Rating: R for language and sexual situations
Content: C/A, B/S. A/Dar, A/Dru and S/Dru implied
Summary: “Look, the bottom line is, Darla and Drusilla are together, and they’re planning on Angel and Spike joining them. At any cost.” Darla and Drusilla kidnap Cordelia and hold her hostage in an attempt to win back Angel[us] and Spike. …
Spoilers: None really – if anything, based around early S3.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just Fic, GT. Anyone else, just ask.
Notes: Okay, important stuff you need to know – C/A are together, as are B/S. They know about each other and everyone’s mature and ok about it all, because they’ve known prior to this story and discussed it, yada, yada, yada. ;o) Use ATS Season 3 as a base, except no Buffy dying, no Spike hate-sex, and no pregnant Darla. It’s my own little AU Universe and it may be a little confusing at first but things should get clearer as they go along. :o) Bear with me. Oh yeah, and the lyrics on the fanart are from “Torture” by The Cure.
Thanks/Dedication:To Daisy, for the beta, and Amz, for the wonderful art. I love you ladies!
He was making her head hurt.
Buffy sighed as she watched Angel pace a groove into the floor of the hotel. His body was tense and fear radiated off him in waves. It was making her head spin, and his panic was doing nothing to quell the growing dread in her own heart. Spike’s hand on her shoulder was reassuring but she still felt sick to her stomach, and her head still hurt from the blow she had taken.
The atmosphere in the lobby of the hotel was morose, and each of her friends wore an anxious expression – which also, incidentally, did nothing to calm her apprehension. Everyone was staring worriedly at the vampire in the centre of the foyer as he walked backwards and forwards, his body rigid, his face sullen.
Buffy finally stood, rubbing the back of her neck. “Angel, I’m so sor – ”
“It’s not your fault,” Angel said quietly, running a hand through his hair, “you tried to protect her.”
Buffy felt her eyes sting, and she blinked quickly, taking comfort in Spike’s presence when he took a step closer to her, pressing his palm against the small of her back. His voice was low when he spoke, his tone serious.
“We’ll find her, Peaches.”
Angel glanced at him. “She’s still alive. I know she is,” his voice was soft, as though he were reassuring himself, “She has to be.”
Buffy nodded. “She is. And we’ll find her, Angel. I promise.”
“You *promised* to take care of her too,” Gunn snapped, rising from his seat, anger and helplessness getting the better of him. “That bit the damn dust – ”
Buffy’s heart sank.
“Gunn.” Wesley warned, his voice firm, “Calm down. Fighting with each other is going to get us nowhere. The situation is grave. Cordelia is in danger and we are not going to let anything happen to her but arguing and pacing a groove into the floor – ” he shot a pointed look at Angel who immediately stopped, “is not going to return her safely to us.”
Gunn stared at him for a few seconds. Then he huffed, and glanced at Buffy, sinking back into his seat. “Sorry.”
She waved him off. “No, I’m sorry, I should’ve…” she trailed off, biting her lip. “Drusilla just came out of nowhere.”
“You couldn’t have known, luv.” Spike wrapped his arm around her shoulders and she accepted the embrace gratefully, her tired body sinking into his. He felt wonderful, like a strong and steady wall when everything around her was falling apart.
They had only just arrived.
How had it all gone so wrong?
“Hello?” Xander said, hopefully glancing around the empty lobby. “Anybody home?”
“This is what you get when you barge in uninvited.” Spike muttered, lighting a cigarette and leaning against the doorway.
Willow glared at him. “You would know…”
“Guys,” Buffy chided, dropping her bag on the ground. It had been a while since she’d been at the Hyperion. It looked nice, cosier than the last time. She raised her voice a little. “Angel? Cordy?”
Xander frowned when the office door opened, and Angel and Wesley filed out of the small room. “Now how is that any different to what I said?”
“Buffy?” Angel smiled widely, “Hey!” He quickly walked over and wrapped her in a hug. He pulled away, grabbing her shoulders, “You look great!” He moved away from her and gave Willow a quick hug. “What are you guys doing here?”
“Uh, surprise,” Buffy smiled weakly, shrugging, “I know it’s out of the blue, but we come bearing gifts and bags and – ”
“Bad news.” Spike finished gravely, staring at Angel. Angel returned the look, a little thrown by Spike’s sombre expression.
