Back From the Abyss. 7-9

Part 7

Connor reclined back on the hospital bed as Fred adjusted his pillows. He was completely drained after spending the last two hours recounting the events of his mysterious visit from Cordelia to the three people in the room. Even though they had all listened to Connor intensely, he could tell his story affected them each in a different way.

Gunn had stood by the hospital room door, hands folded across his chest, with an unreadable expression. Meanwhile, Fred had sat in a chair near his bed. She had shifted uncomfortably during the parts of Connor’s tale that seemed to be the most painful for Angel to hear, but at the end she had simply smiled at Connor as she stood and offered her help in making him comfortable.

Angel was still in the same position he had taken when Connor began. Leaning back on the counter across the room, he had looked on with sadness as Connor spoke. His eyes held a trance like gaze, as if he was reliving every moment Connor spoke of all over again.

Connor couldn’t explain how, but he could feel Angel’s remorse. The young man had spent years learning to hate the vicious killer Angelus. He had memorized Holtz’s description of the monster’s face, the face in front of him, but it wasn’t Angelus that he saw. Not anymore. Connor truly felt sympathy for the being in front of him and he knew that Angelus could never have evoked that emotion. Maybe it was a residual effect from his trip with Cordelia or because of the gaping wound he had received from the blade of Justine’s knife, but Connor was truly sorry his story had caused Angel pain.

When Connor was finally situated in bed, Fred and Gunn looked at each other in silent agreement and left the room. Now alone with his son, Angel finally moved. As he pulled the chair Fred had occupied even closer to his son’s bed, Angel began to speak in a hushed voice. “Cordy showed you all of those things?”

“Yes. She also sat with me and talked for a while.”

“What did she say?”

“Basically the same thing you said to me. She told me I had the power to make a choice, to choose my own path. She said I had to decide between good and evil.”

Angel’s face held the trace of a smile as he heard Connor’s words. He knew instantly that he had said the right things to Connor that night and he was so grateful to Cordelia for making him sure of it. Whether what she had done was on her own or by the Powers’ controlling hand, he didn’t care. It was Cordy. Knowing of her helping role made Angel’s love for her even stronger and his ache from her absence more unbearable.

“I want so much to find her Connor.”

“Then find her,” Connor supplied such a simple answer.

“I can’t possibly leave you here. Not now.”

“So you would leave Cordelia, who knows where, to stay here and fluff my bedding?”

“No, I want to get her back. I will get her back. I just want you to be okay with it.”

“I am more than okay with it. I want to get to know her as well. I know I told you that I knew you had loved me because I had seen you with me in the images Wesley showed me. Well, when I visited those moments and others with Cordelia, I not only saw the parental love, I felt it, and not just from you. So if you don’t go find her, then when I get out of this place I will.”

Angel smiled at his son’s blessing and was impressed that Connor’s answer was much like his own would have been.

“Tell Gunn or Fred if you need anything. I mean anything. I promise they will take care of you,” Angel rambled as he grabbed his coat from the chair. When he reached the door, Angel paused and looked at Connor with dark, insecure eyes.

“You will find her. You will save her. Fred said that is what you do,” Connor answered the question in Angel’s eyes.

And with that renewed sense of hope, Angel left the hospital room.


“It is arrogant. It dares come to us again seeking answers to things it does not understand.”

“I’m really starting to hate these guys,” Angel spoke aloud to himself.

“I want her back! She belongs here with me! With her family! We need her. I need her.”

“It tries to choose her destiny for her. It does not understand its place.” The Conduit’s voices echoed as it continued to slam Angel into walls of stone.

“I know that the Powers have convinced her that what she is doing is noble, but so is her work here with me,” Angel continued to argue loudly.

“She has chosen her own path.”

“What was she told about her choice?”

“A higher being was needed by humanity to ascend to a……”

“Hey,” a voice greeted Angel from behind as the Conduit continued its lengthy explanations of the ascension of higher beings.

Angel growled as he turned to face the demon behind him.

“Remember me?” Angel’s unexpected companion asked.

“Yeah, your Skip and if you tell me that Cordy’s in a fire cell, I’m gonna….”

“No, no. Thanks to you I’m not allowed anywhere near a fire cell again, but we’re wasting time. So, do you want to stick around here for intermission or are you ready to see Cordelia?”

“Take me to her.” Angel’s command was followed by a blinding flash of light. When Angel opened his eyes, he was no longer in the Conduit’s chamber, but in…..

