The Curfew

by Dannyblue

FEEDBACK: Yes, please.
ARCHIVE/DISTRIBUTION: Take my story, please. Just let me know where it is.
SUMMARY: Angel worries about Cordelia.
SPOILERS: No spoilers, really. The story takes place before "Billy".
CONTENT/WARNINGS: Angel/Cordy, of course. 
RATING: PG. There are a few mildly bad words. 
DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon, et. al, are the owners. I don't make a dime.
NOTE: Love me some clueless Cordy, and ranting Angel.


Cordy's apartment was too small. The size, combined with all the furniture that was in the way, left little room to pace properly. But he gave it a try. It was either pace, or go out and kill something.

Well, he wasn't going anywhere until Cordelia got home. And he had wrung her neck…

"Where is she?" Angel demanded for the hundredth time.

For the hundredth time, the light flickered off and on. Dennis's equivalent of a shrug.

With a frustrated growl, Angel turned and paced toward the front door. Something had to be wrong. Cordy had said she'd be home by midnight. It was almost 2 a.m. She hadn't called anyone to tell them she'd be late. Hadn't left a message on her answering machine so Dennis wouldn't worry. Hadn't…

Angel jumped when the telephone rang. Turning, he pounced on the defenseless device, almost crushing it with his vampiric strength.

"Cordy!" he barked into the receiver. "Where the hell are you?"

There was a lengthy pause. 

"I hope you aren't going to speak to Cordelia in that tone of voice."

"Wesley." Angel growled in frustration.

"Because, if you are, I think I'll stay home tomorrow."

"What is it, Wesley?" Angel demanded. He didn't want to tie up the line, in case Cordy called. Of course, she didn't know he'd been in her apartment for the past hour, pacing a hole in her carpet.

"So, Cordelia isn't home yet?" the Englishman asked, the concern plain in his voice.

"Oh, so now you're worried," Angel hissed, just a tad disgusted. "So, it's okay for you. But my worrying is classified as over-reacting."

"Angel, according to my watch, you started worrying at 12:15."

"She said she'd be home by midnight, Wes. Not them minutes after twelve. Not 12:15. Midnight!"

There was a very pregnant (like, 8.9 months pregnant) pause. 

"Yes, of course," Wesley said, voice as dry as a good martini.

Angel frowned. "And what's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, nothing. Nothing at all."

"Besides, I was right!" Deciding he'd been standing still for too long, Angel took the cordless and resumed his pacing. "Something's wrong! She's two hours late! I knew I should have tailed her to that party. Then, at least, I'd know where she was. And, before you say it, Wes, it would not be stalking. It would be me looking out for a friend."

Angel paused. Eyes narrowed, he stared up at the ceiling. "I wonder what she's wearing. Probably some skimpy little dress. With a short skirt. I bet all the guys are staring at her legs. I bet the dress is red."

Deep, blood red. The color of heat, and passion, and hunger, and desire, and…

"Yes, well." Wesley cleared his throat. "Considering how late she is getting home, I admit you have cause for concern…"

"You're damn right I do!" Head still filled with visions of a blood red dress, Angel started to pace again. "Every time I let that woman out of my sight, something happens to her! You know what I should do? I should just pick the best room in the hotel and lock her up in it. On the top floor, so she wouldn't get any ideas and try to climb out the window. It wouldn't be a prison, you understand. She could decorate it any way she wanted. And she could get all of the cable channels. You guys could visit her every day, so she wouldn't get lonely. And, as for shopping, there are catalogs for just about every…"

"Angel!!!" Wesley finally exclaimed.

His flow interrupted, Angel frowned in confusion. The ex-Watcher sounded shocked. Even a little alarmed.

What's that all about? the vampire wondered.

"Angel," Wesley continued. He seemed to be making an effort to sound calm. Rational. "I know you care about Cordelia a great deal. But you can't…"

Suddenly, something hit the door with a THUMP. Tuning Wesley out, Angel focused his attention on the sounds coming from outside.

"No, I'm okay. Really!"

Relief rushed through Angel's body. It was Cordelia's voice. Cordelia was home. She was home, and she was safe.

"I'm really okay. I just want to lean here for a while. Thanks for the ride!"

