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22 June 2006 @ 10:04 pm
Walking In My Shoes (Chap 4 and 5)  
Title: Walking In My Shoes (4 & 5)
Author: Kelly and Mike (collaborative writing team)
Rating: Chapters range from PG-15 to NC-17
Chapter: Chapter Four rated PG, Five rated R 
Email: jjsoapchat AT yahoo DOT com
Summary: Written for a challenge proposed on the Stranger Things message board. Challenge By rousedower. An AU/TT Challenge: Angel goes to another dimension, hence AU, somehow. And in this dimension he is married to Cordy and they have kids. But something happened to the other Angel (he's missing or dead), so there's mad tension and what not between this Angel and AU!Cordy. She knows he's not her Angel, but the kids (a boy and girl) are pretty young and think he's their father. I imagine a scene where their little daughter asks him to read her a bedtime story/tuck her in with Cordy trying to explain to her that he's not her father (really), and he does it.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:
Notes: While it might appear at first reading that we haven’t met the challenge, I promise that in later chapters, it will all become quite clear.
Feedback: Yes, please. Tell us how we are doing!

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Chapter Four:

Since Angel had been gone for near a week, Cordelia didn't want to interrupt his time with the kids as he tucked them in for bed. Kat was easy. She was asleep against her father's chest when Cordelia finally made her way upstairs to get ready for bed. Ian, Ian would be a whole other ballpark. He was far too excited about hearing his dad's story to settle down. She glanced at the clock. She was right. It was taking longer than usual. She went back to reading her magazine, having gotten ready for bed already. It was so rare that she had a few moments to glance at some back issue of Cosmo (there is no way she could stay current) that she wanted to savor this hour to herself. No visions. No kids. No nothing but Twenty Tips to Please Your Man.

She wasn't trying to embark on some grand seduction of Angel. With him, it didn't take much. He had decades and decades to make up for without getting any. Though, to be honest, she was hardly in the mood. She was still feeling drained from healing Angel. And the stress of worrying about him missing was still taking its toll even though he was here. There was also some niggling feeling in the back of her mind that she just couldn’t place, some voice trying to tell her something. And trying to ignore it was making her exhausted. To be honest, she would be more than happy to just hold him and talk. She yawned softly, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. Apparently, those Twenty Tips, little on the boring side.

Finally, Angel came in the room. "I never thought he'd go to sleep." he said with a chuckle. He pulled off his robe then slid into bed.

"He is just excited to have his daddy back is all. And you know how he loves the war stories. Connor's been putting him to bed this past week with all these tales about growing up in the Hell dimension. Surprised Ian hasn't woken up with nightmares." She shook her head. She closed her magazine and put it on the dresser next to her side of the bed. She looked at Angel, watching him as he got into bed with her. "How are you feeling? Back? Memory? Any of it better?"

His smile faded. He didn't look at her. He looked at his hands. "My back is much better." the vampire said. "My memory...this doesn't seem like my life. It seems like somebody else's. What I remember is...so different."

She reached for his hands as he looked down at them. She used one hand to tilt his chin back up so he could look at her. "When Wes gets back, we will have him take a look at you. I already called Lorne. He is cancelling the rest of his tour to come back. We will sort this out, just like we always do." She offered him a smile, hoping he would exchange it with one of his own.

Angel let his eyes take in her features. He finally spoke, "We're happy, right? Good together and for each other?"

She laughed just a bit when he said that. "You drive me completely nuts. But I am nuts about you. You always tell me how much you love me, how happy you are. And we haven't missed a Saturday night date night in five years. Even if it means we have to go kill stuff together." She hesitated though, her smile shaking around the edges, threatening to disappear. "Are you having some kind of...crisis? Is that what this is? Leave me to run off with some blonde?"

"I remember I loved you. I finally realized that I loved you. Things happened and I never got to tell you...then you came back and in one moment we did tell each other then you were gone." He moved so he could take her in his arms. Her scent fill his nostrils. Angel kissed the top of her head gently.

Cordelia was stiff in his arms. Something about what he said. She pulled away from him. "Why are you talking in the past tense? I "loved" you. I "realized". What do you mean by that? I never went anywhere, unless you count Pylea. And you were still so deep in the Buffy-love, you were swimming in it."

"Actually it was just before Pylea that I realized what I was starting to feel." he said. "Past tense, I don't know if I can explain it or not...what I remember or why it was like that."

