AUTHOR: MANDERS-21 (aka AMANDA)
SUMMARY: “I got you a Christmas gift, its nothing great but its special, I remembered that you wanted it from before…”
POSTED: 16 Dec 2003
CATEGORY: HOLIDAY FIC (CHRISTMAS)
WARNINGS: Some naughty language
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
1) This is my absolute first dive into writing fic, so if it’s lacking I have an excuse! It’s not really very christmasy, but just go with it! Kat, you’re the best beta ever, thank you for all your help! If you hadn’t of asked I’d still only be a reader of fic, now thanks to you I can say I write.
2) Dedicated: For Cali, I told you I would show you my appreciation for your great talent one day! Cali’s Secret Santa Request: Surprise me!
Slowly walking down the private hallway to her door he peered through the expansive windows into her room. His stomach squelched at the apprehension he felt for the lack of times he’d managed to visit her bedside. He tried to dismiss his concerns,*running a formerly evil law firm and saving innocents is demanding*. Rubbing his side to try and ease the burning he felt in the lining of his belly – he swore it felt as though his blood had been mixed with holy water – the vampire instincts that had kept him alive for over two and a half centuries kicked in as his heightened senses tried to assess what lay in wait for him. His sensitive ears picked up the incessant beeping of the heart monitor, keeping him from ambling in there like her stillness really didn’t bother him at all.
As he inched closer towards her doorway the foot of a luxurious deep mahogany bed came into view. Coming nearer, an outline of a figure under the blankets could be seen, and he found his eyes fixated on the prone body as his gaze followed the curves up to the head of the bed. Foolishly believing that he was ready to see her lying comatose in a bed after so long apart and so much happening he stepped through into her room. He froze as her breathtaking countenance registered in his head; his seer, his best-friend, his love was even more beautiful in eternal slumber, if that was at all possible.
Sighing with the relief that for one more day he could memorize each and every individual feature that made up her mesmerizing beauty – although sadly she could not grant him her dazzling smile, he dragged the chair over to sit at her bedside.
Reaching for Cordelia’s limp hand resting beside her on the mattress Angel weaved his fingers through hers to try and establish some semblance of a connection. The prospect that one day she may be able to reply with disdain to his ‘archaic dribble’ brought a reminiscent smile to his handsome face. Not knowing what exactly to say to her when he knew she wouldn’t give him a reply, he decided to just start with why he was here.
“It’s Christmas day…but I’m sure you already know that.”
His eyes went to hers, anticipating a “duh” to easily slip form her mouth, but he was sorely reminded that nothing would be escaping from between those luscious lips except her discarded breath.
“Fred tells me that she comes to visit you a lot up here, that’s good…not that you’re here…but that you can hear a familiar voice…” he trailed off feeling that persistent knot in his abdomen tighten.
Angel welcomed the uneasiness he was feeling, if only to remind him that as his un-life continued on filled with the power, wealth, and prestige of Wolfram and Hart, Cordelia was locked away somewhere; someplace he just couldn’t find or reach this time. The doctors and all their tests professed that her brainwave activity was of the living but he begged to differ. As testament the days, weeks, and months passed by as she remained in an indefinite sleep; Angel knew to her that was far from what she considered to be living.
Because of his mission – it never should have become hers, he sees that now – Cordelia’s vibrancy and her unique positivism for what was to come tomorrow was ultimately stolen from her; that stabbed him the deepest of all. His part in her distress fuelled the guilt that was eating him from inside out. For so long before Cordelia had wormed her way into his life and slowly changed his reclusive, stoic demeanour, emotions had been scarce and those that arose were firmly guarded by his emotionless exterior. Now, however, the only thing that kept him from walking into the sun were the emotions that she inspired in him.
Brought from his solemn reverie by the red and green twinkling lights of the Christmas tree that decorated the corner, Angel reached into his suit jacket. No longer did he don his leather duster, it simply wasn’t the appropriate armour for a CEO.
“I got you a Christmas gift, its nothing great but its special, I remembered that you wanted it from before…” his mind drifted to a time when his seer was very much a part of his daily amusement.
“No wonder her CD’s doing more suckage than my vacuum during a jackass-who-shall-remain-nameless inspired cleaning frenzy, she can’t sing!”
Sitting at her desk supposedly fulfilling her duties as Angel Investigations secretary, Cordelia scanned the pages of Connor’s magazine that she’d found wedged between the cushions of the couch. As far as she was concerned Holtz had spent far too much time teaching Connor to fight and not enough on picking up after himself. Just then she heard the door to Angel’s office open as he made his way towards her.
