Title: Working Out Their Issues
Summary: Cordelia and Angel get on each other’s nerves, but what’s really going on underneath the surface?
Notes: This took me a long time to write, and after a month, the muse was rusty, so hopefully it isn’t too bad. It also kept not wanting to end, but I decided to cut if off finally. There probably will be a sequel. You know, as soon as I win the lottery and buy more free time. Written for ca_atlast timed challenge, and x-posted there.The pants were flared, and the shirt stopped just short of the bellybutton.
She so could pull that outfit off.
Cordelia jerked her head up, closing the magazine in her lap and straightening in her chair.
“What?” She asked, not bothering to hide her irritation from Angel.
He held up the coffee carafe, giving her that annoying annoyed look he got whenever he came up from the bat cave.
“Coffee?” He inquired, lifting the carafe a little.
“What about it?”
He heaved a breath and she wanted to ask him why he bothered.
“There isn’t any.”
“Oh, right.” She opened her magazine again, leaning back in her chair. “There’s, uh, some filters underneath, and I’m sure if you ask nice, our neighbor the dentist wouldn’t mind letting you borrow some grounds.”
Absorbed in her magazine, she wasn’t aware that Angel had left until the sound of his door slamming made her jerk her head up again.
For a vampire, he wasn’t so stealthy.
The weapons bag rattled as Cordelia shifted it in her arms.
Angel immediately wheeled around and made a cutting motion with his hand across his throat at her, and she stopped and glared at him, deliberately shifting the bag again.
Turning, they continued deeper into the tunnel, and she hoped they found the demon before she completely lost her sense of smell.
Doyle’s vision was about as clear as mud, but as much as they tried, they couldn’t get any more details than that it was a rampaging, hungry beast waking from a fifty year sleep.
To top things off, Doyle had fallen and hit his head while having the vision, so Cordelia was stuck backing Angel up.
She definitely was going to bring up a 401K plan Monday morning.
He stopped suddenly and she nearly walked into his back before she caught herself.
“Shhh,” he cut her off, half turning and putting his hand against the bag she was holding. “Go find a place to stay out of the way.”
He pushed slightly and she stumbled back into a niche in the wall.
She opened her mouth to gripe at him but a deafening roar cut off her words.
Angel vamped as he pulled out a sword, turning and bracing himself just as a hairy beast of hell rounded the corner with sharp claws and a mouth full of sharper teeth.
Angel hacked and clawed and growled, getting in a few deep hits that made pink blood spurt all over the tunnel. Cordelia watched through half covered eyes, scared that he wouldn’t be able to duck one of those claws in time –
And then it happened.
Angel parried left, and the beast anticipated it, a big paw swiping right just as Angel went that way. The talons caught him across the chest and he fell, a short grunt of pain the only sound he made.
“Angel!” She burst forward, pulling a short blade out of the bag as she dropped it to the ground. The beast was standing over Angel, one giant paw raised to skewer him to the cement underneath his body.
“Get off him!”
She thrust the blade between its shoulder blades, pulled it out and stabbed it back in. The beast roared, spun around and swiped at her with an arm.
Angel tripped her and she fell to the ground next to him, grabbing her to pull her away from the beast’s wide reach. When it followed, intent on finishing what she started, Angel drove his sword up into the chest, and twisted.
Pink goo spurted everywhere, all over the both of them, and all she could do was cover her face from the worst of it, rolling over onto her stomach.
The beast groaned and stumbled, finally falling over.
It became blessedly silent.
Hands grabbed her shoulders and pulled, turning her over onto her back again.
He pulled her arms from her head, frantically checking for injuries.
“Are you okay? Did he get you?”
Angel’s eyes were like black fire, hands tight on her shoulders as he waited for her to speak.
She glared up at him, demon ooze trailing down the sides of her face and neck.
“I want a raise.”
She pushed his hands off her and pulled herself into a sitting position, wiping the worst of it off and flinging it away. Angel stared, unblinking, then sat back on his heels, hands fisted tightly where they rested on his thighs.
“Are you deaf? When I tell you to stay out of the way, you do it – what’s so hard about that?”
