a little compassion and empathy? Newsflash – Not all that vain anymore.”

Clearing his throat, Angel nodded. “I know, I…”

“SHHHHHH! Still not done.” She wagged a finger at him before her eyes softened. “I love you, you big unnaturally old dork! And it drove me half mad that she sent you to hell and put you though that pain. And don’t!” She pointed a warning finger when he starts to protest. “Don’t belittle your pain Angel. I know exactly what you went through and you may not believe it, but Cordelia Chase dose NOT let best-friend-bashing go unpunished – I’d say the slayer got off easy before I unleashed my seer-like powers on her.” She ‘hmph’ed; grumbling cutely.

~You’re so damned good at this Hazel.~

~Let me know if you need lessons, but shut up for now.~

~Yes mother.~

Angel had been watching her trying not to smile. All remnants of anger gone as he basked in the concern and acceptance of his best friend and the woman he’d fallen fangs over heels in love with. “Last I checked I was still the champion of the PTB Cordy. I’m supposed to protect you remember?”

As expected; the young woman bristled at the unashamed display of male ego. “Hello! Arrogant much you egocentric pig! I was the one who put the whammy on the kissbutt demon; ME!”

“Techncally…”

She rolled her eyes, one hand swatting through the air in a gesture of indifference. “Yeah yeah. Pfft! Wes helped. So HAH!” She gave him a snooty smirk. “You don’t do all the championing all the time. You can’t.” And then Angel felt unfamiliar shivers skidding down his spine at the depth of emotion in his Seer’s eyes as she met his gaze without hesitation. “Someone needs to watch your back buster and I just happen to be one of them. You’re not alone whether you like it or not Broody. You’re stuck with me.”

Hiding the darkening of his own chocolate brown eyes, Angel took an unneeded breath to calm his nerves. “You still didn’t to need call…”

“Look, if she’s as smart as you think, she’ll get over it and by the way while Angelus was all Angelus-y, she didn’t feel at all sorry shacking up with Rambo-boy!”

“Riley.” His mouth quirked up from one corner.

“Whatever.”

Resisting the urge to gather the beautifully fiery woman in his arms, Angel contented himself with running his index finger gently across her chin. “Cordy, I may not be in love with Buffy anymore, but she is…”

“Your first love, blah blah woof woof, I get the whole tragic significance of it. Doh! I’m not completely stupid Angel. And also, I know you like me so don’t bother denying it!” Lost and apparently jealous of the fuss Angel was making over poor little Buffy’s feelings Cordelia ignored the obvious signs being thrown her way as she proceeded to be ignorantly Cordy.

“How can I; you haven’t let me complete a sentence yet.” His eyes sparked with wicked humor.

And she blushed when the implication sank in. Oh. “Right. Well.” Mustering all her courage and aided by the reassurance of Angelus’ taste in women, she shrugged. “Here’s your change Broody.”

He couldn’t help the teasing grin. “Shouldn’t we take this to your apartment, sans the peanut gallery?”

It was then that Cordelia noticed the avid audience peeking at them from across the hall and various doors that had opened to the ruckus. “Oh. Well color me red and call me Willow.” Grabbing his arm she glared at her neighbors as she dragged him up the stairs and to the privacy of her apartment. “Yes folks, our lives are complicated and high-powered, but still private!” With one last scowl at the old woman eyeing Angel’s ass, Cordelia slammed her apartment door shut before turning around to the snickering vampire. “Okay so ta-murph!” Her eyes widen as his mouth devoured hers and her back hit the door.
PART 9

Angel was talking.

Only he wasn’t using words. He was using his mouth and he was using his tongue and he was using his hands. And while Cordelia was being consumed by Angel’s deep, gut twisting kisses, her brain caught up with what he was telling her.

His fingers threaded through the mahogany curls. You’re gorgeous, they whispered across each strand before mapping the curve of her skull delicately.

His body slid into hers, her back pushed seamlessly against the hardwood of the door. I want you, his hips slurred and breathed, his thighs pressing against softer, more pliant muscle.

His lips slid into the soft contours of hers and pressed, until breath was not an option. I love you, they murmured with each stroke and deliberate bite.

Cordelia’s heart and mind spiraled from the heady taste of the cool vampire cocooned around her, her own hands clenched into the leather of his jacket at his waist and her lips involuntarily molded and shaped to his kisses.

With love, desire and delight building in Cordelia’s chest, came the heart-clasping tug of fear. Inadvertently, her breath hitched and her fingers tightened, her eyes squeezing shut, and she stilled against his heavier, harder frame.

Noticing the sudden tapered muscle under his touch, Angel allowed his mouth to release hers and she drew a sharp, unsteady breath. Between the smell of her shower fresh skin and hair and the distinct tang of her arousal, Angel’s nostrils flared when the first scent of fear hit his taste buds. The hand tangled in her hair slid down until his fingers grazed the plump dampness of her lower lip. “Open your eyes Cordy.”

Sooty eyelashes lifted, until the hazel flecks of her eyes deepened and stretched. The wide panic was all too apparent as she gazed back at him, her breath softer and muted, her fingers still clutching his jacket. It was then when Angel realized he’d almost attacked the girl, and she looked like a deer caught in headlights while he held her there against the barrier of her door. A very rumpled and beautiful deer about to make a run for it. And he couldn’t hold the smile. “Not going to eat you Cordy.”

“You’re kissing me,” she breathed against his mouth which hadn’t moved farther than a few inches.

The left corner of his mouth quirked. “You don’t say.”

She swallowed at the first sign of wicked sarcasm and her brow wrinkled. “Why?”

This time Angel did smile. Teeth and lips stretched until, he couldn’t help drop his gaze guiltily. “Isn’t it the usual prelude to making love?”

She stared up at his down-swept eyes and then at the twitching lips as his tongue slowly ventured across his lower lip and she realized he was staring down her shirt. “Pervert!” She shifted against his weight in an attempt to smack him, but instead her body slid further into his and she froze against the blatant evidence of just how much he liked her. “Ohmigod!”

The throaty laugh rumbled up his chest until she heard the muffled snicker, his hands sliding away from her body and rested against the cold wood of her door, his head bowed as she stood trapped under him helplessly staring up into sinfully chocolate eyes.

