Truth or Treat

AUTHOR: Livvie and Angel (aka Kelly and Mike)
SUMMARY: Angel and Cordelia are hired to be security for David Nabbit’s Halloween Party and Cordelia gets to pick out the costumes!
POSTED: 31 Oct 2006
CATEGORY: Holiday Fic (Halloween)
WARNINGS: None listed
1) AO Fall Fic Challenge
2) Our friend, Trish, suggested this to us (the costumes) and we ran with it. Takes place Post-Billy but before any Connor-ness.
3) The timeline doesn’t match up as when popular culture events happened and the show aired but its no bigger a leap in continunity than we saw on our screens. LOL Enjoy!
STATUS: Complete

Cordelia stood in front of the filing cabinet with a few files in the crook of her arm. She had been putting this off for weeks but she didn’t have an excuse now. Angel was giving her “The Look” every time he spied the pile sitting on her desk. Well, excuse her if she was too busy with killer visions to file. She reached over, turning up the radio. As it got closer and closer to Halloween, the DJs were slipping more and more spins of “Monster Mash” into the rotation. She rolled her eyes as it yet again came on the radio. Halloween and she was going to be stuck working. Gunn and Fred already called ‘one, two, three not it’ since it was Fred’s first Halloween in five years. Wesley would no doubt lock himself in his office to study something or other. She was just hoping for a call for something interesting for that night.

As if an answer to her prayers the front door opened and in walked the very unassuming and nerdy David Nabbit. He glanced around nervously until he saw Cordelia. A big grin covered his boyish features and he approached. “So, how’s the demon slaying going,” he asked her. He’d love to ask her something else but for all his money he still had trouble talking to girls. Looking to the radio on hearing the song, he chuckled. “And the music plays on what I want to ask you about.”

She heard a voice and she turned to see who it was. Her face lit up at the sight of the billionaire. She doubted very much if he was here to take her on an all expenses paid tropical vacation or a thousand-dollar shopping spree. “Hi David.” She held the files up before putting them on her desk. “Excitement never ends here.”

David would probably give her all those things if she just asked. He just gave a little wave as he approached the desk. “Is the bossman around,” he asked Cordelia. David then looked at the clock. “Yeah, he’s still sleeping. His night is our day and vice versa.”

“He is always sleeping. It’s called lazy.” She gave David a smile as she came up to the front counter. “Take over any companies today?” She would have taken advantage of him if she wasn’t a good person deep down. She would have felt instantly guilty about it. Granted, she would have plenty of nice things to assuage her guilt but it wasn’t the same.

“I really don’t know,” David said. Nabbit was smart, he was over the scale on genius but take-overs were a sad thing when you thought of the people involved. “Ah, okay. Well, maybe you can help me then.”

“You don’t know if you have taken over any companies today?” She raised a brow at this. David was a smart man but he didn’t have a whole lot of common sense. She paused when he said something about helping him. She tried to hide the light in her eyes as she thought about that big fat check. “Well, what can I do for you?” She just assumed that he meant her or he would have asked for Angel.

“I’m having a Halloween party.” He just shrugged while explaining. “I do this every year. Actually it’s the only party I really enjoy.” He gave her that infectious smile of his as he leaned on the counter.

Halloween party, that was something she hadn’t done since Sunnyhell. Then again, you see your friends start thinking they ARE their costumes, it kind of ruins it. “What are you going as?”

“Oh, everyone has to dress a celebrity or movie hero,” he said and leaned forward to her, as if afraid he’d be overheard. “I’m going as Indiana Jones.”

She could only imagine David Nabbit as Indy. He would probably end up crushed by that big boulder. She just smiled at him, unsure of why he was bothering to tell her this. “That’s great.”

“Yeah. I got the whole thing,” David said still grinning. “I managed to get my hands on one of his satchels. You know that canvas bag? It’s actually a World War II British gas mask bag.”

Cordelia just blinked. This would so be the conversation that Angel would love but it was something she was really close to not tolerating anymore. David was nice but he didn’t have any of the endearing qualities any of the other dorks she dated did. “That’s great, David. Really.”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “I paid quite a bit for it, but I had to have it.” He took a breath then shrugged. “So, back to the party. I was wondering if your team could be security?”

He didn’t have to ask twice. She remember the last party that David threw and she was so there. She smiled at him. “Of course. But, it will only be Angel and myself. The rest of the team already has plans. But Angel…Yeah…Big and all with the grrr. Perfect security.”

“But, no grrr,” David replied. “If I were having the monster mash party, he’d be perfect, you know all…” His voice trailed and he tried making a fierce face, but failed miserably. “Well, you know, none of the vampires in the movies or TV ever had that kind of thing going.”

“No, I promise. No grrr.” She paused for a moment because if they were going to do this job, might as well make it worth it. “So you want us to come in costumes? We will probably need an advance on that. Tight month.”

“Oh, yeah.” Nabbit pulled out his wallet. “I don’t have my checkbook. But,” he said pulling out some bills. He handed her two thousand. “Is this good? I’ll have the rest for you the night of the party.”

Cordelia eagerly took the money. She could do a lot of damage putting together two costumes with this. “Oh yeah. This is great, David. What time should we be there?”

“I suppose you need to get there early,” he said thoughtfully. “Probably about six?”
She nodded her head, pocketing the money. “Six it is. No worries, we will be the best security your vast fortune can buy.”

“I know,” he agreed, “after all, how many can say they have a vampire as a body guard?” He turned and started for the door and took a leap up the steps but tripped; though he didn’t go down. He turned and pointed at the step. “I…I meant to do that.” The he was out the door before Cordelia could comment.

Which was a good thing as she brought her fist up to her mouth to cover her laughter. She pulled herself together and headed upstairs to talk to Angel. She knocked on his suite door, waiting for some indication that he was awake. “Angel, wake up! CNN just announced they can make chocolate flavored blood for the vampire community.”

He always wondered why Cordelia didn’t take her own advice about let sleeping vampires lie. Angel woke to the sound of the pounding on his door. He looked over at his clock. It was only eleven a.m. He brought his hands up and rubbed his face. When the knocking continued he got up, grabbed his robe and slipped it on. No way did he believe a word of what she had said. Finally, he made it to the door and opened it.

Cordelia was looking down at her watch, timing him. “Almost a full two minutes, Angel. What if I was out here being attacked by a demon? Or if I had a vision? The Powers don’t care if you are sleeping in.”

“I don’t think CNN is vision worthy,” he said. “As far as demon, I’d know if it were happening because you wouldn’t knock. You’d been in here.”

“You locked your door.” She said flatly. “Besides, I can handle a demon. That is what all your training downstairs has been for, right? In case you are too busy sleeping to come in and rescue me?”

“Yeah, well, as you’ve said before, creature of the night and all,” Angel replied leaning on the door. This had actually been the first sleep he’d had in a couple days after having to chase down a nest halfway to Watts.

“While you were counting…Bats or whatever, I got us a job. And I need the rest of the afternoon off to get supplies for it. You have to man the phones.” She leaned against the opposite side of the door since he never told her to come inside. She could have barged in but what fun was that?

A frown creased his heavy brow. “What kind of job,” he asked. What would she have to shop for unless Wes was sending her to one of the magic shops?

“David stopped by. He is throwing a Halloween party and he would like us to work security. He still can’t talk to women so I am assuming he is going to have entertainment of the demon variety there. And…” Cordelia reached into her jeans and pulled out the two thousand dollars. “He gave me an advance to get us costumes. So that is why I need the afternoon off, Inspector.”

“I don’t do Halloween and I don’t do costumes,” he said to her as if she should already know this. “And why would he have demons there when he got into a lot of trouble with them before?”

“I don’t know. Why did you keep running back to Buffy even when you knew she was bad for you? Its because men are stupid. Besides, you don’t have to wear a costume. Do you think you can handle a black wife beater and a pair of worn black jeans?” She raised a brow, looking at him. It was a challenging look. She needed this. It just wasn’t the money but it was a chance to go out. Wes was right when he said that she had become withdrawn and less social because of the visions.

“I wear that all the time,” the vampire said getting a puzzled look. “Its a Halloween party and no costumes?” It didn’t even occur to Angel that jeans and a wife beater was going to be his costume.

“That is going to be your costume. It will all make sense as soon as I pick up mine and two accessories for you. You don’t even have to change your hair.” She gave him a bit of a smile but there was a sadness in her eyes as well. She really wasn’t going to take no for an answer and she wasn’t going to stand here to argue with Angel when she had two grand in her pocket.

That look she gave him, she knew would work. He could fight donkey demons, as she said, but when she started with those eyes, he was helpless. “Yeah, okay,” he said. “Just turn on the machine. I do need to get at least a couple more hours shut eye. As quiet as it’s been I think we’re allowed that.”

“Next time I want to sleep in, I am just telling Wes that I turned on the machine. We will see how well THAT goes over.” She just shook her head. She hadn’t meant to give him any look. It was just something she hadn’t been able to shake for a few months now. “You want me to warm you up some blood before you go back to sleep?”

“No,” he walked back to the chair in the room and got his pants. He started pulling them on. “I ate just before I laid down.”

“I thought you were going to get a couple more hours. I am leaving so you can hang around in all your pantless glory. Gunn and Fred are gone. Wes is still brooding in his apartment over the incident.” She crossed her arms over her chest, watching him dress. It was a sight she had seen dozens of times before but for some reason, this time, it caused a slight tingle at the base of her spine.

Zipping his fly and buckling his belt, he then took off his robe and placed on the foot of the bed. He then got his gray pullover shirt and put it on. “I’ll come downstairs,” he said. “I’ll sit in the office and listen for the phones.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “I was just kidding about the answering machine thing.” She stepped into his suite. She put a hand on his chest, pushing him back. “Just go back to bed. I don’t want to have to deal with a grumpy manpire tonight.”

With her final push, he fell back on the bed. “This is more comfortable then the desk,” he admitted and laid down.

