Title: Betrayal, Deception & Forgiveness
Posted here: 08/05
Rating: PG up to NC-17 (later)
Category: angst, etc.
Summary: I’m getting Angel and Cordelia out of the ‘situations’ that the writers put them at the end of S3
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: It’s been awhile. I’ve been taking a break. I haven’t read any spoilers for the S4 by choice, haven’t written any stories by fact-I haven’t had any ideas or I did, but I didn’t have an idea how to start- I wanted to get the hero’s out of the their respective problems- but I couldn’t figure out what to write, so I didn’t. I did try some of the other ideas that were suggested but until I could either get Angel out of the situation or watch it, all my other ideas slowed to a complete stop. Well, I started writing, of course, it would have to be close to when Joss blows everything I write out of the water, so I’m going to be posting quickly from now on- trying to get the story out before the season premiere.
Thanks/Dedication: anybody and everybody that read my stuff before and took the time to say nice things. Thanks.
The war between instinct, rage, love, resignation, and hope was creating a confusing intricate battlefield within, each feeling and thought pushing to the surface crying for superiority.
Instinct and rage were the easiest and the loudest. It wasn’t a surprise; he had lived off of both for over two centuries. They cried for him to survive and kill, to do whatever was necessary to make it be. The demon in him demanded it, it maybe dead but it refused to die. It swore that it would be free and wreak havoc to an unimaginable degree to the ones that caused its confinement.
It would mock their lives as they mocked its death. They would feel pain. Then as quickly as that promise was made love pushed forward gaining power and strength. Love, he had felt it and it was unconditional. It was a father’s love, something he never thought to experience. It was a feeling that couldn’t be stopped or dimmed by his demon. He would die willingly for that love. His love for his tormentor was stronger than his rage.
Acceptance came with the resignation; he was a demon and a killer. It was payback time for the years of evil and death. He deserved his fate, but as strong as that thought was there was another seeping forth. Hope existed fighting through the frustration of hopelessness, stronger than the instinct and rage and even than that of resignation. He couldn’t give that up, not now. It was her unwavering belief that he was good that allowed him to love again.
She gave him the strength to believe when his son came back a bitter stranger. He had felt it all, as he stood free on the cliff and waited for the epitome of his hope and love. She was with him; she would give him the strength to survive. Somehow, she would know and save him. She had to, she always did.
The darkness didn’t frighten him; he had lived so long in it. It was his friend and companion. It wasn’t the darkness that worried him. It was the quiet. The sounds of life that he had lived with for over two centuries faded.
The voices, the heartbeats, the nonsense of the humans that had surrounded him were gone. There was nothing-just the silence of a world underwater.
How he missed the blur of the noise even as irritating as it could be at times. He wasn’t afraid of the dark, but of the quiet..he was terrified.
How he wished he could feel the touch of his fatal enemy, just a flash, a burn- the feel of his dead flesh singeing under its slightest caress. But for the sun to grant his wish he would have to be free. It couldn’t even herald the passing of time in the depths that he sunk.
Hell wasn’t this terrifying. The horror of hell was something external that tore at him body and soul. This silence ripped internally, flaying his being layer-by-layer, year-by-year. Memories and imagines flooded through taking on their own existences.
Distorted faces, silently screaming in terror, thick red blood masking their features ran rapid through his mind. Men, women and children, he was spared none of it. A hundred years of horror visited him moment after moment in ever excruciating detail.
The isolation of his prison gave him nowhere to hide. Angel attempted again to focus on who she believed he was not what he knew he had been.
He smiled. He was in the sun, a brightness that now was his friend. He was walking hand in hand with the woman he loved. She was smiling in happiness, laughing pulling him along. She tugged harder bringing him closer to their goal.
Finally, they reached it. The young man, a boy really, smiled in greeting. The boy held out his arms in welcome. She grinned, knowing that it would be okay- that she had been right all along, and led him to his son. His words were poetic, profound, knowledgeable, everything a father should say to his son. Books were written with the words he spoke.
He was a father and a man; the ones that he loved- loved him. He was happy.
The darkness was winning. Hope was losing footing as the woman’s smile faded just as his true identity was diminishing. The images of his friends that proved he was more than just a monster were impossible to hold on to.
