Every Breath She Takes


AUTHOR: HELEN
SUMMARY: This is in response to Impress’s Challenge, see below for details. I’ve made this set in S3 AU – No Pregnant Darla hence no baby, No Holtz, No Groo, WITW happened but Angel chickened out of telling her rather than Groo turning up. Birthday didn’t become part demon, still having vision headaches.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 29 Sep 2003
CATEGORY: CHALLENGE FIC
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A
WARNINGS: Graphic Sexual Content and Language
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: A challenge by Impress. Criterial Posted at the end of the fic.


Part 1
Cordelia carefully applied the finishing touches to her lipstick and then stood back from the vanity to check out her make-up. Turning sideways she checked for lines or blotches and finding none; gave a huge dazzling smile and flicking back her hair, practiced her flirtiest look.

“Hmmm, no that one’s too obvious even for Mr Can’t-see-what’s-in-front-of-his- face”. Sighing she straightened her face and tried again, with less wattage but tilting her head a little to one side.

“Perfect that should do it” the little tilt made her hair fall to one side and teasingly revealed the curve of her neck. If that didn’t grab a vampire’s interest, nothing would.

Walking through her bedroom she grabbed a pair of earrings off the bedside table and then, remembering perfume, pulled a face and raced back to the bathroom to squirt a little between her breasts.

“Not too much or he’ll probably choke and not in a complimentary way”. She smiled wryly to herself and then standing in the middle of the bedroom again stood uncertainly in front of the full length mirror to eye her outfit doubtfully.

“Dennis, what to do think, too tight”? She cupped her hands over her ass, revealed in the rather tight black pants she was wearing. Not in the least hidden by the short, almost military style of her fitted shirt, which was black too but flecked with metallic gold hints that brought out her fabulous hazel eyes.

Dennis being a ghost could answer only by reaction and the light switch was flicked on and off twice, signalling out and out approval.

“Thank you, Sweetie” she said warmly, meaning it and giving him a bright smile full of gratitude for the confidence boost.

“Though why I should need a confidence boost is something I need to have a talk with him about. I mean, Geeze I’m a hottie aren’t I? Would it hurt him to at least look like he wants to kiss me again”?

The door went and she jumped in the middle of her growing tirade, she took two deep breaths and making sure she let the second one out slowly for maximum effect, went to answer it.

“Hi, you’re just on time for a change what- did Fred set an alarm for you”? Cordy winced internally. Wow, she couldn’t even let him in the door without taking a cheap shot.

Angel just shrugged and walked past her, accidentally brushing his leather clad arm over her breasts as he did so and only catching on when she blushed a fiery red, was quick to apologise. She brushed it off with a cheery smile and a casual wave.

“It’s Okay, Angel really, not to mention it’s probably the only touching they get these days”.

Then embarrassed to have let that much slip out, she asked him to wait a while she got her jacket and purse. Once she’d gone to fetch them from her bedroom it was Angel’s turn to let out a breath. Close call, another one and it was getting to the point where they were a daily occurrence.

He forced his mind away from the burning image of really touching Cordelia’s breasts and ignored the taunting of that inner voice- not the conscience, the other one. Ever since the trip to the ballet, or even earlier if he was going to brutally honest, that part of him had not let up about wanting to do things with Cordelia that no ‘friend’ would even thing about, let alone fantasise about, constantly.

“Tonight is such a bad idea” he muttered and wished he could just turn around call out there was an emergency and disappear- away from the increasing temptation she represented. Don’t be such an Asshole, just control yourself for a night for chrissake. Like self-control was something he wasn’t already abundantly familiar with. Mind you controlling his bloodlust sometimes seemed a piece of cake in comparison to controlling…?

Lust, need, possessiveness– maybe even love?

“Ready”? There she was again, his temptation and this time, given his thoughts he couldn’t prevent his eyes from straying where they shouldn’t. Damn, she had such a fine ass. His palms itched as he watched her walk through the door he’d automatically opened or her.

Sucking in another deep unnecessary breath, he closed his eyes, counted to ten and followed her down the corridor to the waiting car.

TAKING HER OUT

The movie hadn’t been that bad, at least it was something other than foreign pornography anyway and since she’d point blankly refused to follow Fred’s example and see an oldie with him, he’d let her pick. After all going to the movies was her idea.

He’d been sitting in the garden at the back on one of the stone benches, enjoying the night, star filled sky and letting the drift of the scented flowers tease his nostrils. Peace had reigned- until she came outside to join him.

“Angel”. She’d started out with that cajoling voice. The one that always gave him a sinking feeling of being done for, beaten down and ready to give up before she’d even asked for what she was after.

He’d heaved a sigh and forcefully blanked his expression, smoothing out any signs of melting on his face. He’d even considered not answering her, but known it would be a waste of time, she knew he was there anyway.

“No” hey it was worth a shot.

“I haven’t asked yet” she replied breezily not in the least discouraged, she knew him too well by now and sometimes it was a curse. Like now. Or did she?

She’d stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. A leg turned out while she twisted one foot and smiled down at him, carefree, utterly confident and trusting. She had no idea how much of a struggle it was not to stare at her long legs, showcased by the short skirt or her full breasts, with the tight nipples now tightly budded from the night breeze. His mouth had watered at the sight and he’d jerked his eyes away to stare blindly at something, anything else.

He’d been forced to shift on the seat, surreptitiously adjusting his pants to hide the thickness that bulged at his groin. Fiercely glad she didn’t have eyesight like his, he’d looked back up at her and then been mesmerised by the soft, uncertain expression on her face.

It was that that did him in, whatever she wanted, she was going to get.

So that was how he’d ended up taking her to the movies, because, as she put it. Just because she didn’t date, didn’t that mean that she wasn’t entitled to see a movie on the big screen.

He didn’t really see that much of it, except for the day time scenes which naturally caught his eye simply because it was a novelty to allow himself to be drawn in by those. He was too busy concentrating on the woman next to him. Not that he had much choice in the matter, he could hardly sit a few seats down and this close, her scent enveloped him.

Not the perfume she’d used but the musk that was hers alone, the individual scent that to his sensitive senses screamed of her being a warm living woman and one that, either fortunately or unfortunately his demon wanted every bit as much as the soul did.

When he thought about it, which was constantly, he realised that was why he was struggling with resisting its demands. Usually, its wants were directly opposed to his soul, the driving force that he clung onto with every vestige of sense that he had. But in this, they both wanted the same and the fight was doubly hard because of that simple fact.

Of course this rare agreement went so far, the demon wanted possession in every way both natural and unnatural, while the soul – Okay as much as he hated, it wanted possession too. So, he’d never claimed to be saint when he was human. But the soul at least was willing to settle for friends- friends was good, less heartache.

Her hand brushed his as she dipped daintily inside the popcorn barrel he was holding, to rummage around like she was searching for hidden treasure. The cardboard pressed down on his lap as she ferreted around looking, purely by touch, for the most succulent piece to pop in her mouth, or at least he’d thought so, until he’d found her grinningly cheekily at him as she pressed it to his own lips.

“Open wide” she’d whispered and of course he heard every word as clear as bell.

Cordelia enjoyed the look of shock on his face when she pressed the sweet nugget of popcorn to his lips. Her fingers brushed the soft skin and she felt a flush rise up as memories of having those full, sensually curved lips pressed to hers rushed back.

He hadn’t just kissed her lips on that night either, but all the way down her body and ever since then, when she went so sleep, she dreamt that he’d reached the spot that he’d been heading towards. Possessed they both were at the time, but it made no difference to her now. She wanted him in her bed or her to be in his bed, whatever, it didn’t matter.

So long as she got to feel that again, for real this time. She wanted him and really, who could blame her. He was gorgeous, handsome, huge, or okay pretty big- all over, which she’d checked out on more than one occasion over the last few weeks and heroic and big, had she already mentioned that?

Yes, she could happily admit now he was drool worthy stuff. Not that she’d ever thought otherwise. It’s just she’d become blind to it a long time ago and only recently seen the light again. So what if he was a demon, or ‘manpire’ as she preferred to think, rationalising she knew, but hey it if works for me, it wasn’t like your average Joe could handle her lifestyle anyway.

“Erm Cordy” he started to say, eyeing her strangely. His sinfully dark eyes full of confusion and wariness.

“Oh c’mon, Angel you can handle a little popcorn can’t you”? She loved it when he gave that look, his eyebrows sort of curved up above his nose and eyes and it gave him a strangely vulnerable look. Totally at odds with his usual aloof or broody expression.

“Okay we’ll share” she offered and bringing it to her lips, bit it in half and then re-offered it to him with an engagingly wide and challenging smile.

They both forgot the film, flashing in front of their turned faces as he took the proffered titbit from her fingers with his teeth. He chewed mindlessly, not tasting the sweetness of the sugar, just the miniscule part of her on it that teased his demon with the promise of more.

“Want some more”? She asked him huskily, transfixed by the hot lights that flickered in his eyes, when as if by a trick of the light, they flashed topaz. Then she blinked utterly confused when a harsh voice intruded on their little oasis.

“Hey, do you two want to pipe down, we paid good money to watch this movie”.

Violence isn’t an option, Angel repeated it several times, like a chant but couldn’t prevent a low rumbling growl, followed by a menacing look full of retribution towards the offender.

After the movie had finally finished, during which Angel had been tortured by an almost unbearably strong awareness of her every move. They decided they needed to walk of the fidgets and set off for a stroll.

Not even thinking about the night chill, Cordelia had left her jacket in the car, but rather than give up on the idea she simply hugged her arms and chose to ignore it. That was until a heavy leather duster found itself draped over her arms and laughing she tucked her arms into the sleeves, not even trying to pretend she wasn’t cold as she snuggled inside the heavy coat.

“What- was I turning blue or something”? She asked with a twinkle in the hazel depths of her eyes.

“Or something” he replied tossing her a lopsided smile as they ambled along the tarmac surface of the sidewalk beside a mini carnival. They dodged a candyfloss seller. Cordelia with a politely refusing smile, Angel with a look of horror tossed at the pink fluff that supposedly passed as something edible.

He looked uncomfortably around the crowds of youngsters and aggravated parents. Memories tripping through his mind of similar sights from an earlier life, only then the laughter and smiles had always ended in tears, pleading and finally choked screams.

“Hello, earth to Angel – you maybe wanna come back to the 21st” She waved a hand a few inches from his face, immediately drawing his attention back to her, “Deal was no brooding remember”, she was smiling at him but her eyes held a wealth of knowledge and more than a little impatience.

“Right” he pulled back his wandering thoughts and looked longingly towards a more deserted pathway over the way.

Cordelia sighed heavily and by now more than familiar with his way of going silent and haunted looking when he was brooding over his evil past, grabbed hold of his hand and dragged him, not protesting towards the less crowded sidewalk that curved around and towards a now closed park.

“Is that better now Mr Sociable. I don’t get it, how come the movies is OK, but a little carnival isn’t”?

“No movie theatres back in the day” he answered simply, keeping hold of her hand and hoping that she wouldn’t think to pull away.

“Oh Okay, I get that” she replied lightly, keeping her hand still in his and hoping he wouldn’t notice that she hadn’t pulled free.

They skirted the park wall and found a comfortable spot to lean over and look down on the dark greenery below them, spot-lit from inside. Cordelia leaned over it as it was only waist height to get a better look at the pretty picture the amber glow made against the green foliage of the mixed trees and shrubbery.

Suppressing an urge to grab hold of her in case she leaned to far, he propped a hip against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes were fixed to her face, glowing with and youthful beauty even in the darkness. His scrutinising gaze took in the more relaxed set of her face and the lack of dark circles under her eyes.

“Your feeling better”? He asked her with an undertone of anxious query in his deep voice. She gave him a sideways look and raised a questioning brow, a quizzical look on her face.

“You look- less tired” he clarified and then turned so that his arm rested on the wall next to hers. “Are the headaches all gone now”? He watched for her reaction and frowned heavily when she hesitated before tossing him a casual smile.

“Sure, all gone” she could tell he’d caught the hesitation and cursed silently, “I haven’t had a vision in over 10 days” she reminded him, facing him fully now and keeping her eyes locked to his, the expression in them direct and clear. She was getting better at lying and hated it. But what other option did she have? Tell him everything and then standby while he pushed her away for her own good. No way was she gonna let that happen.

“I’m Okay, Angel” she insisted and injected an angry note in her voice, when he continued to frown at her with those penetrating dark eyes narrowed by the lowered brows.

She leaned back over the wall and pretended a renewed interest in the scenery, anything to get away from that strangely hypnotic look on his intent face. “I’ve been offered an audition for next week” she told him to change the subject, a standard ploy that had always worked before.

He sighed and let her change the subject. But come what may and even if he had to hold her down, they were going to have a no holds barred talk about her health, and pretty damn soon too.

