Archive for July 15, 2018

What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us 5-6   Leave a comment

Part 5

“You what?” Cordelia’s shrill voice rang throughout the hotel, her eyes dark. Not only had Angel not done what she’d asked, but he’d also pretty much gone ‘into the lion’s den’, “I don’t believe you sometimes,” Said the brunette, shaking her head, “Are you crazy?”

“Cordelia, calm down.” Said Angel, firmly, “Nothing happened…”

“Ohhh, I see!” Her voice dripped sarcasm, arms folded almost petulantly across her chest, “So you and Gunn pretty much went to her house and had what she would class as a sane conversation?”

“You wanna stop ridin’ us?” Asked Gunn, “We’re here, we’re fine – you gotta stop worrying, Barbie.”

Fuming, the brunette sat back and gestured for them to continue, wincing as the pain in her ribs increased. Damnit, they hurt…

“So what you’re saying,” Said Wesley, “Is that she’s working for someone?”

Angel thought for a second, she certainly wasn’t working for them by choice, whoever it was. They’d hurt her and she was terrified enough to stay where she was, to do whatever they wanted. “She knows that you did what you did because you were ordered. She said that she was only following orders too, can you think of anyone who’d want to hurt you?”

Slowly, Wesley shook his head, “Not exactly… No one other than we know here, Wolfram and Hart perhaps, to get to you?”

Angel shook his head, “This smells nothing like Wolfram and Hart. I just…” Frowning the vampire stood back and looked at Cordelia who was sitting glaring at him. “Cordelia,” He sighed, “I’m fine, alright? Stop looking at me like that.”

“Stop looking at you like what?” The brunette got up from the desk and walked, albeit painfully, out into the lobby where she busied herself with filing. Reaching up to place something in the top drawer, she cried out, her ribs rubbing painfully together. Angel was beside her in an instant, taking the file from her hands and looking at her, “What’s wrong, Cordelia?” He asked, frowning, “I’m…”

“I know, you’re fine!” She snapped, “You’re always fine, remember? Until the point where you’re actually not and then something like Darla happens. I asked you not to go over there tonight and you did anyway.”

“I never said I wouldn’t, Cordy.” He said gently, “I had to…”

“You never said you wouldn’t sleep with Darla, did you do that too?”

Thankfully, Angel couldn’t blush or perhaps he would have. “You know I wouldn’t…”

“Do I?” Cordelia’s voice was tired, “Angel, I just worry sometimes. This girl is a slayer and a vampire. Chances are, she’s going to be strong. Maybe stronger than you and…”

“Nothing’s going to happen to me.” This, was backed by a sense of promise in the vampire’s voice. Granted, it was a promise that perhaps he never could keep – no one was certain what the future held, especially not Angel – but as long as it was in his power to do so, he’d make sure that he never left her again.

Cordelia’s gaze drifted to Gunn and Wesley who stood talking in the office. Wesley looked exhausted, older than his years as Gunn explained about Kelsi. “What’s going on, Angel? Is she the one who’s trying to get to Wesley, or someone else?”

“Judging by the marks on her arms, I’d say someone else. Those weren’t self-inflicted…” Angel’s eyes darkened as he thought about what he’d seen, about Drusilla subjecting him to every torture she could have thought of, way back when Angel had been with Buffy, before Angelus… When he’d been happy. Here, was something else with the potential to wreck what little happiness Angel had built up.

“Are you brooding again?” Her voice was accusing and when he looked up, even Angel had to admit that his Seer had what was probably the cutest expression he’d ever seen on her face. The look that passed across his then, was something akin to a smile and the chuckle that resounded low in his throat made Cordelia raise an eyebrow, “No, I’m not brooding.” He said gently, his gaze drifting up as Wesley and Gunn exited the office.

“The man’s crazy.” Gunn’s words made Angel turn, look at the pair standing by the door, “What?”

“Just what I said,” Gunn gestured towards Wesley, “The guy’s thinking of going after her himself, talking to her, making her see sense…”

“Angel,” Cut in Wesley, before the vampire had the chance to speak, “Perhaps I can make her see that she doesn’t have to do this, perhaps…”

“Perhaps you’ll die.” Angel frowned, “Wesley, you walk in there and she does what she’s been ordered to do. She’s been killing council members left, right and center so that she can get near and now? She’s succeeded. She’s here and she won’t hesitate at killing you if it’s what she has to do.”

Wesley let out a sigh and ran a hand through his hair, “Why is it that I think this would have been easier if she’d just been evil?” He asked quietly.

* * * * *

“Kelsi?” His voice bounced off every wall, making her shudder. Not a lot had scared Kelsi in life, but this… This scared her in death. He scared her. She’d never encountered anyone so twisted by rage, by maddening feelings – all for one person. If she thought about it long and hard enough, the fact remained that – shouldn’t she be the one with all this rage? After all, she was the one who Wesley had killed, inadvertently or not.

“I’m here.” Her voice called out quietly and she winced as a shadow fell upon her. She could almost feel him as he inhaled, testing the air for something that wasn’t right. “You’ve had visitors today.”

Kelsi froze, her breathing ceasing completely. She didn’t need to breathe but she, like other vampires, found it was slightly comforting, made them feel… More human…

“I… I…”

“Save your explanations.” His voice was cold. “You did what I asked, yes?”

“I did.”

“And?”

“And he knows that I want revenge.” Said Kelsi, “That was what you asked.”

“So who then, is the knight in shining armour? Intent on rescuing you from my clutches?”

“I…”

“His name, Kelsi.” He intoned, “I have no time for petty, time-wasting games.”

“Angel,” She whispered, “His name is Angel.” At her answer, he stepped into the relative light of the apartment, reflected only by the moonlight, Kelsi choosing to find the dark comforting. The mask that covered three quarters of his face quirked upwards in a smile and Kelsi whimpered, “Please, I asked them to leave… I didn’t tell them anything.”

“I don’t appreciate lies.” Dodging as the first blow reigned down upon her, Kelsi got to her feet and stumbled away. She couldn’t take another beating, not like last night… The night before. She couldn’t.

“Run, child, run.” He smiled, flexing his scarred fingers, “I always did love a game of cat and mouse…”

A moment later and his arm was outstretched, pulling Kelsi back towards him from the other side of the room, “I said I loved a game of cat and mouse…” He whispered as he drew her closer, testing the boundaries of his magic, “Relax, Kelsi, you’ll be here for a while…” He whispered.

* * * * * *

“I can’t believe you’re making us stay here.” Said Cordelia, looking up at Angel, “For one, you don’t have Phantom Dennis, for two – no TV… And for three – No mirrors. Would it kill you to have mirrors in this place?”

Angel smiled slightly and glanced at his Seer who was swathed in a far-too-big pink bathrobe, perched on the end of his bed, “Y’know, Cordelia – you could take any one of these rooms in the hotel and still be as safe as you are now.”

“Are ‘ou kitten me?” She asked, through a mouthful of pizza.

“What?”

“Are you kidding me!” She said again, “You’re pretty much the only one strong enough to protect me against her…”

“It’s not her,” Said Angel, gently, “It’s…”

“Whatever. My point is, you already crushed my ribs today, you owe me buster. Where you go, I go.”

“Uhm, Cordy?”

“What?”

“I’m taking a shower, you want to join me?” He teased, smirking behind his hand as the all-too-expected, “Ewwww!” Floated through the bedroom. Smiling, Cordelia settled down on the bed, snuggling inside his warm, soft blankets as she closed her eyes. Having been doped up to the eyeballs on painkillers this was officially… Nice.

And as a hooded figure hovered outside the window of the hotel, he let a smile flit across his lips. “You should learn not to mess with the business of others, vampire.” He spat, before turning back to the battered and bruised young woman who stood on the sidewalk, “You know what to do?” He asked.

Kelsi nodded, painfully, “Yes.” She whispered.

“Yes, what?”

“Y-yes Master.” She replied as she stumbled up the steps…


Part 6

“So sleep on the floor then!”

“I live here! This is my bed and YOU insisted on staying with me.” Retorted Angel, darkly. “You sleep on the floor!”

“Geez, Angel you were BORN in the powdered wig days. I know it’s been a while since then but chivalry still exists in SOME places…”

“Says the girl who’s used to guys coming onto her for her-” He paused then, wisely. Would do him no good to piss off Cordelia.

“For her what?” She asked frowning. “I really hope you meant brains there, Angel – or else we’re going to have a huge problem. Besides, you owe me. Hello, broken ribs here.”

“That was an accident…” Offered Angel, lamely. Okay, so he had broken her ribs, but he’d been tossed into her. It wasn’t like he wanted to be on top of her!!! Uh, that wasn’t what he meant and besides…

“Angel, you are NOT sleeping with me.” Said Cordelia, breaking into his reverie.

“You’re the one who wants to sleep in THIS bed.”

“You’re right, I do.” She said, firmly.

The growl bounced around the room, the covers snapping back. “Fine… Fine, take the bed. I’ll sleep somewhere else.”

“But-” Cordelia whined, “Angel… That defeats the purpose. I want to stay with you ’cause…”

“Why?” He asked, exasperated. He wanted to get some sleep some time that night. “Cordelia, nothing’s going to happen to you, you’re safe here.”

“That would be no.” Said Cordelia, “I’m not going home, because– Angel!” He was already moving to the door and he *so* wasn’t listening to her, “Angel, this girl is working with somebody HUMAN. Which means, hello, able to get in my house! Even if Phantom Dennis stops them? Chances are they can play with matches and- Angel, if I’m here with you, then they can’t hurt me. They have to hurt you first because you’re still harbouring the guilt over leaving, which means good for me.”

“Gee, so nice to know you care.” Angel paused and turned back round, looking at her, hand on the door handle.

“Is that sarcasm?” She snapped. “Don’t use sarcasm on me, Angel, that would be MY trait, remember?

“But…”

“God! It’s not like I’m going to try to bone you! Or you bone me or- some other thoughts along those seriously scary and very creepy lines. We’re friends, not…”

“Are you saying I’m not bone-able?” He asked, “Not the way to get in my bed, Cordelia…”

“I’m not TRYING to get in your bed, Angel! I just want to sleep with you…” She paused, letting THAT thought sink in. “That came out kinda wrong, didn’t it?” She asked, smiling sheepishly.

His anger disappeared as he saw the grin, the colour creeping up her cheeks. He hefted a sigh, pretending to be severely put-upon and shook his head, “Okay, you can sleep under the covers. I’ll sleep on top.”

She grinned as she climbed into bed, giving Angel her perfected You Know You Love Me look. Briefly, Angel began wondering exactly when she’d been able to wrap him round her little finger before climbing onto the bed next to her, over the covers.

They lay there for a while, Angel finally slipping into sated slumber before Cordelia’s voice drifted to the already-light-sleeper. “Angel?”

“Mmmm?”

“Y’know, what I said today about you guys?”

“What about us?”

“That I was tired of there only being guys round here?”

“Yeah…”

“I didn’t mean it. I’d like it if it was just us from here on out. No girlies. At least none with the grrr face, anyway.”

“Cordelia?”

“What?”

“Are you trying to tell me you love us?”

“What?! No!” Said the brunette indignantly, “It’s just…” Her voice fell a little and a serious tone crept into her voice, “I appreciate what you guys do for me and I guess… Well, yeah, I love you.”

Angel smiled. “We love you too.”

“Let me say duh…”

“Cordy?”

“What?”

“Sleep.”

The brunette opened her mouth, about to protest, and promptly yawned. “G’nite, broody…”

“Night…” He smiled, finally closing his eyes.

* * * * *

Wesley had sat for the better part of an hour and a half, ever since Gunn had left the hotel and Angel and Cordelia had ventured upstairs. Every time he looked at these blasted books, he felt like there was something he was missing perhaps. Something that he just wasn’t seeing.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It also didn’t help that some of his collection of books had gone back to the Council when he was fired, right before he came to work for Angel. Plus, carting a collection of books round on your motorbike as a rogue demon hunter was rather difficult – he’d barely managed to get the ones he still owned here when Angel began paying him for working there.

Wesley let out a sigh. The books at the Hyperion were proving invaluable in his search, having been built up since the decline of Angel’s old offices, but still nothing. The ex-watcher stood, running a hand tersely through his hair. He’d looked in every book imaginable, every one he could think of that might–

Suddenly, the answer was in front of him, without him knowing where. He picked up the phone and dialed a number he was well familiar with, waiting for the answer…

“Hello, Magic Box? How can we help?” Anya. Dear, sweet and totally tactless Anya.

“May I speak with Giles, Anya?” He asked, having no time for pleasantries. Well, not much time anyway. If his theory was right, then there was certainly a problem.

“He’s over there…” She paused, making Wesley more irritated by the second. “Would you like me to get him, or pass a message on?”

“Get him.” Said Wesley, through gritted teeth.

“Wesley?” Her voice raised, jovially, “I’d know that clacking tongue anywhere. How are you?”

“I did NOT clack my tongue.”

“You did too.”

“I bloody did not.”

“You did.”

“I di- Anya, please put Giles on? This is important.”

He heard the sigh, heard the ‘Giles, it’s Wesley’ being yelled across the Magic Box and Xander’s, ‘Spineless Ex-Watcher Extraordinaire, wonder what he wants’ – and battled the urge to throw the receiver against the wall, before Giles answered the call.

“Giles? It’s Wesley – how are you?”

The hesitance in Giles’ voice made Wesley wonder, but the reply was as he’d expected. “Good, you?”

“Not so. I was wondering if you still had the copy of the Pergamum Codex?”

He heard Giles pause a second, rummage through a box he assumed was relatively close and waited patiently. “Yes, I have it.”

Wesley held his breath. “Can you check something for me?”

* * * * *

Warmth. He hadn’t had that in a long time, not since Buffy… Not since… Holy God, this felt good. Oh, this felt REALLY good. Angel pressed himself closer, his face all but buried in the shortish-hair. Cinnamon. That spicy shampoo that Cordelia always used. The apple body lotion she lathered herself with after a shower…

He inhaled, once, deeply. Deep enough to move the bed a little and he felt her curve into his body, press against his. And suddenly he was aware of how uncomfortable a situation this actually was. In fact, he was suddenly aware that the situation was no longer just ‘uncomfortable’ – he coughed, and squirmed, causing his seer to wrap her arm almost sluggishly across the upper part of his body.

He felt her sigh, her breasts pressing into his side, the slight weight of her breath against his skin – and he could feel her heart. Thump-thumping against his chest. He’d spent a lot of the past few months missing his friends, the wonderful simplicity they brought to his life – the normalcy they brought. More than ever, Angel realised that he’d missed Cordelia – true, they’d never done this before, but without being sure what this was, could they classify it as a ‘this’ or was it just a sleep-induced haze on his part?

He lay there for a moment, his eyes gazing up at the ceiling in his room. If he moved, he was going to wake her up – if he didn’t move, she was going to wake up and find… Well, he hoped more than anything she’d just think the covers were ‘rumpled’ but this was Cordelia and if anything, his Seer wasn’t stupid. Besides, the fact that he wasn’t *under* the covers, kinda worked against him in that particular scenario.

Think of… Of… Angelus, there’s a bone-reducing thought. Think of how hurt she’d be if she knew you’d slept with Darla. Ah, damnit, sex… Angel frowned, Sex with Cordelia. Naked Cordelia… Oh God, she’s going to kill me.

She stirred next to him, opening one eye and looking up at him, sleepily. “Angel?” He watched as realisation dawned and she pulled away now fully awake, gasping, “Ohhh… My… God…”

“Cordelia…” Of course, when Cordelia had stood, she’d tossed the blankets OFF herself and onto him. It was with a not-very-stealthy grunt that Angel plunged to the floor, blankets wrapped haphazardly across his body. He growled, loudly, hearing the laughter that echoed across the room. At first, the laughter was tentative. Then, amused. Then, it sounded almost like all-out hysteria on her part.

“It was NOT that funny…” He intoned, so very much not amused, as he tried to untangle himself from the blankets.

She laughed again – and in that split second, three things happened. The lights fizzled and went out… Cordelia screamed… And Angel felt something whipsaw against his cheek… The blow to his body was almost crippling. Angel sputtered and felt feet and fists fly into his body. He coughed and tried to stumble, succeeding in only falling against the wall as his attacker rained blows down upon his body.

The last thing Angel heard before he gave into the blackness was Cordelia’s scream…

* * * * *

“What’s giving you the problem, the closed sign or the fact that there’s no lights on?” Called Lorne, frowning as he pulled his terrycloth robe around his body. This was getting ridiculous – didn’t people realise that he had to sleep?

He pressed the buzzer and listened as the footsteps came down into the main part of the club. “Oh, it’s you. Sorry sweetcakes, I was happily slumbering in the land of nod. But don’t let that bother you.”

Wesley ignored the sarcasm, taking a quick look at Lorne’s chosen outfit – a dyed pink robe. He raised an eyebrow and almost chuckled at the frown he received.

“Accident with an Armani suit, now, did you want something? I’m sure you didn’t come here to give me fashion advice so what’s the what?”

“I need you to read me.” Stated Wesley simply.

“Ah, time of the essence and all that. Don’t worry, you’ll get that later.” Said Lorne, gesturing towards the stage.

Wesley frowned, “Can’t I just… Sing here? The effect is surely the same…”

Lorne shrugged and sat down, wishing Ramon was here for the wonderful seabreeze that he so desperately needed right now. Ah, dear sweet Ramon who’d almost had Angel and his friends killed. Lord, how he missed that boy.

“Uhm…” Wesley faltered and looked at the green anagogic demon. “I…”

“What?”

“What should I sing?”

Lorne rolled his eyes, “I don’t know… A nursery rhyme? Mandy…” He caught the inevitable shudder and chuckled at the memory of his favourite vampire customer belting out Manilow. He watched Wesley a moment before shaking his head, “A jingle…”

Wesley shook his head, feeling much like a prize idiot…

“What walks down the stairs, alone or in pairs, everyone knows it’s – WHAT?!”

Lorne coughed, trying to hide the laughter, “You chose the Slinky jingle?”

“It was off the top of my head…” Claimed Wesley, raising an eyebrow, “Was that enough?”

Lorne had Wesley repeat the jingle once… Twice… A third time. Until Wesley cottoned on to the fact that he was making a fool of himself. “Lorne…?”