The memory that could describe in detail the broken bodies of the family he killed in 1803 and the hatred that marred Connor’s young face, couldn’t remember the color of Fred’s eyes or the shape of Gunn’s features. He cried out, his cracked voice resounding against the walls. He could only see shadows of Cordelia’s smile.
It was finally going to happen, the impossible, he was losing the ability to conjure up Cordy’s smile or her confident words of hope. The one person that he had come to rely on so much was fading away. Now there was nothing to do but wait.
Soon, the isolation would drive even the memories of his horrors out of his mind
The rage and instinct were flooding his being. The demon was taking over, its need to survive paramount. Conversely, it had been waiting with the patience of the saints, waiting for the man to forget the humanity that had been so hard-earned and fragilely possessed.
It would survive.
“Uh.” Cordelia blinked.
“It’s the cleansing time.”
“You need clarity if you are to become that which your destiny calls for.”
“I’ll repeat it again, uh.”
Cordelia glared at the bright lights that surrounded her, the absolute feeling that everything would be all right was slowly becoming an uneasy feeling that decisions made on the spur of the moment at the urging of flattery weren’t a good idea.
Why hadn’t she asked more questions? And why in the hell hadn’t she made Skip take her to Angel first? She really should ‘ve talked to him before she just blurted out ‘yes’ to Skip. Sure, she knew now that she loved Angel, but did he love her? She thought so, but a girl really should be more secure about something like that before she made life-altering spur of the moment changes.
Damn, Angel was probably still waiting for her. She.oh, she didn’t know what she had been thinking, just that the decision felt right at the time. But, it didn’t feel right now. This better not take long, Angel would not be happy waiting all night for her. What if he thought she was in danger? He would freak. Why hadn’t she just gone back to the hotel after Groo left? She could’ve cornered Angel in some empty room. There were tons in the hotel.
What romantic brain fart happened that made her think that she could get away with telling Angel to meet her an hour out of town. Like they ever had that much free time without something happening. Who did she think they were – a normal man and woman that could take the time to be romantic? No, she should’ve just bit the bullet as soon as the realization hit her. She loved Angel and she should’ve just told him rather than plan some scenic declaration.
“Cordelia.” Voices boomed. “You are distracted by lower being thoughts, you must rid yourself of them if you are to ascend to the higher plane.”
Cordelia narrowed her eyes. “I love Angel, I’m not ridding myself of those thoughts or feelings.”
A flash of light encompassed Cordelia’s body forcing her off the ground solidifying around her until she was lying in the air trapped in a glowing bright box.
“You will stay, until you have reached the clarity necessary for the privilege we have granted you.”
“Crap.” Cordelia pushed at the glowing walls around her.
Memories were washed away as the stillness of the deep water became a torrent rushing against the bars and the small glass window of his metal coffin. Rocks and debris crashed into the glass. The contents of the ocean swooshed through the broken small opening.
Sound came in the deepness, a low roar vibrating against the metal encasement. The power of nature rocked the box, slowly at first then with greater force. Angel clenched his eyes and mouth tighter trying to avoid the onslaught of sand and seaweed. He braced his shoulders and hands against the wall in an attempt to remain still, but the power of the sudden current was too strong.
His body was flung, smashing against the small confine. He winced at the sound of bones being shattered. The box moved swiftly now, turning and crashing into obstacles. Angel knew nothing about what was happening except that he was in the grip of a violent power.
The turbulent movement of his prison continued for what could have been mere moments or long years. His body was beaten and bruised from the continuous impact. It seemed endless, but then it stopped as the blackness of unconsciousness overcame the vampire
“Do come in, make yourself at home.” Wesley said dryly as continued to stare out the window into the flashing sky.
“Not much of a home.” Lilah glanced around at the neglected apartment.
“If it offends you then leave. Nevermind, just leave.” Wesley spared the lawyer a cold glance.
“Ow, after our passion filled nights, if I was a less secure woman I’d be hurt.”
“Well, you’re not, so you can just leave.”
