AUTHOR: SCORCH (aka JUDI)
POSTED: 11 Dec 2003 / Rewrite 5 Aug 2004
CATEGORY: Slightly Dark AU / CHALLENGE FIC
CONTENT/PAIRING: VampCordy/Aus, C/A(us) mainly
WARNINGS: Explicit Sexual Content; If you like Willow/VampWillow turn away now!
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
1) A Challenge by Impress. See bottom of page for criteria.
Holding perfectly still while the blonde applied the lip liner with expert precision, Cordelia’s eyes flickered towards their open bedroom door where her sire stood watching them with an amused and adoring smile on his distorted features. His age showed in everything; from the way his human face never surfaced to the words he used when addressing either her or Darla.
The ridges on his face were much more prominent than those belonging to her or any of the others, his eyes glinted with sinful knowledge and unspeakable acts of inhumanity and his posture was deceptively calm. Hands had claws instead of fingers that could pierce through the delicate barricade of human flesh just as easily as his fangs. His black overcoat hung off his seemingly fragile frame and the length reached the floor, swishing along the stunning red carpet.
“Cordelia dear, please hold still” Darla’s throaty voice interrupted the brunette and glanced over her shoulder to see what she was looking at. Upon seeing the Master watching them, the elder vampiress lowered her hand and turned to face him. “Good evening” she greeted, her glossy lips curling up into a genuinely warm smile.
“How are my special girls?” he greeted back, moving gracefully into their bedroom without being invited the Master took in the outfits laid neatly on Cordelia’s queen-sized bed. A short, black skirt topped off with a cream, silk blouse; judging from the elegance the first outfit portrayed, he knew what his eldest childe would be wearing tonight. His youngest and most bright, sunny childe would obviously be wearing the long, deep berry coloured dress next to the skirt and top.
Chuckling deeply, the Master prided himself on having the prettiest and sweetest female vampires. In his eyes, both were unequalled in physical beauty and intelligence, even if one had been rather over-protected in her human life. The only other female vampire he regarded as his own childe was Drusilla, driven deeply into madness by the arrogant Angelus, the raven haired female was a legend in her own right. His large clawed hands came up to cup a cheek on either female’s face, smiling down at the brunette when she rewarded his gentle affection with a large smile. “You two are precious and do wonders for an old man”
“I’d do you more wonder if you would let me wear leather” Cordelia retorted, turning sparkling golden eyes up to her sire, silent pleas within the toffee irises. “Sure, silk is great and all but I don’t wanna be known as silk lady forever”
“Leather doesn’t become you Beauty” the Master responded, curling his thumbed claw over the apple of her cheek, bronzed with the face powder Darla had carefully applied. “Nor you, Darling” he turned his glinting gaze to the blonde vampiress, “I prefer you both to be in the finest materials, two pretty girls like you will not be seen in anything tacky like leather”
Both females rolled their eyes at his charming words, secretly preening under his rare show of attentive affection. The Master let his hands drop from their faces to land around the small of each girl’s back. “Do an old man wonder” he repeated, planting a kiss on top of Darla then Cordelia’s head in turn. “Forgive me for not escorting my special girls for the night, but I have business to attend”
“That’s okay, it may take a while but I’m sure we’ll get over it” Cordelia pretended to sniff back tears and battered her long, dark eyelashes at her sire. “Besides, no other man would stand a chance with me if you were there” came her response for his unneeded apology at not being able to bestow them with his presence.
“There is no other good enough for you, Beauty. Not even that one with the dark hair, you may find him charming dear but I find him a grievance at times” the Master stated of his youngest childe’s on-off courtship with the young man she had chosen as a human. Once again turning to Darla, the Master clacked his tongue at her and she sighed unnecessarily. “My darling Darla, when am I to expect you to chose a companion hmm?”
Blue eyes showing the exasperation she felt, though her lips once again curled up into a warmed smile for her sire. “When I find someone worthy of course” Darla responded, throwing shared arrogant smile with her youngest sibling.
Checking the diamond wrist watch given to her for her waking, Cordelia’s eyes widened when she realised Darla and her would be arriving late; she took it upon herself to shoo the Master out so they could finish up getting ready. “Okay sire it’s, like, way late as it is and we have to make ourselves look scrumptious!” she grinned cheekily up at her sire, silently asking him not to punish her for leading him out of the bedroom. “You’re too much of a distraction and I don’t somehow think you want to be covered in Ravishing Rouge, do you?!”
“Always worried about silly things” the Master sighed unnaturally and allowed his youngest childe and baby of his Order to press an affectionate kiss to his prominent cheek before wiggling her fingers in a wave. “Do come to me when you are both finished preening, I would like to look at my special girls”
Just then, a familiar loud and pained snarl whipped through the air, disturbing the rare and relaxed atmosphere between the three vampires. The Master’s eyes rolled up to the ceiling, Darla smiled wistfully and Cordelia looked annoyed. “God, you would think she has far more interesting things to be doing. But noooo! Little Miss Puppy Pie has to prove she’s something more than an unpopular technonerd”
“Personally, I wish her luck” Darla turned back to place the dressing table and began routing through the make-up on it. There was something about the sound of ex-boyfriends being tortured that was just sublime.
“If she wishes to torment Angelus then far be it from me to forbid her from something I would do myself” the Master spoke to Cordelia, what passed as his eyebrows raised slightly as he told her silently to keep her opinions about the other vampire to herself. He couldn’t bare hearing another long, drawn out argument between his Beauty and his other childe.
“It’s annoying and keeps me awake, besides Willow’s only doing it because she has something to prove to everyone” Cordelia pointed out, not being able to help herself. Her newly manicured hands flourished up in a gesturing wave, “Aurgh! It’s like she’s showing off being a vampire little miss ‘Oooh! Look at me, I’m a vampire and so it doesn’t matter if I don’t have friends. I can torture Puppy!’”
“Darla” the Master made a come hither movement with his finger to Darla who immediately responded and walked to stand beside the still ranting brunette. “Take your sister for some wine, make it from my personal casing” with those words, he glided away as silently as he came.
Standing with strong irritation all over her heart-shaped face, Cordelia clamped her hands around her waist and tapped her bare foot off the carpet. “5…4… 3… 2… 1” just as she reached the count of one, another pained snarl ripped through the air and caused the brunette to yank at her hair in undulated annoyance. “Arrggh! Will she ever stop and give me a moment’s peace?” she yelled loudly, hoping the red head would hear her through Puppy’s whimpering.
“Cordelia dear, ignore it and let’s go get some wine like Master said” Darla, very rare was she known as the voice of reason but where her sibling and the red head was concerned, she’d be the voice of Martin Luther King if it meant no more silly rows. “How often does he offer anyone a taste?” blue eyes watched as hazel ones lit up brightly and wickedly at the thought of the vintage wine
Sighing deeply, Cordelia resigned herself to yet another night of listening to Willow play fetch with puppy. “Fine, but if she keeps it up until dawn then I swear to God I’ll stake her myself… Let’s go Darling and have us some wine! I still can’t believe he dissed Dom Perignon,” going out all but forgotten about in favour of once again being favoured by the Master.
Neither vampiress cared whether or not they were in their bathrobes as they linked arms and sauntered down the tastefully decorated hallway of the mansion. The paintings that had once held Cordelia captivated now only received a passing glance of appreciation, however it was the sterling silver oil lamp that she loved. Though she has been spoilt beyond belief when she had been human, she still found pleasure in simple little things like that.
Slowing her saunter down, Darla sneaked a sly glance at the brunette as she tried her hardest to ignore the now quiet but still pained snarls coming from where Willow lived in the mansion. Cordelia was one of the few vampires who couldn’t stand torture in any way, shape or form. It created too much noise and the blood stains never truly came out of clothes and the smell plagued her for weeks on end. Not just that but torture took energy that would be better spent on doing what she classed as fun stuff like shopping, manicures and preening under her sire’s devotion to her.
“Tell me Beauty” Darla’s sarcastic use of Cordelia’s pet name had the brunette rolling her eyes upward. “What do you see in that dear Xander boy of yours?” as far as she was concerned, he made a good enough vampire but his humour didn’t appeal to those of her generation. Men in her day took care of their companions not watched in satisfaction as the companion opened the door for herself.
“He’s good to laugh at Darling Darla” the youngest vampire responded with a smirk, “And what will all this creepy stuff daddy’s doing with those human people, I need some jollies” the whole thing made her shudder. Didn’t the Master get how creepy it would be to drink human blood from a tap? It would taste all metal-like and have that bitter ting to it. “Yick!”
“I agree, much better from the neck” a wicked smile flirted on the full lips of Darla.
“I prefer to bite the groin, I may hate torture in the harshest sense but a little punishment of the male sex has to be done sometimes!” Cordelia flipped her chestnut hair over her pink silk covered shoulder as they turned to walk down the stairs. “Besides, someone has to suffer for the male race”
The sound of girlish giggles filtered through the grand and expansive room of the main hall in the mansion. A stunning seven tier chandelier hung from the high, arched ceiling and held the immense room in a bright but softened glow that emanated from the candle-shaped bulbs. Marble made up the flooring, slate grey and cream in colour with a hand-woven Turkish rug in rich, exotic shades covered a large proportion of the floor. Two identical spiral staircases were adjoined at the landing overlooking the hall, a huge portrait of the main members of the Order hung on the wall of the landing.
In the portrait, Darla was displayed in an exquisite, white Victorian full dress, her hair wound into tight ringlets and piled high under the feather-brimmed white hat, in her hand was a Japanese fan displayed in colourful detail. Next to her stood Drusilla and her ever-present doll, Miss Edith and a blonde vampire Cordelia knew as Spike. There was a tall, dark haired vampire that never failed to draw her attention, she recognised him as Willow’s long-yowling puppy. How he went from being so important to being in a family portrait to being used as the red head’s main source of entertainment she would never know.
Then there was the Master himself, situated in the centre of the painting with a satisfied smile gracing his vampiric face as he was surrounded by those of decreed importance. Even in a picture, he exuded age and knowledge.
“It’s wonderful, isn’t it?” Darla sighed as old and joyful memories floated within her imagination as she looked at what Cordelia always studied when they walked through the main hall. “In those days, we were the most powerful and noted Order” blue eyes reminisced over days gone by. “Angelus had such potential, sadly he couldn’t control his urges and got himself cursed with the humanity of a soul”
Hazel eyes went from the portrait to the blonde inquisitively, “That’s why that darn yowling man-shaped dog is reduced to being kept in a cage? Because he got himself a soul?” Cordelia got it straight in her head. “Oh, works for me!” shrugging off the thought of being tarnished with a soul, the brunette pulled impatiently on her sibling’s arm. “Darla, wine!”
“Still so very young” Darla sighed at the youthful vampiress marching them towards the red, velvet curtain that led the way towards the Master’s downstairs living quarters.
If he yelled one more time, she was gonna scream or stake Willow so fast that the red head wouldn’t have time to blink. Tossing onto her left side and what she classed as her deafer side, Cordelia attempted to block out the damn howling by shoving a pillow over her ear.
“Ahh!” she sighed happily after a few minutes silence, maybe Willow had gotten bored of playing whatever game she made him play. After a few more silent moments, the brunette dared to remove the pillow from her face slowly before replacing it behind her head and snuggling down into it. Cordelia curled her sheets up until they were tucked under her chin and once again closed her eyes, hoping Keanu would pop up somewhere.
She was just about to pulled into the beckoning arms of delicious sleep when another loud yowling invaded her dream time and she angrily flung the sheets off her body. In full vampire face, Cordelia got out of her wonderful bed and yanked the pink robe from the back of her vanity chair and set about towards Willow’s little hole.
“I’ve had it up to here, she’s either gonna put a sock in it or I’m gonna make her get a life or see the damn light. I swear, that girl has gone too far this time” Cordelia marched intently down the hall, across the landing and through the oak door at the other end. “Five” she growled “Five nights in a God damn row she’s done this”
The second door she easily shoved open would have made a human man puff with effort in moving it, however Cordelia was too busy ranting none-too-quietly to marvel over her unnatural strength. Her bare feet making heavy slaps on the cold, concrete flooring and her angrily glinting eyes setting fire to everything in the red head’s wing. “WILLOW!” she bellowed when she tried unsuccessfully to find the other vampire.
Then she heard the trademark “Bored now” come from behind door number four.
“Does she honestly think that’s cool?” Cordelia asked herself incredulously as she barged through that very door. “Ten bucks says she’s using the matches… Willow, what the hell are you playing at?” she growled at the sneering red head, “Do you have any idea what time it is?”
