In the midst of life we are in death. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to
dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection into eternal life . . . .
--Book of Common Prayer "The Burial of the Dead" (1662)
She remembers the turning. Later, when it is done and she has fed, and been stroked and cosseted by her new family, she lays in the gray light of the room and remembers.
Gunn and Wesley in battle. Sounds of grunts as weapons hit flesh, as human fights demon. She stands back at their insistence, worried that their fear for her safety will make them careless in the match and cost them their lives. Instead it costs her hers.
Darla appears ghostlike in the silence of her approach, and her ice cold fingers are around Cordelia's neck before she can do more than draw the breath to scream. Stake knocked away as easily as one would dust a speck from their sleeve. Pulled into the shadows and pressed against the wall, and drained.
She remembers how it had felt like all her warmth had been drawn to the place where Darla's fangs pierced her.
How her heart pounds rabbit-quick at first, the beat resounding in her ears as she struggles in vain to free herself. The rapid thudding slowing then to the lazy drone of summer bees, and she is coated in their honey. The world spins down, goes soft and fuzzy. The fear seeps from her with her blood, or so it seems. And when Darla's mouth leaves her neck, Cordelia feels an aching sense of loss. Even as she falls to her knees, she reaches out for the tiny golden woman to return to her.
She wonders if Darla had planned to turn her, or if she has simply been taken with the begging sounds of Cordelia's cries and gives in to a whim. Her smile betrays nothing as she kneels and draws Cordelia into slim arms, pulls her own blouse away and bares a white breast. The deft fingers with their sharp little nails make a tiny slice by the rosebud nipple before slipping into the dark strands of Cordelia's hair and urging her up to suckle. Cordelia latches on, hungry as any newborn, and drinks deeply.
Her eyes flutter closed, but she recalls the contented sighs that Darla uttered, and how the blood is warm and sweet. The rush of it through her veins as demon pours in and soul flies away is electrifying. And she died there, thinking of nothing but honey and bees.
Cordelia still wants to sleep when the sun finally goes down, but Darla and Dru set to awaken her with determined hands and clever mouths. She surrenders herself to their ministrations as they play with her like a doll. A well loved doll, however, for she is petted and pampered, stroked and kissed. Being intimate with the women is sex like nothing she has ever known before. She has little experience to base this on; a series of urgent and breathless encounters with Xander, sweet smell of boysweat and the knowledge that she was the one who made him tremble exciting her beyond words. A one night stand with a man who left her impregnated and empty, an encounter she chooses to forget and makes pains to hide whenever it tries to creep back up on her.
But that was then, when Cordelia wore her own skin, and this is now. This is all languid caresses and soft kisses, dark, moist spaces to be explored. There is nothing hard about Dru or Darla. Until the crescendo when they are all hard everywhere, tooth and claw, arched backs and pierced thighs, and bright pleasurepain. Tasting of nectar and blood.
Dru is pleased with the new member of the family, and claps her hands in glee as Cordelia dresses and stalks the room, senses on overload, hunger coiled in her belly and burning her skin. Dreams of humanity fade in the brilliant clarity of that urge, that drive. Darla lingers as she always does, drawing out the tension and making it clear how things will run. Alpha Bitch in the pack, and wearing it well. Cordelia does not want to challenge her; she wants to feed.
"Cordelia, dearest." Darla runs a slender finger over her lips and smiles. "What are you in the mood for tonight? I'll let you choose, I'm feeling generous."
Cordelia's sable brows arch and she smiles. "How kind of you. Mother." Perhaps she does want to challenge, just a bit. Dru giggles quietly but nothing more, watching with her large eyes and seeing everything.
"Yes, and it would be wise of you to remember that, Childe. I'm not given to generosity often." Darla shrugs on a soft jacket of lambskin leather and heads out, her pack behind her.
It was so simple to take him, really. He wanted desperately to believe that she was still his friend despite the obvious. Now he'll never get the chance to regret the hesitation.
Cordelia reclines on the bed beside Wesley's limp body, head propped on her arm, watching the tiny movements of his chest as he draws shallow breaths. He is quite unconscious, and hovering near death. She wonders if he will last until Angel arrives, or if he'll spoil the fun after all. His heart is so fragile, fluttering like a bird inside his chest as it strains to continue beating, to pump the blood that is no longer there where it is needed so desperately to sustain him.
It will be up to Angel where Wesley goes from here.
