Rating: PG-13. Definite fighting and blood involved. Use discretion.
Summary: The return of a Champion, and the promise of a new beginning.
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns Angel and it’s characters.
Notes: Sequel to Desperation
Feedback: I like it a lot.
Cordelia was using every offensive and defensive maneuver she ever learned or seen on television to battle Dawson. But still, the half-breed was driving the Seer back into the living room. A feint to the left and a shot to the face with the handle of the sword sent Cordelia crashing into the doorframe.
In the living room, Cordelia could hear Lisa still performing the ritual. Blood flowing freely from her broken nose, Cordelia crawled to her sword. She wouldn’t let him win.
Dawson, however, had stopped paying attention to the Seer. His attention was focused on the Wicca performing the ritual. “Goddess!” Lisa cried. “Release the Champion! Release him!” she pleaded.
Dawson had seen enough of the display. Raising his sword above her, he plunged the sword into her right shoulder. The Wicca was instantly released from her trance state, her cry of pain audible to all those outside.
The connection broken, the built up energy backfired and sent Fred flying backwards. The small brunette slammed into a glass cabinet and instantly fell unconscious. Blood gushing from her shoulder wound, the Wicca slumped to her side, narrowly missing falling into the flames.
“Well girl,” Dawson taunted. “If you learned any tricks from ‘I Dream of Jeanie’, this might be the time to use one.” He then raised the sword for the fatal blow.
Hearing the screams from inside cause everyone on the battlefield outside to stop a moment. Wes and Gunn used the chance to race toward the house. The vampire numbers had grown to nearly a dozen, and neither man could fight much longer.
Gunn jabbed a stake into a vamps chest, and Wes decapitated another trying to block the door. Throwing open the door, the men jumped inside the house, both sighing in relief at the mystical barrier keeping the vampires from entering.
Another completely different scream from the living room sent the two racing to join the fray.
“What?” Dawson taunted once more. “No magic potion to save your ass?” The half-breed chuckled. “I’m almost disappointed.” Just as he was about to swing, Lisa saw a blade rip through the center of her attackers chest.
Cordelia jerked the blade out of Dawson’s stomach with a triumphant grin as she listen to his scream. “I was always taught to never turn your back on your enemy. You just broke a Cardinal rule. And now you’re dead for it.” Cordelia brought the sword up once more and neatly cut the half-breed’s head from his body.
Just then, Wes and Gunn entered the room and observed the carnage. Cordelia, who only moments ago reveled in her victory, finally realized what happened. Fred lay crumpled in the debris of the cabinet. Lisa lay bleeding on the floor from a sword wound. And her Champion was nowhere to be seen.
“No!” Cordelia cried as she sank to her knees. “No, Goddammit! This is not happening! Give him back to me!” she called out to the Powers. Cordelia sobbed angrily as Wes went to tend to Lisa and Gunn went to Fred. But after a moment she stopped crying. Looking up with a confused expression she asked, “Does anybody else feel that?”
The room went deafly silent. Suddenly a light breeze started up. Quickly the wind started to strengthen and electric current began to crackle in the room. The florescent lights exploded overhead, as did the television and lamps in the corner. Thunder could be heard resounding angrily outside.
Then, almost as soon as it began, silence reigned again. The only sound was the crackling of the fire Lisa used to sprinkle the herbs over. Suddenly a blast of light exploded in the air, and a naked figure was dropped screaming from the ceiling.
Naked and cold, the figure instinctively crawled to the fire. Cordelia ignored the blood still coming from her nose and slowly approached the figure. Wiping the long dark hair from the figure’s face, Cordelia gasped in surprise as she saw who it was.
“Angel!” Cordelia cried happily as she grabbed onto his form for dear life. “Jesus Christ, you’re home!” As much as she would like to lose herself in the moment, Cordelia tore herself away from the vampire. People needed medical attention.
“Wes, Gunn, gather Fred and Lisa up, we need to get them to a hospital.”
“Cordelia, we can’t,” Wes explained. “There are vampires all around the house.”
Cordelia swore silently. “Then do whatever you can for Lisa to stop the blood. Gunn, take care of Fred. As soon as the sunrises we get them some medical attention.” She turned her attention to the figure huddled next to the fire. Brown eyes followed her movement as she went to a nearby closet and pulled some blankets from a shelf.
The smile she gave him was about the warmest he had ever seen. He shifted slightly so she could wrap the blankets around him. He watched once again as she went to a cooler and retrieved a few packets of blood. Blood was on her face too. His Cordelia was hurt. He tore his eyes away from the brunette to look at his surroundings.
He didn’t know this place, nor did he know the woman propped against a couch, blood soaking her shirt. He saw Fred, but she wasn’t moving. For a moment he feared her dead, but then his vampire senses detected the heartbeat. It was weak but steady.
“Eat this,” his Seer commanded. He let her squeeze the contents of the bag into his mouth. Human. O Positive. The first bag was quickly followed by a second. The hunger had abated, but the confusion didn’t. What happened? Wasn’t he supposed to be dead?
“I’m so glad you’re back,” she whispered.
“How?” he asked.
“I’ll tell you later, rest now,” she commanded. Angel nodded and laid back. In moments he was asleep. She couldn’t believe it. Her Champion was back. She fingered his long hair. It grew while he was away. Cordelia’s brow wrinkled in thought. He said that when he was there the first time, it seemed like a couple hundred years. In real time, it had been four months.