Gathering her fast ebbing confidence and the last vestiges of control on the situation, Cordelia pressed back against the door, leaving the hairline difference between their bodies to calm her rapid breathing and her raging heart. ~Dammit Chase get a hold of yourself.~

~I second that Hazel. The fucking hulk of soul is impersonating me!~

~Rather good at it isn’t he?~

~DO SOMETHING! He’s leaning dammit!~

Clearing her throat, she attempted speech. “Don’t tell me Broody. This is your normal reaction to being avenged.”

Watching the tensed woman caught between him and the door, Angel decided he liked what he saw. It was rare he was able to trap his Seer. Usually it was Angel walking around trying to strategically place himself behind a table and pretend they were less than lovers and platonic. The waves of desire pouring off the brunette now carried no hint of platonic feelings. The only reason he was allowing her to hyperventilate to her heart’s content was because of the anxiety attack he’d endured finding out she’d skipped off with Angelus in her head. “What part of bringing this conversation inside did you think did not include kissing you Cordelia?”

She peeked up at him, her lips curling coyly at the honest question. “Honestly?”

“Yeah.”

“I didn’t think I would be against the door.” Her mouth twitched with humor, her hazel eyes sparkling with wickedness, one eyebrow arched in a silent challenge.

~This isn’t the kind of doing I was fucking talking about Cor!~

~Shut up!~

If Angel hadn’t still smelled the traces of fear in the distinct aroma of her blood, he would have buried his mouth and body inside her right there, but with a shuddering grunt, he stood there, still keeping her trapped and met her eyes with naked candor. “And now that you are, you’d rather be elsewhere?” He had enough strength in his soul to keep from taking her, but not enough to move out of the scent and warmth of her body. Not yet. He just got there dammit.

She blinked at the double-edged question, before her face twisted into a frown. “What are we talking about Angel?”

The vampire allowed a soft unneeded breath to leave him before he dropped one hand to slide against her jaw. “Us Cordy. I’m talking about you and me and a continuation on the conversation in your hallway.” Then his eyebrow quirked at another reason. “And the scene in my bedroom.”

Instant color blossomed on her cheeks and she fidgeted.

“I like you remember; shouldn’t bother denying it?” He smiled as the young girl couldn’t meet his eyes. For an instant he realized, it was also rare he got to see this side of his Seer and as much as he liked the tactless brunette who threw straightforward punch lines in his face, he liked having this effect on her.

With a deep breath, Cordelia raised her slightly uncertain gaze to his ardent one. “Right.”

His head tilted to the side as he regarded her with avid interest. “Never took you for the denial type Cordy.”

She glared. “I’m NOT in denial.”

His mouth widened into a smirk. “Then kiss me back and change my mind.” Instantly the scent of fear was back. “You do know I can smell it on you.”

“WHAT!” She squawked in awkward embarrassment.

“Your fear Cordy,” he chuckled. “Apprehension.” His eyes were back to twinkling with mischief. “Don’t you like my perverted mouth on you?”

And she was smiling shyly again. “I do!”

~He’s doing it again!~

Angel resisted the urge to press into her. Adorable captivating creature, he mentally admitted.

“No, I like it.” She slid one hand slowly away from his jacket and up his chest. The muscle under her palm jumped. “But this is new.” Raising her face she met his eyes. “And it’s just been a while,” she whispered softly, her own gaze drifting down to rest on his mouth.

He held back a smile. “So if I kiss you now that you have your warning, you won’t bite me?”

A snort of laughter left her as her hands slid up the corded muscle in his shoulder before wrapping around the span of his neck. “I make no promises,” she sighed huskily and then her lips captured his, her body lifting as she pulled herself into the cool heat of his. This time the muffled groan was his, and she swallowed it, her breasts pressing against the hard planes of his chest, her hips sliding in to adjust against the taught stomach, and her arms hugging him around the shoulders.

Angel caught the weight of the woman, his hands falling away from the door and caught the spicy brunette against his frame, his hands holding her narrow waist, the rough pads of his thumbs sliding under the high-riding hem of her nightshirt. The first kiss was all vampire possessing human, the second kiss was woman coaxing man and he was drowning in the soft pull of her mouth, the hot slant of her tongue and the drugging bite of her own lips on his.

When oxygen became a stipulation, she relaxed the hold of her arms and her body slowly slid down the hard lines of his until her feet touched ground and her mouth popped free from him with a ragged indrawn breath. One that was not just hers. And she smiled at his need to fill unneeded air into his body as she looked up into onyx, heavy lidded impassioned eyes. “I have to hand it to you Broody,” she murmured, “you kiss good.”

See-sawing between lust and love and laughter, Angel leaned into the soft lushness of his woman, not caring if she could handle his weight against the door or not and buried his face into the tantalizing scent of her throat. “Speak for yourself.” The thumbs that had caught into her shirt skated up her sides with determination until they met the side-swell of her breasts. “There’s more,” he promised as his lips memorized a trail from the tender skin behind her ear to the sharp curve of her jaw before he nipped her chin gently with blunt teeth.

Cordelia’s bottom lip caught between her teeth as she slid her head back against the wall in a blatant invitation she forgot she was making to a vampire. “Show me.”

With a greedy growl, his hips angled into hers, his palms sliding over the hardening nub of her breasts and his fangless mouth caught the fragrant scent of blood against her pulse, in one confident move that left her breathless. Her own hands snaking inside his coat, she let her fingers memorize the flexing slopes of his back, one leg lifting to fit thigh around hip and her calf under the curve of his ass.

“Please tell me you’re not continuing with this, dammit!”

Angel’s eyes snapped open at the whine in her voice and he pulled away just enough to stare down into her horrified eyes. It took him an aggravating few seconds to realize the trepidation wasn’t coming from Cordelia at the prospect of making love, but rather from his demon. “Angelus, take a hike.” His head dipped, as he caught her T-shirt in a fist and pulled, his lips tasting her collarbone, his tongue memorizing the dip and curve above the valley of her breasts.

“YOU CAN”T!”

“Watch me.” He was pleased to feel the slide of sharp nails against his spine as Cordelia arched against his body.

“ANGEL! You CANNOT fucking do this while I’m still in here!”

