Somewhere out in the world, a tea kettle was whistling loudly.
A tea kettle.
He opened an eye, and instead of the usual sight which tended to greet him each cheerful Los Angeles morning -- the dubious view of the brick wall outside his window -- Doyle saw a curved, smooth back, lightly tanned skin disappearing in a wash of white sheet that was pooled ever-so-delicately around a smooth, slender waist.
Cordelia finished pulling a plain cotton tee shirt over her head, and Doyle blinked, opening both eyes and staring at her. Still Cordelia, sitting on the edge of --
Of Angel's bed, actually.
Doyle mumbled, "Either I've died an' this is heaven or I'm dreamin', and this is heaven."
Angel appeared out of nowhere, holding a couple of cups. His robe was open, and he was wearing nothing but his boxers, dark silk and oddly graceful. Much like when Doyle first barged in on him and Cordelia that one morning, except. Here was Doyle, not barging in. Here was Doyle, only just waking up while Cordelia took some tea with a quiet, "thanks," and Angel stood against the wall awkwardly, already sipping his.
He finally found his tongue, pushing himself up on his elbows. "Is there whiskey in that?"
Angel kind of glanced at him, and then glanced a little above him, maybe at the pattern of brick above his bed. Except, Angel knew the pattern to the bricks above his own bed. Doyle swallowed.
Angel replied, "Uh, no. it's kinda early."
Doyle rubbed his forehead. This was too much to work out in too little a time-frame; you stick a guy in the perfect situation, with two living and breathing specimens of beauty staring at you expectantly -- well, a guy's not likely to be able to keep up, is he? As if it might slow down time or speed up his thought processes, he kept rubbing his forehead, and mumbled, "All right. No whiskey, not quite heaven. Purgatory? Almost-heaven? I was a pretty good guy, so it's almost perfect?"
Cordelia twisted around so that it was very clear she was wearing nothing *but* the tee shirt and a pair of pale pink underwear. The sheet fell away from her waist, and the tee shirt didn't quite meet her underwear. A thin strip of tanned stomach was still visible. He stared. She said, "What? Are you okay?"
Angel kept his cup in front of him, almost in defense, and Doyle tried to avoid staring at his hands clutched around the mug. "Ah, nothing, princes--" he paused. "Yeah, I'm okay."
Doyle sat up again, and the blanket fell away from him. Slight draft, there, and -- clearly he was wearing even less than Cordelia and Angel, and clearly. clearly. clearly.
Angel stared at his tea for a moment. Cordelia ran a hand through her hair.
"I'm not dead, am I?" Doyle finally said, deciding that if he was, he'd better find out sooner, than later.
Angel glanced up, brow furrowed and looking confused. Cordelia smiled brightly, trying to keep the painful awkwardness they were all feeling off her face. "Nope. Angel's still the only dead guy in the office."
"Right, okay." Doyle rubbed his neck, this time, since his forehead wasn't helping. "Then how the devil did I end up in bed with you two?"
And, there. It was out, and now clearly, they were going to tell him it was all a mistake, and they could laugh it off and then he could maybe get out of this with his dignity -- okay, probably not, but maybe a little of it--
There was an even more uncomfortable pause, if that was possible, and then, "It," Angel started. "I dunno."
"Oh," he said. "Well then."
Cordelia had her head down, shoulders hunched a little. The tee shirt stretched out across her back. She was obviously nervous. "Hey, are you," Doyle started to say, and without thinking put a hand on her bare shoulder so she'd straighten up, and stop looking so un-self-assure.
Surprisingly, she didn't pull away, or joke, or anything. "Yeah, I."
"Look," Angel said. They both looked up at him. Doyle's mouth went dry, suddenly, because there was his boss, next-to-naked in a bathrobe. He could remember exactly how Angel kissed, what Angel's tongue felt like inside his mouth, the movement of Angel's legs. Doyle waited, but he didn't say anything else, just, stood there mouth open for a minute, and then went back to staring at his tea.
Cordelia sighed. "Well, this isn't extremely weird or anything." Doyle figured it was supposed to come out sarcastic, flippant, even brutally blunt, but it had a definite tinge of sadness.
Cordelia, sad. There was no way a guy could process this quickly, deal with the ramifications of such a heavenly act as what happened last night, and then try and be the grown-up the morning after. And to be sure, neither Angel or Cordelia were being much help. Sure, Cordelia was the most self-assure of the three of them -- nine times out of ten, anyway -- and yet she was just sitting there. And Angel, he'd lived for hundreds of years, and he was just *standing* there, being mute. Fat lot of good that would do.
No where near enough time to process. But, all right -- he wasn't dead. Doyle rubbed sleep out of his eyes. "What time is it, anyway?"
"Uh, around nine thirty?" Angel said. His hands twisted around the handle of his cup.
"And us, hanging about here when there could be evil a-foot," Doyle said weakly, trying desperately to get his brain to wake up enough to have this conversation. He wasn't dead. It was morning. He was naked. And he had to figure out some way to make this all right between the three of them, since Angel's big conversational gambit was "look", and Cordelia kept shrugging, opening her mouth and then having no sound come out. That in and of itself was upsetting.
The only solution was, he had to wake up. Unfortunately, the more his brain woke up the more he remembered about what happened, and the more he started to dread ever coming into work again. Fighting evil, sure, fine, but when he could remember his hands on Cordelia's thighs, on Angel's shoulders, their hands on him?
"It's early yet," Angel said to him.
Doyle tried not to bite his lip. This was going so badly. He joked, "The early bird gets the worm, or, worm-demon, though," and then clamped his teeth together, because joking was only going to make it worse.
Cordelia turned around again, sitting on the bed properly. She smiled at him. "You're a dork."
