Popping the Bubble

Author: Kassie

Distribution: You don't want it

Disclaimer: Joss made it up, too bad he is an incompetent ninny. Mutant Enemy and others own the rights. No suing please.

Rating: PG-15 or something, bad with ratings

Pairing: Angel/Cordelia

Note: Dear lord, this is my first ever het fic. It is a prezzie for the only person to answer my challenge besides me. See, if you would just answer my challenge, I will bust out and write crazy pairings I would normally never do.

Dedication: To Lar who beta-ed and cooed and told me I could do het.


Sure, I know it's gross, because, really, I do think of him as my brother. He tolerates me and coddles me because he has to, I'm sure as hell not going anywhere; I cut loose on him and rarely give him an inch and bandage him when he gets stabbed with some ancient sword o' destruction. I know he loves me, would die for me, would like to kill me most of the time, but pure happiness? Like, come on!

It's not as if I would've made some kind of move on him, EVER. Besides the utter humiliation factor--hello, rejecter here, not rejectee-- because I've seen him half-nd pretty-much naked more times than I can count, and who out there would cast the first condom for fantasizing about a body like that, there is all the Buffy-baggage. Well, and the soul thing.

Then there was The Night. Kinda lame, I know, but I can't always be original with the thoughts. When you have your pivotal moments you can name them what you want.

In my post-explosion apartment. Ground-zero for all things Angel Investigations about a month into far too long. Wesley out roaming around trying to act like he was TOTALLY recovered, like I couldn't see the blood spots on his shirts every morning when they were laying on the floor. Once a complete dork, always one, but he really should have stayed in, what if some demon tried to take him on, and then we would never have known where his body was... anxiety attack under control, he's still alive, Cordy, get it together.

So it was time to clean and scrub the grout in the kitchen floor while I waited for Wes to come back from his nightly street walking... maybe I mean that both ways. There is a place I can get to when I do something repetitive, where the world fades back and my brain sputters out so there is no space on this demon-overridden planet but the three foot circle I can plainly see when I glance around. One of my secret what-ifs is what if my parents had been religious. They would have taken me to some church or temple so I could've learned the secret of the Repetition when I was a kid. I could have fallen back on the sacredness of the repeated prayer, and maybe even believed it, and goddamn it my life would have been a different one. Simple and narrow. Maybe I could've been a nun. Then Angelus could've killed me. Right, let's get back to what happened next in the narrative.

Because suddenly in my three foot prayer-zone was a scuffed black boot.

"Cordelia, why don't you just talk to me? I think you've lost your shot at being a hand-model now."

"Is that an attempt at a joke?"

"Well, I'm out of practice."

So, even though I had that whoosh of life-altering premonition, I sat back on my feet and got a look at his face to see what he was up to. Mr. No-Facial-Expressions, puh-leez. He has as many as, well, the next demon, but you have to be around him and put up with his "personality" to learn them. Brown bag in his hands and the trying-to-be-nice face. Whatever.

"Is that alcohol?"

"I thought you might want to relax."

"I'm underage, and like, have you not heard the latest bulletin? Needing alcohol to relax is called alcoholism. And I so don't need a new problem to deal with."

"Cordelia, you can't be an alcoholic if you have one drink in a year." His free hand just kind of pulled me up to my feet.

"I need to take a shower, and then we can have your next lesson 'On How to Act Like You Belong in the Twenty-First Century'."

What do I find when I get out of the shower? Angel "relaxing", more like sprawling on my couch with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other. Another glass of wine sitting on the table next to where his foot was perched.

"Does that look like a footstool to you?" I swatted it off and swooped up the glass in the same motion, force of habit. Mommy and daddy started me off on "wine appreciation" when I was about 15. "You never know when it will be a skill you need." Sat at the other end of the couch.

"Get all the Ajax off? Wesley will be fine, you know." Laying the book in his lap face down, and drinking.

"What if he isn't? We would never know." Dennis must have drank my wine, because there was suddenly none in my glass, and Angel was reaching in to refill it.

"Two's my limit, really. It's been a long time, and puking is not a 'fun for all' kind of activity." Little knots all over my body were loosening up and my face started to feel yummily warm. My glass seemed to magically refill itself when I went to the bathroom. Magical Wine Font of Alarond. I made that up, but they all sound made up, like anyone would know.

"Angel, you've been acting like a freak lately. What's you're damage? Is it that you're all hyped about being human again, or that you're still in a daze because you thought Mr. Corncobb-up-the-Butt and I were gonna buy it?" He shifted around a little so that his right foot was under his left thigh, and he was fully facing me. That's when the flutter started. The not good at all feeling. Only a few lights were on in the house, and the ones that were were those "mood lights" I thought would be so cool. They made the air thick and sepia toned, so I felt like I was breathing honey. Honey that had rolled over Angel's face and body, and then I had taken into my own to sustain my life. When those thoughts started tumbling in, I wondered if maybe some acid-dripping demon had cast a spell on us, but I also didn't really care.

When he moved, he laid the book he was reading on the floor. I could see the title.

"Foucault's Pendulum? You're reading my books?" Was he going through my things when I wasn't there? He squirmed a little and started to look put out.

"I thought it was Wes's. Not that I would think you wouldn't read a book like that, or that you wouldn't understand it, or..." Flustered, new one for him, and it made me laugh inside until it gurgled outside too.

"One of my layers. Plus, I only read three chapters, I think it was randomly generated from some computer programme."