“Shut up and take it like a demon,” Releasing the swell of her breast under her shirt, Angel skimmed over the soft cotton cup of her bra before he pulled it away, palming the heat of her flesh with hungry fingers.

“I’ll be fucking scarred for unlife.”

“Practice meditation and hide in a nice far away corner. I’m doing this.” With his hand still cupping her right breast, he used the other to tug the soft shirt off the sighing woman. “Lift your arms Cordy.”

“Sorry they’re busy.” She chuckled into his shoulder, one hand stealing down his waist and squeezing the firm glob of his right butt cheek.

With a frustrated snarl, Angel grabbed the neck of her flimsy white shirt and pulled, the threads snapping as cloth tore and left the object of his adoration tangled around him a white cotton bra and soft low-hung, gray shorts.

“Oh fuck! Fucking Hell! I’m going to be fucked by the soul! FUCK YOU BOTH!”

With a smirk Angel shrugged out of the jacket, Cordelia’s nimble little hands were forcing off his shoulders. “Still here, Angelus?”

Cordelia’s mouth stretched into a naughty smile as she grabbed the hem of his black knit-shirt and pulled it up and off. “Oh he’s cowering somewhere in mortification. Now I was promised more?”

He grinned as her greedy fingers smoothed down his shoulders and she licked her lips, his hands sliding behind her back to unsnap her bra as it pooled at their feet. “I can’t believe you’re the same woman from five minutes ago.”

“What can I say Angel – you can charm the pants off a nun.”

He muffled a sardonic chuckle as she grabbed him by the belt loops of his black pants and yanked him back against her, his hands catching his weight against the door as he stood, towering over her. “Like me there, don’t you?”

“Shut up Broody, and hold still,” she commanded with a husky lilt in her voice, her eyes drinking in the sharp planes of his chest. Silently Cordelia thanked whatever Gods had led this man – vampire, whatever – to her as she took careful and purposeful inventory of each slope and sharp planes of his chest. Gorgeous. Delicious. Purrrfect, she didn’t know she’d said it out loud until his shoulders shook with smug mirth, but she didn’t care. Her hands were already tracing each hard contour. If Angel’s fetish ended on her neck, then hers began with his chest. The defined firmness of his pectorals, the dusky flat male nipples, the defined slopes of his six-pack, the expanse of his chest narrowing to a waist that wore pants just where the dip of his navel started.

Angel watched the hungry hazel of her eyes dim to a dark toffee. He was about to lift one hand to lift her mouth for a kiss, but her head dipped and then his eyes rolled into the back of his head as her lips caught one flat nipple in her mouth. Fingers splintered wood as he resisted the urge to drag her against him and burry himself inside her warmth, instead he gave her the time to sate her thirst and make him shudder against the heat of her mouth.

And it was her hands sliding down the taut muscles in his stomach and his body trembling under her fingers and tongue. Angel had women who figured the vampire dwelling under his skin was a dark aphrodisiac. They needed to be possessed and taken in his bed, but for the first time Angel was being touched. Thoroughly and possessively and the love and desire behind Cordelia Chase’ lips and hands made stars dance behind his eyelids, until the need to be swallowed by this beautifully vibrant human was consuming the vampire. It was always about being touched. No one had felt the need to touch the vampire. Not even Buffy.

Cordelia was still lost to the taste and need to feel as much of his flesh as she could reach, his skin like stretched silk over marble under her palms and tongue. She only realized Angel had moved, when her legs were swept out from under and her mouth dragged away from his chest as she was lifted. Large, strong hands curled under her ass as her legs instinctively wrapped around his torso, her arms catching around his shoulders and she met his eyes – and froze.

Delighted shock chased womanly pride across her bronzed features as she saw the unashamed desire and unadorned love etched in the fine lines of her vampire’s face. Palming his cheek, she saw the shaky wonder glittering in molten chocolate. “What the hell’s so damned shocking that I find you bitable Angel?”

On unsteady legs Angel took the few steps back, until his calves hit the couch and he promptly collapsed into it, Cordelia still wrapped protectively around him. It took him a moment to find his tongue. “Biting is what I do usually.”

“Well then prepare for the favor to be returned Broodboy.” Cordelia grinned widely into his face, her breasts pillowed against his chest as she nestled closer to the hardened bulge in his lap. Before he could lean down and capture her lips, she placed a gentle finger across his mouth. “Just tell me something first though.”

Noting the steady determination and a hint of doubt in her voice, Angel resolved that biting her delicious finger wasn’t an option and instead he contented himself with letting his hands slide over her thighs and the curve of her ass, keeping her soft breasts pinned against his chest. “What?”

“I know we can do this today because Angelus is with me, but I’m not keeping him and he won’t keep you if you get happy.”

Smiling at the matter-of-fact honesty in her question, he couldn’t help steal a quick, but thorough kiss from her. “Cordy, perfect happiness is overrated.”

Her brow furrowed in a glare. “Are you implying I can’t make you blissful! Do you want a repeat performance of my door?”

With a muffled laugh, he tugged on the firm muscle of her ass, until her hips lifted, her breasts sliding up his chest deliciously before he caught one dusky nipple on his mouth. She let out a startled squeal of pleasure, her fingers instantly threading into his hair. Nuzzling there, he smiled up at her from between the valley of her beasts. “You make me insanely blissful sweetheart. But perfect happiness with you would be when you tell me you love me in front of a few hundred people in a white dress.” He watched the irises of her eyes dilate, her breath falter, as he took another distracting nibble. “Or when you give me my first son. And daughter and then another son.” He grinned against her soft sweet-scented skin when he felt the automatic clench of her womb and thighs. Lifting his eyes he looked straight into the depth of her soul.

“Or when we grow old together. When I can take you for that sunlit walk on the beach Cordy. Making love to you won’t be perfect happiness, it’ll be happiness. Just a step in the right direction.” He lifted one hand and tucked a stray lock of mahogany hair behind her ear. “Because this time I won’t settle for less than perfection.”

“But Buffy…”

He shook his head, cupping her chin and never breaking the gaze. “Cordy, with Buffy I didn’t want anything besides that. I didn’t know I could. With you I want more.” He smiled sheepishly. “Sue me, I’m a greedy, selfish man. And I didn’t say anything before because I didn’t want to spook you or make you think I was going too fast. That is why our friendship is important Cordelia. It’s another step in the right direction.”

