“Has to be.”
“No doubt about it.”
“After effects of that demon we encountered earlier?”
“An alternate universe?”
“It can’t be real.”
“That would be silly.”
“Uh… Yeah…” His last sentence faltered. The banter that had been exchanged between Buffy and Xander had attempted at being lightweight, but was now bordering on pants-wettingly scary. Cordelia… Cordelia was getting in there and fighting.
“Won’t she break a nail?”
“What if a hair gets out of place?”
“Are we in the right place?”
“HEY!” Cordelia’s attention was diverted from her ‘demon’ to where Xander stood, tossing insults back and forth with Buffy who was kicking a demon… About HER!
“I am still in the room, y’know…” The sentence was cut off as the demon shunted into her side, effectively knocking her to the floor like a rag doll.
“That’s more like it,” Said Xander, “For a minute there, I thought she could actually fight.”
Angel had listened to this with passing annoyance and with a growl, he spun on Xander and Buffy, still clutching his demon by the throat, “You don’t know her any more, don’t pretend like you do.”
Xander was effectively pissed. For one, they’d walked in on what was possibly the most disgusting thing ever, Angel proceeding to go down on Cordelia. For two, this didn’t seem to be the effect of some spell, oh no, in fact, this actually looked to be quite normal.
And for three, Angel thought he knew her after three years? Uh, hello! He’d known her for almost 15 and she’d never changed in that full time. Frowning, Xander looked over at Buffy who was taking out her current frustrations on the demon,
“Uh, Buffy, I think you can kill it…”
“Want… To… But… Can’t… Stop… Kicking…” Growled the Slayer.
“They’re Mat’nak Demons.” Called Anya, “The only way you kill it is by snapping its tail…”
“They have tails?” Said Buffy, “Where?”
Anya pointed… To where Buffy promptly blushed. “Ohhh, I thought it was uhm… I thought they… Uhm… I thought they were just all guy demons,” She said, frowning slightly.
“Easy mistake to make.” Said Anya, brightly, “But oh, if those were what you thought they were?” A dreamy look passed across her face from where she held the baby to which Xander yelled, “Hey, are you saying you want to have all the sex with a demon?” He spat.
“Newsflash, Xander! I *was* a demon and… Hey! What’s wrong with sleeping with demons? You do it every night!”
“Ex-demon, An, ex… And besides, it’s not every night!”
“Okay, so it’s some mornings… But what’s wrong with sleeping with a demon?”
“Well for a start, eww. An, you’re human now…”
A flying book hit Xander across the back of the head. In actual fact, it wasn’t flying as much as simply flung from the position held by the Seer and currently very-demonized Cordelia,
“There’s nothing wrong with demons…” She said, her eyes flaring angrily. She turned back to the one she’d been fighting and frowned, “Maybe there’s something wrong with these kind but some demons are… I’m not touching that!”
Angel, having snapped his demons “tail”, knocking it to the floor to where it dissolved went over to aid Cordelia in the killing of her own demon, smiling at her shriek. Demon or not there were some things his Seer just wouldn’t do, this being one of them.
Two other snaps were heard and the demons that had been fighting the inhabitants of the hotel fell to the floor, Buffy and Angel both effectively killing the demon they’d fought. “Is that it?” Asked Cordelia, a little breathlessly. Her gaze drifted to Angel, a gash on his arm from one of the demons claws,
“You’re hurt.” She said softly.
“So are you.” He’d smelled the blood before he’d seen it, a cut to the forehead where she’d been thrown across the room was allowing dark red liquid to slip down her cheek. Angel watched as she went for the first aid box, his gaze drifting to Buffy who stood there, her gaze dark.
Her reason? Those demons were probably the easiest things in the world to kill – either Angel was slipping, or he liked the ‘fixer-upper’ part of the end of fighting a little too much.
Her gaze remained on the pair as Angel took a little gauze from the first aid box, gently dabbing it at Cordelia’s cheek, mopping up the blood with tender fingers and pressing the material gently to her temple, where the blood was coming from. “You’ll be okay.” He whispered softly.
To everyone else but Xander and Buffy, the scene was sweet… Tender… Loving. As Cordelia bandaged Angel’s arm, the foursome of women (and of course Connor) would have to admit that this was sweet.
To Buffy and Xander, however, it was ridiculous. “Oh, God! Can we stop? I mean, really!” Said Buffy, “This is more disturbing than even I care to admit!”
