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29 June 2006 @ 04:35 pm
Walking In My Shoes (16/?)(NC-17)  
Title: Walking In My Shoes (16/?)
Author: Kelly and Mike (collaborative writing team)
Rating: Chapters range from PG-15 to NC-17
Chapter: Chapter Sixteen rated NC-17
Email: jjsoapchat AT yahoo DOT com
Content: Romance, Angst, Smut
Scenes include: Cordelia, Fred, Wesley, Angel, Connor, Lorne, lots of C/A goodness
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: Cast List: Kelly writes for Cordelia, Gunn, Lorne, Lillian, Kat, Ian, Illyria/Fred, Lilah, Eve, Faith, Gwen, Harmony, random shop owners/demons. Mike writes for Angel(us), Connor, Wes, random filler chars.
Feedback: Yes, please. Tell us how we are doing!
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Cordelia climbed the stairs to her and Angel’s room in silence. She opened the door. It seemed so empty without the twins, without Angel. She moved into the living room and fell into the couch. She set the courier bag she had brought up from downstairs on her lap. She held it close to her, thinking about what it contained. She thought about what she had done once she left that alley, once she had left the gang to deal with an unconscious Angelus.

----Earlier that evening----

Cordelia rode in silence to the convalescence home where Angel had gone before. It wasn't that difficult to find, especially with a little poking around Wesley's desk. She found the files on their doppelgangers in his office at well. She knew it meant he went to Wolfram and Hart to get the Orb. She didn't care where he got it as long as he got it. She hadn't dared peer into the files yet but she took them with her. She parked the car right near the front entrance to the home, looking into the abandoned building. Who could blame the elderly for leaving it? She wouldn't want to stay someplace where demons had attacked. She sighed softly. She knew what she had to do.

After stopping at the office to get the information off Wes’ desk, she went upstairs to change into something more comfortable than the now tattered dress she used to provoke Angelus' lust. Jeans, T-shirt, somewhat sensible shoes but they still looked good. She burned the dress in one of the trash fires that seemed to always blaze downtown to keep the homeless warm before she headed out of LA.

She got out of the car, gravel crushing under her feet and then moved around to the back of the car. She grabbed a large gym back from the trunk and then a flashlight. She had her own mission to take care of before she went back to talk to this alternate universe Angel. She shut the trunk lid, turned on the flashlight, and headed inside the building,

She knew exactly what she was looking for was she swept the flashlight over the tile flooring in each room. It shouldn't be that hard to spot though the more she saw how much the place was destroyed; the more she thought this might be a Herculean task. She was ready to give up when she finally saw it in one of the back bedrooms. It was bittersweet for her. She was glad no one had disturbed but at the same time it was the last bit of proof for her. She stepped into the room, setting the gym bag down next to it. She kneeled in front of the pile of ashes.

"Sorry it took me so long." She said to the pile. "Had to deal with something unexpected. But hey, that is our life?" She forced out a sad sounding chuckle as she fought her tears. She set the flashlight down so she could work, taking a small dustpan and hand broom from inside the gym bag. "Got this at the dollar store. Only a buck. Thought you would be proud of me. Saw a jewel encrusted one at Cartier but I resisted." She knew deep down, that she shouldn’t be making jokes at a time like this. It was the only thing that was keeping her from breaking down, however.

Taking in a shuttering breath, her whole body quaked with it as she tried to pull herself together. She reached into the gym bag to retrieve an urn. She had bought it on her way back into town from dropping the twins off when she made the decision to come find his ashes. She set it down next to her.

"The twins are with Xander right now. He promised he would play paintball with them and not let them eat too much ice cream. I think he is lying about the ice cream though." Her voice was thick as the tears started to roll over her cheeks. She gently swept the ashes into the dustpan and then transferred them to the urn, still talking the whole time. "When Wesley got back, he still wouldn't let me heal him. All happy in his pants and that makes him feel weird. He sees more sexing up than any of us, you think he wouldn't mind."

If she could just talk to him like this, it could help her grieve. Or at least, that was her thinking. She wasn't sure what she was doing other than she wanted to have this human ritual. She wanted his ashes. "Ruined another dress fighting a demon tonight too. That red one you always hated. I don't know why I bought it in the first place. Probably just to piss you off." She finished sweeping the remains into the dustpan and the final amount when into the urn. She put a lid on it and looked at the urn for a long time. She stared at it, holding it, until her legs got cold and her butt was completely numb.

"Damnit Angel...you promised me. You promised me that you would always be there for me, be there with me. You lied to me." She threw the dustpan across the room before she broke down sobbing into her hands. All the pain of her loss spilling out as the carefully constructed damn split wide open. All she could think about was their wedding day and that promise he made to her. It was a promise that was now so much dust.