The Host chuckled and grinned, “That was fun… Okay, bubula… You want to know what’s happening in the world of the Watcher?”

“Yes!” Said Wesley, exasperated.

“Okay, but you better sit – ’cause the picture I’m gonna paint? Not a pretty one.”

Wesley sat down, tentatively. He couldn’t help but wonder what was about to be revealed. The Host set people on their true path – what if his true path was to do what he’d tried to do years ago? The very thing he’d believed he’d succeeded in doing? He remembered the night so clearly, the smell of smoke as it clung to his nostrils… He’d tried to do the right thing…

“So, your slayer came back and she’s doing a whole lot of damage?”

Wesley glanced up at Lorne and nodded, tersely. “She has a soul…”

“Did that stop Angel from going to the darkside?” His question was simple, but one that Wesley knew he couldn’t answer. Was Kelsi doomed? Did it matter if she had a soul or not? Lorne watched as Wesley winced and looked away. “Good.”

He hadn’t answered the question, but as Wesley looked up to ask him what he meant, Lorne continued, “You know that a soul doesn’t instantly mean that a person is good, you’re going to need that knowledge walking into this fight – and what a fight it’s going to be…”

Wesley raised an eyebrow, “You know I can’t fight her. She’s stronger than me, perhaps moreso than Angel. I can’t fight her.”

Lorne shook his head, “Not her. Him.”

“Him? Him who?”

* * * * *

“Ah, our guest awakens.”

The first thing Cordelia was aware of was a headache. The second, in a truckload of not fun, was the smell of urine.

Her vision swam in front of her until finally it focused and Cordelia moved, groaning slightly as her head pounded. Vision? No… Someone hitting her with something heavy. Ah, that was it.

“Guest?” Her mind had the presence to cough out that word and finding her figurative feet, Cordelia continued, “Does that mean your ‘guest’ can leave at any time she wants?”

The voice chuckled and Cordelia looked up to see him shaking his head, “Nope, didn’t think so.” She said with a shrug, “Any chance you want to tell me which enemy you are? We kinda have a few.” Her gaze drifted round the room until it settled on Kelsi, the girl she’d met at the hotel, sitting huddled in the corner. Blood trickled steadily from a wound in her side, making Cordelia frown. Then, she remembered… Broken ribs, the girl deserved everything she got.

Maybe.

“What’s going on?”

“Ah,” He chuckled, “So Wesley truly hasn’t mentioned me?”

“Uh, that would be NO.” Said Cordelia, frowning, “He’d mention the knowing of freak parts.”

The guy’s jaw tightened and Cordelia braced herself against the stinging slap delivered to her cheek. “Hold your tongue, girl.” He hissed, glaring at her.

Cordelia frowned, “You’re going to pay for that.”

Kelsi looked up from where she sat, meeting Cordelia’s eyes, “I’m sorry.” She whispered softly, “I never meant for it to end like this.”

“Then how DID you want it to end?” Asked Cordelia, frowning, “Looks like someone just learned the beauty of hindsight, huh?”

TBC 

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Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in TBC

What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us 3-4   Leave a comment

Part 3

She was a slayer? Cordelia turned her attention on Kelsi, wondering what was going on. “What am I? Flypaper for freaks?”

Gunn chuckled, noticing the dark look on the slayer’s face, immediately shutting up, time not to piss off a vampire who was also a slayer and could kill you horribly.

“And you were so nice when you didn’t know who I was.” Said Kelsi, shaking her head, “Shame… So, Wesley. Looks like you’ve made a nice life for yourself round here and… Oh, I see you got my present.” She gestured to Scott’s dead body and smiled, “Was a nice touch, wasn’t it? The things vampires will do for a little power in this town.”

“Another vamp did this?” Asked Gunn, puzzled.

“Well yeah, couldn’t get of my little shopping trip with Cordelia here to come down and kill another Watcher, fun though that might’ve been…”

Her grip on Cordelia’s arm was like iron. Angel, watching warily, knew that one wrong move and Cordelia would be the one to pay the price, no questions asked, no nothing. She’d die… In silence, he stood until Kelsi’s gaze fell upon him. Raising a perfectly shaped eyebrow, the slayer regarded him with soft, gentle eyes, alluding to the person she was, “So this is Angel?” She asked, “I’d heard about you, helping and of course, falling in love with my replacement…”

Replacement? Then that meant… Buffy. She was the Slayer before Buffy and… She was dead? Ah, now Cordelia realised why the guys looked so damned scared and.. Oh! “Uhm, guys, as much as I love being grappled by a dead person, perhaps you could, y’know, get me free?”

Kelsi laughed, “Always so honest, Cordelia? Don’t worry… I’m not about to hurt you, only your boss.”

“Why don’t I believe you?” Asked the brunette, shaking her head. Usually, people wanted to hurt Angel, and so they came through her or his friends to do it. This should be like… Second nature to her. She shouldn’t be surprised but… This was Wesley! Who’d want to hurt Wesley? Maybe for his kissing skills, sure but other than that…

“I don’t get it…” She said, shaking her head, “What’s going on?”

“You don’t know?” Said Kelsi, shocked, “Is betrayal something you make a part of your everyday life, Wesley?”

“Hey!” Cordelia said harshly, “You don’t know the first thing about him, so don’t…”

“Ah, but I do, Cordelia.” She smiled, “That’s where you’re wrong. I knew him a long time ago, when he was with the Council, before I appeared in Sunnydale. For a long time, you see, I just watched, bided my time until he’d know hurt, until he’d know pain. It seems he’s found friendships with you people… How will he feel when they’re taken away?”

“Uh, hello – he’s still right in front of you…” Said Cordelia, glaring at her. The guy was in the same room, did she have to talk about him like he wasn’t there? Cordelia hated that. “Geez…” The famous roll of her eyes came and Wesley had to literally, bite back a smile. The situation they were in right now was dangerous, “Let her go, Kelsi.” Said Wesley, his voice taut with fear, not for himself, more the brunette in front of him, Kelsi looked the same, her face still pretty, someone Gunn or perhaps even Angel would have taken an instant shine to – but inside now, she was dark, no longer the girl Wesley had once known.

He remembered their first meeting… The time she’d slayed her first vampire. She’d become almost like a daughter to him… And he’d killed her.

Kelsi frowned, “Now, now, Wes – don’t go gettin’ all reminisc-ey on me. I want you awake when I’m cutting into your friends.”

Angel’s entire body tensed, his senses now completely honed. A threat had been made. Usually, this would be the first signal for him to attack, especially a foe as dangerous as Kelsi standing in front of him, but Angel, not for the first time in his 248 years of unlife, was unable to do a thing. In her grasp, Kelsi clutched the one thing that meant everything to the once-brooding vampire and she could snuff it out like a candle, with Angel merely watching.

“It’s me you want. Take me,” Said Wesley, stepping forward.

“One more move and I swear, I’ll snap her neck.” Kelsi’s eyes darkened and the hatred that wasn’t masked made Wesley’s heart beat faster. “One thing I’m really shocked with? Your fighting skills, Wes! Seem to have improved from your running like a girl…”

“Okay so maybe you used to know him,” Said Cordelia coldly, “Doesn’t mean you do now!”

Wesley frowned, “As much as your input is valued, Cordelia, I think that perhaps it’s wise that you keep quiet.”

“I was defending you!” Said the brunette, indignantly, “Angel, tell him!”

Holding his hands palm up, Angel shook his head, “I’m staying out of this.”

Cordelia scowled, shouldn’t he know by now, especially right now, that he should side with her. Over everything? He’d abandoned her! And if he thought clothes were the way to go, then okay, he was sorta right but… Hello, still major suckiness on the hurting front!

Angel, noting the look on her face, decided that right this second, Cordelia was less of a threat than Kelsi was, in answer, his game face slid on, “If you think that…”

“Geez, I’m sorry! No need to get all ‘grrrr’ on me…” Said Cordelia, shaking her head, “God, you’re so temperamental! Maybe you are a woman…”

“Cordelia…”

“No, I’m serious, I mean…”

“CORDELIA!”

“What?” Taken aback by the yell, the brunette glared at him, “What?”

“Can we deal with the situation at hand here?” Asked Angel, gesturing to Kelsi.

“I thought you’d never ask,” Said the ex-slayer, dryly. “Seems to me like the two of you have… Issues, whatever. Can I get to the killing her horribly part?”

“Kelsi, please. This wasn’t her fault.” Said Wesley, stepping forward, “This was mine. I put you through that… Barbaric ritual, it’s me you want.”

Kelsi laughed, “But that would be too simple. You wouldn’t hurt. I wouldn’t be happy. Remember that Wesley? When you handed me my birthday present, a day late of course because you had Official Council Business to attend to…” Slowly, the hand that wasn’t holding onto Cordelia slipped inside the neckline of her shirt and from it, she pulled a cross, her fingers tingling slightly, “I’ve worn it ever since. Ever since Moor turned me… The cross didn’t work,” She said shrugging. “I always wondered whether you had to believe it… Whether you had to believe that it would work so that it would burn. He liked it. Said it made him feel good.” Shaking her head, she met Wesley’s eyes, “Do you remember what you said, Wesley?”

His gaze drifted from hers, to the floor and her laughter rang throughout the hotel, “Can’t even look at me, can you? I came to you, asked why I was feeling the way I was. So… Helpless and weak. You told me that everything would be fine, everything would sort out itself and I’d be okay. Then you took a needle and you stabbed me with it. Sundown came and went, you lied again. Told me that you had no idea what was causing my weakness, why I wasn’t able to stake a perfectly harmless fledgling vampire, fresh from his grave. You gave me this…” She said gently, her voice soothing, almost placating, “And then you told me that you had, again, Official Council Business, that you needed to meet me somewhere later that night. A nest of vampires, you said. Something you could easily handle, but my presence would be unsettling… For the vampires at least. How about now, Wes? My presence unsettling now?”

“Kelsi, what I did was wrong, but torturing these people is not the answer…”

“I thought you’d come for me.” She said quietly, her eyes glazed over, “Just as his wrist was pressed to my lips, the door opened… I damned myself by hoping. The way he walked… Such hesitancy, almost like he were afraid. His breathing hitched, just once. I was convinced it was you. You paused, his blood coursed through me and pictures, God… Pictures of what I’d do, of what I’d come to do…”

“I wasn’t there,” Said Wesley quietly, pain evident in his eyes. He’d damned this girl to death, to become the thing she fought and he’d done it knowingly. He remembered that conversation with her, about how she was his Slayer and he’d always be there for her. She’d laughed, smiled and fingered the gift he’d given her softly… Her eyes brimming with tears. A slayer, or so they’d both been taught, was supposed to cut off her emotions, use this lack in her fight against evil. Kelsi had been different and for that, Wesley had been terrified when he’d met Buffy – she too, was different, used her emotions in her fight and it had scared him beyond belief, she’d gone through the Cruciamentum, but her use of her emotions, would that get her killed too?

Of course, the two were in differing levels, Buffy had friends, a mother and a sister to keep her grounded. Kelsi had only Wesley and that night, she’d told him so. And he, God forgive him, had sent her to her death at the hands of a vampire who had taken her life, crushed it in his fingertips and turned her into the thing she was supposed to fight. Here she stood in front of him, was it possible then, that she knew remorse? Knew guilt for the things she done? Or was it simply hatred, hatred for him, the thing he’d damned her to?

“I know you weren’t there,” She spat, “Come on Wesley, even then your ways were antiquated. The Council wanted something following to the letter? Wesley would do it… You wouldn’t disobey orders, if you could…” She said coldly, “Gee, now I’m kinda wishing I got to see some of that loyalty extended to your slayer instead of it sticking with the Council…”

She wasn’t prepared for the attack that Angel launched. Even now, as a vampire, her emotions had proved a distraction and as the ensouled vampire leapt towards her, Kelsi pushed Cordelia into him and bolted out of the hotel and down the steps. Angel crashed into Cordelia, knocking her to the floor and hearing an effective crunch beneath him and a yelp of pain. He moved back quickly, hearing her whimper in the process, “Great, new clothes and broken ribs, what a week for me…” She groaned, holding her side.

Angel’s face slid back into his human aspect and worry flooded his features, “We need to get you to a hospital.” He said gently.

“No, we need to see to Wesley.” Said Cordelia, looking down at the ex-Watcher who was staring at the door through which Kelsi had retreated. “Wesley?” Her voice was soft, tender at first, then more harsh to break him out of his reverie, “Wesley!”

His gaze drifted up and remorse shone behind pain-filled eyes, “You’re hurt.” He said gently.

“Well, duh… Angel’s not exactly lightweight, y’know?”

“Are you saying I’m fat?”

Cordelia shook her head, ignored that comment, she *so* didn’t need to get into that kind of conversation with Angel, sometimes he really was like a woman. Only yesterday he’d brooded for an hour over her ruffling his hair affectionally as she’d walked past… Pffft – shouldn’t he be grateful she’d actually touched him? Who knew how many showers it took to get rid of the remnants of blonde, undead and skanky? Taking one with blonde, creepy cop lady SO didn’t count either! Ridding her head from thoughts of how much of a ‘Blonde-Groupie’ Angel was, Cordelia looked at Wesley, “Look, we’ll get through this. We’ll figure out a plan and we’ll deal, it’s what we do. Or at least it will be what we do when Broody boy here lifts me off the floor…”

“I’m not brooding,” Said Angel, frowning as Cordelia winced.

“You are! You’re standing there brooding away, while you have nothing to brood about, while I, on the other hand have everything to brood about.”

“Huh, how?” Asked Gunn, glancing over at Cordelia who had now been lifted VERY carefully into Angel’s arms.

“Because,” She stated simply, “Angel bought me a backless top and I won’t be able to wear it with the bruises that’ll be popping up any second now.”

“Nice to see you got your priorities right,” Said Gunn, frowning slightly.

“Oh bite me, everything can’t be doom and gloom at Angel City. Think positive! We’ll get through this, okay?” She asked, mentally tapping her foot as she waited, not-so-patiently, “OKAY?”

“Okay…”

“Yuh-huh…”

“Allright.”

“Good.” She smiled, nodding.

Wesley however, wasn’t so certain that things would be as ‘okay’ as his friends made out. How was he supposed to make up for killing someone who’d trusted him with their life? One look at Angel told him the answer wasn’t simple…

One step at a time.


Part 4

“Ow…”

Angel winced at her admission of pain and shook his head, “We need to get you to a hospital, Cordelia.”

“What, for me to spend three-thousand dollars of Health insurance I don’t have for a fossilised and not even remotely sexy doctor to say, ‘Oh, Miss Chase, you have broken ribs’, do the same thing you’re doing without the brood and then prescribe me painkillers? Please! I may look like a sucker for a sob story, but I’m not a dumbass. Just… Fix me up.”

“But…”

“Angel,” Said Cordelia, “Wesley. He needs me. You can wrap me in bandages and send me off to hospital after the crisis, okay? Right now, you and Gunn need to work out a plan and I need to impart all my womanly-wisdom on the guy who could turn out to be an eternal brooder like you if I don’t help him.”

“You think you guys could stop bickering and actually get something done?” Gunn’s words, while not cold, weren’t exactly laced with friendly warmth either.

“Don’t you start too,” Said Cordelia, frowning, “Two brooders is quite enough in one hotel for me, thanks.”

Angel picked up the first aid kit that he’d placed on the floor next to the sofa and looked at her, softly unbuttoning her shirt. “Cordelia…” The bruise that adorned her stomach and ribs was black, angry…

“Angel, just do it.” She said, squirming slightly, here she sat in front of two of her best friends in one of her oldest Victoria’s Secret bras, this was NOT fun. Angel nodded and gently, began strapping her ribs in tightly, ignoring the winces of pain, “This’ll help, but you need…”

“A doctor.” Finishing his sentence, she nodded, “And I promise that that’s where I’ll go right after we figure out what we’re going to do. Angel, Gunn – why don’t you guys find Merl, see if he knows where Kelsi’s been staying, all of that…”

“You mean, be detectives?” Asked Gunn, “I dunno…” He teased, “Do you think we can?”

Cordelia smiled, “Offer Merl something he wants in return for the information.”

“My word that I won’t kill him if he doesn’t?”

“Exactly.” Cordelia nodded, stood, albeit painfully, putting her shirt back on with the help of Angel, “Be careful, okay? Don’t go after her yourselves.”

Angel frowned, “I don’t like leaving the two of you alone, Cordelia, what if she comes back?”

“She won’t.” Said the brunette, certainly, “Angel, she wants Wesley. She wants to hurt him, the people she has to come through are his friends, I already have the broken ribs to prove that. I’d like us to be at least a little prepared the next time she comes. I just… Look at him.” Her voice was soft. In his office, Wesley sat, head down in a book he wasn’t reading. “We need to do something. We help the helpless, right now, that’s Wesley… Okay? Just go.”

Sighing, Angel stood and wiped his hands on his trouser legs, going to the weapons cabinet, grabbing his favourite broadsword and handing Cordelia a crossbow, “If she comes back, you know what to do?”

“Hey, she broke my ribs. She comes back, the bitch is getting it.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head, “Now go, stop worrying.”

Angel and Gunn nodded at her and turned, walking up the steps. Shooting one last look at Cordelia, Angel continued, his gaze leaving hers as she walked into the office. “Hey…”

“Cordelia.” When he looked up, his eyes were haunted, “I imagine you hate me.”

“Hate you?” Cordelia raised an eyebrow, “Why would I?”

“Kelsi…”

“Uh-huh… Red-headed chick, kinda short, has a severe case of the bumpies?”

“Cordelia, this is no laughing matter.”

“Hence my no loughing. Wesley, how long have we been friends?”

“Over a year now,” Said the ex-Watcher, quietly, “Cordelia, please. Don’t patronise me by telling me that this is alright, it’s not.”

“I know that.” Said Cordelia, “I also know that what you did was wrong. But think about it, different circumstances and somebody could be telling this self-same thing to Giles. Wesley, we make mistakes – and like it or not, it’s the mistakes that we make that bring us to where we are today. As much as I hate to say it, if there had never been a Darla, where would we be? If there had never been an Angelus, or that Gypsy clan, we wouldn’t be here. We make a choice. Without this, this whole situation, the Cruciamentum, you would never have been transferred to Sunnydale, Giles wouldn’t have been fired and we’d never have known each other. I’m not saying that her dying is a good thing but without it, you wouldn’t be in our lives.”