Rising from her kneeling position in front of her Puppy, Willow turned bored and uninterested green eyes onto the fuming brunette. Red leather pants hugged her small but proportioned legs, black heeled combat boots made a clunking sound as she walked towards the intruding vampiress and her black top curled around her petite figure as she sashayed. “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?” she purred, licking her ruby red lips and tilting her head to one side.
“Haven’t you heard of consideration for others?” Cordelia snarked back, thankful her uninvited presence had caused the damn yowling to cease. She vowed to sleep in here tonight if only to get her first decent night’s sleep this week. Running French manicured fingers through her waist-long chestnut hair, she kept her eyes on the other vampiress as she turned to hang up the leash she was holding. No matches tonight then, she owed herself ten big ones.
“I do have consideration for others… Just not you” Willow retorted as she turned back to face her high school tormentor. For years, that girl had made her feel like she wasn’t worth anything and made her feel stupid and unwanted. She couldn’t help but wait for the day when she could get the chance to show Cordelia Chase just what she was now.
Looking suitably unimpressed by the retort, Cordelia rolled her eyes upward “Lord help me, I thought I’d never see the day when somebody would use worse sarcasm than Harmony Kendal, but hey! Miracles never cease” lowering her eyes from the ceiling, she inspected the manicure Darla had done earlier and was put out by a tiny chip in the white tipping. “Great, now look what your keeping me awake has done” she held up her hand as proof.
Prising his tired eyes open at the sound of someone clearly biting his Mistress’s head off, Angel rolled onto his bruised side and peered through the gun-metal grey bars of his prison. He offhandedly wondered if his Mistress had finally killed him and it was the devil that was snapping in anger at his pained yells. When dull, fireless brown eyes landed on dainty feet Angel figured it couldn’t have been the devil who had red polish on her toes and it wouldn’t be the devil who had the Aurelius symbol in a silver chain around her ankle.
His sudden coughing made both female vampires look his way, a gleaming set of unsympathetic eyes set on him and emotionless green eyes landed on what they had been looking at all day. “Oh for crying out loud” Cordelia huffed and shoved her arms across her barely covered chest, “At least give him a bowl of water or something would you? I don’t want any vampy coughing disease”
You’re so kind” Angel’s hoarse and broken voice sounded out his dry comeback to the brunette’s version of caring. The use of his throat for that one sentence had him coughing harshly, his large body wracked with violent jerks as he slowly healed from the injuries caused by his Mistress.
Turning her attention away from Willow, Cordelia pitter-pattered the few feet to stand in front of the cage and peered down at the vampire she knew only as Angelus. His hair was dark brown, almost black and a spiked hairstyle that went out with flares. Though he was laying in a foetal position, she could see the power he physically held in his body. Apart from the already healing bruising, burn and whip marks, his chest was more or less perfectly contoured with underlying muscle she just knew would be solid.
His face was well-defined with a stubborn chin, his nose was a little large obviously due to numerous breakages and his eyes, though dull, were a stunning shade of dark amber. Pale lips were shaped perfectly from the way the lower lip was fuller to the Cupid’s bow that arched in his upper lip.
“So this is Angelus, the vampire who couldn’t control his urges” hazel eyes went from Angel back to Willow. “And you haven’t even had the decency to get the poor guy to a hairdresser” Cordelia shook her head pitifully down at the hurt vampire on the floor of a cage. “No wonder he howls, God could you imagine what he would see if he looked in a mirror? It’s gotta be emotionally stunting when you have an out-of-date hairstyle” shifting her sly gaze back to the red head “Wouldn’t you agree Willow?”
He wasn’t so hurt that he missed the insult the pretty vampiress gave to his Mistress and he struggled to disguise his snort of laughter as a cough.
Suddenly the door to the chamber flung open once again, allowing Cordelia’s currant on-off beau to waltz inside. “Hey Xander” Willow purred as she moved to cosy up to the vampire. His dark hair flopped over into his eyes, his tongue darted out of his mouth to whet his lips as he looked at the undressed vampiress gazing down at the caged Puppy.
“Been having fun again?” Xander asked, removing the arms of Willow from around his neck and walked to stand next to Cordelia much to the resentment of the red head.
“Mmm, he’s no fun anymore” Willow pouted and joined the other vampires in gazing down at Angel. “I need a new Puppy, or a maybe a Kitty” green eyes slid towards the brunette standing next to her. If only the Master didn’t hold her in such a high regard, she knew just who she would have in that cage. Maybe there was a way to kidnap Cordelia and have her disposed of before anyone else could find out. After all, no one could blame her could they? The torment she’d endured at school because of the stuck-up bitch was enough cause for her to seek revenge.
“Willow, before you think about getting another playmate I strongly suggest you try getting an unlife first,” Cordelia remarked before sighing loudly. “Okay, you” she pointed sharply down at Angel who was looking up at her, “Be quiet or I’ll stuff one of my sire’s dirty socks down your throat and you” she looked to Willow.
“You’re still a loser. My work here is done, goodnight! Xander?” she arched an eyebrow, silently demanding he walk her back to her bedroom.
“Later Will,” this time he might actually get some.
Sitting on his throne-like seat in his quarters, the Master waited patiently for his youngest childe to approach him with her side of last night’s encounter with the red head. The brunette unhooked her arm from Darla’s, letting the blonde drift away towards his guardsmen and begin flirting lightly, making him smile fondly as they became all but putty in her hands.
“Sire” Cordelia knelt respectfully before the Master, her head lowered but peeking up through her darkened eyelashes. “You summoned me” she waited for his answer.
Running his hand smoothly across her skull, he caressed the softness of her hair and slid down until he was able to tilt her chin up so she was looking directly at him. Ochre eyes bore with deceptive calmness into her unnatural golden ones, he wanted an explanation for the disturbance of the night before. “My precious Beauty” he purred richly, “I have received reports of your uninvited intrusion into the red head’s chamber last night and subsequently allowing the young man to escort you back to your room”
“Yes sire, it’s true but the yowling went on for hours last night and it was the fifth night in a row I missed out on important beauty sleep” Cordelia gave her side with the utmost respect in her voice and expression was adoring towards her sire. “I only wanted her to quit it for a little bit, instead when I got in there she started the sniping comments first. Then Xander came in and yes he did walk me back to my room but he didn’t stay or get my panties off”
Her innocent honesty was one of the things he found amusing and he wanted to keep her innocent as she was his baby and only who he deemed worthy would be the one to take her hand in courtship. “Come sit, my dear” the Master held his wrinkled hand out for her to take and aided her in sitting on his lap. “Dear, young girl” he brushed the wispy strands of hair away from her heart-shaped face, “You must respect the rules of personal space my precious” her face fell slightly and her body tensed up involuntarily, readying herself for whatever her punishment maybe.
“My dear, I would not allow anyone to harm a hair on your pretty head not even myself” the Master assured his youngest, well not until she was well-groomed as a vampire and she had a long way to go for that to happen. “I have spoken to young Willow about her playtime hours and I have ordered her to be more considerate of not only you but all those who live in my Order”
A beaming, toothy smile was his reward for acting on her behalf and Cordelia flung her arms tightly around her sire, making Darla bite back a hysterical laugh at the expression on the Master’s face. “Thank you sire!” she gave his neck one last affectionate squeeze before letting go. “May I ask for permission to go with Darla to the mall tonight or am I requested to dine with you again?” to be requested by the Master, even you were a childe, was a great honour and she loved it when she was honoured. It was even better when both Darla and she were honoured at the same time for their sire seemed to love the attention they bestow on him.
“You may go spend some time with Darla” the Master both quashed her hopes and made her beam brightly at his permission. “Now leave me in peace, for both your presence shall surely give me whimsical aspirations. If I were a hundred years younger and my appearance were more flattering…”
“We know Daddy” Cordelia pressed a daughterly kiss on his cheek and grinned cheekily at her teasingly affectionate word. “You’d make us both your honeys” jumping down from her place on his lap, she skipped merrily to join the waiting vampiress at the entrance to the quarters when his next words ceased her movements.
“Beauty” the Master called out and she turned to face him, hoping he would request Darla and her to dine with him. “Young Xander is no longer allowed to escort you, instead I have given the Willow puppy to you” he may be souled but that was the reason he had chosen Angelus to guard her. The Master wasn’t stupid, when he read up on the abominable curse placed on the arrogant vampire he found it could be removed if happiness were to take place.
As things now stood on the Hellmouth, Angelus would be an incredible asset in bringing back the glory to his Order. As he did not wish for his Darla to associate with Angelus as they only caused more trouble than they were worth, he had made the decision to grant Cordelia with the noted vampire. That could work in a lot of ways, the Master mused, the young vampiress needed to learn how to be a vampire but it was useless pairing her up with Darla. Those girls only learned how to look more attractive so Cordelia hadn’t learned the art of vampirism at all.
Though Darla had been able to teach Angelus the art of becoming a noted vampire, it seemed his youngest childe’s interest in simple pleasures of shopping and other vanity things appealed to the young woman in Darla. The Master sighed whimsically, girls would be girls he thought and far be it from to disallow Cordelia of her wishes. She was still young and had much to learn, placing her in the care of a vampire like Angelus would be good for her.
“I have a Puppy?” the brunette asked, turning to look at Darla unsurely.
“Poor you” the blonde stated sympathetically, being lumbered with Angelus wasn’t something she would wish on her worst enemy let alone her favourite sibling.
“Darla Darling” the Master smiled at one of his most noted creations, “You are to go with your sibling to collect Angelus from young Willow to make sure there are no more petty arguments. Goodness knows this family has had more than it’s share of problems lately”
“Sire” Darla spoke in understanding.
Blowing her sire an exaggerated kiss, Cordelia once again linked arms with the blonde and all but dragged her out ready for their weekly trip to the mall, both girls discussing anything clothes-wise.
Smacking her lips together, Darla smudged the light beige lipstick until her sibling stated the colour was even on her lips. Running a slender fingertip across her upper lip, the blonde brushed away a spot where the make-up felt a little thick. “Much better, Cordelia dear?”
“Yeah, almost ready Darla” there was a rustle of a zip, a small clang of plastic bottles followed by a loud crash that had the elder vampire wincing. “Ooops… Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to get another bottle. With Angelus being assigned to be my escort now I guess our sire will let me go to the mall more than once a week. Don’tcha think?”
“Dear, sire would let you have his horse if you asked him” Darla replied with a smirk that grew into a wide grin when Cordelia emerged a little dishevelled from the bathroom. Strands of hair was raised with static, the berry shading on her lips was smudged over her lip line and her cheeks were flushed with a pretty red blush.
“Bed head’s in according to Cosmos”
“I think you just had a hard time getting that sweater over your head” Darla remarked knowingly, it had taken quite sometime to get used to putting certain types of clothes on without the use of a mirror. One of the main reasons why she now mainly wore classically elegant blouses, you could see what you were doing with the buttons.
“You couldn’t let my wallow in denial could you?” Cordelia frowned at the observant blonde in front of her. When her sibling went to speak, she held up her hand to silence the words she knew would pour from her mouth. “Don’t, I know how stinky the Nile is Darling and I don’t need to be reminded again this century or the next one for that matter”
“That’s if you live that long dear” with a sigh, Darla began to straighten the neck of younger vampire’s sweater and stood back to admire the outfit. “You thought five days of listening to Angelus yowling was bad, just wait until he’s babbling incoherently in your ear for five days”
“I told him he’d better be quiet or I’d shove one of the Master’s dirty socks down his throat!” Cordelia snickered and peered down at the new clothes she got from the mall. A roll-neck sweater a dark amethyst in colour, a lighter dusky purple mini-skirt that reached mid-thigh and flesh-toned fishnet tights topped off with black, suede ankle boots. “Well?” she asked with an indecisive expression.
“Stop looking for praise you won’t get Cordelia, you have to pick a puppy from the litter!” having had enough of the vampiress’s posing and self-complimenting, Darla all but pushed her sibling out of her bedroom door. “I wonder if our Sire is going to summon William and Drusilla, it would be fun to have a family reunion” the Master had confided in her about his curse-lifting plan and she hoped to God it worked.
Though she could say with honesty, she despised Angel both with and without a soul, she knew he had the mind to bring back the power from the other clan trying to take over their territory and gain total control over the Hellmouth in general. If that happened, then who knew what would become of the Order of Aurelius. Maybe Cordelia and her little, human quirks she still possessed would have a good effect on the lack of Angelus self-control.
Time would tell.
