Title: Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
Author: Misty Flores
Email: mistiec_flores@yahoo.com
Teaser: Cordelia's thrown for a very unsettling loop when Angel, no longer caring about consequences, declares his intentions. Wackiness ensues.
Pairing: Cordelia/Angel predominantly (duh). Cordelia/Groo
Rating: R for sexual situations.
Spoilers: Forgiving Genre: Fluffy Angst? Comedy. Sex...
Notes: You know – clueless Cordy? She's funny. I was watching the forties classic ‘the More the Merrier' and got a little inspired. Mindless, unapologetic slapstick. Have a good time.

- -

You might think it's hysterical
I know when you're weak
You think you're in the movies
But I think that you're wild
When you flash that fragile smile
You might think it's foolish
What you put me through
You might think I'm crazy
All I want is you
It was hard, so hard to take
There's no escape without a scream
But you kept it going till the sun fell down
You kept it going.

~ Cars, You Might Think

--

"I love you."

At first, the words didn't register.

Her eyes were closed, her body was slumped in the old brown wooden chair. She was exhausted. Her bangs had been hastily stuck behind her ear. Her cheek was smeared with dried blood. Cordelia's arms were limp with the weight, but there was no way in hell she was going to let the little guy go.

A soft smile was on her face, as she felt the rhythmic breathing of the child in her arms, sleeping soundly in contentment. Even now, she was still not quite able to believe it. They got him back.

THEY GOT HIM BACK.

A slow, lazy smile spread across her blood-streaked face, as she buried her nose into Connor's neck, breathing him in, new demon senses allowing her fully experience him, sense him, love him in a pretty cool way.

She was so involved in her relief and happiness and subsequent exhaustion that the three words didn't quite hit her. Not until he said them again.

"I love you."

Angel's voice was a little louder this time, more insistent. She blinked, finally bringing the vampire into focus, sitting forward on the edge of the bed, no more than ten feet away. A sense of serenity was about him, this small smirk on his face as his eyes shone, deep and dark and beautiful. Smiling back, Cordelia let the euphoria invade her, content and happy.

"I love you, too," she said simply, meaning it completely. Right now, she loved everyone. She loved Angel. She loved Fred, and Gunn, and Lorne and Wes and Groo. She loved Connor. Hell, at this moment in time, she even loved Justine-

"No." She was forced to drag her vision away from sleeping Connor, arching an eyebrow in confusion when Angel launched from the bed, and knelt at her feet. The surprise must have shown on her face, because he gave another one of those weird smiles that scared her, and grabbed her palm in his, holding it to him and repeated the three words, "I love you."

Angel had to have been high. High on ‘baby being back' pills. She stared at him blankly, gave his hand a squeeze, said frankly, "Angel, you're scaring me," and went back to ‘baby watching'.

There was a long pause, before Angel gave a long, heavy sigh (something he really didn't need to do for two reasons: one, he had really bad blood breath after the big ugly fight, and two, well, being a vampire and all – he didn't have to), and suddenly grabbed Connor away from her.

"HEY!" she said, mouth agape when Angel carried Connor to his crib. "I wanted him!"

"And I want you."

Huh?

She was still standing in virtual shock when Angel strode back to her, grabbed her hands, and pulled her up until she was spread virtually spread eagle against him.

"Angel!" she finally managed, eyes wide and slightly scared, because Angel was acting like a way weird freak, "What's WRONG with you? I understand the baby high and all, but-"

"Cordelia, I lost Connor and I got him back, but I'm not taking the chance with you. So you're going to understand that I love you, that what I want is you, and damn the consequences."

She must have been the one that squeaked, because Angel sure wouldn't have. But with all the intensity in his eyes being directed like tractor beams into her hazel, and the adrenaline making her heat pump almost absurdly in her chest, it was sure hard to tell.

"What?!"

"You heard me."

And he was still holding her hands outstretched, so that she was plastered against him, and dammit – was this FUNNY to him? Cause he was smiling that smirk again, and God help her, she was gonna kill him.

"What do you MEAN, YOU LOVE ME?!" Her voice tended to screech when she was excited, and that made him smile MORE, as he never let her hands go, so that she was breathing hard, breasts rising and falling against his harder than average chest.

"I mean I love you," he said quietly, softly. His face lost his smile, and as he spoke, he brought her hands in. She kept blinking, jaw dropping in shock when he continued, "Losing Connor, getting him back, made me realize I can't take things for granted, Cordelia. I can't worry about consequences," his broad hands encircled her waist, stroking her spine with soft caresses. "And I can't lose you. I want it all. I want you. With me. Like you should be." She was achingly aware of Angel's fingers, which apparently were magnetic, for all the shocks they were sending to her brain, as they slid around to her belly, palming the warmth, moving up possessively, to her shoulders, before cupping her cheek. "So, what I mean is, I love you."

Her mouth had suddenly grown completely dry, and her ragged gasps weren't doing anything to help the situation because, "Consequences!" she blurted. "Cause there are! With, curses and, Angel, you can't mean that-"

"Cordy." There was an exasperated chuckle, something she did NOT appreciate it ALL, thank you very much, before Angel's palm slid up her back, sliding her in closer to him, if that was at all possible. And she would have moved, if she could have, but strangely, her feet had decided to turn to lead. Weird – considering she now knew how to float. And he did that smile thing AGAIN, and it did something weird to her stomach when his voice got all gravel-y, and non ‘Angel' and he said, "You want me to show you how much I mean it?"

It was the ballet, all over again. Her mind, blind with panic, flitted through possible possessions, before she realized Angel's mouth was getting damned closer to hers, and his finger was drawing circles on that spot under her ear-

Oh, God.

She blanked, as he pressed her tightly against his, and his non-needed blood breath mingled with hers, and his other hand – HANDS BUSTER! – trailed down to trace the side of her breast in a way that only Groo-

GROO! Oh, thank God. "Guh- Ger- GROO!" she blurted, pushing away, nearly close to hyperventilating. "Cause – there's Groo!"

"Groo." He said the words like he was a fly that needed to be swatted. What was WRONG with him?

"Yes," she nodded enthusiastically. "I have a boyfriend! And his name is Groo!"

Angel did that smirk again, and she seriously would have considered the return of Angelus, except for the fact that, between Connor's kidnapping and Wesley's betrayal, not a lot of room for perfect happiness. But still – the fact that he was just standing there with his hands in his pockets? VERY unsettling.

"Well?" she finally said, when he gave her that long look. "You can't have the feelings, right? Cause of the curse, and consequences, and ," she blanked.

"Groo?" he supplied helpfully.

"Yes!" she shouted triumphantly. "Groo!" Her boyfriend. Sweet Groo.

"Nice haircut you gave him," Angel said.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"And the clothes?" he stepped forward, she immediately stepped back, trying desperately to keep the distance. "Just decided to raid my closet?" Another step. She took another step back with him. He was stepping faster.

Another quick flutter of footwork and she slammed her head into the door.

"Oww." Solid oak prevented her from moving any further, and her ringing head made it slightly harder to get her bearings, as he was now only two feet away.

