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06 September 2006 @ 04:50 pm
Walking In My Shoes (22/?)  

Title: Walking In My Shoes (22/?)
Author: Kelly and Mike (collaborative writing team)
Posted: 9/6/06
Rating: Chapters range from PG to NC-17
Chapter: Chapter Twenty-Two rated PG-15
Email: jjsoapchat AT yahoo DOT com
Content: Angst, Cuteness, Smooches
Scenes include: Wes, Cordelia, Angel, Ian, Kat
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, Vail, random shop owners/demons. Mike writes for Angel(us), Connor, Wes, random filler chars. But for this one, Mike wrote for Ian.
Feedback: Yes, please. Tell us how we are doing!
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Cordelia reached over and switched off the monitor by her bed. She sighed heavily. The incident where Kat was so scared she was going to lose Sunny was one of those reaffirming moments that she knew her and Angel would make good parents. Now that memory belonged to someone else. She dialed Wes' cellphone, knowing he would still be up researching.

Wesley did pick up the phone as he still was reading, not checking the ID. "Hello," he spoke into the receiver.

"Explain it to me." Was all that Cordelia had to say about the situation. She had a feeling that Wesley knew exactly was going on, especially the way he and Fred made themselves very scarce.

Wesley sat back in his chair and pulled off his glasses. "Cordelia..." he said in that soft tone. He basically didn't know how to start.

"Don't Cordelia me." She got up from the bed so that she could start pacing the room. "I have a vampire in the other room with my kids that claims he is my husband. Why? Because he got a hold of Angel's memories. Now either you did this or some other magic mumbo jumbo man did, so fess up!"

Wes let out a sigh. "Perhaps I should come over and talk."

"Yeah...I think it might be a good idea if you did. He is laying down with the kids right now so I can't exactly leave. I will meet you in your office here." Cordelia grabbed the baby monitor, glad that it had a long enough range to reach the entirety of the hotel.

It took Wes about 20 minutes to drive back to the hotel at this time of night. Parking his SUV, he locked it and went into the hotel. He paused in the entry, stealing himself to face Cordelia with this. Finally, he went for the office and entered.

She was already sitting in there. She was trying to thumb through a book about mystical coincidences but she was having too much trouble concentrating. She just kept thinking about that Angel upstairs. He had used a very personal memory about Kat to calm the child down. She was far from pleased.

He moved around to sit at his desk. He swallowed hard and looked down at his hands folded on this desktop.

Cordelia shut the book and put it back on his desk. She sat there, staring at him. She was far too quiet. Cordelia quiet was never a good sign.

"Ah, where to start," he said. "First, it was done to find out what Angel knew about what was attacking the school and how it knew so much about it and the students."

"I think you need to go all the way back up and tell me how come no one bothered to tell me that this was being done? Who else knows about this besides you, me, and I am assuming Fred." She sat back in the chair because this should be really good.

"Gunn and Faith," Wesley answered. He told her of what Connor did but he didn't know Angel was getting the memories. "I agreed to the fact that we needed to know what Angel had found out. He had alluded to me in his phone call before we joined up he had some news. However, before he could tell me he had been...well..."

"And someone else couldn't take these memories? Why didn't you give them to me? Whose grand idea was it that they should go to the guy who destroyed his home dimension?" Cordelia was at a loss. They had had some stupid plans before but this one was taking the cake.

"Because they couldn't be guaranteed to be complete and intact given to anybody else," Wes told her. "What I was afraid of was he'd go crazy having two sets of memories. But I've done some reading. Cordelia, he is Angel."

"Wes...how can you say that? He is not Angel. Angel is in a spot in the garden, where the sun..." Her voice started to choke up and she tried desperately to shove her emotions back down. "Where the sun hits him every day. That is where Angel is."

“The shell that contained what is Angel. But that life within...That was released." Wesley paused again. "I wasn't for this in the beginning but like I said, we needed that intel. He now also has other valuable knowledge that can serve us in our fight against Wolfram & Hart. He knows their tricks and how to avoid them."

