The End of the Tether. 1-3   Leave a comment

Title: The End of the Tether
Author: Gilly
Posted:
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Rating: NC17 eventually I think.
Category: AU Adventure and smut of course
Content: A little A/B to start then most definitely A/C
Summary: Angel and Cordy muse on their lives since graduation. One day something happens to change them both. Spike left after Acathla and didn’t return.
Spoilers: vaguely BTVS to season 6.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: AO and archive, any other please let me know.
Notes:
Thanks/Dedication:
Feedback:yes please, love it.


Chapter 1

‘Dawn get up now’ Buffy yelled, up the stairs.

In her bedroom Angel groaned and buried his head under the pillow, “damn it, forgot the earplugs again,” he muttered. He tried to block out the noise and recapture the dream he’d been having before Buffy’s shouting awakened him.

It was the same every morning, either Buffy yelling at Dawn to get up, or Dawn yelling at Buffy about any one of a number of topics they constantly argued about. This was the main reason for the earplugs, he couldn’t understand why she didn’t realise she woke him every morning. She knew he patrolled until just before dawn and so had only been in bed a short while before she had to get up. He thought she would have been a bit more considerate, but the more time he spent with the petite blonde slayer the more he realised how self-centred she was. He hardly heard Willow and Tara when they went down and made breakfast, they at least realised he was sleeping, or at least trying to.

He groaned again and rolled on to his back, knowing he’d be unable to sleep until the house was quiet again. He couldn’t believe how he, a master vampire, half of the former ‘Scourge of Europe’ had ended up as housekeeper, cook and general bottle washer, to a house full of women, one of whom was a vampire slayer, no less!

***

Angel stared up at the ceiling and thought about his un-life over the last few years. It had all started to go terribly wrong the night he had slept with Buffy on her seventeenth birthday, up until then they were in love and even though he knew they shouldn’t even be together, he couldn’t resist the attraction of the pretty blonde slayer.

After making love they had fallen asleep in each other’s arms, when he had awakened later that night he could feel his soulleaving him and afraid for his love, he stumbling outside, had run away from the still sleeping girl. His demon had taken control and for the next few months, it had made her and ‘the Scoobies’, her friend’s life’s hell, until finally Angelus had tried to send the world to hell, by opening Acathla a large stone demon he’d had brought to his mansion. Thankfully Buffy, with a little help from Spike had managed to stop him, just as Willow had restored his soul, but it was too late and instead of ensuring his blood fell on the portal that Acathla was opening to close it, Buffy had stabbed him through the heart and sent the confused vampire through it, and straight to hell.

After many century’s relegated in the hellish dimension. He was returned for some still unknown reason, to the small town of Sunnydale, only to find little time had passed on earth. At first he’d been totally feral and after Buffy had managed to capture him she had to chain him up in the remains of his old mansion, bringing him blood every couple of days. He now thought it amazing that he hadn’t been staked while he was chained and helpless. He supposed it was his reputation as Angelus that put the other demons off trying to move into his ruin.

One night he somehow sensed she was in grave danger and yanking hard had broken the rafter he was attached to and gathering up the handcuffs and chains he wore had raced to her rescue. This was the start of his return to humanity and so when they returned successfully from the high school, later that night, she had had left him unchained and it was the beginning of a new era for them.

But Buffy never quite forgave him for the things his demon had said and done, she wasn’t comfortable with him drinking blood in front of her, so he made sure he always ate when everyone was out. Giles hadn’t forgiven him for murdering his girlfriend, the gypsy who was trying to restore his soul. Xander never liked him anyway, and now took great delight in tormenting the dark haired vampire at every opportunity. In fact the only one who was remotely nice to him was Willow, it was she who had restored his soul and he felt a certain bond with the red haired witch. He knew she was going through a rough time with Tara, and felt a certain sympathy for her.

