Summary: In 2003, a time shifter fails to kill Cordelia, who is pregnant with Angel’s child. When the shifter escapes to 1998 Sunnydale, Angel must follow to ensure Cordelia’s survival.
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
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Feedback: Would be good.
Everything had gone to hell. It wasn’t supposed to be a difficult mission. She had spent years training for situations like this. This mission was to be the biggest of her career. And what happened when the time had finally arrived?
It had all gone to hell.
Allison Beasley had fucked up royally. But she had a chance to make everything right. A chance to fix her mistake. A chance to change the course of history. A chance to remove the threat of the future.
But she couldn’t do it here.
In the darkened Los Angeles alleyway, the dark haired, fair skinned assassin went to make her escape. Coming to a screeching halt, the woman took deep ragged breaths to get some oxygen into her tired body. The vampire gave a hell of a chase. That didn’t leave her with much time.
Pulling her backpack from her shoulders, Allison removed a palm pilot looking device from it. She began to furiously punch buttons on the device, trying to get the thing to work faster. Her head snapped back as she heard the vampire’s shouts of anger.
“Come on, you piece of shit!” She wished she had more time for the device to fire up. She needed to go back to the 1980’s, but she wouldn’t be able to do that. She had to settle for this.
Allison pressed hard on the ‘Enter’ button. The coordinates registered into the computer. The device activated.
Sharp crackles of electrical energy began to flow in the atmosphere. A cold wind ripped through the alley as the electricity centered at a spot a couple feet above the ground. A sharp crack sounded as a vortex was ripped in the fabric of time. In moments, a hole about six feet in diameter had formed.
Allison’s head whipped around to see the vampire and his son racing towards her. Allison tried to stuff the palm pilot into her backpack, but she didn’t notice she missed. The pilot dropped to the concrete street.
“Stop!” the vampire yelled angrily.
Allison ignored the demon. Instead, she plunged headfirst into the vortex. Another crack resounded in the alley, and with a snap much like a rubber band, the vortex was sealed. The electricity died, the wind all but ceased.
“What the hell was that?” Connor asked.
“I don’t know,” a very pissed off Angel answered. The vampire spotted the palm pilot on the ground. Picking it up, he read the screen.
SEPTEMBER 19, 1998
“Dad!” Connor said, trying to get Angel’s attention. “What’s wrong? What is it?”
Angel stared at the spot where the vortex had been. “Trouble,” he answered.
Los Angeles, California
October 16, 2003
The Hyperion was alive with activity as the members of Angel Investigations tried to figure out the course of action that needed to be taken. To say the least, things had been hectic since the 8th.
That was when the woman had arrived. Cordelia had admonished Angel in a teasing manner when she had first arrived. “Pick your tongue off the floor,” she had said. The attractive woman with the black hair and fair skin and come into the office saying she needed help.
She introduced herself as Allison. She explained that her sister had gone missing a few days earlier. Allison commented on how quiet it was in the office. Angel smiled and said for the moment it was just he and Cordelia, his girlfriend. When Allison congratulated them on Cordelia’s pregnancy, Angel beamed with pride. Before his head got too big, Cordelia redirected the conversation back to business.
“Yes,” Allison had said. “I have a picture of my sister, I hope that helps you.” Reaching into her purse, the woman pulled out a pistol. Angel’s protective instincts went into overload. With a burst of vampire speed, he slapped the gun away when the woman tried to level it at Cordelia.
Angel tried to subdue the woman, but she was an amazing fighter. When Allison escaped, Angel didn’t try to give chase. He was more concerned about his family.
Since that day, they discovered a few things about the woman. Rather, they discovered a few things that she knew. She referred to the baby as the ‘Men-clar’. Nobody knew what the hell that meant, but Wesley and Lorne had been working near around the clock to find out. They also discovered some more bad news.
“What do we have on the palm pilot?” Angel asked.
Fred had been digging through dozens of Watcher Diaries and physics textbooks trying to unlock the secrets that the palm pilot held. The girl was exhausted; she had worked major overtime to find the answers.
“I’ve been able to dig through its database. It does appear to be a time travel device. It keeps a log of all movement. There are two listed. One from November 17, 2031 to October 8 of 2003. The second is October 15 to September 19, 1998.”
“So we can use that to go back and find her,” Angel stated.
“It isn’t that simple,” Fred told him. “I’ve been able to examine the energy cell that it uses. I have no idea what the thing runs on, but after examining the energy capacity levels and the frequency and distance between time jumps, I do know one thing. There is only enough energy for one person to have a round trip ticket to 1998.”
