Lost & Found


AUTHOR: HELEN
SUMMARY: This is set in season 5. A little back history is Cordy woke up and Angel helped her get over what happened to her, but then she took off, now she’s back.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 5 Jun 2003
CATEGORY: Angst / Smut
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A
WARNINGS: Graphic Sexual Content
FICPIC CREDIT: Link Not Working
AUTHOR NOTES:  I have included a ‘new’ character that has been spoiled from the show itself, just so I can take pot shots and yes, I’ve described her as ‘blonde’


Part 1

WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

The bed sheets were twisted from his constant restless turning; pillows had been scrunched close and then thrown when his temper frayed. Finally heaving a despairing sigh, he lay back flat on the bed, staring unseeing up at the ceiling, eyes burning and jaw clenched.

He lay there for only a few moments before shooting up and swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he was naked and in the half light you could see every muscle in his body was taut with frustration.

With a groan he dropped his head into his hands and ran rough fingers through his hair. Then his head bent lower as if in pain and he wrapped his arms around his head as if in an effort to shield himself from something.

Despite his best efforts two tears fell down his sculpted and pale cheeks, angrily he scrubbed them away and got up to pace over to the desk in the corner of the bedroom. On it lay a crumpled piece of plain paper, snatching it up it looked for a second like he would hurl it across the room, but instead he smoothed it on the wooden desktop and read it for perhaps the thousandth time.

It was addressed to him and dated just over a month ago.

I’ve sent this letter separate to the other one, so this is just between you and me.

I’m sorry for running out like that, without saying goodbye or anything, but I felt like I had too. I was hurt and angry and couldn’t talk to you about it. I know your wondering why I left, it was the phone call from Willow, she told me about you and Buffy and how you guys were thinking of getting back together sometime.

It hurt me so much, maybe it was all in my mind but I had started to think of you as mine and that we had something together. I couldn’t bear to step back and just be friends again and even if she never came, I won’t be second best, so I had to leave.

I won’t be staying here, just stopping to write this letter so you won’t worry, please don’t try and find me. I’ll be OK, no more self-destructo girl I promise.

Keep the others safe for me and remember I love you.

He stared at the words on the paper as if he could will them to change, to say something else; unconsciously he spoke, his voice a hoarse whisper.

“Why couldn’t you have given me a chance to make this right”?

He bowed his head, as if a weight was dragging him down, then shockingly quick his fists crashed down, almost cracking the desk before turning and stalking towards the shower, face pale and set with eyes dark as midnight glittering in his pale face.

Shortly after he stepped out of the elevator and into his office, the drapes were drawn back and the mid morning sun was blinding in its intensity. The first thing he did was shut the drapes and shroud the room, then he opened the other door and let the startled woman at the desk next to it know he was back.

Before he shut the door behind him again, he heard her answer a call. All he caught was the name of the caller but it was enough and he briskly shook his head at her, he would not take the call. She nodded at him but he missed it as he went back inside his darkened office.

“Er Miss Summers I’m sorry but Mr Angel is not in his office at this time, can anyone else help you”

Seated with papers and reports strewn around him he tried to concentrate, but the call had unsettled him even more. He sat back and thought about the last call he’d taken from any of the scooby gang.

5 weeks earlier

It had been Willow, laughing and joking and enjoying the changes the closing of the hell mouth had made to her life. She made him smile, she always made him smile.

“Angel, Hey, howyadoin”

“Hey yourself, were OK, are you OK? The question was obviously prompted by her calling him.

“Oh yeah, all good here, listen I was talking to Buffy last night and it made me realise, God I’m so sorry, that there’s something important I forgot to mention the last time when I was in LA”

He tensed, not liking the sound of that, the last time she’d been in LA was when she resouled him and then left with Faith.

Willow guessed why he was silent “Oh it’s nothing bad, in fact it pretty great”, OK that sounded better, he relaxed.

“When I did the spell I did it differently that the first time, um I missed off the curse, just ya know popped the soul back in without it”. She was excited about the news but also anxious over having not told him sooner.

“You missed off the curse” repeated Angel slowly; wanting to make sure he understood what she was telling him.

“Yeah I know I can’t believe I forgot I am soooo sorry, if I could I’d kick my own ass. My only excuse is I had other things on my mind”.

Distantly he heard himself say “That’s OK, don’t worry about it, you’ve told me now”. He could hardly take it in, no more curse.

Then it hit him, God he’d been practically killing himself with frustration for the last few months and all this time.

“Listen thanks for calling, but I want to go and tell the others, its big news”, he wanted to get off the phone and go and tell Cordy, he knew she would be delighted and so few things really made her smile these days.

“Yeah OK, I just spoke to Cordy a few minutes ago, she gave me this number so I could tell you, she sounded a bit better”, Willows voice was suddenly cautious as if she wasn’t sure what she was saying was strictly true.

Damn, so much for his big surprise, Oh well they could still celebrate later.

“She is better; she’s really getting there, almost back to normal”.

Not to mention getting a little testy about his ‘molly coddling’ but what the hell, that was Cordy getting back to normal, so he loved it.

Back to present

Of course he’d had no idea that Willows conversation with Cordy had been so much more ‘chatty’ than his had been and that following it Cordy packed up a few things and left. For the next week he’d frantically tried to find her, using every resource in Wolfram & Hart LA branch, which was considerable, but they found nothing.

Her trail ended at a bus stop in some godforsaken spot and then the letters arrived. One for the guys, telling them not worry and she loved them and one for him explaining why she’d left him.

For a while longer he had refused to give up trying to find her, but eventually he’d had too, she didn’t want him to find her and that was that.

Plus he’d come to realise that she was better off without him and so was Buffy, it wasn’t self pity, well maybe a little, but the truth was he should never have started believing that his love life could ever be anything but a tragic farce.

The ironic thing about it was a few months ago, he could have a relationship but no sex, now he could have sex but was determined to never try a relationship again. All it did was destroy the people he cared about the most, while he was still here, unchanged, eternal and alone.

Let’s keep it that way, he thought to himself, standing up and walking out of the room.

LAX AIRPORT

Cordy watched from the tiny window as they landed at LAX, back again, she thought, welcome back to your life Cordy.

Without realising she was doing it she scanned the crowds inside the airport, there were hundreds of them, people milling or standing round waiting for friends or loved ones to disembark for a familiar figure. She knew he wasn’t here, Oh there were some tall, dark and handsome men, but none that fooled her even for a second, he was pretty unique.

Well duh of course he was being a vampire and all, not to mention it was full daylight.

Mentally she shook herself to get rid of the images; she wasn’t back for him, but for herself. She looked at her companion and smiled, at least she wasn’t alone.

Suddenly an intense feeling of giddy happiness almost threatened to make her act like an idiot, so she hugged her arms round herself as she stepped out into the strong sunlight and lifted her face so that the hot rays kissed her face.

“Glad to be back?” asked her companion

“Oh yeah, this is where I belong, this is home despite everything that’s happened this is still my city”, she swung to face the girl and smiled a huge mega watt smile.

“And if Angel tries to interfere out of some misguided thoughts of ‘protecting me’, I’ll kick his ass”. The smile widened even more at the thought.

This is gonna be fun, she thought, hugging herself even tighter, ignoring and yet at the same time savouring the feeling of intense excitement that came with the thought of pitting her will against his.

WESLEYS LIBRARY – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

“I’m worried about Angel”

Wesley put down the book he was reading, the generic cover; identifying it as one of the special reference books he used and watched Fred as she paced in front of him, wringing her hands.

“In what way” he asked in that quiet and calm way of this, his blue eyes piercing and ever watchful.

“Well for one thing, he’s still not sleeping, I mean its only 2pm and he’s been up for hours”, she didn’t need to say more.

They had all discussed this many times in recent weeks, at first they didn’t worry about his sleeping thinking he would settle down again, but this had been going on for so long now, it was worrying.

Wesley sighed and put the book aside to lean forward, all of attention on the slight young woman in front of him. Idly he admired how she looked, even in her white lab coat and sneakers she looked damned good.

Switching his attention back to the topic, he frowned slightly as he said “This has been going on too long, ever since Cordy disappeared. It’s got to be affecting him”

“Well you’d think so” said Fred, her raising her eyes and hands up in an ‘I dunno’ gesture.

“But he’s still doing extra patrols and generally kicking ass all over town. Not to mention the times he just goes missing for hours, doing god knows what”, she stopped talking when she ran out air and had to take a breath.

Wesley almost smiled at the last bit, he had a fair idea where Angel went at those times, but had no intention of discussing ‘that’ with Fred. It was Angel’s business and if it helped him to relax, he had no complaints.

Fred missed the smile, too busy with her own thoughts, “I mean I know how difficult it can be when two people break up, sometimes the worst thing is trying to get used to sleeping alone again”, she looked at Wesley for a response.

“It’s plausible, that sleeping alone is the reason he’s having such trouble. After all he spent the four months after Cordy first woke up, sleeping beside her”. Someone had to during those rough and emotionally exhausting times and Angel would not let anyone else do it.

“So what can we do to help him?” asked Fred helplessly, concern written all over her face.

“There’s not really a great deal we can do and don’t forget he’s been through something similar to this before and got over it. But if it will make you feel better I’ll talk to him about it”.

Fred rushed over to give him a quick as lightening hug before dashing off back to her lab, her “thank you Wesley” floating behind her.

Why the hell did he always get stuck dealing with Angel when he was angry, unhappy, unpredictable or just generally being mean as a rattlesnake. Was he wearing a sign that said ‘brave fool’?

Wesley wished Cordy had not left for many reasons, not the least of which was her profound ability to cajole or fight with and ultimately influence a certain moody vampire.
A FEW DAYS LATER – ON A CASE

Wow, back in LA for a few days and they had a case already, what a team thought Cordy happily.

I can’t believe how great it feels to be poking around dusty warehouses looking for yuck monsters again. OK so it was definitely the feeling of being useful again that was giving her such a happy, but still.

Oh well, at least I dressed for the occasion, dark navy combat pants and navy vest top covered by a light jacket, sturdy boots that were cool and trendy, cos they were ‘in’. Hey a girl’s got to have some standards.

Her dark, glossy hair that normally swung freely around her shoulders, was tied back to keep it out of her way, with just a small fringe to frame a face that caused many a stranger to stop and take a second or third look.

Hazel eyes that 6 months ago were dull and red rimmed, now sparkled with intelligence and humour as she surveyed the dark, dank and dusty warehouse with the help of a flashlight. Wooden crates of various sizes had been piled high one on top of the other, creating corridors within the cavernous building.

Nothing here but wooden boxes and a dirty and bleak looking office by the entrance. It was night time and the place was empty and had been locked up, but picking it had been easy. No wonder the night creepies keep getting in here, she thought, I mean I’m not exactly an expert lock pick myself.

Well a quick look around the office and then she was outta here, maybe she’d find a lead and have somewhere else to go. The door to the office wasn’t locked, she put down the flashlight down on the single desk so that she could see, deciding not to put the light on unless she really had too.

There were two filing cabinets to the left, with the desk in the middle and the door in the far right corner, easy peasy. She’d be done in just a few more minutes.

OK, we have workers being hijacked by nasty looking demony things. One manages to escape and reports it to the police who think he’s nuts and so he gets fired by the company. Clues, clues where are youuuu.

Employee records, she had some names to check, of employees that had just not turned up for work one day. Some of them probably for legit reasons, but she’d have to search anyway. She was busy digging through one of the cabinets in the top drawer, when she felt the air move behind her.

The warehouse was musty and almost airless, so that couldn’t be good, she whirled around and simultaneously slipped a dagger out of its sheath placed at the small of her back. She didn’t want to kill anyone, so she tucked it so that the blade was hidden by her wrist.

Cordy was glad she hadn’t turned on the harsh fluorescent lights; if she had it probably would have been impossible to try and get away from the large black man-shape in the doorway.

At least she had a chance of not being recognisable again with just the flashlight on in the room. Then the guy moved, just a little to the left and she heard the ‘pop’ of a light switch, quickly she shut her eyes to avoid being blinded and so she could protect her vision.

At the same time she dived to the left side of the doorway, hoping to disorient the man blocking the door. She was sure it was a man, he was too damn big for anything else, unless it was a demon, Oh yeah great, hold that thought.

She still hadn’t got a clear look when she slammed into him, trying to knock him of balance and out of her way so she could slip out and run like hell. It didn’t work whoever he was, he was built like a brick wall and all she did was wind herself and fall on her ass. Annoyed more than frightened she looked up.

And froze

Angel.
Part 2

STILL ON A CASE – WAREHOUSE

The silence was absolute, Cordy could feel the flush rising from her toes to the roots of her hair, she was so not ready for this.

He was just standing there, looking at her. She wished he’d move or speak or something to break the incredible tension that invaded the small space between them. Now she knew what it felt like to have his undivided attention on her and not in a good way.

She would have stood up, but she didn’t want to get any closer and thought that scooting back would make her look like a scaredy cat. Say something, she screamed in her head to herself or him she didn’t know.

“Hey there”,

So it was her then, that figures he was never one for unnecessary conversation, even when he’d started getting in touch with his human side, which by the way seems to have taken a trip somewhere.

“Why are you here”, Uh oh it was the quiet and flat voice, the one she had always hated, even back when he used it a lot.

Time to stand up to him, literally. She stood up and brushed the seat of her pants with the hand not holding the knife, then slipped the knife back into its sheath behind her, hoping he hadn’t noticed it.

She cocked her head to one side and looked at him with wide and direct eyes. “I’m investigating a case”. Good just the right level of cool composure, she hoped.

He continued to just look at her in silence, and then he moved forward, forcing her to backup simply by crowding her. When the door was clear and while still facing her, he shut it closed and then moved back a step to stand in front of it. Leaning back with his arms folded and legs crossed.

He couldn’t have made it any clearer that he had no intention of letting her go anywhere, until he was good and ready.

Now it was her turn to stare, her mind whirling through all of the things she might do or say to get him to move out of her way. The only problem with the numerous scenarios that flitted around her head was that while not too long ago, every one of them would have worked; now she wasn’t so sure.

He looked predatory, that was the only way to describe it. An emotionless face, with brows lowered over unreadable dark eyes, high cheekbones and sculpted full lips. Plus he looked bigger than she remembered, taller and broader. Jeez his shoulders alone practically covered the width of the door and she had thought that she could muscle him out of the way, dumb idea.

He’d always been powerfully built, but she had never been afraid of him, now she was and she didn’t like it one bit.

“What, no ‘Hi Cordy Welcome back’ or just plain ‘kiss my ass’ then”, she snapped at him goaded by his damned broody silence which felt like Chinese water torture, which was probably the whole point.

“Are you trying to intimidate me Angel, is that what this is?” she raised a haughty brow as she crossed her own arms in an unconscious imitation of his own aggressive stance.

“Why would I want to do that Cordelia?” he raised his own brows.

“I simply want to know what you think you’re doing here, in this building at the dead of night, sneaking around like a thief” and then we’ll get to why you’re back in LA, but he didn’t mention the last part.

“I just told you”, asshole, she thought narrowing her eyes and glaring back “I am investigating a case and that’s all you need to know OK”.

She all but spelled out the last sentence as if she were talking to a toddler, that should irritate the hell outta him she though triumphantly, she was past the point of caring.

“I heard you the first time Cordelia” he pushed away from the door and walked slowly and carefully towards her.

She put her hand up defensively to stop him from getting too close; he did stop but only when her hand was pressed to his chest, her arm at full stretch. Then he grabbed her wrist to prevent her from retreating.

Before Cordy realised why he continued to hold her arm up and stretched slightly to the side, his other hand ducked behind her back and swiftly removed the knife from the sheath at her belt.

He smiled coldly and their eyes only inches apart where glued together, hers wide and slightly alarmed at the speed at which he’d disarmed her, his narrowed, challenging and strangely hot. The air was sizzling between them.

Cordy was infuriated by his scare tactics; this was the guy who had held her through the night so tenderly a few months ago?

“Let me go” she all but spat the words at him, not backing away an inch, her hazel eyes shooting fire.

“Not till you tell me what I want to know”, his own tone inflexible as iron.

“Is this how you get your kicks these days?”

“You have no idea, how I get my kicks”. He looked grimly amused.

She debated starting a fight but, although she was good thanks to their training sessions, she knew he had held back then, would he still be so careful now? Was it worth finding out?

He let go of her arm and she breathed a silent but relieved breath and massaged her arm. He hadn’t hurt her, but she wanted him to think he might have.

“Save yourself some time here, answer the question and then you can go”

Cordy nearly changed her mind about trying to kick his ass, who the hell did he think he was, her boss, not anymore he wasn’t. She was practically vibrating with rage, but knew this was not going to go her way. He won this time.

“I have a client who got attacked in this building a few days back, he used to work here. He got fired after a reported it to the police and they didn’t believe him”.

She gestured to the cabinet she had been exploring, “I was going through the employee files to check out some of the others that just disappeared one day to see if there’s a pattern, or get contact details to follow up”.

“That’s it? Who’s your client, I want a name”

“Kiss my ass”, she said it slowly and clearly, she’d reached her limit.

“Be glad too”.

He had spoken so quietly it took a few seconds for her to catch on and then Cordys eyes widened to an impossible degree and she sprang backwards like she’d been scalded.

“Don’t you come near me buster”

“Just trying to do what the lady asks” he was smirking now, the bastard

“Then let me leave, you have your answers” She was watching him like a mouse does a cat, trying to anticipate what his next crazy move would be.

He must have decided he’d pushed enough, he moved out of the way of the door and walked over to the cabinet she been looking in, when he arrived.

“Sure, it shouldn’t take much to find out what I want to know right here”.

Cordy turned to leave, then stopped and faced him again, “Just tell me one thing, how did you know I was here?” If he didn’t tell her it would drive her totally nuts.

“I didn’t, I came here for the same reason you did, for a client with a missing family member”.

“Oh really, don’t you have evil flunkies to do this kind of thing for you, save you ‘dirtying’ your hands”, pure sarcasm, but what the hell.

He faced her fully again “True, but sometimes if you want a job done right, you gotta do it yourself and to be honest, I wouldn’t have missed this for the world”. This time his smile was wide, totally evil and finally reached his eyes.

“I’ll be seeing you again Cordelia”, she guessed he was using her full name deliberately to goad her with memories of a time, when he would have called her Cordy.

“Sure you will, cos if you think this little interlude has got me running scared, you really don’t know me at all” with the last word firmly in her favour, she swanned out and slammed the office door hard enough to shatter the glass.
CORDY’S APARTMENT

“What is his PROBLEM” ranted Cordy, “other than being totally mentally deficient and a big dumbass bully”.

Cathy watched her friend rage, sympathy shining out of blue/grey eyes, which turned to laughter at her next words.

“I so wanted to kick his bony ass”

“So why didn’t you?”

“Cos he probably wouldn’t have let me”, pouted Cordy

Who then plopped full stretch and face down on the coach, swearing into the cushions. Cathy’s smile got bigger as she made out one or two of the more colourful ones from the mumbling.

“What I wouldn’t give for some supernatural powers and I’m kidding OK, had more than enough of those, but still, it was damn FRUSTRATING”. The last was nearly ear splitting in volume.

“OK I’m done screaming now”

“So he has a bony ass now then?” Cathy sat down and crossed her legs, god sometimes she really reminded Cordy of Fred, it was the natural sweetness she supposed.

“In my fantasy he does and I break it in two” Cordy looked at her friend and burst out laughing, seeing the humour and realising how bloodthirsty she sounded.

“So do you have any other fantasies about him, other than the violent type?”

“Not any more I don’t, arrogant bastard, can you believe he threatened to kiss mine”

It was too much for Cathy, the look of indignation on Cordy’s face, coupled with the topic and the images that crossed her mind. She laughed so hard, Cordy threw a cushion at her head.

“He said he was going to kiss your ass?” she was gasping trying to stifle the laughter.

Cordy grinned “Yes he did and you have to help me get him back for it”.

“Sure, no problem. I’ll hold him down and you beat him up, only problem is you’re stronger than me and you couldn’t do it, so we would probably both end up in worse shape”

“Oh I have something more subtle in mind and anyway we have a case to solve before he does, that’ll do for starters”.
Part 3
AROUND AND ABOUT

Angel did his best thinking either during or straight after a fight. He reckoned it must be the extra kick of adrenaline to his brain that gave him his ‘eureka’ moments.

That being the case you’d think after dusting two vamp nests and unearthing and slaughtering a nasty troll like creature with truly atrocious eating habits, you’d think he’d have figured it out.

What the hell had gotten into him? He still found it difficult to believe what had happened in that warehouse office. True he hadn’t been expecting to find her there and had been totally blindsided by the emotions just seeing her again brought out, but still it was no excuse for the way he’d behaved.

All he knew was that when he’d seen her again, standing there rummaging around in that office, he’d gone a little mad, there was no other explanation.

He remembered her fury when he blocked her escape and then the horror on her face when she realised it was him. That had hurt and then brought out his own anger.

The funny thing was she didn’t know the half of it, thankfully. She hadn’t guessed the feelings roiling through his gut like some wild emotional storm. She had no idea that when he’d grabbed the knife from her, what he had actually wanted to do was grab her head, pull her close and plunder that soft mouth with his own, until she begged him to stop or maybe not to stop at all.
Thank god he hadn’t, as he seriously doubted he could have stopped with just a kiss.

He smiled without humour as he walked aimlessly down dark alleys and back streets, using all of his keen vampiric senses to scan the walls around him and the road before and behind.

He was desperate for a fight all he needed was for some big nasty and hopefully powerful demon to jump out at him or try and scamper off with a potential victim and he would be in business. He just needed something, anything so that he could beat and pummel and rip and gouge and maybe forget for a while that Cordy was back.

Every time he thought of their encounter, he felt it again, the arousal their confrontation had sprung to life inside him. Damn he wished he’d remained celibate, at least before his libido had been easier to control. Today it felt as if it had become a living thing, need and desire clawed at his guts, goading him.

His cell phone went off on his coat pocket and he cursed luridly as he searched for the damn thing, answering it with a barked out “Angel”.

He listened with one hand on his hip and a frown nearly drawing his slashing brows into one black line. It was Eve; he was needed for something blah blah blah, probably some stupid security problem.

Angel was almost sure that his new ’liaison’ was under express orders from the senior partners to give him so much trouble he would either have no time for anything else or go completely crazy with the pointlessness of it all.

“Either take care of it yourself, see Wesley or Gunn or write me a memo, I’m busy”, he said and then promptly disconnected.

In fact he intended to be very busy for quite a few hours yet, he thought as he made an impulsive decision. The phone call forgotten, he headed back to the car, his car not theirs. The black convertible was parked some ways back from the main road, to avoid drawing attention. The Plymouth was pretty notorious these days but he refused to give it up.
ANGEL’S OFFICE – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

Eve looked at the phone in her hand for several moments before crashing it back into its receiver in temper. Her blonde hair was piled high, exposing her graceful neck and delicate ears. To look at her you would think she was a beautiful porcelain doll with big china blue eyes and full pouty lips. The lips weren’t pouting now though, they were drawn back in a snarl that was somehow more startling for appearing on that delicate face.

“Asshole”

Her voice was normally soft, coaxing but that one work came out in a sibulent hiss. So you’re not coming out to play today vampire, fine with me. “It just means more work and no play for you tomorrow”, she smiled at the thought, her eyes going dreamy as she invented all kinds of things to dredge up for the following day.

“Angel not willing to play your game, Eve? How disappointing for you”

The precise, mocking and oh so very English voice was coming from the doorway behind her, Eve whirled, her hand darting up to neck in a startled gesture.

“Wesley, I didn’t see you there”

“Obviously, otherwise you might not have shown your true colours, soooo eloquently now would you”?

Dammit he’d obviously overheard almost all of the conversation “Don’t you know it’s rude not to knock”?

She said it gently, making a slight frown appear as if she didn’t understand why he was acting this way. Her blue eyes were her best feature and she made the best of them, careful application of cosmetics, emphasised their size and colour. But not too much or otherwise spoil the image of doe eyed innocence.

“I would have knocked but I already knew that Angel is out. You do know this is Angel’s office don’t you, Do you think he’ll be pleased to know your snooping around here”?

If it wasn’t for the fact that she knew Wesley Wyndham Pryce, ex-watcher and stand-up guy had a taste for bitches she would think he was gay. But obviously innocence didn’t get his motor running, so she dropped it and became matter of fact.

“I wasn’t snooping I was making a call, to him actually, so why don’t you carry on and go running to him and snitch on me”?

“No need for sarcasm Eve, just because your not getting your own way”, Wesley walked into the room and around the desk to stand behind it and beside the large leather chair, symbolically presenting a united front with the missing vampire.

“He knows what your up-to you know, we all do. You seem to be the only not seeing that”

“We’ll see” Eve left without another word, her back ramrod straight in the smart and not too revealing suit. Might as well wear a nun’s uniform thought Wesley, it would be more subtle.

Maybe he was just getting jaded, but after Lilah; that woman just seemed stupid, but then again never underestimate your enemy. He was definitely going to have to have that talk with Angel soon.
NIGHTCLUB

The music was thumpingly loud and the bodies of thousands of clubbers bobbed and swayed to the beat. It was hot and many of them wore almost no clothing in an effort to keep cooler and carry on dancing.

Heartbeats thundered from them, so excited and keyed up where they at being here and being young, drunk and carefree. It was a candy store for demons.

He’d come here the first time three weeks ago, they’d found out it was the regular hunting place for a bunch of local vampires. Normally he couldn’t stand the noise and press of heated bodies but right then he hadn’t cared, he was working, hunting his own kind. The pain and bitterness temporarily forgotten.

He hadn’t actually planned to do anything other than dust the vamps and go home. The fights had been almost too easy and for the most part the clubbers had remained oblivious to what was going on, that what was had made them such appetising targets for the monsters in the first place.

The girl had approached him afterwards, when he was doing a last sweep. They’d started talking or at least she had, he’d had been too busy trying to think of a kind way of getting rid of her. When she suddenly twined her warm and pulsing body along his front and reached up with warm lips and kissed him full on the mouth.

He’d frozen in her arms, but she didn’t seem to notice and carried on pressing kisses along his jaw to his neck. He’d stepped back intending to gently rebuff her when he looked into her smiling eyes. They were full of warmth and generosity, the sparkle in them more than a little mischievous, her wide smile was rueful. This was no predatory girl looking to pull a guy; she just wanted to enjoy herself and for some reason wanted him too as well.

Almost unwillingly he’d liked what he saw even though she was nothing special in the beauty department, except for the genuine sweetness that showed clearly on her face. Also tempting him was the smell of her aroused body. The musky scent weaving around him and making his nostrils flare. Her nipples were visibly peaked and a pulse throbbed in her throat, he could hear another pulse too, slow and heavy from deep inside her body. Impulsively he’d taken her back to her place and stayed. All the way there he had debated what he was doing, in the end he’d done it anyway.

He’d told her almost nothing about himself, she hadn’t asked for more and had been happy to just enjoy him and the pleasure he could bring her, without promises of another meeting. For his own conscience he’d had to make that clear first, no problem she’d said. It had brought him some small measure of peace for a while and so, his long period of celibacy had ended.

Now he was back again, he wasn’t entirely certain what he was looking for, or even if he was looking for anything at all. He moved to the stairs leading to the balcony and the upper floor, even they were crowded with clubbers passing up and down, drinks in hand or just groping their way along, almost blind with drink and fuzzy headed with an exhaustion they couldn’t feel yet.

Up top tables and chairs were sparsely spread around and many sat in circles on the floor. He ignored them; he wasn’t going to be joining any groups.

His search led him into the darker areas and he ended up finding himself looking down at the frantic dancers below as the music built to an even more deafening crescendo. A few feet away from him a guy and girl were necking, something about the set-up caught and held his attention, the girl was mewling in pleasure and clutching her lover as tight as she could, then suddenly she stiffened and the mans hand covered her mouth to stifle her screams.

Typical, thought Angel as he moved behind her attacker, grasped his head in both hands and twisting HARD, the neck bone snapped with an audible crack. The vampire’s eyes blinked at him from the head he now held at a crazy angle. Angel grimaced at the sight and twisted again with all of his unnatural strength, his shoulders and arms flexing and bunching with strain until the head came clean off and the both body and head turned to dust.

The next second he found his arms full of a sobbing hysterical woman, he rubbed his hands over her back once, then spotting a passing security guard, signalled to him and gratefully handed her over.

Unexpectedly it hit him then, a bone numbing weariness that seemed to pull at his soul. He stood and let the room spin for a while before he blinked and centered himself again. He had to get out of here, as he was leaving he realised with a strange sort of exhausted clarity that he didn’t really want to be here anyway or in some strangers bed.

It had worked the few times before, only because he had believed that he would never see Cordy again and so none of it mattered.

He knew Cordy well enough to have no doubt that if she felt she had no choice, she was strong enough to put him out of her heart and mind and move on.

But he’d been wrong about her not coming back and now she was, things had changed again and he just couldn’t do it. If he wanted to release some tension he would just have to find another way of doing it. Urghh, just that thought alone made him feel even wearier.

As he left the club he didn’t notice the woman carefully keeping out of sight while watching him.

She seemed to droop with relief when he had left. Internally one side of her was berating herself for interfering it wasn’t any of her business what he did. Well, she told her scolding inner self defensively, I didn’t actually influence him or anything, just made him feel tired, that’s all. Now he’ll go to bed to sleep, alone, no harm done.

Cautious by nature she waited a good ten minutes before exiting the club herself, just in case he hung around. He didn’t know her, had never met her but he might sometime in the future and in her experience it was always better to be safe than sorry.
Part 4 THE NEXT DAY – BACK ON THE CASE

“Ewwwh, why do demons always have to make their hovels in the sewer” moaned Cordy as she gingerly lowered herself down.

It was all she could do not to hold her nose, some sewers were not too bad, like the ones Angel used, but then he knew them all like the back of his hand and probably avoided the stinky ones.

“Maybe because there aren’t many prehistoric caves in LA now” said the tinny voice from the cell phone she was clutching to her chest in one hand.

“ha ha, you should be the one down here and then see if you can joke about it”, she grumbled and switched on her trusty flashlight, oh for the ability to see in the dark.

“OK which way now” she said, pointing the flashlight around, over grey walls and deliberately avoiding the floor, she did NOT want to see what was squelching under her feet.

As directed she walked straight ahead, avoiding any extra sized slimy lumps she come across until she came to a junction with two tunnels leading off, she took the one on the right.

“I hope you know the way back out, cos I so don’t want to get lost down here”, she could have smacked herself; she should have brought some chalk and marked her way, just in case.

“Hey have a little faith OK; I can get you out again, trust me”

There was genuine hurt in the voice which came through despite the bad reception. Oh god, please don’t let me lose the signal she thought as she took a second left turn.

“Sorry, I know just ignore me OK, first case nerves”

“Nearly there now, so stop for a minute and let me have a look see before you go in” said the voice at the other end of the phone.

Cordy stopped and huddled back to the wall, at least it was a little less stinky here, either that or she was getting used to it, Ewwwh she thought, who wants to get used to that.

She pressed the phone to her ear again, waiting for Cathy to speak again; even so she jumped when she did.

“Right, were definitely on the right track. Up ahead, there’s a doorway on your left. It’s not a man-made door, looks like it’s been gouged out of the tunnel wall. Inside is a cave like place with our demon in it”.

Cordy gripped the phone tighter and tried to stifle the shivers that wanted to break out, nerves, if she gave into them now she’d soon be running screaming out of here and that would be the end of her fledgling solo career.

Not gonna happen.

“The demon is really big, larger than most men, its covered in shiny dark overlapping scales like some kind of natural armour, oh and its face is really gross, particularly its eyes; I mean yuck, milky white with some kind of weepy fluid running down its face. But saying that it doesn’t look so smart and its size has got to go against it in that confined space”

Cordy took a few deep breaths, OK some good news at least.

“Anything else I should know”

“Yeah when it first sees you it’s going to go berserk. Foaming at the mouth, snapping jaws, the works, so be prepared for a fairly nasty first look. From what I can tell the only way you will be able to kill it is to stab it in the eye, deep enough to pierce its brain”

“Right” said Cordy, patting herself for the weapons, dagger – check

“Don’t try and attack its body, you won’t have strength to get through the scales to do any damage, so don’t waste your energy”.

“From what I can see you’re most dangerous moment is when during the fight, you step back on some old bones and lose your balance and fall into it, it swings and smashes you into a wall and nastiness ensues”.

“Oh great, thanks”

“Think of it as advanced warning so you can avoid it, you should see it from my end”, was the slightly testy reply.

I used to; she thought but didn’t say it. Their situations where totally different.

“What about it’s attacking style”

“Swinging fists like battering rams and sharp claws, just avoid its arms and you’ll do OK”

“Thanks, better than a horoscope” said Cordy attempting light heartedness.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come down there? I might be able to distract it so it’ll be easier to kill”, it was not the first time the offer had been made and Cordy knew her friend was sincere. But having her here would only complicate things given her history.

“No, with the way demons act around you it will probably just go crazy and be even more dangerous, thanks anyway”

She heard a deep sigh and a softly spoken, “All right then good luck”.

Less than 5 minutes later and she was wishing she hadn’t been so determined to do this alone. Damn the thing was huge and twice as ugly as she had expected. Just seeing it had seriously grossed her out and knocked her concentration for those first precious seconds.

She ducked and weaved around it, grateful for the years of dancing and cheerleading that made such moves as natural as breathing. Even training with Angel hadn’t been this bad but then he hadn’t actually been trying to smash her apart, so big dif!

She was tiring and every kick she’d managed to land barely even fazed it, her knife just glanced off it and there was no way she was risking her knuckles by being dumb enough to try and punch it.

She stepped back and at the same time jerked her head back to avoid a particularly vicious swing. Damn this thing was really getting into its stride now, she had to end it soon or she was lunch.

Just as she was thinking this she felt her foot twist on the suddenly uneven floor and knew what was coming, she started to overbalance and fall towards the demon with its snapping and snarling face getting closer, too close.

Desperately she dived to the left, pain shot up from her foot as it protested being forced to propel her in the opposite direction from how she originally started to fall. She landed on her side but managed to avoid smacking her head on the unyielding floor, she so didn’t need to be seeing stars right now.

Then it was on her, meaty arms with clicking claws on either side of her shoulders, its head looming over her, drool dripping onto her neck.

OH GROSS, nauseated beyond belief she grabbed its chin with one hand, managing to stay its decent for one precious second, then slammed the dagger with her other hand into its eye socket.

Then she lay there, pinned as it slumped over her, dead. She had to wait a few minutes to get some strength back before being able to heave it even the slightest amount off her, so she could slither out from underneath.

Then she just stood there aching all over and covered in the most disgusting grime and smiled, unable to stop herself she whirled around, if she knew how she would have danced a jig, she thought then changed her mind when her ankle gave an indignant twinge.

She’d done it, killed the thing that had attacked her client. It was official there was now one less demon to attack the helpless in LA and she was the one who’d done it, OK with a little help from a friend and secret weapon.

She grinned, Team Cordy rocked.

The phone tucked, safe and protected in her inside pocket rang shrilly causing her nearly jump out of her skin after the utter silence of death.

A sense of foreboding nearly made her fumble and drop it before she could answer it.

“Hello”

“Get out of there now” was the frantic message. Uh oh

she didn’t wait to hear more but made tracks out of the demon made cave, back the way she’d come, only when she had some distance did she put it back to her ear.

“What is it, what do you see”?

“Two more of them on the way, nearly at the cave, run NOW, don’t stop for any reason, don’t even look back”

Cordy ran, her lungs pumping oxygen in and out as her feet pounded out a rapid tattoo on the walkway. By the time she reached the first intersection her chest felt on fire and her legs felt like lead weights and the foot she had nearly turned was throbbing like a bitch.

“How am I doing”?

“Keep going, they’ve got your trail but helps coming, just keep running straight on, don’t worry about finding your way back, just run straight”.

Too frightened to truly panic, she just lowered her head to her chest and pumped her arms faster, trying to get every ounce of speed out of her tired and battered body.

Until she ran into a solid and unmoving obstacle that should have knocked the wind out of her the speed she’d been going, but instead it swung her up and around, slowing before stopping her.

She was in Angels arms, help up high before he let her slide down, she didn’t care about that or anything else that wasn’t life or death at the moment. “Two demons on my tail, their coming right now”.

She was immeasurably grateful when all he did was nod and pick up the sword he’d dropped when she had barrelled into him. He braced himself, hearing them now; they were coming hard and fast.

Within seconds the two demons were on them, their speed outside of the confining cave astronomical. Angel moved forward to head them off, stepping in front of Cordy and meeting their charge with a swinging, flashing blade, cutting though their incredibly tough hide and causing them to howl and retreat before charging again, maddened by blood lust.

She could only watch in morbid fascination as he swirled and kicked, dodged and swung, one managed to swipe the sword from him. He didn’t even pause or look to try and retrieve it but waded back in with his fists. In this kind of situation she was the first to admit he was poetry in motion. She could only envy him that fact that even without the sword he was inflicting some serious damage.

Then one managed to catch him with powerful blow to the chest and he sailed into the air heading for a crash into the opposite wall, but he’d seen it coming even if too late to stop it and braced a leg to propel himself back almost before he hit it, the sword back in his hand, how the hell had he found it in this light?

The other one charged again and he bent himself double, crouching so that his knees were almost touching the floor. The demon couldn’t stop or change the height of its slashing swing and it started to topple on top of the vampire, just as its chest touched his back, Angel snapped upright, using all of the power in his thigh and shoulders to heave the thing up of its legs and send it crashing back behind him.

Whirling he raised the sword in both hands and stabbed it deep into, where in a human, the heart would have been. It gurgled a howling scream, high pitched enough to make Cordy want to cover her ears, but she didn’t have time, the other one was just behind Angel now and he was struggling to get the blade free of the one he’d downed.

She gave a howl of her own and leaped at it. Luckily for her it had been standing by small stepped ledge and she managed to cause it to fall, its weight making it impossible to correct and stop the fall even as it swung to face her, it continued to topple and then landed with a meaty splat on its back.

She didn’t hesitate but jumped on it, straddling it as she raised her own dagger high in both of her hands to give impetus to the blow she intended to inflict. She brought the blade down and felt it go into the demons flesh, but it hadn’t gone in far enough, she had pierced the eye almost right through but not the brain. The tip must have hit some kind of eye socket bone or something.

It writhed beneath her and she would have been bucked off if she hadn’t suddenly found herself airborne again as she was plucked off the thing. She didn’t take her eyes of it and saw Angel’s boot beneath her own dangling feet as he stamped it down on the end of the blade handle protruding from the demons face. There was an awful crack and the rest of it slammed into the demons skull and it went unearthly still.

Silence fell, well except for her harsh breathing, Angel still hadn’t put her down and now he turned her still in his arms so that she was facing him. Hesitantly she looked into his face expecting, god knows what, but he was smiling at her, she smiled back relieved and found herself fighting an urge to wrap her lags around his hips rather than ask to be put back on the ground.

He lowered her gently before she could decide to take the crazy option.

“Where’s the third one”?, he asked his voice unusually gravely even for him.

“It’s dead, I killed it back at its cave thing”, she grinned at him thoroughly pleased to be able to tell him that. But wising she had known there was three and not just the one.

“So that IS why your down here, you came here to kill it ALONE”, he was frowning blackly at her now, incredulity in his voice.

She decided to take the bull by the horns, “Yeah”, as casual as she could make it.

“Oh and just so where clear, I solved this case first OK” she poked him the chest with one finger as she said it.

He just looked down at her, they were so close she was craning her neck to maintain eye contact, she watched as he clenched his jaw and then took a deep but unneeded breath.

God, she looked so adorably determined, standing there glaring at him, covered in all kinds of grime. He could help it, he leaned down and did what he had wanted to from the first time he’d set eyes on her again.

His lips settled firmly on hers and gently forced them open to let him in, his tongue slid inexorably inside, stroking along hers rhythmically. His hand cupped her chin to stop her from turning away from the intimate invasion.

Cordy’s own breath froze as she felt an electric shock start from her lips and spread down her body, to settle with a sunburst of warmth between her legs. Her knees threatened to buckle at the sweet draining sensation.

The kiss carried on and on, he changed the angle to be able to go deeper and then he retreated only to suck on her bottom lip and then gently nip at the sensitised area. She felt dizzy and only dimly, she heard her cell phone start to ring.

She groaned deep in her throat but managed to pull back enough to push at his shoulders a silent request for release, he did and watched with brooding intensity as she walked a little away before answering the call.