Slamming her body hard onto his lap, Willow used all her strength to exert near unbearable pressure on his groin and caused Angel to choke back a high-pitched whimper of male pain. “I’m gonna miss you Puppy” the red head cooed to the vampire trying not to struggle, “I better make sure our last few moments together are unforgettable”
“Everything about you is forgettable” Angel bit out; if he was soulless she wouldn’t dare look at him without permission much less speak to him the way she did. This vampire was an amateur compared to the likes of him, Spike, Drusilla and Darla. “You’re an amateur” since he knew he was being given a new Mistress, he felt there was no point in biting back what he thought of Willow. “Sorry” he choked on a bloodied cough, “I mean loser”
He hadn’t missed the furious expression that wiped the smirk from her face at the pretty vampiress’ insult. He had also seen the way Willow had paused from attacking the brunette as she got frowned upon.
A small fist full of unnatural power collided with his cheek, sending his face snapping to the side. “Loser am I?” Willow growled, the fury making her human visage slip from place to reveal the demon. Removing her body from atop his, she turned and went straight for the metal whips she had. The snake-like shaped slipped through her palm until she cracked it off the cold, grey concrete with a loud, metallic clash. “You haven’t learned very well have you Puppy?” her emerald eyes were full of mock pity and sympathy for what she was about to do too him before she was forced to give him up.
It didn’t surprise her in the least, being chosen once again over Cordelia Chase she was used to it. Willow saw everyone who sided with the stuck-up bitch as a traitor to her; though Xander was clearly only using the brunette for her looks and her closeness to the Master, he still put the bitch above her. He was the only one that wouldn’t cross her vengeance one of these days, but Darla and the Master himself would pay for watching the bitch humiliate her every chance she got.
She’d show them just who she had become, she promised that to herself and she was not going to let herself down.
As rage at her human self spilled over, Willow watched as her metal whip cracked off Angel’s back, splitting both his already torn shirt and welted skin. “You’ll learn Puppy” she repeated the movement continuously until he couldn’t hold back his pained snarls anymore and his face shifted to that of his demon. “Aww, does Puppy want to bite?” she mocked him, the metal flicking through the air one more time and landing on his back. “I guess I’ll have to get you a muzzle, can’t have you biting now can I? Unless your biting Master’s pet of course”
Angel didn’t miss the bitter sarcasm in her voice as she referred to, he assumed, was the pretty vampire with the hair and pink robe from the other night. She’d saved him from extra hours of playing puppy with his Mistress and he wanted to thank her, even if she only did it to have a quiet night’s sleep she still saved him. Flicking his tongue over his now exposed fangs, he turned glinting tigers’ eyes on the red head, breathing unnecessarily with inner rage. “What’s the matter?” he purred through coughing, “Still an unpopular loser?” it was only thing he had over her.
If what was said the other night was true, then he guessed the pretty brunette had been part of the In Crowd at school and his Mistress had not. From his point of view, something so trivial shouldn’t cause embedded feelings of resentment but obviously his Mistress didn’t think it was a trivial matter and he was going to take advantage of it. “The Master only cares about his best and brightest, obviously you’re neither the best or the brightest. Must be the fact you don’t have breasts to keep your brains in”
“Err hello!” he could feel a fingernail prodding his side, “Wake up, you’re not dead or anything, well you are technically but you’re not dust so I know you can open your eyes” a cheery, female voice slowly broke through the intense pain his body was now feeling. “I totally cannot believe that loser freak would do this to me” the female voice snarked out.
What Willow did to her? He was the one in agony.
“How am I supposed to be seen with a man who closely resembles a giant bruise? God, I always knew that girl was selfish. Hello! Wake up would you? I prod you anymore, I’ll break my nail!”
Cranking his eyes open, Angel’s blurry vision slowly swam into focus as his brown eyes landed on the pretty vampiress from the other night. “See?” she stated triumphantly, “That wasn’t so hard was it, hmm?” She was leaning totally over him, her face mere inches from his as she studied his battered appearance intensely.
Dried blood covered his lips and nose, one eye was black and blue, his chest was littered with burn marks and bruises while his back was numb from the whipping. “At least you’re not wheezing anymore, that’s a bonus because I don’t know if I could handle being around Mr. Wheezy and I’m not into sharing other vampire’s germs especially ones caught from Miss Vamp of the Century”
“I’ve got some yummy O pos for you all fresh and warm, I chose O pos cus that’s my favourite and you’ll be pleased to know it came from a girl, not a guy. Males feeding from other males is just gross, that’s the reason why I feed off men cus I can’t see me sticking my fangy parts into another girl can you?”
His soul protested wildly while the demon thanked Satan for the fresh, human blood instead of the vermin his old Mistress fed him on. “No human blood” Angel wanted to vocalise, but he was too weak off feeding from vermin which didn’t give him nearly what he needed. Before he could actually form any words of protestation, he had a straw popped into his mouth.
“Good boy!” he felt the pretty one pat his head, causing him to frown as he took the first sip of blood while ignoring the breaking of his soul in the knowledge someone had been killed for it. “No, they haven’t been killed yet” Cordelia informed him brightly, “It’s from one of those vampy ‘hos who let the males bite for free. Can you say sluttish? Of course you can’t cus you’re drinking”
This was one of the Master’s favourite’s? She couldn’t be more than a month old at very least.
After the first few sips, Angel already felt his healing start mending the damage caused by his last comment to his old Mistress. The thick, rich blood was flowing like a fresh stream down his throat and bathing his tongue in the tastiest thing he’d eaten in months. His gaze stayed glued to the pretty one still leaning over him with a half-smile on her berry coloured lips and her own gaze blinking owlishly down at him. “Have you been told what you’re doing with me yet?”
Angel shook his head, then waited for the throbbing headache to begin which normally happened when he moved his head after being beaten unconscious. When the throbbing never came, he relaxed a little and continued to drink the in bigger quantities. He was going to hate himself when it sank in he was drinking human blood.
“Oh in that case, allow me to introduce myself to you” Cordelia’s lips twirled up completely into a beaming smile that revealed her fangs. “I’m Cordelia Chase and you are gonna be my new guard, according to my sire you’re also supposed to teach me how to be a real vampire cus Darla couldn’t teach me. My sire said that all we do is look pretty and do him wonders. He’s the greatest, isn’t he?” her eyes sparkled at the thought of so much attention from her sire.
There were many words Angel knew of that could describe the Master, greatest certainly wasn’t one of them. Suddenly, a loud slurping noise disturbed her next words before the formed on her lips and Cordelia realised her new guard had drank all the blood. “Cool, you want more cus I can send someone to get some? It’s no trouble for me so don’t worry about it”
Of course it was no trouble for her, she wasn’t the one who would be going to get it.
“In the portrait in the main hall, you look really good in it. You’re naturally handsome or the artist did one hell of a job on you” Cordelia mindlessly talk as she finally removed her face from above his and moved to get some attention for some more blood for Angel. “I need more blood” she called out to her currant guard outside her room, she was going to miss that guy when he went. Good service was hard to find these days and he didn’t tell on her when he found her and Darla a little drunk that one time.
“Do you want O pos or something else?”
“Not human” Angel murmured, easing his large frame onto his side and gasping when the scars on his back pulled tightly, making his skin feel like it was on fire. Pain-filled dark amber eyes settled on her expectant face, a silent plea within the orbs as he asked for something other than human blood. “No human blood… Please Mistress”
Her perfectly shaped eyebrows rose high and a confused expression crossed her face as Cordelia began thinking if she could none-human blood anywhere on the premises. “I don’t know Angelus” she shook her head thoughtfully, having no problems using his soulless name at all. “Xena Warrior Vamp really did a number on you” she stated, “You need the human blood for healing right?”
Human blood would be better for his body’s healing ability but his soul overpowered both common sense and the demon’s instinctive response to the offer of humanity. “I won’t drink it, Mistress” he didn’t think she would torture him like the other one so he went with speaking freely to her.
“I’m not a, going on a mouse hunt. B, not going to feed you a puppy or a kitten and c, you are not gonna be my guardian while you have rat breath. I have a reputation that you won’t destroy” Cordelia countered his refusal to drink the offered blood. “What? Is human blood not good enough for you just cus you’re all soullified?”
Angel was too stunned to hear an obviously soulless vampire out and out refuse to let him drink a puppy or kitten. What kind of vampire was she? “Are you soulled?” he couldn’t help asking, no other vampire would have a problem with feeding from puppies or kittens so why did she?
“Err hello? I feed from humans, men only mind you, but still humans and that’s after I boot em in their goolies!” a cheeky grin spread across her heart-shaped face and he had to stop a responding smile from forming. “Look, if I promise to get the blood from a skanky vampire ‘ho, would that be good enough for your royal soulliness?”
“Do I have a choice?”
Though she was soulless, Cordelia was a different kind of vampire who’s idea of torture was leaving a shop without buying anything.
She was funny, highly intelligent and had a way of getting around almost anyone, including the Master it seemed. The thing that surprised him the most about her was her lack of interest in typical vampire behaviour.
Not once had Cordelia moved to cause him any kind of pain, not once had she shown any interest in the torture of anyone in particular. When Angel had asked why she didn’t bother, the brunette had simply replied with…
Rolling her hazel eyes, the perky brunette popped her chewing gum as she shook her head. “What? And waste a boat load of energy on a totally pointless act? I plan on living a long time and slipping with a sharp, pointy thing is so not on my to-do list. Besides, why would I want my hair to be tangled with sticky blood?”
She was the most self-serving yet unselfish vampiress Angel had the pleasure of meeting, when he asked why she was aiding his healing, Cordelia had openly stated she wouldn’t be seen dead with a walking bruise. When he had pointed out the fact she was already dead she had pointed out that statement was just a small, unimportant technicality.
These thoughts in mind, he brushed past the deep red drapes that cornered off his grandsire’s chamber.
Without any show of respect towards his grandsire, Angel entered the Master’s quarters with a lazy saunter. Arms were relaxed by his sides and expression was neutral, showing no outward signs that he was on red alert. Every trained sense as a predator were finely honed as he prepared for any sort of attack that might come his way.
Looking Angelus over, the Master held a secretive gleam in his aged orbs when he took in his attire. A dark crimson velvet shirt hung from the powerful frame of his grandchilde, the neat hem trailed down over his black leather pants and the informal combat boots completed the outfit. Angelus face had healed well, gone were the bruises Willow had bestowed upon him during her playtime and his handsome features were graced with a slightly curved smirk.
“Still have no regard for your elders,” the Master’s deep voice spoke condescendingly towards Angel as he ran his gaze over his childe’s guardian.
At the deep, spoken words of his grandsire Angel shook away his thoughts and turned his full and undivided attention to the eldest vampire. “Sire, always a pleasure. I would say mine but we both know different.” He couldn’t hold the last comment back and inwardly readied for an attack.
The Master’s guardsmen instantly moved away from their spot near the entrance, their flashing eyes targeting the one who dared insult their sire. Angel’s face narrowed into suspicion when his grandsire waved off their violent intentions with a sweep of his clawed hand.
Instead of taking the bait, the Master ignored what Angelus had said and brought up the matter of business.
“I see my Beauty has taken it upon herself to dress you up, Angelus” the Master spoke, not being able to help the affectionate smile that swept across his demonic face at the mention of his youngest childe. “What do you think of your Mistress?” he leaned back in his throne, watching the face of his grandchilde oh so carefully. He needed his plan to work or else the Order of Aurelius wouldn’t last much longer.
The aged demonic gaze regarded his grandchilde, intensely searching for any signs of attachment from Angelus to his favoured. The vampire in front of him had gone quiet and the Master felt a sliver of hope run through his ancient bones.
“She’s very young.” Under the manner he was being watched, Angel chose his words carefully. “I take it I’m to, what, teach her the ways of being a vampire?” Someone had to do it or else she’d end up dust quicker than her nail polish could dry.
Tapping a claw against the strong wooden arm of his throne, the Master nodded his affirmation of the statement. “You are to guard Cordelia Angelus, she is my youngest childe and I do not wish any harm to come to her. I need not tell you of the repercussions if such a thing should happen.” Willow’s playtime would be a walk in the park compared to what he would do too Angelus if he failed.
Not once did the Master miss the flicker of insult within the dark amber gaze of his grandchilde at the insinuation applied. Angelus was more than capable of keeping Cordelia safe and teaching her. If his grandchile hadn’t been so antagonising, he would have chosen him to be his protege.
“Your trust in me is duly noted sire” Angel responded with as little sarcasm as he could manage.
“That is all Angelus, leave me now” the Master dismissed him with a wave of his unnatural hand before raising a ridged eyebrow when the younger vampire never moved from his spot.