During the next year Angel had been poisoned by a bolt shot by Faith, the renegade slayer. It had nearly finished him off, but Buffy had found out slayers blood could cure him and after unsuccessfully trying to capture Faith, she insisted he drank from her instead. He’d been so delirious when she demanded he drink from her, that he had been unable to resist. He had nearly drained her and taken her to the hospital straight away, but had received the cold shoulder from the Scoobies again. The next day Angel had helped them defeat the mayor with his quest to destroy the world on graduation day

Angel and some of the others had decided to leave Sunnydale, especially after Buffy’s mother had visited him demanding that he leave her daughter alone. But after the trauma of the graduation Buffy had begged him to stay and because he felt so guilty about nearly killing her, had done so. Cordelia and Wesley had left and he still thought he should have gone with them. He often wondered where Wesley had gone, he knew he’d been sacked as a watcher and thought he had gone back to England.

The vampire had thought that once she went to college, Buffy would make new friends and move on so he would be able to leave. It was just too tempting for him to have her close but unattainable. He couldn’t risk losing his soul again, little did he realise his soul was bound; Jenny Calendar had changed the spell Willow had read out, so he couldn’t loose it again. The gypsy tribe had decided he did more good as Angel, and didn’t want the unsouled Angelus popping up causing mayhem if Angel achieved perfect happiness again.

Buffy had moved into a college room with Willow for the first term. But then her Mother, Joyce had fallen ill, so she decided to go back home to care for her Mother and her kid sister Dawn.

Willow seemed to recover from her grief at the end of her relation ship with Oz, the werewolf, and started to have feelings for a girl named Tara who was interested in magic as was Willow. After a while Tara moved in with Willow, and for a while they were happy together.

Then the ‘Initiative’, a group of covert government soldiers moved into the area and set up a base underneath the school campus. Their mission was to seek and neutralise any demons or hostiles, as they referred to them as.

Angel was unfortunate to be captured while patrolling one night, and have a computer chip inserted into his brain, stopping him harming any humans. He didn’t intentionally harm humans anyway but occasionally needed to be able to protect himself. Once Xander found out about the chip he taunted Angel relentlessly.

Unbeknown to the soldiers, the research labs were creating a monster of their own, which when it became active, destroyed its creators and went on the rampage. The remaining Scoobies rallied round and managed to destroy it after a lot of fighting and not without a little magic, which also wrecked the Initiatives base. The soldiers were recalled to another base. .

Joyce, who had seemed to be on the mend, suddenly had a stroke and died, so Angel, who had been living in one room of his ruined mansion, came to live in the Summer’s house. He slept in Joyce’s bedroom, which helped to keep temptation at bay. Buffy would snuggle up and kiss him as though she was trying to prove something, and then she would turn away, leaving him hopelessly frustrated.

While Buffy had been involved with her Mother’s illness, a new evil god called Glory had set up home in Sunnydale, looking for a ‘key’. Buffy found out Dawn was the ‘key’ and did all she could to protect the young girl.

Ultimately they had defeated Glory but at a tremendous loss, Buffy had sacrificed her own life in order to save Dawn and the world. Tara had also been hurt badly by Glory, who had mind swiped her, she had regained her memories after Glory had been killed, but it had left her confused about her purpose on the Hellmouth.

The few Scoobies left were totally shattered. Angel was deeply moved by the death of the slayer, and decided to stay to look after Dawn, who was inconsolable. Willow and Tara moved into the Summer’s house to help care for the teen, so Angel moved into Buffy’s bedroom so the witches could have Joyce’s larger room.

Giles had decided to return to England after Buffy’s death, he had no heart for the California anymore and thought he could do more good in the watchers council back in the UK. The Hellmouth also seemed to be inactive.

Unbeknown to Angel, Willow, Xander along with Xander’s girlfriend Anya and a reluctant Tara, had decided to try and raise Buffy from the dead. They waited until Angel had gone to LA to sell some of his artefacts to supplement the household income, before attempting the raising.

The Scoobies were disturbed and had to flee for their lives before the end of the spell and had left Buffy to claw her way out of her own grave. She had been wild and disorientated before eventually making her way home. Angel was absolutely horrified to see her, as she fell sobbing into his arms.

Buffy and Angel had had some long talks as she tried to come to terms with being wrenched from ‘heaven’. She would take him to bed, at first he’d been keen, figuring she wanted the release, and he wouldn’t achieve the ‘perfect happiness’ while she was in such a state. But after a while she had become violent with him and he almost cringed when they went to bed, wondering if he would be able to perform. That’s why he’d taken to staying out long after she’d given up patrolling, so she’d be asleep when he returned. It was just pure fucking, there was no emotion involved, and he loathed it. Even when he had been Angelus there had been emotions with his conquests, either hate, terror or lust.