"You want me to say it?" Angel said. "I'm not worried about Groo anymore."

"Anymore?! You should be damned worried! Because – I love, oh, God," Angel was only ten inches away now, and her body was quite alive and tingly.

"Cordy," Baby-High, Cordelia. Remember the baby-high. Give Angel a minute to calm down, before you do something you'll both regret- she squeaked when his fingers brushed against hers.

He wasn't going to back down.

Sheer panic hit her full force, and she fumbled for the doorway, a burst of speed allowing her scrambling fingers time to twist open the doorway, and race for the stairs.

--

Bursting past the peaceful respite of Gunn and Fred on the orange couch, Cordelia flagged her coat and pulled it on in record speed.

"Fine, gotta go!" she said automatically to Fred's query, and sprinted for the lobby doors. She didn't think she stopped running until she reached her apartment.

Once there, she slammed the door closed, leaned against it, and promptly felt her knees give out. This put her in a very unflattering position, feet splayed out, hair messily scattered over her forehead, and that was how Groo found her sweaty, gasping form.

"Princess?"

Cordelia squinted up, found her boyfriend in Angel's leather jacket, and in Angel's silk shirt and Angel's black pants.

Oh, god. That really WAS Angel's haircut. DAMN the bastard.

"Hey, Groo!" she chirped, scrambling weakly to her feet, offering him a wide grin. "You're, here."

"I, yes." The Groosalug came forward, his scent wafting toward her, and it was all, Angel-y, cause like a DORK, Cordelia had liked Angel's smell and BOUGHT him that cologne, and it had turned her on before, but, NOW- She jumped when he touched her cheek.

"What are you doing?" she said hastily.

His deep, dark eyes looked confused, but he indicated toward her cheek. "There is blood on your cheek," he said simply. "I was merely inspecting – would you like me to clean it?"

She quickly pushed his hand away. Angel Clone. Eww. Eww-

Oh, God. Angel, I'm SO GOING to KILL YOU.

"I can do it," she said, smile ever growing wider.

He looked confused again. "Are you all right?"

"Great!"

"You seem,"

"Giddy?"

"Jumpy."

"Right! Cause – Connor's back – so I'm ALL about the happy, Groo! See? Happy!" She pointed toward her million watt smile. The Groosalug still looked confused (but it didn't matter, the look worked on him), and he stepped back.

"Well, perhaps we should get the materials to clean the wound-"

The ringing of the telephone cut him off, and Cordelia's eyes widened, heart jolting in sync with her ever worsening karma. She knew immediately who it would be.

"The ‘phone' is singing," Groo said, turning toward the table.

"NO! Groo!" She hastily grabbed his hand, pulling back roughly toward the door. "You know what I need?" He blinked.

"What do you need, Princess?"

Her mind scrambled for the answer, and her mouth tumbled out, "PADS!" It was a full second before she realized what she said. She then was quite ready to kick herself, but the damned phone was still ringing, and she had to file away the ‘you, stupid idiot' self note for later.

"Pads?" he replied with a frown.

"Playtex! They're VITAL! For my, downtime."

"Pads?" he asked again, as she pushed him toward the door, phone still ringing.

"Yes, pads! Good boy!" She shoved him out the open door, slammed it, and glanced fearfully toward the phone.

"Princess?" The Groosalug's voice was slightly muffled from the wood door. "What are ‘pads'?"

"Figure it out!" she replied. "Make it a mission!"

"A mission. Ah. Yes, Well, then," his voice drifted away, and Cordelia breathed a sigh of relief, mopping at her head as she stared at the offending phone that kept ringing.

Stepping hesitantly, Cordelia made her way to the telephone, waiting as the machine picked up, and her voice came on.

She cringed at the faux cheerfulness. Did she always sound so, squeaky?

"Hi, you've reached Cordelia's house. I'm screening. Leave a message."

"Cordelia, it's me. You kind of ran away there, just wanted to see if you were okay. Connor missed you," Oh, great – BRING Connor into it. Bastard. Cordelia paced, and realized, with horror, she was biting her nails. Immediately, she crossed her arms, and resumed her walk. "We need to talk, I realize I might have freaked out a little, but I'm not sorry."

"Not sorry?!" she found herself bursting. "NOT SORRY?! Listen to me, BUSTER! You MORE than FREAKED ME OUT A LITTLE! You damned near gave me a heart attack!"

"Cordelia, it helps if you pick up the phone when you scream at it. That way I can at least hear you."

"I will not- hey!" Cordelia' s mouth shut, and she looked around her empty apartment suspiciously.

"Cordelia," Angel had a chuckle in his voice. "Come on, stop pacing, and pick up the phone."

"No," she whimpered, plopping into a chair.

"You don't talk to me, you'll keep biting your nails. And you hate that. Come on."

Damn it. What the hell was she afraid of? This was Angel! And just because he had gone a little nuts didn't mean she couldn't go a full eight rounds, or however many boxing rounds made a match.

"Fine," she mumbled. Pushing off the chair, she grabbed the receiver, took a brave breath, and clicked the ‘phone' key. "Why the hell aren't you brooding, buster!"

"Hi, Cordy." Angel was frustratingly unfazed. "Thanks for picking up the phone. So, about today-"

"No, no, no, no, NO!" Cordelia stamped her foot. "You can't do this! You can't GO all Pepe and saunter around with a big black skunky tail talking about love and-and, and-"

"And?"

"Shut up."

"Cordelia, have you ever been completely, fully focused, aware of what you wanted?"

She closed her eyes, and heaved a dramatic sigh. "Angel,"

"Cordelia, there's something here, you have to admit that."

"There's LOTS, Angel! There's curses and friendships and boyfriends and Buffy's and-"

"Nothing we can't handle."

"I'M supposed to be the optimistic one! Stop being all chirpy! It's freaking me out!"

"You need time, I get that. I just, Cordelia, I've never – this is new to me, okay? But I'm scared, and I don't want to lose you. Not a second time."

A second time? When was the first time? Was she there?

Cordelia sank into her chair. "Damn it, Angel. You could have, sprung this one on me in a less, spring-y way."

"I could have. But you would have-"

"What? Understood? Tried to talk some sense into you?"

"Freaked and ran for the door. Which you did."

"And ended up in a puddly, sweaty, paranoid mess. I'm going to kill you."

"I gathered that. Cordelia. Let me see you, please. Maybe, we can talk about this-"

Ha. Cause that was REALLY what was on his mind back at the hotel. Pervert.

"I can't, Angel," Cordelia shuddered, raking a hand through her hair, slumping as she stared at the wall. Things were happening way too fast. WAY TOO FAST. Her heart was thumping, her mind was whirling, she was sweaty, and gross, and she did need to see Angel. Maybe, work this out. Talk some sense into him. Get him to understand that this wasn't LOVE. It was, it was, what the hell WAS it?

"Why can't you?"

"I umm, have plans," she said softly. "With, with, with," her mind blanked. Again.

"Groo?" he said helpfully.