Cordelia figured that three weeks would be forty years in that place. She shuddered unconsciously. How could a man so good be forced to go through that?
At sunrise, Wes and Gunn loaded Fred and Lisa into the car and set off for the hospital. Wes had begged for her to go, he said that he would watch Angel. Cordelia didn’t like that idea. The nose would be fine, and her arm wound would heal. Meantime, she wasn’t going anywhere.
When Angel woke again, she made him down another blood packet and gave him some sleeping pills. He needed food and rest. Cordelia needed the same. She broke contact long enough to go to the kitchen. Chairs were still overturned from her fight with Dawson. Several broken dishes lay scattered on the floor.
Opening the refrigerator, she grabbed some milk and drank from the carton, not caring how much she spilled. Tossing the empty container aside, she grabbed and banana and started back to the living room. On the wall next to the door she saw a mirror.
Dark bruises had formed under her eyes. Dried blood formed around her broken nose and mouth. Touching her arm wound, she realized it would likely need several stitches. Three years ago the sight would have sent her screaming.
Today she just shrugged it off. She might be hurt, but she felt damn good. Angel was home.
“Looking good, Angelcakes,” the green demon told the vampire.
“Thanks Lorne,” Angel smiled slightly. It felt good to be home. Reaching out, he took his son from the Pylean and started downstairs. “Hey Lorne? Is Cordy in yet?”
“Sure is, strudel. I think she’d like to see you,” the demon hinted.
Angel smiled and went downstairs. He found Cordelia at her desk sorting files. It was three days after The Night. He hadn’t seen his Seer since she had brought him back from Hell. She’d spent a night in the hospital, and then a few more at home. He’d spent the past few days recovering his strength.
“How are you?” he softly asked his Seer.
“Angel,” she smiled. Even covered in bruises, Angel still thought she was the most beautiful woman in any dimension. Internally, Angel sighed. One more occasion where she got hurt because of him.
“I’m fine,” Cordelia said. “A little bruised and sore, but I’ll heal. Lisa, the Wicca who helped bring you back should be fine too. Fred’s got a hell of a lump on her head, but she was moving around a while ago. So, how’s my favorite man-pire doing?” she asked as she stroked his hair away from his face.
She had to convince him to keep it longer like this. She liked it.
Angel didn’t know what to say, but figured the truth might be best.
“Cordy, what you did for me…” he paused, “was incredibly stupid, dangerous, and unwarranted.” At her heartbroken expression he continued. “But it’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard. And I thank you for it.”
Cordelia smiled and hugged him. “You’re welcome,” she said.
Angel held on for dear life. He soaked in her smell and wondered how this woman could remain so devoted to him and his cause. “I just don’t…” he stopped.
Cordelia pulled back to look in his eyes. “You don’t understand why I did it,” she finished. “You think you don’t deserve it.” Angel nodded. “Angel, I know in your lifetime you’ve done some pretty horrible things. But in our time together, I’ve seen you do more good that most people in this damn city could do in a dozen lifetimes. And as for why? I can’t believe you haven’t figured it out.” Angel looked at her with confused eyes.
“Because I love you,” she admitted. “I wasn’t going to let you spend eternity in a place like that.”
Angel’s confused look turned into a long, silly smile. “Really?” he asked his Seer.
“Yes,” she rolled her eyes. “You may be a dork of a vampire, but you’re my dork of a vampire. And I plan on keeping you around for a little while.”
Angel embraced his Seer once more. It was good to be home.
Gavin Park was in a world of trouble. His bosses were not pleased that he failed to keep the ritual from being performed. They wouldn’t listen to the fact that Dawson had screwed up. Gavin sighed. It would take a long time to rebuild his reputation. He bet that bitch Lilah was smiling at his misfortune.
Gavin’s head shot up in alarm as his office door flew of its hinges. Before he could blink, the vampire Angel had him gripped around the neck.
“Right now, I bet you’re wondering why the vampire alarms didn’t go off.” Angel pulled the lawyer closer until he was sure Park had a good look at his yellow eyes and fangs. “You’ll just have to wonder.” Angel jerked hard and lifted Gavin up before slamming him to the desk.
“Not too long ago I gave Lilah a lesson in what would happen if anyone ever came at Cordelia. You sent a mercenary to kill her. Now, you will receive the same lesson.” A hard punch to the face shattered Gavin’s nose.
“My Seer has a broken nose, and now, so do you. I hope this will deter you from doing anything stupid in the future. As long as she lives, then unfortunately, so do you.”
Angel’s vampire senses detected footsteps approaching quickly. “It seems my welcome has expired. Bye,” he waved. As soon as he arrived, he was gone. Park lay dazed on his desk the security guards finding him bloodied as he tried to comprehend what just happened.
“Where have you been?” Cordelia asked as she bounced Connor on her hip.
“Running some errands,” Angel said simply.
“Well, I’m glad you’re back. We got a client who says a Kackler Demon is living in her basement.”
“Really?” Angel asked. “Cool.”
Wes and Gunn came downstairs and opened the weapon’s cabinet. “Cordelia told you about the Kackler?” Wes asked.
“Yeah,” Angel answered. “Throw me my hurling axe.” Gunn tossed Angel his favorite weapon as he grabbed a crossbow.
“Good,” Wes said. “Then lets go.” Wes grabbed a broadsword and tossed Cordelia hers. The four walked steadily to the door.
Yeah, Angel thought, it was good to be home.