Angel cradled Cordy in his arms. The woman was grounding her fists in her eyes, grimacing. Wesley immediately was at Angel’s side with an ornate old bottle handing it to the vampire.
“Drink, baby.” Angel held the bottle to Cordelia’s lips.
Cordelia nodded, sipping at the potion. Cordelia pushed the bottle away. “Eww. God that stuff is gross.” She complained. Cordelia unclenched her fist, rubbing her face and the pain that had been etched on her beautiful face disappeared. “But, damn, it works.” She took a deep breath, smiling at the vampire.
“Cordy?” Angel could feel the cessation of the tremors that had over taken Cordy’s body when the vision hit but still he couldn’t trust that all the pain had been alleviated.
“Angel,” Cordy raised her hand attempting to smooth the worry on his handsome face. “Really, a couple of aspirin and I’ll be fine.”
Fred dutifully held out two pills and a bottle of water.
Cordelia smiled her thanks.
Angel got to his feet helping Cordelia to stand.
“The vision?” Wesley asked.
“A couple of vampires hanging out at the boardwalk waiting for wandering food. A young couple.”
Angel nodded going for his coat. Cordelia moved to follow.
Angel turned. “I can handle two vampires, Cordelia.”
Wesley shook his head. Gunn rolled his eyes. “Are they ever going to stop with this?”
Wesley comment was cut short by the yell directed towards him.
“Wesley,” both Cordy and Angel faced him with stubborn glares.
Wesley took off his glasses, rubbing at his eyes. He hated that they but him in the middle of their tug of wills. No matter what he said, one of them would be mad it was a no win no win situation. But they both had reminded him that he was the boss. Wesley took a deep breath. “Cordelia, Angel can handle two vampires alone very well.”
“Hmmph,” She glared, starting to argue, when her eyes went blank, and she slumped to the ground.
“Cordy,” Angel rushed to the unconscious girl. “What the hell? Cordy,” He knelt feeling for her pulse.
Wesley, Gunn, and Fred ran to his side.
“What’s wrong with her?” “Is she?”
“No, but…Wesley, she won’t wake up.”
“You said that potion wasn’t harmful.” Angel shot accusingly.
“It’s not, none of the ingredients are dangerous.” Wesley leaned down worriedly. “I can’t explain this.”
“Man, we got to take her to the hospital.” Gunn said.
Angel looked to Wesley. “The last time…”
“Angel,” Wesley frowned, “That was because of Vocah’s curse, she was in the throes of a physic episode as a result of the visions. She doesn’t seem in any mental or physical distress….”
“She won’t wake up.” Angel growled, harshly disputing Wesley’s definition of ‘distress’. “And she just had a vision and that potion.”
Wesley considered and made his decision. “Take her upstairs, I’ll analyze the potion again and we’ll call Lorne possibly he can tell us if this is a result of a mystic force. If it’s natural or he can’t tell we’ll take her to the hospital.” Wesley looked to Angel for his answer.
Angel nodded, picking up the lifeless young woman.
“Um,” Fred bit her lip, concern for Cordy clear on her brow. “I…the vision?” She hated to bring it up but there was a couple to be saved.
“I’m not leaving Cordy.” Angel growled.
Gunn grabbed his jacket. “I got it.”
Wesley looked at his friend then at the vampire, clearly torn.
“Wesley, I can call Lorne and do the analysis, it will be like chemistry, I was good at that in school, not as good as in math, but I can do it.” Fred insisted, determined to help the best way she could.
Wesley nodded gratefully at the young woman. “Gunn and I will go take care of the vampires.”
Angel didn’t even bother to acknowledge Wesley’s statement already up the stairs.
Both Lilah and Lindsay looked at the cloaked figure and the glowing orb in his hands.
“That’s it?” Lilah asked.
“Yes. The woman’s soul is contained.”
“So, we just toss it through the portal?” Lilah asked.
The cloaked figure nodded. “Once broken the soul will be released, it will seek out its appropriate vessel.”
“And in 1998, that would a seventeen year old Cordelia Chase.”
The cloaked figure nodded.
“Do it.” Lilah ordered.
The cloaked figure began mumbling. A flash tore through the fabric of the air, expanding and swirling at his words, once completely formed, the spell caster threw the glass orb into the opening. The cloaked figure slumped as the portal closed.
“I require rest before repeating the next spell.”
“Sure, time is our friend on this one.” Lindsay pointed to a door. “There’s a bed in there.”
Lilah picked up the phone. “You want something from room service.”
“Roast Beef,” Lindsay nodded, pulling out his cell phone to set the next stage of their plan in motion.
Cordelia jerked up in her bed. Whoa, what a dream. She blinked looking around for Angel. Where was he? He had to be back from dusting the vampires. Cordelia scrunched up her face. When did she fall asleep?
