Angel sighed to himself as he laid flat on his back on Cordy’s couch, staring at the darkened ceiling of her apartment. It was quiet this late at night, save for the ticking of a nearby clock, and the occasional sound made by Phantom Dennis as he went about his inexplicable haunting business. Or the sound of Cordy getting up and walking around, though that didn’t happen often. After all, HE was the night person… not her.
This, however, was a good thing. Night was his time to think. Even to ‘brood’ as Cordy constantly accused him of doing. And sure, sometimes he did. Like when he thought of Buffy. Or of the vague hope of becoming human some day. But not all of his thoughts were broody…
Not ALL of them. Really.
Meanwhile, Cordelia yawned quietly in her bedroom, then sighed. Her growling stomach had woken her up yet again. She had to teach herself NOT to be such a night person. After all, it was her best friend who was the vampire. Not her. So she had NO reason for waking up at the time Angel considered ‘lunch’ every night, just to get something to eat. She had to retrain herself. Really.
And she’d start first thing tomorrow.
Angel shifted on the couch, his sensitive ears catching the sounds of his seer moving around in the other room. She was probably on her way to the bathroom. Or to get something to eat. A midnight snack wasn’t exactly out of the question. For him, either… It had been awhile since he’d fed. But that was something that he was very careful about NOT doing around Cordelia. It would remind her what she had invited into her home, into her life. Would remind her of the monster that lurked inside him, waiting to come out.
His brow furrowed. Good thing Cordy couldn’t see him right then, he thought as he shifted his robe absently. She’d have definitely accused him of brooding.
Cordy sighed, running absent fingers through her sleep mussed hair as her other hand held her robe closed over the tank top and shorts she was using as a nightgown. She wandered into the kitchen sleepily, and tugged the fridge open, giving another small yawn. And then she made a face, because the first thing she saw in her fridge was Angel’s blood. She blinked, then corrected herself. The blood was Angel’s FOOD, but it wasn’t ‘Angel’s blood’… That just would’ve been too strange, even for him.
Angel listened absently as Cordelia made her way into the kitchen. Ah. So it WAS a midnight… He glanced at a clock and corrected himself. 2:00 am snack she was after. Well, he couldn’t really be policing her eating habits, now, could he? After all, he was her guest.
She pulled out what was left of a half gallon of milk, and poured herself a small glass, then put the milk back. Sipping at her milk, she got a slice of bread to eat along with it, then tilted her head curiously. Angel sure was being quiet in the living room… And she could’ve sworn that he would be awake in there. It was only… She glanced at a clock. Yeah. He should DEFINITELY be up.
Cordy yawned quietly, finishing her milk and bread, then slowly walked out into the living room, and peered around the end of the couch at Angel’s inert form.
Holding very still, Angel pretended to be asleep. Even going as far as to close his eyes, and stop breathing. Though he knew… Something in him knew Cordy wouldn’t buy it. One thing she was always good at was seeing through his little ruses.
God. She’s coming over here. Don’t move. Don’t even BREATHE, he thought violently to himself. But it’s rare that you can hold yourself still and look relaxed, and the vampire was no different. His body was stiff, muscles quivering very slightly at the tension. He knew it was pointless to keep the ruse up much longer, but revealing that he was awake would only cause him to have to EXPLAIN why he was playing possum to Cordy. And he couldn’t do that.
Especially since he didn’t really know why, himself.
Cordelia raised an eyebrow at the vampire, and stifled a little giggle. It was actually cute, that he thought he could pretend to be asleep like that. In fact, she was quite tempted to go over there and give him a little poke to the ribs, just to see how ‘asleep’ he would be if she played with one of his more sensitive spots. Mentally, she blinked. That hadn’t exactly sounded… right. But that was okay. She knew what she meant. And she grinned to herself as she slowly moved toward him, considering putting her little plan into action.
Inexplicably, the corner of his mouth twitched. This was just absurd. He was laying there, like a little kid trying not to be found in a game of hide-and-seek. In plain view of a woman who held no malice for him. She wouldn’t hurt him. He knew it. So why was he still playing dead?
