Title: Five Taste Sensations
Ratings: PG to mild R
Summary: Title pretty much sums them up. Also, I suck at summaries and titles. :D
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just playing.
Notes: Thanks to damnskippytoo
for her lightning fast beta skills.
Cordelia descended the stairs to Angel’s apartment, unsure of whether he was still in bed or not.
She reached the bottom and looked around. Everything seemed to be in its place except the microwave.
The little door was open.
A cup of blood was inside, a trail of red winding down the side of the plastic.
She walked over and took the cup out, shutting the door. It was still a little warm, so Angel couldn’t have been gone long.
The cup tilted and a drop of blood spilled on her hand.
“Oh, eww,” she muttered, panicking for a second before she realized it wasn’t burning a hole through her skin. She put the cup down and looked for a hand towel.
Then she paused, staring at the stain on her hand.
Before she thought about it, she lifted her hand to her mouth and licked the blood off.
She grimaced, the taste like a day spent licking sewer water directly from the pipes.
“Gross,” she whispered, and spit into the sink.
She was going to taste gamey pork the rest of the day. No wonder Angel looked at his food with a mixture of hunger and disgust. It couldn’t have been fun to go from Filet Mignon to Grade F dog food.
She dumped the cup into the sink and rinsed it out before turning off Angel’s light.
As she headed back up the stairs, she thought about the taste. A-One Sauce usually made steak taste better. Maybe there was a way to make pigs’ blood more palatable.
When she got back to her desk, she had a mental list of spices to pick up at the market on her way home.
Angel watched Cordelia tear apart a glazed donut with delicate fingers tipped in red. She raised a portion to her mouth and bit down blissfully, eyes closing as she tasted sugar and dough.
Angel wondered if he’d ever tasted donuts before, but couldn’t recall an occasion where he might have thought it was a good idea. Spike was forever scarfing down Jaffa cakes after a feeding frenzy, claiming he always craved a little bit of sweet after a kill. He’d lick the crumbs from his fangs with a curled tongue.
Angel never craved anything but more blood.
Watching the flex of Cordelia’s throat as she swallowed, he suddenly wondered what donuts tasted like.
“Angel?” Wesley called from the doorway. The other man had a bag bulging with books slung over one shoulder, one hand on the doorknob. He looked from Angel to Cordelia and back again, his gaze a little sharper than usual.
“Sorry Wesley, we’ve got our quota of old books,” Cordelia said as she licked off the dried bits of glaze sticking to her fingers. “Try the dentist’s office next door.”
Wesley’s speculative look turned defensive as he heaved the bag from around his shoulder. Angel pulled away from the doorway.
“Don’t you have any filing that needs to be ignored?” He replied dismissively as Angel took the bag from him. “All three volumes, Angel, just as I said.” He moved further in the room, eyeing the small box of pastries sitting next to the coffee machine. “Oh, are those powdered?”
Cordelia rolled her eyes and stood up, dropping the other half of her donut onto her napkin. “Ugh, Angel, not more books.”
Angel flicked a glance her way as he opened the bag across her desk and pulled out the first one.
“Our reference library needs work,” he reminded her as he opened to the first page. “These are great Wesley, thank you.”
Wesley nodded as he bit into the pastry. “Yes, of course. Sharing resources between our two operations is essential to both of our successes.” He chewed as he spoke and Cordelia grimaced.
“God, I guess it’ll be my job to clear more room in the basement for the ‘resources’?” Cordelia air quoted the last word, flicking her hair over her shoulder and looking annoyed.
Angel looked up and met her eyes.
“Please?” he whispered to her, smiling slightly.
She rolled her eyes again but Angel knew he’d won by the sag of her shoulders.
“Fine, let me go put on my rags and I’ll
go down and move those old filing cabinets,” she said as she began to walk away. “Even though there’s an inhumanly strong, two-hundred-and-forty-five-year-old-vamp
ire just skulking around the office, getting soft.”
Angel looked up briefly.
,” he corrected her retreating back.
Wesley moved away from her desk, eager for another donut, and Angel watched him. When it was clear that the other man was going to pour some coffee to go with his breakfast, Angel’s eyes slid over to the half eaten donut on Cordelia’s desk.
He reached over and picked up the piece she’d been nibbling on blissfully, bringing it to his mouth. He took a bite, rolling it between his tongue and the roof of his mouth, trying to discern any kind of taste.
His eyes found Cordelia in the farthest corner of his office, pulling her hair into a sloppy knot at the nape of her neck.
Right there on the very tip of his tongue.
The faintest burst of sweetness.
She dreams of tiramisu and hot, bitter espresso in a sun-drenched piazza somewhere along one of the coasts of Italy, bursts of cheerful Italian interspersed with the language of a dozen different tourists.
In the distance drifts the pleasant scents of the coast, crisp air and salty sea, fish and the sound of boat horns.
She knows it’s a dream because she hasn’t been to Italy since the shopping trip she took with her mother and aunts when she was fifteen. There had been museums and leather shoes and she remembers being more impressed with Gucci than statues.
But knowing it’s a dream doesn’t stop her from enjoying it, so she lifts her face to the warm breeze and sighs dreamily. She twirls her ankles and enjoys the way her shoes fit her feet so snugly, and the way her sundress presses against her skin, the sun kissing her a gentle golden brown.
The only thing missing would be a man. Tall, with broad shoulders and a sweeping black coat, and a tendency to stare at her with brooding eyes and a mouth pressed thin with bad memories.
She’d make him take the coat off and roll up the sleeves of his black shirt, sit him in the other wrought iron chair across the table from her and show him how to sip espresso like a native.
