“Cordelia?” Buffy asked in surprise and a lot of annoyance. Buffy had a dinner to eat and a mom that really wanted to spend quality time…alone.
Cordelia took a deep breath and immersed herself in the role of ‘Queen C’ stalked by Angelus. She pushed her way over the threshold. “You haven’t done anything insane like invite your psycho boyfriend in again, have you?” Cordelia tapped her foot impatiently, her arms crossed, and her brow raised high.
“No, why are you here?”
“I’m here because your psycho boyfriend has put me on his creepy home visits tour-lurking outside my window last night, scurrying around this evening. It’s wiggin me out. If you can’t grow some slayer balls and kill him can you at least put him on a leash.”
Buffy grabbed Cordelia putting her hand over the brunette’s mouth. “Will you shut up? My mom’s home.”
Cordelia struggled, breaking loose and huffing indignantly. “Don’t get all grabby with me, I’m the victim here.”
“Victim, you seem perfectly fine to me.” Buffy glanced at the young woman. “Though, with another look, trying a new fashion style, casual, not slutty.”
“I AM NOT A SLUT.” Cordelia yelled, Angelus’ comments still a little too raw, despite the realization that it had been all a game.
Buffy’s hand slammed over Cordelia’s mouth again. “Will you just shut up?”
Cordelia yanked at Buffy’s hair. Cordelia smiled that was fun. Maybe before the night was over she could do it again with out getting cold cocked by the slayer.
“Ow.” Buffy stepped back. Both girls glared at each other.
“Buffy?” Buffy’s mom walked in from the kitchen. “Cordelia? Is something wrong?” The older woman took a closer step to the teenagers, “you look a little flushed.”
“Hi, Mrs. Summers, I’m sorry to just barge in like this, but…” Cordelia gave the older woman a frightened smile coated with sincerity at seeing Ms. Summer’s alive. “My parents are still on their trip and Marie’s gone- that’s our maid-, and well, I swear I saw a strange man follow me home from school….”
“It’s Saturday.” Buffy interrupted.
Cordelia shot her a look. “Yesterday, which was Friday, a day of school” Cordelia compounded her glare at the blonde.
“You left at lunch time.”
Cordelia was going to hit Buffy or at least yank her hair again, couldn’t the blonde ditz keep up, Buffy was the one that didn’t want her mom to know she was the slayer and that the things that go bump in the night, not only bumped, but bit and killed. ” I know, I was so upset, I mean he followed me from ‘school’, so I went to the mall.”
“Oh, that’s a good none stalking place.”
“It is in the middle of the DAY,” Cordelia emphasized, “with a bunch of other people walking about.” Cordelia glared again at the interruption.
Buffy took a step back finally understanding the unspoken ‘shut up, stupid, I’m telling a story here’ yell in Cordelia’s glare.
“Buffy, shush,” Mrs. Summers glanced to her daughter. “Honey, just tell me.” Mrs. Summers wrapped an arm around Cordelia leading her deeper into the house.
“Well, I saw him again, or I think I did, I’m pretty sure I did, in the trees by my house. I was too scared to go in, you know, being alone. So, I came here,” Cordelia glanced around through the hallway, noticing a set dinner table. “Oh, I’m interrupting your dinner, I’m sorry. I’ll just…”
“Of course you’ll stay until your parents get home.”
Buffy groaned. Cordelia’s parents were never home.
Mrs. Summers turned to Buffy. “Did you say something, dear?”
“No, Mom.” Buffy studied her shoes.
“Come on, Cordelia. Buffy, set another place at the table. And after dinner, we’ll call the police. They need to be notified if there is man out there stalking young women.”
Cordelia bit back her snort, her eyes locking with the slayer’s. Buffy was also trying to hide her choking. Buffy calmed herself, “A fat lot a good that will do,” Buffy deadpanned. “Serve and Protect, isn’t really their motto.”
“Does Sunnydale even have a police department?” Cordelia genuinely asked, she couldn’t remember ever seeing a police person.
“Girls,” Mrs. Summers said disapprovingly. “The police do a wonderful job, keeping Sunnydale crime free,” she chastised as she went into the kitchen.
“You’re mom’s really great, honest, but come on- crime-free?”