“Cordy, do you have the Jameson’s file?” Knowing her filing system rarely accounted for client’s names he threw her something she’d remember, “The couple who had the Thykras demon living under their bed?”
A look of recognition crossed her face, “Talk about the ultimate birth control. Imagine finding out that your biggest childhood fear really wasn’t a myth – right as you’re going at it in bed. And I thought my one and only sex-capade was traumatic.”
Swallowing hard, Angel pretended to have not heard her end remark as he took the offered file from her hand, sex and Cordelia in the same thought only produced excess saliva and that had already pegged him with the unfortunate name ‘drooley.’
As Angel flicked through the contents of the file, Cordelia thrust the discarded magazine in his way making him sigh at her choice of behaviour in acquiring his attention once again.
“I want to add this to my way short Christmas list.” Cordelia announced, motioning with her eyes to the magazine cover.
Closing the file and sitting it to rest back on the desk, Angel folded his muscular arms across his broad chest. “What, a subscription to Rolling Stones magazine? Why Cordelia, I didn’t know you had such a deep passion for music news.” Angel’s mouth upturned into a tiny smirk as he teased his seer.
“I don’t you dumbass,” she replied with a cutting edge. “But now that you mention it my subscription to Cosmo’s up next month and you could stick it under office expenses.” Her tone sweetened as she tried to hide the habitual reproach that had seconds ago slipped from her mouth.
“Nice try, but I really don’t think you reading Cosmo’s ‘Six easy steps to master a manicure’ or ‘How to pleasure your man 69 ways’ is going to benefit any of us here at the office.”
“Oh I don’t know about that Angel, I’m sure I could use one of those articles to help you out.” She replied with an all too obvious meaning. “Then again, considering you’re really just a prissy boy hiding behind that dark scowl and leathery goodness, it’d probably be your nails receiving the divine treatment.”
His lax and drooling jaw suddenly twitched into a tight line, her attack on his masculinity squelching any trace of the naughty fantasies brought forth by her suggestive remark.
With flick of her wrist and the follow through of her hand, Cordelia was quick to halt the direction of that rapidly souring conversation.
“Getting back to me and what I want, I was talking about the Rolling Stones CD ‘Forty Licks’.”
Confusing Angel’s blank stare of astonishment as his equally blank stare of confusion, Cordelia clarified, “You know, the band.” Her face dropped with resignation, “or maybe you don’t.”
He truly was a pop-culture retard and it looked as though after all she’d done to try and bring him closer to the world in which he ‘lived’ she’d failed miserably. In the end if you didn’t understand something as fundamental to the evolution of music as the Rolling Stones then there simply was no hope left for you.
“Yeah, I know, I just thought you were a little young for that era.”
Too caught up in her relief that he in fact wasn’t doomed for all eternity, it took a split second for Cordelia to process what he’d said.
“Era?!…Jeez Angel, what are you deficient? Era is to imply a time been and gone, when people didn’t bathe. Hello, they’re still here, and they look pretty clean to me! Besides, too young? I knew who Barry Manilow was, and they were all friends back in the day, right. I mean when you all share a line off the coffee table, how could you not be? I know, I’ve seen Studio 54.” Cordelia finished with a point of her finger as if she’d just explained it all.
“I really don’t think Barry Manilow would have done ‘a line off the coffee table’ as you so aptly put it, especially not with Mick Jagger. Anyway, vampires don’t usually do coke themselves they’d rather ingest it through a human, the blood is like an expensive Irish whiskey to a thirsty man, bitter at the first taste but improves decidedly the more you consume. It’s highly addictive stuff which invokes an instant high the moment the tangy elixir crosses your tongue and slides down your throat. Your whole body undergoes a tingly warmth, and your cold dead body feels alive from head to toe, it relaxes you to the point where…or so I’ve been told by…by…Spike, that’s who told me.”
Seeing her disbelieving eyes and her mouth ready to reply, Angel’s head dropped quickly to the edge of the desk to locate the file…*wait, what the crap , where’s that fucking file?*
Abruptly scanning the surrounding area for the piece of shit that had him evacuate the safe haven of his office, he was determined to make a grab for it and run. Finding it in the clutches of his highly intuitive seer, Angel recognized the calculating smirk on her face for what it was – the I’m-gunna-manipulate-the-hell-outta-you-to-get-the-truth-to-what-I-really-want-to-know smirk.
