Part 14: Epilogue
“Angel! Get your undead ass up here right now!”
Angel and Spike raced up from the basement, sword in hand. “What’s wrong?”
Cordy ignored Wesley, Gunn and Fred’s entrance. She was focused on Angel. “I just had a very interesting conversation with Buffy.”
His expression darkened. “Did she apologize?”
She continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “I invited them here for a celebration and imagine my surprise when she told me she couldn’t come. Apparently she’s not welcome here.”
Angel crossed his arms. “And?”
“I told her she must be misinformed because Angel would know better than to make an asinine statement like that.”
“Did she apologize?”
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business. Our disagreement was between us.”
“How can you say that? She called you Angelus’s whore!”
There was a collective gasp. “I’m aware of that. Your point?”
Angel raised his hands in confusion. “Anyone who talks to you like that isn’t welcome in my home.”
“Our home and if that’s the way you feel then you better go pack a bag.”
“In case you forgot, let me refresh your memory. You called me a whore too.”
Angel stepped back as the men in the room advanced on him. “That was different. I was evil and I said I HAD thought it when I first knew you back in Sunnydale. I admitted I was wrong and you BIT me for saying it.”
“You deserved it.” She took a calming breath.
“Angel, I realize you were just trying to defend me and I…appreciate the sentiment. Are you aware that Buffy only knew that your soul was gone, Angelus was chained up and the curses didn’t work? She didn’t know that you rescued me from the evil law firm. She didn’t know that you ordered my favorite comfort food to make me happy.
She didn’t know you got yourself free from the chains so you could rescue me…from vampires. She wasn’t here to see the way you loved me nor did she see the way you weren’t taunting anyone. Well except for Spike. Given her past experiences with Angelus, how can you blame her for being scared?”
Angel refused to be moved. “She had no right to take it out on you.”
“She would have lashed out at whoever called.”
“She needed to think of you as two different people.” Cordy pointed around the room. “And she’s not the only one. I did the same thing for a long time. It took time for me to get past that need.”
“Here’s her chance.”
“I had your friendship to make it possible. She has your anger and your judgments.”
“Cor, you had been through so much and Buffy chose to twist the knife.”
“Yeah ’cause I was support-o-gal back in Sunnyhell.”
“I was killing people in Sunnydale. I was hunting, taunting and tormenting everyone close to her. This time was different.”
“Which part of she didn’t know that did you not understand?”
“Did she apologize?”
“After I told her the whole story, she apologized. I also told her you would be calling to apologize for acting like a complete ass.”
“You and your vampire hearing heard me.”
“Cordelia, you can’t..”
“I really can.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Fine. I’ll be sleeping in my apartment while you do.”
“No way! You’re not going anywhere.” Everyone stepped away from the angry couple.
She arched a brow. “Did you just tell me what to do?”
“Yes. You seem to think it’s okay to order me around.”
“I’m done talking to you now.” She turned to leave but he grabbed her arm.
“Why are you so mad at me?”
“You promised me you wouldn’t try to fix my problems without at least talking to me first. You broke your promise.”
“Technically my promise doesn’t apply. You kept it a secret from me. I had to hear about it from Spike.”
“How could you treat someone you once loved like that? You didn’t even have the balls to tell her yourself. You had Spike do it. How do I know that it won’t be me you turn against someday?”
Angel cradled her face with his hands. “You are my forever.”
She reluctantly smiled. “Sweet talker” She reached up and covered his hands.
“Buffy didn’t know how different you were. This is one instance where seeing is believing. Actually it was pretty hard for those who did see it to believe. She lashed out because she was afraid and because believing Angelus is capable of loving someone would be heartbreaking for her. If you had done the same things to me,
I wouldn’t want to believe you capable of love either. So I’m willing to cut her some slack. I HAD Angelus’s love and I HAVE yours. Knowing Angelus loves me enough to willingly accept his soul is more punishment than she deserves. She doesn’t need YOU ‘twisting the knife’.”
“I’ll call her.”
“Good. I didn’t really want to sleep in my apartment.”
Angel kissed her cheek. “I would’ve followed you. I still have an open invitation.”
“Oh..umm..actually you don’t. I had Fred and Gunn revoke that.”