"My god, how can you talk about him that way? The shell...Wes, he was your friend. You gave up...you gave up your chance at happiness so Angel and I had a chance. He wasn't a shell. You can't tell me that soul in there is the same Angel that I knew and I loved." She pointed upwards as if to emphasize her point. "My Angel never would have sold out his friends and family. His soul wasn't perfect but it was pretty much better than that one."

"Cordelia, he and Fred have had some pretty long talks," the English tried to explain. "Who knows what our Angel would have done faced with the same choices this one had. And yes, the body is just a shell. What's real is what is inside."

"So where is my husband, Wes? Where is his soul? Trapped in Hell forever so that this guy can have his memories, walk around pretending to be him? You know I don't understand this stuff as well as I should. I know, it’s been years but its not like we have ever had to deal with this sort of thing before. I don't want him to suffer because some guy up here is walking around instead of him." Sometimes, she could be pretty stubborn. She just needed some time to process everything. She wasn't stupid. She just sometimes was less than objective.

"Cordy, not even I have the answers to questions like that," he said. "Maybe, perhaps, since they both are Angel, the souls are the same and when he was brought through at the same moment...It could be why when I was told about Willow and her evil other self could exist in the same dimension. One had a soul, one didn't."

"But they both existed here and there. But they had different lives. They made different choices." Cordelia leaned forward. She wasn't going to get her answers, not now and not ever. She knew that. That seemed to be happening a lot.

"They were faced with different circumstances," he reminded her. "Cordelia was taken from him. Connor sank him to the bottom of the ocean. Facing a rogue Power That Was...None of us know what we'd have done in his place. And from what I've been told they all willingly accept roles at Wolfram & Hart."

"I know. That is what I said. But the whole one with a soul, one without theory doesn't really hold up when they both have souls. When he came here, I thought it was Angel. I wanted to believe it was Angel. He had a soul." She balled her hand into a fist, putting it up to her forehead. "I should have known, I should have been able to tell."

"Cordelia," Wesley said and got up. He moved around the desk to her. "You couldn't tell because he is Angel. You know as well as I we live in a world so few realize is actually out there. I didn't want to accept this possibility either, especially since I had seen with my own eyes..." he paused with a sigh. "We know also that not all the dimensions are alike. We know also some are just enough to make our skin crawl. Angel here made the choice to protect that child and Angel there made some unwise choices. But the Powers knew that both of these versions were the same, only different circumstances led to different paths that were beyond either' control. One protected the innocent and lost his life, or unlife as it were. One was about to lose his in a battle that he could not win. The Powers wanted their Champion to continue here. And I doubt there was little concern for personal feelings in this.”

"Now in taking the memories he's become our Angel and more," Wesley said keeping his eyes on her. "He knows the mistakes made in both world and how to avoid them here. I have talked more to Vail on this matter. He assured me the only vessel for Angel's memory was Angel. Anyone else receiving his memories, especially with what he is would have gone insane. None of us could have dealt with his memories, Cordelia. With what he carries within himself. Even with his soul anchored he still walks a fine line that none of us will ever be able to imagine."

Cordelia did listen but it was a lot to take in with all things considered. Maybe it would have been easier for her to accept if things hadn't gone the way that they had. She was quiet for several moments as she took the time to process everything. "I think I need to get to sleep. Maybe this whole mess will make more sense in the morning...or afternoon...or whatever. " She sighed as she turned the fist on her forehead to a palm, trying to calm the headache raging through her mind.

"Cordelia," Wesley spoke up, "this doesn't mean you have to take him back. We would all understand."

"Wes..." She looked up at him now as he sat on the edge of that desk. "You are telling me that this is my husband, right? This is the man that I love and my best friend. What would you do in my situation? He has all these wonderful memories about us, about the kids. I don't know what I am going to do. Right there, that is my answer. I don't know."

"Maybe with time you will," he replied. "Time and healing."

Cordelia got up from her chair. "All I know right now is that I want to go to bed. We have a lot of work ahead of us for this demon group slaughter thing. I don't think its going to do any of us any good if we are nodding off. End of the world and I want to make sure I have my eight hours."

