Author: Kat Lee
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words: Monday Flash Challenge: Sunburn
Word Count: 626
Date Written: 5 May 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
He tried not to look at the bright, red splotches on the skin her tight, low-cut blouse revealed. Everyone was like a slap in his face, every mark a reminder of what he could never have and what he could never give her. He tried to ignore Cordy’s soft cries as she moved around the office, but every, “Ow,” brought his brooding gaze back to her.
“What?” she asked one time, catching him watching her. “It hurts.” It did hurt, more than he could ever tell her. But he just swallowed the words that rose in his throat and the need that burned inside of him. “It’s not like I meant to fall asleep,” she continued, oblivious to his pain. “I was trying to perfect my tan for that photoshoot. Now I’m screwed. They’ll never want this skin.”
“I’m going out,” he muttered, unable to take one more moment alone with her in his office’s close quarters.
“Fine. Whatever,” she snapped, taking his decision as a way to get away from her and be able to ignore her. Of course, it was exactly that but not for the reasons she believed. He wanted nothing more than to gather her gently into his arms and erase the pain of her body with the pleasure of his lips. He’d learned a good number of things about the art of kissing over the centuries he’d been alive, but the thing he’d learned the most, and the hardest, was that kissing always brought pain. As Angelus, it had been his victims’, but as himself, forever cursed with that beast inside of him, it instead promised pain not only for himself but for whosoever he dared to love as well.
He wouldn’t do that to Cordelia. She thought she was in pain now, but she’d never known true pain. He’d seen her when she’d almost died back in Sunnydale. He’d peeked in on her more nights than she would ever care to know, far many more than he should have. He’d worried over her survival, and now again he worried for her. He couldn’t move on his desires. He couldn’t bring her more pain.
Yes, it was far better those red spots be from a sunburn than blood. It was far more better that he stay as far away from her as possible. It was far better that he never admit to the love he felt every time he watched her. He growled. He had needed her to take that photoshoot. He needed the world to realize what he already knew -- that Cordelia Chase was the greatest beauty they’d ever witness -- and take her away from him. He needed her to be safe, and that meant staying as far away from her as he possibly could.
Angel stopped, dropping into a fighting stance, as Vampires circled him. “What’s this?” one of the younger Vamps snarled. “Pops done walked into the wrong neighborhood.”
“No.” Angel shook his head and allowed himself to grin. “I came to the right place.”
“Really? What are you looking for,” another taunted, “your funeral?”
“Nope.” Angel smiled slyly. Something dangerous danced in his dark eyes as, for a little while, he dared to let himself go. “Yours.” With a flick of his wrists, he grabbed the two stakes that shot out of his sleeves and dusted the first two Vampires. He spun around, dusted two more, and continued to fight as he whiled away the hours until sunrise when he would retire for the day and Cordelia would go about where she actually belonged, in the daylight, among other humans, as a shining example of the best they could be, and far away from the nightmares and pain which were all he could ever really promise her.