Soulbound – Book 2: Chapter 25
Now we are left with this triad of power: our Champion, his Seer and the Chosen One. Lower beings, what happens next could break the ties that bind, bring them together or alter the pairing that exists. Only one outcome alone will keep this world safe from the destructive forces that will otherwise reign free. We, the Oracles to the Powers that Be, watch and wait. For even we have no other choice in the matter.
Cordelia filled the silent void that suddenly descended into the bedroom. “Looks like that leaves just us.”
“Looks like it,” Buffy concurred as she stared back and forth between Angel and Cordy. They were looking just as nervous as she was. This was awkward having two sets of conflicting memories floating around in your head.
“Buffy, I wasn’t expecting you so soon.” Cordelia commented. “Now that you’re here, I think you deserve the same explanation I got. Lame excuse or not, you should still get to hear why Angel left us behind in Sunnydale.”
The blonde Slayer shoved her hands in the back pockets of her pants. Telling Cordelia, “I already know that. He told me before he left.”
“Angel told you he was going to leave?” Cordelia slowly looked up at Angel with a sense of renewed anger. The vampire had talked to Buffy. Told her his plans, but not her. Never said a word to her about leaving. “I didn’t deserve the same courtesy?”
“I couldn’t do it, Cordelia,” he pleaded understanding. “I couldn’t take the chance that I would change my mind. That I would decide not to leave.”
Buffy sounded off, “So I *couldn’t* change your mind? Obviously not if it was okay to stomp all over my feelings.”
“You weren’t supposed to remember anything,” Angel pointed out. “And I didn’t stomp.”
Cordelia asks, “Did you know what he was planning with the memory spell?”
“No!” Buffy told her that she didn’t have a clue about that. “Only that he was going to leave town after the Mayor’s ascension.”
Angel started to repeat his reasoning to Buffy, but Cordelia jumped in with, “Mr. Broody Vamp was just too happy. Had to search for something to sulk over. Has to give Buffy a normal life. Gotta keep Cordy safe from his big, bad vampire instincts. Blah, blah, blah! Doesn’t trust me enough to tell me the truth.”
“I do trust you—,” Angel started out, but then Buffy was interrupting.
The blonde was furious. “You don’t tell someone you love them and wipe out the best part of their life.”
“Don’t think I haven’t paid for it, Buffy.”
She gazed up at him, noting the dark expression and the heavy weight he seemed to bear on his broad shoulders. Buffy wanted to wrap her arms around him, comfort him despite her anger. How had he paid for such deceit? There was only one thing Buffy could see that had happened and that looked more like a reward— or cheating. “But you two still have each other.”
Angel glanced over at Cordelia sounding a little doubtful, “I hope so.”
As she watched Cordelia reach out to touch Angel reassuringly, Buffy felt her heart was being ripped apart. Her conflicting memories made this too painful.
“Don’t you see, Angel?” Buffy heard the quiver in her voice. “The spell didn’t just wipe out the memory of you and Cordy and me, it left the two of us together. As a couple. We were more than friends, even if we couldn’t be together physically. We found ways. We tried. We were good together— until you left me.”
“I didn’t know, Buffy. The specifics of the spell weren’t that detailed,” Angel confessed. Her description made him feel even worse about this.
Buffy’s inner pain showed in her eyes as she asked him, “Why does it always come down to you leaving me? Choosing her?”
Frowning, Angel realized it must seem that way. “What I told you in LA, Buffy. Separate lives. Separate missions.”
“Then why did you come back here?” Buffy turned her fury on Cordelia. “Why Cordy? I know that you came back first. Angel followed you. Why come at all? To throw it in my face? Show me how happy you are?”
“Buffy—,” Cordelia tried to speak.
But the Slayer was too infuriated to let her get a word in. “You bitch! You’ve always been after Angel. You got him thanks to Willow. It took magick to do it. To steal him from me.”