“I will be back in a couple of hours. Just get some sleep. I don’t want you snoring during our training session tonight.” She wasn’t about to go pull off his pants or his shirt, no matter if part of her wanted to. She turned and went right for the door. She had shopping to do. That trumped any sort of undressing of manpires on the no-bone list.
Cordelia had finished the last of her shopping on Halloween itself. She came into the Hyperion, loaded down with bags. There was no reason to change at her place when she could just change here. She was going to have to come here anyway so that Angel could drive them. She gave a smile at Wes. It seemed like he got talked into manning the phones tonight. She was happy just to see him out of his apartment. “What are you suppose to be, Wes?”

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce looked up from his research. “An overworked, underpaid employee,” he said.

“Oh, I thought maybe it was uptight bookworm. You have the look down.” She gave him a smile before gesturing upstairs with her bags. “Is he up there?”

“Yes,” Wes replied. “You know he’d be much happier here. He’s not really a party animal like others we shall not mention.”

Cordelia just gave Wes a look. “Its security. Gunn and Fred are out doing trick or treating, which yeah, outgrew that when I was about five. And you are moping around here like you were an Angel clone. I can’t exactly run security myself. I am intimidating and yes, fabulous, but David is paying for Angel.”

“So, I take it he’s going as himself, and you?” He took off his glasses and laid them on the book. Picking up his cup of tea, he took a drink.

“Angel isn’t going as himself. You will just have to wait and see when we come downstairs.” She stuck her tongue out at Wes. She turned on her heel and climbed up the stairs. She called out. “Angel, you better be decent. I am coming up with your costume.”

Wes just watched her go and let out a sigh as he put his glasses back on. He went back to reading his book. There was a time when, once, she would have wanted him to go with her.

The vampire was sitting in his chair, reading. He was in his robe since she was bringing him what he was supposed to wear. He was almost afraid to see it. “Its safe, Cordy,” he said as he closed the book.

That was a few years and a different Cordelia ago. Now, she and Wes worked better as brother and sister. It was a lot easier to just forget that their awkward kiss during her high school years didn’t exist. She opened the door and came in with hands filled with bags. “Ta-da!” Her face was lit up though. Not only from the chance to spend two grand on clothes but that she got to get something really nice for her best friend.

Standing, he walked over to her and took some of the bags. He then sat them down on the bed. “Are you still keeping me in the dark about this,” he asked indicating the purchases.

“You are the one who wanted to stay home and sleep.” She put the rest of the bags with the ones he took on the bed. She looked in them and pulled out a new pair of rather expensive shoes. “I went to the Diesel store. Picked up most of your costume there. Careful with the shoes, not exactly Payless Shoesource here.”

Raising a brow at this, Angel looked at the shoes. “Cordy, these are…” his voice trailed off. Angel knew clothes. He loved his clothes, even back to his mortal days.

“These are the new Moonwalk boots. They don’t even have them in most of the stores. I had to go down to the Beverly Center to get them. And…,” She took out a pair of black Diesel jeans, industry faded and worn in. Rather silly to pay extra for the worn jeans look but it wasn’t Cordy’s money. She handed them over to him. “These too and….” She handed him a pair of silk black boxers and then went rummaging around in the bag.

“Boxers too,” he actually chuckled. “I guess I had better try these on.” He started to move to the bathroom.

“Wait! Shirt!” She tossed a black wife beater at him. It wasn’t one of the cheap ones from Target that come three to a pack. She had spent a good amount of money to get him one at Diesel. Nearly half of the money David had given them had gone to Angel’s costume. “When you are done, come back out here with your gel and I will do your hair. Plus, I have to add the finishing touches.”

Angel caught the shirt then walked into the bathroom. He took a moment to look over the clothes. He admired them all. He had to smile once he was safely in the bathroom. He knew how much Cordelia had spent on these, giving up part of the money for costumes for him when she could have easily spent it on herself. After dressing he stepped out, hair product and comb in one hand. He went over to his dresser and got out a pair of socks heavy enough for the boots. Angel handed her the gel and sat down in a chair to put on the socks. Looking up at her, he spoke, “I’m trusting you, you know. It’s my hair.”

“You can’t see it anyway, so what do you care?” She stepped behind him and put the gel into her hands. She spread it to both palms before she worked it into his hair. She gave him a little bit of a finger massage on his scalp, seeing if he would notice.

With that bit of a massage, he closed his eyes and relaxed a bit in the chair. Just a little bit of an upturn came to the corner of his mouth. “Yeah, well, I can feel it.”

“You can feel if your hair looks bad? Now that takes some talent, Ace. You might want to sell that secret to millions of women who get bad haircuts.” She took her fingers off his scalp and reached for his comb. She combed his hair, spiking it up just a little bit. It really wasn’t hard to achieve the look she was going for. “Okay…Just one last thing and then you will be done.” She set the comb down so that she could go back to the bags. While she was looking for that last accessory, she was sure Angel would be putting on his boots.

“Yeah, well, how do you think I fix it without a mirror,” he said as he leaned forward to grab the boots. He looked them over again then put them on.

“I didn’t think you fixed it at all.” She smiled as she came back to him. She knelt down on his right side. “Okay, stay still.” She had what looked like to be a long sheet of paper in her hand. It was paper on one side and plastic on the other.

Angel glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. “What’s that,” he asked and turned his head to try and see.

“It’s a surprise. And it’s painless. So just keep still and look straight ahead.” She peeled the plastic off the long sheet. She looked at his bicep for a moment. She positioned the paper and wrapped it around his arm. She pressed down, using a gentle pressure so the designs would stick.

“Most surprises I’ve experienced aren’t something to look forward to,” he said as he sat there. He felt the pressure and something sticking to his skin.

“Every time you are with me it’s a pleasant surprise. So just sit back and relax.” She peeled away the paper so that it left the temporary tattoos on his bicep. Around his arm was barbed wire and above that was a sun design. She smiled as she looked at her handy work. “Wait, don’t move. The guy at the shop gave me some powder to dust it with so they will set against your skin better.”

Angel waited with patience. He did have plenty of it in most cases. It was acquired over the centuries because god knows he wasn’t patient as a young human. He wanted things and wanted them his way. “Well, yeah,” he agreed. “That’s a pretty good surprise.”

“You have to trust me, Angel. I would never do anything bad on purpose. You are my friend.” She knelt down by him and gently dusted the temporary tattoos with some of the finishing powder. “I got these at a specialty shop on Ventura. Cost almost as much as your new jeans.” She chuckled as she stood up. She stood back to admire the look. “Perfect. I am just going to get dressed in your bathroom, okay?”

Angel stood and he looked at his arm for a moment then he looked to Cordy. He loved her eyes, they said more about her then probably she even realized. Actually to think about it, Cordy has been the one constant in his life since he moved to California a few years back first coming to Sunnydale. “Cordelia,” he said before she could go to the bathroom.

She grabbed up her bags on the way to the bathroom. When she heard her name, she stopped. She turned around to look at him. “They aren’t crooked, I promise. And your hair looks great.” She flashed him one of those high wattage smiles.

“That’s not what I wanted to say,” he said. “What I wanted to say is… I do trust you.”

“I trust you too. But you already knew that.” She had told him before but maybe she just wasn’t telling him enough. He was probably just having an insecure moment since they were about to go to a social function. “You might want to eat dinner while I get ready. It’s going to take a couple of minutes.” With that, she slipped into the bathroom and shut the door.

Angel turned and headed for the little kitchen in his suite. He opened the fridge and got a container of pig’s blood. Setting it in the microwave, he heated it. Angel glanced to that door wondering just what she was putting on. Then the ding of the oven brought his attention back to it and he removed his dinner. He waited a moment then lifted it and drank.

It took nearly 30 minutes before Cordelia was ready. She was just glad that she had done her makeup at her own house. She opened the door to the bathroom, stepping out, and striking a pose. She was dressed in a low cut, body hugging leather vest and nearly painted on low-rise jeans. Her ample chest was nearly spilling out of the vest and when she moved, one could catch a glimpse of her navel. She had put on a curly blonde wig that flowed down past her shoulders. “So…Um…Is that like pig or is it blood, y’all?”

Angel just stood there, not saying a word. Cordelia as a blonde. Finally, he managed to speak. “You look…Well, you look…” Well, he could speak but finishing a sentence was another matter.

She put her hands on her hips. She looked down at herself and then back up to him. “You don’t like it. I am suppose to be Jessica Simpson and you are Nick Lachey. Does the costume not look right?”

“The costume looks…Great,” he said. “Ah, who’s Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey?”

She just raised a brow at Angel. “Newlyweds. The TV show? He is a singer, she is singer and actress. She is dumber than rocks and he just tolerates it.” She was fishing here, hoping Angel had any idea who she was talking about. “You look a lot like him. And well, my rack is as big as hers.” She looked down at her golden brown cleavage. She was glad she took some time in the self-tan booth before this.

Angel still wasn’t sure who they were. “I’m not going to have to sing, am I?” he asked. “I don’t sing.”

She just sighed over-dramatically at him. “You don’t sing. You don’t dance. You don’t tan. You don’t date. You don’t smile. You don’t do Halloween. You don’t do costumes. You have a whole list of don’ts.” She paused for a minute. “Maybe I can throw something together for Wes.”

“No,” he shook his head. “Nabbit is expecting me.” He walked over and got his car keys then opened the door for her. “C’me on, Ms. Simpson. Let’s go mingle with the beautiful people.”

That hurt her just the smallest bit, the comment about David expecting him. She thought maybe this job could be fun but if he wanted to be like that, then fine. She walked past him without saying a word and took the stairs two at a time down. At least she had plenty of practice with these stairs in heels so she didn’t fall. She looked over at Wes, still at the desk. “Don’t wait up for me.” She emphasized the ‘me’ very clearly to Wes so Angel could hear it.

Angel was down those stairs behind her. Wesley looked up and was about to say something. Angel pointed at him as a warning, not to say a thing. Then he continued after Cordy. Down in the garage, he opened the car door for her and waited for her to get in.
She got into the GTX and slid all the way over to the passenger’s side. She wanted to put a bit of distance between herself and Angel. She spent a long time on these getups, she did his hair, his fake tattoos. She was always taking care of him and instead of a sentiment of having a fun night out, all he wanted to do was talk about was his stupid don’t list and how David was expecting him.