The very name caused a chill to run down Angel’s spine. He blinked. “What about her?”
“She’s back,” Spike strolled around the lobby, taking a drag from his cigarette, “and she’s behavin’ badly.” He turned around and raised an eyebrow. “Ain’t it funny that a couple of years ago, that thought would have made me all hot and bothered?”
Xander and Angel shot him repulsed looks, while Buffy simple glared.
Spike coughed. “Not any more, of course.”
Wesley crossed his arms. “Have you seen her?”
Spike nodded. “Came to see me a few days ago. Said she was coming here,” He pointed at Angel, “to bug you. And guess who she’s plannin’ to do it with?”
“Darla.” Angel said quietly, the feeling of unease growing inside him.
“Yup,” Spike sighed, “She asked me to come with her.” He glanced at Buffy, then back at Angel, “They’re back, Peaches. And they want us back with ‘em.”
“Well, why the bloody hell didn’t you stake Drusilla?” Wesley said, shooting Spike an annoyed look.
Spike narrowed his eyes. “Because I never could.”
Buffy ignored the pang of jealousy that bolted through her. Spike loved her, she knew that. But it still bothered her that there was that foreign part of him, his past, buried deep inside him, deep where she couldn’t reach it. “Look, the bottom line is, Darla and Drusilla are together, and they’re planning on Angel and Spike joining them. At any cost.”
Xander groaned. “Don’t they have anything better to do?”
“Apparently not.” Buffy replied. A thought suddenly hit her, and she spun around, staring wide-eyed at Angel. “Where’s Cordelia?”
Angel frowned, glancing at Wesley. “I don’t know. Maybe she’s with Fred and Gunn?”
Buffy gaped. “Maybe? Or maybe she’s out by herself! Soon it’ll be night time!”
Angel ignored the jolt of worry in his stomach, “Cordy can take of herself – ”
But Buffy was on a roll. “What if she’s attacked? Or…or hurt? Or kidnapped? Or – ”
“Impregnated by demon spawn?” Buffy turned at the voice, sighing with relief when she saw Cordelia smiling at her from the bottom of the stairs. “It wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Yeah, well, you know what they say,” Buffy quipped, “third time lucky?”
Cordy smirked, sauntering down the last few stairs. “What are you doing here, slayer?” she winked, “Sunnyhell not thrilling enough for you?”
“Hell no,” Buffy grinned, “I just came to see your newest monstrosity – I mean, haircut.” She laughed when Cordelia punched her arm, quickly stepping forward and embracing her. “Hi Cordy.”
“Hey,” Cordelia smiled, touching her hair lightly, “and you’re just jealous, Blondie. My hair looks fabulous.”
“As always,” Xander grinned from behind Buffy. “Do I get a hug too?” Cordelia quickly wrapped her arms around him, squeezing lightly. Xander pulled away with a pout. “Angel didn’t give me a hug.”
Cordelia laughed. Angel rolled his eyes, growling when Spike quickly said, “I didn’t get one either.”
“Angel’s a crappy host,” Cordy winked at him, hugging Spike, then Willow and linking her arm through the redhead’s. “At least I’m here now.” She brushed her brown, shoulder length hair away from her face. “So, either we all suddenly had a case of the slumber party blues or something’s up.”
Angel chuckled at her analysis, putting his arm around her shoulders and pulling her close. He kissed her forehead, breathing in the comforting scent of her hair, allowing it to calm the fear that had sparked at the mention of his sire and childe. “Long story, Cor…”
“So…let me get this right – Drusilla came to Sunnydale to get you,” Cordelia pointed at Spike, who nodded. “And you said no. So she came here for Angel, who Darla also wants?” She snorted when Spike nodded again. “Well, they can’t have him!”
Angel squeezed her hand, smiling slightly. “Relax, Cor.” He looked around the room. Willow was battling for the phone with Xander, who was presumably talking to Sunnydale. Gunn and Fred had returned from the movies and were talking to Buffy. Wesley was in his office, collecting files on Darla and Drusilla. “At least we’re all together.”
“Which reminds me,” Willow said, releasing her grip on Xander, who immediately shot Angel a thumbs up. “Should we take our bags up?”