"And proud, you know," he answered immediately. He went back to rubbing his forehead. "But I still don't really know. I mean."
"What to do about this?" Cordelia finished. "Well, we have two options," and she held two fingers up. "we pretend it never happened" and Doyle bit the inside of his cheek, trying not to let his disappointment show, "or you know. We deal with this, and. you know," she ended, voice high and waving a hand around.
"This isn't the first time anyone's made this mistake," Angel offered up.
Doyle frowned. "You know, I'm going to pretend I'm not offended by that."
"I didn't mean--" Angel glanced at Cordelia, helpless. She had her lips pursed too. "I just meant, starting something with someone at work."
"Oh, please," Cordelia said, gaining back some of that charm they tried to avoid her for. "Like this whole office isn't a democratic system anyway."
"Hey," Angel protested mildly, standing up straighter. "I am the boss."
"Sure, Angel," she answered quickly. "You're the boss."
"Be that as it may?" Doyle said, keeping his voice steady. "I still find myself with a little nagging question, here." He took a breath. "I mean, I'm assumin' I didn't just dream up the whole sordid debacle last night, and I'm not sleepin' naked in my vampire boss's bed just because I fell and hit my head."
"Well, you did fall," Cordelia said brightly. "At one point."
Doyle rubbed the back of his neck again. He had fallen off the bed, a little bit. Only a little bit. Angel had chuckled, Cordelia had giggled, and the two of them had made sure he was all right and safe before they'd continued kissing. He had fit nicely between them.
"No, it wasn't an accident," Angel said quietly, answering his unvoiced question.
"But a mistake?" Doyle said casually. If God loved him at all, he'd make sure that that particular phrase came out much less pathetic than it sounded in his head. Of course, he was half-demon and a bit of a bastard; God probably hated him.
"Well," and Angel finally, finally came forward, abandoning his cup, to sit down beside Cordelia. Doyle shuffled against the wall so they had more room. "That depends."
"Are you evil?" Cordelia asked, suddenly. "I mean, that would be a pretty good sign it was a mistake."
Angel tilted his head, frowning. "No," he replied finally. "I still feel a deep need to brood. That probably means, not evil."
Doyle chuckled, despite himself. Angel's odd forays into humor always came at the most inopportune times, and thus, were even funnier. "Not completely evil."
Angel shrugged. "Details."
Cordelia stretched her neck, her back, her arms. Her spine curved as she threw her ribs out, trying to pop her spinal cord. Doyle tried not to stare at that curve. "So are we going to go to work?" she said. "I mean, it is only ten o'clock. And I totally want a shower."
"We still haven't," and Doyle gulped. "Decided anything."
"Decided what?" Cordelia asked frankly.
Angel stared at him for a long moment, in which Doyle ducked his head, played with the hem of the sheet, and couldn't sit still for more than two seconds. It felt like he hadn't ever been more twitchy in his life. "I think Doyle means, we haven't decided what we're going to do about what happened."
"Oh," she answered quietly.
"Well, if my memory serves," Doyle started, with a bit of a nervous chuckle, "we give each other a bit of a hug, wave, and then don't ever call. Course it's been a while since I've slept with--" At a glance from Cordelia, he amended, "since I've had anyone to not call."
"We work together," Angel said. "You don't have to call to get in touch with us."
"True," Doyle said. "Well, that won't work."
"How about," Cordelia started slowly, "if we start with breakfast. Because I'm hungry, and Angel can cook, and really." She rubbed a hand over the bedspread absently. Her manicured nails made him shiver. "It's only a little weird. Right?"
Doyle pretended not to hear that hopeful upturn in her voice at the end. "Right. Plus, breakfast. And it's not like, even if it was fantastic, it'd happen again." He bit his lip -- never quit while you're ahead, do you Francis? -- and then rushed, "So breakfast would be a good place to start, and I could use some thing to wear."
"Doyle," Angel said, firmly. He looked up. Angel said again, "Doyle."
Cordelia started stroking the bedspread again. "Fantastic?" she mumbled.
"Oh, all right," he blurted. Never could shut up. He still wasn't awake enough to have this tactful a conversation. "Yeah, all right. Fantastic, best, amazing, blissful, heaven, unforgettable. I'm the bloke that can't ask anyone to dinner, yeah? So of course you two have less interest, and right now I'm feeling pretty stupid so I think maybe I'm gonna just get dressed and go home, because--"
Very slowly, Cordelia leaned over and pressed her lips to his cheek. Her lips, with no lipstick or gloss or shine on them, were soft and smooth like the rest of her. Doyle stared at her, eyebrows raised. She looked away, looked back, a bit of a grin playing on her face. Angel, meanwhile, had put a hand on his knee, through the thin sheet, and was squeezing it gently.
"Oh," Doyle said.
"Breakfast," Cordelia replied. "Because I'm hungry."
He finally put a hand over Angel's, and took her hand too. "Right. Cause we're fighting the forces of darkness."
She added, "but you might want to put on some pants first."
"I dunno," Angel answered, deadpan. "He kind of looks good."
Cordelia stood up, making her way to the kitchen. Doyle stared at her smooth, curved back, her long legs, her messy hair. She called out, "I want an omelette. Or maybe some french toast, or--"
"She's a beauty, isn't she," Doyle muttered, as she kept talking to herself. Angel still hadn't taken his hand away from his knee.
"Mmm," Angel answered.
"Look," he started. "I appreciate it, and all, but I don't, I mean, I don't need you to pretend--"
Angel looked down at their hands, and suddenly Doyle realized, with perfect clarity, that Angel was nervous, too, that Cordelia's constant chatter covered up nerves. "It's not, that way." Angel added, "It's good. It's, it's really good."
"Oh," Doyle said, faintly. "Well. Okay."