"YES! Groo! I have plans with Groo, he had some, thing big he wanted to tell me, and I,"

"Cordelia,"

"Yes?" she said a little too quickly.

"Do you love him?"

"Yes!" she said hastily. "What do you mean ‘do you love him'? Because Groo is sweet and noble and cute and a hero-"

"You don't think I'm all those things?"

"You two are two entirely different people!"

"Right. I think."

"Shut up." She continued to fumble with the phone cord, until she realize it was twisted into knots, and set to work untangling it. "Point is, I'm busy."

"Oh. Right. Okay." Damn it. Now, he had to go and sound all SAD about that. Shit.

"Angel," she said heavily, guilt making her feel even lower than before.

"Yeah?"

She licked her lips, suddenly picturing Angel in his room, on his sofa, his hand on his phone, Connor maybe in his arms,

Wishing she was there,

"He's, on a mission right now. And, umm, it might take him a while. So, if he doesn't come back by, say, ten, then maybe we could, you know, go out. Talk."

There was a long silence, before Angel spoke with rushed breath, "Right, because, you wouldn't really be breaking any date or anything. It'd be his fault."

"Right!"

"Good, So, ten? Maybe?"

"I'll be there."

"Okay." Cordelia found herself smiling into the phone. Wow. This was, nice. Because the tension was gone, and now she felt all, tingly. "Talk to you later."

"Cordelia?" She waited, holding her breath, until he said it. "I love you."

A smile crossed her lips. "God, what am I going to do with you?" she whispered. "Bye."

"Bye."

The phone clicked, and Cordelia didn't move for a long time.

--

It was 9:58.

Cordelia tried to think this through. She tried to sit down and logically put down every single reason why going out with Angel to talk this thing through was a bad, bad, BAD idea. Because hey – Angelus? And you know, the curse. And umm, not in line to be Buffy's leftovers, and,

Still, when it was down on paper,

And it was. Cordelia had a list. Of why it would be a good idea to stop this whole ‘love' thing that Angel was on before it went too far, and,

And she was the stupidest person on the planet, because here she was, standing in front of a mirror, smoothing down the fabric of a skin tight black silk dress that was off the shoulders, and wearing spiked high heels, and, caring about what Angel thought.

Her eyes flickered back toward the clock. 9:59.

Taking in an uneasy breath, Cordelia moved toward the nightstand, spritzed a little bit of perfume on her neck, her shoulders, her arms.

Thirty seconds.

Her stomach was almost nauseous with anticipation. Because, this was a big thing. She was going to talk some sense into Angel, and with her list, explain, and , and,

Maybe dance,

Where WAS her list?

Looking around the room, she finally spotted it on table, where she had left it. Reaching forward, she folded it up neatly, stuck it into her purse, took another breath.

Deep, calming. Intense.

Her eyes moved again to the clock, and everything froze when she noticed it was 10:00.

The door bell rang.

Cordelia sucked in her breath, and strode to the door, twisting it open with a smile-

"Groo,"

Her smile froze, when her lover smiled triumphantly, holding a large ‘Target' plastic bag. "I have been successful!" Cordelia said nothing, moving aside as he strode in, pulling out assorted shapes and sizes of maxi-pads. "The merchant was most helpful. I did not understand about your cycle, Princess, but when," Groo froze, turned, and suddenly seemed to notice her dress, because his smile grew wider. Stepping forward, he took her hand, gently kissing it. "You look lovely. I hope I am not late."

Her heart sank, as she glanced at the clock. "No, Groo," she said, smiling tightly. "You're right on time."

"Cordelia!" Through the open door, a vampire strode in, dressed in a black suit and tie, carrying red roses. He froze, and Cordelia could say nothing as Angel beheld Groo.

"He came,"

"Yeah." Cordelia crossed her arms, eyes locking intensely with Angel's, before shouldering her bag. "Well, I guess we should get going, then."

"Right, okay. Lorne asked me to help him out with something so, I better, go, too, Groo."

"Angel." Groo smiled widely, taking Cordelia's shawl and wrapping it around her shoulders. "Congratulations, my friend. On the return of your son."

"Thanks. Groo." Cordelia swallowed hard, as Angel stared down at his flowers.

"They're beautiful," she found herself offering.

He gave her a tight smile, and walked quickly to the doorway, closing it behind him. Cordelia continued to stare at it, long after he was gone, until Groo said simply, "Shall we go?"

She closed her eyes, took a breath, and smiled. "Sure."

--

The bar the Groosalug had chosen was interspecies. Cordelia supposed it was him trying to be supportive, what with him finding out about her recent demon-y attributes. Of course, it had delighted him. Made her more like him, and she couldn't begrudge him that. The Groosalug had spent a long time searching for who he was, and she sometimes wondered if he still wasn't sure.

"Princess," his warm palm covered hers, and his eyes darkened as they leaned across the small round table. "You seem, distracted."

Well, duh. She was distracted. How on earth was she supposed to concentrate on her super romantic date when she had visions of haunted sad Angel running around in her head?

She really was going to kill him.

Smiling tightly, she squeezed back. "Fine. You were saying?"

"Ah, yes." The Groosalug smiled brightly, and leaned back. "You will consider it, then?"

She blinked. "Consider what?"

"My suggestion, of returning to Pylea."

"WHAT?!" Cordelia's eyes widened, and poor Groo nearly fell back in his chair at her outburst. Coloring slightly, Cordelia ducked her head when the entire bar focused their attention on them. "Huh? When did we – huh?!"

"I , it was a suggestion, Princess. I had outlined my reasons for it a half hour ago. Over dinner."

"You did?"

He looked confused. Again. "I, yes."

"No, you didn't."

"I, you said you would think about it."

"I did?"

"Yes." Wow. He was so sure of that. Cordelia slumped back in her chair. What did she do during dinner again? She remembered a lot of nodding, and brooding about Angel, and-

Oh, God. She had been BROODING ABOUT ANGEL.

What was this, the Twilight Zone?

"I – Groo, what makes you think I would go back to Pylea?" she said finally, sounding tired, and haggard, and, well, pissed off.

"I wasn't going to consider it, your life is here, I know. But, Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" he said, thumping on the tabletop with his hand.

Cordelia blinked. "Huh?"

The Groosalug blushed. "The Host uses the phrase. It is a proverb of one of your great battles. It means to-"

"I know what it means, Groo," she said impatiently, cutting in. "You've been talking to Lorne?"

"Yes! He has been most helpful. He suggested this, place as a proper-"

"He suggested this place?" Cordelia asked, a sneaking suspicion coming forth, promptly followed by a sinking of her stomach when she heard the voice behind her.

"The Groosalug! And Cordelia! What a surprise!" Cordelia's eyes closed in heavy resignation as Lorne approached, smiling his big smile and spreading his hands wide. "What are the odds of us meeting up here?"

Cordelia opened her eyes and gave a placid ‘I'm going to kill you' smile to the demon. "Hello, Lorne." Her voice dripped with honeyed sweetness.

"Cordelia, sweetie- My." His eyes roved over her appreciatively. "If you aren't the sexiest vixen in the place, I don't know who is. Angel! Come here, check out Cordelia!"