“Good for you, when is it”? He’d have to make sure he or one of the others was available to take her, especially after that last one with the asshole of a director giving her a hard time. He could still vividly remember the urge to throttle the little shit.

“I’m not going” she told him with a hint of ‘gotcha’ in her voice.

He gave her the surprised look she was due and caught the impish look on her face. She wanted to tell him something, a smile twitched his lips. This was a new tactic for Cordelia and he was intrigued, normally she’d just spit it out whether he wanted to hear it or not.

“Why not”?

This was her cue and she knew she had to get it just right. She couldn’t just let her tongue run away with her like it sometimes did around him. She had to explain some of her reasons without giving away the real one. Which was that she didn’t want to waste what time she had left running after acting jobs she didn’t want. She wanted to spend it with him and her adopted family, doing the work they were doing together.

“Because I’ve made the decision that I don’t want to act. I like the gig I’m doing now. Vision girl is more than enough to keep me occupied”. She said it lightly but firmly, just like she’d practiced.

“Cordelia,…”

“Angel” she interrupted him, knowing he was going to object to her giving up her ‘dreams’. “This is no hardship for me- it’s what I want so just say Okay, OK”.

“Okay” he replied with another of his lopsided smiles that recently gave her the strongest urge to lean over and plant a smacking kiss on the lips.

There was something else to this, he just knew it, something else to corner her about when he figured out a way to get her to open up to him. His gaze sharpened when he caught her eyes on his lips and he felt a wave of dizziness wash over him. It was a few seconds before he realised he was leaning over, closer with his lips tingling in anticipation of the touch of hers. He jolted back and watched her eyes widen in shock and then a flush bloomed over her soft cheeks.

“Cordy” he tried to catch her hand when she pushed herself away from the wall.

“I’ll be right back, just need to freshen up.” She called back over her shoulder without turning around. “I think I saw a public restroom just back a little”.

Dammit, dammit, dammit- way to rush your fences Cordy. Her feet felt like lead in her stylish pumps and the ground swished under them as she raced away from him before she really tripped herself up or something else equally embarrassing. Am I wrong thinking he’s over Buffy? He certainly seemed to be, and I’d know if he was still pining over her, wouldn’t I?

Then she started to get angry and welcomed it, Geeze, what a guy, can’t even kiss a girl in the moonlight and they called him a skirt chaser back in the day? Pfft, must have been the other way round- big Dork. She wasn’t watching where she was going and ran into the something hard and unyielding, standing directly in her path.

“Oomph” Cordelia, staggered back a little and her face shot up. Her eyes narrowed when she took in the dark shadowy figure she’d almost mown down. She swallowed her impulsive apology when she realised he must have seen her coming. “Hey ever heard of moving to the side, ya know saves on being barrelled over by angry females”.

“Not at all, My Dear. Why would that bother me at all, when I enjoyed having your body on mine so very much”? The smooth silky tones were chilling, but it was the flash of fangs that really made her face drain of all colour. Oh CRAP!.

“Creepy much? Am I supposed to be afraid of the low scary voice?” She backed away anyway and prayed Angel wasn’t far behind her.

“I’ve been watching you, what happened did you give Angelus the slip? I’ll have to tell him he’s lost his edge”. The vampire laughed, obviously delighted at the idea.

Angelus? Oh great another visit from an old ‘friend’”You so have it wrong Asshole, and he’s right behind me so you’d better get lost” It ignored her and carried on coming, slowly- stalking her .

“Oh gimme a frickin break here, like I’m really gonna give you the thrill of a chase, Loser”. She sneered, injecting as much scorn as she could into her voice. Her hand reached out to push back a branch that brushed against the top of her hair. She stopped retreating and let the vampire get closer.

Then she let it go to twang back in his face, his hand came up to ward of the sharp twigs and she set off back the way she’d come, yelling at the top of her lungs. ”Angel”.

Angel hadn’t moved from the wall, too busy dealing with two emotions that resulted from the near kiss and her quick escape. One was easy and familiar, which was tamping down the need that had arisen inside him to taste her, deeply and with all of the tenderness and love he could offer her. The other was sharper, far more defined and much less easy to subdue as the demon howled to give chase, finish what he’d started and not stop with just a kiss.

When he heard her scream his name, his head whipped and he was running before the command to do so had fully registered. He heard her breathing not far ahead, harsh and whimpering. He raced forward and increased his speed, darting around bushes and avoiding low hanging branches, taking a shortcut through the landscaping and following the sounds of..feeding.

Horror flooded him, followed by an all consuming rage. Who dared to touch her? whoever they were they were dust. He refused to even consider the fleeting thought that he might not make it in time.

He burst onto the scene and didn’t slow down but launched himself towards the black clothed figure, which was crushing a dazed and almost unconscious Cordelia to him as he fed on her blood.

The rage coursed freely throughout his body and exploded inside his head as he vamped out and snarling viciously, his hands gripped the other vampires face. Twisting sharply his grip made the fangs disengage from Cordelia’s throat. Before the other vampire could recover he raised his right arm and backhanded it.

He’d put all of his considerable strength into that blow and the vampire staggered back before it could stop itself. Cordelia dropped to the ground between them. Angel stepped over her so that his body stood over hers, protecting her and staring at the familiar face before him.

“You shouldn’t have done that, Daniel”. Angels voice dripped with menace and his hands clenched and unclenched with the force of the hatred that flowed so freely now.

“Well, well Angelus, we meet again I missed you in Venice, what must be over a century and half ago now”. The other vampire eyes him cautiously and wiped blood away from its mouth, only some of it was Cordelia’s.

“Whose counting, but don’t worry we’ll catch up soon. Expect me”.

The darker, twisted demonic side of him wanted to end this now. But Daniel was no ordinary vampire either and the fight could go on longer than Cordelia could afford. But the reckoning would come- he’d make sure of it.

“What is she to you? You never used to be such a sore loser Angelus. Share and share alike remember, there’s plenty where that came from”. The vampire features melted away to leave a dark, husky face with heavy brows and the hooked nose of someone who had once been of Jewish extraction- at least before the demon had claimed the body.

“She’s mine, nobody touches her but me” he hadn’t even thought about that answer, at least the soul hadn’t. That had come from the demon, but he didn’t care- right then it was all too true.

“Really, how unusual of you Angelus, quite novel come to think of it. However, I must point out the lack of a bite so you’ll have to forgive me for leaving mine there”. It smirked at him and he almost forgot the need to get aid for Cordelia as the demon squirmed and raged to be let loose.

“Fuck you”.

The creature laughed and bowed before backing away, melting into the dark shadows, entertained and willing to leave Angelus to see to his pet.

Angel carried the now unconscious Cordelia back to his car in a race of life over death. Feeling her heartbeat slow as the reduced blood pressure started to affect her life signs. Horror filled him as every torturously long second seemed to take her further away from him. “Hang on Sweetheart, please”.

He sped past gawking bystanders so fast they would later think they’d imagined seeing the large dark figure of a man, carrying a leather wrapped bundle of a girl in his arms with her dark hair poking out from the black leather coat and one pale arm dangling.
Part 2
The hospital was reached in record time and uncaring about any type of queue he rushed her inside the emergency room. He was met by a nurse who taking one look at his distraught face decided not to send him back but pulled aside the leather coat. Seeing Cordelia’s pale and waxy complexion she didn’t waste another second but immediately shouted for assistance.

Angel laid her on the bed they waved him toward and then stood back while they set to work on her. A female doctor came rushing over and took over from the nurse who then started checking vital stats.

“What caused the wounds on her neck”? Asked the Doctor tersely after a sharp intake of breath.

“She was bitten by a … animal”. God- talk about déjà vu, and this time he was just as guilty, even if it hadn’t been his bite. I should never have let her go off on her own. But he hadn’t been thinking about safety or the fact that she would have come out with him unarmed. I’ll never leave you alone again I swear.

“How long ago” was the next question, brusquely asked.

“About 20 minutes”. The doctor, a woman, gave him a sharp assessing look, disbelief evident on her face.

“Are you sure, these have closed over real fast if that’s true”. She peered suspiciously at him, and he guessed, correctly that she was wondering if he was on drugs and so unreliable as a source of information.

Angel had clotted the wounds himself, “I’m sure” he replied firmly his gaze glued to Cordelia, watching carefully everything they did to her. Knowing they were only trying to help her but feeling useless enough to keep watch anyway as they worked.

“Why don’t you wait outside, we’ll let you kn..”

“I’ll stay” he snapped out with a fierce scowl, then seeing the look of wariness and fear that crossed the doctors face at his tone and expression, forced a smile. “I won’t get in the way, I swear”. He wasn’t leaving her alone, not for a second.

They gave her a drip to replenish the lost blood and then after a few hours of observation, wheeled her into a private room. Once there they were alone. Angel sat beside her in a chair pulled as close to the bed as he could get, with one of her hands in both of his.

The hand felt so small and delicate and far too still for his liking. He wanted- no needed her to wake up so that he could see that she was going to be okay. “Wake up baby, please” he didn’t even realise that the pleading in his head had gotten past his lips until the words were out.

He laid his head next to her hip, facing her and watching her with intent dark eyes, searching for signs that she was coming round. “I’m so sorry Cordy, this is all my fault..” he whispered to her. He squeezed her hand gently with his fingers before lifting it to his lips to kiss the soft skin underneath her thumb.

After a while, lulled by the steady rhythm of her heart and breathing his mind drifted and he imagined all kinds of different scenarios where Cordelia asked him to do things or say things and in each one he gave her what she wanted and watched her smile bloom. An answering smile tugged his lips as he dwelled on the picture in his head.

Each new one was more outrageous than the last and he didn’t care. She deserved to have what she wanted the only thing was- he didn’t know what that was; she never told him anymore. Why is when you love someone they stop being so easy to read, he hated that.

“I though I had a handle on you long ago, but then I realised I didn’t. I guess we both changed Huh”.

His musings where interrupted by a moan from her and everything else just slipped away as he sat up to better see her face. Her eyelids flickered and he almost prayed that they would open. Then they did and felt his whole body swell. Please let there be no permanent effects.

“Cordy, Sweetheart you’re OK, your safe now” he told her trying to be reassuring and having no idea if he was just confusing her more.

“Where am I” it was croaky but it was clear and made sense. He almost collapsed with relief.

“You’re in hospital” he told her and he smiled when her face scrunched up in distaste. “Hate hospitals” she grouched. “Told them I don’t wanna die here. Wanna go home”.

He frowned, was she confused after all. “Cordy you’re not dying I promise”.

She opened her eyes fully and after a second they widened in shock as her faculties returned and realised what she’d said. “Crap, oh hey”. She tried to sit up and smile at him and then winced when her neck twinged. “No, no dying definitely not”. She flopped back down giving up the idea of sitting as too much effort.

Oh God he looked so worried, about her? Her hand lifted to cup his chin and jaw, smiling when he rubbed the slightly rough skin into her palm. Her thumb lifted up to explore his full sculpted lips and he looked down at her, mesmerised by the soft look in her eyes.

“Tell me you haven’t been sitting there blaming yourself for this”? She asked him still a little croakily. He looked about for the water bottle and handed to her.

He gave a crooked smile and admitted it. “How did you guess”.

She handed the bottle back to him after taking a drink. “I know you remember. Handsome Broody Guy”. His brows rose a little at her description and he looked a little sheepish. “Better than Brood-boy at least” he offered, reminding her.

“Or Sir Brood-a-lot” she reminded him back and laughed when he gave an exaggerated wince.

Then turning serious again, “I shouldn’t have left you alone” he said ducking his head and missing her expression as she raised her eyes to the heavens. “Excuse me. I did the walking off not you” she informed him archly, and it didn’t take a vision to be able to tell he still wasn’t convinced.

“Fine that’s it then this is all you’re fault and so you have to come up here and make it all better”. Hell if she was going to put up with being bitten then she could damn well take advantage and get a hug. He looked confused so she scooted over and patted the space she’d made next to her on the bed.

He froze in shock wondering if she really meant what he thought she did. “Don’t argue with the patient or she might have a relapse” joked Cordelia, slightly embarrassed that he hadn’t taken her up on the offer, but determined that he would.

He didn’t refuse just got up and with uncharacteristic awkwardness stretched himself out beside her with his face next to hers on the pillow. He watched her expressions carefully for signs of what she wanted from him, stiff and unsure of what the boundaries where.

Cordelia gave an impatient sigh for his denseness and then showed him what she wanted by grabbing his collar and pulling him closer still. He took a risk and draped an arm over her middle and curled in closer. When she didn’t object or push him away again he began to relax and let her soft warmth seep into his bones.

Cordelia thought about it, she really did and the words even pushed at her lips desperate to spill out. “Now kiss me” but at the very last moment she pushed them back. Thinking wryly that she wasn’t exactly in any shape to storm off if he refused her. Sighing in disappointment she tucked her face under his chin and settled in against his muscular body, trying to be content with ‘so close yet so far’. Soon enough she fell asleep again, still in shock and exhausted from her ordeal.