She stopped with her fingers wiping a trail down her shoulder, and turned her face up to him, eyes narrowed.
“News flash, Angel, I saved your life – unlife – whatever, so don’t talk to me like I’m a dog.” She got up, glaring down at him glaring up at her. “And I’m serious about that raise.”
She turned on her heel, prepared to leave him with the stinky demon corpse.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” He asked.
She stopped and half turned to him, eyebrow quirked.
“Clean up.” He got up and tossed her his sword. “It’s your turn.”
She caught the sword and stared at him as he walked off.
It took two hours to hack the demon into enough parts to scatter, and another thirty minutes before she found herself back at the office. She looked in the mirror and winced at the blood and dirt streaking her hair, and used the sink to rinse the worst of it off.
Pink and brown whirled down the drain clockwise, and she thought suddenly of her parents, wondering if they were south of the equator, if the water in their sink ran counterclockwise.
She shook the thought, and squared her shoulders.
She needed to talk to Angel.
Her shoes made a dull clopping sound as she descended the stairs to his apartment.
“Angel, I think we need to have a talk about employer-employee relations.” She ruffled her hair, air drying it.
He wasn’t in the kitchen or the living room.
She stopped and listened, hearing a quiet grunt from the direction of his bedroom.
“Angel?” She walked closer, Angel’s bed coming into view.
Angel was sitting on it, shirt unbuttoned.
She drew in a startled, shocked breath.
His chest was a mess of blood and torn flesh, and she flashed back on the moment before Angel dropped to the ground, when the beast had swiped him.
How could she not have seen that?
“Why didn’t you say something?” She demanded, hurrying over to him. He looked up at her, face closing off.
“I’m fine, it’s just –“
“-a flesh wound?” She rolled her eyes and pulled his shirt the rest of the way off his shoulders, taking stock of the damage.
She glanced back up at him, catching the way his eyes skittered away from her. A fresh flash of annoyance shot through her.
She wasn’t gonna jump him or anything.
She wasn’t that suicidal.
Or that masochistic.
“Where’s your first aid kit?”
“You don’t have to do anything, Cordelia. I’ll heal.”
She straightened up.
“Is it in the bathroom?” She asked again. When he nodded, she left him to get it.
She came back with a kit the size of a postage stamp.
“There isn’t enough in this to keep a hamster alive, Angel.” She dropped it on the bed and went back for some washcloths and a warm bowl of water.
Lining up what she needed on the floor next to his bed, she dipped the first washcloth in the water and began to clean the caked blood off his skin, skirting the wounds gently. All that time, he was walking around torn up, and he couldn’t even bring himself to ask for help. She wanted to reach out and shake him, angry that he thought he had to be Joe Stoic when all he had to do was open his mouth.
Even if it was just her and not his precious, perfect Buffy.
Stupid vampire, she thought. Stupid, stupid vampire.
The silence stretched as she worked, and every time she touched him with her bare fingers, he flinched.
After the fifth time, she shot her eyes up at him.
“What’s your problem?”
He pressed his mouth flat.
Anger flashing, she pushed the washcloth against his chest, holding it against the spot where his heart would have beat had he been alive.
She waited as he stared at her, and then flexed her fingers slightly.
He flinched again.
She threw the wash cloth down and climbed to her feet, walking a short distance away before swinging around and stalking back over to him, knees on the edge of the bed.
“I’m trying, Angel. This is new for me too, and believe it or not, even Sunnydale didn’t prepare me for patching up vampires.” She sighed and put her knee on the bed, between his legs, and pushed on his shoulder. “Lie back.”
He stared up at her, eyes hard and dark, jaw flexing.
“What’s the matter, Angel?” She leaned forward, feeling mean suddenly, wanting to push whatever she felt building inside of him. “Gonna get mad, maybe throw me around some more?”
His shoulder flexed under her touch, muscles bunching.
“I’m not the one that forgot to duck. I’m not the one who barreled headlong into danger, trying to die so I won’t have to live inside my head anymore. I’m not the one that left everything that mattered so I could punish myself and everyone around me.”