Wesley looked at her, stunned. She wasn’t telling him it was allright, but she didn’t hate him either. In fact, none of them did, something he didn’t quite understand. “Then… What are you saying?” He asked.

Cordelia thought for a second, what was she trying to say? Speaking softly, she looked up, “We’ve all got something to atone for, Wesley. Whether it’s being the uber-bitch in High School, the Scourge of Europe – or the order-following watcher that made a mistake. None of us are guilt free. Remember that song… Uh… Que Sera, Sera or something? It was French…”

Wesley nodded, believing that now he understood where she was going with this, “Whatever will be, will be.” He said gently.

“Total crap,” Said Cordelia, “Don’t buy it at all.”

Okay, Thought Wesley, As she would say, OR NOT.

“This isn’t a Jack Dawson thing, but we make our own luck. We’d proved with Angel that, where we mightn’t be able to change the past? We can certainly change the future and ourselves so put me down for a whole-hearted, ‘yay, me’… We’ll get through this, Wesley. No matter how long it takes, we’ll get through it, we have to.”

Wesley, even though he didn’t feel like doing it, smiled. She had a unique and often tactless way of making sense. “I guess you can put me down for a ‘yay, me’ too then.” He said gently.

“Good,” Cordelia sat down in the chair, wincing in pain, “Now, as payback for my poor broken ribs, you can tell me your side of the story.”

Wesley closed his book and let out a sigh, “Where shall I start?”

“At the beginning? Usually sounds best…”

“Quite,” Said Wesley, softly…

* * * * * *

“I ain’t tellin’ him jack…” Merl, the lizard-like demon, shook his head.

Gunn frowned, “You want me to start with the killin’?”

“Can’t.” Said Merl, “It’s a sanctuary… And plus, I’m still pissed at the guy. Do you know how much money I lost down in that sewer when he hung me upside down?”

Angel, who was tired of the ‘acting like he wasn’t here’ treatment, spoke up, “Merl, you had no money.”

“Not after YOU finished with me, it all lay in the sewer and I was too traumatised to even think about picking it up.”

“Traumatised, yeah…” Said Gunn, grabbing hold of Merl, “Listen, one of my friends’ life could be on the line and I’m not spending my night talking to a parasite demon with no tongue, let alone no spine. You’re gonna spill…”

“Better listen to him, Merl…” Taunted Angel, “The guys pissed. It’ll take him five seconds to drag you outside, even less to spill your brains against the wall upstairs.”

“Ah, it’s nice to see Angel Investigations back in the roost where it belongs.” The anagogic demon, having just finished a Patti LaBelle number, stepped closer to the two detectives and smiled, “Back in business with a case that comes more directly from the Powers than you think, huh Angelcakes?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Angel’s face had been in a constant frown since he’d gotten here, he was worried about his friends, moreso Wesley and Cordelia, Merl wasn’t talking. Chalk this up to be a bad night.

“Can’t disclose confidential client information,” Said Lorne, shaking his head, “What I can tell you is that this girl? Not something you want to mess around with, Angel. The girl has some SERIOUS rage.”

“We’d noticed,” Said Gunn, “Merl?”

“Alright, a couple of drinks and an apology from the blood-sucker and then I’ll tell you.”

Angel shook his head, “No drink, no apology. You walk away tonight with your head firmly attached to your shoulders, having given us the information, everyone’s happy.”

“You wouldn’t do it.” Said Merl.

Angel turned, “Try me.” His voice was cold, harsh, he had the settling feeling in his stomach that something wasn’t quite right with any of this and he didn’t know what.

Frowning, the parasite demon shook his head, “Damnit, you do know you’re really bad for business, right?”

“I need an address… Anything you can give me.”

“Just an address.”

As Merl was scribbling an address down, Angel looked at him, “You realise that if this is wrong, I’ll…”

“Yeah, yeah, cut off my head and feed it to the pond scum demons down in the sewers, sing me a new tune sometime, wouldja?” Merl grumbled, turning back to the stage where a gravsluck demon was belting out a painful rendition of a Destiny’s Child tune, effectively murdering the song from where he stood.

“Survivor?” Said Gunn, shaking his head and looking at Angel, “Somehow, I liked the hottie version better.”

Angel didn’t reply, instead, he moved across the floor and up the stairs, out into his car and waited impatiently for Gunn. “Something tells me that we’re not going back to the hotel yet, are we?” Asked Gunn.

Nodding, Angel floored the accelerator and handed the address to Gunn, “You know how to get there?”

Gunn sighed, “Yeah man, but shouldn’t we wait for Cordy and Wes?”

“We’re not going to fight,” Said Angel, following Gunn’s directions, “We’re going to chat.”

Gunn had seen Angel’s idea of ‘chatting’ before. This he didn’t like. “I guess now would be the time to be really glad you’ve had an epiphany, huh?”

Angel didn’t reply.

*************

The first thing they noticed when they got there was that… The apartment block she lived in? Run-down, just like they’d expected. Arguments between husbands and wives, perhaps lovers floated down the urine-smelling hallways. Angel frowned, there’d been death here, ugly death, caused by her? He wasn’t sure.

“You smellin’ somethin’ man?” Asked Gunn, his voice hushed. He was no stranger to places like these, in fact sometimes, he knew more about them than he cared to admit. “Blood.” After a while of Angel being silent, Gunn had answered his own question. “From her?”

Angel shook his head, “Death. This place smells of death.”

“We’re in the most rundown, ramshackle part of town and you’re surprised it smells like this? Welcome to the parts of the world you don’t see, Angel.”

Gunn was right, he didn’t visit here too often, why would he have the mind to? Briefly, it reminded him of that first week in LA, finding Tina dead in her apartment after he’d tried to help her had reminded him that no matter what he did, he couldn’t save anyone. He wasn’t here to try and save Kelsi, she was so far past that, he wasn’t sure something could ever bring her back again. He was here to… Here to what? Was killing her his decision? Or did Wesley need to make his peace with what he’d done in some way? Could he make peace with it?

They got to her apartment and for a second, just stopped at her door. The sounds of the TV drifted through and then a cry of pain. Female. Angel didn’t have time to think, raising a booted foot, he kicked down the door, went to rush forward in order to save whoever was the hostage of the vampire and was effectively pulled short… By a barried at the door.

A demon can’t enter a person’s home unless it’s invited.

Angel frowned, watching almost as if in slow motion as Kelsi shot up from the chair she was in, only to find Gunn coming towards her, “Where is she?” Growled the young black man, glaring at the vampire. Puzzled, Kelsi stared at him, “Where’s who?”

“The girl, where is she?”

“There’s no one here but me.”

Gunn frowned, “Then I guess you won’t mind my taking a look round the apartment, right?” Kelsi stepped back and watched as cautiously, Gunn checked the rooms, finding nothing. “I told you.” She said quietly.

“You’re hurt.” It was then, the second thing that Angel had noticed, the burns all down her lower arms. She’d taken off the shirt that, in the hotel, had hidden most of them quite well. Cross marks, implanted into her flesh, holy water droplets that Angel remembered Drusilla enduring to him, making scars. Kelsi quickly picked up her shirt to cover herself and looked at Gunn, “Get out.”

“You’re a vampire.” Said Angel, quietly, “And yet I can’t enter this house. You live with someone?”

“And lemme guess,” Said Gunn, “He does that to you, on a regular basis?” He gestured to her arms, to which Kelsi glared at him, “There is no one who lives here but me, I assure you. In return for keeping his neighbourhood safe from vampires, the landlord lets me stay and…” Briefly, she wondered why she was taking the time to explain, she wanted them dead? The feeling was mutual. “I said get out. Now. I do this, no one else. I do this, so that I might feel again, might know what it’s like to…”

“You didn’t do that.” Said Angel, shaking his head, he knew torture, he’d inflicted it. Upon vampires as well as humans, he had the experience here and he was using it. “The burns are too extensive for you to have made them, whoever’s doing this to you is…”

“None of your concern.” Kelsi’s voice was now soft as she watched Angel’s gaze flicker over to the bandages on the side of the table, “Please, you must leave before he comes back.”

“Then there is someone.” Said Angel, quietly, “You’re hurt, come with us.”

Kelsi laughed, bitterly, “You want to keep me safe? With the man who killed me in the first place? Are you crazy? You know that if I go there, I’ll kill him – and her too, you want that?”

Angel frowned, “You can’t stay here…”

“I can and I am, now leave.” She stepped towards Gunn, her human facade sliding away and leaving her demon, staring yellow eyed at the pair, “I won’t hesitate to kill the two of you. You think what he does to me is bad? Think of what I can do to you.”

Staring for a moment, Angel looked at her, “Who is it?”

“My Master.” She whispered, “I’m bound to him, bound to him by death. Not by choice, now please, you have to leave…”

In her eyes was a look of fear, a look of pain – one both Angel and Gunn instantly recognised and as they stepped back, Angel spoke quietly, “Wesley didn’t mean to hurt you, he was only following orders, you know that, don’t you.” It wasn’t a question.

Kelsi nodded, “Just like I’m doing.” She whispered, “Following orders. Life is a Puppet Show, Angel. Someone makes us dance the way they want and we can only follow.”

She waited, waited for them to leave… Until finally, Angel stepped back a hand on Gunn’s shoulder, “Come on…”

“We’re leaving?” Gunn’s voice was shocked, “Hey, did you forget the mission statement? We Help The Helpless. Remember that?”

“I remember,” Said Angel as they walked back out to the car, “But that’s not the way. The only way we help her is by setting her free.”

“So… We kill her, right? Got stakes in the trunk…”

Angel shook his head, “She said herself that life’s a show. It’s time we started pulling some strings.”

Part 5

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in TBC

What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us 1-2   Leave a comment

Title: What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us
Author: ficbitch82 (aka angelicgal82)
Posted: 2002
Rating: R
Email:
Content: A/C (who else)
Summary: Following a visit from a member of the Council, things are revealed about Wesley’s past and a new threat to the Fang Gang and everything they hold dear is unveiled, reminding them that the past doesn’t stay dead when you bury it.
Spoilers: This fic is set Pre-Pylea – so everything after Angel’s dark “Beige Period”… Uhm… spoiler for Dead End, pre-Belonging.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Anywhere, just let me know where it’s going.
Notes: 
Feedback: 
Dedication: To Penny, Florrie, Aya and all the other people who make the wonderful Stranger Things a HUGE part of my Purple-Heavenous life… (Is Heavenous even a word? lol…) You guys are the greatest!


Part 1

“God, I wish there were more girls around here.” Said Cordelia, sighing for the hundredth time that day. She sat, her legs draped over the edge of the chair in her expensive-looking but not costing sandals and tapping her feet mindlessly to a tune that drummed in her head. One she’d ironically heard on the radio that morning while getting up to go to work. Again. It wasn’t that she was bored or anything, it was just… Harmony being here had showed Cordelia that she missed the simple company of a woman. Someone’s toe-nails to paint… Someone to laugh at the in-jokes about the whole period thing… Granted, at times she could use a good whine about the vision pain but, Phantom Dennis provided a good sounding board (and an ice pack) for those troubles, for which Cordelia Chase was eternally grateful. Sure, Harmony was evil, but she’d been a good friend back in the day and now, Cordelia was left wanting the company of a friend… A girlfriend.

“Hey, I know,” Said Gunn, “Why don’t we invite your friend Harmony to stay again? Now that was my idea of fun…”

Scowling, Cordelia tossed the magazine she’d been reading across the room, missing Gunn’s head by an inch, “Funny,” She frowned, “I’m serious. I’m tired of there only being guys around here… I’m outnumbered… And if any of you would actually dare doing it, you could effectively outvote me on some important, life-changing decision.”

“Ah, but would you actually do what we outvoted you on?” Asked Wesley, rationally.

“Well no, but…”

“Well then!” He said with a smile.

“Who died and made you Logic Boy? I’m having a crisis here and you guys are just… Joking around!”

“Morning!” Angel’s voice floated down the stairs ahead of him as he entered the lobby of the Hyperion, picking up the paper. “Nooo,” Said Cordelia, “That would be sundown. You slept. Most of the day away. Again.”

“I’m a vampire!” Said Angel, nervously, “And besides, who kept me up until eight this morning telling me how great it would be to have another woman around here to talk to?”

“Seems to me like you have all the woman you need over there in Angel…” Observed Wesley, casually, “I’ve noticed that these after-hours talks of yours have gotten more frequent as of late…”

“You’re calling me a woman?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Asked Cordelia, frowning.

“He’s calling me a woman!”

“Get over it!” Said Cordelia, “He’s not a woman. Whatever his taste in clothes may suggest… And anyway, so I can talk to Angel, big deal! That might be on account of his lack of being here over the past few months.”

Angel’s face fell at that, making Cordelia sigh, “I need someone to… To shop with! To bitch to when you guys are annoying me! I need someone to let me paint their toenails!”

“Nuh-uh, no way and also NO…” Said Gunn, “I am NOT letting you paint my toe-nails, no matter how much you beg.”

“It was a metaphor, dumbass…” Cordelia sighed and got up from her seat, grabbing hold of her purse, “I think I’ll go shopping, look at the things I want to buy but can never afford on my pittance here and watch as happy friend-shipped girlie couples walk down the street, holding hands…”

“Can I join you?” Asked Gunn, teasingly.

“Bite me!” Tossed the brunette over her shoulder as she left the hotel.

* * * * *

“I think she’s lonely.” Said Wesley softly, “Having Harmony here can only have aided in the sense that Cordelia has no one of her own age and certainly, her own frame of mind to turn to.”

“She has us…” Said Angel, “Shouldn’t that be enough?”

For all the things Angel was… Good, noble, strong, caring, loving… All of that – at times he could be rather blind to what was right in front of his nose. “Happy with us she is, Angel. But she lacks a female friend, one she can turn to throughout anything. With us she has a 250 year old vampire…”

“248 year old vampire!” Said Angel indignantly, “I’m not that old…”

“Fine.” Said Wesley, “With us she has a 248 year old vampire, a tough, streetwise kid and a ruggedly handsome ex-watcher…”

“Ruggedly handsome? English, are you trippin’?” Asked Gunn, shaking his head, “Now the ruggedly handsome tough, streetwise kid I’d buy…”

“Hey, what’s wrong with the strangely alluring, sometimes brooding ensouled vampire?”

Just before the full-scale argument broke out, a knock came at the door. A tweed-clad man with a briefcase stepped inside, “Excuse me, I was told I’d find a Mr. Wyndham-Pryce here, is that true?”

Wesley stood immediately, thinking first and foremost about his parents, wondering if some tragic incident had befallen them, his heart trip-hammering in his chest. “Yes?”

“Mr. Wyndham-Pryce, would it be possible to speak with you for a moment, alone?” Asked the man, pointedly. “Official Council business…”

The frown was on Wesley’s face quicker than he could blink, “I’m afraid not. The Council and I haven’t had dealings in a very long time, it would be best if you’d turn round and leave…”

“Sir, I’m assured that this you’ll need to hear.” Said the man, shuffling nervously in front of the vampire, there was talk rife among the Watcher’s Council that Wesley had reverted to the ‘other side’ aiding the vampire, releasing the rogue slayer, the list was endless. Still, that didn’t mean that the brit hadn’t served his purpose back in the day and this was important.

Acquiescing with a sigh, Wesley gestured to the office, “We’ll talk in there then?”

* * * * * *

“Oh, I would *kill* to live in LA, that close to that many shoes?”

Cordelia frowned. Evil just compounded evil. Right now, she lived that close to that many shoes and on her pittance of her wage from Angel Investigations… She could afford to live, quite comfortably in fact. She could afford to look half-way decent every day but… Oohhh, those Neiman Marcus shoes in the window would look SOOO right on her! Strappy, little wide on the heel, black – being the new black – was THE perfect colour and she couldn’t afford them. They weren’t a *little* out of her price range. They were so far out of her price range that even back in the day, Daddy would have balked at the charge on his card for them.

Cordelia sighed, “Who needs those shoes anyway?”

“You by the looks of things,” Said a voice, laughing from behind her.

Cordelia turned to see and auburn haired girl standing, laughing at her, “Oh, I’m sorry – does my pain strike you as amusing?” She asked, coldly.

Chuckling, the girl shook her head, “No, it’s not that – you just… You were looking so desperate for those shoes, then you turn away and you’re… Who needs those shoes anyway, girl… Sorry, I just know that’s an exact replica of me for the same shoes in pink. On my pittance of a wage, I can always dream that the Neiman Marcus Shoe Fairy’s gonna drop them right in the bottom of my closet…” She offered with a smile.

Okay so her colouring was a little off. Pink in those shoes with her hair colour could clash depending on the tone but… The girl seemed kinda nice. Cordelia smiled herself and extended a hand, “Hi, I’m Cordelia. Cordelia Chase.”

“I’m Kelsi.” Smiled the girl, “Kelsi Leoni… And it’s nice to meet you, Cordelia Chase.”

“Likewise.” Replied Cordelia, nodding, “So uh… Do you wanna go look at more things we can’t afford? Or are you content to stay here and risk drooling over the fall collection that’s over in that corner.”

“Coffee,” Suggested Kelsi with a laugh, “How about a coffee?”

“Gotta be better than the one I made this morning,” Said Cordelia, smiling, “Lead on.”

* * * * *

“And you’re certain that it’s her?” Asked Wesley, quietly, his gaze drifting out into the lobby. His friends stood, talking about something and Wesley knew for certain that he’d have to tell them, have to let them know what was going on, what had gone before, what would come. “You’re sure you haven’t got the wrong girl?”

“Look at the signs,” Said Scott, the rather pompous Watcher from back in England, “You know what it is… What’s to come and yet you won’t accept it. She’s back. She wants revenge.”

“And she’ll take that revenge on the people that don’t bloody deserve it, like my friends,” He frowned, “She’s already started on the people that do, the people that forced her into this barbaric rite of passage that no person should ever be forced to endure.”

“It’s a time…”

“A time honoured rite of bloody passage that must be adhered to. Save it.” Said Wesley coldly, “I’ve heard this.”

