|R & R
Rating: PG 13
Summary: Angel pisses off Wesley and Gunn when he spends all his time obsessing over getting Cordelia the perfect gift.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately Angel belongs to another.
Distribute: Please archive anywhere you'd like.
Looking very haggard, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce and Charles Gunn discussed the behavioral patterns of a Ventra demon, arguing at certain points, and agreeing even less on others. Both men were dead tired. Both were hurting from a hard fight the night before. Both were frustrated.
Neither men were even sure they were hunting a Ventra demon. And this led to more frustration. The last thing they needed was to be interrupted with something frivolous.
"I'm not sure," Wesley sighed heavily, flipping another page in his demon encyclopedia.
"But it can't just be some regular demon dude out there," Gunn insisted. "It's got to be a newbie in town, making all this mess. And as far as I know there ain't no Ventra demons in town. People don't usually mess up where they live, if you know what I mean."
"No, people usually don't, but a demon is not a person,"
Both men looked up to see Angel enter the room.
"Hey, Angel," Gunn greeted him.
"Hey," Wesley sighed.
"I wanted to ask you a question,"
"Shoot." Gunn sat down roughly in his chair.
"What is it? Is it something serious?" Wesley raised his head from the book and adjusted his glasses. Angel stared at them apprehensively, and Wesley felt a small spit of dread begin to turn in his stomach. All the demon problems they've been having lately, he wasn't sure if he could take one more. As it was, the office was strewn with pin marked maps, books, books, and more books, piles of research materials printed off of the internet, and half empty cups of cold coffee left lying carelessly about from their attempts at surviving all-nighters. Staying up for days at a time wasn't the healthiest way to live. Living. Huh. As tired as they were, they hadn't been doing too well in that department. For weeks, their lives hadn't extended outside of this office. All of them were in need of some serious R&R.
"It's about Cordelia," Angel said sounding slightly troubled.
"Well, what is it?" Wesley asked, alarmed. This also got Gunn's complete and full attention, and the two humans leaned forward in anticipation. Angel sighed a heavy, unneeded breath and shook his head.
"She's had it so rough lately,"
"Yes, yes, we know." Wesley agreed.
"And I feel so sorry for her. The headaches, and all... Well, I just thought, I'd, you know, do something to cheer her up. Make her feel appreciated. Like, I don't know. Buy her a present, and I wanted to know what you thought I should get her."
Wesley and Gunn slowly looked at eachother and then leaned back in their chairs.
"Is that all?"
"Is that all?" Angel repeated, slightly taken aback at their lack of enthusiasm. "Guys! This is Cordy! I thought..."
"Well, Angel," Wesley said gruffly, flippantly turning away and going back to his book and research. "We've got a lot of serious issues on our hands at the moment, and Cordelia's appreciation isn't exactly one of them,"
"Dude," Gunn sighed, shaking his head at Angel.
Angel stared at them not understanding. This was Cordelia! This was their Cordy! And they didn't think she should be given a little something to make her feel better, even after all she has gone through, what with the visions and all? Why wouldn't they want to help him make her feel better? And what was more important that it could take precedence over Cordy???
Angel couldn't get it, so he asked again.
"Guys, I want it to be something that she really likes,"
"Angel!" Wesley snapped, giving him a harsh look. Gunn scowled and looked away. "Angel! Really! We are very busy here! We don't have time to discuss gifts!"
"Angel, man, this is not the time,"
"But Gunn, she hasn't really been herself lately,"
"None of us have been feeling very chipper lately," Wesley said. "Perhaps its because not a one of us has gotten any sleep!"
"Angel, I don't really care what you get her," Gunn heaved, then raising a brow added in a mumble, "Cordy likes anything, as long as it's for her,"
"But I want to get her something special, something she wouldn't get for herself,"
"For gods sakes, Angel!" Wesley finally snapped. He turned at the vampire, gesturing wildly with his hands. Angel just stared at him in quiet contemplation. "I don't care if you send her on a five star cruise or buy her a five day supply of chewing gum! All I care about at this point is getting this bloody demon, solving this case, and then relaxing for about, oh I don't know, maybe five minutes would be nice! We're tired, Angel! And we're hungry! And we don't have time for this nonsense!"