Angel found sleep impossible; he felt charged with an energy that hummed underneath every inch of his skin. Her breath washed over his neck and he could feel her naked breasts under the hospital gown push against his chest. She’d burrowed one hand underneath his shirt to curve it around his left ribcage, branding him with her heat.

His own hand was pressed to the small of her back and stroked her naked skin where the tie wrapped gown parted. Oh God, her skin felt like the softest velvet and it took every vestige of control and a good dose of guilt at his pleasure not to explore further and find out if it felt that way all over her body.

Being this close to her was torturous in ways even he’d never imagined. He tried to ignore it by refusing to let the words form in his head, but the demon that was every bit as a much a part of him as the soul wouldn’t let him. He could smell Daniel on her and it was driving him crazy.

Goddammit all to hell, he twitched when his body automatically wanted to crush her to him, knowing it would wake her. It was very faint but the odour was clearly coming from the bite on her neck and his face ached with the struggle to repress his tingling fangs. I should get up and leave. I’m as much of a danger to her right now as he was.

He hated himself for thinking that and so stubbornly stayed where he was, forcing his demon down and willingly suffering it’s crazed jealous twisting in his mind. One thought sustained him and he concentrated on it fiercely. He was going to destroy Daniel. The vampire would never trespass again on what was his and since he already had; well he was going to suffer first before he turned to dust.

He’s going to pay, Angel swore to the howling demon inside him. She’s only going to be safe when he’s gone. He tried to ignore the voice that told him she’d never be safe. Vampires hunted humans and even if he killed Daniel there would be more to take his place. Vampires only respected other vampires who where stronger, more brutal or destructive than they themselves were.

He should know, he’d spent the major part of his un-life climbing that particular ladder and reached the top in record time too. He smiled derisively at his own arrogance and mentally shaking himself free of the past, concentrated on the present.

The hospital bustled about its business never knowing that a monster lay curled around the woman he considered his. All the while plotting the violent destruction of a being that he’d once competed with in every sadistic arena they could devise between them.

Wesley and Fred arrived at dawn and while Fred kept the nurse occupied, Wesley snuck into the room. Fred followed not shortly afterwards having convinced the nurse she’d be less trouble if she gave way and let the ditzy dark haired girl visit her friend.
Angel was back in the chair, with Cordelia was still sound asleep on the bed. The sheets tucked up around her shoulders to keep her warm and covered. Dark brown eyes met blue and a message passed between the two of them when Wesley entered the room.

“How is she”? Asked Wesley in a quiet voice as his eyes perused the pale face of the woman on the bed.

“Recovering” replied Angel shortly and standing up he pulled his duster from the back of the chair. “Is Gunn checking out his contacts”?

Wesley had debated arguing with Angel on this plan of his. He was after all the head of the agency now. What made up his mind not to was the certainty that he would fail to change the vampires course, and he wasn’t willing to push him that far.

He was uncomfortably aware that he was boss simply because Angel let him be. If he pushed him on this that status quo could well be lost. Vampires were notoriously hierarchical and Angelus had been reputed to be the worst of the lot. Beaten only by the Master in the absolute need to dominate and control every aspect of their own lives and everyone else around them.

“Yes he is” he relied keeping it simple. “He’s going to keep us both informed of any progress. You do have your cell phone with you”? Angel nodded and checked his pocket to be sure.

“When they release her take her back to the hotel and keep her there” he stared at Wesley with a stark warning clearly written on his forbidding face. “Under no circumstances do you take her home”.

“I’m aware of the dangers this vampire poses, Angel and I’m not a fool” snapped Wesley. Irritation that the vampire had thought he could be so easily swayed by the feisty brunette making his tone sharp. “I’m sure Cordelia will be happy to stay at the hotel when she’s made aware of the risks too”.

Angel wasn’t willing to take any chances; with Cordelia you could never be sure which way she would go, just on the principle of not letting her life be disrupted by her occupation anymore than it already was. He looked at Fred who was standing silently watching the by-play and casting glances at the woman causing the friction. “Don’t let her out of your sight” he told her bluntly.

CARITAS

The newly refurbished, post gang-bang incursion night-club was doing a booming business once again. Angel stepped through the archway at the bottom of stairs and scanned all of the bodies that crowded around tables and stood two deep at the bar.

As always there was the tiniest pause in conversation when the more demonic patrons realised he’d arrived, before returning to full volume once his gaze passed them by without stopping. Always aware of the nuances, the Host or Lorne as they now called him, stepped away from the table he’d been socialising at and sauntered over.

He was one of the few demons on LA that had no qualms about tweaking this vampire’s pride, ego or temper. It was entertaining at the very least and anyway someone had to do it and Cordelia, as good as she was at it; didn’t count as she already had him wrapped around her pinkie, even if she didn’t know it yet.

“Well well if it isn’t the prince of darkness come to grace us with his cheery presence”. He looked around while he said it, winking at one or two of the more concerned faces in an effort to return the ambience back to its previous relaxed state.

“Way to ruin the mood you big chump. Next time ring ahead and I’ll arrange for the jaws theme tune to be put on” he scolded with a scowl at the darkly aloof vampire. He smiled broadly for their avid audience and grabbing a black clad arm steered them over to a rapidly emptying table.

Smiling his thanks and saluting with his free hand he sat down and waited for Angel to do the same. “What’s up now”? He asked exasperated, determined to get rid of the dark thundercloud in leather as fast as possible.

“I need to find a vamp called Daniel. He’s old and dangerous”.

“Aren’t they all bad boy, so does this vamp know you personally”? Angel nodded. “Hmm so that means very old and very dangerous then”.

Angel frowned in confusion then scowled when he realised Lorne was referring to Angelus as a comparison. He shook his head to dismiss that topic, refraining from the standard denial of not being ‘that’ old and leaned on the table to make sure he wasn’t overheard. “I’ll sing if I have too”.

Lorne snickered at the obvious reluctance on Angel’s handsome face and was delighted to able to tell him it wasn’t necessary. “Thanks for the offer but no”.

“Your buddy was here earlier and just between you and me it wasn’t for the quality of the blood. He wants you to find him every bit as much as you do”.

Angel leaned back in his chair looking thoughtful but not surprised, “Figures” he muttered and remembering the kind of mind games they used to get up to silently groaned. “Did he happen to mention where he was staying”?

“No but he left something on the bar. I only kept it because of the look he gave me when he turned to go. Gave me the willies and then some”. Lorne got up and went over the bar.

He was back within seconds and dropped a matchbook on the table in front of Angel. It was from another club; the logo clearly emblazoned across the front. Inside the cover in a bold hand was an invitation to meet that night at 9pm.

Angel rang to check on Cordelia on route back to the hotel. Wesley had arranged for Cordelia to be released later in the day, possibly in the evening and so didn’t expect to be back at the hotel until much later. Satisfied with that he rang off and phoned Gunn to pull him off the search.

He still had most of the day to kill but the timing should mean that thankfully he would be on his way to the meet before Cordelia got back to the hotel. He didn’t need to see her to know she would have something to say about him going off to fight this vampire alone and he simply wasn’t in the mood to try and explain why it had to be this way.

Daniel was a part of his past and his biting of Cordelia was Angel’s fault. So Daniel was his problem and he would deal with him- alone. That was plenty enough reason for him but there was also the fact that he had some preparation to do before the final confrontation with him. The other vampire was sadistic, ruthless and smart and if he was going to get some payback, Angel had to be in the right frame of mind; or the wrong one, depending on your outlook.
HOSPITAL

The bandage was square and white and covered half of her neck. Grimacing Cordelia ignored it as she got dressed in the clothes that Fred had brought from home for her. The soft stretchy lycra pants, vest, jacket and trainers were comfortable and although Fred didn’t know it, perfectly suitable for what she had in mind.

She stayed in front of the mirror on the back of the bathroom door and fiddled with her hair. She felt bad for the trouble she was going to cause Fred, but dammit she wasn’t willing to stand by and twiddle her thumbs while Angel went on a kamikaze mission of revenge.

Wesley came into the room and after a single furtive glance at her face, looked away to avoid her too direct gaze.

“Are you more comfortable now? I’ve spoken to the doctor and you should be able to be released in a few hours”? He told in a placatory voice. He was going to murder Angel for insisting on this.

Mind you, that wasn’t if Angel murdered him first. He was uncomfortably aware that she was upset over the news that Angel intended to go off alone and that he wasn’t going to try and stop him. Information she’d prised out of him over the course of the day. How the hells he did he had yet to figure out.

“Wesley I was ready to go hours ago in fact make that this morning which is more than a few hours”. She didn’t try to hide her major annoyance, not that it would surprise either of her ‘babysitters’. She’d been getting angrier and angrier as the day had gone on with her being stuck in here and they had both borne the brunt of it.

She didn’t know for sure but she could guess that her longer stay was due to more than the Doctors making sure she was healthy enough to leave. Wesley and Fred shared a look behind her back, which only confirmed her suspicions. Her hazel eyes narrowed in anger and all doubts or guilty feelings flew out of her head. They so deserved this.

As for Angel, she thought with a spurt of anticipation, well she’d deal with him when she found him. Won’t that just piss him right off. A smile spread over her face which she quickly hid when Fred gave her a strange look.
HYPERION HOTEL

Sweat and blood mixed freely on his arms and was spattered over his white vest. Chunks of the cinderblock wall of the basement were missing and crumbled in a mess along the edge of the floor underneath were they been punched out.

His knuckles were raw and the pain from his hands rocketed up his arms with each repetition. Pain was good, it liked pain. He whirled from the wall and back to the punching bag, kicking it so hard that despite being chained up it swung crazily and nearly came loose, chips of plaster fell from the ceiling as it bounced back to place, only to meet another powerful kick.

Before another half hour was over, he was ready. Dark brown eyes were ringed with topaz and flashed gold as his emotions seesawed between an equally savage enjoyment and ruthless determination. Softness was beaten down, mercy had fled and compassion was a speck on the horizon.

All became still and he froze in incredulous rage. His head whipped up and a snarl escaped taut angry white lips. Her heartbeat echoed in his ears and her scent teased his nostrils. She was here. He was going to kill Wesley, rip his throat out and gorge on the remains and all while she watched.

It was Wesley’s luck that he was still en-route because it took a few seconds for the soul to reassert itself and tamp back down the violent surge of bloodlust. “What the hell are you doing here”?

Anyone else might have seriously considered running back out the door and far away at having that growled voice directed at them, if not that then the being glared at by a seriously pissed off vampire in full vamp face was sure to do the trick.

Cordelia was shocked sure, but not by that. She’d been watching him for about a quarter of an hour now and she was seriously creeped out. Even knowing him and loving him like she did, she considered just turning around and leaving until the lunatic calmed down and some sign of sanity returned.

Instead she stood her ground in fact she walked slowly down the stairs but couldn’t stop herself from crossing her arms over her chest in an unconscious attempt at defensiveness. Several phrases passed through her mind, all of them so inflammatory that even as angry as she was; she had more sense than to toss them at his head right now.

“I don’t like hospitals” she said simply, eyeing him carefully.

He said nothing, just watched her with feral eyes gleaming. She kept her breathing even and each step was deliberately smooth so as not to make a sudden move. She didn’t know how but she could tell he was primed for something, her instincts screamed for caution.

“I especially don’t like being kept in a hospital to keep me out of the way” he still said nothing to either explain or refute her mildly voiced accusation. “I want to know what you think your doing”.

“I know what I’m doing you don’t need to know” he snapped back, only his lips moved, every muscle in his body was frozen in place, utterly still like the predator he really was. It was a part of him that was always there but usually camouflaged with more acceptable, human attributes.

She gaped at him and her expression went from forcibly serene to outraged in a microsecond. screw caution, she wasn’t taking this crap from him. “You are so outside the realms of sanity do you know that. I don’t need to know- is that right? Gimme a frickin’ break here”. She was almost yelling by the end and she’d closed the distance between them and now stood toe to toe with him.

“And another thing, Asshole. How come Wesley is acting like your lapdog again; cos Hello, he’s still the boss around here- not you and for obvious reasons”. Her wide spread wildly swinging arms indicated the mess of the walls and then state of him.

Her rage only ignited his even more and it took a frightening degree of control not to snatch her up and shake her, scare her. Make her heart beat like a wild bird and let him drown in the intoxicating smell of female fear. “Get out of here, Cordelia” he snarled in warning.

“I-am-not mute secretary girl anymore and never will be again, so deal with it” she snapped back not flinching from him in the slightest.

His head lowered slowly to hers, inches were all that separated his face from hers. She took a deep breath, slowly filling her lungs. She closed the distance until her lips brushed his cheek. “Are you actually trying to make me afraid of you, Angel”? Neither of them moved, locked in an almost touching embrace with invisible bonds.