The tension that had been slowly and surely making it's way up her spine now ramrodded it into steel.

Angel. Of course.

Turning, her eyes locked with the vampire's, as he weaved his way through the crowded dance floor, and slowly approached the table. Eyes widened, and Angel could only shrug helplessly.

Her eyes never moved from his.

"Hey," he said.

"Well, we're all here, might as well sit together. Angel! Sit!" Pulling chairs, Lorne plopped himself in between Cordelia and Groo, forcing Cordelia to shift closer to Angel, who pushed himself into a seat on the corner.

She gave him another glance, found his gaze smoldering, and shuddered, looking away.

What a great, great, great night this was becoming. And she didn't even bring her list.

"So, Groo! I really was enjoying that little debate we were having, you know, about the Pylean state of peace."

Cordelia arched an eyebrow, shifting her gaze between Lorne and Groo. What debate about the Pylean state of peace?

"Ah. Yes. Well, it is my experience that a feudal nation, with feudal laws, will once again revert to a dictatorship depending of course on the systematic nature of-"

Cordelia promptly lost track of the conversation when a cool hand slipped onto her knee.

She stiffened, gave a small squeak and jerked her head obviously to Angel. He stared right back.

Lorne and Groo didn't seem to notice.

Leaning forward, Cordelia managed to still her beating heart, and gain the sense to carefully wrap her hand around Angel's, and push him off her knee.

Okay. That didn't work. Angel now had her hand trapped between his, rubbing slow, small circles in her palm.

Eep.

"Isn't that right, Princess?"

She nodded mechanically. "Sure," she managed, and with a wide smile, leaned to the side. "What are you doing?" she whispered fiercely.

"Nothing," Angel said innocently, all the while rubbing and massaging and now his fingers were interlocking with hers. Satiny smooth, sliding over and over between her fingers. Closing, opening, touching.

She closed her eyes. "God,"

"Princess?" She blinked, found Lorne and Groo staring at her in concern. "Are you all right?"

She tugged subtly on her hand. Angel wouldn't let it go.

"Fine," she said, the plastic smile still in place. "I just, it's not hot in here?" she waved at her forehead, and her mind scrambled for an appropriate excuse when Groo and Lorne continued to stare at her blankly.

She really was going to kill Angel.

She tugged again. He held firm, and this time slid his thumb up to the middle of her palm, and slowly, so softly, stroked.

Her thighs clamped together. Groo saw her jerk and frowned.

Angel smirked.

SHE WAS GOING TO KILL HIM.

"It's the song," she burst, hopping in her seat. "Cause, this song is, great,"

"Yeah, you can't really beat Doris Day for mood music," Lorne said with a sigh.

DORIS DAY?! Cordelia froze and listened. That Old Feeling. GREAT.

"Angel, dance with her while Groo and I talk this out. I really want to get to the bottom of his theory on the relevance of charm in lieu of intelligence."

"No problem-"

Cordelia had nary a word to utter before she was yanked out of her chair, and curled into the side of a masculine body. She craned her head back, found Groo staring at her, and then he got pulled back into the heated debate with Lorne.

Angel was quiet as he led her into the crowd. He never did let go of her hand, and when she turned, he shifted her, using her momentum to bring her in close, until there was a natural sway. Cordelia was engulfed in a heady, Angel scent, as her nose buried into his shoulder, his black suit, and she felt his cheek slide against hers. Making her all, tingly. Again.

What was WRONG with her?

Her fingers, quite on their own, thank you very much, stole up, sliding over his chest, tangling into the short hairs on his nape. No gel there, just soft silky strands. She was acutely aware of the hot, heavy hands that branded her on the low point of her back, just above her butt, pulling her closer, against the full length of,

Her eyes fluttered.

Him.

Where was the damned list when she needed it?

"What the hell are you doing?" she managed, trying to sound furious and darned well almost succeeded. "You know, you are WAY toeing the line from being borderline stalker into full-time psychotic, pal!"

Angel chuckled, low in his throat, and it went way down to her spine, where his fingers insisted on rubbing, as he whispered, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead."

"I'm going to kill the next person that says that."

But the smile was there, as their eyes met. The gaze held for a long time, and Cordelia found she liked this. Looking into Angel's eyes, staring into the dark brown, as if he was the only man in the world. The only person worth studying with such dark, deep, intensity.

A finger came up, traced the soft yellow of her bangs, and carefully deposited them to the side of her face, before sliding over her lips, in a tender caress that ended when he took his finger back, and slid it into his own mouth, flicking his tongue over it.

He held her closer when her knees almost gave out.

"You're bringing out the whole arsenal, aren't you?" she whispered, breaking their gaze to rest her cheek on his shoulder, feeling his mouth brush against the back of her head as Groo waved to her happily from the table, still in animated debates with Lorne.

"You don't love him. You only think you do. So yes, I have to."

Her eyes closed, the guilt flooded through her, and she wondered if that was what this was. Forbidden attraction. Only a feeling that she couldn't resist, because she was with Groo.

Poor Groo,

"Angel," She lifted her head, her eyes moist and soft as she whispered, "I'm all he has."

The silence was long, as Angel looked down at her. The music had long stopped, and still he held her.

"What do you feel, Cordelia?"

"Princess!" Cordelia pushed herself somewhat out of Angel's arms, as the Groosalug came forward, Lorne in tow.

"Groo? What's up, sweetie?"

"The Host has a most brilliant plan!" he said happily.

"Yes!" Lorne said, a grin on his face. "We're going to set together a declaration of Independence for the people of Pylea! Make it written in stone – or paper," he amended quickly. "But it's going to take ALL night, and we need to get some supplies and it can't wait!"

"It is for freedom, Princess!"

Angel and Cordelia glanced at each other in confusion. "What?"

"Right. It's for freedom, and love and for cows. But it's going to take all night, and with the music, we can't concentrate in here, so we're leaving."

"NOW?!" Cordelia asked.

"Yes!" Groo nodded eagerly. "Friend Angel will take you home, will you not?"

Cordelia shifted her gaze back to Angel, who slowly gave her a smile. "Wait – you're leaving us?"

"Well, there is no reason to interrupt your dance. Angel will take care of you."

"Course, I will. You can count on me, Groo."

"There, it's settled. Let's go, sweetiekins, time's a wastin'!"

She had to have stepped into the Twilight zone. Her mouth dropped wide open as Lorne led The Groosalug through the crowd, and left her snugly in Angel's arms.

Shit.

"Lorne's in on this, isn't he?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Angel said calmly.

"I hate you. And don't think I have a list, buster."

"Cordelia." Angel smiled, a disarming smile that gave Cordelia the sneaking suspicion he was fully intent on doing much more than the nice little circle touches he was doing at the moment on her back. "We're here, in this nice interspecies bar. We got our boy back, for the moment, no one is trying to kill you. Let's just dance. Have one nice night to remember."

"I really hate you."

He was chuckling way too much, here. It was just, wrong. Because the things it was making her feel – and what was WITH his superior attitude anyway? What did he know that she didn't? WHAT?