Buffy shrugged. “In LA, our car got stolen a bunch of times. Here, it’s just a lot of unexplained freaky deaths.”
“Right, I keep forgetting why I love this town.” Cordelia wanted to keep talking to Buffy some more, maybe bitch about the crime or lack of crime in Sunnydale. Buffy had laughed at her statement and not in a ‘at you’ way but ‘with you’ sort of way. That was new.
That thought screeched any other thought of having a normal, slightly fun conversation with Buffy that would be atypical. She took another deep breath, promising that Angel would pay. “So, what are you going to do about Angelus?” She snapped.
“Willow, Oz, Xander and I are going to the Bronze. We’ll talk about it then. AWAY from my mother,” cautioning Cordelia firmly. Damn. For a minute there Buffy almost thought Cordelia would be nice or at least civil. Buffy stared at the pretty brunette. So superior in her attitude but Cordelia was nothing. A May Queen from a small town. Buffy would’ve kicked her ass down the social ladder in a heartbeat if ‘Queen C’ showed her small town face in LA. Buffy had been the Queen of the ‘In’ crowd. Buffy sighed.
That was until some old man told her who he was and what she was…and proved it to her, dying in the process. Her first watcher, she didn’t even know who he was- accept that he had wanted to make shoes. Instead he was stuck trying to teach a reluctant popular ditz that she was more than that. ‘Queen’ of anything became moot once she destroyed the gym to save the students. Buffy didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the unfairness of it all.
There were times that Buffy couldn’t decide what she disliked about Cordelia the most- her stuck up attitude, knowing that she was the leader of the popular crowd, or the fact that she had what Buffy lost when she became the ‘slayer’.
No, Buffy had a calling a purpose and she had found real friends. Yet, there was something about Cordelia’s ability to see the ‘hellmouth’, date Xander, be put in positions that screamed supernatural and evil and the girl would go through it, bitch, complain, and then say whatever. Cordelia Chase had the ability to refuse to let the freakiness of Sunnydale stop her from living her life the way she wanted.
Buffy wanted to label it as a complete clueless bit on the brunettes part, but sometimes Buffy wondered if Cordelia saw a bigger picture, one that showed no matter what- Cordelia Chase would survive and things would be okay. Nay. Cordy was just a bitch. Buffy finished her thoughts.
“You all were going to the Bronze, without me? Why didn’t Xander invite me?” Cordelia huffed.
“Because, you haven’t been answering your phone, last night or today. Where were you? Xander’s worried.” Buffy rolled her eyes, all thoughts of giving Cordelia the benefit of the doubt gone. Her best friend had been pestering Buffy all day about the whereabouts’ of his girlfriend.
Like Buffy knew or cared, but because it was Xander she had added her own attempts at calling Cordy’s house.
“I was too scared to answer the phone.” Cordelia explained deciding not to care about Buffy’s slight flight from the land of the conscious. The girl obviously had a lot on her mind, probably starting with Angelus. Cordelia almost wished she could tell Buffy that it would be all right, -hard, sad, so painful- but all right. Angel would return. Cordelia shrugged picking at imaginary lint on her shirt.
“Angelus doesn’t do the deep breathing thing over the phone.” Buffy scoffed.
“Well, he didn’t use to stalk me, either. He’s psycho.” Cordelia shot back. “ How do you know what’s in a crazy dead evil guy’s mind, he’s crazy,” Cordelia whirled her forefinger at her temple, emphasizing her point.
“Girls, dinner.” Mrs. Summers interrupted the start of Buffy’s retort.
“Yes, mom.” Buffy pushed at Cordelia a frown deep on her face. First, Angelus had taunted nonsense about wanting Cordy and now this. What was the vampire up to? Willow had convinced her that Angelus had said that just to get under Buffy’s skin, but this was getting weirder and weirder, now Angelus was stalking Cordelia.
Buffy would like to think Cordelia was exaggerating, but Buffy had found Angelus close to Cordelia’s the other night.
Angel waited until the Summer’s door shut with Cordelia safely inside before leaving. He headed back to the cave. If Angelus 2 followed their scent to the hide out, then number 1 would most likely show up there as well.
Angel stepped out of the shadows. “Looking for someone?” He asked before Angelus entered the tunnels.