Those whispered words were enough to finally let the soul take over completely again and his features melted back into human. “Dammit, Cordelia I wanted you to stay away from this”. The words were pulled from deep inside, anguished and yet resigned at the same time.

“Away from what”? She asked exasperated with him and this bullshit. “You think this is the answer a temporary return to psycho vamp”?

He didn’t answer immediately his eyes were locked on the bandage covered the bite mark on her neck. He growled and laughed at the same time, he might have known that the demon would find something to bring itself back to the fore. “I don’t need an answer to anything Cordelia. You wanna know why, cos I don’t have any questions. I know what needs to be done”.

He reached up with one large hand and cupped the back of neck in a strong grip. She gasped when he tore the bandage off to reveal the puncture marks marring her smooth neck. She felt the vibration of his chest before the throaty growls erupted from his mouth and pulled away from him sharply. He let her go but his eyes stayed on the marks.

“What are you saying that you’re entitled to revenge but I’m not? Not going to happen I want to kill him” she said it with her head held high and a determined gleam in her hazel eyes. “You’re not going after him alone. You need back-up”.

She was only half serious she didn’t particularly want to hunt down this dumb vampire she’d had enough of that company last night. But if he agreed then it was only a small step to getting Wes and Gunn to tag along and then she’d be happy.

“I need you to get your ass back upstairs and leave me the hell alone” he spat out with all the venom he could muster. Fuck, what was it going to take to get her to just leave him be to get the job done.

This is so not like him, she knew she was staring but Geeze this was like some nightmare trip back in time. Did he really believe that he could just step back into master vamp mode and she’d just meekly obey like some kind of mindless robot.

He smiled mirthlessly at the look of dawning hurt on her face. She shouldn’t have come here and he was still going to rip Wesley’s head off. Later on when this was over he was going to hate himself but right then he didn’t really feel it, just knew it was coming. That was the whole point of this sick exercise.

“You wanna know the biggest difference between me and Daniel, Cor? Well I’ll tell you” he said coldly when she didn’t answer, and still with the humourless smirk he stalked her when she backed away with a look of uncertainty flickering over her too expressive face.

“Daniel hates women. Me- I love em” her eyes met his and widened when she saw the flicker of topaz within the smooth darkness she usually loved to gaze into. “Vampires don’t just retain the characters of their human hosts but the sexual preferences too. I always went for women for the fun stuff, but Daniel… no he preferred men”.

“He’d kill women too, just not be so nice about if you know what I mean and that’s the vamp you want to go after. I don’t think so”.

She was silently appalled and he knew it, sometime later he’d be sorry for that just NOT now. “Heard enough or do you want to know more”? Angel taunted softly, his face like granite.

She turned and walked back up the stairs with her back ramrod straight. He watched her leave and then turned back to finish the preparations. He no longer needed to get psyched up; she’d finished that for him.
Part 3
NIGHTCLUB

Angel entered the nightclub and waited to pay his way in. The bored teller busy popping gum hardly spared him a glance, too bored and jaded now to care who was paying the money- so long as they paid. The bouncers gave him a hard glance courtesy of his size and dark clothing. A look meant to intimidate him into not giving them, the girls or the patrons a hard time.

He gave them a smiling nod in return that clearly said quid pro qou. You leave me alone- I’ll leave you alone. Brushing past them without waiting to see how they took it. He walked down the metallic stairs down to the polished wooden floor.

It was busy despite being fairly early in the evening but then places like this always seemed busy. Round caged platforms were carefully placed in a triangle surrounded by chairs and tables for the gawking patrons to watch the antics of the girls as they performed to the loud beat with a heated raunchiness designed to inflame male lust.

“Can I get your drink, Sir”? The waitress was wearing nothing more than a tiny corset and stockings and staying a good three-foot away from him, likely policy for the club. He shook his head and after giving him a once over and a raised brow went on her way.

The strobe lights were a nuisance but once he learned the pattern he was able to check out the club without getting constantly irritated by the bright intrusive flashing. Nothing, no sign of Daniel, frowning he checked again but fared no better.

He spotted some stairs leading up to another level and a quick glance up conformed there was much less action going on up there. Anticipation made his spine tingle as he headed up them, moving swifter than the human eye could see. He’d been right he thought when he got to the top and lay eyes on the other vampire; dark satisfaction filled him, swiftly followed by an aggression that rocked him to the depths of his soul and beyond.

“Put the boy down, Daniel,” he instructed in soft quiet tone; a total contrast to the tight anger on his face. It was much darker up here. A place for illicit dealings later on no doubt, and all carried out under cover of relative darkness- a haven for a vampire.

Daniel looked up with his vampire face in full view, blood and strips of gore dripped from his fangs and open mouth. Almost hungrily his yellow eyes latched onto Angel’s face. Transfixed by the sight of his once time comrade. Aaah, Angelus as beautiful as ever and yet so much colder too.

Angelus had known how much he’d intrigued Daniel and openly laughed at his adoring gaze all the while taunting him with his male beauty. Always keeping him at arms length, and constantly throwing his disgusting liaisons with females in his face. Of course back then he’d been just as delighted when Daniel had killed the female afterwards – if Angelus hadn’t already done so.

“Don’t be so touchy, my friend- he’s already dead” he dropped the lifeless form to the floor by his polished and tasselled shoes. “There’s plenty more where that came from” he waved a negligent hand at the young life snuffed out so early, simply because the unfortunate had caught the eye of a vampire.

“Not for you and not for me” replied Angel still in a dangerously quiet voice as he approached.

His face flirted with the shadows that played lovingly over his sculpted face with each step forward. He stopped about five foot away and then sat down slowly and crossing his booted feet leaned negligently back, stretching his long powerful frame within the confines of the padded seat.

“As if you could stop me” scoffed the other vampire equally as carefully, eyes gleaming with anticipation, unable to help appreciating the view so temptingly offered.

Angel’s skin crawled as that assessing look passed up and down his length but kept the revulsion off his face. “So what – you wanna throw down in here”? He asked as if he truly didn’t care. This was just a part of the game. A chess match between them as they battled for dominance, constantly reforming strategies in a fluid motion of discreet underhand warfare.

“Angelus- really such coarse language, tut tut” Daniel melted his features back to the human guise of his dead host. Harsh heavy features, hooked nose and dark eyes under bushy brows. His full thick lips were still covered in blood giving them an artificial look of bring flushed.

Not much improvement really, thought Angel with a smirk. Daniel noticed the smile and the resulting raised brow and felt a bubble of frustrated rage form deep inside. So typical of the vampire he’d known and loved every bit as much as he’d envied and hated him.

“Tick tock Dee, gotta make your mind up or I’m outta here”. Angel informed him with mock sorrow, sliding further down in the chair he checked his watch as if to suggest that he had better things to do with his time than wait on old ‘friends’. “Things to do, people to see, women to fuck”. He pursed his lips to hide another smile when he heard the hiss of rage that Daniel couldn’t suppress. Some things never change.

“Do-Not-Tease me Angelus; remember what happened the last time that happened and considering your new ‘soul’ I would think that would be a problem for you”. Black eyes watched with beady interest for a reaction to his knowledge of that not so secret information.

Angel just returned his stare with a blank one of his own, not dropping his gaze just maintaining a look of mild interest. Inside the demon howled and writhed. Allowing it closer to the surface was necessary but meant that his control over its more violent impulses was strained. So be it, he decided and let the darkness flood him.

“What happened to you my friend” asked Daniel sadly. The deep rich and slightly foreign timbre of his voice would have been hypnotic to anyone who didn’t know him better.

“Follow me and find out,” said Angel flatly, and then getting back to his feet, he walked towards the stairs without a backward glance.

ABANDONED CHURCH

The cold grey stone of the church was as welcoming as a hellmouth, meaning – not at all. “How typical of you to pick a place such as this, Angelus” Daniel smiled ruefully and shook his head behind an admonishingly waggling finger.

“I’d be insulted if it wasn’t for the obvious thought you must have put into it, which is really quite flattering- don’t you think”?

“You don’t wanna know what I think, Daniel so lets cut the crap”. Angel walked over to a large metal trashcan and casually lighting a match- flicked it inside. A mini inferno was set off as the flammables crammed inside were instantly set alight. He tossed the matches to Daniel who did likewise with another can set beside the alter steps.

Tongues of flame flickered on the ceiling and walls of the church and black smoke billowed for a while but affected neither and gradually cleared away, settling down to a sullen drift of acrid smoke.

“On the contrary, Angelus, let’s hear what you think. Call me interested” said the other vampire coldly walking down the crumbled aisle; his shoes ringing on the old stone. His gaze swept over the empty cavernous building, taking in the broken glass arched windows and empty alter space.

His voice echoed around the peaked ceiling with its dirty frescoes of Angels and devils. “Why did you not meet me as we agreed in Venice? I was…disappointed”. He turned to face Angel still standing beside the marble font by the door.

“I didn’t meet you because I got a better offer. In fact let’s be honest. Do you wanna know why I kept you around, Daniel? Well I’ll tell you – you were so bored and jaded and pathetically lonely; and yet you thought you were such hot shit”. Angel shook his head and sauntered forward to meet Daniel in the middle of the dusty wreck of the floor.

“It was too funny before it got boring as fuck. Ya know- I was so bored I couldn’t even be bothered dusting you”. Angel sneered the last as his eyes flicked up and down the other vampire with dismissive contempt clearly written on his hard handsome face.

They stood within touching distance of one another. Both of them tall and heavily muscled. Daniel dressed in all grey gentlemanly elegance while Angel wore scuffed boots, old black jeans that moulded to his thighs, teamed with a plain black shirt and topped with his black leather duster. To an observer Daniel would seem by far the less dangerous. Appearances would be deceiving.

Daniels hands were clenched so tightly the knuckles were white- but his face remained impassive even as the rage bubbled harder and hotter, making his vision go red with the potent fire. His eyes locked on the face of Angelus, taking in the sideways smirk and knowing raised brows. Black eyes searched dark brown for some sign of playful teasing and found only scorn.

“You would have died before me, Angelus. You always underestimated what I was capable of” he snarled. His swarthy face twisting as the words pushed out through gritted teeth; slammed opened the door he’d locked over his roiling emotions.

“Underestimate you- you’re kidding right? I mean I was sick but…” Angel started to walk off to the side; circling Daniel who kept him in his line of sight, both predators keeping their gazes locked on target. Angel pursed his lips and continued, “You were so much sicker – in fact you were out there” he flicked a hand towards the stars through the high windows.

“You flatter me now” Daniel allowed a wide appreciative smile to crack his face, showing large flat teeth. “Since we’re being so honest- do you know why I craved your company Angelus? Because I couldn’t beat you; even at my own games, so no throwing stones now”.

“Mind you, as much as I adored you. I always hated the fact that no matter how many vampires I fought and destroyed you were always the one they feared more”.

It was true and something Angelus had already known. Other vampires shunned Daniel and almost always had. He was sick and evil but – and this was the crunch; he hunted and killed his own kind every bit as much as he’d done with humans; just for the pleasure of being the big bad dominant one. Angelus had dusted other vamps because they’d annoyed him which as an older vampire was much more acceptable. Plus – well he’d been a creatively evil vampire.

“It’s the name, Daniel – kinda pussyish and momma’s boy dontcha think”? Twin lines appeared in a thoughtful frown on Angel’s face as if he were truly considering the problem. Angel tilted his head to one side with one eye narrowed, waiting patiently for a response.

“And Angel – what is that”? Daniel rose to the bait as he always had. Angelus had always been able to do that to him and yet he couldn’t prevent the inevitable rise of anger.

“Ever heard the song about a man named Sue”? Angel shot back without missing a beat. God, he’d been dying to use that ever since he’d first heard it. He grinned helplessly and then gave in to the urge to give a shout of laughter.

“Such mirth while the woman you care for…” Daniel gave a moue of distaste “Lies in her hospital bed. Come now Angelus, don’t you want to know why I felt the need to sate my hunger on her”

“Let me take a guess. You didn’t bite her cos you were hungry; but to get my attention. Are you lonely Daniel, is that what this is”? Angel kept his voice light by using every ounce of willpower not to let the image of Cordelia lying deathly still in hospital while a team of LA’s finest worked to save her life – disturb the smooth expression of indifference on his face.

“What would you know about loneliness”? Asked Daniel in a hard edgy voice; the emotions thickening his accent and roughing the smooth cultured tones he liked to cultivate. He stalked away needing some space to haul back on the reins of his rage. This was the game and he always played to win.

“I know a sick bastard like you deserves to be lonely and die that way too” said Angel in a low, intent and dangerous tone. Anticipation tightened the muscles of both face and body when he saw Daniel stiffen in understanding.

