The Price

AUTHOR:   KYRIEANE
SUMMARY: Cordy’s feeling lonely on Christmas Eve, will Angel be able to give her the perfect gift? And what price will he have to pay for loving her.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 23 Dec 2003
CATEGORY:   HOLIDAY FIC (CHRISTMAS) / ANGST
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A
WARNINGS: Explicit Sexual Content 
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A

STATUS: Incomplete

Cordelia walks into Angels office and perches on the corner of his desk.

*I have a purpose. I have a goal. I am lonely and horny. I need to get laid. I can do this* She tells herself with a stern mental finger shake.

“Ya know, in a perfect world I would be in Aspen, snug in front of a warm fire with some brainless blond ski instructor catering to my every whim.”

She sighs and seems to shrink a little. Then she straightens and thrusts back her shoulders.

“Instead, I am stuck in ‘loser LA’, can’t go home and nobody even remotely interesting has invited me to an important Christmas party.”

Cordelia looks at Angel and realizes that he has his nose stuck in a book.

*Asshole*

She picks up an antique paper weight and throws it at him.

Angel looks up as it sails harmlessly past his head.

“Cordy” Angel growls.

“Are you even listening to me?” She snaps.

Angels expression becomes tortured as he tries to recall Cordys’ latest rant.

“You’re all alone and it sucks?” he ventures.

“In a nutshell.” She stands and begins to pace, her four inch heels clicking on the floor.

*OK Cordy girl, you’ve hooked him, now reel him in * she braces herself.

“So here’s what I figure………You owe me. I have gone to two auditions this week with demon gore in my hair and sewer stench on my clothes. I have no social life, no acting prospects and no real home to go to. No halls to deck, no merry to make. ” Whirling around to face Angel, she pokes her finger into his chest.

” I will be down at your apartment at 9pm. I want a tree, ornaments, champagne, music, food, ‘The Works’!” and with that Cordy turns and stalks out of the office slamming the door behind her.

*Well that went better than I had planned* She thought.

“I owe her?” Angel says.


~Christmas Eve Night~

Standing in front of the roaring fire, Angel asks himself what he could have been thinking.

“She had better appreciate all this:”

Looking around, feeling very proud of all Doyle and he had accomplished.

“Considering I haven’t Celebrated Christmas in two hundred some-odd years, I am still a genius!” And he gives himself a mental kudos.

The chiming of the door startles him out of his reverie, he looks around once more and then answers the door.

The woman standing opposite is a complete stranger to Angel. Dark russet curls piled high on her head, soft tendrils frame her face. A white velvet sheath molds to generous curves, seed pearls banding the high collar trailing down her shoulder and covering her breast in a delicate snow flake pattern.

Angel blinks, positive that this perfect woman is a figment of he imagination.

“Well I don’t NEED an invitation, but it is polite.”

“Cordy?” stunned, Angel steps aside “Please come in.”

Cordelia turns around in wonder, her earlier peevishness forgotten. “How did you do all this?” her voice breathless with awe, she can do nothing but turn and stare.

The apartment is filled with the soft white glow of dozens of candles scattered around. In the corner stands a six foot tree, tiny white lights nestled in it’s dark green branches. Antique crystal ornaments delicately hang on it’s tips and blue and silver wrapped packages surround the base.

Angels couch had been moved to sit in front of the fire place where a Yule log pops and crackles. An ice bucket with champagne sits nearby crystal flutes. A silver tray filled with crackers, oysters, brie, caviar and fruit complete the intimate setting.

“Oh, Angel” she sighs, turning to face him, tears shimmering crystalline in her kohl-lined eyes.

“I…um…I had help, Doyle knows this…ah…Demoness who…” he stammers.

“It’s perfect, it’s…Thank you Angel.” Cordy walks over and placing her hands on his shoulders, kisses him softly on the cheek.

“Dinner…I have dinner for you.”