He put the key in the ignition on the dash but he didn’t start the car. He sat back. “I’m sorry,” he said in a hushed tone.

“You don’t have to apologize, Angel. You are right, this is a job. And we better not be late. David said six and we still have to hit traffic.” She didn’t look over at him, preferring instead to look at the passenger’s side window at the garage.

If he could sigh, he would. He started the car and pulled on out, heading for David Nabbit’s party that had been billed as the party to be at this year.

Once they arrived at the party, she got out as the valet opened her door. She gave him a smile and tried to ignore the look he was giving her. He was talking at her breasts but she was going to have to get used to it this evening. There were only staff here so far so she moved up towards the door. It was already open, people milling around. She stepped inside, not waiting for Angel, calling out. “David? Its Cordelia.”

Angel paused by the valet, tipping him but he also spoke, “Put you eyeballs back in your head, kid or I’ll do it for you and if I do, they’ll be at the back of your skull.” Looking back to the car he then added, “Not a scratch either. Got it?”

Cordelia stepped more inside, giving a smile to one of the cater waiters. She was practicing her fake smile for the rest of the party. “Do you know where David is?” The waiter just shook his head and it caused Cordelia to sigh. The house was huge so she would never find David on her own.

David came into the room and smiled when he saw Cordy. He was indeed dressed as the intrepid explorer/archeologist, Indiana Jones. “My, I think I found my lost treasure,” he said in his good-natured way. “You really look…” Then his eyes went over Cordelia’s shoulders on seeing Angel. “I get it now. Jessica and Nick!”

Angel eyed David in his costume. Now that was one he would have understood and known. He loved the Indiana Jones series. Actually he liked all of Harrison Ford’s movies. The guy was just real on camera.

Cordelia lit up as David recognized them. “That is right!” She gently nudged David while still smiling. “Your costume looks great, David. Really authentic. Did you buy an old set costume?”

“Just the bag,” he had to admit. “Mr. Ford’s clothes wouldn’t exactly fit.” He looked from Angel to Cordy. “You both look really good. I bet Jessica will have a laugh when she sees.”

Angel cleared his throat. “Maybe we better check things out. Get familiar so in case of trouble we’ll be able to handle it.” He paused then asked, “Are you expecting trouble?”

“You could have gotten them tailored but I couldn’t tell the difference.” She paused for a moment. She hadn’t really expected Jessica Simpson to be here tonight. She thought it was ‘dress like a celebrity’ not ‘be a celebrity’. Of course, Angel ruined things yet again by going right to the job.

“Okay,” he said as he started to walk. “The main crowd gathering place is going to be in the great room. Guess they call it that because its so big,” David said as he walked. “I’ve got two bands tonight. One is playing in the Great Room the other out by the pool. Food buffet both places.” David stopped and looked at them both. “Feel free to have some food. But,” he looked apologetic, “sorry, Angel. I didn’t I mean.”

“Its okay David,” he said, “I ate before we came.” As they walked Angel was taking in his surroundings, becoming aware of it all.

She followed next to the two guys. Food, expensive food, sounded so good right about now. Her stomach was already growling. She was checking out the champagne going around too. She was already in a better mood. She would separate from Angel and have herself a good time while keeping an eye on everyone. “Is that Beluga?”

“I think,” David said, tinge of red on his face even through the make up. “I really don’t do all this. I have a party organizer and she sets this all up.”

“Do you mind?” She gestured towards the plate with the little toast points. She was already reaching for it. She really doubted that David was going to tell her no.

“Oh, go ahead,” he indicated it to her. “There’s plenty. I could probably even send some home with you after the party.”

Angel started to say something but he was quickly cut off as Cordelia spoke.

“David, I love you.” She cut Angel off before he could say a word. She put one of the toast points with the caviar into her mouth. She closed her eyes, making a face that was nothing short of orgasmic. “Oh my god…Its so buttery and rich and just the right amount of salt.”

With his mouth still open slightly, Angel watched Cordelia enjoy that morsel. Her face, that expression, he had to finally look away. “This is…Is really nice, David,” the vampire said in a bit of a choked voice.

Again, David smiled. “Thanks,” he said. Then heard the door. He looked at the two and excused himself. As he walked the bullwhip on his belt swayed. Angel watched him go on to the foyer.

She opened her eyes slowly, still reeling from that delicious experience. She grabbed up a flute of champagne to wash it down with. She reached for another toast point to help wash down the champagne. That was her excuse if anyone asked. “Don’t tell him. What he doesn’t know, won’t kill him.”

“Go easy on the champagne,” he said to her. Not just because they were working but he also knew how she got drunk. He glanced back at that buffet table and saw the chocolate truffles. It really sucked a lot being a vampire.

“I am having fun, Angel.” Her voice took on that tinge that she was still mad at him. She didn’t yet eat that second serving of caviar. “We should split up. We can watch the party better that way.” She didn’t wait for him to say yes or no before she moved away from him. He was going to basically ruin her night with his don’ts and his can’ts.

Angel watched her walk off. His eyes took her in, or more like watching her ass in those jeans. He shook his head. He had to get those thoughts out of his head. She probably didn’t even have the same feelings towards him.

Cordelia was making every attempt to be good security but she had to face the fact that she was distracted. All the Hollywood elite of the business and entertainment world had shown up. Some of them were human, some of them weren’t. Cordelia frankly didn’t care where Angel was because she was having too much fun rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. The band was fantastic and she really wanted to dance. She kept shooting glances across the room to Angel. It was a shame that dancing was on his don’t list. That was one seriously long list. He didn’t have problems dancing with Buffy at Prom. She snorted as the thought of Buffy popped into her head. That was a quick way to ruin a party that is for sure.

When Cordelia turned from one of her glances she bumped into a tall, model type guy. He had a smile that probably cost a fortune and sparkling blue eyes that were probably enhanced by contacts. He was dressed as Bo Duke, easy enough to tell, the John Schiender version. “Well, well, cuz,” he said looking at her.

She wasn’t exactly a retard when it came to pop culture so she knew who he was supposed to be. She grinned at him, hooking her thumbs into her pockets. Angel could handle the security issue while she flirted with this guy. “Good thing we are from the South. They don’t seem to mind that kissing cousins thing.” She grinned at him. She might as well have fun playing Jessica Simpson. It would take her mind off everything for a bit at the very least.

He grinned at her. “Well, how about honoring a good ol’ boy a dance,” he said really working on that southern accent, which was clearly fake.

One line from her and the guy was ready to dance. It was nice to see that she still had it. “The Funky Chicken or The Twist or maybe The Running Man.” If he was going to stay in character, so was she, and just have fun with it. She twirled a piece of that blonde wig around her finger, looking every bit the dumb blonde for the moment. His accent couldn’t have been any worse than the one she was attempting though.

He led her out to the floor. “How about we let the music decide,” he told her. “And I’m just wondering how tired you are from all the running around in my dreams you’ve been doing.” The guy took her in his arms, holding her close.

“Maybe you can dial the cheese factor down just a little bit. You are at Limburger levels here.” She could only keep up the Jessica Simpson act for so long before Cordy came shining through. She gave him a smile though because he was really cute, even under the costume. She put her arms on his biceps, squeezing them gently. “Someone works out.”

“That was kind of bad, wasn’t it,” he said, the accent gone. “Yes, I know. And what gym do you use?”

“I just work out at home.” She was careful not to say ‘with my manpire boss. And sometimes, when we are practicing sword fighting, and he touches me, I get a tingle running down my spine.’ She let this guy lead, moving to the music. “What about you?” It was LA so either they were going to talk about their gyms, their diets, or their plastic surgeons. Those were topics that Cordelia hadn’t discussed in a long time.

“I work out at TRAIN,” he said. But before he could say anything else a tall dark haired guy that looked like Nick Lachey interrupted him.

“Excuse me,” Angel said to the guy, “I need to speak to the lady.”

The guy hesitated and looked to Cordy to see what she wanted. He wasn’t happy about this.

She knew that the only reason Angel would be coming over to her would be because it was work related. She rolled her eyes and patted Bo’s chest. “Sorry about this. Hold that thought. My husband for the night gets antsy when they run out of food.” She broke herself away from her companion. She grabbed Angel by the arm, leading him off. “This better be really important, Angel.”

Walking with Cordelia, he wasn’t sure what to tell her. He wanted to get her away from that guy. He was one of the wannabes of this town and he just didn’t like it. “I…I thought maybe it was time to do a sweep of the premises.”

Cordelia just sighed. She looked back at her model man but he was already chatting up a Halle Berry Catwoman. She looked back to Angel. “Premise sweep. Got it. Anything else, boss?” She was still taking an acidic tone with him. He was far from on her good list considering how things had been going.

The vampire was holding a punch in his hand and he handed it to her. “Thought you might like it,” he said. “It’s fruity, or that is what I was told.”

Cordelia just looked down at the cup in his hand before she looked back up at him. She took it from him but she didn’t drink it. “Where do you want me to start? The sooner we finish, the sooner I can get back to the party.” She took a sip of the punch, not bothering to tell Angel that she wished it had been him that asked her to dance. She was a realist but when it came to Angel, she got stuck in fantasyland.

Angel didn’t like the idea of her mingling with the beautiful people. He kept telling himself it was because they were here on a job, not to party. That’s what he kept telling himself. But when he saw her dancing with that guy something in him wasn’t happy the way the guy was holding her and smiling at her.

“Earth to Angel.” She reached over and snapped her fingers in front of his face. She set her punch down. “Where do you want me to start?”

“Just make a sweep of the room,” he said after he blinked a couple times from her snap. “I’ll move towards the dining area.”

“Yeah, you do that. Try not to have any fun on your way. Would hate to violate one of your ‘don’ts’.” She rolled her eyes at him before moving away from him. She didn’t know what his problem was but she felt his eyes on her as she was walking away. She looked over her shoulder at him. “Did I sit in something?” She started wiping her butt off.

“Uh, no… No,” he replied aware now that he was watching her ass in those tight jeans for the second time tonight. He quickly turned and started making his way through the crowd.