Scott frowned, he’d been told to inform the ex-Watcher, aid him as best as possible – not put up with abuse. “Mr. Wyndham-Pryce, with all due respect, I made the trip down here to help you in any way I could. I don’t appreciate being talked to in such a fashion…”

“Tell me something,” Said Wesley, “Have you had a Slayer? Have you faced a vampire in anything other than controlled conditions? Stopped an apocalypse, perhaps? Lost someone you hold dear?”

The pause was enough to make Wesley continue, “Didn’t think so. The council are, put bluntly, a bunch of wankers who don’t know the first thing about the war they wage but don’t fight. Instead, they call judgement upon me for working with a vampire when in all actual fact I’ve done more good working for this vampire than I did in my whole time with the Council…”

“Well that would be right, wouldn’t it? Considering the fate of your first charge?” Asked Scott, pompously.

Wesley’s gaze darkened, “I think perhaps it’s time you left. Take your help, useless though it was and get the hell out.”

Scott stood, hurriedly and hastened in his retreat, leaving his file sitting on the desk of Wesley’s newly-acquired office. As he bumbled his way past Gunn and Angel, Wesley stepped into the main foyer of the hotel and sighed, “There’s something I have to tell you.” He said quietly.

“Is this a ‘we need to talk’ speech? ‘Cause I don’t think I could handle you breakin’ up with me right now,” Joked Gunn. Then, the smile slid off his face, “Wes, what is it?”

“I’m afraid it’s rather grave…” Said Wesley quietly. For a second, there was silence. For a second, nothing was said. Thinking of the best way to word what he was about to say, Wesley was rewarded by the broken, bloody body of John Scott, now deceased member of the Watcher’s Council being tossed back through the door, briefcase and all.

“Yes,” Said Wesley, “Rather grave indeed.”


Part 2

“I used to live in a little town called Sunnydale but… I like to repress.” Said Cordelia, “It was awful… A one Starbucks town, I hated it.”

“Sunnydale?” Kelsi’s eyebrows shot up, “Wow! I know that place!”

Cordelia frowned, “I see its reputation exceeds its homely stature…”

“No,” Laughed the other girl, shaking her head, auburn curls bouncing softly around her face, “I went to UC Sunnydale for a couple of months, nothing heavy, just to take a little… Side course, sorta…”

“I’m so sorry,” Said Cordelia with a grin, “That must have been hell for you…” Hell being the operative word, She thought, dryly.

“Nah, it wasn’t so bad, the night life kinda sucked… There was only this one place that actually had any potential – you probably know it, having lived there and all… The Bronze?”

Tossing her Styrofoam cup into the bin, Cordelia nodded, “Yeah, the Bronze – God, we used to go there every night! When were you there, in Sunnydale I mean?”

“A couple of years ago, not too long. Long enough, I’d say though… My Uncle used to live down there… Until he… Well, that reputation you talked about? Kinda caught up with him…”

This time, Cordelia’s voice was sincere, “Oh, I’m so sorry…” She said softly, “What did your uncle do?”

“Librarian, stuffy, kinda cute if you’re into that sort of thing…” She smiled, “But generally a good guy.”

Ironically, Cordelia thought of Giles – librarian who, okay, was kinda cute, sort of… But then, he wasn’t dead. Then, her thoughts tripped to Wesley and Cordelia was put into a weird, scary place of where Wesley was cute. This was Wesley! Sure they’d kissed and she’d felt the burgeonings of a growing attraction but… Hello, Wesley! Shaking herself, both mentally and physically, Cordelia smiled, “Believe me, I know the stuffiness of a good man…” She said teasingly, “He’s a good guy too but sometimes he could do with lighting up a little…”

“What do you do, Cordelia?” Asked Kelsi, genuinely intrigued.

“Office Manager on a pittance of a wage, I work for a PI…”

“PI?”

“Yeah, y’know, Private Investigator… He’s pretty good at what he does, a bit of a dork at times but… I’ve known him for so long it doesn’t even seem to register when he’s in Dork Angel mode now…”

“Dork Angel mode?” Kelsi laughed, “Sounds like fun…”

“Yeah, well – after a few months of him having uhm… Issues, I guess it’s better than nothing.” She shrugged, “Honestly, he worries too much, we have this sort of…” Cordelia stopped, winced once and screamed as the vision knocked her to the floor. It was like a thousand hot pokers stabbing her between the eyes and the pictures… Oh holy God the pictures… Everything switched to surround sound and Cordelia cried out, her body twisting painfully on the floor of the shopping mall, Kelsi standing back in something akin to abject horror. “Cordelia! Cordelia, what’s wrong?”

Cordelia never heard. When the vision ended, she was left with a group of people standing looking at her like she were crazy and lets face it, if she’d seen anyone in the throes of a ‘vision’ when she’d been out shopping, she’d have thought they were crazy too. “Cordelia, are you alright?” Her face was pale, almost like she’d been crying but not quite. Her eyes looked haunted by something Kelsi couldn’t quite pinpoint, “Oh God, are you okay? What was that?”

“Uh… Nothing, just… I need to uhm… Go to the bathroom, wait here or… Feel free to run in horror…” She said, hand-walking her way to the huge communal bathrooms. When she got there, she locked the door behind her and flipped open her cellphone, “Come on, Angel… Pick up…”

The shrill sound of the telephone cut through the hotel like a knife – Angel and Gunn on edge from what Wesley was certainly about to say but hadn’t quite gotten round to it.

“Angel?”

“What’s wrong?” His voice was immediately placating, having a calming effect on the vision-after effects, but not much of a one. “What did you see?”

“Wesley,” She whispered, “I saw Wesley and… And a girl, Angel she’s coming after him. It isn’t today but…”

“Where are you?”

“In a bathroom in the mall, GOD that was embarassing, Angel, people SAW me! People saw me drool! I don’t drool!” She whispered into the receiver, “I’d actually made a friend too, I’d like to bet she’s gone now…”

“You made a friend?” Asked Angel, instantly suspicious, “Who?”

“A girl… Called Kelsi, she was nice. Angel, stop being so melodramatic, not everything’s all darkness and back-stabby, y’know…” She frowned, God he was so panicky! He should be thankful she was making a friend! That might at least stop the late-night-talks that had gotten more frequent, according to Wesley.

“I know,” Said Angel, gently, “I just worry about you.”

Great, now he had her feeling all mean and everything! As if the vision hangover wasn’t bad enough. Sighing, Cordelia shook her head (even though he couldn’t see it), “You dont’ need to worry, okay? I’ll… I’ll be home shortly, can’t see this shopping trip lasting much longer, not with this vision-brain, I got going on right now. Do you need blood?”

This last question, struck Angel as amusing – a few month ago back in Sunnydale and the mere sight of Angel’s liquid diet would have brought an ‘eww’ ringing from the brunette’s lips, now though, she didn’t seem to mind – had actually tried to ‘liven’ his diet up with a little cinnamon. Angel shuddered, ah but for the grace of fresh pigs blood – without lumps in. “No Cordelia,” Said the ensouled vampire softly, “I don’t need anything, just you.”

Smiling slightly, Cordelia shook her head, “Just me, huh?” She asked, “Well, in a few minutes, you’ll be getting me. Plus shopping bags.”

“I thought I only paid you a pittance!” Said Angel, indignantly.

“Hey, a girl’s gotta shop somehow! Didn’t you learn anything in your 250 years of unlife?”

“248!” Said Angel, a hurt tone stinging his voice, “I’m not 250 yet!”

“Whatever,” Laughed Cordelia, “The only guy in the world who’s actually worried about his age when he’s been witness to a bicentennial and I hook up with him…”

The click of the phone left Angel with a smile and standing, Cordelia worked her way out of the bathroom to where Kelsi still stood. “You’re still here?” Asked the brunette, puzzled. She’d have thought Kelsi would have bolted at the first sign of vision brain.

Instead, she ignored the question, “Are you okay? God, I was so worried! You don’t… You don’t look too good.”

Well wasn’t that the understatement of the year? Cordelia smiled, “Yeah, I’m fine, but I gotta go uhm… Headache, y’know?” Watching as Kelsi’s face got the look that Angel’s did, she was taken aback. “Hey, I’m okay…”

“I’ll take you home.” Said Kelsi, “You can’t go alone, not after that.”

“I’m fine,” Cordelia lied, “I’ll be fine.”

“Listen, my car is parked right outside the mall, it’ll take me what, fifteen minutes, providing you’re not going back to your roots of Sunnydale of course…” She smiled.

“You’re sure?”

“I wouldn’t if offered if I wasn’t,” Said Kelsi, “Come on.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

“Is Cordelia alright?” Wesley’s voice broke the silence that had reigned the hotel since the body had been tossed back inside. Angel had checked the area, of course, it now being sundown – but to no avail, he’d found nothing… Much to Wesley’s silent relief. Not that he wanted Scott dead, or even hurt – too late though it was now. But more to the fact that he wanted the opportunity to tell his friends what was going on before someone or something else did.

Angel shook his head, “Cordelia saw you, Wes. A girl, coming after you – what’s going on?”

Rubbing a hand tiredly over his face, Wesley realised that keeping secrets from your friends was not only bad but detrimental. This was something he’d managed to keep to himself for the longest of times, not only at the request of the Council, but also because of the sense of shame that burned deep within him. Sighing, Wesley began, “You know that before I came to Sunnydale, I worked for the Council.” He said quietly.

Angel shot Gunn a look but said nothing, let the ex-Watcher continue the story that would, unbeknownst to him, mould and shape the next few hours of his life or unlife as the case was. “I was assigned to Sunnydale, under the pretense of Buffy and Faith being my first slayers. They were not. My first slayer was a girl, no more than 17. She was called when the previous died, as goes the line. Buffy would be the one to take over from her,” He said softly, “On the night of her eighteenth birthday, after spending one year with my slayer, I was contacted by the Council. She was to take part in something called the Cruciamentum. I’d… Hypnotize her with the use of crystals, inject her with something that would weaken her defenses… Take out the Slayer, if you will, leave only the girl.”

If he was honest, Angel knew where this was going. He remembered the Cruciamentum first time round, with Buffy, remembered what it had done to her, what it had done to Giles. From what had happened and the way Wesley’s hands were shaking, this hadn’t ended good for any concerned.

“She was locked in an old, ramshackle house with a vampire.” Said Wesley quietly, “By all accounts, my slayer fought well – outwitted the vampire at first… Then, something happened. No one was ever sure what. My Slayer was turned by the vampire she was confined with. She died that night and her soul was taken.” Looking up, directly at Angel, Wesley sighed, “I’m not sure if you know what happens when a Slayer is turned…”

Angel didn’t.

“Her soul, doesn’t flee the body. It stays, only… Not to do good. The soul is broken. It turns dark. Like it or not, she has succumbed to the thing that she faces every night. I killed the vampire, avenged my Slayer’s death. She was never found again…”

“Until now.” Said Angel, quietly. “Wes, we never knew… I…”

“That was the way it was supposed to happen,” Said the ex-Watcher quietly, “I was sent to Giles, not only to watch over Buffy and Faith in official position as Watcher, but so that Giles could aid me in my duties as Watcher, oversee what I was doing. Perhaps even keep an eye on me. They knew Giles wouldn’t leave Sunnydale or Buffy behind, they placed me there knowing that even if it was only a little, I was getting help. I was being supervised.”

“Giles knew?”

“No,” Wesley shook his head, running a hand through his hair, “As far as everyone was concerned, Buffy and Faith were my first charges. Going to Sunnydale was a chance to prove myself, not only to the Council, nor to my father, but to myself. I’d failed my Slayer in the worst possible way – in effect, I’d been the one who’d killed her, made her what she was, if you will. I needed the chance to do good again. After it happened, I worked in the offices of the Council for a while and then, talk of Giles and what had happened during Buffy’s Cruciamentum began. Quentin Travers approached me himself, told me that I was to go to Sunnydale, act as Watcher for the two current Slayers and never speak of what had happened, as was the previous arrangement. The Council had made a mistake, they were eager to cover it up.”

Gunn looked at him, really looked at him. The guy was shaking, this was big. “You never told anyone about this?”

“No-one.” Said Wesley, “My parents knew… At least my father did, that something had happened but he never knew the extent. In his eyes, I’d been demoted from Official Watcher to… Office Boy, General Dogsbody.” He said, bitterly. “In a way, I suppose I jumped at the chance to take Buffy and Faith under my wing, try to prove to him that I wasn’t the failure he thought I was…”

Letting out a breath of air he wasn’t aware he’d been holding in, Wesley sighed, “And now, she wants revenge. What sparked it all off right now, I’m not sure, but she’s killed and she will again before she gets to the thing she wants most. Me.” In silence, he went into the office, picked the folder up off the desk and returned, handing it to Angel.

“What sparked it off?” Said Gunn, “Wes, the Council killed her – I think I’d be pretty pissed myself…”

“Well there had to be a chain of events that… Wait, you said the Council.” He said quietly.

“That’s because you’re not to blame in all of this,” Said Angel, calmly, thumbing through the manilla folder the dead Council member had brought Wesley, “You did what you were supposed to. Any other kind of situation, this could have been Giles.”

Wesley, taken aback by this, stood, his mouth open, “But…”

“Hey, the guy’s gotta make sense sometime.” Said Gunn with a small, but not forced, smile. Standing near Angel, he winced, “This chick’s got some serious rage, huh?” He asked, glancing down at the photos. He imagined the Council members in the photos hadn’t realised what was coming. Scorch marks adorned their body, apparently, she was into the Five-Basic-Torture-Groups – as seen in the evidence they’d been provided. “Don’t look like any kind of human could ever do that…”

“She has all the powers of a Slayer, combined with all the powers of a vampire,” Said Angel, shaking his head.

“So what? That ranks her high in the ‘kinda-unkillable-stakes’?” Asked Gunn.

“No, but you’re not far off…” Said Wesley, quietly, “I’d imagine she’s a match, even for Angel…”

“Plus, if Cordelia had a vision about this and it’s happening soon? We’re gonna need a plan, right?”

“We need a plan for what?” Her voice drifted from the staircase, where she stood at the door, Kelsi at her side.

“Oh God…” When Angel turned, Wesley’s face had paled, considerably.

Kelsi smiled, “Hello, Uncle…”

Okay something was going on! Sometimes, she might be clueless as to… Well, some things but she wasn’t a complete dumbass. “Wait, you said your Uncle was dead!” Said Cordelia, indignantly, “You two know each other?”

“I rather think so,” Said Wesley quietly, “Angel, Gunn – meet my Slayer.”

Part 3

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in TBC

Divine Intervention 3   Leave a comment

Part 3

“You’re leaving? But… But… What about school and… Slaying! You can’t do slaying in Sunnydale if you’re not here.”

Buffy stopped throwing things into her bag long enough to look up at her sister. “Dawn, listen – if it were up to me I wouldn’t go-“

“But it IS up to you Buffy. You can’t just leave! You just started getting your life back and…”

Sighing, Buffy shook her head, “This is Angel. I can’t just leave him wherever he is. The girl that called? She sounded really worried, Dawn. If there’s even a chance that I can help Angel, I have to.”

Dawn frowned, “Right. I forgot. This is the work you have to do. Forget about your family.” The frustrated teen stormed out of her sister’s bedroom, leaving a just-as-frustrated Buffy standing behind, a bag in her hands.

She’d received the phone call that morning and worried herself sick for most of the school day. Both Cordelia and Angel had gone missing – months ago and Fred, the girl who’d called, had said that maybe they’d gone on vacation together but she really kind of doubted it since three months was a long time to wait for someone to come back or even call. Fred said that maybe they were dead but that she didn’t want to admit that and that calling Buffy was like a last ditch attempt.

She’d babbled. A lot.

Buffy had worried. A lot.

Finally, when the Principal had found Buffy in the process of snapping every single pencil in her reach, he’d suggested a couple of days off to get whatever was bothering her out of her system.

At first, she’d hesitated, said that nothing was bothering her… Until Principal Wood had looked at the box of broken pencils on the table and quirked an eyebrow.

“Ms. Summers… As much as you’re still the only parent… SISTER…” He amended off her look, “That’s volunteering, our budget doesn’t stretch as far as to cover that many pencils. Go. Sort it out. We can survive the couple of days you’re gone.”

Buffy looked at him, “You realise you just put a jinx on yourself by saying that?”

“Don’t worry, everything will be-“

“You’re just about to commit jinx number two! With my sister in this school!”

Principal Wood laughed and watched as Buffy picked up her coat, her eyes settling on his as she neared him at the door. “Thank you.”

Now, Buffy stood alone in her room irritated at having encountered the wrath of her sister with a simple explanation. Shaking her head, Buffy placed the bag down on the bed and walked to Dawn’s room, bracing herself for the argument that was sure to come.

“Xander said he’d stay with you,” Offered Buffy gently, leaning against the doorframe of her sisters room, knowing full well that Dawn had once had a crush on her best friend. “And he promised me that parties would be to a minimum… That’s not ’cause I don’t trust you. It’s just that Buffy-house-parties have never ended well…”

“So it’s a good thing I’m NOT you. Besides, who am I gonna invite? My total of three friends from school? Wow, let’s trash the house…” Said Dawn, rolling her eyes.

Buffy sighed, “I’m not doing this to spite you or… I’m not doing any of this other than the reason that it’s Angel, that it’s a guy I once loved and that…”

“And that once again, your ‘work’ turns into something that could lose you your job AND your family.” Finished Dawn, “Save it. I’ve heard it.”

Occasionally, Buffy was a little slow at catching on, but not today. Something in Dawn’s tone of voice, even the way she was acting, told Buffy that there was something more to this. Something she hadn’t quite pinpointed yet. “What is it?” She asked softly, sitting down on the end of her bed. “Really. What is it?”

“It’s just,” Dawn paused a moment, as if trying to think of the right way to word her answer without sounding like an idiot or worse, a spoiled brat. “It’s just it seems like a pattern, you dropping everything to rush to Angel and I know I’m being stupid but… What if you two… Y’know?”

“That’s something you really DON’T have to worry about.” Said Buffy firmly, “Angel and I? In the past. Not looking to become repeato gal on past mistakes…”

“You’re telling me you don’t still love Angel?” Asked Dawn, sceptically.