Taking a confident step towards his grandsire, Angel’s readiness to fight intensified when the guards responded to his daring move. “If you’ll pardon me sire, I have some questions of my own. Why have I been chosen to have your youngest as my charge when you despise me so clearly?”
There was something else going on here, he could feel and see it written in the ochre gaze boring down at him with a quiet warning. “Why am I allowed the privilege of walking around, unguarded, when only a few days ago I was kept in a cage?”
“You were once a legend” the Master replied evenly and ignored the last question. Dragging a clawed hand thoughtfully across his creased jaw and letting his hand drop back to the chair arm. A shimmer of respect glittered in the old orbs as he spoke of the younger vampire’s more agreeable traits. “Despite your arrogance, reckless nature and disgusting soul, you are a true vampire”
The shimmer of respect that had surprised Angel disappeared as the more familiar disdain crept into the old vampire’s orbs. “My Beauty retained many of her human wiles, you have the humanity” the word was spat out as though the Master couldn’t stand the taste of it on his tongue. “You hold the humanity of a soul, I will not insult your intelligance, if you behold that talent, by elaborating further”
The unspoken, hidden meaning was easily missed by the dark haired vampire as he didn’t know the full extent of what his grandsire had planned. Nor did he know the about the clause of his curse. Taking the first thing that made sense in what the Master said and stated “Use my humanity to relate too Cordelia in order to teach her”
His deformed mouth crinkled up somewhat as he regarded his grandchilde. “I have given you your answers Angelus, now leave” this time, the warning was as crystal clear as the ochre orbs locked onto his shaded amber one. The Master watched with a smile as Angelus backed up a few paces before turning to leave.
There had been a dramatic shift in power between the three ruling clans when seven of his best had been disposed of last night. Soren, his main worry, now had control of the Eastern section of the Hellmouth after defeating both clansmen belonging to Aurelius and Drekkin.
They were once known throughout the underworld as being the most powerful clan, never had he been forced to use his senior vampires in a war but he was fast being left with no other option. Summons had been sent to all belonging to the Order of Aurelius, including those newly born except for Darla and Cordelia of course.
William the Bloody, his companion and sire, sweet Drusilla were expected to arrive within the week as were a few of his own choosing. All brutal, well-noted and all above one hundred years of age, each vampire would bring this family to the height it had once been.
Sighing with satisfaction and slight mental disturbance, the Master could only sit back and wait.
As he strolled across the grand space of the lobby, the dark haired vampire knew there was more to the Master’s wishes than just having his youngest protected and taught. He had gone from being kept in a cage and subjected to Willow’s less than nice versions of fun to being allowed too freely walk around without the concern of threat. There had to be more going on, he could feel it and he would somehow find out exactly what he was wanted for.
Angel ascended the spiral staircase with heavy footsteps, feeling very uncomfortable in clothing he normally would only adorn when soulless. Cordelia had made very sure he wore what she told him too, right down to his signature and symbolic ring on the fourth finger of his right hand. Pushing off the banister with that very hand, the vampire’s gaze caught sight of the large and expertly created portrait on the wall overlooking the landing.
Immediately, his eyes were drawn to his sire and once over companion, Darla. The woman who had taught him mostly everything about being a vampire, she had taught him the hunt, catch and kill with an ease he had efficiently mastered within days of his becoming. Even a picture made his lips curl up with horror as he remembered their brief but tempestuous affair.
“Dear boy, how good it isn’t to see you after all this time” the low, throaty and distinctly female voice had him facing his sire for the first time in just over half a century. Darla linked her hands together behind her back as she sauntered up to her childe and looked him over with a knowing smirk.
“Darla” Angel’s greeting was clearly forced, his voice and posture stiff as he returned her gaze. Her blonde hair was neatly curled into loose waves, the shiny strands teasing her bare shoulders with stray wisps softening her features. Big, blue eyes lit up with extreme hatred as she focused entirely on him and shapely, full lips arched up in an equally forced smile. “It’s been a long time”
“Not long enough” Darla told him, the quicker they got this out of the way the longer she wouldn’t have to stare up at his face. “I would ask about your well-being Angelus, but that would mean I care.” Silence descended on the ex-companions as neither were willing to turn the gaze away from the other. Blue eyes held boredom and disgust as she stared into human-like orbs.
In return, deep amber eyes held pity as Angel saw her as a lost cause. Rivalry and blame shone behind the pity, they had both ended up trying to best each other and finally, she was the one who brought him the gypsy girl. She made him what he was and he hated her for it.
“Are we done?” again, Angel wasn’t stupid to verbally lash one of the Master’s favoured childer and so he proceeded to get their unwanted meeting out of the way.
“Definitely” continuing her lazy stroll along the landing, the blonde vampiress breezed past him with sheer hatred pouring from her. “God, I could eat his eyeballs” she hissed to herself as she pushed the far door open and disappeared through it.
Rubbing his palm over his face tiredly, Angel rolled his eyes at her parting words he was sure she wanted him to hear. “That was nice” he commented dryly, all the while the cogs of his brain were ticking over trying to figure out why his presence was being more than tolerated by the Master and Darla. He had gone from being caged with Willow and used a vent for her boredom to having the privilege of guarding the currant apple of the Master’s eye and having the freedom to do as he pleased in the house.
It may take him time, but he would figure out what was going on and he wasn’t so dense to believe that it was nothing. Taking one last wistful glance at the portrait, Angel resumed his walk towards his new quarters next to Cordelia’s bedroom.
Pacing her dark bedroom, Willow simmered with quiet fury at having her playmate taken from her and given to the Master’s Bitch. Now she was bored, it was light outside and she had nothing to do whatsoever. The only thing that kept going round her head was the conversation she’d had with her sire a day or two earlier…
The Master watched with a knowing stare as the young red head respectfully approached him, leaving the one who called himself Xander waiting for her at the entrance to his private room. Large green eyes locked onto his as Willow knelt before him, not thinking to lower her head before being granted permission to state her piece. “You requested my presence young one?”
“Yes sire” he pleased she had at least remembered to address him formally.
“Then speak, do not keep me from my business Willow” his tone was rich with easy tolerance and a little impatience as he continued to wait her response to his questioning of her business with him.
Rising to her feet, she finally gave him what he asked of her. “I’m here to request having Puppy back in my care. I promise to be more considerate of my playtime so not to disturb Beauty” she had to choke back from saying her own pet name for the brunette. “Or anyone else from their rest” now she waited his permission.
“Your Puppy is now to be referred as Angelus, young Willow” the Master stated clearly. “No longer is he to be played with or tormented, he has been given the duty of guarding your younger sibling and he shall continue to serve in such a manner until I see fit”
Her ruby red lips parted a little as her eyes widened at his words, to her it seemed like Puppy got more privileges than she did. Folding her arms defensively across her chest, Willow closed her mouth as she came up with a countering argument in order to get Puppy back. “Sire” she began in a controlled voice, “Wouldn’t Beauty” again she had to choke on that name “Be far better off under the care of a normal vampire? I don’t see what good can come of having Pu… Angelus catering to her well-being would be. After all he has the shame that is a soul”
“It pleases me greatly that you have your sibling’s interest at heart dear Willow” the Master blatantly ignored her point, turning debating words against her. “I assure you, young Cordelia is in the best of care with Angelus. There are many humans for you to choose from, I am more than sure that one will be to your liking”
After that, Willow had been gracefully dismissed from her sire’s presence; angry at being denied her wishes for Puppy back, the red head had taken his advice and went to get herself a new pet. This time, she had chosen a teenage brunette with large, pretty eyes who had gotten her so very hot that by the time she had chained the girl in the cage, she had used her shamelessly.
“What I wouldn’t give for one, single hour with Bitch” Willow purred, running the tip of a razor-sharp blade along her palm and watching as tiny stream of blood appeared, staining her pale flesh and pretending it was Cordelia’s. One day soon, that vampiress was going to see just how much she had learned.
Shuffling the deck of cards, Cordelia popped her chewing gum loudly and grinned at Angel. Her dark bronze lips furling upwards and the smile reaching her eyes, making the golden hazel light up. “Okay Angelus, what are we playing for?”
The male vampire hadn’t missed the way she distracted him from broaching the subject of her vampiric lessons. She was clever, conniving and vindictive. He would bet his life she could give Darla lessons. “Mistress, we can play cards later” Angel’s voice was as firm as he could make it under the wieght of sparkling hazel eyes and sunny smile. How was it possible for a vampire to be so bright? “You have to start paying attention”
“Aurgh!” she pouted petulantly, letting her card-holding hand flop to the table they were sitting at. “You sound like my old school teacher did when he wasn’t getting any… Maybe that’s your problem Angelus, you know, lack of all things horizontal”
He was not going to bring up the subject of the very poor state of his sex life with her. “That isn’t any of your business, Mistress” Angel pulled the deck of cards away from her hands and proceeded to tuck them neatly into the box. “If you don’t start to learn about vampire ways then you’re going to end up dust” and if that happened then he’d be dust after a few years of agonising torture.
“Please stop calling me Mistress, you make me sound like my old school principal which isn’t of the good cus it was a he and he had apparently gotten eaten.” Cordelia scrunched up her heart-shaped face in minor disgust as she remembered the rumours going round before the Master ascended. “Can you imagine being eaten by a bunch of stinky, gothic wannabe lowlives?”
“Can you imagine being eaten by a dead person?” Angel pointed out to her, if she thought being eaten by gothic people was bad then how would she feel if a vampire, a dead person, were to try and eat her.
“Hello! Vampire here!” she announced as though he were an idiot. “In order to be a dead person, you need to be eaten by a dead person. So yeah, I can easily imagine being eaten by a dead person” she watched smugly as Angel frowned at being caught by his own words. “So how exactly are you planning to teach me the art of being a vampire?”
That was a very good question, how exactly was he going to train her? He’d had three childer of his own but Cordelia was different to them and he doubted she would relate to his past methods. He really couldn’t imagine using dark, dominating techniques to shape her to what he wanted. Nor could he imagine keeping her chained up for days on end while he tortured all signs of humanity out of her.
Knowing his luck, she’d probably demand for the chains to be hand painted to match her outfit and complain loudly until he wore matching bondage attire.
Unlike his previous childer, Cordelia was already a month old so he couldn’t teach her the way he would a newborn. Not that there was much difference between her and a newborn. She had been sheltered, molly-coddled by her sire and Darla it seemed. Sheltering any vampire from their nature could be a fatal mistake, especially with one like her.
Angel knew he had to take her out to see how she got her prey, see how she acted on the chase. As much as it killed his soul, he had to admit to being curious too what she was really like when in vampire mode. “How would you like to go out tonight?”
The beaming grin that was turned his way slightly made up for the hurt of helping her kill. Her fangs were visible before she ran her pale pink tongue over the white, deadly points. Her cheeks puffed up, a tiny dimple appeared at the corner of her mouth and her button nose wrinkled up. “I’ll have to ask Master though cus he wouldn’t be happy if I just left… Hey! Maybe Darla can come too cus that woman knows how to party!”
Angel inwardly cringed at the mention of his sire and grandsire. “In that case I’ll go request his presence…”
“I’ll go with you cus I haven’t seen my sire for two whole days and that isn’t good for my social standing” Cordelia told him before jumping up out of her chair with exaggerated enthusiasm. Her bare feet padded across the thick red carpet on her floor as she strode into the bathroom to freshen up.
While she was in there, Angel took a good hard look around her sleeping quarters with a critical eye. Rich plum, heavy curtains were drawn away from the large bay window allowing him the opportunity to step out onto her balcony if he wished. A beautiful and obviously hand-crafted vanity dresser stood adjacent to the bed with a felted seat.
Her queen-sized bed was a four-poster with a luxurious mattress and quilted duvet in a dark but vibrant raisin shade. The pale cream net drifted down over the top to be tied to each post with a little ribbon. Fake sunflowers decorated the two empty corners in the room, adding a quirky touch to the room.
Cordelia’s wardrobe was what caught his attention, rising from his seat Angel moved to stand in front of it. Curiosity got the better of him and he opened the double doors to peer at her clothing. Dark eyebrows rose high when he saw the skimpy tops, slinky skirts and dresses. “What is she planning on doing? Going on holiday?” he muttered with a shake of his head as he closed the doors.
“Are you finished playing sneak through Cordy’s clothes now? Or do you wanna rummage through my unmentionables?” Cordelia’s voice startled Angel as he realised he’d been staring at her clothes for the length of time she’d been in the bathroom and that scared him. “Or maybe” came her sly voice “You secretly want to try on my stuff. Not that anything would fit your big body”
Angel’s hands subconsciously went to feel his stomach “I don’t have a big body” and he didn’t. His gaze wandered over the young vampiress, taking her appearance. A short, babydoll dress in a warm shade of cerise skimmed her lithe frame and floated around her toned thighs teasingly. Her hair had been taken down from the loose ponytail and now the chestnut strands cascaded down the golden skin of her back in thick, luxurious waves.
