Subtlety >> Endangered Species

C/A spice: Medium/Strong

Thank God I can type fast - we've got tons of subtext in this novel!

Read the details, summary, and review of Endangered Species.


Cordelia Chase knelt by the ranger's still form. "He'll have a pretty good bruise, I think. And his lip's cut. You ever give any thought to pro boxing, Angel? Because I think that the world could use some fresh blood, so to speak, and you might get a chance to beat up Mike Tyson, which, you know, would be a bonus."


The gang has to get through the Chaos demon's thrall.

Angel held Cordelia's hand in his, and he knew that, somewhere, she held Wesley's and he held Gunn's. When she began to mutate into the smell of musty old book, Angel closed his eyes, focused on the warmth of her hand, and tried to bring her smile into his mind's eye.


"He'll be right back," Cordelia insisted. "I thought you went to Tibet to find inner peace."

"I have inner peace, "Angel said. "This is only outer tension. My inner self is as calm as a mountain lake."

"Yeah, on a volcano."

"Can I help it if the Tibetan monks turned out to be evil?" he asked.

"Even evil monks ought to know the value of patience," she observed.

"Cordelia..." He let the word hang there, sentence unfinished. She got his drift and turned back the computer screen.

"Got it," Wesley said, coming in from his car with something dangling from his hand.

"About time," Angel grumped.

"Ignore him," Cordelia urged. "He's testy."


The hotel was quiet when Angel got back, except for the occasional clacking of computer keys. Very occasional.

Cordelia sat in the office alone, the light shining on her hair, and he thought, She really is beautiful. He felt a stirring... then reminded himself Hey, Cordy... and the stirring remained.

Hmmm.

He let the feeling sink in. Okay, it's because she looks nice today, new clothes, whatever.

And her perfume...


He walked up behind her, telling himself he wanted to see what she was working on. She sure as hell can't type.

"Hi," he said.

"Gaaah!" Cordelia shrieked. She slammed her hands down onto the key board, sending a nonsense message to the screen.

He was abashed. "Sorry, I..."

She raised her eyes to the heaven in that I-so-suffer way and huffed. "You thought, 'there sits a girl who hasn't actually had her heart stop today, so maybe I can finish the job.'" She swiveled her chair around and crossed her arms decisively over her chest.

Her boat-neck top formed a V, and Angel cleared his throat as softly as he could and tried to look elsewhere.

One good thing about books, you can read what the characters are thinking! Angel's thoughts... kinda one-tracked, huh? *wink*

"I was trying not to scare you."

She tried to keep her face stern, but he knew her well enough to see that she wasn't really angry at him.

"You did a lousy job of it. Maybe if you tried not to pay me the way you tried not to scare me, I'd be able to put a little something away for a rainy day."

"Hey, your compensation is a matter to take up with Wes, not me," Angel reminded her, giving her something to push against, rather enjoying this fencing match. "Out of my hands, remember?"

"Yeah, I know." Now she actually smiled at him, competing with the lights in the room.

I *like* the dialogue. I also like the how he compares her smile with the lights.


More with the smells. Reads like a C/A fic.

"You finding anything?" Angel asked her, gesturing to the screen as she stood beside him. Her perfume was scented with vanilla.

Then...

"Makes sense." Angel perched himself on the corner of the desk, arms folded over his chest. Her body radiated heat, making him shift self-consciously. Cordelia was oblivious.

"So I was reading about some particularly revolting demonic mating behavior when I got this Instant Message. It freaked me out becaue it's in a demon language or some weird foreign language, I don't know what. It's not from anbody on my buddy list, I can tell you that. Here, I saved it for when Wes got back."

Angel figured he must have looked a little crestfallen, because she quickly added, "Or you, of course."

"Of course," he echoed. She means Wes.

Aww, I can just imagine Angel's hurt puppy dog look.


"Angel, I don't like the book on your face, even though you basically have three expressions and only one of them remotely resembles a smile. What did I do wrong?"

"Nothing," he said, trying to sound reassuring.

"That's not what your expressions tells me," Cordelia replied. "Your lips say 'nothing' but your eyes say 'oh, crap.'"

And as usual, she's read me right.

Angel grabs a chair and sits down.

If I'm going to tell the story, he though, I might as well get comfortable.

Apparently she realized what he was doing. She looked at him and made a little face, scrunching up her nose and pursing her lips together. "Long story, huh?"

"Long one," he confirmed.

Same scene, still on the story part, Fred has joined them. Cuteness on Cordy's part.

"It's about a convent," Angel said. "Or at least it starts there."

"Angel's always had a thing for convents," Cordy interjected. "That whole 'sacred and profane' business, I think--"

"This'll go faster, Cordelia, if you skip the editorial asides," he pointed out.

"Sorry." She settled back in her chair, cupping her pals around her new as she crossed her legs. She had on strappy sandals, and she wore brilliant red toenail polish.

And I'm so preoccupied with that because...?

Haha, a little of David Boreanaz's foot fetish worked in? We also know that in season one, he definitely didn't notice her shoes. Going on, Angel's a little ways into his story...

"This vampire stuff is all kind of incestuous, isn't it?" Fred asked, looking thoughtful.

"More than I like to think about," Cordy drawled, grimacing. "I mean, eeew. It's Chinatown, Jake."

Angel sighed. "I'm going to bed when the sun comes up whether or not I'm done with the story."

"Sorry, Angel. I won't interrupt anymore." Cordy mimed zipping her lip.

More.

Angel doggedly pressed on. "So if you hear anyone refer to the 'Mysteries of Benedicta,' that's what they're talking about."

"And yet, oddly, I've never once heard anyone make that reference," Cordelia said, looking at him. "Imagine that."

"You've led a protected life," Angel countered.