“My room?” Angel asked aloud. When there was no answer, Angel turned and noticed that Skip was gone. Turning back to face his own room again, he saw her. After all this time, missing her, thinking of her, dreaming of her, she was there, alone with him. He couldn’t move.

“Angel,” his name escaped Cordelia’s lips with a deep sigh of relief as she ran to his arms. Burying her head in Angel’s shoulder Cordelia began to desperately explain. “I’m so sorry Angel. I should have been there with you that night. I just, Skip came, I glowed….” Angel gently pulled Cordelia from his shoulder, looking into her eyes as she continued. “There were so many things I wanted to tell you that night. There are so many things I want to say now. I just don’t know where to begin.”

“I do.” And with those two words, Angel’s lips met Cordelia’s in a kiss so soft and sweet it made both forget every word she had just said.

As the seconds turned into minutes, their kiss grew from one of gentle sweetness to a burning passion that was consuming them both. Eventually Cordelia broke away several times for much needed gasps of air, quickly returning to Angel’s lips after each breath.

“Cordy?” Angel asked during one brief break.

“Hmmm?” was Cordelia’s reply after her mouth had returned to his lips.

“What are we doing in my room?”

Angel almost wished he had not asked the question when Cordelia ended their kiss and breathlessly answered, “Skip. He likes to take people to the place they feel most comfortable. It makes them a lot more relaxed in a tense situation. You know, like The Matrix.”

“The what?”

“Never mind,” Cordelia replied as she realized she would much rather be kissing Angel than trying to interest him in the plot of a movie that did not star Charlton Heston.

When they had almost slipped back into their breathless swirl of passionate kisses, Angel realized that he just had to know. Pulling back, he asked in disbelief, “This is my comfort place?”

Cordelia looked at him as if he were ruining the moment. “No stupid. It’s mine.”

“Yours?” Angel looked around the room, noticing something that he hadn’t at first. There in the next room was a crib. The room was exactly the way it had been before they had lost Connor, Wesley, and each other.

“Hey, it used to be a mall. Go figure.”

“You’re coming back with me Cordy. I’m not leaving you here. I can’t.”

“Hey, you don’t have to convince me. I’ve told Skip everyday that I wanted to go home to you, to my family.”

Knowing now that all along Cordelia had wanted to return to him, but had been forced into staying, Angel could no longer control his anger. “Skip!” he growled hoping to summon the other demon.

In an instant Skip was in the room and in the fiercest voice Angel could use and still contain his demon, he ordered, “You let her come back. Now.”

“Hey, I don’t have that kind of power. Wish I did. No, this is a decision straight from the top.”

“Then you take me to the Powers because I’m not leaving here without her.”

“Well, even if I could, the Powers won’t give you an audience. They won’t even give me an audience. That honor is reserved for higher beings,” Skip finished with a telling look to Cordelia.

“I guess I’m the one with the winning ticket.” Cordelia looked up and singingly yelled, “Okay, let’s go!”

A large metallic door appeared in the center of the room and Cordelia turned and headed bravely in its direction as Angel’s hand reached out and grasped hers. She couldn’t turn around for fear of loosing her nerve when she saw Angel’s fear for her. So she gave his hand a squeeze and simply said, “I’ll be back in a minute.” With that said, she slowly walked through the now open door. As soon as Cordelia was through, the huge door shut with a shattering slam that shook through Angel’s soul.

“Don’t worry,” Skip said. “They won’t do anything to hurt her. I hear she is actually one of their favorites.”

Angel just stared forward at the door that held his life behind it.


An hour had passed since Cordelia had left and now instead of staring at the gargantuan door, the two worried demons had their heads facing each other, each with one ear pressed tightly against the metal door. They had been trying for a while to listen to the muffled tones coming from inside. Although they were not able to make out exact words from the Powers, they could definitely identify Cordelia’s voice as she yelled, argued, begged, and cursed the Powers. Even though Angel was worried about Cordelia, he couldn’t help but be impressed. Her verbal fighting skills could stand up with his physical ones any day of the week.

“Boy, she’s really giving ’em heck,” Skip whispered to the face only inches from his own.

Angel’s eyebrows raised at what he thought was another colorful word used by Cordelia. “Not that I’m complaining, but I thought she would be above all of this now. You know, higher being and all.”

“Hey, she’s a higher being, not a saint.”