He had thought he couldn’t protect himself from her, until one night in the cemetery she had come on to him and pushed him roughly against a gravestone. He was fed up of being treated like a doormat so he lashed out expecting to get a jolt from the chip, but was amazed when the blow landed and he didn’t feel a thing. She carried on laying into him until he fought back. It seemed that was a turning point in their relationship and just about brought him up to date.

***

The front door slamming brought him back from his thoughts and he sighed with relief, he stood up and shucked off the shorts and vest she insisted he sleep in, in case Dawn came into the room, and naked he fell back into the bed with relief. He hated sleeping clothed, it reminded him too much of all the years he’d spent sleeping rough and unable to keep clean, after Darla had chucked him out when his soul had been returned the first time. He’d spent time on the streets in total abject misery not caring what happened to him.

He soon fell asleep now the house was quiet.

Angel woke around two in the afternoon, having a good sleep for a change; he got up and padded naked to the shower. He liked this time of the day best; the house was empty until about five so he could relax and do what he pleased. He showered and donned fresh clothes before moving downstairs only to find as usual the house lit with bright but deadly for him, afternoon sunshine. It always was, unless Willow had been the last to leave, she would at least draw the drapes beside the stairs.

This was another thing Buffy didn’t seem to think about the fact that he could hardly get downstairs without bursting into flames, but he’d got it down to a fine art, keeping a coat and a long pole handy so he could cover himself and poke the drapes shut before moving through to the kitchen which faced North so wasn’t so bad.

He sighed when he saw the usual mess everywhere and spent the next half an hour clearing up and wiping worktops. He went back upstairs and gathered up his washing and went to the basement to start the washing machine. He then warmed himself a mug of blood and took it through to the living room in preparation to watch his favourite program on the television, ‘LA Health and Beauty’.

The signature tune was playing and the announcer giving a run down to that days events. Angel sat back and relaxed, he knew if he was caught he would be ridiculed for watching the women’s program, but the reason he did so was because Cordelia Chase, who had left Sunnydale after graduation had a job as a roving reporter on the program. She wasn’t always on so sometimes he was disappointed. Sometimes the tips were useful too, he could swear his hair was softer now he used the ‘Peach and Aloe’ conditioner recommended by the program, of course he wouldn’t admit to using it.

Angel sometimes wondered why he bothered, but when he saw her face on the small screen it made it all worthwhile. He knew his demon had fancied the beautiful brunette, but Angel had been so wrapped up with Buffy he’d hardly given her a second glance. Now he was beginning to think the demon was right and wishing he’d got to know her better when she’d been in Sunnydale.

He smiled as her grinning, happy face appeared on the screen, telling the audience whom she would be interviewing today. He wondered if she ever thought about her past life in Sunnydale and fell into a comfortable daze as he dreamt about meeting her again.

The program finished and he got up to wash his cup and start to prepare some supper for the witches and Dawn, he knew Buffy would be back much later after her shift at the burger bar ended. He’d noticed the friction between Willow and Tara lately and secretly agreed with Tara that Willow was depending on magic far too much, but didn’t say anything, not wanting to offend.

Later that evening they were all in the lounge in companionable silence, Dawn doing her homework at the dining table with Tara helping her, Willow and Angel reading on the softer lounge chairs. Suddenly the front door slammed open. Everyone jumped, ‘Buffy what’s happened?’ said Dawn as she noticed her sister looking like a thundercloud.

‘I quit, I just can’t stand it anymore’ said the fuming Slayer.

Angel went over to her squashing his revulsion at the smell of fried food that oozed off her. He tried to put his arms round her but was pushed roughly away.

‘Don’t touch me’ she said angrily, shoving him away.

Willow looked at the couple, seeing the flash of hurt in Angel’s eyes at Buffy’s rejection. “Buffy had better watch out or she’ll lose him,” she thought to herself.

Angel went back and sat down knowing eventually Buffy would tell them the problem.

After Buffy had slammed and banged about in the kitchen no doubt making more mess while getting a drink, she eventually came back into the lounge.