She flared. "Right. You get pregnant witht demon spawn and then tell me that again."

Fred's eyes grew big and round as she followed the sparring between her new friends.

Fred sees the chemistry.


Angel finds out that if the Beast of the First Blood is killed, it would kill all the vampires on the planet.

"But Angel," Wesley said. "That would include you, right?"

Angel shrugged. "I'm a vampire. So, yeah."

"You can't die," Cordelia said. Her expressions was morose, her tone urgent. "You just can't. You're... you're Angel."

Angel sighed as he gestured his surrender, "Cordelia-- I know how you feel. I'm not so happy about the dying either. But..."

She gave him a patented Cordy Look of Indignation. "Right, you know how I feel, because you're so good at that whole empathy thing."

"No, I do." He frowned, distressed that he was not conveying his real emotions to her. So not good with the empathy thing...

"You'd miss me. I'd miss all of you. Except that I'd be dead-- deader. And hopefully you wouldn't be."

Angel pressed on. "So I don't know how much that missing you part would be a factor for me."

Ooh, lame.

"See? So you should pay attention to our feelings, and not your own." Cordelia humphed at him.

Okay, I sorta paraphrased that scene. Wes, Gunn, and Fred have some lines in between Angel and Cordelia's dialogue, but it's mostly Angel talking to Cordy and Cordy talking to Angel, trying to convey their feelings. They probably would have done it better if the others weren't around.


Major C/A scene, training session! Oh yeah, Chaz Escobar is there too, though.

Chaz's eyes flashed and he smiled appreciatively [at Cordelia], as he said, "Ah, chavelita. Estoy un pocquito enamorado de ti. You have a certain... flair." He slid his glance toward Angel. "Ay, perdon. You two are not...?"

"No, we're not," Angel assured him, at the same time that Cordelia said with false sincerity, "Why, yes, we are." She glared at Angel. "We are, Angel, okay?

"Oh?" Then Angel got it: She didn't want Escobar to be on the prowl for her. "Oh." He nodded vigorously and swept her into his arms. Her back was warm and damp from the exertion, and he noticed that she fit comfortable against him. More than comfortable. Hey, liking this.

"We are. We're very... are," Angel continued.

Cordelia flashed Angel the smashing, brilliant smile that she usually reserved for when someone gave her something.

That gimmick doesn't work if the coupling isn't likely :-)


Angel has to go to Hawaii to follow a trail. Cordy and Angel are at the airport.

"I don't think you should go," she said bluntly. "We don't have enough information." Taking a breath, she added, "You're kind of splitting on us, Angel."

"Cordy, I just have this sense," he said. "This is what I should do. If I can rescue Faith..."

She sighed. "We're, you're the boss. Only ont, because Wesley is. But you know what I mean."

He gave her a hug, which surprised her. He wasn't big on gestures of affection, at least not spontaneous ones. Then he picked up his small suitcase--Angel had traveled light for centuries--and walked into the security checkpoint.

"Take care," she murmured.


In another part of the book, Cordelia is being held hostage and the big bad of the book, Benedicta, offers Angel a trade - the Chalice that will help summon the Beast for Cordelia.

Benedicta's voice remained, though, as strong as ever. "I offer a simple trade. Pele's Chalice for what you see before."

And as the new image swam into focus, Angel recognized Cordelia--arms bound, face painted with weird symbols, eyes wide with fear.

"Angel?" Cordelia cried plaintively.

* * *

Angel said to Benedicta's image, "If you've done anything to hurt her--"

"She's fine," Benedicta interrupted. "For now. I suggest that instead of making empty threats, you take the steps necessary to keep her that way."

He said nothing.

"Angel, no," Escobar whispered urgently. "You cannot."

Benedicta's image smiled at Angel. "You're going to do it, aren't you?" she purred. "You're going to trade."

Angel had, of course, no intention of making a deal with Benedicta. The vampire was evil incarnate as far as he was concerned. But at the same time, he had no intention of letting her kill Cordelia.

* * *

Lohiau spoke up. "So tonight, when we make the trade..." he began.

"No trade," Angel interrupted.

"No trade?"

"Of course no trade. We can't give Benedicta the Chalice or the mummy."

"But you agreed..."

"I would tell Benedicta anything to keep Cordelia alive," Angel explained. "Now that I know Cordy will be safe at least until we meet with Benedicta tonight--she knows that if she hurts Cordelia, she'll never get her hands on the Chalice."

* * *

"And I don't take the Chalice or the mummy in until Cordelia is on her way-- no way am I letting go of it while you still have her over there."

Benedicta seemed to think his arguments over for a moment. Then she smiled. "You disappoint me, Angel," she said. "I thought you wanted to do business. Kill the girl," she instructed Bran. He started to raise the weapon.

"No!" Angel held out a hand toward the kahuna, who stood behind him. "I'll do it your way, Benedicta," he said.


"I don't understand you," Escobar said slowly. "Truly, I don't. You are willing to die for this cause. But you would rather jeopardize the entire mission--and entire race--than ask one of your men to do the same."

"Cordelia's not one of my men." She's my friend.

"I don't understand you," Escobar said again, more softly this time. "A vampire..." He put his arms around his legs. "They say you're different than the rest, bu so different? A vampire is supossed to be a monster."

I know, Angel thought. I am.

And that hellbeast is not going to hurt Cordelia.

No one is.

They try, they'll meet the monster I am, just before they die.


The Beast of the First Blood has been slain and as soon as his blood stops flowing, all vampirekind will be dead. Thoughts flash through Angel's mind. He thinks about the last sunny day he say before he was changed. He thinks about Buffy and Sunnydale. He thinks about L.A. He thinks about Darla. But his final thought of Cordelia. He's ready to take that thought into the eternity with him.

Cordelia... oh, Cordy... Cor...


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