Misty hazel eyes blinked before her fingers slipped lovingly through his hair. “For the record broody now that you have spooked me; I’d like to tell you it makes me all soft and silly inside when you say that.”

Kissing her right nipple he smirked up at her. “Good, then start counting because I intend to make you come until your voice is hoarse with screaming my name.”

Hazel eyes widened, tinged with shock and anticipation. “Oh my.”

“And we’re going to talk about my car.” He leered. “After this.” He leaned down and this time it was Cordelia’s eyes rolling into the back of her head with pleasure.

The thin material of her shorts was jersey and it was old. When Angel angled his hips just right, he skimmed the juncture of her thighs and the scrape of cloth on cloth caught her hissing in pleasure. Impatient nails dug into Angel’s shoulder as she shifted in his lap before she leaned down her tongue sliding across the seam of Angel’s mouth. With a gravelly moan, he kissed her, head tilting to kiss her deeply, his fingers sliding back under the waistband of her shorts and panties.

At the first pass of his fingers over the liquid heat building between her thighs, Cordelia moaned into his kiss, the pads of her thumbs circling his nipples slowly, hoping to give some of the pleasure back and was rewarded with a purr settling in his chest. “Clothes.” She pulled away, her breath hot against his ear as she grabbed the front of his pants and unbuttoned with a twist of her fingers. “Off!” She panted with annoyance.

The purr escalated to a chuckle, but his mouth was still working along her collarbone and his fingers were sifting around the slightly damp curls between her legs. When his thumb touched the slick nub of her clit Cordelia chocked on a squeak. “Angel!” One thumb ventured down between the firm globs of her ass to find the soft hidden rosebud and this time she did squeal, hazel eyes misting with uncontrolled desire as she stared down into his eyes.

For an instant, panic gripped Angel’s heart as she shifted, lifting away from his lap, then he let out a groan of relief when she angled across his legs, both her thighs sliding parallel to the sofa and she kissed him, her hands threading through his hair, her tongue tangling with his. Reassured that he hadn’t frightened her, he worked her panties and the soft gray shorts off the long stretch of her legs, his hand returning to slide along the toned muscle of her leg up to her hip, to cup one pert breast.

And then she was lifting again, her left leg swinging back across his legs, until she settled, unabashedly naked to his hungry obsidian eyes. Carefully, with tender fingers, her traced the incline of her spine, his eyes trained on hers, never breaking the gaze. The dreamy shimmer in her eyes sparked into mirth when his hands slid along the curve of her ass again and dragged her against him, her breasts pressing against his pectorals deliciously. “Your hands seem to like it there.”

“Among other places,” he returned her teasing statement. Then his smile morphed into wicked pleasure when she arched, her nails dragging across the flesh of his shoulders, his fingers sliding between the cheeks and slipping between the folds of her labia.

Miniature explosions settled across Cordelia spine as one long experienced finger slid inside her body. With eyes sealed shut, she couldn’t help mewl softly, when another finger skirted over the nub of her clit. “Oh,” the soft sigh of pleasure fell against the shell of Angel’s ear. And then she jerked, her back arching as his deft fingers slid and caressed her, until she was moaning loudly, her hips rolling along with the alternating strokes of his hands, his mouth suckling one breast.

She thrust against his hand as he entered another finger into her. “Angel. Mmm, uh god,” she murmured breathlessly, and Angel watched the heady pleasure cloud her coppery features, a fine sheen covering her body. Goaded by her moans of encouragement, he lifted his mouth and his mouth secured against her pulse, sucking hard enough to draw blood the surface in a warm love-bite. And then she was keening softly, whispering his name as she clenched around his fingers. “Oh god Angel…”

His mouth stretched across the mark he’d left, his hands giving the tremblingly seat of her ass a loving squeeze. “That was one.” The whisper was seductive and she felt the icy trails of shivers running down her body. “Count.”

“One” she said softly, her voice shaking from the icy warmth spreading through her body.

Angel’s brown eyes were wicked as he slid one of his fingers into his mouth. Cordelia, still shaking from the knowledge of how well he knew her body, stared at his lips, her own parting with lustful wonder. Dammit, it hadn’t been that long since anyone had looked at her with such naked desire and adoration? Had it? For an instant, the girl had problems distinguishing between the afternoon in Angel’s room and the morning from her living room. When the sudden urge to touch him became almost painful she dragged his wrist and dragged his hand away with a soft moan before kissing him hungrily. “Tease.”

Hands plunged into her hair as Angel returned the delicious need in her kiss. Just the way her tongue coaxed his into her mouth, he realized what she wanted and felt a certain amount of male pride go through him at her fervor. She really wanted him. Not some apparition of who he was in her head. For once he was infinitely glad; his demon’s taunts were silent. There was so much of Cordelia he wanted to taste.

Cordelia felt muscles tense and she groaned with protest as his mouth was dragged away. One of his arms braced around her lower back. “Hold on sweetheart.”

Angel stood fluidly, shifting her weight in his arms like a doll and with a grin that shamed sunshine; she happily wrapped herself around his torso like a shirt. “This the part where I say –‘take me to bed or lose me forever’?”

The vampire’s snicker ground out into a growl as Cordelia’s tongue found his neck, working the skin over his pulse with blunt teeth. “Where’d you think we were going woman?” When his hip scarped against the doorframe of her bedroom due to certain parts of his body drawing all the blood pleasurably away from his limbs, he forced his eyes to open. “Dammit Cordy! Have you no restraint!”

The brunette let out a girlish giggle as she bestowed one last lick over a particularly sensitive spot. “Some good came out of goading information out of Angelus. Now I know where to brand you.”

His feet, that were carrying them to the bed, nearly screeched with smoke at his heels as he froze, the giggling woman still in his arms, her hazel eyes sparking with wayward glint. “You what?”

Looping her arms around her shoulders, she looked him straight into his wide onyx eyes. “Cordelia Chase has given you her first hickey. Prepare to be branded all over Angel.”