"I think I should try Wes again. There might have been something in those claws that is messing with your head, affecting your memory. I told you not to go out alone. I wish just once you would listen to me. I am your Seer for a reason. And your wife. I think that earns me a little ‘Listen to Cordy-ness’." She moved out of the bed and got up. She was looking like she was about to pace. Or maybe she just needed to stand to collect her thoughts. Her face was just clouded with worry. That nagging feeling was getting more and more intense. Something just didn’t feel right. She just attributed it to her worry over everything. Nothing more than that.

"Cordy," he asked her as he reached for her hand as she stood. "How is it we...we enjoy each other and I don't go..or get perfectly happy?"

She sighed as he touched her hand. She couldn't be upset with him. That demon (or demons) had to have messed with him. That was the only explanation she could come up with. Demons caused the memory loss. She was just happy he was finally home, no memory or not. She sat down on the edge of the bed, looking at him. "Wes...he found a way to permanently soul you. He...after the night at my apartment, a few days later, I went and talked to him. We locked you up, took your soul out and put it back, curse free. Had to call in a lot of favors in the underworld. And the first few times, I still had to keep you chained up just in case."

She neglected to tell him, however, that after they took his soul out, Angelus managed to escape. He had a fun filled few days in LA before they recaptured him and did the spell. Or how Angel spent several weeks after that in a brood over what he had done.

"So, Angelus is just a memory..." Angel replied. Oh, if it could be so true. Maybe it was, maybe she was right about his memory and this thing messing his mind up. "And the kids, are they, well, you know...biologically mine and if so how?"

"They are yours alright." She chuckled but just barely as she looked at him. "That was all Fred. You and the guys had gone up to Sunnydale to help out Buffy and the Scoobies. A few weeks after we got married. Fred was playing around with some Mohra demon blood. And she figured it out. She mixed it with your..." She hesitated and then gestured vaguely around near his waist. "Stuff, it would come back alive. So we took it to a clinic and first try, I got pregnant with the twins."

"Wow...that's...Being a dad again and this time raising them, not missing those years." He shook his head in wonder at it all. He was really starting to like where he was now.

"Before you left to track those demons, we had gone to the clinic to try again. I took the test but it was negative. Maybe once we get the memory thing sorted out, we can try again. We'll have to take another high profile case though. My inheritance is almost gone." That explains all the renovations to the hotel. Or at least, seemed to. Coupled with the fact she made Angel sell the rest of his properties and a few antiques when she found out she was pregnant. They lived a comfortable life now.

"Inheritance?" he asked because where he was from the IRS took care of any and all chances of her having an inheritance.

She nodded her head. "My grandmother. She couldn't give it to my parents, who knows where the hell they are now. Not like I care. She had a change of heart once I got married, had some kids. Then, we got that huge secret check from my mother that no one is suppose to know about. Came from a "client". Maybe get another one if we have another baby."

Angel paused in realization of something she had said earlier."Let's not bother Wesley....Wesley? You were going to call...Wesley is alive?"

"Um....yeah...." And then she remembered his memory loss. "Wesley and Fred left tonight to try to find you. Gunn and Gwen went out last night but nothing. We were all taking turns. That is how worried we were, Angel. You might not remember your life but you have to remember your family loves you. We worry about you."

"Let's just, I don't know..." he said pulling her back down into bed. "Let's just pretend that tonight our problems are just all gone. Or we have none and we're all just...normal."

She laid back against the bed with him, turned so that she could look at him. She sighed softly. "I can't...you know...I am too tired from healing you." She was assuming that he meant making love with the whole no problems line. She moved a little closer to him. "Unless you are fine with just some cuddling and kissing?"

"I'm more then fine with that," the vampire said as he wrapped his arms around her. "I can't think of any place else I'd rather be."

"Well...I know how...primed you get after a fight. I am lucky if I get out of here with my clothes intact." She laughed as he wrapped his arms around her. She looked up to his face. "Do you even remember anything? That first night when admitted our feelings or the first time we made love or rather, about the fifth or sixth when we weren't so nervous...or our wedding?"

Angel relaxed his hold on her. Shaking his head, he replied, "No. I can't. I...the last thing I remember is The Apocalypse coming down on those of us left standing to fight. I'd killed the dragon then Gunn died in my arms...a vicious beast went for my back and then next thing I knew I was in the courtyard gardens."

She reached up, brushing her thumb over his cheek. "Angel...that never happened. You know that, right? Gunn is alive. Talked to him on the phone tonight. We fought in a lot of Apocalypses together but never any with a dragon." She paused for a moment, her eyes searching his for any sign of recognition. "I wonder if Wolfram and Hart is messing with your head."