Cordelia stood before a blinding light that took no form. After an hour and a half of stating her case before the Powers, she nervously waited for them to voice their decision.

“We believe and are in agreement that you do belong with the Champion. You shall return with him. You will keep your visions and some of your powers. You will need them to fight by his side against the one who will come, the Destroyer. The one who will bring an end to all that is good, to all we have worked to set in place.”

“The Destroyer? I thought….”

Cordelia’s question was ignored as the Powers continued. “The Destroyer will come and it is our order for you to help all who will stand against him. If you do this and the Destroyer is defeated, we will grant you your wish of remaining with the Champion.”

“And if the Destroyer is not defeated?”

“All will die. All will perish. All will be lost.”

The room went dark and the door opened.

Cordelia gathered herself the best she could. She did not understand all of what the Powers had said but she knew one thing, something dark was coming, something dark enough that the Powers were willing to go back on their decision to make her stay. It scared her to know something that horrible was ahead, but she couldn’t help the feeling of joy and relief that started to sweep over her body. She was going home. Home with Angel. Her lips spread into her own trademark smile as her happiness grew. She would not worry about the Powers warning of the coming danger. Not now. Now she would be happy. Happy with Angel.

Angel looked piercingly at Cordelia when she emerged from the door. “Well?”, he asked.

“Well, now we go home?”

“Really? They’re letting me take you back? Just like that? No conditions or tests or trials?” Angel suspiciously asked.

“Never underestimate the persuasion skills of a pissed off seer with a little power,” she beamed with an even brighter and reassuring smile.

Angel couldn’t help but be satisfied with her answer. She was coming home and he was happy. After everything they had all endured in the last few months, things seemed to be falling into place. ‘Maybe Lorne is right’ Angel thought. ‘Maybe things do work out sometimes.’

Part 8

“No!” Gunn’s voice seared with anger as he jumped to his feet in disgust at what he saw before him. “Man, I can’t believe this is happening.”

“It was inevitable. It had to happen eventually,” Angel said, trying to calm Gunn’s raging anger.

“Yeah but not in the second round man,” Gunn huffed as he threw the television remote onto the hospital bed.

“Could you guys be a little louder? I don’t think they heard you in the lobby down stairs,” Cordelia scolded as she and Fred entered the room with a round of coffee.

Three days had passed since Cordelia and Angel had returned and rushed to Connor’s side at the hospital. No one would have guessed that the young man had been injured so badly just days ago. Angel just smiled proudly when he heard the doctor say he had never seen someone heal so quickly from such a wound.

Angel and Cordelia had both decided, since Angel could not be at the hospital around the clock, that at least one or both of them would be with Connor at all times. Angel thought this was a wonderful idea, at first. However, he and Cordelia had not been alone together since those few stolen moments before her meeting with the Powers That Be and it was driving him crazy.

Sure he was enjoying assisting Gunn in explaining to Connor about the joys of ESPN and having sports at your fingertips twenty-four hours a day, but he was ready to go home.

He was ready to tuck Connor safely away in his own room to heal, for Fred and Gunn to go out for tacos, and to finish what he had started with Cordelia several days ago. Seeing her across the room was driving him mad. They had stolen small kisses and hugs at the door when one of them left for a short trip home and back, and twice Cordelia had caressed his hand across Connor’s hospital bed as they both watched him sleep. It was wonderful, but it wasn’t enough.

Leaving Gunn to answer Connor’s question of why fighter’s required protective gear, Angel crossed the room to Cordelia’s side.

“Hey,” he greeted with a whisper.

“Hey yourself,” Cordelia sweetly smiled.

“Are we about ready?” Angel anxiously questioned.

“Relax Angel. We’re just waiting for Dr. Merrick to come give the ‘all clear’. Don’t worry it shouldn’t take long. I know you’re ready to take Connor home.”

Angel’s hand found Cordelia’s and he looked at her with desperation. “He’s not the only one I’m ready to take home.”


Angel looked around and examined Connor’s room as he stood in the doorway. “I should have given you one of the larger rooms,” he stated to Connor who was now laying in his bed. Connor’s eyes were heavy from the pain pills the doctor had prescribed and he sleepily replied, “It’s fine.”

“Are you Okay? Do you need anything?” Angel asked.

“I’m fine. The room is fine. I just want to get some rest.”