“Hello”, please don’t let it be another warning of impending danger.

“Hey there, sorry to interrupt honey, but I thought you might wanna take a breath before you pass out, ya know”.

There was a definite snicker behind the words and Cordy felt herself blush as she realised her friend had seen her all but melting in Angel’s arms.
WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

Eve closed the door to her office quietly although she wanted to slam it to release some of the tension she was desperately hiding from her co-workers.

Once she was alone and no one could see her, she clenched her fists and screamed silently, that done and feeling no better she stalked over to the phone on the desk and stabbed out the number with a stiff finger, agitation in every line of her body.

The call was answered almost immediately and she went pale, knowing what she had to say was not going to go down very well, still she steeled herself.

“I’ve just found out something that going to be damaging to the plan” her knuckles went white and her face paled at the sounds coming from the other end of the line. Quickly to get it over with she went on.

“Visionless girl’s back and I need to know what I’m authorised to do about it”?

She nodded after the other party had finished speaking, her mouth set in a grim line. It was what she had expected to hear. She would have to move fast before things progressed beyond her ability to retrieve the situation in her favour.
Part 5 CORDY’S APARTMENT

She was scrubbing the bath, trying to keep busy. She’d already done the oven, wiped down the cupboards and mopped the floors. She knew what was causing the manic cleaning spree; she was in classic denial mode.

I did not melt into a puddle of heated bliss like some dumb blonde in a bad B-movie, I DID NOT, she told herself fiercely. God she couldn’t even convince herself, she dropped her chin despondently on the rim of the white utilitarian bathtub.

To make it even worse, she couldn’t decide if that was less embarrassing than the fact that after she’d ended the ‘enlightening’ call, she’d bolted out of there like a frightened rabbit. She just couldn’t face him right then and so had run, mumbling excuses about emergencies and forgotten appointments.

God what must he be thinking now, she groaned and shook her head, mortified. She raised her chin again, it didn’t matter what he thought, it was never happening again and that was THAT.

“He kisses me again, he’s toast” she promised herself.

The crushing sense of disappointment that followed made her close her eyes and kneed her belly to try and sooth it’s jumping. Where the hell had he learned to kiss?

Talk about vampires having a ‘devouring’ kiss, she’d certainly felt like a gourmet meal offered to a starving man. If he could have he’d have swallowed her whole, but in a good way. No, not a good way, not in good way – if she repeated it enough she would believe it.

It wasn’t as if this had been their first kiss, not by a long shot, but the others had been tender and gentle, exploring and tasting one another. This one in comparison, well again with the devouring.

She could still remember a time, where for years she had not even thought of Angel and kissing in the same sentence, well not unless you added Buffy too. Her hazel eyes narrowed dangerously at that.

There’s a thought where is the intrepid slayer, or ex-slayer, whatever. What was Angel doing putting the moves on her and not Buffy, had Buffy turned him down after all.

Infuriated all over again, she attacked the hapless tub with renewed vigour and not a little venom. Just then there was a knock at the door and she smiled grimly as she stripped the gloves of her hands and went to answer it.

But it wasn’t him. A young woman stood just on the other side, Cordy had never seen her before but for some reason disliked her immediately. Maybe it was the wide guileless blue eyes, or maybe it was simply the shiny blonde hair that she was taking such exception too, given her recent mental gymnastics.

“Hi can I help you” and because she felt guilty about her reaction she smiled her biggest smile and desperately tried to suppress a grimace at the woman’s tight, upswept hairstyle and buttoned up clothes, repressed much?

“Are you Cordelia Chase” asked the woman in a small and hesitant voice, her hands clasping and unclasping with obvious nerves. Her chine blues darting around behind Cordy, as if she expected something to suddenly leap out at her.

“That’s me” she said with sunny charm, great who the hell was this nun wannabe?

GYMNASIUM – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

Angel ignored the hi tech gym equipment strategically placed around the edges of the custom built facility, in favour of a leather bag, suspended from the ceiling. Something he could safely pound on.

Half an hour later, Angel stood back from the crazily swinging leather bag, running his hand over his dripping brow, ignoring the sweat running down his chest, dampening his white vest which clung to his muscular torso like a second skin.

He had the whole gym to himself, no one except for Wes, Gunn and maybe Fred liked to exercise with the boss and as for Lorne, well he’d keel over with a heart attack if he ever saw Lorne walk in here intending to work up a sweat. He didn’t care about any of that in fact he preferred to be left alone in here.

Just as he finished the thought, Wesley walked into the room wearing a t-shirt and casual pants – not exactly recommended office wear, but considering he still wore black combats and knit tops to work he was making no complaints. Someone wants to make an issue of it, they can kiss his ass.

“Taking some exercise then”? Wesley asked facetiously, as it wasn’t exactly in question given the state Angel was in. He came to stand beside the bag, stopping its swing with one hand.

“Gotta keep in shape” answered Angel, equally tongue in cheek.

“Don’t you think you might be able to go on for longer if you actually wore the gloves” asked Wesley deadpan, pointing to the several pairs, lined up on hooks on a nearby wall.

Angel gave a small grin at the slight to his, erm ‘manhood’ and let it slide

“I do OK, seems dumb to me to train for a fist fight wearing something as thick as your average car tyre and then expect to be able to slug it out on the street”

Wesley relaxed, Angel in a bantering mood was an improvement and he had to admit bloody reassuring considering not so recent erratic behaviour. Still….

“You’ve been doing a lot of that recently, or did you think we wouldn’t notice”?

Angel started to answer sharply and then sighed and shrugged, his expression rueful and faintly conciliatory “Don’t worry about it Wes, just think of it as much needed therapy”.

Wesley stared at him a moment longer and then nodded, circling the bag he walked over to the long glass fronted display case, housing an impressive array of weapons.

“Did you want me for something” asked Angel wiping himself down with a towel that had been laid nearby.

“I was thinking we might talk,” said Wesley

“Talk about what”? asked Angel and isn’t that what were doing?

Wesley looked over and saw he’d gone tense again, he knew he should treat carefully or he would either get shut down or…. to hell with it.

“Cordelia for starters and then the delectable Eve” The sarcasm at the end was unmistakable but it was as if Angel hadn’t even heard him.

“What about Cordelia”? the question was snapped at him rapid fire as Angel walked towards him, his entire focus and attention the topic now that it included her. Interesting thought Wesley, but hardly surprising. Angel is nothing if not consistent and when he was fixated on something, nothing could shift his attention away.

“I was hoping you could tell me,” said Wesley, turning to the side to face the vampire

Angel balled up the towel he was still holding in his hands and with a snap of his wrist sent it sailing into a corner, he watched it fall before looking back at the ex-watcher.

“Cordy’s back in LA and running her own show” He flicked Wesley a sardonic glance before turning back to the punching bag for another round.

“Is that all you know”? Wesley persisted following him.

“Yes”, the bag started to take some punishment again

“She didn’t mention why she came back here to LA” Angel stopped and glared at him.

Wesley was undaunted, he’d seen that look too often and whereas at one time he would have backed off immediately, now he knew it was just Angel trying to duck out of discussing something he didn’t want to.

“As opposed to starting up elsewhere”? He finished.

“Look Wes, I don’t know OK, go and ask her and anyway don’t you have anything better to do that badger me about this”. Wesley could tell Angel had just passed simmering point, time to change tactics.

“I do actually, fancy a fight”?

“What”? he got the patented ‘are you nuts’ glower

Wesley jerked his head to indicate the weapons cabinet “I need some exercise”.

Sighing deeply Angel raised a single brow at him, waiting for him to get to the point, he knew there was point, with Wesley there always was.

“Sure, what did you have in mind”? He asked neutrally.

Wesley raised a challenging brow “Knives”?

Angel and Wesley faced each other over the mats, neither of them wearing protective gear, “No drawing blood” stipulated Angel

“Couldn’t agree more, considering it would take me ten times longer to heal than you”,

It would have been an impressive sight if anyone had been watching them. Both tall and dark, but with one much slighter than the other. Both obviously skilled but one with superhuman speed and endurance, it should have been over in minutes but neither wanted that. Angel held back and Wesley stepped up.

With whirring speed the knives darted in, out and under the arm held up to protect and deflect. The speed of both men was incredible as they wove their way from side to side of the mat, never stepping over the line although several times nearly overbalancing.

The knives would clash with a ring of steel again and again and again making the snickerty snick sounding rhythm almost musical. To an observer the movements of each man might have seemed choreographed, as if they were taking part in some kind of deadly dance.

The duel went on for so long that Wesley’s clothes were wrung through and he was finding it difficult to protect his eyes from the stinging sweat. He could tell he was tiring, it was nearly time to call a halt.

But then he overreached and Angel tripped him, he fell on his back on the mat, quite glad of the respite. That’s what you get for challenging a vampire he thought to himself.

Angel didn’t press his attack but casually tossed both knives out of harms way and held down a hand to haul the ex-watcher up, Wesley reached up to take the hand but in a moment of insanity or levity pulled instead. Angel not expecting it fell and crashed down next to him

They both starting laughing, Wesley holding his belly and roaring as he recalled the expression on Angel’s face as he started to go over.

Angel sat up and placed an elbow on each knee, he looked down at the still laughing man who was a good friend even if he was too damned persistent. But at least this approach was better than the ‘tea’.

“I saw Cordy again last night”.

Wesley leaned up on one elbow and quirked a brow as if to say ‘go on’.

“She ran into me in the sewers running from two of those demons you and Fred Identified, she’d already killed one of them” He paused, running the scene through his minds eye again.

“She killed one of them” asked Wesley his expression and tone one of admiration and surprise.

“Yeah and she was covered in filth too” He was grinning now, only someone who knew Cordelia would understand how unusual that is for her.

“We killed the last two together, she was amazing”

“You sound proud” said Wesley a smile on his own lips.

“I was damned proud of her, course I was mad too, I hated the way she had put herself in danger”

Wesley could imagine it, Angel was quite forward thinking for an eighteenth century man. But political correctness went out the window when it threatened to cause a loved one to get hurt and Angel loved Cordy.

“Then she ran out on me”, he looked casual as he said it, but Wesley knew there was some more to this. Not to mention it was hard not to miss the hurt in Angel’s voice. Hmmm, time to execute plan B.

CORDY’S APARTMENT

“Can I get you a drink or something?” asked Cordy when she’d finally managed to convince her guest to take a seat, or valium she thought, what’s with the nerves?

“No, I’m fine thanks. I really appreciate you letting me come in and talk” said Eve with eye’s carefully downcast.

“No problem, what can I help you with” asked Cordy, all business. You didn’t have to like clients to want to help them.

“I need to talk to someone about my boss”, said the woman with more hand wringing

Cordy was stumped, “Erm are you sure you’ve come to the right place, I mean work relationship issues are not exactly my area of expertise”

Eve’s head came up and she looked quizzically and hopefully at Cordy, “But you know him”

Cordy’s belly took another dive; she could guess what was coming.

“His name is Angel” said the woman, obviously slightly put off by the not so receptive look now on her face.

“What’s your problem exactly?” asked Cordy her face wiped clean of expression.

“He keeps coming onto me and I’m not sure what to do about it. I mean there’s no one I can talk to about it at work. I’ve only been there a short while, after he took it over in fact, but I heard that you used to know him well”.

Cordy said nothing, just kept gazing steadily at Eve. This is crazy, could this possibly get any ickier.

“I’m sorry if coming here was wrong its just, I’m a little scared. Sometimes he seems almost unbalanced and I think he forgets who I am and thinks I’m someone else”. Eve was starting to look seriously distressed now.

But Cordy couldn’t move over to her and offer comfort, for some reason the thought of it make her flesh crawl.

“Do you have any idea who this other woman might be, or what I should do”? Prompted Eve, watching Cordy’s face intently.
ANGELS APARTMENT – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

A little later, Eve walked through the Angel’s empty apartment. Fingers trailing over the rich colours of the leather suite, delicate fingers tracing the patterns on the cushions, he would be a while yet according to her source, she had some time.

She had prepared carefully, bathing in a vanilla scented bath and using only the lightest of scents to accentuate the perfume that he would find very familiar.

She had studied the file of the slayer very carefully, her habits and preferences, pictures over the years had been traced and gathered for intelligence purposes.

Eve was dressed in a silky and skimpy pyjama suit, the top cropped with spaghetti straps. Her golden shoulders gleamed invitingly, but in no way vying with the golden mop of loose and flowing blonde hair. Pink luscious lips pouted experimentally. She was ready all she needed to do was perform the spell.

She smiled after she had finished and the smoke drifted around the darkened room, permeating every corner with the pervasive odour of woodsmoke and something else, sweet and intoxicating.

She had drawn all of the curtains and lit only a few of the smaller lamps to give the room with its dark oak furniture a feeling of homeliness. She sat down with her legs curled up under her on his favourite leather chair, a book in one hand and the lamp next to her bathing her in its soft glow. He shouldn’t be long now and she smiled at the corner of the room where a hidden camera was recording.
Part 6
CORDY’S APARTMENT

Cordy was pacing the room, her every step a statement of agitation. Cathy hated seeing her friend like this, it made her mad.

“So you wanna do the time honoured ‘men are total bastards’ girl talk”

“No I want to go find him and drive a stake through his heart” said Cordy viciously, not stopping the pacing.

“OK, but are you going to let him have a say first”? asked Cathy, wincing when Cordy stopped with a jerk and started at her in disbelief.

“What can he possibly say, the poor girl was practically shaking with fear and all because the asshole can’t get over the fact that Buffy doesn’t want him”. She didn’t care that she was sounding like she was taking this personnally, it was frickin personal.

“Oh, I’m not arguing with you on that one, if it’s true”

“If it’s true”? repeated Cordy, “Why would some strange woman come to see me and say stuff only someone in that position could know about”?

“Because she’s evil and works for Wolfram & Hart”? said Cathy, desperately planting a seed.

Cordy started to blow her off, but then she stopped a thoughtful look on her beautiful face “I’ve got to admit I thought it was weird her coming to see me”.

The thoughtful look stayed as she turned to face Cathy sitting watching her. “I guess I just got distracted after I heard what she was saying, to want to dig any deeper”.

Cathy could understand that, if something hurt, the last thing you wanted to do was go prodding and poking around.

“Look we don’t know for sure if she is lying but we can always find out”, suggested Cathy in her most reasonable tone. “All I’m saying is that you should make sure first before going with the stakeage”.

Cordy flopped next to her on the coach, “Your right, we should find out more about Eve, so what do you suggest, you gonna do your ‘thing’”?

“It’ll be quicker and less painful than trying to beat it out of her”, joked Cathy

Cordy just grinned “When do you want to start”?

“Oh I think that there’s no time like the present” for some reason she was getting an itchy feeling, like they didn’t have much time. But she didn’t mention that part; the feeling was too nebulous, yet.

“Where to then” said Cordy hauling herself back up to go grab a jacket.

“Wolfram and Hart” said Cathy with certainty

Cordy went to grab some weapons too.

ANGEL’S APARTMENT – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

“I’m drunk,” said Angel to nobody, only just managing not to chuckle as he was thoroughly enjoying a rare feeling of general well being. Wesley had followed up their talk in the gym with a bottle of scotch and challenge to help him empty it. Angel could never resist a challenge and sneaky Wes knew that.

The elevator rise was soothing and he was looking forward to going to bed, to sleep and he had a sneaky feeling that similar to yesterday he would sleep well and dreamlessly.

The doors opened with a soft ping, rolling back to a tableau that he would never have guessed in his wildest imaginings. The girl curled up on the chair, soft lamp light, who, what, was that Buffy?
His stomach lurched and he groaned he was not up to dealing with this now.

She looked up then and smiled gently, coaxingly at him, holding out her hand in welcome. His vision cleared then and everything seemed to settle for a moment.

He walked slowly over to stand in front of the chair, careful not to spook her, his expression clear and non-threatening. When he reached her he braced an arm on each side of the chair and leaned over, a soft smile playing around his sculpted and full lips.

“Get your ass out of my chair Eve, then take it and the rest of your skinny body out of here NOW”.

He had started to talk in a gentle tone and it had taken her a moment to catch the words, too lost in the glow of success. The last word was loud, angry and meant business.

Eve was stunned, why wasn’t the spell working, it was foolproof and she’d even tested it out on another vampire yesterday, just to make sure. It had worked on him brilliantly, well if you don’t count the fact that the girl had ended up having her throat ripped out afterwards.

Then she smelled the whiskey on his breath; he was still looming over her, hostility and disgust on every line of his face and taut body. That was it, the alcohol was delaying the effects, all she had to do was slow him down and then she still had a chance.

“Just so where clear here Eve, I wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire. Now get the hell out of my place”.

Angel was done with patience, grabbed her wrist and started to haul her bodily out of the chair, willing to drag her across the polished hardwood floor to the elevator and away. But he’d forgotten that he wasn’t exactly sober and managed to turn too fast. Suddenly he went dizzy and fell to his knees.

He took some deep breaths to try and centre himself with the feeling of air in expanded lungs. But for some reason that just made the dizziness even worse and the room seemed to fade and narrow around him until all he could sense was the few feet surrounding his body.

Quickly Eve dragged a rug from nearby and placed it next to him, pushing him until he toppled back on it, mumbling incoherently. Great now it was working too well, it looked like she was going to have to do all the work, bastard.

She looked around her, this was going to have to do, there was no way she could move him over to the bed or even the couch without help and she wasn’t prepared to let anyone else in on what she was doing.

She undid his shirt and peeled back the sides, his eyes were closed and he groaned. She ran her hands over his muscular chest, enjoying the sensation of rock hard muscle and smooth skin, she dug her nails into his side and scraped a little. That woke him up a bit, then she leaned over and kissed him, carefully placing her lips in such a way that her tongue could dart into his mouth.

Helplessly he responded, his hands came up to grip her hips as she straddled his chest. Eve sat back after a few minutes, he protested and pulled her down again, until her breasts where pressed to chest. Still grinning she flicked a tongue over his nipple and then rubbed her silk clad lower body, slowly down his belly and over to the telltale bulge in his pants, stopping there to press down and gyrate her hips, teasing him.

“Well, well not so fussy now are you” she said in teasing murmur. But then the spell would make you pant after anyone with breasts and a vagina she thought to herself, but didn’t say aloud in case he remembered tomorrow.

She was damned glad he’d been drinking, she should have thought of that herself. Once you got over the initial delay it actually made it even more potent which would make it look even better on camera, not to mention add to the effect of convincing him he had actually changed his mind and wanted her.

She was so engrossed in what she was doing she didn’t notice the door leading to the stairs, which was kept permanently locked, open behind her.

Cordy slipped the lock picking tools she’d picked up back in her back pocket, Cathy was behind her. They both stood still and silent, staring in shock.

Then Cordy saw red, bright flashing red right before her eyes, she could feel her blood pressure rising and another pressure in her chest expanding.

The first Eve knew of their presence was when hard hands grabbed her hair and arms in a vice like grip and flung her to the side and off Angel. She turned around expecting to see Wesley or Fred and could only gape when she saw it was Cordy, boiling mad and full of accusing fury.

“I’m sorry, we couldn’t help it, we just…” she let her voice trail away and a guilty blush stain her cheeks, “I let him persuade me it was the right thing”.

Another person stepped into view and bent down to check out Angel, who was struggling to get up off the floor. Eve narrowed her eyes, who the hell was this.

“Cordy, you better check this out. I’m not sure but he doesn’t look right to me” Cathy got up from her crouch and backed away from the vampire who was starting to get a bit of co-ordination back. Uh Oh better make it fast.

“What did you do to him” gritted out Cordy, her face only inches away.

“Nothing, it just sort of happened” said Eve with studied calm, but her eyes flickered as she watched Cathy sniff the air delicately like she was tasting it and then start rooting around the candles and supplies she’d left on the sideboard.

“She’s a lying bitch” said Cathy with deliberate matter of factness from over the other side of the room, holding up something that looked vaguely like a thick vegetable root.

That was enough for Cordy, who promptly pulled the blonde woman up by her hair and said into her face “I guess no one ever told you trespassing’s illegal”

Then she drew back a fist and let it fly straight towards that pink stained mouth. Both women watched as Eve fall back on the floor in an unconscious heap, Cordys chest still heaving with anger at having been tricked into feeling sorry for this woman. Then she turned to Angel and found he was standing right behind her.

“Cordy back away from him” shouted Cathy, almost too late.

“Why” asked Cordy doing it anyway, but not understanding what was the problem, he looked OK; in fact thinking about he looked damn good, whoa back up what happened to being pissed off?

“He’s erm been put under a spell, kinda”. Cathy sounded so embarrassed, Cordy turned to her and almost got herself cornered into a chair.

“What kind of spell”? She was circling a couch and table now. Watching him watch her with that intent, I’m getting ready to pounce look that he could practically get a patent on.

She darted a look at Cathy to see what she was doing. Was that a blush on her friends face, she started to get worried and gave him another once over. OK a little on the dishevelled side and she could smell whiskey on him, which wasn’t actually that unpleasant and still hot, hmmmm.

“Angel, c’mon its Cordy’s please stop with the stalking OK. What kind of spell Cathy”? Cordy was yelling by this point.

Angel just shook his head but didn’t speak or stop and she scooted round the chair again. This is getting seriously ridiculous, she thought with an inner giggle. Do I want him to catch me or not? GET A GRIP!

“It’s a lust spell I think”

“A what”!! Cordy couldn’t believe her ears and stopped in her tracks. OOPS wrong things to do, strong arms caught her round the middle.

Not again.

He didn’t cart her off anywhere, which to her mind would have been the sensible thing to do, oh no that wasn’t quick enough to suit him. He dropped them both simply by falling back and taking her with him, when he hit the floor still holding her tight, he rolled, until she was trapped underneath him.

“Cathy” she wailed but that was the last thing she could get out before she was being devoured again.

Cathy meantime was frantically rummaging through the various drawers in the place, shit, there’s got to be something here somewhere. She didn’t want to have to hit him or anything, one because she probably would only make him mad and two she didn’t like hitting things.

She heard muffled sounds and turned to take a quick peak, and shut her eyes “Oh my innocent eyes”, OK a bit overly dramatic she thought, but seriously running out of time here.

Then she heard Cordy giggling, giggling?? Another look and she was getting really panicked, she felt a bubble of hysterical laughter nearly burst free.

“Cordy try and not get affected OK, where the hell has she put the antidote”. Frantically she ran to the windows to see if there was a way of opening them, to get some fresh air in and reduce the effects, nothing.

Cordy was enjoying what he was doing way too much to give a damn about anything else right now. Wow, what had she been running from? His hands held hers down just slightly above her shoulders while his lips nuzzled and nipped at her neck, causing her to helplessly arch into him, lifting her hips so that the hard bulge of him settled even more strongly into her sensitive core. So intense was the sensation of pleasure he reared back so that he could thrust harder, get closer.

She watched him, loving the look of almost savage arousal on his face before he captured her lips again, releasing her hands to grip the edges of the blouse she was wearing, then he tore it open regardless of the buttons that had once held it closed. She didn’t even notice the destruction of the blouse, as the fingers of one hand cupped an aching breast, tormenting the sensitive nipple with quick and clever caresses.

His other hand was at her waistband, pulling down the elasticised waist to get access to her soft inner flesh, she quivered in anticipation. Her own hands started to wander, pulling at his clothing wanting, no needing, to get them off him.

Then he suddenly lifted himself off her and she could have screamed in frustration. He was shaking his head as if trying to fight something off and then he gave a growl of annoyance, before he flopped to the side of her unconscious.

She peaked over his prone body and saw Cathy holding a tranq gun, looking flustered as hell and more than a little frazzled.

“Why did you do that” she wailed

“Why, WHY” yelled Cathy, pushed beyond her limit, “Cos neither of you are exactly compus mentis at the moment and you’d have been miserable as hell tomorrow if I hadn’t that’s WHY”

“Oh”, Cordy looked puzzled for a minute as if she was trying to capture a thought or a memory.
“OK” she was starting to feel a bit more herself now that Angel was out of the picture, like coming out of a fog, she climbed gingerly to her feet and looked down at him.

“Magic spells with a bit of alcohol thrown in I reckon. He should be back to normal in the morning; he just needs to sleep it off. Mind you he’s going wake up with a KILLER headache,” said Cathy standing beside her, still holding the gun.

“What are we going to do with her” she asked Cordy, nodding her head at the still prone figure of Eve.

“I don’t care, but we need to get Angel onto his bed or something, he can’t be comfortable there”

Cathy looked at the large man on the floor and gave Cordy an incredulous look, then shrugged.

After a while and with a lot of huffing and puffing they finally managed to get Angel on top of his bed, the dark blue coverlet was rumpled from dragging his big body into place, but he was still unconcious and so not complaining.

“Are you sure you’re OK alone with him”? asked Cathy a little anxiously, “He’s not likely to stay out for long, it wasn’t a full shot”.

“Yes mother” said Cordy softening it with a smile, “Go on I’ll be fine and listen I appreciate the offer to deal with the evil bitcha in there. If it was me I’d kick her out on the street”.

“It’s all right. Better to get her out of here before he wakes up and goes after blood”

Cathy was halfway to the door when she turned back, hesitating “Are you sure your OK now” her blue gaze was strangely penetrating. Cordy shooed her out and closed the door.

“OK big guy time to wash that vanilla scent of you, cos its making me feel sick”. Cordy didn’t know why exactly she couldn’t bear to leave him with ‘her’ scent all over him, she just knew she couldn’t.

So she found a bowl and filled it with warm soapy water and came back to the bed armed with a washcloth. She struggled a bit to get his outer clothes off but finally he was naked except for tight black boxer shorts, for her own sanity she left them on him.

Before she started she tucked towels around his torso to stop the bedclothes getting wet then she started with his chest, gently and efficiently wiping him down and then using another towel to dry him, then his neck, shoulders and arms.

She managed just about to keep it impersonal, he’d had his privacy invaded enough for one night, she told herself. She took the towels and bowl away when she had finished and came back to sit beside his still body.

She just looked at him for a while, her hazel travelling his length admiring every strong, muscular line. God he’s big, all over was all she could think as her strayed to his groin but turned away with a blush, even out cold the effects of the spell kept him hard, she suddenly felt a desperate need to swallow.

Helplessly she lay down beside him, I’ll just watch him sleep she told herself, it’s not like I haven’t done that before. But she knew she was kidding herself, it was different then, even just turning or moving on the bed could wake him up, but now he was totally unaware.
She wanted to touch him so much; she fought the urge for along time before giving in and running her fingers over the rock hard thigh nearest to her from the knee up to were his boxers rested at the top of his thigh.

She continued to run the fingers over the cloth, avoiding the bulge of his arousal and utpo his belly button. She smiled a soft and dreamy smile, she had always loved his tum; not that she would ever have admitted it but she had a bit of thing for his belly. She’d get sneak peaks when he would stretch up and his shirt or whatever would ride up and she could see it and when he would take off his shirt so she would patch him up, god it used to be so difficult to keep from trailing her fingers over him.

It was taut and smooth but for some reason the skin around his belly button always looked silkier and more vulnerable, than any other part of his body. She touched it now, sweeping her soft palm over him, laughing softy in delight at the silky feel of it, she’d been right. Helplessly she leaned over and pressed soft lips to it, running her tongue around it and then down a little to were his navel met his boxer shorts.
Slightly shocked at herself she shot a look at his face, imagining he had woken up and was watching her, but his eyes were still closed, she sighed in relief and almost as if to say thank you leaned back and pressed a kiss to those wonderful sculpted and full lips.

Then his eyes, gently so as not to hurt or disturb him, next just under his ears and then she rubbed her nose against the kiss curls there. She laughed again; who would have thought such a big brooding hero would have such wonderful little curls just behind his ears.

She felt bad, but she was enjoying this so much, she knew she was still being affected by the spell, but she also knew exactly what she was doing. All the spell did was make her ignore all the reasons for why she couldn’t be with him, not give her the desire which was purely her own.

She kissed his stubborn chin and trailed her tongue down the strong column of this throat down to his chest. Her hair loose and silky followed her lips in gently caressing him, down to his nipples, which she gave a lot of attention to, rubbing with her cheek and lathing it with her tongue.

She picked up one of his hands so that the flat of his palm covered her own, so much smaller one, Such beautiful hands, wide palms with long sensitive fingers. She turned it round to press another kiss there before tracing his index finger and then sucking it into her mouth.

She froze when he groaned deep in his chest, the sound deafening after the silence she had enjoyed before, she shot up mortified to think he might wake up and find her still there but he didn’t let her get far.

In what felt to only be a microsecond she found herself looking up at him, pinned by his weight and the fire in his sinfully dark eyes. She was mesmerised by the change desire brought to his already handsome face, it was taut and those magnificent cheekbones were thrown into relief by the fact that his teeth and jaw were clenched but his lips were full and rosy.

He stared down at her and his arms trembled for a moment as if under strain, but he stilled them.

She wondered if he was still under the influence of the spell and thought he must be, she knew just by his expression that this time there would be no escape and she was fiercely glad. As cowardly as it might seem, this was the excuse she had been looking for to have him to herself even if it would only be for one night.

He took a deep breath and his chest expanded so much she felt a little crushed, then he was speaking his voice deeper than she had ever heard almost a growl.

“You left me once before, I won’t let you do it again”.
He didn’t let her respond but lowered his head and took her mouth in kiss so deep she felt as if she were drowning. He would barely stop to let her breath and then only to find her neck and bite and suck at that sensitive spot, it was almost unbearable the feel of him there. Made even more so by the knowledge of what he was and the deep conviction in her soul that he would not hurt her.

His mouth found her nipple through the lace of bra, but that was too much of barrier for him and so he ripped the middle open to get at her naked flesh. She squirmed, desperate to be able to caress him too, but he would not release her hands.

She arched her back and raised her hips in protest and a silent demand but he simply pressed her down again with his bigger body. Maddened she thrust and gyrated her hips and thighs and their lips met and clashed again in a battle of wills, his tongue thrusting past hers until she would do so the same and so the kiss became an intimate duel.

Suddenly he sat up and for one horrified moment she thought he would leave her, but instead he pulled her pants and underwear off with one tug and pull and in less than a second she found she was naked except for the remains of the blouse and bra. He left them on and pulled her beneath him again.

She felt him naked along and around her, she had no idea when he had taken off his last piece of clothing but only cared that he had.

His legs, heavy with muscle and slightly hair roughed grazed her inner thighs, forcing them to part and allow him access to her. Her thighs rose up to ride his hips, her hot inner core wet and aching to feel him there, inside her, deep enough to touch her womb.

He was suckling hard on each nipple, one at a time, the sharp pleasure almost painful as hot licks of fire shot straight to her womb, making her writhe underneath him. But still he wouldn’t give her what she wanted, she felt as if she would go insane if he didn’t hurry, she pushed at is shoulders to try and push him onto his back but instead he gripped her hips in his large strong hands and scooted down her body so fast she felt his lips, nipping and sucking at her clitoris before she knew what he was going to do.

She screamed at the intensity of a pleasure so engulfing it felt like a brand, she bucked in his hands but he simply gathered her closer, lifting her closer to him and those tormenting lips and clever tongue. Her head fell back as she arched again, before tossing side to side on the bed as she came. He didn’t stop sucking until he had taken all she could give.

Finally as she lay limp and still recovering from her orgasm he crawled up her body and mounted her. It had been so long for her, only the fact that she was so wet made his penetration bearable, helpless to stop it she screamed again as he stretched her, pushing himself remorselessly into her. The delicate tissues already sensitised by her orgasm made the sensation of his entry a journey of pure feeling. She clutched his shoulders and waited for her body to adjust to his size but he didn’t give her the chance, his lips trailed down her throat and over her shoulder at the same time as he was finally into her to the hilt.

As he pulled back for his next thrust he found the cord on her neck and gripped it with his teeth, her second orgasm came immediately and he started to thrust heavily into her, ruthlessly taking her higher and making her keen deep in her throat. His own release following as her inner muscles worked ceaselessly on his sex.

Afterwards when she could feel her limbs again she found her legs were trembling with fatigue and the release of tension. He was still inside her with is face buried next to hers on the bed, he was trembling too.

Part 7
ANGELS BEDROOM

They lay together on the bed as they used to before she’d left. His bigger body wrapped around hers, the cover wrapped around the both of them, keeping her body heat in with them and warming him.

“Are you awake” she asked him but didn’t turn around.

He debated not answering and pretending to be asleep, but knew she would never fall for it. He shifted back a little but didn’t move his arm where it was draped over her hip.

“Yeah”

Keep it simple, less likely to put his foot in his mouth and say something to set her off. But he could feel it brewing; there was a heavy expectant air around them.

“Can I ask you something”? asked Cordy in a hushed voice, still facing away from him.

“What” he felt uneasy, usually Cordy would just ask, not ask if she could.

He wished she would turn around so he could see her face, but after what had just happened there was no way he was going to try and make her. He listened to her breathing as she lay there, waiting for her to go on.

“Did you want this, or was it the spell”?

What the hell was she asking him, he turned over and lay on his back, a hand rubbing over his face, What to say? It was daybreak which was hardly his best time of day and he had a killer hangover.

When he stayed silent for so long, she lost it and shot out of the bed so fast all he could do was stare at her.

“Ok don’t answer that, I don’t want to know”, she was jerking her clothes on as she spoke the words stiff and a little choked.

Last night she hadn’t cared but now she did, it hurt and she just wanted to get out of there and away from him. She shouldn’t have stayed, scratch that she thought, I should have just left him lying on the floor.

“Cordy wait”

“Stay the hell away from me” she tossed back as started to stalk towards the door.

He suddenly materialised in front of her and she shot out a punch straight for his nose, his hand caught her fist but he didn’t try and keep hold of her, but backed up a step while still blocking the door. At least he’d wrapped one of the towels around his hips.

“Please, will you just wait and give me a chance to answer” His eyes were pleading his expression strained.

She crossed her arms and glared at a spot on his chest, refusing to meet his eyes. “Do it and hurry up” she snapped.

He sighed but tried anyway “I did want you, both times and not just because of the spell”.

He waited for a few beats, hoping she would at least look him again, finally she did. Her gaze steady but still not appeased.

“I always want you” he said softly, hoping desperately to convince her.

“The first time out there”, he nodded towards the sitting room, “I was almost out of control but I knew I wanted you and then later in here. I knew exactly what I was doing”.

She said nothing, just kept looking at him as if weighing his words against what she saw on his face.

A part of him hated admitting that, he couldn’t remember all of the details yet, it was still a little hazy and he wasn’t sure she’d been willing. Admitting he’d been in control of himself meant he might have done something so terrible it hurt just to think about.

But lying to her was wrong and he had promised her a long time that he would not lie to her again, no matter what. Some promises just had to be kept.

“What about you? did you” he struggled to ask, “erm did I, I mean where you..” he trailed off, the words stuck in his throat and he had to look away from her.

“Did I what”? She looked confused but he was still looking away and didn’t see it, her voice was no longer tight with anger though.

He tried again. “Where you willing”? He asked with a grimace and a darting look up.

She gaped at him as he met her eyes again, “Was I willing, Angel you big dork, of course I was willing. I practically seduced you”.

She smiled then “Don’t you remember”

He shrugged reassured but still paler than usual “Most of it, but some of the details are still a bit unclear”.

“Oh’ said Cordy, disappointed, then she jumped towards him in alarm as he started to sway where he was standing.

“Angel are you OK” She put her arms around him, trying to help him stay on his feet.

“Yeah I just need to get back down” His voice was weak and unsteady too.

“OK just lean on me”, they made their way back to the bed just fine if not in a straight line.

Angel fell back on the bed and winced, moaning and pressing the heel of his hand to his forehead.

“Got a hangover have we” asked Cordy brightly, reassured when he nodded and gave another moan as the movement caused his head to throb again.

“Do you feel sick” she asked laying a hand on his shoulder.

“No” he replied. Turning on his side, his eyes squeezed tightly shut.

“You big baby, how old are you? She laughed

In response he hooked an arm around her hips and pulled her towards him, she didn’t resist and when she was sitting next to him, he lifted his head and snuggled down into her lap, his face pressed into her belly.

She laid a hand on his dark head and stroked down and over his broad back, he heaved a sigh and wrapped his circling arms around her hips a little tighter.

“What am I a pillow now”? She asked a smile lighting her already beautiful face, soft full lips curved in amusement, dark hazel eyes sparkling with amusement at his antics.

“Hmm” was all she got out of him

“Are you still mad at me” he asked after a few moments had passed and she hadn’t tried to move him off her.

He sounded muffled and she could only just make out the words. He certainly wasn’t in any hurry to move.

“No, I’m not mad anymore” It was true, as much as he had hurt her, he’d managed to dig himself out of it, “I must be going soft”.

“You wanna get comfortable again then” he sounded so hopeful she grinned down at his head and started to slide back until she was lying down. He moved then to face her and lifted a hand to stroke her dark silky hair away from her face.

His dark brown eyes were clear and he smiled delightedly at her. She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously, had he been putting it on in a play for sympathy.

He saw it and guessed what she was thinking and said quickly “I feel better lying down”.

Yeah right.

EVE’S APARTMENT

“This had better have worked”. She pressed play on the vide player and leaned forward on the couch, an icepack held to her swollen nose, below bruised eyes.

The TV screen changed from static to the sitting room with her smiling in the chair, she watched it from that point. Dispassionately analysing as it showed her attempt to seduce Angel, followed by the interruption.

She froze the screen on Cordelia’s friend purely out of curiosity and as she hadn’t paid much attention at the time. Plain Jane; pale with no makeup, mousy brown hair stuffed into a ponytail, baggy jeans. Not exactly a femme fatale or anything close. But she’d need checking out anyway.

She turned it back to play again, the rest she hadn’t seen. Her face went tight and pinched with rage when she saw the dark haired bitch getting all down and dirty with the guy she was supposed to have seduced.

You’d have to be blind not to see the difference in the way Angel had reacted to the two women, with her he’d been unable to not respond because of the spell but he’d just lain there. With Cordelia he’d all but run her to ground and then started to rip her clothes off.

This was not good and the Senior Partners were not going to like it, she would have to find other uses for this goddamn tape. She mentally ran through her options.

Two looked promising, she decided finally, but both individuals would need to be tracked down before she considered sending a copy to them, anonymously of course.

A MOTEL ROOM

Cathy tossed and turned in her sleep, brown hair matted with sweat, face pale and strained and scrunched up as is if in pain. Nightmares assaulted her mind, images of death, killing torture and pain.

She kicked the sheet off her body and her arms flailed around as if trying to push the dreams away. Then she quieted for awhile as the tone of the dreams changed. More pain but this time with guilt and sorrow and a deep aching loneliness.

Then more pain as it came to her in flashing images a child loved and lost, taken and abused only to return and be lost again. Her breathing hitched and then stopped altogether. She sat bolt upright amongst the mess of the bedclothes, moaning and clutching her head with tears dripping down her cheeks.

“Shit, Oh shit” she kept repeating it as she staggered up on weak legs and went into the tiny bathroom to splash her face with cold water. She could barely catch the water in her cupped palms, she was shaking so hard.

A while later she sat on the chair in the corner with blue yes red rimmed and bloodshot. A mug of strong coffee in her still trembling hands. All she could think was that Cordy must have lost it and he’d picked it up and kept it on him. So where was Cordelia, she tried again just in case but could only find him, she blocked it.

“Where are you Cordy”, she wasn’t particularly worried, well only a bit. Its not like she kept permanent tabs on her, Cordy knew all she had to do was take it off and the link was severed. But that’s not what had happened there was still a link, only now it was Angel.

ANGEL’S BEDROOM

Angel woke up to find a note from Cordy on the pillow next to him, remembering the last note she left him, he panicked until he read it. She’d had to leave on an errand but would see him later, he relaxed again.

He left the bed and took a shower, happily preparing to face the afternoon and night ahead. He returned to the bedroom to finish dressing when something caught his eye, lying on the bed where he’d been sleeping.

He reached over and snagged it up, it was a slim leather cord, with a small piece of wood attached to it. He rubbed his finger over it; it was smooth but otherwise unremarkable to look at, except for the fact there was blood on it, old blood but still there anyway. His brows drew together as he vaguely recalled it had been around Cordy’s neck. What was it some kind of talisman?

He fished out of his pocket the note she had left, she’d written down her cell phone number in case he wanted to talk to her, smiling again he memorised it carefully. Should he call her or wait until a little later? He didn’t want her to think he was being obsessive or anything.
Part 8
EVE’S APARTMENT

Eve answered the door and stood with one hip cocked, blocking it with her other arm. Her face was bruised and swollen still, but she still managed to look arrogantly assured.

