SUMMARY: Set directly after That Old Gang of Mine, AtS s3, Cordelia has issues with Angel’s chippies, and Angel almost gets too happy, but it all ends up okay.
RATING: mild R
POSTED: 3 May 2008
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
1) Gabriella asked for this a while ago for her birthday present. It’s really belated. Hope it’s what you were hoping for. Much love and thanks to Starlet2367 for the lightning fast beta. If this fic works at all, it’s because she’s ruthless (and thank God for that). Special shout out to damnskippytoo. You’re a hot chick with superpowers, and some phallic-shaped pie holes can’t handle that. Sucks to be them.
Angel paused on the first floor landing, listening to the creaks and groans of the hotel settling, wondering when Cordelia would call. Wesley had already gone home, and he could hear Fred’s soft, even breathing coming from down the hall. She was already asleep.
He smiled slightly, thinking that after being hunted for five years, the night’s events at Caritas was probably on the low end of the excitement scale for her.
Now if only Cordelia would call or –
He heard her heartbeat outside the lobby doors just as her fading perfume scent became stronger.
He smiled, already making his way down the stairs.
She banged the door as she walked into the hotel, throwing her purse down on the sofa before making her way to her desk.
“Hey, I was wondering when you’d get back.”
She stopped short, her spine straightening before she whirled around, glaring at Angel on the stairs.
He paused, taken aback by the way she pinned him with her look.
“Everything okay?” He asked cautiously.
“Fine,” she snapped at him, turning back to walk over to her desk.
Her heels dug into the hardwood floor with every step like she was digging them into someone’s spine.
He took the stairs two at a time, making his way over to her.
He rounded the counter just as she was bending over her desk, searching.
The smell of stale coffee permeated the work area, mixing with the too sweet smell of sugared doughnuts.
“You don’t sound fine,” he said carefully, watching as she opened and closed a drawer rather forcibly.
“What do I sound like, then?” She looked up at him before going back to her searching. “Like I want to be left alone?”
She pulled out a file and furiously wrote on the front of it, her pen slashing like a knife.
“No, good guess.” She finished and walked over to the filing cabinet, sticking the thin folder inside under J and going back to her desk. “I do want to be left alone.”
She whirled and faced him.
“What, Angel? Don’t I get any time off? I did your errand for you, visited your chippies, don’t I get comp time for that since it was after hours?”
She advanced on him, hands fisting on her hips, eyes narrowed.
Angel’s eyes widened in surprise at her stance, and the hostility coming off her like musk.
“Cordelia, did I…do something?”
She made a sound, tossing her head.
“Something? No. Someones, yes. That might be more the order of things.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Tell me something, stud, how is it even physically possible? Most of them are made of tentacles.”
A sudden, really ugly thought occurred to him.
She nodded, her eyes taking on a serious sheen.
She stepped past him and out to the lobby, switching off the coffee pot on her way out.
“Hold on, Cordelia, just a minute.”
Chasing after her like he’d done something wrong was definitely rubbing him the wrong way but if he didn’t she was going to be out the door.
He grabbed her arm and spun her back to face him.
“You’re not leaving until you tell me what’s wrong.”
“I thought we established what’s wrong, Angel.”
Confusion twisted inside him.
“No”, he contradicted her in exasperation. “We haven’t established anything beyond the fact that you seem to be pissed at me for some reason.”
He gazed at her expectantly, but she stayed stubbornly silent.
“Was it the Furies, did they do something to you?” He prompted finally.
“Oh no, not to me.” She snapped.
“Then why the attitude?” He demanded, tired of the riddles she kept throwing at him.
She made a ‘pfft’ sound, her heel scuffing along the hardwood floor as she shifted her feet.
“I don’t have an attitude. I just would like to go one year without getting smacked up by one of your ‘Best Of’ compilations. They tend to end badly, and not just for you.”
Okay. That came flying out of nowhere.
“Best Of? What are you talking about?”
She wagged her finger at him, and he eyed it, getting hit with the urge to bite down on that digit until she yelped.
He shifted his focus back to what she was saying with some effort, blinking rapidly to dispel the image.
“Let’s see…..you slept with Buffy and then tried to kill most of my graduating class as a morning-after thank you to her. That stopped only when you tried to end the world and she sent you to hell instead. Literally. Then Darla shows back up with a pulse and a soul three years after you staked her. So what do you do? Rally the troops, try to keep your focus on the greater good? No. You fire us, go beige and risk your soul to save some lost cause from your bad old days.” She glared at him, old hurts of her own glimmering in her eyes.
“It’s a good thing you didn’t do something supremely stupid and sleep with her, or we’d be facing Armageddon by now.” She added, sounding like she’d dodged a bullet.
The ticks of the clock on Wesley’s desk counted off the seconds as everything inside Angel clutched and held, waiting for the realization to hit her.
“Then there’s the assorted damsels that cropped up in-between the two great blondes of your life….Rebecca, Bethany, She-Ra –“
“She-Ra?” He interrupted gratefully, beyond relieved that she seemed to have missed the panicked look in his eyes.
“You know, Glowing Girl from another dimension that left Wes and me to die
– the one you couldn’t stop flirting with?”
“Kate the Cop, who wanted to put you in a jail cell with a sunroof,” she continued.
He was suddenly on the verge of begging her to stop.