Another mouth twitch. He didn’t have to PLAY dead, though. He was dead. And yet he was moving. And fighting an insane urge to giggle. This was just nuts. Yet he stayed still.
Cordelia grinned again. Now he was trying not to laugh. She’d seen those little twitches of his lips. He thought this was as silly as she did. And yet he was still trying to convince her that he was asleep. This was definitely cute. However, he deserved to be punished for trying to fake his Seer out. Smirking, she slowly backed away, as if she were heading back for her bedroom.
Angel relaxed very slightly at the sound of her moving away. Thank god, he mentally muttered to himself. She’s leaving. WITHOUT trying to wake me up. If there’s anyone out there listening, I owe you one. Really. As many apocalypses as you want, I’ll stop them. Without asking a single thing. Really. I’ll just-
And that’s when he heard her moving BACK toward the couch again… fast.
Giggling now, Cordelia came back at the couch at a full run, grabbed the back of it and vaulted over onto the ‘sleeping’ vampire’s bare stomach. Angel’s robe was open, revealing that he was sleeping in nothing but the robe itself and a pair of black silk boxers. But Cordy didn’t give herself time to consider her best friend’s sleeping attire… In fact, his lack of a shirt would just make what she was about to do all the more fun. Giggling like mad, she dropped her quick hands to Angel’s ribs… and began tickling him. “Oh Annngeeelll?”, she sing-songed amid her own giggles. “Are you awaaaakeee?”
A feeling like pure electricity shot through the vampire’s body, starting at his ribs and spreading all over, until his entire body felt covered with one of the most distracting, maddening sensations imaginable. He jerked beneath Cordy, laughing harder than he had in a long time, his hands snatching at hers. But the tickling threw off his normally impeccable aiming, and he missed by a mile. Finally, he just gave up everything except the instinctive wriggling as his seer tortured him.
However, something he’d never expected seemed to be happening at the same time. What she was doing… as torturous and distracting as it was… it felt good. In some odd way. Not “perfect happiness” good… Definitely not. But… nice. Laughing felt good, too… And it felt even better to hear Cordy giggling right along with him.
A playful mood washed over the vampire, and the next time his hands launched at a target, they found it dead on… And he began to fight back, tickling Cordy’s sides with the same ‘ferocity’ with which she’d attacked him.
Cordelia squealed and doubled over in an attempt to stop Angel’s counterattack. What the HELL had happened to his usual helplessness when being tickled? Laughing just as hard as he was, now, she redoubled her attack, all the while thrashing and squirming, trying to escape HIS.
But now the tickling wasn’t necessary to get either of them to laugh. Cordy’s thrashing sent them both onto the floor, though Angel managed to roll them fast enough that he hit the ground on his back, with her on top of him. Unfortunately… or, maybe, not so much… for him, the fall had also knocked the wind out of him, causing a momentary pause in his laughing… And in his tickling. But his laughter, at least, resumed with a quite literal squeal when Cordelia once again got the upper hand… or, rather, upper rib cage.
Angel howled with renewed laughter, all his efforts to fight back rendered moot now, and he just tried to roll over onto his stomach where she might not be able to reach the sensitive areas she was exploiting. “Stop! Coooorrrrdddyy! St-haha-op!”, he choked out amid bouts of helpless laughter. In fact, by this point, his unnecessary breathing had all but stalled… A human most likely would’ve passed out at this point. Angel wasn’t allowed that luxury. Not that he really minded all that much.
“No way, Mr. I’ll-Just-Pretend-To-Sleep-And-Hope-She-Goes-Away!”, Cordy laughed. “This is your punishment for trying to fake me out.” Giggling, one hand slipped down onto his stomach, lightly squeezing at the muscles there and sending Angel into another bout of thrashing along with his laughter.
The vampire curled up as best he could, winding up on his side in a semi- fetal position, still laughing, though now his laughter had turned nearly silent. His body wasn’t getting enough air to produce the real sound… and, on top of that, he was jerking in an odd way every few seconds. Occasionally accompanied by what sounded amazingly like…
Angel had laughed so hard he’d given himself the hiccups.