“What do you want”? She looked with disdain at Cordy. “What’s up did lover boy kick you out of bed? A classy girl like you too, damn it’s such a shame” taunted Eve.

“Hardly, but that’s none of your business” Said Cordy steadily.

“A girls gotta have some fun,” said Eve mockingly “come on where’s the gossip”?

Cordy ignored her and pushed her way past the smaller woman only to turn around and give a scornful smile of her own.

“Is that the closest you can get to a sex life Eve, gossip or is that before you’re forced to resort to drugs and magic”?

“Oh I wouldn’t be so uppity if I were you, looks to me you got something out of that too” Said Eve with a sneer on her face.

“It’s interesting you should say that. Exactly how do you know that, since you were out cold at the time”?

Eve just walked past Cordy and into the living room to lean on a sideboard, her feet nonchalantly crossed at the ankle.

“What did you come here for Ms Chase?”

“I want the videotape you took out of Angel’s apartment”

“I don’t know what you mean” said Eve, not even bothering to try and lie well.

“I found the camera you had hidden in the room, so I know you’re a lying bitch” said Cordy matter of factly.

“Maybe with all the excitement I forgot to put one in”. She smirked and then feigned a shiver.

“Security said you came back afterwards, why was that if not to get the tape”? Asked Cordy, hiding the rising anger, how could I have ever fallen for this woman’s crap?

“Look Cordelia, this has been interesting and all but I have work to do, so you get to leave now”, Eve smiled at her, assured that Cordy would not get what she wanted out of this little chat.

“I’m not going anywhere until you give me that tape, so just get used to the idea and save us both some time, not to mention me the pleasure of your company” said Cordy her voice dripping with deadly sarcasm

“Or what, you gonna hurt me? Well maybe I like pain” said Eve mockingly, opening her arms wide in invitation.

“Oh purleaze is that supposed to impress me with how much of a sicko you are. Like I don’t know that already”. Cordy sauntered closer with a cold smile.

“You know something I think I actually miss Lilah, unlike you, at least she had some standards” Cordy let scornful eyes wander over the woman’s clothes. “I mean c’mon if those shorts got any shorter you need a pickaxe and a tow truck to get them out of your ass”.

“Maybe she did, until you killed her” said Eve maliciously, but her face went pinched with anger. That had hit home.

“You might want to bear that in mind” Cordy answered coolly.

Eve turned around and pulled out a drawer, she took something from it but didn’t close it. It was a small camera tape; she tossed it onto the nearby couch.

“You got what you came for, now get out”

“How do I know if this isn’t the right one….?” Cordy didn’t get to finish

“It is” said Eve

“Did you make a copy”? This had been way too easy, she would never have believed that Eve would hand it over so easily, what did I hurt your ‘widdle’ feelings.

“How could I it’s only been a few hours and I’ve been here ever since. Do you want it or not”? Asked Eve with a show of boredom.

Cordy moved to the couch and carefully reached down to pick it up. It looked like the right type but she didn’t trust this set-up, something niggled. She took her eyes of Eve for a moment.

That was all Eve was waiting for, Cordy was slightly unbalanced for only a second but it was enough. Eve aimed a kick straight for her chest; Cordy managed to twist out of the way but lost the battle with gravity and fell backwards. Eve was on her in an instant.

She literally fell on her with an elbow thrust out, Cordy tensed her stomach muscles but she was not fully back in shape yet. Oh god it hurt, she saw stars and had to struggle not to throw up, she managed to avoid the next blow to the same spot. What was with this woman and body blows?

She jammed an arm out and smashed the heel of her hand up to Eve’s jaw, which snapped shut loud enough to make her think she might have cracked some teeth. Good.

Eve squealed as blood started to pour from her mouth, she’d bitten into her tongue. As Cordy still struggled to recover from the earlier blow, Eve staggered up and ran back to the sideboard. She reached back into the open drawer and withdrew a dark metallic object and pointed it at Cordelia.

Cordy watched frozen as the other woman cocked the weapon, ready for firing

She carefully schooled her expression to keep it calm as she met Eve’s eyes, over the small black gun aiming right between her eyes.

She raised her hands and tried not to look down the black hole of the barrel, silencer attached and all.

“I left a note, people know I’m here”, said Cordy, sounding cool and collected, when she felt anything but. Ignoring as best she could her pounding heart and the awful sinking feeling in her belly

“I doubt Ms Independence would have told anybody in case they tried to get all ‘protective’ on you. No I think your lying” Eve struggled to get the words out of her damaged mouth.

“I think that I can kill you now and get you out of my way, permanently” Her china blue eyes sparkled with rage and malice.

“You are so wrong” said Cordy quietly, she knew her only chance of getting out of here alive was to convince psycho woman that she would not get away with it.

She didn’t doubt that Angel would suspect Eve anyway, but without proof it might only take dumping her in some seedy alley to convince people that she’d been the victim of a mugging or something. Probably the reason for the body blows, less obvious.

“We’ll see” said Eve

Cordy’s cell phone started to ring out, shrill and demanding. Eve lost concentration for a moment and Cordy seeing it, took a risk. She picked up and threw one of the cushions off the couch and thanked god for an accurate aim.

Eve instinctively lifted a hand to protect her face and the gun wavered off target for a few precious seconds. Cordy answered the phone.

She didn’t bother with saying hello or even wait for the caller to identify themselves.

“I’m in Eve’s apartment and she’s got a gun one me”.

Eve stalked towards Cordy, her face screwed up into a caricature of rage, her mouth twisted with it and still oozing blood. She jabbed the weapon so close to Cordy’s face, she couldn’t prevent a flinch from showing.

Eve was undecided; she needed to find out who was on the other end of that call. It had been OK to kill Cordy and dump her before, but now. Dammit who was on the other end, did they matter?

She was to snatch it away and find out for herself, when Cordy smiled at her and handed it to her anyway.

“I think you’d better take this one”. She pushed the phone closer towards Eve, who had yet to take it, “Your boss wants a word with you”.

Eve went utterly still and backed away a little; keeping the gun out of reach should Cordelia try and take it off her. Hoping it was a trick she took the phone with her free hand. The gun still trained on Cordy.

“Who is this”? She said. The answer had her flushed face turning white.

ANGEL’S OFFICE

Angel was standing behind his desk, leaning with one hand planted on the desk surface, the phone receiver clutched so tightly in the other hand; he had to consciously relax it or risk cracking the plastic.

“Eve, this is Angel”, his knuckles went whiter again “Just shut up and listen to me”. His dark eyes were staring at a spot in front of him but not seeing anything, narrowed to glittering slits. His voice low, furious and deadly.

“If you hurt Cordelia, I promise you that when I’ve finished with you and dumped your broken body in the sewers, it’ll look prettier after rotting for a few weeks.”

He waited a few seconds for it to sink in and then said “I expect to hear Cordelia talking calmly to me as she is walking out of the door unhurt, you got that. If I don’t, your life is over and I’m warning you now do not test me”.

He listened for a moment “Now give the phone back to Cordelia”

EVE’S APARTMENT

“Hi, it’s me again. Yeah I’m leaving now” said Cordy, watching as Eve lowered the gun until it hung at her side and then slumped down to sit on the edge of a chair.

Cordy backed out of the room, the phone still to her ear, keeping an eye on Eve until she had closed the door behind her. The tape in the other hand.

“OK I’m out” She told him. The next minute she winced and had to take the phone away from her ear for second. “Owwwww OK, stop with the yelling I’m not deaf ya know”.

“Look I’ll see you later and explain it then, I promise”

Back inside Eve still hadn’t moved from the chair but was rocking back and forwards her arms hugging her body.

“At least I still have a copy” she whispered to herself, grasping at straws. The videotape wouldn’t do, it wasn’t enough and she was dead anyway if she didn’t make some progress soon.

“I wish I’d never started this, it should have been so easy. It was supposed to have been easy” tears of self-pity stung her eyes.

They’d underestimated him, even before she’d been getting nowhere with him. They’d concentrated on the wrong one, instead of researching the slayer they should have done Cordelia and taken the opportunity when she left to make sure she never came back alive.

As it was she’d gone about it all wrong and now she was going to die, unless she came up with a plan to pave the way for someone else to try and get to the vampire. She knew she’d blown it but if she laid the groundwork well, maybe they would be lenient with her.

She had an idea, it was a long shot but it had worked before. She got shakily to her feet and over to the sideboard again. She needed a messenger who was quick and reliable.

She found the entry she wanted and made a call.

FRED’S OFFICE – WOLFRAM & HART LAB

Fred’s email popped up with a new message. It was an electronic report telling her Eve had placed a call on a certain date and time as well as the number she’d dialled. The same happened with calls Eve made from her office at work and all emails sent from home and work too. Oh the wonders of modern technology.

She smiled and fought the urge to check behind her to see if she was being watched. It was a chess game, she’d guessed Knox checked her emails and so she built electronic walls to stop him. He then found a way around them and she had to build another. This being the case, before they could implement the plan to keep tabs on Eve, they’d had to find a solution.

Finally Wesley had helped her come up with that solution and so far Knox and/or someone else had not been able to breach it yet. To help keep the possibility of being found out less of a risk, only she got the reports and then distributed hard copies to both Angel and Wesley.

ANGEL – AROUND & ABOUT

Once the deadly confrontation between Eve and Cordy had finished and he knew she was safe. Angel pulled Gunn off a case and asked him to stake out Eve’s place.

After hearing what Eve had tried to do to Cordy, he’d been all over that idea, at least once Angel convinced him not to just kill her. He didn’t want her dead yet and definitely not at the hand of any of his people. The senior partners would more than likely take care of that little problem themselves.

The fact was Eve was going nowhere that they wouldn’t know about and they were checking into that call she’d made straight after the confrontation with Cordy.

It made him uneasy, that she’d been feeling chatty enough to call someone after what had happened. He knew he’d frightened her badly, even over the phone he could almost taste it. She was upto something and they needed to find out what. Fred was working on that right now.

He pushed it out of his mind until they knew more, Gunn had Eve under surveillance right this minute and anyway he had made certain Cordy was safe. He’d assigned a surveillance team to watch over her, he knew she wouldn’t be pleased but he needed to know she was safe and it was only until they found whoever this call was made too.

He had an hour or so until he was meeting Cordy at her apartment, but he wanted to get a gift, a sort of welcome back present. She might think it kind of sappy, but it’s not like he got to be sappy very often and he thought she would appreciate it.

He was inside a print shop and professional framers, the guy he’d spoken too had assured him that he could reprint the photograph he’d couriered over earlier both bigger and better than the original and then frame it for hanging.

Angel was paying the guy extra for staying late, he’d used the excuse of being in meetings and could he pick it up at such and such a time. You tell people sunset and they look at you weird, it must be instinct or something.

The shop owner was a middle aged beaming bearded man who chattered non-stop. Angel had to fight an urge to invite the guy to meet Lorne, what a pair they would make. Not that he really minded the guy was genuinely helpful.

Plus he did a wonderful job, Angel grinned delighted by the quality of the reprint despite the fact that it had been blown up to nearly triple the size. He remembered Cordy insisting on the photograph being taken back during the happier days at the Hotel, with Fred just coming out of her shell and before a pregnant Darla showed up.

It was of the five of them, all huddling next to the counter in a line grinning, pleased to be together. It had taken nearly a whole roll of film as Cordy had insisted on taking numerous shots just in case, considering she had set it on automatic. It was lucky she had, this was the only one that had turned out.

But it had got ripped somehow and it had been one of Cordy’s favourites. Well it was fixed now and fitted to a honey pine frame, it was a rich warm wood and it looked expensive. He didn’t care so long as it beat the cactus.

The shopkeeper asked him if he wanted it gift wrapped and he started to say no, thinking of brown paper but the guy pulled out some pale blue tissue like stuff and royal blue plaited cord. He gave him a charming smile and agreed that would be great.

Angel left the shop with an hour to spare, plenty of time to go and pickup some wine, he knew what she liked. He was just walking back to the car when suddenly; the package was snatched from under his arm. It took him a few seconds to get over the sheer surprise of having something taken off him, which gave the thief a small head start.

After running flat out for nearly ten minutes, Angel finally caught up with the thief in a deserted building hidden behind a bar and pool hall. The noise from it might have drowned out the running footsteps but the smell of his would-be thief was more than enough to keep him on his trail.

This guy was damn fast he would give him that, not to mention a hell of a hard time when he got his hands on him. During the chase he’d seen enough to tell it that whoever it was they were only small, not much bigger than a child, but fast and definitely not human, hence the smell.

The pungent aroma was even stronger when he entered the building and approached the figure crouching near one corner.

“Hey that’s mine” Angel growled at it.

“Mine now” said the figure, it even sounded like a child, petulant and possessive.

It shuffled to the side when he came too close; clutching the package to its body and looking at the vampire out of blinking green eyes the size of saucers. Its skin was almost translucent, a tracery of veins visible all over its skinny face and hands.

Angel sighed deeply and stood over it, assuming an authoritative ‘hands on hips and losing patience’ stance. The demon looked too delicate and childlike for him to consider hurting it. But he was going to get Cordy’s present back no matter what it took.

“I want it back and you are going to give it to me”, he used a booming voice to try and scare it into giving it up.

“I want it” it said back, still holding tight.

“Why” asked Angel frustrated, why me, he thought, this kind of thing doesn’t happen to any other guy trying to get his a girl a gift.

“Cos it’s yours” came the reply, obscure much.

“Do I know you” he asked finally.

“No but I know you, you’re the vampire with a soul”, it gave a little grin, showing small razor sharp teeth that nevertheless looked like they might snap if they bit into something too hard.

“So what, you wanted a souvenir” asked Angel incredulously

“No I wanted you to meet my mother”, it seemed to think that explained everything, NOT.

“Why would you want that” asked Angel feeling he had to play the game to get back what was his, without having to hurt it.

“Cos if my mom kills you, then I’ll can tell all my friends and show them this picture to prove it”.

As reasons go that made no sense whatsoever, was this for real? Angel just stared at the little demon. He could feel his temper rising, he was going to be late if he didn’t get a move on.

Enough was enough, he leaned down to snatch it away “Gimme that” he snarled, vamping out in an attempt to give the demon-child a fright and maybe cause it to turn loose.

He heard a crash then and some pretty serious sounding snarls coming from just in front of them, behind some crates and trash piled high. Looking at it he realised from the way it was organised that this was probably the start of a nest of some kind.

“Mom I presume” he said to the enormous sized creature that came roaring out, leaving a trail of broken boxes and other trash in its wake.

“Wow kid, you’ve got some growing to do yet haven’t you” he said to the evil grinning demon-spawn. Just his luck; he was tonight’s entertainment and trophy to impress pals all rolled into one.

Like hell, he had somewhere to be and better things to do.

He kept his game face on and charged at ‘Mom’, who flipped him onto his back, which wouldn’t have been so bad except it was after throwing him at least twenty feet away. “Owwww”

He got back up and dusted himself off, looking at the creature, searching for weaknesses. He hadn’t come out armed because he had intended on going straight over to Cordy’s apartment and anyway he had a trunk full of weapons. No good to him now though.

The demon apparently lost patience waiting for him to make a move, so it came to him. The only similarities between mom and spawn were the skin and eyes. The teeth on this thing gave even him pause and as for being delicate, he was only surprised the floor didn’t shake with each ponderous step.

That was one thing in his favour, she wasn’t exactly nimble on her feet, or whatever was hidden under the baggy clothes and bindings strips that covered where the feet would be.

He hefted up a wooden crate upto his chest and let it loose at her head, it hit with a resounding crash and the wood splintered around the things face. It shook the pieces loose and swiped the rest away, but it was bleeding, no tough hide on this one then. Good.

He looked around for some kind of sharp object but came up with nothing, then he was out of time and had to just throw a punch, dodging the smashing blow it aimed at his own head. It staggered back a little and he threw another one and then another, left and then right fisted, driving it back.

He backed off as it stood shaking its meaty head as if trying to clear the ringing, he knew how that felt. He took a step forward and then spun on his heel, bringing his other foot around in an arc to land a powerful kick, sending it crashing sideways back into its nest of trash.

“Stop it, stop it” cried a voice next to him, the little demon clung onto his leg and wouldn’t shake loose even when he tried to kick it of him.

“Here have your stupid picture, just leave my mom alone” it said tearfully, running to the fallen demon and kneeling down next to it.

Angel had the wrapped picture in his hand, he lifted up to the light, it was OK. He turned to leave, Mom would be OK, it was just stunned, he was done here.
Part 9
He’d had no idea that the whole incident had been watched by someone else in the building. If this was a movie the hero would have got a prickling sensation or something to show he was aware of some danger but Angel was oblivious to it.

She watched him leave, her large eyes watching him with a kind of sick hunger, a wide smile on her mouth. Dark as midnight hair curling around her heartshaped face. Her eyes did not turn to the other two until the door had closed behind him with a bang.

Then she came out of her hiding place; she was tall for woman and walked with unusual grace across the dirty floor, as if all she needed was a full swinging skirt to follow the gentle sway of her hips. She stopped beside the fallen demon and its spawn.

The youngster looked up at her with its saucer like eyes, all blazing green. “He hurt my mom”

“Mummy’s fine darling” she said curling hands around its chin, digging her nails in for a second on that fragile looking skin.

“You said you’d pay me if I got him here, but I don’t want it now.” Its lips quivered “I shouldn’t have done it”.

She pouted at him, still stroking his head “I needed to see Daddy, but I should have known I was too late”, she wrapped her feminine looking hands around its little throat and started to squeeze with crushing force.

“I’m always too late”, tears squeezed out of her eyes and her head swayed from side to side as if unable to understand something. She looked down to find it lifeless now, lying next to its oblivious mother.

She giggled and smacked her own hand; she hadn’t meant to kill it. She’d wanted to find out more about the picture and what was so important about it?

“It’s all his fault you know”, she hissed in a whisper “The Angel beast”

“I’m all alone, nobody loves me or cares for me” Tears dripped freely down her face now, “But not him, he has a new family and a new love”. She threw back her head and gave a howl of rage.

*He has to pay you know” she said harshly to the dead demon-child.

Then in a horrifyingly abrupt change of mood, she burst into song and twirled and pranced back toward the door, her arms held out as if she where holding a partner at a dance.

CORDY’S APARTMENT

She answered the door to find him standing there looking nervous and yet smiley at the same time. She smiled back, all he needed to do to complete the picture of a nervous boy was shuffle his feet, which was kinda funny coming from such a big man.

Angel relaxed when she smiled at him and then stood back in silent invitation. Until she remembered he needed more than that and grinned cheekily at him, cocking her head to one side as if considering what to do. He raised a brow and assumed a ferocious scowl, playing the game.

“Come on in”. No admonishments about behaving himself this time at least.

“Here let me take the wine, Ooh I like this one” she said to him as he followed her across the small living room towards the tiny kitchen.

He had the package under his coat; she hadn’t spotted it yet. He laid it on a table before joining her. “Nice place” he said looking around him and then back at her, unable to keep his eyes off her.

It had been difficult before to not just stop what he was doing and stare, it was even harder now since last night. Now he knew her body in the way he’d wanted to for so long but had never dreamed he would be able to.

She smelled absolutely gorgeous, all warm damp femininity and slightly flowery, she must have only just recently bathed and her hair was still a little damp but as glossy as ever.

She was wearing a sleeveless blouse that was dainty and feminine and a flirty skirt that showed off her fantastic legs. He looked away before he embarrassed himself, adjusting his pants where they had gone snug in the last few seconds.

He took the glass she offered him, filled with ruby coloured red wine and lifted it to his lips as she did the same.

“So you were going to tell me what got you haring off after Eve today,” he said it with only a touch of exasperation.

Cordy told him about the camera she’d found and the fact that the tape was missing and then described the confrontation and the fight that followed. He took the tape she handed to him and turned it over in his hands.

“I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know what’s actually on there. It can’t be played on a normal video player without the equipment so”. She shrugged and left it at that. Angel decided to do the same.

Angel the tucked the tape into a pocket in his leather duster and then took the coat off, placing it carefully on a chair. Cordy sat down on one corner of the couch and he sat next to her, they faced one another, suddenly awkward.

Cordy hated awkward silences and so decided to jump in at the deep end. If she wanted to know how he felt about her, she was going to have to poke away at some sore spots. She took a deep breath and then let it out slowly, her hazel eyes watching him carefully.

“Tell me about Buffy”? She asked it was more of a demand than a request, however soft the words were uttered.

He’d been expecting it, he still hated talking about it but he’d known she would want to know. So he started from the beginning, telling her about the trip to Sunnydale and what had happened.

He left nothing out and he couldn’t look at her when he got to the bit about kissing Buffy so he missed Cordy rolling her eyes towards the ceiling, when he told her Buffy’s Cookie analogy.

“Why did you do it, tell her you would wait”? She wasn’t going to let him get away with that one.

“I don’t really know” He ducked his head, embarrassed, knowing it wasn’t good enough. He had to try and make her understand he wasn’t being evasive, it was the truth.

“I can’t explain it; I got over Buffy a while ago”

He defended himself quickly when she gave it him ‘that’ look. “Longer than even you know” he finished with a direct stare.

He moved closer a determined look on his face. “Look what I do know is that I don’t want to be given a choice, for me there is no choice to be made”.

He was going to lay himself on the line, he’d decided earlier that he had to take a risk and tell her what was in his heart, either that or lose her again.

“I feel bad about Buffy, because she deserves to be loved, but I can’t do that anymore, not in the way she needs. I love you now, love you and need you in a way that I never have before even with Buffy”.

“You left thinking I was going back to Buffy, but I didn’t and even if you hadn’t come back, I still wouldn’t do it. I’m not the guy for her and she’d not the girl for me”.

Cordy’s eyes dropped, hiding her expression, her cheeks becoming a little flushed. Then she looked back up him and smiled. She leaned forward and clasped his large hands in her own so that they were joined when she spoke again.

“I love you too, but just so you know, I’m not sorry that I left”. He looked like he had mixed feelings about her answer, but he let her carry on without interruption.

“I was too needy and dependent; I had to get over that”

“I didn’t mind,” he said quickly.

“I did,” she said back just as quickly.

He nodded understanding that was part of what he loved about her, the strength and independence. Although he had to admit her independence did cause him a few headaches.

“So where do we go from here”? She asked him

He looked at her, the lamplight reflecting the depths of his brown eyes, turning them into liquid pools, hiding and revealing some of the emotions he was trying to keep hidden or at least less obvious. He didn’t want to scare her off; he pursed his lips before twisting them into a wry smile.

“I want it all,” he said clearly, watching for her reaction.

She cocked her head again, her brows lowering just a bit in confusion, “What do you mean”?

“I know that I shouldn’t expect too much, I’m a vampire and a freak of nature. But I want”. He stopped as if searching for the right way of putting it.

“Before you decide if you want to be with me, I need you to know that it won’t be like with Buffy”. He looked at her, wanting to see that she understood what he meant.

“I won’t stand by and just watch if you decide you want someone else. I’m jealous and possessive and I know that’s wrong but I can’t help it”.

If he breathed he would have been holding it now, all he could hope was that he hadn’t just dug his own grave.

“Angel…”, she stopped herself, looking into the distance. The only thing stopping him from panicking was the half smile tugging the corners of her full lips.

“If you decide to be with me, I need to know that your mine and that you won’t get cold feet and just leave”. There he’d said it. He watched and waited, not knowing what to expect from her.

“I’m not going anywhere Angel and as for the rest. I don’t care what’s PC these days. I’m a woman and when a guy loves me he damn well better be possessive of me, or I’ll know why not”.

They stared at one another for second then Angel eased forward to press a kiss to her parted lips, lingering for moment to see if she would pull back. She didn’t, instead she kissed him back, her tongue darting inside his mouth once before she broke the kiss and leaned back so that she could see him fully.

“I have a present for you” He said, looking into her slightly dreamy hazel eyes and watched them widen with excitement, enjoying the blazing smile that lit up her whole face.

“You do, where is it”? Her eyes darted over him and then came back to his face with an expectant look.

He got up and went over to the table, where the package lay as yet unnoticed by Cordy and brought it back to her. Instead of sitting back on the couch he squatted down in front of her, just before her knees and placed it on her lap.

“I hope you like it” He said softly hiding a sudden feeling of uncertainty, maybe he should have just got a cactus again.

She darted him a glance full of excitement and pulled at the wrapping, he stayed where he was, watching her. Finally she held the picture and frame on her lap, staring down at it.

“It’s just a house warming gift,” he said to her.

Her fingers traced the photograph over the glass cover and along to the edge, feeling the smooth carved wood of the frame. She looked at him then with tears sparkling on her lashes.

“It’s lovely, thank you”, he wasn’t so sure she wasn’t just saying that, what with the tears and all but then she put the picture carefully down beside the couch and threw her arms around him in a bear hug, simultaneously placing a smacking big kiss on his lips.

Relieved and chuckling Angel picked her up off the couch so that she was high against his chest; she carried on kissing him, trying to wrap her skirt-clad legs around his waist. She moved onto his jaw, nipping slightly and then soothing it with a lick. His neck beckoned her, especially where it joined his ears but he had other ideas.

He sat down on the biggest of the chairs, ignoring the couch now, he wanted her as close as possible. Cordy found herself on his lap, with her head laid gently down on one arm of the chair and her legs draped over the opposite one.

She looked up at him quizzically, she couldn’t really do much in this position, he was too far out of reach. She tried to sit up but he placed a hand on her chest, his lips turned up in a sensual smile as he said, “Turn about’s fair play”.

She was still confused and then it clicked, He was talking about her exploration of him the night before, while he was still out. At least she thought he’d been out, maybe not. She’d ask him later she decided, too engrossed in watching his strong fingers as he started to undo the tiny buttons of her top, one by one and taking his own sweet time about it.

Finally she was bare to the waist and laid back spread before him like some kind of golden offering. She didn’t mind, in fact her belly was swirling with excitement and a keen sense of anticipation that made her skin roughen and goosebumps appear on her skin.

She licked her lips and watched his face as it tightened and darkened with desire, it was a look that she could easily learn to crave from him.

But she was a bit nervous too; her relationships so far hadn’t really prepared her for this. The only one with regular sex had been Groo and he’d been eager to please but not exactly creative when it came to love play. She shivered slightly.

Angel speared his fingers into her hair and gently the cupped the top of her head, kneading with sensitive fingers. He lowered his head until his lips hovered over hers.

“Do you trust me”? He asked she nodded her eyes wide.

“Then give me your tongue”.

He closed the distance and touched his lips to her, she did as he asked and he sucked gently and rhythmically on it. Cordy was forced to clutch her thighs together as desire speared straight to her loins causing a piercing ache to start there.

His free hand cupped one firm breast, circling the taut peak of her nipple, tormenting her with the need for increased pressure. He leaned further over her, to take the nipple in his mouth and suckle, strongly. She moaned at the pool of increasing heat between her legs.

He moved his lips further down her body, stopping to gently kiss the bruised area that Eve had caused, before dipping a pointed tongue into her belly button, stabbing repeatedly, all the while his callused fingers continued to tease her breasts with incredible skill.

She wished he would undress too so that she could touch him, but he snagged her fingers when she tried to undo the buttons on his shirt. He brought the hand to his mouth and nipped warningly at the middle finger, before kissing the same spot and draping the arm back out of his way.

He moved back up to her breasts to torment with kisses, dangerous little nips and flicking licks of that clever tongue. His hand travelled down her taut belly, stopping to knead it firmly with his long fingers spread, occasionally dipping below the waistband of her skirt to touch the beginning of curly damp hair.

She squirmed on his lap, desperate to feel him touch her there. He was hard under her bottom and she pressed down trying to incite him to go faster, do more. God please she needed him to touch her there.

Then he did and she nearly shot upright at the sweet pain of finally feeling him rub and stroke the sensitive flesh, he kept her down by the weight of his forearm and his mouth still suckling at one breast. He stroked her with one finger, inside and around, spreading the moisture her frantically aroused body was producing, nature’s way of enticing penetration.

He pushed one long finger into her and pressed deep, searching for the spot that would bring her the most pleasure, he found it and she arched, her legs widening as she helplessly tried to increase the depth. His lip returned to her mouth where he penetrated her with his tongue at the same time as with two fingers between her legs, matching the rhythm of both to drive her to the edge.

His thumb circled her clitoris and then stroked the stretched flesh of her vagina, the nerves made more sensitive by the invading, smoothly thrusting fingers. She couldn’t bear it and came after only a short time the pleasure almost too much. She arched wildly up, the feelings so intense she tried to evade him, her hips bucking and thighs clenching tight.

She came back to her senses to find he had turned her so that she was curled up on him, her skirt straightened and tucked back down. He held her tight, one hand under her bottom to keep her high, the other stroking the back of her neck.

He kissed the top of her head and she could feel his smile and guessed he must be looking pretty damned pleased with himself. She thought well two could play at that game; after all it was only fair.

She could feel him still rock hard beneath her hip and raised her head off his chest to kiss his smiling lips, “My turn now”. He leaned back and gave a quirk of a brow, amused.

“Well if were doing a role reversal thing here, then I think it’s my turn to hold you down and take us both for a ride, don’t you”?

She didn’t wait for answer but wrapped both hands around his face and plunged her tongue into his waiting mouth.
Part 10
CORDY’S APARTMENT (A CHAIR!)

“Well if were doing a role reversal thing here, then I think it’s my turn to hold you down and take us both for a ride, don’t you”?

She didn’t wait for answer but wrapped both hands around his face and plunged her tongue into his waiting mouth.

She slowed down the kiss after a few seconds, wanting to enjoy the taste and feel of him. She licked his lips and sucked gently on that full yet masculine bottom lip, kissed the corner of his mouth. She made little forays inside then to stroke along his tongue but retreated when he wanted to go deeper. Teasing him by not giving him another of those deep possessing kisses.

She could feel his hands tighten on her and then relax as he let her lead and it excited her. An idea sprang to mind and she gave a little shiver and smiled as part of her shied away from it. A pulse still throbbed slow and deep between her legs from before only now it became stronger and deeper as her loins pooled with heat again.

She had Angel, her best friend, ex-boss, vampire with a soul and brooding hero at her mercy could she honestly deny an urge to test all that control again. Last night had been mind blowing, but she still wasn’t convinced he’d hadn’t been influenced by the spell. Should she try and find out or was she taking too big a risk.

She slid off him and looked up into his face, she saw his nostrils flare a little and knew he could smell her arousal and felt herself moisten even more. His eyes were hooded and he watched her with an intensity that made her mouth go dry. His mouth, rosy from their kissing was unsmiling now and she didn’t need to be empathic to know he was almost vibrating with a frustrated and hungry passion.

Her eyes dropped to his shirt as she started to undo the buttons, slipping them free and revealing his broad, muscular chest in the widening vee. When she had all the buttons undone, she pushed the material aside so that she could admire him. Her hands with fingers spread wide explored each dip and curve of his deep chest, marvelling at the smooth skin over hard muscle.

Cordy pulled him up to lean forward, so that she could push the shirt of magnificent shoulders that were wide enough to make her feel small and vulnerable kneeling before him. They looked at each other with hungry eyes, both anticipating what she would do next. She dipped her head and licked along his right collarbone and up his neck to nip at the sensitive point where his jaw joined.

His head turned to her so that there lips were only a fraction apart, his expression demanding until she gave in and her lips travelled back to his and finally gave him the wild and hungry kiss he’d been after.

Her hands roamed over his chest restlessly, finding his nipples and rubbing her palms over them, feeling them harden into stabbing points, begging for further attention, which she was happy to oblige. Her head lowered again as she pushed him back down, lathing each nipple with twirling licks, followed by little sucks with soft slips.

He groaned and grasped her by her sides, pushing her down onto his lower body while he pushed up with his hips, desperate to feel her weight on him. She went to slide out from his hands and after only a moments indecision he let go and watched as she leant back to smile at him, an almost feral look of satisfaction on her face.

He groaned again and gritted his teeth as another surge of lust went straight to his head and further tightened his already hardened sex. She looked wild and sensual, her dark glossy hair was a little curly and dishevelled now, framing a face of startling beauty, her hazel eyes sparkled with lust and pure joy, lips always full were now red and slightly swollen.

She was seduction incarnate and it was killing him. He wanted to strip the rest of her clothes off, tuck her small frame underneath his and penetrate her and then watch as she arched up, taking him deeper and deeper. He wanted to do everything he could think of to that gorgeous body and hear her scream his name. But he couldn’t this was Cordy’s time now and he had to just grit his teeth and bear it, he had to.

She found the zipper of his trousers and pulled it slowly down, delighting in the evident bulge underneath, when the zipper was all the down she grasped the waistband and tugged downwards. Once he was naked she sat back on heels to admire her handiwork.

Wow, if she’d known what he’d been hiding under all that black all these years she’d have jumped him years ago, she thought to herself. Not realising she was wearing a very definite ‘cat got the cream’ look on her face like a neon sign but it only aroused him more.

She couldn’t help but go straight to it, her fingers wrapping around the hard and pulsing length and he lifted his hips in an instinctive little thrust. He started to groan and shake his head when he saw the way she licked her lips and slowly bent down to him take him in her mouth.

It was too much, the wet heat of her mouth around him, her tongue flicking and swirling around the already damp head. He felt helpless to do anything but take it; she was enjoying it and god, so was he.

His vision started to swim and he knew he was going to come if she didn’t stop, finally he couldn’t take it and pulled her up by her arms lifting her higher and higher until her hips where level with his. Then he slipped off the chair so that he was sitting with his back to it.

Still holding her up but now by the curve of her hips he buried his face in her damp curls and flicked his tongue along the sensitive crevice, she started to a little thrusting motion gently in rhythm with the darting pleasure. He stopped and she moaned out a protest only to gasp in pleasure when he sank her down and impaled her on his rigid shaft.

She didn’t to be coaxed but he held her hips in a firm grasp to lift and lower her on him, her back arched and her hair hung down her back in a glossy curtain. He wrapped it in his hand and grasped her neck, keeping her arched so that her breasts brushed against his chest.

His other hand came up to cup her full breast as she rode him, fingers brushing and then pulling at the hard little peak before he brought it to his mouth to suckle so strongly that she cried out at the hot licks of fire that arrowed down to that other hot and wet place.

He released her hair and kissed her deeply, forcing her mouth to part and make way for a thrusting all consuming kiss that literally stole her breath. She lost it then and couldn’t do anything other than feel so he carried on for her, thrusting high and so deep he touched her womb and she came apart in an explosive orgasm that had him joining her, utterly done in by the milking pressure of her inner muscles on his sex. He arched his back as he came, driving her further up his body and their lips fused again as he strained upwards to catch from her a final soul stealing kiss.

EVE’S APARTMENT

There was a knock at the door, she went to answer it then stopped with her hand about to unlock it, frozen what if it was him, come to kill her after all. Then a voice called out through the wooden panels.

“Eve, open the door it’s me”.

She pulled it open before she thought whether it was wise, what if this was a summons by the Senior Partners. He eyes were huge in her pale and still bruised face; streaks of old tears covered her cheeks. Her visitor took one look and laughed.

“God you are so pathetic Eve, I can’t believe they replaced me with you”

“Lilah” said Eve, her eyes darting around to see if she was alone.

“Yes I’m alone” sighed Lilah, put out by not being invited in yet. She pushed the door open and barged in much like Cordelia had done.

She took in the state of the rooms and shuddered “Have you got no pride”. She walked back to Eve still smiling and then slapped the blonde women hard across the face.

Eve held a hand to the reddened spot, blue eyes wide and new tears formed, Lilah saw them and snapped “you deserved that and more for ruining a perfectly well laid plan, you stupid little fool”.

“What’s going to happen to me” Asked Eve, terror making her knees weak so she had to sit down.

“You’re going to die and then live in eternal torment of course” mocked Lilah, not inclined to try and soothe the terror-filled woman.

“What the hell happened, did you go insane” asked Lilah, who apart from the anger was genuinely curious.

“It’s not my fault” wailed Eve “It was Cordelia Chase; he was so wrapped up in her when she came back round I had to do something”.

“You should have stuck with the plan, at least then you wouldn’t be were you are now. Maybe we did miscalculate about the slayer’s importance to him after all these years. But what with last year and all and then the kiss at Sunnydale, we decided emulating the slayer was the best way” said Lilah, stalking around the apartment.

“You were wrong and I knew it, I had to improvise” whined Eve, clutching at Lilah’s sleeve as she walked past her. Lilah yanked herself free and looked down with scorn at a quivering Eve.

“’Improvised’ is that what you call it now, you were supposed to be all sweetness and light and accessible to him, like the slayer was. We did enough research for god’s sake” Lilah placed her hands on her hips, glaring at her, before resuming the pacing.

“But no you had to throw it all away because you were convinced you knew better”

“But I thought I could be like both of them and it would be a win-win situation”

“So you pranced around trying to give him orders like the slayer and arguing with him like Cordelia. Well that worked a treat. You are so stupid it takes my breath away, well it would if I had any”

“I don’t know what to do” said Eve in a whisper, lost.

“Well I do, we have a new player in town, well actually it’s an old one. A vampire called Drusilla has decided to pay us another visit and I think we should be hospitable, don’t you”.

Lilah didn’t wait for answer but continued, “I have arranged a meeting between the two of you. I trust I can leave the details to you”.
AN ALLEY

Night had fallen and the sky was turning a deep indigo above the surrounding rooftops. Eve shivered despite the warmth that remained from the heat of the day she’d been standing here for only a few minutes, waiting as instructed in this alley at this time.

“All that blood and your feeling cold” asked a voice from behind. “Would you like me to warm you up”? The voice was strangely old fashioned, from a different era.

Eve turned sharply with an indrawn breathe, to find a tall dark haired woman standing directly in front of her with arms held out as if waiting to gather her into an embrace. Eve jumped back unable to stifle an instinctive screech of pure fear. The forgotten little girl inside screaming at the sight of a monster.

The woman scrunched up her face as if about to burst into tears, her arms retracted back to hug her body, moaning pitifully at the cruel rejection. Then she vamped out and snapping and snarling, shoved her face into Eve’s horrified one before darting towards her neck.

“Lilah sent me” Eve’s voice quavered.

Drusilla moved back a fraction but did not release the brutal hold of her upper arms. “Angel needs to suffer” whispered Eve, eyes wide with terror and waited to see if it was enough to save her life.

Drusilla smiled and kissed her neck, but didn’t bite. “How are we going to do that then, my sweet”, she could feel the lifeblood of a warm living thing and felt a sudden overwhelming need to hold it closer, to bite and drain it all away. No No No, she told herself, mustn’t spoil it.

Drusilla released Eve and smiled coyly at her “Come on now and tell Drusilla. I’m waiting and I hate to wait, it makes me sad”, her bottom lip quivered.

Eve stared at her, shocked by the sudden mood swings, from smiling to pathetic misery in a heartbeat, this thing was as mad as she’d been warned.

We erm, uh” she gulped and tried again. “He’s a vampire still even with the soul; we must attack him through the heart. Not with a stake but with the things he loves most in the world”.

“Ooooh yesss Angel loves to love, not like Daddy who loves to hurt” Drusilla’s mad eyes turned dreamy with the memories of pain and sick torment.

“So my sweet, my dark dove with hair like gold, tell me who is the light of his darkness, what awful deed would cripple him the most”. Malice dripped from every word uttered from lips with pointed and glistening fangs.

“Cordelia Chase first. We vamp her and she goes after the others. When they are all gone, dead or dusted by him, then he’ll be all alone again”. Eve’s heart was pounding still but with excitement now, just looking at this creature, seeing it she believed what it was capable of and knew that here was her salvation.

“You’re so evil” hissed Drusilla, feigning horror and covering her gleaming eyes with both hands as if to hide from something more horrible than herself.

Then she laughed hysterically and swept an unwilling Eve into a manic dance, the music was all in her head and she finally had a new dancing partner.

CORDY’S APARTMENT

Cordy was daydreaming, her hands cupping her chin as she gazed off at something, a blush staining her curved cheeks. She closed her hazel eyes as if remembering something and then snapped them open.
“I need to buy some handcuffs” she said decisively.

“You what”? Asked Cathy standing in the doorway leading to the kitchen, an expression of dumbfounded amazement on her face.

Cordy’s blush spread all over her body when she realised she’d said it out loud, she’d been doing it again, thinking about the other night when she’d last seen Angel, right in this room and on this chair, which was now a firm favourite, even over the couch.

“Sorry my mind was on other things”? She smiled a sweet smile and hoped Cathy wouldn’t ask what things.