He didn’t make it far though as a petite blonde came running up to him. She gave him a wide and sunny smile. “I love your Nick costume.” She reached out to touch his bicep, the one with the temporary tattoos on it. “Oooh, are these real?”

“No,” Angel said as he sort of sidestepped before she touched. Fake tattoos were easy to explain. Cold skin when it was nice and balmy outside was a little harder. “Thanks. It was something quick, last minute.”

“You look…” Her eyes roamed his body, sizing him up. “Fantastic. Do you need a Jessica?” She smiled at him once more. She looked the part, if one squinted their eyes and ignored her rather flat chest. She bore a strange resemblance to someone else however, if one tilted their head just right. It wasn’t Jessica Simpson but rather a certain Slayer from Sunnydale.

“Do I need a Jessica?” It took him a moment to process this, being culturally retarded as he was. “I…Well, this is just dress up, you know. I mean, what you see isn’t…Well, its illusion.”

“Well…” She moved a little closer to him, putting her hands on his chest. “How about a little fantasy with me?” She was obviously drunk, even though the party was just getting started. She ran a finger down his chest. “I have a pair of Daisy Dukes at my place.”

“I don’t think,” he started to say as he looked down at her hand and those fingers that she was letting do the walking.

Cordelia saw all of this from across the room. She really wanted to let Angel squirm just a little bit longer. But she could feel that knot in her stomach. If anyone should be putting their hands all over Angel, it should be her. She came up on his side, giving the other girl a glare. “How about you move off now, Skankarella? I think I saw an Usher who was looking to feel up some easy meat.”

The girl just frowned up at Angel when Cordelia came along. “Are you going to let her talk to me like that, Nick?” She didn’t know his name but it seemed to work well enough for the situation. She moved off just a bit, stumbling. She was drunk enough that when she spotted a Brad Pitt, she was quickly chasing after him, calling. “Brad! Brad! Do you need a Jen?”

Angel watched the girl go and didn’t have a chance to tell her his name wasn’t Nick. He looked at Cordelia. “I thought you were doing a sweep?”

She rolled her eyes at Angel. “Some thank you for saving you. What is with you and attracting horny blondes?” She started to move away from Angel since he was going to be like that. “Sweeping…See…”

“I don’t attract horny blondes,” he called after her. Then he realized how loud that was and people turned not only to look at him but her too.

It was a good thing that she didn’t get easily embarrassed. She did shoot Angel a look. He was ruining her evening and he didn’t even seem to care. She disappeared back into the crowd, leaving him to stand there with the crowd looking at him.

Cordelia was keeping her eyes peeled though when she saw a gentleman sitting by himself. That was never good. She made her way over towards him. “My feet always kill at these things too. All the standing around.” She moved to sit down next to him.

The stranger took a drink. He was dark and had a smile that would melt a woman. “I wouldn’t last 10 minutes in something like those,” he said with a smile.

“I think they would look cute on you.” She chuckled and moved a little closer to the guy. Yes, she had been drinking and usually when she mixed drinking with a handsome guy, it ended up with her pregnant with demon spawn. “I’m Cordelia, by the way, but you can call me Cordy.”

“Cordelia,” he said with a raised brow. “Oh, now, don’t give me that Jessy. Clever coming dressed as a what? Pop star?” He was grinning at her.

She laughed and shook her head. “No, really. Not Jessica Simpson. Just came dressed as her.” She pulled the wig off enough to reveal her brunette hair underneath. She pulled the wig back on quickly.

“It’s really a great job,” he told her shaking his head. “Fooled me and I know Jessy and her Ken doll.”

“I will take that as a compliment. So you have a name?” She looked at him for a moment. It was clear that she was sizing him up. Was he going to fall into the friend, foe, or potential one night stand? Its not like she could have a real relationship with anyone, not with the killer visions and demon slaughter. She was right when she told Wes that maybe they were all meant to end up together.

“Wayne,” he said holding out his hand. “But you can call me Wayne.”

“Nice to meet you, Wayne.” She took his hand and she paused for a moment. She caught something out of the corner of her eye. “Listen, how about we level here. First, I know you are gay because aside from the guy I brought with me, you are the only male not to talk to my tits tonight. And I know you aren’t human because I just caught your face shimmering a bit.”

“Damn, and I was hoping it would be the champagne,” he chuckled again. “But not exactly gay, well, by human standards.” He stood and reached down to help her up.

She stood up with his help. “Asexual breeding or hermaphrodites? Sorry I am all nosy. I just work for a vampire and I have been around demons for years. Its hard not to spot them.” She just looked at him and even though he had a human face on, she could see the sadness in his eyes. “Do you want to go someplace and talk? I am probably one of the few people here that you could be honest with.”

“Actually,” Wayne said as he started walking, “they can’t even be truthful with themselves. Hollywood is far from what people on the outside think. It’s not the glamour they fantasize. And the meals from crafts services suck.”

Cordelia was really not one to talk about being truthful. She was hiding two huge secrets and she was hiding them well. The first was that she was dying and the second was that she was in love with Angel. She walked along side with him, nodding her head. “I used to act. Tell me about it. ”

“So, you work for a vampire,” Wayne opened the backdoor for her to step out to the pool. Outside the band was playing soft jazz. “So, are you his blood doll or something? I heard there was a trend going around with the undead. Instead of killing right off they keep a human. Even give them drugs so they can get a high.” He wasn’t saying it in a mean or sarcastic way, just out of knowledge from his side of the tracks.

“So I am really working that heroin chic look then? And I just thought thin was in.” She laughed softly but she couldn’t exactly afford to eat steak every night. “No. Not that…Whatever. My boss has a soul. Angel. Might have heard of him. I am his Seer. I get skull splitting visions from The Powers That Be and then I tell Angel so he goes to kill things.” She shrugged her shoulders because this was her life now. It didn’t seem that odd to her.

“Oh, yes,” he nodded in recognition of the name. “Uh, I hope I’m not on his list of things to kill. I’m really not such a bad guy. I just want to get by and not make waves.”

“He doesn’t kill demons until they do the killing first. Actually, a lot of our clients are demons.” She reached into her jeans. She was always prepared. She pulled out a business card, handing it over to him. “I designed the logo myself.”

Taking the card, Wayne looked at it. He raised a brow at the graphic. “Ah, its,” he turned it one way then another, “A crab?”

“It’s an angel.” She just sighed. She reached over to turn it the right way. She started pointing things out to him, moving closer to him. “See, this is the body, these are the wings. See it?” She was close enough to Wayne now to give the casual observer the wrong impression.

Angel was walking through the partygoers. He’d been stopped by a couple of women, even after his outburst. One dressed as Elvira, it might have really been her, but he declined the offers of dance and possible things to come. He walked by the huge picture window that looked out at the backyard and the pool. Something caught his eye, or rather someone. Cordy talking to a tall, dark man…And talking rather close.

“Yes, I can see it,” he admitted. “I’m sorry, I should have seen it.” He paused then looked from the card to her. “I was wondering, you said we could go someplace private. Maybe, I mean, if I’m out of line here…Maybe you can come with me and let me and talk. I really need that.”

She nodded her head, giving him a smile. “I meant it when I said it. When I saw you across the room, I could just tell that you had the weight of the world on your shoulders. I am around that look a lot…Angel and all.” Though it would be nice to actually talk to someone who would open up about what they were feeling rather than heading downstairs to the punching bag. “I know the layout of David’s house so come on, we can go upstairs to one of the guest rooms.” She took Wayne’s hand to guide him. She started to move away from the pool and back into the house. She headed upstairs, opening a door and holding it open for Wayne.

He stepped through the door following her. He stood there with his hands in his pockets. “David is one lucky bastard,” he said “Seems everything goes right for him even when he screws up.” Wayne laughed.

Cordelia shut the door behind them. She moved to sit down on the bed. “I take it that things aren’t going so well for you then?” She patted the bed next to her for him to sit down. She already knew he was only interested in a friend, someone to talk to.

Wayne sat down beside Cordelia. He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. “How do I start,” he said.

“Beginning…Usually a good place.” She gave him a smile but she knew better than to laugh. He was obviously distressed and she wasn’t really insensitive. She always listened on the rare occasions that Angel wanted to open up.

“Okay, well, you already guessed what I am, for the most part,” Wayne began. “And yes, I still take up my residence down in the tunnels. Not that bad, actually. We have a nice little flat down there, fixed up really nice. Once you enter it you wouldn’t think you were in the sewers.” He looked over at her a moment. “But last week, one of my family mates…Was attacked. We couldn’t even identify the body. Then it happened again, a couple days later.”

Two cases in one night, well Angel would be happy that he would be able to go kill some more stuff. “Do you have any kind of enemies at all? Maybe a rival clan or something that would want you dead?” She had really learned way too much about demons and demon relations being around Angel and Wes this long.

Shaking his head, the glamoured demon looked down at the floor. “None that we know of,” he said. “Though back home there was one that was said to prey on our kind. That we were what it needed…To…Well, ready itself for…” He was having trouble with this part, that was obvious.

“Mating?” She was pretty well versed in that now too thanks to Wes. She moved a little closer to Wayne, putting a supportive hand on his back. She rubbed his back gently. “How about once the party is over, you take Angel and I down there? We can hunt around and maybe find whatever is killing your family.”

Tears started to form in his eyes. He looked at her. “I can’t loose the rest,” Wayne said, his lip quivering. “I can’t…”

“Wayne…Don’t worry…I promise. Angel and I, we will find out who is doing this. Its what we do. You just have to have some faith in us.” She hesitated for a moment before she gave him a hug. He looked like he needed it to say the least.

He put his arms around Cordelia but before he could give his thanks the door to the room flung open. Something dark and angry was there. Angel grabbed Wayne and next the poor demon knew he was flying across the room. Angel turned then on the crumpled Wayne and was down on him, his fist drawn back.

Cordelia shot up from the bed. She got behind Angel and held his fist. “What the hell do you think you are doing?!” She tried to pull Angel’s fist back, to keep him from hurting Wayne further.