‘They accused me of taking too long to get stuff from the store and wrecking the companies property’ she gestured to her torn and dirty uniform. ‘It wasn’t my fault, I went out to the store only to find a couple of demon rummaging about, by the time I’d killed them and disposed of the bodies, the staff were looking for me thinking I’d skived off. They haven’t a clue what happened, of course I couldn’t tell them, but as it’s happened before they cautioned me. I just couldn’t stand it any longer so I quit.’

‘Don’t worry I’m sure you’ll get another job soon’ said Willow soothingly.

Money was tight in the household, Angel had sold most of his valuable possessions, Willow had a little money from a trust set up by her grandmother, but apart from Buffy’s wages there was no regular income for the group. Angel has suggested he get a job as night watch man, or in a bar or similar, but Buffy had reasoned he needed to be able to patrol when she was on a late shift and during the night after she’d finished. He knew he had money tied up in various Swiss bank accounts, but it was all Angelus’ ill-gotten gains and Angel was loath to touch it. He sighed perhaps it was time to swallow his pride and see about getting some of the money transferred to an easily accessible account. He would see about it the next dull day, when he could move about easier during the day.

The peace of the evening had been shattered; Buffy would never sit quietly so Angel decided he would go out on an early patrol. He gathered up his duster and after a quick goodnight to the girls left the house with relief. He knew they would be in for a boring evening listening to Buffy moaning about how hard life was for her ‘the chosen one’.

He patrolled the Sunnydale cemeteries in a random order; it wouldn’t do for the demons to get complacent about his route, and stopped by Willies Bar for a quick whisky, a small luxury he still allowed himself, and it also gave him an opportunity to catch up on what was new. He looked at his watch he was early for a change and the bar was nearly empty. He quickly scanned the place for any undesirables, before taking a place at the bar.

‘Hi Angel, how’s things?’ said Willie, he’d become more friendly towards the vampire over the last year, since Angel had rescued him from a particularly nasty demon that had decided Willie had short changed him.

‘Ok, it’s very quiet out tonight’ Angel replied.

‘Haven’t you heard, there’s a new fight club opened up just outside town, it’s very popular. Hey, you should go, you can fight, you’d be able to win big bucks’ said Willie.

‘I don’t think so, I get enough fighting on patrol’ said Angel. His demon would have loved to partake in such an event, but Angel was content with the way things were and didn’t feel the urge to prove anything.

He finished his drink and left the bar intending to patrol the outer cemetery before heading back through the others again. He always had Willow check out the obituary column on the Sunnydale local paper web site, to get a rough idea where any new vamps are likely to rise. He remembered there was a last grave to visit in the Restwell Cemetery and turned to make his way over to it, of course they all weren’t going to rise, believe it or not there were some genuine deaths in Sunnydale.

It had started to drizzle so he pulled his coat collar up, he hated getting wet, and almost decided to leave the last one, it had been an old man he thought, and it would be unlikely he would rise, most vampires were picky whom they turned.

Angel was about to turn round and retrace his steps when he spied three vampires boldly walking towards said cemetery. “Oh looks like I’m going that way after all” he thought, and followed the vampires.


Chapter 2

Cordelia woke to the sound of her alarm ringing, she groaned, turned it off and thought about going back to sleep, but then she remembered she had an important meeting over at the Network HQ this morning. She wanted to make sure she attended, to fight her corner. Her immediate boss, Melissa, took ever opportunity to belittle her, but then took all the praise for the good ratings the program and particularly Cordelia’s interviews, received. Luckily the station manager who had hired Cordelia originally, took what Melissa said with a pinch of salt.

Cordy stumbled out of bed and into the shower, Dennis her resident ghost had started for her and prepared warm towels for her to use when she had finished. She had been out until the early hours of the morning with Wesley and Gunn, successfully tracking and disposing of a nest of vampires, who had captured a family and were about to start snacking. She was amazed that people would invite total strangers into their house, knowing nothing about them, they were just asking to get themselves killed.

“I must try and get more sleep,” she thought, as she yawned her way into work.

