Dark Corners by Dannyblue
In this fic, Angel and Cordy are already a couple.
story takes place in some nebulous future. I have no
idea where Connor is, so don't ask.
Spoilers: Season Four up to "Rain of Fire."
Distribution: Ask and ye shall receive.
shopping at 7 p.m. just didn't compare to a day spent at Neman Marcus.
Cordelia Chase pushed her cart down the aisle. She tried to look on the bright side of things. She had Angel's credit card, and could pretty much spend as much as she wanted. But splurging on the most expensive brand of corn flakes, even though the cheap kind were almost as good, just didn't get the old adrenaline pumping. Not like spending a ridiculous amount of money on a pair of shoes that would be out of style in a month.
"Shoulda brought Fred," Cordy sighed. Fred in a gigantic room filled with food equaled a party. And a lot of fun, as Cordy had learned to her great surprise. Fred made a sale on a jar of taco sauce seem like a cause for celebration.
But she was riding solo tonight. And unless she wanted to make a meal out of a jar of grape jelly, three slices of stale bread, frozen peas and leftover spaghetti noodles, she'd better get to shopping.
As she tried to decide between Oreos and Chips Ahoy, Cordy grinned. Angel in a grocery store could be fun too. He'd shift and shuffle, as if being in such a "normal" place was just too much for him. And some of the prices made him even more pale than usual.
Last time, there was a group of girls in the store, loading up on junk for a slumber party, no doubt. They caught one glimpse of Angel, all tall and dark and gorgeous, decked out in a his leather coat, and almost swooned. From that moment on, they followed Angel and Cordy around the store, trying and failing to be discreet. Whispering and peaking around corners.
Poor Angel spent that shopping trip looking for some dark, shadowy corner to hide in. Of course the grocery store, so brightly lit it was almost fluorescent, didn't *have* any shadows.
Watching him squirm as the teens gazed at him adoringly was a hoot and a half. And cute as hell.
With a wicked snicker, Cordy dropped the Chips Ahoy in her cart. She liked to think of it as pay-back, for when Angel barely noticed the adoring gazes of one fifteen year-old in particular.
Next stop, salad dressings. Cordy stared longingly at the garlic ranch. From what she could tell, most of the tales about vampires and garlic were myths. Tossing garlic powder in a vampire's face wouldn't make their skin smoke and boil. They'd just get annoyed.
Still, vamps didn't seem to be fond of the herb. Whenever she got too garlic-happy, Angel wasn't as likely to indulge in those long, lingering kisses they both liked so much. So, no garlic ranch.
Sighing, Cordy reached for the blue cheese dressing instead.
"Cordelia? Cordelia Chase?"
Startled, Cordy spun around. Behind her stood a tall, well-built man with rust-red hair. There was a wide, excited grin on his handsome face, recognition in his gray-green eyes.
"Matt?" Cordy smiled at the sight of a familiar face. "Matt Potter?"
"It's Matt Forrester now," he said. "My agent decided it flows better." Coming forward, he embraced her in a sudden hug. "Wow, I can't believe how long it's been!"
Normally, an acquaintance she'd barely known and hadn't seen for ages walking up to her and giving her a hug would have brought Queen C out in 2 seconds flat. With a few choice words, she would have left them quivering in the center of the grocery store.
But she remembered Matt had always been touchy-feely. He'd hugged everyone in their acting class at least once. So she accepted the friendly gesture for what it was, and hugged him back.
"It's good to see you, Matt," she said, and meant it. He'd been the only one in class who didn't act jealous or competitive, didn't look down on her for her lack of acting experience. He was the only guy who asked her out but didn't hold a grudge when she turned him down. "How have you been?"
"Pretty good." Releasing her, Matt took a step back. "And you?"
"Never better," Cordy grinned.
