Cordelia unintentionally strings Angel along.
CONTENT: Angel’s POV with C/A-ness
CATEGORY: Post-Episode Fic / Provider (Ep056 – 3.12)
LENGTH: Ficlet / Short Story – 1,300 words
FICPIC CREDIT: Lysa
Everything should have been copacetic. Connor was safe. Kidnappers defeated. Money in the bank. College fund secure. Fred still had her head. It was all good. Angel knew that he should be feeling about as close to contented as he could allow himself to get.
The struggle to protect his son brought them all closer together, even more so than before when they had been joking about the potential apocalypse headed their way by calling out ‘I Love You’ to each other. The sound of those words on Cordelia’s lips had been a jolt straight to the heart—something he didn’t want to think about because she was obviously just saying it on a whim as his friend and not because she . . .well, he couldn’t go there. Shouldn’t anyway.
Darla’s arrival and everything that followed certainly gave Cordelia more than enough reason to be angry. Yes, he had lied to her, a cardinal sin in her book, perhaps worse than the sex itself. He had been in that deep, dark, cold place and was just looking for a way out. It was a miracle that Cordelia had let him back into her life much less granted him her friendship, even though he had gone to extraordinary measures to try to force it into existence again. His need for her warmth, smile, and trust outweighed any amount of money or humiliation he might have to pay to keep her with him.
They had come so far during the last few months. Gotten back to a place where Angel felt he no longer had to question whether Cordelia thought of him as a friend. They were family—albeit a platonic one where she lived with a ghost, him with his son, and the others scattered around the Hyperion. Still, they all belonged together. If by some unexpected circumstance Cordelia happened to fall asleep in his bed, Angel wasn’t complaining.
Most days he focused on Connor and the mission. Seeing her rocking the baby, talking to him about random topics—magazine articles, Keanu Reeves’ latest movie, baby fashion, cash versus credit—that kept him wide-eyed as if he was soaking up vast amounts of knowledge on the subjects, was often distracting for Angel, too. He had always loved the way Cordelia looked at life, and now even more because he felt like he was part of it.
Everything she did tugged at his heartstrings making him feel more than he should. Distracted by every little move she made, he tripped over his own feet because he was too busy looking at her. Angel had no idea what was wrong with him. Not until Fred whacked him over the head by claiming that he and Cordelia had Kyrumption. What he hoped they had might have a name, but he worried that these feelings building up were all one-sided. He couldn’t risk saying anything, doing anything. Not without knowing that their friendship was secure. That it would be safe no matter what.
Part of him wanted to throw caution to the wind the next time she called him a dumbass for being the most uncoordinated vampire in existence. Just show her how he felt since he couldn’t manage a coherent sentence. All sorts of scenarios played out in his head, appealing to his baser instincts, none of which would be a choice he could make if ever he had an inkling that Cordelia’s feelings mirrored his own.
Angel kept his mouth shut and his hands to himself. He missed touching her. Not that he ever did so in a deliberate way. It just happened. Her skin was soft, warm beneath his fingers. Lately, when he pressed his lips to her forehead, that familiar gesture of devotion and trust felt like an imprint conveying everything he did not know how to say. Fumbling simple handoffs of paperwork and other work-related items was his latest problem, especially if Cordy casually put a hand on him during the exchange.
She was onto him, Angel figured worriedly. Or possibly considering hiring a shaman to figure out if he was coming down with a mysterious vampire illness. Deciding that he simply needed to focus on one step at a time—sometimes literally so he would not fall down the stairs—Angel turned it into a mental exercise designed to prevent him making a fool of himself in front of Cordelia. Create a focal point so that his mind and body were centered. He could do that.
Deciding to test his idea, Angel headed downstairs where Cordelia was sitting on one corner of her desk while finishing up a phone call with a client, something about the bill being in the mail. Something about the tone of her voice was a turn-on causing Angel to close his eyes and suck in a breath of air he couldn’t even use just to steady himself. He let out a little groan and raked his hand through his hair. Focus, he thought irritably, not getting it together as quickly as he had planned.
A click of the phone told him the conversation was over, and when Angel opened his eyes it was to find Cordy leaning across the counter, smiling brightly as if she was happy to see him. He grinned back—a little too long because she let out a little snort and turned back to her desk to sit down. “Hello to you, too,” Cordy looked back at him when she was settled in her chair. “Tongue-tied today?”
“Guess so,” he muttered half to himself before trying to strike up a conversation about that call.
Moving around to her side of the counter, feeling the need to be closer, he leaned back on it, trying to find a focal point. Just like that he saw it, the smallest thing. A broken string on the button of Cordy’s sensible blouse. It poked up at an odd angle away from the smooth direction of the rest. He stared at that little thread as he talked about the client’s case, one out of place string. It bothered him in a way nothing else had bothered him in a while drawing his gaze back to it and the small button it held in place.
There was a tiny swatch of black lace visible just above the button where the vee of that blouse dipped just enough to reveal a subtle peek at her tempting curves. That was not where he was supposed to be focused. Angel tried to draw his eyes back down to the button with the little loose string, but couldn’t. So he raised his gaze to hers again, finding her staring back bemusedly.
When Cordelia suddenly stood up to walk over, he gulped and managed to straighten up to his full height without any mishaps. Only a few inches away, she gave him the once over, eyeing him up and down as if looking for an invisible flaw. She narrowed her gaze and reached up to place her palm on his forehead as if checking for a fever despite knowing that vampires never caught colds.
“Are you sick?” she asked making him wonder if she had that shaman on speed dial.
Angel promised, “I’m fine. I was just a little . . . distracted.”
There was that snort again. “Is that what you call it?” Oh, she was definitely onto him.