Angel grabs her hand and leads her to the table. Heirloom china placed carefully on an ivory damask table cloth, fine silver place settings lay tucked into cream linen napkins. Cut crystal wine glasses reflect the soft candle light. A center piece of white roses and sprigs of holly finishes the table.

“I know I would have run out of time, so I had dinner catered.” Angel begins lifting covers off of silver chafing dishes.

“Roast rack of lamb, herbed potatoes, white asparagus tips in garlic butter, hot fresh bread and for dessert…” lifting the lid on an iced dish “Chocolate dipped strawberries.”

Angel turns to face Cordelia, surprised all over again with the awareness of the beautiful woman she has grown into.

“This is all so elegant” she says, lightly trailing a fingertip across the edge of the table. Looking at Angel and licking her lips she coyly states “And I’m starving.”

A surge of lust shoots through his body, shocking in its intensity and suddenness. A vision of Cordelia, naked, panting, riding him, howling like a dusky Valkirie, fills his mind. The smell of passion envelopes him, the sting of nails on his chest, thighs clenched in mind – shattering fulfillment rocks Angel to the core.

“Angel?”

Jolting him back to reality, he steps over and pulls out a chair for her. Plates and glasses are filled and for the next few moments the only sounds are the fire popping and silver ware clinking against china.

“This is, without a doubt, the most incredible thing I have ever put in my mouth” Cordy brings an asparagus tip to her lips, extends her tongue and licks a drop of butter off.

*lets see how he likes this little show* she gives herself an inner devilish moment.

Every muscle in Angels body is tight and quivering, waiting to see what she will do next.

Picking up her wine glass she licks the rim, then drains it in one swallow.

*time for seduction tip #137* bracing herself, she reaches over and runs her hand up the outside of his thigh. Angel jumps, startled by her touch.

“Easy there, big guy, I’m not the one here who bites.” *yet* “So were those ‘real’ presents I saw under the tree?”

Angel nods, not trusting himself to speak.

“For me?” a coy little smile plays across her lips.

Again Angel nods. Then standing, he motions to the intimate setting, “Ah…go sit by the fire while I …um, clear the table.” Turning to face the sink, he grips the rim.

*Get a grip on yourself!* mental images of creamy pale thighs clutched around his waist. *You like her, you respect her, you want to lick every square inch of her body….Agh! Climb out of the sewer!*

On the couch Cordelia goes through her ‘Seduction checklist’

*okay, got the plow through the driven snow, dress on, light flirting. A little physical contact. Time to turn up the heat.*

“Angel. I’m ready” Sipping from her glass of champagne she turns her head.

“So little girl, have you been good this year?”

“OH..MY..GOD!” She begins to laugh, tears streaming down her cheeks ‘Angel…Dark…Brooding…in a…Santa Hat!’

“Doyle said…I thought…”Angel snatches the hat off his head “It was on sale.”

“Oh no. I want to sit on Santa’s lap” She stands and pushes a stunned Angel down onto the couch and plops down on his lap. Angels arms wrap around her. Her exotic scent filling his head. She snuggles in even deeper.

“So, should I open a small one…or ….”smiling “…a big one?”

Angel reaches down and plucks a small blue wrapped box from under the tree and hands it to her. She fingers the beautiful paper, then finding the seam, carefully removes it. Opening the box she gasps. Tucked down in the white tissue paper is a tiny gold Angel.

Angel explains in a soft voice, “So you know that an angel is always with you.”

As wonderment fills her eyes with the sentiment of the gift, he brings her head to his shoulder and gently places a kiss a top her head. The intimacy of the moment shocks them both and they sit quietly.

But doubts invade Cordelia’s thoughts. *What am I doing? This man is my closest friend. And the last time he did the nasty, he ‘became’ the nasty!*

Deciding to break the moment, she slides off his lap and sits on the floor within easy reach of the rest of the presents. With a quick smile she begins opening them one by one.