Her lips were in a matching deep colour with slight wash of pink on her cheeks making her look flushed, as though she’d just been ravished. Long and dark eyelashes fluttered a little under his openly appreciative gaze before Cordelia flounced to his side. The movement causing the hem of her dress to reveal more of her thighs to his gaze. Toned femine muscles rippled under the silky skin, the tiny dress skirted the soft curves of her inner legs, making his mouth dry and eyes deepen to dark russet.
Angel simply put it down to the fact he hadn’t had any female contact for a very long time.
“Err, excuse me?” An impatient and questioning voice brought him out of thoughts he had had no business thinking especially about one of the Master’s favoured. The last time he had bad, erotic thoughts about the Master’s favourite, they had nearly killed each other. Happily.
Turning his oak shaded gaze in the direction of the light, tinkling female voice Angel found Cordelia peering up at him with all the innocence a new-born could possibly possess. Eyes were wide, the hazel irises flaring up with a bright gold fire, her gaze equalling his unknowingly. He wanted to see how many emotions could shine through that vixen gaze, wanted to explore what would make her give in to her demonic side and wanted to see what would make her lose control.
The latter he would find out sooner rather than later.
Within her spectacular golden gaze, impatience began to shimmer through her innocent sexual response causing that gold to melt into a warm shade of cognac. “What?” Angel’s voice was low, husky and melodious as he enquired what it was she wanted.
“Do I have to escort myself now?” Cordelia raised an elegant eyebrow at him as her lips thinned into a tight line of disrespect that he hadn’t even had the courtesy to offer her his arm.
“Do forgive me M’lady” Angel replied dryly, curling his arm at the elbow he watched as she delicately placed her smaller, perfectly manicured hand onto his bicep in acceptance. There wasn’t another vampire alive who would think of touching him like this when he had a soul, her sheer acceptance simply made him feel. “I shall escort you to see your sire to ask permission to leave the grounds” he continued with the gentlemanly game she brought up.
“Why than you kind sir” Cordelia said in turn, mimicking a very bad accent used by actresses portraying damsels in distress. “However shall I repay you?” she mocking fanned her face as he opened her bedroom door easily, allowing her to step through.
“Can you not call me Angelus please, Cordelia?” Angel asked, he hadn’t gone by the name he took when he was soulless since, well, he had gotten his soul and now it was only people who knew him addressed him by that name. It was a name his soul despised as it was a reminder to what he was. A demon with the face of an angel. He wasn’t an angel in anyway, shape or form but he was a demon and a brutal one by all accounts.
Blinking owlishly in confusion, the vampiress glanced up at her guardian “Why not? It’s kinda nice I guess, but I’ve never heard my sire or Darla call you by anything else. But I suppose if you can stop calling me Mistress then I guess I can stop calling you Angelus. Sooo… What do you wanna be called? You aren’t gonna say anything lame like Lestat are you? Or worse, Dracula… You’re not him are you?”
Trying his hardest to follow her rapid-fire talking, Angel only caught little parts to her speech and made up what he didn’t fully understand. “No, I’m not Dracula Cordelia” how many times did he have to be asked that before it sank in? “My name is Angel”
She seemed to ponder over his name for a few seconds before speaking enthusiastically with an accompanying skip to her step. “Wow! I have my own Guardian Angel like Frenchy did in Grease. How did you get a soul? Before I heard of you I never knew souls could be given on demand. What? Is there a House of Souls in Rodeo Drive now?”
Suddenly his relaxed demeanour changed at line questioning, Angel’s icy exterior had Cordelia blowing out puffs of unneeded air to see if her breaths could be seen. “I guess I shouldn’t ask stuff that isn’t really anything to do with me huh? Oh well, I’m sure you’ll forgive my crossing of the privacy line won’t you?” Dark eyelashes fluttered as a sweet, coaxing smile spread across her plush lips and her face tilted to one side.
He couldn’t hold back the soft smile at the way the brunette’s doe eyes twinkled and a thick chestnut wave twirled flirtatiously around a slim finger. “Of course I will M’lady” Angel responded as his mind waded through the memory of what he did to the undeserving Gypsy girl in order for her family to seek vengeance by granting him his soul.
Before they realised it, both vampires were stood outside the curtain to the Master’s quarters. “I’m here to request my sire’s presence” Cordelia politely stated to the guardsman, “Angel would like his permission to take me ou…”
She didn’t have time to finish making her request for the vampire in question appeared from the curtain pulled open from inside. “Ahh my Beauty” the Master addressed her with an affectionate sigh as his eye caught her hand on his grandchilde’s arm. “You look radiant my childe, what do I owe for such a pleasure?”
Angel recognised one of the problems for the lack of Cordelia’s interest in vampiric tendencies. The Master was clearly spoiling and lavishing too much attention on her, so she was probably living with the fact she would never have to take care of herself.
Letting her hold on Angel go, the young vampiress knelt before her sire and lowered her head until she received permission to state her business. “Dear, sweet Cordelia” the Master ran his clawed hand softly over the top of her head. “You are not needed to bow to me when I have regarded you first” he explained patiently. “However, your respect for me is impeccable, for which you shall be rewarded. You and your guard are required to dine at my table tomorrow’s eve”
Snapping her head up to face her sire, Cordelia’s face was filled with barely held back glee at his offer. “Really? At your personal table sire?” he had only offered Darla a place at his table before. “This so rocks!”
“Rise my Beauty, or you will crease your pretty dress” the Master watched through heavy and unusually strained eyes as his youngest gracefully lifted herself from her place. He took in everything, the way she was dressed, the way she kept stealing glances at Angelus and the way Angelus kept his eyes to the floor. His plan was working wonderfully just as he knew it would. “You look radiant my childe, don’t you agree Angelus?”
There was something in his grandsire’s gaze that immediately put Angel on edge. “Yes sire, indeed I do. Your childe is incredibly…” Hot? Gorgeous? Fuckable? Edible? Fetishly delectable? Young, sweet and waiting to be courted? A magnificent piece of walking female art with a great rack? All of the above? To be on the safe side, Angel went with “Beautiful”
Cordelia beamed brightly and her expression lit up at his praise of her physical appearance. Angel didn’t look that bad himself she thought to herself. Dressed as always in black leather pants, red velvet shirt and combat boots, the masculine image he projected made the female in her purr with delight. She grinned cheekily at first Angel and then the Master “Sire, may I request permission to leave the grounds please? Angel wants to take me for a night on the town”
Setting a hard gaze full of warning and hidden meaning on the male vampire. the Master enquired in a deceptively light voice. “Does Angelus vow to take good care of my girl?”
“Nothing would harm Cordelia, sire” Angel didn’t think he’d ever said more sincere words in his existence. “They would have to deal with me and we both know that can be an unpleasant experience”
“Then you may go” the Master granted, after returning his child’s delighted smile with an indulging one of his own he dismissed both vampires with a flourish of his hand. Watching Angelus leave with her, he clasped his hands behind his slightly hunched back as he was once again relegated to waiting until the family was once again whole.
Time would soon be running out.
Leading his newborn charge into the club owned and ran by the Master. Angel wasn’t oblivious to the stares both Cordelia and himself were now receiving from the other vampires.
The security at the entrance to the Bronze gave a simple nod when he recognised the young brunette and her companion instantly. His large hand placed firmly and protectively on the small of her back, his fingertips teasing the gentle curve of her ass as he guided her through the crowd towards the centre table.
Though her body had no human heat, Angel could swear his hand was beginning to burn from his simple touch and he had to stop himself from moving his hand from be back to circle around her slender waist. The silk of her dress rasped against the roughened skin on his palm, unconsciously causing him to increase the pressure of his grip slightly and circling his fingers slowly over the material, relishing the feel of it.
Rich and deep mahogany eyes roamed the goings on inside the club, taking in the willing and unwilling humans held in cages waiting for either the pain of death or the pleasure of a vampire bite. The demon within wanted so much more than a taste while the soul cried out to help.
Knowing there was no way he would get away with letting the caged humans go, Angel forced the hurt and disgust to the back of his mind. Dismissing the realisation that he found it a little too easy to do since seeing something like that wasn’t new to him.
Misty grey clouds circulated around them, the dim lights creating soft little beams through the smoky puffs, he frowned when the smoke seemed to dull the brightness of the hazel eyes peering up at him with a look he didn’t fully understand. “This is where you usually sit isn’t it?” Angel asked, turning his gaze from her strange gaze and looking at the luxurious sitting place they were now stood next to.
He just assumed that this seating area had been reserved for the the Master and his favoured. Each seat was decorated with plush velvet that looked soft to the touch with a throne-like chair at the end of the table. Two smaller but equally regal chairs sat at either side of the larger throne, leaving Angel no doubt about who those chairs belonged to.
“Yeah” Cordelia answered, clasping her hands behind her back and she began twisting her shoulders back and forth. The corners of her vibrant bubblegum pink lips curled up slightly, her eyebrows hitched up just a little and the hazel irises were suddenly glowing with flecks of a sparkling light gold.
Glancing unsurely between the seating place and the vampiress, Angel tried to figure out why she wasn’t sitting down in the chair he had pulled out for her. “Don’t you want to sit down?” If they sat down then he could start on her learning.
“Umm… We’re in a club which we came to for some funny fun fun, there is music, free people and dance floor. Do you think I wanna sit down yet? God, we just got here and already your old bones are complaining of arthritis”
“Dancing?” The last dance he had done was the waltz when he and Darla had crashed a politicians party years ago. He didn’t think that would go down quite so well. “I don’t dance”
Her shoulder twisting ceased, her curling smile drooped, the gold in her eyes disappeared and he immediately felt guilty. “Oh no mister I’ve been alive for two hundred and odd years” Cordelia snapped in a mockingly dangerous note as her finger began to make constant contact with his chest, making him stagger back a little. “That excuse won’t work with me. You brought me here, you’re my guard and my sire told you to take care of me. Taking care of me includes dancing with me”
Smacking her finger away from his chest and subconsciously rubbing the place she had prodded, “I don’t dance” Angel repeated in a much firmer voice. No force in Hell, Heaven or on Earth would get him to dance.
After an hour of watching Cordelia move in perfect synchronisation with the music, he began to wish he was moving with her.
Her dress flirted teasingly around her ass and upper thighs, the gentle curving of her hips moved provocatively and the chestnut tresses of her hair tumbled down her back, the dark strands contrasting stunningly with the deep cerise of her outfit. His warming gaze followed the long slender legs, mapping the way her calf muscles were enhanced with the heels encasing her feet.
On her left ankle was the silver chain, the sign of Aurelius dangling sweetly down her foot. He imagined running his forefinger down the top of her little feet, watching the way her well-kept toes curled with the ticklish sensation before using both hands to massage his way from top right the way back up to those hot, supple thighs. Her skin would feel so soft in comparison to his own, her muscles would respond to his touch and her mouth would sound out sultry little moans of appreciation.
He was officially a leg man by this point.
Angel tensed up dramatically when the centre of his attention was joined by a male vampire, obviously no-one special enough for her. Focusing his gaze on where the vampire was slowly inching his hands towards. Angel’s hands clenched into white-knuckled fists, his lips thinned formed a tight line and his body hummed with something akin to envious rage as he watched Cordelia sway closer to her dancing partner.
Then, the vampire’s hands curled completely around the firm curves of her ass and Angel stood up so violently that his chair was shoved to the floor with a clatter. The demon so tightly leashed by his soul snarled with rage as it watched what was his be touched by another vampire. Sickening thoughts of torture blazed in his flashing eyes as the intent to protect pushed the boundaries of his humanity.
However, he didn’t get to defend his charge for she was apparently way ahead of him.
Hazel eyes flashed, the orbs merged into pure spun gold in outrage that someone as low as the vampire had dared to touch her. Her forehead rippled slightly as Cordelia the unnatural strength ar her disposal to add a little something extra in her defensive movement.
The sound of a knee colliding with a crotch echoed throughout as a high-pitched, pain-filled squeal escaped the vampire’s parted lips.
She watched in sheer satisfaction as he collapsed at her feet and wiped her clothes down as though to remove dirt.
“Ow” Angel grimaced in sympathy and carried on moving towards her until he was by her side. “Everything okay?”