Wesley gave her a soft smile and a nod.

"Thanks for coming over." Cordelia chewed her lower lip for a moment. "Its good for the kids right? Having him around? And maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea if he stayed at the hotel, so he is close since we all meet here. We wouldn't have to hunt around to find him?" She was trying to justify asking Angel to stay here. She was listening to her heart now, not her head.

"I think seeing how the children are behaving is where you'll find your answer," he told her. "And, yes, it would be easier because he has the same aversion to cell phones."

Cordelia sighed. "That is what I thought you were going to say. And I guess, deep down, I know that is what is right too. Its just that...with everything that has happened...I am always second guessing myself now, Wes. I never used to second guess myself before."

"You are second guessing because you have more to worry about then just yourself," Wes explained. "And the other side to ask yourself, would you have rather he came back like he did the first time in Sunnydale? Insane, not knowing anybody? Having to learn all over again like a child?"

"No... I guess not. I wouldn't wish that on anyone." She glanced towards the door and then back to Wes. "I should get back upstairs. I will have to rig something up so he can stay here. I am not going to put him in a room across from Connor."

"Now that you didn't have to second guess on." He chuckled.

She gives Wes just a little hint of a smile. "I am not going to clean up some dusty sheets. I have more than enough to do around here that doesn't include laundry. Speaking of, when do you think we can hire a cleaning staff for the hotel?"

"I'll get back with you on that," was all he said on the subject. Gathering a few things, he then started for the door.

"I take it that is a no then?" She tried for another smile as she followed out behind him. So much for getting someone to do her laundry and vacuuming. Life was so unfair sometimes.

"I will see you in the morning." With that, he went on out.

Cordelia watched him go and she shook her head. She climbed the stairs back up to the residence. Once inside the main door, she headed for the kid's room. She paused in the doorway, looking at the outline of bodies in the sleeping bags. The night-light provided enough light so that she could see that Angel was still awake with eyes open. "Her allergies act up if she sleeps on the floor. You might want to put her back in her bed." She said quietly.

Laying there, Angel looked over to the door. Ian’s arm had rolled over Angel. The young boy was still in his bag but was using Angel’s other shoulder for a pillow. "I know but before I could get up," he looked at Ian.

Cordelia came into the room. She picked Ian up, sleeping bag and all, and set him on the bed. She moved so that she could pry Kat away from Angel and put her into bed as well. She was getting used to the single mother slash superheroine thing with little to no adjustment.

Angel got up out of the sleeping, winced a bit, then stretched. He moved over and straightened up Ian and his sleeping bag.

"Sleeping on the floor probably isn't going to be good for you." She watched him with Ian. She already knew how he was with the kids. She had seen it and she had heard it.

"I'll be fine," he said. "I've slept in worse conditions. It’s just been a while...and well, sleeping where I have been hasn't helped."

"Do you want to...we could go Puritan style. There are still some old boards in the basement from training the girls on balance. We could just put one between us." It was a first step. He was too tall to sleep on the couch comfortably. The huge bed in the master bedroom was the only other logical choice.

"I don't want to make you uncomfortable," Angel said. "I could get the cot in from the basement. Just put it in one of the rooms close to the kids." Angel didn't want to push anything on her or make her feel obligated.

"I don't do things that make me feel uncomfortable. But fine. You want to sleep on the cot, you know where it is now." Cordelia turned so that she could leave the kids' bedroom. She had offered, he had declined. Her work here was done.

"Cordelia," he said softly.

She turned when he said her name, raising a brow. "Yes?"

He took a couple steps to her. His dark eyes searching her features, vampire senses reading her. "The thing is," he said, "I want you to be comfortable. I want it to be when you're ready, not because you feel obligated or guilty. I have too much respect for you as a person and a woman...and I want to say as my best friend and my wife."

