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Between 'Parting Gifts' and 'Somnambulist'

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"There's something wrong with my glass," says Cordelia, and holds it out. Angel inspects it very seriously, which Cordelia appreciates. There's nothing worse than not being taken seriously. Except maybe being impregnated with demon spawn or missing a half-price sale on Jimmy Choos.

"I know what's wrong with your glass," announces Angel solemnly. "It's empty."

"Well, what are you waiting for? Fill it."

"Cordelia..." Angel stares at her. She stares back though. Cordelia Chase can give as good as she gets. "Don't you think it's time to stop drinking?"

"It's never time to stop drinking," she says, and thrusts her glass at him again. He takes it this time, and fills it with the vodka kool-aid mix that Cordelia had made earlier. "Besides, I haven't told you about my torrid past with Wesley yet."

"You have a torrid past with Wesley?" Angel raises his eyebrows.

"Yes," replies Cordelia in the haughtiest tone she can muster. "Is this a problem for you?"

"Well, you know, I have that rule about employees fraternizing..."

"What rule?" scoffs Cordelia. "I'm not your -- air quote -- employee, and besides, you have no rules. Your rule is to brood as much as possible!"

"Cor --"

"Sorry, sorry, that's mean, I admit it." She swallows a large mouthful of the vodka kool-aid, and winces. "That's so uck."

"What?"

"You know, Angel, you could show some solidarity here."

"I don't have a torrid past with Wesley."

Cordelia rolls her eyes at him. "Drink something!"

"Drinking really --"

"You can't get drunk? That stinks." Cordelia looks at her glass, and up at Angel. "Good thing I'm not a vampire."

"Yeah, good thing. But vampires actually can --"

"Plus I look terrible in brooding." She swallows the last of her third -- or is it fourth? -- drink, and hands the cup to Angel again. "You should drink something, though. Come on, Angel, don't be a party pooper! Oh, wait, who am I talking to again?"

"Ha ha, Cordelia." Still, though, despite the frowny-face, he takes her glass and fills it again.

"So, me and Wesley. There were lingering glances, Angel! Lingering glances!" Cordelia pulls her feet up underneath herself, and settles more comfortably on Angel's couch. "We had heat, Angel. We had passion."

"I think I'm going to be sick," mutters Angel. Cordelia ignores him.

"And then... then we had kissing!"

"Is there much more to this story?"

"Be quiet," she orders. "And when we kissed, it was like kissing my brother. I was so disappointed. You have no idea."

"Because in 242 years of living --"

"Deading?"

" -- everyone I wanted always wanted me."

Angel looks glum. Cordelia reaches over and pats his leg. "Uh-huh. I'm so sure. Because with the big and the brooding? I'm so sure. Did I already say that I was sure?"

"You're not being fair! I did have a human life. I wasn't always --"

"Big and brooding? Can I say again that I am so sure? Please, Angel, let's be realistic here --"

"What about --"

"What about who? Giles? Oz? Please don't tell me that you're harboring a secret crush on Wesley. Kissing him was -- Angel, kissing you was better."

"Wait a second --"

"I can deal with the visions, Angel. I can deal with Doyle being gone. I can even deal with your whole gay thing -- which, did Buffy know about that?"

"Cordelia."

"Because I probably wouldn't have been so understanding if I was her and you were all lusting after my Watcher --"

"Cordelia."

" -- because Giles? Ew. But Wesley? Now there's a man who --"

"Cordelia."

"What? Angel, can I get a sentence out here?" Cordelia leans forward and pats his leg again. "Oh, I understand. Kissing you was way better than kissing Wesley."

"Thanks, I think." Angel shifts and looks down at Cordelia's hand. She snatches it away; hopefully he won't notice that she's about three months overdue for a manicure. "I wasn't really worried about your opinion of my kissing."

"Oh yeah? Thanks a lot, buster. You sure know how to make a girl feel better." Cordelia pushes her glass over and leans forward. "My kissage is legendary in Sunnydale, I will have you know."

"Aren't we supposed to be talking about Doyle?"

"We are gonna talk about my kissing! You should have been falling at my feet, grateful for the chance to kiss Cordelia Chase!"

Angel raises his hands. "You're right. You're absolutely right. I feel very guilty."

"You should. I'll give you one more chance." Cordelia stands up, and feels a little wobbly, and moves toward him, and falls forward. Angel catches her -- that's gonna bruise, she thinks -- and when she's steadied, she pushes her lips against his.

"See?" she says. "Like -- mmph."

Angel kisses her, kisses her, and he tastes of black coffee, and he's cold against her, cold everywhere he touches her, through his clothes and hers. And it hurts, it hurts so bad --

"Cordelia! Cordelia!"

When she opens her eyes, Angel is kneeling next to her. She closes them again, against the pain of the light. "Girl. Alley. Vamps. Go. Down Melrose."

And then Angel is gone -- but he tucks a pillow under her head before he leaves, and covers her with a blanket that smells like Downy, like home.

**

"Angel?" Cordelia pushes herself up and puts a hand to her head. "Oh, crap. How much did I drink?"