Beaming up at her guard, Cordelia grinned wickedly and smugly at her defensive movement. “He touched my butt but I don’t think he’ll do it again” her eyes turned threateningly down towards the male vampire on his knees, gripping his family jewels with both hands. “Will you?”
“No” he squeaked, would he hell try that again.
The dark haired vampire couldn’t help the pity in his eyes as he looked down at the pained vampire on the floor. He knew from personal experience that a childe directly sired by the Master had a little extra strength and that extra strength could damn well hurt. Not that Darla had gotten that close, he’d been smart enough to learn how to dodge pretty quickly.
Suddenly feeling a sharp tug on his hands, Angel was once again brought out of his thoughts and looked down at the vampiress staring in annoyance up at him. “What?”
Happy in the fact his attention was once again focused entirely on her, Cordelia began tugging on his hands with a smile that was too sweet to fit her. “Oh no, I told you I don’t dance” he tried to pull away desperately when he realised just what it was she wanted him to do.
“Would you rather I danced with another groping maniac?” Cordelia asked pointedly. Off his scowl, she smiled so sweetly up at him again. “Thought not, now let’s see what I can do with the dancing skills you probably don’t have”
Just because he didn’t dance didn’t mean he couldn’t, he had skills albeit old fashioned ones but they were still skills none the less. Swallowing whatever was left of his pride, Angel gave up resisting and allowed her to pull him into the centre of the compact dance floor.
She seemed to be totally unaware of the attention they were getting from the other people in the club. It was no shock that both vampires were well known amongst the crowd. Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, accompanying the Master’s youngest had sent a wave of speculation throughout the Bronze the moment they had arrived.
Angel had been feeling uncomfortable under the constant questioning stares. After being part of the shadows for so long he had forgotten what it had been like to be noted for who he was, had forgotten what it had felt like to belong. A sharp tug on his hands brought him out of his thoughts as Cordelia grew impatient when his attention began to drift away from her.
“Hello! We’re missing half the song here Angel. If I didn’t know better I’d say you were having a silent conversation with voices in your head” the brunette’s tongue popped cheekily out of her mouth as the apples of her cheeks puffed up. Angel had to stop himself from tasting the teasing pink tongue with his own. Though if she wasn’t careful, he’d show her just what tongues like that were meant to do.
Thankfully, the music had changed from being a heavy beat to a slow, heady throb as a classic rock song floated from the speakers. Angel removed her grip from around his hand to curl it around her waist, inwardly marvelling at her very pleasing figure. “How old were you?”
“When I was turned?” her voice came out soft, the vibrations of her very feminine purr ran through his chest where she had placed her head. Gently, she trailed pink-tipped fingers up his chest, the colour of her nail polish standing out amazingly against the tan of her complexion. Her hands slid up over his shoulders to curl around his neck, tickling the soft hairs at the nape teasingly.
She could feel how strong he was. The corded muscles that made up the hard contours of his neck and shoulders tensed under her light touch before relaxing slightly. His chest was solid and through the material of his shirt, Cordelia could feel the way his pectorals brushed against her breasts, causing her to shiver and her nipples to harden into pert, little buds.
Angel licked his fangs that wanted to sink into her sweet flesh as his lips and tongue toyed with those buds until she begged for more. It wouldn’t do any good for him to be seen practically molesting the Master’s favourite when he was supposed to be training her and so, with great difficulty, he ignored her reaction to him.
Feeling him nod in answer “17-years-old and the Master found me holding a goodbye note from my parents just after they left the country.”
Cordelia didn’t see the heartache he felt for her human self pass across his face. “Seventeen” Angel mused, turning the conversation away from her past life. He easily recalled the story of Darla’s turning, the Master had turned the blonde before she had died.
It seemed his grandsire had a thing about rescuing the damsel, Angel thought. The Master was anything but a knight in shining armour. He just put it down to the fact his grandsire hated seeing a pretty face go to waste. Both girls had been in a bad place and now both girls were his favoured.
Shaking his head, Angel wrapped both his arms around Cordelia and let his cheek relax on the top of her head. Completely secure in the knowledge she had made him forget all about teaching her how to hunt. Hunting usually meant playing chase with a human and running in her heels? Last time she checked, there wasn’t a cat in hell.
Smooth nails tickling the nape of his neck made him shiver with evocative sensations, both mentally and physically. Against his chest, her hardened nipples were crushed erotically through the layers of silk and velvet while the scent of light arousal stemmed from both of them. Angel slipped his hands down her sides to firmly caress her thighs through the silk, lifting the hem of her dress up slightly to feel her skin.
There wasn’t much difference between the skin on her thighs and her dress; soft, silky and incredibly smooth. The gentle contours of her muscles moved in response to his touch, each shapely arch rippled with the slow, easy dance. It had been so long since he touched a woman in this way, it had been even longer since a woman had touched him the way Cordelia was doing now.
Slender feminine fingers locked tightly around his neck, her cheek lay contentedly on his chest with her body up close and very personal with his harder one. Hazel irises peered up through dark eyelashes, returning his watchful gaze with one of her own. “You’re actually a good dancer” Cordelia complimented, “At first, I had visions of you only being able to do one of those old funny waltzes or something”
Hiding his embarrassed cringe with ease, Angel gave her a small half quirky half smile that held a little bit of humour. “There’s nothing wrong with waltzing, Cordelia”
“Especially if your name’s Matilda” she remarked dryly, causing him to laugh slightly.
The sound was so strange to him and he had forgotten what it had been like to laugh sincerely. His voice was low, rich and deep, her eyes brightened up in delight. The sound of his male laughter brought a stunning megawatt smile to her heart-shaped face.
Cordelia gazed up at him almost adoringly as Angel spun her round, making her hair tickle the hand on the small of her back. She bit her lower lip as her gaze locked onto his and found herself being hypnotised by darkening orbs. Her feminine hands slid round his neck until her forearms lazily lay over his shoulders, wrists crossed.
His heavier, more powerful thighs touched hers ever so slightly, cool leather grazed her skin, increasing the sexuality building between them.
One male hand ran up her slender back, thick fingers massaging along the supple form until the thin strap of her dress taunted his fingertips. As his body began to respond, Angel brought the brunette close enough to feel the unnatural movement of her chest as deep breaths were taken.
His hips lightly circled against hers, eliciting a softly moaned sigh from the vampiress as he received an answering sway of her more curved hips.
The elder vampire was all to aware of others watching to let this go any further and so he reluctantly pulled back a little, breaking the spell. Angel peered down at Cordelia through a smouldering gaze that was welcomed by the burning eyes of a tigress. “Not yet” he would need to get the Master’s permission before the thought of kissing her entered his head.
“You old men and your old fashioned ways” Cordelia shot him a withering glare when he pulled away from her. “I’m hungry now” she stated and pouted when it sank in he was not going to kiss her tonight.
Observing from a darkened corner, Angel stood close by but easily staying hidden from view within the shadows. Brown eyes tracked the brunette’s every move and ears picked up every word she spoke.
This was supposed to be where she pounced on the unsuspecting man standing close to the shop window. This was supposed to be where she drained him dry, leaving his body an empty shell on the pavement for somebody to find.
Instead Cordelia, the Master’s childe, was looking in the same shop window admiring the same outfit the man was looking at and giving him advice. Angel closed his eyes at the sheer hopelessness of her, that vampiress was a lost cause. “Okay, so you want this as a birthday present for your girlfriend?” he overheard her ask.
“Yeah, you like it?”
Cordelia pressed a finger to her lips as she looked critically at the suit in the window, “Nah, it’s too outdated. Pin stripes are waayy out of fashion now. According to Cosmo, it’s two-tone colours with a contrasting, not clashing, top underneath”
“Oh” the man stated in disappointment, “Okay, well thanks lady”
She beamed brightly at the man and waved as he walked to the next shop to look in that window instead. With a skip in her step, the brunette bounced back to Angel’s side and latched both her hands around his arm. “I thought you were hungry” he stated in monotone, not at all impressed with her actions. Soulless vampires were meant to eat people, not help them pick out birthday presents for their spouses.
“I am but I wasn’t gonna eat him” her face scrunched up disdainfully. “He was gonna buy his girlfriend a present ya know. Who am I to ruin it? Besides, he smelled kinda funny, like he hadn’t showered”
“He may have just gotten off work” Angel pointed out as he resisted the urge to call her a picky spoilt snob.
“That is no excuse for smelling like horse manure” Cordelia snorted, “I suppose that could have been his cheap cologne…” her voice drifted off as she spied a nicely dressed young man carrying a briefcase who was walking towards a very expensive looking car. “Hello dinner! And bonus, check out his car”
Angel swallowed the urge to help the man who had turned into prey, instead he focused on his charge as she ruffled her slip of a dress and fluffed up her hair. His rich, deep amber eyes once again followed her every move as she swayed wantonly up to the young man with intent.
To him, another vampire, he could tell she was one of his kind but underneath, she was nothing like a typical female vampire at all. For God’s sake, most female vampires didn’t have a light, glowing bronze tint to their skin. Most female vampires were evil and liked to play with their food, not make polite conversation about the outfit in a shop window.
Angel shook away his thoughts and continued observing from the shadowy corner.
“Hey there” Cordelia purred to the man she had set her sights on, leaning her lithe body possessively against the drivers’ side door of the sleek black convertible.
The young man looked the brunette up and down, seeing her dress and the offering in her expression. “Hey” he answered back as his eyes gave her the once over. She was a very pretty brunette with long, dark hair and wearing a slip of a dress. But that wasn’t anything unusual these days. Slinging the briefcase onto the drivers’ seat, the man returned her interested look with his best come-to-bed eyes.
“What’s your name?” Cordelia purred, running her fingers over the side shell of his car as she openly admired the convertible. How good would Angel look driving this baby? Probably about as good as she would look sitting in it.
Angel could see her hesitating and he wondered if she was planning on seducing him before she ate him.
“Bernard” Bernard replied with a smirk, the car was a babe magnet.
As soon as she heard the name, her expression immediately went from seductive to horror. “Bernard?” Cordelia asked in distaste, no way was she eating any guy called Bernard. “Well Bernard, change your name and I may look you up” pulling no punches, she began to walk away with Bernard watching her with a confused expression on his face.
Angel had the urge to yank his hair in frustration as he tried to think of the what the problem could be this time. “What is it this time? Did he have a hang nail? Was his hair the wrong shade of blonde? Didn’t his socks match?” He hissed in frustration when Cordelia reached his side again.
Refusing to let her guard’s annoyance get in the way of her standards, she simply blinked and explained. “He was called Bernard” she replied, “I refuse to eat anyone I wouldn’t date and I certainly wouldn’t date anyone called Bernard” giving him an expression that told Angel she fully believed in her right to have the perfect dining experience.
The look on his face was priceless. His mouth simply refused to close, his eyes were rapidly blinking and his hands seemed to making small but exaggerated movements “That’s it?” he asked blankly, “You didn’t like his name?”
“Would you eat a girl called Gertrude?” Cordelia snarked, sticking to her belief that her grounds of refusal were justified.
That was it. He had had it with her and her picky ways, if she wasn’t going to choose for herself then he was going to choose for her. Angel had never gotten truly frustrated before, he’d been through every other emotion known to man but never tear-your-hair-out-and-scream-frustration. For the first time since he’d gotten his soul, he didn’t have a problem submitting to the demon within.
Angel stilled when he realised he was seriously thinking about showing her how to hunt. The demon kept up the urging while the soul kept denying, spliting who he was into two equal halves. He couldn’t face killing another person, couldn’t have their blood in his dreams and he didn’t want another faceless victim to stare at him in his mind.
There was only one thing left to do.
It took every bit of willpower he had to resist the darker urges of his demon side. Forcing himself to concentrate fully on the objective of tonight’s excercise.
“I guess Willow was right about you” Angel commented casually, leaning his body up against the wall, watching as she stared back at him with rage starting to simmer in the depths of her eyes. “I mean look at you”
Cordelia’s jaw dropped a little as her guard openly insulted her as a vampire. “Excuse me?” She hissed as her eyes dangerously narrowed, pinning him in place. “Just what is that supposed to mean exactly?”
“It’s quite sad, really. Pathetic” Angel’s words left her speechless for once and her hazel eyes brimmed with disbelief that he would believe what that loser said about her. “I mean you can’t take care of yourself, can you?”The statement easily slipped from his lips as he lazily looked at her condescendingly. “I bet you can’t even dress yourself”
The brunette’s face tightened up as rage turned to ice and forced her hands into clenched fists by her sides. So what if she had problems? She was only a month old, what did he expect? Miss Vampire? It wasn’t like anyone could become an expert at anything in a month was it?