“Cordelia,” Angel said with a growl, his face was morphed, his demon was on the surface, “this isn’t human.”

“I know. His name is Wayne, he is a demon, and something is killing his family. Jeeze.” She let go of Angel’s fist. She moved to kneel beside the cowering Wayne. “Wayne…Are you…Oh man, your head.” She reached back to touch the poor demon’s skull. She shot a venomous look at Angel.

Looking at Cordy, Angel swallowed. “I didn’t know you…He looked like he was about to…You were on a bed and…”

“And what? I am a grown woman. If I want to get down with a demon at a party, I am allowed!” She looked back to Wayne now. “Are you going to be okay? I am sorry about this. I don’t know what his problem is.”

Wayne nodded and started to stand. He pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the corner of his mouth. “I’m okay,” he said. Then he looked at the vampire.

Cordelia moved to help him to his feet. She could not believe that Angel had burst in on her. What if Wayne wasn’t playing for the other team and they were making out…Or more. That would have been a sight to say the least.

Wayne looked at Angel but he said nothing. He knew why Angel had done this even if the vampire didn’t want to admit it. He looked back to Cordy. “I’d better go,” he said to her.

“Wayne…Something is still attacking and killing your family. I was serious when I said we would help you. The party has to be winding down by now. At least let me find David and ask him if we can leave a little early? It’s the least we can do.” She was speaking for Angel here but considering he was so keyed up, he probably needed to go kill something.

“Thank you,” Wayne said. He looked to Angel who by now had put his human mask back on. “We’ve heard a lot about you. Most demons are scared shitless of you. I can see why now.”

Angel glanced from Cordy to Wayne. “Yeah, well, it’s a job,” he said. “Ah, look, I’m sorry. I thought Cordy was in trouble. I could tell you weren’t human. You didn’t…Well…Smell right.”

When Cordelia stepped out Wayne turned his total attention on the vampire. “That’s not what worried you,” the demon said. “You were afraid her affections were being directed elsewhere. But, that is impossible with me, I assure you.”

Angel didn’t reply to that. He just stepped around the demon to head out of the room.

At least now the party had winded down so Cordelia was able to find David easily among the few partygoers left. She gave him a smile. “David…do you mind if Angel and I take off? We got another case while we were here.” She didn’t see any reason not to just tell David the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Nabbit had taken the whip off his belt and had tried to pop a leaf off the tree. The whip snaked the branch and now he was pulling on it trying to get it down. “Ah, yeah, great,” he said as he looked back at her. “Demon slaying? Need some help?”

Angel had walked up by then and saw the situation. He stepped over to Nabbit and took the handle of the whip from him. He gave it an expert flick of his wrist and the whip turned loose of the limb. “I think we can handle it, David. Its nothing big.”

She covered her hand over her mouth to try to keep herself from flat out laughing at David. It helped a great deal that he was going to give them a big, fat check. “Just a little recon work. Besides, looks like you have your hands full for tonight. What with the demon hookers and all.” She did make a note that they seemed to be sticking around even if the party was over.

He started walking into the house. “Let me give you your balance,” he said as he walked. Then he looked to the hookers. “Oh, yeah, well, they asked if they could hang around. I told them sure, as long as it wasn’t literal hanging…You know…From the fixtures?” He walked to a desk and opened it. Pulling out a book of checks he wrote it out and handed it to them. “You both were really good tonight. Got a lot of good comments on your costumes. Nobody even realized you were security.” He handed the check over.

Cordelia grabbed the check up quickly. She folded it up and slipped it into the front of her vest. “Safe keeping. One place Angel won’t go.” She smiled at David. “Well, glad people like Nike and Jessica milling around. You need security again, just give us a call.”

Angel noted that check vanished faster then the human eye could detect. He nodded and said his good-byes to David then waited for Cordelia.
Cordelia walked with Wayne once the trio entered the sewers. She would let Angel trail behind. She was still mad that he came tearing in and hurt Wayne. She didn’t see the purpose of that. She was a grown woman and if she wanted to have sex with a demon, that was her choice, not his. Sure, last time she got pregnant but she learned from her mistake! She gave Wayne a smile. “Nice little corner of the… Sewer… You got here.”

“Thank you,” Wayne replied to her. “We try to make it as homey as we can.” It was cleaner in this area of the sewers. He paused at a metal door. There were pots with silk flowers on both side and a welcome mat at in front of it. “We really try to make it pleasant.”

Angel did follow but he was on full alert. His footfalls were silent compared to Wayne and Cordelia. His dark eyes scanned their surroundings constantly.

She was also wearing heels so that made her footfalls click against the concrete of the sewer floor. She looked back to Angel. “Maybe you should go… Scout around or sniff around or do whatever you do… Around.” She looked back to Wayne with a smile. “Love to see your decorating.”

Suddenly, a loud roar echoed from a side passage. Angel looked to it. “Somehow I don’t think I have too,” he sad as he looked at that dark passage.

Cordelia was glad that they had brought weapons along with them. She looked to Wayne. “Get inside, lock yourself in, and stay hidden. Don’t come out for anything.” She looked to Angel and nodded her head. She raised her sword, waiting for Angel to lead the way.

Wayne didn’t argue when he heard that roar and Cordy insisting he went in. His eyes got wide with fear and he rushed into his dwelling, closing the metal door behind him. He stood there leaning on that door for a few more moments until he heard another inhuman howl from the other side. He ran from the door calling, “Douglas! Douglas!”

She stopped Wayne quickly with a hand on his chest. “We will get him back but it won’t help if you go running in there. Both of you could get killed. Just get back inside and keep yourself safe.” She pushed Wayne gently towards the door. Once he was back inside, she rushed to keep up with Angel. The click of her heels wasn’t exactly going to help them with the element of surprise.

Angel readied his weapon, the muscles in body tensed, made more visible since he was wearing the wife beater. He looked back at Cordelia. “Follow behind,” he told her. “Let me get in some strikes. I want to weaken it if I can’t kill it right off.” He only said this because he didn’t want her injured. It wasn’t said in a commanding tone, just one of knowing his vampire constitution could take more then her mortal body. He advanced on towards that tunnel.

Even though she had been training with Angel, now was really not the time to go telling him she would jump right in. To be honest, the tight fitting vest and jeans didn’t make for the best fighting getup and the blonde wig was itching the hell out of her. Oh, the things she did for fashion. She followed behind Angel, keeping on alert.

Angel stretched out his senses, including taking a sniff. He couldn’t help but make a face. “Why can’t these things be hygiene aware,” he asked aloud.

“It lives in a sewer, Angel. Not exactly having the access to clean water or you know… A subscription to Seventeen.” She paused behind him as he took his sniff. She came up to his back, almost touching him. She lowered her voice. “Where is it?”

“It’s just,” Angel started to say then out of the shadows it came. It looked almost like the big trolls from Lord of the Rings. “Its right here.” The vampire went immediately to attack. The demon had what looked like a femur bone in its massive paw/hand. It brought it around to strike probably what it considered an annoyance. Angel brought the sword up and the bone shattered. He continued the arch downward and the sword cut into the thing’s leg at the joint of the knee.

Cordelia looked around for this “Douglas” that Wayne had been shouting for. She just hoped that they weren’t too late in finding him. She blinked when she saw a slender girl huddling in the corner. She looked at him, her, it. “Um…Douglas?”

Douglas looked up at the blonde girl and nodded his head, or rather, her head. Sex was sort of a fluid concept for these demons. She stood up slowly since Angel had the demon distracted.

Cordelia was still kind of weirded out by this but saving Douglas, priority here. “Okay, now when I say go, I want you to run as fast as you can back home, don’t look back. You and Wayne, lock yourself inside, don’t come out for anything.” She watched Angel, waiting for a good time to tell Douglas to run.

Angel made the slice clean on the leg. The demon howled in pain and hobbled back a bit. This wasn’t right. This puny creature shouldn’t be able to injure it. Its gaze then fixed on Angel and it seemed to be sizing him up for the first time. It was a lesser, dead thing. Vampires in the ranks of demons were considered bottom of the barrel. The wretched things had to take over dead things to live. It broke off an old iron pipe from the wall and used it as a spear, throwing it at Angel.

“Go! Now.” She shoved Douglas in the direction of its home when she saw the thing was focusing on Angel. Cordelia found herself behind it and armed with a sword. She knew Angel could dodge that spear so she brought her sword down in a wide arc across the thing’s back. She really hadn’t counted on its back bursting open like a zit. She stumbled back, covered in the demon’s something now. She wasn’t sure if it was blood or pus or just general goo.

Angel deflected the pipe and at the same instant he lunged for the demon. His sword plunged into what should have been a ribcage. And just like Cordy the got rewarded with a fountain of goo or blood or puss or whatever it was. The thing fell in a whimper but tried to lash out. Angel had lost grip of his sword and it seems to sink into the thing.

As she stumbled back, she noticed that her sword was now gone from her hands. She looked at Angel, a panicked look on her features. Or what Angel could make out in her features since she was covered in bluish goo. “I am thinking now, good time to run back to the car for more weapons?”

“I’m thinking the same,” he said as he reached over for that led pipe and then used it to hit the thing in the head, more goo spurted but it still wasn’t dead. It was down but it was moving. He shook his head. He was feeling strange, almost like vertigo. The demon was starting to get to its feet.

Cordelia rushed around the side of thing and grabbed Angel’s hand. She started tugging him back the way that they came. She looked over her shoulder as the demon started staggering towards them. “Angel… I think finding a place to hide where it can’t chase us… Might be better.”

Angel followed Cordelia. His usually sense of unfailing direction wasn’t working right now. This wasn’t good, not good at all.

Cordelia was feeling sick to her stomach, like she just might throw up all over her already ruined clothes. She tried to push away that feeling and the dizziness that was creeping up. She had gotten used to taking a lot since taking on the visions. She looked back to see the thing gaining on them. They would never make it to the car. She looked over at Angel. “Angel, seriously…place to hide. Now.”

Holding tighter to Cordy he closed his eyes hoping maybe that would stop the world around him from spinning. “Go…Go,” he called to her.