Cordy managed to arrive at the meeting with only minutes to spare, Melissa’s triumphant smirk changed to a scowl when she saw the vivacious brunette arrive. The more senior people arrived and the meeting was soon underway, helped along by the cups of coffee and fresh pastries. Cordy grabbed one of each and wolfed the sugary goodness ravenously, she hadn’t stopped for breakfast and her stomach was still churning from last night’s vision aftermath.

The meeting dragged on until lunchtime, Cordelia discreetly looked at her watch. “Crap,” she thought “I wanted to get going before lunch, looks like it’s gonna be a record breaking run to Sunnydale.”

It was the anniversary of her Grandmothers death and Cordelia always liked to go and put some flowers on the grave. It looked as though she would not arrive until early evening. The previous two anniversaries, since she had left Sunnydale, she had managed to arrive during the day and slipping in and out of the town without being spotted by any one she knew.

She had phoned her Mother in her luxury villa, in Mexico, to remind her but her mother had just asked her to order some flowers from them. This was what she had come to expect from her parents, she knew they were detached but until they had left her, hadn’t realised just how selfish they were. She knew they would never offer to pay for the flowers, not that she minded, but it was the thought or lack of that counted. Cordelia had loved her grandmother and had been devastated when she had died in the last year of her schooling. It was one of the main reasons she had left the town and gone to seek fame and fortune in the bright lights of LA.

The meeting eventually finished and Cordy rushed out of the Studio glad she had no interviews booked until the next week, maybe when she returned from Sunnydale she would be able to catch up on some sleep. She hurried into the apartment and had a quick shower, asking Dennis to set out her plum suit and matching blouse, and pack a few things in case she had to stay overnight. With a quick goodbye to the ghost she grabbed the shoulder bag Dennis had packed and after locking up, went down to the parking lot and started her car and was soon zooming on her way to Sunnydale.

On the way she stopped to buy a chicken and salad sandwich for a snack, then returned to the car and began to eat it as she drove along, thinking about her life over the years since she’d left Sunnyhell as she referred to the town. In the final year before her graduation, her parents had lost all their money and were wanted for questioning by the IRS. They had skipped town, leaving her to fend for herself. She had worked in a dress shop to support herself, living in a grotty motel, terrified someone would find out about her reduced circumstances.

Cordelia couldn’t wait for term to finish, she wasn’t sure the relief she felt after the horror of the Mayor’s demise was due to her leaving the dress shop and motel, or just the fact she was leaving the whole nightmare behind.

When she arrived in Los Angeles, she knew she had to get a job to support herself. As soon as she had found another cheap motel to settle into she went out and bought a local paper and looked through it for likely job vacancies. Almost immediately she realised she was severely limited with what she could actually do with her meagre qualifications. Most of the jobs she was interested in needed a degree, qualifications or at least experience of some sort.

A few days later after trudging around numerous studios, and getting nowhere, Cordelia decided that she might have to spend some of her remaining cash on registering with an agent, it seemed to get any sort of interview she had to have been recommended. The one she picked at random had no job vacancies but said they could keep her on their books, but she would have to pay quite a large upfront fee. She didn’t have that amount of money, so turned to leave as she did so she noticed a board in the waiting room, she walked over to it and saw a flyer advertising a party, inviting all, newcomer’s welcome, it said.

She thought she would go along to the party, at least there would be some free food and drink, she was already discovering that living here in LA was very expensive, much more so than Sunnydale.

Cordelia cruised around the party pretending to know everybody, when a middle-aged man approached her. “Have you ever thought of auditioning for television, you are a beautiful woman?” he said. “In fact I know just the person, let me give you his telephone number, give him a call, mention my name and I am sure you won’t be disappointed.” he scribbled a number on the back of his card and gave it to her.

Cordelia could hardly contain her excitement; maybe things would go her way at last. She floated through the rest of the evening unaware of the admiring glances a lot of the men were giving her and the envious ones from some of the women. At about 11 pm she decided to leave, she didn’t want to overstay her welcome, and one never knew when you might need these people again.

It was on the way back from the party that disaster struck, she had decided to risk taking at short cut across the local park and was about halfway across when three vampires sprang out of the bushes and ran up to her.