Angelus growled as he sensed the difference in the vampire. “So, soul boy to the rescue again. This time you will die.” He charged.
Angel would have loved to tear the vampire from limb to limb, smashing his skull for good measure. In his mind that version of Angelus was even more hated than the other. That one was just at the beginning of his reign of terror and violence.
The unimaginable destructiveness of the vampire was loathsome to Angel’s soul and more he was the original source of danger to Cordelia. With great reluctance and amazing will power, Angel merely pulled the tranquilizer gun and shot repeatedly, watching as the vampire staggered and then finally fell.
Angel hauled the unconscious burden back into the cave. Within minutes, the mumbled spell was complete and the air started to spark and swirl. Angel looked at both unconscious vampires. How he wished he could get rid of them both. He gave a low growl of frustration, lifted Angelus 1, and sent him back to where he belonged.
Angel took a deep sigh of relief, now all he had to do was get Cordelia and they could go home.
He looked once more at the Angelus of this period, wondering if he should drop him off at the mansion. Angel disregarded that idea, no reason taking the chance on running into Dru or Spike. Let the bastard wonder why he was waking up in a cave on the other side of town.
Angel pulled out the orb from his pocket. It was still safe. He took off towards Buffy’s house.
Angel blinked refusing to believe his senses. He walked once more around the house. He fought his urge to break everything in sight as the reality became undeniable. When he found Cordelia he was going to kill her. Fuck his soul, fuck history. What part of wait for him had Cordelia not understood?
There was no way he was going to let her whine, justify, or kiss her way out of this. Angel stormed after the lingering scent that signaled Cordelia’s departure from the safety of the slayer’s house.
Cordelia sat at the high table, twirling her straw, only half listening to the music and voices floating around the Bronze. She was having second thoughts, actually third thoughts about the wisdom of being there. Angel was going to be so pissed if he got back to the Summer’s and she wasn’t there. Damn.
But, it had been pretty impossible to convince Buffy not to go to the Bronze or convince her that Cordy was too scared to go outside. Well, actually, she had done a decent job out of that, but Buffy just waved it way saying that they all would be together.
Cordelia had scoffed and pointed out that Buffy hadn’t been able to kill Angelus yet. And she argued that she wasn’t going out in the same clothes she worn all day. But her complaints only got her a glare, a shower and a shirt to wear from the blonde.
Cordelia’s moaning that the shirt was hideous didn’t deter Buffy either. Cordelia was beginning to suspect that Buffy wanted her to go out in an ugly peasant blouse that looked even stupider because it was too small. Though, Cordelia couldn’t argue that she made the outfit look even worse by insisting that Buffy give her a scarf to wear around her neck.
Cordelia knew that Buffy wasn’t at all convinced with her explanation that fashion was an never ending rush to be the first on the block to discover what was ‘it’. Nevertheless, Cordelia held her head up and projected her best ‘I look great and know it ‘ demeanor, which seemed to work because she kept hearing whispers about buying scarves and how to wear them from the female teenagers in the Bronze.
Wonderful, by Monday, all the girls would be looking hideous. Cordelia smiled. She still was the fashion queen.
“Cordy, are you sure you’re all right,” Xander’s concerned voice broke into her thoughts.
“No, this blouse is awful.”
“It’s that Buffy’s?” Willow asked.
“You don’t think its mine do you, Geez.”
Willow shrugged to Oz. “She seems fine with the whole being terrorized by the evil vampire ordeal.”
Cordelia blinked. “Of course I’m not, but none of you’ve come up with anything to keep me safe. It’s all Buffy’s fault, first she boinks him then she can’t kill him. Hmmph.”
“Cordy,” Xander tried to shush his girlfriend, giving an apologetic smile to Buffy.
Buffy just glared. “I don’t get why he’s going after Cordy all of sudden.”
“Don’t look at me, I don’t jones after the undead, eww.”
“See a vampire, don’t slay, screw…hmm.” Cordelia shot back before Buffy could get in a word. Cordelia cringed a little, trying to keep the superior look on her face. Cordelia knew better, it hadn’t been Buffy or Angel’s fault, but she had a role to play and truthfully, Buffy wasn’t making it that hard.
“Cordy,” Xander said more loudly.