"A lot." Cordelia squints into the kitchen; Angel is standing over the sink. "Where did you put my bandages?"

"Are you -- bandages?" Cordelia makes herself stand up -- she's sore from sleeping on the floor, and still drunk. "I'm still drunk."

"I'm not surprised."

"Thanks, boss, for being all sensitive. Let me get your bandages." She's wobbly, but the bandages are right where they're supposed to be, in the cabinet over the sink in the bathroom. Why Angel thought they would be in the kitchen, she doesn't know. She's organized, she keeps him organized, they even have a filing system that she put together herself. Bandages go in the bathroom. All filed under B.

Before she gets the bandages, though, she swishes the taste of vodka and kool-aid out of her mouth with Angel's mouthwash. Minty fresh.

She brings the first aid kit back into the kitchen and slaps Angel's hands away when he tries to help her. "Just keep your hands to yourself," she says irritably. There's blood on his face, and neck, and chest, and everywhere. "At least you have no chest hair to get in the way."

"Happy to be of service," he says, and glowers at her.

"Don't be glowery at me, mister. You're the one who let a two month old vamp beat you up. That never happens to me." She wrings the dishcloth out in the sink and keeps dabbing. He keeps glowering.

"Did you save her?" Cordelia finally asks.

"Yes."

"See? That's a good thing. Smile and be happy, Angel, you're still the good guy." She's trying to bandage up the one cut, but it keeps seeping. "I need another drink."

"No, you don't. Here -- let me --" Angel tries to take the scissors away from her, wrestle the bandages out of her hands.

"Ow! Angel! That hurt!" Even she can smell the blood -- her finger. "You're a bad man, Angel."

He doesn't answer her, and when she looks at him, she realizes that it's because he's smelling her blood too.

She's just drunk enough, still, that it seems like a good idea to offer him her finger. "Do you want --"

"No -- Cordelia, no --" He pushes her away, but she steps back to him.

"Take it," she whispers and he looks so conflicted and confused. Poor Angel, always sad about something. She rubs her finger on her mouth, and then rubs her mouth against his, and says into his lips, "Take it."

And then they're kissing again, kissing like last time, and he's cold against her again, room temperature, vampire. Vampire, licking blood out of her mouth and biting her lips, bending her over his arm, getting blood from his chest all over her green sweater.

He lifts up his head and he's breathing heavy. Breathing at all. She watches him lick a trace of her blood off his mouth -- he's vampy.

"You're all vampy," she says.

"We can't do this," he says.

"Oh, shut up. Do you know how long it's been since I've gotten laid? Just promise not to be evil."

"I promise I won't be evil," he says, and she has a flash of vision, of herself saying, "Promise I won't make you happy," and then she's back -- was she in the future? She doesn't know, she can't tell, she doesn't care. "But we can't --"

"We can. We will. We're going to," she says, and grabs the scissors. It's gonna leave a mark, but she's not getting any jobs anyway, not with the bruise on her face from the evil empathy demon who wanted to steal her eyes. How would eyes work without a brain anyway? Oh, yeah, magic. Sometimes Cordelia really gets annoyed with magic.

"Don't!" he says, and takes the scissors away before she can gouge the wound on her finger again -- but he's not quite fast enough, and the tip of the scissors catches her.

Angel watches the blood drip down her hand and arm, and it's going to waste, it's going to drop on the floor, and then his mouth is there, and he's licking the blood off, sucking at her finger, swirling his tongue over her skin. She shivers, and her knees go weak, and Angel looks up at her, vampires are so ugly. It's like the demon part has never heard of a skin care regimen.

"You need a good moisturizer," she says to him, and runs a finger over his eyebrow wrinkles.

"You can help me out with that," he says, and when he kisses her again, she can taste her own blood on his tongue. He's warming up, his body warming against hers, and she slides her hands around, over his back. She can feel his tattoo, the scars from it, under her fingers. His mouth is hot, wet, and she falls into the kiss, pushes him backwards toward the chair.

"Sit down," she says, and he stays standing.

"I never did take orders well," he says into her mouth.

"That's not what I heard." And she regrets it as soon as she says it, because she doesn't want to bring the B-word into the conversation. But he ignores it, and smiles, and she lets herself fall against him so that he falls into the chair, and it's her turn to smile. She unbuttons his pants, and his head falls back, and he says her name, twice, three times. He's not wearing underwear, and he smells of sweat and blood, and when she licks him, he groans.

She licks around the head of his cock, and one of his hands goes into her hair, tugs on it, pulls her down and back up again. "Rude much?" she says, and pushes his hand away. Ick, blood, she's going to have to shower --

He's big, bigger than any of the idiot boys back in Sunnydale, bigger than Xander, but it's nice -- almost comforting to take him in her mouth and get lost in the rhythm of sucking and licking, feeling his hands on her head, listening to him moan underneath her.

And then he pulls, brings her up. "No more," he says, gasping, which is funny, since she knows that vampires don't breathe.

"Good, cause my knees hurt," she says. "Linoleum? Not exactly made for --"

He jerks her forward, into his arms, onto his lap, and unbuttons her pants, shoves them down, and she helps him, wriggling out of them, brushing against his cock. It leaves wet trails on her leg, and she's glad she at least shaved her legs the night before.