No matter how long he knew this woman, she always managed to delightfully flabbergast him. Never in his life has Angel had the notion of belonging to someone; even his sire had problems dominating him. This mere slip of a girl on the other hand, tested his patience, challenged his manly-hood, disobeyed orders and had him walking on eggshells with a damned blindfold on. And she wanted to brand him. And suddenly, all Angel wanted to do was belong to Cordelia Chase.

Hazel eyes roved over his face, as she watched the array of emotions etched across his gorgeous features, and leaned down to press a quick, but thorough kiss on his immobile mouth. “Yes you big dork. You’re all mine.”

Watching the confident glimmer in her features, Angel swallowed the emotion rising in his throat thickly. “All of me?”

One gentle finger traced his brow before sliding down his nose. “Uh huh.” Then her mouth widened impishly, and he yelped as her hand pinched his left butt cheek. “Especially this!”

Her implication melted into a shriek as Angel pinned her onto the bed, her wrists clamped in his larger hands as he held them beside her head, hovering over her with gold tinged eyes and a smirk that showed fangs. “Think again Cordy. Still wearing the pants in this relationship.”

And then her eyes were rolling, silently enjoying the thoroughly male weight covering her body. “Pffft! Technically, I’m the necrophiliac about to have sex with a dead man. And since you’re the dead man…” She smirked, and Angel’s eyebrow shot up, just as her legs clamped down on her hips and her lower body twisted. Caught off guard, he blinked up startled as she slammed him down onto the mattress, straddling his torso. “You’re the passive partner.” He couldn’t hold the impressed chuckle at her logic. “So the pants have GOT to go Broody.”

The vampire barely had time enough to let out an unintelligent squawk of protest before his Seer’s hot little tongue was mapping each sharp curve and slant of his neck, shoulders, and chest, her fingers teasing muscle and bone until Angel was wondering why the hell had her bothered trying. He only came out of the stupor when he felt the pants around his waist shift, his lower body lurching as she tried to pull them off. “Mmph…oofff! Lift you big lug!” Angel grinned affectionately at the adorable wrinkle of her nose and took pity on the struggling girl and his screaming erecting.

Only she pulled harder than he expected when he did lift his hip, the pants went flying off his legs, caught the grunting young woman in the chest and his seer when tumbling off the foot of the bed with a screech of indignant surprise.

Angel winced at the soft ‘thud’ and held the bubbling laugh in his chest. It wouldn’t do well with trying to lure the brunette into bed if she was spitting with anger. And angry Cordelia was a scary prospect.

A smile threatened when one hand came into view, then another before a rumpled mass of mahogany head appeared, hazel eyes flashing with exasperation. The snicker nearly burst out of his mouth, but it had no chance. Her lips swallowed any an all coherent thought and the vampire nearly lurched off the bed when the head of his cock disappeared into the scorching wet caverns of her mouth. With his eyes rolling back in his head, Angel prayed. Like a dying man he called out to God, until he realized she was blindly leading him to the edge of his control and he still had his share of ravishing to do. He didn’t plan on being a quick draw on their first time.

Cordelia barely had time to moan with protest before the vampire was looming over her, his eyes gold, his teeth bared and the ridges in his face as prominent as the day he was turned. All playfulness forgotten – all mischief and foreplay igniting into flames of passion. Angel surrendered all restraint with a low growl as he kissed her with raw, urgent hunger that was both powerful and deliciously paralyzing to Cordelia. His hands and mouth claimed her body, sliding over breasts and waist, and back and when his mouth returned to her, his fingers threading through her hair, holding her a willing prisoner. “Look at me Cordy. Trust me.”

Hazel eyes lifted and Cordelia found herself staring at the muscular male chest, a muscle moved spasmodically in his throat and the burning desire in his ochre eyes. She nodded.

Angel slid one hand under her ass, lifting her hips as he eased himself between her legs. “Then, let me in baby,” he moaned against her ear.

Enraptured hazel eyes welled with emotion as her hand lifted to his jaw, trembling fingers soothing over the vampire visage with an acceptance that shook Angel to his marrow. “Please,” she whispered achingly.

Fingers tightened on her flesh before his hips angled and he thrust in to his hilt. It was so much more than he’d imagined, even in his wildest fantasies; Cordelia Chase was especially created just for his body. Thank You, God, he silently sent his prayer.
~ Move you fucking idiot!~ Still fighting to control the orgasm that threatened to erupt, Angel ignored the voice and implication of the voice in his head and moved slowly within her, but he wasn’t on the out for long. Her hot little pants and moans goaded him on as she clutched him to her, moving her hips along his, and soon he was driving faster into her. Plundering her mouth, he forcing her faster and faster to the peak, driving her towards it, until she wrenched her mouth away for breath and cried out his name. “Unh…ANGEL!” Her nails dug into his back and she shuddered convulsively beneath him.

Lifting her hips high and tighter against him Angel plunged harder, driven by the uncontrollable demand of his demon to be as deep inside her as he could possibly manage when he came. Angel exploded within her, a force that tore a deep snarl of contentment, and still he kept moving, as if she could empty him of the bitterness of his past and every sin he’d ever committed before his fangs sank into the swell of her left breast. The second climax erupted in a jolt of sensation that screamed down his dead nerve ending, shook his entire frame and left him weak. Spent. And whole.

In a state of boneless exhaustion, Angel stretched out beside her, his arm dragging her against his chest as he nuzzled the crown of her head softly. “Cordelia?”

Smiling softly, the young woman raised her face to look up into the now human features of her best friend slash lover slash boss, her leg sliding up against his possessively as she snuggled closer in his arms. “What?”

His smile was twisted ironically. “Never trust a man when he says ‘trust me’, especially if one of you is naked.”

Bursting out with laughter Cordelia wrapped her arms around his chest, her nose sliding along his in an Eskimo-kiss. “And if we’re both naked?”

The possessive rumble in his chest made her shiver with happiness as he held her against him, a thumb sliding over the healing bite mark on her breast. “Then it better be with me Hazel.”

Grinning stupidly, she bent down for a kiss when the name caught up to her. Jerking away she stared up into chocolate brown eyes, her own wide. When he looked back with an amused twinkle in his eye she let out a gasp before moving away. “Ohmigod! You comshucked the demon right out of me!”

Angel watched the escalating panic on his seer’s face and pulled her back against him. “Hey, it’s okay.”