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Sorry, but I’m scared. I don’t know why he’s after me, it’s not like I’m Buffy’s best friend he should be going after Willow.” She pointed at the gasping redhead.
“Buffy?” Willow looked wide-eyed.
Buffy shrugged. “Sorry, Will, but it would make more sense, you, Xander or Giles…..”
Xander snorted. “Maybe this is his way to get to you, through me.”
“Xander, I’m the one being stalked.” Cordelia huffed.
“Yeah,” Xander grabbed her hand,” but you’re my girlfriend. If he hurt’s you, then well, I’d be hurt….”
“Aw, that’s so sweet,” Cordelia blessed Xander with a smile.
“And I’d feel horrible.” Buffy nodded following Xander’s reasoning it made more sense than Angelus actually ‘wanting’ the brunette.
Cordelia’s smile disappeared. “Gee, that’s so nice that you’d feel horrible for Xander and not me.”
“That’s not what I meant…well, I mean…Damn’t Cordy. I won’t let Angelus hurt you, okay. He’s just playing his games.”
Cordelia’s retort was cut short by the walls of the Bronze squeezing her in, as the music got louder pounding into her skull, the stage lights vibrating and blinding the back of her eyes lids. “No,” Cordelia cried out, grabbing at her head as the lights and sounds sent flames through her skull followed by images of a large scaly demon attacking a teenager.
She struggled to maintain her balance as she fell from her stool, the strength in Buffy’s thin arm saving her from landing flat on her ass. “Cordy?”
“I…” The brunette winced. “Migraine.” She swayed trying to get her bearings. Once her body stopped vibrating, she grabbed at the pill bottle in her jeans pocket, quickly taking a handful, slumping against a shocked Xander. The boy moved his arm to hug her. “Cordy?” He glanced up worriedly at his friends.
Oz blinked. “My cousin had migraines. They can be a bitch.” He nodded.
“Cordy, since when have you gotten migraines?” Xander asked.
“Since, I did. Stop yelling.” She winced.
“Okay,” Xander looked around for support. “I wasn’t yelling,” he whispered.
Buffy bit her lip. Cordelia had been complaining and making excuses not to go to the Bronze all night. But that performance hadn’t seemed like any excuse Buffy had ever seen. Cordelia’s cry had drawn a crowd and Buffy knew that wasn’t the kind of attention the other girl liked and the pain etched on her face seemed real enough.
“Cordy, let’s go back to my house, okay?”
Cordelia nodded. “Um, yeah, okay. Um. Give me a minute, please. I can’t think right now.” Cordelia closed her eyes, her fingers clenched into Xander’s. The boy resisted the urge to yelp as nails bit into his palm.
Cordelia tried to empty her mind of the vision. She knew she didn’t have the time to get rid of the Scoobies, so she had to figure a way to get Buffy to where the demon was.
“I’m okay,” Cordelia nodded again. “Thanks.”
Willow grabbed up the purses as the group headed out the door, Cordelia leaning between Buffy and Xander.
Cordelia tugged at the arms that were holding her, the medication had finally kicked in. “I can walk.”
“Cordy?” Xander tried to keep hold of her hand.
“Really, Xander, thank you.” She smiled softly.
Xander blinked. It wasn’t nearly as big and bright as the one he got in the library but it was as honest and lovely. He could get use that. Xander wished that Cordy would smile at him like that more often. When she did it, he felt warm and fuzzy, like she really cared for him, making him realize that his explanation about Angelus behavior had been true. Xander would be more than hurt if the vampire did anything to his girlfriend.
“I do think I need to lie down though, I feel woozy and that always seems to help, maybe we can take the short cut through the cemetery.” She questioned Buffy.
“That’s a shortcut, with a warning.” Xander shook his head.
“But it is quicker.” Buffy agreed leading the way towards the graveyard.
“If we don’t end up dead.” Xander protested.
Willow pushed at Xander’s back. “Come on, do you want Cordelia to throw up on the street.”
“I don’t want to be throwing up in the resting place of the living dead,” Xander mumbled but started moving.
Cordelia started to wander from the group.
“Cordy, this way,” Buffy ran up gently urging her in the right direction.
“Oh, sorry.” Cordelia blinked, and then jerked her head. “Did you hear that? It sounded like screaming,” pointing in the direction that she had been going.