Gunn nodded his head in agreement.
Angel folded his arms and peered at the two men. "So...you're not going to help me pick something out?"
"NO" Both snapped.
Angel nodded his head, still not understanding where all of this hostility was coming from. It was just a gift! Nothing to get angry about...
He fingered one of the leather bound books on the table, and sighed.
"Well, alright, I'll think of something on my own, I guess..."
"I'm sure you will," Wesley went back to his book. Gunn opened another, and started to read from a fresh page.
"Maybe something for her apartment?" Angel thought aloud.
"That's it!" Wesley cursed, slamming the book closed. He glanced at Gunn and rose from his chair. "Gunn, I think it's time to get a bite to eat. What do you say we eat out of the office today?"
"Agreed, English," Gunn also rose from his chair, tugging on his jacket.
"Where are you going?" Angel asked curiously. "If you're hungry, I could make you some lunch,"
"No, no," Wesley said with forced niceness. "I think I also need some air...we'd invite you along," Wesley looked at the illuminated windows in slight relief. "But it's still daylight out, and I don't think you'd want to go."
Angel glanced at the windows.
"Ah, that's okay...I need to figure out an idea for this gift anyway,"
Wesley almost flew into a fit of rage at that point, but then thought better of it. He looked at Gunn, and very shortly said, "Let's go."
The two men left the office of the Hotel, the front door in the lobby swinging closed after them. Angel watched them go, and then turned back to the mess on the desk, thoughts rolling slowly in and out.
Relax. Wesley had said relax. That seemed to be the key word here. Angel wanted Cordelia to relax...
He grimaced down at the books, and remembered Wesley's bad attitude.
Wesley and Gunn needed to relax. If there was one thing Angel had learned in the past few months it was to not get so wound up over everything. Some immediate things you just couldn't control, and so it was better to roll with the punches and take it easy than trying to avoid them all together. Trying to avoid the inevitable was just frustrating.
Angel thought to himself that the guys should try to be more like him.
He paused, getting a kick at how enlightened he'd become. Must be Cordelia's influence, he guessed fondly. She was always so logical about these kinds of things...
Then he started obsessing about her gift idea again. Eventually he'd get the idea he was looking for.
Wesley and Gunn entered the Hyperion hotel an hour later, feeling a bit better after they'd eaten. As soon as they walked in the door, though, a disturbingly excited Angel assaulted them. Wes and Gunn eyed him wearily and crossed the floor towards their workstation while Angel followed them, sporting some catalog in his hand and waiving it around enthusiastically.
"I GOT IT!" He beamed, opening the catalog to a particular page. "Look at this! I got it!"
Gunn and Wesley exchanged the same disgusted expression and then turned to glare at Angel.
"Look! Look!" He said like a kid pointing out a new toy. "It's perfect! She's going to love it! I'm having it delivered this afternoon! I paid extra for priority shipping—" He shoved the magazine into Wesley and Gunn's faces and both of them shoved it away.
"Man, Angel!" Gunn snapped.
"Guys!" Angel frowned, slightly taken aback at their annoyance. "It's great. She's going to be thrilled, don't you want to know what it is?"
"Not really," Gunn smirked.
"NO," Wesley smiled sarcastically. "No, we really don't."
Angel's face fell.
"Look, Angel," Wesley said more gently, rising from his chair, and patting the vamp on the shoulder. "We don't mean to be less than enthusiastic, or cruel even, but we really don't want to hear it,"
"Yeah," Gunn interjected. "You buying Cordy a gift, what's there for us to be excited about? We work just as hard as she do,"
"We understand you want to make her feel appreciated..." Wesley tried. "It's just that... Well. We don't mean to sound so negative here, but...we feel just as stressed out as she does, as I'm sure you do, so it's not really the right time to be rubbing it in our faces about how happy she's going to be with YOU when YOU get her a gift because YOU feel like she deserves it. Really, Angel, it all sounds petty to us,"
"Guys!" Angel gawked, slightly hurt. "Come on!"
"Forget about it, it's fine," Wesley started grabbing up books and supplies, and looked over to Gunn. "Gunn, lets take this stuff somewhere where we can get something done,"
"You're apartment or mine?" Gunn said caustically.