Backing that up with a nod, Xander watched as a pair of dark eyes swivelled onto his and suddenly, he felt all kinds of guilty. Those eyes, he’d seen before – a couple of days before a certain betrayal he’d be reluctant to mention.
Those eyes, were something he’d found himself wishing he could see again, after he and Willow had kissed and Cordelia had found out about it. Those eyes, were in love. If the eyes then, were the window to the soul, hers were certainly singing. She was happy. With him. But then…
“Why did you get so worked up about me saying demons were disgusting?”
“I am one.”
The words were simple – their meaning having an effect on both Xander, Buffy and the rest of the gang that would last a lifetime.
“Did I… Hear you right?” Asked Willow, softly, “You’re a demon?”
“Yep, on weekends mostly…” She teased with a grin, “I sprout these antlers that drip with… Guys, I’m joking. Well, about the antlers and weekend parts.”
“How did this happen?” Asked Xander, “If I remember, you were still normal when you left Sunnydale…”
Cordelia frowned, he just couldn’t help putting his foot in it, could he? “I was normal… I got sucky-vision brain from the Powers That Be – or Doyle to be precise and the visions were killing me. The short version is that I chose to become half-demon to stay with Angel.”
“Visions?” Said Willow, softly, “You’re a Seer?”
“You know what one is?”
“Well, yeah.” Said the red-headed witch, “Giles’ books had some stuff in about them… I can’t believe I know one though! By name! And to talk to!”
Laughing, good-naturedly, Cordelia smiled at Willow, “Yeah, well, if I can’t be famous for the acting…”
“And how’s that going?” Put in Buffy, bitchily, “Can’t say I’ve seen you in much…”
Cordelia bristled, “Could you stop being a bitch for like five minutes?”
“And again, I say let’s consider the source of that comment. What’s wrong? Can’t hack the competition?”
“No,” Said Cordelia, “I’m not putting up a fight. You want the Bitch of the Year title? Take it, go back to Sunnydale and mount it on your wall if that’s what makes you happy. Just don’t come down here and think you can stand, pulling the people who are supposed to mean something to you apart.”
“I thought you weren’t putting up a fight,” Said Buffy, coldly.
“Oh, you listened?” Bit Cordelia, “I said I wasn’t putting up a fight, didn’t mean I wasn’t going to play…”
The two glared at each other for a second until a whistle came down the stairs, followed by a green anagogic demon. “I see we have visitors,” He said, coming further into the lobby before stopping at Buffy,
“Woah, honey – you’re dealing with some serious rage there, aren’t ya?” Sidling over to Angel, he whispered in his ear, “I’m getting the Ex vibe… And also the slayer thing. That’s your ex honey, right?”
Nodding, Angel’s gaze fell on Buffy’s, “We need to talk.”
She’d known it was coming, known what and exactly who it would be about, but Buffy realised with a great degree of sadness that she didn’t *want* to talk. She didn’t want to listen to what he had to say. Sad though it was, Buffy – knowing they couldn’t be together, didn’t want the knowledge that never again would there be another… Maybe.
Sighing, she shrugged, “Whatever.” Walking through into the courtyard with Angel to a – “Hey, didn’t anyone notice there’s a green demon standing here?”
“Don’t you get that this is weird?” Asked Buffy, “Look at this from my point of view. I come here to help you with this demon and I find you… I find you with your… Your…”
“No! You don’t know, Angel! You don’t know how damned embarrassing that was! God, you couldn’t have been doing that somewhere else? In fact, not even doing it at all? Way better!”
Watching her pace the length of the courtyard, Angel sighed. “Buffy, there’s something I have to…”
“Are you in love with her?”
“A while now, I think.” He said softly, “I didn’t realise it until…”
“I have enemies,” Said Angel, “A LOT of enemies. I didn’t realise I was in love with her until I almost lost her. She’s… She’s everything to me, Buffy, if she died…”
Buffy winced, “Sooo not needing to hear this.”
“That’s just it,” Said Angel, “You do need to hear this.”
“I don’t!” Said Buffy, “I don’t need to deal with this, Angel. It wasn’t just the jealousy thing, it wasn’t the hurting thing either. It was the whole Angelus thing! You know what happens if you… Wait a minute,”
She paused, “Either she’s not perfect happiness, which, judging by what you just said I’m thinking she is or… Is something else going on? You’re not Angelus. You’re not, I’d know. You’re not Angelus… Right?”