“I wanted Fred to have somewhere safe to work from.”
He walked over to Spike and yanked his sword from his hand. “I’m gonna go put the swords away.” He stomped his way to the basement.
“Did Buffy ask about me?”
“Yes. She wanted to know when you planned to return to Sunnyhell.”
“What did you tell her?”
“Too soon for me but not soon enough for her. She asked me to remind you that you promised to take Dawn to some concert.”
“Bugger! I completely forgot.”
“Does this mean you’re leaving?”
“‘Fraid so, Pet. I’ll have to leave tonight.”
“I’m going to miss you.”
“You should come for a visit.”
“Umm..I won’t miss you that much.”
“Fair enough. I’ll come back soon if you promise me my next visit will be less eventful.”
“You live on a hellmouth.”
“The hellmouth will seem right peaceful compared to this asylum.”
“That’s a bit much. We haven’t had a crisis in like..you have got to be kidding me! What the fuck? Are we the center of some cosmic joke?”
“What no hugs? No welcome back to L.A.?”
“Lindsey, you should leave. Angel will be..” Her mouth slammed shut as a dark blur flew by her and pinned Lindsey to the wall. “back any second.”
“I warned you not to come back. Don’t tell me. Let me guess. You went back to work for Wolfram and Hart.”
Lindsey struggled to get his words out. Angel’s grip on his throat was cutting off his air supply. “They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
“Now I get to kill you.”
“Aren’t you guys going to stop him?” Gunn and Wesley shook their heads. Spike leaned against the wall and took out a cigarette. Fred crossed her arms and tried to look tough. “So it’s true. You kill humans now.”
“No. You’re a lawyer, not a human. So you can go and tell all your little lawyer friends, they aren’t safe from me. I don’t consider anyone employed by Wolfram and Hart to be human. It’s a whole new game.”
“Angel, let him go.” Cordelia tapped her foot. “NOW!” The rumpled lawyer dropped to the floor.
“Dammit Lindsey! You got out. Why would you choose to be satan’s toady again?”
“There is no out. Once you’re in, you’re in.”
“We can help you. It’s what we do.” Everyone including Lindsey looked at her like she’d lost her mind.
“Cor, are you crazy?”
“Maybe if I’d given Lilah a chance, things could’ve been different. In hind sight, it’s obvious she really cared for Wesley. How do we know she wouldn’t..”
“Cordelia, don’t do this to yourself.” Wesley placed a hand on her cheek. “Even if she’d been very much in love with me, nothing you said or did would justify her actions. Second guessing your choices doesn’t do anyone any good. Believe me. I know of what I speak.”
She smiled at him. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“You’d be fine. You are a survivor, Cordelia Chase.”
“Maybe but life is better with my big brother in my life.”
He blushed. “That’s a bit pervvy considering our history.”
“I don’t know. That first kiss sure felt like kissing my brother.”
“Don’t remind me.”
“This is sweet but I came here for a reason.” Lindsey straightened his suit.
“My offer stands. We’ll help you get out and stay out.”
“Thanks but I’ll stay where I am. They’ve put me in charge.”
Angel laughed. “With your track record?”
“Yes. They realized Lilah had gone way too far. Her attempts on Miss Chase were excessive.”
“We also recognize our mistake in unleashing Angelus. The prophesy that concerns us never said we needed a soulless vampire. As I pointed out and you so thoroughly demonstrated moments ago, you are capable of evil with a soul. Plus you tend to be more..controlable.”
“You came here to tell me that?”
“Actually I came here to inform you of my return and to congratulate you on winning your soul.”
“Thanks. I’m touched. Don’t forget to deliver my message. I won’t let you harm any member of my family.”
“I’ll pass it along. And Miss Chase?”
“Lilah’s family would have been killed the second she attempted to leave the firm. There’s no offer you could have made her that she would have accepted. Don’t fret over her. She knew she was selling her soul when she joined. She saw the firm in action before she signed on the dotted line.”
He winked at her on his way out the door. “He always was my favorite evil lawyer.”
“He’s got those beautiful blue eyes and the way he sings..” She looked off into the distance.
“He is very handsome.” Fred ducked her head at Angel’s growl. “I mean for someone completely evil.”
Cordelia walked over to the red couch and plopped down, chewing on her nails.