"It doesn't matter, as long as its not here,"
They gathered their things and headed out the door past Angel. He watched them, puzzled, still clutching the catalog in his fingers.
"But guys! I think you're going to really like this!" He tried. All he got was the back of Wesley's head as he exited, and a look of disdain from Gunn as he followed. Angel stood alone in the hotel, silent for a moment or two, before he opened the page again and grinned at the picture. He let out a little chuckle; it just made him so giddy!
Cordelia finally arrived to work very late that afternoon. She drudged in carrying her big purse full of pain relievers, Alka Seltzer, and a big, pink bottle of Pepto Bismol. The side effects of the visions had started not only to include migraine headaches, but heartburn and nausea as well, and so now Cordelia never left home without a solid line of defense.
She dropped her purse on the sofa, and then slumped down tiredly next to it, closing her eyes.
At the sound of her entrance, Angel came bounding out of one of the back rooms with an enormous grin on his face.
"Cordy! I'm so glad you're here!"
She opened her eyes and peered up at him, offering what little smile she had left to give and then made the effort to sit up respectively.
"You are?" She asked.
"Yeah!" He beamed. "I have something to show you!" He held out his hand expectantly.
With a little moan, Cordelia began whining, questioning why she had to get up just now.
"I got you something. I promise you're going to love it! But you have to come with me!"
She perked up. "You got me something?"
"What?" Her mouth widened in an anticipating smile.
"You have to come see," He beckoned.
"Why'd you do this?" She asked as she placed her hand in his and he helped her to her feet. Cordelia suddenly came alive.
"Because," He stated simply. "I understand how bad you've been feeling lately, and I wanted to do something special for you. Follow me."
"Really?" She beamed. He was now leading her towards a door to one of the empty back rooms.
Cordelia's smile had easily graduated into a grin as she wondered just what it was that was he had waiting for her there. She asked him a second time what it was, but Angel wouldn't say. He just kept smiling profusely, and there was an excited little skip in his step.
That, more than the unsolicited gift, surprised Cordelia the most.
"Okay." He said, letting his hand fall away from hers. "Close your eyes."
"Oh, it's that big a surprise?" She asked, raising her brow, but doing as he'd asked.
"You're going to be so excited," He swore quietly as he gripped the doorknob and started to push open the door. He paused though, staring at her face, and then another thought occurred to him. "No peeking, Cordy!"
"I'm not peeking!"
"Yes, you are! Here..."
He came around behind her, and slipped his hands over her eyes. This brought an unexpected squeal out of Cordelia, at the coolness of his hands, but she grinned and sighed, and allowed him to lead her into the room, blind.
"Okay," He whispered into her ear, his smile even evident on his tone. "I want you to know that you're very important to me, to all of us, and this is something that you could definitely use, but its something I know you would never get yourself,"
"Angel!" She said exasperatedly, beginning to tremble with excitement. "What is it! Tell me!"
"I'm going to count to three,"
"Can't I just see it?"
"You'll have to wait till three..."
"Now, you're just being mean!"
"No, I'm not. Now be still!" Angel started a very slow countdown.
Cordelia began to jitter with nervousness.
Was he ever going to get to three?
"Three!" Cordelia blurted out, suddenly shoving his hands away. Angel stumbled back, but caught himself, and Cordelia's eyes went wide.
She started to giggle. As did he.
"For me???" She asked.
"For you." He confirmed.
And then she started to jump up and down screaming in exuberance.
"ANGEL! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!" She grabbed him around the neck and kissed him square on the lips! Angel sputtered in surprise, and now both of them were jumping. "Oh my god!" She squealed. Obviously, he'd chosen well. "Angel!!! We have to try it out! We HAVE to try it out!"
Later, not finding any breaking news on the case, Gunn and Wesley returned to the hotel to return the books and find out what was going on with the crew for the evening.
"I wonder what he got her?" Gunn said as they brought the books inside and stacked them uselessly on the table.
"I don't know," Wesley sighed. "And I don't know if I care to find out, I mean really!"
"If I didn't know better, I'd say Angel was sucking up!"
"Well, I do know better!" Said the ex-watched. "And to tell the truth, I don't think you're observation is that far off!"
