Subtlety >> The Longest Night

C/A spice: Medium

Read the details, summary, and review of The Longest Night.


"The House Where Death Stood Still"

The darkness called to him and it called more strongly as Angel climbed from the tunnels and made his way to the main lobby.

"Don't you look nice," Cordelia Chase said, as he opened the door. "Very stylish, in a lurid sort of way. Total Yule."

"Hello, Cordelia," he said.

"Be careful!" she said to him. "I just cleaned those rugs!"

Angel stared at her blankly for a split second, but then comprehension dawned and he hastily stepped from the carpet and onto the polished marble floor. Just in time, too. The black leather duster he wore was splattered with green--- and red-glowing gore, in lurid mockery of the season...

"I swear, I'm going to make you start changing clothes before you come upstairs!"


"A Joyful Noise"

Angel refers to parties as "necessary evils".

"Look who's talkin'," Gunn said.

"What?" Angel asked. "Me?"

"Not evil," Cordelia assured Gunn. "Just not exactly Mr. Sociable."

Angel looked at her for a moment until she added, "And definitely necessary." She brushed his arm with one hand and then went to the door to greet more guests.

Tom Cribb (from "The Ring", I think) is looking for Angel.

"Cordelia, you seen Angel?"

"Sure," she replied. "Tall, dark hair that kind of sticks up all over, broody. Hasn't finished his holiday shopping, last I heard. Why?"

"I mean in the last couple of minutes," He didn't look like he was in the joking mood.

She scanned the hotel's lobby area quickly. "Maybe twenty minutes ago, I guess. He might have hidden out somewhere. Not exactly the kind of guy who puts a lampshade on his head and dances on the table, you know?"

Angel's been gone from the party awhile and Fred is wondering why he isn't back yet. Cordelia thinks it's no surprise, since Angel isn't exactly a big party guy.

The Host tugged at the lapels of his bright red dinner jacket. "I think I'm with Fred on this one," he said. "I know Angel's isn't a party machine, but I think he'd try to stay close to home tonight if he could. He knows how much this little soiree means to you, hostess with the mostest."

Cordelia shrugged. "Somehow I don't think Angel makes his decisions based on what he thinks I care about, Lorne. He's his own man."

"He is that," the green-faced demon agreed. "And part of being his own man is that he cares about you, little lady. Angel likes it when you're happy, and if it takes attending your party to do that, then he'd do what he could do to make sure he was there."

"I think Lorne's right," Fred put in. "Angel wouldn't have been gone this long unless there was something important going on."


"I Still Believe"

In this story, Cordy helps Angel do some last minute holiday shopping.

Eyes wide and unblinking, Cordelia stared at Angel in abject horror...

Now she spun on Angel and shot him a withering glance before hurrying back across the lobby to where he stood gazing expectantly at her. He tried on that little boy smile of his that was meant to be disarmingly charming, with the mischievous sparkle in his Irish eyes. She had never before had the heart to tell him that, champion for the benevolent powers of the universe or not, a smile like that on a vampire who had once been as vicious as they came was more unsettling than it was charming.

"Tell me you're kidding." Cordelia stared at him to make it clear that this was not a rhetorical statement, but a command.

"I could," Angel replied with a small shrug. "But that would be a lie."

"I... I don't believe you," she muttered, spinning on her heel to pace a few steps away, shaking her head as she tried to make sense of it. Then she frowned, hurried back, and punched him lightly on the arm. "What the matter with you?"

His facial expression changed, apologetic now instead of disarming.

"Okay, just stop with the puppy dog look or I'll have to hit you," she instructed. Her eyes rolled heavenward and she grumbled. "What were you thinking? I mean, it's four days away. Four. Days."

Angel scratched at the back of his head, "I know. But it isn't like we haven't been busy."

"Christmas is four days away and you haven't gotten presents for any of us," she reminded him. "That's just... I don't even know what to say... it's just... I know you're not exactly Zen about the whole shopping experience, but if you wanted help you could have asked for it before now."

"That's not exactly true," Angel pointed out.

She narrowed her eyes. "What isn't?"

"Well, I already got your present."

That got an "Aww!" out of me. There's more C/A to that scene, but I'm just going to give you the highlights. Like this cute line from Angel when Cordelia agrees to help him.