“I bet”. Who needed to ask, pretty damn obvious really, she hid a delighted smile and left Cordy to get over her embarrassment while she finished making the coffee.

“So he just gave it back to you, no questions asked” She called after a minute or two had passed.

“Yup, he had other things on his mind too” Cordy smirked, she couldn’t help it and laughed when Cathy snorted and coughed out coffee which she’d swallowed the wrong way trying to smother a giggle.

“Don’t worry its safe and sound in my jacket”. Cordy smiled her thanks at Cathy as she came over with a mug for her.

“Stop with the worry lines OK, he didn’t notice anything odd and even if he did I wouldn’t tell him anything that would get you in trouble or anything”. She said to reassure the nervous woman.

Cathy almost always looked nervous, unless she was mad and when she got mad, boy did she get MAD. But now she was extra spooked and not without reason. Cordy tried to imagine how Angel would react if he found out one of her closest friends was another freakishly old immortal being with incredible psychic powers. Unfortunately after recent history she could imagine his reaction all too easily.

Thinking about it from his point of view she could understand why he would react badly, if things hadn’t happened the way they had, she would have too. But she trusted Cathy and knew without a doubt that it was not a case of being controlled. Cathy was more of a victim than any of them had ever been. When she thought about it or when something else came out, about the bad things, she would wonder how her friend had managed to carry on but then she would remember that the other woman had no choice.

Cordy sighed and turned her attention back to the laptop she had booted up half an hour ago and then forgotten about. She checked her emails and found only the one, it was from an address she didn’t recognise and the title was blank, she checked it anyway, it’s not like she got overloaded with them.

“That’s weird” she said, not turning away from the screen until Cathy was standing next to her. “This is from an old friend, well I met him a few times and he was really sweet his name is David Nabbitt and he’s filthy rich. He says he wants to meet to discuss a case”.

“What’s weird about that” replied Cathy reading the email over Cordy’s shoulder.

“Well nothing I suppose, but why come to me and not Angel”, then she shrugged “Never mind, we need the work to build a rep, so whatever it is we’ll take it”. She smiled pleased at the thought of David’s money coming in her bank account and not Wolfram & Hart’s coffers; wait till I tell Angel she thought.

“He wants to meet me tonight at a meat packing plant downtown, there’s a factory there that he wants me to see” Cordy’s face screwed up in a grimace at the less than glamorous location but then she mentally shrugged and it smoothed out.

“It’s got to be something pretty dangerous if he says you mustn’t phone him at all costs, in case it alerts the ‘wrong people’, do you think it’s safe for you to go” Asked Cathy.

“Of course it is and anyway aren’t you coming with me” replied Cordy, standing up to go and get a refill on the coffee, she needed the caffeine.

“You know I will if you want me too”. She thought of asking if Cordy would mind if she checked it out first, but Cordy didn’t like that unless it was necessary or there was a definite danger and anyway most of the time the future wasn’t shown, except for the immediate future which wouldn’t help them now.

“It’s a plan then” said Cordy with a smile, resisting the urge to jump for joy at the prospect of another job.

MEAT PACKING PLANT

A few hours later Cordy and Cathy parked up outside the dark factory and looked at it. Cordy’s enthusiasm took a dive when she thought of them having to enter the forbiddingly looking building. All of a sudden she wished she’d spoken to David personally first.

Shaking of the trepidation she got out of the car and waited for Cathy to join her and then both women walked cautiously towards a small door to the left of a fire escape ladder leading to the roof. The big shuttered heavy double doors looked unlikely as a way in.

The door was unlocked and Cordy opened it going in first with Cathy right behind her, both of them staring into the darkness of the factory, straining to see more than a few feet in front. Cathy bumped into something that clanked and swung and she only just managed to avoid the back swing of the big meat hook.

“Great, get yourself skewered why don’t you” she muttered angrily to herself.

“You OK, asked Cordy who had jumped a mile into the air in fright, her nerves where strung that tight.

“Yeah, sorry watch were you step yourself OK” replied Cathy in a whisper.

At least now they could see a bit better, their eyes having adjusted to the darkness. “Where is this friend of yours then” asked Cathy, still whispering.

They both heard movement up ahead of them, deeper inside the factory. The sound was that of more clanking metal, it carried on longer that it should have and moved closer towards them as if someone where walking down the walkway, hands trailing and pushing at the cold curved metal spikes.

Cathy stiffened in horror as the stench came to her then, she grabbed Cordy’s arm and tried to lead her way but the noxious odour that assaulted her nostrils made her want to gag and it took a few seconds before she could gasp out.

“Run now, I’ll distract it” she tried to push Cordy, but Cordy wasn’t budging.

“Oh no you don’t we’re not going through that again. You are not bait and I’m not running away” Hissed Cordy but backing away all the same.

“What is it, what’s the problem” She asked and stared into the gloom trying to pierce it and see what was coming.

“The smell, it’s bad and it knows we’re here” replied Cathy in the lowest whisper she could manage and still be heard.

Cordy nearly groaned, but didn’t doubt what she was being told. Whatever was in here with them was either not human or the kind of human being that makes demons look like boy scouts. Cathy could smell souls like other people did perfume or body odour.

She once told Cordy that each individual soul had a unique smell, but there was always one common pattern, the soulless or just plain evil souls stank like the worst kind of shit imaginable.

Then Cordy remembered she’d stuck a penlight in her jacket, it was so much easier to carry that the other bigger one, not to mention less powerful, but it was better than nothing.

She switched it on by twisting the cap and trained it down the walkway where they had heard something approaching. The noise had stopped when Cathy had first spoken as if whatever it was had come to a standstill and was maybe just watching them.

It must have been pure luck but the first thing she picked out was a pale face, framed by dark hair, a familiar face and still filled with madness. “Drusilla” she whispered and her heart clutched and seemed to stop in her chest, before resuming with a fast and furious beat.

Drusilla smiled and then disappeared, desperately Cordy flashed the light around, trying to locate the vampire again, but she came up with nothing.

“Drusilla” she yelled, answer me damn you.

“Don’t be frightened kittens; I’m not going to hurt you, yet.” Drusilla’s voice drifted down from up above them and Cordy swung the light and saw that the female vampire was crouching perched on top of the metals hanging hooks, peering with glee down at their frightened faces.

“Then why set this up” Asked Cordy, her voice strong despite the fear that wanted to freeze her throat.

“So you will know that I want to play” Answered Drusilla

“Play with what” Asked Cordy, afraid she knew the answer, why else where they here.

“Why with Angel’s pets of course, starting with you”, Drusilla sounded pleased at the prospect.

“Hey not a pet or a cow just human, got it” snapped Cordy with a flash of rage that dulled the fear. “Anyway why me, why not just go and fight Angel and get yourself staked”.

“So confident in your demon lover are you”? Snickered Drusilla, “But Angel won’t know about it until it’s too late”.

“Do you think, Not! Angel will get to know within a few minutes. Then he’s gonna hunt you down and put you down like the animal you are”. Cordy waited for the obvious you’re going to die right now speech and loosened her arms preparing to fight.

“You won’t tell him” replied Dru, unconcerned with the thought of facing her sire.

“Are you mental” snapped Cordy backing away and pulling a silent Cathy with her by the hand.

Cathy gripped back and froze for a moment, she said nothing but she relaxed against Cordy’s hold, she leaned over and pushed hard at the closest hooks to mask her voice as she whispered to Cordy.

“She has no intention of killing us now, this IS just a warning of what’s to come”, given the circumstances Cordy really liked the sound of that, she’d worry about the rest later. She just had to get them out of here.

“You won’t tell Angel because you don’t want him to suffer and he will if he kills me, the guilt will eat at him all over again. I was a good girl once, before he did terrible, nasty things to me”. Drusilla stopped and gave a belly laugh, shaking with it before jumping down in front of them again.

She ran her hands over her arms like a lovers caress and shimmied her hips “Delicious things, would you like me to tell you what they were”? She looked wide eyed and expectant at a revolted Cordelia.

“No, spare me the details” replied Cordy, I mean really spare me, she shuddered.

“Even if you did tell Daddy, I would not let him find me, but I would go and find a nice house with an innocent little family like the one you killed. I would knock gently and ask to be let in, using a sweet beseeching voice just like you did and then” Drusilla paused for dramatic effect.

“Then I would kill them all, slaughtering them and the little children and all in your name, because of YOU” Drusilla approached a stricken and silent Cordelia.

“So will you tell Angel about our little game” she looked deep into Cordelia’s eyes, satisfied at the pain she saw there.

“No” whispered Cordelia, unable to say anything else, hardly registering that Drusilla had backed away with an evil smile and disappeared and that Cathy was tugging at her to get her moving.
Part 11
IN THE CAR

Cathy drove, eyeing Cordy with concern who was pale and silent beside her. Ideas of how to help her in short supply, it wasn’t so much the physical threat that was the problem right now, but the unexpected re-opening of old wounds.

“Why do you think she set us up and then let us go”? Asked, Cathy hoping that the subject would draw her out of the past.

Cordy just shrugged “I have no idea”, she rubbed her fingers over her face and forehead, massaging and leant her head back against the head rest. She said nothing else the rest of the journey home, Cathy didn’t push.

Cordy knew Cathy wanted to help, but right then all she wanted to do was go home and do nothing, what could she do, the clock was ticking and she had to face this alone. She didn’t know if she was ready to go against Drusilla or if she had a chance of winning.

A BASEMENT

“You did what”? Asked Eve, incredulous and annoyed.

“I wanted to see her” Drusilla defended herself with a pout and tucking her chin down, looking at Eve within large blinking dark eyes, the picture of innocence in a white lace shift dress.

How could this human know that when you made someone you had to want to make them, or at least she did, she had only made one other and that had been her Spike.

“Why didn’t you just do it then” Demanded Eve

“It wasn’t the time, you can’t just do these things on a whim, you have to do it right with the proper ceremonies”

“Ceremonies” repeated Eve, what was she on about, what ceremonies.

“Yes” said Dru firmly, “I want to do it grandly and she has to be ready, like I was made ready, filled with fear and loathing”.

“Is this where you ask for a casket of soil or something” Asked Eve remembering things she’d heard about this vampire and another one she’d made for Wolfram & Hart.

“I want an audience to watch as I do it, witnesses to the start of HIS downfall. They must clap and applaud and then bury her for me and wait in a silent vigil for her to arise again”.

Eve just stared but shook her head, what could she say, this was Drusilla’s show and if she needed pomp and ceremony for it, so be it.

“We need to get recruiting then and we need to make it snappy. The longer this takes the more likely it is that Angel and Co will hear your back”
CORDY’S APARTMENT

The phone rang out and Cathy picked it up thinking it might be Cordelia who had gone out for the first time in days. Cordy was still not back to normal after the altercation with Drusilla, she avoided calls from her friends and Angel, who had all left numerous messages for her.

“Hello”

There was tiny silence “Who is this”, asked a deep male voice.

Oh oh, should she just put the phone down, no better not he would likely just come storming over, plus it was rude. Uncomfortable she said “This is Cathy; I’m a friend of Cordelia’s”.

“Is Cordelia there”? He asked

“No she’s out at the moment can I pass on a message for you” She asked with deliberate cheeriness. She knew why Cordy was avoiding him, she couldn’t see him until this new threat was over and she didn’t know how to put him off. He would know in an instant something was wrong and not let up until he found out what was the problem.

That sounded like a great idea to Cathy but it wasn’t her decision to make but even so she had to fight the urge to let him know that Cordy was in danger. Loyalty to Cordy stilled her tongue.

“No” He sighed deeply troubled, she could almost feel the anxiety and hurt over the line and felt the need to reassure him about that at least.

“This is Angel right”? She asked, knowing it would prolong the conversation.

“Yes it is” his voice was cautious; “She’s mentioned me”.

“Oh sure, big and handsome and something about needing handcuffs”, Cathy deliberating made her voice sound confused and laughing at the same time.

“She said that”? God he even sounded embarrassed.

She laughed again “That’s all though, I promise”. The fact that Cordy had talked to a female friend about him in a romantic way would reassure him, guys like to pretend they didn’t like girl-talk but were secretly proud to be the subject; just because this one was a vampire wouldn’t make any difference.

“Oh OK” he cleared his throat “So how did you meet Cordy”? He asked

“We met in Phoenix shortly after she left LA, we helped each other out and decided to keep the arrangement” It was the truth, cut down with a hell of a lot left out, but there was no way she was going to go into that right now and especially not with him.

“Will you tell her I called and give her my cell phone number, just in case she’s lost it” He asked.

“I will, don’t worry I’m sure she’ll get in touch soon, she’s just frantic at the moment” Oh and wasn’t that just the truth, but she took down the number anyway.

After he’d thanked her and hung up, she stood holding the receiver for a little longer, this felt wrong and it frustrated her because Cordy would not let her try and see what was coming, she was determined to face this threat alone and not put Cathy in danger, in danger of what Cathy wanted to shout, it’s not like she was going to get killed, or at least not stay dead.

But Cordy also had a streak of recklessness to go with the stubbornness and Cathy thought that was a left over from when she was going through what Cordy called her self-destructive phase, it had been much more than that.

The way Cordy told it was she’d tried to kill herself not long after waking from the coma, she’d gone back to the house of the family that had been killed and stood in the now empty house, seeing the way it had been and bodies strewn around, especially the little boy.

She had dropped to her knees and cried, touching the sweetly rounded face with tufts of blonde hair that existed now only in her dreams and memories. She’d not been able to bear those dreams and memories anymore.

She’d had a kitchen knife with her, long and thick for cutting meat and raising one arm at a time slashed a deep gash along each forearm, blood had poured out of her. She would have been dead in minutes but Angel had come crashing through the door and raced her to an emergency room. She’d needed surgery and she still bore the scars on her arms and to some extent in her heart.

But she’d got better and had forgiven herself and accepted that she could not have prevented it. That such a thing had been beyond her power and she had been as much a victim of Jasmine as that family in fact in a very real way, more.

She would not let her friend be put through more, Cordy was just getting a good start on fixing her life back the way it should be with a little nudging from her and no one was going to stop her continuing to help, even Cordy herself.

There was a way she could do it, without physical contact or the talisman that fulfilled that need from a distance. It was dangerous, but only to her if she was unlucky and there were demons around who would be able to sense her presence and be filled with a rabid all consuming need to hurt her. Who cares, it was worth the risk.

There was no real preparation all she needed to do was get started. She got herself comfortable on the floor and called them and they came. Spiritual elements, non-corporeal beings, ghosts whatever you want to call them and in all varieties answered her call and whispered into her heart and mind what it was they had to tell her.

After she had sent them back away, she’d fallen into the trance like state which always followed while she sorted out what she’d been told and shown.

A BASEMENT

There were thirteen vampires in the basement room, including Dru herself, unlucky for some, she thought but couldn’t hold onto the thought, too wrapped up in excitement of what the night would bring. She loved rituals and ceremonies even as a human she had loved them, the incense and candles and songs and chants of the church had filled her heart with joy, but now her dead heart rejoiced in other things.

She had assigned one of them to act as leader, in lucid moments Dru could be shockingly clear-sighted and she’d known that the planning and execution would have to be managed by another. Eve had located the first vampire through another third party, who had then found the others, Dru had stayed out of sight and her name never mentioned until tonight.

The vampires still did not know who the target was or the motive behind it, they had been recruited simply because they loved to cause misery and bring about death and destruction and they been promised plenty of both. Dru had been sorry to miss it, it reminded her so much of Darla.

They were ready and had been assigned into two teams with only one aim, to hunt down a woman whose photograph they had been shown and bring her here. Eve had hired a private investigator to watch Cordelia and they knew she had finally left the protection of her home, such a happy coincidence that she had waited until they were ready.

They knew what she was wearing and where she was predicted to be going. They had even been able to get a whiff of her scent though an old item of clothing that the investigator had reluctantly retrieved from the trash as instructed.

THE PLYMOUTH

Angel was driving towards Cordy’s apartment, determined that if she wasn’t in he was going to wait until she came back. He had been reassured by her friend Cathy not so much because of what she’d said but simply by the fact that Cordy wasn’t alone.

But he needed to see for himself that she was OK. He didn’t understand what was going on and he would not sit by and wait to find out. He knew things had been fine between them when they parted. They had woken up together in her bed and everything had been good and playful and loving, so much so that he had felt more fulfilled then than he could remember ever being before. But that had been the last he’d heard from her, something was up, he could feel it in his gut.

The other thing that was bothering him was Eve, Gunn had been forced to leave the surveillance for a time to the other security guys and it was just bad luck that Eve went out and met some dark haired woman. They hadn’t been able to get close enough to really see what was going on and when they tried to follow the newcomer they had lost her almost immediately.

His cell phone rang and he picked it up, frowning at the display and steering at the same time. It was Cordy’s landline; he almost fumbled trying to answer it quickly.

“Hello”

“Don’t talk, just listen. You need to get to Cordy right now or she’s dead do you understand” it was the same woman he’d spoken to earlier.

“What the hell do you mean” He snapped angrily.

“Please Angel I’m not kidding, there is no time for explanations you have to get to her right now”. The urgency was too sharp in the woman’s voice for him to do anything but agree.

“OK, where is she”.

Cathy told him where she was and said she was going to try and head them off, “Head who off” he asked trying to understand what the threat was.

“A bunch of vampires, they want to take her to Drusilla”.

“Drusilla”, No way had he heard right, but she confirmed he had. He spun the car in a curve so tight the car nearly went on its side, until he was facing the other way and was able to steady it, then he floored the gas.

Cathy heard the squeal of tyres and knew that he would do what he could, but even so it might be too late he was at least half an hour away. She was closer the mall was literally only across the way, if she got a cab she was maybe two minutes away.
Part 12
GOING TO THE MALL

She looked down at herself, thank god for small mercies she thought; in an effort to cheer up Cordelia she’d made an effort with her appearance. Cordy was always after her to dress up and put makeup on and do something with her hair.

So she had, she still wasn’t as beautiful as Cordy and never would be but if she wore Cordy’s clothes in the same colours as what Cordy had gone out in, she might be able to fool a bunch of vamps that had never met the brunette personally.

She was done and out in two minutes, the cab she had called came at the same time as she reached the ground floor. She reached the mall within 10 minutes of having spoken to Angel.

The mall was crowded with shoppers and she couldn’t spot Cordy anywhere, but she didn’t need too she just needed to locate the vampires who would be in human guise. She skirted around the edges, taking deep breathes, waiting to smell the awful stench of the soulless undead.

She found them and didn’t hesitate but plunged into the crowd after them, she knew that it would all happen fast so she rushed, pushing past them and pretending to answer her cell phone at the same time, stopping in the middle of them so that they could get a good whiff.

“Angel its Cordelia Chase I need to talk to you about some vamps”, the group around her stiffened and she knew they recognised the names and the scent off the clothes, then she was being lifted and felt a rough hand cover her mouth and nose, staying there until she passed out from lack of air.

THE MALL – CORDY

Cordelia wandered around the mall, she didn’t really have any reason for being there other than getting out of the apartment and ending her self imposed isolation. Her time was running out, Angel would only be put off for so long and she could kick herself for the time she’d wasted.

Instead of trying to figure out ways of finding where Drusilla was holed-up she’d let the vampires comments get to her so much that she had for short time slipped back to the way she’d been before she left LA. She had promised herself then that she would never let that happen again and she’d not kept the promise but she would from now on.

Enough with brooding, it wasn’t the Cordy she used to be or the Cordy she was now. She’d leave that to the master she thought with a wry smile. For now she had to find out where Drusilla was and the only way to do that was to lay a trap, so here she was acting as bait again.

“Some things never change”, she’d said it out loud and felt her spirits lift at doing something, even if it was just waiting for something to happen. She knew something was going to happen she could feel it, call it women’s intuition or “Whatever”.

She was wrong to have been so distant with Cathy and felt mean, she thought of calling her and then decided to go back and get her instead two heads where better than one, she felt in her jacket for the talisman and finding it, slipped it on.

“No more brooding and being a martyr, that is NOT Cordelia Chase”, she turned on her heel and headed for the exit.

She walked towards her car but as she reached it she found herself suddenly surrounded by a group of men, she looked at them and then at her car windows, no reflections.

“Hi guys” She made her voice bright and dumb, pasting a big smile on her face. Wishing she hadn’t parked so far from the entrance and human traffic. But she’d arrived ages ago and the place had been so full, so she’d had no choice.

No one spoke, but they all converged, she got out a scream and managed to land a few kicks and punches but did little more than drive a few of them back a bit, before they came back. There was simply too many of them and they had got too close before she realised the danger.

THE MALL – ANGEL

As Cordy had left the mall Angel ran full tilt inside it, only it was the entrance at the other end. He didn’t stop running but carried on dodging shoppers, turning in circles without stopping, searching for a familiar beloved figure. He reached the other side after completing a full circuit of the building including a few of the shops she might have entered, nothing there was simply too many other bodies.

He was just turning for another circuit when her scent finally came to him; she had been here not long ago. He darted out the door and got back up to full sprint in seconds, heading towards the car park, just as a scream rent the air.

If he’d had a heart beat it would have stopped, he vamped out with a savage snarl and ran to where it had come from; diving between the cars and leaping over others, not letting anything slow him down. He heard an engine start from the approximate location of the scream and reached for more speed.

He was running so fast now the cars around him where a blur, finally he reached the furthest edges where the numbers of parked cars dwindled. He saw the vans lights in the distance, stopping at the traffic light for only a moment and then pulling away. He was too late.

THE KILLING ZONE

Cathy woke up to find the female vampire’s face above her own, she was lying on her back on a cold and sterile white floor. A series of bright fluorescent lights were spaced in scientific precision across the white ceiling, slightly blocked by Drusilla’s head and long dark hair.

She wasn’t certain but it looked like some kind of science or laboratory facility, bright lights, white floors and walls of glass. It was some kind of observation chamber, round in shape with an operating table in the middle and a series of hooks and lifting equipment tucked away at the end by the wall.

“This is the wrong one”, Drusilla whimpered and she backed away moaning. The moans got gradually louder and longer and louder again until she was screaming and tearing at her hair in frustrated rage.

Cathy smiled and Drusilla saw it through her claw-like fingers, she pulled them off her hair and walked back towards the woman on the floor, “Are you laughing at me” she asked in quiet interested little voice.

“Think of it as laughing with you not at you” Replied Cathy sarcastically, deliberately provoking the vampire, might as well get it over with and avoid the pummelling she thought, watching as Drusilla stalked back to her.

“Let’s see how funny you find this” she hissed, her hands outstretched, Cathy didn’t flinch as she bore down on her.

Drusilla picked her off the floor with one hand, pulling the other hand to the side and back before striking Cathy so hard her neck snapped with a crack. She then sank her fangs in deep, draining her in seconds and dropping the body back to the floor with a thud.

Finished she looked back up at the group of vampires standing and watching her with confusion and not small amount of trepidation. They did not miss the fact that they had obviously screwed up.

“You”, she pointed to them and then the exit door, almost shaking with rage “Get back out there and get me the right one this time, do you hear. Or I will tear your dead hearts out of your bodies and watch you turn to dust”, she was spitting by the end, a wild woman.

There was a commotion at the end of a series of corridors with glass doors and then the other team came into sight, dragging a conscious and scrappy Cordelia with them. They finally managed to manhandle her into the final glass chamber.

Despite their size and strength she managed to drag them all to a standstill when she saw the crumpled body on the cold floor, she wanted to hit something, she wanted to scream and curse at Drusilla, but she had to play it smart, so she didn’t let the rage take over her body.

She pretended to be grief stricken and sank to her knees, they let her thinking she was cowed now, then swept out a foot and toppled one on her right side who took his neighbour with him. Sweeping the same foot round while balancing on both hands she kicked another behind the knee, driving him down where she punched him across the face, he fell spurting blood from a broken nose.

She sprang to her feet and ducked under a swinging kick from the last of the four that had accompanied her down the stairs, before dropping to her haunches again to punch him in the groin.

She felt movement behind her and spun with a kick only to have it blocked and nearly lose her balance, she was now facing a very angry Drusilla. Three of the four she had attacked were back on their feet and there was another four vampires who had just been watching the spectacle with interest.

She was surrounded and outnumbered beyond belief. She stepped back and dropped her arms, Drusilla smiled and then had to duck herself as Cordy snapped out a fist aiming straight for her throat, but Cordy had been bluffing, she stepped closer again and drove up a knee with all of her might, the blow connected with Drusilla’s face with crunching force.

She had been so intent on inflicting some pain on Drusilla she had not cared what the others would do to her and she didn’t have time to put up a defence as they lifted her up and threw her hard against the side of the chamber, her head connecting with the unyielding glass with a crack, she fell unconscious.
Cordelia woke up to find herself strapped to something high over her head, her stretched arms were aching so she must have been hanging here a while. Cathy had been placed on the long table with her head below Cordy’s dangling feet.

She was so high she could see over the glass walls to the rooms beyond, little cages lined the walls and small animals nestled into sparse mounds of straw. Some kind of animal testing lab or something. She definitely didn’t like this location.

“What was wrong with the meat packing plant, at least it had character” She asked Drusilla, who was standing to the side watching her come round again.

“Don’t you like it, I picked it especially for you, can’t you feel the pain and emptiness in here” Asked Drusilla, happy again now that she was getting her own way. “I’ve even arranged for a view for you”, she snickered with glee and indicated the spread eagled body of her dead friend.

“What is this a spectator sport or something” Growled Cordy, eyeing the vampires lining the chamber all avidly watching and waiting for the next part of the show.

“These are my boys and their good boys, not dirty like some are” confided Drusilla in a whisper and a fond smile at the ‘boys’ in question.

“Yeah right, you’re gross and sick and you need therapy” Cordy couldn’t prevent a series of convulsive shivers from snaking down her body.

“If your boys are so clean minded anyone wanna tell me why I’m minus some clothes” Asked Cordy arching a cynical brow.

“It was dirty and had some blood on it, so we took your shirt off” explained Drusilla, ignoring the curling lip on Cordelia’s repulsed face.

“What do you want from me Drusilla, what is all of this about”? Asked Cordy

“Making Angel pay of course” replied Drusilla coming to look up at Cordy

“By doing what, vamping me”?

“That’s right, you’re going to be my daughter and I’ll have a family again” Drusilla lifted back her head and closed her eyes, smiling happily.

“Don’t do this please”

“Oh goodie your begging, I like begging, I did too did he tell you that”?

“No he never did, but then your name never comes up” Cordy was glad to be able to say, angry at having tried to get this thing to show mercy.

“Oohhh that’s not very nice, but then he isn’t Daddy not really, Daddy went away and he took his place, that nasty filthy soul took him”

“Has anyone ever told you, you have way too many ‘daddy’ issues and you’re what over a century”? Cordy’s voice dripped with scorn and helpless anger.

“I think its time” Said another voice, one of the others a big burly vampire wearing biker gear and nose rings! Eww Yuck could he get any uglier.

The other vampires where also getting anxious they had not missed the names being tossed around either and where now starting to doubt the wisdom of having got involved, something told them the fall out might be bad. They weren’t wrong.

“Yeah well who asked you Asshole” Cordy yelled at him, suddenly feeling panicky and twisting around trying to get free of the ropes that tied her to the winch.
“Angel”, she bellowed his name as loud as she could, not with tears or terror, but just to release some tension and maybe in someway hoping that he might hear her.

That was it, really unsettled now the other vampires all turned around scanning the glass fronted rooms beyond, looking for a dark; mean tempered and extra pissed off vampire with a soul.

“You want so know something Dru, if you kill me”

“When I kill you” Interrupted Drusilla

“Whatever, I can promise you that wherever my soul ends up, I will enjoy watching Angel kill you” Cordy’s eyes were dark with challenge and an unshakeable confidence.

“No No my love, you mustn’t talk to Mummy that way” Cooed Drusilla, her hands reaching out to stroke her intended daughter.

Cordy managed to wrench away, even though her arms screamed in protest, that didn’t please Drusilla who called to one of the others to bring the box over. The box turned out to be a large medicine cabinet they’d wrenched off one of the walls of another room, it was placed beside Cordelia’s still swinging body.

The vampire stayed to assist Drusilla climb up so that she was level with Cordelia, then he grabbed Cordy by the waist to hold her still.

“No, NO, don’t you do this, don’t you dare do this to me” screamed Cordy wrenching desperately, tears of pain filling her eyes but she refused to let them drop. Her chin was grabbed by cold hands.

Then everyone froze as they all heard a booming crash from the entrance to the first corridor, all of the vampires including Drusilla and Cordy looked and saw two dark haired men, attacking the first glass door, booted feet crashing together in tandem to break the glass.

Cracks were appearing in the toughened glass, built to withstand an external attack from anything but an enraged vampire and his ex-watcher friend. Cordy nearly died right then and there out of pure relief, he was here.

Wesley wrenched a shotgun from behind his back and stepped back a few paces to release a shot, Angel stayed where he was and when the shot was cleared, showing a crater sized hole he followed it up with a last powerful kick that finally shattered the glass. They were through one, but there were two more to go.

Drusilla grasped Cordy’s chin again and vamped out, revealing her teeth and fangs in a show of snapping, powerful jaws, Cordy screamed his name again just as Drusilla sank her fangs into Cordy as hard as she could, intending to make it as painful as possible.

Everyone heard Angel’s roar of rage and horror, the chamber itself seemed to shake with it. Wesley shot again at the next door and Angel didn’t even stop to let him finish before he shattered the glass again and was attacking the last one, frantic to get through the barriers and prevent what was happening in front of his eyes.

Wesley went to reload the weapon with practiced ease, his breathing even despite his own overwhelming feelings of urgency.

Drusilla released Cordy whose head flopped down, she grinned evilly at Angel, watching him stand back and kick again and again trying to get to his love before she was lost to the darkness of the damned. But he was too late, she was all but dead if not undead yet.

The glass cracked and started to give way, Drusilla opened a vein in own her wrist and raised her arm to pour it down Cordelia’s throat.

Everyone had been so busy watching Angel and Wesley and then Drusilla, they all failed to notice that the still figure lying prone before them was no longer so pale, a pulse had started again in the throat that Drusilla had ripped and was now unmarked.

Cathy’s hand neared Cordelia, slowly reaching up to grasp the ankle just as the blood of the vampire was being introduced into her dying body, before the blood and done more than stain her tongue Cordy went into a spasm. So strong was it she almost unbalanced Drusilla who had not been expecting it.

Cordelia started to choke on the blood, her stomach heaving as she came back from the dark place that Drusilla had nearly led her. Blood flowed in her veins again, her heartbeat strong. The marks of the bite that she’d been given were gone as if they had never been.

Drusilla fell back stunned her hands reaching upto her lips to check that she had not imagined Cordy’s blood slipping down her throat, Cathy was still again, dead again her throat once more ripped and ragged with vicious bites.

Angel burst through the final barrier just as Drusilla fell back shocked, he seized her in a vicious hold and picked up to throw her away from Cordelia.

A few of the vampires escaped back out through the shattered doors, not wanting to get into a fight involving this one. But most remained, they all feared him and hated him for that. If there was a chance that one day they could get lucky and dust him, they would keep on trying.

Hoping that sheers numbers would help them achieve that aim they attacked as one. But they hadn’t counted on Angel when he is fighting not just for a cause but out of pure rage, his body and soul filled with not just pain and horror but more than anything an undiluted fury.

He wanted, no needed to fight to release it, even as a group he drove them back with a ferocity that stunned every bit as much as each punch and kick. He wasn’t fighting to defend; they were all going to die.

Wesley with one look at how Angel was doing hurried over to Cordelia smoothly retrieving a switchblade from his ankle strap and flicking it open to slice through the bindings that held Cordelia to the hooks on the winch.

He lowered her to the floor and held her as she still coughed and retched the remaining blood up and out of her body. He checked the woman on the table and flinched at what he saw, there was nothing he could do for her. But nevertheless he guarded them both from further harm.

Leaving Angel to get his revenge, watching in a sort of fascinated horror as his friend tore into the group of vampires. It was a brutal display, he didn’t even bother with a stake but simply tore or kicked heads off, every blow they managed to land that wasn’t deflected he didn’t seem to feel but returned with twice the force. His face feral and pitiless.

It wasn’t so much the fighting that was surprising to the ex-watcher but the fact that Angel did not even vamp out, his face remained human. It was as if in this once instance it wasn’t the demon inside him that was being released with such ruthlessness, but the man.

The room was filled with dust and Wesley eye’s watered with it and he was forced to cover his mouth and get Cordy to do the same. Wesley saw out of the corner of his eye Drusilla edging along the glass chamber wall and he started to get up to stop her but Angel got there before him.

He’d finished off the last of the vampires and now it was just the two of them, Drusilla aware that she was not going to be allowed to escape turned to face her sire.

She said nothing just looked at him and he did the same, but this time there was no guilt only cold purpose in his dark eyes. Simultaneously they both vamped out and snarled at one another mouths glistening with sharp fangs, eyes flaring gold with demonic rage.

They circled looking for an opening, Drusilla struck out first, her arms reaching out to strike only to be deflected and herself launched through the air again to crash back against the same spot as before. Angel stalked her, every blow she aimed got slapped or kicked out of the way and was followed by another rapid fire series of punches or kicks that made her feel as if he had set fire to her again.

Finally she stood dripping blood and onto the pristine white floor, her arms hung uselessly at her sides, broken. She was done for and they both knew it. She waited for him to end it and he did.

Standing directly in front of her he punched through her chest wall and grasped her dead heart before pulling back and taking it with him. He did not turn from her as she turned to dust before him.

Wesley watched the end of it with a feeling of closure, a chapter was finished the book closed. Drusilla was gone. He was not sorry for it, the world was better without her, no matter that she had once been a good person and didn’t deserve what had happened to her or even the fact the evil monster that turned her was now the vampire with a soul standing looking down at her dust.

He stood and walked over to Angel who was still looking down at the remains of Drusilla; he stood shoulder to shoulder with him and said. “Its time we took these two out of here”.

Nodding in agreement Angel walked stiffly over to Cordelia and hefted her up in his arms, she looped her own around his neck but didn’t look at him yet, she knew he was angry with her too, could feel it still inside him. Wesley gently lifted Cathy up and carried her out.

HOME OR ??

Wesley was still struggling to come to terms with what had happened during the night and it there didn’t seem to be any signs of a letup yet. The next shock had been Cordelia insisting that her friend was not dead, but would heal and then wake up.

Angel and Wesley had looked at her and then each other, was she just in denial over her friends death, traumatised over what had nearly happened to her maybe?

“You tell me what part of tonight makes sense, I mean c’mon guys I was about 2 seconds away from being vamp Cordy” Said Cordelia with exasperation tingeing her voice and making it sharp.

“Are you saying your friends is an immortal” Asked Wesley, seriously confused.

“Not possible” stated Angel, “She smells human”

“Well Duh I know that” snapped Cordy angry at being disbelieved

“Well then” that settles it thought Wesley

“Just take us both home OK and I’ll take it from there”

“No way are you going to be all alone in your apartment tonight with a dead body that probably needs decapitating if you don’t want to have to dust her” snarled Angel, patience wearing thin.

“If I want to go home, then I will and Cathy goes with me” She was fuming now, tired and stressed and not willing to be pushed around just because he’d had a bad night too.

Wesley sighed when he saw they were both toe to toe, in a battle of wills that looked like it was going to take a long hard siege to finish. He wanted to go home, but wasn’t prepared to leave them to verbally slug it out.

“Why doesn’t Cordy come home with me and I will watch over them both”, there that sounded reasonable, he thought.

“You gonna watch over a dead body Wes” Angel was scowling blackly at him and he realised he’d wanted Cordy safe in own apartment at Wolfram & Hart. “Well if you have a better idea” he tried to back up.

“No that’ll do” said Cordy, “There’s no way I’m taking Cathy inside Wolfram and Hart” she glared at Angel and crossed her arms, she wasn’t dumb either.

So back to Wesley’s they all went Angel too, after he was sure that it was safe he turned to leave, Wesley went with him to see him out. He stopped Angel as he was walking down the corridor.

“Your not going home are you”?

“No” replied Angel not turning round.

“Might I ask what it is you’re planning to do” he dug deeper as only Wesley could.

“I have a message to deliver” said Angel, his voice cold

“Need any help”? asked Wesley knowing the next few nights were going to be busy.

“No this was aimed at me so the message has to come from me” Colder still.

Wesley nodded and closed the door.
Part 13 WESLEY’S APARTMENT
The spray was strong and as hot as she could bear it, beating down on her bent head, the water running in rivulets down her face, neck and body. She’d borrowed Wesley’s shower gel it was a masculine scent, but nice and she didn’t think he’d mind.

She was clean now but she stayed under the spray enjoying the massaging effect of it on her tired body. Unwillingly the events of the night replayed through her head and she unconsciously rubbed at her neck, where the marks of a vampire bite should be. But found only smooth unblemished skin.

Her thoughts turned to Angel, he was angry with her; she could tell as soon as he picked her up and carried her out of there. He’d been rigid with it, his face stern if unemotional but she wasn’t fooled and she knew him well enough to know there would be a confrontation between them very soon.

She sighed and move back from the spray, reaching up to turn it off and stepping out of the cubicle. She wrapped a towel around her torso and started using another to dry her long legs.

“Oh for the days when his moods where only irritating”, she rubbed her forehead with her hand again in a gesture that was fast becoming habit for her.

Before she’d started to fall in love with him, she would have just brushed off his bad temper and either ignored him, aggravated it further, or coaxed him out of it. But they were lovers now and the all rules had gone and changed on her even more, this bad temper was very definitely going to affect her, whether she wanted it too or not. It was personal now, about as personal as it could get.

“Where the hell does he get off being pissed at me, I’m the one that nearly died, Asshole”. The anger was welcome but short-lived.

“Dammit” She was just getting into the swing of things what with work and her relationship with Angel and now this has to happen. Both had become important to her in the short time she’d been back in LA, She didn’t want to lose either.

“I should have told him when Drusilla first showed up” She thought, knowing that was a big part of what was angering Angel.

“I couldn’t remember, innocent lives at stake. I couldn’t take the risk”, she said out-loud, defensively.

“He’s going to try and insist I stop working cases on my own”

“So what if he does, what can he do”? She told the inner voice, so wrapped up in the conversation she was having with herself, she forgot she wasn’t alone in the apartment.

Wesley shouted from the living room asking if she was OK, “Yeah I’m fine don’t worry just talking to myself”, great way to come off as a mental case, Cor.

“He’s going to say you can’t cope that you nearly died and got vamped and he’s not wrong”

“Oh right and he hasn’t nearly gotten himself staked plenty of times before”

“You know he won’t see it that way, ‘over protective much’ remember”

“Well anyway he is wrong I can cope, I’ve been doing OK and maybe I’ll get some muscle in”, she visibly brightened at the idea.

“Wow won’t that bake his cookies” Both she and her inner self smiled for a moment enjoying the thought.

“Groo, I could try and find him, no wait that wouldn’t be fair, what with him loving me and me…, well me not feeling the same way”, she’d nearly said ‘being involved with Angel” but she wasn’t feeling very coupley at the moment. She drooped for a moment defeated; no-one else came to mind.

“Ya know what I don’t care, I won’t let him decide my life just because I’m sleeping with him. This is what I want to do and he’s just going to have to get used to it or get the hell out of my life”, she scowled and resumed drying her feet with rough strokes.

“Oh yeah and Mr Stubborn, Possessive and Over Protective Guy, is really just gonna back off and anyway you know you don’t want that”, the annoying inner voice taunted.

“I can stand up to him, it’s not like I haven’t before when he’s been all dark’n’broody”, she said the last with rolling eyes at the memories.

“Maybe, but he’s really, really mad this time”. Big time mad, the look on his face and the brutal fight was etched firmly on her mind.

“Oh shut up”, she slammed the towel down and got dressed, refusing to think about it anymore.
ANGEL THRU THE NIGHT
It had taken him the rest of the night to find the first one. He’d spent hours spent trawling demon hotspots and hangouts, beating up snitches and countless demons looking for the four vamps that had gotten away. Picking fights and generally making the demon underworld know that he was killing mad. He didn’t leave much room for doubt.

He’d taken more than a few knocks himself, but the battered and bruised look only made him look even more dangerous and unstable. Especially as his coat was liberally splattered with blood only a little of which was his own and his face; brows lowered over dark narrowed eyes, glittering with cold fire, was tight with reckless fury.

But now, finally he’d hit lucky and one of the remaining vamps that had hurt Cordelia was dangling by its neck from his clenched right hand, its eyes bugging out of its head with fear.