“No,” She replied, shaking her head. “I love Angel, I will always love Angel. But I’m not IN love with him now. It’s… We’ve grown apart, Dawn. First loves tend to do that.”

Thinking for a moment, Dawn looked up, “And I can really have a party?”

“A SMALL one.” Said Buffy, firmly. “With Xander supervision…”

“Buffy!”

“Okay, well Xander calling up to check on you every hour to make sure the house is still standing. Deal?”

“Deal…” Said Dawn, softly as Buffy turned to leave. “Buffy?”

She turned back round to look at her sister, eyebrow quirked, “No beer. Beer bad…”

“No, I was just going to say… Whatever you find up there, just… Be careful… Okay?”

“Careful’s my middle name. Buffy Careful Anne Summers…”

* * * * *

“Believe me,” Said Lorne, trying to make himself heard over the din, “When I envisioned my ride back to LA? This wasn’t it!”

Of course, when he’d thought about his trip back to LA – he saw lights, bright lights and fame and stardom and there was definitely a limo thrown in there for good measure.

Riding in the back of a pick up truck was NOT his idea of glamour and glitz. Especially not when you had chicken poop and other such anomalies trying to attach itself to your clothes.

“I-I still don’t know why we’re going to LA.” Said Anna, gently. “My home is…”

“Not there.” Lorne shook his head and placed his hand over hers. “Your home isn’t even LA but to help you we have to help somebody else first…”

Why she’d trusted him, Anna didn’t know. The eyes? Maybe… Something else? She wasn’t sure.

Hope. Hope was a good reason, she had to believe that there was more to life than what she’d been living. Had to believe that her dream world, her nice and safe dream world was something that was real. How could something so vivid not be?

The pickup truck hit a particularly bumpy patch in the road and squealed unappreciatively. Lorne frowned, remembering Gunn’s nice and particularly SAFE truck. Hadn’t this guy even thought about something like that? Sure, lack of soul but… Not that many people actually had souls these days. It was a growing trend, he was sure…

“Why are you helping me?” Anna’s voice was soft, her eyes open and guileless as she watched the green demon guy sigh.

“I wish my motives were completely innocent, but they’re not. I would have helped you regardless, no doubt about that but… A friend of mine needs help and I saw that in you.” Lorne paused a moment, glancing at Anna, “I’m not sure I believe what’s happened to him but I have a feeling that once I get that sorted out the stuff I need to help you with might just fall into place. What’s happened to him, I’m not quite sure I believe myself but I have a feeling that once I get that sorted, the stuff I need to help you with might just fall into place. Besides, I help people. The helpless. And back there in that bar you were looking pretty helpless to me…”

“So, you’re helping me to help somebody else, but it’s not just for yourself?” Why was that so important? Why was she so damned reluctant to believe that somebody would want to help her out of the goodness of their heart? Because those kind of people… They didn’t exist. They were for dreamers and irrationalists who hadn’t lived the life she had…

Which worked in theory except Anna didn’t actually KNOW any kind of life except that in Vegas. She remembered nothing except the bustle of the Beer Lounge, Lorne’s voice.

What kind of life was that?

What kind of life indeed? She thought

* * * * *

“The programme’s been implemented. She remembers nothing?” Asked Linwood, glancing curtly at Lilah.

“Nothing, Sir.” She smiled, “The demons arrived this morning at 9.20, took what information they could from her on the whereabouts of Angel and completed the ritual. Her soul is now in safe hands, she’s ready for the next part of the project.”

“And she’s adapting well?”

“Exceedingly so,” Said Lilah, “Her training sessions have been running into late afternoon and from what I could gather, she’s already adapted some minor form of fighting skills and sword handling. Whether that’s from her time with Angel, I’m not entirely certain.”

Linwood nodded, placing the pen down on the desk and looking round the table at the board meeting he’d ordered held that afternoon. “Well, gentleman… And ladies,” He said, extending a smile to Lilah. “Excellent work, it seems like Mr. Adams and Ms. Morgan are making quite the team on this new project of ours.”

Applause rang throughout the room, Lilah and her new consort basking in the warm and certainly fuzzy feelings it brought.

For Lilah, this was as much about her job as it was pissing Wesley off. She knew he knew something she didn’t. It would serve him right if that little bitch went after him once she’d been properly trained. In fact, thought Lilah as her brain worked overtime. I think I may just do that.

“Lilah?”

Her head snapped up, watching as Gavin smirked, “Sorry, Sir?”

“Angel? What of him?”

“Our sources inform us that they’ve located him but are experiencing some difficulties in getting him on dry land.” Said Lilah, glancing at her notes, “It could be a while yet.”

Linwood smiled, “Good. I want Angel to be there when the fireworks begin. That’s all.” With a wave of his hand, Linwood dismissed them, sitting tight until Lilah stood, the last one as always, to leave the room. “Lilah?”

She turned, clutching her briefcase and stared directly at Linwood. She could almost feel the nervousness wash over the man, the same nervousness she’d seen in clients and various other people that Lilah could intimidate. She battled to hold the triumphant smile that was tugging at the corners of her mouth and quirked an eyebrow, “Yes Sir?”

“I’ve been hearing some… Interesting things about you, Lilah. Your connections outside of the office?” Flinching slightly at the mention of her ‘private’ life, Lilah raised a hand and smoothed down her hair, a frown on her face. “I want you to know that whatever you do outside for the good of the company is much appreciated and that with someone like Mr. Wyndam-Pryce on our team, we could really benefit.”

“I’m not-“

“Don’t lie to me, Lilah,” Said Linwood, “Not when you’ve only JUST managed to redeem yourself.”

“Yes, Sir.” Said Lilah, through gritted teeth, “Is that all?”

“That’s all,” He nodded. “Oh, and Lilah? Congratulations again.” He smirked, watching as she walked away. Actually, she’d done more than redeem herself, but it didn’t help to let employees think they were safe in the workplace. That would be against the Wolfram and Hart ethical code.

* * * * *

Remind me never to drive up here again, thought Buffy. She glanced nervously in her rear-view mirror as she circled the same block for what felt like the hundredth time.

“You can’t miss it,” Fred had informed her, “It’s a great big hotel… 68 rooms, 66 vacancies when Angel’s not here… I live in a room, Connor lives in one. Pretty big.”

“Who’s Connor?” Buffy asked, assuming it was just someone Angel had employed to help or… A friend maybe. It made her realise just how out of his life she was.

“Oh, he’s… Um, he works here.” She’d said, a little nervously.

Buffy had thought no more of it. She’d went and groveled to Xander for the use of his car, worried about Angel, then Cordelia and — more importantly — Dawn, who now seemed keen on Buffy going away.

And now… Well, it was getting dark and the ‘unmissable’ hotel was still nowhere in sight. Taking out her map again, Buffy looked down… Which was when she noticed. A coffee stain! Covering a street and… Growling in frustration, she slammed her fist down on the steering wheel, causing the car horn to beep LOUDLY and attract other beepers in turn.

Stupid Xander with his stupid map and… God, she was tired. And her neck was starting to crick. Pulling into the parking lot, Buffy removed the keys from the ignition and locked the car, following Xander’s request to look after his ‘baby’ and to bring him back something tacky, like some Angel-dust, to which Buffy had thwacked him on the arm. He could at least have been nice!

The hotel was definitely big – and impressive. She couldn’t believe Angel had swapped his last place for this! “Wow,” She whistled, appreciatively, glancing upwards at the massive hotel. How could Angel even afford this? As far as she was aware, Angel wasn’t rich the last time she’d been here… But then, she and Angel hadn’t exactly been on the best of terms back then.

Buffy winced and took a deep breath, walking into the courtyard. Focus, Buffy. She reminded herself, Not here to dredge up the past. Well, unless Angel needs dredging from somewhere… That thought ended as briefly as it had begun, hurt zipping through her chest. What if Angel really was dead? They weren’t in each others lives any more, fine. But… Angel dead? Even now the thought of that made it seem like someone was wrapping their fingers around her windpipe and squeezing until there was no oxygen left.

It hurt.

Shaking off the more than depressing thoughts, Buffy pushed open the door of the hotel, expecting to be greeted by the girl that had called. Instead, there was a guy, probably Dawn’s age or a bit older.

“Hi-“

“Who are you?” Connor interrupted, arms folded across his chest, staring at the pretty woman on the stairs of the hotel. She didn’t belong here, perhaps she was a client. “What do you want?”

“Connor!” Came the chastising voice, “Remember what we talked about? ‘Hi, I’m Connor, we help the helpless, if that’s you, then I’m here to help…’ Remember?!” Asked Fred, a little frustrated. They’d been over this a billion times already.

Buffy turned and looked at the gang assembled in the lobby, “Hi, I’m-“

“Give it up, girl.” Said Gunn with a chuckle, coming from behind the counter, “You ain’t never gonna get him to say it the way you want him to. So, what time’s the B-word getting here?”

“The B-word?” Buffy looked at Gunn, eyebrow raised. “Would that be me? Buffy? The B-Word!”

“Oh!” Fred ran up the stairs and smiled, “Hi… I didn’t know you were you! Welcome to the hotel, I know it’s not really under the nicest of circumstances but… Well, welcome anyway.”

Buffy smiled her thanks and glanced at Connor and then Gunn, “Pretty impressive.”

“Yeah,” Gunn acknowledged, “And a bitch to run if you have no paying clients and have lost two of the most important members of your team.”

“Money problems,” Said Buffy nodding, “I got that pegged, believe me. So… You said that Angel just… Disappeared?” The look that passed across Connor’s face caught Buffy’s attention, he looked… Puzzled… And kind of annoyed, that she’d walked in on something she shouldn’t have.

“Yup,” Fred nodded, “One minute he and Cordelia are laughing on the phone and the next, poof. No either of them.”

Wait a minute, laughing? About what? Thought Buffy, frowning slightly. “So, he just disappeared from the hotel?” Asked Buffy, coming further in to sit down at Fred’s gesture to make herself comfortable.

“He went to meet Cordy,” Said Gunn, “Never came back. Police found Cordy’s car abandoned on the Freeway and Angel’s, by Point Dume, where they were supposed to meet.”

Buffy thought for a moment, running a hand tiredly through her hair, “And you’ve looked everywhere, right? Everywhere you can think of?”

“Of course we have.” Connor snapped.

“Connor, be nice.” Said Fred, softly.

“This is pointless.” Connor frowned, “What can she do that we can’t or haven’t already? We’ve asked ourselves all the questions you’re asking now. My father is GONE and this isn’t helping matters any.”

“The fact that she’s here is helping,” Said Gunn, “She’s not connected, not biased. Gives her an edge over us.”

If Buffy had moved past the ‘Angel’s a Daddy’ comment, she might have been hurt by that. As it were, she was still stuck on the fact that… Two words that should NEVER be in the same sentence were.

Angel… Daddy.

Daddy… Angel.

Nope, not getting past THAT concept any time soon.

Buffy paled, “F-father? Wh-who… Huh?”

Guiltily, Fred looked at Buffy. “That would be the part I didn’t want you to freak out about on the phone…”

“So, what? You leave it for me to freak out about NOW?! How can Angel have a son? He’s a vampi-“

Oh God… A thought flashed through Buffy’s head. Spike! Sex with Spike! What if she was of the pregnant kind now? What the hell would she do? She could barely afford to feed her and Dawn never mind her, Dawn, and a defenceless, tiny, hungry baby! And Spike as a father? What was he going to teach it, the art of cigarette smoking and frustration and not being the ‘Big Bad’ anymore?

“Oo-kay…” Said Buffy, now close to hyperventilating, “I need an explanation, NOW.”

“Get in line, sweet-cheeks.” Came a voice from the door, “Right now, it seems we’re all looking for answers.”

Glancing up, Buffy frowned. Who the hell was that guy? And why was he covered in what looked like chicken poop?

“Oh, don’t mind me,” He smiled, “And I assure you, the outfit is entirely authentic. Right down to the chicken droppings. What I wouldn’t give for a seabreeze right now…” Turning, he looked at Fred, Gunn and Connor. “Well, aren’t we in for quite the little-“

“Oh my God – TARA?!”

The demon guy had moved out the way and right behind him, right behind that demon guy… Tara. Very dead Tara. Very alive and startled Tara standing in front of her.

Buffy pinched Anna’s arm, once, twice – three times, until her yelp rang through the lobby. “That hurt!”

“You’re you!” Said Buffy, incredulously.

Lorne looked at Anna, the surprise palpable on her face – and though he couldn’t read her properly, her aura was flashing like a neon-sign on Broadway (and he would know) whoever this girl was, ‘Anna’ had met her before, in her dream world.

“Y-you know me?” Whispered Anna, softly, looking up at Lorne, almost for reassurance. “You know w-who I am?”

Buffy stepped forward and nodded, dumbfounded, “Of course I do, I… You’re Tara. Your name is Tara McClay, you used to live in Sunnydale but… But… You died.”

She told herself repeatedly that standing in front of her, it couldn’t be Tara. It wasn’t physically possible but then – hello, brought back from the dead!

“You don’t remember anything?”

Before the girl could answer, Lorne cut in. “Found her wandering, down in Vegas. She’s the girl you know but… She doesn’t know it yet. Her soul’s been jumbled with about a thousand other lost ones, all searching for some place to come out. It did. In her dreams. She dreamt you, but didn’t believe it was true. Then, she sang…”

Not understanding what singing had to do with it and really not caring at that point, Buffy grabbed Anna and wrapped her arms around her, “Oh God, Willow… She’ll be… And Dawnie! Tara, you’re home!”

They hugged until both girls thought they would burst, Anna, because this beautiful, strong and kind girl in front of her, the girl from her dreams was real and she was terrified that if she let her go even for a second, she’d lose that. And Buffy because… Well because Tara was back! And she didn’t know how but it was wonderful.

It was about then, that the temperature in the hotel dropped several degrees. Buffy turned to the sound of the hotel door opening, and a very disheveled Wesley stood at the top of the steps. Unshaven, he looked nothing like the whiny, spineless Watcher Buffy remembered.

“I thought you’d like to know,” He intoned coldly. “Wolfram and Hart have located Angel, down at the docks. If you hurry, I’m sure you can catch them before they do their worst.” And as quickly as he’d appeared, Wesley was gone.

Looking up at Gunn and Fred, Buffy frowned, “I REALLY missed a lot, huh?”

TBC

Ficbitch82

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in TBC

Divine Intervention 2   Leave a comment

Part 2

After months of working, it felt like she had finally gotten to where she felt like she should be.

In a seat.

With her feet up.

This, thought Cordelia Chase with a smile, Is perfect bliss. Complete and total bliss.

Of course, the chances were, someone was about to come in and tell Cordelia that there was some crisis waiting with her Higher Being name on it.

Occasionally, her thoughts drifted to her friends. Angel… A deep sigh escaped her lips and she picked up the glass of ice water on her table. Her home quarters had been modified to remind her of home, everything in there but Phantom Dennis, the spook she missed like an arm, or maybe a leg.

And Angel.

Would she ever stop missing him? Ever stop wondering what would have happened if she’d gotten there that night? If she’d have told him that she loved him. Would they be together now? Maybe, since they’d found a potion for her and Groo – they could’ve found one for her and Angel.

She’d never know.

Swallowing a lump the size of Sunnydale in her throat, Cordelia looked up in time to see Skip steaming through the doors – wait, steaming wasn’t the right word. Could demons steam? She knew she could, but she was still half-human and Skip was definitely all demon, right down to his – let’s not go there.

“Skip?” Cordelia stood. The look on his face wasn’t one Cordelia was sure she liked. “What’s happened? What’s wrong?”

“You’re needed, Cordelia.”

“Needed?”

“The Powers That Be screwed up, Cordelia. It’s time for you to go home.”

Skip raised his hand and pressed it to her forehead, a bright light skimming from beneath his fingers…

* * *

“And the other guy?”

“In a bad way, Sir, he was taken to LA General about ten minutes ago. Kept mumbling something about angels and employees and… He was pretty delirious.” The police officer frowned, “We found Robertson, Detective Thomas. He’s dead.” Respectively, he cast his eyes downward. Robertson had worked on the force for most of his natural life, like his father before him and his father before that.

Being a cop meant you dealt with death every day. Some bad, some not deserved – and occasionally some scum-sucking bastard would put a bullet through the stomach of one of the best cops around and finish his career in an instant.

Robertson was the result of one of those guys. He’d been one of the best in his field until a drugs bust a few years ago had gone wrong. He’d winded up finishing up his career in the lobby of some law firm, making minimal waves as a security guard.

Resisting the urge to throw his fist through the wall, Det. Thomas looked at the police officer in charge of the scene, “Thanks.”

The fallen body of the other man had been covered with a sheet, preventing onlookers from seeing what had happened. When police had infiltrated the building, the man had fled – ensuing in a police chase that ended two blocks over with a bullet through the head.

No identification, no nothing. They had no idea who this guy was or even what he wanted with Lindsey McDonald. By all accounts, the man’s previous working life hadn’t exactly been a good one. Things got leaked to the LAPD, he hadn’t been a cop for twenty years without noticing that things went on – otherworldly, pretty darned scary stuff. At the bottom of it? Usually Wolfram and Hart – beloved law firm and trouble makers. They had offices everywhere. Los Angeles, London, Paris – and most recently, New York. Right on the cusp of the Big Apple for your general wheeling and dealing.

Thomas frowned, perhaps that was why the guy had been attacked – his unsavoury connections with Wolfram and Hart. They’d know soon enough.

* * *

“I’m going home,” Called Anna softly, turning to meet Jack’s eyes. He gave a nod and a wave in her direction, dealing with a drunk at the other end of the counter.

Anna walked forward, looking for her money to get home in the bottom of her bag. She didn’t see the guy standing in front of her, waiting. Just… Waiting. As if his whole life, or someone else’s, depended on it. “Oh! Sorry!” She whispered nervously, glancing up.

It was the guy from on stage. The one that sang and looked kinda like a demon but not really. Not that she had any real evidence to base her theory on, of course, but still – he didn’t look authentic enough. “I-I’m sorry… I just, got a little dazed was all.”

Lorne smiled, “That’s okay, seems like there’s a lot of that going round in a big city like this, huh?”