He frowned when she said that. "Would my saying that for the last year I was CEO of the L.A. branch of Wolfram & Hart make you think they had?"

She couldn't keep a serious face when he said that. She started to laugh. She thought he had to be joking about that. "You and your jokes. That is one of the better ones. I'll have to tell the guys that. They will get such a laugh."

However, he wasn't laughing. "I'm serious, Cordy." Angel said to her. "I was CEO. It was handed over to us after we beat the Beast and Jasmine...after all the chaos and horror they wrought on this city. Even down to killing everyone at Wolfram & Hart."

She reached to take his face in her hands, looking at him. "Baby...that didn't happen. We took care of the Beast. We stopped The Rising." Her eyes moved back and forth to look into his. She was hoping he could remember even a fraction of that. "The past year, we've been helping Connor with his school, working cases. You were tracking that demon faction that was killing Slayers and Watchers...like the Bringers were?"

"To me though...it happened." he said. "I wish I could say it didn't. I can't."

She sighed softly. This just like the time he thought he was Liam, that he was back in Ireland. He was convinced that was real. She didn't know what to say or do until Wes got here to sort this mess out. "Do you love me? Do you know if that much is real?"

He looked at her now. "I love you." he said. "I've loved you for some time and not even realized it. Probably why I put up with your poor phone skills and bad typing in the beginning."

"What? I did not have poor phone skills and bad typing! I will have you know that I was and still am, an excellent secretary! And look what I had to work with. Mr. Kicked Puppy. Did you even ever smile once before you met me?"

"Oh, yeah, that's why Doyle had to look up that search that time." he reminded her. "Though you did come around in about two years."

"You are so about to be in trouble, oh husband of mine. You want to go for final death here?" She raised a brow. She was looking at him with a smile, however. "Doyle, loved him, but he drank. I can't help it if an Irish didn't get my filing methods. You sure don't."

"Oh, Mrs. Thomas was filed under F because she was French?" He starts to chuckle. "Mr. Poulin was filed under B because you said he was a bastard."

"He WAS a bastard! He talked at my tits. AND his check bounced." She reached over and she drilled her fingers into his side to tickle him. She had to do it extra hard since he was a vampire. "You are so getting it now, Champ."

"Okay, no fair." he said as he tried to wrestle away from her. But then what do you do when you not only get it from your wife but then suddenly two little screaming mimis come running in and start in insisting on helping their mother battle the vampire?

Ian let out a battle cry as he charged the bed his parents were on. The door was slightly open, which means they weren't doing that funny wrestling they do. He launched himself to land on his father's back. He started to tickle Angel's neck, giggling like a madman. There would be no sleep tonight!

Kat had been more cautious. At the foot of the bed, she slowly pulled the covers down while Angel was distracted. She let the bedding drop to the floor, Angel's feet now exposed. She used her small nimble fingers to tickle the bottoms of his feet. They had done this before.

Cordelia was laughing so hard at this point that she could hardly continue her tickling of her husband. She wrapped her arms around her middle, falling on her back, laughing loudly as the kids gave their father the royal treatment.

When those little fingers go at the bottom of Angel’s feet, he jumped. Angel wasn't expecting that. Now, he was on his hands and knees whirling around to face what was doing it. Ian probably thought he was now a cowboy on a bucking bronco.

Ian let out another howl of laughter as his dad spun around. His arms were held tightly against Angel's neck so he didn't fall off. "Yeehaw!" It was clear by his enthusiasm, they have played this game before.

When Angel came face to face with Kat, the little girl just gave her daddy a small, innocent looking smile. She moved closer, like she just might want a hug but then she started to tickle him on the inside of his elbow. She was quite the sneaky child.

"Oh, I see how it is in this house!" he play-growled at them. "All pick on one, huh?” He lunged forward at Katty and play-growled once again while Ian spurred his bronc.

Kat let out a peal of laughter, sounding like his laughter actually. Just a child version of it. She was caught by her father but squirmed in his arms to try to free herself.

He stopped and whispered to Kat. "Look at mommy laughing and not being tickled at all. I bet she is just begging for it. Her belly button, go for it."

Cordelia had heard that, despite Angel’s attempts at whispering. She got off the bed, covering her stomach. "Oh no you don't, Angel." She snickered and went to get a camera off their dresser. She stood back so she could take pictures of this moment.