*Here goes with the trying to explain my ass out of this one. Huh! When did I start feeding from users? Was it in Prague, with Spike, or London maybe.*
Angel was snapped from categorizing his many days of drugged up mayhem as Cordelia inquired, “Mick Jagger’s a vampire? What, your vamp-dar can just sense a vampire without having to be physically near them, pfftt! I don’t think so!”
“What do you think his over-sized rubber lips are for? Huh? I’ll tell you what they’re for, to hide his fangs.”
Knowing when he’d been handed a gift horse and not wanting to break its stride right into another topic of discussion away from himself, he helped it along. “Besides, Manilow so rocks – he’s a legend in his own right. He has concerts just like all those popular singers. I know ‘cause I went to one of them.” It was now his turn to use his snippet of pop-culture participation to defend his argument.
“Name one song he sings,” Cordy demanded, and as Angel’s mouth opened to reply she cut him off, “besides your beloved, much massacred, ‘Mandy’.”
As predicted by the all-knowing Cordelia, he had no hope in hell of answering her – probably because he’d used that get out of jail free card a couple of years back when he returned to Sunnydale – but felt stuttering was a much better option than nothing at all.
“Aghh…there’s…that one about the other girl…or guy…or both…”
“That’s what I thought you’d try but fail to say.”
Finding it easier from experience to wait it out for her to breeze into a vocalization of her approaching thoughts rather than trying to guess what would tumble from her unpredictable mouth, Angel calmly stood telling himself that his need for that worthless file and not his need for Cordy time – no matter how confused he became – was the reason he remained.
Just as he’d predicted she exclaimed with a look of pure disgust, “Couldn’t he have at least picked a less ‘Hi, I’m a skanky blond bimbo name’?”
“I think his parents named him Barry, but now that you mention it I see its skanky bimbo merits…” he mumbled while contemplating this enlightenment.
Her expression turned to that of utter bewilderment as his inability to keep up and as a testament continued on, “Amanda just smells of peroxide and herpes cream. Cordelia would have been a much more sophisticated and elegant individual to sing about.”
“Nuh uh, you can’t promote your own name! That’s like those fanatical moms at baby shows that swear their ugly little mutt of a kid is the most gorgeous face ever. It’s completely biased. It’s just wrong.”
Her eyes darted from side to side frantically as Angel’s disregard of her statement had her desperately searching for the appropriate answer. The day he ever won an argument concerning the talent of Barry Manilow was the day she literally kissed Little-Miss-Likes-to-Fight’s ass, and that was certainly out of the question.
Replying with the first thing that popped into her brain, she cried “Sach!”
Eyes bugging from their sockets, Angel inquired “Snatch? Did you just suggest he sing about a female’s genitalia?”
If his face could flush from the blood rushing to his head he’d be able to light the way for Santa’s sleigh and give poor over-worked Rudolph a rest. But it wasn’t his vampirism that was the immediate problem; it was that his blood was all concentrating at the wrong head.
“Angel,you perve. Of course not! I said SACH. Let me clarify that for you.” She spelt the letters slowly, “S-A-C-H. Now we can both move beyond the sexual roadblock your primitive male brain erects. It’s amazing, men really do think about sex every 6 seconds.”
His cock could attest to that! The day had barely begun and his mammoth flesh felt like a worn out party balloon at a fourth grader’s birthday bash. Her smile, her scent, like sticky cake smeared lips, had inflated him. But just as the now disinterested child brings all puffing to a halt, he is left abandoned to deflate. Thought to be deserted, but seconds later a fruit punch stained pout secures it once again. Her laugh, her touch – form is breathed into the stretched skin. But once again it’s over before it really began. Hissing can be heard as the tightness recedes. There will always be another to come along – her breathy voice, her beautiful face, and her glistening skin all make the next time easier to inflate again. Stretched more times than can count, it’s left unfulfilled and forgotten once again; the process destined to be repeated by the days end. Finally, like the over blown party balloon, his penis is inflated as far as it can when all he desires is some semblance of a release.
“Gunn, I could so kiss your smooth chocolate butt right now.”
The remark from her sharp tongue disintegrated any evidence of its bloated size, like the prick of a pin to the balloon’s skin. A release, but far from the one he was hoping for. Like a cross to the flesh, Cordelia’s betrayal of affections brought him from his sexual analogy while depressing his all too familiar “happy” friend. He fumed internally * I’m not supposed to ever add that verb to my oh so full palate of experienced emotions but my big mini-me visits this state not so far off her estimated 6 seconds a day. Such is the irony of un-life. When was he ever going to reach his godforsaken redemption? An existence filled with sexual frustration was the worst punishment of all.*
Leaving him stuck in his brooding mode, Cordelia charged towards Gunn for the succulent treasure he’d traversed the treacherous land to find – well, actually just her vegetable fried rice he drove two blocks to pick up at Ling’s Wok. She was starving so to her it may as well have been the map to the Lost City of Atlantis or the buried crown of King Charles, or whatever else was of great mystery to civilization today.