Now Angel tried to calm her down, “Buffy—”
“No, it’s true.”
Grasping her shoulders, Angel warned her, “Don’t delude yourself into thinking I never cared for Cordelia. Don’t get the crystal’s false memories mixed up with the real thing.”
There were tears in her eyes as Buffy asked him, “How can I tell, Angel? It’s so muddled. Nothing seems real.”
Even though his hands fell away, Buffy stepped closer, so close that her body brushed against his. “Make it real, Angel.”
“Won’t.” Buffy remembered the original deal between them. “Not without permission.”
Cordelia saw two sets of eyes staring in her direction. What emotions were they trying to convey. Want? Need? Curiosity? Defiance? She realized that she was the one who kept them apart in LA. Standing up to Buffy, refusing to let her stay to get her hooks into her vampire. Would Angel have kept Buffy there had it been his choice alone?
Whatever Buffy saw in Cordelia’s face, she decided to act before the other woman could say a thing. She leapt at Angel, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and her legs about his waist. The force of her move staggered him, nearly causing him to fall onto the bed behind them. With her fingers curled into his short spiky hair, Buffy devoured Angel with a kiss that carried with it all the love and fury she possessed.
Watching in stunned silence, Cordelia found she could not move. Though she felt an urge to yank the Slayer out of Angel’s arms, she was also morbidly curious to find out just how far the vampire was going to let this go.
Buffy pulled away from Angel’s lips, her voice sounding out of breath and husky. “We can be together again. Cordy can stay, if that’s what it takes.”
She was kissing him again and Angel cursed himself for responding, but his body just seemed to react instinctively recognizing her as its lover. “Buffy—”
“Shh!” Then she was sliding her lithe body down to the floor pressing against his hard torso and the growing proof of his arousal. “Mmm. What have we here?”
Cordelia flashed a look of irritation at Angel who turned to meet her gaze. Again, he said nothing. Even as Buffy manipulated the zipper on his pants. The look in his eyes carried a challenge, but what did it mean? Did he want her to give her permission or put this to a stop? Hesitation cost her precious seconds.
Now Buffy was sinking to her knees and letting out a lustful moan as she took Angel’s erect penis in hand. She closed her eyes almost worshipfully as her cheek brushed across its length. Then she opened her mouth taking him inside, rolling her tongue across the sensitive head.
Angel shuddered in response to the hot cavern of her mouth. Then he felt Cordelia’s hand on his face and her lips against his ear. “I’m sorry.”
He forced himself to open his eyes, but Cordelia was already looking away. He held onto her with one hand while the other gripped the bedpost. As he watched, Cordy was slowly stroking fingers through Buffy’s silken blond hair as her head bobbed at his groin.
“Sorry?” He managed to croak out the question.
Cordelia’s hand tightened, yanking at Buffy’s hair with a force that pulled her away from Angel. Then she shoved the Slayer to the floor. “That’s more than enough. I didn’t come to Sunnydale to pick up where we left off, Buffy. I came here to put things behind us.”
Confused, Buffy couldn’t move from her position now lying on her back on her elbows. “Angel still wants me.”
“And this is the evidence?” Cordelia motioned toward the vampire’s erection. Angel had an intense look on his face, but she could hardly blame him for that. He was busy tucking himself back into his pants. “Buffy, you attacked him. Kissed him. Then you started with the slut routine.”
“Nothing we haven’t done before— together,” Buffy reminded her with a naughty grin.
Angel zipped up his pants, trying to ignore the ache in his groin. “What is it you’re trying to say, Cordelia?”
Darting her gaze back to his, Cordelia’s hazel eyes were blazing. “You know what I’m saying, Angel.”
“Then let me hear it.”
“Are you mine?” She asked him first.
Buffy flipped herself to her feet. “No! Don’t say it. Don’t deny what we had together. I have to have something. Cordy?”