She’d even share her biscotti with him if he gave her one of his rare, bright grins.
She lifts her cup to her mouth and sips again.
But instead of bitter espresso, she tastes salty rain.
A drop hits her cheek and she puts her cup down to wipe it away. Another falls on her upper lip and rolls into her mouth and she grimaces, wondering why the rain tastes so odd.
The sky deepens to a darker shade of blue, and the rain falls faster, more frequently, until her face is wet.
And then she hears her name called and sighs, knowing it’s time to leave her pretty dream. She wishes she could have him sit across her in her sun draped piazza but she knows he’ll never quite make it. If she wants to see him she’ll have to go to him, back to his world.
He’ll never follow her into hers.
Waking is like surfacing through bubbles and blue water, until the piazza breaks apart in the waves and she gasps, waking with a jolt to a white washed room.
She turns her head and gazes up into Angel’s frantic, tearful eyes.
“Angel?” She whispers, feeling as though she’ll float away again without anything to ground her.
He slips his hand around hers and threads their fingers. Her world tilts once more with the jolt of his touch and then steadies.
He smiles and another tear falls from his eyes, directly onto the seam of her cracked lips.
She licks her lips, tasting his love. Better than shoes
, she thinks, smiling in return.
She had a plastic container in one hand, and Groo’s hand in her other, when she walked through the door, less than twelve hours after he had his
hand up her expensive silk dress.
Angel’s greeting choked in his throat and he glared at her before going back into Wesley’s office.
Lifting a book up, he pretended to be absorbed as the others greeted the dumb beast she brought with her, cooing over him as though they’d never met anyone from another dimension before.
“What’s that?” Fred asked. Cordelia laughed, and Groo wrapped one muscle-bound arm around her shoulders, hugging her in a way that Angel could only call possessive.
“It’s pie,” she told the other woman. “Groo’s sleep patterns haven’t adjusted to our time yet, so he found a cooking show on television.”
made this?” Gunn chortled, taking the plastic utensils from Wesley so that he could cut Fred a piece. “Man, you are good
“A half-demon warrior from another dimension who happens to bake isn’t as fantastic to me as the idea that Cordelia even had
the proper ingredients to begin with.” Wesley’s comment was droll, but even he reached for a piece, despite the misery coloring his words.
At least he was honest enough not to pretend Groo’s visit was anything but something to celebrate. Wesley bled on the inside whenever Gunn touched Fred, but he still soldiered on.
What a steely upper lip the Englishman had cultivated in Watcher School.
“Angel?” Cordelia stood in the doorway and held up a paper plate.
Twelve hours ago she made the most amazing noises when he ran two fingers over her clitoris, testing its sensitivity by moving the pad of one in small circular motions.
He looked at the offering in her hand like it was a snake.
“Yeah?” he greeted her mulishly. He hoped that she’d ask what was wrong. Maybe close the door and put her hand on his arm.
But she just clucked her tongue.
“We’ve established you’re not a foodie but I thought maybe you’d try a piece…?”
She wasn’t leaving without an answer and he sighed over her cluelessness - how could she just ignore what happened?
- and relented.
“Maybe in a few minutes, when I’ve finished.”
She nodded and she turned to go, drawn by Groo’s hand on her elbow, and the smile he beamed at her. Angel caught the edges of it, and jealousy burned hot inside his cold body.
That was his elbow to lead, his
smiles that beast of burden was enjoying.
The demon inside of him chafed at the soul’s chains.
He listened to them as they decided where to go for lunch, and eventually purses were gathered and keys were picked up. Angel walked over to the counter and watched them all trundle out into the streaming late afternoon sunlight.
Cordelia paused at the door and turned again.
“You’ll meet us at Lugo’s after sunset, right?” she asked him across the distance. He nodded, not trusting his voice and she went on, holding hands with his replacement.
When it was quiet, he looked down at the pie. It looked chocolate. He swiped a finger through the dark mass and lifted it to his tongue and thought about Groo kissing Cordelia, sleeping beside her after touching the skin he himself had mapped with his tongue.
It tasted like cold mud.
He swiped his arm and knocked the tin off the counter. It landed on the floor pie-side down. Angel walked back into the artificial light of Wes’ office to wait for sunset.
When Angel dreams, the sun feels good on his skin. The heat tickles the hair along his forearm and he shivers deliciously from the voluptuous feeling rolling through him as he stretches on his towel.
Cordelia makes a kitten noise and rolls over, her leg rubbing along his, her shades tipping off her nose.
Angel reaches up and adjusts the umbrella above their heads, looking for signs of heat exposure in the lines of her face.
Then the landscape shifts and stretches out into the horizon, and when Angel blinks he’s slumped in an alley as L.A. burns around him. The cold rain drenches his face and he struggles to rise despite his wounds, struggles to lift his sword.
It takes him a second to catch on that he isn’t moving despite his best efforts. The blood is a river of red underneath his legs and brimstone fires the air around him.
He gets it.
He leans back and waits.
Finally he feels a familiar touch along his arm, the soft tickle-scratch of nails.
He focuses again and sees Cordelia’s face above his.
The rain doesn’t touch her, her hair is perfectly tousled and her nails are an unbroken red. Just like in his dreams.
“Time to take you to that beach, Champ.”
Angel puts his sword down and rests.In the sun, Cordelia opens her eyes and lifts her face and he kisses her, tasting happiness mixed with pina colada on her tongue. The kiss ends and he rubs his nose against hers, then leans back on the towel and moves the umbrella out of the way, so he can feel the sun on his legs.