Anna dipped her head and went to move away from him, succeeding in getting a few feet before his words stopped her.

“She’s real. It’s all real – everything you see at night, the things you dream. You’re not crazy… You just believe.”

Anna stopped and shook her head, trying to battle away the thoughts that flew at her… Thoughts of a family, of people who loved her and needed her, not for what she could give them but just because.

Just because.

“Please…” She whispered, “Please don’t.”

“I can prove it,” Lorne stepped closer to Anna and placed a hand on her arm, “Sing that song you were singing and I’ll prove it…”

Tears appeared in the corners of Anna’s eyes, before slipping the length of her cheeks. Her voice small, choked, Anna began to sing…

I’m under your spell
How else could it be
Anyone would notice me?
It’s magic I can tell
How you set me free
Brought me out so easily…

She squeezed her eyes shut, not expecting proof, not expecting anything…

Each and every night for the past God knew how long, Anna had heard Lorne sing. He had a really powerful voice, one that at the best of times struck Anna to her very soul. But when he sang again, he made Anna sob. Fully – she cried for all the times she’d woken up terrified that it was all just a dream. She cried because Lorne was singing that wonderful second verse that meant he held her world in his hands, the world where she was loved and appreciated and not shunted aside, like yesterday’s news…

I’m under your spell
Nothing I can do
You just took my soul with you
You worked your charms so well
Finally, I knew
Everything I dreamed was true
You made me believe

Lorne paused and looked down at Anna, almost breathless from singing something so heartfelt, so… So… Not forced. The song had been born out of love, out of a demon up to no good, if he read rightly, but out of love. “Someone really did take your soul, didn’t they sweetie? No charms, no mystical forces – everything you believed, everything you dreamed was true.”

Anna looked up at him, “Help me?” She whispered.

“That’s what I do.” Replied Lorne with a smile, “C’mon, let’s get you back where you belong.”

* * *

*THUD*

Cordelia yelped as she was dropped, non-too-gently, back on the face of the planet again. Of course, it would happen like this (although it could have been worse, she might have been naked) but as it were, having cars whizzing past you left, right and centre was NOT her idea of a good time.

“DAMNIT SKIP!” She squealed as a truck roared past her, skimming her by an inch. She was going to die here, right in the very place she’d been taken from to become a higher being – fat lot of good that had done.

Spinning out of the way, Cordelia yelped, thrown right into the path of an oncoming limousine. It stopped, inches away from where she stood.

Cordelia gasped and leaned heavily on the hood of the car as the passenger got out.

“Miss, are you alright?”

She breathed deeply before nodding, “Yeah I’m…”

When she looked up, the man was standing, arms folded across his chest, a smug look on his face. “Cordelia Chase, right?”

“Do I know you?” She whispered, breathlessly. He was cute in a smug ‘I know everything kind of way’ – not her type. She liked two kinds of men, dorks or brooders.

“Pretty soon, you won’t know yourself. I shouldn’t worry.” He shrugged, waving a hand slightly in the air.

Three demons surrounded her, two grabbing her by the arms, the other there merely for back up. “What’s happening?” Before Cordelia knew what was happening, or even had the chance to look, a needle was being jabbed into her neck, her scream filtering and dying in the din of all the cars whizzing past.

Nobody stopped.

A second later, Cordelia was slumped in the back of the limousine.

The man smirked and hit speed dial #1 in his cell phone

“Wolfram and Hart, how may I direct your call?”

Part 3

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in TBC

Divine Intervention 1   Leave a comment

Title: Divine Intervention
Author: Ficbitch82  (aka Angelicgal82)
Posted: 09-19-2002
Rating: PG-13 for this part
Email: 
Content: A/C, F/G, W/Lilah…
Summary: Let’s see, Tara, Doyle and Lindsey make an appearance in this fic – but really they don’t. Confused yet? You will be… Don’t really know how to sum it up without giving everything away.
Spoilers: Everything in Season 3, speculation for what my wacky mind thinks could NEVER happen in Season 4..
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: 
Notes: To Lisa, my beloved best Australian buddy! To Tonya, for wonderful beta-ness and BRILLIANT Anya/Gilesness..


Part 1

At night, she dreamt. Dreamt of demons, of families who didn’t appreciate her and families who did. She dreamt of a girl. What was odd was, this girl, this girl had the nicest lips and she didn’t think she liked girls like that! At least not now.

“Anna, where’s my drink?”

Nervously, the blonde girl dipped her head as the guy asked for a drink. Some days? Her name was Anna, and on the others, it was something she’d made up because she couldn’t remember the other one.

In her dreams, there was magick.

There was something else other than this. There was light.

Even in the daytime, for her there was darkness. There was nothing holding her to this world, nothing to connect her. A couple of days ago, a guy had pretended to care. Pretended that he was interested in helping her, and she’d believed him. For some reason, she believed that there was good in this world. She saw it at night, when she slept, surely it could exist in the day.

The guy? Not good. Not like those in her dreams. Not the slightly older man – who even now, she could see wiping his glasses on his shirt. It made her eyes mist with tears – the small, kind smile on his face. And then, she could see the blonde girls, two of them. One, as tactless as anything – the other, giving. Giving and giving and giving until her body didn’t want to give anymore. Until finally, they’d laid her to rest.

Anna was crazy – was that her name today? Yes. She felt like an Anna. She was crazy because she dreamed of Demons. Of little girls who weren’t really there, but whom she loved all the same.

And that was where her light came in. Her light was pretty, her light was kind.

Her light had spoke to her once upon a time when no one else wanted to. Her light was… Hurting. Last night, the glow had seemed to dim and Anna had cried for hours when she’d woke in her apartment.

If she didn’t have that light, that family, even if they were a product of her crazy imagination, then what else did she have? Darkness. She had darkness.

An apartment. Something she’d happened on quite by chance. Working a bar in Vegas meant money. She was a quick learner, kept herself quiet, unnoticed. Didn’t bug anybody. As a result, she had to listen to a guy in a green demon costume singing. The costume was okay, the horns looked fake – and still, Anna thought he looked like one of those demons she dreamt of but… A demon singing in a Las Vegas lounge? What were the odds? Not likely, was it?

“Anna,” The voice broke into her reverie and she turned, looking at her boss. He was a nice guy, one of the most decent in Vegas, she’d found. “Pour the man his drink.”

She turned again and found the same guy who’d asked for the drink standing in front of her. “S-sorry…” She whispered.

A moment and a scowl later, the guy had walked away and Anna was stood beside her boss. “Anna, you’re a good kid. You look… Distracted. Is it… Is it drugs?” He asked tentatively, placing a hand on her shoulder. “If it’s drugs, you know the rules, you’re out.”

“N-no,” She whispered, “It’s… I didn’t get much sleep, I…”

Jack sighed. “Go collect the glasses. Then, you get yourself home and get some sleep or pretty soon, you won’t have the crappy job you have now,” He said, though not unkindly. He knew how unkind Las Vegas could be to someone like Anna, that was part of the reason he’d took her in. As Jack watched her walk away, he sighed.

Me and my bloody good heart, He half-groused, Nina always said it would be my downfall.

Again, Anna dipped her head as she collected the glasses, singing a little tune she’d heard in her dream world, softly…

I’m under your spell
How else could it be
Anyone would notice me?
It’s magic I can tell
How you set me free
Brought me out so easily…

Anna smiled. Her dream world was nice, safe. It was here in the real world where things weren’t so nice.

* * *

“Because I don’t WANT to admit it!” Yelled Fred, tears streaming down her cheeks. “If you tell me to admit they’re dead, then you’re telling me to give up hope and I can’t give up hope because that was all that kept me alive in Pylea and I got out of there eventually! I can’t…”

There was a beat. A beat in which Gunn stared plaintively at Fred’s face until finally, he crossed the room and cupped her face in his hands, kissing her softly. “I’m sorry.” He whispered quietly.

They were both tired. For three months, they’d done what they could – upturned every stone, visited every informant both demon and human and turned up nothing. Today, Gunn had suggested the very thing Fred hadn’t wanted to hear – that maybe they should just admit Cordy and Angel were dead.

At first, before the running around for information and the stomach-clenching fear, Fred had remained hopeful – suggested that maybe they’d gone to get ‘happy’, but Gunn had burst that bubble with an enormous pin.

If Angel and Cordelia had gone to get happy? In that case, he and Fred would both be a mass of brains on the wall and wouldn’t exactly be talking right now.

“I know what you’re saying,” Said Fred softly, “I really do, but I lived for five years having to cling to something. When you’re all alone in a cave and the two suns aren’t shining any light, the only light you have is hope. And I know that didn’t make sense, but…”

“I get it.” Said Gunn, sadly. “No hope-giving-up in this hotel. But… Y’know something?”

“What?”

“You’re not alone. Hope’s not all you have. You have me.”

For a moment, the old Fred was back and the smile that she gave almost split her face in two. “I know I have you and you have me but… We need them too. We need our family back together.”

Gunn gave a sigh and a little smile, “So, we’re back out looking tonight, huh?”

Fred grinned, “You betcha!”

Sometimes Gunn found himself wondering where she got her energy from – her endless amount of optimism. As it was though, Fred was the one part of his life that made him believe the rest could be better. Before her, there was his self-destruction mission, the one that Cordelia had saved him from. Without her, he wouldn’t have this in his life.

Reaching down, Gunn laced his fingers through hers and smiled. “Let’s go.”

* * *

These days Wesley Wyndam-Pryce didn’t need his father’s disgust to wear him down. He had his own. He hadn’t shaved in days, the repugnant smell of stale scotch stuck to his skin and still, she came back. It had become a nightly ritual. She’d come to his apartment, they’d have sex – hard, brutal – over with as quickly as it had begun and he’d roll away, pretend like it had never happened until she spoke.

“I see we’ve reverted back to your average cave man Neanderthal — feeling guilty Wes? Sleeping with the enemy not working out all that well for ya?”

If Wesley reacted to that comment, it didn’t show. “I didn’t think you’d be that bothered, Lilah. You don’t have a heart for the feelings a normal human is capable of.”

“I’m hurt, Wesley. Once again, you’ve struck me right where it hurts, my heart.”

“What heart?” Wesley rolled over and plucked his half-empty bottle of scotch from the nightstand, before tossing the dossier Lilah had not-so-strategically placed across the room. “I’m not joining Wolfram and Hart.”

The same answer every night. The same flash of frustration in Lilah’s eyes and then the smirk, “Once you’ve done black, you’ll never go back.” After that, she dressed, left Wesley to his own devices and the same dossier – the feeling that perhaps he was turning to the dark side. Wesley sighed and got up, looking at the shower for a moment, before frowning and picking up his bottle of scotch again.

Alcohol – numbness. Lilah – numbness. What the hell was the difference any more?

* * *

He was going to KILL his agent. Kill her dead. More dead than Angel – the kind that didn’t get up and walk around, occasionally brood. He’d always known that she’d had a bad name, but being subjected to THIS every night?

Lorne sighed. What he wouldn’t give for a seabreeze right now. As it were, all this crappy bar served was beer. French beer, German beer, Austrian Beer.

He’d like to bet if he asked, he’d be able to get the Pylean equivalent because, after all, this was beer! How he hated themed bars. The theme was… You guessed it, beer. Beer in short glasses, beer in tall glasses, beer in jugs. Beer, beer, beer, beer, beer…

Not a seabreeze in sight!

The opening notes of Lorne’s song rang through and he cursed his agent again. She’d advised him to go with a much more ‘upbeat’ sound. Upbeat? Since when was Babyface upbeat? Lorne frowned, then, as the spotlight turned on him – he threw out that million dollar LA smile and began to sing…

I pretended I’m glad you went away
These four walls closin’ more every day
And I’m dying inside
And nobody knows it but me

Like a clown I put on a show
The pain is real even if nobody knows
Now I’m cryin’ inside
And nobody knows it but me

A clown. He felt like one. First class, with their big feet and their stupid outfits. At least he didn’t have the nose. There was an upside to everything, he supposed…

The nights are lonely
The days are so sad
And I just keep thinkin’ about
The love that we had
And I’m missin’ you
And nobody knows it but me

I carry a smile when I’m broken in two
Now I’m nobody without someone like you
I’m tremblin’ inside, and nobody knows it but me
I lie awake, its a quarter past three

I’m screamin’ at night
As if I thought you’d hear me
Yeah my heart is callin’ you
And nobody knows it but me

He couldn’t explain it. It was like an arrow that hit him right between the eyes — and he knew that from experience — Lorne gasped and dropped the microphone, his efforts focused on the blonde girl collecting glasses and humming to herself. Something wasn’t right. Her soul… No, her souls PLURAL were jumbled. Each one calling out for a hand to guide them on their way. And what was he, if not an Anagogic demon, intent on setting people on their path?

Plus, what he could see in her future? Concerned friends of his in Los Angeles – friends of his that currently lived… Underwater? What in the holy hell was going on here?

As Lorne got off the stage, he realised that the only way he could approach her, was to sound like a great old pervert, with the line, “Can I buy you a drink?” on his lips.

He only hoped Angel-cakes would appreciate this…

* * *

The figure stood alone in the parking lot, shrouded in darkness. Other than the streetlights, the only thing that illuminated his face, was his zippo as he flared up a cigarette. Smoky tendrils curled from between his fingers and Quinn frowned, waiting until the
building across from him was lit up by only one office light.

With strong, practiced fingers, Quinn flicked his cigarette butt across the parking lot and strode forward, his walk strong, confident. He’d been scoping out this building for three weeks, knew his targets leaving time down to the second. Knew where he lived, which tunafish was his cat’s favourite – knew that tonight, he’d be working late on a case that involved children.

Lindsey McDonald was now the worst kind of lawyer.

Righteous.

Good.

Was there anything more nauseating?

Evidently so.

A righteous, good lawyer who threatened to expose his ex-bosses dirty dealings from across the state unless he gave them what he wanted. Money. Money made the world go round and money was the reason that Quinn stood here right now. Quite a large amount of money, in fact. Half a million dollars before the job was completed, half a million after. Sounded fair.

“Got an appointment,” Said Quinn to the doddery old security guard behind the desk, his voice harsh, cold. “Lindsey McDonald? Was told to be here at ten…”

Robertson, the security guard, moved forward lethargically, looking down at the book, “Got nothin’ here…”

Quinn waited. In the time it took for Robertson to look back up, Quinn’s gun was levelled at his chest. “Too bad.” He smirked, squeezing the trigger. The shot made barely a noise. His silencer covering the sound, Quinn chuckled as Robertson fell to the floor, blood spreading underneath the guard’s body.

His legs made short work of the stairs, by the time Quinn reached the top he was humming a tune, his demeanour one of pleasure, pleasure in the hunt – though he could barely call it that. Perhaps McDonald would give him a run for his money, so to speak.

He stepped into his office to the obvious displeasure of the young lawyer and smiled, a warm, pleasant misleading smile. “Well, when Wolfram and Hart said you were going up in the world, they weren’t wrong, huh?”

The mention of his previous employers made Lindsey’s eyes narrow and he frowned, reaching for the phone.

Quinn raised his gun quickly, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. No one’s coming; your security guard ran into a little accident. It’s just me and you, McDonald. The only thing keeping you alive right now is the fact that you have something I want.”

Lindsey swallowed, his gaze remaining on the gun. The guy seemed familiar somehow, though he didn’t know how… “I have something you want?”

“Files.” Said Quinn, “On Wolfram and Hart’s dirty dealings. You have two choices, you can either give me the files and I’ll make it quick. Or you don’t give me the files and I waste time looking for them. Which do you think is the better on you?” He raised his gun and fired a shot, the bullet spitting through Lindsey’s shoulder and into the wall behind.

Lindsey screamed, falling from his chair and to the floor. Perhaps it was the shock, or something else that triggered his memory. Never could it be said that Lindsey McDonald wasn’t thorough.

When he’d investigated Angel, after the debacle with Russell Winters – he’d left no stone unturned, knew which day the hottie who worked for him wore pink panties on.

The guy in front of him, minus the Irish accent was Doyle, Angel’s employee who’d died little more than two years ago in a bid to save the world.

Lindsey coughed, pain running rife through his body as Doyle came round the desk, “Look, Doyle, whatever Wolfram and Hart are paying you, it’s not worth it. Losing your soul over some half a million dollar deal?”

Quinn raised an eyebrow and then his gun, shooting the other shoulder, enjoying the almost inhuman squeal he got from Lindsey, “Soul?” He asked, curtly. “What soul?”

Part 2

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in TBC

Blast From the Past 3-4   Leave a comment

Part 3 (of 4)

Cordelia sat on the sofa, a million Kleenex tissues balled at her feet. She’d yelled at him, she’d cried at him, she’d said she hated him then said she loved him all over again – only he wasn’t there to actually HEAR any of it. Her entire body hurt, she hadn’t cleaned up the glass from the table yet and her head was throbbing like hell.

The phone rang and Cordelia looked at it for a while, until Dennis picked it up and held it to her ear, “Angel?” The hope in her voice was enough to make Dennis cringe.

“Cordelia, it’s Wesley…are you *sure* you saw those demons outside of the Hotel Inn?” He asked.

Cordelia sighed, “Yeah…they were there alright.” She said, softly.

“Is everything alright?” Asked Wesley, “You sound a bit…glum…”

Cordelia had to smile at his choice of words, “No, Wes, I’m fine.” She said softly, ending the call.

“That’s your answer for everything, isn’t it?”

Cordelia jumped, almost leaping off the couch. “I didn’t know you were here.” She said, looking at Angel. Then, her face fell, in his hand, he held a duffel bag. “Oh…” She said quietly. “Well, Brownie Points to you for coming to tell me you were leaving.” She whispered.

Angel shook his head, ignoring her comment. “Did you mean what you said?” He asked.

“About what?”

“Loving me.”

“Do you really need to ask?”

“Answer the question.”

“Angel, stop making this harder on yourself. Just go!” Said Cordelia, shaking her head, “I finally got you out of the brooding stage, I don’t want you back in it.” Two hours had passed since Angel had left, time enough for Angel to stew over what had been said, for Cordelia to *cry* over what had been said.

“You really think I’m going back to Buffy.”

“Duh, yes.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head.