“Are you sure?”
“Pretty sure. That first jump, the one that brought her to this time, took most of the energy. If my calculations are right, one person can get to 1998 and get back to this time.”
“So I go,” Angel said quickly. “I go back and stop her from hurting Cordelia.”
“Is that such a wise choice?” Wesley questioned. “In 1998 Sunnydale, Angel was present. What if he were to meet his past persona.”
“Angel wasn’t in Sunnydale in September,” Cordelia said softly.
The gang paused as they thought about that. Realization hit them all at the same time. No, Angel certainly wasn’t in Sunnydale then.
“Which would make Angel a great candidate to go back,” Fred said. “The best thing that you could do would be go back and make contact with the Sunnydale crowd. What do you call them?”
“The Scoobies?” Cordelia asked. “Wouldn’t that seriously fuck things up if they knew about what was going on?”
“No!” Fred said excitedly. “That’s the great thing about time travel.” Fred dug furiously around her desk and found her notepad. “From studying Watcher Council experiences with time shifting entities, and drawing information from my physics books, I’ve reached a conclusion: the universe is incredibly fickle. It absolutely hates change.
“From everything I’ve studied, the universe has failsafe after failsafe to ensure that the timeline isn’t altered. You could go back and tell Buffy she would die against Glory, but it wouldn’t change anything. I don’t know if it’s mind erasing or what, but that isn’t important.”
The AI gang gathered around as Fred explained it. Although none really understood the technical concepts, Fred managed to speak in a way even an 18th Century relic like Angel could understand.
“Time is a linear function. It travels in a straight line. So in that respect, think of time like a flowing river. We’re all in the river, swimming downstream. But if we get out, run back upstream, and then hop back in, nothing happens. You don’t change the river by doing that.
“But the way I figure it, the only way the timeline can be altered is if someone lives when they shouldn’t, or if someone dies that shouldn’t. Then the timeline is forced to alter itself. It’s like building a dam midstream and digging a new river flowing a different direction.”
“So, as long as Cordelia survives, the timeline is kept intact?” Angel asked.
“Yes. If you go back and stop Allison, the timeline will remain constant up until the moment you jump backwards in time. When you return, only a few hours or days will have passed for us. At least I think so. I’ll try to program a return date and destination into the computer. But going back to a previous point, there are a few catches.”
“Of course there are.”
“Like I said, the timeline is forced to alter itself if a person dies that shouldn’t die, or if a person lives that shouldn’t live. Which means, if you see a person about to get eaten by a vampire, you can’t stop it. It might affect the timeline. You can’t save the person just like you can’t slay the vampire. Not if you want this timeline preserved.”
Angel nodded his head in understanding. He wouldn’t do anything that might jeopardize Cordelia and the baby. “Do you have any idea who may have manufactured the palm pilot?” he asked, changing the topic.
“Someplace called Hereford Innovations. I haven’t had a chance to do any digging on that.”
“Don’t bother with it,” Angel told her. “You just double check those calculations of yours. Someone else can look into Hereford Innovations. Connor? You feel like going for a ride?”
“Sure,” Connor answered. “Where we going?”
“We’re going to see your aunt.”
Lilah Morgan sat down with her glass of brandy on her plush leather couch. “So what is it that you want?” Her voice didn’t contain any of the usual snide undertones. Angel hadn’t heard that tone directed at him in a long time. Except when they were in public.
Angel sat down in the black leather chair across from Lilah. Connor sat next to him on the floor, sipping on an orange soda. Even though Lilah didn’t admit it, she liked the little punk. Angel knew that too. Because she always seemed to have orange sodas whenever they came to visit.
“I’d appreciate it if you looked something up for me.”
Lilah quirked her lips in a slight grin. “You’d appreciate it? My, my, it must be big if you break out the civility.”
“Somebody tried to kill Cordy,” he explained to her.
Lilah’s amused expression disappeared instantly. “Is she okay?” she asked with genuine concern.
“For now she is. But for the past week, a time shifter named Allison Beasley has been trying to kill her. Last night, after one last failed attempt, Beasley jumped back in time to September 1998.”
“Allison Beasley? Strange name for a demon,” Lilah said.
“She’s not a demon. I’m pretty sure she’s human.”
The glass stopped before it reached Lilah’s lips. “You’re shitting me,” she said.