With each box opened, a sigh, a gasp, a sound of pleasure. A silk robe, a cashmere sweater. Lotion and perfume. Small, yet elegant jewelry. Every gift chosen to touch her skin.

Three glasses of champagne later, Angel feels calm enough to speak.

“I hope you like everything. I wasn’t sure what you wanted.

Cordelia, surrounded by beautiful bows and shiny paper, makes a decision and turns to face him. Placing her arms across his thighs, she looks directly into his eyes. Taking a deep breath, she says.

“I think there is one more present for me to unwrap.” Licking her lips, she reaches for his fly.

“Cordy, wait.” He puts his hand over hers. ” I don’t think…..”

“Good. I want you mindless” she growls, pulling his zipper down.

” I like a man who wears boxers.” She murmurs, trailing a finger up his silk clad shaft.

With her other hand she reaches back and undoes the clasp to her dress. Standing up, it falls to the ground with a whisper.

Angel feels the air being sucked out of the room as his entire body shivers with sudden, blinding need. The only thought, the only desire left, is to touch this woman. This vision standing so vulnerable, clad only in a wispy white thong and thigh high stockings. Looking into her eyes he sees a sudden fear and uncertainty.

“I’m hungry” voice trembling, she stares at him.

Giving into the lust that he has battled with all night and feeling a fierce tenderness for this proud woman, Angel places his hands on the couch and tips back his head “Feast.”

She straddles his lap and leaning over, presses her breasts against his chest. Trailing a wet tongue from his collar bone to his ear, Cordy can feel his muscles quivering.

“I want to touch you. Taste you. I have had so many dreams.”

She tightens her thighs around his, feeling his body spasm in response. Leaning back, she grabs his shirt and rips it open. The sound of buttons popping, echo in the silence. Cordy rakes her nails down Angels chest. He growls when she lightly scratches his nipples.

Cordy stands and takes Angel by the hand, pulling him to his feet. Hooking her fingers in his waist band and tugging his pants and boxers down. Angel steps out them, standing naked and proud in front of her. She walks slowly around him, breathing in short, quick bursts. The fire light casts a dusky glow over his pale skin, looking as if his body had been sculpted by a master artisan, then covered by flesh.

“Touch me” his voice guttural with need.

She reaches out and runs her hands down his back. Cupping his buttocks, pressing close, needing flesh on flesh contact, she peppers his broad shoulders with hot kisses. Walking around to face him, touching him

“Wow, they sure knew how to make em in your day” she whispers.

Cordy takes Angel by the hand and leads him a few short steps to the rug in front of the fire.

“Lay down.”

He drops to the floor graceful as a cat and places his hands behind his head. She kneels down next to him.

“So much man, so much time”

Leaning over she begins kissing his chest, sticking her tongue out, she makes wet circles around his nipples, finding the sensitive bud, she suckles gently, then blows a hot breath across it. Angel shudders, a low moan sounding deep in his throat. Cordy’s hands and mouth migrate down, exploring every hard plane and ripple on his torso. After a century of torture she reaches his throbbing shaft.

“Dessert” and with the tip of her tongue and the barest feather of breath, cordelia licks the head of his cock.

A jolt of fire races through Angels body. Hotter and sweeter than any blood. He gives himself over completely to her control.

“More” he begs “please, more”

She wraps her hand around the base of his shaft, squeezing gently and takes the whole head into her mouth.

“Ahhhh!” the cry rips from his throat.

Cordy swirls her tongue around his cock, then making wet trails, traces the bulging veins in his shaft. His body begins to tremble and rock.

Cordelia stands, drops her panties and straddles Angel, his shaft sinking deep within her. She clenches her muscles tight around him. Eyes clouded with passion, golden in the firelight, he watches her riding him like the avenging Valkirie in his vision. The sight of her imprinted forever in his memory.

The clock begins to strike the hour. Angel grabs Cordys’ hips, holding her above him, he bucks deep within her. At the stroke of midnight, Angel empties himself. She throws back her head and howls as her climax rips through her.

