Title: Pandora (3/5)
Summary: Mutual need and obsession come to a head when Cordelia finds Angel's sketchbook.
Rating: Adults only.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Notes: I don't care for WIPs (with two or three exceptions) and I don't like to write them but I couldn't help it with this one. I don't have long stretches of time available to sit down and write uninterrupted so posting as I go is the only way I can do it or I talk myself out of posting altogether. Only two more parts to go, though, and it's done.
Feedback: is cherished, and concrit is welcome too. Honest. Email me if you don't feel comfortable doing it in LJ. Ammab@sbcglobal.net.
Angel forces himself to his feet, following Cordelia where she has told him not to, worry and desire making a mad war in his skull as he watches her small shadow silhouetted by the inky black night.
It’s no hardship to keep up, he could go all night, but soon she’s turning into her street, flying out of the car and up the walk to her apartment.
He stays until the sun forces him home.
The drawings are rumpled from being shoved hastily back into his drawer, and he smoothes the wrinkles out with his hand over the images, one by one.
The shame threatens to overwhelm him again, that she should see what he never meant for her to see.
“Then why didn’t you destroy them, Angelus?”
The voice is whiskey rough and little girl sweet, toying and taunting.
His hand runs over the image of a slumbering Cordelia, her face softened by dreams.
“She didn’t need to know.”
A hand, perfectly made, settles along his shoulder, the weight of her body winding around the back of his chair.
He glances up into Darla’s pixie face before returning his gaze to his sketches.
“You left them in a drawer with curious mortal girls roaming your home – did you really expect she wouldn’t find them?”
He doesn’t answer, his eyes searching the vellum for flaws.
Instead of sleeping he waits, and when the sun falls back behind the horizon, he opens his balcony windows to the cool autumn night, curtains weaving around his bared torso like a lover’s soft touch.
Gazing in the direction of Silverlake yields nothing of Cordelia, but it pleases him to do it anyway.
The ghost in his bed is lounging with ease across his bedspread.
“She needs you.”
“No, she doesn’t.”
That he’s sure of. If it weren’t for him, she would still be an aspiring actress, ruling men and empires with her smile, not having her head torn apart nightly by visions meant to redeem him.
“Poor tortured Angel, guilt has really made you its dog, hasn’t it?”
He doesn’t answer.
In Silverlake, Cordelia huddles on her couch with a blanket wrapped securely around her legs.
Dennis is an unseen presence next to her, smoothing her hair as she stares without seeing at the television.
The images streaking past her mind’s eye are of her own making. Blood and death and Angel, the dark unknowable things that grip him every day and every night, that take him by the scruff of his neck and jam his nose in the mess of his past. She can see him through an unbreakable glass, his soul held by a fragile thread and suspended over the deep well of his demon’s desires and urges and delights.
She lays her head back and brings forth the vision of Angel on top of her, draining and filling her at the same time, and the deep, voluptuous ecstasy of surrendering to the fall.
She turns her head into the cushion and cries.
On Monday she’s the first to arrive.
Angel is sitting on the steps waiting, watching as she slowly opens the door and walks in.
He’s back in basic black, shirt open at the throat so she can see a smooth patch of pale perfection, and the ache begins all over again, an endless lump she has to constantly swallow against.
“Hey.” He says.
“Hey.” She replies as she steps down and walks across the lobby to her desk. He gets up and follows, and she has a fleeting thought of being surrounded by the dead.
“How’s your head?” full of you
“Doing well enough.”
He pours her a cup of coffee and holds it out to her – long fingers wrapped around the ceramic. Fragrant steam rises from the cup. She looks at it and then looks up at him.
She takes the mug and brushes his fingers with hers, watching the trembling she feels echo in his hands.
She never thought there would be a point in their relationship where he could hurt her with a touch or a look, but here she is bleeding all over the floor of the hotel, his eyes spilling over her like a summer storm, full of thunder and lightning and sulfur.
When did she agree to star in someone else’s tragedy?
“Cordy.” He takes a step towards her, compelled by something he sees in her eyes.
Wesley has arrived.
Angel belays his advance and instead turns on his heel and walks around the counter, away from her.
Wesley comes in with fresh books and fresh enthusiasm and she sits at her desk to boot her computer, hand wrapped tightly around her coffee. Wesley is talking about hearing something from one of his underground sources, Angel answering when spoken to, slowly pacing in her periphreal.
She stares at the black void of her monitor as Wesley fades out.
The only sound she hears is the soft cadence of Angel's voice.