“No, I’m not Angelus,” Said Angel quietly, “And I… Perfect happiness would come into it…”
“You have But-Face…”
“You look like you’re about to say… But…” She explained quietly.
“Oh… There is… A but, I mean.” Angel faltered, looking her in the eye, “There’s a spell. I found out about it a couple of days ago, it’s not easy, it means joining my soul with hers and…”
“And what?” Asked Buffy, coldly, “It means you get to have sex with the woman you love, great.”
Angel frowned and shook his head, “You know, of all the people I thought might be happy about this, I thought it would be you.”
“Sure! You’re in love with a person I can’t stand to be in the same room with!” Yelled Buffy, “Just tell me how peachy that ISN’T.”
“Now you’re being ridiculous,” Said Angel, glaring at her, “You never hated Cordy, granted you didn’t get on but you didn’t hate her.”
“And now you’re telling me how I feel about people, God, could you contemplate getting over yourself for at least one minute?”
“Do you think YOU could?” The force of his words were like a stinging slap to Buffy, who promptly reeled back from him, her eyes wide, incredulous.
“You’ve been acting like a spoilt brat since you got here, huffing about me being with Cordelia and generally getting digs in on her whenever you feel like it, well this stops, Buffy, it stops right now. GROW UP!”
Her eyes darkened, her face drawn and pinched with anger, “Grow up?” She said quietly, “GROW UP?”
Not giving her time to get the rest of whatever she was going to say out, Angel nodded, “You heard me. Grow up. I love Cordelia, Buffy. I’m sorry that you can’t handle that but it’s true. I love her. I’m not doing this thing so that I can have sex with Cordelia, I’m doing it because it gets rid of the threat of Angelus once and for all. My soul is anchored by hers, it means she gets to handle her demon transition phase a little easier by… Handing some of it to me, sort of.”
Breathing out a sigh, Buffy looked down at the floor, “If things had’ve been different…”
“They aren’t.” He said quietly. His voice wasn’t harsh, but Angel didn’t want to say anything that would hurt her more.
Buffy ran a hand through her hair and shook her head, “You get that… This is a lot for me to deal with, right?”
“I know,” Said Angel, nodding. “That doesn’t give you the right to pull her apart at every opportunity though…”
“No buts, Buffy. Some of the things you and Xander have been tossing back and forth were downright nasty. I know Cordelia can hold her own but she’s a different person to the one you knew…”
“I’m starting to get that.” Said Buffy, quietly.
For a while, they just stood there, until Buffy found her voice again, “Are you… Happy?”
“What about you?” He asked softly, meeting her eyes.
Buffy sighed, “I don’t know… I just… This is too weird to even consider, I mean…”
“I didn’t expect you to be automatically okay with this… I just wanted you to know.”
“And now I do.”
“Yeah, now you do.”
Again, the silence grew until Buffy looked up again, “Uhm, if we get time can you… Explain Connor? I’m having momentous weirdness with that concept too.”
Nodding, Angel stood, gesturing to the hotel, “I just wanna check on him…”
This, even though she didn’t actually *want* to, made Buffy smile. “Over-protective Daddy, huh?” She asked.
“Like you wouldn’t believe.” As they entered the hotel, Angel glanced towards the other door, hearing something on the other side. “Buffy?” She’d heard it too, put on instant alert, the Slayer stepped forward, “What is it?”
As it turned out, it was a mountain of books. Well, attached to that would be Wesley – but they didn’t know that! “New demon?” Asked Xander, dryly – until the mountain of books toppled to the floor, “No, that would be me.” Said Wesley, frowning as his books scattered, “Oh, bloody hell…”
“What’s this?” Asked Angel, puzzled.
“More books on demons… Connor… Among other things.” Said Wesley, beginning to pick up some of the books, “We know he’s here, we just need to know why…”
“Because he’s my son, it was prophesied.” Said Angel, firmly, “Y’don’t get a bigger reason than that.”
“Angel, Connor was born to two vampires, that never happens…”
“Uh, hello? I’m thinking a child born to one vampire never happens…” Said Buffy, “We just bumped the Connor conversation up to first priority and then I say… HUH?”
Angel sighed, “It’s a long story…”
“We have all night…” Said Xander, folding his arms across his chest in a many display of… Manliness.
“Which is just what I was worried about.” Said Angel, sighing as he began…