The pupils of his eyes shimmered with sudden fury, and before she could blink, she was flat on her back on his bed, Angel on top of her, driving her body into the mattress.
“What are you doing? Get off me!” She panicked, hands pushing against the broad expanse of his chest.
He shook her slightly and her teeth rattled.
“You never shut up.” He growled. “Always talking, always asking for things, criticizing me and my decisions, ignoring what I say. Can’t you just. Shut. Up. For once, can’t you just –“
He stopped and stared down at her with desperate, burning eyes like he was blaming her for something, but before she could ask - what? what did I do - he bent and kissed her, mouth open.
Deep, penetrating, it scorched her like napalm.
She stopped fighting, pulled her hands from his grip and dug her fingers through his hair, holding him to the kiss, taking as much as he was, suddenly as hungry as he was.
He groaned and shoved a leg between hers, driving his knee into her crotch, and she gasped against his mouth, bit down on his bottom lip before sucking on his tongue.
He pulled her hands from his head and spread them out on either side of her head, breaking the kiss. He stared down at her.
“You’re so beautiful.”
It was a whispered curse, questioning, resentful. She didn’t understand, couldn’t try. It burned away in the fire he made.
He bent again, another deep, devastating assault on her mouth.
She arched under him and he let her hands go to pull her shirt up over her bra. He broke the kiss to stare down at what he uncovered, hands cupping around her breasts, bringing them to aching attention. He dragged his eyes up to hers, looking like an animal about to chew through his restraints.
“You piss me off so much.” He bent and ran his open mouth over her hot skin, making her groan and grind up against his knee. “You make me forget everything. My past. Her. You’re crowding my head. I can’t think about anything but you. “
He pulled on her bra, ripping the material and leaving marks on her skin, burying his face in her flesh and rocking into her with his whole body. She was just a few heartbeats away from breaking apart, and she tried to tell him, but her throat wouldn’t work.
“Please – please…”
He was a dragon on top of her, breathing fire along her skin. He reached down and pulled off her pants and underwear, stripping them from her body. She pulled open his pants in response, and dragged them down his ass.
She lifted her head, gripping his jaw with fingers that dug into his flesh.
”Please.” She whispered fiercely, needing him. He smiled, and it wasn’t nice, pulling away from her grip.
“What?” He bent close to her mouth, but didn’t kiss her. “What do you want?”
Her mouth opened, aching for his kiss, but he waited, drawing out her agony.
“What. Do. You. Want. Cordelia?”
She breathed hard, through her mouth, and spread her legs under him.
“This. You.” She grabbed the back of his neck as he adjusted his position. “Now.”
His first thrust drove her up the length of the bed, cock stroking deep, finding home. She came, sharp and hard and sudden and she made a sound like an animal, canting her hips up, demanding more.
He gave it, filled her, thrusting until she came again, and she clutched at him, holding him in a grip that begged never to be left.
She never realized how empty she’d been before, how every boy she dated, even Xander, had been a dream and this, with him, was like waking up to what was real.
She breathed him in, took everything he offered, gave him just as much and when he took her mouth in another kiss meant to strip her to the bone, she opened herself completely, allowed him to invade every part of her.
“Angel.” She whispered his name against his mouth.
He squeezed her in his arms, nuzzling his mouth down her throat, sucking on the flesh as he stroked into her body. She gripped him, inside and out, puffing hot breath into his ear with each surge.
She licked her way back home, to his mouth, dipped her tongue for another taste, and found his, and they tangled together. She whimpered, her excitement surging again. He reached down between their bodies and glided his finger over her swollen, sensitive clit, the wetness making his touch like silk, and the short rhythm made lightning flash behind her eyes, worked her to another orgasm.
She breathed, hard, cried and surged her hips up, coming around his cock.
He thrust into it, once, twice, riding her orgasm to his own, and jerked against her hips, buried deep as he erupted, hot and long and painful, teeth gritted, hands fisted.
He held himself deep inside, wringing every jerk of his cock to the final twitch, until, finally, he collapsed on her, his body shaking.