Laughing, not smirking or chuckling, but outright laughing, and I'm not some kinda diapered-swami, I can't control my body with thought waves or bio-feedback. The laugh was doing it for me. Sending tingles and pinpricks to half the nerve-endings in my body and the flush was spreading from my face down to the places that shouldn't be affected by Angel.

The laugh rumbled out, he sat his glass down on the table, and inched towards me. His hand and arm stretched out along the back and his foot was still tucked under his thigh.

"How long has it been?" First flash, of how could he ask that, to maybe I can act like I don't know what the hell he means, to holy shit he's making a pass.

"Demon pregnancy ring a bell?" His eyes drop half-way, and I know he can smell me, which is ewwww times twenty. What I'm really noticing has nothing to do with my own embarassment. It's his boneless movements as he strokes the back of the couch, and the way his toes are digging into the rug, flexing and unflexing over and over, like he is flexing along with my heartbeat.

"Share time. How much did you have to drink while I was in the shower?" The Laugh again, same effect on my renegade body, and I realise my drink is still in my hand because I clutch it so tight I almost crack it. Finish that puppy off, set is aside, and see where this river is flowing.

"Maybe there were two bottles, and this is the second." He leans his head against his outstretched arm, and smiles up at me. Beatific radiance in that smile, and really I'm not used to being played. Not used to getting this far down the seduction road with me on this end. Hadn't noticed that his fingers were close enough to touch my wet hair. I did more than notice when his fingers come away glistening, and he sucked the tips into his mouth and *moaned * just a whisper, but enough. The time for thoughts of Angelus. Not if Angel had gone bad, because I knew he hadn't, I KNOW him, even if he was acting like a freak. Thoughts more of: is this what Angelus would have been like when he was being tricky, not rampaging and murdering, but setting his victim up for the kill? Like if Angel is a shadow of Angelus when he's bad, is Angelus a shadow of Angel when he's good?

The gravitational pull of the force that is Angel-unbridled is beginning to yank me to him. Reel me in so that we can get started on so many things that are wrong, and maybe a little sick, but there is still the Question. He gets there while I'm still trapped in the vortex of his mouth, staring like a Buffy-wannabe.

"I won't turn evil. I won't lose my soul." He's sitting up now, and his face is about a foot from mine. I can smell the wine and that spicy Angel-smell, like Christmas and winter, places they have winter.

"I know you want me. You can pretend it never happened." So many years of practice, and it shows, because that is what I want. To have this, to touch him, touch someone that won't send me to the hospital in some way or scar me for life... and that might be Angel, that second part, but the thought kind of skips away into a pool of blood-red wine and Angel pulling me onto his lap.

"How do I know? I mean, you might just be drunk and horny, and I know what I look like..." His fingers unwrapping the hair from in front of my ear and his mouth moving right behind it. Dart of his tongue to the lobe followed by an intake of breath.

"You didn't ask me when my last time was." There are things I really don't want to know.

Because, like, I always knew. I know today as well as I knew when Angel opened my mouth with his tongue that first night that I was the stand-in. His leading man was dead, and I was the best connection, the only one. This scene plays both ways because both of us want the other body to be the same one.

His touches and kisses are never sweet or loving, and that is where I found who he really is. The man trapped with the demon, not ever one face or the other. Always both in one, the melding. We both need the outlet, and it is right there for the taking. Just like a brother, right there under my own roof. Bitter, me? I should have never gone for the second taste, but the forbidden fruit only gets sweeter, never sour when the risk is still there and the taint holds on.

Whatever. This was a secret. Our dirty, perverse, earth-shattering orgasm secret.

And then he lost it. Whatever his It ever was. His tenuous, vamp-hold on reality. He pisses me right off with the sleeping thing, but that is nothing like trying to cop a feel when Wesley is puttering around in the next room. Wesley who is sure there is some explanation and wouldn't he just LOVE to pin that baby on me? It's not like we aren't having some kind of financial crisis here, and I have to devote my precious brain cells to that instead of worrying that Angel is gonna make a grab for my tit while Wesley, or oh my god so much worse, Gunn ,was standing two feet away. I don't know if that personal bubble faux pas is actually worse than him waxing nostalgic over raping and murdering nuns now that I think about it. On my last nerve over here.

I should go up there and let him know how his recent performance is so not up to standard. That we are getting scared of him. That Wesley is considering "making calls", and I know that has to mean Giles, and OH MY GOD what if everyone I ever knew found out about this, and not JUST Wesley and Gunn? I should go right now and tell him to suck it up and act what passes for normal for him. But I know that what will really happen is more of the clothes ripping and sweat variety of communication.

I have to stop. I am a sex junkie. How totally DONE. Why couldn't my deviance be one of a kind? Plus, I mean, it is almost, eww, like incest. Maybe that's why he's into it. He's kinda kinky and way bent. No, derail this train of thought NOW.

I'll just stay down here and plot revenge. Could go get a cappuccino. Caffeine would be welcomed now. I could rat us out to Wes. He might be able to help me. What the hell? Whose thought just snuck in my head? I was mad because Wes almost found out, yeah right, tell him! "Um, Wes, ok, Angel and I have been screwing pretty regularly for a few months, but I want to stop. Could you do an intervention on him?" Think lead balloon.

Maybe I just need a vacation. Haha, a vacation from VISIONS. Maybe just the cappuccino and finding out what Wesley's breaking or messing up. Wesley'll make me some tea and tell me some demony stories. Screw Angel and his issues, I'm gonna settle for the tea have some girl-time with Wesley. Like I need to know what he gets up to when he slinks off up stairs. Where's Wesley anyway?


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