“Hey you guys, aren’t you supposed to be on the Hellmouth” she quipped, before screaming loudly. She managed to kick one of the vampires in stomach, but knew she had no chance against all three of them. She screamed again as one grabbed her from behind, he held her tight against his cold body. She struggled and opened her mouth to scream again, suddenly she was falling to the floor, a cloud of dust settling around her. She looked up from her prone position to see three men surrounding her, one of whom helped her to her feet.

“Are you’re OK lass?” asked one in a soft Irish accent.

“Yes, thanks to you” Cordelia replied. “How did you know I was in trouble?”

“I had a vision about you,” said the Irishman. “My name is Doyle, and these are my friends Gunn and Rondell” he pointed to the tall black men beside him.

“I’m very grateful, let me buy you a coffee,” said Cordelia. “There’s a coffee shop just along the next street.”

That was the start of a wonderful friendship between the oddly matched group, the two street fighters, the quirky Irishman and the beautiful high school student.

After her encounter in the park, Cordelia decided she ought to take some self-defence lessons as soon as she could afford them. She rang the person named on the card that she had been given at the party and was pleased when she was informed the studio was in need of the general go-between. They invited her in for an interview, she went during the afternoon and the studio manager liked her so much he offered her a job on the spot, starting the following day.

She soon settled into her new job and even though the pace was quite frantic at times, she enjoyed the work and often had a chance to go out with her boss to interview the stars and actors in Hollywood. That was until the woman who would be her immediate superior, who had been on sabbatical leave returned, she took an instant dislike to Cordelia, giving her menial tasks and belittling her to the boss.

Cordy met up with her new friends a couple of times learning about what they did and was amazed to find that Doyle had visions of people in trouble. He would then telephone Gunn and his gang and they would all head out to try and help the people in the vision. Cordelia smiled to herself it was just like being back in Sunnydale, without the annoying self centred slayer though.

Doyle had come over to Cordelia’s motel to invite her to go for a drink with him one evening, when he had seen the state of it; he offered to find her an apartment. Cordelia had herself looked at a few but ones that were nice were way out of her price range whereas the ones she could afford were dreadful. He came over the next evening telling her he had found a good one, Cordelia took one look and decided it would be perfect for her, she couldn’t understand why it was so cheap. As soon as the paper work was completed she moved in, relieved to be out of the motel. It was during the first night she found out why the apartment was so cheap. When Doyle came over the next morning to see how she was settling in, he found her terrified and shaking, as she dragged him into the apartment, her face and hair and mess.

“Whatever’s the matter Princess?” he cried, “what happened?”

“Oh Doyle, it was horrible, all night ghostly noises, something trying to strangle me, radio and television turning on and off, drawers slamming, knives flying through the air, I haven’t had a wink of sleep all night” gasped Cordelia.

Doyle looked thoughtful, “I need to check some reference books, will swing by later when you get back from work” he said. He went off to the library intent on consulting some of the occult books they had, and also having a look through back numbers of newspapers to see if anything odd had ever happened in the apartment block before, leaving the shaken girl to prepare for her day at the studio.

Doyle discovered there must be a ghost haunting Cordelia’s apartment, he had found there had been about four “suicides” over the last 40 years since the building had been completed. He set about finding the right ingredients to exorcise the ghost. He met Cordelia at her apartment after work that evening and between them they set about exorcising it. It materialised to be an old lady who had murdered her son and bricked him up in the chimney. Somehow Cordelia sensed this when they were getting rid of the old ghost, and so she took a large sledgehammer and smashed it into the wall above the chimney revealing a skeleton presumably of the son. When the skeleton was revealed, the Old Lady’s Ghost screamed and light transmitted between the skeleton and the ghost as she was banished forever.

Dennis, the son was so grateful to Cordelia for releasing him, that he became her faithful servant, tidying the apartment, handing her things and generally making himself useful. After a while she wondered how she could possibly have lived without her friendly Phantom.

Life was good for about a year, Cordelia enjoyed her work, the more she learned about the strange world of show business the more it intrigued her. She had been on a few dates, but nothing lasting, she knew she hankered after the tall, dark, handsome vampire, Angel. She tried to forget him, telling herself he was Buffy’s, but she couldn’t help but fantasize about him. ‘He was just pure ‘salty goodness” she thought

She was doing very well with her self-defence classes and had also decided to take up kick boxing, fencing and shooting. Her cheerleader training at Sunnydale held her in good stead, her body was flexible and she could learn steps and moves quickly, only needing to be shown once. She had learned to shoot as a child on her grandfather’s estate and was pleased to find her aim still true.