Ian patted his father's back. "The horse is not suppose to stop, Da!" He tried to kick his little legs like he had seen on the tv, to get the horse to go.

The Angel-horse leapt from the bed, staying on all fours. He was pretty certain the monkey on his back can hang on. He neighed as he charged after the mommy dragon for the knight to try and slay.

Cordelia just continued to click off pictures as Angel went crazy. She laughed and set the camera back down as the two got to her. "What is this, huh? Full frontal assault?"

Kat ran over and wrapped her arms around her mother's leg. Those girls have to stick together. She stuck her tongue out at the boys before moving behind Cordelia to hide herself.

Ian held on for dear life as his father bucked up and off the bed, going on all fours over to mom. He waited for Angel to stop before he stood up on his back. He called out. "I am the Champwion and I am here to rescue the princess from the evil demon" That demon, however, was his sister. Kat was always the demon in these games.

Angel came up on his knees like he was a raring horse as the Champion proclaimed his mission quest.

When his dad reared up, Ian nearly fell off his back. He had to surge forward to hold his father's neck for dear life. That is when Cordelia stepped forward, moving to take Ian off his dad back. "Okay, Champion...the princess and your trusty steed need to get to bed. As do two children." Cordelia managed to hold onto Ian and reached for Kat's hand. "There will be time enough tomorrow to play dragons and princes with your dad. Promise. So let's go...off to dreamland." She waited for Kat to take her hand. She looked back to Angel. "Just give me thirty minutes to tuck them in."

"Love you guys!" he said and it seemed....natural for him to say it as he watched them leave the room with their mother.

Chapter Five

While Cordelia was putting the kids back to bed, Angel got up off the floor and went back to the bed. He looked at the picture in the frame at the bedside. Cordelia and him, not looking at the camera. She was looking up, somewhat over her shoulder and he was behind her, looking at her. How could this be? This type of life was something he'd always dreamed of. But in his dreams, he was human again. Real. So maybe this wasn't the doings of The Senior Partners. They would have made it all true...if just in his mind.

Cordelia slipped up behind him, putting her arms around his waist. She stood on her tiptoes so that she could put her chin on his shoulder. She had rationalized her hesitation while tucking the children in. She was worried about him. He had been gone for a week, he came back looking like he had been to Hell and back. That is all it was. It was just her worry causing that niggling feeling in the back of her mind. "That was taken on our honeymoon. Outside some little pub in Ireland."

He still looked at the photo. "You know, for me, I haven’t been back to Ireland since...since I left the first time."

"No..." She reached for the photo to take it from him. She set it back down on the dresser by the bed. "We went there for two weeks for our honeymoon." She had hoped that something, anything, could trigger his memory. It only made her worry that much worse. "Just let me call Wes. Please."

Turning to face her, Angel shook his head. "Tomorrow." he said. "Its late and he's probably in bed."

She gave him a small bit of a grin. "Probably in bed with Fred right about now. Thank the powers he wised up and dumped Lilah." She shook her head. She reached for his hand. "We should be getting to bed too. I think I was promised some kissing and cuddling?"

"Hmmm...yeah, you were, weren't you?" Angel turned her to the bed to sit her on it.

Cordelia sat down on the bed, giving him a smile. "Don't go too far. I will probably fall asleep in the middle if you try to have sex with me. But...you ask very nicely...I think I can let you get away with a love bite." Though she knew he shouldn't be on human, she didn't really count. The half demon in her seemed to calm him, heal him faster. It was a balancing force. Something he desperately needed in his life.

He smiled at her then leaned to her and kissed her. His hand came up to caress her face then run back into her hair. He laid her back, not breaking that kiss. She tasted so sweet to him that he had to have more. He pressed his tongue on past her lips.

She laid back against the bed. Now this was more like it. Kids wouldn't be up again or if they did, they would go bother someone else. She had the forethought to lock the damn bedroom door. Her lips parted just barely as she meet his tongue with her own.

Angel was losing himself in her. He was starting to believe that is was where he belonged, that whole other life was a delusion from the poison. He began to think when the poison finished coursing through his system, that he would start remembering. He rubbed his hand over her thigh as he kissed her. With the promise of a love bite and his arousal, his demon came to surface. It was not just the fangs that became sharp but the lower teeth and the teeth between those menacing fangs. His sharpened teeth nicked her tongue and the teasing taste of her blood flavored that kiss. It took everything he had not to moan with that first taste.

