”Wasn't anything else that could be done- you know that.”
“I know. Although I really didn't expect you to be trying to make me feel better.” It made a difference having Spike by his side, even though he knew their relationship was the main reason for the vindictive actions. Jealousy was an ugly emotion in a human – add a demon to the equation and you had – well, this. The pair of them curled up on the armchair, watching and waiting for what felt like forever.
“Not trying to make you feel better, you berk. It's just when you start overdosing on the guilt, you get fidgety and it's taken me this long to get comfy and warm. Don't want it messed up is all.”
It was easy to ignore the words when Spike's actions contradicted them. He was sat on Angel's lap, that lean body curled in what appeared to be an impossible position that ensured maximum contact whilst appearing effortless and casual. Very much indicative of their relationship and how they came to be together. Spike did everything he could to make them work, displaying astounding loyalty as he effectively changed Angel's life: helped him accept giving up the whole idea of Shanshue; to stop trying to live like a human ignoring his instincts and his strengths; to embrace even the dark parts inside himself to make him the best champion he could be; he did all of that whilst giving the impression to everyone around them that all he did all day was smoke, drink, fight and fuck. It was – enticing. But those intense feelings had to take a back seat to the current situation.
“Shouldn't she be rising by now?”
“You know the timing can vary. Add in two sires and who the hell knows? Besides, you took almost three days.”
“Did I heck as like!! Got the story from Darla, mate. She told me herself I was an irritating little bastard from the get go, rising early and upsetting all her plans.” Even whilst arguing Spike's reassuring touch remained constant, an anchor he knew he could rely on. “What did you do with her?”
“She took us completely by surprise – I knew she was jealous for want of a better word what with the presents that started turning up.” They both shuddered remembering the build up to the attack when not a day went by without some gory gift that was supposed to be congratulating them on their union but clearly showed the workings of a deranged mind. “I wasn't ready for her to attack the agency – Wes and Gunn are out there looking for her but frankly I don't think they're going to have much luck.” Spike had been out playing poker when the attack happened, a fact he blamed himself for as though he could have predicted or prevented it.
“Yeah it sounds like Dru. Even though she's completely barmy most of the time, she can be a bloody brilliant strategist. Bet she watched and waited to make sure she could do this.”
The silence thickened as they watched over her, offering comfort and solace to each other. It was surreal seeing the infinitesimal changes that the human eye could never see. A smoothing out of the slight wrinkles around the eyes that showed quite clearly how much she used to smile; a pearlescent glow coming over the soft, luscious skin. It was hypnotising, especially as neither of them had changed anyone in so many decades. Even though this wasn't their choice, there was an underlying sense of pride in watching over her as she turned – she was beautiful and once she was over the initial fledgling blood-lust, she would make an astounding vampire.
“I always said whoever turned the cheerleader would have to be off their rocker – didn't realise how right I was.”
“Yeah. I get the feeling she's going to be mighty pissed off and I am not looking forward to handling that.”
“But we'll handle it.”
“Yes, we will. Together. And once she understands we had no choice, that Drusilla forced this and we couldn't bear to see her go, hopefully she'll understand.”
“What about - “ Spike's sentence petered off but Angel knew what was going through his mind. It had been going through his too.
“We'll see. It depends on where we all are, what we all want. I won't lose what we have Spike so don't even think about it.”
“Would make life easier for you though, wouldn't it? Specially dealing with the Slayer and all of them – I know how surprised they've been with their human labels on what we do.”
“You think I care if they think I'm gay? That I'll throw you over for her just because she's female and a vampire?” He was stunned momentarily before he remembered who he was talking to – of course Spike expected to be tossed aside. It was the other reason for Drusilla's jealousy – she thought the woman had already taken her place between her Daddy and Spike and had done her very best to remove the perceived threat. Only speedy action on Angel's part had made the transformation possible, hence two sires.
With casual ease, he pulled Spike up and turned him around in his arms until they were face to face, forcing Spike to meet his gaze.
“I am never letting you go again. I don't care what else happens, no matter what anyone else says. You are more precious to me than words can ever express and I will not lose that. Your love, your loyalty – Spike, William, without you I am nothing and no one, less than I was when I lived in the sewers. Do I have to get the chains out again?” In the crystalline blue eyes he could see the pleasure his words caused, the love amidst the worry and concern. It merely confirmed that the Powers had indeed been looking after him when they brought Spike to him after the chip – it gave them an opportunity to learn to be around each other again, to let the past go, to see beyond all of that to the feelings underneath. He would have to be all kinds of fool to risk losing that and Angel had never been a fool.
“Chains huh? You've turned into such a kinky bastard you have – any excuse to tie me to a bed and - “ A noise from the bed caught their attention and they looked towards it, surprise keeping them silent.
“Oh good God, can you two not just get a room somewhere else?? I wake up to find I've got extra sharp teeth, a bite mark on my neck that I don't recall giving permission for, and you're making out?? Jeez, what does a vampire have to do to get a drink around here?” Unbearably relieved, they both laughed as they scrambled up from the chair and moved towards her – whatever else had happened, this was the Cordelia they knew and loved, her personality shining through in a way they could only have dreamed of.
“God Love, if anyone was gonna be strong enough to be themselves with a bit of demon added, it would be you!” Spike sat on the edge of the bed, taking her hand and helping her into a sitting position.
“Cordelia, I - “
“NO! I'm not going to be one more thing for you to feel guilty over. You didn't do this – she did. All I need to know is where that bitch is because I fully intend to dust her for this!”
“We – she got away and we're trying to track her down. But I am sorry – this wouldn't have happened if she wasn't jealous of Spike and me. She obviously thought – well, we think she convinced herself that - “
“Oh please, she thought I wanted to be the meat in a vampire sandwich?! Thanks but no thanks – you and bleached blond over here can barely see anyone else!! I don't share and besides, I have – had my eye on someone else.”
“Well I'm not telling you – I get the feeling you're going to be even worse than my father when it comes to me dating! Now help me up – I need a shower and I'm hungry! And none of that cow's blood either – I want some of that blood Spike got from the hospital!” As she spoke, she accepted Spike's assistance getting up from the bed, swaying slightly as she got used to being on her feet again. “Oh! What about my visions?!” For the first time, he saw fear and worry on Cordelia's face and without thinking he took her into his arms, hugging her closely.
“We'll have to wait and see. Whatever happens, you are a part of my family Cordelia and I will not be letting that go again. You are important to me – not in the same way as Spike, but I will not lose you.” Lifting his wrist to his mouth, he bit deeply until the blood began to flow, watching as her face automatically shifted and she growled hungrily. “Now drink childe, there is much for us to do.”
As Cordelia began to drink, he looked over at Spike who was sprawled back on the bed, seeming content to watch. He knew it wasn't his imagination that there was more than a hint of desire in Spike's face – whether it was for Sire's blood or for the fledging vampire in Angel's arms he wasn't sure. There would be time to untangle all of those feelings later – for now, he would simply enjoy the unexpected bounty of a new childe, an unexpected sibling for his Spike, and the realisation that deep inside he was content to know that this was one more member of his family that he would not lose to the ever-present threat of mortality. Regardless of how it had happened, he could not completely mourn the loss of the human Cordelia – the successful transition from human to vampire was definitely cause for rejoicing and thanking the Powers that be. What happened next, he would be facing it with his family.