---Spring 2003-----

Cordelia sat in front of the full-length mirror in her dressing room, or rather the makeshift dressing room that had been made for the wedding. She smoothed out the front of her dress as Fred worked on trying to get her hair up. She took in a nervous breath, causing her entire body to rise forward and up. She felt herself get stabbed with a hairpin for her efforts. "Hey! What are you doing back there? Making the Great Wall?"

Fred just giggled at Cordelia as she worked on her hair. "You keep moving and this will never get done. I had all the plans drawn up. You have to sit still because then, the whole thing is going to fall down. Its based on Behran's Third Principle, where the function supercedes form because I don't see how anyone would want to have this kind of hair, not really practical. You put your head in the dryer to take your clothes out and it would be ruined. And then you would be left with flat hair in the Laundromat and nobody wants that." Fred rambled on out of one side of her mouth, hair pins in the other side. Armed with a bottle of hairspray, she grabbed a curling iron with her free hand.

"Like usual...I have no idea what you just rambled about, Fred. But...thanks?" She tried to smile in the mirror but her nerves were showing there. Where was Wes? He was supposed to walk her down the aisle. The least he could do was be here for this hair disaster. She adjusted the tiara on her head, trying to get it just right.

"So exciting, our first wedding. Unless you count a couple of months back when Lorne had to marry that Gypsy woman with the talking mole so he could get his hands on that Pendant of Dutok. That didn't really count though since she just needed her green card." Fred giggled once more in the way only she was capable of. "Green card...she was in for a surprise. But he didn't ask me to be his maid of honor. He didn't ask any of us to be in the wedding. Nice of Angel to ask Connor to be his best man though. We all get to be involved."

"Well, Angel and the guys are going to Sunnyhell in a few weeks. I don't want him tempted by She Who WIll Not Be Named. Ring on his finger, he is less likely to remember he doesn't have a curse and she was his great big love." Cordelia frowned at these thoughts. She hated to ruin her wedding day with her insecurities. She straightened once more, clearing her throat and all those thoughts. "Can't believe Angel is letting Lorne perform the ceremony. I just see it ending with "I now pronounce you Angelbuns and Cordycakes'" She did her best impression of Lorne, which at its best, was horrible.

Fred finished the construction of the tower of hair. She stepped back to spray the entire thing with what seemed like a whole bottle of hairspray. "Cordy, you and Angel were meant for each other. Two warriors in battle. Nobody can fight Kyrumption."

Cordelia didn't put a whole lot of stock in anything that came out of Pylea. She should have stayed there and ruled as a Princess. She missed all the waiting on her hand and foot. She made a mental note to make Angel do some of that on their honeymoon. Speaking of their honeymoon, it was two weeks in Europe. She had been more than shocked when he told her. She stood up, taking in a breath as she looked at herself in the mirror. "You did a great job, Fred. Now I just need that bumbling Englishman to come get me to walk me down the aisle."

"I can go find him if you want. Probably still with the guys trying to figure out their tuxes." She giggled yet again behind her hand. "Remember the night of the ballet, thought the three of them were never come out. And Angel's tux smelled like a luggage steamer. All mothballs and old ladies. I couldn't tell him. But he did look handsome. All the guys did." This was slightly awkward for Fred since her and Charles had mutually agreed to end their relationship just a month prior. She knew the way Wesley looked at her since he had finally returned to work full time. Truth be told, she didn't mind those glances at all.

"I think I might slowly ease Angel towards cologne that wasn't made in 1970 and called High Karate." Cordelia laughed. She took one last look at herself in the mirror. She looked like a princess right now. The corseted top to her wedding dress and then the large skirt with the bundles of taffeta underneath. She skipped the veil and instead opted for just a tiara. She thought it was more fitting than covering up her face. Fred and Faith, two bridesmaids, had been put into a periwinkle blue. She was surprised Faith didn't protest more but it seemed that after a conversation with Gunn, Faith kept her mouth shut about the whole wedding thing.

As Cordelia watched herself in the mirror, her smile started to slowly fade away. It was replaced by a sad looking expression, a desperate one. "If we could have kids, then this could actually be a normal life. For me, for Angel. That would be a dream come true, something close to normal. I know he wants it too, the normal life. Hence the wedding."

When Fred knew that, she knew what she had to do. She had been toying with some ideas in her head, scribbled in notebooks. But she never saw them through for the simple fact that she wasn't sure how Cordelia felt. That look in the other woman's eyes told her everything. "I best try to find Wesley. We have to get this wedding started before sunrise." She giggled once more before she slipped through a tiny crack in the door. She headed down the hallway towards where the men were getting ready. She knocked lightly on the door. "Wesley...you in there?"

Wesley heard Fred. He stepped to the door and opened it. He looked up and back down the hall. "I thought you might be trying to help Cordy sneak in to see Angel. I already stopped Gunn from trying to get him in to Cordy."