Cordelia stopped tickling him as her mind registered the new sound, then she laughed again, and just laid down against Angel’s still shaking form, giving him a tight hug in apology for torturing him so mercilessly. “Aww… Little ticklish vampy has the hiccups,” she whispered playfully, but at the same time, she raised one hand and stroked his hair soothingly, trying to help him calm down.
Angel hiccupped again, and if he’d been able, he would’ve been blushing bright red. But he relaxed slowly as the tickling stopped, and even let his eyes drift closed, taking a moment to enjoy the warm, soft body cuddled against him, and the sensation of a caring hand stroking his hair.
He didn’t even mind that she was probably messing it up.
He had more gel in the bathroom, anyway.
A few stray giggles still slipped out amid the quieting hiccups. Something about being tickled like that just seemed to stick with you for a few minutes. If not longer. Though Angel found himself wishing it would stay a lot longer… At least the happy, relaxed feeling that it had brought along with it. Almost inaudibly, a soft purr started to rumble from the vampire’s chest.
Now, normally, he was very careful about letting anyone hear his purr. Like feeding, it was another reminder that he wasn’t human. But at the same time, it was an indication of contentment. Happiness… And affection. Unconsciously, he nuzzled against Cordy’s hand, letting his purr slowly raise in volume, like a contented house cat.
Cordelia smiled, a little surprised by the nuzzle, but it was definitely a good thing. She laid there like that with him for a few more minutes, then slowly… and rather reluctantly… got up and stretched, smiling at Angel as he picked himself up off the floor as well. “I hope you learned your lesson, Mr. Broody,” she said, smiling at him.
Angel, to his credit, chuckled a bit. “Don’t try to fake out your Seer, or she’ll try to tickle you to death. I learned.” He got up, then offered Cordy a hand and helped her to her feet, smiling a little at her giggle.
She smiled at him, and made a show of brushing him off and straightening his robe. “So no more late night brooding, or I’ll just do it again.” She laughed softly. “I can’t BELIEVE you got the hiccups. I didn’t even know vampires could hiccup.”
Angel shook his head and gave a quiet snorting laugh. “Neither did I.” Then he surprised himself by yawning.
Smiling, Cordy gently pushed him back onto the couch. “Get some sleep… Maybe we can do something tomorrow… Go get Wesley, and just go to a movie or something. It’s supposed to be cloudy and rainy all day… No ‘poof’ from you.”
Angel tilted his head as he laid down. A short time earlier, he would’ve simply declined the offer… He wasn’t usually in the mood for movies. But now… He nodded, apparently surprising Cordy as well as himself. “Yeah… Sounds like fun.”
Cordy grinned, then leaned down and playfully kissed his cheek. “Great. I’ll see you in the morning, then.” She headed off to her bedroom, but called back over her shoulder. “Oh, and Angel? Have FUN at the movie… Or I’ll bite you.”
In spite of himself, Angel laughed at that. “Yes, oh All-Knowing-One. We wouldn’t want that.”
Cordy’s head popped back around the corner and gave him a cheeky grin. “Would you rather I tickled you again?”
Angel held up his hands in surrender. “NO. No more surprise attacks, thank you. Really.”
Cordy giggled, and disappeared into her room once more, intending to stay there this time.
Angel, for his part, relaxed on the couch and sighed again. But this sigh was different… It was a sigh of contentment.
Sometimes, it was nice to have a little surprise.
(Author’s Notes: I was browsing old archives on ff.net, and I came across two stories. One titled “Tickle Me Angel”, by Ignited, and another called “Vampire Weaknesses” by Tigerwolf. I enjoyed both stories greatly, and if you enjoyed this, I suggest you read those. And be kind… Leave the authors reviews. Who knows? You may encourage them to return to ff.net and begin writing again.
This was set after “To Sanshu in LA”. Since Angel’s first apartment blew up, he was staying with Cordy. Don’t ask me why I didn’t do a post episode fic this week… With the final episode coming up next week, I felt like doing fluffy drabble. I actually have another one coming soon, I believe. As well as the Special Features chapter for Exit. Thank you for reading and reviewing. –Darkwolf)