"Tell the others we're going out." She paused on the landing in front of the door and turned to give him one final stern glance. "And you owe me."

"I do," he agreed happily. "You're the... the Queen of shopping and all other... shoppers... must bown down before you."

Cordelia scowled. "Oh, give it a rest. I'll be in the car."

Cordy gives Angel gift advice.

As he turned a corner, Angel gave Cordelia a sidelong glance. "You're too quiet. It's sort of... spooky."

"I'm cogitating on your predicament."

"Cogitating?"

"Yes," she replied, raising her chin defiantly, "Or don't you think I can cogitate."

"Oh, no, absolutely. Feel free."

"So what's wrong with perfume for Fred?"

Cordelia stared at him. "You're not her boyfriend. Which pretty much guarantees you don't pay enough attention to buy her perfume.

The perfume question comes into play later on, as Angel suggests getting Fred a dress, and Cordy vetoes that idea.

Cordy gave Angel the sweetest smile. "So... did you get me a dress?"

"It isn't Christmas yet."

Her eyes narrowed. "You didn't buy me perfume did you?"

"No," Angel replied, eyes on the road. "I promise. Though I do like that vanilla-scented thing you wear sometimes."

Ah-ha! So he notices what she smells like.

The ending is a really sweet C/A ending, but I won't spoil it for ya.


"Model Behavior"

Cordelia gets a big break from a modeling agency. She shows Angel a picture of a girl in a magazine who was recruited by that agency.

"She's very attractive," Angel conceded reluctantly. "In a... leggy sort of way. I mean, if you like that kind of thing."

"Um, right, that blond, high-cheekboned, exotic kind of thing. The girl belongs in the magazines. And I belong there, too," Cordelia purred, sidling up to Angel. "Isn't it obvious?" Some people," she paused, allowing her eyes to skate down the length of his body and back up again, "just have the special something." She found herself stroking him, pushing at the the front of his hair. Has he done something different with it today? "You know, you could probably be a male model, if you wanted. What if I put in a good word for you?" Satisfied that his hair was behaving, she snaked an arm around his waist and gazed up at him questioningly.

Shaking his head, Angel disentangled himself from her uncharacteristically flirtatious embrace. "Cordelia, are you feeling okay?"

"I'm feeling just fine," she replied, stepping toward him again. "And so are you." She winked.

Fred coughed loudly, "Donut---wrong pipe."

The gang questions Cordy's sanity. Angel feels somewhat defensive :-)

"Nuh-uh. Did you see that thing she did, where she undressed Angel with her eyes?" Gunn pointed out. "Now that's just not natural."

"Okay, wait a minute---," Angel protested, clearly uncomfortable with the turn that the conversation was taking. "She may have been a little... friendly... but I don't know that she was undressing any---unnatural?"

"C'mon, man. This is Cordelia. I don't care how lonely she's been lately or when she last went out on a date. Girl's not hitting on any of us. I don't think she's even attracted to any of us. She just doesn't think of us that way... Same as we don't think of her that way."

"Well..." Angel trailed off. Well, what? he asked himself. "No, not gonna go there, he decided. "Yes. Something's up."

Whoa, this is definitely season three C/A! I think Angel likes the idea of Cordelia being interested in him... Angel speaks up again.

"Listen--- she said it herself. Her social life has taken a hit since her days ruling Sunnydale High. We're all on demon watch twenty-four/seven. We know what it's like to have no time for romance---"

"Some of us got souls to worry about." Gunn added.

"... it stands to reason she might turn her attentions to the familiar. Meaning, us," Angel finished loudly. He gazed ahead reflectively. "I happen to think that's perfectly natural."

Ohhh, I see. Angel is trying to justify his own feelings for Cordelia.

"I think you hit a nerve," Fred whispered to Gunn, who nodded, smirking. She looked over at Angel. "So you're saying you think she was hitting on you?"

"No!"

"But she could have been," he finished somewhat lamely.

Dorky Angel can be pretty cute. Anyway, later the gang kills the demon that has Cordelia under the seduction thrall and the spell is broken. Yet, still...

"Focus," Cordy commanded, rounding up her crew. "What have we learned?"

"Some models have beauty but not brians," Fred suggested carefully. "What is why it's great, Cordelia, that you'll always have Angel Investigations to keep you grounded."