“Don’t let Fred hear what ya’ gunna do to m’ass Barbie, or she won’t let me out to fetch ya dinner. My girl’s territorial when it comes to my booty; her clammy little hands need something to hold on too.” A teasing smile adorned his face.
Unloading the various foods he’d picked up from numerous takeout joints because the three of them couldn’t come to an agreement, Gunn claimed his pizza and Fred’s half a dozen tacos and headed for the stairs.
“Speaking of Fred and her clammy hands, I’d better get her taco’s to her before they get a mind of their own and she starts writing all over the walls again.” With a humungous grin and enthusiastic strides he bound up the stairs to her room.
Gunn’s resolute excitement at the mere mention of the once skittish and fragile Fred, did not go unnoticed by the ever observant Cordelia. Although Fred idolized Cordelia and strived for any measure of acceptance from her as a friend, as a sister, Cordy was the first to acknowledge her jealousy of the blossoming Fred. To have someone that loved her with all his heart, as Gunn so clearly does for Fred, was all she’d ever wanted from life; what she to this day had never received from anyone and started to believe she never would. *Depressing much!*
Determined not to be sucked in by the glowering vibes radiating from her desk area where she’d left Mr. Broody himself, she offered to share with him her fried rice. Often she encouraged him to eat her food even though he had no real physical use for it. She contended that practice makes perfect and vowed to cultivate him into the human male prototype that all women desired before the eventual day that he shanshued.
“Want some blood risotto, Angel?”
Jolted form his deep thoughts, Angel missed her question completely. “Huh?…” Not wanting her to read into his distraction and reach the underlying reason – the mind torture that she more commonly dubbed brooding – he quickly added the universal answer to the unknown: “Yes!”
Disappearing into the hotel’s kitchen to nuke a mug of blood, Cordelia left Angel to wonder what exactly he’d agreed too. *A pay raise? A week’s paid vacation? Or the most terrifying, a full day’s excursion to the mall with a no limit spending allowance*. He visibly cringed at the prospect of fighting his way through the throngs of aggravated shoppers during the height of the Christmas rush.
Cordelia soon emerged with a mug and handed it to her clueless champion. Praying to any power that would possibly listen that he hadn’t agreed to just that, Angel accepted the mug without a second thought. Taking a giant gulp to try and appease his suddenly dry throat, he almost chocked at he congealed lumps squishing between his teeth. He spit back into the mug holding the rest of the obviously gone bad blood.
“Cordy, I think maybe this blood was left out in the heat. Did you check the package date on the container?”
“Of course I did, it’s fine. I just made it a hearty meal for a manly manpire. I added the staple of every man’s diet; carbohydrates in the form of rice, keeps all men regular. Did I stress the man part enough, ‘cause I could keep going.”
“You mixed rice in with my blood?”
Her unfazed countenance prompted him to repeat his words, “rice…and blood?”
“It’s good for you Angel, stop being a baby and just drink it. You’ll love it.” She graced him with her dazzling smile, the one he loved more than his un-life itself even though it so clearly had him wrapped around her finger.
He returned her contagious smile with one of his own, grinning from ear to ear at how much she brightened his day. “First cinnamon, now rice. When will you ever cease to astound me with what you find to contaminate my blood,” his playful tone hiding the seriousness of his adoration for her.
“My guess is never ‘cause gosh I’m amazing, but you’ll just have to stick around long enough to find out. I already gave you my promise, so now you have to keep up your end of the bargain.”
With that she turned to walk away, “I’m off for a full body massage and pedicure, so now you don’t have to pretend that you came out here for that file anymore.”
His smile faltered, how the hell did she know him so well. He prided himself on his ability to keep his next move masked to the opposition, this came especially handy in an expensive game of poker or a physically demanding fight. But then Cordelia was far from his opposition, she was, in his eyes, his perfect mate.
“Don’t forget, ’Forty Licks’, Christmas, buy it!” She threw over her shoulder as she disappeared through the lobby doors.
Coming back to the present, Angel eyed the CD he held in his hand. He had remembered exactly what she’d said that day and he didn’t even have to ask the sales girl to help him navigate his way around the store with its staggering number of displays. Cordy would be so proud of his accomplishment.