The plea in Buffy’s voice called to some of the same feelings that her memory told her were the reasons she allowed Buffy into their bed in the first place. She had a history with Angel— heartfelt and true, but star-crossed and lovelorn as any tragic pair throughout the centuries. As the tears gathered in the huge woeful eyes pleading with her, Cordelia knew that she was in trouble.
The dreaded Cry Buffy had turned those impossible-to-resist tears upon her.
Buffy leaned in close, whispering, “Let me be with you. Don’t turn me away.”
Then Cordelia felt the soft fullness of Buffy’s feminine lips press against her own. The kiss tasted of salty tears and loneliness. Just as Cordelia started to return the soft caress, Buffy was extracted from the circle of her arms. She looked up in surprise as Angel’s hands gently moved her away.
“Just as Cordelia can give permission, Buffy. So can I— or not give it.” Angel revealed. “I don’t take kindly to other people kissing my mate.”
If the gnawing jealous feeling that hit him as he watched meant anything, “Apparently.”
Buffy turned back to Cordelia. Her tears had dried up and now she simply looked hurt. “I suppose you feel the same way.”
“I love Angel.” Cordelia figured it was that simple.
“So this is it? You don’t want me? Won’t take me back?” Buffy’s shoulders were straight and her head still held high. She gazed at them almost defiantly, daring them to deny the past they shared.
Angel brushed his fingers along the curve of her cheek. “I shouldn’t have kept you in the first place. Just selfish in my vampire way. Wanted it all.”
“Yeah. Selfish,” Buffy agreed. “What about you, Cordy. I loved you too for a while— as my friend.”
The edges of Cordelia’s mouth quirked into a sad smiled. That friendship was lost now, she figured. A friendship lost to the distance of time, false memories and the very real rivalry that happened somewhere in between.
“I’ll miss that friendship, Buffy.” Cordelia could not give her any hope that they could strike it up again. Not without putting Angel back in the middle of it all. “When Angel first told me that as his mate, I had the right to decide whether you could be with him, I didn’t really believe it. I was too worried about never getting to touch him again.”
Angel started to remind her, “But I told you— mmph!”
Holding her fingers over his mouth, she couldn’t take an interruption. “It was Angelus who claimed me, not Angel. It was Willow who took away my fear of vampires, I did not overcome that myself. Then she created the connection that made us soulmates.”
“Soulmates,” Buffy sounded out the word with a sigh. Willow and her good intentions— just led to trouble.
Cordelia continued. “I knew that there was still something between us. What happened after Angel’s return from that hell dimension proved it, but I knew he still loved you, Buffy. I didn’t think I had any choice, but to give my permission.”
“But you did,” Buffy stressed, “and we were happy.”
“I got used to the idea. It was fun, but I never really wanted it. I was just too scared to say no— thought I’d lose Angel.”
A kiss pressed against the fingers still covering the vampire’s mouth, causing Cordelia to meet his gaze. She let her fingers drop away as she soaked up the love in his eyes. As she finished talking to Buffy, Cordelia’s attention was focused entirely on him. “It’s different now. Things are different. I fell in love with Angel all over again. I know he loves me.”
Cordelia was pulled closer into Angel’s arms as he pressed a kiss against her temple and nuzzled her soft hair.
Buffy sounded far away, but she was standing close again with that plea in he voice as she spoke. “Angel? I still love you.”
“Its the memory of love, Buffy. Something from the past that may always be there in some form or fashion. But it’s never going to be that way again.”
Thinking back to their first kiss, Buffy muttered, “Too much water under the bridge, over the bridge, over the dam.”
Angel cupped her cheek, leaning over to press a brief kiss on her lips. “I’m sorry, Buffy. I don’t mean to hurt you, but I’ve found my life in LA with Cordelia. I want you free to find yours.”
“Don’t touch me. I don’t need your pity. Maybe I have been fooling myself. I don’t want to share anymore than you do.” Buffy glared at both of them slowly backing away. “It was a stupid game. A way to get what we wanted without playing by the rules.”