“I’ll get ‘em,” Gunn said quickly, heading for the duffel bags. “Better than hangin’ around here and talkin’ about who bit who – ”
“But you’re so tiny!” Fred exclaimed, examining Buffy’s wrist with clinical interest. “It’s amazing!” Buffy shot Cordy a fearful look. Cordelia could only smile. She stood, almost taking Angel with her, his hand still firmly gripping hers.
“Where are you going?”
“To the bathroom,” Cordelia raised an eyebrow. “Would you like to join me?”
Angel grinned, waggling his eyebrows, “You offering?”
“Perv,” she smacked the back of his head, walking off. Buffy watched her go, glancing at Angel.
“Maybe you should get Cordelia and everyone to stay here? At the hotel?” She said, shrugging, “just in case. It’s safer if we’re all together.”
Angel nodded, “Good idea.” He stood quickly, wincing when his knees clicked.
Opposite him, Spike sniggered. “Old man.”
“Bite me.” Angel walked around the counter and towards the bathroom door, waiting silently outside. When Cordelia emerged a few seconds later, he pounced. She squealed, and Angel clasped a hand over her mouth, pulling her back into the bathroom. He closed the door quickly and set her down, cupping her face.
“What are you doing?” She laughed breathlessly, palming his waist and pulling him close.
Angel raised an eyebrow. “What are *you* doing?”
“You’re a bad influence.” She grinned, kissing him hard. He slid his hands into her hair and allowed her to devour his mouth, smiling when she pushed him against the wall. She pulled away to breathe and he smirked at her, keeping her hips close.
“I was thinking – ”
“Oh no,” she peppered his face with kisses, nipping his neck, licking his jaw, “it’s trying to think!”
Angel stared at her for a second. Then he palmed her butt and hauled her up, wrapping her legs around his waist. She squealed and let out a shriek of laughter when he began to tickle her ribs, collapsing against him.
Outside, Willow shot Buffy a strange look when a squeal sounded from across the lobby. “What are they doing in there?”
Spike smirked. Xander grimaced.
“Okay, okay, stop!” Cordelia yelped, grabbing one of Angel’s hands. Angel stopped, settling his hands on her hips. He sat down on the loo seat so that she was straddling him, smiling when she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Are you going to let me talk?”
Cordy rolled her eyes. “Yes.”
“Good,” he kissed her mouth, “I was thinking – ”
“Maybe you should come and stay here for a little while,” Angel said, running his finger down the bare curve of her shoulder. “Just…until this whole thing blows over.”
Cordy frowned. “Are you worried?”
“No,” Angel lied, kissing her fingers, “but I want you near me. Just in case.”
Warm butterflies fluttered in her tummy. “You’re just trying to get a hottie into your bed, aren’t you?”
Angel grinned. “Yeah, that too.”
Cordelia laughed, twirling the hair at the nape of his neck between her fingers. “Alright.”
“Alright?” Angel’s eyes widened. “Alright?” He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer. “Who are you and what have you done with my girlfriend?”
Cordy smiled, kissing his temple and trailing her tongue down over the shell of his ear. He shivered. “You’re not the only one who likes the idea of a hottie in your bed…”
It was a whole ten minutes after Angel first got up that he emerged from the opposite end of the lobby with Cordy. Willow found she could not stop staring at them. Cordelia had a deep, beautiful blush across her cheeks and Angel – well, he was positively glowing. Willow remembered that it had shocked her at how quickly Buffy was able to accept their relationship. But evidently, Cordelia was great for him. She could see that now.
“I’m taking Cordy to pick up her clothes,” Angel grabbed his car keys, glancing at the group still sprawled on the couches. “Will you be alright?”
“Uh…do you not wonder why I’m smelling like a bloody sewer?” Spike raised an eyebrow, gesturing at himself.
“What?” Angel looked confused. “Do you want a shower?”
Spike only rolled his eyes and pointed towards the glass doors. “It’s daytime, Peaches. As in sunshine. As in crispy fried vampire.”
Angel frowned and Cordy laughed, squeezing his hand. “I’ll be fine, Angel, it’s broad daylight.”
“Yeah but,” Angel shook his head, “I don’t really want you going alone – ”
“I’ll go with her.” Buffy stood up, brushing the imaginary dust off her trousers. “We need to catch up,” she winked at Cordy, “Plus, I wanna know where you got those boots.”
