Angelus remained still, his eyes closed allowing his other senses to do the investigating. The smells of the East End were absent in the air.
All of the smells were unfamiliar; all except the blood, humans and demons were in the room with him. He listened. Angelus heard strange voices whispering. He moved slightly and growled, chains bound his body.
“Ah, Angelus you are awake. Welcome to the 21st century.”
The vampire opened his eyes at the woman’s voice. He had never heard that accent before, except once. It wasn’t quite the same but it was similar. Angelus growled and pushed against the chains.
“We apologize by our methods, but we really wanted to speak with you and thought this would be the best way.”
Angelus took in his surroundings. It was not like any place he had been before. He recognized the luxury of the room, but not the furnishings. His eyes traveled to the vampires standing by the door. They were dressed oddly. In fact everyone in the room was dressed strangely.
He stared again at the woman, she had obviously been injured, but it wasn’t the bandages that he stared at but her legs, they were covered in trousers.
“We understand that you maybe a bit disoriented, but please listen and we will explain why we brought you here. I think you will find our reasons will be enjoyable to you.”
“I’m afraid that may have to wait, until a few things have been explained. It’s not a matter of trust, but of precautions.”
Angelus glared. The woman nodded to the vampire’s at the door. They dragged in another vampire.
The human male beside Lila held up a strange metal object, it was shaped like a pistol. Angelus eyes narrowed.
“The original use for this.” The man held a small, very small gleaming object. “Was to prevent demons from harming humans, but as that’s not what we need, we have modified it a bit.”
Lilah nodded again to the vampire’s. The vampires dragged the other to Jeremy. Jeremy placed a small object into the other thing he had in his hand.
“Angelus by all reports you are intelligent so I think you will understand this.” She pointed as Jeremy pressed the metal pistol into the struggling vampire’s throat. The vampire flinched then glared.
“See, he’s perfectly fine. Let him go.”
The angry vampire moved towards Jeremy.
“Until now.” Lila used her bandaged fingers to push something she cradled in her sling. Instantly, the approaching vampire howled as fire spread from his gut outwards. Soon very soon, the vampire was dust.
“Now,” Lilah stepped away from the dust pile. “We have placed one of those in you. I’m sure we will never have an occasion to use it, believe me we don’t want to. It’s just a precaution until you become oriented. That’s all.”
“Why?” Angelus growled.
“You do understand, don’t you?”
“Good.” Lila directed one of the vampires to unchain Angelus.
Angelus bounded up and broke the vampire’s neck.
“Angelus, that wasn’t very nice, if fact it shows that you don’t understand.”
Lila pushed another button. Angelus howled and fell back.
“Now, there are different consequences to pushing this button. You have seen the worse, and have now experienced the least. Do you understand?”
Angelus stumbled up and growled. “What do you want?”
“We understand that you have recently met this woman.”
Jeremy held out a picture. Angelus studied the dark haired woman in the photograph. It was an amazing photograph, the colors jumped out, and the young woman’s beauty apparent, not obscured by fuzzy black and white film.
For the first time since Angelus awoke and smelled the strangeness of the place did he begin to accept that he was no longer in the 19th century.
“Cordy.” Angelus grabbed the picture. It was her. She was wearing trousers like the other woman. But they were different, low on the hips, showing hints of her stomach. The shirt was tight and brightly colored. Angelus traced the pictured body.
It was his Cordy. She had gotten away- left with a vampire and a human. The memory of the fight in the alley came back clearly. The black hole, they disappeared in was the same one that he had seen this last time before he fell unconscious.
Lila smiled at Angelus reaction. The plan might just work. “I see that you do remember her. Got away didn’t she? But not alone, she had help.”
Jeremy held out another photograph. Angelus grabbed it. It was the other vampire, in a long leather coat.
“Yes. Angel, a vampire with a soul. Or rather your future self. Is that what you want to be, Angelus, a vampire with a soul? We are counting on that you don’t.”
“No.” Angelus growled denying the picture.
“Yes. You get a soul. Pretty disgusting. I know it has caused us some problems. That’s why we sent Ms. Chase to you. We were hoping that you would be able to break their bond. Right the wrong. Vampires aren’t supposed to have souls. You can see that. Without Ms. Chase at his side, well, then no soul. But you failed weren’t able to break them apart. In fact they seemed to be even closer now. See.”
Jeremy showed Angelus another picture. Angel and Cordelia were embracing, kissing. Angelus crumbled the picture with a violent growl. He strode to the door.
“Angelus, you aren’t home. You need us. Don’t worry we will tell where they are. But, there is other information that you will need. Are you ready to listen?”
“Wonderful. Let’s begin your crash course in the 21st century and Angel Investigations.”
Angelus paced impatiently through the room. It had been a week of listening and learning about his future self. It disgusted him at how he had turned into some weak do gooder.
Angelus shot his hand to his short hair and down to his leather coat. He had resisted the change in his appearance at first. But, he adapted quickly when Lila had explained that the easiest way to get to Cordy was for her to believe he was Angel.
She no longer thought of Angelus as a threat, but she wasn’t stupid, if Angelus wanted to get close enough to take her, then Cordelia would have to believe he was Angel at least for a moment.
Angelus stopped his pacing to stare at the pictures on the table. Angel Investigations. He growled. He would kill them all, he would destroy all the evidence of his future self’s betrayal of his true nature. Except, his fingers caressed the picture of Cordelia, She would be his. And this time, he wouldn’t waste his opportunity on games.
“Angelus, your timing is going to have to be perfect. It is unlikely that we will be able to distract Angel for long.”
Angelus growled. At least he hadn’t turned into a complete wimp. Angelus remembered the fight in the alley. No, Angel wasn’t a wimp. But, now Angelus was aware of the situation, he wouldn’t lose, not again, not when he knew the stakes.