"Let's get something straight, I don't do things out of obligation or out of guilt. I do things because I want to. That fact is, it’s easier if you stay here because this is where everyone meets. You can't sleep upstairs across from Connor. We don't have a spare room. I was trying a compromise. I offered, you declined. So let's stop analyzing it. I am exhausted. You have Angel's memories, you know where everything is. Anything else?" She stood there near the door. If he didn't say something that didn't involve talking around his foot, he was going to miss the opportunity for the olive branch she was trying to extend.

"I'm sorry," Angel said, "I didn't mean it to sound like it did. But then I do that a lot."

"Shame they don't make a pill for foot in mouth disease. We could invest in that company and you alone would make us billionaires." She leaned against the doorway and gave him just the smallest hint of a smile.

"Give up saving the world gig," he replied. She did look so good. He wanted now more then anything just to take her in his arms and hold her. Still in his slacks, his hands were in his pockets.

"Yeah. Right. When we give up the saving the world thing, I will become Queen of England." She rolled her eyes when she said that. She looked past him to the kids who were asleep. Probably not a good idea to stand here, talking. "I am going to bed. Last chance. Puritan style or pulling up carpet, your choice."

"I'll get the board," he replied, giving her just that slight smile of his.

"How about trying to turn the enthusiasm down about three clicks there? I am going to be sleeping with a stake." She was serious about that. She turned and headed down the hall for the master bedroom. While he got the board, she could at least get changed into her pajamas. She was smart enough to do it in the bathroom so there would be no accidentally walking in. He might have seen her naked before and had plenty of memories of more intimate things but she wasn't going to give him any more freebies.

Shortly, he was back with the board and several pillows he'd gathered from the lobby and various other places.

She came out of the bathroom, opting for the set of sleepwear that covered the most of her body. She couldn't go wrong with yoga pants and an old Sunnydale High T-shirt. She took a stake out from the dresser drawer before moving to her side of the bed. "You need help at all?"

Angel started arranging the board to make sure it was secured by the pillows. "No, I think I've got it." He turned to her and waited for her approval.

She merely shrugged her shoulders. Its not like this was something that she had done before. It looked good enough for her. She put the stake on her dresser. She climbed into her side of the bed, trying to be careful not to move and disturb the precarious arrangement.

Waiting a moment, he finally pulled his pants off and climbed into bed wearing only his shorts. The vampire settle finally and he laid there, looking up at the ceiling. He didn't speak he just listened. He listened to her breathing and her heart. He took in a breath and could smell her perfume. Finally, he spoke. "Good night."

"Night" She replied back. She was quite exhausted, like she said, and it wasn't long before she was settled into the heavy rhythmic breathing of sleep. Then came the snoring. She was out like a light and no amount of hellfire or Apocalypse was going to wake her.

Angel closed his eyes and listened to her. That lulled him into sleep.

The talking of her parents was enough to have woken Kat up. She pretended to be asleep but after they left, she sat up in bed. She had a look of concentration to her features. She turned on the little horse shaped lamp by her bed and then went to get her crayons and a piece of paper.

Ian slept. He'd rolled over on his stomach then pulled his legs up and his butt was in the air. He snored, sounding like his mother. Saliva ran out the corner of his mouth and clutched in his arm was his dinosaur.

Kat moved over to the monitor and she turned it off. She didn't want either of her parents hearing the plans. She moved over to Ian's bed and shook him. "Ian...Ian..." She frowned as he didn't even budge. She leaned over and shouted in his ear. "DEMON!"

Ian was up suddenly. He spun in his bag and was up; still half asleep holding his dino like a weapon. He was wearing his Batman Underoos. "WHERE!"

Kat smirked because that always seemed to wake her little brother up. She grabbed his shoulder roughly. "Come on, we don't have a lot of time."

"Time?" He blinked and then he was drug from his bed. "Where's the demon? I'm tellin'!"

"Shhh, you ain't telling nothing." She yanked him out of bed and over to the small table in their room. "Do you want mom and dad back together or not?"

The boy rubbed his eyes and glanced around. He'd fallen asleep on the floor and woke in bed; it had just dawned on him. Face it, the kid wasn't a morning person. "Where'd Da go?"