Collapsing on top of him, she whispers “Merry Christmas” and slips into a contented sleep.

“Oh God” Angel Whispers.


~Christmas Morning~

Cordelia wakes up cold and alone, the fire is out and the only thing left of Angel is his scent. A rose is lying on his pillow, cradled in the depression where his head was. A piece of ivory parchment is wrapped around the stem of the rose, tied with a piece of red ribbon. She reaches out a trembling hand and pulls the ribbon. The parchment slowly unrolls itself. She picks it up, takes a deep breath and begins to read.

Cordy,

I’m not very good at expressing myself with words so I won’t even try. At the end it wasn’t only my body crying out for you it was also my soul. I realized I am falling in love with you. I need to find some answers. Please don’t give up on me. I will be back.

Angel

She puts her head in her hands and cries.

*****

Back at the office Angel’s on the phone:

“Doyle, I need to talk to the Powers. This is life or Death.”

“Um … Angel? I haven’t had a vision. You know, those splitting migraines with pictures I get when it’s life or death?” he says.

“Doyle, now.” Angel growls and slams the phone down.

*The powers have to help!* 

He stands, picks up the silver chalice he is taking for the required gift and begins to pace.

A few minutes later, Doyle shows up. He looks at Angel, shakes his head and chants the spell to open the portal.

“Thanks” he looks at Doyle and steps through. The Powers The Be are waiting for him on the other side.

“We cannot help you Angel but we know the one who can. He is waiting. Be warned, the price may be more than you are willing to pay” they intone, two voices blending to make one. They step a part, reach out their arms and place their hands together.

“Father”

and pull their hands a part. A blue swirling portal opens between them. Angel stands before the portal, hoping against hope the answers he is searching for lay beyond.

Steeling himself for the unexpected, he steps through. On the other side lay a lush, verdant forest like something out of a fairy tale. Birds chirp over head, squirrels play tag in the branches. A doe and her fawn drink from a tiny crystal stream, while sunlight filters down through the canopy. Instinctively, he crouches down and covers his face with his arms waiting for the pain.

*Great, survive the fire that is Cordelia, only to die from a measly ball of gas*

“The sunlight cannot hurt you here.” comes a voice from behind.

Angel jumps and turns, growling in defensiveness. He tries to vamp out.

“Your demon aspect is not welcome here, so it will not be allowed to manifest”

The man walks towards him. Angel looking closely realizes the man is dressed as a traditional Tibetan monk.

“Where…what is this place?’ he asks.

“Come with me” the monk motions with his hand ” I will explain”.

The forest parts before Angel and a path appears in front of him. The monk starts walking and Angel is left no choice but to follow.

“This is a sacred and holy place” the monk begins “Only the purist souls can enter. They come to learn, to teach, to pray and to answer prayers. You uttered a prayer this morning. The first in over 200 years. This most holy of days, you said ‘Oh God’. Well God was waiting for you. He let you past the portal to find your answers. ” the monk stops.

Angel is surprised to see an ancient stone monastery rising up before him. Oak double doors open soundlessly, granting them access.

Angel follows the monk inside, than stops in shock. The monk had led him into a warm spacious room. Giant tapestries line the stone wall, depicting powerful miracles, incredible scenes of kindness and mercy and perhaps the most awe inspiring of all, the intricate renditions of true love. Angel flashes back to his time he spent with Buffy, but images of Cordelia superimpose themselves.

“Buffy was your first love, she was not your true love. There is a difference. You will always care for her but she is not the one your soul was meant to be tied to. There is another. Come. We will sit, we will drink tea, we will talk.” The monk motions to a pair of small couches tucked into a quiet alcove.

Angel notices a dozen such niches lining the wall. Two or three people sat in several of the groupings. Looking at some of them, Angel realizes that one person in each group is glowing with a soft white light.

“The ones that you are looking at are souls that retain their human aspects. Come” and he walks away.