“I am going! What does it look like I am doing!” She nearly yelled at him. Normally, her fear would be carefully controlled behind a wall of bravado but now, it was crumbling down. Cordelia saw her chance when she saw a small opening. It was too small for the demon to get through. She grabbed Angel’s shirt and ducked her head. She yanked him towards the entrance.

His eyes closed and he didn’t see how low the entry was. He hit his head. “OWW!”

“Duck down!” She waited for him to duck down before she pulled him in. It wasn’t a second too late as the demon came barreling down onto the entryway. She pulled Angel back, away from the entrance as the demon stuck his hand in, swiping at them. Its movements were slowed, probably from the injuries but it was still pissed.

When inside, Angel was against the far wall, sitting. The space was small. He sat there a moment before speaking. “That is one nasty thing,” he said and then slowly opened his eyes. “This is not good.”

She slid down the wall so that she could sit too. She started to pick the hardened goo of herself and flick it away. “You are telling me. What is this stuff anyway?” She pulled off a sticky string of it and flicked it against the wall. She reached up to pull her blonde wig off.

“Ah,” he said as he started getting his bearings back. “I don’t know. It doesn’t smell like blood, demon or otherwise. But it… I don’t know, I felt…” He paused and looked over at her. His eyes took her in. Even the demon goo couldn’t hide the face that she was beautiful.

“All I know is that I feel sticky right now. What a way to end the night.” She trailed off but she was unable to hide the sadness in her voice. She wiped the goo off her face with her hands. She was doing her best to try to get it off her. She had a feeling that is what was making her so sick and emotional.

Reaching over, Angel pulled some from her shoulder. It peeled like a fruit roll up off wax paper and it peeled all the way down to her cleavage. He stopped. “Maybe you better take care of the rest of it,” he said, though his hand hadn’t moved.

“Oh yeah, because touching me and getting near my girl parts is so repulsive to you.” She pushed his hand away so that she could finish the job that he started. She sniffled just a little bit though she hadn’t meant to. If she didn’t know better, she would swear she was PMSing or something.

“No,” he replied, “its not. Its because… I want to… I mean, you know, be respectful to you.” His words faltered from his mouth because he wanted to touch her. Oh, how he wanted to touch her.

“Oh come off it, Angel.” She raised her head and looked up at him. “It’s not a matter of respect. Its a matter of you carrying a torch for your former flame and basically not even noticing other girls around you, who are trying to be subtly into you but know nothing can ever happen because they aren’t Buffy.” She picked the blonde wig up and then tossed it aside. She really had hope that maybe she could play up his fascinations with blondes tonight.

“Cordy, Buffy, she’ll always be a part of me,” he told her, “but its over. She as much as told me when she came here to get Faith.” He swallowed hard saying this. He’d not told anybody but Wesley and that was because he had witnessed the exchange. “I told her to leave. Go home and not come back to L.A.”

“Just because its over doesn’t mean you still don’t carry a torch for her. She died and you go off to a monk-ery for three months. When I die, you probably won’t even have a funeral.” She hadn’t meant for that to sound like her death was so soon. She had been very careful until now in hiding that secret from everyone.

The demon tried reaching in again. Angel looked over at that arm. He picked up a cinderblock, moved forward a bit and brought it down on the thing’s hand. It screamed. “Will you please be polite and just go away? We’re having a private discussion here,” he yelled at it. Looking back at Cordy he shook his head. “I don’t ever want to find out what it would be like without you in my life.”

“Some demons really have no respect.” She threw her blonde wig at the retreating hand. She fell silent though when Angel said that. She pulled her knees up her chest, trying to keep herself from saying something.

“You looked good tonight,” he told her as he settle back down by her. “But, I like you better brunette.” He looked over to her. “I was, well, jealous tonight that another guy could touch you and… You know, I couldn’t.”

That was just really out of character for Angel. She raised a brow and looked over at him. The question was written all over her face but she went ahead and said it out loud. “Huh?” He had managed to stump her. That was quite the feat.

“When I saw you talking to Wayne, before I knew he was a demon,” he said, everything spilling like a damn was broke. He kept asking himself what the hell was he doing but he kept right on. “He made you smile. I just wished I could do that sometimes.”

“You do make me smile. Plenty of times. Whenever you buy me things or you do something that so completely dorky…” She paused for a moment. She turned her head to look at him. She hadn’t meant to say it but as soon as the words came out, it was too late. “I love you.”

He sat there for a moment then he leaned over to her. His hand moved up behind her head and into her hair. He pulled her to him and kissed her. He couldn’t help himself, he’d wanted to do that for so long now.

It was heartbreaking that he was kissing her without saying anything. She thought that maybe it was a pity kiss. She pulled away from him quickly, turning her head away. She didn’t want him to see that she was crying.

“Cordelia,” he said reaching over to touch her arm. “I… I love you. I just want…I want to hold you. Make you safe. I just want you.”

She sniffled once more. She had to tell him. It wasn’t fair for her to keep it a secret. “Angel…I am dying. Not like oh, we are all dying, sort of thing. As in I probably have less than a year to live.”

Angel just looked at her for a long moment his mouth open but not a word coming out. He could only shake his head at what she was saying. He looked like a fish with that mouth opening and not saying a thing.

She forced a smile. She reached over to push his chin up. “There is nothing you can do. Nothing anyone can do. That is why I didn’t say anything.”

He shook his head. “No,” he said. “No. We’ll do something. We’ll find a way. We’ll talk to Lorne. He’ll know who can help.”

“Its fine. It’s just… I’ve known for a while. I probably shouldn’t have even told you. Its great that we love each other but come on, it won’t work out. I am dying and you, remember, don’t date.” She wasn’t like Buffy, continually whining about her destiny and her fate. She accepted it because she was stronger than that. She just dealt with it and moved on.

“It’s not fine,” he said. He tried to stand and in his anger, hit his head on the low ceiling. “DAMN!”

“This is exactly why I didn’t tell you. I don’t want you to get angry. This isn’t something where you can go out and kill someone or rescue some sleezebag from a fire prison. This is how it is. My brain is damaged because of the visions.” She did have a chance, at one time, to give them away. She didn’t want that though. She never wanted to give them away and she still didn’t, despite her death sentence.

Angel sat back down. “This is not going to happen,” he said. “I’m going to the Oracles. I’m going to demand they do something. Nobody or nothing is going to take anything else away from me!”

“The Oracles are long dead. That is what happens in this line of work. We all die. Doyle, The Oracles, Buffy, me. Wow, never thought I would put myself in the same category as Buffy.” She rolled her eyes mightily and looked away from him. “That is why tonight was so important to me. Probably the last real party I will ever go to. And I was trying to pretend it was a date with you, even if you don’t do that.”

Angel just sat here and looked ahead. He was quiet, dangerously quiet. He wasn’t going to let this happen. A million things were going through his mind now as the light speed.

She reached over and she took his hand in hers. “Can I just have one night? Please. One night where you throw out the don’t list? Where you aren’t brooding and you are just… Fun and funny and dorky Angel? I love all the sides of you, the Champion, the dork, and even the brooding vampire but we are trapped in a small space until that thing dies. I don’t want to spend it in silence.”

Slowly, he turned and looked at her. He took her in her smile, her eyes. He leaned over to her again and kissed her, his other arm going around her.

She had to admit that kissing Angel was better than him sitting there and brooding about things. She wrapped her arms around him so that she could kiss him back. She could feel their bodies sticking together thanks to the goo. It wasn’t pleasant but she could deal with it. She had been waiting for this for a long time.

Angel pulled her over to him, into his lap. His right hand moved down her back to her ass in those tight jeans that fit her like a second skin. Her warmth against him excited him as he deepened that kiss.

She slid easily into his lap when he pulled her closer. She could feel his desire just barely contained in his jeans. That is what made her break away. “Angel… I really am enjoying this but curse? I am not really big on being trapped in a small space with Angelus.”

Angel still held her close. He knew what could happen. “I know,” he said. “I just want to hold you, not let you go.” He rested his forehead over on her shoulder.

Cordelia closed her eyes as she laid against him. Before she knew it, she was asleep. It wasn’t until a few hours later before she opened her eyes. She looked up at Angel, smiling. “Hey…that demon dead yet?”

“Hmm,” Angel said holding her still. He had sat there while she slept, listening to her breathing and feeling her heart beat. “I haven’t checked.”

“I really want to get this goo off me. It’s hard as a rock now and its making my skin hurt.” She also had a sneaky suspicion that it was the cause of her emotional unloading onto Angel. She started to move out of his arms so that he could go and check for any signs of life from the thing.

When she was up, he crawled over to the opening and looked out. “Uh,” he started and looked back to her. “It looks dead and well, kind of…You know how half melted ice cream looks in a bowl? But gross looking?”

“I really didn’t need all those details. I already feel sick to my stomach. All I want to do is go home and shower. A couple of times.” She was hoping that Angel would suggest just taking a shower at her place. Maybe he would even suggest sleeping over. She wasn’t quite sure how a relationship with your best friend slash cursed vampire worked exactly.

Then about that time, Wayne peeked in the entry. “We were wondering when you both would come out,” he said. “Douglas and I want to thank you for making out home safe for us again.”

Cordelia stood up slowly, more of the goo crunching and falling away from her skin. She looked around for her wig before she remembered that she threw it at the demon. “It wasn’t a problem, Wayne. But don’t let it happen again. How about getting a nice house on the surface?”

The demon raised a brow. “What? With all the sun exposure and risk of skin cancer?”

“That is why they created sunblock.” She waited for Wayne to move out of the entranceway and for Angel to leave before she made her exit. “We will send someone down to clean this up.” She knew that Wes would want to take samples and Fred would want to play scientist with them.

Wayne moved and stood. Angel crawled out and looked at the mass of melting demon. “Oh, that’s okay,” Wayne told Cordelia. “Douglas likes to do canning.” He turned and started back for their dwelling.

She looked over at Angel and then made a gagging motion. That was just so wrong. “We better take a sample for Wes or he will be pissed. You have anything we can put a sample into?” She looked Angel over. They didn’t exactly dress for demon fighting, either of them.