“Of course, I’m sorry. I’ll just be down the hall if you need me.” Angel stood still in the doorway. It felt like both of them needed to say more, but Angel decided to take Cordelia’s advice and not push. Besides, Connor did need his rest and now that he had him back, truly back, Angel would have many more chances for a heart-to-heart with his son. Realizing that, he turned and gently shut the door.

As Angel walked the long hallway to his own room, he was glad that, besides Connor, he and Cordelia had the hotel to themselves. Fred and Gunn had done just what he had hoped. They had gone out for a while for some ‘alone time’, and Lorne, although back to stay, had already found his own place on the other side of town. ‘Alone at last,’ Angel thought with a smile.

Angel’s anticipation grew as he reached his door. Cordelia said she would wait for him there and that he should be the one to settle Connor in just in case the two wanted to talk alone. Angel smiled again to himself as he turned the knob and thought, ‘She is amazing, understanding, compassionate, beautiful, courageous, and …. asleep,’ he finished with disappointment. Cordelia was fully clothed, snoring on top of his bed.

Angel crept to the bedside with his usual stealth and, kneeling, gently kissed Cordelia on the forehead. His kiss woke her as if she were Sleeping Beauty and she smiled, slowly opening her eyes.

“How is he?” she asked.

“He’s … fine,” Angel quietly answered.

Cordelia sat up and turned to Angel who was still kneeling at the bedside.

“And how are you?” she asked, laying her palm against his cheek. “Are you fine too.”

Angel covered the back of Cordelia’s hand with his own, moving his lips where his cheek had been and pressed a kiss into her palm. “I’m better now,” he said with his eyes closed, basking in the warmth of her skin.

Angel slowly rose and sat down by Cordelia on the bed. “Cordy,” he began cautiously. “I’ve been in love with you for a long time now, longer than I would let myself admit. I can’t give you close to what you deserve, but I can’t waste anymore time. I can’t sit on the sidelines and watch as another Groo comes into your life. I won’t. Not without you knowing exactly how I feel.”

Cordelia smiled lovingly at Angel’s words. “You know, Groo is the reason I called you that night.”

Angel looked at Cordelia with a questioning brow as she continued. “It seems that Groo understood my feelings for you better than I had. I guess turning him into the ‘Angel clone’ didn’t help disguise my subconscious feelings very well. Groo asked me to tell him that I was in love with him and not you and I couldn’t Angel. I couldn’t because it wasn’t true. I do love you Angel. Only you.”

Angel reached out and gently stroked Cordelia’s cheek as she closed her eyes. He just gazed at her, studied her. She loved him. He had thought, dreamed, and even hoped but now it was real. Angel pulled Cordelia close to him and kissed her passionately. Cordelia’s response was immediate. Pulling at him, she urged him even closer deepening their kiss. Neither spoke another word. No words were needed. Words fell short to explain the passion and longing that was racing through both of their bodies.

Angel cradled Cordelia’s back with one arm and gently laid her down onto the bed. Cordelia’s eyes begged Angel to do what they both knew he could not. So they tried settling for the edge of ecstasy as they feverishly kissed and caressed each other.

Before either of them realized, Angel had maneuvered his way on top of Cordelia. He tried to remain in control, but his body betrayed him as it began to rhythmically move against Cordelia’s with each kiss.

“Angel?” Cordelia weakly mumbled underneath the crush of Angel’s mouth when his hand found its way beneath her shirt.

“I know,” he whispered. “I won’t let it go too far,” his body proving his words were a lie.

“No Angel. A vision,” Cordelia panted.

“What?” he asked, slowing but not completely stopping his actions.

Cordelia gently nudged him off. “A vision. A vision.”

Promptly sitting up, Angel apologized. “Oh Cordy. I’m sorry.” Angel helped Cordelia to a sitting position in front of him. He was visibly shaken at how fast and far things had gone.

“It’s alright Angel. It’s alright. It’s just….” Cordelia stared hard into nothingness as if she was trying to process what she was seeing.

“Cordy what is it?” Angel asked with concern.

“Wesley,” she answered, looking back at Angel.


Lilah Morgan sat on the couch of Wesley’s apartment, legs crossed, swirling the ice around in her drink. “So Wesley, let’s try this again,” she said as she sat her drink down, rose, and prowled toward a chained and bloodied Wesley. “You know,” she continued, touching one of the shackles with an evil grin. “We should have tried these the night we were together. They give you a helpless, bound, and broken look. It’s quite attractive.”

