Title: Another Word 1/1
Author: ebonbird (email@example.com)
Summary: So Angel took exception to one of Cordelia's figures of speech...
Spoilers: 'Provider' (US Season 3)
January 27, 2002
Having finished feeding, Connor blinked at Angel. Angel blinked back, his mouth slightly open as he gazed at his son.
Connor's bottle rested against the fullness of Cordelia's cheek. He'd discovered her nostril and had managed to tuck one delicate finger, a Connor tendril, into Cordelia's nose. Her sleeping face - all smooth skin, jewel rich curvilinear bones and lancet brows over eyes that were wide and lucid even when shut - rumpled into something altogether more appealing when she rubbed her head against the pillow in an unconscious bid to roll her nose out of Connor's way.
Angel's eyes narrowed and his open mouth curved into a thoughtless smile. The bottle rolled off her cheek and formula leaked from the nipple, trailed glistening on her chin. Angel reached over the strong and sturdy body of his fragrant baby boy - Connor with his dewy mouth, pudding chin, down soft cheeks and deep blue eyes - closed his fingers around the plastic bottle, bore it away from Cordelia, arced it over Connor, and set it on the ground; all silently, all without disturbing the air over the living beings in his bed.
Angel's hand returned to the glistening trail on Cordelia's cheek. He grazed it with his thumb, slid his thumb into his mouth, savored her heat, the taste of it. His eyes closed and contentment put a smile on his face: a beat - Connor's tiny strong pulse, another, and another, and behind it, fiercer and deeper, the draw of Cordelia's heart.
Connor smelled a lot like Cordelia, but purer, even when his tiny diaper was full.
Connor made a lovely sound - soft and rich - and then another before creamy formula and baby-spit frothed his working mouth. Angel reached between Connor and Cordelia for the cloth she'd been using to keep Connor clean while feeding him. He cupped his baby's back and rolled, pulling Connor onto his chest and dabbing Connor's face. He kissed the crook of Connor's neck; gently tugged the hood of Connor's onesie in place; grazed the baby's smooth forehead with his lips; and blinked back tears as he remembered Holtz's youngest - Daniel.
Angel rose, leaving Cordelia lying on her side. He transferred Connor to his left arm, cradling him in a football hold. Sidled around the bed, skimmed the mules from Cordelia's feet. Her toes curled and flexed. There was a shadow of a bruise on her instep.
Holding Connor in one arm and the shoes with the other hand, Angel swiveled at the waist, ball-bearing smooth. Connor stirred, beginning to whine. Angel bent, bit the dangling corner of the comforter Cordelia lay upon, pulled it up and over her legs, stopping at her knees.
His smile to Connor was all, 'Go, me.'
Angel took him to the nursery. Connor dozed while Angel taped the diaper securely. He sponged Connor's hands, face, neck, wiped him dry and dressed him a nightgown. He tickled the sole of Connor's foot through the opening of the gown as he drew the drawstring, cinching it with a flourish. Baby powder had sprinkled the cuffs of Angel's shirt and shook onto Connor as Angel lay him in the crib.
"You alright there, little guy?" Angel asked, leaning his arm along the rail.
Connor's gaze, still unfocused and deeply blue, tracked slowly. Angel helped him out by bringing his face closer and Connor's gaze steadied.
"It gets cold in here but the books said you should be fine."
Several slow blinks, and Connor's gaze began to drift. Angel traced the contours of Connor's slight nose. His tiny nostrils were of a size with his pupils.
Overwhelmed, Angel reached into the crib and cradled Connor to himself. Careful not to examine what he was doing, Angel strolled Connor back to bed. Angel sat on the bed, as far away as he could and still be on it, lay Connor down in the space between him and Cordelia, opened the drawer beside him, pulled out the first book his hand touched - a 2002 address book of heroines.
"Cyber chipmunks on ice," Angel murmured with a glance at the snoring hero beside him and began to read of spies and aviators, scientists and queens.
Angel sang long after Connor had dropped back into sleep in a clean diaper and clean gown. The other nightgown and diaper were wrapped in a plastic bag and shoved deep in the bottom of the trash bin. Baby powder dusted the front of Angel's pants with geometric precision.
He heard the box spring of his bed bump the wall when Cordelia woke.
"Ow!" she exclaimed softly then sleep-slurred, "So much for shoes, dammit." The bed creaked minutely as she dropped back onto it.
He blew a kiss at his little magna cum, turned on the baby monitor and backed out of the nursery.
Cordelia sprawled across his bed diagonally, her foot at the head. The ruffled edge of her blouse rode high on her back. The edge of her tattoo swirled over the base of her spine and slid into her black slacks.
"Hey," he said quietly, his hands deep in the pockets of his pants, working their contents: change in one, a small box in the other.
She looked back at him, over her shoulder. "Can I get a ride home?" Her voice was muzzy.
His glance darted to the upper left hand corner of his field of vision, then the lower left hand corner.
The floppy material of her cuffs, obscured her foot.
He walked to the bed, hands still in his pockets. "How's that feel?" he asked.
Wincing, she probed at the bruise. "It's not broken."
Angel blinked. Almost, he swallowed. "It hurts?"
Nodding, she wrapped her palms over the injury and squeezed.
Angel seated himself at the head of the bed, tucked one leg beneath the one stretched to the ground, tossed Cordelia a pillow, and then another. His cool palm cupped her heel, his fingers feathered over her tender instep.
"We should've put this on ice as soon as we got home," he pronounced.
"You say that now! But then it was all, 'count it again!'"
He circled her ankle with three fingers of each hand. "Technically this is supposed to be a four finger stroke," skin rippled beneath his touch, muscles loosened. The tingle traveled up Cordelia's leg and ended at her ears.
Angel's hand stilled. "Did I hurt you?"
Clearly, over the baby monitor, she heard Connor smack his lips and sigh. She shivered again.
"No, it . . . " she reached across her body and stilled the large, cool hands slicking her mind clear of thought. "Angel, that eunuch comment of mine?"
He swallowed and scowled, furrowed his brow.
She shook her head. "We need another word."
Thanks to the beta-people, MaybeA, ev como, cam, John Duffin & Yahtzee. Thanks so much for going over every word with me.
Of course, stray commas and other grammatical errors are mine.
Feedback is muchly appreciated - firstname.lastname@example.org
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