Outshine The Sun by Abby Cadabra
installment in the Supernova Series.
Summary: She wanted the light. Wanted to make it a part of her. Wanted it forever.
Spoilers: TVT (general).
Notes: Kelley- This series would not been what it is without you. You helped not only with this story, but with anything I write in the future, you're advice has affected me that much. I'm utterly in debt to you.
Night has brought to
those who sleep
Only dreams they cannot keep
I have legends in the deep
Paint the sky with stars
Her sheets were never smooth anymore. Always rumpled and
tangled. They were wrapped around part of her legs, sliding across her hips as
she twisted and turned, falling half way to the floor. Cordelia thought they
were a perfect contrast to her clock, which kept order and was never disturbed.
Cordelia knew emptiness. It was distinct, a feeling she could set apart from everything else. It was as if she were standing on the bank of a ledge, the drop sharp, and wind lashing at her back and eyes seeing only down.
She had hated the emptiness. It made her wish for things she knew would never happen; that she could freeze a perfect moment, and live there forever. That there would be no pain in her life, just bliss and serenity and maybe a little fame. That the wind would shift and push her away from the edge, away from the nothing that lay waiting below.
But she always knew, could always just feel, that the wind wasn’t shifting. That the wind was only picking up.
There was a difference, Cordelia knew, between empty and nothing. Other people thought they were similar. Maybe even the same. They closely categorized them and interchanged their meanings and used them easily, as if they didn’t have a fucking meaning that was all their own.
Empty was a void, waiting with open jaws at the bottom of everything—A well, pit, heart or soul. Remember?
That was what empty and nothing shared.
She glanced at her clock, the soft clicking of the red second hand reeling in her attention. Her eyes flew past the posts of her bed, past the draped windows, zeroing in on the red hand that saw every second as it came and went, and knew that these people didn’t know true nothingness. Had no idea what it felt like to be absolutely numb. To see without feeling. To remember without any recollection. To live and yet not.
She couldn’t look away from the clock. Her eyes followed the red seconds hand over each number. She wondered what Angel was doing. Wondered if Buffy was sleeping. Wondered why she wasn’t. She watched the seconds hand spin.
And the room was spinning, too. Or was that her?
It wasn’t just her. All the spinning, round and round, past the tens and elevens and twelves, couldn’t have been her. She would have felt it, the light-headedness and the nausea and the cool throbbing in her head, would have loved to feel it. But she couldn't feel anything.
She closed her eyes to make the spinning stop, and saw the cliff when she did. She saw the sky, gray and heavy with rain. She saw the ledge, still as jagged and towering as she remembered. And she saw it all from below.
She had already plummeted, and was looking up at what she’d left behind.
The hallways of the Hyperion were dark even during the day,
and Cordelia couldn’t quite remember how she’d gotten there. Her memory was
a blur; gray like the storm clouds that flew above her ledge.
She crept slowly and quietly down the hall, her fingertips gliding over the wall as she held one hand out to steady herself. The window at the end of the corridor was shuttered by thick, expensive drapes, very unlike the kind she used for her own windows at home. They kept the sunlight out almost completely, letting only stray cracks of light push through the material.
The hallway seemed solid with silence, dense and filtered with it. She imagined that, just beyond her fingertips, noise blared insanely, and that there was an invisible barrier that kept the noise out. That kept the silence complete.
She fought to keep the stillness uninterrupted, walking softly and breathing softer. She stopped when she came to a familiar door. She watched, disconnected, as fingers, trembling and, surely, too thin to be her own, came up and traced the metal 217 that hung there.
Cordelia pictured Angel asleep in his bed, the sheets smooth and unruffled, and suddenly wondered what she was doing. Her hand stilled, as if it were caught in the silence, wedged in the nothing.
The metal of the door number was cool, but warm beneath her skin. Warm because of her skin. Her hand moved again, away from the warmth she’d created, and just then, at that moment, she understood why she’d come, and the realization was as jolting as a blow that came out of the dark, knocking her down and stealing her breath.
A closed fist came down on the wooden barrier, knuckles pounding, fingernails forming shallow crescents in her palm, and she was surprised at how distant it sounded, how fogged and hazy. She could see her cliff, and it was growing taller, moving further away and catching up with the sky.
“Cordelia? What is it? Are you all right?”
Her eyes focused, Angel’s darker ones clearing in the fog. He looked concerned, brow furrowed and lips pursed. He wore boxer briefs, faded gray, and nothing like she’d expected. She had always seen him as the silk boxer type, colors in black and blacker.
“Cordy?” he asked again, reaching out and wrapping his fingers around hers. His hand dropped slowly, sliding down hers, until all he held were the tips of her fingers.
