October 17, 2003
Lilah Morgan walked into the offices of Angel Investigations, confident no one at Wolfram and Hart would know. That happened when the surveillance equipment went on the fritz.
“So, whom do I talk to about taking my case?” Lilah called.
From the back office came the entire gang, Cordelia in the lead. “Did you find anything?” Cordelia asked. She was still hesitant around the lawyer, despite Angel’s recent comfort around her. Begrudgingly, Cordy had to admit Lilah had come through several times in the past year.
“I think so,” Lilah answered. Flipping open a file folder she carried, Lilah began to recite information. “Hereford Innovations does indeed exist. Located in London, the company was founded in 1996 by Douglas Edwards and Michelle O’Leary.”
Lilah handed the folder to an eager Fred, who began to quickly root through the contents. “What does Hereford Innovations specialize in?” Wesley asked.
“They do computer stuff,” Lilah said. “They’ve made a small name for themselves in research to boost cellular phone reception. They’ve also developed a pistol that is now employed by British recon units. That’s about it.”
“No groundbreaking research,” Wesley observed.
“Not yet anyway,” Gunn said.
“Hold on a second.” Fred flipped through the folder and came back to a page she found particularly interesting. “This is a spreadsheet of major employees at Hereford Innovations.”
“Yeah,” Lilah said. “They actually have a website. I pulled that page off it.”
“Well, I’ve heard of two of these people,” Fred stated confidently.
“Okay,” Cordy drawled. “But what does that mean?”
Fred looked at the gang, understanding starting to form in her eyes. “It means, if this information is true, I can begin to explain how a woman from thirty years in the future can travel through time on a whim.”
September 19, 1998
Rupert Giles stared in fascination at the metal dumpster outside the Elm Street Clinic. Placing his fist near the hole, he could determine that the entry shot was slightly larger. Whatever had narrowly missed Cordelia, and ignited this trash receptacle, was about the size of softball.
During the lunch break, the Scoobies had all gathered in the high school library to recount the tale of last night’s events. Giles was deeply upset that one of his charges had so nearly been killed, even if it was Cordelia. But then the natural curiosity came through.
“Tell it to me again,” Giles asked of his Slayer.
“Like I said, I didn’t see much,” Buffy said. “I was fighting a couple vamps, then I heard kind of a ‘thwomp’ noise. Next thing I know, Cordelia is on the ground, and the dumpster is on fire.”
“But you say there was a man that knocked her out of the way?”
“That’s right, G-man. We saw him clear as day, except that it was night and kind of overcast…” Xander rambled before Willow elbowed him.
“A man came running from that alley across the way,” Willow pointed. “Whoever it was tackles better than most of the linebackers on varsity.”
“It was Angel,” Cordelia insisted again. The brunette wore a small bandage on her hairline. It was hard to find a hairdo that would look stylish and cover it up.
“Cordelia,” Buffy said sadly. “It couldn’t have been Angel. I killed him.” The blonde began to tear up at the mention of her dead love.
“Poo,” Cordelia exclaimed, not really thinking about what Buffy might be feeling. “It was El Vampiro himself, or my name isn’t Cordelia Chase.”
“Well Linda Lu, shall I take you to dinner tonight as a consolation prize?” Xander inquired. He received a Cordelia ‘death stare’ in return.
“Sorry to break the lovers quarrel,” Oz said, “but we’re straying from the point here. There’s somebody shooting weird ass lights at Cordelia, and somebody who took a nosedive to protect her.”
“Quite right,” Giles agreed. “I’ll of course research this afternoon. But I suggest that we all patrol tonight, myself included. Perhaps this mysterious assassin and Cordelia’s Guardian Angel shall reappear.”
“Great!” Cordelia exclaimed. “What happens when whoever starts using me for target practice again?”
Buffy managed a small grin at the brunette’s query. “Duck,” she said.
Clarke’s Ridge Cemetery
“There are to many cemeteries in this damn town,” Cordelia muttered.
“The perks of the Hellmouth,” Xander retorted.
“Guys,” Buffy said. “We’re here to keep an eye out for any would-be assassins and any vampires stupid enough to cross us.”
“Precisely,” Giles agreed. “So be quiet and keep your eyes open.”
The Scoobies shut up at Giles’ request. For several minutes the gang patrolled the cemetery in silence. That is, until Cordelia spoke up.
“This grass is really sticking to my heels.”
Buffy lowered her stake and turned back to stare at the other girl. “Why are you wearing heels on patrol?”
Cordelia gave her best ‘duh’ look to the Slayer. “It’s the only pair of shoes I have that match this skirt.”