Cordelia steadies herself on the back of the chair with one hand, and puts the other on Angel's shoulder. His skin is slick under hers, and she's sweating too. As she settles down on him, breathing heavily, she realizes: I want this. I want this.

"I want this," she says breathlessly, "I want this."

"Good," he says, "because it's too late to -- stop --" And then he's inside her, cold, but warming up fast, and then the linoleum under her feet is what's cold, freezing on her toes, and he's warm, and she's so hot, hot to bursting. She moves on him, tentatively, and it hurts a little, and then starts to feel good, and better, and better --

"You can bite me," she gasps. "You can bite me --"

"No --"

"Do it," she says. "You'll -- feel better -- you'll heal faster -- you'll --" His teeth are sharp against her and then biting, and it only hurts for a second before she feels it starting, the warm flood of pleasure from her neck, spiraling down her body, and the tightness, spiraling up from where he's inside her, her hips moving like she knows what she's doing -- and she does, but not so much, but she does, and Angel is a solid block under her, muscles everywhere, big shoulders, wrinkly forehead against her neck, and the light doesn't hurt her eyes anymore, it's fading out, everything is fading into the pleasure, everything is fading -- fading --

And when she comes, it's with a long, thin scream, a wail, and she falls forward onto Angel, dislodging him from her neck, but his tongue still licks her skin, licks the blood off her skin. Her hair is in her mouth and it tastes like blood, and he's still thrusting into her, saying her name in a hoarse voice, groaning.

When he goes still, it's like he's dead; that's almost funny. There are still black spots in her vision, she feels shaky, like none of her limbs are connected to her.

They're stuck together with blood and sweat, both of theirs, and she doesn't even want to know what else. He's not breathing -- she has a flash to Xander, her head on his chest, listening to his heart beat. Angel's heart doesn't beat.

"Your heart doesn't beat," she says. Her mouth is starting to taste sour, under the mint of the mouthwash and the tang of salt and blood.

"Thanks for pointing that out," he says. He doesn't sound out of breath. Makes sense.

She tucks her head onto his shoulder and rubs a finger over his nipple. He inhales sharply and she smirks to herself.

"I -- I didn't take much. Blood."

"I figured." She looks up at him. He's starting to get a five o'clock shadow. Five am anyway. "Since I'm still talking and all."

"I guess I should have taken more," he says, and she twists his nipple, hard. He hisses.

"That's what you get for being mean!" Cordelia pushes back a little. "My neck hurts."

"It'll heal. I'll bandage it."

"It better not leave a scar." She touches her fingers to it, and they come away bloody. "Ick."

He doesn't look at her when he licks her fingers clean. "I --"

"This hasn't, like, reinvigorated your taste for human blood, right?" She moves, and realizes that he's still -- inside --"Ohhh."

His fingers dig into her waist, and he lifts her up. Xander could never do that. Once she's standing, she feels kind of stupid, standing naked from the waist down, her green sweater sticking to her, brownish red in patches. But Angel's not even looking at her, so it's okay. And he's naked too, and he looks much worse than her, covered with streaks of blood, completely naked.

The wound on the side of his chest is totally gone.

"It never goes away," he says, and turns, and when he faces her, he's got the wet dishtowel. He steps toward her, and she steps back, reflexively. "Here. Or did you want a shower?"

"A shower," she says decisively. Or she hopes it's decisive. "There's blood in my hair."

"Blood everywhere."

He looks guilty. Such a brooding idiot.

"Don't be an idiot," she snaps, and strips off her green sweater, and the tank top underneath it. "Come shower with me." She gentles her voice -- tries to gentle it, anyway. Poor Angel. Buffy must have done a number on him. "You can lick the blood off."

"Cordelia --"

"Don't you 'Cordelia' me. I know you, Angel. I'll go take a shower and you'll sit out here and be all Mr. Brooding Pants, and then --"

"Mr. Brooding Pants?"

"Or Mr. Brooding Naked No Pants," she replies airily, and there it is, the smile again, and he walks toward her -- this time she doesn't back away, and he follows her into the bathroom.

**

She walks home in the daylight, under the sun, and wonders if Angel is going to pretend that nothing happened between them. She can do that. She can pretend. She pretends about most everything in her life anyway -- being an actress, being grown-up, having hope this won't always be her life. Her neck still hurts; when she gets home, she lets Dennis make her a cup of tea while she calls the office and leaves a message for Angel. She's staying home today, watching television and drinking tea with Dennis. She's sore everywhere, and she needs to give her neck a chance to heal, figure out how to cover the bruises on her face, avoid Wesley for a while.

**

After a few days, she goes back to the office. Angel doesn't look like he's been sleeping -- and she feels bad, but only for one second, because he's acting even weirder than she is, and if there's one thing she can't stand, it's men who don't properly appreciate being allowed to kiss Cordelia Chase.

By the time she realizes that he's acting weird because his crazy killer protege son is in town, it's too late.

"Too late," she says to Dennis that night, and he ruffles the curtains in sympathy.

It's, like, totally funny sometimes how wrong a person can be.