"And what else?"

"Mirrors---why bother?" Angel suggested, holding open the front door.

"Now you're just talking crazy," Cordelia protested.

"I got it. Sex is bad," Gunn said.

"That we all knew," Angel agreed.

"Romance is dead," Wesley said dully, casting a forlorn glance at Inge as she giggled at something another model was saying. She seemed to be over him.

Angel threw a complete platonic arm across Cordelia's shoulder. "But we got your back."

She ruffled his hair affectionately. "That's good news." Her hands dropped mischievously behind his back.

"Ow!"

"Kidding."

LOL!


"Generous Presence"

Lilah's gift to Angel for Christmas is a mirror, just to rub his "no reflection, no place in the world" situation it in his face. Thanks to Cordy, it backfires.

"No," he repeated. "It's not going to do anything, it's not going to show me anything. It's... nothing at all." Angel slammed the mirror back down, and the glass rippled but didn't break. "It's dead. Just like me."

"You are so wrong."

He lifted his head at Cordy's sharp words. She marched over to the mirror and dragged it off the counter. "Come and look, guys. You, too, Angel." Warily, Wesley, Gunn, Fred approached her as she moved to stand at Angel's side. "Here---stand right next to me. And we'll all look in it together."

"What for?" Angel asked. He sounded almost belligerent, his usual stoicism crumbling a little in the face of the unseen wound Lilah had inflicted. "I know what I don't look like."

"Tell me what you see, Angel," Cordelia ordered. He stared to pull away but a gentle hand on his elbow---Fred's--- stopped him. "I mean it. Tell me what you see."

He cleared his throat. "You," he finally said. "And Fred, Wesley, Gunn."

"That's right." Cordelia stared into the mirror and the eyes in her reflection were piercing. "What makes a man is not just the man himself, Angel. It's everything he is---his life, his friends. Maybe you can't see yourself in this mirror, but you can see the other parts of your life, and those parts count for a lot."

I liked this, kinda a Christmas spirit. Mushy, but sincere.


"The Anchoress"

It's been a long night and Cordy is ready to go home.

Angel gestured toward the stairs. "Maybe you should just stretch out here."

She cocked one eyebrow at him. "Because you think your wage slave is going to get up in a few hours to do some typing and filing? No way. Nighttime Super-strength Vampire Guy. I'm beat and I'm taking tomorrow---or rather, the rest of the day---waaaay off."

He looked mildly hurt. "You can stretch out her so you don't have to drive when you're so sleepy."

"Oh." She scratched her head and moved her shoulders. "That so thoughtful."

"I can be Thoughtful Guy." He looked to the others. "You've seen me be Thoughtful Guy." He tried again. "Cordy, you should stay. It's too late for you to drive."

Fred nodded. "Very thoughtul."

Cordelia yawned. "Tempting as that is... and you're the only man who's tried that line on me lately... I think I'll go home."

They don't leave each other's side.

Cordelia took a breath and gazed into Angel's eyes. "If we get it open and go back, and then she dies..."

"We're stuck there," he said. "I can go alone."

She smiled grimly, "Like hell you can."

Angel began the chant, and Cordelia caught up. The shimmering returned, and Angel took her hand. Sh looked up at him and said, "Here goes nothing."

Cordelia and Angel find out that they didn't save girl in her vision. She died in the hospital.

Cordelia disconnected. They looked at each other.

She sank into his arms and began to cry.

He held her.

"It's over," he said.

"The darkest house of magicks?" she said.

He waited a beat and then he said, "That, too." He nodded at the blood-soaked stones and grass. "We need to put some distance between us and this place before we call a cab."

"I'm so tired," she said.

He picked her up in his arms and began to walk. After a few moments, Cordelia drowsed against his shoulder.

A lot of nice C/A endings in this book.


"Bummed Out"

To solve a case, Angel and Cordelia go undercover as bums. Cordy's not too happy with this plan.

"Look alive, Cordy," Angel said with another nudge.

She opened her eyes to give him a queenly frown. "I could say the same to you."

"Touch-y," he said, recoilig a little more than necessary, that startled puppy-dog look in his eyes. She hated that. At least when he went all broody, she knew it waas usually safe to ignore him.


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