Wayne turned back and smiled at them both. “Just one moment,” he said as he stepped into the door.

Angel looked at Cordy. Demon preserves, that was so not good. When Wayne came back out, the demon gave Cordy a mason jar that had already been sealed. “There,” he said. “Might I add it goes well on whole wheat, toasted.”

She took the jar from Wayne with an unsteady smile. “Yeah… Thanks.” She looked back to Angel. “Time to go.” She didn’t wait for him to say anything else. She put two hands on his back, starting to push him in the right direction. “Bye Wayne… Tell Douglas we give our best.”

Angel started walking after her prompting him. He looked at the jar in her hand. “I don’t even want to think about what their dimension is like.” He paused as he looked up at the grate close to where they parked the car. “By the time I get you home then to the hotel its going to be daylight.”

“My Jeep is at the hotel. I brought the clothes over, remember?” She couldn’t be sure if that was Angel’s subtle way of asking her to just come back to the hotel with him. Then again, it was Angel. He was about as subtle as a shovel upside the head.

He let her climb the ladder first, admiring the view. Hey, he might be a vampire but he was still male. When she was up top he went up the ladder himself.

She climbed up the ladder quickly. Her thoughts about Angel were confirmed when he didn’t say anything. He couldn’t do subtle. She stood by the GTX, not sure if she should get into it just yet. “Towel or sheet or something to put down so we don’t flake goo all over?”

The vampire reached into the backseat and pulled the old surplus blanket out he used to cover himself with when he had too from the sunlight. He spread it on the seat then opened the door for her to get in.

She got into the car but unlike earlier, she didn’t slide all the way over. She waited in the middle for him to get in. Of course, on the way here, poor Wayne had to play meat in the middle.

Starting the car, he then pulled on out. When into traffic, he slipped his right arm over the back on the seat behind Cordy.

“So…I guess we are eventually going to have to talk about how this works. ” She glanced over at him. She could tell that what she had said in the hiding space was still weighing heavily on his mind. It was in his eyes and the way his brow creased.

“Yeah,” he said as he turned a corner. The signal light making that ping sound. “It’s going to work. I know it will. I guess we’ll work it out as we go.”

“Why didn’t you ever see about taking care of the curse? You can’t be the only person in the world to have ever been cursed by gypsies. I respect it and all but it’s just been a really long time. Like Wilson Christopher long time. And these aren’t dopey high school feelings I have for you. You are my best friend, no matter what. And I am in love with you. I want to be able… To express myself without worry about ending up as a vampire snack.” She really didn’t care if this was going to make Angel uncomfortable. Maybe if Buffy had been more open and honest and mature, they could have worked something out. Then again, she was a little smarter than the blonde Slayer and was a little more proactive.

“Gypsy magic, its tricky,” he said. “They add all kinds of little side curses to things. Since I learned what can happen, I’ve just been afraid.”

“I have never known you to be afraid of anything.” Cordelia paused for a moment. “We have Wes now. He is pretty much an expert on that sort of thing. Can’t we see, maybe he can come up with something. And then I won’t have to die a near virginal vixen.”

“I am afraid,” he told her. “I’m afraid of Angelus. He’s always here, in my head… Taunting and tempting me. Screaming when I stop some evil.” This did terrify him. “I don’t want… It has to be sure to work.”

She paused for a moment because she had no idea about this side of Angel. She put her hand gently on his knee, to reassure him. “Its okay, Angel. I am really good at self-control. Except when it comes to shoes.” She gave him a hint of smile, hoping that he would return it.

“Shoes,” he replied, “that’s a bad addiction, you know. We might have to seek intervention.”

“Like you should talk. We should do an invention for black clothing for you then. Would it really kill you to wear some reds or maybe a nice blue? That would look really great on you.” She glanced over at him once more, looking for a reaction on his face.

“When you can’t see yourself in the mirror, it’s easier to color coordinate if you have the same color,” he told her. “Besides, it helps with the badass vampire image.”

“You can see the clothes when you put them on. Besides, buy a Polaroid camera, take a picture of you wearing your different outfits. That is what I used to do in high school. It’s the most accurate way to tell what looks good on you.” She shifted just a bit. “Are we almost to the hotel. I need a shower, desperately.”

“Few more minutes,” Angel told her. True to his word they were pulling in the alley behind the hotel to get in faster and upstairs.

She paused when he pulled into the alley. There was a few moments of silence between them before she spoke. “I guess this is goodnight then.”

Cutting off the engine, he looked at the steering wheel a moment. “I was thinking, and yes I can do that now and then, that you might want to shower upstairs.” He looked over at her.

She gave him just a hint of a smile, very nearly teasing him with it. “Angel… Are you inviting me upstairs? As in, to your suite? Or just pick a room to shower in?”

Angel fingered the steering wheel looking back at it. Why was this so hard? Back in the day if he wanted a woman he just took her, even when he was a pub hopping human. “I have towels,” he said.

“You didn’t answer my question. But I guess that is an answer in and of itself.” She slid away from him, moving to open up the passenger’s side door. She wasn’t going to put up with his toeing the dirt, downward gaze, and schoolboy ploys. She was too tired and she was too covered in crusty gunk.

Angel waited a moment then he got out of the car. When she walked around by him to go in, he reached out and grabbed her up, carrying her into the hotel.

She was taken by surprise as Angel just picked her up. It wasn’t something he had ever done before, at least not as a romantic gesture. “Hi, Wes, still in the lobby. Do you really want him to see you going caveman on me?”

Angel stopped. “You’re right,” he said and put her down then turned her to put her over his shoulder. “I would.” He carried her through the doors.

Wesley looked up at the sight. “Is everything okay?”

Cordelia looked at Wes when Angel passed since she could see him. “Angel and I are in love. We are going upstairs to shower. Probably not together, curse and all. If you aren’t too tired, can you get working on that ASAP? Thanks, Wes.”

Wesley, for once, was speechless. His jaw was slack as he watched them go up the stairs. When he finally got his voice, he said, even though nobody was in the lobby, “Yes, I’ll get right on it.”

“Thanks Wes. I will order you some of those fancy teas you like as a present.” She turned her head to look at Angel. “I am about to pop right out of this vest, Angel. And I think my pants are going to split.”

Wesley sat there still stunned. The revelation itself wasn’t a surprise. Fred had said it several times to himself and to Gunn that Cordelia and Angel both had those special vibes, Kyrumption, he believe what she called it. Even Lorne had spoke about it. But the two had left angry and now Angel was carrying Cordelia up the stairs in a fireman’s carry. It made his gaze go back to the photos across from the counter that Cordelia had hung of their little family.

When they got to the top of the stairs, Cordelia remembered something. She shouted down to Wes. “There is a jar of demon jam in the car for you to analyze. Whatever we battled tonight. But you know…Curse cure first!”

Angel carried her all the way up to his suite. When she squirmed on his shoulder he’d give her a swat on the ass. Finally through the door of the suite he used for a small apartment, he went across to the bed. He tossed her on it then he was down on her, grinning down at her.

“Okay, that grin, little creepy, Champ. And the fact that I am still covered in demon goo.” She started to move out from under him but it was difficult since he seemed to be everyplace that she moved to.

“Goo or not,” he said, “you are the most beautiful woman.” Angel moved off her to let her get up. Then he rolled up and sat up himself.

She smiled at him when he said that. She sat on the bed next to him when he sat up. She nudged him gently. “Compliments, almost as good as presents. Almost.” She got up from the bed, starting for the bathroom. “I am borrowing some of your clothes to sleep in.”

“Yeah, T-shirt?” he got and went to one of his drawers and opened it. He started looking through shirts in it.

“And a pair of boxers if its not too much trouble. I think I got goo all down in my buttcrack thanks to these low rise jeans.” She went into the bathroom and called back to him. “Do you have an extra towel and… Holy cow, you have more bath products in here than I do.” She picked one up, reading over the label. “Let me guess, this Ocean Salt Scrub is really good at getting blood off?” She said it in such as way to let him know that she wasn’t going to buy that excuse.

Angel got a shirt and boxers. He pulled off his own goo-covered shirt and tossed it aside. “Ah, yeah, it does really great,” he replied. Picking up the shirt and shorts, he moved to the bathroom and hesitated before stepping in. “I’ve got you some clothes,” he said to her not sure what state of undress he’d find her in.

She raised a brow at him. “I don’t believe that for a moment. You have more hair product in there than I do too.” She still had her clothes on. She took the shirt and shorts from him with a smile. “Thanks.”

“Its not like I use them all at once,” Angel said when she took the clothes. “It all depends on what I’m going to do or go what ones I use.” He leaned on the door and just looked down at the marble floor.

“Its really hard for me to take a shower if you are going to stand there.” She set the clothing on the counter. She reached for one of the towels, sniffing it to make sure it was clean. Angel might be a vampire but he was also a man. Sometimes his man makeup really overrode the facetious vampire nature.

“I’ll just be,” Angel spoke then and indicated with a gesture, “I’ll just be out here.” He then turned to step back out into the bedroom of the suite.

She paused for a moment because she saw Angel’s face. She stepped out of the bathroom. “Angel, I want nothing more than to invite you to take a shower with me. But it won’t stop with a shower. The temptation is just too great. Better we are just safe for now. Agreed?”

“I know,” he agreed. Which in his mind he did. He knew what could happen. He knew that Angelus was there just waiting for that one little chance. “Would you like some coffee? I’ll have it brewed when you get out.”

“I’d really just like to curl up and go to bed after my shower. I didn’t realize we were in those sewers until almost dawn.” She moved over to him. She touched his face gently. “I don’t want things to get weird. I might be dying but I am not made of glass. Please, don’t start treating me like I am.”

When she reminded him of the fact she was dying his lips drew in a thin line. His hands balled in fists. Though his head didn’t move his eyes did look away from her in that way he had, seeming to be able to look all around him without turning his head.

“Bad topic then.” She moved her hand off from his shoulder. She wanted to invite him in with her, to help ease some of the tension that was sitting in his muscles. She was the Queen of Self-Control, she could handle it. “Wait right here.” She held a finger up and before he could say another word, she had left his bedroom.