Fred couldn't help but grin. All of the guys could pull off a tux but Wes was looking particularly dashing tonight. "Cordelia said she is ready to go. Wants to know when that bumbling Englishman was going to come walk her down the aisle" She snickered as she tried to peek around him at the rest of the guys. She called back to them. "Don't cha'll know its bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding! You want to jinx this, you two!" She meant Angel and Gunn, the knuckleheads. She should have given them some new video games. Then of course, the wedding might never have happened.

"I was just on my way," he said. As he did, he looked at her with a smile. "I'm afraid you are going to out shine the bride, at least for me."

"Just don't tell the bride that." She waited for Wes to step out and shut the door before she spoke again. "She's having some Buffy issues. You should have seen her face when she mentioned it. I don't think this is going to be a happy day unless someone can pull her out of that funk. She is having the baby-want too. Only getting worse this past couple of days."

Wes offered his elbow and he sighed. "She is still insecure when it comes to Buffy," he said. "As for the baby thing..."

"Don't tell anybody but I think I might know a way." She started to walk Wes down the hall towards Cordelia's dressing room. She carefully took his elbow. This was rather new in regards to Wes and she didn't feel like rushing things and screwing it up. Not everyone could get a curse removed and get married inside of a few months like a certain couple.

Stopping a moment to look at her, his brow raised. "You have...that would be wonderful."

"I been thinking about that day that Angel was human. And if can change a whole vampire, maybe it can change just the part of him they need. Just a matter of getting all the balances right. The right ratios and everything. I was hoping while they were gone in Europe, you could help me set up a lab." While she would always love Gunn, he wasn't as into the science as Wes was. It would give them an excuse to spend more time together.

"Naturally," he replied. "I heard the story about that happening and it’s hard to conceive the idea it happened."

She paused outside of Cordelia's door, dropping Wesley off as promised. "We can talk about this once this wedding thing is over and they are on a plane. I better get downstairs and make sure Faith didn't eat all the cocktail shrimp. And have to get Angel and Lorne into their places. This whole place is a bunch of nervous Nellies. Think we were facing down the end of the world or something."

"Yes, well, its not everyday the chosen Champion gets married," he said. "In fact ours may be the first in history to do so. I'll see to Cordelia and make sure she is ready."

She nodded her head. There was a lot more than just some Champion getting married. She looked at Wes for a moment before she hopped up on her toes. She gave him a quick kiss on his cheek before she went skittering down the hall to collect the guys and get them to their places downstairs.

Wes smiled and watched her go. She was a bundle of energy. Finally, he turned to the door and knocked. "Cordelia."

Cordelia hadn't been doing much more than dealing with the very real idea that she would get down there and Angel would be gone. She didn't cry though because her makeup was absolutely perfect. "Wes, its open. And don't worry, I am dressed."

Stepping on in, Wes closed the door behind him and looked at Cordy. "My, you are a sight, Cordelia Chase."

She turned around to look at Wes. She gave him a nervous smile. "Good sight or a bad sight? How is my hair? Fred did it but I think it looks a little lopsided." She reached up to touch her hair. She was just too nervous for her own good. She was trying not to show it but even she couldn’t put the wall up against it this time.

"It looks just right," he said. "Now we have one nervous vampire waiting on us." She did look beautiful. She and Angel really belonged to each other.

"He is nervous?! He has had 250 years to get used to commitment. I've only had a couple of months." But as she said that, she did step forward towards Wes. She looked at him. "How was the wild and crazy bachelor party? Heard you guys were up until all hours playing Grand Theft Auto"

He chuckled. "I think all three of them paid more attention to the video game then the girl that came in the cake."

"You guys had a girl in a cake?!" She frowned as she looked at Wes. "Well, I am sure that Connor's eyes almost popped out of his skull at that. Does Quor'toth have strippers?" She grabbed up her flowers as they made their way to the door.

"Actually, no girl," he said. "Angel made that a standing order. He said, and I quote, 'I have what I want, I don't need to look any further.' unquote."

“Aww, Wes, you made a joke!” Cordelia smiled wide when Wes said that. "Did Angel really say that?" He was SUCH a dork. But she was about to become Mrs. Dork, in so much as they could. He was a vampire after all. It’s not as if anything would change. It was hard to get a blood sample from a dead guy or produce a birth certificate for a guy who was born centuries ago. Though tonight, she knew she would give Angel something that meant more than any piece of paper.

As they walked, he nodded. "Yes, he did." Then they were on that landing and he started her for the stairs. Pausing a moment at the top, he looked at her. "He is deeply in love with you Cordelia, don't ever doubt that. But also remember what that is for a vampire."

"I know. Its obsession." She turned to look at Wes now. "I love him too. For a long time, I was just too stupid to realize it. Or I didn't want to realize it because I was scared of the rejection, of losing my best friend. And I know that this ceremony, it’s just for me. So tonight, I am going to give Angel the kind of ceremony he needs to know how much I love him."