He brought his own snarling face in close and then without warning pulled back his arm and slammed the vampire against the wall again; its head hit the wall with a sickening thud while its hands still scrabbled frantically at his clenched encircling fingers.

Dust floated freely in the air from the other four vampires he’d found this one hanging out with. They were not the ones he wanted but he dusted them anyway before they’d even had a chance to defend themselves, it being morning and all, they had not been expecting visitors. He’d left this one until last deliberately, he wanted to know where the other three where before he killed it.

“Where are the others? I want names and locations now” Asked Angel with a calm deliberation that revealed the deadly purpose behind the visit. Just in case it hadn’t already figured it out.

“I don’t know”, it gasped around his strangling fingers, vampires don’t need to breath to live but they still need air to talk.

Angel flipped it in the air and slammed it down on its back, before it could recover its wits, one of his boots came to rest with crushing force on its nose and chin.

“Really I don’t know, I don’t know them, only met them for the first time for the job”, it squealed out of mashed lips.

Angel took out a knife from inside his leather duster, his boot still pressed onto the vampires face. He didn’t ask again but bent down and slammed the knife deep into its torso and turned it, the vamp screamed. He stepped off and crouched down beside it.

“You guys must have talked hangouts or favourite hunting spots”, he didn’t raise his voice or bluster, and they both knew he wasn’t bluffing.

“You’re going to kill me anyway”, it whimpered in pain, struggling over broken teeth and split lips.

“True, but I can cut you up first or not, your choice” He removed the knife as he said it, balancing it expertly in his hand ready and willing for the next strike.

It told him what it knew and then he drove a stake into its dead heart.
WESLEY’S APARTMENT (Still the previous night a few hours after getting there)
Lorne arrived at Wesley’s apartment while Cordy was in the shower, he knocked gently, nervously checking up and down the corridor in case any of the neighbours came out and saw him before he could get inside and away from human eyes.

Wesley opened the door and stepped back to let him in, “You didn’t have to come over you know”.

“I know, I just wanted to see her, it’s been a while”, he looked around hoping to see his favourite ex-seer. “So where is she”?

“Shower” said Wesley with a jerk of his head toward the sounds of running water and went back to cleaning the shotgun, currently in pieces scattered around him waiting for a turn with the gun oil and rag.

“Oh and Angel where’s he”? Lorne asked not spotting a large, dark and not so recently broody vampire, “Back to brooding after the close call with vamp Cordy”?

It was a pity thought Lorne with real regret, Angel gets to be happy for a few days after months of sliding back into dark Angel and then this happens. If he knew his boss and he did, this was going to have some very dark repercussions.

“Out” said Wesley, intentionally brief and uninformative, “Is Gunn still keeping an eye on Eve”? he knew he was having only just spoken to him but he wanted to change the subject.

He needn’t have bothered Lorne had spotted the woman on the bed through the door which Wesley had kept open. An axe was propped on this side put there by Wesley, just in case. Lorne walked into the room and over to the bed, looking down at the prone woman.

“Pretty little thing” He said, strangely enervated by the sight of her, “What’s her deal”?

“A friend of Cordy’s” answered Wesley joining the green skinned demon “Drusilla killed her”.

“Oh I doubt that” said Lorne, he sat next to the woman and picked up a hand, “She’s not dead”.

Wesley just stared at him; an uneasy crawling feeling came into life inside him. He suppressed the need to shiver with it “What makes you say that”. His eyes travelled the length of the woman, looking for whatever Lorne could see that made him sound so certain.

She looked the same as when they first carried her onto the bed, pale and still with no signs of life, just horrific wounds on her neck which were now covered with bandages.

“I can feel it, it’s so strong I can almost taste it” answered Lorne cryptically.

“Feel what”, snapped Wesley not in the mood for riddles.

Lorne looked up at him with a smile at his surliness, knowing he was driving the ex-watcher crazy and enjoying it for a moment before relenting, “The life-force Wesley, there’s no way one has been snuffed out, it’s too strong”.

He placed the hand back by her body and patted it gently before moving back out of the room, they both heard Cordelia come out of the bathroom then, not difficult considering she was all but stomping, her beautiful face flushed and wearing a black scowl.

“Hey there Princess, come and give me a big ole huggeroo” Said Lorne with a big smile and wide open arms. Who could resist Lorne; she went to him and got enfolded in a big bear hug.

“How are you doing” He asked her, leaning back but holding her to look into her face, “Hmm not good then”?

“I’ve been better” she said with a wan smile, pushing her hair back behind her ears and looking at Wesley a little sheepishly.

“So I hear” said Lorne, “nearly got yourself vamped by the bosses daughter is what I heard” and then he gave an exaggerated shudder “What that would have done to the family tree I shudder to think”.

“How’s Cathy” Asked Cordy of Wesley, wanting to change the subject and not get into what had happened earlier, she was going to get enough of that later.

“No change that I can tell” said Wesley genuinely and then genuinely curious “So how does this work with her”?

“She’ll just heal and then wake up” said Cordy simply, walking into the bedroom and over to the bed. Cautious as ever Wesley followed closely behind not wanting to leave her alone with what he still half believed was a vampire in the making.

“You’ve seen this before then”? When she nodded he decided now was a good time to dig for more “What is she Cordy, has she told you”?

For a moment Cordelia looked like she was going to ignore him, she didn’t look up from removing the bandages on Cathy’s neck to check the wounds; she smiled when she found they had closed over somewhat, the skin no longer looking so savagely mauled.

She leaned back so Wesley could see and watched him pale, he looked at her “This doesn’t mean anything; the same would happen if she was being turned”. For a moment it looked like she might actually hit him she was so infuriated. So he held up his hands saying “Look all I can go off is what I know and you’re not telling me anything I can believe in”.

Cordy blew the bangs of her hair off her face and placed her hands on hips, searching his face, for what? “Don’t you trust me”? Asked Wesley a little hurt.

“It’s not up-to me to trust you, but I will tell you some of what I know, the rest is not my story to tell, OK” She waited for his agreement, which he gave reluctantly.

“For starters this could take days to heal before she comes round. How she got the wounds makes a big difference on how quickly she heals. If she gets attacked herself then she heals very quickly but if it’s a wound she’d taken off someone then it takes much, much longer”.

“So these wounds are the ones that you got from Drusilla then” asked Wesley, incredulous, he’d actually managed to convince himself that she never got bitten by Drusilla after all. Even though he’d seen it with his own eyes.

“Yes” said Cordy. Even Lorne who had followed them in looked sceptical “I don’t know chickpea, it all sounds a bit biblical to me, but maybe that’s just me”? Wesley and Lorne shared a look.

Cordy laughed then, “I said that once and it was the first time I ever saw her angry, I mean really angry so don’t ever say anything like that to her of you want to keep your head on your shoulders”.

“So how does she do it then”? Wesley was feeling more uneasy not less, thinking of Jasmine and her ‘healing powers’.

“She calls it paying the price, the way she tells it’s like she’s come kind of, oh I don’t know cosmic credit card. Someone’s sick or something she can heal them but she has to pay the price for it, which means she takes on the problem and then she heals herself”.

“Very kind of her“said Wesley dryly “She must be busy there’s a lot of sick and hurting people out there”.

Cordy crossed her arms and aimed on of her dirtiest looks, the kind she only saved for VERY special occasions, like now. “Don’t talk about what you can’t understand Wes, she’s only one person. She has to decide who to help, can you imagine having to make that decision”. She raised a brow and waited until he dropped his own eyes before she was satisfied.

“But what is she”? Asked Lorne, wondering if he’d missed that part.

“I don’t know exactly, she’s never said but she is pretty much human though” replied Cordy, hands up in a ‘take it or leave it’ gesture.

“Pretty much human”? Wesley replied back with a great deal of ‘I beg your pardon’ in his voice.

“Yes Wesley, just, well a little more as well”, Cordy shrugged, what did he want her to say for crying out loud, what was she some kind of encyclopaedia for the strange and unusual.

“What other ‘powers’ does she have”?

Cordy stayed silent for a moment this conversation was not going well as it was, should she mention the other psychic stuff, especially as Wesley’s reaction was bad enough without it and by the same thought what would Angel’s be like?

“That’s all you need worry about”. Better not to risk it.

“Cordelia” Said Wesley in a warning tone of voice, all stern and father figureish, yeah OK Wes.

“I said that’s all you need to know OK, for gods sake she saved me from being dead or a monster, isn’t that enough”? Cordy raised her voice and glared with all of her considerable might at the ex-watcher who she also considered to be a good friend but right now was being a complete pain in the ass.

“Where is Angel anyway? He shot out of here quick enough, what happened did he have a board meeting or something”? Sarcasm and bitterness was evident in her voice and dark scowling face.

“Making sure that the threat is completely taken care of” Replied Wesley, picking his words with care, getting in between these two when they were squabbling was a game for fools.

“What threat he took care of that with unusual gusto at the lab, by the way has someone been spiking his blood again? cos that was a little too gung-ho for me” She started pacing, was this night ever going to end.

“I want to home now, there’s no point in my being here, I can take Cathy there and look after her”, she told Wesley, daring him to contradict her.

He must have had more gumption than she remembered “NO, not until we’re sure your safe, your apartment is the first place any remaining vampires who worked for Dru would go to find you”.

“Urgghh that’s rubbish Wesley, there can’t be more, she had them all gathered for the show” said Cordy with a great deal of frustration showing through.

“Nevertheless” said Wesley refusing to budge an inch. Lorne could feel the tension rise and knew Cordy was about to raise the roof, so he said “What about the hotel”.

Both Cordelia and Wesley looked at him and said in unison “What”?

Lorne shrugged and looked nonchalant “The Hyperion, its empty and available, any vamps of Dru’s won’t go there looking for Cordy and anyway they’d be too afraid of bumping into our very own prince of darkness to try anything”.

As an idea it had merit, Cordy looked back at Wesley and raised a brow “It’s either that or I go home, Wes, so make up your mind and make it snappy”.
Part 14
ANGEL DAYTIME – ABANDONED BUILDING NO 1
“Which one of you is Diego”?

They all looked at him as they sat huddled under blankets, staring with blinking eyes and startled faces. There had been a lookout posted at the sewer entrance so they were better prepared than the last bunch, but not much smarter he’d taken the guard out without any trouble.

“Take my advice next time you post a guard, do it up top and not in the sewers, makes it harder to kill ‘em”, He gave this sage advice in a quiet and almost friendly tone, confusing them even more.

Things got clearer when Angel removed the sword from inside his leather coat where it had been hidden, it was shorter than his broadsword with a wider blade, almost Romanesque to look at it. The big advantage was it could be carried and concealed much easier.

He held the sword up and across his body and smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes, “So which one of you is Diego”? He walked further in, keeping to the middle of the room while scanning it, counting the numbers and checking the location of each of the vampires in the nest.

“He’s Diego” said one of them pointing to one of the other huddled shapes that was watching him with wary yellow eyes, those eyes darted to the tattletale and then back to Angel, it lowered the blanket and shot back “He’s lying he’s Diego”.

“I don’t care, just thought I’d ask, you’re all going to die anyway” He kicked the nearest vamp so hard it went airborne, flying into three others a few feet away, causing them to jump up. Then he was on them, not using the blade at first, just his fists, feet and the hilt. He’d found out where the exits where and any that tried to escape just died quicker.

There had been nine of them in the nest, at the end of five minutes there was only one left. He stalked the last one, already beaten but not dusted. Whenever it made an attempt to get around him or leave through some hidden exit, he grabbed it by its clothes or whatever was handy and dragged it back, always keeping it within reach, never letting up.

Finally it just sat on its knees and looked at him, waiting for him to do whatever he was going to do. “Man will you just get this over with” it complained, resigned to its fate.

“Is that what your victims say to you” Asked Angel still with the quiet voice.

“Sometimes, what about you, ‘Scourge of Europe’”, it sneered at him, knowing he wouldn’t like that. He didn’t so he back handed it across the room with his sword-hand.

“There’s a reason your not dust yet, so why don’t you shut up and listen” it lay there spitting out blood and listening.

“The reason why this happened is because of an attempt made by some vamps to get to me through my people”. Angel stopped talking to let that sink in, walking in circles around the vamp on the ground.

“You’re alive to get a message out to all your other vamp and demons buddies that if it happens again. I will do this again and again, every demon involved will die and every demon with that demon will die with it”.

He leaned down until he was speaking directly into it’s now hopeful face “Do you understand what I want you to say”?

It nodded, if any vamps or demons did something like this again, many would pay the price, even if they had not taken part. Guilty by association.

Angel walked back out, two down and two to go kill before he could go home.
THE HYPERION HOTEL
It was the day after and she was still sore, but so much better than she could have been so she didn’t complain, much. Cathy was in Fred’s old room and she had taken Angel’s, well they were the two most habitable after all.

“At least the place has been kept clean, thank you Fred for feeling sentimental and getting it cleaned regularly”, she said aloud and with a smile for the absent Fred.

She wandered around the lobby, fingers trailing on the polished wood of the counter and looking around her with mixed feeling of happiness and sadness at the memories. She and her friends had helped a lot of people during their time here and no one could make her believe otherwise.

“And I’m going to keep up the tradition” She announced, determination on her face. She was sick of the apartment she was in; it was small and cramped especially to work from.

“I’m coming back and setting up shop” Then a thought hit her and she nearly danced with glee “Maybe I can get Cathy to move Dennis here. Wow won’t he love the space”.

Of course she would have to persuade Angel to let her have it, she frowned then unhappy with the fact that she wasn’t so sure he would agree. She was going to have to work on her negotiating skills. “Damn”.
ANGEL – EVENING
It had taken him a while to find the next one, but eventually he’d gotten the right address, that nest had had a similar set up to the last and ended in the much same way. Now he was on his way to find the last one, he should have been tired, but every time he stopped moving, searching or fighting he would see it all again, FEEL it again.

The absolute horror of what had almost happened, he’d thrown up earlier when he’d eventually found a place to rest and closed his eyes, it all came back to him; finding the dead security and lab staff; frantically searching for her and then finding them.

Realising what Drusilla had planned and feeling terror right down to his bones that he wouldn’t get through in time, then the certainty that he couldn’t. He still didn’t understand how it had been stopped, she was OK, but he nearly died with every image burned into his skull of Cordy alive by the merest thread, being fed by Drusilla.

At the time he’d forced himself to not think, to feel only the rage and none of the pain, he had to believe that he would get through and he did. But something else had saved Cordy, not him. She hadn’t given him the chance too, hadn’t let him protect her by keeping it from him and facing it alone.

It was never ever happening again, he was seeing to it and then he would make sure that Cordy understood he would not let her do that to him again. He was never going to feel that way again.

He looked up past the front of the betting shop, to the rooms above. The owners of the shop would fleece the punters and the vamps would eat the losers that couldn’t pay their bills. Nice little set-up, except for the hapless customers of course.

He entered the betting shop so swiftly no one saw him until he had ripped the CCTV camera from the wall and thrown it through the plate glass window protecting the counter staff. There was lots of screaming but he left it behind him when he vaulted over the counter heading for the back stairs and the rooms above.

He reached the landing and found two doors one he identified easily as the john purely by the smell, the other one was locked, not surprisingly. He lifted a leg and booted it in and the bolts and one hinge gave with a twist of metal, making the door hang at a crazy angle. He stepped through and saw a figure disappear out of the window to the street below.

Angel didn’t wait to see if he recognised any of the other demons in the room, two of which were vampires while the others were a mix of demon breeds. He sprinted over to the window and dived out of it, after the leather clad bearded vampire he had seen briefly, that one he did recognise from earlier, the last one.

It was only one storey so he landed on his feet no problem in time to see his quarry race down and across the empty street and into an alley. He pursued, his booted feet pounding the pavement in ground eating strides that lengthened even more as he pushed for more power. He entered the alley within seconds of having seen the other vamp do the same.

He was gaining on it as the other vampire lost ground turning round to see where he was, he could smell rancid grease mixed with blood on it. Good it would be easier to track if he lost it.

It leapt up a building using the drainage pipe and gained the roof but didn’t slow as it carried on running. Angel reached the earlier neighbouring building and leapt up onto a parked van, using that to vault onto the roof. He ran along it and then leapt over the gap between the two buildings before the biker vamp had reached the other end and jumped down again on the other side.

The biker vamp gained the ground and yanked open the door of a parked car beside the road where it landed. Angel saw it and stepped back a few paces from the edge only to run back and leap off. He fell towards the ground, landing directly on the bonnet of the car, just as the engine was cranking to life.

The bonnet folded with screaming metal and the engine died, Angel punched a hole through the windscreen and used that to gain a hold on the roof, wrenching with all his might up and to the side, peeling back the roof to get at the other vampire.

It dived for the passenger side and scrabbled to get out of the car and made it with only seconds to spare; annoyed Angel slammed the misshapen roof out of his way again to pursue the fleeing vampire. The roads where still pretty deserted as this was not an area frequented for pleasure unless it was an illegal one and those people didn’t want to be seen so they had the road to themselves. Angel’s feet flew over the tarmac, each pounding step causing reverberations to race up his spine and he felt a tingling pleasure at the chase.

The vampire took another corner into yet another alley, but over estimated the corner and bounced off the far wall before recovering and setting off again. Angel was gaining on it and closed the distance even more when he used the same corner to keep up his speed by setting a foot on the wall and racing along that for two strides before going back to the ground again. His boots hitting the cement with a crunch.

Within seconds he was only an arms length away from the other vamp. It slid something from its waist and started to swing it, turning to face Angel now that he had caught up with it. It was a length of heavy chain. Angel ducked and felt it whistle over his head, he grabbed the hand holding the chain and turned, putting his back to its stretched torso to flip it over his shoulder.

It landed on its head and shoulders and Angel continued the momentum by bringing his own weight into play, slamming down on top of it, elbow first. They both gained their feet almost immediately, the biker vamp shaking its head to clear it, Angel didn’t wait but came in low with a jabbing punch to the solar plexus, doubling it over just in time to meet a crunching blow from an upraised knee.

It fell back and staggered, blood pouring from its nose and mouth but it still had hold of the chain and it spun around to bring the chain in arc towards Angel. Angel jumped away but it still caught him and he staggered and tripped, falling onto his back. Using his legs Angel flipped back onto his feet and met the chain again, this time in the chest, it spun him round with the crushing blow and he fell face down to the ground again. The vamp stomped a boot down onto his back as he tried to rise, driving him back to the unyielding ground, Angel tasted his own blood and swore.

He kicked out with one leg which forced the biker vamp to move back or hit the ground itself, giving Angel the chance to get back to his feet, which he did with a snarl and flashing fangs of his own.

He feinted to the right and then when it fell for it, back handed it across the face with his left fist, grabbing the chain again with his right hand and yanking back until the vampire was again within reach of his pounding left fist. It fell to the floor its head hanging, stunned.

Angel now had the chain; before the other could recover from the two previous blows he wrapped the chain around its head like a noose and crossed it at the back. It reacted to that but was too late to prevent Angel tightening the chain from behind and hauling it back onto its feet. Then he gathered his strength and tossed it up and over his hip, snapping its neck with the pressure from the chain.

But it was still alive, lying there grasping it’s head and helplessly trying to squirm backwards and get away. Angel looked around and saw that they had an audience, about half a dozen vamp and assorted demons were watching the show with avid interest, none of them made a move towards helping the fallen vampire.

Angel stared them down, his expression making it clear they were not to interfere. When he was satisfied they wouldn’t he walked towards an abandoned wooden desk at the side of a nearby building, next to an already overflowing trash can.

He lifted it up and set it down with the legs upwards and with deliberate slowness he walked back to the terrified vamp with the biker gear, beard and nose ring and picked it up by one arm and the opposite leg at the same time. Then he swung it up in the air with all of the power in his wide shoulders and muscular arms, for a second raising it to his shoulders before slamming it onto a desk leg, staking it through the heart.

It was done, he staggered and almost fell, a bad idea considering the company he was keeping so he managed to stay on his feet and melted back into the shadows. Watching the other demons watch him, when he had enough distance he turned toward where he’d left his car, slowly and aching in every muscle.
WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING
Fred had a fit when she saw him getting out of his car, parked in his spot beside the elevator that would take him back to his apartment.

“Angel what happened to you are you OK”, Asked Fred, horrified at the bloody and battered state he was in.

She ran over to see if he needed any help to get out of the car, since he wasn’t looking too nimble right then, but he didn’t need help, just gave her a tired look and shook his head when she came over.

“Are you wounded do you need any bandaging”? She asked, she knew he hated being patched up by the medic’s as he didn’t like strangers so close to him, so normally she or Lorne did it for him.

“No I just need a shower and some rest” he replied, pressing the button to call the elevator, which opened immediately with a muted ping. He got in and looked up at a worried looking Fred, who was chewing her bottom lip and looking like she wanted to say something else, then blessedly the doors closed and he was alone.

He started to shed clothes the moment he entered the apartment, dropping them wherever, just wanting to get into the shower and get all the blood and gore off his body.
The bathroom was luxurious with dark chocolate brown tiling, which would have been too dark except for the gold speckles that gave it some relief. There was a Jacuzzi in one corner, which he ignored in favour of an extra wide shower cubicle.

Naked he stepped inside it and turned on the water to maximum, sighing in relief at the warm sluicing water pouring over his tired and aching body. Streaks of red, purple and black bruising covered his torso, forearms and thighs. He stood under the spray with his head down, his spiky brown hair flattened and lengthened by the water which then ran down his neck reddened by blood from cuts on his forehead and by his eyes.

He was so tired he had to brace an arm on the tiled wall but his mind wouldn’t let him rest until he’d finished what he had to do, he knew if he tried to sleep he would only relive the nightmare. It was still early for him, if you didn’t count the fact that he hadn’t slept since the day before last.

He knew he was not in the best frame of mind to talk rationally but regardless he needed to see Cordelia. Check she was still OK and make her see that she couldn’t carry on with what she’d been doing, it had to stop now and he wanted her promise that it would, then he could rest.
THE HYPERION HOTEL
It was now over 24 hours since she had been nearly killed by Dru and she was dealing she thought, only a few nightmares and no shakes or anything, she was quite proud of herself. Another bonus was Cathy was on the mend, she guessed she could wake up at any time.

So she stayed with her, curled up on a big stuffed slight ratty armchair with a few magazines and a big hot steaming mug of coffee on the tabletop beside her. The rustle of pages turning was the only sounds to disturb the peace and so she had no problem hearing Cathy taking her first breath for over a day and night.

She put the magazine aside and sat on the bed beside her, the bite marks were still apparent what with the livid fresh scarring but they were closed over completely now. She smiled as Cathy opened her eyes and looked at her.

“Where are we” Cathy croaked, her throat was dry so Cordy helped her sit up and take a drink of cool water before she answered.

“Where at the Hyperion Hotel, do you remember me telling you about it” She replied.

Cathy nodded; a lot of what Cordy had told her about her life in LA was centred around this hotel with its art deco style and numerous empty rooms.

She struggled to get her bearings; she was always disoriented when first waking up from this type of sleep. It was as if her brain was so fogged with exhaustion from the effort of healing and sometimes even rebuilding her body that it refused to function properly when she returned to the land of the living.

She winced with the pain in her neck and reached out to touch it, she dimly heard Cordy asking her if she wanted to eat or pee, she shook her head and felt the searing pain increase with the gesture. No her body would not return to normal for a while yet, it would be tomorrow before normal human activity returned.

But she was thirsty as hell and was grateful when Cordy lifted her up again for more of the cool water. She stiffened for a second when she saw it but Cordy didn’t notice it. Should she tell Cordelia the confrontation she dreaded was imminent? No, she decided it couldn’t be avoided so why worry her friend before the fact, she’d find out soon enough.

A short time later Cordy was back down in the lobby, Cathy was asleep again, but a normal sleep this time, her body shut down only enough to get more rest. Cordy just had to leave her to it.

The glass doors over to the side closed with a bang and she swung around her heart in her mouth and then gasped when she saw him. God he looked like he’d been run over by a truck, she started to run over to him but something in his expression stopped her in her tracks.

Her heart dropped out of mouth and sank to the floor, or at least it felt like it, uh oh, here we go she thought to herself, unconsciously lowering her chin but keeping her eyes locked to his. The silence that followed stretched her nerves and got her temper snapping, she raised her chin again, defensively.

“What is it Angel”? She kept her tone level but firm and crossed her arms.

He didn’t answer her but walked down the steps and over to where she stood, stopping just in front of her and leaving only about a foot between them. She had to look up to maintain eye contact.

“It’s finished they’re all dead”, she didn’t relax, he had that awful quiet voice that she hated with a passion, the one that said ‘don’t push me’ without actually saying the words.

“Good, thanks”, she was pretty much feeling her way here, she guessed what he was going to say next and wanted to avoid it but didn’t know how.

“It’s not enough Cordelia”, it was a warning of what was to come.

“Don’t even go there Angel, just don’t OK”, she couldn’t just let him say it; not without letting him know that she wouldn’t take it. She uncrossed her arms and moved back trying to create some space between them.

“Why not, tell me something then, why didn’t you warn me about Dru, I could have stopped it from going that far”, he moved forward too, refusing to let her have the distance she wanted.

“She told me if I did she would kill innocent people, because of me, a family. I couldn’t let that happen”. She faced him glaring almost toe to toe now, daring him to deny her the right to have made that choice.

“If you listened to her then you’re a fool. Just what the hell do you think she was feeding off rats; young families are her favourite always as been. All you did was make sure she had more time to do it”. He practically snarled it out, itching to sake some sense into her.

“That’s not fair, you couldn’t have found her”, denied Cordy stricken, dammit she hadn’t thought of that but then how could she have known.

“I know Dru I could have found her, she was always a creature of habit, more so than any of the rest of us”, he didn’t spare her, wouldn’t.

“OK maybe you’re right and I made a mistake in not telling you, but that doesn’t mean that I have to give up, I won’t”, she wanted him to leave it at that, she didn’t want to have to make another choice between him and what she felt was right. She loved him but she would if he forced her.

“You will”

He said it with such finality that she gasped and stared at him. The words seemed to hang between them. They stared at one another the air thick with a tension so tight it would take almost nothing to make explode.

“You can’t make me” She whispered it because her throat suddenly felt tight but there could be no doubt that she meant it. She was stiff with both determination and a stubbornness that made her unwilling to back down or even compromise until another time, when he might be more reasonable.

She wanted to lower her eyes or walk away, anything. But something made her stay where she was. She watched as his jaw clenched so hard a muscle began to tick, his brows lowered narrowing his eyes and his lips curved into a tight, cruel smile.

It was an expression she had seen on his face many times before but it was the first time she had ever been on the receiving end of it herself. She braced herself and locked her knees to prevent any hint of a revealing backward step.

She watched as he seemed to gather himself and then couldn’t help an instinctive step back when his eyes flashed gold as he vamped out right in front of her. His fangs flashed in a challenging snarl and demonic eyes watched her with predatory hunger.

“What the hell are you doing”? She asked him, horrified by the change in a way she had not been in a very long time.

“You’re so sure you can handle yourself, so prove it, right now”, every word was growled out as he advanced on her.

Oh my god was all her numb brain could come up with, “I don’t want to fight you” she said, disbelief written over her face, had he gone bad and she didn’t know it?

“Tough you don’t have a choice, real life time Cor, this is the life you want isn’t it”? He was taunting her now.

She backed away from him but he kept coming, her back hit the counter and she slid along it, trying to keep some distance, she could feel her heartbeat going crazy and her knees were weak with fear, she hated it and the fact that he couldn’t not know it, that made her angry.

“What are you trying to prove here Angel, that I should be afraid of them or of you”? Those words made him pause for just a fraction but before she could feel any relief he answered her.

“Shut up and get on with it Cordelia, unless your feeling to….Oh I dunno weak maybe” He was goading her but at the same time deadly serious.

She’d had enough, “Go to hell” she snarled at him and turned to storm off. His hand shot out and fastened on her upper arm and quick as a snake she went to punch him in the face but his other hand caught hers and held on, she tried but couldn’t break his grip.

“Is that the best you can do” He said pulling her away from the counter, she had no option but to go or be dragged.

When he stopped she deliberately got too close and brought a knee up in a quick strike aiming to cripple him with pain, all he did was twist his hips out of her way and she missed and it was only his hold that prevented her from falling on her knees. Maddened she turned and twisted in his grip but all she managed was to hurt herself.

Thinking furiously she feigned defeat, relaxing and lowering her head, waiting for him to take t habit and release her or at least loosen his hands. He did release her hand and she instantly brought it up in a swinging punch which he deflected, she did it again and he deflected it again with insulting ease.

“Let me go” she spat the words out in a fury, she tried to pull away and dragged herself almost to the floor but he held her up, despite her best effort.

“No” just that nothing else.

Using his hold to aid her she braced both legs and practically climbed him, kicking out and pushing back, she caught him in the face and he let her go, she flipped once and landed on her feet in a crouch she swept out a foot wanting to knock his out from under him but he braced his legs wide apart and simply absorbed the kick without so much as flinching.

“Darla used to like to fight, she’d get real worked up about it, gotta admit I never saw the fun in it until now”, he laughed at her.

Truly infuriated she jumped back to her feet and back-flipped away from him to gain some time to think. She faced him with chest heaving and fists clenched. There was a strange pressure in her chest but she refused to acknowledge it, she hated this and wanted it to stop, now.

“My turn now” He growled unsmilingly

Her eyes widened and she barely had time to react before he was nearly on her. She pulled back and spun on one heel bringing the other up in arc, he ducked under it and kept on coming as she backed up further, skirting one of the red circular puff chairs.

She came at him with a flurry of punches that he either ducked, reared back from or deflected with his hands or arms. She was panting with exertion and out of time, his big body was herding her back against a wall. She ducked under him and dived for the clear space behind him, but he hooked an arm around her waist and literally launched her into the air, to land on her back on one of the couches.

She scissored her legs to help her get back up and swung them over the side but she was too late and he grabbed both of her ankles and pulled her off the couch and onto the tiled floor. She kicked and punched at him but this time he didn’t even both trying to avoid them but simply dropped to his knees and then straddled her hips, trapping her legs with his longer ones pressing them together. His hands snagged hers again and pressed them to the floor high over her head.

She bucked and heaved, not caring what happened just wanting to get him off of her NOW but he was too big and heavy and he just waited until she tired herself out.

She glared up at him, humiliated and angry “Are you satisfied now, does it make you feel better, Asshole”.

“Now, now mind your language”, the only consolation was he wasn’t smiling and his face was human again. Some of the tension left her, but none of the anger or the humiliation which she knew was his whole intention.

“Get off me”, she snarled, starting to wriggle again.

“I will when you give me your word, no more cases”, he said with calm deliberation.

“Kiss my ass”, god that felt so good to say that.

“Are you so determined to die”, he was angry again and she didn’t give a crap.

“No I’m not, but I decide not you” she was yelling at him by the end.

“You don’t have a choice” he snapped back infuriated again

“Why because of this? Get real” she had lifted her arms a fraction in his restraining hold to make sure he understood she didn’t care what point he thought he’d made.

“I can stop you”

“Do your worst Dumbass”. She said it fiercely still glaring up at him with fire in her eyes.

He hesitated for a moment and then got off her, a measure of sanity had returned and he wasn’t willing to go any further, no matter what he’d thought when he arrived he couldn’t hurt her even to stop her from being killed at some future point. He would have to find another way.

“I hope you have another source of income other than cases, because you’re gonna need it”, he said determination in his voice and with that he left again. The door banged shut again before she had even had time to sit up.

“Asshole” she yelled at the top of lungs, not caring if he could hear her, finally she let the tears gather in her eyes, but didn’t let them fall.

Angel stalked out of the gate and over to his car, he got in and without warning slammed his head on the steering wheel, his hands clenching around it until the knuckles turned white. His head shaking from side to side in a gesture of denial. He covered his face with shaking hands and rubbed away the tears that had started to fall.

“What are you trying to prove Angel, that I should be afraid of them or of you”? He couldn’t remember anything ever hurting so much as when she’d said that.
Part 15
ANGEL
Angel parked up again, got out of the car and headed for the elevator. If Fred had been around to see him now she would have been seriously worried, he walked like an old man. His head heavy and steps slow, even just lifting up an arm to press the button looked like it took tremendous effort.

Once inside it he leaned back against the rear of the mirrored cage and watched the doors close with dark and unseeing eyes. Without meaning too he slid down until he was sitting on the floor of it with his head in his hands. The doors opened with a soft ping on arriving at his apartment, so lost in thought he didn’t even notice and the doors shut again, with him still inside.

A few minutes later he walk out of the elevator and headed directly for the drinks cabinet, sliding off his coat he dumped it on a chair and slid into another one, a glass and bottle in his hands. He opened it with a sharp twist of the cap and poured the first of many in the search for oblivion.
CORDY
Cordy gave up trying to sleep and flung back the covers she was too filled with anger and bitterness to even think about sleep right now. She got up and paced the rooms that had been his, hating him at that moment but also hating the fact that doing so hurt her too.

“How could he do that to me”? That question crossed her mind at least two dozen times and hour and it was driving her crazy.

“I love you Cordy, he says, yeah right and I believed him”, the sarcasm was almost savage in intensity and her pacing increased along with the agitation. “He would never have done that to her, or tried to tell her what to do”, she spun again and nearly tripped in the edge of the rug covering that part of the floor. That just made her angrier as if the rug was his fault too.

“Well OK I’m not Buffy but I never tried to be, I’m me and if he can’t deal with that, tough” Talking out loud was not exactly a sign of mental health but she had to spill it or go mad.

“I hate him and I’m never going to even speak to him again, that’s it we’re through”, she spat the words out filled with venom and a hint of tears. Her face scrunched up a moment before she forcefully smoothed it out, tears till sparkled in her hazel eyes but she was damned if she was going to let them fall. She took a deep breathe and forced it out slowly, her mind whirling in different directions.

“This is way too coincidental coming on top of everything else, someone else is behind this and I’m going find out who”, her first thought was Eve and making an impulsive decision she stalked over to the closet to get dressed.

She was even upset over the fact that she’d bothered to put stuff in the closet, but just a few short hours ago she’d been planning to persuade him to let her stay in the hotel, like that was gonna happen now.

A little while later she found herself outside Eve’s apartment door, memories of the last time flitted through her mind but she shrugged them off too angry to really care. Her second round of knocking still produced no results and she nearly screamed in frustration. A door opened a little along the hall and she turned to see a nerdy looking guy with glasses and a pale complexion blinking at her.

“She’s gone” the little man said before she could even ask and shut the door again. She debated with herself for a moment and then knocked very gently on his door. He opened it with a startled look on his face.

It was late and he didn’t know her, so she gave him a forced smile and tried to look apologetic for disturbing him, “Thanks for telling me that, you wouldn’t know where she’s gone would you”? She used her most inviting voice and followed it up with a brighter smile.

“No she didn’t say just took off with a few things and that’s it”, he still looked scared, “When was this”? Last question and then she was finished; he looked desperate to shut the door and go back to whatever nerdy stuff he had to do, probably hacking a bank or something.

“Two days I think, yeah that’s about right”. She nodded her thanks and walked back down the hallway.
ANGEL
Angel was lying crossways on the bed, only half undressed, his naked back gleamed in the starlight, thick arms were wrapped around a pillow, clutched tightly as he slept. He groaned and turned his head the other way still dreaming and his arms tightened on the pillow before in a sudden burst of movement flinging it across the room.

He rolled on his back and lifted his hands to press into his eyes, his muscular torso arching as he dug his heels in, he rolled onto his side with a deep sigh and opened burning eyes to stare out of the window next to his bed. The curtains were open and he could see the stars but didn’t care; all he cared about was trying to forget what had happened with Cordy, particularly the acrid smell of fear.

He’d done it deliberately but it still had the power to hurt; Cordy had been afraid of him and he couldn’t stop hearing her ask if that was what he’d wanted; God no, he didn’t, how could he when he loved her. Would she ever understand why and forgive him?

Just thinking about her dying froze him inside, he knew he couldn’t bear to go through that again and even if it meant she hated him he wouldn’t let her come that close to it ever again. But heaven help him it hurt so much. He stood up and walked back over to the pillow to pick it up and lifting it to his face, breathed in her scent.
CORDY
She was insane there was no other explanation for what she was doing here in a demon bar at the dead of night, standing in the door waiting for them to notice her. It didn’t take long and the silence that followed was unnerving, but she stiffened her spine and walked fully inside.

She just hadn’t been able to face going back to the hotel having failed to get anywhere with finding out who was determined to ruin her life, plus it felt like admitting defeat and that would mean that Angel was right and she might as well give up now, not going to happen she had thought fiercely. She knew a large part of why she had chosen this as the next lead was to spite him and she was exhilarated at the thought. Let him try and tell her what to do, NOT.

“Do any of you know who I am”? She asked the silent and wary patrons, all ugly ass demons with no two looking the same, except for some vamps at a table by themselves. She stood by the bar so that she could see most of them at once and she’d come unarmed, keeping her hands in the pockets of her denim jacket. It was a really grungy and smelly place but she managed to keep her face calm and expressionless as she waited for someone to speak up.

“Yeah we know who you are girl, whatcha doin here”? It was the bartender who answered her; he looked nervously at the door on their left as if he expected her to have company.

She didn’t turn around but moved sideways so that he was in her line of sight when she replied “I want information on whoever was behind the attack on me a few days ago”. There were murmurings then and a few of the demons shuffled around, some even moving back like she was going to attack them or something.

“Angel already killed them all” Said one of the vamps, his voice ringing out across the room and his companions all male, nodded enthusiastically.

“I’m not talking about the lackeys” Answered Cordy, ignoring the reference to Angel, “I want the people behind it; the one’s who sicced Drusilla on me in the first place”. There were a lot more confused murmurings now and one or two of the demons sidled out of the exit and away, not wanting to have anything to do with her or whatever she was mixed up in now.

“Well I dunno but I heard there was some woman from that law firm involved in the beginning but then she just, ya know disappeared” Said one of the other vamps. Cordy decided they were obviously the best source of information so walked over to their table; they did not look pleased at the prospect of her joining them. She pulled up a chair anyway and sat down.

They all looked at her as if unsure what to or say now, looking at one another and back to her their yellow eyes wary and even afraid, wow he must have done a real job on them she thought, then quashed it, don’t go there she told herself.

“I’m not going anywhere even if I have to stray here all night, until someone tells me where I can find this woman, someone in here must know where she went considering the amount of demon stuff she’s mixed up in”, it was a statement of intent, declared in a loud and determined voice and they believed her.
EVE

Eve was sitting in front of the TV, the curtains were shut but the glow from the screen was more than adequate light for reading the letter she’d heard pushed through the motel room door, hand delivered at 3 am.

She still had one more shot and then she was shit outta luck, the package had been delivered now and the results of that should make things around here a bit more interesting. “I’m a firm believer that a girl needs to make a choice and to do that well she needs a few choices”, she smirked at the thought, coming to life a bit.

She ran her hands through her hair and stretched like a cat, coming out of the stupor she’d fallen into. “I’ll have to stop taking the tranqs”. She’d started taking them after she’d heard about Dru, but she needed her wits about her now. She also needed to get in character again, just in case he got here earlier than she expected.

She imagined what the reaction would be to the video and giggled. Those images were not going to be well received at all. She’d even sent a note with it suggesting that Ms Chase had not been a willing participant; that should certainly light a fire under his ass.

There was a knock on the door and she stiffened, who the hell was knocking on her door halfway through the night, this couldn’t be good. She stayed silent and hoped whoever it was would just go away.

“Eve if you don’t open the door in the next twenty seconds then I’m going to start picking the lock, so open up”, Cordy demanded from the other side of the door.

Eve gaped when she heard that voice, this was unbelievable and she panicked thinking Angel must be with her, she dived for the window at the back of the room and started to climb out, but was dumbfounded when she was confronted by Cordelia Chase all on her lonesome, except for a very sharp knife which was pressed to the skin of her throat, so close it drew blood.

“I want to know all about your little trysts with Dru and why the hell you’ve been coming after me like a bitch in heat” snarled Cordy face to face with Eve; she pressed the knife harder into skin.
THE HYPERION HOTEL – CATHY (MORNING AFTER)
Cathy sighed and carefully turned on her side, she could hear Cordelia moving around in her room and she almost got out of bed to go and try and comfort her, No better to wait until a little later.

“Men, their all the same and he’s worse than the rest; 250 years old and he still hasn’t learnt how to deal when a woman tell him no”, she muttered angrily to herself.