But, the bastard had a point. Her mind WAS exhausted, and this felt, nice. To do this. Celebrate with Angel. Cause, Connor WAS back. It had been bloody and people had been hurt, and demon powers had emerged, but he was back.

And that was a good thing. This was a good thing.

She sighed, closed her eyes, and rested her head on his shoulders, letting him sway her into the next Kenny G song.

She'd bring out the list later.

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.

--

It was nice, to talk like this. The smiles, the laughter. She had forgotten how nice it was to just, talk. Tease.

The only parking near her apartment was three blocks down, and naturally, Angel had to walk her to the door. He did that even before the big love confession. And there was something nice about tonight. The full moon, the approaching dawn as he walked with her, listened to her with an amused distracted expression.

The Flying Gorilla, an absolutely WONDERFULLY creamy drink, had lightened her inhibitions somewhat, and her smile was brilliant as she turned, holding onto one side of her shawl, almost dragging Angel as he held onto the other half.

"So?"

"So, we'd go to taverns, and you know, play cards, and , drink,"

"Mmm," she turned, felt his hands slide the shawl over her shoulders, stroking down possessively as his body pressed to her from behind. She gave a soft sigh, and turned back around, stepping backwards as she kept going. "Wenches?"

"Yeah."

"How many?" He kept the shawl in his hands, walking with her, step by step, eyes dark and rich as he swept the shawl again over her shoulders, pulling her in toward him.

"How many what?" he asked, thumbing along the curve of her shoulder.

"How many wenches? You know? Whores? Sluts?"

"Hookers?" he added, a smirk on his lips. "How many do you think? I was a young male, who didn't have ambition."

"Other than getting under their skirts?" she asked, mouth twitching up. He glanced at her, and then moved his gaze down to the curve of her breasts, bringing her in closer, until they were standing silently.

"Sometimes," he whispered, bending his head. "That in itself was quite a task."

"Oh, please."

"You didn't see those skirts."

She clutched his lapel, her heart thumping slightly, and quickly moved back, walking quickly toward her apartment. Undaunted, he followed.

"And the furies?" she tossed, turning back to where he followed, holding onto her hand.

"What about them?"

"When did they happen?"

"Doesn't matter," he said dismissively, sliding his palm around her waist, pulling her against him. She closed her eyes, managed to try and feign disinterest in his rather, erm, hardening evidence of HIS interest – and God, was this really happening with ANGEL?

"They seemed to think it mattered," she said, turning again to stare up at him defiantly.

This gave him the opportunity to carefully palm her cheek. "Satisfied?" he asked, a smirk coming off his lips.

Her heady state was quickly becoming feverish, and Cordelia took a look at her doorway, distracted when Angel suddenly sat down on a stone bench, bringing her down with him.

"So you were never big on commitment," she whispered, as he shifted closer, drawing her palm into his lap. "Pre-vamp days, I mean."

"Mmm," he shrugged, eyes focused on her fingers, "Didn't matter much. I would have gotten married eventually – but that would have meant, you know, caring,"

"Ah," Cordelia's insides were humming nicely, breasts rising in a gasp as she shivered in the night air, watching the intensity with which Angel studied her palm. "Groo wants to marry me," she blurted out. "He wants to take me back to Pylea and live in his fairytale land."

"Does he," Angel said absently, entwining their fingers, staring at them with delicate precision as he smoothed his index finger over her thumb.

She gave a soft sigh, and with her mind increasingly being turned to mush, she struggled to concentrate. "If I went, I think I'd be happy. With you know, the whole Princess thing, and him having money – but of course I'd never go. The mission and , he's happy to stay right here. Did I show you the bracelet he bought me in Cabo?" She lifted her free palm, with the small delicate bracelet. Angel took it, studied it lazily. "Isn't it beautiful?"

"Gorgeous," he whispered, and she almost purred when he pressed his lips against the hand, tracing the skin lightly with his teeth, smoothing over her palm with his raspy tongue.

Oh, God,

She shuddered, watching as Angel buried his mouth into her hand. Her body slowly began to ache, pulse, every sensation suddenly directed toward her palm.

"I," she swallowed, blinked, licked the sweat off of her lips. "I just, I think I'm very lucky, don't you?"

"Sure," Angel said, pulling her into his side, so that she was inadvertently almost in his lap. Her hand was placed on his thigh, and his concentration suddenly, logically, moved toward her neck. He was a vampire, after all. It was very, um, logical.

"I mean, it's not every day, that a girl will have a guy cross dimensions for ... God," her eyes closed when she felt his lip settled on the crook of her neck, sucking lightly. Small explosions settled into her womb, traveled up, controlling her, until she arched into the kiss, pressing against his body. "her," she finished. "And you know, he's so noble and sweet, and very cute, I don't think I could ever really do," his broad hand fitted over the nape of her neck, manipulating her, until she was staring into his eyes, inches away. "- any better, you know? Because, Groo is so nice and stable, and those are really things that you should look for in a life mate-"

"Sure," Angel agreed, seconds before his mouth buried into hers. She froze, a moan in her throat as he stayed absolutely still, holding her against him, tilting his head slightly when she shifted. It was closed, soft, and it lasted only a second. But GOD – it felt like years.

He released her mouth, and she blinked, swayed. "Um, life mate, because of the whole, stability," Her eyes traveled to Angel's mouth, and without another word, she kissed him. His mouth opened under hers, soft and inviting. Colder than she was used to, but it was refreshing, because she was so hot – so hot – and the way he nibbled and sucked on her, like he was tasting her, GOD. He pulled her in closer, a low growl in his throat that only served to increase her ardor, and when his mouth parted, she swept in gladly, tangling tongues with a touch that made her shudder.

They stilled, and she froze, moving once more against him in a kiss, before pushing back. She blinked.

"Night," she whispered, pulling herself up from the bench.

"Night," he answered, looking as damned near dazed as she was. She stumbled to the sidewalk, and felt the cold breeze around her, as she looked at the rising sun and stared.

OH, SHIT!

"ANGEL!" he blinked, and she pulled him up, walking as quickly as she could, until they reached her apartment, and shut the door, just before the sun peeked over the horizon. An unseen force quickly drew the curtains, and Cordelia, breathing hard, gave the air a soft smile of thanks. "Thanks, Dennis."

"The sun."

"Uh, yeah." Cordelia stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, tangling fingers as she regarded the vampire that stood next to the door. "We um, forgot."

"Right." He shifted, hands in his pockets as he stared again through the peephole. "So I'm stuck here."

"Uh, yeah." He stared at her, and the outright hunger in his eyes was just a little bit unsettling. This whole thing was damned unsettling and, she couldn't deal. "I'm going to go to bed."

"Okay."

"Okay." There was a second, and then she abruptly turned into her room, closing the door and leaning against it. Okay, calm down. Calm down. I think we can safely assume this is a little more than a ‘baby high', and, right. Okay,

She blew out her breath, and moved to her dresser, pulling out a ratty pair of pajamas and an oversized t-shirt, before turning the doorknob, and finding Angel sitting in the kitchen.