Wesley’s eyes looked down to the floor and Lilah motioned for the bulky Wolfram and Hart lackey in the corner of the room to come forward. “Let’s see if a little more pain can provoke one of those life saving visions of Miss Chase’s.”

“I’m sure the Powers That Be will not care to send one on my account,” Wesley managed to answer.

“Still at your own pity party Wesley? Well, I have a feeling it will work. I know you stole our surveillance videos in an attempt to help Angel’s son. So, I’m betting that puts you back closer to the other side, and if I’m wrong. Well, I’m not the one that has anything to loose.” Lilah gave a nod for Wesley’s abuser to continue.


It had only taken Gunn fifteen minutes to get to the hotel after answering Angel’s page. Now, the two stood in the lobby arming themselves from the weapon’s cabinet as Cordelia and Fred talked quietly at the counter.

“How bad was it?” Fred asked in a whisper.

“Bad,” Cordelia answered.

Both women stared ahead to the men while they continued to talk. Fred’s expression was sad and a little worried. “Howd’ya convince Angel to go and help Wesley? I mean, not too long ago all he wanted to do was kill him.”

“Well, even though I think he’ll never forgive Wesley for taking Connor, Angel realized that he can’t let Wesley die knowing what seeing those tapes did for Connor.”

Angel and Gunn, readied for battle, approached the women they loved and said their quiet goodbyes.

“Angel, please be careful. I can’t really explain exactly what I saw. I just don’t want you two to get hurt,” Cordelia said, now rethinking her earlier persuasion.

“Hey, I’ll be alright. You wait here for me and when I get back,” Angel said, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close. “We will sit down and figure out a way to take this nice and slow.” Angel smiled and gave Cordelia a quick, deep kiss.

Reassured Cordelia smiled. “It’s a date.”

Turning to Gunn, who was making his own show of affection in the form of a chaste kiss to Fred’s forehead, Angel said, “Let’s go.”


The door to Wesley’s apartment burst open with one kick.

“Finally,” Lilah said with exasperation. “I was beginning to think he wouldn’t last another round.”

“Lilah,” Angel said with hatred.

A large object crashed against Gunn’s skull as Angel was captured in an iron netting. As Gunn’s unconscious body fell to the ground, Angel struggled against the restraining net held by three Wolfram and Hart heavies.

“Hold him still,” Lilah commanded as she approached Angel. Wesley gasped an inaudible word that sounded like ‘no’ as Lilah began to chant. Finishing her incantation, Lilah tossed a thick black powder at Angel that filled the room with smoke as soon as it hit Angel’s skin.

‘Oh no. Oh God no.’ was Angel’s panic stricken thought. However, moments passed and Angel’s fear subsided as nothing seemed to happen. He felt fine. Whatever spell Lilah had tried had not worked. So he thought.

Angel’s fear was almost completely gone when he heard his three captor’s bodies fall beside him. When the smoke in the room began to clear, Angel could see Lilah staring at him from the floor with cold dead eyes. Angel looked on in horror as the shadowy figure standing behind her discarded body came into view.

“Don’t bother saying it. The look on your face is thanks enough,” the creature before him said with a wicked grin. “Now I’d love to stay and help you kill old Wes here, but I just remembered…” the monster paused, “I have a date.” Angelus, satisfied with his taunting, smirked and sauntered out of the room.

Part 9

Cordy had wanted tonight to be so special. The candles that she had strategically placed all around Angel’s suite were quickly burning down and the bottle of red wine was now half gone. In her anxiousness for Angel’s safe and quick return she had drank a half of a glass of the ‘not so expensive stuff’ to calm her nerves. Well, a half of a glass four or five times that resulted in her falling fast and deeply asleep on Angel’s bed.

When Cordelia finally awoke she struggled to focus on her watch. Her heart started to race as she realized how late it had gotten and that Angel was obviously not back from Wesley’s. She tried to calm herself. She told herself over and over again that Angel had saved the day and the guys were still there bonding and forgiving. “Yeah right,” she thought aloud.

Cordelia stood and headed for the door. As she walked down the hall she heard a noise – not a bump or even a movement – it was so slight that it took her a moment to figure out what it was. A moan. Cordelia looked down the hotel stairs and called out. “Fred?” The lobby was dark but she could have sworn she saw a shadow and then another noise echoed in the lobby below. This one more prominent than the first. “Fred, are you down there?” Cordy asked again as she began to descend the stairs.


