She was inhumanly fast, gaining on him despite the obstacles he tried to throw into her way. He skidded around a corner, grabbing at the wall to stop himself falling down the flight of stairs before taking one quick look behind him. So disconcerting to see the smile on her face as she chased him with such glee, the blood lust in her eyes making it crystal clear at least part of what she would want if she caught him. What she would take. With little care for life and limb, he threw himself down the stairs, reaching the bottom remarkably unscathed. A split second to decide which direction to go next and as he turned right he found himself face to face with her. She wasn't even out of breath, stroking her hair back to it's customary sleek look as she stepped in closer until he could smell the scented face cream she used, could see the shots of hazel in her eyes. “Boo!”
Goddamn it, he was never going to get back to sleep now. Throwing himself from the bed, Gunn swiped his hand over his face in an attempt to wipe away the sweat and tried very hard to repress the memories of the dream/nightmare. Stood at the sink, he drained a glass of water, his mouth dry and parched as he considered what he should do. The whole crap situation with Drusilla and what had happened to Cordelia made him feel sick, but more than that he missed what he had thought was happening. Which he guessed was why the situation was driving him batshit crazy. It was one thing working his way through the minefield that was Cordelia Chase, slipping past her defences a little more day by day, getting that smile – the one that made him feel like he'd never see the dark again because it was just that bright. It was something else entirely trying to work out how he felt about her now that she had been vamped. Too much history if he was being honest – his sister hadn't been fortunate enough to have a tame vampire there to 'train' her out of ruthless ways. Could Spike and Angel really make that much difference?
“Gunn? You said it wasn't going to be a problem. Look, Spike and I will understand if - “
“If what? You saying you want me gone?!”
“Gunn - “ To give Angel his due, despite his obvious exasperation he was making an effort. More than he used to do back in the day anyway. Gunn couldn't really blame him for his exasperation – after all, they'd had this self same talk. Several times. And each time he'd said he was cool with it. Or as cool as he could be – how the hell did you reconcile yourself to something like this?
“Look, I get it. She's one of you now so if I got a problem with it I can go back to my crew – isn't that what you mean?”
“Gunn, for God's sake, that was when she had just been turned! We've all been under stress and so I lost patience with you. Once. Tell me what we can do to make this easier on you. I never prepared to anything like this so I'm flying blind. What exactly do you want me to say?”
The thing was, there really wasn't anything Angel could say or do. It had been a tough six months of adjustment for all of them. Spike and Angel made for interesting “parents” as they figured out how to help Cordelia adjust to being a vampire. Weirdest thing was that Spike was the conservative parent, insisting Cordelia go nowhere unchaperoned and not because he cared particularly if she decided to munch free range. No, Spike was of the opinion that as “their” childe, she had a reputation to live down (rat munching courtesy of Angel; slut extraordinaire courtesy of Darla) plus a history to avoid repeating (nuns and orphanages apparently) and he was determined the newest member of the Aurelian clan was going to have a solid rep: no sluttiness, insanity or excessive brooding. Gunn would have loved to be a fly on the wall to hear Cordelia's view on that.
He and Wes had had no luck whatsoever tracking down that bitch Drusilla – she seemed to have high-tailed it out of L.A once she'd semi accomplished her objective. That, and Spike basically said that with Cordelia effectively adopted into the family, Drusilla would back off – for now. Sires were notoriously possessive of their childer and she wouldn't want to piss them both off by attacking Cordelia again. Maybe when she was a bit older....
So no vengeance for any of them. He didn't have even the hollow satisfaction of tracking down and staking the bitch who had basically killed the women he had only recently admitted he'd fallen in love with.
And now, big day. Kinda.
For the last six months, he and Wes had been working from a 'satellite' office, giving the three vampires space to settle into their new dynamic. But both Angel and Spike said that Cordelia was ready for them to come back – the visions no longer made her vamp out and go semi-feral – and apparently they had had a rather interesting few months. But it was time to man up and face her. Which he had no real idea how he was going to do since he'd been having the same damn nightmare for the last three weeks.
“I think the only one who can talk to him about all of this is me.” He tried not to jump at the sound of her voice but he could see the hurt in her eyes before she swiftly blinked it away. Damn, swamped with guilt thirty seconds after seeing her again after so damn long – he was doing really badly even for him.