Not giving the young vampiress a chance to retaliate, he continued with a simple shrug of his shoulders “You’re spoilt.”
She absolutely refused to let him know just how much she his words to be true. Cordelia knew she had always been hopeless at taking care of herself, both as a human and as a vampire. Darla had to help her on a daily basis, her sire indulged her and although she revelled in it, she didn’t want to be treated as a child.
Straightening her own shoulders, Cordelia squarely stared up at Angel and denied everything outright. “The Master does not spoil me” she yelled at him, jabbing a finger in his direction. “I just have standards”
Recognising the combination of anger and a little humiliation lilt, Angel knew his comments were hitting home. “What you really mean is you know you can’t actually hunt so you have all these little excuses” Angel continued with another simple shrug. “Oh he has the wrong name, he’s wearing cheap cologne, his nose is too big” he mimicked, sounding scarily like her.
“The fact is Princess, you’re scared.” It wasn’t the fact that she couldn’t kill, it was the fact she was in a word, hopeless at it for the simple reason she was afraid of failing and showing both herself, her sire and Darla up. That and the fact she seemed to want a full five-star dining experience which included money, a car, designer clothes and a nice name. All of those little excuses were used to prevent failure.
“Scared?” Cordelia deadpanned, crossing her arms defensively over her chest as she stared at him blankly.
“Yes, scared of failing as a vampire, showing yourself and your sire up in public” a sadistic laugh emanated from him. “I bet as a human you were the teen beauty queen, with all the little boys trying to play kiss-catch. A superficial little girl who lived off her looks and Daddy’s Gold card cus she had nothing between her ears.” Oh yeah, from the thunderous expression now marring her face, that last line had definitely done the trick.
If he hadn’t been so much bigger and older than her, she would have smacked him one right then and there. “I have brains and there is nothing wrong with being noted for beauty” Cordelia cried indignantly as her finger now made constant contact with his chest. “And don’t accuse me of being spoiled and brainless just because I’m the Master’s youngest childe. I don’t need you to show me anything. Spoilt and hopeless? Pfft!”
“Prove it” Angel challenged and kept his victorious smirk inward when he saw her take the bait. “Bernard hasn’t driven off yet” he glanced to the black convertible still in the same place with the man in the drivers’ side, talking on his cellular phone.
“When I come back, I want the utmost respect and I want you to take back all your words” Cordelia purred, the promise of vengeance not totally hidden by her relaxed demeanour. Angel was once again relegated to watching as she walked confidently over to her prey who sat in his care, unaware of the danger he was now certainly in. Her hips sashayed as confidence oozed out of her and her dress clung to her body as her posture became taut.
The change in her demeanour was instantaneous and the atmosphere around the vampiress grew darker. Angel saw the way the vampiress went from having to be goaded into not being picky into the predator she was. His brown eyes darkened as he watched Cordelia as she approached her prey, knowing this time she was going in for the kill.
The people who were around either didn’t see or they ignored what happened to poor Bernard.
Angel saw the demonic visage slip over her face, the ridges on her forehead, nose and cheeks became prominent while her teeth elongated into deadly points that gleamed in the streetlight. It was her eyes that drew his attention the most; the hazel had been swallowed by the brightest gold glistening through her long eyelashes.
This was the first time he had seen her in full vampire visage but unlike some others of their kind, it seemed to fit her. Her eyes carried who she was behind the golden orbs, her lips were still the same voluptous shape and her body kept the natural feline grace she had when appearing human.
A lot of pretty looking things held hidden dangers; like roses had their thorns. Cordelia had fangs.
He couldn’t remember the last time he had willingly watched a vampire feeding from a human, couldn’t remember the last time he had bullied a vampire into feeding. Had he ever had to bully a vampire into feeding? Despite the anguish in the soul, Angel found he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the scene in front of him.
Stunning golden eyes shone like amber jewels, inviting him with seductive promises he was sure she unknowingly gave, her deliciously plump mouth flirted up into a tantalising smile as they closed in on the man’s throat.
He stiffled a purr as the erotic moment called to him.
Those precious orbs locked onto his as Cordelia sank her fangs deep into Bernard’s jugular, a hint of a smug, victorious smile flickered across her lips as she drank in slow gulps, prolonging the experience. The sensuality of staring deep passed through them both, leaving Angel once again pushing his baser instincts to the back of his mind.
Angel’s own gaze turned, his tongue darted out to lick his dry lips with a hunger of his own and he hardened with the visual he had. A small droplet of blood trickled from the corner of her lips as pleasure and satisfaction filled the gold orbs looking at him.
Memories of days long gone assaulted his wild mind, bringing back the feelings of glory as he winningly executed a perfect kill. Memories of sharing some of those kills with his own childer, sating both his bloodlust and his sexual needs.
Retracting her fangs, Cordelia moved the now disoriented and helpless man to where her guard was watching from. Her hand wrapped around the man’s throat to cease blood loss, she used her other hand to push an unresisting Angel further into the shadows.
She wanted to share this with him, wanted to see what he looked like when he fed, what he looked like as a vampire. Painted images weren’t enough anymore and neither were portraits around the mansion. She wanted to know what he looked like up close and personal.
“You want?” she offered, removing her hand to allow the tangy scent of humanity to tease his soul-controlled senses. “He’s quite yummy for a guy named Bernard”
The rich scent of fresh, warm human blood made his mouth water and go dry at the same time. Once again, who he was divided in two as opposing sides wanted different things. Phsyically, he reacted to the taste in the air. His nostrils flared, the dark amber of his eyes went from molten to a glistening onyx and his body became taut and hard as he resisted the offering.
“Hello in there!” Her free hand waved in front of his face, trying to get his attention back on her as it always should be. After all, he was her guard and anything could happen to her while he was off in La-La land.
Cordelia had overcome her self-induced ‘standards’ and performed her first, real kill and Angel felt a little sick at the pride going through him because of it. “No human blood” it took everything he had to decline the offer to share in her kill. “It’s your kill not mine”
“Talk about me being a snob. God you’ll drink human blood from a skanky vampire ‘ho but blood from a human not even killed by you is against your morals?” She asked increduously and wrapped her hand around Bernard’s throat when he began to babble incoherently. “Oh shut up would you? I’m trying to have a conversation with Angel. Rude much?… Where’s your car keys?”
The black convertible handled like a dream, the engine purred quietly and Angel was in his element. “This car is…” he was lost for words, Cordelia had given him the keys and told him he could have it.
“Way cool?” she offered smugly, folding her arms across her chest she pinned him with an expectant gaze. The rushing wind had her hair fluttering wildly around her heart-shaped face, her cheeks held a rosy after-feeding glow and her lips were curled up in a wicked victorious smirk. “At least now I have a cool car to be driven around now, nothing against my sire’s collection but I wish he move into the 20th century. Hell, I’d settle for him moving into the 19th century”
Angel found himself with images of the Master sending faxes from a high-rise office wearing an Armani suit. Shaking that mental image away before it turned truly frightening, the vampire slowed the car down to steer it into the grounds of the mansion grimacing as the gravel sprayed up from the Earth and possibly scratching the paint on his new car.
“What?” he asked when he noticed she appeared to want something.
“Isn’t there something you have to do?” Cordelia inspected her nails, making sure the polish hadn’t chipped.
Nodding, he waited until the car rolled to a dead stop before killing the engine and getting out to open the door for her. “I was going to open the door for you” Angel affirmed what he was already going to do.
“Oh well, you can do that too but there’s something you haven’t done yet”
His eyes roamed her as he tried to think of what she was talking about, “What?” she couldn’t mean a goodnight kiss could she? The Master would kill him if he actually kissed her, the touching was okay because the scent was more or less innocent despite his less-than innocent thoughts at the time.
“Oh how about ‘Well done Cordy’ or ‘I take my mean words back, you aren’t a pathetic vampire or spoilt’” Cordelia supplied innocently as she continued to inspect her nails, every so often sneaking a sly sideways glance at the vampire next to her.
He didn’t really want to be reminded of her kill, he didn’t think he could take his senses being teased even by a hauntingly erotic memory. Angel stepped out of the car and, for the third time that day, shoved everything to the back of his mind. “I take it back” he spoke as he pulled her door open, “You are neither pathetic nor spoilt. Happy now?” he looked down at the hand she held out for him.
“Well?” Cordelia wiggled her hand in a signal for him to take “Help me out”
Taking her smaller, feminine hand in his Angel guided her with a gentleman’s touch and closed the door with a quiet thud noting how her skin on her hand was so much softer than his. Nails were short, well-kept and coloured in a shade that matched with her dress and her fingers were long and slender with a ring symbolising her status in the Order on her fourth finger.
“M’lady” Angel made a graceful sweep with his free hand and began guiding her towards the mansion.
As soon as they were inside the grand lobby, Cordelia left his side and immediately went to tell her sire’s guardsmen that she was back. And took the opportunity to show off about her new car.
Willow exited the curtain just as the brunette had turned her back, Angel immediately tensed when he saw his old mistress turn a deadly gaze to Cordelia. An uneasy feeling ran through him as he watched the red head scour the young vampiress with a cold hatred in her green eyes. Slowly, that cold gaze finally came to rest on him and a smirk flirted at her red lips.
“Puppy” she purred, purposely ignoring the order to call him Angelus, and sauntering over to him like she owned the place.
“Willow” Angel relished using the name he had been ordered.
Scrunching her face into a thoughtful expression, Cordelia tilted her head and continued to look at the unreflecting mirror. Her foot tapped rhythmically against the vanity dresser’s stand while she matched the beat with her manicured fingernail. Clear lips pursed in and out as she happily tapped away..
From a leather chair near her bed, Angel watched as she studied the glass in deep concentration and mindlessly tapping away against the carved wooden vanity. The constant tap-tap-tapping was really starting to grate on his nerves, for the first ten minutes it was bordering on annoying but when the ten minutes grew into half an hour, the line had been crossed.
“You do realise that’s really annoying” Angel stated, speaking for the first time in the space of an hour and at the sound of his throaty voice, Cordelia jumped in her seat.
The waves in her hair were swung round her neck as she snapped narrowed hazel eyes to pin him in place with a death glare that was equally returned. “I’m thinking here!” she pointed out “I didn’t need you to make me shed my skin, God! Can’t you, you know, cough or something before you speak?” Cordelia rolled her eyes when Angel made a point to stay silent, not even dignifying her request with an answer.
“When is the Master expecting us?” Angel enquired, since she hadn’t started to get ready then they probably weren’t expected to arrive in the Master’s quarters for some time yet. Then again, her not getting ready could also mean she’d forgotten about it but he quickly shook that thought off. She would never forget something like this… Would she?
“Oh, we have hours for that” Cordelia waved the question off with a flourish of her newly manicured hand and turned in her seat to fully face him. Resting her arms on the back of the head rest, she leaned her chin on her forearms and sent him a charming smile that flashed her fangs. “What do you know about witchcraft?”
“Not much” Angel replied, wondering why the sudden interest in the subject “Why?”
“I’m sick to death of not seeing myself, sure Darla is like a professional make-up artist and everything” she let out a frustrated sigh and began to tap the head rest until a glare from him made her stop. “But sometimes, I want to do my own make-up. I was thinking that there maybe a spell or something that can give me my reflection back”
The elder vampire thought intently for a few moments before responding to her plight, “Have you asked your sire about this?”
She shook her head as much as her resting position would allow, “He always says I don’t need a mirror, I’m pretty enough without make-up but he’s biased ‘cus he’s my sire and he has a duty to say I’m gorgeous.” Cordelia preened a little under the memory of the Master’s praise on her generous genetic inheritance. “Don’t you miss your reflection?”
Again, Angel thought for a few moments before answering “When I was first turned, we didn’t have mirrors like today” he explained, a nostalgic lilt was in his voice as he remembered the good old days. “After a while, I guess I got used to not seeing myself. 250 years is a long time to get used to something that’s trivial”
Cordelia looked at him as though he were insane for not being bothered about seeing himself. “Oh come on! You can’t fool me mister” her head came up off her arms to pin him with a knowing stare. “Since you’ve been able to get your vampy paws on hair gel, how long does it take you to style your hair?”
He refused to answer that one.
“Besides” the young vampiress continued with a slight grin “If a vampire says they don’t miss their reflection is a liar”
“Because we can’t have it” Cordelia stated with a simple shrug of her delicately curved shoulders. “It’s standard issue behaviour, you always want what you can’t have”
Angel knew that only too well he thought as he lowered his gaze momentarily from the brunette’s pretty features. Pushing aside thoughts that would undoubtedly get him into trouble, the elder vampire concentrated on the topic she had brought up. “So in a sense, what you’re saying is that some vampires kill humans out of jealousy?” he could understand that but maybe that was because of his soul.