Her eyes widened as she saw her surroundings. Okay. She was still dreaming. Cordelia blinked again. Nope, didn’t work. She closed her eyes and pinched her arm as hard as she could. She slowly opened her eyes and shut them immediately. Okay, this was way wrong. Cordy’s eyes shot back open at knock at the door.
“Miss Chase.” A familiar voice traveled into the room, one not heard in over three years. “Miss Chase,” the voice repeated.
“Marie?” Cordy squeaked.
“Miss Chase,” an older woman opened the door, her clothes confirming her status as a maid. “It’s time to get up. You don’t want to be late for school.”
“Uh.” Cordy closed her eyes again, praying that the woman and the room would vanish.
“Miss Chase, are you not well?” The maid came closer to the bed.
“Miss Chase, Cordelia?” The woman asked in concern, reaching out to touch the young girl’s forehead.
“Fine, I’m fine, I’m fine,” Cordelia clenched at the covers. Oh god. She saw the familar expensive pretty comforter buddle in her fists. Oh god.
“Thank you, Marie,” Cordelia forced down the panic in her voice, willing her self not to scream.
“Breakfast is ready, when you are, but you better hurry you don’t want to be late for school.”
Cordy nodded, not trusting her ability to speak. As soon as the door closed, Cordelia shot up from the bed, her eyes darting around. There was no denying it she was in her room back in Sunnydale. Which was impossible because she was in LA, annoyed that Wesley took Angel’s side about her going with him on the vision. So, she couldn’t be in her old bedroom in Sunnydale.
Cordelia looked down, her hand twisting in the silk nightgown. Angel, she wanted to scream out, but nothing came out but a gasp. She wasn’t supposed to be wearing a nightgown. Cordy slept in the nude, she had ever since Angel pouted like a big baby the first time she tried to sleep in anything. But then again, she wasn’t even supposed to be asleep or in Sunnydale or….Cordelia forced the scream down in her throat.
Cordelia stepped to her dresser tentatively fingering the items on it- Yep, her brush, her perfume, and her pictures. She slowly picked up the frame photo of her and Xander. She quickly put it face down. She raised her eyes to the mirror.
She shook her head trying vehemently to deny the image of the teenage beautiful girl with long mahogany hair that shook her head back in return. Cordelia looked down at her manicured toes, following the line of her legs up to the hem of her nightgown. She slowly raised the silky garment. Her hand brushed the smooth unblemished skin of her lower abdomen. She slowly looked around, her eyes fixing on the blaring absence of a sun tattoo. She closed her eyes, dropping her gown and then looked back at her reflection. She peered closer, now pushing back the dark hair. She traced the marks on her neck. Hold on. Teenage Cordy never had a vamp hickie on her proclaiming her the property of Angel. What was going on? Physically she was her seventeen-year-old self in every way but that.
Cordelia walked stunned back to the bed, hugging at her knees trying to think.
All the evidence pointed to the bizarre conclusion that she was back in Sunnydale as a 17 year old except with her 20-year-old mind. But why, how…? Think. She had a vision. Cordelia took the potion. She stood up. Started to argue with Angel, she….nothing.
Okay, possible side effect of the visions, maybe they finally drove her crazy, or it could’ve been the potion. Maybe she was safely in LA, just crazy. Cordelia could hope. Angel wouldn’t let her stay crazy for long.
She didn’t feel crazy, well actually she did and if she felt crazy didn’t that mean she wasn’t. Now she was driving herself crazy. She stopped that train of thought. Cordelia wanted to be crazy in LA with Angel not in Sunnydale in her 17-year-old body.
Cordelia slowly got to her feet. She couldn’t stay hiding in her room. She thought about it a minute. Why not? She shook her head. If she was in Sunnydale then she needed to find out why and how. What had Marie said? School. Cordelia sighed it looked like she would be revisiting her alma mater and its library.
“My Darling Boy,” Darla caressed Angelus scowling face. “Why so unhappy? Don’t you like my little gift?”
Angelus stared down at the bound crying woman, her long dark hair hiding her face. The hair. There was something about the hair, the color. He slowly rose from the plush velvet chair kneeling when he got to the woman.
Darla grinned clapping her hands together. “That’s right, my boy. Let’s play with the lovely.”
Angelus grabbed a fistful of the bountiful hair, yanking the woman’s face to his. He scowled as the frightened teary blue eyes stared back. He studied the pert nose, the too thin lips. Pretty. Angelus growled slamming the woman’s face to the floor, causing blood to spread underneath. “I can get my own food,” stepping away from the woman.
“Angelus, what is wrong with you, first you disappear for days and, for some reason cut you hair why you don’t even know and come home only to act like a petulant child.” Darla scolded harshly coming up to the vampire.
“Get out of my face, Darla.”