They chatted for quite a while, standing there in front of the croutons and Bacon Bits. Matt told her about his acting career, which was starting to take off; he'd had some pretty decent parts on two major television series. And Cordy explained why she'd given up the acting thing…leaving out the part about visions and her vampire boyfriend.
As they talked, Cordy realized how long it had been since she'd seen anyone from her "old life". On impulse, she made a date to have coffee with Matt next week.
There were times when he liked to watch her like this. Hidden in some dark corner, so she didn't know he was there.
She sat at her desk, the newspaper spread out in front of her, a bottle of nail polish open at her elbow. He didn't know how, be she was reading the news and painting her nails at the same time.
With a wistful smile, Angel watched Cordelia turn the page. Fingers spread, and out of harm's way, she grabbed the edges of the page between her flattened palms, then lifted and flipped in one smooth move. When she managed to do it without damaging her manicure, she smiled in satisfaction.
Hands in his pockets, Angel settled deeper into the shadows. How was it possible? How did she get more beautiful every day? How did her eyes get brighter, her smile more electric?
What had he done to deserve her?
The question reverberated through his mind, like an echo bouncing off the walks of a bottomless pit.. Slowly, his wistful smile melted away.
"Nothing," he whispered. He hadn't done anything to deserve her. Hadn't done a single thing worthy of the gift he'd been given.
But she was his.
Suddenly, Cordy yawned. Hands raised over her head, she stretched, breasts straining against the fabric of her shirt. Head thrown back to reveal the long, smooth curve of her neck.
And his eyes became possessive as they roamed over her body. Over the skin he'd explored, touched and tasted, inch by delicious inch. Over the hands that could set his body aflame.
His stomach clenched as a familiar heat coiled low in his abdomen.
She was his. The woman who loved him as much as he loved her.
And, together, they were building a life beyond anything he could ever have imagined. A life that almost seemed too good to be true.
He was afraid to pinch himself. If he did, he might wake up. Cordy would realize all the things she'd given up to be with him. And the dream that was too good to be true wouldn't be true anymore.
A sudden gasp drew him out of his reverie.
"Oh, my God," Cordy whispered. She stared down at the newspaper, a look of horror on her beautiful face.
Alarmed by her distress, Angel stepped out of the shadows. "Cordy?"
"Oh, my God." One hand pressed to her mouth, she stood. Her eyes still glued to the paper—like it was a living thing that might come to life and lunge at her throat—she backed away from the desk. Stumbled and almost tripped over the chair.
"Cordy!" Rounding the counter, Angel grabbed her shoulders, turned her body towards his. "What is it?"
"Matt," she gasped, eyes still on the paper. "I just saw him the other day." She turned to look at Angel, eyes glazed and sparkling with tears. "He's dead. There's was an accident. They think he fell and hit his head on a coffee table or something. And they just found him…" A sob choked the words off in her throat.
An invisible fist clenched in Angel's chest. It was like that now. Her pain became his. Her heartache made his own heart shatter.
"I mean, it wasn't like we were close," Cordy said, voice thick with unshed tears. "I barely knew him. But he was nice. And I just *saw* him, Angel." And her face crumpled.
"It's okay," Angel soothed as he pulled her into him. "Shhhh. It'll be okay." As he rubbed his hands against her back, Cordy's arms circled his waist, and she rested her head on his chest.
Cordy didn't outright cry. Tears were hard for her. Instead, she took one deep, shuddering breath after another. Made whimpering sound when she had to struggle to keep a sob from escaping.
In some ways, listening to her try to be strong was harder than if she'd just let herself cry.
"It's not fair," she said, words muffled because her lips were pressed against his shirt. "Not fair."
"No," Angel agreed. "It's not."
His hold tightening, Angel rested his chin against the top of her head. Breathed deep and let her scent spread through his body. As his eyes drifted shut, the faintest of smiles shadowed his lips. Maybe now, he could let go of the image that had burned itself into his memory.
The image of Cordelia, wrapped in the arms of a handsome man with rust-red hair.