Kat sat down at the table. She could be alert right out of waking. She grabbed a crayon. "With mom. Sleeping. But they are sleeping with a board between them." She heard it all as they were talking.

"Hmmm..." he was frowning. "Why would anybody sleep with a board?" He moved, climbing on the table and sat on it cross-legged. "It’s almost morning light time."

"Because stupidhead..." She rolled her eyes at him and looked up at him. "They are hurting. Mom doesn't know its really Da. And we got to get them back together."

"Mom told you not to call me stupidhead," he protested. He looked down at the crayon. "What are we gonna do them? Pull the board out of the bed?"

"You ARE being a stupidhead right now, Ian!" She nodded her head but she was starting to draw. "We got to do more than that. We got to think."

"We could make them breakfast in bed," he said. "Like we did last year for their married day."

"Has to be bigger than that. This is a big ugly." Kat was concentrating as she drew, as she tried to put her thoughts together into some kind of plan. Breakfast in bed was all well and good but it wasn't going to be enough.

Ian sat there and he yawned. "Play dolly with them."

Kat nodded her head again in agreement with that. "We can do that tonight." She paused and held the drawing up for him to see. It was a plan.

He looked at what she drew and then started grinning. "Oh, man, that would do it."

Kat smiled back at her twin brother. She set her paper down. She knew that plan would work. She looked out towards the window, the sun starting to rise. "You awake now? Last time we tried to play dolly and you were asleep..." Her voice trailed off because they were both well aware of what happened.

He stood and jumped off the table and roared. "I need to be a vampire and kill bad demons." He did his best to bare fangs he didn't have and if Mom or Dad heard him say this, he'd be in very deep time out. But it didn't keep him from using his imagination.

Kat shook her head at her brother. He couldn't figure out that they were part demon already, no matter how many times she tried to explain it to him. She moved over and put her hand over his mouth. "Shush...you are going to wake them up. Now come on!" She took the hand away from his mouth and once she made sure he was quiet, she snuck out of their room and to the master bedroom.

But he wanted to be like Dad and be a Dark Avenger. He followed after her and when they got to the door of their parents' bedroom, they peeked in.

"They are asleep...” Kat said in a whisper. She pushed the door open wide and tiptoed towards the bed. "You take mommy, I will do daddy." She moved to Angel's side of the bed and put her small hand to the back of his neck. She waited until Ian did the same.

Ian moved to his mother's side and looked down at her a moment then did the same. "Now this is for your own good," he said trying to copy the tone she used when having to give them medicine or put him in time out.

Kat giggled as Ian said that. She held out her other hand, stretching it as best she can across the bed. "For your own good, Daddy." Kat closed her eyes and concentrated very hard until she felt the strange warmness spread throughout her palm.

Doing the same, Ian felt the energy flow into his mother and touching those areas of her brain that needed to be kept still for the two to do what they wanted.

"Shhh, sleepy time..." Kat said very softly. She pulled her palm away from her father's neck, a small pink handprint still on his skin. She giggled again when she saw it. They had done this before so they could raid the fridge. Kat climbed over Angel so that she was at the top of the board.

Ian went to the foot of the bed and looked to his sister, ready to lift his end to move the board. "Let's hurry."

Kat nodded her head. She lifted her end of the board. It wasn't that heavy. She waited for Ian to start moving backwards before she started to walk forward.

He stepped back and when she got to the end of the bed he waited for her to jump down. Then he moved so the could put the board on the other side of the room.

She did jump down and then let Ian lead the way as he put the board in the corner on the other side of the room. She set it down and then went back to the bed. She started grabbing the pillows off, tossing them on the floor. She accidentally hit Ian with one, trying to keep from laughing afterwards.

"Hey! Watch it," he said getting the pillows from the lower part of the bed. "Let's make them all snuggly. I'll lift Mommy's head up and you move Da's arm under."

Kat nodded her head in agreement with that plan. She got down off the bed. "We have to push them closer together. We can push them together one at a time."