"Do you want to sleep on the bed?" she asked abruptly.

He blinked, looking oddly like a deer stuck in the headlights. "With you?" he asked quickly.

"NO! PERV!" she huffed, tangling her big shirt into knots as she wrinkled it. "I know you can't sleep on the couch because of the whole, curtains not being THAT great, so, I'll sleep on the couch, if you want the bed."

"Right. Okay. Um. No. I can't take the bed, it's, I'll sleep on the floor."

"In my room?"

"Yeah. That okay?"

She stared at him blankly, and shut her mouth when she realized it was hanging open. "Sure," she said quickly. "Why wouldn't it be? I mean, we've slept in the same room."

"We've slept in the same bed."

"Right! It's not like, anything's changed."

"Right!"

"Okay!" And again with the awkward silence. "Well, night!"

"Night." She swiveled, went into her room, and slid under the covers, pulling them up to her shoulders. She waited, wide awake, until the door creaked up, and a vampire walked through the shadows, holding a pillow from the couch and a blanket from her closet. There was a shuffle, and suddenly he was out of sight.

She knew exactly where he was. Five feet away. On the foot of her bed. If she swung her hand over, she could have probably touched him.

She muffled her groan with a pillow to her face. What was the MATTER with her?

"Cordelia?"

She froze, tearing the pillow from her face. "Yeah?"

"You okay?"

She muffled another groan. "Why does everyone always ask me that?"

"No reason," he said quickly. She closed her eyes, sighed. There was another silence, and then, "Cordelia?"

"Hmm."

"Are you asleep?"

"Duh. No."

"Oh. Can you sleep?"

She shifted in her blankets, stared at the wall. "Not really."

"How come?"

She sighed. "Thinking."

"What about?"

"Lorne."

"Oh." He sounded disappointed.

She blinked, sighed. "I mean it's just easy and well for HIM to talk about, certain, things because it's not happening to him, you know? I mean, with, curses and, things. Like, boyfriends. It's not like people can, you know, go with the heat of passion, right?" Angel was silent. "Angel?"

"No," he said heavily.

"I mean. Even if there was, you know, feelings, there would still be, age issues and, just a whole list of stuff, right?"

"Right," he said crisply.

Cordelia felt so heavy. She buried herself into her sheets, closed her eyes, and felt her heart sever neatly in two. That was that.

"Cordelia?"

"Hmm."

"You asleep?"

"Duh. No."

"Oh. I can't sleep."

Her eyes opened. "Why can't YOU sleep? Broody boy? Never been a problem before."

There was a quiet, intense silence, and Cordelia's eyes closed, she shuddered, and bit her lip when she heard, "I love you, Cordelia." She clutched the pillow tightly between her fingertips, her eyes stared at the darkness above Angel's voice. "Cordelia? Did you hear what I said?"

"Yes," she managed.

"Cordelia, if you don't love me-"

"Angel," she began, as soon as she heard traces of the Brood boy return. The room was dead silent. Birds had stopped chirping, no cars drove by, it was silent. "If I tell you something, will you promise to not move, not come up here, or get , you know, too happy about it?"

"Cordelia-"

"Promise me."

She waited breathlessly. "I promise."

Biting her lip, she closed her eyes, and whispered, "God, Angel. I love you so much. You promised!" she rushed, when she heard him shift suddenly. He froze, it was a terrible moment of anticipation and lust until he moved back. Oh, God. She closed her eyes, and took in a shaky breath. "Thank you."

He shifted. "Cordelia?"

"Yes, Angel."

"What's going to happen?"

He sounded so unsure. Almost scared, and it was, scary. But he loved her. And she loved him. And this was supposed to be a HAPPY moment.

"I don't know."

Her eyes closed, and he didn't move. Because he promised.

--

It was roughly about ten in the morning when the bedroom door opened and Cordelia shot straight up in her bed to find the Groosalug staring at her and Angel's prone form with a state of shock.

"I, Princess!"

"Groo?"

"What's going on in here, Oh, LORDY!" Lorne almost covered his eyes.

Angel stood, bare-chested, crossing his arms as he gazed quizzically at Cordelia.

"Princess, you did not," Groo licked his lips. "You didn't spend all night with him, did you?"

Cordelia looked blank. "What do you mean? Did I sleep with him? No, nimrod! He slept on the floor."

"But the bracelet! Did you!" Groo moved forward, shoving Angel aside and grabbing Cordelia's arm. "You did!"

"Uh-oh. That's not what I think it is, is it?" Lorne stepped forward, inspecting the bracelet. "OH! Wow."

"Hey! Watch the hands, Grabby!" Cordelia snatched her hand back, glaring at Groo as she slipped off the bed and crossed her arms. "What's your problem?"

"Sweetie, how long have you been sleeping with that thing?" Lorne asked, gently taking her hand to see the bracelet.

"Since Cabo, why?"

"OH, Lordy. Groo, I can not believe you did this."

"Did WHAT?!" Angel asked, pausing in the middle of buttoning his shirt. "What did he do?"

"That's a Pylean wedding band!" Lorne said, waving emphatically toward the bracelet. "It's, you sleep with a guy, and you wear the band – you're, you know - Pylean's version of wedding ring?"

"WHAT?!" Cordelia screeched. She reeled, turning back to Groo. "YOU MARRIED US?!"

"Now, Princess. It is not that simple." Groo stumbled off the bed when both Angel and Cordelia advanced on him. "I was simply making the necessary preparations, if you SHOULD-"

"You married her, without her consent?" Angel growled, pushing his hands into fists.

"NO! There are certain, steps, requirements – we are not married!"

Angel grabbed the other Champion, fury in his face as he pounded Groo against the door. "WHAT other requirements?"

"Easy, Angel – there are four: a declaration of love, the wearing of the band, a pledge of sacrifice and of course, the sleeping. You know. Comshuk – but it's shady. It's basically one night in a room with, uh – just the sleeping, and the next night is the actual, you know, com-shuking. Supposed to prove your love by staving your lust and, you know." Lorne nodded mechanically.

"There has been no declaration of love or pledge of sacrifice!" Groo said quickly. "I was simply,"

"Wishful thinking?" Cordelia asked, crossing her arms and glaring. "YOU COULD HAVE ASKED!" She fumbled with the bracelet. "Get this OFF!"

"Cordelia, wait- you're fine. You're not married! I mean, it's not like you've declared your love, sacrificed your life and slept in the same room with a guy while wearing a band, is it?" Lorne smiled. "Right?" his smile fell, when Cordelia and Angel shared a panicked look. "RIGHT?!"

"There was no sex," Angel said quickly.

"None at all, and WHAT?!" Cordelia sank down on the bed. "So now I'm married to ANGEL!?"

Groo gaped, staring at the man holding him, no longer putting up a fight. "I, Princess, you have declared your love for, Angel?"

"And slept in the room? With no sex? And – oh LORD the sacrifice – with her and the demon –"

"GAH!" Cordelia fell back onto the bed, her legs giving out on her. "NO way!