“So it comes to this. It’s such a sad day when I must destroy an old comrade-in-arms”. Daniel turned back and found Angel had taken some time to back up too. They faced one another with smoke and flickering orange flames dancing directly behind their still figures.

“Don’t count your chickens,” advised Angel and then bending his waist and knees flew towards the other vampire in a burst of horrific speed, equally matched by Daniel. Their pounding footsteps beat a rapid tattoo, drowned out by twin roars from drawn back, snarling lips.

They met in the middle with a slam of their chests and then started to grapple viciously. Twisting and turning in circles they pushed and heaved at one another, neither one giving way in this first test of strength and endurance. Finally they broke apart and circled again, searching for weakness with all of their supernatural senses.

They came together again in a flurry of punches, some blocked, some not. Each vampire recovering instantly from a blow that landed would block another and then let fly with one of their own. Left and right, fists flew, smacking away and following through with inhuman speed.

They moved up and down the aisle while hardly straying of the narrow strip, neither gained ground as the fight was too even. Angel reared back from one of Daniels punches with his back straight and perfectly balanced on his feet, only curving his back at the last moment so that Daniel would think the punch would land and when it didn’t overbalance, exposing himself.

Daniel stumbled with no hard face to break the swing. In a smooth move, Angel dropped down in a crouch and then brought his hand slamming up into Daniels midriff, driving him off his feet with the force of the blow. Then while the other vampire was still recovering he lashed out with a foot and knocked one of Daniels out from under him, sending him crashing to the floor- face down.

Stepping back once Angel slammed his booted foot on the neck of Daniel; smashing him harder into the hard gritty floor of the broken tiles. Tendons and ligaments screaming in agony Daniel sprung up and before he could be knocked down again rammed a fist into Angel’s groin, doubling him over instantly.

Pain exploded in Angel’s balls- so harsh that red flashing lights blazed across his eyelids. He panted and then groaned as the agony continued with fresh surging waves tearing at his insides. Falling to his knees he didn’t even notice Daniel’s grinning face loom closer until it was followed by fresh pain from the savage head butt to the nose.

Daniel roughly dragged Angel up to his feet by the upper arms and then grasping him round the neck lifted him of the ground at least a foot from the floor. Daniel leered into Angel’s face and leaned forward to sniff delicately at the blood oozing from numerous cuts.

The choking hold wouldn’t kill him but it was damned uncomfortable and pissed Angel off – big time. Recovering enough to feel the anger Angel raised his hands and pushing them between Daniels thrust them away and broke the crushing hold.

Taking advantage of Angel still reeling from the previous blows; Daniel wound back his fist and punched Angel in the face, snapping the head back and to the side. Then followed through with a flurry of punches all aimed at ‘that’ face. Daniel could almost taste victory now and his nostrils flared at the smell of blood coming from Angel while his eyes bugged out of his skull with gleaming satisfaction as each blow landed.

Dazed and bleeding Angel let the punches come. Feeling the pain feed the demon with intermingled pleasure and rage. He’d refused to vamp out not wanting to dilute its lust for freedom but now… it was time. He came up from the last punch in full vamp face and caught Daniels fist in his palm, twisting and crushing with powerful fingers now careless of any pain.

Seeing it Daniel changed too, and the fight lost all semblance of humanity as they squared off again with renewed vigour. Daniel punched again but this time Angel simply smacked it away and lashed out with one of his own. Then taking a step back and pulling back his shoulders Angel jumped up and jack-knifed a knee straight into Daniels face.

Landing back on his feet with precision timing he followed up with an elbow to the same spot and watched as the blood flowed freely over the fierce visage of his one time running buddy. Daniel staggered back and using the back of his hand staunched the flow of blood from his nose and mouth.

Both of them were bleeding from almost every spot on their faces, split lips, noses and deep splits in the skin all sullenly oozed blood making them look even more monstrous in the hellish flickering light of the ruined church.

Enraged by the change of fortune, Daniel came at Angel. His snarling face a picture of savagery with the skin pulled up over flaring nostrils, lips drawn back to expose his fangs under blazing yellow eyes under heavy brows. Angel met his charge and wrapped an arm around his neck in a choking headlock before dragging him forward and pushing down – kneed him in the face three times in rapid succession.

Releasing the now struggling vampire Angel flattened him to the floor with an elbow to the middle of his back. Spitting more blood onto the floor, Daniel could hardly believe it when Angel started to walk away as if he’d become bored with their fight. Forgetting caution he rose up to follow. Angel whipped back round and raising a leg- snap kicked him in the abdomen; lifting him of his feet and sending him crashing back to the floor several feet away.

Daniel was coughing up gore when Angel approached, his arms held protectively over his middle as he watched his would be destroyer amble nearer. “Finish this, Angelus” he got out between coughs.

“Are you so anxious to die”?

Daniel struggled upright and Angel let him get to his feet, his own topaz eyes gleaming with pleasure at the sight of the pain filled face weaving unsteadily in front of him. Daniel staggered towards his nemesis with one hand outstretched as if to stop himself from falling. Angel looked at him from a slightly sideways position and he mentally counted the amount of times he’d let himself get duped by that one- uh huh that would be none.

Once near enough Daniel whirled in a circle that made his grey coat swirl around him, revealing the luxurious silver lining over the arcing leg and foot aimed at Angel’s head. When it missed Daniel simply fell on top of Angel and grabbing his face with outstretched fingers dug onto his cheeks and eyes with cruel relish.

Disgusted and skin crawling at the too close contact Angel heaved him off and they both rolled to their feet again. This time Daniels kick landed square on Angel’s chest, sending him crashing into a column high above the floor. The sandstone behind his back crumbled under the pressure and sprayed the floor around him as he landed on his feet with one palm on the floor before finally falling to one knee.

Daniel ran full pelt to finish off what he’d started. Just as he got close, Angel dived to the floor and twisted on his back to bring his feet towards the oncoming vampire. Slamming them into his gut and driving him away again. Stopping himself with only a small skid, Daniel rushed him again but this time Angel got to his feet and using the column, climbed it with one foot to swing round and bring his other back around in another vicious kick to the face.

Stunned Daniel fell back and hit the floor hard enough to raise clouds of dust. Angel dived after him but hit nothing but dirty floor as the other vampire scrabbled backwards on hands on knees to gain some recovery time. He didn’t get far; Angel caught him up by his coat and threw him face down onto the alter steps.

While Daniel was still groaning from the impact, Angel pounced and placing a knee on his back to keep him down; grasped the shoulders underneath him. Then lifting himself off and using all of his considerable power, he raised Daniel up in the air only to slam him down again- harder this time.

Stepping back Angel looked up at the rafters above and then bending his knees launched himself into the air to latch onto one of them. Swinging over twenty feet in the air he used his free hand to punch at the other end. The rotten timber gave way with only a single punch as cracking sharply it splintered under his weight. Still holding onto it, he fell back to the floor to land on his feet with catlike grace.

Daniel was now half sitting on the steps and looking at the twirling wooden bar in Angels deft hands. “Would you really kill me, Angelus? When I can offer you so much”.

“You put your mark on my girl- which is bad enough. But then you threaten me with hurting her? I can’t think of anyone who deserves this more”. Angel raised the stake high in both hands and keeping his eyes trained on his old friend’s tearful and bloody face, drove it home and then watched him disintegrate.

THE NEXT AFTERNOON

“What the hell happened to you”? Asked Wesley incredulously, coming around the counter to stand with hands on hips and glare at the vampire walking with care down the stairs and down into the lobby.

“I told you last night on the phone” replied Angel wearily, wincing when he had to take the last step onto the tiled floor. Typical, this is so much worse than last night. He darted a quick look at Wesley’s face and then grimaced realising it obviously looked as bad as it felt.

Surreptitiously he looked around for Cordelia and didn’t know whether to be relieved or not that she wasn’t around to see the results of his ‘temporary psycho vamp’ gig. He reluctantly yanked his gaze back to Wesley when the man stepped in front of him, annoyed at being brushed off.

“Yes – but for god sake, Angel, you never said anything about being run over by a truck”.

“It was rough but it’s done so let’s just forget it Okay? Where’s Cordy”? What had started out as brusque ended on a hesitant note and the question seemed to hang in the air.

He hadn’t meant to ask just yet but it’d just popped out. Maybe he should try for the sympathy vote to cool her temper but somehow he doubted it work on her. She’d likely tell him it was his own entire fault and to stop acting like the walking wounded. That and a bunch of other stuff after the way he’d spoken to her in the basement.

Like always, the moment the big bad was defeated his thoughts turned back to her, only this time he had some serious apologising to do – if she’d let him that is. Every time he’d tried to close his eyes and let sleep claim him her face would come back to haunt him. At least the expression on her face did- just before she’d turned and walked away from him. Hurt had chased anger before finally all emotion was shut down, leaving a blank beautiful mask in place of her usual liveliness.

He came back to awareness when Wesley cleared his throat and looked away towards where the brunette usually sat. “Erm Cordelia has taken a sabbatical”. Said Wesley awkwardly then straightening his shoulders and after darting a searching look at a dumbstruck Angel, walked away to his office. Angel caught him after only a few steps. Halted by the hand on his arm, Wesley sighed and turned around.

Why me? Cordelia, you are going to owe me such a huge favour. He should never have agreed to this – but at the time he’d seen no other way to bring peace back to the workplace, plus she’d pulled the guilt card on him.

“What the hell do you mean- a sabbatical”? Angel growled, all injuries forgotten as panic overrode every sense. He waited tensely for Wesley to elaborate and wasn’t letting up until he had the answers he wanted.

“A sabbatical means a leave of absence” Wesley replied, choosing his words with care. Seeing the look on the vampires face made him feel some sympathy but still, he’d agreed to go the whole hog- so he would and then he was washing his hands of the whole messy business; let them sort it out between them.

“I’ve agreed to keep the job open until she decides if she wants to come back or not”.

Wesley knew very well that Cordelia hadn’t gone very far and would still be able to contact them about the visions, and as for the job; it was hers for as long as she wanted it – he’d told her so. Not that he understood what was going on since she’d refused to enlighten him with the details, but as always it was something to do with Angel.

Panic gave way to horror as Wesley’s words sank in. Feeling light-headed with disbelief he managed to restrain himself from shaking the Englishman until his teeth rattled inside his dumb head. “You agreed to this”? He asked and now it was his turn to be incredulous.

Wesley stiffened at the slur to his managing abilities and glared at Angel. Vampire or not, he would not be spoken to like that. He’d had a hard enough time keeping the vampire in line before this and there was no way he was letting what progress he’d made be ruined now.

“I had no choice, it was either agree or she’d resign. So what would you have done, Angel”?

Angel didn’t answer but simply grabbed his coat of the rack and headed for the basement exit.

“Where are you going”? Asked Wesley infuriated and not a little concerned by the dangerous glint in his eyes.

Angel didn’t answer that one either.
A WEEK LATER

Lorne sighed happily into his seabreeze while taking a moment to relax, leaning against the bar by the door. Patrons filled his club, happily engrossed in listening to ‘mostly’ good music, indulging in animated conversation and drinking his bar dry. What club-owner wouldn’t be in heaven he thought to himself just before a familiar silence dropped the temperature and atmosphere like a neutron bomb.

“Evening, Angel” he said without turning around.

Merle sitting at the bar at the other end, took the opportunity to slide off his chair and go hide in the john until the exit was clear. “Lorne” was the only greeting he got back so he took a quick peek, and saw his favourite brooding vamp with the ‘killer’ charm toss a frowning look at the even more than usual frozen crowd.

“What’s going on”? Angel finally asked and jerked his head towards the interior. Settling himself next to Lorne with his back to the crowd he waited for an answer.

“You’ve been a busy bee this week aintcha handsome? Lots of customers roughed up, even killed and all cos you’re in a stinking rotten and utterly crappy mood again. If you’re not careful we’re gonna think there’s some wolfy juice in your blood, and it’s the full moon making you crazy every twenty eight days- either that or…” Lorne decided to quit while he was ahead and signalled for the barman to serve Angel a drink.

The barman leaned over to hear the ‘order’, which resulted in an alarmed look at the vampire and a quick nervous nod at the green demon who employed him. Angel missed the byplay- too busy trying to figure out why his entire body was tingling.

He recognised the sensation; it was the one he got when he’d gotten close to someone he’d been stalking. An early warning if you, like to tell him he was ‘hot’. His dark eyes narrowed with sudden suspicion on Lorne who was busy inspecting his fingernails.

“I’ve been here twice, spoken to everyone I can find, and they all tell me they don’t know where she is – including you. Tell me you didn’t lie to me, Lorne” He leaned in closer to whisper the last in a voice that throbbed with repressed violence.

Lorne wished he could. Angel’s earlier visits had all been preceded by warning calls off Wes, or Gunn – but not this time. He only hoped that Roger got to Cordelia in time and warned her to stay out of the way. Mind you by the look on Angel’s face it may already be too late. Damn vampire senses, he thought unreasonably.

