In Control by Dannyblue
Summary: Angel claims Billy's touch had no effect on him. But was Angel telling the truth?
Spoilers: Season Three up to "Billy."
Notes: Takes place during the third season episode "Billy."
invisible hands tucked the covers closer around Fred's shoulders, Cordelia
smiled a little.
"Thanks, Dennis," she said. "I think you can turn off the lights, now. But, if she wakes up, or it sounds like she's having a bad dream..."
The lamp clicked off, then on, then off again. Dennis's way of telling her he got it. After all, it wasn't like the ghost hadn't done this kind of thing before. Like when a particularly nasty vision filled her slumber with nightmares. Images of death, and blood. The sounds of screams. Of bones snapping.
Shaking away the dream echoes, Cordy wandered out into the living room. Angel had been right. Getting Fred out of the hotel, away from memories that were way to fresh and raw, had been a good idea. As tightly wound as she'd been when they got back from the airstrip, Cordy doubted Fred ever would've relaxed enough to go to sleep at the Hyperion.
Cordy could understand. she remembered what it had been like after Angelus got "out" the last time. Listening to a stranger, with her friend's face, say all of those horrible things. Looking into his eyes and knowing-*knowing*-what he would do to her if she didn't get away somehow.
Going back to the old office the next day hadn't been easy. Even after the little pep talk she gave Angel the night before, about how she was okay, she didn't blame him for what happened. Things like that were easy to say, but it took a while to feel them. Completely, anyway.
From what the physicist had said, what happened that night at the hotel between her and Wesley had been so much worse. And Cordy wondered if Fred was strong enough to face Wesley again, and without blame. To realize it hadn't really been him...
When the 'phone rang, Cordy hurried to the living room to answer it. Before it woke Fred up.
"Hey. It's me."
"Angel. How did it go?"
"They're both going to be okay. Wesley's in much worse shape than Gunn. But the doctors will probably release them both sometime tomorrow."
"Good," Cordy sighed with relief. They were okay. A little battered and bruised, but okay. "That's good. And you're sure Billy's mojo has worn off?"
"Yeah. From what I've been able to piece together, the men effected by Billy return to normal pretty soon after they have they're...outburst. Once they're able to act out whatever impulses he stirred up in them." They're was a long pause. Like he wasn't sure he should say what he was going to say. "And how are you?"
Did he mean, had she stopped feeling guilty about the women *and* men whose lives were now broken because of Billy? Because of her? Then the answer was no.
But all she said was, "I'm fine. Now that it's over."
She wasn't sure he believed her. But he didn't push.
"Get some rest," he said instead. "I'll see you tomorrow."
As she hung up the 'phone, Cordy couldn't help remembering what it had been like. Standing on the runway. Watching in horror as Billy touched Angel. The look in Angel's eyes...For a moment, a fraction of a second, she'd been afraid of him.
Thank God he'd been able to stay in control.
Angel realized he was still holding the 'phone. That his grip was getting tighter and tighter. If he didn't let go soon, the receiver would shatter.
Taking a deep, unneeded breath, he hung up the 'phone. Maybe calling Cordy hadn't been a good idea. The sound of her voice...
*Pours through you, like calm through a storm. A balm on a soul that's aching. And raging.*
*Warm. She's so warm. Just the sound of her voice can take away the cold. Imagine how warm you'd be if you could bury yourself inside her.*
"Shut up," Angel growled, silencing his traitorous thoughts.
*So warm. No-one else can make you feel so warm.*
Squeezing his eyes shut, Angel leaned heavily against the check-in counter. And he almost smiled bitterly at his arrogance.
He'd been so sure Billy's touch had had no effect on him.
It wasn't until they were driving back to the hotel-with the top up, because it was chilly out-that he started to feel it. When the sound of Cordy's heartbeat started to pound in his ears. When her scent flooded his senses, making him take one deep, hungry breath after another. And it got harder and harder to focus on the road.
Not even what they found when they returned to the hotel could stop whatever was happening to him. Even as they called an ambulance, and came up with a cover story to explain what had happened to the hospital staff.
*Could hear her blood. Like a hum, purring through her veins. Could almost taste...*
With a silent curse, the vampire pushed away from the counter. He wondered if she noticed how close he was. At all times. Never more than a step or two away.
He couldn't make himself move away.
Thank God he'd known what was happening. Unlike the other men Billy effected, he knew why he was feeling the way he was feeling. Wondered why it was effecting him differently, then decided it didn't really matter.
Before he left to follow Gunn and Wesley to the hospital, he convinced Cordy to take Fred to stay at her apartment for the night. Not that anything he was feeling was directed at Fred. No, he'd barely noticed her. All he could see, think, feel was Cordelia.
But Fred was a woman, and...
*She would've been safe. You know that. She's not the one you want. Not the one.*
...there was no need to take any chances.
Angel made his way across the darkened lobby. He should have told someone. Warned them. They could've gotten the chains they kept on hand just in case.
But the guys were hardly in any condition, were they? And Cordy...
She'd been through so much tonight. He couldn't pile any more weight onto her shoulders.