“Even if I did want her back, she’s with Spike now…”

“And that would SO never be the winning argument in a situation like this.” She said, her eyes flashing angrily. “So, what, are you here because you’re SETTLING for me?”

“I’m not settling for anything.” Said Angel, shaking his head.

“No, that’s right – ’cause your bag’s packed and you’re leaving.” Shrugged Cordelia, “Fine, go.”

“I’m not leaving.”

“Why?” She asked, “Look, I’ve told you, I’m fine…”

“STOP SAYING YOU’RE FINE!” He growled, angrily, “I’m sick and tired of hearing you say that! You’re NOT fine!”

“Okay then!” Yelled Cordelia, “I’M NOT FINE!” She glared at him, “I’m not fine. These stupid, sucky, horrible visions that I keep having are wearing me down just that little bit more. Buffy the Super Slayer shows up and you run right back to Sunnyhell with her and…I’m losing you!”

“You’re not losing me!”

“No, so why are you leaving? Why did you LEAVE?” She asked.

“Because!”

“Because?”

“Yeah, because.”

“Angel, that’s NOT an answer.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head.

“Oh, as opposed to I’m fine which is?”

Cordelia frowned, “Angel, leave me alone. You didn’t want me earlier, you don’t want me now. Don’t pretend like you do.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because.”

“You just reprimanded me for that answer, you can’t get away with it…” He chastised.

“Because I’m not her. Because I’m not blonde, and super strength kitted out – I can’t kill things with my bare hands and I can’t BE her. That’s why you don’t want me.”

“And what if I said I wanted you for you?”

“I’d say you’re lying…”

“Why?”

“Because it’s so obvious that you don’t! What do I have to give you that she can’t?”

“You.”

“Stop it.”

“You.”

“I said stop it!”

“Cordy.”

“Angel.”

“You want to know why I *don’t* love Buffy like that anymore?” He asked, “Because she’s not YOU. Becasue she can’t be YOU!”

“What, you think you can rectify this with a few well spoken words and everythings gonna be alright again? Keep dreaming, Angel.”

“Y’know, you’re right…you’re not the person I love.”

Cordelia gasped and glared at him, “Like I didn’t already know that! Newsflash, Angel, I knew before YOU did…”

“The person I love would KNOW I loved her. The person I love would KNOW I loved her for her and nothing else. I didn’t love Buffy because of the damned slayer strength or anything, I loved her for the person she was. And damnit, I love you for the same reason.” He growled.

Cordelia sighed and sat down, putting her head in her hands, “When did this get so complicated?” She asked quietly.

“What?”

“Us.”

Angel sat down next to her, “I’m not leaving.”

“You are.”

“I’m not.”

“Are. Angel, that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. You’re supposed to be happy with Buffy. You don’t love me.”

“Do.”

“Don’t.”

“I do.”

“Don’t.”

Kneeling in front of her, Angel placed his palm on the right side of her face, “Cordelia. I love you. I don’t know how many other ways you want me to say it or show it, but I do.” He said softly.

Cordelia pulled back, wincing, “I can’t.” She whispered.

“Can’t what?”

“I can’t…do this…I really can’t, I’m sorry. I’m just…it’s not right…”

“Why?” He asked, close to despair.

“Because you love her.” She said again, “Damnit, Angel, your bag’s PACKED!”

Angel shook his head and crossed over the room, turning the duffel bag on its end, “Wrong. It’s empty. I want you to come stay with me for a few days.” He said quietly, “I won’t let you stay alone, not after a vision like that.”

“Angel, I’m fine.”

“Don’t lie to me, Cordelia.”

“Why not?” She asked, sombrely, “You do enough of that for the both of us…”


Part 4 (of 4)

“I don’t get why you brought me here, I’m fine.” Said Cordelia, breaking the silence in the car on the way over to the Hyperion. Neither friend had spoke to the other on their journey and to Cordelia, the silence had never seemed so loud.

Angel scowled, “Yeah, you’re fine.” He said, pulling into the underground garage and shaking his head. They walked into the hotel in silence, Angel taking her gently by the arm and leading her upstairs to the room she usually stayed in, right next to his. He placed her bag of clothes down on the floor and sat on the old wicker chair in the corner, gesturing for her to sit down on the bed, “Cordelia…” When he spoke, his voice was soft. Cordelia sat, looking at him as he continued, “Can I ask you something?”

As requests went, this one was pretty simple. “Sure.” She said softly.

“Why won’t you let me in?”

Her gaze slid to the floor, “I… I dunno what you mean…”

Getting up off the chair, Angel kneeled down in front of her, “Cordelia, look at me?”

Her gaze met his and when he looked at her, he saw she had tears in her eyes, “Angel, I… I can’t let you in.”

“Why?” He asked gently, his own heart twisting in his chest.

“Because… I’m scared. I know that what you want is Buffy and I can’t compete with that.” She whispered. “I’m still the same girl from Sunnydale and unfortunately, so is she.”

Angel shook his head, “You can’t see you’ve changed?”

“Have I?”

“Do you really need to ask? Cordelia, when I first met you…” Angel smiled, “I survived Queen C, how many guys can say that?” He asked gently, reaching up and brushing a strand of dark hair away from her face, “You’ve seen me at my worst, and your friendship has never faltered, never wavered. You stuck around when other people gave up. You’ve always been there for me.”

“Yeah, well… We’re friends.” She said softly, “That’s what friends are for.”

“It’s not just that though.” Said Angel softly, “The things you do for me, it goes past friendship. Fred knows, Wesley knows, Gunn knows… You told me yourself you loved me.”

“And I do.” Said Cordelia quietly, “I’m *in* love with you. I’m just not willing to lose you.”

“But…” Angel shook his head, “Cordelia, you’re adamant you *are* going to lose me.”

Cordelia nodded and sighed, “I am.” She said, her voice hushed to a whisper, “I am because… Look at my past history in relationships. E-everyone I love either hurts me… Or leaves. Or I have to leave them at one point or another.”

Angel shook his head, “Cordy…”

She smiled, “That’s the first time you’ve called me that tonight, what are we on, sensible kick? I usually only get my full name if you’re in brood mode.”

“Not in brood mode.”

“Wow.”

“I’m in Lurve Mode.” He grinned.

“Dork.” The mood had changed back to happy teasing, which Cordelia was comfortable with.

“Yup. But a lovable dork.” Said Angel.

“Yup.” She nodded, “Agreed.”

“Cordelia?”

“Uh-huh…”

“You asked me something, earlier….”

“Which was…”

“When did things get so complicated between us?”

Cordelia nodded, “Yeah…”

“I think I know.”

“Oh…”

“In Pylea. When you said you loved Groo, I was kinda…” Angel faltered, making Cordelia smile.

“Jealous?”

“No…”

“Jealous!” She grinned.

“No!”

“Angel?” She shook her finger at him, admonishingly.

“Okay, I was jealous. That was when things got… Complicated.”

Cordelia nodded, “Know when it was for me?” She asked gently, continuing even without seeing his nod. “When you went through your… Beige Period.” She whispered, “I knew then that… I loved you and… You, you…”

Angel looked at her and sighed, “And I hurt you… That’s where this comes from too, isn’t it?” He asked.

“A little.” She admitted. “But, you came back to me…”

“I always will, Cordy.”

When Angel looked up at her, there was a trace of hurt in her eyes, one she tried to mask but didn’t do very well. “Cordy?”

“What?”

“What’s wrong?”

Cordelia sighed, “I’m starting to believe you.”

“And that’s bad because…?”

“Because, if I believe you… Again…” Cordelia sighed, “I believed you.” She said quietly, “I believed you when you said you’d always be there for me the first time… And, you hurt me. You left and… I didn’t know what to do anymore. I know that I… Maybe I… My point is, if I let you in again, and you hurt me… I’m not sure how it would feel, now that I know I… well, y’know…”

This time, Angel sighed, “I can’t promise that throughout the course of my life, I’ll never do anything to hurt you.” He said softly, “But I can promise you that I’ll do everything in my power to make you happy.”

“You already do that.” She said gently. “Jumping into other dimensions and stuff… Freeing bad guys.” She frowned slightly.

“I’ve told you before. It’s not about winning, it’s about what’s at stake. And you were more important than Billy… Or whatever else had come out of there.”

“You really don’t give up, do you?”

“Duh.” Said Angel, a grin on his face. “Where you’re concerned, I won’t ever give up… So you’d better get used to having me around…”

“Oh, darn…” Said Cordelia softly, looking down at him where he kneeled in front of her. “Like, I’m not already used to that?”

Angel shook his head, “Nope, you’re used to Brood Boy Angel. The Angel I’m talking about is…”

“The one I love?” Cordelia looked at him, “I’m not saying I like you brooding but… It is part of who you are. And besides, maybe even Dork Angel will get too much for me…”

A silly grin passed across Angel’s face and he raised his eyebrows, “Really?”

Leaning down to kiss him, Cordelia giggled, “Naaahhhh…”

THE END…

Ficbitch82

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in Complete

Blast From the Past 1-2   Leave a comment

Title: Blast From The Past
Author: Ficbitch82 (aka Angelicgal82)
Posted: 01-06-2002 12:44 PM
E-mail:
Feedback: I’ll send more fic if I get feedback…is this blackmail? HELL YEAH!!!
Spoilers: Hmmm…all Seasons, just to be on the safe side…
Summary: Answer to Rousedower’s Challenge…Buffy finds out about Angel getting his Shanshu and ISN’T impressed…
Rating: PG-13
Distribution: Stranger Things Forum, possibly the Holywater site, my own eventually when I get round to updating…
Disclaimer: Imagine a phone call, where I BEG Joss Whedon to give me the characters…see, NOT mine, never gonna be mine…why would Joss Whedon EVER take my phone call? Much less ever give me characters he’s spent 6 years cultivating and…get my point? NOT MINE!


Part 1 (of 4)

“Are you alright, luv?” Asked Spike, coming down the steps into the courtyard.

“So, what happened?” Asked Cordelia, her eyes red, puffy. She’d been crying but would *never* admit that to the vampire sitting next to her.

“A demon, couple of weeks ago. Showed her more than she bargained for. Slayer said somethin’ about Angel, we hotfooted it down here.” Spike took a draw of his cigarette and shook his head. “On the way down, she told me the whole story…Angel turnin’ human, keeping this from her…she’s pretty pissed.”

Cordelia, looking up at the stars, sighed, “I hate this. I don’t hate *her*, I hate this.” Then, looking over at Spike, she shook her head, “Never thought I’d be having a heart to heart with you…” She said honestly.

“Unrequited love, eh pet? Ain’t nothing like it in the world.” Said Spike, stubbing his cigarette out with his booted foot.

* * *

“You don’t think that I would?” Asked Angel, glancing down at her as they trained.

“Would what?”

“Save you.”

“Men folk are not always around to protect the women folk, you know? Besides, what if it turned out *you* were the guy I had to fight? Could happen.”

Angel nodded, “Okay.” He took his sword, raised it above his head and stood next to her, glancing down as she copied his movements. “When you put an adversary down, you wanna make sure he doesn’t get up again. So, like I showed you…” They both moved through the exercise with ease as Angel continued talking, “Force the other guy to counter and he’ll open himself up something like this. We’ll go half speed until…”

Cordelia shook her head as Angel put his sword away, “No need, I got it. Three years of Varsity Cheer Squad, I only ever had to be shown a move once.”

Angel couldn’t hide the slight smirk, “You know, Cordelia, handling a lethal weapon is a *little* different from shaking a pom-pom.”

“Ready! O-kay!” She went at Angel with the sword full-speed, ending with him up against the wall, the sword inches away from his throat.

“Easy – ha, ha – Go team…”

Cordelia chuckled as she pulled away, “You were saying?” She turned, putting the sword down and went to walk away from Angel when he tackled her to the floor, landing on top of her and pinning her arms above her head, “You should NEVER turn your back on your opponent…” He said, a mischevious glint dancing in his eyes.

Cordelia laughed and looked up at him, “Yeah, yeah…but it’s YOU…I know you’d never hurt me.”

Raising his eyebrows, Angel met her eyes, “Are you *sure* about that?”

“Very sure.”

“How sure?”

“Very sure.”

“Sure?”

“Angel!” Laughed Cordelia, “You’re such a dork! Let me up!”

“Not a chance.” He kept his grip on her hands tight, but not enough to hurt and gently began to tickle her sides. “Angel! No…no!” She laughed, “Don’t!”

Angel grinned, “I’d never hurt you, huh?”

“Okay, okay! I take it back, you would, you would…agh…ANGEL!” She yelped, giggling.

When he stopped, Angel’s ‘tickling’ hand, came up to gently stroke her hair. “Hey.” He said softly.

“Hey.”

“You okay?”

Cordelia smiled, “Fine. Why are you acting weird?”

“Weird?”

“Weird.”

“How am I acting weird?”

Cordelia smiled, “Just are.” She stared up at him and grinned, “Y’know, if this was the movies, we’d be kissing right now…”

Angel bent forward…and a voice spoke, “Thankfully, this ISN’T the movies though, right?” The voice was cold, hard. Belonged to a certain blonde slayer who would remain nameless…for Cordelia anyway.

“Buffy? What’s wrong? Is everything alright?” Angel pulled Cordelia to her feet, a pensive look on his face.

“Maybe YOU can tell me…” Said Buffy coolly.

Suddenly, Cordelia felt very uncomfortable. “Look, I gotta…y’know…go…” She pushed past Buffy and ran up the stairs, into the Lobby where Spike stood awkwardly. “Bloody ‘ell, I thought you were Angel…come to stake me for touchin’ his Buffy…” Spike stopped, “Cordelia?”

“Not now.” She shook her head, her breathing a little laboured and went out into the courtyard, sitting down on the bench and finally bursting into tears.

* * *

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” Said Buffy, shaking her head, “You didn’t even have the decency to tell me…”

“I thought it was what was right.”

“You made this decision ALONE!” Said Buffy, “How was it right, huh? Tell me.”

“How could we be together if…”

“The cost was my life or the lives of others, save it Angel, I heard it!” She said, frowning. “Only, I didn’t know I’d heard it. Was it because of *her*?”

“Who?”

“Don’t play the dumbass, you KNOW who I’m talking about. Cordelia!” Spat Buffy.

Angel’s eyes narrowed, “Don’t bring her into this.” He said, coldly, “She has nothing to do with this, NOTHING.”

“Angel, I’m not stupid and I know you, you’re…”

“No, you don’t, Buffy.” Said Angel, softly, “You don’t know me anymore, or Cordelia. What I did, I did because it was right, no matter how you want to dissect it, or pull it apart. I didn’t want you to die.”

“And yet I did anyway.” Said Buffy, shaking her head.

“Why are you here?” Asked Angel, “It doesn’t make a difference anyway, what happened, happened for a REASON. Nothing else.”

Buffy sighed, “You shouldn’t have had to deal with it alone.”

“But I did…” Said Angel, “We’re fine. We’re both fine.”

* * * * * *

“You really do, don’t you?” Asked Spike.

“Do what?” Cordelia’s gaze slid guiltily away from the blonde vampire, “Do what?”

“Love the pouf…”

“No.”

“You do.”

“I don’t.”

“You bloody well do…unfortunately, some vampires are blind as well as downright bloody stupid.” He said, shaking his head.

“Talking about yourself there, Spike?” Asked Cordelia, dryly, not wanting to talk about this.

“Sarcasm’s the lowest form of defense, luv…”

“I thought it was the lowest form of *wit*…”

“Same difference. You ever told Angel how you feel?”

“Duh…NO! Never gonna happen…listen…” Cordelia stood, “Tell Angel I…I dunno, tell him what you like but DON’T tell him about what we talked about here. I’m going home. I need a…shower.” She lied.

“Smell alright to me…”

“You’re dead…XANDER probably smells alright to you.”

Spike chuckled at this, “Want me to walk you home, luv?”

“Please, I can do without the pale, undead and creepy escorting me to my door.” Said Cordelia, shaking her head. “Spike?”

“What?”

“What did she do to you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you *were* a blood-sucking fiend…what makes you love her?” Asked Cordelia quietly.

“She’s Buffy.”

Cordelia sighed, “That’s my problem.”

“What is?”

“I’m *not*…”


Part 2 (of 4)

“So, are we going home then?” Spike looked at Buffy, shifting uncomfortably from the glares he was receiving from Angel.

“Yeah,” Said Buffy, “We’re going home.” Reaching up, she wrapped her arms around Angel, hugging him. “See you soon, I guess. Next crisis?” She smiled.

Angel laughed, still watching Spike, “And you…” He started.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Hurt her and I’ll stake you good and proper, change the record mate.”

“How do you put up with him?” Asked Angel, looking at Buffy.

“Patience…and that tiny ability that lets me kick his ass whenever I please.” She grinned. “Where’s Cordelia? I kinda…wanted to say bye to her too…”

Angel frowned, “I…I dunno…Spike?”

“Oh, she went home…said she wanted a bath…” Spike didn’t feel comfortable lying to his Sire but did it none-the-less. He and Buffy turned to leave, Angel watching, when Spike turned back, “She was a bit upset…might wanna go talk to her.”

Angel nodded, “Thanks for the warning.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Cordelia!” Angel hammered on the door, the smell of blood making him retch. He pushed at the door, trying to get the deadbolt open, yelling his Seer’s name.

“Cordelia!” Dennis, ever the dutiful ghost, accepting a small nod from Cordelia as her agreeing to let Angel in, opened the deadbolt, pulling the door back. Angel gasped, his Seer sat on her couch, her clothes bloody and torn, the glass table in the middle of the room, smashed into little pieces. “Cordelia?” He went and sat on the couch next to her. “What happened?” He asked. He didn’t need an answer. She couldn’t lift her head, a vision.

“That’ll teach me to have a glass table.” She whispered. When he reached out, she jerked away from him. “Angel…I can’t…I can’t do this, not right now. I know you’re going.” She said quietly, “That’s…that’s why I didn’t call you. I have to learn to fend for myself.” Her voice was broken, her face hidden by her hair.

“Going? Going where?”

“With Buffy. It’s okay…” She said softly, “You don’t have to explain…I know that you love her and…you have the big, whole…forbidden, soulmate thing but…I’m happy for you guys, really I am.” Cordelia tried to smile, but couldn’t lift her head to do it so what was the point?