How the hell am I going to fix this, she thought groaning at the prospect. Giving up the idea of getting comfortable she faced the ceiling again, she understood the need to protect the people you love; it was actually quite an admirable trait. He was also right in that Cordy wouldn’t last long on her own and that was why she had been careful on the ‘cases’ she found, nothing too dangerous but then of course she hadn’t planned on so much interference from the outside.

It was obvious that Cordy needed Angel because of his ruthlessness and capacity for violence but even more than that Angel needed Cordy for her compassion and perception, things that he sadly lacked at times. Certainly the others were important; but after the last year it was even more obvious that this whole mess had to be fixed or risk losing what had turned out to be a very effective defence against the darkness and the beings that thrived in it.

Wesley was a good man and friend but the vampire needed to love, it was as if the soul once starved now craved it, something else she understood very well. Fred was a darling but nowhere near in Cordy’s league and as for Gunn well, he had his own twisty tunnel to pass through before he could be counted on again.

There was nothing else for it she was just going to have to find a way to bring these two stubborn characters together again. She raised her eyes upwards and scowled with frustration “A little help here would be sooo appreciated”, but she knew she was on her own, like always. Aah well that’s what you get for being a ‘fixer upper’, except somehow she hadn’t been expecting to have to play cupid.

Did it help that she had come to love Cordelia Chase as a friend and not just someone in need of help? She liked to think so, it was so much better to actually care about what you where doing, she’d been burned so many times in the past that she’d stopped letting herself care but with Cordelia it just couldn’t be helped.

Well she was just going to have to start breaking a few rules, starting now.
MEETING ROOM – WOLFRAM & HART
They had just finished the daily case progress meeting, all department heads were present including Wesley, Fred and Lorne along with numerous others and Angel. Gunn had been called out with an emergency to do with the surveillance on Eve, but was due to report in later.

Once everyone else had left but himself, Fred and Lorne, Wesley looked at Angel at the head of the table, leaning back in his chair looking out of the window at the bright and sunny day, lost in thought.

“So are you going to tell us what happened after you left my apartment”? Asked Wesley; watching as Angel tensed and look back at him with unreadable eyes.

“I went after the rest of the vamps, killed them and made sure the message got out that nothing like it had better happen again”.

“Oh I heard that” said Lorne with an affected shudder, “According to my messages you’d gone and started a bloodbath, what they thought I could do about is anyone’s guess” He gave the vampire a penetrating look. “So I’ve got to admit Angelface it’s was good to see you looking fairly sane today”.

“What about Cordelia, how is she”? Asked Fred concern evident in her voice and earnestly pretty face.

“Cordelia’s OK” Replied Angel shortly not meeting anyone’s eyes; “Do we know anymore about this woman she’s with, Cathy”? He asked Wesley, who looked at Lorne.

“Nothing more than what Cordelia told us, nothing matches her abilities and appearance on the demon database, healing rarely does and the fact that she looks and smells like a human” He trailed off, they were all thinking about Jasmine.

“I did a blood test on the blood Wesley brought me from the bandage, looks pretty normal to me and I got it checked for a second opinion, human it is” Said Fred, relieved to be able to report that much at least.

“Lorne” prompted Angel

“I got nada, nothing on the wind or coming in from my various sources, although I gotta admit most of them were intrigued by what I was asking so I had to play it safe and be discreet”.

“Keep looking all of you, I want to know more about her and how she met Cordelia” Instructed Angel to the group as a whole.

“Can’t you just ask Cordy” Said Fred surprised he hadn’t thought of that, “I know she was reserved with Wesley but you’re …….. erm different”, she nearly stopped when she saw his face.

Angel slumped back in his chair and fiddled with his pen, he looked up at Fred when an uncomfortable silence fell over the table, “No I can’t talk to Cordy about it” was all he said in reply.

“Did you speak to Cordy about not telling you Drusilla had threatened her”? Wesley asked Angel.

“I told her she wasn’t doing anymore demon hunting” Angel finally replied uncomfortably and picking up a report from in front of him, he flicking through it trying to look absorbed. He looked back up to find three sceptical and expectant gazes on his face.

“Did you fight”? Asked Fred, boy she had no idea just how literal that was, thought Angel with a wince, before looking towards the double doors just as they were both slammed open and Gunn came in saying “You guys are not gonna believe this”.

Angel’s heart sank as he looked into Gunn’s dark and excited eyes, “What”? he asked shortly.

“Our very own Cordelia Chase has just run little Evie outta town at knifepoint”, he chuckled with laughter and then saw Angel’s face and stopped with a choke.

“Cordelia went to see Eve again” Asked Angel quietly and slowly as if trying to make sure he understood exactly what he was being told.

“Yup”, Uh oh better not mention the other thing. “How did she find out where Eve had gone”? Asked Fred her brow creased in confusion. Gunn had to stifle an urge to shift from foot to foot as they all looked at him waiting for him to answer.
THE HYPERION HOTEL – CORDY
Cordy was covered in sweat and tossing and turning on the bed, moaning in pain and wishing she could wake up, wake up, WAKE UP!! She shot up wild eyed, looking around the room trying to get her bearings and waiting for her heart to stop racing and her breathing to slow down.

“Oh God, Oh god it’s over it was just a dream”, she shook her head and pressed a trembling hand to her mouth, tears threatened but she blinked them away as reality finally sunk in. She looked at the clock beside the bed and groaned it was nearly 11am.

She got out of the bed and stood beside it for a moment trying to still her trembling knees, what an awful nightmare. She entered the bathroom and ran the cold tap over her wrists, glad for once that the room didn’t have a mirror. She was sure that she must look as bad as she felt. Sitting down on the edge of the bath she crossed her hands on her knees and took deep calming breaths.

“What the hell was that”? She asked herself; she had never had a dream like it before. She had expected to have a nightmare or two about nearly dying and Dru and all but not like that, she had dreamt the whole thing not as her seeing it, but Angel, every thought and feeling she had felt was his. If it was even a little bit true, she could almost understand….

“Oh no you don’t” she suddenly snapped, angry with herself “That is not gonna happen; there will be no forgiving or forgetting”.

Cathy was already downstairs and had explored a bit, found the coffee-maker and coffee and started it going, not surprising considering she was a self confessed caffeine addict.

“Hey, how are you” she asked when she saw Cordy coming down the stairs. It was redundant question really as Cordy’s tight and angry face gave her away. But asking the question gave an opportunity for venting.

“Fine” said Cordy shortly, irritable and dog tired, she flopped onto one of the puff chairs, deliberately avoiding ‘that’ couch. Cathy just looked at her over the mug she was holding, “Go on” she prompted when Cordy didn’t elaborate.

“What” asked Cordy Defensively?

“You may as well tell me and get it over with” said Cathy, she could see it brewing away in there and knew the sooner she got it out the better.

Cordy stood up and started to pace around the lobby, different areas in the big space seemed to make her angrier when her eyes touched on them before jerking away again. “Men are complete bastards” she got out at last, muttering under her breath something about vampires.

“Uh huh” <i>no disagreement from me there</i>, thought Cathy

“I hate him”

“Fair enough”, <i>sure you do</i>

“I don’t want to talk about”; she was as upset as Cathy had ever seen her.

“Later then” Cathy conceded. “Maybe” said Cordy unwillingly

The conversation was cut short by a knock on the glass panes of the door and it being opened by a slight young woman with dark hair and glasses. “Hi Fred” said Cordy really, really glad of the distraction. “What’s up”?

“Wow the hotel looks good you wouldn’t think it had been empty so long,” she exclaimed as she came down the steps, looking around happily and with some nostalgia.

“Well yeah, that’s because you got it cleaned,” said Cordy confused now.

“I know but still it looks lived in, so you’re staying here now” said Fred with a pleased smile.

“Er no, were going home today” Replied Cordy with a scowl, there was no way she was asking Angel for anything and he could just stay the hell away from her.

“That’s not what…..Oh erm, yeah OK” Fred faltered in the middle and then finished with the last words tapering off in embarrassment.

“That’s not what you, what”? Asked Cordy suspiciously

“Well that is..” Fred looked at her feet torn; “Fred” said Cordy losing patience.

“Angel said you would be staying here now” she finally blurted out, watching Cordy’s reaction, she knew something had gone wrong between Cordy and Angel in the last few days, something more than just the near death experience. Angel had gone into simmering mode when he’d heard about the demon bar and ordered a 24 hour surveillance to be put on her, based from the hotel.

“Angel said that”? Asked Cordy in utter disbelief, was she hearing this right, what happened to making things difficult for her. Why was he giving her what she wanted, not that he knew that of course because she hadn’t got to mention it, but still there was something up with this picture somewhere, she narrowed her eyes at Fred.

“Yeah” said Fred with a bright but uneasy smile.

“Fred why don’t I introduce you to Cathy, my friend and then we all go for a late lunch and have a nice chat” suggested Cordy with a wave towards Cathy.

Fred confused and a little perplexed; agreed absently and then remembering her manners smiled and waved at Cathy trying not to look like she was a little freaked out by what Wesley had told her about this woman but also relieved that this was going better than she’d thought; she felt a pang of guilt for Angel but hey fair was fair right?
ANGEL’S APARTMENT
Angel had gone back to his office to work, but after snapping twice at the same woman who’d made the mistake of interrupting him in full brood and then nearly knocking some poor guy over the balcony and down to the foyer below, just because he hadn’t been paying attention to where he’d been going and bumped into him, he decided he needed to be alone if he was going to stay out of trouble.

Back upstairs he paced around the apartment, going outside was impossible until the sun went down and the tunnels and sewer systems would drive him crazy at the moment, he needed space. He felt as if he needed to burn off all the energy that was pumping through him and enclosed spaces wouldn’t help him.

“I can’t believe she did something so stupid and dangerous” He ranted, knowing she’d done it to prove a point to him, more than anything else.

“Well she won’t do it again”, He’d arranged for her to watched, every move she made, he was going to know about and if there was any danger it would be headed off before she got there. She was going to hate that but it was the only way he could protect her and she was just going to have to get used to the idea.

“<i>What if she leaves LA again, to get away from you</i>” He thought and had to shut it down because it was too painful to think of. She wouldn’t leave, “<i>that would be admitting defeat and she’d rather stake me than do that</i>”

He hoped that was true; he needed her nearby even if he couldn’t be with her, he needed to know he could at least see her occasionally even if she didn’t love him anymore; that would have to be enough for him, to love her from a distance was better than feeling nothing and hoping for nothing.

He wanted to see her now, “<i>Bad idea</i>”, impossible and he knew it, they both needed to calm down and he didn’t want to push her into thinking she had to leave LA. after all “<i>I won’t let her</i>” He felt the rise of emotion inside and cut the thought again, he had to get a grip on his own possessive nature now or he’d end up driving himself crazy and going out of control, “<i>Like that hasn’t happened before</i>”.

His friends were worried about him and if he was honest they had reason to be, he knew he was slipping backwards when it came to his humanity. It couldn’t have been helped, with everything that had happened last year, losing Cordy and Conner; he’d had to pull back into himself just to be able to carry on.

Being inside Wolfram & Hart wasn’t exactly therapeutic either and there were times recently when he felt as if all the progress he’d made in the last few years was nothing but an illusion. That he was still just an outsider, unable to relate to anything or anyone around him, unless it involved death and violence.

“<i>You were too rough with her</i>”. His conscience smote at him

“It was necessary”; he muttered with a sort of desperate need to convince his inner self.

“<i>It never used to be, why didn’t you just ask her to join in here</i>”

“I don’t want her mixed up with this place”. That was true enough

“<i>Oh right but scaring her is OK, well you certainly did that didn’t you, did you smell it</i>”

“Shut up, I had to try, it’s better than her dying and losing her completely”

“<i>You think you haven’t anyway</i>”?

That was it, he had to get these thoughts out of his head and stop thinking about her constantly; obsessing about her was bad and getting him nowhere. He yanked off his black knitted shirt and then undid his zipper before reaching into the closet and pulling out a pair of loose drawing string pants. He needed to empty his head and the only thing that had worked in the past was meditating, it was time for some tai chi.

“<i>What are you trying to prove Angel, that I should be afraid of them or of you</i>”? Her voice echoed in his head.
BACK AT THE HYPERION
“Surveillance, I just do not believe this guy, he is insane” Cordy’s shouting must have been heard from at least two blocks away, Cathy winced at the volume.

She felt a hell of a lot of admiration for Cordy’s restraint; that had been bottled up for at least an hour, ever since Fred had spilled the beans. They were back now though and the need for restraint was gone.

“We are leaving here immediately”; snapped Cordy running for the stairs to gather the few things she’d brought here.

“Wait” said Cathy, “Don’t be so hasty”

“Hasty” the volume was still at mega watt, as Cordy whirled round to stand with hands on hips “That stupid sh… Dork has set a bunch of mindless morons to watch me”. Fury was evident in every word, not to mention what she’d almost called him.

“Exactly, stupid morons that we can run rings around, like that”; Cathy snapped her fingers and grinned at Cordy and then waited for the possibilities to filter through the anger, it didn’t take long.

“You mean…” said Cordy with an intrigued look on her face, Cathy’s grin just got bigger “Oh yeah”.

“Won’t that piss him off” Cordy grinned back her; her nimble mind running through all of the scenarios that could be, all of which ended up with Angel having egg on his handsome face.

“This hotel has hundred of rooms, numerous exits and you know them all like the back of your hand, what better place can you think of”? Asked Cathy.

“There is none, you’re right and Angel will think he’s got me exactly where he wants me, but he’s sooo going to find out different”. She was getting excited now, this was actually good news.

“No one uses me like that and gets away with it” Said Cordy, damn she hadn’t meant to say that out-loud but it was too late, she saw Cathy focus on her.

“Just because his wits went A.W.O.L. overreacting to you nearly dying in front of him doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you” Said Cathy with quiet conviction.

“Whatever, it doesn’t matter” replied Cordy turning her face away, but Cathy wasn’t finished.

“Cordy” she waited until she turned back “He does love you, don’t let anger kid you into fooling yourself otherwise, would he have gone so ballistic if he didn’t”?

Cordelia remembered the dream she’d had and didn’t brush it away this time, had he really felt that bad? Even if he had was it really any excuse for the way he’d acted; was love a good enough excuse? She didn’t know what to think anymore, Cathy sounded so certain and even if she shouldn’t let it, it did knock away at the foundation of her anger with him.

“I’ll worry about that later, for now we have a business to finish getting started”. She would focus on that for now and see what fell out of the woodwork; she was too confused and angry at the moment to think rationally about her abortive relationship with Angel or lack of one.
Part 16
ANGEL’S OFFICE (TWO WEEKS LATER- EVENING)

“What the hell do you mean you lost her again” Angel roared at the end of his tether and not caring who else knew it. He got up from his chair and came around the desk to stand nose to nose with the man.

“Sir the only explanation I can think of is she’s had training at avoiding surveillance”, Sam Carstairs, Wolfram & Hart’s Chief of Security tried not to back away from the towering dark figure of the enraged vampire. Was this guy ever in a good mood, not that he blamed him. Carstairs was proud of his work and his team but this woman eluded them time and again, it was infuriating.

“That’s not possible”, what she’d left LA for an intensive counter intelligence training course? He didn’t think so. This was the fourth time this week that they’d lost her. The first week had been fine, she’d spent it moving into the hotel which had at least negated one of his worries, that she would just want to get out of there and away from the memories.

“Do you or your men have any idea where she could have gone”? He asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“No sir, we lost her in a crowd of people, she was talking to someone on a cell phone and then she was gone”. Carstairs waited for the tirade to continue and almost sagged with relief when there was a knock on the door and Ms Burkle popped her head round.

“What is it Fred”? Snapped out Angel, he was not finished with this and wanted no interruptions.

“Nothing much Boss, just wanted to let you know I’m finishing downstairs and won’t be available for the rest of the night” She was all bright breeziness and he just nodded wanting her gone.

“See you tomorrow then and I’ll say Hi to Cordy for you”, then she ducked out again, he was after her in a flash, nearly tripping over the door in his haste to pass through it.
NIGHTCLUB
The club was absolutely heaving, it was a trendy and popular venue and almost impossible to get into, but they’d managed it and Cordy felt the excitement right down to her toes. All three of them were dressed up and looking gorgeous, even if she did say so herself. She hadn’t had so much fun in ages.

They’d all gotten ready to go out from the hotel, playing with makeup and hair-stuff and trying on clothes, it had been so like high-school the nostalgia had nearly had her in tears. Cathy had grumbled constantly while she and Fred worked on her but it had worked out better than fine, they all looked sexy as hell.

After a lot of soul searching she had made her decision and was putting it into action, she was going to try and have her cake and eat it too, if it didn’t work out, well, she would deal with that if it happened. Angel thought he could bully and frighten her into doing what he thought was best for her, well he was wrong. He might have frightened her at the time but not for long, she knew him too well and it had only taken a few days for her to shake off the loss of confidence and self-esteem he’d caused and decide exactly how he was going to pay for it, in spades, before she was through with him he was going to be begging her for forgiveness.

He knew she was here and the three of them looking like they did was guaranteed to make sure they got a lot of attention from the male of the species. For a moment she worried that he might send a flunky to watch over them. She shook the thought off; no way not after the spectacular lack of success those self-same flunkeys had been having over the last few days. He would come himself, she was almost sure of it.

Angel watched her from his vantage point on the upper level, a spot he’d picked out so that he could see the bar area and most of the downstairs. He was familiar with the layout, these places all seemed the same to him and he’d had no trouble finding what he wanted, a place to see without being seen.

He hadn’t bothered with the main door, there was no way they were going to just let him in and he’d hadn’t had enough notice to arrange anything through the firm, so he’d reverted back to old habits and broken in.

The three of them arrived about a half hour later just when he’d begun to think they’d changed their plans, then he saw them and his insides seemed to squeeze at the sight of her, rapidly followed by his jaw dropping when he got a better look at her and saw exactly what she was wearing, or not wearing.

His jaw came up again in his lips drew into a furious line and he nearly broke the glass he was holding. He’d bought a drink at the bar when he’d arrived, hoping to blend in better, now he tossed the amber liquid down his throat in an effort to relieve the sudden dryness of his mouth. What the hell was she doing going out in public looking like that, if he’d had a blood pressure it would have been sky high by now, even without it he felt as if steam should be coming out of his ears.

A few hours later the three women were still being besieged by groups of men and trying to look interested in talking to them. For the most part through Cordy was just glad to be out on a social occasion, her enjoyment was only lessened by the fact that Angel had yet to make an appearance.

“Dumbass” she muttered and then plastered another smile on her face when the guy she was supposed to have been listening to gave her a startled look.

She was wearing a metallic teal dress with a tight bodice that was entirely back less, no bra and short twirly skirt that flirted with her knees and exposed her golden calves and even some of her thighs when she moved the right way, her dark hair was loose and cascaded down to the middle of her back now it had grown. He should have been here salivating while she remained carefully aloof and enjoying the attention, without encouragement of course, of other men.

“Where the hell is he”? She hissed to Fred, who was blushing at something one of the other guy’s currently crowding round had just said to her. Fred just shrugged and looked apologetic.

Cathy leaned over the table to talk to her, she didn’t really have to but she wanted an excuse to get away from the jerk next to her who was trying to see down her cleavage. “Why don’t we dance”?

The lighting in the club was dark and intimate and people were dancing everywhere, some not even bothering with the dance floor but just finding any spot to enjoy the rapid, pounding beat. “OK” she agreed, anything was better than just standing around waiting for something to happen.

The two women moved away after a quiet word with Fred, they didn’t go far because they didn’t want to leaver her alone, they found a good place near a corner with plenty of space and not too many people so they wouldn’t have to constantly worry about getting bumped.

The music changed to another track, just as heavy and pounding but with an almost primal undertone in its throbbing beat; Cordy started to dance and her eyes drifted shut as she let the music take over. In just a few seconds she started to feel as if her she were weightless and yet there was also a strange pulse inside her body matching the music as it flowed and pulsed intimately through her.

Hardly knowing what she was doing she started to undulate with erotic female grace, her hips swinging enticingly from side to side in an unconsciously provocative imitation of lovemaking, soon she was helplessly caught in a web of pure sensual feeling that encompassed her whole being. She had no awareness of the club, passing time or anything other than an almost primitive need to move in time with the pounding rhythm and appease the throbbing in her body.

The men around her watched, mesmerised by the sight of a beautiful woman caught in the thrall of dancing only for herself and being entirely absorbed in the joy of it; totally unaware of them watching and the effect she was having on them. Angel watched her from above; his hands were clenched around the metal bar that ran around the balcony top, crushing it without even being aware of the pressure he was applying.

He was as mesmerised as the others, his dark eyes watching with helpless fascination each movement of her hips and breasts; he had to swallow hard when with his unnatural eyesight he saw small beads of sweat form between her breasts and start to slowly travel down her body under that damned dress which just by the way it hugged her body should have been illegal. God her face looked like she had when they were making love and he was rock hard just seeing it, she was killing him with lust and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it, except leave, he stayed where he was.

Cathy smiled, enjoying herself too, she loved to dance it was one of the few things she truly loved. Most of the time she hated her empathic abilities and blocked them out, but she had to admit there were times it was a definite advantage, like now. She could feel him watching Cordelia, hard to miss even in this crowd and unlike the ‘seeing’ stuff it didn’t rely on physical connection.

She almost shook her head in rueful amusement, even in a jaded and cynical society like this one, sometimes the old ways were the best. A woman dancing in a nightclub, done right could still turn men’s minds to mush; every bit as much as they’re ancestors had when dancing around a campfire.

OK that was enough she decided when the track changed for the third time, don’t want to over do it. Cordy felt as if she was floating and then blinked confused at the attention she was getting, what the hell had just happened? She shot Cathy a look and met a bland smile, Oh yeah that’s gonna wash. The two women walked back to the table where Fred was watching them with a big smile on her face.

“What did you do”? Asked Cordy before they reached the able; still feeling the effects of the dance.

“Don’t worry about it OK, I simply jacked up your endorphins a little bit, think of it as a free and harmless drug, the effects will soon wear off”

Cordy swallowed and avoided the hot and intent gazes of the men around them; jeez she needed a drink like now. She headed towards the bar over the other side of the club, weaving around tables and between bodies like a pro.

The music was so loud she didn’t hear one of the guy’s she’d been talking to earlier when he shouted at her to gain her attention again. Too drunk to realise she wasn’t just playing hard to get and thinking he had an edge on everyone else as he’d already talked to her. He gave a thumbs up to one of his buddies and set off after her intent on cornering her for a quick grope.

He was just getting close enough for his hand to reach out and cup her ass from behind when he felt himself being grabbed by the collar and lifted in the air. He had no idea who was holding him and if he tried to turn his head the hold on his collar tightened and threatened to choke him, he found himself being carried off to a dark corner away from the crowd.

Angel slammed the puny little shit’s back into the wall and leaned in to say in a low growl “Don’t follow, go near, touch or even look at her again to you understand me”?

The guy just stared, head pressed back against the wall shocked at the suddenness of being threatened by a very large and menacing stranger, when only seconds earlier he’d been enjoying the view provided by one Cordelia Chase and anticipating more.

He said nothing; too drunk to realise the danger he shook his head and then choked in horror when the stranger’s eyes flashed a strange yellow. Later on he would convince himself that it had been a trick of the light, but right then he felt his bowels loosen in terror.

Quickly he nodded, “Yeah, sure I’m going now” He squealed out sliding along the wall a bit to try and get out of the strangers way. “Leave now then” the stranger growled and stood back blocking the club itself but leaving a path open to the exit. He wasted no time and didn’t even try and signal his friends, just left not turning around once.

Angel watched him leave only marginally satisfied; he’d spent hours standing back and watching Cordelia get fawned over by other men. He’d been forced to wage a constant battle with himself not to jump down in the middle of them and simply throw them away from her, toss her over his shoulder and storm off to somewhere private and that dance had stretched his control even more. He turned around to go back to his lookout and continue the torture only to find himself facing three women, all looking at him, two very amused and one not.

Cordelia had seen the guy coming up behind her in the mirror above the bar and was about to turn round and get rid of him when suddenly she saw him being lifted in the air by..nothing, no reflection. She’d whirled round just in time to see Angel carting the terrified man away. She repressed a spurt of satisfaction and signalled to Cathy and Fred to hurry over which they had.

She’d planned this meeting from the start and she was more than ready for it, even so seeing him for the first time since they’d fought was strangely unnerving and for some reason embarrassing. She forced down a blush and placed both of her hands on her hips, coincidentally highlighting her figure to best advantage, one foot started to tap and she fixed a scowl on her face that made it clear she was less then impressed.

He was caught and feeling immensely embarrassed at being found doing what he’d been doing, acting all jealous and protective again when they weren’t even talking to one another. He looked at Cordelia and without even realising it, practically ate her with his dark eyes. Even angry she made his gut ache with need.

He stood still and waited for her to come to him as he knew she would, the last time he’d seen her she would have staked him if she’d had something wooden and pointy available and he didn’t think that time would have lessened her anger. He’d known the risk of what would happen if she saw him and now he couldn’t do anything other than let her have her say. She deserved it and no matter how much it cut, he was going to take it.

Cordy saw his face drop as he ducked it a little in a defensive gesture, he looked nervous and that gave her confidence that she was doing the right thing, here was the Angel she knew and loved; it was time to implement the plan.

“What do you think you’re doing here Angel and why did you just frighten off a guy I was actually starting to find interesting”? She waited a beat and then finished deliberately “which makes a change”.

She felt Cathy giving her a sideways look and remembered her warnings about playing jealousy games, she’d had trouble convincing Cathy it was a good plan and she’d had to promise not to ‘look’ like she was trying to make him jealous. But damn it was difficult not to feel a thrill as his face showed every emotion going through him, got you, she thought with an internal smile. “Even if he was a total jerk,” she said it to both relax him and placate Cathy; it worked on both counts.

Angel did relax a bit, after her deliberate needling had made him tense up with anger despite his best intentions, he could take her insulting him but just the idea of her wanting other men was enough to make him feel more than a little irrational. He wanted to avoid her question though so he asked one of his own, of Fred.

“You told her didn’t you” he said with one of his most intimidating looks, Cordy drew in a long breath and advanced on him then, one hand coming up to poke him hard in the chest. Fred just smiled apologetically at him and he looked down at a furious Cordy.

“Don’t you dare snarl at Fred like that you big dumbass, she’s my friend too and you shouldn’t have tried to make her take sides”, she carried on poking him but he didn’t try and stop her. He must be sick or something but he enjoyed her touching him even when she was trying to poke a hole in his chest.

She must have guessed so she poked harder, he grabbed her finger and growled at her “Cordelia”, she grinned at him and curled her finger into his palm, making him twitch slightly before she tugged it loose.

“So where’s your crack surveillance team then not lost them have you”? She said with obviously feigned concern, her face tilted up to his with a falsely sweet smile and a flutter of lashes. Angel’s contriteness changed at that to a mixture of both irritation and admiration for her, at that moment he couldn’t decide if he wanted to throttle her or kiss that sassy mouth.

Her skin was sheened with a glow made by the heat and the exertion of the dancing and it brought out the scent of her perfume as well as that special smell that was hers alone. His mouth watered and he felt himself harden again, God he wanted her.

“What’s the matter cat got your tongue, or are you just speechless at my fabulous dress”, she lifted up the skirt a bit and sassily swung her hips from side to side, the flimsy material played a hide and seek game with her soft inner thighs, just for his benefit.

Flashes of the other times he’d seen and touched those thighs flitted across his mind and he hardened even more, straining his pants. Thanking god he was wearing a long enough shirt, he finally spoke in what he hoped was a totally relaxed voice, “What game are you playing Cordelia”?

He sounded rusty as hell and Cordy knew just by the hot lights in his eyes that the dress was having the desired effect. Men she knew about and this one the most, even the biggest and meanest could be brought to his knees by the right woman, well she was that women and she had some payback to get. “Game, I’ll tell you shall I”?

She stepped closer to him, her breasts nearly brushed against his wide chest and her hands rested on the hard muscular shoulders under his coat as she leaned in a little, stopping when her face was almost cheek to cheek with his, their eyes meeting in a heated clash of brown and hazel.

“It’s this little game called, ‘its My Life’ you should learn the rules”. Then she softly kissed the corner of his mouth and turned to saunter away with her hips swinging in that maddeningly feminine way.

He watched her gather her strange friend and Fred and then walk towards the exit; she didn’t look back at him. His hands still itched to touch her and his whole body tingled from that kiss.
He’d been expecting to be annihilated by that clever and wicked tongue of hers at the very least, maybe even punched out and instead she’d kissed him. His hand rose up to touch the spot wonderingly.

There was no one else like her in the whole world, she was unique and his. Even if she wouldn’t accept that right now, he wouldn’t give up trying to convince her until she did. He was tired of always feeling unworthy and unloved. He’d done the noble thing before, by stepping aside or leaving. This time around there would be none of that for either of them, she was too important to him.

“Mine”, the word felt strange on his tongue only now he savoured the sound of it; inside him the possessiveness that he tried and often struggled to keep hidden and repressed came loose. The emotion filled him and for the first time since he had gotten his soul back over a century ago, he let it.
HYPERION HOTEL
Back at the hotel Fred looked and Cordelia’s smug and satisfied expression and asked the obvious question, “So you’re happy with the way it went then”?

“Oh yeah this plan is going to work, I can feel it” She was positive.

Fred was doubtful, these things never seemed to go the way they were supposed to but she didn’t say it out loud, at least not directly. “I still don’t get how making him all jealous and possessive is gonna change how things are, I mean isn’t he always like that about you anyway”? She asked.

“The plan isn’t about making him all jealous and possessive; that was just to get him to make a move” Said Cordy shooting another look at Cathy.

“Deliberately playing the jealousy card is great for finding yourself flat on your back real quick, but not so good for the long-term option if you get what I mean, it’s a trust thing”, Cathy frowned at Cordelia for good measure.

“I know, I know”, said Cordy, smiling cheekily “but if I want to change his mind about not interfering in my business. Then we need to make up, but he has to come to me or it won’t work”.

“I can’t believe that you’re so willing to forgive him”? Fred asked the question that was still dumbfounding her, Cordy was a loyal friend but she could be unforgiving about some things.

Cordy had thought about it a lot this past week, not that she’d had much choice with the dreams still coming every time she went to sleep. But it was more than that, she missed him and the thought of cutting him out of her life was a painful one and she was not someone to cut her nose off to spite her face.

“He’s still a dork, but he’s my dork and anyway I know I can turn him around. I just need to make him want me so badly that he’ll be willing to compromise. I made a mistake in letting him make me try it his way”. She was not going to try and explain it more than that, something like her relationship with Angel was just too complicated to be put into simple words.

“Are you sure it’s wise, I mean what if he gets so wound up that…..” Fred tapered off.

“Pfft, if he didn’t hurt me when we were fighting, my just pushing a bit won’t tip him over the edge. All I want him to see is that even when he tries he can’t control what I do and then it’s simply a choice between being with me or without me. Simple”.
KEENE – NEW HAMPSHIRE
He watched the flickering screen with clenched fists, his handsome face was twisted with anger and jealousy and bitterness.

“You chose him over me and now you want me to help you”, he snarled at the beautiful face of Cordelia Chase, frozen on the TV screen. “I will not come, you let me leave and go out into this alien world alone”. This world was truly a hell, unforgiving and cruel and you had to become that way just to survive, so he had.

His fists clenched tighter and tears fell from eyes like blue pools. “You chose him over me and now you can the price”
THE HYPERION HOTEL – TWO DAYS LATER
Cordy was fast asleep in bed, content after another successful day running the surveillance team a merry chase and still managing to accomplish what she wanted. They’d found another case and they were making progress. She was smiling with her hand tucked under her face. Angel stood next to the bed looking down at her, his face strangely tense.

He crouched down next to where she lay and lifted the sheet away and down from her body, she stirred only a small bit before relaxing back into deep sleep. His dark eyes wandered over her, resting briefly on the low vest top and a nipple peaking out over the neckline before travelling down to the bed shorts that had ridden up to expose all of her thighs.

Her scent came to him then gently wafted on the night breeze that stirred the curtains at the window where he’d come in and he inhaled deeply his face relaxing from its previous tension with the confirmation that whatever she was up to it didn’t involve another man.

It had been irrational to think so but not knowing what she was doing was driving him crazy. For last few years he’d known almost every thought that crossed her mind and every time she’d had a date he’d hated it even back before he’d started to fall in love with her.

He was possessive as hell and he knew it but it was a part of him that he couldn’t ignore for long and tonight had been his limit, he’d had to know; though god knows what he would have done if she had found another. Thankfully he didn’t need to find out.

He sat back on his heels and just enjoyed the slight of her all pink and rosy with sleep, her full lips pouting even now. He was hard but then that was pretty much automatic these days when he was around her, so he ignored it. One of his hands came up to run a long, callused and yet gentle finger over one arching brow, over her cheek and down her neck, coming to rest on the slope of her breast, only a small distance from that tempting nipple. Sighing he stood up carefully and turned to leave the way he’d come.

He stopped and turned back to press a soft kiss on her forehead and whisper softly “I love you”, then he did leave.
CATHY

In bed herself, Cathy’s eyes were open and she rolled them and smiled when she heard him leave again after only a few minutes. “What the hell do you need a written invitation”? she sighed this was going to be hard work.

“OK then noble, boring but noble”, she relented her mind working around the possibilities.
ANGEL AND CORDY
It was nearly dawn, Angel had just got into bed and it had been hours since he had been in Cordy’s bedroom. He gave a sigh as he settled down naked into the bed sheet with the covers wrapped around his hips.

About twenty minutes later he groaned and turned on his back deeply asleep, his body twitched and he moved restlessly almost searchingly, his hips rose up and he groaned again

Cordelia turned on her back in her bed, the sheets were twisted around her torso and she pulled them off frowning but still asleep, she squirmed and moaned deep in her throat as she arched helplessly under the lash of some intense sensation.

<i>She was naked and hot, cool hands skimmed her body, drawing ever decreasing circles towards her aching breasts, finally soothing the tight buds of her nipples with pinching little nips from fingers and teeth and lips.

The bed dipped beside her and felt a large heavy body settle next to her, soft hair prickled across the soft silky skin of her ribs as he continued to lean over and suckle on her nipple. She tried to open her eyes but they felt so heavy and the pleasure was so intense that she couldn’t get them to obey her.

The bed dipped on her other side as he shifted to lean over her completely, his muscular hardness pressing her down as his tongue danced around and then inside her mouth. Sharp teeth pulled at her lower lip in a silent demand that she open her lips wider, she did and he slid inside, the intimate invasion was both possessive and giving as his tongue danced with hers, her hips undulated under him and she felt his groan travel through her own body like a growl.

She was driving him crazy and he felt her soft wet warmth press against his thigh and finally his sex as she spread her thighs so that he settled deeper into the apex there, it tempted him too much, he had to taste her and he gave a low growl just before he slid down her body, worshipping every golden inch before he reached his target.

She protested his leaving her and came up of the bed but he pushed her down again, one large hand pressed into her belly while the other lifted her bottom up to bring her to his ravaging mouth, she did arch then but couldn’t move back from the sweet pain and the sharp lashing pleasure of him licking and sucking at her. Her legs were over his impossibly wide shoulders and he would not let her move back but lifted her higher so that he could incite and take every drop of delicious moisture her body could produce.

He was frantic with the need to bury himself inside her but she tasted like heaven and he wanted to make her come and take that too, relentlessly he drove her higher with his darting , thrusting tongue, reaching high inside her body and then circling and nipping at the incredibly sensitive bundle of nerves, lapping her up.

She screamed as she came, bucking in his hands and finally she opened her eyes and saw his dark head still between her thighs and shuddered with the pleasure the sight gave her, her legs felt like leaden weights and she couldn’t have moved even if her life depended on it. It didn’t matter though he wasn’t finished, he looked up and caught and held her gaze with fiery brown eyes, his lips curved in the most sexually predatory smile she had ever seen.

He kissed her deeply, his thrusting tongue almost rough as he forced her to take him, she was more than willing though and arched her hips to take him inside her body with just as much welcome has she did his mouth. His big body settled heavily on her as he entered her with one penetrating thrust that nearly drove her up the bed and into the bed head. She pulled back from the kiss to gasp and moan at the pressure and he moved those wicked lips to her neck, nipping and lathing playfully and then biting just hard enough to make her buck and writhe under him.

He leant up on one side and then bent his head down, still thrusting without faltering into her very depths, the pressure and friction caused by his engorged sex on her inner walls and delicate nerves of her clitoris was almost too much coupled with the strong suckling on her nipples; she cried out his name. His head came up and he looked down into her flushed face, devouring her features and watching as each thrust he gave her made her breathing hitch and eyes slide closed in ecstasy.

It wasn’t enough he wanted more, needed more to satisfy some primitive urge to create an unbreakable bond between them, a bond that she wouldn’t be able to deny afterwards and drive him away again. He sat up and drew her up with him, still joined but with her legs now wrapped around his hips, heels on the bed behind him.

She opened her eyes and looked into his and saw the strange and possessive lights in his eyes, she looked at his full lip and couldn’t resist leaning in to press her open mouth on his smiling lips, dipping her tongue out to trace them and then thrust inside his mouth, angling her lips so that she could match the rhythm he was setting. He set her back from him and she closed her eyes as the angle and depth of his penetration became even more unbearably deep.

His loins tightened and he almost came at the sight of her laid out before him, their bodies joined, her dark curls pressed and mingled with his own as he rocked her back and forth on his thighs. He lifted one hand while still supporting her back with the other, to draw on a breast, squeezing their fullness, cupping and teasing her one at a time, watching her every expression with heavy lidded eyes.

“Open your eyes and look at me” his deep rumbly voice commanded, she opened them and looked at him, his muscular body easily rising her up, muscles bunching and then relaxing in rhythm with is thrusts, his wide shoulders gleamed and his arms held her effortlessly as if she was weightless. The hand at her breast reached up and cupped the back of her neck to pull her in for a demanding kiss, her legs trembled with the threat of orgasm and she tightened her thighs.

“Look at us” he said and bent her head a little until she too saw what had nearly driven him over the edge, his thick sex glistened with moisture from her body, entering her smoothly and then retreating, relentless and so impossibly intimate. Seeing it and feeling it at the same time was too much and she whipped her head back as the spasms from her orgasm started.

He watched her start to come and felt his own tremors begin, he dropped her back on the bed and drove himself as hard as he could into her soft and writhing body, one hand gripping a knee to keep her spread for him as he continued to pound until at last he collapsed from the force of the draining pleasure.</i>

Angel woke up wide eyed and whipped the bed sheet from around his straining sex, cursing in every language he knew. He got up and with trembling legs walked over the bathroom to slam the shower door back and get inside. He rinsed himself of the evidence of his orgasm using one arm still to support his still trembling form.

Cordy relaxed and stilled, still asleep but drained and content at the same time, she turned over and cuddled into the bed, “Angel” she whispered smiling.

KEENE NEW HAMPSHIRE

He was packed and ready to go, he was dry eyed now having changed his mind and decided he would go back to LA, obviously she had made the wrong choice and it was up to him to make sure she knew that.
Part 17
OUT AND ABOUT

It was late evening and Cordy was finishing the day with a quick trip to the bank; having arrived so late she was using the automatic teller to deposit a cheque from a client. She was deep in thought when she heard his voice and nearly jumped out of her skin, she jerking around to find him standing behind her. “Stop with the stalking will you, it’s bad enough with the others you’ve got watching me night and day”, she snapped at him, glowering.

“Why did you ditch them if all you were doing was going to the bank”? He asked enquiringly, one brow raised in mild amusement. In the evening darkness he was just a tall dark figure looming over her, blocking the street light behind him.

She tossed her hair out of her face, wishing she it was even darker to hide the blush that stained her cheeks, images of the dream from the other night filling her mind, it was the first time she’d seen him since.

“I don’t like being watched” She finally got out and then arched a brow of her own, making it clear she didn’t appreciate having to go to the trouble of losing her ‘guards’. He just lifted his chin in acknowledgement and turned to walk with her, calming down she asked him, “How did you find me”?

“I picked up your scent from the where they’d last seen you, care to tell me how you do it”? He asked not really expecting her to answer. She stopped walking and so he stopped too, smiling at her exaggerated ‘grossed out’ expression.

“OK enough with the supernatural sense of smell. Are you telling me I need a bath or just letting me know that I wouldn’t be able to ‘ditch’ you as easily as I did your crack team”? She smiled at him then entranced by the idea of pitting her wits against his and seeing if she could beat the ‘master’ stalker, “don’t go there Cordy”.

“You smell great and you know it”. Better than great actually, he had to suppress an urge to lean down and nibble, in a good way he hastily assured himself and cursed his photographic memory among other things.