Darla raised her hand, backhanding Angelus. “Don’t talk to me like that, I am your sire,” her eyes flashing. “Now eat the girl and be a good boy.”
Angelus growled throwing Darla across the room. “I am not a fledging, you need to start remembering that,” storming out of the elegant room.
“Daddy’s head is all clouded.” Drusilla crooned from the doorway.
Darla glared, getting to her feet. “Be quiet, you twit.”
“Come on, Pet. Let’s go somewhere fun, this sure and hell isn’t” Spike tugged at his sire.
Angelus angrily stalked the streets of the East End heading towards Gertie’s. The other late night wanders kept out his way, even the streetwalkers, all sensing the danger that flowed from the dark handsome man.
Angelus growled, fingering his hair, ignoring the scattering mortals. He had no memory of cutting it, just like he had no memory of his missing days and nights. All he remembered was waking up dazed in an alley, bruised, feeling as if he had been beaten and then put to sleep. Yet, there was a vague vision of brown hair, beauty, fire, and need. A woman. One he tasted, marked, one that got away. He did remember that. Angelus had wanted to turn the brunette, place her at his side; the ache to do so was a constant pounding in his head. But he hadn’t been able to, something, …no not something- another vampire had taken her from him.
Angelus turned at a slight sound coming from the adjoining alley. A streetwalker was servicing a man against the dirty bricks. Angelus narrowed his eyes, seeing the dark color of the woman’s hair as her head moved, moaning in fake pleasure. Angel’s eyes glowed yellow, his demon bringing forth his fangs and ridged brow as he saw the man thrust repeatedly into the woman.
Angelus ripped the man off the woman, breaking his neck easily. He yanked at the woman pulling her face up to him. He growled, breaking her neck also. The woman fell to the ground her dead green eyes and rotten teeth gapped up in shocked surprise.
Angelus swirled around sensing more movement. The alley filled with men, in strange dress armed with unfamiliar weapons. The air crackled behind Angelus, sizzling and opening into a swirling hole. Angelus stared at the expanding hole, the phenomenon triggering his memories, clearing the fog. He slowly smiled turning back to the men, his human face sliding over his expression. “Lilah, send you?”
The man assuming the lead position lowered his weapon, as the other men’s weapons remained trained on the vampire. “She requests your help on some unfinished business.”
“By all means.” Angelus laughed. He was getting another chance to get his Cordy.
Angelus stepped out of the portal, his eyes targeting Lilah’s. “Where is she?”
“Good to see you too, Angelus.”
“Lilah, I haven’t forgotten my promise to cut you into little pieces if you interfere with my desire to have Cordy.”
Lilah gave a slight smile, nodding to the security guards that appeared after Angelus, beckoning them to keep their tranquilizer guns pointed at the vampire. “I do remember something about torture, but not the cutting up bit.”
“I must’ve left it out. Where is she?”
“Cordelia Chase is no longer in this time.” Lindsay stepped forward.
“Who are you?” Angelus studied the man, his eyes resting momentarily on his prosthetic.
“I’m work for the same employers as Lilah. Our objective remains the same as before.”
“To kill Cordelia and damn my future ensouled self. Well, I don’t want him damned, I want him dead. I want Cordy.” He growled.
“You succeed he’ll be gone and we’re more flexible about how you kill Cordelia Chase this time around, turn her if you want, we don’t care.”
Angelus narrowed his eyes. “I’m remaining here.” Angelus jerked his head towards Lilah. “That bitch wanted to send me back.”
“And here I thought we had gotten so close.” Lilah snorted.
“What? You want to spread you’re legs for me again. You wouldn’t live through it this time. Hey, that would be fun.” He winked with smirk.
“As tempting as that is, I’ll pass.” Lilah stepped back even further from the vampire.
Lindsay rolled his eyes. “You fucked Angelus? What couldn’t get Angel in your bed so you went with the evil version? You’re a real piece of work.”
“So, says the man that had the hots for the syphilic whore.” Lilah scoffed.
“Children, do I need to start ripping heads off.” Angelus said menancingly, low but with the ability to stop the lawyers bickering.
Lindsay turned back to the vampire. “It was a mistake to try to send you back to a time period that would only lead to you getting cursed again.”
Lilah narrowed her eyes. “Angel would be damned. He wouldn’t have a soul.”
“In the 21st century, but that one,” Lindsay pointed to Angelus, “Would just get one back in the 19th century. Didn’t you ever watch Star Trek? No, Angelus needs to be sent to a time after Angel gets his soul so it won’t happen again. Another reason to send him to 1998.”
“I like it here in the 21st.”
“It’s a only a few years back and in the here and now, Cordelia was protected by Angel.”
“I can kill him.”
“Yes, but there are certain advantages for you by going back, the most obvious one, of course is, that’s where Cordelia’s soul is.”