Angelus growled. He had always hated being interrupted during a kill, but the voice he heard was the voice of his true target and he certainly didn’t want to spoil the game he had planned. So, with regret he withdrew his fangs from the nearly drained Fred and let her body roll to the floor behind the hotel counter. Wiping the sweet blood from his lips, he turned and approached the stairs with a smile.

“It’s just me Cordy,” he said in what he now knew he could label as the soulful voice.

Cordelia, breathing a sigh of relief, hopped down the stairs two at a time. “I thought you were Fred. Thank God your back, I was worried sick. How did it go? How’s Wesley? Where’s Gunn?”

“Slow down Cordy. Fred and Gunn are already upstairs and Wesley’s fine. I’ve actually been back for a little while but I didn’t want to wake you. You looked so peaceful sleeping and I wanted you to be completely awake for the special night I have planned.”

Completely oblivious to the actual meaning of Angelus’ words Cordelia grinned. “Well, I did have something special planned too but it got kind of late, hence the burned out candles and half empty wine bottle. Not so special now huh?”

“Well let’s see if we can do something about that.” Angelus said as he took Cordy’s hand and lead her ever so gently up the stairs.


Angel was finally free. It had taken a long time, longer than it should have, but he was free from his netted prison just as Gunn was coming back into consciousness.

“What the hell happened?” Gunn asked groggily.

“Free Wesley. Meet me at the hotel. Wes will fill you in.” Angel was out of the door as he said the last word.

Gunn, knowing that something terrible had happened by the look on Angel’s face, began to unshackle Wesley. “He’ll never make it in time,” Wesley weakly said.


Cordelia knew that Angel loved her, wanted her, needed to touch her, but she thought they would at least make it to his room. Instead, he had stopped her just outside of the door, and what had started as a sweet passionate kiss was now turning into something rougher, and for Cordy, increasingly more uncomfortable.

“Angel,” she said breathlessly. “Angel!” She tried again this time pushing him away.

“What!” Angelus said with a growl. “I’m sorry,” he offered more calmly off of Cordelia’s shocked and almost suspicious look. He certainly did not want to end the game just yet. “I just want you so much I can’t control myself. I’ll be good. I promise.” This time Angelus decided to use Angel’s famous puppy face and was pleased to see that it worked like a charm when Cordelia began to grin.

“Okay, if you promise that I can trust you ,” she teased back with a beaming smile.

“You can always trust me Cordy,” Angelus said as he opened the door, and with great pretentious formality, continued to tease Cordelia, as he offered her his arm. “Step inside my room.”

“Said the spider to the fly,” Cordy smirked.


“I don’t understand man.” Gunn shook his head, eyes focused on the road through the windshield. “Two Angels?”

“No,” Wesley coughed. “Angel and Angelus have been separated from each other. More specifically, I believe that Angelus has been purged of Angel.”

“You mean that Lilah’s wacky spell took the Angelus out of Angel?”

“Actually, I just stated the opposite. Angelus was never the temporary resident. Angel was the one forced upon him.”

“But I still don’t understand Wes. There are two of ‘em.”

“She used some sort of partition spell. It separates an entity into two weaker forms of itself. If used on a normal person, killing one of the entities while separate usually results in death for both because they are the same. With Angel the implications could be much different.”

“Different how?”

“Well, it could be argued that Angel’s body has always housed two distinct essences. That of Angel and Angelus.”


Cordelia was feeling increasingly uncomfortable by the moment. Something was definitely wrong with Angel. If the show in the hall had not convinced her of that then the fact that he had continued his extremely painful grope fest upon closing the door surely had. Granted, she had often times dreamed of Angel grabbing her in rough passionate foreplay. But this wasn’t what she considered passionate or even foreplay for that matter, it was just rough…and angry. Squirming out of Angelus’ arms, Cordy focused her mind on the talk that she had intended on having with him tonight. She needed to impress upon him how important it was for both of them to take things slowly. She needed to know that they both could handle the restrictions their relationship would place on them. First, she would find out what happened at Wesley’s tonight to put Angel in his current mood.

Cordy gently took Angelus’ hand, leading him to the bed and taking a seat. “Angel, we need to talk. I don’t know what happened tonight to bring out this caveman show of sexual aggression, but I want it to stop. I love you. And I know you love me. And if we are going to make this…..”