“Hi I’m Cordy, what can I get you folks to drink”? Her voice already musical was loud over the crushing silence that still held the room in thrall.

Lorne prided himself on being mostly immune to Angel’s brand of intimidation, but even he couldn’t stop a gulp of fear. Angel stiffened but kept his narrowed eyes on the green demon. A low rumbling growl worked its way up from his chest; before it could fully erupt Lorne slammed his drink down and grabbed Angel’s arm – it was taut as rock and twitched restlessly under his palm.

“Now don’t go off half-cocked Angel-face. Remember the sanctuary spell”. Angel shook of his restraining hand.

“No-one keeps me from her, Lorne. Not you and not her”.

At first all he’d wanted was to find her, make things right and persuade her to come back to work. He’d been so sure she wouldn’t give up her apartment but wherever she was living it wasn’t there anymore, and after two days of fruitless searching and interrogating, his intentions had changed. Then he’d sworn that when he found her she’d find out what he thought of her ‘sabbatical’ and forget persuading, abduction would do.

With a last glare he spun on his heel and aimed right for her. Lorne watched him go and found himself transfixed by the sight of Cordelia so unaware of impending danger chatting away with careless abandon to two dumbstruck patrons, whose dearest wish at that moment was that she would go and pour her version of sunshine at someone else’s table.

Suddenly becoming aware of the tension, not to mention the terror of the demons she was trying to be friendly with; she looked up just in time to see Angel, looking like a dark dangerous thundercloud; headed right for her.

Oh CRAP Cordelia’s eyes widened and she froze in place, the little notepad still held in her hand with the pencil poised as if to take an order. Her little black waitressing dress was short and ended just above the knee and while the neckline while decent it was low enough to partially expose the tops of warm creamy breasts. In fact she’d brought such a buzz to the place that Lorne had mentioned hiring more waitresses. Angel didn’t even seem to notice the dress. He was too busy devouring who was wearing it.

One second she was standing beside a table- the next she was leaning against the bar; trapped between the hard wooden barrier and the equally hard body of a dangerously intent vampire with a soul, whose arms caged her on either side. She’d travelled six feet in a microsecond- so fast she’d blinked and arrived.

Before she could recover from the shock of it and hypnotised by the fiery glitter in his usually aloof dark eyes, his hands speared into her hair and cupped the back of her head. She opened her mouth to speak and then found it filled with the heavy slide of his invading tongue.

Cordelia’s head swam, as he possessed her mouth completely again and again. Retreating only to plunge deep again in a surging rhythm that rocked her to her toes. Her hands came up to grip his shoulders and feeling them there he growled low in his throat- a warning not try and push him away. He crushed her closer and ground his body into hers as if trying to imprint himself on her.

He broke the kiss to let her breath and then captured them again, swallowing her moans as greedily as he devoured her mouth. One leg pushed between hers and then the other did likewise; opening her up to settle his bulging erection in the cradle of her thighs in an explicit statement of intent.

She felt his hands grasp her hips to lift her up while he pushed his lower body closer. She moaned helplessly at the pressure of his erection against the soft folds he’d forced into contact with it as she was left literally straddling his groin.

He didn’t release her lips the whole time, and she was dizzy with the resulting tidal wave of sensation and lack of breath. He lifted his head and she sucked in a deep breath, finally able to hear a familiar voice over the roaring of the heated blood in her ears.

“Angel-cakes please; this isn’t the usual kinda show I put on here ya know”. The voice was unusually subdued, despite the hearty edge forcefully injected into it.

“Stay out of this, Lorne” he growled, and his lips where still so close she could feel the vibration of his deep voice against her cheek. His hands flexed on her hips, testing the softness of her body and in mute denial of the interruption.

“She’s coming home with me” she looked up into his stormy face and felt the incredible pull of willpower he was exerting. She swallowed hard and was amazed how difficult it was to force the words out of her mouth.

“No, Angel. I’m not”
Part 4
A FEW DAYS EARLIER

Lorne kept his warmly sympathetic red eyes on the brunette currently trying to pace off her agitation and wearing a hole in the rug on his floor.

“Cordelia-sweetness, if you want to be able to influence Angel then you need to reach his demon. It’s as simple and as complicated as that”. Emphasis on the complicated he thought wryly but kept that between his teeth.

“Who said anything about influence? – Just gimme a stake” she snapped back over one slim shoulder accompanied by a thunderous scowl.

Lorne stayed diplomatically silent, just raised a brow and levelled a knowing look at her face on her return trip. Cordelia saw it and sighed gustily before admitting with great reluctance. “Okay- geeze I’m exaggerating – but my God he is so damned aggravating at times it drives me …nuts- urggh”.

Flopping down on the easy chair opposite the gowned and slippered demon she tossed him a confused look. “So what was that about reaching his demon? Presuming I want to, that is,” she added with only a fraction of her previous bite.

“Well… and this is the thing, you need to get him to reveal it first and I’m not just talking about that deliciously growley face he lets out occasionally”…
WHERE WE LEFT OFF…

“No, Angel. I’m not”. The whole club went heart-poundingly quiet, waiting in tense expectation of something…

The words were hardly out of her mouth before she felt his hands tighten reflexively on her. Then he shifted slightly causing a dart of heat to shot out from her loins at the friction when his swollen sex brushed against her pelvis, hard and strangely hot even through the not so thin material of the black dress.

Cordelia felt a shiver run through her body as the heat of unwilling sexual arousal grew in her belly and between her thighs, incited by the insistently throbbing length being pressed into her. Oh no you don’t- he gets a hard on and you melt around him like some kinda desperate vamp groupie, I don’t think so

Unnerved by the strength of her reaction and frightened by the melting need to give into it she pushed against his chest in a silent demand for release. He didn’t take the hint other than to lean even closer- so close she braced herself to be devoured all over again. Then blushed when he didn’t and realised she’d all but hung her tongue out ready for him.

“Don’t tell me no” he growled low, his lips hovering over hers again. “You are coming home, back where you belong” he waited a beat and then lowered his voice to little more than a threatening undertone “even if I have to carry you there”. Topaz striations mingled with the dark brown, and then expanded to cover the whole iris when the brunette stubbornly shook her head.

“The hotel is your home, not mine” she shot back and then added for good measure, “and you can stick your job up your ass- I have a new one now”. She pulled her head back and raised her chin and their eyes clashed with furious intensity.

She knew it was harsh but the heat of her blush was still tingeing her cheeks and egging her on. Anyway she refused to let him think she was such a pushover that all he had to do was snap his fingers or any other part of his body to have her come running back. No matter how much she might want to. Shut up Cor, homesickness is for wusses. She missed the guys, her apartment and Dennis so much she shocked herself- something else to blame Angel for.

There were a few groans tossed around the room at her answer and the forgotten microphone gave off a constant low hum having been abandoned in mid flow. Over the disquiet, Cordelia could almost hear his teeth grinding under that locked rock-hard jaw. Good she thought and felt a spurt of satisfaction, it was his turn to feel helpless about something and it was about damn time too in her opinion.

Cordelia knew he had feelings for her and in an ‘up’ mood, she believed he loved her. But believing isn’t knowing and she was damn well determined to get him to admit it; especially after that confrontation in the basement when he’d treated her like she was nothing to him. She was going to make sure he never did that ever again; or her name wasn’t Cordelia Chase.

“Let me go” she insisted in a hard voice, pushing against his chest with one firmly planted palm. “Angel, I mean it… don’t make me hate you”. She warned darkly and refused to relent or soften her expression even when the topaz momentarily subsided back to hurt chocolate brown pools of male confusion.

Angel wanted to ignore her threat and even started to lift her up, then stopped and his arms trembled under the strain of the mixed signals coming from his brain. One side demanding he just toss her over his shoulder and take her somewhere private and do whatever he had to do to get her to drop this ridiculous idea; while the other side was terrified of going too far and losing her completely.

The darker, possessive side of his nature won. Lose her? Not gonna happen, narrowed dark eyes blackened with emotion bored intently into hers. “Wrong answer, Sweetheart”.

Cordelia choked on a gasp just as she found herself literally tossed over one wide shoulder. She opened her mouth to scream and turned her head to find Lorne. Only he wasn’t there- no one was. Oh crap- they were already on the stairs leading out from the club. Damn Vampire speed.

Uh huh and what the hell happened to the tables and people in between. Still struggling to adjust, Cordelia blinked and found her face next to a car door- a black one. For chrissake was he on drugs or something?

“Put me down” came Cordelia’s muffled voice from somewhere behind his large frame. Stylish black shoes with killer heels kicked in the hair and led the eyes up long sheer black covered legs. She lifted her head, “dammit, Angel my ass is showing” she growled, filled with outrage and acute embarrassment.

Angel dropped her back down to her feet but kept a tight hold of her waist, then without even looking at her face, shackled her hands with one of his and opening the car door- went to push her into the seat. Cordelia seeing her choices narrowing down to nothing grabbed onto his shirtfront with both hands in a death grip.

“Hey, will you just stop and think for a minute” she sucked in a breath and glared at him.

“I don’t need to think. Just get in the damn car” he growled back and started to herd her inside the car simply by moving in closer.

Meanwhile Cordelia, not realising she was giving away the direction of her thoughts looked down at his groin. “Don’t even think about it Cor, you won’t like what happens if you try it”. He was deadly serious; he was about one baby step away from vamping out as it was.

“Don’t threaten me,” she snapped at him, annoyed at being found out so easily.

“Then don’t push me” he replied warningly still standing far too close for comfort.

They faced off for several more tense seconds while Cordelia’s mind whirled but short of the National Guard she couldn’t see she had any other choice. So with a last fulminating glare she reluctantly sat down and once he’d freed her hands, swung her legs into the car.

Expecting him to go around the car to get in himself; she gaped when he placed one boot on the now closed car door and simply vaulted over her to the drivers side. “Are you crazy”? She yelped sliding down in the seat and ducking her head.

Angel didn’t answer her. If she’d have seen him two days ago she wouldn’t have to ask and that was before he’d found out about her ‘career change’. The demon should have retreated back into its little hole inside him by now. But after the trick she’d pulled, it might as well have taken up a ringside seat the way he felt.

It was riding him hard even now and he knew he had a problem on his hands, mostly to do with getting her to co-operate without setting it off again. As things stood he was too unstable for this but there was no way he was waiting until he was calmer- calmer would only happen when she was back where she belonged and this whole stupid business was behind them.

“Where are you staying”? He asked abruptly turning to face her with one hand on the wheel and the other draped over the car seat; a deceptively relaxed pose to anyone who didn’t know him better.

He waited tensely for her answer. One way or another she was going to tell him where she’d spent the last few days. Not knowing where she was or who with had been driving him insane. If she had a bolthole he didn’t know about- he was damn well going to know about it for the future. If he ever let her out of his sight again that is.

Cordelia looked at him quizzically, trying to make sense of the aloof expression on his handsome face, compared to the wrathful vibes coming off him in simmering waves. He was faking the calm, he had to be; no one and least of all him with his notorious tendency to over-react, got rid of all that pent-up emotion so quickly.

“Why”? She asked him suspiciously then watched in fascination as the knuckles of the hand on the steering wheel turned white. Oh yeah- so much for calm!

“Just answer the damn question, Cordelia,” he rasped out while his whole body stiffened, the already deep timbre of his voice made harsher with struggle to keep it remotely human sounding.

Uh oh, time for some co-operation before he blows a gasket, thought Cordelia and sat up from the slouch she’d gotten into when ducking. Puffing out a breath in vexation she gave him the name of a nearby motel. Angel knew it and immediately started the engine with a roar. They took off so fast that Cordelia had to grab onto the dashboard to steady herself as the car shot away from the kerb.

“What the hell are you doing paying for a motel when you have an apartment already”? He demanded to know, shooting her a dark look full of frustrated rage, an echo from the last few days of fruitless waiting and searching.

Dumb question, “I knew you would find me there” she answered simply and felt him stiffen beside her. She did too and covered the nervous reaction by brushing the blowing strands of her hair off her face. That’s gotta sting, she winced internally, but stuck to her guns. If he wanted her back then he had to be pushed into giving her what she wanted and forget just being ‘friends’. Wesley and Gunn were her friends; Angel was just…hers. An asshole at times, yes – but still hers.

Not that she was hiding so much as making herself less accessible, according to Lorne. She frowned with that thought, she was going to have to have a talk with her green friend about that useless frickin’ sanctuary spell. Who knew tossing her over his shoulder and carting her off wasn’t ‘violence’; it certainly felt like abuse to her and now the plan she and Lorne had cooked up was shot to hell, unless…

Cordelia went silent while she mentally sorted through the maze of consequences. Typical Angel always reacting and doing stuff that no one could plan for. Of course, maybe they could go from the whole, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder part’ or in their case- demon angrier, straight to the… .