"Who do we push first," Ian asked looking from the two sleeping adults to his sister. These two were on a mission to save their family and they are going to do it.

"Mom is lighter. She will be easier." Kat moved around the bed to get in a place where they could roll their mother over to face Angel now. "Did you make sure you put plenty of sleepy on her?"

"Yep," he nodded. "Wasn't hard. She already was heavy sleepy by herself." He helped roll Cordelia then got her arm on top and moved it to rest on her hip until they got Angel moved. "We should do this to Connor some time and paint his face green like Uncle Lorne's." He giggled.

Kat giggled along with her brother. "I want to put pretty bows in his hair." Kat ran around the bed to the side that Dad was on. She grunted as she tried to push Angel closer to Cordelia.

"Let's do his legs first then we'll do his body," Ian suggested. "He's big heavier then Mom." Ian got up to his father's hips and waited for Katy to get to his legs. "We could shave Uncle Wes bald."

"He is harder cause he doesn't live here. If Mommy and Da find out..." Kat's voice trailed as she went down to grab Angel's ankles. She lifted up with yet another grunt, moving slowly to move Angel's legs.

Ian grunted as he moved Angel's upper legs. His father moaned a bit and Ian stopped. Actually, he froze. He looked to Angel's head to see if he was showing signs of waking.

Kat gasped and she moved back over to Angel's head. She put her palm against the back of his neck and reached for Ian's hand. They were really going to have to put a big sleepy on him this time. "Ian! Sleepy time!" She closed her eyes, as she always did when she concentrated for this sort of thing.

Taking Katy's hand, he closed his eyes. He kept saying sleepy time to himself.

She felt all that warm energy come from her brother's touch, go through her, and multiply. She pushed it into her father, hitting those points in his mind that would keep him knocked out. She held her breath for a few seconds and then exhaled. She took her hand off the back of Angel's neck, nodding her head to Ian.

"Now I guess we move him up there and we're almost done," Ian nodded. All they had to do after moving Angel was put the two in each other's arms.

"He needs to stop eating sweets." She did that in the same voice as her mother. She tried to lift Angel's torso with her brother's help to move him closer to their mother.

"But vampires don't change and food doesn't make them gain weight," he said. Yes, he's read everything about all kinds of vampires.

"Then he is just heavy." With Angel moved, she climbed over her Da. She sat on his side and started to move arms. "Lift mommy's head up."

Ian scrambled to lift Mom's head and shoulders. He gritted his jaw as he waited for his sister to get Da's shoulder and arm right.

She put Angel's arm and shoulder under Cordelia's head. She nodded to Ian for him to gently put their mom's head back. She slid down Angel's side and took his arm to put around Cordelia. "Put her arm around him."

Nodding, Ian did it. He grinned and he pulled up Cordy's leg to place it over Angel's. He looked back up at his sister.

She smiled at Ian. "One last thing..." She put one hand on each of her parents' cheeks. She leaned down, whispering to them. "Make kisses like Rhett and Scarlett." It wasn't just a suggestion as Kat used her powers to gently push that idea in their minds for when they woke.

Ian waited for Katy to finish. But he was dancing in place. "Hurry, I gotta go pee!"

Kat gave an exasperated sigh at her brother. She climbed down off the bed. She took off running back to their room, giggling all the way. Ian could shut their parents’ bedroom door. "Make sure you lock it!"

Ian locked the door and then he ran as fast as he could. When the need hits, it hits, and you gotta drain the radiator.

Kat took a running leap and landed in her bed. She pulled the covers up over her head. Whenever they played around like this, she always got pretty tired. At least Ian would sleep too, once he was done in the potty.

After sound of the toilet flushing it was only moments before he came running out. He jumped on Katy's bed then leapt to his. "I'm the Dark Revenger!"

She let out a scream as he jumped on her bed. When he leapt to his, she pushed him right in those Batman Underoos. "You are the dark doodooface!"

"Am not!" He grabbed his sleeping bag. He got off the bed and went under the bed to sleep.

