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Angel fic: The Curse of Friendship

This just kind of popped out of nowhere. Been having my Angel rewatch lately. I’m now into season 3… just before Connor is born. I love season 3 Angel/Cordy. They are so freaking adorable.

The Curse of Friendship
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Angel the Series
1364 words
rating: PG

Angel’s curse really is a curse. It’s going to take some time for Cordy to come to terms with that.

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.

I watch him, the way he moves around the edge of the room instead of entering the center where I am. I smile, rolling my eyes. He’s so predictable sometimes.

“Don’t be such a baby.”

“Cordy, I don’t-”

I huff, blowing my bangs up, then cross the room and grab his arm. “It’s not the end of the world.”

I watch the emotions play across his face—horror, terror, confusion, embarrassment. He thinks he’s so good at hiding them behind that impassive expression. But his eyes give him away. I can see right through the facade. Sometimes without much effort. I’m starting to think he’s not trying as hard to keep things from me any more.

He takes a deep breath as if to settle his nerves. Not that he needs it. I’ve long since stopped thinking of him as different. Angel’s just a guy. A guy with the emotional maturity of a ten year old.

“Like this.” I grab his right hand and slip it around my waist and take his other in my right hand. We start to move around the room, circling and turning. He’s more graceful than you would think looking at him. And he isn’t stepping on my toes. I frown at him but he’s looking anywhere but at me. “You’ve done this before.”

His eyes dart around, finally resting on my shoulder. “Maybe,” he mumbles. I roll my eyes. He’s so frustrating sometimes.

“Then what’s your deal? Why were you acting like a child when I said we should dance?”

He glances at me and shrugs. We continue to dance and I can feel his muscles relax. When I look up at him there’s this small smile playing at his lips. He looks cute. I shouldn’t be thinking that. My face flushes and I force the sudden butterflies in my stomach to calm. But I can’t quit sneaking peeks.

And then it happens—he finally looks up at the same time I’m peeking and our eyes meet. There’s a heat between us that I hadn’t noticed earlier. It builds and surrounds us. Wraps us in a blanket of intensity I can’t ever remember feeling before. And I can’t look away.

At some point we stopped dancing. The physical distance between us must have disappeared around the same time even if I can’t remember ever moving closer. Angel swallows hard, his Adam’s apple moving slowly. But it’s his eyes I’m focused on. I’m pretty sure now that he’s lifted the shutters so I can see. See him, who he really is. See into his soul.

I shudder. He swallows. We’re both trembling. And we’re so damn close I don’t think I can breathe. Angel’s not even pretending anymore. I know I should say something. This is not what I had in mind when I asked him to dance. I’m not even sure what this is. It’s scary. Terrifying. And at the same time, I don’t want it to end. I could say like this—locked in his embrace, staring into those eyes—the rest of my life. I want this.

It’s a startling revelation. I blink and the spell is broken. Angel takes a step back, mumbling something that sounds like an apology. I don’t know why he’s apologizing. I’m the one that started this. And I’m not sorry. Not in the least. That scares me a lot but I ignore it.

“Cordy-” he starts. He’s facing away from me, his hand rubbing at the back of his neck. It’s a familiar motion. He’s uncomfortable. “I… we… I mean… ”

Emotional maturity of a ten year old. I touch his shoulder to get his attention. Surprisingly he doesn’t jump out of his skin. And I don’t move my hand. “Angel, look at me.” I have no idea where this nerve is coming from.

He turns slowly, his lips set in a line. “We can’t do this.”

“Do what?” My insides feel like jello, complete with the wiggling and jiggling.

“This.” He sighs. “You know what I mean.”

“No, I don’t think I do.”

“Cordy-” His voice is pleading, begging me not to put it into words. Whatever it is. Okay, I know what it is. It’s been growing between us for awhile. I’ve been trying to ignore it—the way my insides flip when he looks at me, the way my skin seems to vibrate when he touches me, the way he invades every dream. But I don’t think I can any more.

I move a little closer. He backs into the table. There’s this wild, terrified look in his eyes. I don’t give him a chance to run. “Angel-”

“I can’t. Cordy, you know I can’t.” His body relaxes, his gaze landing on my hand resting on his arm.

“But you want to?” I don’t know where that came from but I realize I need to know. After a second he nods. There’s this surge of electricity and fire that burns through me. And that heat between us is back.

We just stand there—my hands on his arms, his forehead touching mine. I’m not sure I can stand much more but there’s nothing in me that wants to move away.

“You’re scared.” It’s not a question.

“Of course I am,” he says quickly then takes a deep breath. “Aren’t you?”

I look at him and see the panic in his eyes. But under it I see—more like feel—something else. It’s the source of the intensity that’s about to consume us. My mind flashes back through a series of moments over the last month—the side glances and small touches, the stammering and awkward offers of lunch, the absolutely content feeling I get when it’s just me and Angel.

“I’m in love with you,” I whisper without thinking.

“What?” It comes out more like a gasp and I can’t help by smile.

“I didn’t mean to say that.”

“But you did. You said… and you meant… ”

I lean into him and this time he doesn’t try to pull away. “Why does this have to be so hard?”

I shudder when his hands pulls me closer, wrapping around my body. He tucks my head under his chin and there’s that contented feeling again. But I know he’s about to blow that all to pieces.

“Because I can’t do this. You know that. The c-”

“Sometimes I think you use that curse as an excuse. So you don’t have to get close.”

He leans his face forward so I can feel his lips against my scalp. “You’re the one that’s always reminding me that I can’t-”

“Oh please,” I say, pulling back so I can see his face, “you’ve already slept with Darla so we know that’s not the problem.”

“It’s not the sex,” he says softly. “It’s the… ” He gulps. “The feelings. Cordy, I can’t because I… It’s not the sex that makes me happy, it’s the… It’s the being with you.” I tremble, my skin feels like it’s alive and my heart’s about to launch right out of my chest.

“I’m willing to risk it.” That’s a lie. Or at least I’m trying to convince myself it’s a lie because right now I think I might just risk it.

“I’m not. If there’s even a chance I could-”

“Go evil.”

“-hurt you than that’s too much of a risk. I can’t put you in that position. After what happened with Buffy.”

I push away with a sigh. “It always comes back to Buffy. Buffy, Buffy, Buffy.” I know I sound like a child and I don’t care. Angel’s got a crooked grin on his face when I turn back around. It’s one of his most charming looks. I roll my eyes. “Sorry. I know what you’re right. I don’t want any of that either. I don’t like seeing you like that, having you go through that.”

We’re quiet again, letting the conversation wash over us, letting it sink in. I let him hold me again. It’s all I can offer.

After awhile he asks, “friends?” His voice is barely above a whisper.

I bite back the tears and nod into his shoulder. “Always.” And I mean that.

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