“No. Just before she jumped through the portal, she dropped a palm pilot device. Fred analyzed it. She thinks that I can jump back to 1998 and stop Beasley from killing Cordelia. She also found out a manufacturer of the device. A Hereford Innovations. The device seems to have been made around the year 2031. You heard of it?”
“It doesn’t ring any bells, but I can look into it. But Angel, if it was created in 2031, it’s plausible the people who created it haven’t been born yet. Hereford Innovations might not even exist yet.”
“I know that,” Angel said. “But you have channels. If this company does exist, I want to know all about it. Please Lilah, I need this. I need to keep my family safe.”
Lilah sighed and set her glass down. The damn vampire knew she wouldn’t say no. She missed the days when she didn’t have a conscience. “Fine. I’ll do some digging tomorrow, see what I can turn up.”
“Thank you,” Angel said. In amazing synchronization, Angel and Connor stood in unison, adjusted their leather jackets, and went to leave.
“Angel? Lilah called.
“Yeah?” The vampire turned back to see Lilah staring at the fireplace.
“If you do jump back, be careful, okay?” Trying to recover from her tender moment, Lilah showed a flash of the old bitch. “Lord knows I wouldn’t want you fucking up my existence.”
Angel smiled slightly. “Oh no, wouldn’t want that.”
When Angel and son left, Lilah allowed a small grin to come across her face once more. “Wouldn’t want anything to happen to your child either.” Lilah shook her head in mock disgust. “When the hell did I go so soft?”
The calculations had been checked and rechecked. One person, one roundtrip ticket to 1998 and back. Angel had no illusions about it. In the end, he would have to destroy a human life to ensure the survival of his family. And he had no problem with that. Because no one fucked with his family and expected to live.
Cordelia gripped Angel in a strong, desperate hug, her swollen belly pressing against his own. Angel smiled as he reveled in her feel. Inhaling deeply, he put to memory the smell of her hair. Just in case, he told himself.
Cordelia pulled back and held his cheeks in her hands. Tears moistened her beautiful hazel eyes. The love that shone for him almost blinded Angel. Never before could he have imagined that a woman could love him so completely, loved him the way that HIS Cordelia did.
“I want you to promise me,” she said in a shaky voice. “I want you to promise me that you’ll come home. That you won’t do something stupid.” Choking out a laugh she said, “Because if you think that I’m going to do the single mother bit, you’ve got another thing coming, Buster.”
“I promise,” Angel whispered as he leaned in for a kiss. The passion and love in that contact sent shockwaves through is body.
“I love you,” Cordelia said.
“And I love you,” Angel said. He kissed her forehead lightly and stroked her cheeks with his thumbs. “I will return,” he whispered. “And when I do, you, me, and this little miracle inside you will live a long and happy life together.”
“I’m going to hold you to that,” Cordelia smiled slightly.
“I know you will.”
Hand in hand, the couple walked into the lobby. “Are we ready?” Wesley asked.
“Yeah,” Angel said. The vampire slung a crossbow over his shoulder, and tucked a few knives into his belt. Slowly, he put on his leather duster. Giving a long, lingering glance at Cordelia, Angel spoke. “Open the vortex.”
Fred pressed ‘Enter’ on the palm pilot. Energy crackled, and within moments, the vortex appeared in the center of the lobby. Fred quickly handed the palm pilot to Angel and hurried to give the final instructions.
“I have the vortex opening on the night of September 18. When you need to return, press ‘File’, ‘Open’, then ‘Recall’. It should bring you back to a point in our near future.”
Angel nodded and took the palm pilot. He knew if he looked back to Cordelia he would lose his resolve. So Angel did the only thing he could do. He leapt into the vortex. As soon as the vampire disappeared, so did the vortex.
“Be safe,” Cordelia whispered.
September 18, 1998
Brian and his girlfriend Susie walked hand in hand along the bicycle trail. They were hurrying to get home. Neither was stupid. They knew bad shit happened in this town at night. Like this for instance.
Electricity crackled near the fountain in the center of the park. The wind quickly whipped up around them, sending chills down both teenagers’ spines. “Brian?” Susie asked fearfully. “What is that?”
“I don’t know!” Brian cried. “Let’s get the hell out of here.” Both teenagers took off running just before the vortex opened up. Angel dropped ungracefully onto the wet grass below.
With a groan, the vampire pushed himself up into a sitting position. Looking around, only one thought came to his head.
“Home sweet Hell.”