“It was more than that,” Angel told her. “It was real.”
“I just have to keep reminding myself that no matter what— false memory or forgotten reality— that you chose to leave me, Angel. That you still ended up with Cordelia. That this was simply meant to be.”
Meant to be? Angel thought of the Oracles and their talk of destiny. “That is more true that you know, Buffy.”
Still backing away, Buffy pointed out that maybe they were too different to make it work even if they wanted too. “You’re a vampire. I’m a Slayer. Like vinegar and oil. The two don’t easily mix. No more vampires for Buffy.”
Angel couldn’t let her go without asking, “Then why do you smell like Spike?”
“What?” Buffy started coughing in surprise. “You can *smell* Spike?”
“Vampire senses,” Angel justified. “Just asking. He says you’ve taken to beating him up and forcing him to do your bidding.”
Cordelia pointed out, “He looked bruised tonight.”
“Not much.” Buffy pouted. “He heals fast.”
“Just be careful,” Angel cautioned her. “I don’t know much about this control chip he’s talking about, but he is still a vampire without a soul. It wasn’t that long ago that he was in LA trying to gut me in order to get the Gem of Amarra.”
“I know what I’m doing!” Buffy sounded incensed that Angel would poke his nose into her business with Spike— Slayer business of course.
“What happened to Riley Finn?”
Pausing at the threshold of the room, Buffy’s shoulders drooped a bit at the mention of his name. “He was part of the group that put the chip in Spike’s head. A secret military operation called the Initiative. They’re gone now. We shut them down.”
“What happened to him?” Angel asked again.
“Riley? He left me too.”
“Oh.” Now Angel and Cordelia were feeling really sorry about this entire conversation. It seemed certain that any happiness Buffy had found after Angel’s sudden departure from Sunnydale was now just a memory. Their own return, even if it was to sort things out, did not make anything better.
Agape, Cordelia tried to make peace. “Buffy, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t bother.” Buffy stepped back through the open door. “I’m going now.”
Now two remain. Our Champion and his Seer. The fates have been kind to the Powers this day for a word or action altered from the course they followed may have swayed the decision to a different path.
“Did we do the right thing?” Cordelia asked Angel as they stood together by the bed still arm in arm.
“The only thing we could,” Angel answered softly. “The only thing that was right.”
“Did you mean it— what you did?”
Angel was absently running his finger over her collarbone. “What did I do?”
“You picked me over Buffy. Was that your decision or were you just following up on mine?”
“Don’t you get it, Cordy?” Her words were so similar to the ones she spoke on their lost day at Santa Monica. “I always pick you.”
“Mmm!” She kissed him thoroughly. “That’s a good thing.”
“So are you done with this soul-searching of yours? You wanted to touch things and see if they were real.” Angel wanted to get her home again before she changed her mind.
“No, I’m not done,” she told him frankly.
“No?” He sounded a little panicked.
Then Cordelia’s mouth curled into a smile. “There is a lot more touching to be done here. Definitely lots.”
“I’m intrigued,” Angel answered with a lustful gleam. “Care to demonstrate?”
With an offended gasp, Cordelia told him. “Certainly not. I’m not letting you off that easily. Someone has some serious making up to do.”
“What do you want, kitten?”
Angel started to unbutton his shirt giving her a tantalizing view of his muscular chest along the way. She started to walk forward, planning to help him, but changed her mind. Choosing to watch instead, Cordy had one had on her hip and the other at her mouth where she nibbled on the tip of her finger.
His shirt fell completely open, but he did not remove it. Simply lifted a hand to his chest and felt his way down across its hard expanse ringing his navel and brushing against the compact muscles of his abdomen. Cordelia inserted her finger a little farther, sucking at it with her tongue, certain it would keep her from drooling as he removed his belt. She let out a little moan as Angel dropped it to the floor.
“Still want to watch?” He paused as his hands reached for the button on his pants.