Kat shook her head once more at her brother as he went to sleep under his bed. She settled into her own bed. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep with dreams of her parents' reunion, family trips to Disneyland and Aspen, and lastly, of story time with her whole family.

Cordelia started to stir just a bit in her sleep. She felt heaviness against her body and she knew that it was Angel. She smiled and snuggled closer to her husband. She was still in the half-asleep dream state where her brain wasn't processing that no; she should not be snuggling with that Angel. She pressed her warm body against his cool one. She settled into him, keeping her eyes closed for now. She just wanted to spend a few more minutes in his arms before she had to get the kids up and ready.

Angel instinctively pulled her closer to him. He was still in that dream state of sleep for him at this hour. And his dream there was a large southern mansion behind him on the porch he stood on. Out front, trees lined a long lane that led to a circular drive in front of the mansion. A warm breeze stirred the air and his hair bringing with it the light scent of peach blossoms and blooming magnolias. Then he looked down at what or whom he had in his arms. Cordelia. She was dressed in a green southern belle dress that seemed to be made of heavy velvet. One of her arms was around his neck, the other she held a dainty hand fan. He looked down into her eyes. Then he dipped her back and leaned over her, kissing her. Odd, there seemed to be music coming from somewhere but that kiss kept most of his attention.

She felt cool lips pressed against hers and she couldn't resist, she didn't want to resist. Her arms moved up to circle around his neck as she kissed him back. This was hardly a good morning, how was your night sort of an affair. Angel kissed her with such slow, smoldering passion, that she felt herself melt into little more than a puddle in his arms. If only all their mornings could start like this.

Angel lost himself in this dream. It was perfect. He could feel her warmth to him. He could smell her scent mixed in with the blossoms and the magnolias. But this was a dream, right? It was daylight. It was warm. It wasn't L.A., obviously. Even in this deep sleep of his something seemed to stir. He started coming up from that sleep, it’s the reason vampires got the rep for sleeping in coffins during the day since they seemed dead. Slowly, he opened his eyes.

Cordelia's eyes were still closed as they kissed. She wasn't in some fantasy plantation world. She was just in a half-awake, half-asleep state. All she really knew is that she was kissing Angel and she didn't want that kissing to end. She wrapped her leg around his tighter, blinding groping for his hand to put it on her hip as she deepened the kiss between them.

When the kid made the suggestion of how a deep sleep he was in then the whammy they put on, he was having trouble coming out of it. "Cordy," he whispered between the kissing since she had to take a breath. He was only half there now, trying to shake off the rest of the sleep and knock out whammy the kids used.

"Shhhh..." She leaned forward again after getting her breath back so that she could start to kiss him once more. She was having a little harder time not only waking up but also shaking the feelings off herself. All she wanted to do was kiss him, over and over again until they both ended up naked and sated.

Angel returned the kiss, how could he not? He tried again when she had to breathe. "Cordy, please," he whispered. If they didn't gain control now, he was going to be at the point of no return.

"Please what..." Her eyes remained closed even as she drug her lips from his lips along his jaw line and down to his neck. It was starting to wear off a bit at least as she went from less Scarlett like kisses to more Cordelia type ones. She kissed the side of his neck very softly, barely brushing his skin. She was determined and the only way to stop her would be if he physically removed himself from the bed.

He wanted this. Angel wanted this but not like this. Something had happened in the night. The board was gone. He caught a faint scent on the pillow, very faint. He worked on trying to disengage himself from Cordelia.

The movement of him trying to pull himself away from her was enough of a jolt that she started to really wake up. She opened her eyes, rubbing the sleep from them. "What the..." She noticed the situation she was in and she recalled what she was doing moments earlier. She scooted away from him as fast as she could, pulling the covers around herself. "Oh god...sorry..."

Angel got out of the bed, quickly. He grabbed his pants. "You've got nothing to apologize for," he said.