She was probably the last person she ever thought would have a thing for vampires. Then again, she didn't have a thing for vampires, she had a thing for one vampire. The one who's hands were now roaming all over her body. Who's lips were pressed to hers. She broke the kiss despite not wanting to. She had to breathe. Her hazel eyes met his yellow ones as she reached up to touch his face. Yes, this was a face she could love. Did love. She used her other hand to move her hair, two small marks already on her neck. They had faded long ago to just two tiny pink scars from where Angel had marked her for good. The other bites on her body would heal but not this one. This was permanent.

His first reaction instinctively was to flinch back as she touched his true face. Her warm fingers exploring the now prominent ridges of his cheeks and brows. The wider nose and nostrils for sensing prey. He had long learned to control some of it. He kept his hands from becoming claw-like. Angel looked down when she moved her hair aside. He knew that mark was his, though he had never marked anyone before. He could sense it. He brought a hand up to touch it and feel that pulse throb under it.

Her eyes slipped close as his fingers brushed against the mark. How could he doubt that this is where he belonged after seeing that? The pulse under her skin quickened at his touch, in anticipation of what was to come. She shivered just slightly in anticipation also. She trusted him. That he would never hurt her.

He leaned down and kissed her neck first. Then ran his tongue over the place which would dull the pain. He kissed again then repeated his earlier actions. He wanted no pain for her. Never any pain caused by him.

She shivered again as she felt his cool tongue against her neck. She wrapped her arms around him now as he worked. Her hand touched the back of his head gently as she waited for that moment of quick pain. She drew in a sharp sounding breath, her chest rising up to press against his. Cordelia felt something else rising to press up against her since he just had his lounge pants on. But then vampires, by nature, were in a constant state of arousal. Something Angel had to deal with since having a soul. One reason why, probably, that kept to himself for so long. Remove all temptation and live like a monk. And she was all too well acquainted with his arousals and appetites. Usually, she was more than happy to indulge him. However, the extent of injuries to his back was bad so she had to use a lot of her own energy to heal him. This, she hoped, would be an acceptable substitute. It had been in the past. Angel’s fangs sank through her skin to open the vein and he fed from her slowly. Her body surged up against him as he started to feed. Her breath held, eyes now open to look at really nothing at all.

He finished then pulled back after sealing her wound. He did it slowly but when he pulled back his human face was there. "You okay?" he asked in a hoarse whisper. He had all the signs of someone who was high on something, but that was normal after having even her partial human blood.

She let go of that held breath finally and allowed herself to breathe again. It was painful when he bit her but painful in a good way. She had to try to think about anything to keep herself from going further. She was thinking about Gunn and Wesley singing showtunes. When he spoke though, it shattered the image of them holding each other as they sang "Memories". She tilted her head down to look at him, a small smile graced her lips. "I could go for some rocky road ice cream but other than that...."

"Stay right there and I'll get it," He pulled back from her after giving her a kiss on the cheek. Blood breath not a plus and he knew that.

She laughed when he said that. She reached for his shoulders to pull him back to her. "Kidding, baby...kidding. Right now, all I want, is to fall asleep in your arms. Think you can manage?"

Being pulled back down, he kept a serious face. "Its a tough job, but somebody has to do it." he said as he wrapped his arms around her trying to get his mind off his other problem he should probably go take care of.

"After I fall asleep, you can go out and beat stuff up." Though her blood might have had a calming effect as opposed to the either broody or violent funk human blood put him into, she knew that denying him meant he would leave to take out his frustrations on something evil. Such was her life and she had accepted it long ago. She grinned at him though, his comment was far too amusing to pass without a comment of her own. "Hey, too tough for the Champion, I can always go ask one of the other guys around here to hold me. Don't think I will have a problem finding one."

"Yeah, well," he shifted a bit. "I don't have to go out to kill what I have too. And sure, you'll find it hard to find takers because they know I'll kill them, or the very least torture them for a few days."

"Oh Angel, you always know exactly what to say to a lady." The sarcasm was dripping in her tone but she was looking at him with a smile. She settled in against him, closing her eyes. "I am beat..." Just an observation on her part. Healing him and letting him feed, she would be out like a light for at least eight if not ten hours.

Angel held her until she had drifted off to sleep. Like his Cordy, or rather, the one he remembered, she seemed to be able to sleep through a bomb blast. He remembered how she snored at the ballet and drooled on the sleeve of his tux jacket. He didn't complain, though. Her leaning on him, even in boredom, felt right. He slipped out of the bed when she was snoring and moved to the bathroom. And the shower started.

-TBC-