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Ya know, I really hate this whole being babysat thing.”
Angel pulled her into his embrace and kissed her forehead, sighing when she stiffened up. Buffy quickly turned her head away, feeling slightly uncomfortable.
“Cordy,” Angel tried, “look, I just want to make sure you’re safe.”
“I can take care of myself, Angel,” Cordy snapped. “Or do you have no faith in me?”
“Of course I do, but – ” Angel palmed her cheeks, resting his forehead against hers, “I just – this is Darla and Drusilla, okay? I’m not willing to risk it.”
Cordelia sighed, closing her eyes when he rubbed his nose against hers in an Eskimo kiss. She hated the way he was so difficult to stay mad at. “Fine.”
He kissed her mouth softly, waiting until she opened her eyes. “I love you.”
“Good, because otherwise you’re sleeping on the couch.” She sighed and pulled away, ignoring Angel’s pained look and turning towards Buffy, who smiled at her almost apologetically. “Let’s go.”
“Are you mad?” Buffy asked softly, glancing over at her silent companion. Cordelia hadn’t said a word since they’d left the hotel, and they’d been walking for over five minutes.
“Do you want me to be honest?”
Buffy almost smiled, “Aren’t you always?”
Cordy glanced at her, then stopped abruptly, sighing, “I hate the way he doesn’t trust me to handle myself.”
Buffy crossed her arms, “Cordy – ”
“I get that he worries,” Cordelia shrugged, “I mean, it’s kinda adorable and wonderful to have someone care about you that way but – ” she ran a hand through her hair, “I just feel as though he doesn’t believe in me, ya know? Like he thinks that someone can blow on me and I’ll fall over.”
Buffy grinned. “I really doubt that.”
“But then why does he insist on everything I do being monitored?” Cordy threw her arms up, “Angel and I have been training for the last…EVER. And I’ve gotten really good.”
Buffy shrugged, “Cordelia, he just worries about you. Angel’s always been like that. When he loves someone or something that much, it’s his first instinct to protect.”
Cordy frowned at her, then kicked a stone with her foot. “I know that, I just – I wish he would give me a chance to prove that I can defend myself.”
“Cordy,” Buffy said, her voice soft, understanding. “I’ve seen the way he looks at you. It doesn’t have anything to do with him believing in you because, my GOD, he does.” She punched Cordelia’s arm lightly. “And he knows you can take care of yourself, I’ve heard him say so. He just…loves you. And he doesn’t ever want to lose you. And yes, I get that sometimes he can be overbearing and overprotective but he only does it because he cares. He cares so much.”
Cordy let out a breath, the tiniest of smiles fluttering onto her face. “Dammit Buff. Why do you have to be so damn rational when I’m trying to be irrational?”
Buffy laughed, rolling her eyes, “Hey, I am a counsellor, aren’t I?” She paused when Cordelia turned right into an alleyway. “What are you doing?”
“How’s that counsellor thing going, by the way?” Cordy avoided the question. She stopped and turned around, rolling her eyes when she saw Buffy wasn’t following her. “It’s a shortcut.”
Buffy crossed her arms. “It’s a dark alleyway. I vote we stick to open street and sunlight.”
Cordy smirked. “You scared?”
“Pfft!” Buffy snorted. “Whatever.”
“Then come on,” Cordy winked at her, walking further into the alley. “What can go wrong? Angel sent a slayer with me after all,” she smile was wicked, cocky. “I’m like, invincible.”
Something wasn’t right. Buffy ignored the strange feeling in her stomach and shook her head. “Let’s just go this way.”
Cordelia smiled mischievously. Then she took a step backwards. Then another. Buffy’s eyes widened a little, growing slightly alarmed as her unease increased.
“Cordy, don’t play arou – ” Buffy felt a sharp, strange pain slice through her arm, and then her skull, as her head was slammed into the wall. Hard. Again and again and again, she couldn’t stop it, her muscles felt limp – the world spun and she spat out blood, the panic in her growing as the sound of Cordelia kicking and screaming rung in her ears.
A somewhat familiar maniacal cackle sounded close to her. She caught a glimpse of blonde hair through blurred, watery eyes, before her head collided with the wall again.
Then everything went black.