After a thoughtful moment, Cordelia nodded.
The button was unbuttoned. The zipper came next with its unique accompaniment of sound that caused a shiver to rocket down her spine ending in tingling sensations all over her body and centering at the apex of her thighs.
When Angel kicked off his shoes, Cordy gave a little pout. His socks followed. Not that she didn’t find all of him sexy, but there were other parts she wanted to see naked too.
“Tease,” she winked at him.
“I think you’re the tease, my sweet Cordelia. Come here. Touch me,” Angel dared her to follow through with what she was obviously thinking. The look in her eyes gave it away.
Angel yanked off his shirt and dropped it to the floor on top of his belt. The anticipation of removing Cordelia’s clothes now hastened his actions, but he slowed down just long enough to tease her again. His hand dipped into the waistband of his boxers, touching the renewed erection. Bringing it out to her view, he stroked his length.
“Is this what you want?”
“I want it all,” Cordelia absently splayed her fingers across her lower abdomen, edging close to the center of her need. She continued to stand her ground refusing to give in to the urge to take him in her own hand.
Releasing the hold on his penis, Angel removed his pants and boxers in one movement and swiftly stepped out of them. Stalking toward her, the vampire scented Cordelia’s arousal wafting around her like a cloud of apples and cinnamon. He would love to drown in that scent.
Cordelia was surprised when he did not immediately pull her into his arms. Instead, he moved around behind her standing a hairsbreadth away to whisper in her ear. “Do you have any idea what you do to me? Just looking at you, scenting you, having you near? Just having your eyes on me makes me want you.”
She let out a groan as Angel reached around her waist, his fingers finding their way under the fabric of her top. Cordelia’s head tilted back against his shoulder as his cool fingers made their way across her skin. Panting now, “I want you too!”
“Not yet. You had your fun— watching. Now it’s my turn.”
Angel cupped her breasts feeling their fullness beneath the silk covering of her bra. What color, he wondered. Could be anything considering she was dressed in black. She filled his hands and her nipples poked up hard against his tweaking thumb and fingers. Soon, he would have them in him mouth; taste them on his tongue, but not yet.
Squirming, Cordy was getting frustrated. He was touching her, teasing her and he had not yet removed a single article of clothing. What’s more, his position behind her prevented her from easily touching him. Finally, Angel removed her top. Brushing her hair over her shoulder, he pressed soft smooching kisses along her shoulders and spine. Divesting her of her bra, Angel let his hands curl around to the front again, palming her breasts for just a moment before his hands slipped down to her waist.
“Angel,” she cried out his name at the loss of his touch when he knelt down behind her.
He made quick work of her shoes, tossing them aside. Then he reached around to open the button and zipper of her pants. Angel started to slip them down, but paused as her sun tattoo came into view.
“My favorite form of sunshine,” Angel grinned as he kissed the spot at the base of her spine.
Holding her hips, he continued to pay homage to the sun with his lips and tongue evoking a series of moans erupting from Cordelia’s throat. Angel curled his fingers into her pants and panties pulling them down to her ankles without breaking contact with her skin. Not bothering to have her step out of them, his attention was far too focused on the temptation of her bare skin.
Cordelia was writhing at his touch as Angel dipped his fingers between her thighs. She was wet, so wet and welcoming. “Angel, please!”
Lifting one foot out of the prison of her pants, she kicked both them and her panties away with the other. Spreading her thighs, she gave Angel fuller access to her core. The things he did with his fingers had her babbling his name and begging to have him inside her. He bit down gently on the globe of her ass with his blunt teeth as his fingers curled into the spot inside her that always drove her wild.
Cordelia collapsed in front of him, her legs no longer able to support her as her orgasm swept through. Turning over, slowly she found Angel kneeling before her. Then he swept her up into his arms depositing her on the bed. He stood there staring at her with such a combination of love and lust that Cordelia writhed under his gaze.
“I love you, Angel.”