“NO, it’s NOT Angel. What the hell are we going to tell the others!?” She stared down at him.

And Angel could only stare back.

*

The crick in his neck was numbing the rest of his body, and he shifted – before he screamed.

Willow jumped, her head snapping up from where she was sitting on the floor and watched Spike land rather painfully on his ass at the foot of the couch. She frowned as he lay there staring up at the ceiling. “What are you doing?”

“Practicing balancing on my ass you brainy lil bint!” With a groan he sat up rubbing the smarting flesh of his ass. Then he frowned at Wesley still snoring happily on the counter – drooling, then blinked at the little red-haired witch sitting in the middle of the lobby, candle’s lit – the scent of peppermint and thyme in the air and a triangle of chalk painted in front of her. Spike stood, his shoulders rolling to relieve him of the stiffness. “Are you up to mischief again Glenda?”

Willow smiled slightly at the reference to the good witch from Wizard of Oz before she shrugged. “I woke up from my nap to find everyone asleep so I decided to make myself useful.”

“You were pet. Bein’ my pillow.” He squatted down next to the fragile girl ignoring the need to drag her back to her previous duties and sniffed the liquid glimmering in the small wooden bowl. “Wut’s this then?”

“This, I believe, is what we came here for.”

Her green eyes twinkled and instantly Spike’s suspicious little mind went to work. Narrowing his eyes he wagged a finger at her. “You’re up to something. Out with it. You know Ol’ Spike is wise to you luv. I can smell the tomfoolery on you a mile away. Spill!”

A soft blush colored her pale cheeks and she batted his finger away. “It’s Angel’s spell. With an added bonus.”

“Bonus is never good when you cook it up Red. Now lets have it straight out, shall we?”

Willow sighed. “Well as it turns out, with Angelus out of Angel’s head, I found a way of securing his soul.”

Spike stared at her. The implication sank in a moment later when the little witch smiled at him winsomely. Although, Spike was as happy as the next bloke to be rid of Angelus, in fact he was the first person who’d admit to being happy the sadistic bloke was gone; he watched Willow sitting there happily and wondered what her angle was. Then remembered, the little redhead usually never had an angle. She was just so bloody helpful and pure. No wonder his demon was always on the riot with her around.

Standing, Spike frowned at the unwelcome tender emotion and fished the last cigarette out of his pocket and lit the burning roll of tobacco. “Where’s Peaches? I’m out of smokes.”

Willow sighed at the closed look on the blonde vampire’s face and stood dusting her hands. “Looking for Cordelia.”

He blinked at the crown of her red hair. “How’d you figure that Red?”

“I’m a brainy little bint.” She yawned softly, before a tiny smile touched her lips. “And I saw him lift your keys.”

“He bloody WUT!!!”
PART 10

“I’m tromping through sewers. I could be out there on the nice clean sidewalk, but damn love and this need to be near my schizo vamp.” Cordelia maneuvered her sneaker-clad feet around the sewer floor.

Angel grinned at the grumbling brunette and grasped her elbow to steady her. “I went scouring across half of LA looking for you Cordy You can put up with a little bit of sewer walk.”

The young woman grunted as she skipped and hopped about looking for clean spots.

~I can’t believe I’m stuck with you again Sully.~

~What did you expect Angelus? Sit back and relax; you’ll be here a while. Like forever.~

~Don’t get cocky soulprick. Your Seer’s in like with your demon.~

Angel looked sideways at the woman muttering under her breath as they headed towards the Hyperion. Even in the dark sewer and the light of her torch she was carrying, Angel could make out her nose wrinkled prettily. His demon had a point. Cordelia Chase had some sort of bond with Angelus; all because she’d spent two days with the bastard.

~Now is not the time to call me names Sully.~

~Shut the fuck up.~

~Oooh, touchy. Okay. I’ll shut up. Don’t tell me you didn’t miss me at all though. I know I missed you. Wana know where your better half’s been these two days? In Technicolor detail?~

Suddenly Angel was faced with the prospect of knowing exactly how far his Cordy had a bond with the Scourge of Europe. Between his morality and his jealous curiosity, Angel finally relented and let Angelus spin his little tale of two days in the life of Cordelia Chase.

And Angel lost his grip as the colors splashed before his eyes.

Cordelia blinked startled when the vampire beside her stumbled. “Who’s catching who here Broody?” She smirked up into his face; then frowned. “Angel?”

Brown eyes were cloudy, the fingers on her arms tighter that usual and for an instant she thought she saw fangs. But his feet hadn’t stopped and she noticed the funny twitch in his jaw before he spoke. “Thanks.”

An eyebrow shot up. “Funny, you don’t sound it. What gives? Now you’re brooding standing up as well?”

Ochre eyes snapped to hers and she froze.

“Okay. Now you’re scaring me. What the hell is your damage?”

In the dim florescent light of the torch, his fangs flashed an eerie green. “Damage Cordy? Funny you should mention damage, because until 2 seconds ago, my entire damage was getting you to my bed and keeping you there; forever!”

Struck by the bitter anger in his tone, she stepped back slightly. “And there’s a change in plan now?”

“YOU tell me!” He snapped, his game face receding to replace the furious human mask, but the gold in his eyes didn’t dim.

Raising a finger, Cordelia glared back at him. “Okay. First of all; stop growling at me; it’s annoying. And secondly there is no change in plan from my end; I’m thoroughly with the idea of the bedroom bonanza.”

“For how long?”

What the hell kind of question was that? She blinked at the crisp question, the shadows in his face darkening. “All day, all night; what do you want it, in writing?”

“And after that?”

The uncomfortable knot wrung tighter in Cordelia gut and she forced a smile trying to make it go away. This was Angel after all. “Just my luck. Out of the whole lot I had to pick the one with the neurotic appetite. Yes after that too doofy.”

“And the day after?”

She frowned. Okay now it was starting to border on creepy. “Of course, Angel. Where’s this going?”

“And next week?”

He took a step towards her and the growl that had been such a turn on in her bed suddenly made her marrow curdle with fear. She didn’t realize she’d taken a step back until he followed and the torch fell from her fingers with a startled gasp, the light rolling like a foreboding beacon to settle on her face and blinding her to the dark vampire towering over her. “Angel…”

“What about next month Cordy, or the year after that? Ten years from now?” Her eyes widened when the vampire snarled into her face, her back hitting the sewer wall. “What about then?” He barked.