Angel is late, much later than Cordelia expected him to be. She has been as obvious as possible, leaving a splash of blood on Wesley's door when she took him, cutting her own wrist and smearing it beside the first mark. Letting him know exactly what has happened and who has taken one of his humans. She actually expected him to be here before they had gotten a chance to play. She is rather delighted to be wrong. Wesley was fun to play with, his fair skin betraying his fear and his desperation. And his sadness at her fate.
Finally, though, finally Angel is here. He's in the front door of the hotel and up the steps to this little room with a speed Cordelia has never known him to display before. He smells them, of course. She scents him as well - fear, and fury, and panic, and oh...it's so delicious it makes her shudder. She is smiling when he walks through the door.
"Hello, boss," she purrs at him, grin on her face that doesn't reach her eyes. His eyes flicker between Wesley and the bloody sheets before returning to hers. There's fire in those brown depths, righteous wrath.
"Daddy is angry," hisses Dru from the corner. Darla laughs, little crystal shards tumbling into the stillness of the room.
"Cordelia, I'll tear you apart if you touch him again." Angel's words are slow and measured, heavy with his barely contained anger.
"Touch him like this?" she asks, running a fingertip over the bite marks on Wesley's neck, nails lethal and ready to slice through in an instant and end the game. She doesn't even look at him. Instead she runs her hands through Wesley's sweat dampened hair, tugs him so he's facing her with eyes closed and lashes dark on his too-pale cheek. "Like this, Angel?"
"Stop it right now." He's growling, rocking on the balls of his feet, but not willing to make the move until he can be sure Wesley cannot be saved otherwise.
"It's so sad, Angel. It really is. You have such incredibly bad taste when you lose your heart. I mean it! First the Slayer and now a Watcher." Cordelia shakes her head, tsk's at him like she's scolding a child. She leans down to lick a drop of blood from Wesley's neck, fresh and leaking from her moving him about. "He tastes just as strong and brave as you imagined he would. I know you've imagined it. I can smell it on you."
Darla steps forward now, leans over to smile into Angel's face. "She's quite a treasure, isn't she? Cordelia rivals you in your prime, Angelus. She goes for the jugular with such finesse." She glances back at the bed where Cordelia lies, lapping again at Wesley's neck. "Literally."
"Whatever game you're playing here is not going to happen, Darla. When this is over, you'll all be dust."
"Darling boy, you have such high ambitions. Can't you see that you're losing your pets one at a time? First your Seer, and now your Watcher. Have you considered that the Powers might have been having a joke at your expense...and this is how it's all supposed to be?" Darla looks supremely confident, as she always does, regal bearing of a queen. She smiles at him, head cocked to the side. She can see the darkness rising in him, knows the smell of the Watcher's blood is driving him to distraction.
Cordelia is moving now, pulling Wesley onto her lap. "Are you going to watch me drain him dry, Angel?" Drops her shoulder, lets her strap fall over her arm, touches herself teasingly when she sees his eyes riveted to the motions of her hands. "Do you want a taste before I do it?"
She's smiling, double invitation in her words, sees him struggling with the thoughts that are racing through his mind. He takes a step toward the bed and Darla catches him by the forearm, tugging him hard.
"No tasting for Angelus, my pet. Now stop playing with the man and finish it."
Angel goes mad then, roaring as he leaps for the figures on the bed. But Darla is prepared and Dru is there as well, crooning in his ear as they hold him in their steely grip. Dru's nonsense syllables fade in and out with the slowing beat of Wesley's heart.
thud " ...the stars tell me..."
thud "...moonlight and bloodshine..."
thud "...dance and die, Daddy..."
... "...and we're all burning in the sun, burning and laughing..."
And Wesley is gone, he's gone forever, no more earnest blue eyes. No more tea at midnight, no more blushing glances, no more chances to try and see if it could have been ... something.
Cordelia lets the body slip to the floor, bounces up brightly and twirls over to where Angel has dropped to his knees. Bends down and presses a kiss to his head, then grabs his hair and pulls it back with a violent wrench. Kisses him again hard and deep, letting the last drops of Wesley slip into his mouth, smiling when she feels him suckle at her tongue to take all he can despite himself.
When she breaks away, she lets go of his hair and watches his head fall forward. Darla and Dru release him and he slips bonelessly down, begins to crawl towards Wesley. Darla slips an arm around Cordelia's waist and pulls her close, Dru coming up on the other side to crook her chin over Cordelia's shoulder. They watch silently as Angel gathers Wesley's body gently, tenderly, into his arms, smoothing the tangled hair back from his forehead.
Cordelia sighs. "That's so pathetic. Can we go now?"
Darla nods. "I think so, dearling."
When Angel looks up, they are gone. Only then does he allow himself to cry for Wesley.
And for Cordelia.