His touch undid her. She snaked her hand around his neck, the tips of her fingers barely brushing through his hair, and yanked. His lips collided with hers bluntly, the smallest of sounds catching in his throat as her other hand trailed over the muscles in his back, tense and tight under her forceful strokes.
Her lips opened and her teeth scraped his skin, her tongue licking at his closed lips. She moaned in part pleasure, part disappointment as she felt his hands come up and grasp her shoulders firmly. He pushed her away, hands dropping from her shoulders immediately, as if the texture of her skin disgusted him.
She stepped to him again, wanting something for the first time in what seemed like too long. He stepped back and held a hand out in front of him. She looked at his palm, and noticed it didn’t quiver.
She flinched at the volume of his voice, so much louder than she had ever heard before, and he stopped himself. He took a deep breath for reasons she didn’t understand, passing a hand through his hair.
“What was that?” he tried again, his tone much softer than before, almost too quiet. She had to strain to hear him.
“I…” she trailed off. There was a knot in her throat, and the rope was tightening with each second that passed as he looked at her like that. Like she was a broken doll, and he’d only just noticed the crack in her head.
He regained the step he’d taken away from her, suddenly the epitome of caring and concern. He was close, his hands and lips so close to hers, yet still so far. Still so untouchable.
“You can tell me,” he whispered.
He smelled of generic brand soap and conditioner, his hair damp at the top, where it grew the longest. His eyes were alert and clear, showing no signs of sleep. She wondered what he had been doing all day.
“I want you to tell me,” he said, voice reminding her of how coffee looked as it was poured. Smooth and dark and flowing.
“I- I just… need—” Her eyes bore into his, and it seemed to her as if she was pleading with him. Begging him for something. And she didn’t want to sound like that. “I need you to give me something.”
“Anything,” he answered immediately.
She looked away, glancing at his hands, and she watched as they moved towards her, so slow she thought he was moving in slow motion. He cupped her cheeks, fingers digging into her skin gently, and forced her eyes back to his. “Tell me what you need, Cordy, and it’ll be yours.”
She sighed, and it was heavy with the sound of tears. “I just need to… feel. I need to feel something, Angel. Hope. Comfort. Something that isn’t…” His thumb swept over her cheek, feeling so good, and her eyes fluttered in a daze before focusing on him again. “I need to know that… that I can still feel something.”
He was still except for his eyes, breaking away from hers and slipping downward slowly. She watched his chest, expecting it rise and then fall with a disheartened sigh, looking away when it didn’t. His hands moved from her cheeks to her shoulders, drawing her into his arms and burying his face in her hair.
She wouldn’t let herself melt into his embrace. She stood rigid in his arms, waiting for him to disappoint her.
“Cordy, the comfort you’re looking for… I can’t give it to you,” he said. She couldn’t establish the tone of his voice, but imagined he was dismayed, pitying. “The curse would… In a second if I touched you like that. And I can’t risk that.”
She wrenched away from him, pushing him back and reveling in the look of shock and hurt on his features. And, though he would deny it, the look of excitement.
“This isn’t about love, Angel,” she spat, slamming the door closed behind her as she moved in on him. “It isn’t about you or your curse, because this isn’t going to be about happiness. Damn it, this is about me. Let me fucking feel something, Angel. Screw happiness!”
“You can never have too much of that.”
He looked away, feet carrying him a step back, then another, as if her words had physically shoved him. And maybe they had. Maybe she had shown him something, opened his eyes to a loophole or an exception or an excuse.
“Angel,” she called softly. He didn’t hear her or didn’t acknowledge her, his gaze lingering on everything else, anything that wasn’t her. “Angel, look at me,” she snapped, yanking his attention to her much like she had his lips a moment before. “No,” she shook her head, “Look at me.” She motioned to the rest of her body. “Look at me.”
His eyes strayed over her body, slow and exact, taking all of her in. The pale skin that had once been bronze with sun. The chipped fingernails that had once been manicured and flawless. The limp hair that simply hung from its roots. His eyes returned to hers, dark circles that she no longer bothered to hide marring the skin just below, and they glistened with comprehension.
“I need this.”
He glanced away again, fingers coming up to rub against his brow. His hand still didn’t tremble, and she wondered if he were capable.
“You won’t lose your soul,” she said forcefully, tone hard and rational. “This circumstance is too… I’m too miserable. Too pathetic and too fucked up. How can that give you perfect happiness?”
His hand dropped and a fast, harsh, “It won’t,” slipped from his lips and then she was on top of him, the bed beneath them both. Her lips crashed against his, and this time weren’t met with hesitancy. He kissed her back like he wanted to devour her, all of her, skin and bones and blood. And she felt it.
She wanted it fast and hard and uncaring, and that was what he gave.