Angel follows the monk to the alcove. A silver tea service sits on a small tab table. Steam rising from the pot.

“You are Liam. I am Panchen. I will ask questions and you may ask. And we will both do our best to answer. How old are you?”

“246”

“No, how old are you Liam?”

“Um…26”

“And that is when you were turned?”

” No, I died.”

“I am not sure I understand. Please explain.”

“I was bitten by a vampire. She drank almost all my blood, causing my heart to stop” his voice trembles softly. An ancient Irish brogue coloring his words.

“At that point I died, my soul and conscious thought left my body. She then sliced open her breast, pouring demon infested blood into my mouth.”

“Wait, if the soul no longer inhabited the body, it was no longer yours. The mouth was not yours. The mouth belonged to a corpse.”

Angel sits quietly, confused.

“Where was your soul after it departed the body?” Panchen asked.

“I can only assume because of my life, it went hell.” Angel replies.

“Where it atoned for the sins you committed as a mortal?”

“Yes”

“Then what happened to the body?”

“The demon infected my body, changing every cell and took on a consciousness of its own.”

“So it was a demon possessing the body without a soul that committed hundreds of atrocities?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“Let me put it this way, if your being, your soul and consciousness were to possess my body, forcing my soul to leave and then I, with you in control were to walk over to the frail aged woman over there and twisted her head, breaking her neck, killing her, who then is accountable? Is my soul tainted with the sin? Or is yours?”

“Mine is, it was my conscious will that committed the sin,” A look of dawning comprehension lights Angels face.” I am not responsible for Angelus!” he stands ” I AMNOT RESPONSIBLE!!” his cry echoes throughout the room.

“But you are responsible for the sins committed after your soul was restored to the body” Panchen tells him.

Angel collapses onto the couch, crushed.

“Lets address those now. What faith were you before you died?”

“Catholic.”

“What does the Catholic Bible teach about sin and the forgiveness of sin?”

“That the human soul is flawed from the moment of conception to the final breath, sin stains it. It is only through the grace of God that a person can seek and find forgiveness. It is a gift freely given if a person is truly penitent and asks for forgiveness.”

“An who do ye need to be askin’ boyo?” comes a voice, thick with the sound of Ireland. Angel turns, startled, behind him stands an old gnarled man dressed neck to toe in a black cassock and a small white collar around his throat.”

“Och, lad, it hasna been tha’ long since ye attended catechism. Coupla years…surely?” the priest moves around to sit next to the Tibetan monk.

“I be Father O’Shaunessy, I think ye be needin’ me now.”

Angel blinks, finding himself in a small, wooden confessional. A carved screen separating him and the priest.

“Ye may begin” Father says, sitting back in his seat.

“Um…forgive me Father for I have sinned, it’s been………it’s been a long time since my last confession” Angel begins. For the next several hours, he meticulously details his sins. Beginning with his life as Liam and finishing with the night of pre-marital sex he and Cordelia had engaged in.

“With all of your acts of heroism, penance has been served” Father O’Shaunessy tell him.

“FORGIVEN” A voice thunders over head. Angel feels something within him click. Trembling he slides off the bench and kneels. Tears well in his eyes and his heart is healed.

“Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy, Amen.” Angel collapses on the floor, sobbing. Like a warm blanket, a light envelopes his body, lifting him off the floor.

“YOU ARE FORGIVEN MY SON. I HELD YOU IN MY HANDS AT THE MOMENT OF CREATION. I LOVE YOU.”

Angel feels perfect peace, perfect love, emanating from the light.

“FORGIVENESS IS YOURS. REDEMPTION IS WITHIN YOUR GRASP. YOU STILL HAVE A MISSION. SAVING SOULS LOST IN THE DARK. YOU MUST BE A WARRIOR IN THE FINAL BATTLE. THIS I CHARGE YOU WITH.”

People and places flash in Angels mind, souls he has the power to save.

“YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS.”

Cordelia’s face fills his vision.