Leaning over, he kissed her forehead then patted her arm. "Shall we then?"

She took in a deep breath and then nodded her head as she exhaled. She had a chance to see the courtyard earlier. It was such a small gathering, everyone could fit. It looked beautiful, decorated with Chinese lanterns and most of the flowers in full bloom. Not to mention it was a beautiful spring evening, not too warm and not too cool. She silently thanked the Powers for letting this happen. There was no rain in sight and their whole strange little family here. Everyone was in their dress best. She waited for Wes to start when she heard the customary music.

Angel stood in the garden with his son, Connor, beside him and then Gunn by him. If he could sweat, he would. Never had he dreamed this day would come. Usually he had no problem wearing a tux but tonight it seemed to bother him all over. The collar seemed tight, the cumberbund also.

Connor glanced at his father. "Relax, Dad," he said, "unless you want to call this off." Connor had a little bit of a smile on his face. Watching his father squirm like this was new and entertaining.

Angel looked at Connor then at Gunn then back to his son. "No..no...I want..." His voice hushed as he heard that music start. His eyes went to those doors that led into the lobby of the hotel. There he saw Wes with Cordelia. Once his eyes settled on her, he couldn't remove his gaze. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen there, framed in that doorway. He froze his fidgeting and swallowed hard. To him, this wedding was as real as if they were doing it in a church with a priest, which in his case was not a possibility. He watched her every move as she came on down into the garden.

Cordelia smiled as she saw Angel. How could she not? He had even gone out to buy a new tux for this occasion. Her not so subtle hints that she didn't want to marry a guy with old man smell to his clothes, even if he was technically an old man...pire. She stepped down as Wes lead her up towards the front. Lorne looked like he was having way too much fun with this. But under it all was the seriousness of this situation. After Wes affirming to Lorne that he was giving away this woman, she turned to face Angel. She reached for his hands, mostly to steady her own shaking ones.

Lorne was grinning like idiot at the both of them. He loved weddings. Who didn't? They were filled with all that fabulous linen and taffeta and just the feelings of love and affection. Despite everything they had been through (like blowing up his club and stopping the end of the world), it was nice to have a happy occasion for this family. "Well, kidlings, we are all here today to see this lovely woman Cordelia finally wipe the perma-brood off the face of our dear Angelcakes. So if anyone has any objections, you might want to voice them now. So Angel can beat you with your own arm and we can continue with the ceremony." Lorne was hoping that his jokes would at least put the very nervous couple at ease.

Angel held her hand keeping his strength in measure because as nervous as he was, he wasn't sure that if he didn't concentrate he couldn't control it. As Lorne spoke, he just looked into his bride's eyes.

She returned Angel’s gaze with her own. Her poor heart was pounding so hard out of her chest, she was worried it was going to fly out and hit someone in the face. That was not how she wanted to remember her wedding day. Hopefully, The Powers would be kind enough to give them this day without visions or monsters or disruption. Her smile widened as she heard Lorne's words until the beating over the head comment. She briefly looked away from Angel to cut her eyes over to Lorne. It was just a silent warning with that look to get a little more serious.

"Well, since there are no objections...let's get this show on the road." Lorne shrunk a little from that look that Cordy shot his way. That woman could work a look to say the least. He straightened up and cleared his throat. "Uh, Best Man...you have the rings?"

Connor seemed to wake up and then the searched his pockets. There was a wave of nervous tension that swept over the crowd. But a grin came over his face and he pulled out her ring and handed it up to Lorne.

Lorne gave Connor a bit of a frown. He wasn't boring, he was entertaining. He took the ring and then handed it to Cordelia. "Since the lovely couple is going with the own vow writing, I am going to step back and let the bride go first." Lorne leaned forward to just gently tap Cordelia on the shoulder. They didn't have the luxury of a rehearsal. There were too many demons to kill.

Cordelia pulled her hand from Angel's and with shaking fingers, took the ring from Lorne. She looked back to Angel. This was really happening. She took his hand once more, the ring poised to slip over his finger. "Angel...its been a long couple of years. We've both changed and we've grown. But we've grown together. You've grown not into only my best friend but the man that I love and want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to be able to make you smile and give you a hard time because everyone else around here is too scared of you." She quickly glanced over to the three men standing off to the side and behind Angel. "I promise that no matter what, I will always be by your side, fighting the good fight with you. More than that though, I promise to love you in the good times but especially in the bad times." She slipped the ring onto his finger, signaling she was done. It went a lot better than she thought it would. She was never the type for long speeches.

Angel hung on every word she said. He then looked as she slipped that ring on his finger. A single gold band. It was simple but it was the symbol of the most important thing in his two hundred plus years.