Then one night, they were all enjoying a drink after work in the local bar they frequented, when Doyle had a vision, they quickly downed their drinks and went to the docks where the vision was to take place. Cordelia had taken to going with them if she was around and enjoyed practising her skills on unsuspecting demons and vampires, becoming quite adept at defending herself. This time they weren’t so lucky, and the only way out of a sticky situation was for Doyle to surrender his life in order to save the people and his friends. Gunn was going to try to rip apart the machinery that was threatening to burn all humanity but Doyle punched him knocking him to the ground, and after kissing Cordelia passionately, he leapt to destroy the machinery and in doing so lost his own life. He died a hero’s death, Cordelia was distraught for weeks afterwards and even Gunn and his gang were chastened by the unassuming Irishman’s noble deed.

It was a couple of days later that Cordelia discovered what had happened when Doyle had kissed her when she fell to the ground, an agonising pain in her head as she received her first vision. “Doyle if you weren’t already dead I would kill you,” she groaned, as she massaged her throbbing temples.

As luck would have it she was in the bar they frequented and the barman was used to their peculiar antics. He quickly rang Gunn and suggested he come over and look after the suffering brunette. When Gunn arrived Cordelia told him about her vision and they quickly disappeared into the night to take care of it. As soon as the vampires were dead and the people saved Cordelia headache lessened and she dragged herself home intent on a nice hot bath and some pampering by Dennis.

It was while chasing another demon that had been shown to them through her visions that they came across Wesley Wyndum-Price, the failed watcher from Sunnydale.

“Wesley, what you’re doing here,” cried Cordelia as she took in the leather-clad man before her.

“I’m a rogue demon hunter,” replied Wesley, taking stock of the ill-assorted gang.

The group moved to destroy the demon and then adjourned to the bar; Cordelia introduced Wesley to the rest of the gang. After poking fun at the Englishman’s accent, Gunn and his friends seemed to get on quite well with him.

Wesley explained that he had been travelling around California tracking demons and vampires and attempting to kill them on his own, but there seemed to be a large amount of them in LA so this was where he was based at the moment. Cordelia explained him about her visions, and Gunn about his life on the streets. They found over the next months they were often meeting up together on the same case, until they decided to join forces and pool their resources hopefully to make them more efficient.

It was on one of these excursions that they met Lorne, the green anagogic demon from another dimension. He had a karaoke bar, open to demons and humans alike. He suggested they all sing for him so he could read them, but not surprisingly they were not very keen.

Apart from the demons there was another large firm, Wolfram and Hart becoming more and more irritated by the antics of the demon hunters. Lilah Morgan, the leader of special projects, was given the job of stopping them. When she found out about Cordelia’s visions she set about splitting the girl from the group. She engaged a Shaman to bombard the girl with so many visions that it would drive her insane and eventually her brain would expire. Luckily Cordelia was in ‘Caritas’, Lorne’s bar when these visions assailed her. She fell to the ground screaming in agony; Wesley and Gunn looked at her in anguish realising there was little they could do except make her as comfortable as possible in Lorne’s bedroom, as she lay in a comatose state.

Unbeknown to the men, Cordelia had been transported outside her body, she could see them but they couldn’t see her. She then found herself in a place surrounded totally in white, there was a rushing wind noise and she turned to see a huge grey metal demon standing behind her. She gasped a little in shock realising he would easily overpower her if that was his intention. He introduced himself as Skip, and took her on a mystery tour showing her what her life would be, if she gave up the visions. She would have her own TV show, something she’d always wanted. Cordelia asked what would happen if she didn’t, he shook his head sadly and said she would not wake up from the coma she was in now. She walked up to him and poked him on his hard breastplate.

“There has to be something you can do, I need my visions, the gang need my visions, we are fighting blind without them,” she said.

Skip thought about it for a few minutes, “there is one way” he mused “and that would be to make you similar to Doyle, part demon”

Cordelia looked at him and said simply “so demonise me already.”