“You only have one pair that matches that skirt?” Buffy asked incredulously. “Damn, you’re slipping in style points.”
“Bite me, Buffy,” Cordelia snapped back.
“Will you both hush?” Giles demanded. The Watcher was growing increasingly tired of the two girls’ incessant squabbling. “I swear, if I have to say it again…”
“Giles, shut up,” Buffy ordered.
Normally, Giles would have snapped back at his Slayer for saying that, but he didn’t this time. Her ‘Spider Senses’ were working, he realized.
“Vampires?” Giles questioned.
“Would this be a good time to circle the wagons?” Willow asked timidly.
“Shush,” Buffy ordered again. “Vampire somewhere near,” she said after a moment. “Keep a lookout.”
Two hundred yards away, on the roof of a crypt built along the cemetery’s west wall, Allison Beasley steadied her weapon for the kill shot.
Angel made sure to trail a safe distance behind the Sunnydale gang. The vampire wanted to keep his presence a secret as long as possible. It would be tough for him to stick to the shadows, especially after seeing what it was like in the light, but he felt this was the best option.
Angel watched his future love trudge through the slightly wet grass. Every ten feet or so, she’d stop and pull at dirt clumps that stuck to her heels. Angel grinned as he remembered the Cordelia from high school. Only she would gallivant around a cemetery hunting vampires in a short skirt and heels. He could imagine the fussing she was making.
She looked incredibly beautiful, Angel thought with a sigh. Long shapely legs leading to an attractive, short black skirt. She had a white silk shirt that showed off the tiniest bit of cleavage. And damn, her hair looked pretty. He’d have to convince future Cordelia to grow it out again.
Suddenly Buffy tensed. Angel quickly ducked behind a tree to hide. She detected a vampire near, he knew. Hopefully she wouldn’t detect which vampire it was. Angel peered at her through a twist of the branches. Oh yeah, she felt a vampire near.
Just like the Slayer’s senses went on full alert, Angel’s went haywire as well. The vampire quickly shifted to game face to access the possible threat. A couple hundred yards away he saw it. Allison was preparing to take her shot.
“Fuck!” Angel said aloud and bolted towards the Sunnydale gang. His vampire speed allowed him to close the gap between himself and Cordelia in a matter of moments. Dread filled the vampire as a loud ‘thwomp’ echoed throughout the cemetery. He didn’t know if he’d make it.
But he did.
Angel launched his body in front of Cordelia, taking the grapefruit sized pulse round square in his back. His momentum knocked him into Cordelia, sending them both into the ground.
The other members heard the distinct sound of the shot being fired, and turned back just in time to see a large body knocking Cordelia to the ground. The bullet impacted between the figure’s shoulders, sending blood flying everywhere. Willow jerked back in shock when a splatter of blood coated her cheek. She’d been closest to Cordelia when it happened.
“Aaghh!” Cordelia cried from underneath the body that fell atop her. “A little help please?”
The gang was quickly by her side, pulling the body away from her. They all gasped in shock at who it was.
“Who are they Fred?” Cordelia asked.
Fred continued to examine the paper before her. If this was true, then it could explain everything. “There are two men here that I’ve read about. Duncan Smyth and Friedrich Schuber.”
When Fred stopped, Cordelia grew extremely anxious. “Fred!” The other woman snapped to attention and noticed the entire group was focused on her.
“Oh, sorry,” Fred apologized. “Smyth is a British theoretical physicist. Schuber is an Austrian who made a big name working with electromagnetism.” Everyone stared at her blankly.
“Electro-what?” Gunn asked.
Fred sighed heavily. This would take a lot of explaining. “Give me ten minutes,” she said. “I’ll try to dig something up.” Fred then retreated back to her laptop to begin researching.
“He he,” Gunn chuckled. “Damn British can’t even spell ‘Smith’ right.” Gunn swore he heard a muttered ‘Fuck you’ from Wesley’s general direction.
The amount of pain that Angel was in couldn’t be accurately described. He felt like someone had ripped the skin off his back. With a low moan, Angel hesitantly opened his eyes, when a sudden thought ran through his head. If he got nailed in the back, then how the hell did he get away from the Scoobies?
Angel tried to sit up, but was kept from doing so. He was handcuffed to a bedpost. Searching around desperately, he realized he was in a strange place. Finally, his eyes came to rest at the foot of the bed. “Aw fuck.”
Willow and Oz stood there, staring at him. Oz was his normal passive self, but Willow was nervously trying to smile at the vampire. “So, uh,” Willow began. “How are ya?” she finished cheerily.