Her heart started to beat a rapid tattoo in her chest as her thoughts followed that path to the logical conclusion. Lorne had warned what would happen and had then gone into great detail, for him, on the reason why it had to happen and while a part of her wanted it- another big part was major scared.

For Angel, that flat matter of fact statement brought a vicious stab of pain into his gut and set off a mini explosion of rage in his head, tearing at reason and making the effort of remaining civilised that much more difficult. So she’d been hiding from him, refusing to let him even talk to her.

“And that would have been so bad? I’m not even allowed to talk to you now”? The pain was hidden but the anger wasn’t as he shot out the questions along with a quick snarling look thrown in her direction while negotiating the suddenly heavy traffic.

Cordelia’s jaw dropped, was he for real? “That’s rich coming from you- double standards much! Tell me, why should I listen to you after you chased me out of the basement the other night”? She crossed her arms and waited for his reply. Not that she expected him to get it. Unless it was in big neon lights in front of his face he never did- big dork!

“That was totally different”, he refuted quick to defend himself.

“How- how was it different”? She asked incredulously. Okay so she’d been expecting him to deny it but still it rankled like crazy and her blood pressure shot up along with her temper.

“I had something I had to do. I’m sorry you didn’t approve of my methods but I had no choice- it was the only way”. Angel tried a more reasonable tone. At least they were talking and maybe- if he could stay calm enough, he could get her to see his point of view.

“Daniel wasn’t just any ordinary vamp and it was just to dangerous for me to risk you guys”. Especially as he was a part of Angel’s past; that made it personal he thought, but had more sense than to say it to her.

“Says you- who knows? We may have been able to think up something that… oh I don’t know- involved the whole team”. Sarcasm dripped from her full lips in a tone that could give vinegar a run for its money for tartness.

So much for his point of view, Angel knew her well enough to know she wasn’t going to give him an inch. “It was my business,” he muttered using the excuse of watching the road to not look at her.

“Come again” said Cordelia carefully, playing dumb while seething inside. Did he just say…?

“I said it was my business; mine and no-one else’s”. Angel repeated forcefully and gave her a piercing look out of glittering midnight dark eyes before turning his attention back to the junction he was in the middle of navigating to turn into the motel parking lot.

“Yeah well- this is my business so just back off”. Cordelia finally got out after a stunned minute. Anger flared hot and strong and that combined with the awful wretched sinking feeling in her belly made for an uncomfortable mix that brought the sting of tears to her eyes. Damn him.

In frigid silence she watched him turn off the engine. Then unable to hold it in any longer, gave in to the burning anger and boiling frustration, not caring if she was giving herself away.

“Do you really expect me to just accept that you…. Big dumb A-hole urghhh” She stopped; momentarily speechless, unable to think of an insult bad enough to suit her mood right then.

Trying for calm and reason, Cordelia pressed a hand palm to her forehead and closed her eyes before settling narrowed hazel eyes on his face. “Listen to me carefully Angel- Okay?”

She let the hard edge of determination creep into her voice, refusing to believe she was wrong about them, because dammit- she didn’t have time left for doubts. But if she was wrong, then she was no worse off being away from him. In fact she’d be much better off alone because she’d seen enough of his pathetic pining to know it wasn’t for her.

“I want- and believe me this is non-negotiable; more than you’re willing to give and until you change your mind. We are finished, through and kaput- comprende”? She meant every word and the plan could go to hell, it was more at Lorne’s insistence anyway. She preferred a more direct approach and right now that involved a heavy blunt object landing on a certain thick head.

Rant over; the angry brunette slammed the car door shut, and stalked over to the motel door; not looking back even once. As soon as she was inside the door she slammed that shut behind her too with a forceful finality that could’ve frozen a desert.

Angel sat silent and still in the car as anger and pain hardened and cooled into a bitter resolve. He closed his eyes and let it in welcoming the chill that drove away the pain. Unknowingly his hands tightened on the steering wheel, almost ripping the tough leather with the squeezing, crushing pressure of his powerful fingers.

So- she thinks all she has to do to kick me out of her life is just walk out? He opened his eyes again to reveal the gold ring circling the dark brown, then, as if finally noticing the strength of his grip he carefully released the wheel and looked at his palms with utter detachment.

She was seriously miscalculating him if she believed there was anything he wouldn’t do to stop her leaving- anything! He deliberately sucked in a deep breath to let it out on a long, low snarl while a pressure built inside his head- rising along with the fierce sound. His face rippled with ridges forming and fading as he willingly let his self-control crumble.

Daniel might be dust now but he’d still managed to drive a wedge between them. He should have expected it he thought dispassionately, staring at the door she’d barricaded herself behind- filled to the brim with self-righteous anger. The gold ring widened to full topaz and his fangs lengthened. He’d been a fool for thinking it could be otherwise.

It would have happened sooner or later anyway, it was inevitable and all because he could still smell the other vampire on her skin. Angel breathed deeply again, tasting the fragrance of downtown LA on his tongue but it still couldn’t mask that smell. It maddened him every time he got close to her, seeping into his senses, pushing and prodding until he was almost wild with the need to replace it with his own.

In the hospital, the club and even now in the car he could smell Daniel’s brand. Just knowing that he’d marked her was like a red-hot poker twisting inside his skull, making the demon inside him writhe in a red-hot possessive rage. No one knew better than him that vampires were a dominant breed of demon, particularly with each other and Daniels marking of Cordelia had been a deliberate attempt to provoke him- which it had and still was.

Because she was his best friend and he loved her, he’d tried his best to ignore it. Hoping it would go away and that he’d learn to accept it- but not anymore. So far she’d only ever had the soul to deal with as he’d always carefully kept his more demonic instincts from her; even sending them all away when the darkness threatened to engulf him.

“Not anymore, I think its time for a more personal face to face”. The cold chill of his hard voice carried on the breeze but remained unheard by anyone but some stray cats, who immediately arched their backs and hissed at the unnatural menace coming from the large metallic shape.

She’s mine!. The howl reverberated through his head splintering the leering face of Daniel in his minds eye into bitter darkness as the soul melted back into the shadows. He got out of the car and carefully shut the door before walking with measured steps towards the unit Cordelia had stormed into.

His face continued to ripple with the change and annoyed by the distraction the demon forced its way to the surface with a deep-throated growl, all the while never taking feral demonic eyes off the door steadily getting nearer.

As soon as Cordelia had shut the door behind her she’d calmed down. Well calm wasn’t right- down might be better. She slumped on the door and rubbed a hand over her face. “Now I’ve gone and done it- dammit, why do I always let my temper get the better of me”?

Blank Hazel eyes stared despondently at the floor before she gave in and turned to the tiny curtained window. Outside it had started to rain and tiny drops of water dribbled down the pane on the outside, while the streetlights reflected off the black car and highlighted the man sitting unmoving in the driver seat.

Cordelia shut her eyes in relief that he hadn’t just driven off like she’d half expected him to. “C’mon Angel, do something will you- geeze enough with the weeping willow bending with the wind attitude” she whispered in a fierce undertone, as if willing him to react. “Geeze, I’m standing right here, every jumpable inch of me- so get with the jumping already”

She hadn’t meant too but now all her hopes where pinned on Lorne being right and that it wouldn’t take much to tap into his- what did he call it?

Oh sure- like you’d forgotten that one. NOT. Okay gimme a break- intense sexuality and possessiveness and hadn’t that sounded weird coming from the green demon! Cordelia felt the flush rise up from her toes just from the memory of her reaction to that statement.

She’d become so preoccupied with her own thoughts he was already out of the car before she noticed and her heart jumped into her throat when she finally did. She jerked back from the window before she could be seen but didn’t go far- needing to see what he was going to do. Maybe he was just gonna post a note or something. Yeah right- cos he’s just like that pfft

Cordelia was practically hopping from foot to foot impatiently waiting for a knock and nearly tore off the nail of she was nervously biting when the door came crashing open. Jumping about a foot in the air in fright she stumbled back, bumping into the bed just behind her knees.

The flimsy door gave after a single kick just below the locking mechanism, making the frame splinter around the catch and give without resistance. Angel stood in the doorway and searched the darkened room with narrowed eyes. Finding Cordelia by the bed he focused on her with a predatory light in his dark gaze.

Cordelia had left the bathroom light on when leaving for work and now the harsh light filtered through the half closed door, leaving splashes of yellow on the floor, some of the far wall and Angel. The light touched and retreated over a harshly ridged face, and reflected off razor sharp fangs. Gold eyes filled with cruel lights latched onto her still figure the moment the door was removed from his path. To her horrified eyes his face looked taut and in the harsh glare of the bare bulb- almost… cruel.

“Wha…why..couldn’t you have just knocked”? She got out through a tight knot in her throat. “After that, don’t be expecting an invite,” she warned him, not really meaning it but using it as a delaying tactic while she tried to settle her rattled nerves. She’d known Grr-face would make an appearance- just not yet.

His face didn’t change as he walked over the threshold “Public accommodation- no invite necessary” he replied in rusty sounding voice and shut the door behind him, it didn’t lock but stayed closed.

“Right- so just come in why don’t – Angel.. Stop don’t- wait” she finished on a yelp as his hard hands grasped her waist and lifted her off her feet. She felt rather than saw his muscle bunch and flex under her clutching hands and realising what he intended, Cordelia braced herself for a fall.

That was all the warning she got before the room went blurred, followed by the strangest sensation of being weightless and then she landed with a whoosh of out spelled breath on the soft mattress and bounced on her back.

Disoriented and still in a state of shock she watched wide eyed as he shrugged out of his leather coat and tossed it onto the chair beside the bed. “What are you doing”? She asked him in a high voice. It was rhetorical question. She knew exactly what he was doing- just felt the need to ask for some reason.

For a moment it seemed like he wouldn’t answer and the silence stretched, broken only by the rustle of harsh rustle of clothing being forcefully removed. She opened her mouth to speak again, feeling intimidated and wanting to fill the silence with something- but he finally spoke up.

“I don’t give a rats ass that Wes thinks he’s in charge- he can knock himself out for all I care. But I do care that you think you can just walk out on me and get away with it”. Right then his voice rivalled broken glass for pure splintering rage and that coupled with the dark purpose in his feral eyes made her heart pound with trepidation.

Cordelia leant up on her elbows to stare at him; both aggravated by the implied threat and yet delighted by the extreme possessiveness he was showing. He jerked his shirt over his head and dropped it to the floor. “You’re mine, Cordelia and after tonight you’ll never deny it again”.

His smooth chest was heavily muscled under impossibly wide shoulders; helplessly staring she kept her gaze under his chin, avoiding the fierce glare of the vampire by concentrating on his humanity. Wide palmed hands with long fingers reached down and sought out the fastening of his pants and soon enough the harsh sound of a zipper gliding down rasped over her, forcing a shiver to snake down her spine.

God- how could something so everyday suddenly seem so threatening, she wondered in a daze while her eyes flickered up the intimidating breadth of his torso, torn between wanting to see his expression, hoping for reassurance and being afraid of not getting any.

Angel dropped his pants and stepped out of them to reveal a body corded with sculpted muscle and taut with need. Her fear was potent in the air and the rapid pulse in her neck was echoed by the one between her thighs so that a spicy musk interwove with the sweet fear- making his already hard sex swell to a painful degree.

She was refusing to look at his vampiric face, holding both shoulders and neck rigid so that she wouldn’t even get an inadvertent peek. He smiled grimly and stepped up on the bed so that he literally towered over her still clothed and sprawled form.

Cordelia gasped when the bed dipped under his heavy weight and she gripped the counterpane so as not to give into the urge to scoot back and run like hell. This is what you want so just suck it up. Once this was over everything could get back to normal- she hoped. It didn’t help much- Lorne dammit, why didn’t I ask more questions.

Let’s be positive thought Cordelia, grasping onto straws, at least she didn’t have to worry about the curse. Well duh- he’s almost totally soulless now so yeah- lets worry about it. Oh shut up she told herself fiercely; no curse means the soul comes back- doesn’t it?

She screamed when he just dropped on her and would have curled into a ball except he now covered her from head to foot with only his arms braced up by her shoulders to keep his chest from crushing hers. Totally caged by him the room dropped back until it was only them in a tiny universe made up of their bodies and the bed.

Cordelia tried to move but couldn’t as her legs were trapped by his much heavier and longer ones. Then went still as the hard length pushing at the apex of her thighs registered on her befuddled mind. Purely female panic unfurled inside her and there was a dull roaring in her ears that had nothing to do with the short shallow panting breaths that were all she could manage at the moment.

Angel sensed her panic but it only aroused him more and he pressed down harder into her, aligning them so that his sex, every throbbing inch of it, thrust with deliberate intent between the cradle of her hips. Cordelia gasped and would have arched up if she could as unwilling heat gathered and spread at the spot where he was pressed so intimately against her, while the tiny nub of nerves that was the centre of her sexual pleasure swelled with the onrush of heated blood.

