They sat on either side of the desk in Angel’s office, a bottle of tequila and a lot of wasted lime wedges between them. Faith licked salt from the joint of her thumb.
“You know,” she said conversationally, slopping more tequila into both shot glasses, “the fact that I’m not married yet means that there are millions of lucky girls out there who have dodged a bullet.”
She thought Angel would laugh, but he had Serious Face on instead.
“You’ll find someone,” he said.
She rolled her eyes. “Thanks, Dad,” she said, and leaned over the desk. “Hey, do you know what body shots are?”
Angel’s brow quirked. “I’m 240 years old, I’m not dead.” He frowned. “Okay. I am dead.”
Faith was about to crawl over the desk when the door opened and the overhead light shot on. She and Angel both reeled from it way too similarly to how Angel would have reacted to sunlight.
“Oh. My. God.” Cordelia. Faith frowned. A lecture from Mother Hen was just what she needed. “Are you two drunk?” Cordelia demanded. “You do know it’s eight a.m., right? Angel, we have meetings.”
Angel groaned and laid his head down on the desk, a lime squishing against his cheek.
“Hey,” Faith said, “it’s not that we’re drinking early, it’s that we’re up late.”
Cordelia frowned and puffed out a dramatic sigh. “Shouldn’t you be out poking things with your little stick?”
Faith licked her lips and raised her hips suggestively. “Why, Mommy, gonna spank me?”
Cordelia raised an eyebrow. “You wish.” She came into the room and started to pull Angel to his feet. “Come on, champ. Let’s get you to the showers.”
Resident Slayer at Wolfram and Hart had its advantages as well as its drawbacks. Having a friend like Angel available on the reg was definitely a plus, and so were the strings the law portion of the firm pulled to get her paroled. But she wasn’t suited to the office life. And there were rules. Lots of rules.
Faith sighed her way through another one of Wesley’s meetings, and then nearly literally ran from the room once it was finished. She wasn’t looking, and bumped straight into Cordelia, knocking both of them to the ground.
Faith ended up on the bottom, which was not a place she liked to be, even if Cordelia’s ample bosom pressing against her was really nice, if you could ignore who the breasts belonged to for a minute. Cordelia’s eyes were narrowed and her cheeks were flushed as she let Angel help them both up.
“One expects someone with preternatural physical properties to be a little more graceful,” she snarled.
Faith glowered, not least of which because she was right, dammit.
“Not all of us had ballet lessons growing up, princess,” she said, but it landed kind of flat.
Angel insisted on whiskey, that Irish fuck. Faith didn’t like it, but Angel insisted the taste would grow on her.
“Am I going to have to separate you two?” he asked.
“Me two who?” Faith asked, grimacing as she sucked down another brown shot of what tasted like peat moss. She and Angel were alone in the room.
He leaned back in his chair, regarded her. “You and Cordelia.”
Faith shrugged. “She just needs to stay out of my way.”
He chuckled. “That’s the spirit.”
So Cordelia had powers now. So she was plugged into the PTB. So she was part demon—and maybe that had something to do with what rankled Faith about her. Maybe she felt that itch in her hindbrain when Cordelia was around; maybe it put her on edge, sent her into fight or flight. (And let’s be honest: Faith’s answer was never flight.) And maybe she was several years under Angel’s tutelage learning how to fight. That didn’t mean that having her come on missions was cool.
“We need all hands on deck,” Angel said.
“I like my own hands,” Faith said.
“Is that why you’re single?” Cordelia asked, and then plucked the best sword from the cupboard. Faith seethed.
Angel took a bad hit. Faith slaughtered the vamp that landed the blow, but the aftermath was that she and Cordelia were waiting together outside Wolfram and Hart’s infirmary after the doctors told them, yelling over their bickering, to get out until they were finished.
“You can go home, you know,” Cordelia said. “I’ll take care of him.”
“Fat chance,” Faith said, and then, “I live here.”
“I always do.”
Cordelia grunted out an ugly laugh. “I noticed.”
It was around this time that Faith noticed that Cordelia was holding her side.
“Why don’t you go get your ribs taped up?” she asked.
Cordelia’s jaw stiffened. “It can wait.”
“We’re just waiting here doing nothing. Go on.”
Faith frowned, and leaned back in her chair. “Fine.”
The doctors let them in after what felt like an eternity. They both ran to the nearest bedside, but there wasn’t enough room. Faith decided to be the bigger person and walked around to the other side of the bed. She wrapped her hand around Angel’s, and noticed in her periphery Cordelia doing the same.
“I’m fine,” Angel said vacantly. His eyes were slightly glassy from what Faith was guessing was a lot of morphine. “You two should go home. Get some rest. Bright and early tomorrow, we’ll—”
“If you even think of leaving this bed before the doctors say you can, I’ll put your butt in traction,” Cordelia said, and Faith smiled.
Angel fell into a cozy morphine slumber, and the nurse came by to suggest that they come back in the morning. Reluctantly, they left, walking through the lobby to the elevator. Faith noticed Cordelia limping, and her hand was still on her side.
“You never got your ribs looked at,” she said.
Cordelia shrugged, and then flinched. Faith frowned. “Why don’t you let me take a look?”
It was a testament to how shitty she felt that Cordelia agreed. They ended up in Faith’s apartment on the ninth floor.
“Take off your jacket and your shirt,” Faith said, and went to collect her first aid supplies. She came back and frowned; Cordelia had her jacket off, but was still wearing her shirt.
“Don’t be bashful, gorgeous,” she said. “I’ve seen tits before. I see them every morning in the shower, even.”
Cordelia gave her an evil look, but it passed quickly, and she just looked tired, a bit green, maybe. Faith got the hint.
“I bet that hurts like hell, huh?” she asked. “Let me help you.”
“I—fine,” Cordelia said, and she stood still while Faith approached her.
Faith hadn’t thought much of it before, but this close to Cordelia, her sweet perfume invading Faith’s senses, the flecks of gold in her eyes glowing in the dim light, Faith felt a little color come to her cheeks as she helped Cordelia take her top off. She was beautiful, Faith realized suddenly, her high cheekbones and her loose curls and her—let’s face it—really incredible breasts.
“Shit,” Faith said, and her blush got darker, and she felt like an ass.
Luckily, she wasn’t the only one. Cordelia weaved her hands through Faith’s hair and brought her closer still to kiss her. It was good. It was really good, what the hell?
“Shit,” Cordelia said when they broke off, and they both laughed.
“Here,” Faith said. “Hold still. I’ll tape your ribs.”
“And then what?” Cordelia asked.
Faith grinned. “And then, whatever you want.”
Cordelia smiled. “Good. I’ve got some ideas.”