"So he is sucking up!" Gunn said in amusement. "Figures. Blood sucker. Sucking. That's what he's good at,"
"Suck is right," Wesley agreed. "Just in the vernacular use of the word. This whole situation sucks! Why should she get all the attention and empathy, it's not as if we don't suffer our own wounds in all of this,"
"It do suck. It sucks something fierce! Cordy gets a headache, and she gets showered with affection. We get stabbed and beat down, and all we get is a clap on the back? What is that? I think someone's got a favorite."
"Yes, I agree!"
"And you know Cordy eats it up!"
"She certainly does!"
"I think the vamp has either gone completely insane, or he's in love with her."
"Ha, love, yes!" Wesley snorted.
"Cause I don't know no man who would try to earn as many brownie points with a woman like this!"
"I wonder if he's finally figured out that it's just easier this way, finally just succumbed to her tangents,"
"You mean like just gave in?"
"Cordy's a very demanding person, all right."
"Yes, she is."
"And she do whine a lot."
"Maybe he's still afraid she doesn't accept him back," Wesley mused thoughtfully. "It's possible he's still insecure around her, and is only doing all of this to win her over,"
"If that's true, then I wonder what he got her?" Gunn thought.
Both men stopped and speculated in silence.
"And you had to go and put that five star cruise idea in his head," Gunn said jealously. Wesley frowned.
"I don't really think Angel would spend so much on something as simple as a gift."
"I hope not, if he do, the mans definitely insane."
"He probably purchased some clothing or maybe even some moderately priced jewelry,"
"Cordy definitely likes that."
"Ah, yes she does."
"Hmn, well anyway, it'd be nice if we got something once in a while," Gunn slumped down in a chair and blew out a breath. "Rewards for getting our butts kicked, a little something to show he cares?"
"Ah, well, don't count on that." Wesley smiled. Now they were just picking on Angel. Gunn laughed.
"Maybe if we were like Cordelia we could make out with a pleasure cruise too!"
"Perhaps," Wesley speculated. "But I don't think I could handle the loud prints she wears,"
"Or those shoes!"
"Or make that annoying, high pitched squealing,"
And then one of her high-pitched squeals caught their attention.
"What was that?" Gunn asked, sitting up straight and staring towards the back hallway.
"Cordelia, I suppose," Wesley grumbled. "Maybe Angel has just given her her gift."
They stared at the hallway and then low classical music began to float from somewhere back there. Their curiosity got the better of them and both men stood.
"Maybe we should go see what she got," One said.
Gunn and Wesley followed the music to one of the empty rooms behind the offices. The door was closed, and both stopped to try to listen to what was happening behind it. All they got was the music, louder now that they were near it.
"ANGEL? CORDELIA?" They called out.
"In here guys!"
They gave eachother baffled expressions and then one of them flung the door open wide. Both stepped in, and their mouths dropped when they took in the sight before them.
"ANGEL! CORDELIA! WHAT ON EARTH!"
"OH. My. GAWD. He didn't',"
"HE MOST CERTAINLY DID!"
Cordelia and Angel were quite happily relaxing in bubbling Jacuzzi, both sipping champagne and grinning in delight.
"HEY GUYS!" Cordelia grinned, holding up her glass. She rose slightly in the water, revealing the top of her bright red bikini, and swam forward to the edge where she beckoned them in. "LOOK WHAT ANGEL GOT ME! ISN'T IT AWESOME!!!"
Cordelia turned and gave Angel the biggest, brightest smile they'd ever seen, and he grinned back cheesily and took another ship of champagne.
"I LOVE IT!" She shouted, swooshing around, splashing the water before returning to her seat across from Angel. She turned around and retrieved a big, fat, red strawberry from a silver platter behind her, and before popping it into her mouth, gloated,
"Its just so relaxing. It makes my headaches just disappear! Isn't Angel just the greatest!!!"
"It's very nice," Wesley said blandly.
"A kick in the pants," Gunn scathed.
"It was very thoughtful of him to think of you," Wesley forced, the heat rising in his face.
"It looks expensive,"
"It certainly does,"
"Must've cost a couple of G's at least,"
"Angel," Wesley said. "Just how much did this cost?"