Angel didn’t say anything. His eyes just went back to look at her without a change of facial expression. He wasn’t going to let her die, damnit. He’d find a way, something. He’d have Wes work on it. He’d call Willow. Somebody would have to know a way.

She returned several moments later, something dangling off her finger. It was a bikini. “I had to wear this for an audition right after we moved into the hotel. Not the one you went caveman on, another one. Put on some trunks and I think we will be safe to shower together.”

“I didn’t go caveman,” he said in defense, though much of the tension seemed to ease from his face. “I just felt the guy could have been a bit more polite. Clear his mother never taught him manners.”

“Well, I was mad then but I understand it now. You were just being protective of me.” She gave him a smile. She started for the bathroom. “Give me five minutes to change into this and then you can come in.” She shut the bathroom door behind her and quickly peeled off her costume so she could slip into the bikini.

The only thing Angel had in the way of trunks was a pair of light shorts. He’d not done much swimming in decades and hadn’t really stayed in one place long enough to gather much until he moved to L.A.. He pulled off his pants then pulled on the shorts. Five minutes…Five minutes…These were the longest five minutes of his life. He kept watching the clock by the bed and it just seemed to be teasing him.

She reached over to turn on the water. She had told Angel five minutes but it hadn’t taken her even half that time to slip into the eye patch that was calling itself a bikini. It was for a job, after all. She put her hand under the tap, waiting for it to get good and hot before she switched it over. She called out to Angel. “Ready.”

He heard her call and he stepped into the bathroom. Smiling, he looked at her smooth, tanned body. The eye patch really didn’t leave much to the imagination.

She looked back at him, looking him up and down quickly. “Did you buy those shorts in 1983?” She shook her head and climbed into the shower. She let out just a bit of a hiss as the hot water hit her body. She was just happy to be getting this goo off her.

Grabbing a washrag, he then stepped in behind her. “Actually, no,” he said. “I really don’t have much need for trunks or shorts since my body temp is like… Well, I don’t have one.” Angel reached around her to the shower caddy and got the bar of soap. He lathered it up on the wash cloth then started to rub it over her back.

Cordelia pulled her hair around so that he could get all of her back. “It looks like something out of a Duran Duran video. And you can always use an indoor pool.” She leaned forward into the spray, closing her eyes. Her skin was finally starting to feel a little normal as the goo washed off.

“Actually we have one.” He had not told any of them this. Simply he didn’t want to spend the money on fixing it because he hadn’t decided what to do with that section of the hotel yet.

“We have a pool?” She turned around and look at him. She wiped the water from her face. “How many other secrets are you hiding from me?” She shook her head and turned so her back was now against the spray.

“I didn’t think it was important.” Angel handed her the rag. “I mean its not been used in years. Probably isn’t worth even thinking about.”

“Its worth thinking about to me. We need to fix it up. Put it on the list.” She took the rag and reached out to wash his chest. The wife beater on him and the leather vest on her didn’t really make good armor against exploding demons. She rubbed his chest, cleaning the junk off him. “Wes finding out what that thing was, curing the curse, cleaning up the pool.”

Reaching around her again, he grabbed the shampoo bottle. With her hair wet, he put some in his hand then to her hair and started to scrub, working his fingers down into it. “The pool is pretty big.”

She turned her body once more so that it would be easier for him to work the shampoo into her hair. “You’ve done this before, haven’t you?” She smiled when she said it. She closed her eyes again so that she could just enjoy this kind of treatment.

“Comes with the territory,” he said to her. “Touch is just as sensitive as everything else. And wait, that didn’t sound right.”

“No, it didn’t. But you are better at this than Dennis so I will let it pass.” It was hard to tell what she meant by that comment but she leaned back against him as he continued to work his fingers in her hair.

Angel let his fingers work a bit more then slipped his hands down her hand and neck to her shoulders. He rubbed her arms, feeling her wet skin. His hand went down to her wrist and then he held it and raised her hand to his lips to kiss it.

“I need to…The shampoo in my hair…” She said but she didn’t pull her wrist away from him. There was some incredibly sexy and intimate in that small gesture. It was unexpected coming from Angel.

Angel turned her around to back her under the shower. He brought his hands back up and started working soap from her hair. He watched her face as worked.

She opened her eyes so that she could look at him as he did this. She didn’t say a word. She kept her hazel eyes trained on his brown ones. “Kiss me, Angel. Before I ruin this moment with thinking.”

Angel’s hands moved down her head to her back and he leaned down and kissed her. His hands moved to her lower back. His kiss was of passion, not lust. His tongue pressed to her lips.

She knew that this would only lead to trouble. She just hoped that she could stop it before things went too far. She parted her lips as her body surged against his. The heat from the shower had warmed his body as well as make both of them slick.

He broke that kiss so she could breath. His forehead leaned on hers. “Kissing is good,” he said in a whisper. “It’s not perfect but its good.”

“Perfect is bad in this situation.” She said softly. She closed her eyes as she felt his forehead against her. She panted lightly before taking in a deep shuttering breath. “Wes needs to find that cure like yesterday.”

“Yeah,” he said nodding barely. He brought his hand up to her jaw and cheek to touch her face. With his touch, he was memorizing her as much as he did with his eyes and other senses.

“Angel…we have to stop. If we don’t…” Her voice trailed off. If the heady tone of her voice didn’t tell him, then her body spoke volumes of her arousal. She wanted him but she wanted him without the fear of Angelus looming over them. His fingertips against her skin were turning to her to a puddle. While it felt good, it was straddling the wrong side of the danger line.

“I know…I know…” He pulled his hands away from her even if he didn’t want to. He had waited this long for her, he could wait until Wes found a solution. He wouldn’t risk letting Angelus out, not when he knew what the demon would do to her.

“Do you have some conditioner?” She was trying to look every place but at him. The water sliding down his chest, his wet shorts, his eyes, those lips, she couldn’t look at any of it or she would be in more trouble than she already was.

“Its…Its, uh, yeah,” he was trying to say but this showering with scant clothes on wasn’t working like it should have been. He grabbed it off the shower caddy.

She took the bottle from him. She turned back around, putting some of the conditioner into her hands. She worked it into her hair afterwards. She kept her eyes fixed on the tile of the shower, trying to ignore the manpire behind her.

“I’ll just wash my hair when you’re done,” he finally had to speak. He was going to really need some gentleman time when they got done. Probably turn the hot water off after she got out.

“You aren’t going to let me return the favor?” She glanced back at him and once she saw him, she knew anymore time in the shower with him, even in swimming clothes, was going to be too much. She rinsed the conditioner from her hair. She grabbed the washcloth to finish quickly cleaning her skin.

“I think its best if…you know…” He probably would not make it through her washing his hair. Now he could tell this wasn’t a good idea. Well, it was a good idea but it was a bad idea. He needed to listen to that voice in his head more and not the evil one.

“I am going…I am going. But only for the good of Los Angeles and the world.” She looked upward, as if she was talking to The Powers. “I want that noted.” She looked back down before she went to step out of the shower. She grabbed two towels, one for her body and one for her hair. “I am sleeping in your bed tonight but stay on your side.”

After she stepped out he waited a moment then he turned the hot water off to finish his shower, and he wasn’t doing it to be conservative.

She heard that as she dried herself off in the bathroom. “Oh yeah, make yourself cold so I have to sleep on the edge. I know you are a bedhog.” Her tone was teasing. She reached for his shirt, pulling it over her head. She removed the bikini top under the shirt and hung it on the towel bar.

Angel peeked his head out of the shower curtain. “There’s an electric blanket in the closet on the top shelf.” He looked at her in his shirt. It never looked so damn sexy before.

“Hey…” She went over and put her palm flat on his forehead. She pushed him back into the shower. “Back in there so I can get out of these wet bottoms.” She shook her head as she went back over to grab his boxers. She had to move quickly to get the soaked bikini bottoms off and get his dry boxers on.

Back in the shower, he dropped his shorts and finished cleaning up, among other things. It did feel good to get that demon goo out of his hair and off his body. Done, he turned the water off and got out. Angel dried off then slipped on a pair of his boxers. Finally, he came out of the bathroom.

Cordelia had found the electric blanket after she brushed out her hair. She had already plugged it in and laid it on the bed. She was under the covers, waiting for him. She was fighting off sleep, which was odd considering the sun was up. She was getting to use to his schedule. “I found the blanket.”

Nodding, Angel moved to the side of the bed Cordy hadn’t claimed. He slid under the warm covers. The bed felt good, he was a lot more tired then he realized.

She was already turned in towards the bed so that she could look at him. She smiled softly at him. “Now we get to find out if the tough broody manpire is a secret snuggler.” She laughed just a bit before she moved closer to him, waiting to see if he would take her into his arms once more.

Angel put his left arm out so she could lie on that shoulder. “You keep using that word and they’ll put it in Webster’s,” he said as he pulled her to him.

“They better pay me for it.” She laid against him once he pulled her closer. She closed her eyes and snuggled up against him. “I think that goo on us…it was some kind of truth serum. I told you things I wanted to stay hidden.”

“If you hadn’t said them and I hadn’t said what I did,” he said, “you wouldn’t be here now.”

“Well, I was scared to tell you that I love you. I didn’t want to ruin what we have. I like what we have. You are my best friend, Angel. I don’t want to lose that.” She opened her eyes and tilted her head up to look at him. Here, in the privacy of his room, she could allow her carefully built walls to crumble just a bit. She wouldn’t be telling him anything she hadn’t said in the sewers.

“We’ll never lose that,” he said as he looked back down to her. “I promise.”

“I love you.” She smiled up at him. She moved her body enough so that she could kiss him once more. This kiss was soft, almost feather light as she touched her lips against him. It wasn’t meant to enflame but rather to supply a quick spark before bed.

Angel leaned over to her a bit and returned the kiss. His arms held her not wanting to release her. She felt like she belonged here with him, like this. Halloween was usually not a favorite holiday for him. But his Halloween he would always remember and cherish the rest of his days. The evening’s trick turned into a very pleasant night’s treat.



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