Lorne just looked over at Connor. He better be awake now. He held his hand out, waiting for him to hand over the ring so Angel could make this all official. Lorne still wasn't convinced that he was going to fire them all again. He looked paler than usual. He did have commitment issues, that wasn't a surprise. But Lorne doubted he would get past the front gate before one of guys staked him. They all felt the same way about Cordelia. She was a sister to them, not necessarily needing protection but it would be there if she did.

Connor handed Lorne the smaller ring. He just smiled at the green skinned demon as if reading his thoughts.

Who knew with that kid? Son of two vampires, he might have powers none of them even thought about. Lorne took the ring and then passed it off to Angel.

Angel took the ring and raised her left hand. He held it at her ring finger and swallowed hard. "I'm...I'm not big on words," he said, "and I can't put into words how I'm feeling now. But if I don't say something I think Lorne and or Fred will corner me after this." He paused, his dark eyes moving from her hand to her eyes. "Cordelia Chase, we've known each other for some time. I've seen you grow into one of the most caring, loving, and most beautiful women I've ever come to know. You've seen all the sides of me. You know me better then anyone. My best friend and more. I promise to love and protect you for as long as we have together in this life and into the next." He slipped the ring onto her finger. "My wife, and my soulmate."

Cordelia knew this had to be the most horrific torture for him. He probably would have rather faced down an army of demons than recite some vows. It meant a lot to her that he was doing it though. And he didn't do badly. He was just too nervous. She didn't even wait for Lorne to give the go ahead before she threw her arms around Angel's neck and pressed her lips against his.

Lorne just grinned as Cordelia went ahead and kissed Angel. Then again, she was always working on her own timeline. "Well, I guess with that and the powers invested in me by The Powers and an Internet church, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Just keep kissing the bride there, strudel. We will be here when you are done."

When she kissed him he wrapped his arms around her and did the same. Lorne didn't even register on his radar now. None of them did. Only the woman in his arms mattered at this moment. They could all go have punch and cake, he was where he wanted to be.

The reception seemed to be nothing but a blur to her. Time had moved from that kiss in the courtyard to seal their marriage to the kiss started in the hallway as Angel carried them towards what was now their room. That was the only thing she could remember, his kisses. She broke the kiss as they got to the door of the suite, resting her forehead against his, eyes heavy lidded. "I love you, Angel."

"Cordelia," he said as he paused at the door, "Grá mo chroí "

"What does that mean?" She wasn't sure if it was some demon language or Romany or something else. He spoke so many languages, it was hard to keep track sometimes.

"Gaelic," he told her as he opened the door. "Love of my heart." He entered the room and used his foot to close the door behind him. When they'd left the others were still partying, they probably didn't even notice the couple had slipped off.

Well, when Mr. Tight-with-a-buck finally opens his wallet to pay for an open bar, the employees are going to take advantage of it. That was the way she was thinking of it. They deserved a party too. They would be leaving for Sunnydale in a matter of weeks to take care of problems up there. This was really one last party for everyone, just in case. "Guess I am going to have to learn Gaelic to call you a dork then." She smiled and put a delicate kiss right between his eyes.

Angel just chuckled at her as he sat her down. His hands came up to hold her face then he lowered and kissed her. It was a deep, passionate kiss.

She reached up to rest her hands on top of his as he held her face. She kissed him back with the same deep, burning passion that she felt for him. She still couldn't believe this. It seemed all too surreal that they were married. She was waiting for the alarm to ring, waking her up from this dream.

He broke the kiss, just barely. When he spoke, it was a hushed tone. "I want to make love to you, Cordy," he said as he hand slipped down to her shoulders. "I want to get to know every part of your body. I want to know what pleasures you." His hands were more then just merely touching her, they were caressing her.

She closed her eyes as he started to caress her. Her shoulders were bare and the feeling of his cool hands against her warm skin was a welcomed sensation. She opened her eyes after he spoke so she could look into his eyes, gaze at his face. "Angel...I want that more than anything." There was a hesitation to her voice. It was now or never though. "Make me yours...now and for as long as I live. I want to be yours and no other's"

Angel’s gaze searched her features. Now he realized she'd been doing more in-depth study on vampires. It was more then just dead thing, turns to dust when staked, beheaded, exposed to sunlight or fire. "Are you certain?" he asked her.

She nodded her head at his question before it left his lips. She had been doing her homework. If they were going to get married, why not just go balls out with it. Cordelia Chase didn't do things halfway. She turned around, pulling her hair up. She waited for him to unzip her wedding dress.

He pulled the zipper down as he leaned down and kissed her shoulders. Then his hands slipped in the dress and around to her breasts. He wanted to pleasure her and not just have sex...though that was also on the menu for the night. He had so much planned for tonight and for every night for a long time to come.