"Not a whole lot," Angel smiled.
"Well, just how much?"
"Wesley," Angel said nervously. "It's a gift. Who cares? The cost isn't what's important."
"So. Humor. Me."
Angel looked shyly away from Cordelia's curious eyes, feeling funny talking about the price right in front of her. He looked to Wesley and Gunn, now standing fiercely near the door, and quickly climbed out of the spa.
He crossed the floor, the water dripping down his legs, leaving a trail of water across the tiles. He hurried quickly up to Wesley as Cordelia ate another strawberry, and without his knowledge, allowed her eyes to linger on his clinging drenched black swimming trunks. Cordy raised a brow thinking this gift gave a little more than she'd originally thought.
Wesley and Gunn crossed their arms and stared at him sourly. Angel leaned in and whispered,
"I think she loves it."
"Oh, she definitely loves it," Gunn scathed, leaning forward to watch Cordelia swim happily in circles in the bubbling warm water.
"The price, Angel," Wesley repeated. "How much did it cost?"
Angel smiled sheepishly.
"About four thousand."
"FOUR THOU—" Gunn stumbled back.
"MY GOD, MAN, are you MAD!" Wesley launched into a personal verbal assault, accusing Angel of being crazy and frivolous and accusing him of trying to buy Cordelia's love. Gunn added to the attack, letting Angel know just how much it irked him that he could be so generous with her and so stingy with them. Both men went on a rant at how sick of it they had become, and one of them even went so far as to say maybe they just should just go their separate ways if Angel was going to be this insulting.
Angel stepped back in shock.
"Angel! How daft can you be!" Wesley nearly shouted.
"It's not what you think!" Angel tried.
"Angel, you suck! Big time! You just...oh, you...! Man, you really take the cake!" Gunn scowled and turned to walk away. Wes, grumbling, followed.
"Guys!" Angel said helplessly. "It's for you too! I thought it was something everyone could use! You guys seem so tired all the time. And I just thought...I know how hard you work, all of you, and I figured...I wanted to get something we could all use, and I thought, sore muscles, stressful days...it would help...it was the least I could do to show my gratitude!"
This stopped the men in their tracks.
They turned back to face Angel, their anger slowly melting away. Cordelia glared at them from her corner of the spa. She didn't know what their problem was, but she didn't like it. And she waited patiently for their apologies to the warm, generous, and kind loving man she called "best friend", and now decided "favorite friend". Cordelia poured herself another glass of champagne though, while she waited. Why let the bubbly get flat?
"Guys?" Angel said helplessly.
Wes and Gunn looked at eachother, embarrassed now at the way they'd behaved.
"Angel," Wesley started slowly, taking a step back towards him.
"Hey, man, we're sorry," Gunn shook his head regretfully.
Angel's face lit up.
"Its okay." He said happily. "It's okay."
Wesley offered him a small smile, and Gunn slowly grinned.
"You alright, man."
"Thanks," Angel said bashfully.
"So now that things are okay between you guys, why don't you GET IN THE SPA?" Cordelia smirked. She swam around, letting her body float in the soothing bubbles and then sat up again, watching them expectantly.
"Well..." Wesley muttered, eyeing Gunn. "OKAY!" He grinned.
"Great!" Cordy smiled.
Angel smiled too, and in a run, jumped back into the water with Cordelia. She giggled at the splash and splashed him back. He splashed her and she poured him another drink.
Wesley and Gunn came over to the side of the Jacuzzi and started to get undressed. Angel and Cordelia halted in their play, and looked up at them blankly.
Gunn and Wesley paused. "What?"
"TRUNKS???" Cordelia blared, pointing over at a bag on a table.
"Oh," Wesley stopped, embarrassed. He hadn't even thought of that.
"Angel got trunks for everybody...go and change." Cordy scowled.
The two men went over and reaching into the bag, pulled out the trunks in their size. Both separated in search of a changing room, and when they left, Cordelia turned to stare at Angel.
"They're so weird." She said. Angel shrugged.
"I think they've been working too hard...
"They probably need a vacation."
"R&R does a body good...Strawberry?" She asked, passing him the plate.
"Thank you." He smiled.