There was a blinding flash of light and Cordelia woke up to find herself lying in Lorne’s bedroom with some very relieved friends beside her. “Right let’s get to work” she said, pushing up off the bed “nasty slithery snakey thing coming out of the sea by the pier, about to snack on some unsuspecting bathers” she said.

Wesley looked at her in amazement “what no pain?” he commented dryly.

“Pain-free thank goodness, tell you later” she said. They ran out of the club climbed into Gunn’s pick-up truck and raced off to the pier to save the unsuspecting bathers.

Lilah Morgan was furious when she found out that the seer had survived the vision attack. She set about planning another way of ridding herself of the girl.

As her journey progressed Cordelia thought about the life Skip had shown her she could have had, the TV show was one thing she would have really liked and when Melissa had to cancel an interview with a popular Hollywood actor, Cordelia was only too pleased to step in her shoes. When the senior bosses saw the interview they immediately promoted Cordelia to be a roving reporter, to seek out and interview all the popular stars. She had a certain something that other interviewers seemed to lack and could get more information out of a star, than anyone else. The programme she worked on was women’s health and beauty, so she also had a lot of chance to try out various beauty products and give her opinions on them.

She was beginning to find her feet and become financially stable, and had contacted her parents through her father’s sister who had heard from them. They had decided to stay in Mexico, afraid to come back for fear of being thrown in jail.

Cordelia was still a little puzzled by the vision she had received approximately a week ago; it had made no sense at all. The vision had been of a girl in a library and that seemed to be all that was shown, the girl didn’t seem unduly frightened and there was no demon visible. Wesley was visiting all of the library’s trying to find any information about the girl, but had so far had drawn a blank.

Cordy saw the “Welcome to Sunnydale” signed approaching, just as the sun was setting, she felt her heart sink, she had hoped to be in the cemetery before now. She quickly stopped at the florists to buy a bunch of her Grandmother’s favourite ruby carnations, then drove to the cemetery and managed to park quite close to the gates.

She dragged a thick coat and her bag from the back seat of the car and after locking it carefully put the bag securely over her shoulder, the keys in the coat pocket and draped the coat over her shoulders, there was a definite chill in the air. She set off into the cemetery, and soon arrived at her Grandmother’s grave and after clearing away the leaves and other debris that had accumulated there, she placed the flowers in the vase and stood beside the grave in quiet reflection for a few minutes completely unaware of the vampires creeping up behind her.

“Well, well what have we here, a nice tasty snack” said one

“You guys have got to be kidding me, I’ve hardly been here five minutes” Cordelia cried. She pulled a stake out of her bag and tried to ready herself for fighting but was wearing the wrong type of shoes, stilettos not really being suitable for fighting in. She fought manfully managing to stake one of the vampires and just when it seemed as though she may be winning some youths ran over as though sensing easy pickings. She fumbled again in her bag for the small gun she kept there, hoping to scare off the humans, and wondered briefly where Buffy was.

Just when she thought she would lose, a tall figure in a flowing black leather coat appeared and staked the two remaining vampires, and then swung round to face the youths. He didn’t notice he’d dropped a stake from his wrist holster as he cried to Cordy, “Run, get out of the cemetery.” Cordelia struggled out of the grip of one of the youth’s and ran, leaving her coat behind in his hands.

Angel knew he would not be able to fight them, he just hoped he could keep them busy until Cordelia had got clear, he hadn’t realised it was her at first and was amazed to see her fighting with a previously unknown skill. The chip in his head was repeatedly firing bolts of pain into his brain as he tried to grab the human youth’s and stop them chasing the fleeing girl but it was no good, so he turned to run after her figuring he could pick her up and carry her, she obviously couldn’t run very fast in those high-heeled shoes.

It was then he felt something slam into the back of his body, it was soon followed by more jolts to his thighs and rump. He practically fell to the ground as a searing pain radiated throughout his body. He had just about caught up with Cordelia and she turned to see what was happening, not noticing a bright pink light behind her.

“Lookout” called Angel, in vain, the light encompassed them both and swallowed them up, he had managed to grab her hand and pull her towards him as they tumbled through the vortex together.

The youths looked at one another in amazement, and then shrugging their shoulders turned and left the cemetery, it was no fun with no one left to fight.

Chapter 3

Posted July 5, 2015 by califi in TBC

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