“I don’t know if I’d say vampires kill because of jealousy” Cordelia mused thoughtfully as she looked at the elder vampire thoughtfully. “Most of the vamps that I know think they’re way more superior than humans because we have little extras like advanced hearing, strength yadda yadda yadda. But those don’t necessarily mean that we as a species are better. We have our flaws they’re just different to the flaws of humanity”
This was a side of the brunette, Angel guessed, that didn’t appear very often if at all. He doubted he’d seen a young vampiress look so studious when talking about the characteristic flaws of her kind. Cordelia’s hazel eyes were brimming with all kinds of theories about why vampires were the way they were, her features were set in a perfect serious expression while her lips were quirked up at the edges.
“We’re immortal but in the same sense, we don’t get to grow or change” Angel vocalised the main thing he hated about being a vampire. There didn’t seem to be an end for him, it wasn’t as if he was going to die of old age and he was too much of a coward to take his own life. He had gone almost a century staying the same, living in the darker places and away from everything and everyone.
Cordelia’s expression turned quizzical for a moment as she thought over his words and found herself disagreeing with his statement. “Sure you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re gonna live forever or for fifty years, everybody changes Angel” the perceptive brunette glanced over at him. “You have… Willow has, why couldn’t she have just stayed the little mouse she was and kept out of everyone’s way?”
Angel’s lips quirked upwards as the conversation quickly went from their first open discussion to his old mistress. “What was she like as a human?” he could imagine Willow being a Gothic and into the occult, that would explain the deep worship of her vampirism.
“One word. Loser” the brunette’s voice was laced with disgust as she remembered countless fashion disasters worn by the red head. “I mean what kind of self-respecting girl wears green tights, a plaid skirt and sneakers? With not even the smallest trace of make-up to hide her acne, granted it wasn’t as bad as Xander’s, but it was there nonetheless”
“I tried to introduce her to the wonders of Cosmopolitan but…” Cordelia’s voice trailed off and she ended her sentence in a helpless shrug. She hopped off the seat as though she’d just been hit with a spurt of energy and bounded over to her bed where she flopped, stomach-up, onto the luxurious mattress.
The hem of her sundress was pulled tightly around the smooth, creamy skin of her upper thighs allowing Angel the pleasure of seeing the soft contours of the toned and feminine muscle. Her legs were long, slender and gently curved where her calves merged with the small ankles. An ever-present silver chain was securely wrapped around her left ankle with the symbol of Aurelius dropping from the centre of the anklet. A little toe-ring drew his attention to the decorative shiny pink polish that topped off her little feet.
Angel’s darkening gaze trailed up her slender legs, the rich brown swallowed by widening pupils as he let his gaze linger at the apex of her thighs for a moment too long. The material was wrapped neatly around her trim waist and flat stomach, giving him a nice teaser about what kind of body was hidden under the dress. Her breasts were full, rounded but still holding the pertness of her youth and the thin dress did nothing to hide the hardening peaks of her breasts.
“Hellooo in there!” the brazen statement brought him out of his intense study of her female figure and Angel blinked once, twice before settling his gaze onto her amused heart-shaped face. Cordelia tilted her head suspiciously at him as she tried to figure out exactly what was going through that head of his to make him look at her like that. “What?”
He was tempted to take the easy way out and just tell her he was admiring her dress, legs and breasts but figured the Master, her sire, would have him for breakfast if he so much as admitted he thought of her in that way. “Nothing” Angel replied after a few moments of silence, clearing his throat he shifted in his chair and refocused his gaze on her suspicious face.
“Riiight!” insincere belief dripped off her tongue “And you weren’t just secretly checking me out” Cordelia scuffled around until she was sat in a lotus position on top of the mattress. Her slight smirk grew into a her trademark smile “I won’t hold it against you for thinking I’m hot, in fact I’d be seriously offended if you didn’t find me hot… So do you?”
“Do I what?” he’d been to busy watching the way her words rolled off her tongue and past that pastel coloured full and defined mouth to take much notice of what she’d said.
Her hazel eyes rolled heavenwards “Think I’m hot” Cordelia repeated with a slight tinge of annoyance to her voice.
He was incredibly tempted to reply by pouncing on the vampiress and showing just how hot he found her. Clearing his throat, Angel took a more controlled approach in his answer to her question. “You know you’re beautiful” he stated instead, choosing the safety of himself over inflating her ego with flattery, compliments and other forms of praise.
There was no way on Earth was she going to let him evade her question like that. Pinning the elder vampire in place with her patented expression, the brunette’s eyebrow quirked up in a regal arch and her arms were folded across her chest. Lips flirted with a tiny grin as Angel started cracking under the weight of her expression.
“Come on Angel” Cordelia’s voice floated out on smooth waves, “I think I’m hot but do you think I’m hot?” that was what she wanted to know. It was strange how she felt like she wanted him to think she was hot.
Most of the time the young vampiress didn’t give any male the time for a second glance let alone actually wanting a second glance in return. Angel wasn’t like others, she liked to be around him, wanted to be around him even because she enjoyed being with him though Angel rarely spoke unless she spoke first. “Be careful how you answer this” the warning was quickly added with a pointedly raised finger.
Cordelia watched as Angel tried to suppress a half smile at the typically female warning and felt her own lips furl up into a huge, beaming grin in response. It may have been small but that smile was definitely there and he looked, in a word, gorgeous when he smiled. Biting her lower lip somewhat shyly, the young vampiress kept her laughter back as she awaited his reply.
Angel noticed all to well the way the brunette was looking at him and felt a stirring in his soul, damning the Master for ending the life of such a beautiful young woman who had obviously enjoyed life to the full. He wanted to brutally kill the elder vampire for taking away the sunlight though it was still more than evident in her.
The stirring in his soul was countered only by the stirring in his groin as his body reacted in a purely male way. Angel shifted uncomfortably in the leather chair, “You’re a beautiful young woman” that was safe enough he supposed. It wouldn’t get him into trouble like ‘I wanna fuck you senseless’ would, if he said that to her face he doubted it was the Master he’d have to worry about.
“That is a total cop out!” the brunette caught onto his secondary evasion tactics with ease making Angel slightly amazed at how well she seemed to pick up his behaviour and just how well she appeared to know him. “Answer yes or no” Cordelia tried putting her question a different way. “Do you think I’m hot?” she urged with a grin that threatened to split her face as he became ever more uncomfortable.
Having had enough of her gloating over his nervous disposition, Angel shot her a menacing death glare as he swallowed back his irrational nervousness. “What if I did think you were hot? Would it be so bad?” at least the Master wasn’t around to hear this.
The corners of her hazel eyes crinkled with the wide and ecstatic smile that formed from his forced admission. “If you thought I was hot then it would so not be bad” Cordelia firmly informed him. “It’d be a major compliment because you’re like way old and must’ve seen some hotties. Therefore, you’d know if a girl was hot and if you say I’m hot then hell if it’s a bad thing”
Angel got the gist of what she said but the speed of her moving lips prevented his understanding from reaching normal levels. With a quick shake of his head, the male vampire checked the clock on her bedside table keeping an eye on the time. Deciding a change of subject was to bed had, he brought up her being ready for once.
“Don’t you think you should be getting ready now?” he asked lightly, anything to save his dignity, pride and life by not telling her straight whether or not he found her hot.
“Yup!” Cordelia replied brightly as she let him off the hook, “I won’t be long”
Angel nodded, watching as the brunette half bounced off the bed and into the bathroom. When the door closed behind her, he felt the tension in his taut muscles relax a little and he sat back in the leather chair. The sound of water hitting the bath broke the silence and making his body tense back up as images of the vampiress naked and covered in bubbles filled his head.
Pressing the heel of his palm against his forehead, he squeezed his eyes tight shut and uneasily blocked those images from his mind. The last time he took a strong liking to the Master’s favoured, he’d ended up dead and that could be taken in the literal sense.
“Hey, I’m talking to you!” Cordelia’s annoyed voice made Angel snap his attention from his thinking. Snapping his head up from the floor, he looked at the slightly open bathroom door in confusion.
“Cordy?” Angel asked as he scrunched his eyebrows together questioningly.
“The very one” came the dry remark, “Since I’ve just got in the bath and don’t wanna get out again, can you pass me my loofah?”
His brow furred in confusion at her request, what was a loofah? Angel’s rich orbs stayed locked on the slightly open door as he tried to figure out if Cordelia expected him to go in there or if she was asking for something to passed through the door. He made a move to get up before stopping himself with not wanting to look like an idiot for jumping to conclusions.
“Where is it?” he felt strangely numb as uncertainty ran through his body, only the uncertainty came from not knowing what it was she wanted. There were times when Angel swore Cordelia would look at him as though her world revolved around him and other times, he swore that she found him annoying.
“Hanging on my towel rack” Cordelia hollered back after a moment where water sloshing was the only thing to disturb the silence between her request and his reply. “In here doofus” she added when no sound of movement reached her ears.
Angel wanted to ask why she couldn’t get it but he found the temptation of seeing the vampiress covered in fluffy scented bubbles that mixed sweetly with the unique scent that was Cordelia. With an unreadable gaze, he carefully approached the bathroom, the fragrant bath foam so light the air was barely flavoured with the soft, citrus aroma.
Edging into the bathroom, a swirling cloud of misty steam greeted the vampire as he pushed the door further open, allowing him access. Angel found himself breathing shallowly, inhaling every single perfume kept in the room. His lips became dry and throat became parched as he forced his eyes to close in a gentlemanly display of respect.
“Angel” Cordelia stated matter-of-factly as she squeezed the water out of her face cloth, “You won’t know what it is you’re looking for if you don’t open your eyes” he could see the smile on her face as she spoke to him. Gentlemen were so far and few between these days she thought wistfully as she looked at his still closed eyes.
Against his better judgement, Angel opened his eyes and kept them firmly away from the naked beauty lounging in the tub. “What do you want?” it hadn’t come out as the innocent question it sounded like in his head. Thick and husky, the words left the hard lined mouth on an air full of sub textual meaning that caused a barely distinguishable taste of soft, heady feminine arousal to mix with the citrus in the increasingly small room.
“My loofah please” Cordelia’s own voice was just shy of a pleasant whisper as she answered his question. She knew the reaction Angel had caused her body to make, wondering if he reacted too.
As soon as he turned around to hand the loofah over to the vampiress, Angel knew it was a big mistake but it was too late. Cordelia’s face was tilted to the side, giving the other vampire a clear view of the delicately proportioned neck that held no claim. Hungry, calm black orbs washed over the skin covered in foamy bubbles and crystal water droplets that made his mouth water with the need to taste. The pert swell of cleavage was visible though her breasts were disappointingly kept from being seen.
Luxurious chestnut hair was woven up into a messy style to keep the ends from getting wet while she ran through her skin care regime. Naturally rosy lips parted, leaving Angel with the strong desire to sweep his cool tongue into the cavern of her mouth initiating a deeply drugging kiss.
“Thank you” came an exotically breezed whisper.
The Master dismissed his servant with a quiet wave of his clawed hand, bidding to be left in peace as he thought of the situation with Angelus and his Beauty. Tonight, he was going to give his blessing for Angelus to make Cordelia his companion.
Once a legend, Angelus had all but had the ruling of their Order even back when he had just been fresh out of his grave. Though the Master despised the reckless vampire with a passion, he hadn’t been able to ignore his potential as a master vampire. Angelus was and still is the first choice for leadership if he was ever so unfortunate to be dusted like so many of them these days.
The power on the Hellmouth was moving further and further away from the Order of Aurelius; granting one of the enemy clans to overtake an area of territory just outside of the mouth of hell itself. When the news had reached him, the Master had made the decision to act quicker than he had originally planned, forcing him to take matters involving the extraction of Angelus’ soul into his own hands.
Lifting up the small, blue vial the Master studied the aphrodisiac intently with an ever darkening gaze. Tonight, he thought, tonight would be the beginning.
…TO BE CONTINUED…
THIS STORY APPEARS TO BE UNFINISHED
The challenge was issued by Impress.
OK Wishverse redo.
The Master turned Cordelia as well as Williow and Xander. Darla is still around.
*Darla and Cordy getting along and being the Masters favorites.
*Cordy taking Puppy!Angel from Willow.
*Puppy prefering Cordy as his new mistress.
Other stuff I would like but not required:
*Angelus getting revenge on Willow.
*If you go with cannon and have them break Anya’s spell, I would like for Cordy to remember everything.