Angel watched her. “Are you okay?”
She sighed. “I have some stuff on my mind.”
“That’s an understatement.”
She glanced at the hovering faces of her loved ones. “I mean..what is a Lemadro demon anyway?”
Cordelia pointed at Spike. “You were all ready to take one for the team like Lorne until Wes said it was a Lemadro demon. What’s up with that?”
Spike wondered if she’d finally snapped. “That’s what’s on your mind?”
“Yeah. We already settled the whole Angel was overreacting about the Buffy thing. He has his soul and it’s clause free. We solved the blood issue. Sure I have a wedding to plan but there’s no rush. I want to enjoy being engaged for awhile.”
“Cordelia, in case you didn’t notice, Lindsey was just here! Wolfram and Hart is still a threat.”
“Weren’t you the one who told me that Wolfram and Hart has been around for like ever in one form or another? We are NOT going to start hunting lawyers. There will be NO preemptive strikes against them and for the record, the evil lawyers ARE human.”
“No buts. Their actions have at times been inhuman but they are human.” She noticed how tense Angel was. “Look, I’m not telling any of you that you can’t defend yourselves. I don’t intend to allow myself to be victimized by them but we ARE the good guys. We can’t forget that. If we desensitize ourselves to killing humans, even lawyers, we become the monsters we’re meant to stop.” Angel reluctantly nodded.
“So is anyone going to give me the 411 on the demon in question or are you going to force me to go through the musty old books?”
“Lemadro demons are fairly harmless despite their hands off appearance. They are vegetarians by nature.” Wesley cleared his throat. “They are both male and female. Their reproduction is done asexually.”
“They are..capable of having relations for..pleasure. They just need to be very…careful.”
“What the watcher is trying to say is this particular demon is covered in thorns.”
“They’re kinda like a rose without the pretty. They’re the demon world’s porcupine.”
“So not exactly snugable and very ouch worthy?”
“Exactly. I’d take a slime demon over a Lemadro any day.”
“How could Lorne…never mind. I already have a rather disturbing mental image.” She looked over at Angel. “You might want to be extra nice to Lorne. Maybe you should go put on your leather pants. They seem to give him a happy, not that I can blame him. You really should wear them more often.”
“Anything for you.”
Angel sat next to Cordelia and pulled her onto his lap. “Anything else on your mind?”
“Nope. I’m good. You?”
“I’m good.” His thumb stated tracing her tattoo. “So is it time for bed yet?”
“Damn Dawg! The sun hasn’t even set yet.”
“I’m a vampire. I’m supposed to be in bed while the sun’s shining.”
“Are you feeling sleepy, Peaches?”
“Shut up Spike”
“Have you forgotten about our plans?”
“I told you this morning. I made a reservation at Le Petit Renard for tonight. You still owe me dinner.”
He nuzzled her neck. “We can take our usual shortcut.”
Fred smiled at their romantic display. “I knew things would work out.” Her arm snaked around Gunn’s waist.
“It’s been a bumpy road for them.”
“You can say that again, English.”
Cordelia glanced around the room. “We’re not dead so I guess that means we’re stronger.” Spike and Angel coughed. “OK. Nobody’s dead that wasn’t already dead to begin with.”
“I’m gonna go pack while you all do the group hug. The musical from hell was bad enough.” Spike climbed the stairs. When he reached the top, he turned back to watch his family.
He’d never been accepted like he was here. Dawn was the only one in Sunnydale that truly cared for him. Buffy was still struggling.
He watched Angel and Cordelia. He wished he could have that kind of love and acceptance with Buffy. As much as he enjoyed being with his Los Angeles family, he missed Sunnydale. It was time to go home and try to have a family there. He hoped Fred was right and everything would work out.
Stranger things have happened.
“Just how many kisses did you share with Wes?”
“You said your first kiss was like kissing your brother. That would suggest there were more.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re being silly. I called him my big brother. Why are you being jealous guy?”
“Sorry. I can’t stand thinking of any man touching you.”
“You’re the only one who touches me now.”
“Does this mean you’re not inviting Giles or Xander for a visit?”
“You’re such a dork.”
Cordelia handed him a piece of paper and rested her head on his shoulder.
“I miss Dennis.”