"Did all that happen?" Lorne demanded.

Angel, dazed, stepped away from Groo, letting the man onto the ground. "But – there was no sex,"

"That doesn't matter! The sex is like – the cake!" Lorne began to pace. "Oh, no, no, no,"

Cordelia rubbed her temples. "This can NOT be happening."

"Princess, my love!" Groo knelt down on the bed, covering her palms with his own. "It can be fixed. This marriage can be annulled-"

"Groo, get your grubby hands OFF me before I kill you." He blinked, and she sat up, glaring at him with hazel. "Were you EVER planning on telling me that you were trying to marry us OFF?!"

He stepped away at the fury in her eyes. "Princess, I can explain, I was only trying to-"

"What? Carry her off to Pylea? Without telling ME!?" Angel hissed, advancing on the hapless hero.

"I was,"

"Groo, honey, better wait outside," Lorne said, pushing Groo until he was deposited outside of the bedroom. The door slammed closed. "Thanks, Dennis."

Okay – it was official. This WAS the Twilight Zone.

"I CAN NOT be MARRIED." Cordelia sat up. "I'm NOT matrimonial."

"Lorne," Angel stepped forward. "This is NOT a good idea."

Huh? Cordelia blinked, turning her fury onto her ‘husband'. "What? So all of a sudden you DON'T wanna marry me? Well TOUGH!"

"Cordelia," Angel gave her a tired look. "That's not what I meant."

"Hey! You're not exactly MY TYPE EITHER!"

"Kids, calm down. This IS fixable."

"HOW?" Both Cordelia and Angel demanded, striding toward him. Lorne took an unconscious step back, palms splayed out in front of him.

"But first, can I say? Love? Oh, TOOK you long enough." Cordelia and Angel both just glared. "Right," he straightened his expression. "Uh, this marriage can still be annulled."

"Listening," Cordelia snapped, crossing her arms.

"You can hunt down a Drakken, sacrifice him to the God of the two Suns and drink his blood, while dancing naked in the street."

"Pass. What else?"

Angel glanced at Cordelia. "What she said."

"No one ever wants to go for that one," Lorne said, slightly put out. "Okay, second option: you don't have sex."

"Right, cause that's something we do all the time," Cordelia said, throwing her hands up in the air.

"What do you mean, that's it? For how long?" Angel asked, letting Cordelia pace behind him.

"Just tonight. Like I said, don't eat the cake. You spend the night, don't have the sex, and the marriage is annulled. In the same room. In the same bed."

"Great. We can do that." Cordelia gave her disagreeing heart a well deserved kick in the pants. "It's not like, you know, Mr. Broody CAN, with the whole, eunuch-I'll-turn-evil-and-kill-everyone thing."

Angel looked pained, and Lorne cocked an eyebrow. "Not really letting go of that, is she?"

"Shut up, Lorne."

--

"So you're married."

Okay. If Fred repeated that one more time, Cordelia was going to grab the Macy's sales rack and club her. "Yes, Fred," she repeated through gritted teeth. "We're married. But not for long."

"Because you're not having sex."

"Right."

"Even with the whole, sexual tension and the declaration of love, thing."

She closed her eyes, her hand moving temptingly over the Macy's sales rack. "Right."

"And the Groosalug-"

"So, outta the picture. I draw the line at guys trying to marry me without me knowing."

"Oh." Fred perused a rack, and her eyes became lost in thought. "There was this one time, I went over to Gunn's and I found a present he had bought for me, and it was from Fredericks of Hollywood, and it was this little skimpy outfit, and he swore up and down he wasn't planning on having me wearing it anytime soon, but I kinda knew it was a hint, and so when I did-" Fred trailed off when Cordelia gave her a narrowed look. "I shared too much again, didn't I?"

Cordelia sighed, slumping over the rack. "Why not? At least one of us is having sex."

Fred was quiet, her thin fingers skimming over the clothes. "Cordelia?"

"Hmm."

"This may sound really stupid, but, why don't you guys just stay married? I mean, you love each other, right? And it's not like anything would change,"

"Fred, we can't stay married."

"Why not?"

"Because we can't," Cordelia said shortly. She closed her eyes, licked her lips, and took a breath. Geez. This was just , a nightmare. She turned, pulling out an outfit. "You did promise to take Connor for the night, right?"

Fred nodded happily. "Gunn and I decided it would be good practice. For you know, in case *I* ever wake up with a marriage bracelet on. You never know."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Yeah, what are the odds."

--

What were the odds?

Cordelia Chase, waiting for night to descend – wait, was she Cordelia Angel now? Oh, who cared – had spent the day haphazardly flipping cable channels, when an old movie caught her eye. Some old guy cheering, "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!"

She threw her coke at the television set.

--

One night without sex was NOT going to kill her.

Cordelia carefully placed the final tack in, smiling at her invention. Perfect! Her little classics fest had served to educate her on how to NOT have sex with someone she loved, and this was perfect – because, the Walls of Jericho had kept Claudette Corbert and Clark Gable from doing the nasty, and Jack Lemmon, too!

The blanket descending from the ceiling divided the room neatly in half, and she could sleep on one side, and Angel on the other, and they could even talk, without ever seeing, or, touching,

Her eyes closed – Angel's touching, on her hips, on her mouth, on her neck - They opened, and she swallowed. NO, to the touching.

Because – the staying married – that was CRAZY, right? Because, they couldn't have SEX. Because, sex was BAD.

Sex was bad.

"Thanks Dennis," she said, smiling as the ghost fluttered a breeze past her. She checked her watch. "Angel should be here in a half hour, so I'm going to shower, and put on the least attractive thing I own. Any ideas?" Dennis waved a moth eaten flannel shirt, and a pair of dirty grey sweatpants. "You rock. Thank you!"

She smiled, and turned to the bathroom, closing the door behind her, and slipping off her clothes, ignoring the fact that Dennis didn't help her, for the favor of a long, hot bath.

As she stepped into the shower, the warm droplets soothed her, easing the tension. Standing here, with the water running over her head, soft and warm, everything seemed, easier.

When she stepped out, and slipped into her knee length terry cloth robe, she was fully prepared to face the night with Angel. After all, they had done it once, they could do it again!

"Cordelia!"

She was entirely cordial as she brushed out her hair. "In the bathroom, Angel! I'll be right out!"

"I.. uh, sure." He seemed nervous.

Cordelia smiled, staring into the mirror, her robe sliding off the shoulder, bare. Hmmm. This could have been considered overtly sexy. She should change.

"Dennis?" she asked quietly. "Can you hand me my clothes?"

"Uh, Cordelia?" It was Angel that answered.

"Hmm?"

"I, did you say something about not having, clothes in there?"

Cordelia had to smile. "Yes. Dennis!"

"I, Cordelia, I don't know how to say this," Angel audibly took a breath. "There's no clothes in here."

Oh, he had to be kidding.

"What?" Cordelia stood, moving toward the bathroom door and wrenching it open.

The sight that befell her made her jaw fall open.