However, it was something else she’d said that day that now reverberated through his mind like the incessant tick of a clock – at first its presence goes unnoticed, but when you become attuned to the sound you can’t block it from your thoughts. Humming a song, or swearing out loud, you try anything to make it stop distracting you from life. *Try harder* you tell yourself, it’s the only way! Nothing works and you end up caught by the rhythmic beat anticipating the tick, but all the while unsure that the reassuring sound of the hand will arrive.
That’s how it’d started in the recesses of his mind. At first it poked at his resolve, demanding entry to his conscious, but ultimately not registering in his brain. But all things left to fester, pick up steam until finally they can’t be contained. Her voice full of the unrelenting faith she held for him ran through his mind, “But you’ll just have to stick around long enough to find out. I already gave you my promise, so now you have to keep up your end of the bargain.”
Burning acid resumed it’s torture of his stomach as her voice picked up strength finally bringing her remark to the forefront of his thoughts, “But you’ll just have to stick around long enough to find out.”
Realization hit him full force almost making him heave at the gravity of his epiphany. When she needed him to stand by her he’d done just the opposite, leaving his sleeping beauty to remain in the imposing glass coffin of Wolfram and Hart – abandoning and betraying not only her but their collective promises. Plagued by his sorrow and the guilt stemming from his inability to fix her condition, Angel had tried to force her existence out of his life and deny that the loss of her affected him at all. The fact that he’d never expressed to Cordelia his true feelings had only been compounded by the thought that he may never again be granted the chance to make his love known to her. Destroyed and distraught, Angel’s only instinct had been to try and move on with the goal in mind of one day mending that void in his heart. However, he now had the luxury of hindsight to see where he’d gone wrong.
Speaking the words he longed to say, Angel allowed his feelings to escape in hopes that she’d be able to register them even in her slumber.
“Cordelia Chase, I love you. I always will.”
Remarkably the immense pressure he shouldered and the sorrow that consumed him began to lift; his stomach lining no longer felt ablaze as if it was scorching through to his muscle and flesh.
Dragging the back of his free hand down the porcelain of her face, Angel caressed her check before standing and making his way over to the CD player against the wall.
At the moment he turned, his back facing the bed, Cordelia’s eye lids fluttered, fighting to open to her surroundings. His affirmation of his love for her was all her subconscious had needed to wake her from her self-induced coma – her body’s defense against the traumatizing events had landed her unconscious and unable to be induced to awaken. Memories of all that had transpired flooded her brain akin to the force of one of her past visions, but without the debilitating physical pain; however the same could not be said for the emotional strain.
Desperately wanting to call out to the only person that could comfort her, Cordelia suppressed the urge afraid Angel may not hear her plea because the atrocities Jasmine committed once she’d hijacked her body and mind had driven him away from her side.
But as her sight cleared and the disorientation receded, her gaze locked on the figure across the room and she knew she was wrong to have ever doubted him. “Angel,” she whimpered her call, sobs wracking her weak and frail form.
In an instant he was by her side, one hand searching for one of her own, and his other cupping the side of her face, “Cordy” he replied in disbelief.
Cordelia began to apologize, “I’m sor..”, but was cut off as his lips descended upon hers. Caught under the pressure of his mouth trying to communicate the depth of his feelings through their desperate embrace, her bottom lip trembled from the sensations that coursed through her being. Tears of joy streamed down her ashen face as her fears were negated by the feel of his touch.
Tasting the salty wetness on the top of her lip, Angel broke from the all consuming kiss and his questioning eyes rose to lock with hers seeking the answer to her tears.
His worries were assuaged as her hazel irises shown bright with her love for him, but he also caught the underlying elements of her feelings of security and contentment shining from her orbs. He felt her faith in him unjustified, and needed to not only reassure her but also himself that he’d never let his devotion to her sway again.
“I’m so sorry I left you Cordy, but I’m here now and I’m never letting you go.”
With that said, he dipped his head for a soft kiss to affirm her lively presence. Caressing her lips with the rough of his tongue, Angel requested entrance into the warm cavern of her mouth for his masterful flesh to explore.
The sensual pleasure that Angel lavished on her inviting mouth had her mind reeling with the emotion of it all, but through the haze her mind formed the one single thought of how great her Christmas day had turned out. The last two minutes of Angel kissage had easily made up for the previous hours of the day stuck in a coma with no conscious thought – which to her pretty much equated to being dead – so all and all, it was a Christmas Day well spent!