“As for the watching, I want to offer you a compromise” he finished, moving his head to hold her gaze when she would have started walking again.

“Compromise”? That sounded promising but she could hardly concentrate on what he was saying. They were standing so close she had to look up to see his starkly masculine face and her eyes kept get getting caught by his full lips and remembering how they felt kissing their way down her body.

“Yeah, I’ll stop the surveillance if you agree to ring me anytime you take on a dangerous case so that I can, you know help you”. He was completely serious now, face almost stern in the half light. She didn’t say anything straight away, appearing to mull it over.

He didn’t like her hesitation, “It’s either that or I baby-sit you myself and believe me I’ll be all over you like you wouldn’t believe” He warned his jaw set stubbornly, dark eyes fiercely determined.

Thinking about it later she thought she should have objected to being given an ultimatum like that, but right then she was too busy fighting yet another blush and the tingles that raced through her body at the ideas that ‘threat’ gave her overactive imagination, “get a grip” she told herself.

“OK you have a deal”, she didn’t know if it would work but what the hell if it got rid of prying eyes and besides that she wasn’t so stubborn she would refuse some backup if things got rough.

“Promise me” He said stubbornly moving to block her path, wanting to cement the deal and at the same time use it as an excuse to make sure he would see her again soon. She wasn’t too happy with his apparent lack of trust but just gave him an annoyed look as she said “I promise OK”.

He was satisfied with that and walked her back to her car, wincing as she drove off at what he considered to be a dangerous speed. “Women drivers” he muttered and then was glad she couldn’t hear him or his head would have been bitten off at the neck.

THE HYPERION HOTEL

The next morning Cordy was in the basement, practising with a light-weight broadsword, specially designed for women said the store owner, yeah right, it felt like a lead weight, ah well she’d get used to the weight soon enough.

She ignored the footsteps on the stairs coming down, thinking it was just Cathy but it wasn’t it. When she turned around and saw Lilah, she nearly dropped the sword in shock but managed to swing it safely to the side. “What are you doing here” she whispered, remembering their last face to face.

“I’ve come to make you an offer” said Lilah with a broad smile, “Think of it as thanks for killing me before Angelus could do his worst”; she finished with a smirk and a depreciating shake of her head. Lilah watched as Cordelia turned even paler, her hazel eyes wide and yet watchful.

Cordelia recovered her wits and said with brutal frankness “I’m not sorry you’re dead Lilah, I’m just sorry it was me that did it, there are so many other people who deserved the pleasure”, it was just her opinion.

“Don’t you want to hear the offer, it’s a good one” Asked Lilah leaning against the bars of the steel cell that was still taking up a fair amount of floor space. The cell was something Cordy wanted to get rid off; although right then it was looking like it might come in handy.

“Not interested” said Cordy shortly, her face relaxed now, this was familiar territory, sparring with Lilah, one bitch to another.

“How can you know unless you hear me out” Said Lilah with a deep sigh, as if practising patience. She’d known Cordy wouldn’t be interested but then it was only an excuse for being here, not the real reason for the visit.

“Your dead, your evil and you’ve come here for the Senior Partners to make me an offer, oh sure I’ll just sign on with the law firm from hell, gimme a break” Replied Cordy without a moment’s hesitation.

“The others all did, they seem to be enjoying the perks, especially Angel”, Lilah prodded, deliberately.

“Don’t kid yourself Lilah he’d be gone in an instant if you didn’t have a hold over him”, Cordy narrowed her eyes at the dead woman, knowing there was something else that Lilah was waiting to reveal.

“Oh I think I’m not the one kidding myself Cordelia, but that’s another story. So tell me how’s life after the visions; what with there being no messages about people in trouble for you now. How much can you do alone”?

“I do OK and I don’t need any help from you, I can take care of myself just ask Eve”, Said Cordy coldly.

“I would except she’s no longer available for consultation, thanks for that by the way she was getting on my nerves. Nice to know I can still bank on you to get someone killed for me” Smirked Lilah watching for Cordy’s reaction avidly.

“I didn’t kill her”, snapped Cordy

“You might as well have, she’s got a contract out on her and will be dead before morning”.

“Just like you there’s no-one I can think of who deserves it more” replied Cordy with sarcasm.

“No doubt, shame about the young teenage girl who taken too”, said Lilah her face carefully composed into one of mock sorrow.

“What the hell are you talking about” snapped Cordy stalking towards Lilah, the sword raised now.

“Take it easy wonder girl, I’m dead remember. Eve was running for her life and stopped to beg some girl for help. The girl was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and they both got taken”. Lilah shrugged unconcerned.

“Of course that means that’s two to add to your body count but not to worry your still nowhere near your lovers numbers yet, but I have faith in you”, Lilah taunted in a low smiling voice.

Cordy ignored Lilah’s taunting; she knew this was not her fault, but still. She turned away to think, her mind working the angles furiously. She shot a suspicious look at the dead woman “How do I know you’re speaking the truth”?

Lilah took some photographs out of the leather case she been holding and dropped them on the cement floor of the basement. Cordelia leaned down to pick them up, keeping a careful watch on Lilah.

They were taken in a darkened street and by the quality were taken from a CCTV camera or something similar. They showed large unidentifiable cloaked figures attacking Eve and a young teenage girl. The last one showed them both being dragged away, Eve by her hair, the girl by the waist like a sack of potatoes.

“Why show these to me? Eve worked for Wolfram & Hart, so get Angel to rescue the girl”

“The demons work for us; this is Eve getting her comeuppance for failing so miserably; the Senior Partners are touchy about that kind of thing. As for the other girl, well sometimes you just can’t control subcontractors”, she said it in a kind of fatalistic, ‘what the hell’ kind of way making Cordy wanted to slap her.

“Make them release the girl, it’s not fair she’s an innocent”, Cordy said to her, the words slow and carefully pronounced, this was no longer a verbal game of cat and mouse.

“Life is never fair haven’t you realised that yet and anyway I can’t do it, they consider her part of the spoils and so theirs”. Lilah shrugged again.

Cordy studied the pictures again, she found an address on the back of one of them, “What kind of demons are they and ..”? She looked up but Lilah was gone and she was alone again.
WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

The phone on the desk rang, diverted from Angel’s direct line as he was out of the office. The woman at the desk answered the phone with professional crispness.

“Good morning, Wolfram & Hart, how can I help you”?

“Hi can I speak to Angel please, this is Cordelia Chase” asked Cordy hurriedly, c’mon put me through she wanted to say, life and death stuff here.

“I’m sorry Ms Chase but Mr Angel is not in his office, can anyone else help you”? Still crisp and impersonal but the woman’s eyes had sharpened on hearing who was calling.

“When will he be available it’s an emergency and I need to speak to him now” demanded Cordelia sharply.

“I have no idea Ms Chase, maybe later tonight or early in the morning”.

“Does he still have the same cell phone as before”? Asked Cordy frustrated.

“I’m sorry I don’t know” Said the woman unhelpfully.

Cordelia rang of after insisting that a message be given to him to ring her immediately. Annoyed she picked up the phone again and rang the cell phone number Angel’s used to have from way back.

“What the point of offering help and then not being around to give it you big dumbass”? She waited impatiently for someone to pick up at the other end.

A cell phone started to ring on the woman’s desk, she smiled and ignored it, when it finally stopped ringing she picked it up and then deleted the message Cordelia had left.

CORDY SEARCHING

The address turned out to be an old suburban estate, only the houses were not well kept up and one or two actually looked abandoned, or so she thought. In some cases roof tiles were missing and most had windows yellowed and grained with old dirt, but no matter what, they still looked better than the house whose address she had.

She stood outside it and looked down the path, overgrown with weeds and grass that looked like it had never see a mower since being sown, but that was just the best part. The worst was the fact that the house was a burnt out wreck. Blackened and cracked windows with soot and smoke from a much earlier fire staining the walls on both levels, lovely.

“This can’t be right”? She asked herself, reluctant to even go near in case she breathed too hard and the whole structure came tumbling down.

“Dammit Eve you’ve been a pain in the ass since I got back to LA, don’t stop now will ya”. She said with all the snark she could muster, just to cheer herself up.

She checked her cell phone again, still no signal, what was up with the damn thing she’d bought the best package just to avoid this situation. So no messages from Angel and no chance of getting hold of Cathy or anyone else, she was truly on her own with this one. Was that what Lilah had wanted, her alone and defenceless, maybe but could she really back away now?

She got the photographs out again and studied the young and terrified face of the teenage girl, she was blonde too but the difference from Eve was stark, even in the grainy pictures, she reminded Cordy of a much younger Buffy, only without the super powers. For that reason alone she could not back out of this, she had to try.

“It’s just a house Cor c’mon, get a grip and get inthere”, she told herself forcefully, pep talking herself was not her strong point but regardless she took and deep breathe and started down the path toward the old rickety porch.

ANGEL – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

“Are there any messages for me”? Angel asked of the woman who was manning the desk outside of his office, he didn’t think of her as his receptionist because they changed so often, Most were afraid of him and none stayed for long, he tried not to let it bother him.

“No sir” She answered with a sigh, not surprising since he’d asked that question at least once an hour since he’d gotten up. Despondent he walked away and then turned and hurried back.

“Did you find my cell phone”? He asked her, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his black pants. He hated to appear like he was bothering the woman but she just smiled and handed it back to him, he took it off her full of gratitude.

“Yes sir, I found it on the floor of your office” She told him archly.

“Oh I thought I’d checked my office” He said surprised and embarrassed.

“Obviously not very thoroughly Sir” She said without inflection, he looked at her and then walked away again, his shoulders slumping when he saw there were no messages. He missed her small and satisfied smile

EVE

They’d chased her from the bus station where she’d been waiting in the dark and cold of pre dawn. The place had been deserted except for a single teller who had looked at her as if she was crazy. She’d been expecting something to happen, you just can’t do what she had done and expect to live, failure was not an option. When she’d seen the weird cloaked creatures she’d known they were there for her so she’d abandoned her stuff and just run.

But there had been more of them than expected and she nearly ran headlong into more, she’d gotten away that time but still she didn’t get far. She’d come across a girl and begged for help, though god only knows what she’d thought the girl could do, call the cops?

Now they were both here, chained to single metal frame beds, the mattresses had been removed and wooden boards put on top, both of them lay on the hard unyielding surface. The girl was crying, great gulping tears of pain and fear, Eve didn’t cry and had nothing to say that would be of any comfort, they were both going to die, soon.

CORDY

She didn’t bother knocking, hello did she really want to give advance warning that she was here, NOT!

She’d checked out the down stairs windows but couldn’t see much past the several years’ worth of grime and soot. The screen door was surprising silent when she opened it, obviously well oiled and the front door was unlocked, all she had to do was push it open.

“Why am I suddenly reminded of all the horror movies I’ve watched where some idiot woman goes into the monsters den”? Cordy asked herself. She paused before entering, it was noon and hot as hell but she shivered anyway. She pulled her cell phone out again, still no signal, damn.

She walked inside, clutching a small throwing axe in her right hand and slightly behind her back. Her trainers made no sound on the floor and she avoided the more obviously rotten parts of the floor. She’d come dressed to fight in long pants and a t-shirt, nothing too loose or baggy to give an opponent something to hold onto in a fight. She had a feeling she was going to need every advantage she could get.

After ten minutes and finding nothing inside the house to indicate anyone had been there recently and feeling oppressed by the blackened walls and huge gaping holes in the floors, she decided to leave before she fell through a floor somewhere, like that hadn’t happened before. “Been there done that” she thought.

She did a last sweep of downstairs, which looked the safest floor wise and found a door that she’d missed before; it opened easily just like the front doors had. It led to some stairs going down to the basement. Gripping the axe tighter she made her way down them, keeping to the left and making sure her right side was clear to defend and attack. At the bottom she found a light switch and snapped it on.

She’d found them, Eve and the girl were chained to beds in the middle of the room, blinking in the sudden light. OK so far so good, so where were the demons and why the hell had this been so easy. Cordy wasn’t happy with this set-up, because that’s exactly what it felt like, a set-up. She’d found the bait so where was the reel?

“Get us out of here” hissed Eve, suddenly wild with hope, why was the dumb bitch just standing there looking around?

Cordy had to admit Eve was right, why waste time maybe she’d just hit lucky and caught the bad guys napping or something, no use wasting the opportunity. She moved to the beds and checked out the chains, solid but not impossibly thick; glad she’d brought the axe she started to whack away at the chains binding the girl.

She’d just finished with the girl and moved over to free Eve when there was a hissing sound, followed by a thunk. Cordy whipped her head up and around and saw a figure at the bottom of the stairs, blocking the only escape route. She stood up and briefly glanced at Eve, now dead with an arrow sticking grotesquely out of her chest, her mouth open as she’d been about to scream a warning just when it hit her. She looked back at the killer, but still couldn’t tell what it looked like, it wore a concealing cloak.

ANGEL – THE HYPERION HOTEL

She was definitely going to accuse him of stalking now, but he couldn’t shake a bad feeling about her and so here he was. At least this time he had a good excuse, he’d hunted out a case to offer her, not too dangerous and hopefully a good earner.

He felt like an interloper when he walked up the stairs from the basement and then crossed the lobby floor, which was strange considering this had been his home not too long ago.

“Hello, anyone here”? He had raised his voice, just in case.

No answer, he frowned it was the middle of the day and they could be on a case, but the bad feeling increased and made his stomach feel like it was full of knots. Deciding to forget being polite he bounded up the stairs to the upper floor, heading for the rooms and hoping he was just being oversensitive.

He found Cordy’s rooms empty but they looked OK, no signs of trouble and his senses were telling him she’d been there only a few hours ago at most. He walked back out and along the corridor to another room a few doors down, this room had been Fred’s. He knocked and waited, there was no answer and as far as he could detect there was no heartbeat but something made him open the door anyway.

She was lying on the floor, her legs twisted in an awkward angle which have been uncomfortable if she wasn’t already dead, her neck broken by the looks of it. He knelt down beside her and checked for a pulse, nothing. He sat back and looked down at her, if Cordy was right and other week seemed proof enough, she would recover.

He picked her up and laid her on the bed, arranging her limbs and head in natural positions and then turned to leave. He didn’t notice that he’d left behind the wallet containing the details of the ‘case’. His bad feeling had escalated to almost downright panic and he patched through a call to the office as he ran back downstairs.

CORDY – HOUSE

The cloaked figure dropped the old fashioned bow it had used on Eve and drew back the hood of the cloak, its face was oddly human which should have been reassuring but it wasn’t. The head was entirely bald with a high brow and widely spaced entirely back eyes. The skin looked thick and pasty white, the mouth was lipless and the nostrils little more than slits.

“Well hey there handsome, do you come here often” Said Cordy sarcastically, lifting the axe up to her shoulder in an aggressive stance, designed to at least impress on it that she wasn’t going to be intimidated just because it was ugly, I mean weren’t they all?

It obviously didn’t like her response and lack of fear because the next thing it did was open the rest of the cloak to reveal, “Ewwww” an entirely naked, all pasty white body. It bent down and clenched its fists, staring at her and then it opened its mouth and howled.

“Oh gross, yuck and Eww again, you are one disgusting creep do you know that”? Said Cordy truly disgusted, then it charged her and she shrieked, she couldn’t help it. Give her a scaly monster any-day of the week and she’d have preferred that to this thing. She raised the axe and using a two handed grip swung it at the body.

It bounced off the thick skin and she ended up with a sore arm from the rebound. Its hands reached for her and she only just managed to bring a knee up and get it where it hurts, it howled again and backed away. Cordy could only be glad it was similar to humans in being sensitive in that area as well.

Not hesitating she took a step forward and raised the axe as high as she could and then brought it down on its unprotected head, thankfully it sunk in and it collapsed to the floor.

“There that wasn’t so bad”, she said smiling at the girl cowering under cover of the bed she’d been chained to. “There are more of them” the girl whispered back her pale and sweaty face filled with terror and shock.

“There are”? Asked Cordy feeling a lot less cocky. “Well let’s get the hell out of dodge before they come back too”. She grabbed the girls hand and pulled her out, but it was too late; they both heard the door bang shut at the top of the stairs.

Shoving the girl behind her Cordelia assumed a battle ready stance with both feet planted firmly apart for better balance. They both waited in silence as the footsteps came down the stairs and closer to them. When the figure reached the bottom and came into the light it was all Cordy could do to stare in utter confusion, “What the hell are doing here”?

“I’m here to save you” Said the man, stepping closer to reveal the familiar face of the Groosalugg.

ANGEL – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING

“I hate this” he snarled as he stormed around his office, frustration at being able to do nothing eating at him. “Where the hell is she”?

Lorne was leaning against the desk watching as the vampire paced back and forth like a caged animal, “Wesley and the others are all out looking for her, there’s nothing you can do that they can’t”, then he winced, “except for the supernatural abilities of course, duh”.

“If she hadn’t kept evading the surveillance teams, we might have abetter idea of what she’s been doing”, still with the snarling, in fact that last one was a good imitation of a growl.

“I can’t just wait here. I’m going back to the hotel tell the guys to meet me there unless they come across a lead and then I want to know immediately, clear”?

“Sure thing boss, you want some company for the ride”? Angel didn’t answer but he took it as a yes anyway.

CORDY & GROO

“I can’t believe you found the message I left for Cathy and just turned up, not that I wasn’t glad to see you” Said Cordy with an uncomfortable smile. She just wasn’t sure she wouldn’t have rather just left before he turned up, “stop being a bitch” she told herself.

They’d just dropped the poor shell shocked girl off at home and where on their way to Groo’s motel room. He’d offered to accompany her back to the hotel but for some reason she hadn’t wanted him there and that made her feel bad too.

“I wanted to see you straight away, princess” for some reason his use of the name he’d always called her sounded odd, as if it was purely by rote. Her unease increased, call it women’s intuition, whatever, she just knew that Groo had changed since she’d last seen him and she didn’t think it was for the better.

“Look I appreciate that, really but I’m fine and sooo tired why don’t I see you tomorrow and we can catch up then over a nice mug of latte”? She gave him a bright smile, “please just say OK”.

“I need to talk with you now and then we may see each other tomorrow”, he said insistently. She silenced a deep sigh and turned back to give her attention to the road now that the stop light had changed to green.

His motel was part of a large chain and so she was able to park outside his room as directed. When she would have just said ‘bye’, he reached over and lifted her hand in his, pointing to his room. She looked into his eyes and remembered how much he’d given up for her and how she’d let him down. “OK but just for a few minutes and then I have to go back home”.

“I understand” he said quietly, smiling his gently smile making her wonder why she’d felt such uneasiness about him, he was still her Groo.

Cordy entered the room first and wondered why the curtains were drawn tightly closed. It couldn’t be to keep the heat out as there was air conditioning in each room but then she felt a cloth being pressed over her nose and mouth and understood. She tried to fight him off but his arms were steel bands around her, she lost consciousness within seconds.

THE HYPERION HOTEL

They all gathered in the lobby getting ready for another sweep of the city and Cordy’s known haunts over the last few weeks, Intel gathered from the surveillance, meagre at best was laid out on the desk that had been Angel’s then Wesley’s and was now Cordy’s.

Dusk was only a half hour away and they were all glad of it, Angel was getting past unbearable at being cooped up still and moving location hadn’t helped at all.

“We’ll find her” Said Fred to Angel as he stood broodingly surveying the mess of papers, looking for anything that leapt out as the best place to start.

He didn’t bother to answer her, but cocked his head to one side, listening. They all noticed and looked askance at him, what had he heard? As one they all left the office and followed him out to the lobby. He watched the doors his body tense as sprung wire.

One of the glass doors opened to admit a man they all recognised. Tall, dark and muscular although this time not in animal skins. “Groo”? They chorused in unison.

He stood at the top of the stairs, “Be at ease about Cordelia, she is with me and has agreed to leave with me” he announced to them all, but he was looking at Angel. All five stared at him in shock, and then Angel growled savagely.

“The hell she is”.
Part 18
“The hell she is”

Those words growled out by Angel had everyone freezing; nervously looking between the two men. Fred glanced at Wesley who just lowered his chin and nodded at her reassuringly. Lorne tried to smile and laugh it off, anything to break the almost unbearable tension; while Gunn suddenly took an interest in the ceiling while at the same time surreptitiously keeping a close watch on Groo.

Angel stood in the lobby looking up the stairs at the new arrival, his body language the kind that spells violence, in capitals. The silence lengthened as Groo looked back down at Angel with an expression that spoke volumes, fearless and arrogantly assured that he could handle himself.

“I have come to collect her things” said Groo, looking away from Angel and talking to the group as a whole; ignoring Angel’s aggressive denial, which did as it was supposed to and infuriated the vampire even more.

“You are not taking anything from this hotel” snarled Angel moving forward a few paces, stiff with anger; his muscles tight as if he was barely holding himself in check. If he had hackles they would have been standing up by now, thought Lorne, wondering where he could get his hands on some water to throw over the pair one they stopped squaring off and got down to what look like a doozy of a fight.

“You would stop me from doing what she has asked of me? Have you lost all nobility and honour then vampire”? Asked Groo coldly, deliberately stabbing at the heart of Angel’s insecurity and relishing the way he stiffened even more.

Pain lashed through Angel’s insides like claws twisting in his gut, “It’s not true” He denied, trying to hide the fact that he was hurting. “Cordy is where she wants to be”, God he needed to believe that. “I want to know where she is so I can talk to her” he demanded, eyes narrowed with suspicion on the half demon.

“She does not want to see you” said Groo with quiet conviction, changing his attitude to one less aggressive and more ‘sympathetic’.

“I don’t believe you, you’re lying” Fred jumped in, this makes no sense she thought, how could it be possible, when did Cordy change her mind and why?

“I am the Groosalug I do not lie” said Groo with a sharp glance at Fred, who went quiet, unable to dispute that fact and looking damned unhappy about it.

“We know who you are” said Wesley severely, “but we still want so see Cordelia in person before we’re satisfied”. He had a great deal less faith in Pylean folklore than Fred did.

“Forget satisfied” Angel interrupted still looking at Groo with unwavering intensity “I don’t give a rat’s ass what you say. Cordy is not leaving with you”. He didn’t care what this asshole said he wanted to see Cordy; he’d deal with her wanting to leave then. He pushed the pain aside to deal with later for now he had only one focus and that was getting her location out of Groo, piece by piece if necessary.

“Cordy’s stuff is in the basement” Piped up Fred, earning her glare from all four of her male colleagues, she just shrugged and making sure Groo was looking elsewhere flicked her eyes to indicate the stairs and held her hands up; imitating holding bars.

They got the message and Wesley took the initiative, walking towards the door leading to the basement, they all followed including Groo while giving Angel a suspicious look and waiting for him to precede him. Angel ignored the unspoken invitation to go first and stood back his face expressionless now, hiding his rioting emotions and biding his time.
Once downstairs Fred, Wes, Gunn and Lorne stood facing Groo; two on either side of the cell door that now stood open. Groo looked momentarily confused when he saw it and then it clicked and he stiffened. But it was too late, Angel stood directly behind him, a silent and menacing presence.

“Tell us where Cordelia is or you cool your heels in there while we go find her ourselves anyway”, said Angel, watching and waiting for the attack that he knew would come; he wanted it so bad he could taste it.

Fred moved off for a moment and went over to the cupboard at the rear of the basement; they needed a chain to lock the cell now since Gunn had managed to bust it open the last time they’d been in there themselves.

Groo saw the opportunity and dived for her, his hands outstretched to snag her jacket and get himself a hostage. Fred felt the move though and dropped to the floor, Groo’s hands came up with nothing and Angel grabbed him by the belt of his pants and almost casually yanked back, sending the half demon crashing into the wall under the stairs.

Groo shook his head to clear it and looked at Angel, he smiled then with uncharacteristic coldness, his blue eyes filled with a gleam of anticipation. “I have not had a good fight since leaving here; I will enjoy beating you to a bloody pulp, vampire”.

“You have it backward Groo, I’m going to whoop your ass”, Angel smiled back every bit as coldly, his body moving with predatory grace, circling the man he now considered his enemy and so his prey.

“I am the true champion here, you are just a tool for the powers” goaded Groo deliberately while flexing his arms and shoulders and matching the circling movements.

“Who gives a shit” said Angel without heat, Gunn snorted with laughter and moved to the side to let Fred get behind them as they all moved to clear a space and watch. “So he can swear then”? Gunn asked Wesley and just got a raised brow and a small smile of agreement back.

That was the end of the verbal sparring, Angel waited for Groo to make the first move using the time to nurture the rage coursing through him. Channelling it to the demon inside him, feeding it and feeling it rise to the surface, making his skin tingle with pure unadulterated aggression.

Groo aimed a pile driver punch straight at Angel’s face, all of his considerable strength behind it making it capable of crunching bone. Angel caught the fist but didn’t try to stop it, simply held on and let Groo’s face come closer as he helplessly followed through, unable not to with no connection to halt him. When Groo’s face was only whisker away from his own Angel vamped out in full demonic form; feral yellow eyes underneath a ridged brow and with hungry fangs on full display as he opened his mouth and growled so savagely it was more of roar.

Groo jerked back and staggered a little before righting himself and taking a deep breath to steel his rattled nerves, Angel let him; satisfied that Groo was no longer under any illusions about what was going to happen here.

As he’d been trained Groo carried on with his offensive, using his strength and speed to attack at full stretch, ready to fend of any counter attacks. Only Angel made none, He let Groo’s confidence ebb as he deflected or avoided every strike no matter how fast or skilled. The coldness Angel used to maintain his control of the demon within was nothing but a dim memory, obliterated by the heat of jealousy and anger, fuelled by pain.

After a few minutes of this Groo was so frustrated he took a risk and left himself open, his midriff exposed with both arms back drawing for more strength. Angel instantly slammed his own fist directly into Groo’s stomach with all of his considerable might. Groo doubled over, gasping for breath only to have it knocked out of him again when a follow up punch to the mouth had blood flying off to the side from his now split lip.

Angel could smell the blood and growled again as the blood lust and hunger enraged him further, inciting the need to inflict more pain, a need wholly instinctive to his demonic nature. Playtime was over, he followed Groo’s downward path and grabbed his chin with his left hand so that he could drive another punch onto that bloody face with his right, crunching the nose ligaments and making Groo gag as blood ran down his throat.

Groo stiffened as he felt himself lifted of the ground by his shirt and fabric tore as Angel threw him across the basement to land several feet away. He looked up and saw the vampire coming at him again; the snarling demonic face ruthless and fangs glistening even in the dim light. He tamped down a spurt of fear and waited for Angel to get close enough.

Groo snapped out a booted foot and felt triumph flood him again when he caught the vampire’s knee driving him back and down, he made himself rise and take advantage of the only opportunity he’d had so far.

Angel felt himself hit the ground and used his weight to balance on his shoulder blades and then swung his legs up, the momentum and drive allowing him to rise but not quite quickly enough. Groo pulled a foot out from beneath him again and then followed it up with a stamping boot to the groin.

This time it was Angel who doubled up in pain, but what Groo didn’t or simply couldn’t realise was that the vampire within Angel thrived on receiving as well as giving pain. Angel rolled away and spun on the small of his back; bring his own legs into the action and catching the back of the half demon’s legs.

Groo fell to his knees and then could only clutch with desperate hands the legs that were suddenly wrapped with destructive force around his throat, the powerful muscles constricting and crushing his windpipe. Angel used his back and thighs to force Groo back down to the floor again, not relenting, gritting his teeth and refusing to release his deadly lock around the struggling man.

Once on the floor Angel sat up and brought a fist down onto Groo’s chest, the recoil would have twisted his own back if he hadn’t finally released him at the same instant the blow landed. Then he rose and waited for Groo to recover, backing away a few steps but not enough to let Groo think the worst was over.

“Where is Cordelia”? He snapped it out, his voice unnaturally deep.

Groo staggered upright, blood was still spurting from his mouth and nose, to the vampire the air was misted with it, his hunger increased but he tamped it down. Groo laughed, a crazy sound coming from his battered face, “I will not tell you and you will never find her, detective”, he said with careful mockery in every word.

Angel growled infuriated and struck with an unreasoning fear that had nothing to do with the conflict, his body clenched with an all-encompassing surge of pain, and the resulting fury was more than he could contain. “I will not let her go”, he roared the words that had been spinning through his mind since Groo had turned up, finally releasing them as they were dredged up from the depths of his soul.

Reason fled, emotions and the basest of violent instincts drove him to attack without thought of life only death. Wes, Fred and the others watched in horrified silence as the two went at each other in a vicious frenzy again and again.

Groo sensing the pain he had inflicted found a second wind and managed to strike out and drive back the vampire, but Angel would just rise and come back hardly slowing down for any blow that landed. They were both bloodied by this stage, but neither noticed nor cared; each focused entirely on the other man they considered a rival.

Finally Groo started to tire as he had been losing blood for longer, and not helped by the fact that his wounds did not heal quite as quickly as Angel’s. He couldn’t manage to duck from another crunching blow to the jaw and his head snapped back, then Angel whipped out a kick that also caught his jaw sending him crashing into the wall behind him, he stayed upright only because another kick followed that one and then another, his head continuously battered against the cement wall.

His head swum dizzily but he managed to see a fist fly toward him through swollen and slitted eyes, but it was not possible to avoid it, he could hardly move. It didn’t matter anyway, because he hardly felt it, his face was numb. Angel continued to pummel the half demon with blows to both body and face, only microseconds between each one.

Finally Angel stepped back gathering himself for a last killing kick to the throat that would crush the larynx. But just as he was about to unleash it, he felt strong hands gripping him by the upper arms and pulling him away; he snarled and twisted out of their grip, turning around to face his friends; his face murderous.

“That’s enough Angel,” said Wesley unflinchingly, not backing away from the rage that poured off the vampire in waves. Gunn stood beside Wesley watching Angel carefully; prepared to defend himself, but hoping like hell it wouldn’t be necessary.

“Think Angel, even if he’s telling lies about Cordy, she would never forgive you if you killed him” he said, praying it would be enough to get past the blood lust.

Fred moved to stand between the two, certain that he would think twice before hurting her. Lorne joined her but felt a lot less certain about that self same thing.

Angel backed away from them his hands clenching and unclenching as he battled for self-control, they watched him; aware of it and trusting he would be successful. Finally he crouched down on his haunches and covered his face with his hands, covering his eyes and nose to block out the smell and sight of the blood gleaming with red and tempting fire on the floor, walls and on Groo now slumped on the floor.

Wesley signalled to Gunn and Lorne to pick up the unconscious half demon and take him out of there while the going was good, they didn’t hesitate.

Upstairs unknown to the gang a slim figure was slouched over the reception desk counter, grey face almost pressed to the screen of the monitor, having watched with avid enjoyment the scene that had been played out and also made sure certain parts had been recorded. It darted upstairs with inhuman speed when it heard them stagger up the stairs with Groo held up between them.
Part 19

GROO’S MOTEL ROOM

Cordelia came too with a splitting headache and a belly that protested even the slight movement needed to breathe. Fighting down the urge to be sick she twisted her head around without lifting it off the pillow and searched the room for Groo, grateful when he was nowhere to be seen.

She sat up then only to find that now it was her turn to find herself chained to a bed, this time with handcuffs around her wrists and another chain linked to the bed-head and her mouth was taped shut. Duh like it wouldn’t be the first thing she removed, she thought to herself as she did just that.

“Well this is just great”, she said annoyed with herself as well as Groo, “What the hell has got into him! You just wait till I get my hand on you, you stupid frickin…”? She didn’t finish the sentence unable to think of anything bad enough that summed up her feelings, so she huffed out a big sigh and then flopped back down to lie on her back so she could reach into the back pocket of her dark blue jeans and removed a little packet of tools.

She got it out with some more wiggling and pulling and then sat back up, picking up the little red plastic packet and choosing one of them. The long thin instrument was not easy to use in this position and it took her quite a while and one sore wrist later to unlock the cuffs and free herself.

She clambered off the bed in a less than graceful fashion and stood swaying for a while, willing the rising contents of her stomach back down where it belonged. “Groo; you have some serious explaining to do”.

Then a thought struck her and her eyes widened in sudden panic, she checked all of her pockets, jeans and hip length jacket but couldn’t find her cell phone, “Dammit”, she checked the motel room phone but it was dead, the lead yanked out of it and frayed, impossible to repair.

“Great, could this day possibly get any worse”? She groaned her head in her hands, but then she sat up again, “What am I worried about Angel for, it’s me who got chained up”. But she couldn’t get rid of a bad feeling that he was next on Groo’s list.

“He’s a big bad vampire, he can look after himself”, she repeated this to herself a few times and tried not to worry about what damage Groo intended. “This is getting ridiculous! Every time we reach some kind of understanding something happens to ruin it”, she just hoped that whatever was going on Angel didn’t over-react, “like he usually does” she thought, “Crap”.

“There should be a health warning about NOT getting into relationships with demons; things go wrong, forget counselling and call in the National Guard”.

First things first were to get back to the hotel and try and reach Angel to warn him, if not then she would just have to go to his office herself. She let herself out of the motel room, pleased to find her car still sitting outside -and wonder of wonders, the car keys were still in the pocket of her jacket. Things were looking up and boy would she be glad to see the back of this bizarre day.

THE HYPERION HOTEL

Cordy opened the glass doors and was greeted by nothing, the lobby was empty but she could smell coffee, so Cathy was around somewhere then. She walked over to the weapons cabinet and took out a large hunting knife, it was an impressive one and she’d need it if Groo decided to make another appearance.

Next was the phone, she dialled Angel’s office and was greeted with an electronic voicemail message asking her to leave a name and number, it was out of hours so there was no receptionist, unhelpful or otherwise. Frustrated she rang his cell phone again, only to get an unobtainable signal. She nearly screamed in frustration.

“Crap, crap and double crap, I hate Wolfram & Hart”, but she was going to have to go there, so much for a long hot soak in a tub followed by a couple of hours of much needed sleep.

She knocked on Cathy’s door intending to warn her too and waited for an invite inside, but she was shocked to find the door being opened by Fred, a very battered looking Fred. “What the hell happened to you”? Asked Cordy dumbstruck and then felt awful when big fat teardrops formed in Fred’s big brown eyes and started to fall down her cheeks.

Unhesitatingly Cordy put her arms around the smaller woman and led her back inside, only to stop in horror seeing the prone figure on the bed. “What happened here Fred” She asked again turning the woman so that she could see her face.

Fred tucked her face downwards; unsuccessfully trying to hide the ugly red and blue bruises marring her left cheek and eye. “It was Angel” she whispered as more fat tears fell down her cheeks.

ANGEL & LORNE

They’d split up into two teams while Fred stayed back at the hotel in case Cordy came back there on her own and also ringing around the hospitals and local motels trying to find a lead. Gunn and Wes were checking Cordy’s old apartment and known human haunts which were not many. Angel was with Lorne.

They stuck to the demon hotspots, with particular attention being paid to any demons from other dimensions. “If she’s gone and got herself sucked down another portal I swear I’m gonna tie a bungee cord around her waist”, snapped Angel, frustration getting the better of him.

“Calm down Angel, you’re vibes are seriously impeding my aura reading abilities here, they get any more electric my brains are going to be fried”, said Lorne tired out from trying to keep the vampire from simply going with his standard ‘sudden burst of violence’ approach.

“If you hadn’t beat the crap out of our only solid lead, then we might have already found her”, he added, hoping another dose of guilt would put a lid on the temper.

Angel just shot him a disgusted look, “He wasn’t going to tell us where she is, you heard him”, but damn he was ready to give it another shot if the half demon had come back around yet. “Where did they take him anyway”?

“Oh no you don’t and do not give me that look Angelface, the not killing him part still stands and I seriously doubt he’s going be ready for another round for quite a while”, replied Lorne, unimpressed by the black look he was getting from the vampire.

They had just left another dead end and where running out of options of where to go next. They needed a lead, preferably before Angel’s control snapped yet again. He was going to have to have a word with a certain ex-seer/princess, thought Lorne, she needed to appreciate what her antics put them all through when Angel found out about them and went nuts.

“So what are you going to do if we find her and she wants to leave LA”? He hesitated to ask, but neither was it a good idea to ignore the possibility and then find out when it was too late.

“I don’t want to talk about it”, Said Angel quietly and succinctly, following it up with a sideways, ‘don’t go there’ look.

“You need to consider it, Groo was known for being a stickler for the facts” Said Lorne, he was sympathetic, he really was. But he was also worried he remembered with chilling clarity the words Angel said during the fight, “I will not let her go”. Oh boy this was shaping up to be an angst filled night.

He looked back at Angel noting the tense jaw, full lips drawn back tight in a snarl and winced. Don’t anger the man in black, he should make it a motto and put it down on a memo for any other unsuspecting idiot with a big mouth.

“I said I don’t want to talk about, I just want to find Cordy, now”, he growled in that ‘about to vamp out’ fashion he had. Did he do that deliberately wondered Lorne, cos as a method of intimidation it was pretty effective, he shut up about it.
THE HYPERION HOTEL

“What”? Said Cordy her voice a shocked disbelieving whisper, no way.

Fred didn’t miss the denial in Cordy’s eyes and pulled away, “You think I like admitting one of closest friends went berserk, beat me up, killed your friend and all but murdered Groo right before my eyes”, her voice was trembling and close to being hysterical.

The only thing that made any sense to Cordy was the bit about Groo, so she latched onto it but the sick feeling in her stomach was suddenly spreading through the rest of her body. “Groo was here”? Let’s keep it simple, she thought; and then maybe she could keep up with Fred’s mental gymnastics.

“Yes, he came to tell Angel that you were safe and that he had helped you escape from some demons and Angel just went postal, saying that was his job”, said Fred still crying, she walked over to Cathy and picked up a pale hand. “Cathy tried to tell him that she could ‘see’ that you were OK and he smacked her into a wall so hard it snapped her neck”.

Fred saw the disbelief on Cordy’s face still and stood up again to walk over the balcony door.

“Believe me I understand why you don’t want to believe it, I saw it myself and I still can’t get it right in my head, it just doesn’t click does it? But it happened”, Fred started to sob quietly then hiding her face in her hands.

“It’s not that I don’t believe you Fred” said Cordy carefully, hell yes she didn’t believe her. There had to be something else going on, but this was Fred her friend and she was hurt and definitely afraid of something or someone. “It’s just it doesn’t sound like him and it doesn’t make any sense”.

Fred stayed silent just looked up with her tear stained face silently looking at Cordy; her eyes were like bruises too, filled with pain but of the emotional kind, not the physical. All of a sudden Cordy’s certainty started to melt and she felt a dizzy spell sneak up on her, she took deep breaths to make the panic disappear.

“Go and watch the video” Said Fred with a carefully neutral look on her face, “What video”? Asked Cordy.

“The trying to kill Groo part happened in the basement and it got recorded on the CCTV we had installed last year, see that and you will know that the rest is true too”.

Feeling sick Cordy walked back down to the lobby and over to the monitor still on the hotel counter, a leftover from the Angelus period of last year. The picture turned from static to show the basement just as Groo walked down the stairs.

The small hairs on her neck and arms rose up as she watched it with eyes wide, there was no sound only a picture but it was bad enough just watching without the sound too. She shivered as if cold and rubbing her bare arms, the white vest top she was wearing suddenly not covering enough.

Fred stood beside her, whispering explanations. “We weren’t worried at first, it was just a guy thing, but then Angel took it too far and it was all we could do to stop him killing Groo”.

Cordy watched it unfold, speechless at the sheer brutality of the fight, she’d seen him fight so many times you would think she would be immune to it by now, but this was something else. Oh my God, what the hell was going on she thought as the recording finally stopped just as Angel looked like he was going for the kill. As evidence that he’d lost it, it was damning

“Are you sure it was Angel, could it have maybe been something pretending to be him”? She asked desperate to find an excuse, anything to explain this without having to believe that Angel had turned murderous. “Or a spell, maybe it’s a spell”, that sounded better and not unbelievable, not to mention fixable.

Then she looked back at little Fred’s bruised and swollen face, “What about Wes, Gunn and Lorne why did they let this happen”? She asked pointing at Fred’s face.

“They left to get Groo out of Angel’s way before he changed his mind, I stayed behind with Cathy. But Angel lost it again and I tried to stop him from hurting Cathy, I failed”, she said the last miserably, obviously torn up about it.

“It’s not your fault Fred, there’s little you could have done”, my god am I actually starting to accept this now? She asked herself, her numb mind still trying to absorb it all.