Buffy looked around. “I don’t…wait, not screaming but something else,” she took off running her slayer sense vibrating with the unnatural sound.
“Oh great, Cordy, stay with me.” Xander gripped her hand and jogged after the slayer. Willow and Oz already running.
“Holy Crap.” Xander skidded to a stop.
Oz turned. “It’s big.”
“It’s scary.” Willow yanked at the victim of Cordy’s vision. “Run.” she urged.
The kid listened and took off.
Cordelia and the Scoobies stared as Buffy battled a 7-foot scaly demon.
“Anyone have a weapon.” Xander asked hopefully.
“Here,” Cordelia picked up a large stick.
“That’s a branch.”
“Just pretend it’s a sword.” Cordelia ran smacking at the demon’s back. “Like this.” The demon howled as the blow pushed it into Buffy’s fist.
“Cordelia gets well quick and weirdly brave from those migraines.” Willow commented.
“Cordy,” Xander called as the young woman was thrown back.
“Help Buffy,” She gasped, trying to catch her air, urging the boy to take the stick.
“Go. I’m fine.” Cordelia struggled to her feet, watching as Xander joined Willow and Oz trying to hit the demon fighting Buffy.
Cordelia jumped as a strong arm yanked her further from the fighting, and hand clamped over her emerging yelp.
“When we get home, you will explain to me why you are not at Buffy’s.” Angel growled into her ear as he swung the girl around.
Cordelia looked at the angry dark brown eyes, then down at the shirt. Damn. It was her father’s sweater. “Angel, I…”
“Not now. We’re getting out of here.”
“Is the slayer, she can handle it. Now move or do I have to carry you.”
“Okay,” Cordy nodded. “I take it this means…”
“Right, quiet.” She peeked up at the vampire pulling her along. “I had a vision,” she said in her defense.
Angel took a deep breath, shaking his head.
“Cordy, I will worry then pamper you after I kill you, now shut up.”
“I…” A loud yell interrupted her.
“Buffy, Angelus has Cordy,” Xander cried.
“Oh Christ,” Angel growled. “Moron.”
“Angel. Just go, I’ll get out of Buffy’s later.”
Buffy’s head jerked. “Damn’t,” she swung, and then flipped, kicking out. She ran to the stunned demon, grabbing his wide neck and twisted. She took off running after Xander once she heard the death snap.
Angel stayed put. “No, I don’t trust you to stay where I don’t have to go looking for you.”
“Angel.” she whined.
“Cordy, we’re coming.” Xander called.
“Great, now he’s a hero.”
She glared at Angel. “If you’re not going to leave-HELP ME XANDER.”
Angel winced at the high pitch volume. He shook his head. “Roll,” Angel whispered. “And keep this intact, no matter what.” Angel shoved the orb into her hands.
“Roll, Damn’t.” he shoved.
Cordelia caught his meaning as she went flying, rolling to the ground, getting to her feet, the orb still safe and secure against her chest.
Xander ran up to her. “Cordy are you?…”
“Yeah, stupid vampire,” she mumbled brushing away the boy’s hand while she placed the orb behind her back.
Buffy ran up skidding to a halt in front of Angel.
“Are you sure you can do this, I saw the ugly, nice little Jet Li action but don’t you think just maybe it took a little too much out of you,” Angel sneered at the breathless blonde. “Hardly seems worth my wile.”
“Don’t worry,” Buffy circled the vampire. “So, now Cordy’s your choice of targets to get to me. Don’t you know she’s not really on my list of priorities?”
“Well, that’s special, just let the psycho kill me.” Cordelia huffed.
Both Angel and Buffy turned their glares to the brunette.
“Shush, Cordy,” Xander placed an arm on her.
“I don’t believe this,” Cordelia grumbled, starting to throw her arms up in the air, stopping when the weight of the orb reminded her of it’s presence. She quickly hid it.
“Cordy, Buffy won’t let Angelus hurt you,” Willow tried to reassure the agitated brunette as she and Oz ran up.
“That’s….” Cordelia shook her head, hating what she was going to have to watch. Why didn’t the stupid vampire listen to her?
Angel blocked Buffy’s first blow. “Seemed a little weak, lover. Are our special times together affecting your fists? Are you thinking about that ‘night’, when I had my hands over you making you scream in pleasure.”
