Title: "Kiss of Death"
Author: Mala
Spoilers: Hypothetical "Angel" S1.
Rating/Classification: 'R'. A/C, angst & physicality.
Disclaimer: Grrr aargh. Joss owns all, not me.
Notes: This is in a darker "Angel" world, where neither Cordy nor Angel are living happy lives. Can stand alone but follows "Death Becomes Her" & "Death Warmed Over".

The scar on her belly was itching. It was the first thing she was aware of as she was pulled out of the depths of sleep. As the fingers of her left hand moved to scratch away the irritation, she rolled over, snuggling deeper into her pillow. And one more thing became obvious. She wasn't alone in bed.

Cordelia knew better than to scream. Nothing much shocked her these days. Some time during the night, Angel had moved from the chair and stretched out on top of the covers beside her. He'd removed his shirt and his shoes. Keeping watch even in sleep?

His face was smooth and child-like. Had no evidence of the brooding Grim Reaper mode she'd caught him in earlier. And although his mouth was only inches from her, no breath was brushing her lips. She'd never been this close to a vampire before. . .but here was the creepy proof that they didn't live.

Not really.

She shifted as quietly as she could, rubbing her swollen eyes. She'd cried too much last night. Broken the dam. Now she could never go back. She couldn't pretend to be the Ice Queen. Denying that she was screaming inside. Denying that every day she managed to get through was a miracle. Denying that Angel didn't get to the very depths of her when his chocolate-dark gaze flashed her way.

And she'd gotten to him, too. When he'd held her and they'd rocked back and forth on the bathroom floor. . . when he'd carried her here. When he'd been sketching her, his hand had been shaking. Probably because the last time he'd drawn anyone. . .he'd tried to kill them.

But she wasn't dead. Not anymore. Every nerve was jumping. Her ears were picking up the sounds of the mice scurrying around the apartment. Even in the darkness of the small room, she could see shadows where they hadn't been before. And Angel looked beautiful.

She choked on the sudden rush of disgust in her throat, closed her eyes as she forced it down. *Damn*. *Damn it*, she was so alive. And she wanted him to wake up and not regret what'd he done for her. How he'd saved her months ago and then saved her again. Or did she want him to wake up soulless and tear out her throat? To feel him between her thighs as she gave up to the ultimate pain and then fell into ultimate nothingness?

Either way, the deep freeze was over. There was no going back to being two strangers who shared a work space and a home space simply because they'd both come from Sunnydale.

"Angel?" she asked hoarsely, reaching out tremulously to brush a lock of brown-black hair from his forehead. The very forehead she'd kissed a few hours ago.

"Delia?" Awake in seconds. Alert, with no wisps of fatigue clouding his tone. His eyes on her felt like Superman's X-ray vision. . . "What is it?"

"That's what I wanna know." A little of her sarcastic edge tinted the words, but they were mostly gentle and questioning. "What now?"

His hair was like satin between her fingers.

"I don't know," he admitted, eyes floating down one of the few silk nighties even poverty hadn't made her give up. He'd dressed her in it with his own two hands. . . efficiently. Like she was a baby or an invalid. It hadn't mattered then that it barely reached the tops of her thighs. That it was cut low to show off her cleavage.

When she'd been asleep, it hadn't mattered that he lay next to her with no shirt on. . .that his chest was gloriously muscled and it, combined with her need for comfort, could turn her on more than Xander ever had.

Now it did.

Cordelia flushed, and she stopped stroking his hair, slid her hand down to his cheek. "Angel. . ?"

"Yeah?" His lips were so close. . . and now she could feel something like breath. Cool and soft.

"I-if you. . .if you had sex with me right now. . .you wouldn't lose your soul." She stated it matter-of-factly as her body moved into the cradle of his.

"No, no I wouldn't," he agreed. "Because I don't love you." He made a sound like a gasp as she rubbed sinuously against his groin. "But--"

"I don't love you either, Angel," she interrupted before he could protest. "I can't."

The kiss was the bizarre conclusion. . .it was like kissing a marble statue that had suddenly begun to move. And his tongue was so cold. . .so cold it shocked her into the most intense heat. Two people who didn't love each other, tearing at the remainder of their clothing, kissing with viciously tender passion.

Moments later, he thrusted into her tight heat, she clutched at his forearms. . .moaned his name. Muscles that had gone long unused stretched to accommodate him. He slammed her into the mattress over and over. . .she kissed his cheeks, his nose, his eyelids. . .and always returned to his cruelly caring mouth.

As they had sex. . .the first of what she knew would be many nights of mutual satisfaction. . . Cordelia regained what Angel could not. Her own soul.

*


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