She stared up into those scalding copper eyes and a chill skated down her spike when she read the emotion there. “Angelus.” It was not a question.

“You could tell him. You could beg him. Let him manipulate, blackmail you, but you couldn’t tell me!”

She jumped when his palms slapped against the stone wall behind her, his hands bracing above her shoulders, his own body shuddering with restraint, the twisted snarl as potent as the betrayed fear in his golden eyes. “You don’t love me Cordelia.”

“Do too!”

“Then you don’t know that I love you!” He glared down at her, the tidal wave of helpless emotion crashing through him, twisting and bending his soul in a way nothing else ever had. “When were you going to tell me?”

She looked away, the guilty tears gathering behind closed lids.

“Dammit Cordelia! Look at me!”

Squaring her jaw she looked up with liquid hazel eyes and met the flickering pools of dark chocolate. “Because I was afraid.” She took a deep breath; the irrational fear hitched in her throat. “I was afraid you’d take them away.”

“Good guess sweetheart.”

Her eyes widened as he grabbed her wrist and yanked her towards the sewer tunnel leading to the hotel. “Angel!” When the vampire didn’t loosen the stone like grip or cease the determined pulling, she tried to resist. “Awoie! Let go you big bully!”

He dragged her up into the basement before she grabbed his arm with her free hand and dug her heels into the floor. “STOP!”

Yanking her wrist out of his grasp, she glared. “Stop now or I swear I will so kick your ass! With or without Angelus, and while we’re on the subject of your demon; can I just say, he’s a spineless, gutless, conniving piece of shit! He promised me!”

“Did you really think he wouldn’t tell me?”

“Not exactly a great fan of yours is he!”

“HE is about as concerned about this as I am! Only he has the emotional control I left in your bed!”

The young woman huffed and rolled her eyes. “Men! I swear their thought process is confined between their stomach and their goddamn knees!”

“Why didn’t you tell me the visions were killing you! Why didn’t you tell me Doyle cursed you like those fucking gypsies cursed me!”

She stilled. “This is not Doyle’s fault Angel. Take that back.” When he glared silently, she stepped closer and poked him in his chest. “Take. It. Back.”

The vampire swallowed the crazy fear and helplessness but he couldn’t quell the fitful growling of his demon in his chest. Two days later his demon had finally been able to release the regretful ball of tension he’d been holding inside Cordelia’s mind and now that he was back, the yarn of his need to protect, claim and save Cordelia rivaled the soul’s. For the first time, they agreed – on her.

“I’m sorry,” he ground out, “but the fact remains. The visions are going even if you have to kiss every man, woman, demon in this godforsaken city. You’re not keeping them.”

The girl rolled her eyes. “Hello!” She waved a hand in front of his face and he caught it with an annoyed frown. “Been there; done that. You were there remember; oh wait – no back then your head was still up Buffy’s…”

Angel stepped forward, a finger nearly touching her nose. “Don’t. Not a good time Hazel.” She raised an eyebrow, a soft smile tugging at her mouth. It was still a little unnerving to hear that endearment from her boss.

“Sorry.” To bad she didn’t look it as she took a deep breath. “But I’m keeping the visions. I’m vision girl Angel.” She shrugged.

“Dammit Cordelia! Why! Why do you want to die!”

“I don’t!” She snapped back, finally at the edge of her patience with her pushy vampire boss. “I don’t want to die. I don’t want to give up the visions and I don’t want to let go of the one good, decent thing in my life, Angel, which amounts to something and gives me purpose.” He watched her hazel eyes flash with fire and resisted the urge to kiss her. Probably not the reaction she wanted; so he waited for her continue instead. “The visions are a part of me like the tattletale demon is a part of you Angel. You aren’t complete without him and he’s not complete without you – no matter how much he’s the denial queen or just too damned afraid to admit it. Without it, you’d just be a freak with a leather fetish; just like I’d be plain, old, penniless Cordelia.” She glared hard at him.

“I’m doing this for me, not you, so stop looking at me with that self-martyred puppy eyes. I’m doing this so I can be with you, for as long as I’m here as I’m supposed to be – your Seer. Because there is nothing else in this world I want to be. Do you get that thick-head? You’re the champion and I’m the Seer! That’s how it works!”

“So there.”

For a crazy instant she thought she’d imagined it. She stared up at him while he stood here arms folded and sulking. “WHAT!”

“Just completing your tirade.”

The young woman growled and Angel suppressed a smile, his head a mixture of saddened love and helpless admiration and hope. Unable to silence his fears and the consequences ringing in his ears, he wrapped his arms around her. “Fine. You have your way. You can keep the visions.” She looked up with a triumphant smile and he smothered it with a gentle finger over her stretched lips. “You’re right: I’m the champion and you’re my Seer. If you go, then the PTB will have to find a new mascot as well. We do this together like always Cordy. This time’s no different.”

Cordelia frowned as she saw a shadow fall across his features. “That speech does not accompany that oh-we’re-doomed shadow on your face Broody, it’s less effective that way.”

Angel held her face between his fingers, mentally preparing himself to utter the words the demon was screaming in his head. The words he dared not speak to any human. Not with his soul in tact, because he had no right to ask. Only if it meant saving Cordelia, Angel would take another hundred years in hell. “There’s a spell.”

Cordelia frowned. “Oh oh?”

Angel had to smile at the brave tint to her liquid toffee eyes. “Sweetheart, if I’d known about the visions, I never would have taken Angelus.”

She blinked. “What?”

He winced. “There’s a way Cordy, besides turning you, there’s another way to give you immortality.”

She watched his face with confusion then her brow drew together as she stepped out of his arms and apprehension dawned in those hazel eyes. “Not so good with the pressure. Immortality is like forever Angel.”

The vampire let out a dry laugh. “What did you think this was going to be Cordelia?”

She stared at him with wide eyes. “That was a line! The one you told me on the couch! With the forever and the wedding dress right?”

An eyebrow shot up.