Why did it feel wrong somehow, she knew she should be able to work this out but her brain just wouldn’t function properly, she was still so drained and sluggish from the drug Groo had used and was totally not up to dealing with this, but she had no choice; again.

She walked back over to the weapons cabinet and replaced the knife, taking out instead the tazer and the tranq gun and tucking them into the bag now slung over her shoulder and picking her jacket back up of the couch. She looked back at Fred and smiled wanly, “Do you know where he went”?

Fred shook her head and watched as Cordy walked to the doors, her face strained and pale, but filled with a kind of desperate determination. “OK it doesn’t matter I’ll find him somehow and try and immobilise him. Will you get hold of the guys and tell them what’s happened and to try and catch me up”?

Fred nodded, “What if you can’t immobilize him. Will you kill him”? Cordy was too preoccupied to notice that the question in Fred’s voice was matter of fact.

“No” she said shortly and then “look after Cathy” as she walked out.

“Look after what? She’s dead you moron” said Fred once Cordy had safely left.
Part 20

Lilah stalked into the room where Cathy lay, she glanced at her on the bed but concentrated on Fred sitting in a chair staring at Cathy from just a few feet away.

“Did she buy it”? She asked without preamble, her face taut with anger.

“Yeah I think so, it looked that way to me”, Fred didn’t take her eyes off Cathy, Lilah didn’t notice but started to pace the room, frustration pouring off her.

“That stupid bloody fool, I told him to just take off with her and make sure she never came back if he didn’t want her dead”, she continued to pace, spinning on her heel when she reached a dead end. “But no he just couldn’t do that! He had to rub Angels’ face in it and then nearly got himself killed”. She ran out of breath and room again so stopped to stare at Fred.

“Why are you still looking like that and why are you staring at a dead body, I didn’t realise your kind ate meat”? Asked Lilah, fed up with little details messing up her plans.

‘Fred’ morphed into a pale grey, shapeless creature; it was quite small and very thin. “I’m a shape shifter Ms Morgan, it’s what we do”. There was a tiny whine in the voice that horribly, still retained Fred’s sweet Texan twang.

“Well stop it, it’s creeping me out – where is our little scientist by the way; you didn’t kill her did you”? She went on to ask.

“No, she’d just out of the way, but still alive”, it answered, then with a sly look in its fathomless black eyes, “It’s lucky you had a plan B to go too with the demon half breed out of the picture”.

Lilah took the compliment as her due, “I didn’t trust him and good thing too or otherwise we’d be in big trouble by now”

“Will he be willing to put her aside, just because she believed him capable of such ‘awful’ things”, it snickered at the description.

Lilah smiled a small smile too, “He’s a big wuss and would forgive her anything, no, that’s not plan B. Plan B is to make it look to the others like he killed her in a fit of rage or at the very least he’ll blame himself for her untimely death at the hands of vampires. Only it wouldn’t have to be vamps; they’re off the market on this one since the last stunt he pulled; but I’ve arranged it to still look like it”.

“Either way she’ll be gone forever, he’ll be inconsolable and alone again with no-one to turn to, and maybe finally he’ll be ready to embrace his darker side. What more could a girl ask for”? She smirked with a sudden intense feeling of satisfaction.

“What about the others will they not intervene”? The shape shifter murmured in a distracted manner; it’s attention swinging back to the woman on the bed.

“They won’t know their cell phone accounts have all been blocked” Replied Lilah and then she noticed the continued preoccupation with Cathy.

“What are you staring at? It’s just a dead body” She was genuinely curious, this was not normal behaviour for shape shifters.

“There is something unusual about this one”, it replied, the fascinated gaze not wavering. “I cannot figure out what, but she is different and…it calls to me; I want to hurt her so bad and yet she’s already dead”, its black eyes looked up to Lilah as if seeking answers.

“Well don’t look at me” replied Lilah with a shudder, “I’ll leave you to it, do your worst or whatever bakes your cookies”, she left then going back to the hell she’d come up from.

The creature smiled then, rubbing its hands together in glee as it approached the bed. The bed hardly dipped with the slight weight and it laid a cold grey hand on Cathy’s cheek being careful to leave no mark, yet. Then Cathy’s eyes opened and she took a deep breath, her eyes latching onto the thing on her bed.

She’d known it was there even before she had opened her eyes, had sensed it even before the woman from Wolfram & Hart had arrived. She sensed something else too and only just managed not to dart her eyes to behind the thing and give the game away.

The creature gave a startled little shriek but then moaned in delight, “So I was right…” it never got to finish what it was going to say, before the sharp point of a sword was driven through its belly. Fred stood behind it, fire in her brown eyes and a red bruise on her right temple.

“Do you know what the hell is going on”? Asked Fred, bad temperedly.

“As a matter of fact I do” Said Cathy, swinging up off the bed and rubbing a crick out of her neck, now perfectly back in line with her spine. “We need to find Cordy”.

CORDY – HUNTING

She’d tried everywhere she could think of and was starting to get desperate too about the fact that she couldn’t get hold of any of the others, “What the frickin’ hell is going on, is there some kind of phone conspiracy or something”?

She jumped about a mile in the air when the phone box she was just walking past started to ring with an insistent shrill tone. She looked up and down the street, trying to see if there was someone lurking waiting for a call. She was alone, she looked at it quizzically and then thought, what the hell and picked it up.

She nearly dropped it when she heard Cathy on the other end, “What? Slow down OK, start again”. She stayed silent for a while, listening and then said, “Meet me at the coffee shop, you know the one that’s open 24 hours, OK see you soon”.

She hung up, feeling pissed as hell, “This is going to stop, I have had enough already”.

ANGEL – HUNTING

He was alone now having sent Lorne home; he just couldn’t bear to be around the demon at the moment. They’d got nowhere in the search for Cordy and the others had all stopped calling in, probably due to the fact that his damned cell phone wasn’t working.

He wasn’t giving up and unlike last time, never would if he had to track every fucking bus, train and plane out of this city he would find her no matter what and when he did… He stopped the thought, he’d find her first and then worry about making damn sure she never left his side again. He’d meant what he’d said in the hotel basement, even if he hadn’t quite realised it at the time.

He’d reached his limit, it had been different before; she hadn’t been his but this time she’d told him she loved him and he’d accepted it and no way was she taking it back; he didn’t give a crap what had happened since. He prowled the city, senses on alert always searching for her scent, or any small hint that she’d been close by.

He’d seen a woman who for just a second had looked like it might be her and he’d pounced, just before he reached the woman he’d realised it wasn’t Cordelia but he’d still given the woman a hell of shock, followed by a thrill by the look on her face as he’d walked away, too frustrated to be embarrassed.

“Where the hell are you”? His back was arched and fists clenched as he yelled it, scaring the hell out of people passing by. He was past caring; his hard earned self-control was stretched paper thin; that was why he’d sent Lorne away, because he had known it too.

CORDY – COFFEE SHOP

“I just do not believe this” hissed Cordy, leaning over the table trying not to be overheard, “Why does my relationship with Angel or lack of one matter so much to them”? She asked truly wanting to understand.

“What’s to understand” Replied Cathy, “It’s obvious you are a threat to them and the eventual turning of Angel back to their way of thinking”.

“How?” Asked Cordy, her hands in the air as she slumped back in the plastic chair, a picture of amazement and frustrated annoyance.

“Because when he’s in love with you, it doesn’t matter what crap they throw at him, he would just shrug it off. You’re his heart and they know that; without you he would be truly lost to them”.

Cordy just stared at her. She remembered the anguish he went through being in love with Buffy, they’d had so few real happy moments, was her relationship with Angel so different then? Then she wanted to smack herself, of course it was. They’d been friends first and then lovers, the happy moments were already in their memories in abundance. All they had to do to get through the bad times was bring ‘em out and dust ‘em off.

“OK I see why they might see it that way and maybe I even think it could be true. So what do I have to do to get rid of them”? She asked, despondently.

“You probably never will, but forearmed is forewarned and anyway you can handle yourself – and he can handle both you and himself”, Cathy grinned at Cordy and watched her blush; she’d done it deliberately to try and relax her.

They both sat for a while mulling over what they knew and trying to think of ways of ending the threat, at least for now.

“OK I think I might have a plan” Said Cordy, flicking a look at Cathy and gnawing on her full lower lip with sharp white teeth for moment before she sat up and continued, “You’re not going to like it but dammit if I’m going to take the risk I need to know for sure”.

Cathy gave a look back and took the bait, so delicately offered “Know what”?

“If he’s truly committed to me and not just the idea of being in love” She replied a determined look in her hazel eyes, “Yeah, yeah before you say it I know he says he is and I believe him mostly. But does he truly love me? I know better than anyone else that Angel loves to love, it makes him feel human and that’s important to him”, she stopped trying to find the right words to explain what she was thinking and feeling.

“I understand that as much as any human who’s not 250 plus years can, but that’s why I need more than words. I need to know”, she stopped frustrated at not being able to verbalise it properly; not surprising really it was something she usually avoided thinking about.

“I understand” Said Cathy quietly her hand squeezing Cordy’s on the table in support, “You want to know that he values you for you”.

Cordy shrugged and pulled a face, that sounded so cold and selfish but essentially it was true, “Does that make me a bad person”? She asked with a sideways and almost shy look at Cathy.

“Not at all, considering you’re the only one I know with a vampire for a lover, I’d say some reassurance above and beyond the norm is natural”.

OK that made sense reassured Cordy gave a big smile, and the plan seemed even more attractive now.

Some time later Cathy sat back and just stared at Cordelia in shock, shit that would take some guts, not to mention some serious risks considering exactly what was being proposed, thought Cathy. “Are you sure you want to do it that way”? Please change your mind!

“I’m sure” Said Cordy without any hesitation, now she’d said it out loud she couldn’t wait to get started, she was fed up of being manipulated and wanted to take back control of her life, starting now.

“You do realise that he may flip out completely and then where are you going to be”? Asked Cathy desperately.

“He won’t hurt me, not really” Said Cordy with certainty, sure of it in such a way that she couldn’t understand how she’d believed the lies earlier in the night.

“Look, you said it yourself, the things you value are the things that are most important to you; which to him are, his soul and I’m so not going to touch that one, kind of essential. But then there’s that damned noble streak of his that’s so important to him. I want to push him to see if that kicks in and he walks away from me; or if he drops it completely then I’ll know he’s really mine”.

She was so earnestly sure that she could safely manipulate him into revealing his darker side and letting it loose, on her. Cathy couldn’t think of a more insane plan even if she had a week to do it in, but still was there a better way? If this was what it would take for Cordelia to accept him completely, should she really try and stop her?

“OK I’ll help you, but let’s not forget the big death scene the dead woman had planned for you”. Cathy finally said and Cordy relaxed; she could handle that, but she needed Cathy’s co-operation for the plan to work on Angel.

“OK, lets get started we only have about three hours of nighttime left”. Cordy said as she gulped down the coffee and picked up her bag. “Are you ready”?

“Am I hell” Cathy muttered, but stood anyway, what was she getting into now?
Part 21

ANGEL – HUNTING

Angel rang the hotel trying to reach Fred again. He’d spoken to her some time ago but she’d had nothing to report. She’d sounded a bit strange as if she was desperate to get of the phone but he’d put it down to Fred just being Fred.

She picked up the phone a bit breathlessly and gave a strangled sound when he told her it was him. “Hi Angel”, did she sound nervous?

“What’s up Fred”? He asked, frowning in concern, had she learned something bad, his hand clamped down harder on the public phone he’d found.

“Nothing” She said- athough it sure didn’t sound like nothing, “Listen we’ve had a sighting of Cordelia, a good one, almost definitely her” Fred told him.

He straightened and felt a surge of adrenalin flood his body, “Where” he snapped out, all thoughts of Fred’s weird behaviour going completely out of his head.

She told him and he put the phone down, sprinting off down the road and back to his car before she had even disconnected herself. She put the phone down slowly, trying to calm her nerves. “Well it’s started, I hope you know what your doing Cordelia”

Angel raced at breakneck speed to get to the place she’d been spotted, he’d broken about a dozen speed limits and even driven in reverse down a whole block dodging cars with both pure luck and skill, when he’d taken a wrong turn that would have taken him too far out of his way.

He found the coffee shop and pulled open the door, it was almost deserted and the waiter behind the counter looked bored as hell. He approached the counter and pulled out a photograph of Cordelia for about the thousandth time that night. “Have you seen this woman here recently”?

At first it looked like the guy would refuse to answer, but then he got another look at Angel’s set face with the intimidating and shadowed dark eyes focused on him like lasers and changed his mind. He took the photo and looked at it carefully, his face cleared and he actually smiled, “Sure she was here just a few minutes ago, twice actually”.

Angel didn’t hear anything past the ‘sure’ before he was out the door and looking up and down the street, searching the dark street, lit only the occasional street lamp with eyes that could see with perfect vision. He listened for her voice and sniffed delicately at the air.

His spine tingled when he caught it, it was her and she couldn’t have gone far. He ran down the street following the scent, a large black figure streaking past the closed shutters and dark empty doorways, filled with a grim satisfaction now knowing that he would have her soon.

He entered an all night bar, by passing the security guys at the front and opting for a side door with only a small lock and chain. He pulled the steel links apart with his bare hands and pushed at the door, the small lock on that gave way too and he stepped inside, closing it behind him, no need to give her another exit he had to cover.

Cordy was at the bar nearest the front entrance when the cell phone, borrowed from Cathy, rang and she picked it up, her heartbeat increasing as blood rushed through her body in excitement and with some small amount of trepidation; he was close by.

“He’s inside, use the main entrance, leave now”, she did without a moment’s hesitation; diving past the security guards and out into the night, running across the street and taking the next corner and getting out of sight.

Angel entered the bar area and scanned the light crowd, his eyes almost black with the effort it took not to just tear the place apart until he found her. She wasn’t there, his control slipped another notch, but he held on with a slippery hold and looked again.

Over by the other end of the bar was a glass, abandoned; it was filled with red wine and something about it made him go over and pick it up. Instantly he knew it had been hers and he brought it to his own lips and drank it down, tasting her on his tongue. He left and followed her trail down and across the street, it was stronger now and for a moment his head swum with a dizzying array of emotions, he was closer and he could still taste her.

An hour later he was still following her, his mood so black that anyone who saw him moved out of his way, she’d gone to a magic shop and asked for an invisibility potion, what the hell for? But didn’t wait for the store owner to explain why that wasn’t possible, just got out of the back entrance minutes before he’d arrived, if she’d used the front he would have seen her.

Now they were in a section of the city that was filled with shops that’s stayed open all night, seedy places that catered to both the human and demon world, the denizens of this place were dangerous and she was playing games with him. He growled deep in his throat and a passing elderly Morlar Demon gave him a startled look from its piggy eyes, huge hands tucked into the voluminous cloak it wore to pass through the human world or at least the mixed areas, he ignored it.

He scanned the street and the only satisfaction he got was that he hadn’t lost her scent, he would find her eventually and then there would be hell to pay. He walked at a fast pace, head swivelling from side to side, making sure he missed none of the small dingy buildings with their mysteriously muted advertising slogans, all designed to fool the daytime crowd into believing this area was just for the eccentric and not actually otherworldly. His dark eyes were piercing and thorough; seeing past the grime and between cracks in boards or drapes in microseconds without having to actually stop and check.

Cordy picked up the pace and reached into her pocket to answer the phone, “Where is he” she asked, whispering so that her voice didn’t travel too far and pressing the phone close to her ear to make sure she missed nothing.

“Look you’re going to have to go faster he’s only a bit behind you now. SHIT” said Cathy in a horrified whisper, “What, what is it” Said Cordy pressing a hand to her tummy, feeling as if a herd of elephants had just run through it.

“You’re about to hit a snag, there’s a dead end coming up, take a left and then run like hell, don’t look back and don’t slow down OK”, the sheer ‘determined not to panic’ tone of Cathy’s voice was enough to make her start to panic herself, she forced herself not too.

“OK” said Cordy starting to run and careening around the corner, glad she’d worn flats, like she was going to try and run Angel in circles wearing high heels. She could feel the blood pumping through her body and the resulting adrenalin made her feel breathless and jittery, she tried to calm down which was not exactly easy running full pelt down a dark alley, trying to escape a vampire in full stalk mode. “Oh shit”, she pulled her chin into her chest and pumped her arms, speeding up.

Her scent was suddenly stronger and he could feel she was close. She was running; he could hear footsteps pounding away to the left and up an alleyway. He followed, his pounding footsteps obliterated hers but he didn’t need to hear it anymore. He couldn’t hear much anyway over the ringing in his ears, as anger rushed through him. He would not let get away from him this time and he hated that she was running from him at all, it hurt him but he ignored that and reached for more speed, lengthening his stride and delving deep into his demonic side, willing to use every means available.

Cordy reached the end of the alley and burst through the darkness and back into the streetlight, her face flushed and panting with exertion and a strange exhilaration. She had come out on the next street up. She looked both ways, searching for a refuge or a way of distracting him so that she could escape again. The phone rang, “Oh god please let this be good news”

“There’s a store, fifth one down the street on the right, go inside don’t worry about who’s in there. Sit down in a chair cover yourself in anything smelly you can, do it NOW”.

She didn’t bother to answer and could hear nothing but the pounding in her ears, was he getting close. She ran inside the store and skidded to a halt, surprised and alarmed. It was like any normal beauty store, only this one was for demons and the smell, oh gross. The patrons looked at her from a line of chairs against the wall, mirrors behind them with little silver wheeled trolleys next to them, covered in little pots.

“Screw it” and then “Ignore me” she announced, please and sat down pulling one of the matching yucky green coloured gowns over her arms and covering her entire body, it smelled like sulphur, good. The patrons got back to reading their magazines after a moment, ignoring her and the startled assistants just shrugged and thankfully left her alone.

Next to her was one of the trolleys with all sorts of potions and creams covering it. “Eww, gross, dammit this had better work” she said she quickly as she covered her face and neck in purple goo, the stinkiest one she could find. She refused to do her hair, but snagged a towel and wrapped it round her head.

She didn’t know it but Angel was outside the store just as she finished wrapping her hair. He stopped confused her trial ended here just outside the store but the pungent aromas from inside mixed with it and overwhelmed it so that he couldn’t be sure.

He growled low, deep in his throat without even realising he was doing it. He turned around in a circle and then paced in different directions; he couldn’t pick it back up. He eyed the store with stormy eyes and then entered it, his size and dangerous demeanour giving the patrons a nasty start. He glowered at them and looked closely at each one as he walked down the aisle towards Cordelia, she slunk as low as she could in the chair and closed her eyes, only to open them again, but only as slits, she needed to know when he reached her.

Cordy watched him get closer, his tall black clothed body moving down the aisle with predatory grace, face taut and angry with a locked jaw and eyes narrowed and piercing under lowered slashing brows. He looked seriously pissed and her breathing hitched in her chest forcing her to fight an urge to cough, oh jeeze don’t choke Cor!

He was only two chairs away from her when his cell phone rang and he cursed as he flipped it open to answer. She jumped at the sound of his voice, anger vibrated through the deep timbre of his voice. He stood only a few feet away from her, with his preternatural senses how could he not sense her? Sweat started to pop out on her skin and it felt cold and clammy as she realised that it would only increase the chance of her scent reaching his sensitive nostrils.

Suddenly she started to doubt the wisdom of what she was doing; it had seemed a good plan back all safe and sound in the coffee shop, trying to work out how to fix things so that she would be less of a target for the Senior Partners while making sure she wasn’t setting herself up for heartache anyway.

She tuned back into the call he’d taken, his hand on his hip and a ferocious scowl on his handsome face. “What is it Fred”, those intimidating brows snapped even further down after she answered him, the next instant he slammed the cell phone shut hard enough to break it and left the store at a run, the turbulent movement of air caused by his speedy exit making the open door shut with a bang.

Cordy held a hand to her mouth, holding back the cough by pure willpower, her eyes watering and throat spasmed, finally she could let it out and ended up wheezing when she could finally get some air inside her lungs.

She made it outside after cleaning as much of the gunk off herself as she could, she felt like screaming at the nerves she felt stepping out of the door. After a few minutes of brisk walking to get some distance between her and the store she rang Cathy.

“That was too close” she said, still a bit breathless, her heart feeling as if it was trying to pound it’s way out of her chest wall to pitter patter its way down the street, she almost wished it would and give her some peace.

“You’re telling me” yelled Cathy making Cordy pull the phone from her ear, “The only thing that saved you’re ass from getting collared was me getting Fred to ring him on his now activated cell and pretend you’d been sighted getting into a cab a few doors down”. Cathy finished with the shouting and settled down, “He won’t be fooled for long, so get moving”.

“OK thanks, any ideas where next” She asked, having run out of them herself.

“Yeah how about coming back to the hotel and stop giving me a heart attack”, Said Cathy with some asperity.

“You think it’s enough”? Cordy asked.

“Cor, I thought it was enough over an hour ago but you wanted to carry on remember”? Said Cathy impatiently and yet resigned at the same time.

“Yeah I know, but this is a one shot deal and I wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t just give up”, replied Cordy defensively.

She was fibbing to herself and she knew it. Some little devil inside had made her take this way too far and now it was too late. Why she’d strung it out so long she didn’t want to guess, maybe just to see if she could do it or much simpler, because she wanted to see how far she could push him. He’d driven her crazy a few times since she’d got back to LA was it so petty to want some payback.

Maybe or maybe not, but she knew that she didn’t dare push for much longer, reality had started to set in and a large part of her was afraid of the results of tonight’s work.

“Hun, listen to me and hear this time OK, he is so far over the line of just being ‘pushed’ that I seriously think you should consider giving him some cool off time before you stage the ‘truth or dare’ scenario you came up with”.

“OK I’m coming in” said Cordy, she’d deal with Angel later and then she shivered thinking of what Cathy had said, OK much later. Had she been too hasty she wondered, should she try and placate him and find another way of dealing with her insecurities. They both had them, was she being fair in trying to end hers by playing on his.

She got back to the hotel about a half hour later, the lobby was deserted and the lights off, Cathy must have gone to bed, thought Cordy with a grimace, she’s probably mad at me for the scares.

She walked upstairs but didn’t knock on Cathy’s door, apologies and thanks could wait until later in the morning. She opened the door to her room, a feeling of déjà vu coming over her as she remembered all the times she entered it when it had been his.

The door closed behind her without her having shut it, she spun around, her heart at her throat, and He stood just behind it, a menacing shadow in the half light of dawn. She just stared at him as tension filled the space between them with crackling energy. The cell phone rang and she answered it automatically.

Before she could even blink he was standing in front of her, he snatched the phone from her nerveless fingers and threw it with vicious force against the nearest wall where it smashed into fragments of plastic and electronic bits and pieces.

“Oh crap, you’ve done it now”, what the hell had she been thinking!
Part 22
He hadn’t even looked away to see it land, but she did and then her eyes jerked back to his. An arrow of fear speared her body at the look in his dark and turbulent eyes, only it darted straight towards her loins and not her heart; instinctively she tightened her thighs and then lifted her chin.

He stayed utterly silent and still, tense and poised for even the slightest move she made to evade him so she didn’t even try. What would be the point and anyway she had set this up and now it was obviously time to pay the piper. She’d gone this far and didn’t want to turn back now.

She calmed down, the first horrible spurt of fear retreated to be replaced by feeling of anticipation that helped clear of her mind. She knew what she wanted but she wouldn’t force it, it was up-to him now or it would all have been a waste of time.

“So you’ve found me, now what”? She wanted to say it out loud but refused to prompt him the ball was in his court.

“What’s going on Cordelia”? His voice was so gravelly she couldn’t help checking his eyes and brow to see if he was about go vamp on her but his face remained human.

“Nothing”, she answered him quietly never taking her wide hazel eyes off his face, she saw his jaw clench and nostril flare as the anger bit deeper.

“You’re lying”, he snarled at her, he moved forward crowding her when she refused to back up, they were only centimetres apart now with his wide upper chest blocking everything else from sight.

“Maybe but that’s my business”, she looked up into his eyes, her jaw tight and determined, she saw the fire blaze in the black depths of his eyes as they flickered at her provocative reply.

“Really and does your ‘business’ include Groo”? His mouth curled into a mocking sideways smile as he thought of the half demon. His palms itched at the memory and he felt the demon inside him twitch, impatient and greedy.

“No it doesn’t, he was lying to you”, it was important that he realised that, she didn’t want him thinking that she playing him off against another guy; that would be disastrous, this was just between the two of them.

“Then why the fun and games”, she wished he would fold his arms or something like he usually did to keep a distance, but distance wasn’t what he wanted. His arms were loose at his sides, his shoulders taut under the black shirt and his throat and part of his upper chest visible in the vee left by a few undone buttons.

She refused to answer but started to back away from him; his hands snapped out and gripped her upper arms, pulling her back until they were flush together. He could feel her heart beating rapidly inside her and leaned down until his head was next to hers, his lips to her ear.

“I want to know that the hell you thought you were doing”? She shivered as his deep voice rumbled in her ear, his lips brushing against her. His hands flexed on her arms, still holding her tightly and stilling her slight movement.

“Tough”, she whispered, turning her face so their lips were almost touching, her breath caressing his face as her eyes stared challengingly into his. She felt him tense and saw his glittering eyes narrow as the sculpted yet full lips drew back into a snarl.

Anger filled him, roaring through him and the demon rose up and merged with the soul for just an instant but underneath the anger was both pain and fear. It stilled the demon but fuelled the anger and hardened his resolve. He reached deep inside again and deliberately opened the inner barrier that locked back the demon, releasing it.

Cordelia felt his muscles bunch and his hands became a punishing grip for just an instant as he lifted her up, the air rushed them and the room became a blur, she felt herself being released but could do nothing as she went airborne, landing hard enough to knock the wind out of her; directly onto the centre of the bed.

“What do you think your doing Angel” She asked him, trying to her voice stern and not become a breathless whimper, this was what she’d wanted but underneath the exhilaration there was a hard core of fear. She had definitely not thought this through properly.

This time it was his turn to refuse to answer her, he had remained at the archway, his body turned toward her but blocking the exit with his large frame. In the half light of dawn and with the curtains drawn all she could see was where the dim light touched him, she could not see his upper face, just the jaw and unsmiling lips.

She watched him take a deep breath, his muscular chest expended with it and then relaxed as he slowly released the unnecessary air. He was fighting for control, his demon scratching at his mind, frenzied now. He walked deeper into the room then slowly and with deliberate steps, he could hear the beating of her heart get louder and faster.

The light fell on his face but he ducked his head, she heard him growl and nearly leapt off the bed in fright. No, oh no she had not wanted this; she watched frozen with horror as he looked back up letting her see his face again. Sharp fangs glistened and he continued to growl, letting her see them by keeping his lips drawn back, yellow/gold eyes glinted under ridged brows.

“Shit, oh shit, you stop this now Angel”, she scrambled over to the farthest side of the bed, but didn’t try to get off, knowing it would just set him off quicker, “I mean it”, she was breathing hard and her chest heaved under her clothes.

He could smell her fear and hear the catch in her voice, a part of him, the human side, howled in pain at that; but it was drowned out by the sharp pleasure of the demon that had risen to the surface. “Will you say something”, she yelled at him her face flushed and hazel eyes wide and dark with fear. No he wouldn’t say a word; nothing could get past the thickness in his throat anyway.

How could she stop him, god this was too much, she’d wanted him to let his darker side out but not the frickin darkest of the dark for gods sake. She had to reach him somehow; she had to make a move. She threw herself off the bed and to the side, not just stepping off it but literally launching herself away hoping he hadn’t guessed what she intended.

He had, he’d seen her body tense getting ready to move and pounced, even before her feet touched the ground he threw her back onto the bed, she rolled over to the other side in one smooth move and grabbed up the lamp off the bedside table, yanking the lead out and holding it in front of her, she balanced on the balls of her feet and watched him, waiting for the next move.

“Who told you, you could move”? He asked with quiet menace, as he walked around the edge of the bed, his demonic eyes never moving off her; focusing on her as only a true predator can.

She would not get out of the room, never mind the hotel and there was nowhere else to go, she was running out of options so fast her mind was spinning. She threw the lamp at him as he approached; he simply smacked it out of the way with the flat of one hand and continued to advance.

She shrieked in fear and anger and skidded backwards away from him, her shoe hit something on the floor, she looked down; it was her bag which must have fallen off her shoulder when he’d thrown her. She ducked down to the floor and snatched something from just inside, pointing it at him and just in time too, he was only about 3 feet away from her. He stopped when he saw the tranquilliser gun. She held it higher, gripping it tightly and trying to steady her nerves.

“Please just stop this OK” She said and hated the fact that her voice shook, “I don’t want to use this”.

“Feel free” he growled at her, unmoving and yet scarier somehow, “Go on Cor, use it – pull the trigger now”, she jumped when the last was shouted at her, commanding her.

“Fine, I’ll have it then” he started walking and she pulled the trigger aiming for his chest, the biggest target, to make sure it hit and it would have done if he hadn’t literally snatched the dart out of the air before it could pierce his skin.

Before she could recover from her shock he snatched that out of her hand too, breaking it into two pieces and then dropping them casually to the floor, they crunched under his boot as he closed the distance between them.

She recovered with a snap of her jaw and started to backup again needing space to try and run, as useless as that would be now. She didn’t get given the chance as soon as he got close enough he wrapped one arm around her wait and tugged her feet off the floor even before she could think to try and wrestle free again, he toppled them both on the bed and rolled so that she was underneath him.

He pulled her hands out from beneath his chest and pressed them down into the bed coverings, stretched high above her head. One heavy leg covered hers, keeping them and her in place. Helpless to move she looked up at the face of the vampire over her and felt something a shiver race down her body, her skin was covered with goose bumps and felt so sensitive the slightest movement caused her to tremble. The position was so sexual she couldn’t help but feel a hot sticky warmth flood her loins and closed her eyes and groaned.

She kept her eyes closed, it was better that way and worse she discovered when she felt one hand touch and trace her breast, underneath the jacket but over the light cover of the vest top. Again she groaned in denial when the nipple pebbled hard, begging for more. This couldn’t be happening, she thought desperately.

“Look at me”, He demanded in a low growl, that alone was enough to tell her he was still in vamp face. “No”, she even shook her head to back up that refusal. She wasn’t in any position to stop him doing anything else but she would deny him what she could.

She heard fabric tear and jumped in his tight hold, cool air brushed over her chest and she shivered, she clamped her lips together refusing to shame herself by whimpering or worse begging.

His hand travelled down her ribcage and over her belly to her navel, releasing the button and then the zipper with the one hand, she squirmed and tried to push her bottom deeper into the bed, it was no use. His hand pushed under the waist of the now open jeans, long fingers sliding under the lace of her panties and not stopping until he cupped her sex.

One long finger slid between her soft folds and found her wet centre, he rubbed rhythmically and then with long strokes spreading the juice her body was frantically producing, aroused despite her mind. “Stop it” She said wiggling and trying to get away from that finger, feeling herself get wetter and hotter at each stroke.

That same tormenting finger, speared up inside her then and she yelled and tried to free her hands from his remaining one. “Open you’re eyes Cordelia”, he demanded again, his rough finger scraping the sensitive skin inside her body and then pushing a second one inside too, increasing the pressure and the pleasure.

“Don’t…” she whispered tears pooling in her eyes and she couldn’t stop a few from falling.

“Don’t what” He asked, ceaselessly caressing her, his voice was cold and ruthless that coupled with the fact that he wasn’t touching her in any other way made it seem so impersonal and …. shameful.

She tried again to free her arms but couldn’t move them, he simply pushed down harder on her hand and inside her body, reaching deep and finding the spot that would give her the most intense sensations, her hips arched up instinctively seeking and grinding her clitoris against his hand and she was helpless to stop it with the flooding heat inside.

He carried on, rubbing and pinching and thrusting with either one finger or two, driving her higher but she wouldn’t open her eyes still but he didn’t care by then, the smell of her arousal was driving him crazy, she was going to come. He withdrew one finger but left one to continue to press against the nerves inside her, his other finger stroked her clitoris and around the sensitive skin of her entrance.

Then he removed them leaving her empty and aching, “open your eyes”, his voice was raised and bitingly angry, she opened her eyes and looked at him.

“That’s better, now that we’ve got that out of the way, tell me what game where you playing last night huh”, his tone was mockingly playful now he’d got his own way.

“No game” She whispered, her legs quaked with unappeased arousal and she knew he felt it.

“You’re lying and that’s bad Cordy, you have to do better than that”, he said in a conspiratal whisper, he moved his hand back down to her and circled her clitoris, the shaking in her legs just got more intense, she had been so close.

“You were definitely playing me, luring me on and all the time you knew what you were doing and I want to know why”, he continued to tease her without satisfying her, rubbing gently and making sure she stayed at peak arousal but could not go over the edge, she couldn’t prevent a moan and had to bite her lip to stop any more.

“It wasn’t like that OK, I just wanted…” he stopped waiting for her to continue.

“What”? He snapped when she stopped.

“You to come to me” She finished, unable to go on.

“Well you got that didn’t you” he snarled but he pushed two fingers back inside roughly and then used a strong rhythmic motion to bring her to orgasm. He still held her legs and arms down, so she could do nothing but take it and then her inner muscles started to contract around his invading fingers and she screamed as she came.

She lay there quivering, her breath panting out of her and she turned her head away trying to hide the few tears that squeezed out despite her best effort. She felt him move and found her arms were free now; he pulled them back down to rest limply near her body. She started to roll over so she could curl into a tight ball of misery and started to sob, her body quaking with them.

He lay is back and stared at the ceiling his face human again now, he crossed an arm over his eyes but couldn’t block it out anymore, the demon had receded and with that came the emotions he’d been ruthlessly holding back.

The fear of losing her, added to the pain and anger of possibly having been used and then discarded had been maddening; and then to finally realise that he’d been led around in circles and deliberately had his feelings manipulated against him. He had been so enraged he could hardly contain it but now her sobbing was tearing his guts out, he couldn’t bear it.

He tried to roll her back over but she pulled tighter into herself shaking her head, not speaking. He tugged harder and then crossed his leg over hers again completely this time. Finally his hard body settled on hers and large hands framed her face, turning it back toward him, she kept her eyes closed.

“Let me go”, she said, tears clogging her throat and making speech difficult.

“No never”, he whispered, gentle lips kissed the tears off her face and she gasped at that, then those same lips traced her own followed by his soft tongue before it dipped inside to taste her.

“Ssshh baby, you know I would never hurt you”, he continued to kiss her tenderly, over her eyes and nose, drying her cheeks at the same time. Not physically maybe but he didn’t seem to mind hurting her pride she thought but was too dazed feeling a crushing sense of relief that the worst was over.

Wanting and needing to be comforted she let him opening her mouth wider and deepen the kiss, his fangs were gone and she opened her eyes to look at the handsome yet solemn face over hers. More tears gathered and he ducked back down to rub them away again with his cheek, his mouth finding hers again in sweet kiss so tender it started to melt the hard cold feeling in the pit of her stomach and driving away the tight feeling in her chest.

His body completely covered hers but he kept his full weight off her by resting on is elbows, his legs settled more firmly between hers and started a gentle rocking motion that rubbed her oh so lightly against his bulging crotch. She gasped again and raised her arms to loop them around his neck, pulling back a little so that her small hands cupped the back of his head, holding him to her.

Neither tried to undress the other, this was not lovemaking, this was two lovers comforting one another, loving the contact but being content with just the kiss and feelings of being so close and yet not joined. Cordelia felt the heat rise again but welcomed it this time, arching up into him as the kisses became more demanding and intense.

He thrust his tongue inside her mouth in exactly the same motion as he moved his body over hers, his hands still framed her face and gentle fingers caressed her ears and neck with light strokes; he released her lips only to let her breath before capturing them again, he knew when she was going to come when he felt her tense and thrust deeper into her mouth, swallowing her cries of ecstasy.

Afterwards she tucked her nose into his neck and hid her face, she wrapped her arms around his neck again and kept him as close as she could, trembling with relief more than from the orgasm. He moved to the side and tucked her into the cradle of his large body, keeping her face by his neck and allowing her the time to recover.

She dozed off for a few minutes but awoke when she felt him get off the bed; she opened her eyes and watched him as he went to shut the connecting doors between the two parts of the suite. On the way back he pulled his shirt from his pants and unbuttoned it, revealing that broad muscular chest she loved so much, shrugging it off his shoulder and then reaching down to unsnap his jeans and pull down the zipper.

She smiled and felt a quiver of arousal again between her thighs, all fear gone filled only with anticipation; she couldn’t help but feast her eyes on his naked body, travelling down his long length and stopping at the hard erection jutting out from his groin . He climbed back on the bed as she sat up to remove her now rumpled jacket; he knelt down before her and took it off to throw it carelessly aside. She sat without moving and let him pull her vest top over her head and it followed the jacket without ceremony.

She wore no bra and shook her hair back over her shoulders with a toss of her head, watching as he admired her full breasts reaching out with both hands to cup them and rub the nipples with his thumbs, she tilted her head back to push them into his caressing hands and he obliged her by dipping his head and darted out his tongue to flick over one hardened tip.

She wrapped a hand around him and ran her fingers down the hard pulsing length, he groaned deeply and suckled strongly on her breasts for a moment, before his hands released her breasts to move down to her hips, pushing her back on the bed and pulling both jeans and panties off with one strong tug, then she was naked too.

He spread her thighs with both hands exposing her as he settled his large body back over her, with no barriers between them now, she felt his smooth tip at the entrance of her body and lifted her hips invitingly, he took it and entered her with one smooth thrust, she was so wet from having already had two orgasms that she had no trouble taking him, the feeling of being stretched was delicious and she purred deep in her throat. He nuzzled her neck and she reached up to run her fingers through his hair and trace his ears, she turned her head and kissed his neck just below the jaw and then ran her tongue over it and up to his mouth.

He raised himself up on his hands deepening the stroking thrusts, grinding down on her loins with his to increase her pleasure, he ducked down to kiss her open mouth, thrusting his tongue inside and stroking the roof of her mouth, her tongue followed his and he sucked it inside his own to playfully tease her with more sucking and then little nips with sharp teeth.

He kissed her nose and cheeks, trailing down to her ears to trace the shell of it and then bit gently on the lobe, she clutched his hips and felt them moving strongly under her hands, rising and falling as he thrust, and she raised her hips and cradled him tightly.

“If you ever run from me again, I’ll come after you”.

After so much silence his voice was a shock, the deep possessiveness vibrated though her and increased the hot licks of fire in her belly. Desire escalated and she moaned unable to reply.

“There’s no place you can go where I can’t find you and bring you back”.

The rough voice matched the increased rhythm as he moved faster, deeper and stronger, branding her with each hard, rough stroke. She arched her back as helpless little cries fell from her open lips.

He thrust his tongue into her mouth and grasped one breast firmly, rubbing the tip with clever fingers, pinching lightly as he demanded hoarsely, “Say my name”.

“Angel” it came out breathless but she tried again and this time she was high with passion and lashed with unbearable pleasure, his possessive words bringing her as close to orgasm as anything else had.

He lifted her bottom up and kept her raised by the cupping the back of one knee, his hard body pumped between her thighs and he looked down to watch as his sex as he entered and then retreated inside her wet creamy centre. She started to convulse and he watched her with lust filled eyes, her breast and nipples where flushed with blood and veins stood out in relief, the damp dark curls mingled with is own and he ground down to feel every spasm and milking motion of her inner muscles on his sex.

She lifted herself off the bed as she came and wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him down to her, “I love you” she whispered into his ear, then she started to come.

He felt the flood of her orgasm and with her words couldn’t hold his own back any longer. He dropped her knee and reared back up and then over so that his head rested beside hers, his shoulders blocking out everything else but him; her hips raised high off the bed to accommodate him as he bucked hard into her.

EPILOLGUE

Cathy was at the bus station; she had brought her ticket and waited for a ride out of here. They would be OK now, oh sure there would be problems in the future but they wouldn’t be them without a few heated moment, now would they?

The threats of the moment where gone, disposed off, but not removed for good unfortunately. She had noticed the two burly demons arrive, lurking outside the hotel as she watched from across the street, then as she’d known he would she saw Angel arrive; After he’d finished he got rid the bodies by dumping then down a sewer to dispose of later, then went inside to wait for Cordy.

Cathy winced a little feeling guilty but sometimes needs must when the devil drives and all that. If they didn’t sort it out it, it would fester and to do that they had to fight it out between them. She’d known he wouldn’t hurt Cordy or she would never have come here in the first place, but still she was glad he wasn’t hers, urgghhh, she’d had enough of domineering men in the past, way in the past; she shoved the thought aside.

 


…THE END…


 

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