“SHE WILL BE YOUR CONDUIT. OTHERS WILL COME. SOME WILL DIE. THE MISSION WILL GO ON.”

The light fades and Angel is lowered gently to the ground. He closes his eyes, feeling peace for the first time in centuries. When he looks up, Father O’Shaunessy is waiting quietly. He makes the sign of the cross.

“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Go in peace. Amen.” and walks away.

“Come Liam, it is time to get you back to your own realm.” Panchen’s voice echoes in the darkness. He walks to Angels side and helps him stand.

“I …home…Cordy…I prayed and God answered.” Bewilderment and awe color his features.

“God answers all prayers. You only have to listen.” Panchen turns and walks away from Angel.

“Come. Time passed differently on this plane. Six days have passed in yours, while only one has passed here.” He follows Panchen, silent, contemplating all that has happened to him in the monastery.

Panchen stops in front of the blue portal back to his world.

“Thank you. I will never forget.” but there is no one behind him.

*Wait till I tell Cordy about this.*
and he steps through.


~New Years Eve~

Cordelia sits alone on her couch, she had told herself she wouldn’t sit around and mope, so she cleaned her tiny apartment and moped, she shopped and moped. Today she was going to sit and mope. One whole week since Angel left and not so much as a phone call. A knock on the door startles her.

“Doyle, I don’t want to go to any stupid party!” yanking open the door, Cordy is shocked to see, not Doyle but Angel.

“Damn you!” she shrieks, “Don’t move!” and slams the door in his face.

Racing to her room, Cordy jerks the scruncii out of her hair and pulls a brush through it. Throws on a layer of make up and slithers into a silver-sequined dress, stepping into her shoes she assesses her self in the mirror and decides kudos’ are in order.

*Best dressed in under a minute and a half goes to……Cordelia Chase!*

Walking calmly across her living room, Cordy throws open the door and invites angel in.

“Come in, but you can only stay a minute.” Angel steps into the apartment and Cordy closes the door.

“As you can see, I’m going to a party,” she strikes a pose,” an important party with important people. My date should be here any minute.”

Cordy stalks past Angel and picks up her hand bag and wrap.

“He is taking me to a very expensive restaurant, so I really don’t have time to sit and chat.”

Just then, her oven buzzer goes off. Angel gives a little half smile and recognizes the smell of chocolate brownies.

*classic Cordy comfort food* Angel thinks.

She sees the smile and feeling all the rage and pain of the last week boiling up inside her, throws her hand bag at him, hitting him square on the chest.

Cordy whirls around and stomps into the kitchen, rescuing her brownies from the oven.

“I’m sorry.” Angel calls after her.

After a few moments, Cordy comes back, once again in sweats and a T-shirt, hair up in a ponytail.

“Screw the apologies, I want an explanation.”

She sits and motions for Angel to do the same.

“I’m not sure where to begin” he says.

“How about the part where you decided it was a good idea to leave”

Her acidic tone startles him. He knew that he had hurt her but didn’t realize how much.

“Cordy, I’m sorry that I hurt you. That was not my intention. But my feelings for you have grown beyond mere friendship.” he tells her, his voice heavy with remorse. “We both remember what happened last time. I couldn’t stand the possibility that I would change and break more than your heart. I had to leave. To find either a solution or a place far away where I wouldn’t put your life in danger. So I apologize and I beg your forgiveness.”

He falls silent, waiting for her answer.

Emotions flicker across her expressive features. Pain at finding herself alone. Terror at the thought of Angel losing his soul. Guilt that her selfish need for physical gratification had put them both in danger. And finally dawning comprehension.

“You came back. You found a…a solution?”

For the next hour, Angel tells her of his journey. Of everything he learned. Of finding forgiveness.

“I’m not done. There are still things I need to do. Responsibilities I have been charged with.” he drops to his knees in front of Cordelia and takes her hands in his.