She shivered as his hands once more were touching her skin. She felt them slide around her back and sides to her stomach and then up to her breasts. Her bra was hardly a barrier between her skin and his hands. She turned her head to look at him over her shoulder. "Let me just put my dress away..." She said softly but not yet pulling away from him.

Angel slipped his hands from her slowly, not saying anything. He really didn't need to. He pulled off his tux coat.

She held the dress up against her body after she felt his hands leave her body. She went to the closet first to get a hanger before slipping into the bathroom. She undressed fully, taking her robe off the hook on the back of the door in the bathroom. She came back out, dress in hand, moving to put it in the closet. She assumed during that time, Angel would have already gotten undressed himself.

She was correct in that assumption but he had done something else as well. He had turned on the electric blanket and was under it to bring his body temp up for her. On her pillow was a small box with a white satin ribbon around it.

She moved over to stand by the bed and gave him a smile when she saw the box. She reached for it. "You are sneaky. What is this?"

"I am sneaky. I can't help it. Its what I do," he said. "Just a little wedding present." Angel watched her. He knew how much she loved presents.

She did love presents. And presents from Angel, especially so. She opened the box. She reached in to pull out the silver charm bracelet. She looked at the single charm on it. It was a shamrock. She held it out for him, along with offering her wrist so he can put it on for her. "I love it. Its beautiful."

Taking it, he put it on her wrist. "I thought that with each anniversary I will add one charm to it." When it was clasped ,he looked at her, still holding her hand.

"I might need a bigger bracelet then." She untied her robe and let it fall from her shoulders. She had to pull her hand free of his so that she could be free of the robe. She climbed into their bed. It was their bed, truly. She slid over so that she could rest herself against him.

"If that is what you want," he said, as he slipped his arm around her under the blanket. Leaning towards her, he sniffed her hair. He always did like its scent.

"I can't fit fifty charms on this bracelet." She held her wrist up so he could get it. Angel, was a little slow sometimes, especially when it came to relationship things. She tilted her head to look at him. "Are you...sniffing my hair?"

"Hmmm...yeah," he answered. He looked back to her wrist. "How about every ten years you get a new bracelet to start all over?"

"I think we could do that. And nice change of subject after I caught you with the hair sniffing." She laughed. Sometimes he did the strangest things but she still loved him for it. It made him happy so that made her happy.

"Yes, well, I want to know every part of you with all my senses," Angel told her. "It’s a vampire thing." With that, he moved to her shoulder and kissed her there while his hand rubbed her thigh under the blanket.

"I think its just an Angel thing, a my husband thing." She shifted her leg as she felt his fingers. Her leg slid over across the bed, closer to him. She wrapped her long leg around his, rubbing her foot against his calf.

He did like the sound of that, her saying ‘my husband’. He brought his hand up her hip and over her flat stomach. His kisses moved up to her lips as his hand found her breast. He began to work it slowly from around the edges and then around it. He moved his fingers up slowly so he could play with her nipple.

She sighed contentedly as his hand started to explore her body. Despite the soft kiss they were sharing, she allowed a moan to pass from her lips as he played with her hardened nipple.

Angel slipped on down her body, kissing the entire way down. When he reached her other breast, he licked the nipple. He took it in his mouth and sucked. He was going to pleasure her this night. He wanted to show her how special she was to him.

He was doing a fantastic job to start, which was for certain. She closed her eyes as she felt his tongue touch her nipple and then his mouth around it as well. They had been together before, since taking care of his curse, but not like this. That had never been together as husband and wife.

He didn’t stop just at her breast. It was a momentary stop. He trailed kisses down against her stomach. He was nipping, licking and kissing. He was tasting her skin.

"You are driving me insane here, Ace." She laughed just a little. Then he hit a part on her stomach that caused her to really laugh, trying to turn from him. "Tickles..."

"My plans, exactly," he replied. He reached for her leg and turned her back over. He moved down, spreading her legs. He went down between them and ran his tongue over the lips of her sex. He was teasing her now, just tasting her again.

Again, he caused her to shiver. Partly from the cool sensation of his tongue on her heat and partly from the fact of what he was doing. He was talented.

Angel came up and moved his body over her, but reversed. His face at her heat, his cock at her face. He knew that she was inexperienced outside of what they had done together thus far but he hoped she could figure out the sixty-nine position. His tongue sank into her sex as he gave her more access to his cock.

She had no problem in returning the favor for him. She was a quick learner. He was causing her to squirm on the bed now though as he pleasured her. He was already hard so instead of stroking him further, she merely kissed the tip of his cock. She let her tongue peek out from her lips, lightly running over his tip and shaft.

He stopped for a moment as she teased him with her tongue. His hand rubbed her ass as he brought his leg closer to himself. His tongue went back to work. He was working on that sweet reward, plunging in and out of her hot depths. His hard cock throbbed as he tasted her and she him.