“And the latest in the Angel Conga line is not one but three Transuding Furies that I had to listen to chant ‘mmmm, Angel’ in stereo. Gross,” she huffed in renewed disgust.
Then she glared at him.
“Oh, and Angel, they’re gonna wanna get paid for that despelling, so you might want to stock up on extra O-Pos, champ. You’re gonna need the energy.”
“What do you care how I pay the Furies, Cordelia? You know it won’t come out of your paycheck.” He replied, crossing his arms and watching her closely.
“You’re damn right it’s not coming out of my paycheck, and I don’t care.” She ground out. “I’m just in a really crappy mood over being your pimp and going over to that brothel of a hotel room to sell your services to those three just so my friends could get out of Caritas alive.” She stalked back over to him and poked him in the chest. “And I hate how dirty I feel right now, and how much I want to go home and take about a thousand showers so I could scrub the way they purred your name out of my damned head!”
He grabbed her hand, holding it against his chest.
“Why are you so angry at the thought of me with someone else?” he asked softly.
“I’m not-!” She huffed, tried again. “I’m not!” She tried to pull away but he grabbed her shoulders and held her still.
She didn’t notice; too busy having her own epiphany, looking anywhere but at him. “I can’t be.” She groaned softly. “I’m not a chippy. I’m not one of your harem, swooning at your big, fat hero act. I’m Cordelia Chase, I’m….”
He leaned in closer. “My partner, my friend. The most important person in my very long life.”
She gazed up at him.
“I’m….jealous.” She finished finally, sounding like she swallowing some painfully bad medicine.
Suddenly it was as if the world became brighter, and Angel couldn’t stop from giving her a wide-mouth grin, one that got even wider at the chagrined look on her face as she swayed slightly.
“It’s not so bad,” he whispered, bringing his other arm around her waist and steadying her by pulling her gently up against his body. It felt so good he had to check himself or he was going to possibly lose his soul right then and there.
“What isn’t?” She breathed the question up against the line of his jaw, and he nuzzled her shoulder lightly, not wanting scare her off.
She jerked back and looked up at him.
“When were you jealous?” She demanded.
“Forget him already, Cordy?” He teased, sounding satisfied. “Lemme see if I can remember right…’stop the fight, stop the fight, I loooove him’.” Angel pitched his voice in an unflattering imitation, hand fluttering to his chest.
Cordelia kicked him in the shin.
He barely felt it.
“I did not sound like that.”
“Yes, you did.” Angel nodded. “But the important thing is, I’ve had some practice at the jealousy thing, so I could help you out.”
She looked past him, focusing on a point past his shoulder.
“Angel, there’s a million reasons why this would be a bad idea. I don’t know if it’s worth what we’d lose.” She made a sound in the back of her throat. “And more important, what I would lose. Namely my life.”
He stepped back a little to look down at her, keeping hold of her so she didn’t back away from him physically as she was trying to do emotionally.
“We’re not going to lose anything. I won’t let us. You’re my dearest friend, Cordelia, but what I feel for you isn’t just friendship. I want…” He leaned down and pressed his lips against hers, softly conveying what he couldn’t in words.
As first kisses went, it was tame, but the taste of her, the feel of her, was fast igniting something in him beyond his control, and he was sure he was going to scare her off if that happened.
Keeping his eyes open for any signs of panicking on her part, he kept the kiss soft and unhurried, and when her eyes flared open finally and he saw the alarm in them, he almost blanched, sure she was going to pull away.
Then she reached up and grabbed the back of his neck, opening her mouth and deepening the kiss in a way he’d been afraid to.
She moaned, a sound that rocked through him, making the demon inside him raise its head and blink. He closed his eyes, leaning into her hips, letting the desire he held in check roar through him.
Her hold on him tightened and her tongue snaked into his mouth like temptation, licking his teeth.
His hands snaked down to her hips, wanting to pull her too-short skirt up even higher, delve in with his fingers, lose himself in the scent of her body, crawl inside her if he could.
Each thought was like swallowing draughts of wine-soaked blood, making his head spin, his body throb. He growled and pulled back, backing away several steps.
He looked at her, disheveled from his kissing and handling, dazed with desire, and suddenly realized how deeply he had already fallen. How easy it was to keep falling, until the world spun.
“You’re dangerous, Cordelia, you know that?” He laughed shakily as the deepening horror of exactly what they were in for settled into his bones. She was dangerous, and what he wanted from her, what the beast in him [I]knew she could give him, wasn’t something to laugh about.
Neither was the risk of losing his soul.
She blinked and focused, licking her lips, her practical side reasserting control.
“How are we going to do this, Angel? Because I’m not up to repeating the Buffy and Angel Show, complete with the unresolved sexual tension that made every day a barrel of dead monkeys.”
He opened his mouth but nothing came out.
He didn’t have answers, he never had. His instinct the last time things got bad was to leave.
He couldn’t do that now, though, couldn’t leave Cordelia even if staying was worse than his hundred years in hell.
It would have been worse without her.
“I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out, okay?” He reached for her hand, and she stepped forward, slipping it into his palm, squeezing. “Together?”
She smiled and hugged him, arms wrapping securely around his body.
“At least this time you’ve got the right idea, bubba.” She whispered against his chest. She ran her hands down his cashmere-clad back.
He hugged her tighter, burying his face in her hair, making a note to send the Furies a fruit basket.