The wall of Jericho was completely torn down. Her bed sheets were turned down and there were rosepetals scattered all over them. A wafty scene of candles filled the air, and was that KENNY G?!

"DENNIS?!"

Her dressers were turned completely upside down, and every scrap of clothes that she owned was gone.

Angel stood in the center, eyes wide open, circling the room. His eyes fell on her, and his mouth parted. "Oh, God."

Cordelia looked down, found herself dripping wet, and half naked, and ,

"I didn't mean to do it!" she blurted out.

"Cordelia," Angel groaned, sitting on the bed, burying his head into his hands.

"I didn't! I was totally gonna look like a spaz! I had the clothes and everything! And DENNIS! You are SO gonna get exorcized for this!" She marched to the door, tugged on the door knob. Nothing happened. "Oh, God," Tugging the flimsy robe closer to her body, she leaned against the doorway, fighting the panic, and not very successfully. She blew her wet hair out of her face, and turned to the figure on the bed.

Who was laughing.

Cordelia arched an eyebrow, as Angel continued to laugh, falling back on the bed and shaking his shoulders, mirth coming across as very scary on the vampire.

"Angel," she snapped. "This is FUNNY to you?"

"I, just, God – Cordelia, we tried. We tried so hard not to do this. And look!" his hands spread out, fell flat against the bed. "Here we are."

"You are scary."

"I'm happy." He sat up, smiling at the growling figure in the corner. "Because the woman I love is my wife. And, I don't want that to stop."

She was going to kill him. One of these days she was going to grab him by the head and stake him dead.

"What do you mean, you don't want that to stop?"

"Why does it have to?" Angel stood, a smirk on his face as he kept his hands in the pockets of his very nice pants, his shirt nice and red, and ,

She blinked. It was a very nice shirt.

Her eyes widened. "You were going to SEDUCE ME!"

"Yes, I am." He grinned, a wolfish smile that made her stumble back, only to realize she had nowhere else to go, when he began to step forward. "Nowhere to run, Cordelia."

"Oh, GOD, Angel – CURSE!"

"It's not going to be a problem."

"Hey! I have been known to make MANY a man happy, okay?!" she said hotly.

"Liar. Not that many." Angel grinned, and once again, Cordelia was reminded of the fact that she had married a vampire, and a predator, and,eeesh. He continued to walk forward, every step making Cordelia achingly aware that there was nothing between his hands and her except for some very flimsy terry cloth. "You've got some great ideas, Cordelia. A potion. That's, brilliant."

She blinked. "You took a potion."

"Magic. Interesting tool."

Oh, God. Cordelia plastered herself against the wall, her hands slammed against the wood, chest heaving up and down. "I – Angel, listen to me. I would make a TERRIBLE wife!"

"Really," he said softly, pausing when he was inches away. Luminous dark eyes traveled over her frame, drinking her in.

"Yes! Because, I can't cook!"

"I don't eat." His palm reached out, gently took her fingers within his, and when his eyes locked with hers, pulled her fingers to his mouth.

She whimpered when slick moisture covered her digit, sucking her in slowly, tongue dancing against her skin. "And," she managed. "I, don't know how long I'll live, with the demon thing-"

"Neither do I," he whispered, opening her fingers and flicking his tongue against her palm, burrowing into it, breathing her in with a low growl.

Her eyes fluttered, breath coming into a pant, heat flushing her body. Angel took another step, pulling her in, eyes closed as he sank his mouth into her forearm, her inner elbow, her bicep.

Oh. God.

"Angel," she panted. "I - can't ever be a good mother,"

"You're doing fine so far," he whispered, and he nipped her neck, just slightly, before settling his entire weight against her. Her eyes closed as her neck arched, as his hands smoothed over her back, over her butt, and finally rounded her thigh, sliding it over his own.

She whimpered, ragged gasps coming out of her as he buried his mouth into her neck, shivers sending her trembling body into helpless, agonizing contact with his flesh. He was everywhere, his hand on her thigh kept her hips pressed tightly against his own, and his other hand, as his mouth worshiped the small beat where the lifeblood pulsed, was sneaky.

When he licked, a trail from her jaw to her ear, it found it's way into her robe, and carefully, lovingly, cradled her left breast.

"Angel, Oh, God-" Cordelia breathed, clutching to him, never realized how she had begun to rock against him until he lifted her, keeping her firmly against his hardening groin, making contact with her, over and over, rubbing, fabric against nothing, because her legs were wrapped firmly around his waist, and nothing but the wall and her strength kept her from falling.

She pushed now, arguments and lists falling to the wayside as her fingers clawed against him, pushing him away only long enough to find his mouth. Her tongue battled with his, sucking it into mouth in an attempt to swallow him, keep him for all eternity. She ground her hips against him, felt him jolt under her, and when she twisted, he lost his balance.

Falling back, Angel was able to land hard on his back, keep Cordelia on top, never losing her kisses, as they continued to melt against each other's mouths. The terry cloth robe had loosened, Cordelia's wet hair was plastered against her face, and Angel leaned back from the kiss, pressing his lips against hers once, twice, before sliding the offending robe down her shoulders, naked skin now glorious, tan and golden. She continued to ride him, heat teasing him through the fabric of his pants, and he grunted, jerking up with an unnatural strength that made her shudder, throw her head back in ecstasy, even as her hands fumbled at his belt buckle.

"Cordelia," he whispered, worshiping her with his finger tips as he smoothed hands over her shoulders, drawing down until his hands covered her breasts. She gasped and arched against him, never stopping the rocking. "I'll make a terrible husband."

"I don't care," she whispered.

"I don't eat."

"I can't cook," she replied, jerking up, her eyes lighting up as he grunted, the belt buckle gave way, and his smile was almost devilish as he sat up, carefully, so carefully, sucked at the tip of one nipple. "Oh, God, more."

He kept an arm locked around her waist, holding her down against his thrusting hips as he played the nipple with his tongue, before sucking in more, suckling hard, once. She shuddered, forehead leaning on his shoulder, taking a moment to breathe, take in the sensation, before grabbing his shirt, pulling it off his shoulders.

"I'm a terrible parent."

She smiled, and he paused to smooth her wet tendrils from her face as the rocking stilled, and they both stared.

"We're doing okay so far, aren't we?" she whispered.

He smiled, falling back when her mouth came down on his, engulfing her in a beautiful, consuming caress.

"We're not going to make it to the bed," he groaned, when his hips raised, as her hands thumbed over the belt loops of his pants, and pulled down.

"It's got all those stupid rose petals, anyway," Cordelia said.

--

Lorne whistled as he looked at wooden doorway, cocking his head as he inspected his handiwork.

"What do you think, Dennis?" he called to the other side. An affirmative knock showed his approval, and Lorne grinned.

Mr. and Mrs. Geraldo Angel. Beautiful sign. Quite lovely.

Hmph. All that talk about kyerumption and moira could only get a man so far. Action was what was needed, and Lorne took it. With a very spiritual partner in crime.

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" he chanted, walking away from the door. "Damn the torpedoes! Full Speed ahead!"

FIN