Joining her on the bed, the vampire rolled onto his side next to her. “Love you too, baby.”
“My turn to touch,” Cordelia breathed against his cheek as she turned to kiss him. Angel let out a groan, commenting, “Hell, yes. Feels like I’ve been waiting forever.”
Cordy added, “You can touch me too.”
“That’s a given.” He reached over to take her head in his hands leading his mouth in for another kiss. Angel could never get enough of her kisses. Tasty, soft, hot, wet kisses that always left him wanting more.
Cordelia explored Angel’s body kissing, caressing and nipping her way across his smooth flesh until she reached the jutting erection that captured her interest. Taking hold of him, Cordy stroked his length before curling her tongue around the engorged head. She kissed the tip, and then opened her mouth to tease him with her teeth and tongue.
A deep groan sounded from the vampire’s chest. Cordelia’s mouth was naturally wide enough to take him in farther than many humans ever could. The heat of her against his flesh caused him to growl out instructions that she did not need.
Falling back against the mattress after a minute of watching Cordelia’s lush mouth move over him, Angel gave a lusty moan, “Just like that.”
Her hand fisted around the part of him she could not swallow keeping a rhythm with the bobbing movements of her head. Cordelia felt a rush as Angel began to spurt his cool essence inside her. She swallowed it down, licking away the last remnants of it before she released him from her mouth.
Crawling back up the length of his body, Cordelia lay down atop Angel’s body stretching out so that the met chest to chest and groin to groin. Her slight weight was insignificant, but the feel of her against his skin was enough to stir his lust again.
“Mmm. Vampire stamina. Gotta love it,” Cordy grinned as she felt his penis jerk beneath her hardening fast.
“Let’s just hope you have enough,” Angel rolled them over so that she lay beneath him. “I have plans to keep you up all night.”
“Talk, talk, talk,” Cordelia ran a hand along his spine until she cupped one firm cheek of his buttocks.
“I’ve decided that talk can be good,” Angel told her while kissing his way across her shoulder.
“Oh, really, Broody Boy?”
“I’ve bottled too much of myself inside, hiding the truth from you,” he admitted. “Almost lost you because of it.”
Meeting his gaze, Cordelia told him, “You’d never lose me. Not of my own accord. Wipe out my memory— and I still manage to find you.”
“I think that I found you,” Angel corrected with a smile.
“Pfft! Same thing. We’re meant to be together,” Cordy said and then gasped as he joined his body to hers in one long stroke. “I was talking figuratively, but— hey! That works for me too.”
“Cordy,” he reached down with his mouth kissing her again.
Their bodies entwined pulling each other closer, moving intently toward the same goal. “I love you, baby,” Angel kept her focused on his gaze. “You are everything to me.”
“Everything?” She writhed beneath him, her hips thrusting up to meet his rhythm.
Angel knew it to be true. He just wanted to make certain that Cordelia knew it as well. “You’re— my demon’s mate— my soul’s match— my heart’s desire.”
Then Cordelia was shuddering with pleasure, caught up by his words and the sensations that his body created. Angel continued to make love to her— as promised throughout the rest of the night until the sunrise peaked at the edges of the closed curtains. Both fell back against the mattress still tangled in each other’s arms.
Cordelia muttered happily against his chest, “Take me home, Angel.”
“Sun’s up,” her mate reminded. Not that he could move right now anyway.
“Not now, dumbass!” Cordy giggled, and then gave a deep sigh as she fell asleep in his arms.
And so the lovers have mended their broken fences planning to return to the City of Angels where their mission awaits their return. But joy and happiness may be countered by suffering and despair. Our auguries reveal impending danger as the forces of Chaos design cruelties to sever the eternal connection between our Champion and his Seer and thus his link the Powers that Be. For now, however, our Champion and his mate have the envy of the Oracles and all higher beings who recognize the power of love.
SOULBOUND – BOOK TWO – THE NEXT CONNECTION: CHAPTER LINKS