Angelus began to drift in his thoughts as Cordelia continued what felt like to him endless torture. Damn this woman could talk once she got started. Well, so much for the slow mind game he had intended on playing with her. Pity, it would have been fun.

“…we’ve been friends, best friends and even if….”

“Blah, blah blah blah, blah blah,” Angelus interrupted as he stood. “Can we stop with the incessant banter. God, its like fingers on a chalk board. And if I hear the word love come out of your mouth one more time, I simply may lose what little I drained out of that scrawny crackpot downstairs.”

Cordelia’s stomach turned. She swallowed hard and asked a question she already knew the answer to. “Angel?”

“What do you think?” was Angelus’ answer as he morphed into his true face.

Cordelia gradually rose from the bed. “What did you do to Fred?” came out in a desperate whisper.

Angelus, closing the distance between himself and Cordy, leaned to her ear. “You ought to be a little more worried about what I am going to do to you.” Grabbing her hips with both hands, Angelus pulled Cordelia’s lower body flush to his. “What’s wrong Cor, powers not working. Saint Cordy,” he teased loudly, “sent back from on high to smite the wicked and save the weak and downtrodden. But you can’t use them on me can you? Too afraid you’ll hurt that soul you love so much. Well, newsflash sweetie, that soul is gone for good this time.”

Cordy could feel tears stinging her eyes. Angelus was right. Her power had only seemed to come in the past when she felt physically threatened or when she was extremely frightened. She was frightened. Terrified even. But more for Angel than herself. She couldn’t begin to understand what had happened to him as she looked into Angelus’ yellow eyes, trying not to imagine what he had done to Fred.

“You know,” Angelus continued as his eyes scanned the length of Cordelia’s body. “I’ve always wondered what a Higher Being tastes like. In more ways than one,” his eyes returning to hers. Cordelia raised her knee sharply, connecting with Angelus’ groin, giving her just enough time to break free of his painful grip. As she tried to make her escape to the door, Angelus grabbed her violently by the hair, lifting her as if she weighed nothing and tossing her across the room. In an instant, Angelus was atop her, forcing her legs apart with his own and bracing her arms to the floor with one of his own.

“What happened to Angel?” Cordelia spat at him through gritted teeth.

“He took the scenic route,” came the haggard voice from the bedroom door.

“Angel?” Cordelia’s mind and heart flooded with both confusion and relief as she looked upon a worn and unsteady Angel.

Angelus jumped to his feet. “Well, if it isn’t the pathetic soul boy. What’s the matter Angel?” Angelus taunted at Angel’s apparently weakened state. “Not the man you used to be without the demon inside? You should have accepted me a long time ago boy. With me at the wheel we had power, respect. Look at you now. You can barely stand. I’m the one that gave you all of that strength you feel slipping away. You were nothing without me inside, just a sad little useless soul along for the ride.” Angelus noticed Angel’s worried glances to Cordelia as he spoke. “You think she will want you now when the majority of what she desired in you is gone. You think you were impotent in her eyes before, just wait until she figures out how incompetent you are without me.”

With more strength than he thought he had left, Angel leapt toward Angelus, sending both crashing toward the balcony doors. Cordelia watched in horror as Angelus quickly took control of the fight, mirroring every blow Angel sent toward him with an even stronger one. She had to help him, but without her power it was hopeless. She knew she had to get to the weapons cabinet downstairs. She raced from the room, praying that Angel knew how to stave.

As Angel struggled to gain the upper hand, he began to realize just how true Angelus’ words were. He couldn’t defeat him, not like this. He still had some of his strength when he tackled Angelus, and for a moment he had believed that he might be able to at least hold his own in the fight. But his strength was now fading fast and his only comforting thought was that Cordy had made it out of the room.

“You don’t have any clue what it feels like,” Angelus grunted as he sent Angel to his knees with a strong blow to the stomach, “to be trapped inside of a loser like you.” Angelus lifted Angel by the throat and held him to the edge of the balcony, pressing his back against the ledge. “I want you to know how happy this makes me, to finally be rid of you.” Angelus continued his verbal torment. “Before I separate your head from your shoulders, I want you to think about your friends. Think about what will happen to them with me here. Better yet think of Cordy. Think of all the things I’m going to do to her after your gone.” Angelus smiled at the hate radiating from Angel’s eyes. “You don’t have what it takes anymore Angel. You want to kill me but you can’t.”

Angel, now looking over Angelus’ shoulder, gave a small grin. “Your absolutely right. I can’t.”



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