Her fingers pressed into the flesh of his back roughly, urging him take more of her, to fucking take all of her. One of her hands moved to his hair, and she fisted what she could, loving the cold, damp texture. She jerked his head back, breaking their kiss, and nipped at his bottom lip with her teeth. She caught it gently, and gave it a not-so-gentle squeeze that had him growling or moaning—she couldn’t quite tell the difference.
His hands were on her, here and there and everywhere that mattered, making her body buzz. She leaned back and enjoyed it for a moment, shutting her eyes. The tips of his fingers unhooked her jeans, then slipped under her blouse, pushing into her skin almost painfully. Her eyes snapped open at the sound of popping buttons and realized that he had ripped open her blouse.
He smiled wickedly at her as he leaned forward and took a lace-enclosed breast into his mouth and Christ he felt so fucking good on her.
His fingers dug into her sides, into her back, jerking her closer. She crashed against his chest, flesh smacking flesh primitively, and let all her inhibitions crash with her. She lightly bit his earlobe, and opened herself fully to his hands and lips and oh those fucking teeth.
Everything she felt was tenfold, bigger and better and fucking exhilarating. His hands were electricity, and her body was made of water, relaying every touch to every inch of her skin again and again, building up with every new contact made.
He wet the material with his tongue, dancing over her hardened nipple through the lace, and she whimpered when he bit down on her softly, feeling like she was going to explode from the sensations. She arched her back, pushing herself into his mouth, needing to feel more of him on her, oh God, just needing to feel.
“Take it off,” she panted, leaning forward and licking his neck, tasting the cool, salty flavor of his skin.
And suddenly the barrier was gone, and his lips were on her bare skin, kissing and licking and making her feel so good. So very, very-
“Fucking good,” she whispered in his ear. He chuckled, lips still wrapped around her, and she groaned out her pleasure at the sensation.
He was not quite cold, but far from warm, and it had shivers running the length of her skin, making her more sensitive to his touches, which were everywhere at once. Kneading her ass, covering her tits, pulling her hair.
She felt his cock against her thigh, hard for her, and grabbed him suddenly and, yes, that was definitely a growl. She laid her palm flat on top of him and rubbed through the gray cotton, fast and hard like she wanted. He threw his head back, moaning and growling and sounding so very, very hot, and then his heated was gaze on her, searing her, igniting her. With feeling.
His hand darted out suddenly, and he caught her wrist, holding her still. Her world shifted, and she found herself on her back, staring into his smug smile, fangs appearing longer to her than they’d been before. She groaned as he slid down her body, the sparks flying as his skin chafed hers. He yanked her jeans from her legs and threw them randomly to the side, her panties soon following, a sloppy pile of her clothes forming in the corner of his room.
He crawled over her until they were nose to nose, his lips falling on her like a dead weight, forceful and crushing. He took the air from her lungs as if he needed it. As if he couldn’t live without it, which she knew wasn’t true, but wasn’t going to stop him. To ever stop him. Her hands drove into the mounds of his ass, pulling at his boxers until they were just low enough. Until he was pressed against where she needed it most, skin on skin, need on need.
He licked the skin on her neck as he moved against her, the length of him stroking her hip.
“Yes,” she breathed out. “Fuck me, Angel. Fuck me.”
His movements stopped suddenly, his body silent and tense.
“What?” she asked, voice sounding of a panic she didn’t feel. “What’d I—”
He placed a finger over her lips, smothering her words. Dark eyes that once blazed with desire now swarmed with something deeper. Something that left her heart aching.
He bent down slowly, eyes gazing into hers until the last possible moment, when his lips met hers gently, tenderly, in a kiss that had tears stinging her eyes. He gave her one more, and then another, chaste and sweet and beautiful. He smoothed the hair from her eyes, his lips not far behind, kissing her cheeks and eyes and the tip of her nose.
She let out a shuttering breath, digging her nails into his back as she tried to set fire to him again. Fast and hard and uncaring, remember? It was what she wanted, what she could handle. This was slow, tender. It made her feel like letting go.
And she didn’t want to fall again.
He hissed in pain as she broke the skin, but only kissed her lips again, as a lover would. As only a lover could. His nose brushed against hers softly, lips painting an innocent path along her jaw line. She gasped as he grazed the soft spot between her jaw and earlobe with the tip of his tongue, chills coursing her spine.
The tips of his fingers were almost warm as he traced them across her collarbone, his touch weightless and eyes so very, very heavy. The heels of her feet dug into the sheets anxiously as he teased her, touching every place he could as he drifted down her body.
She watched him as he watched her, gaze rapt with her skin and filled with sadness. She blinked hard, trying to swallow the emotions, but he made it so impossible. The kisses didn’t relent. The touches wouldn’t stop.