Even if she did see him through to his own climax, she knew that it wouldn't matter. That vampire stamina, he would recover before she did. She figured what the hell? Tonight was about them, about enjoying each other, pleasuring each other. She used her hand to guide his cock into her mouth, pushing past her lips as she barely parted them so he could feel them drag along his shaft.

Angel tightened his hand on her ass as she took him in. He growled into her. She was doing what he liked and what he liked was being alone with her, enjoying her body.

She knew what he liked all right. He liked just a little bit of pain with his pleasure. She gently used her teeth with discretion, dragging them up the same path her lips had gone down only moments earlier as she pulled him out of her mouth. The growl from his lips against her sex was enough to send vibrations through her to her very core. She had to pause for the briefest moment. Now this would become a contest. Who could make who stop for the longest.

Now he let's his demon surface. Those lethal fangs that could so easily kill, lightly grazed her. She wanted to use her teeth, he was going to use his.

Her chin tilted back when he did that and she had no choice but to let him slip out from her warm mouth. She groaned loudly. "Not fair..." was all she managed to say, her voice hoarse.

He chuckled. He knew how to win their games. At times being a vampire had its advantages and in the bedroom was one, that is if you had a soul to go with it. He pulled from her sex then licked that area of her inner thigh that was up high close to her heat.

"Angel..." She said his name softly. If he was going to claim her, she didn't want to lose too much blood during foreplay. She shifted herself underneath him, pressing up against him now. "I need you...now." The tone of her voice was NOT a request by any stretch of the imagination. She was telling him what she wanted and when she wanted it. And she was going to get her way.

He heard her but the temptation couldn't be left without some satisfaction for his demon. Angel didn't bite her. He did was just barely rake his fang on that sensitive area and just a little beaded blood trail followed. He licked it and as he did, it sealed. Again, he just wanted a taste of her. He gave her sex a last probing with his tongue before he got up and moved back up to her. He looked down at her with those yellow eyes. With them, it had become common for him to release his demon in their lovemaking. Her demon half pulled his out, or that is what he liked to rationalize.

Cordelia moved her arms up and put them around his neck. She leaned up as she pulled him down towards her. She kissed him softly, tenderly, as she wrapped her legs around his body. Despite his now changed features, she didn't act any differently towards him than she did any other time. She learned to accept and love every single part of him.

Returning her kiss, he shifted his hip and his hard member rubbed the lips of her sex. He always gave that little bit of a tease before he let her have what she wanted, what they both wanted. He finally pushed into her, slowly, and filled her. He stopped kissing her as he felt that hot core surrounding him.

She surged up against him as he finally entered her. No more teasing, no more foreplay, this was the main event. She stayed still against him so that she could partly get used to the feeling and partly to relish the sensation.

Angel finally moved. He could feel her pulling on him as he did then thrust in. His upper body shivered somewhat and his muscles tensed in his gut. He raised up slightly on one arm and opened his eyes to look at her face. He never got tired of looking at her.

She kept her eyes locked with his, hazel meeting yellow. She raised her body up just enough off the bed so that his chest rubbed her breasts with each thrust. She couldn't keep her hands still as they ran and caressed the muscles of his back.

He rested his weight on his left elbow. Bringing his right hand up her side to her breast, he held her as he moved. Then he lowered and kissed her, inviting her tongue to meet his.

She was mindful of his fangs as she touched her tongue against his. She moved her body in time with his, rising up to meet his thrusts. She raked her nails down his back to give him that slight sting of pain.

When Angel felt her nails, his pace sped up, his hand tightened on her breast. He pulled back from that kiss to look at her neck. He could hear her heart pounding and smell her blood.

She watched him as his eyes drifted to her neck. She wanted this now more than anything. She was certain in her decision. She turned her chin, taking a hand from his back to push her hair aside. She closed her eyes with the anticipation. "I love you, Angel." Her voice was barely above a whisper now.

His response wasn't in words. He lowered to her neck, his mouth pressed to that vital spot. His tongue licked over it. His motions sped up more, pushing against her at an almost frantic, desperate pace. Then his fangs punctured her neck and he fed.

She gasped as she felt him bite her. It was different than the small love bites he had given her previously during their lovemaking. A moan caught in her throat as she climaxed in his arms. It was so much more than the sensations to her body, it was what he was doing to her soul. Best friends, lovers, and now they were becoming soulmates.

In his own climax, he surged within her. He rolled over, holding her tight, and still feeding. He wasn't taking much in reality. He was just drawing it slowly, to keep his fangs in for as long as possible to make sure all demonkind would know whom she belonged to. This is how they would see it. The mark would also protect her from those that would recognize it and realize the swift justice that would come to them if they harmed her while he existed.

She barely registered the fact that he was turning them over, that she was now laying atop his body. All she could think of was how every nerve in her body felt alive. The bite, that could be so vicious with his fangs and jagged teeth, was now gentle and pleasurable. She jerked slightly again in his arms as she climaxed again.