Boneless, weak, she took his weight, bringing her arms up around his shoulders, holding him as they both came down.
His skin was warm, nearly as warm as hers, sweaty and smooth.
She closed her eyes, turned her face to the side, and he must have sensed the motion because he lifted his head and peered down at her. When she wouldn’t look at him, he leaned down and kissed her again, softly.
“Did I hurt you?” He asked quietly, lifting his head.
She gazed up at him, trying to see what was going on behind his unreadable features.
“No.” She replied, and the muscles in her legs twitched in response, making a liar out of her. She eased them off his hips, but he didn’t move, just looked down at her.
“I’m sorry.” He said.
Well, she supposed the post-coital cuddle phase was overrated anyway.
Anger surged, cleansing away the languid pleasure that made her body boneless.
“For what? this? Or for calling me so kind of cock-tease?” She pushed at his shoulders, trying to get him to lift himself off her. “You have to clarify a little more, which part are you sorry for?”
He gazed down at her, those eyes so unreadable she wished for a gypsy truth-sayer.
Well, maybe not gypsy.
“For getting blood on you.”
She blinked and looked down between their bodies.
His wounds were closed, leaving only faint lines edged in white scar tissue that would not doubt fade with the dawn. But the blood remained, smeared all over his chest, and hers.
All the way down to her belly.
“I need a shower.”
She shoved at him, and he blinked and moved off. When he slid out of her, she twitched, and his eyes shot to hers, banked fires stirring.
She didn’t acknowledge it, just slid out from under his body and onto her feet.
Her clothes were on the floor, some of it ripped, and she felt goosebumps clutter along her back in the cool shadows of his bedroom.
She headed for the bathroom, not looking back, feeling him watching her.
She didn’t run, though the skin along her spine rippled with remembered sensation, and when she got to the dark-tiled room, she shut the door softly.
She leaned against the wood, and took a deep, shaky breath, heart suddenly racing in her chest, threatening her with black dots behind her eyes.
Her thighs ached, reminding her that sex wasn’t something she tried very often, but god, she was still shivering from what he did to her. How crazy he made her, how hot he got her.
But inside her heart was a soft whisper that it wasn’t just good sex shaking her to her core.
She turned the water on and stepped into the cubicle, closing the glass door and watching as the steam rose. The water was piping hot, and she stepped into the spray, closing her eyes, washing away his blood like war paint down her torso.
The ache eased, untried muscles easing into relaxation.
She used some of his shampoo in her hair, and washed the demon ooze from her scalp, lathering her body with his soap.
She was surrounded by his things, his smell, and her mind crowded with images.
She heard a noise, and opened her eyes.
Through the steam covered shower door, through the water and soap streaming down her face, she saw the outline of his body just beyond the glass, like someone had heard her and responded.
She blinked, wiped away the rest of the water, and looked again.
There wasn’t anyone there.
She opened the glass and peered out but the bathroom was still empty.
Closing it again, she finished washing, and wrapped herself in the biggest towel she could find.
She found some lotion she’d left the last time she stayed in his apartment, and slathered a generous helping into her skin, feeling human again.
Wrapping his robe around her body, she walked out, drying her hair with the towel.
Angel was in the kitchen, scrambling eggs. He was still shirtless but the blood had been wiped away. His pants were buttoned and he was barefoot.
He glanced at her as he ladled the eggs into a plate.
“Sit down.” He said.
She put the towel down on his chair and walked over to the table, crossing her arms.
“Let’s save the awkward after-sex chit-chat.” She looked down, and her hair spilled forward, hiding her face. “It was a thing, and now it’s done." She raised her head, knowing her eyes were cool. "We’ll go back to being employer-employee and never speak of this again.”
He looked at her and put the spoon down, walking over to her. She panicked, because if he got close to her again her ability to think and rationalize was going to go right out the window.
But he brushed past her instead.
Walking over to the chair, he picked up the damp towel and placed it over on a coat rack, and she rolled her eyes.
Then he walked back silently, looking at her with those eyes that glowed.
Stopping in front of her, he placed his hands on her hips, and pulled her against him.