Her mouth formed a perfect ‘O’ then she glared. “HE knew. Didn’t he!?” When he didn’t speak she took a step away from him. “Oh hello,” she breathed out, as the weight of her predicament finally hit her between her eyes. Forever. Live forever. Never die. Immortal. Immortality with Angel. Forever with Angel. And she didn’t know it then, but the softening in her eyes gave her away as she contemplated the possibilities; the mantra like thoughts spiraling through her head over and over. “Will I be human?”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“But I won’t die?”

“Not naturally no.”

“Stake through the heart is a popular theme, isn’t it?”

The vampire let out an unneeded breath. “You could still get hit by a truck, but the possibilities go down yes. You will heal faster.” His eyes darkened and she realized the real reason why he’d never brought it up was what he said next. “You will share my demon. It’s a blood bond. You’ll belong to me.”

“Excuse you Mr. Caveman!” She glared at him her finger poking into his chest. “Cordelia *poke* Chase * poke * belongs * poke * to * poke * no * poke * one * poke poke *!”

Angel let out a soft frustrated growl. “And this is why we never take human lovers. They don’t get the deal, no matter how much they pretend to understand.” The woman let out a yelp as the vampire suddenly pinned her against the crate, his body pressing into her intimately, stealing her breath. “You do belong to me Cordelia Chase,” his voice was a silky whisper across her mouth and the brunette whimpered softly. “You were mine the moment you said yes. The moment my fingers touched your skin, the moment my mouth kissed yours, the second your body welcomed mine and when you came screaming my name and the soul’s? You sealed the deal.” Cordelia’s eyes widened as the familiar tint in his eyes spoke enough for his demon. And the effect on her senses and Angelus’ honeyed avowal was almost electric.

“Your blood is flowing through my veins as we speak Hazel. And I’m not going to lie to you and feed your ego. You’re mine. But I shared myself too Cordy.” The brown was back and her knees shook as she held her breath, his eyes flickered with the erratic beat of her heart. “And I’m all yours baby.”

The emotion lodged in her throat as she swallowed visibly before lifting her eyes from him mouth. “Do I have to wear a dog tag?”

Angel’s lips curled into a wicked leer.

*

“Is this really necessary Willow?” Wesley watched the irate blue fire in the vampire’s eyes as he hovered a few feet away, his arms crossed and the proverbial steam rising from his blonde head.

The little witch sat on the floor, her shoulders shaking softly as she muffled her giggles and looked up at the vampire suspended in mid air. She hadn’t stopped since Spike had tried to get down and after many tries to dance, swim, run and shimmy; Spike was still hanging in midair over their heads, albeit furious, but helpless.

Angel was the first one to blink and pause at the sight and Cordelia ran into his back. “Put a stop sign, will you?” Peeking over his shoulder she frowned. “We’re playing float the vampire and no one called me?”

Willow grinned up at the new comers. “He was attempting to step out without his sun block.”

Spike pointed threatening finger at his sire. “You are so bloody dead when I get my hands on you poofy.”

Angel raised an eyebrow. “Already dead little boy, and that is IF you get down.”

Wesley let out a visible sigh on relief at Cordelia’s presence and smiled. “I’m glad you finally decided to grace us with your presence. We have the spell ready by the way. Willow has been a great help. We discovered there were two ways really. One slightly easier, notwithstanding the intimate discomfort on both your parts. And the second was a spell. A tad hard to work out, but we did splendidly. ”

“Oh yeah!” The red haired witch giggled. “I was such a good witch! I didn’t even finish the spell until I double checked. Proud of me?”

“Shocked none of us are yipping puppies Luv.”

Looking up she glared at the vampire. “Hey! I knew ‘lishkant’ did not mean dog!”

“Right after spectacles there corrected you. Your foreign demon languages are horrid pet.”

Wesley rolled his eyes. “They go on forever. Cordelia are you ready?”

The cheerleader bit her lip. “Yeah Wes, about that.”

Angel rubbed the back of his head and suddenly the entire room went silent.

Spike hovered there above them and his blue eyes narrowed, then widen. “You didn’t!” When neither the vampire nor the cheerleader spoke, his mouth dropped open. “You DID!”

“Oh dear lord,” Wesley rubbed his temples trying to get around the idea, and then he decided he’d rather not think about it at all.

Spike stared at the older vampire. “Bloody hell peaches I didn’t think you had the balls.”

“Thank you for the crude testimonial Spike.” Angel glared at his child.

Willow blinked as she looked between them. “What?”

Wesley cleared his throat.

Cordelia blushed with a soft winsome smile and shrugged. “What can I say? I’m irresistible.”

Willow gasped, her cheeks flushing as red as her hair. “Oh goddess. Too much information. Too much!”

“Catch on fast, don’t you luAHHHHHH! WILLOW!!!” He hung there upside down, as the Witch merely stared at Cordelia and Angel. “PUT ME DOWN YOU BLOODY WITCH!”

Willow frowned. “And I put up with him all this time for nothing?”

Angel sighed and met Willow’s eyes. “Not quite Willow.” His voice was tinged with enough gravity that Willow spun Spike upright. “What do you know about a blood bond?”

Spike hit the ground –hard.

EPILOGUE

Cordelia turned and hit something hard and cold. Dragging her heavy eyes open she blinked up at the smirking visage of her demon lover. “Angel?”

“In the flesh baby.”

The brunette groaned as she tried to roll back into sleep, but one large hand curled around her waist and drew her against his chest, his nose nuzzling into her neck, his fingers slipping across her belly button. “How many did we get up to?”

Cordelia sighed as she felt the insistent press of his hips behind her. A smile curled her mouth as she flushed. “Apparently I can’t count past fifteen.”

“You can still speak?” His tongue slid into her ear and Cordelia sucked in a shuddering breath, the electric shiver shooting down her spine.

Oh why had I confessed it made me weak…oh…that’s why. She purred softly as he repeated the caress, her body instinctively sliding into the contours of his body. “Ooops?”

His hand ran across her stomach in a tangent before curling around one breast possessively. “Now I can’t have that can I?”

Hazel eyes misted over before falling shut with a shuttered sigh as he slid into the tight heat of her body with a deft shift of his hips. “I wished you’d given me your stamina along with your super vampy healing.”

“Wait for it.”

Her eyes snapped open. Oooh.


…THE END…


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