"Uh...I do..." She sat up in the bed and she pulled the covers tighter around her body. "I was pretty much...molesting you there." Yet oddly, it didn't feel all that wrong. Mentally, she knew it was wrong but physically, emotionally...She was ready to tear his damn clothes off.

He winced a bit as he zipped up his fly. "It wasn't your fault," Angel said as he turned. "It wasn't...I mean...I..." He couldn't get out what he wanted.

Cordelia looked around the room because she was looking for the board. How on earth did it end up all the way across the room like that? She got out of bed when she spotted something among the pillows. She crouched down and brought a stuffed unicorn up from under the pillows. She just frowned.

Angel looked at the unicorn. "That's what I smelled and knew what happened wasn't...us...well, it was but you know what I mean."

She stood up, still holding Sunny the Unicorn. "Looks like the kids snuck in here and took the board out." She just assumed that she ended up in Angel's arms because during the night, he always used to hold her. The warmth from her body would transfer to his and for those first waking moments, they could both feel human before reality set in.

"Yeah," the vampire said still having the dream fresh in his mind. "They are creative." He picked up his shirt to help hide the fact that he was rising to the occasion.

She sighed. "I can't exactly punish them for this. They didn't really do anything wrong. They just don't understand the situation." Cordelia moved to put the unicorn on the dresser so that she could return it to Kat later.

‘Or they understand it better then we do’, Angel thought. "Somehow I don't think punishment would work in this situation."

"Me either." She shook her head. She looked over at him. "I am sorry for...you know. I didn't realize what I was doing. You spend years with someone, you get into a pattern for waking. I guess I just fell into that."

"I know," he replied. "Just if I wasn't having that dream..." His voice trailed off as he said that.

"Just what?" She raised a brow at him. He trailed off and she wanted to know the rest of that sentence. She wanted to know what he was going to say.

"Don't keep apologizing to me," he said, "I was just as at fault."

She raised a brow and put a hand on her hip. She just looked at him. "If I want to apologize to you, I will apologize to you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. And if I could speak fifty languages like someone else I know, I would say I’m sorry in all of those too." For the briefest moment, she forgot WHOM she was dealing with exactly and she stuck her tongue out at him. It was that moment where her brain didn't click on that this was not her husband, it was an Angel from another world.

He was about to tell her how to say it in those other languages but then thought better of it. Then she stuck her tongue out and he raised a heavy brow. Despite it all, he had to grin just a bit. "You know, you're beautiful when you're mad," he said. "You're also pretty in a long green gown of crush velvet and hooped skirt."

That didn't help the eyebrow go down at all when he said that. She pulled her tongue back in and cleared her throat. "Well...I should probably go make the kid's breakfast or lunch or...they are probably hungry. Unless they ate all the fudgesicles in the freezer while I was asleep."

"I could make them breakfast," he offered. "You can shower while I do." The fact is he used to enjoy making the breakfast for them and her. " And by the time you're done I'll have some coffee ready."

Cordelia paused for a moment. The prospect of a hot breakfast instead of cold cereal was really, really tempting. The addition of the hot shower after weeks of having to sneak one at night while the twins were sleeping clinched it. "There are some eggs and other omelette type things in the fridge."

He nodded. "I know," Angel replied. Turning he went to the door and tried it. He couldn’t get it to turn or open. "It’s locked."

"Did you forget how to unlock it?" Cordelia shook her head and went over to the door. She none too gently used her hips to move him out of the way. She turned the lock and then opened the door. "The twins," She told him as a means for explanation.

"I knew how. It was just stuck," he replied looking down at her. This close, he so wanted to just take her in his arms. He wanted to recap those waking moments, that kiss.

She looked at him for a moment. "Can I help you with something?"

"Uh, no," the vampire answered. "I'm okay." He tried to step around her.

She moved right as he did and she ended up being in his way. Another try only yielded the same result. She almost felt that for a moment they were in some kind of sitcom situation. "How about I just stand still and you move?"

"Yeah, that will work," he said and he stepped around her. "I'll be in the kitchen then." Stepping out of the bedroom he went to the kitchen to start things then he'd rouse the twins.

-TBC-