“I need you Cordy. I need your help. You are part of my destiny.” he pauses “I love you Cordy. Please, I never meant to hurt you.” he lays his head in her lap and wraps his arms around his her waist.

She can feel him trembling. “Angel, I love you too. I forgive you.” She can feel his tremors increase. He looks up at her, tears shining silent on his cheeks.

“I thought vampires couldn’t cry” she gently wipes the wetness away. Voice hushed with awe.

“Part of the gift of forgiveness” he smiles.

“Well now what do we do?” she asks, reaching a hand up, stroking his hair.

Angel looks thoughtful for a moment. “Brownies” he says solemnly, “Must have brownies.”

She giggles, “Ok, brownies.”

“Then sleep, I haven’t slept in a week.”

Later after brownies and cocoa for Cordy, brownies and o+ for Angel, they walk hand in hand to her bedroom.

“I bought all your present by touch” he tells her.

“Huh?”

“Your bed, the silk sheets, I bought it all to touch your skin. I imagined I was the sheets and how your skin would feel sliding against them. I imagined I was the cashmere sweater and how it would feel to be molded around you body. All of it.” Angel brushes the back of his hand against her cheek” But nothing compares to the reality” he smiles into her eyes and leads her to bed.


Somewhere in Montana, 5 Years later

Deep within the ground sits a windowless room, a giant four poster bed dominates the area. A dresser sits off to one side, covered in dozens of candles. As one burns out, another is stuck in the pool of hot wax. Hundreds of candles have been replaced this way, building up a layer of wax several inches thick. A low table on the opposite wall is identical. The bed is layered in thread bare silk sheets, worn and dull. A white patch work quilt is on top. Half a dozen pillows line the head board. A pale lithe woman is barely visible under the blankets, her small fox like face framed by long dark hair.

A man, dark and gaunt, sits on the edge of the bed. He holds one of her hands in his. Long pale fingers envelope a small fragile one. In a low voice, he chants the same litany he has said every morning for the past five years.

“I am yours, you are mine, together we are one. I pledge to be faithful and true to our bond.”

The man leans over and places a gentle kiss on her pale brow. He stands, turns, and leaves her room. Entering his own dark sanctuary, he sinks into a low padded chair.

I need to go hunting, he thinks, but doesn’t move. In the year since his world ended, he has performed the same ritual every day. He comes in from a night of feeding, and tends to the woman. He brushes her hair, feeds her a broth made from his kills, removes her night clothes, and bathes her body. He then dresses her in beautiful clothes that have distant memories. He knows they are important, but can’t remember why. He talks to her about everything he has seen on the hunt, the animals, the mountains, he even saw a werewolf one night. It was familiar, but he is unsure why. Then, tired of his own voice, he lays down next to the woman, takes her hand in his, and sleeps. At night, it is the ritual in reverse.

Before he hunts, he sits and tries to remember. There are vague snatches of pictures in his head. Laughing with this woman, touching her fair skin. he knows he loves this woman with every fiber of his being, and if he can only remember her name, she would open her eyes, and speak to him. So he sits, and he tries. Tears of rage and frustration finally drive him out into the wilds of the mountainside.

********************************************************************************

In the darkest hours of the night, in the chambers of a forgotten bomb shelter, the woman lays bathed in a pale blue light.

IT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN LIKE THIS. THE FIRST SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TOUCH THIS PAIR. FATHER, THEY HAVE BEEN BLINDED FROM OUR SIGHT, WE ARE UNABLE TO TOUCH HIS MIND, WE CANNOT FIND THE ESSENCE OF THE WOMAN. WE ARE BOUND

The voices fall silent. The woman sighs, and turns her head.

********************************************************************************

By the light of the full moon, the man hunts. The musky scent of a bear haunts him in the breeze. The man barely registers the frigid air, the crunch of snow underfoot as he hones in on his prey.

Why is a bear out of it’s den in the middle of winter? surprised at the sudden knowledge. It turns, eyes glowing green under the winter moonlight. There is something in it’s mouth.