Angel stopped feeding as he became spent. He withdrew his fangs but he kept his mouth over the wound. He licked it over and over to seal it. His arms tightened around her, his long fingers worked into her hair at the back of her head.

She didn't move. She didn't breath. She just laid there on top of him. Slowly, by degrees, her body started to relax around him. She sighed, a happy contented sound.

He pushed his demon back into hiding and he just held Cordy for as long as she wanted to lay there. His fingers still working in her hair.

"What? I don't get a thank you?" She laughed softly, not daring to move from where she was. She didn't want this moment to end. This was perfect happiness. She knew it. She could feel it with every fiber of her being.

"I'm afraid," he said in a soft whisper.

She pulled her head up enough so that she could look down at him. She touched his cheek softly. "Afraid of what, Angel?"

"I'm afraid if I say it...this will all be gone," he said, looking at her now, his features very human.

She smiled at him. She leaned down to brush her lips against his. "You're stuck with me. I told you. I am here until the light at the end of the tunnel and when we get hit with the train."

Angel looked up at her. Then with the hand that was running through her hair, he pushed her head down after that brushing kiss. He gave her a slow, loving kiss.

She let the kiss linger for several seconds before she finally pulled away from him. She started to move off him. "Alright husband of mine, we better go get a shower if we want to get packed and catch that charter flight to Europe. Thank god for vampire airlines." She laughed as she was finally untangled from him, standing at the edge of their bed. Her legs still felt a bit weak and probably would be more so after their shower together.

"Cordy," he said as he got up. "About the vampire airline..." He winced as he speaks.

She turned back to look at him, halfway to the bathroom. "Yes?"

“Well, I sort of had to tell them...well, before they'd take a reservation for us...I had to...well...” It was clear that he was nervous, whatever it was. It was probably far from good news.

"Angel, just spit it out already." Sometimes, when he got flustered like this, it was endearing. Now, when the promise of a hot shower was calling to her, it wasn't.

“ I had to tell them it was for Angelus and his...well, pet.” He winced, fully expecting Cordelia’s wrath.

She frowned when he said that. Despite her lack of clothing, she put her hands on her hips to glare at him. "Just for that, we are stopping over in Paris and you are taking me for a night of shopping. Whatever I want...WHATEVER...I....WANT." She emphasized the last three words.

“ I was afraid if I said Angel...and well, the name Angelus got us a discount. They were afraid I'd make them Dust Buster filling if they didn't accommodate me.” How could she argue against the discount. The flight was costing enough, not to mention the hotel, the rental cars, the rail passes, and the other assorted fees.

"This is my "You are digging yourself in deeper" face, Angel. I will make you Dust Buster filling if the next words out of your mouth don't include an apology and a promise." By the tone of her voice, Cordelia Chase was quite serious in that threat.

"What if I make it up with a romantic dinner at night on a small yacht floating lazily down the Seine?" He figured that would end up being cheaper than a shopping spree Cordelia Chase-style.

"Romantic dinner AND a shopping trip. And I will forgive you for calling me Angelus' pet." This was not up for negotiation. Then again, she wasn't usually the kind to compromise, especially when it came to shopping.

She was getting him where it hurt and she knew it, his wallet. He had to think, then he nodded. "Okay, I surrender."

"Good. The sooner you learn that this marriage is about me getting my way, the easier it will be." She graced him with a smile. She was annoyed but not nearly as much as she was pretending. She beckoned him with her finger as she slipped into the bathroom. 

Cordelia was jerked back to the present, out of her memory, when she heard a noise in the darkness. She gathered her things up and reached into the bag to grab out a throwing axe. She saw a tabby cat run through the darkness, the light from her flashlight reflecting off his green eyes. She breathed a sigh of relief. She touched her cheeks, feeling the dried tears there. She couldn't keep doing this, losing herself in memories of Angel. She had to get back to the Hyperion. She wanted her answers. She picked up the urn, holding it close to her body as she left the convalescence home.

---Present-----

Cordelia could feel the wetness on her cheeks as she recalled the events of earlier tonight, recalled the evening she was married to Angel. Unable to hold her emotions in any longer, she laid down on the couch. She curled up, the courier bag with the urn held tightly to her chest, and she cried. She cried until she felt she couldn’t cry anymore. She cried out her pain, she cried out her guilt. She cried out every last emotion in herself because she needed to be prepared. She needed to be able to carry on, to fight. She knew that is what Angel would have wanted. He wouldn’t have wanted her to give up or worse, killed herself in some tragic Shakespearean move. One of them had to stay on and keep this world safe. That was going to have to be her. With everything drained from her, physically and emotionally exhausted, Cordelia Chase let sleep overtake her.

-TBC-