“Cordy - “
“Go Angel. This is one conversation I really don't think you want to be around for.”
“Are you telling me that Gunn - “
“I'm telling you to go. And take that hyperactive 80s throwback with you – yes Spike, I know you're behind the door. Your lack of sneak is only eclipsed by your lack of fashion sense.”
“OI!” The exclamation was muffled but it proved that she was correct – Spike had obviously been listening in from the other room.
“I don't like this - “
“Are you saying you don't trust me? You don't think I've got this?” Despite his inner turmoil, Gunn struggled to hide a smile. Angel was digging his own grave and he so loved watching his Princess when she got on her high horse and slam-dunked other people.
“Don't fall for it Peaches. Come on, get out the way. I think the pair of 'em can handle it and I for one don't really wanna know just how far things went.”
“But - “
“Now Angel.” He really couldn't hide his smile as Angel caved (as usual) to Spike and slunk his way out of the room, giving both he and Cordelia what was obviously meant to be a warning look as he left. But the smile slipped from his face as Cordelia turned back towards him.
“And that leaves you.”
“Hey.” He knew he sounded weak but hell, what was he supposed to say?
“Look, Charles, I get it. I really do. And you know me – well, you know who I used to be. And I would really prefer to just rip this band-aid off fast rather than peel it off in bits if you don't mind.” She looked good. She looked damn good. He had always loved seeing her all glammed up, but there was something about how she looked in just jeans and a simple tee-shirt, her hair pulled back in a ponytail – it made him think of the simpler things in life like walking hand in hand in the sunshine, throwing his arm around her shoulders and holding her close, or better yet watching that fine ass of hers as she swayed across the room. The way her hips practically danced as she moved, slow and sexy towards him.....
“Well? You going to tell me it's over? You've had six months to get used to the idea of me, like this. And you can either accept it or not.”
“It's that simple for you?” It hurt that it all seemed so simplistic to her when he was struggling so much – was that just another example of how she had changed?
“No. I've done my time railing against the fates and that bitch, Drusilla. And this was so not how I expected to live my life, you know. I mean, yeah there are side benefits – kick-ass night vision, no more head splitting headaches with every vision, my skin is to die for but – the whole giving up the sun thing has got me kinda bummed. But you know what? I got no choice really – what am I gonna do, lie down and die?”
“No, but the whole no soul thing has got me kinda spun. I mean, Angel fights every day for the greater good but he needs his soul to be his tether. Spike is doin' it cos basically he's still a skinny white dude in love with another dude and takin' on whatever persona he has to to be in with his crush. What's stoppin' you goin' all Drusilla on us all?”
“So what, you think I fooled both of them? A couple of vampires with over three hundred years experience between them and little ole me managed to convince them that I'm a good girl? Maybe this isn't me – maybe I'm just a demon in a skin you know and – oh, we never did get around to labels did we Charles?”
“Do I think you might have fooled them? Maybe. Only other people I knew before they got changed, they weren't the same. They – well, they changed and not in a good way if you get me. Alonna - “
“Your sister. What happened with her – we never really had that conversation either did we? See, I talked this over with Spike and Angel – whether or not I was I still me. And they told me the truth. No, I'm not. Is there some of me in here? Oh yeah. Cordelia Chase hasn't left the building. But she doesn't have sole occupancy any more. Is that what all this is about – is that what you're scared of? That I'll do something like this - “ She was suddenly right behind him, a slim but shockingly strong arm going around his neck and tugging him off balance at an awkward angle so that her face was by his neck. “ - or that you'll like it that little bit too much?”
The familiar crunching sound and with wildly rolling eyes he was able to awkwardly look back enough at decidedly unfamiliar features. But that wasn't what made his blood run cold. No, that would be the unnatural coolness of her hand sliding beneath the multiple layers of his jacket and tee-shirts to rest for a moment against his lower belly, before slowly moving down beneath the waistband of his jeans. What made his heart thud in his ears was the feel of sharp teeth grazing almost gently against his neck and her nails carding through the hair at the juncture of his thighs before long, strong fingers were curling around the suddenly aching hardness of his dick....