What….a cub. That’s a female with a cub.

He backs away slowly, not wanting to tangle with a mama roused out of her den.

Must find something…..

His sensitive nose picks up a foreign scent. Not a person….not an animal….a werewolf! He feels the demon rage within him well. The man throws back his head and howls a challenge.

A heavy, shaggy form leaps out of a tree nearby, landing on the mans back, he sprawls face down in the snow. Springing to his feet, the man lunges for the beast. It’s face begins to morph into human form.

“Angel,” it growls, and backs away.

“Angel, it’s me, Oz”, the werewolf transforms into human state. Small, shivering, naked.

“I need to get somewhere warm, quickly.” The man just stares at him, not moving.

“Angel, I’m freezing my nuts off here. In every sense of the word.” Oz says, urgency coloring his usually placid tone. in one blinding motion, the tall dark man scoops up the small pale one, and begins to run.

********************************************************************************

A glowing nimbus appears above the woman

I HAVE DONE WHAT I CAN. INTERFERRING ANY MORE WILL VIOLATE THE AGREEMENT MADE AT THE MOMENT OF CREATION. IF I TOUCH THEIR LIVES ANYMORE, PROPHECY WILL BE VOID. THE HAND OF CHAOS WILL NO LONGER BE BOUND BY ANY RESTRICTIONS.

The glow fades from the room, and the quiet returns.

********************************************************************************

The man throws open the door and steps through, he deposits his shivering passenger, turns, and leaves again. Oz stares at the room in amazement. A stone fireplace with banked coals provides the only illumination. A pile of furs lay on the floor, inviting Oz with their warmth. A low slung chair is the only piece of furniture in the room.

The man returns, arms full of cord wood. He kneels beside Oz, and stokes up the fire. Standing, he moves to the chair, and sinks down into its warm embrace.

“Who are you?” the man asks, cautious.

“I know it’s been a long time, but….I’m Oz” he looks at the man, his face blank and stone hard.

“I’m Oz, and you are Angel.”

“Oz.” The man repeats, a myriad of memories flicker through his mind, but he can grasp nothing tangible.

“Angel” he rolls the name in his mouth, and shakes his head.

“Last anyone saw of you, you were driving off into the sunset with Cordelia. “Oz tells him.

“Cordelia?” The man stands, anguish etched on his features.

“CORDELIA!” he screams his pain. Like a dam breaking, the previous five years come flooding back. Making love to Cordy, the marriage ceremony which Willow presided over. Hunting, loving, fighting, laughing. He remembers the last conversation they had, about the Supreme Being. and of carrying her fragile body away from L.A.

Angel falls to his knees, sobbing. His heart, locked away in a shroud of forgetfulness, shatters like a thousand mirrors. For an endless moment, he weeps his pain.

OH GOD praying THANK YOU FOR THE GIFTS YOU HAVE GIVEN ME, FOR THE MIRACLES, FOR THE PRECIOUS TIME WITH THIS INCREDIBLE WOMAN, PLEASE GOD, JUST ONE MORE I WILL PAY ANY PRICE.

“Thank you, Oz. You came just in time.”

Angel goes in to sit by Cordy’s side.

“Ah…Cordy. I love you, come back to me, come home.” he lays down next to her, tucks her head under his chin, and cries himself to sleep.

********************************************************************************
*CORDELIA, CORDELIA a voice whispers IT’S TIME, TIME TO GO BACK She lay weightless, caught in the infinite moment between heartbeats, cloaked in dark comfort.

*BUT IT HURTS THERE* she answers. ANGEL WILL DIE. THE WORLD WILL DIE the voice tells her. *AM I DEAD?* she asks NO, YOU ARE SLEEPING, IT IS TIME TO WAKE. ANGEL NEEDS YOU. She takes a deep breath and opens her eyes.

“Angel?”


…TO BE CONTINUED…

THIS FIC APPEARS TO BE UNFINISHED


 

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