*Manacles wrapped around her wrists. Hands chained to the bedposts. Eyes pleading with you to...*
One hand pressed to his forehead, Angel climbed the stairs. He could handle this. He'd spent a century battling his darker impulses. Doing so was second-nature to him now.
He would stay in control.
Angel tried to sleep. If he could sleep, he wouldn't be able to think.
But, the longer he lay in his bed, the further away sleep seemed to get.
*Remember how she used to chase you back in Sunnydale? Your head was so full of the Slayer, you didn't even notice-didn't* want *to notice-what was being offered to you.*
*What you wouldn't give to be able to go back?*
She'd been so beautiful, even then. So young and powerful, and full of light. How could he not have seen it?
He remembered now, her jumping into his arms once or twice. Clinging to him. He would stand there, stiff as a pole, waiting for her to let go.
He wished he could change those memories. That his past self could tighten his arms around her, bury his nose in her mahogany hair. Relax and let her body mold against his.
Take what she was offering. Take more than she was offering.
Restlessly, Angel turned over in the bed. And groaned. His skin felt tight. So tight. Even the brush of silk sheets against him was too much.
*Remember that night? When you threw Darla through the glass. How many times have you dreamed about it? Only, it isn't your sire's face you see. Is it?*
He forces himself to lay still. Tossing and turning only seemed to add to his aggravation. If he could just stay still...
*You thought you would wake up, and your soul would be gone. You thought you were setting Angelus lose on your friends.*
*And you could take what you hadn't even admitted you wanted. More than anything.*
Angel clutched the sheets in one tight fist. When he went to sleep next to Darla that not, part of him hoping his soul would go away and take the pain with it. A faint, forgotten voice dreading what he'd do to his friends.
And one face. Her face. Hers was the first face he wanted to see when he was free.
*You don't have to fight it. You can be free now. Give in. They'll forgive you. She'll forgive you no matter what you do, what you take. Blame it all on Billy, and she'll forgive you.*
Tossing the sheets aside, Angel stood up. Hands rubbing roughly across his face.
These were just thoughts. Just thoughts. He'd never...
*She thinks you're a eunuch. That you don't-that you* can't *feel the way you feel about her. That she can walk around here looking the way she does, smelling the way she does, and it won't effect you at all. You should show her...*
A low growl rumbled in his chest. Did she really think of him as a eunuch? As something safe, and sexless, and harmless.
Would she still think it when he was pinning her down and...
With a vigorous shake of his head, Angel stalked into the bathroom, past the mirror. Unable to see his reflection, which would have revealed amber eyes, ridges forehead.
Violently, he ripped the shower curtain open. Turned on the cold water.
*When your training. Your arms wrapped around her to show her some new sword move. Her warm body burning his skin with her delicious heat.*
*How many touches have you stolen? Fingers brushing across her breasts. Her thighs.*
*How many times have you held her tighter than you had too? Pressed your hips against her?*
*Felt her move against you, like those silk sheets, until your so hard you can barely stand up straight?*
*And she doesn't notice, does she?*
*The bitch doesn't even notice!*
Gritting his teeth, Angel stepped under the torrent of ice cold water. He felt so hot, like there were flames licking at his skin.
Someone with no body temperature shouldn't feel this hot.
*You're almost glad when some demon tears a chunk out of you. When she's patching you up. The pain...and the pleasure.*
*You want to give her a taste. First pleasure. Then pain.*
*You want her to moan for you.*
Hands braces against the shower wall, eyes squeezed shut, he let the water pour over him. Wishing it could drown out his thoughts.
*You wonder sometimes. If you asked....would she bare her throat to you.*
Angel stood in the hallway, as still as a statue.
He could hear Cordelia on the other side of the door. Close, so she must be sleeping on the couch.
Her breathing was slow and even. Calm and relaxed.
*She doesn't know.*
Her heart was a slow, rhythmic thump he could feel in his bones. It throbbed in his ears. Pounding through his veins. Making his borrowed blood hum.
*She doesn't know how dangerous you are.*
He could smell her blood, the essence of her, even through the oak door.
He took one deep breath after another, trying to take her all in. To drink her scent into every pore. Every cell.
His abdomen tightened until the pain-the need for release-was almost unbearable.
*She doesn't know to be afraid of you.*
Angel heard the click as the lock was turned.
"No, Dennis!" he growled. Almost yelled into the stillness of the night. "Don't let me in."
Did the ghost hear the menace in his voice? Could Dennis hear how on edge he was?
The deadbolt slammed back into place.
You know he can't keep you out. Not if you really try to get in.
She wanted you before. If you go to her, offer yourself to her, maybe she'll want you again.
*And even if she doesn't...*
"No," Angel whispered.
Closing his eyes, he breathed deep. And Cordelia filled him up...
"I'm in control," he snarled, snatching his hand away from the doorknob. When had he put it there?
Pulling himself away from the door, he forced his feet to carry him down the hall.
He knew about this place...
The one he picked looked more like Cordy than the others.
Hair cut into the same style.
Her scent was wrong. But if he closed his eyes, stopped breathing...
He could pretend.
His control was almost at its limits. He was afraid he what he might do.
Especially when he realized, again and again, that the girl wasn't who he wanted. And the anger took hold.
But he didn't hurt her.
Not any more than a human man could have.