“Cordy, are you ready yet?”
“It’s not my fault.” She yelled from the bathroom door.
Angel paced and grumbled. “Hurry up. The reservations are at 8pm. It’s 8 now.” Angel couldn’t believe he actually wanted to go out to dinner. Well, he didn’t actually want to go. Human social places made him uncomfortable.
He always seemed to do something that embarrassed Cordelia. But Cordelia still wanted to go out and since he hadn’t been able to deny his seer anything of late, they were going out. If Angel wasn’t so happy and in love, he would be resentful at how the young woman could wrap him around her finger as it was- he was just amazed that she loved him.
“Don’t yell at me. It’s not my fault that we’re late.” Cordelia stood in the doorway of the bathroom.
Angel turned and stared. Damn, they were going to be really late now.
“Angel, no. Angel, this is the last decent dress I have.” Cordelia backed into the bathroom at Angel’s look.
Angel ignored Cordelia’s whine and moved closer. His hands reached for the low scoop line of the black silk dress.
“Angel, stop.” Cordelia whacked at his hands. “You already ruined my other dresses.” Her hand motioned to the discarded ripped clothes on the floor.
“I’ll get you more.”
“That’s not the point. I’m hungry.”
“I’ll cook later.” Angel’s hands moved up to the thin straps, his fingers drawing the material down Cordelia’s shoulders.
“I’m hungry now and I want to go out.”
Angel large hand opened wide on Cordelia’s bare back, his fingers pushing her towards him. Cordelia’s next sentence was halted as his lips covered her mouth.
Cordelia’s sigh was a cross between a whine and desire. She mumbled something into the vampire’s lips.
“What was that?”
“I said, you better cook something really delicious and a lot of it.”
Angel smiled as he brought her back into his arms. Cordelia suddenly tensed and jerked back. Angel’s arms tightened, his desire instantly turning into concern as Cordelia gasped and clutched at her head.
Angel cradled the shaking young woman in his arms, his hands caressing her body, until the vision past.
As soon as Cordelia’s trembling subsided, he led her to the bed. He quickly reached onto the bedside table and handed Cordelia some water and pills. He sat next to her, his hand back around her shoulder.
“I’ll never eat now.” Cordelia leaned into Angel’s shoulder.
“I’ll ordered something before I leave, okay.” He kissed her gently on the top of the head.
“Chinese. The vision?”
“Bumpy green ugly demon” Cordelia winced as she grabbed a paper and pen. “Angel, there were also a lot of vampires. Be careful, please.” She handed him the location.
“I will, now lie down. I will call Wesley and Gunn. I will also see if Fred can come back from the library.”
“I’ll wait down stairs.”
“I think you should lie down.”
Angel grumbled and picked her up.
“I can walk.”
“Hmmph, ow.” Cordelia buried her pounding head into Angel’s chest.
Angel settled Cordelia onto the couch in the lobby. “Are you comfortable? Do you need more aspirin? I’ll get you some more water.”
“Water would be good. Then go.”
“I don’t know. I think I should wait for Fred.” Angel handed Cordelia the bottled water.
“All right. Rest.” Angel kissed her.
Angel raised the cell phone in acknowledgment as he headed out of the hotel.
Cordelia placed the bottle to her forehead. Chinese. It had sounded good. Now, it just made her stomach even more nauseous. Cordelia wondered if there was a way she could market the visions as an appetizer suppressant. She could be rich.
The weight conscious of LA wouldn’t mind bouts of extreme pain if they could lose some quick weight. Cordelia closed her eyes and leaned back, waiting for the sharp pounding to subside into dull pounding. That pain wasn’t so bad and it only lasted until the evil was dead and gone.
Cordelia eye’s remained closed as she heard the front door open. “Fred, in here.”
Cordelia opened her eyes at the silence. She sat up.
“Angel, that was…” Cordelia got up as the vampire approached her. “Angel, where’s Gunn and Wesley.”
“I’m sure they will be along shortly.” He moved closer. “You are beautiful.”
“You expressed that all ready, quite effectively.” Cordelia blinked. The pain in her head had diminished but hadn’t gone. “What happened? The demon…” Cordelia involuntarily stepped back as the vampire moved even closer, grinning. “Angel, what’s wrong with…..Oh shit, no way…impossible.” Cordelia stumbled back against the couch, scrambling to run.
Angelus was on her in a flash. “I’m glad to see that you haven’t forgotten me. Does that mean you missed me?”
“No, no. Your soul is permanent.” Cordelia pushed against Angelus. Somehow breaking loose, knocking the table as she moved.
Angelus let her get a few feet before he grabbed her again. “Never had one, don’t want one.” Angelus griped securely at her shoulders, immobilizing her flight.
“Those goddamn lawyers.” Cordelia kicked out, in realization. He laughed as he dodged her. “If you do that again, I’ll break your arm. Now be still let me look at you.”
Angelus winced as the sharp point of her shoe dug into his foot.
Angelus growled and jerked her into his arms, bending her legs up. He ripped off her black sandals. Angelus stared at them for a moment then tossed them down. Cordelia squirmed against the vampire.
“Cordy.” Fred walked in her arms loaded with Chinese food. “The delivery guy was outside. Angel, I thought you were out slaying demons.” Fred blushed at the intimate way Angel was holding Cordelia.
“Run, Fred.” Cordelia struggled against Angelus. “Get Angel, tell him Angelus is here. Run.”
“What…” Fred stood stunned.
“By all means, go tell him.” Angelus laughed.
Fred’s eyes widened and ran, the boxes of food smashing to the ground.
“Now, Cordy, it’s time to leave. We have some catching up to do. I must warn you though, I am quite displeased with you.” Angelus pressed his hand around her neck until the young woman’s struggles ceased.