“THAT’S enough of that,” Cordy tugged on Xander’s arm.
“Will you be quiet?” Angel shot to Cordelia.
“You are so in for it, buster.”
Angel rolled his eyes, and then flinched as Buffy solidly whacked his face.
Cordelia flinched. Oh damn. She silently promised not to say another word.
Angel shook his head.
“Enough force for you.” Buffy glared.
“Actually, I like a little more in my foreplay,” he winked with a punch.
Buffy held her jaw, pulling out a stake. “I don’t like foreplay.” She lunged.
Cordelia bit her lip, to keep from screaming, she yanked at her arm trying to get to the vampire.
“Ooh, you’re getting feisty now.” Angel grinned, kicking the lethal weapon from Buffy.
Angel studied the blonde as she gathered her strength. “Some day, you will have to kill me, but not tonight. I’m sorry, Buffy,” Angel swung; his fists a blur, finishing with a wide kick, knocking Buffy back ten feet.
Xander, Willow, and Oz ran to the fallen slayer.
“Hold on,” Angel pulled at Cordelia, hoisting her over his shoulder and disappearing into the branches of the trees.
“Angel,” Cordelia looked hesitantly down to the ground. “Are…”
Cordelia sighed and pulled it out between the cushions of her breast. “Safe and sound.”
Angel nodded appreciatively at the hiding place. He looked down again.
Xander and Willow were helping Buffy to her feet. Buffy shook them off. “Where’s Angelus?”
Oz cleared his throat. “Where’s Cordy?”
Buffy took off running.
“Buffy, where are you going?”
“To find them and kill him.” Buffy shot over her shoulder.
“Xander, she’ll find Cordy, she will. Cordy will be okay.”
Xander brushed off Willow’s hand, taking after Buffy, with no hope of catching the slayer but he had to try to save Cordelia.
“Sometimes, he was sweet.” Cordelia said at Xander’s obvious distress.
Angel rolled his eyes. “We’re going,” grabbing the young woman and dropping to the ground, carrying her as he ran in the opposite direction of Buffy and the Scoobies.
“Angel,” Cordelia lifted her hand to his chest.
“Not now, Cordelia.”
“Stop saying that.” She grabbed his chin forcing him to look at her. “I’m sorry that I left, I’m sorry that you had to fight Buffy, I’m sorry,” she slumped her shoulders. “I know how hard that was for you.”
Angel took her by the wrists, removing her hands, kissing her abruptly.
Cordelia blinked up at the vampire’s deep eyes. “It’s over, we’re going home, that is all that matters. Now, get in your bed.”
“Cordy, in a couple minutes we’ll be home and in our OWN bed, I can wait.”
“I…why do I have to lie down then.”
“Because, when your soul was taken you fell unconscious, I don’t want you falling again. Now are you ready?”
“I don’t know.” Cordelia scrunched up her face. “I love you, Angel.”
Angel sighed, leaning back over the young woman, kissing her deeply. “I love you, Cordy.” He stood.
Cordelia licked at her lips. “You still mad at me?”
“Yes.” He shot a look at the young woman.
“Hmmph, well, I’m mad at you too.”
“Well, you let Angelus 1 call me a cat in heat, then there was the whole ‘slutty’ comment, then there was throwing me on Buffy’s doorstep, then there was that cute recounting of Buffy’s birthday, eww, and I’ll think of more.”
Angel shook his head, “You promise to wait until we get home.”
“Thank you,” Angel started mumbling the words for the time portal to open.
“Wow, that really freaks me out.” Cordelia watched the wall of her bedroom crackled and expand to leave a black hole.
Angel leaned over pushing her back down on the bed. “Wesley swore this wouldn’t hurt, okay.” He gently tucked a strain of hair behind her ear.
Cordelia nodded. “Then we’ll be home.”
Angel recited the second spell, watching as Cordelia’s body slumped further into the mattress and the orb started to glow with a bright light.
Angel stared at the unconscious teenager. “Stay safe for me, I’ll need you more than you will ever know.” He kissed the young girl on her forehead, and then clutched the orb securely to his chest. “We’re going home, baby, finally.” Angel stepped through the portal.