“Cordelia, I…lets get you cleaned up.” He said softly. Reaching over, he went to lift her into his arms and she winced, “It hurts.”

“I know.” Said Angel, gently, “I’ll stop it hurting, I promise.”

“You always do.” Said Cordelia, sadly.

Angel stared at her for a second, his heart twisting in his chest. “Stay here.” He said softly.

“Not going anywhere.”

Angel went into her bathroom, pulling the first aid kit down from the shelf, bandages, everything he needed to make her well again on the outside. He wasn’t sure he had what it would take to make her well on the inside again. When he got back, her shirt was soakened with tears, a blanket huddled round her shoulders. “It’s okay.” He said softly, watching her shaking form, “Can you lift your head?”

Slowly, she raised her head from resting her chin on her chest, “I’m okay.”

Angel sucked in unneeded oxygen, “You’re not okay, Cordelia. You need a hospital.”

“No…no hospitals.” She said quietly. Angel stared. Her face was all cut down the left side, her entire body embedded with shards of glass.

“Cordelia…this is going to hurt…” He said, trying to make her understand.

“Can’t feel much anyway…one good thing about the visions.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Cordelia regretted them. Angel looked so sad. ~Deal with it, Broody Boy…you’re leaving me with these.~ She thought to herself, trying to shake her head but to no avail.

“Why didn’t you call me?” He asked.

“I called Wes…told him about the vision…told him you were busy…I don’t want you thinking you have to stick around because of these.” God, the words hurt even more than the wounds.

“Cordy…I’ll have to…” She looked up at him, he was gesturing to her clothes.

“Oh.” She said softly, “It’s okay, I’ve seen you semi-naked.” She attempted a joke, a smile. One that made Angel sad, she was in pain, and she was still trying to crack jokes, make him feel better.

Gently, he peeled the clothes from her body, wincing when she did, “I’m sorry.” He whispered, watching as she closed her eyes. She shook her head, biting her lip. Fresh blood filled Angel’s senses, she’d bitten through her lip. Only when her clothes had been removed and Cordelia sat there in her underwear, did Angel meet her eyes, “Are you alright?”

Cordelia nodded. “Fine.” She lied.

“You’re NOT fine!” Yelled Angel. Cordelia jumped, looking up and wincing as her body jerked. “I’m sorry…” She whispered, “I didn’t…”

Angel sighed, every time she had a vision, she at least let him comfort her. But now…

“Cordelia,” His voice was soft as he gently began dabbing at her wounds. She hissed, painfully, wincing as the antiseptic came in contact with the cuts. He looked up at her, caressing her other cheek, “Are you sure you don’t want to go to a hospital?”

“Sure.” Cordelia closed her eyes, staying in silence as he bathed her wounds. When he’d got rid of the antiseptic and the gauze, he sat down next to her, “Feels different…my taking care of you.” He said softly.

“You always *do* take care of me. It’s just not usually me with the battle scar thing.”

Angel leaned forward, taking her hands in his, which Cordelia promptly pulled away. “Don’t.”

“Don’t?”

“Don’t. I know what you’re going to say. Thanks for all the things you’ve done for me, everything you’ve helped me with, every little vision. Thanks for being there, you’ve been a great friend, yadda, yadda, yadda…but…I’m going where I belong, with her, back to Sunnyhell, sure, I’ll write. Bye Cordelia. See you next…oh, never.”

Angel looked at her, “You really think that?”

“No.” She said quietly, “I know that. I know that and I’m trying not to be bothered by it. I always knew it would happen…I just…”

“What?” He prompted.

“I never thought I’d fall in love with you. I never thought I’d make this difficult on myself.”

Angel gasped, to which Cordelia shook her head, “I’m *not* asking you to stay. I’m not telling you this because I think it’s a good guilt trip, make Angel think I love him, then he stays, ’cause that’s the type of guy he is.” She couldn’t even meet his eyes, “Good luck, Angel.” She whispered, “I really do mean that. I hope that you and Buffy are happy together, I really do.”

She stood, slowly, getting off the couch. “I’m going to bed…if you wanna crash…the sofa’s all yours…you might end up sharing it with Phantom Dennis but…it’s there.”

“Cordelia?” Said Angel, gently, “Why do you think I’m going back to her?”

Cordelia sighed and sort of gave a…half smile, “Because.”

“Why?”

“Because she’s Buffy.” She whispered.

“And your point being?”

“I’m not.” She said softly, tears sliding down her cheeks. “I’m not Buffy. I never will be Buffy…I’ll never be what you want.”

Angel looked at her sadly, “And you’re sure of that?” He asked, “Why can’t I love you for you?”

“You tell me, Angel.” She whispered, “Why can’t you?”

Turning, she went into her bedroom. “I guess I’ll see you around sometime, huh?” She asked sadly as she heard the front door slam. Cordelia burst into tears.

Part 3

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in Complete

Still A No Boner   Leave a comment

Title: Still A No-Boner
Name: Ficbitch82 (aka Angelicgal82)
E-mail:
Pairings: C/A Implications
Spoilers: All Season 1, 2, 3 (mostly what I’ve read, only seen up to TOGOM) But this does include WITW spoilers! I know, I know, I haven’t seen it so I shouldn’t write fic but… Hey, what can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment and since my creativeness has disappeared somewhere, I’m trying to relocate it. Should anyone find it PLEASE e-mail me!!!
Rating: R
Summary: Cordelia reflects on her current relationship with Angel, or lack thereof…
Disclaimer: If they were mine would I *really* be writing fan fic? Not mine!! They belong to Joss the Evil One, the Great WB and other people that I can’t be bothered to mention but RRREEEEAAAAALLLLLYYYY love for giving me A/C goodness every week!
Feedback: Love it, need it, crave it… “It’s like a Sickness…”
Dedication: To all the people who give me feedback – you guys, rock!!!


*

It’s quite easy to tell myself that things are ‘normal’ round here. Pffft, what’s normal? Is normal a head-splitting, mind numbing vision? Or is normal floating? Is normal being half demon?

Is normal your vampire best friend with a human son of his own, a human son who you like to pretend that, in a few years time when he’s out of his diapers and into six pairs of sneakers a month, will call you Mommy and not Aunty Cordy?

See, things are normal round here. Well, as normal as normal can be round here anyway. I’ve told myself for so long that Angel always has been and always WILL be a no-boner. Hands off, strictly prohibited – do not enter without access to blonde roots. Unfortunately, that’s not me. I’m not blonde. Okay, so I tried it… But it didn’t really work. Did I do it for him? Nnnnootttt exactly… Well, okay, I wanted to see if it was just ‘the blonde thing’. I mean, Angel was slipping at that point and who knew what I was thinking when I walked into Alfredo’s and ordered him to chop off my hair into this short, snazzy little number and put some blonde in there for good measure! Only, he didn’t… I ended up leaving the hairdressers in tears because the word ‘bouffant’ didn’t even come close to describing the hair situation and even then they didn’t notice. Wesley did after a week and Angel? The blonde *didn’t* work. It didn’t even come remotely close, Angel, being the jerk he was during his beige period, went and slept with the pale, undead and creepy natural blonde.

So, there’s me, back to square one on the Angel front. Not that I wanted to *be* on the Angel front, I just wanted to prove that I’m… Uhm… I just wanted to prove that. Okay, okay, I admit it. I wanted him. I wanted him because *she* had him. I wanted him because another BLONDE had him. See, it’s easy isn’t it? Lying to yourself. Angel’s still the no-boner he’s always been, and I’m still Cordelia Chase, bitch of Sunnydale High.

Things change. Times change. People change. I’ve changed. He’s changed. A lot of things have changed round here now. He has a son. And isn’t that just a shirtload of responsibilities for us to hacksaw or way through? He worries about EVERYTHING. And I mean, EVERYTHING. The perfect example of a conversation?

“Cordy, Connor’s crying…”

Uhm, since when did *I* become the expert on babies? My egg in high school fried my brain!

“Angel, he’s okay. He’s just teething… Here, give him his cooler.”

“Should I call the doctor?”

“Annndddd, I’ll say it again, Angel, he’s TEETHING.”

“Oh, okay.”

Brief break and…

“Cordy, he’s stopped crying… Should I go check? Is he okay? Should I call a Doctor?

My word of advice. Never EVER buy one of those baby monitors from a baby shop. Y’know the ones where you plug them in another room so you can put said baby in there and let him sleep? Just don’t. They *know* you listen and stop breathing accordingly. Personally, I think he’s got good lungs like Daddy, but everytime Connor pauses his breath Angel’s up off that chair like he’s got a stake up his… Uhm… English channel, and Connor googles again, putting the fear of God into Angel. It was amusing – the first time out of the LAST billion I saw it.

Anyway, I digress, I do that a lot. Some people call it babbling, but I like to say I digress. If I’m nervous, I babble, like a brook, I babble. That’s usually down to aggravated nerves, I think but… But I’m not nervous as you can so clearly see, I mean, I’m only thinking about Angel, what’s there to be nervous about? Anyway, back to the Angel being a strictly ‘no-boner’ thing.

Up until a few months ago, Angel was strictly off limits and… I blame this on Fred. She was the one who came up with this crazy idea about Kyerumption and now… Now it got me thinking. And then tonight at the ballet? Possessed by souls? Sure. And then Angel comes out with the scariest line in EVER.

“It was you and me, Cordelia. Kissing you… I’m not sure if I can…”

And then I stopped him because I’m afraid of what he was going to say. Sure, he could have said ‘I’m not sure if I can kiss you because basically, you SUCK!’ ANNNDDDD he’d have Wesley to back that up with perhaps the most passion-less kiss of the century. And then he came out with this little gem…

“Don’t be stupid. If I were that security guard, and the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen was making eyes at me-“

And then he goes and stops. Why does he punish me like this? Why do I punish myself?

Does he know what I face, I mean honestly?

If I sleep with him, and he loses his soul, I lose my best friend, my lover and my lifeline all rolled into one.

If I sleep with him and he doesn’t lose his soul, it means he’s still hung up over one of the blondes and that leaves me in love with a man who can never love me.

If I don’t tell him how I feel, I’ll always wonder.

If I do and he turns me away, I’ll always want the friendship we had back.

And if I admit that Angel’s a ‘boner’ for even one second? Then things aren’t normal. If I admit that I’m in love with Angel then things fall into a tailspin. And there he is, smiling at me, holding out his hand. There it is, our friendship – weird, yet wonderful, I gave up my life for this amazing man I call Angel. My Angel.

Things aren’t normal but… Pffft, what’s normal to a lifetime of special with Angel?

Absolutely nothing.

*End*

Ficbitch82

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in Complete

Confrontations.   Leave a comment

Title: Confrontations
Author: Ficbitch82 (aka Angelicgal82)
Posted: 2001
Disclaimer: The Characters aren’t mine…DUH…they belong to Evil Genius Joss…
Notes: This is the confrontation I always wanted to see but never got to…it pretty much just went in whichever direction my twisted little mind took it so it’s probably weird… It’s a different sort of ending I guess to where Angel fires the gang. Cordelia acts…differently…
Feedback: Silly question 😉


*

Unemployed, made redundant, fired. Whatever you wanted to peg it as, that was the label Cordelia Chase, self professed Queen of Mean now wore. But it wasn’t that that bothered her.

Sure, she was pissed. NO ONE, but NO ONE fired Cordelia Chase and got away with it. What bothered her more were…events leading up to her being ‘relinquished of her duties’. After all, no one was more tied to Angel than she. These were HIS visions that she had, he had to keep them.

And yet he wasn’t. He’d got rid of them, poof! Gone! Out of his life quicker than he could blink with all his vampiric speed.

Darla. Wanna give it a label? There it was. Blonde, bitchy and psychotic to boot. ~Kind of like Buffy, with fangs.~ Thought Cordelia, dryly.

She sat there, a glass of water clutched tightly in her hand, her knuckles growing white around the edges as she stared at a box. A box of belongings that had accumulated at the Hyperion hotel for almost six months now. As she sat, Cordelia grew more and more angry…and then she knew…she knew what she had to do…

********

Axe. Check. Stakes. Check. Sword. Check. Every weapon known to man that can do serious damage to Darla, check. ~I’m tired of waiting.~ Thought Cordelia, ~It’s been a week and no change. I’m doing what HE can’t.~

“What are you doing?” The cold voice from behind her came sooner than she expected, but it came nonetheless. Cordelia didn’t answer him, kept packing weapons into the duffel bag she’d brought along with her.

“What you can’t.” Picking up the bag, she turned and pushed passed him, more than satisfied with the shocked look on Angel’s face. A part of her was hopeful, something had actually got through to him. But, her hope was short lived as Angel appeared in front of her at the door.

“What, Darla?” He asked, his face a mask of hardness.

“What do you think, Angel?” She asked, calmly. “Oh, hang on…you’re ‘Joe I’m Too Wrapped Up In Myself  To Even Notice’ so I guess you don’t think anything. Let me past.”

Angel snorted, “To what, kill Darla? This I’d *love* to see, Cordy.” He smirked, “You, fighting a vampire who’s lived centuries longer than you ever have or will…she might just…wrap her hand around your throat and squeeze the life from you.” He whispered, slowly circling her, his prey.

“Or maybe, she’ll drain you…turn you into one of us.” Angel stared at her, “You ask me why I can’t kill Darla? How can you kill someone who gave you a real life? A sense of purpose, of direction.”

He saw that his words were making Cordelia upset and continued, “You expect me to be heartless and end her life in an instant. Someone I spent 100 years with…I’d love to watch you do that to someone you cared about but hey, that’s not the Cordy way…she’s too wrapped up in herself to notice others and their feelings.”

Cordelia stared at him, incredulously, realisation dawning. “Oh…” She said quietly, “You could end her life for Buffy though, right?” She whispered.

There was a twinge, somewhere inside Angel, but not much of one and he watched as Cordelia continued, “I mightn’t have spent a hundred years with you, Angel.” She whispered, “But you’re the one who gave *me* a real life, loved me and cared for me. So now, I couldn’t just end your life but…” Cordelia sighed, “You’re right. I haven’t noticed my best friend going down hill for the past three months. I haven’t noticed that everytime I look at him he gets a little more distant…he goes inside somewhere that I can’t reach anymore.” Looking up, wearily, she shook her head, “Let me past Angel.”

“No. You’re not going out there it’s too…”

“What? Too dangerous?” She laughed, “Oh, please! Like YOU give a crap. You haven’t cared for months Angel. EVERYTHING has been about Darla, everything. You’re too wrapped up in your own world to notice that things around here are falling apart…you think it’s dangerous out there?” She asked, gesturing towards the window, “I’ve been getting the feeling for weeks that it ain’t safe in here…you’re a time bomb Angel and I don’t wanna be around when you blow.”

Slowly, a smirk passed across his face, “Maybe you’re right.” He whispered, arms sliding around her waist, “Maybe it isn’t safe in here.” Cordelia watched as he morphed into demon form, baring his fangs, his arms squeezing tight around her waist.

For Angelus, the bitter smell of defeat was something he’d treasure forever. For Angel, it was tainted with disbelief, his Seer was giving up?

“Go on.” She said quietly, “Do it. Kill me, feed from me.” She whispered, “I won’t beg for you to let me go. I won’t cry and scream. I won’t feed Angelus’ little quim’s.” Cordelia stared him in the eye. “Do it.”

And it was Angel who listened to her say that she would let him drain her of her blood but wouldn’t pander to Angelus’ inate feeding on human fear. It was Angel who paled in the knowledge that he had drove the one person who perhaps he loved the most…to this. He went to speak but the words wouldn’t come out.

So instead, he took hold of the back of her neck, watched as she waited for him to drain her of her life but he didn’t, nor was he ever going to do that to her. Instead, his face morphed back into human form and he leaned down, gently kissing her lips…

At first, Cordelia leaned into the kiss then, assuming this was all some sick game, pushed him away forcefully. “No!” She yelled. It was then that Angel noticed the tears streaming down her cheeks, “What is this? Some sort of sick game? Let me guess, like one you played with Buffy, huh?” She asked coldly. Angel saw he was losing her and grabbed her arm, “Cordelia…please…” He whispered.

Pulling her arm away, Cordelia shook her head, “No. We’re not friends.” She said quietly, “You stopped being my friend a long time ago…and whatever friendship we had left tonight finished when you…did whatever the hell you just did.”

Cordelia picked up the duffel bag, “Are you going to move?” She asked. “I have to get out of here…”

“Are you going to go after Darla?” He asked, worried.

For Cordelia, this was it. The thing that made her realise…

“That’s all you care about, isn’t it?” She asked, “Gee, Angel, what is it with you and blondes?” Cordelia was angry, and hurt and a whole other barrage of emotions she didn’t want to think about right now, “You know, I tried to kid myself but…fact is, I love you. I’m in love with you and tonight just proved what kind of relationship we actually have or ever will have.”

“And what’s that?” Asked Angel, his throat suddenly dry.

“None.” She replied, “Because you *don’t* love me. Because you *can’t* love me, ever. Not the way I want you to and certainly not the way you think you do.” Cordelia paused and stepped round him, dropping the duffel bag. As she got to the door, she spoke again, “I never thought I’d envy Buffy.” She said quietly, “But at least at some point in her life, she actually had you. I’ll never get that, will I?”

And with that Cordelia left. She didn’t wait for an answer. She didn’t wait for him to walk after her, catch up with her and swing her into his arms, rain kisses down on her face. She just left.

******

“Did I ever apologise?” He whispered, watching as she cradled his son in her arms.

Cordelia looked up, “For what?”

“For what I did to you that night…for…scaring you, for not coming after you.”

“No. But I’ll live.” Said Cordelia with a smile. “Besides, who said I was scared?” She teased. Connor stirred in her arms and she looked down, gently soothing him back to sleep with soft words.

“Cordelia?”

“What?”

“Did you know I loved you?”

“Well, yeah…but it never hurts a girl to hear it again.”

“Cordelia?”

“What?”

“I love you.”

“I know.”

“Kiss me?”

“Bite me.”

“Cordelia?”

“Wh…mph!” He kissed her.

“~END~”

Ficbitch82

Posted July 15, 2018 by califi in Complete