“Angel!” Her hands flew up to his shoulders, but she didn’t know if it was to push him away or hang on.
Like a lit fuse, heat raced up her spine.
He backed around, pulling her with him as he sat in the kitchen chair.
She blinked, finding herself straddling his lap. Her robe opened and her flesh dragged along his crotch as he settled her. Her fingers convulsed, digging into the meat of his arms, her body clenching with need.
He reached down and unfastened his pants, pulling his hard cock out, and then opened her robe with sure hands.
“First of all, nothing about this is awkward.” He lifted her a bit and slid her down the length of his erection, and she went boneless, gasping as he filled her. Her body responded so fast it hurt, drenching her channel and slicking his cock.
She stared at him, barely aware of anything but the feeling of him inside her.
“Second, I’m sorry for being rough with you last time. But you bring it out in me faster than any other woman I’ve ever known.” He took her left breast in his mouth, and suckled hard.
Her head fell back and she wanted to cry from the feeling gathering inside of her. She began to undulate on him and he let her breast go, biting back a grunt. He cupped the back of her head and brought it down so he could look at her.
“Third, I want more of this. Of you.” He kissed her, opening her lips and filling her mouth with his tongue.
But she couldn’t let it happen, no matter how much she wanted him, it seemed. That voice in her head wouldn’t let it go.
She broke the kiss and when he tried to follow her, she put her hand on his mouth, stopping him.
“I’m not someone you can just sleep with because you can’t have the one you want. Cordelia Chase is not a runner up, for any title.”
He grabbed her arms and pulled her against him, and his cock jumped inside of her, making them both groan a little.
“You’re not a replacement for anyone, Cordelia. Didn’t you hear me earlier? I can’t stop thinking about you.” He jerked on her arms.
She glared down into his face.
“Then why aren’t you trying to kill me?”
He looked confused, and then his face cleared.
“Cordelia.” He breathed but she didn't want to hear it. She turned away, and his fingers gripped her chin and turned her back so that she had to look at him. “Do you know how impossible it would be for me to lose my soul right now?”
She pushed his hand away.
“Sure. Rub it in.”
He grinned slightly and thrust up inside her.
“When I lost my soul the last time, I didn’t know I could. Knowing what I know now, it isn’t that easy anymore.”
She looked down at him, unsure of what to say.
He wrapped his hands around the bones of her hips, and moved her up and down. She forgot what she wanted to say.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, Cordelia, where this is going.” He lifted up and brought her down on the table, scattering dishes. He spread her legs and pulled the robe from her shoulders so it was spread under her, then snaked a hand up the center of her torso as he stroked hard and fast inside of her. “I didn’t expect to feel this, not about you, not so soon after –“
She raised her head, the fire in her eyes as hot as the one in her body.
“Don’t you dare say her name.”
He grinned as if he couldn’t help it.
“Okay. But we do have some things to talk about.” He picked her up and carried her over to the bed, lying down on top of her as she wrapped her legs around his hips.
“Later.” He whispered against her mouth.
Cordelia woke up much later, voices intruding into her dreams.
She realized Doyle was in the room, and cringed, pulling the covers tighter as she opened her eyes.
Angel was standing at the foot of the bed, fully dressed, hands on his hips, looking at Doyle.
Doyle looked chagrined.
“You just had to, didn’t you?” He turned and glared in Cordelia’s direction before swinging his head back towards Angel.
“What are you talking about?” Angel asked, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck. But he knew. Doyle had never made a secret of his crush on Cordelia, even from Cordelia.
“I was wearing her down! But no, you had to swoop in with your Mr. Hero-with-the- flapping-coat routine and steal her away.”
Angel shook his head and clapped Doyle on the shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Doyle, we’ll find you someone else.” He turned Doyle around and began walking the man towards the stairs.
“And if I don’t want anyone else?” Doyle asked his voice fading.
“There’s always the monastery.” Angel replied.
“Great. Do they have single-malt; because I’m gonna need it.”
Cordelia buried her head back in the pillow and groaned as she laughed.
Maybe things would work out.