“Soul? I don’t want her soul.” Angelus growled.
“We understand that, but that is the soul you need to destroy, and right now it’s being housed in a slighty younger Cordelia Chase. And better yet, while Angel knows that Cordelia he has no interest in her. In fact, he’s in love with the slayer.”
Angelus fell into the nearest chair slightly nauseous. “I don’t believe you. In love with a slayer? Impossible.” The more he heard about his future self the more it sickened him.
“Sorry, but it’s true. She’s a friend of Cordelia’s. Buffy Summers, blonde very pretty, if that makes you feel any better.” Lindsay said somewhat sympathetically as the vampire got even paler than his natural complexion.
“It’s doesn’t.” Angelus head started to hurt. Vampires were supposed to kill slayers. His future self had to die.
“Of course, Angel isn’t really Angel right now or rather right then. He lost his soul after having sex with the slayer, triggering a happy clause in the curse. Now or rather then, he’s obsessed with terrorizing her and her friends. He’s Angelus, you. But, you shouldn’t have to worry about him interfering with your plans for Cordelia. From the files of the era, he barely notices her. He gets his soul back a few months later.”
“NO.” Angelus stood. “Not me- no matter what he calls himself.” Angelus could barely believe it. Angelus would never love a slayer or not notice Cordy. That Angelus was as much of a fraud as the ensouled freak. “I’ll kill him.”
“Okay.” Lindsay shrugged. “Angelus, we won’t send you back to 1898 but also know we won’t bring you back to this time, but that shouldn’t bother you, you like it in this time, well its only 2002. You’ll be damn close to the 21st century and you’ll have Cordelia.”
Lilah looked at Lindsay, galled that the other lawyer told Angelus the truth.
Angelus studied the lawyer, his expression passive, slowly nodding. Four years, he wouldn’t wait that long to kill the lawyers.
Angel stood as Lorne hurried into the room. “Freddykins said that the princess….” The green demon halted and gulped as he stared at prone body on the bed. “Angel.” Lorne looked at the vampire.
“You’ve got to help her. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. She won’t wake up. She just lies there barely breathing her eyes staring blankly at the ceiling.”
Lorne nodded the vampire’s morose and frightened expression worrying him more than Angel’s words.
Lorne sat on the edge of the bed, placing his fingertips on Cordelia’s temples. “Come on, sweetie, tell your best bud Lorne what’s going on in that beautiful head of yours.” Lorne beckoned. Lorne frowned, lifting his fingers, studying the young woman.
He tried again. “Come on, honey.” Lorne closed his eyes his hands leaving her face to briefly clutch at her hand, stood up, and took a deep breath before turning to face Angel.
The demon half waved and half shrugged. “I don’t know, Angel,” his voice serious. “I can’t read anything from her.”
“So, it’s not mystical.” Angel didn’t know if that relieved him or not. He wasn’t a doctor, if it was physical, Angel couldn’t do anything but wait and hope and he had to do something, seeing Cordelia like this was killing him.
“I didn’t say that. I can’t read ANYTHING, Angel. No aura, no nothing. Her soul is gone. The princess is empty. Something stole her soul and that isn’t natural.” Lorne empahized.
Fred gasped, standing in between Wesley and Gunn. All three were huddled in the doorway.
Angel blinked. “Her soul? She’s alive. Her soul can’t be gone.”
Fred blinked up to Wesley. “Will she wake up evil, like Angel if he lost his soul?”
“She didn’t lose her soul.” Angel growled.
“Angel cakes, it’s gone, what’s left is a vessel only.” Lorne said gently.
Wesley moved in the room. “She won’t wake up will she- not without her soul.”
Lorne shook his head. “Unlike Angel cakes, she needs her soul. Angel’s a vampire, the soul an anomaly. Without it, he still is a vampire. Angel is his ‘self’ abet nasty. But, the Princess is a human, her soul is who she is- the body merely a beautiful vessel, it lives but it’s not animated with ‘Cordy’. It’s nothing.”
Angel stilled. “It’s Cordelia. She’s in there.” His voice straining not to break.
Wesley stared at Cordy’s body. “Someone must have done a spell, it’s the only way.”
Angel’s jerked his head up moving towards the door. Finally, something he could hear, giving him something to do.
“Angel, where are you going?”
“To pay Lilah a visit,” he growled disappearing.
“Those bastards wouldn’t be stupid enough to mess with Cordy again….” Gunn grunted and answered his own question. “Of course they would.” He nodded to Wesley. “Should we go with him?”
“We would just get in the way. Fred, could you please help me. If Angel doesn’t find the answers at Wolfram & Hart, we need too.”
Fred blinked her teary gaze away from Cordy, nodding.
“Fuck, that law firm needs to be blown up.” Gunn grunted.
Lorne nodded in complete agreement.