Satisfied he now held her wandering attention he cupped her chin with one not so gentle hand and forced her eyes to his. Hazel pools tinged with alarm and apprehension were caught and held by glittering topaz. Transfixed she stared into the familiar face, while the swirling depths of those eyes pulled her in and unconsciously her hands grasped his shoulders as if to anchor herself to this world.

Panic spurted inside Cordelia and doubts about what she’d pushed him towards started to creep up. God she loved him so much- was it so bad of her to want to know that he loved her back before she died?

His already still body went even more silent and unmoving as something gripped him from the inside out, just from having her underneath him- fnally. Then he shook his head with a rough growl and sat up to straddle her thighs, and grasping the neckline of the black dress with one hand- ripped it down the middle. Both halves fell back to expose her heaving chest to his now avid gaze.

He leaned down to inhale the sweetness of the soft warm skin between her lace covered breasts, then travelled up and buried his face against the curve of her neck. Short dark hair mingled with glossy brunette and she gasped and bowed her neck at the feel of those ridges against the sensitive skin of her tingling throat.

Cordelia clung to him harder, half expecting to feel the sharp sting of his fangs sink or scrape against her flesh but all he did was nuzzle against her, and his cool breath washed over the sensitive lobe of her ear. The trembles became quivers and almost shamefully she felt another hot rush of liquid drip between her thighs, soaking her panties.

The hot fragrance travelled up and around him, heightening his own arousal as it teased and pulled at already strained control. Reeling from the strength of his need he growled and without thinking drew his fangs along the skin of her shoulder to draw out some of that racing blood.

Cordelia hissed a breath between white lips and then moaned when he lapped at the oozing blood, his cool tongue flicked along the sting and then he latched onto the skin around it and began to suck insistently at the shallow wound; the moan changed pitch and hummed in throat at the tugging drawing sensation and her thighs clenched tightly together as the pulse between them rose higher as if begging for attention.

Dark pleasure and greed swirled inside Angel as her blood bathed his tongue with its sweetness making him purr at the piercing pleasure that was almost pain. His back arched a little and mindlessly he pumped his aching erection between her closed thighs to rub against the roughness of lace panties- making him stiffen with unreasonable rage at the barrier.

A hand reached down between them and tore with impatient fingers at the fragile fabric tearing it easily and pulling from her body. His lips stayed fastened to her the whole time and with a groan he settled back down with his thighs embracing hers and pressing them together. Then he squeezed his thick length between the firm toned muscles of her inner thighs now lightly sheened with sweat, to part the soft folds of her labia with the broad head.

The feel of him there so close to her vulnerable sex sent hot streaks to pierce her core and set up a dragging ache in her womb. Powerless to resist the temptation to succumb to she writhed under him and ran her hands over his back, dragging her nails to score the smooth firm skin and egg him on.

All of her previous fear evaporated under the heat of carnal need, escalated by the sheer eroticism of his painless feeding. Insanely it wasn’t enough; she wanted him to bite her properly needed to feel him inside- devouring her.

Unnoticed by her, the bra joined the panties on the floor and a large cool hand cupped one soft mound. His fingers plucked at her nipple, which immediately tightened into a pebble hard bud that stabbed into his hard palm when he covered it again. He kneaded her with rough massaging strokes of a circling hand, and then tugged at her nipple by capturing it between two tightened fingers, not stopping until she begged him to stop…no go back…more, oh God.

Picking up the pace he started to rock into her so that the tip of his shaft nudged continuously against the dripping entrance, sliding along her length and rubbing with slick friction against her clitoris. Cries of dazed passion spilled from her open lips and her nails dug into the muscle of his biceps as desperate need scraped her nerves raw.

Angel finally gave into the need to taste her succulent breasts and bent his dark head to take a turgid peak deep inside his voracious mouth. Cordelia didn’t care about pain or the pleas that tore themselves out of her as she clasped the back of his head to press him closer, inciting him to take what he wanted.

She felt him latch onto the hard begging little nub before sucking it into the wet cavern of his mouth to lick, lathe and torment it with his flicking, swirling tongue. Cordelia’s fingers dug into his scalp and rather than making her want to pull him away the touch of his cool fangs on her flesh made her beg for more.

Refusing to release her breast, Angel carefully drew his legs up so that he straddled her hips, deepening the angle of his thrusts but still drawing short of the penetration she desperately wanted. Free to move now Cordelia’s hips rose and fell, bucking against him so that their lower bodies clashed and her mound rubbed against the hard flesh above his pulsing erection.

“Angel, fuck me- do it now” the words were torn harshly out of her mouth. The blunt purely sexual words were alien to her but in this storm of dark carnality they were exactly right and seemed to make the needy pain worse as she undulated jerkily under his hard powerful frame.

Angel pulled away as rough snarls came panting out from his taut lips. He closed his eyes to try and blot out the urges her words woke in him, each one stroking the fires inside him to hotter heights. It didn’t work- his sex throbbed and ached against the pulse of her hot wet centre, and he was gripped by a powerful need to simply penetrate, pound and possess in every sense both human and vampire.

Whipped up with reckless passion Cordelia pushed a hand down between them, brushing though her curls to grip the base of his shaft with her fingers. He jerked and groaned when she squeezed him tightly and then pumped shallowly, rubbing him harder against her slick sex.

Drugged, slitted hazel eyes bored into his while she continued to rub the broad head around her entrance, daring him to just plunge inside and fill her. Tension spiralled between them and she watched fascinated as his throat worked with the growls that seemed to be ripped from deep inside the chest crushing her into the mattress.

His fangs glistened with a brutal sheen as his tongue came out to moisten his full lips. Cordelia, still driven by rash desire lunged up to fasten her lips to his, plunging inside his mouth to chase that darting tongue; before deliberately running her own across the razor sharp tip of a fang, releasing her heated blood back into his greedy mouth.

Undone, Angel feasted on her willingly and sucked her tongue into his mouth to massage it with his lips in a deliberate imitation of sex. Fierce joy bloomed and expanded to fill him as the blood dripped down his throat. Still with lips locked in their mating dance he wrapped an arm around her bottom and curled the fingers of one hand around the curve of a firm globe.

Molten heat shot arrows of flaming lust through the pair of them as they writhed against each other, caught in a sensual web that was neither human nor demon but both at once. While Cordelia’s blood raced through her veins in a blissful rush, the demon went wild with love and wanton greed.

Her hand still held him tightly, too far gone to marvel at the smooth marble of his rock hard sex but instinct had her silently begging for him to hurry. Her fingers ran the length of him until her thumb brushed against her own drenched core and frantic she pierced herself and then bucked against him in mute demand.

Angel rolled onto his side and pulled her up to lie flush against him then following the luscious curve of her bottom delved inside the cleft to pierce her from behind. One long finger plunged inside the tight welcoming passage, making it clamp down in ecstasy at finally having a part of him inside her.

This time it was Cordelia who closed her eyes as she felt an instant explosion of molten heat spear out from her sex, spreading out to her quaking thighs- making them weak and drop open wider to the rough invasion.

Their mouths were still fused together only now her blood coated their lips as they thrust and retreated. She raised her free hand and wrapping around his thick neck pulled him closer and then slanted her lips to literally devour his mouth; tasting him and her own blood while swallowing as much as she gave.

His fingers left her dripping centre to explore the soft dewy folds, searching out the hard nub of nerves and making her squirm with rapid circling motions, spreading the liquid of her arousal all along the swollen crevice.

“I don’t want your fingers- I want your cock,” she whispered fiercely against his mouth.

“You’ll take both” he replied and speared three fingers straight into her.

She yelled at the intensity of being so stretched and then the tension snapped inside her and she surrendered willingly to the dark blissful release that sucked her into a whirlpool of drowning passion. Angel released her lips to let her breath and licked the blood off her mouth then watched her face as she lost it and came apart.

His lips drew back in a snarl when with gritted teeth he pushed back the need to come himself just from watching her. His fingers thrust hard into her one last time before he pushed her onto her back and raising her legs to wrap around his hips- mounted her.

She screamed at the hot scrape of his cool shaft inside her, as he forced his way past the muscles guarding the entrance to her womb, surging and filling her even as she milked him with each powerful contraction. Her head whipped from side-to-side in frenzied denial that was also a plea for him to continue.

Rising up on his arms he lunged into her repeatedly, his hips rising and falling in a relentless rhythm between her smooth thighs. His back arched as the need to complete the mating became unbearable and his fangs ached to feel the heated ecstasy of fully sinking into her living flesh for the final act that would seal her fate to his.

As if sensing it Cordelia turned her head to bare her neck and wrapping both hands over his ears and thick neck brought his face to the curve of her neck, unerringly leading him straight to her jugular over the marks left by another vampire. His fangs sank into her, bringing with it a terrible pain and twisted pleasure that tore another scream out of her.

Every semblance of civilisation that had survived so far fled as he invaded her body to fuck her with a mindless intensity where only the sweet coppery taste of her blood and the feel of her hot clenching passage on his shaft registered on his hazy mind. Cordelia clung to him with every scrap of strength left in her arms and legs while he surged with heavy power over and into her.

The hungry suckling at her throat and the hard stretching inside her sex brought every primal instinct inside Cordelia up to rise in a towering crescendo as she came apart in a second splintering orgasm. Her harsh cries and pleading rang in his ears as he continued to thrust, hard and pounding now as his body tightened with the approach of his own shattering release.

Just before he came Angel stared down into her flushed sensual face and then deliberately bit into his bottom lip until his own blood seeped out, then firmly slanting his mouth over hers he let it come. It poured through him in a burst of blinding pleasure and wracked with it he reared back up and roared helplessly as his seed shot out to bathe her womb.

After a few minutes, exhausted and shaking in the aftermath he finally managed to drag himself on his side and pulled an unresisting Cordelia into a tight possessive embrace. It’s done now.
A FEW HOURS LATER…

The phone on the bed rang insistently and it was an irate vampire that twisted on his back to snag the offending thing up and bark a very unwelcoming hello into the receiver. Cordelia woke up blinking her eyes to clear the fog of sleep – which rapidly cleared when the events of the night came crashing back into her consciousness.

Angel held the phone out to her and still blushing she took it off him and pressed it to her ear.

“Hello”

“Well, well, so you took the dark horse for a ride did you”? Asked an amused voice. She winced at the crude image and tried to edge away in case the ‘dark horse’ overheard.

“Lorrrrnnnnee” she replied in a warning tone and trying to distract him sent the watchful vampire a megawatt smile.

“Never mind the blushes Princess- congratulations. Just wanted to tell ya no need to worry about dying now. Angel’s taken care of that without even knowing about it”. This dumbfounding statement was followed by a wry chuckle.

“What”? She asked dazedly while her mind worked overtime. “How does erm… doing that…?”

“His blood, sugar- ya know the whole healing thing vamps have? Well, you got some of that in your system now- not enough to vamp out or anything like that – just enough to repair the damage and keep it that way”.

She’d have asked for more but the phone was suddenly snatched out of her nerveless hands. She came out of stupor though when she heard the gratingly angry voice of her lover as he snarled a question into the phone.

“What the hell are you talking about, Lorne- dying”? Dark eyes bored into uncomfortable hazel while he waited for an answer.

 


…THE END…


IMPRESS’S CHALLENGE:

Angel’s demon side REALLY, REALLY wants Cordy. His souled side wants to remain friends. The man in him, while attracted to her, likes having a female as a friend so sides with the souled side.

One night while out (can be a case or just fun, or whatever) Cordy is attacked by a vampire. The vampire isn’t a run of the mill vamp, he’s actually a master vamp nearly as powerful as Angel(us). Angel rescues her but not before the other vamp has managed to bite her. Angel wants to kill the other vamp but somehow (you decide) the other vamp gets away.

Since the bite was from an older vamp, the wound is deeper then with most vamps. Because of this the wound is taking longer to heal than other bites would. After the first day or so, Cordelia can no longer stand having the bandage on her neck (it’s itchy, it clashes with her outfit, whatever reason you want to give).

Angel is now forced to see the other vamps fang marks on her. This drives the demon in him nuts. The demon wants to ‘erase’ them and replace them with his own permanent mark. The soul/man barely restrains the demon, but with each passing day of being forced to see (and smell a hint of the other vamp) the demon gets harder and harder to control. Eventually, the control snaps and the demon takes control of the body and claims Cordy.

Must includes:

*Angel(us) hunting and killing the other vamp for touching what was his.

*Angel(us)’s claiming of Cordy can’t be non-con.

*The whole scene with Angel(us) claiming Cordelia must be done with him in full vamp face.

*Possesive!Angel(us)

Optional

*The Curse. (DEAL WITH IT LATER)

*A S/G crossover (NOT GOING THERE)


 

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