Forgetting all about the guy lecturing him on the other end of the line, Angel hung up the 'phone. Cordelia was home. She hadn't been attacked by a vampire, mauled by a demon, or sucked into another dimension. She was home. And safe.

And two hours late.

He was going to kill her!

A growl rumbling in his chest, Angel stormed towards the door. When he threw it open, he found Cordy standing there, her key poised where the doorknob had been. For several seconds, she just blinked at the key, as if she couldn't understand where the lock went.

"Cordelia?" Angel asked, shocked by her apparent condition.

Still blinking like an owl, she looked up at him. "Angel?" she asked. Then, nodding at nothing in particular, she stumbled across the threshold. "Hi, Angel."

"You're drunk!" the vampire exclaimed, incredulous. He slammed the door closed. "What the hell are you staying out all night getting drunk?"

Looking insulted, Cordy stood up straight. Teetering a little from side to side, she put her hands on her hips and gave him the patented Cordelia Chase glare. Or tried to. With the way her eyes kept crossing, it didn't quite have the usual effect.

"Yes, Angel," she slurred with great dignity. "I do happentobe drunk. But it's not my fault. Tracy had this punch that was all sweet and pineapple-ally." Amused by the way she mangled the word, she paused to giggle before continuing. "How was I supposed to know…"

She gestured wildly, which threw off her delicate balance. As she staggered, Angel reached out to catch her. But she held up a hand to ward him off.

"I got it," she said. Somehow, miraculously, she managed to keep from falling over.

And Angel just had to smile. He had to. Despite all of his anger and worry, watching Cordy struggle not to appear as drunk as she was…

Well, she looked s damned adorable! How could he not smile?

"Come on, Cor," he said, gently wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "Let's get you to bed so you can sleep this off."

In the blink of an eye, Cordy's expression of injured pride turned into a confused frown. "What are you doing here anyway?"

"Oh, well…" The vampire stammered into silence. Now that he knew that she was safe and sound, could see and feel that she was alright, he didn't want to dwell on his earlier…behavior.

Wesley! he thought with a silent groan. He could only imagine what the ex-Watcher was thinking. He just hoped the man understood that their 'phone conversation was strictly confidential…

"Were you worried about me, Angel?" Cordelia asked. In another mercurial change of mood, a gentle smile spread across her lips. Her eyes filled with tears. "That is so sweet!"

If she only knew. 

Clearing his throat, Angel started to steer Cordy towards her bedroom.

"You're my best friend, Angel."

"You're my best friend, Cordy."

"You're the best friend I ever had."

"Me too."

"And you have the cutest ass."

"I…" Startled, Angel stumbled to a halt. "What?!"

"You have a really cute ass," Cordy continued very seriously. "Sometimes, I just want to…" She made some hand gestures Angel didn't even want to think about.

"Oh." He tried to come up with something else to say. But all he could manage was another hoarse, "Oh."

Turning to face him, Cordy clung to the front of his shirt. "But friends shouldn't grab their friends' asses. Unless they're playing softball or something. You know?"

Angel was glad he didn't need to breathe because, at that moment, he wouldn't have been able too. She was watching him so earnestly, as if she actually expected an answer. But all Angel could think of was her hand on his ass.

And some ridiculous notion of putting together a softball team.

"I can be me with you," Cordy continued. "'Cause I know you don't think of me that way. And I sure don't think of you that way."

"Oh," Angel said, feeling disappointed for some reason. "Y-you don't."

"Nope!" she said cheerfully. "I mean, I never had a girlfriend before. Not a really real one. But, now, I have you!"

And, with those words, Cordelia Chase gracefully passed out.

Angel caught her, cradling her in his arms. For several long moments, he just stood there, not knowing what to do. He felt like he'd just been doused with ice water. The ice cubes pelting his face and body. The metal bucket hitting him square between the eyes.

The glass figurines on the counter clinked together, making a tinkling sound. Almost like laughter.

"Thanks a lot, Dennis," Angel said wryly. He glanced down at Cordelia's peacefully serene face. "Well, at least she didn't say she thinks of me like a brother."

The glass figurines tinkled a little harder.


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