She felt him sign his name on the skin of her stomach, making gentle sweeps of the small five letters that spelled him perfectly.
He kissed the slope of her ribs, the crook of her elbow, the tip of each finger, one by one, until her breathing became deep and effortless. Until her lips trembled with emotion. Until she was letting go. Beginning to fall. Into him.
Her eyes slipped shut as he entered her, gradually and with great care, as if afraid she would break. Would she? Hadn’t she?
Her breathing stopped as he filled her completely, so near perfectly, and began again as he set his pace. He moved slowly, in long, quiet strokes that felt like the end of the world, the emotions running through her potent enough to blow the universe apart.
A tear slipped from the crease of her eyelids, tumbling down the side of her face, swept away by his palm before it blended into her hair. His lips rained on her skin, somber and gentle as the real thing. His eyelashes fluttered sweetly against her bottom lip, her breath hitching at the sensation.
His rhythm hadn’t quickened, but she could feel the heat brewing at her core. It was spreading gradually, through her thighs and abdomen, coiling like the tips of a fire. She could hear him breathing in her ear, fast gasps in and out, but couldn’t feel his breath.
She sought out his lips with her own, yearning for the hope he was so willing to give her. He tasted like solace and comfort, and she drank it all in. He kissed her like he could mend everything that was broken about her, spreading the cure to every inch of her skin. She wanted him to fix her.
Her ledge suddenly snapped into focus behind her eyelids, but it wasn’t the same. It was different somehow. There were no clouds in the night sky, and no wind at her back. There was just Cordelia. Just the edge. Just the stars.
She felt her heart quicken, a fast thumping that made her entire body throb. She felt the fire licking at the tips of her fingers, waiting to explode. She felt Angel inside of her, all over her, touches and kisses and whispered nothings that meant everything, urging her to keep falling until she was entirely his.
She looked up, and the stars were exploding above her. It was a cosmic fireworks show. Star after star burst, until they were all exploding so suddenly and so fast in a menagerie of colors against the black, black sky. She smiled wildly, open and full, and gazed over the edge. The darkness below was vast and deep, littered with sparkles of colored light, falling and fading into oblivion. It was endless.
She glanced at the exploding stars, at all the precious supernovas, and felt relieved.
And then she leaped.
“I need this.”
She suddenly screamed in pleasure, her inner muscles clamping around Angel as he came with her, lips against her temple as he grunted in release. He collapsed on top of her, a delicious weight, and she didn’t move. She didn’t speak. She just breathed.
She’d said that this wasn’t about love. Told him she just needed to feel.
And now that she did, now that she felt everything he gave, absolutely everything, she couldn’t deny that this wasn’t about love. It was behind every touch, every sweet caress. It was the feeling that burned into her skin after he kissed her. It was for her, and she accepted it, because feeling it now, feeling what she could before she just couldn’t any more, was more important than worrying about losing it.
Her eyes opened slowly, lashes heavy from her tears, and saw only Angel. His dark eyes gazed at her, waiting and uncertain. She tilted her lips up, sweeping them across his. Her hand drew through his hair, fingers gentle rather than pulling, and dragged him closer, lips pressed fully against hers.
This was her moment, and she lived it fully. Yet it didn’t seem like it was just a moment. It seemed like an eternity.
She breathed deeply as his lips moved away, sounding to her as if it was the only sound in the world. He kissed her temple once, softly, his lips hovering by her ear as if he wanted to say something, but hesitated, and then he was gone, rolling to the side and onto his back, arms extended at his sides, open and inviting.
He smiled at her. She smiled back.
She moved into his embrace, curling around his body, warm with her heat. She laid an arm over his chest, rising and falling without need to, her cheek resting on his shoulder. He brushed a kiss against the crown of her head, running a hand through the dark threads of her hair.
Innocent and intimate.
She sighed heavily, suddenly feeling so tired—but in a good way. Not tired of emptiness or numbness. Just tired. From feeling so much. From loving so much.
Her eyes drifted closed, but instead of seeing darkness, she saw only light.
She had been in the dark so long, living in a shadow and running on empty and feeling nothing. But now the dark was gone.
She wanted the light. Wanted to make it a part of her. Wanted it forever.
Dimly she heard Angel calling for her, shouting her name. Why? Did he want her to climb back into the darkness, the emptiness, when she’d just allowed herself to let go? When she’d just found the light? Just found peace?
She rose into the light, the air silent around her as if it was holding its breath. She watched as Angel’s fingers trembled, as he smoothed them over her hair, over her lips, over her slowly closing eyelids.
Cordelia reached out for him, stroked his cheeks and eyes with fingers laced in light, and smiled as her body breathed deeply, once, twice, and then—
“Someday you’ll be a star, too.”