Lilah expended a long loud breath. “Oh, Wesley, don’t you even want to know why I’m here, believe me as fun as you are, I’ve other reasons, more important reasons, reasons that get me out in this ungodly weather.” Lilah looked down in disgust at her ruined six hundred dollar shoes. “You know, phones were designed to be answered.”
Wesley turned slowly, hiding the flinch of his body as lighting struck and thunder shook the small apartment. “What do you want, Lilah,” ignoring her obvious wet condition.
“And here I thought the English were polite. No thank you, I don’t need a towel or dry clothes.”
“That’s good, because I wasn’t offering.”
“Those self-righteous so-called friends of yours sure did a number on you, killing any chivalrous bone in your body.”
“Yes, so you see, you won’t find a warm haven from the storm here, so you can leave. Drown on the way out, would you. Please,” Wesley added as an afterthought.
“Cute.” Lilah shrugged off her soaked coat and walked to the kitchen table, grabbing at the whiskey bottle there.
“I don’t believe I offered you a drink either.”
Lilah raised her full glass in a mock toast and swiveled on her now bare feet. Wesley, without expression, moved to follow the woman into his bedroom. “And I don’t want whatever it is you are offering.”
Lilah poked her head out of the bathroom. “You’re virtue is safe for now,” she said dryly patting her naked torso with a towel. “Dry clothes would be nice. Nevermind.” Lilah strode to Wesley’s closet a grabbed a sweater.
“What do you want? And, please make your self at home.”
“What do you know about the storm?” Lilah straightened tying the strings of Wesley’s sweat paints around her waist ignoring the man’s sarcasm.
“It’s a storm.”
“Brilliant deduction.” Lilah swished passed him back to the whiskey bottle. “Any other idea, like maybe it’s a prophecy or something?”
“It’s a tropical storm that has been just classified as a category five hurricane, I believe it has been named Ezekiel.”
“And you don’t think that it’s odd, out of place, unusual, not right..”
“I’m afraid, I’m not versed on how the weather service names storms.” Wesley turned away from Lilah’s stare.
“Still hiding in the sand, licking your wounds.” Lilah scoffed. “This storm- should be plummeting the western or central pacific basin or better yet the east coast. But, no it’s here, without warning. Wesley, Ezekiel? – Coincidence? Or is it a sign? The sign of bad times arising.”
Wesley blinked. “Has Wolfram & Hart become even more paranoid? Frightened that something else is encroaching on their right to cause havoc and mayhem.”
“Hey, paranoia has made Wolfram & Hart very powerful.”
“I thought it was selling your souls.”
“Whatever. Look, the storm has the senior partner’s very uneasy. It sprang out of nowhere. It’s not weakening. It’s gaining momentum. The coast is being turned inside and out. They don’t like it.”
“What do I care if Wolfram & Hart don’t like that the beaches are eroding.”
“It’s not the loss of shoreline, it’s what in the ocean that’s got them worried. They want what’s in it to say put. The news reports say that everything that was on the bottom of the water is being tossed on land. That’s what they want stopped.”
“Stop the storm. I don’t know the chant.” Wesley rolled his eyes.
“The storm can’t be stopped, but contingencies needed to be formed just in case.”
“In case what? What is on the bottom of the ocean that has the senior partners in a dither?”
“Angel and they’re afraid that he’s going to be really pissed if he shows back up on land and as a consequence screw up their plan.
Wesley blinked. “Angel’s on the bottom of the ocean.”
“Don’t look at me, we didn’t do it. Neat idea, though. Wolfram & Hart has always been a little hesitant about just killing the vampire because of the whole maintaining the balance of the comos stuff. Neutralizing him, making it difficult for him, having him ignore the fight that was all good, but they never really wanted him dead at our hands, too unsure of the results. But this way, he’s out of the game, no fault of ours, at least he is for now and they want to keep it that way. The best of both scenarios.”
“Why are you telling me this? I don’t care if the senior partners are unhappy and I can’t stop a storm even if I did.”
“Don’t expect you to. We can’t, why should you. The mystics and soothsayers are all a buzz. Their warning signals are flashing but they can ‘t pin point any magic source controlling it and all weather-influencing spells are failing miserably. The idea that the storm could bring forth Angel is causing the researchers all sorts of heartburn-well those with hearts anyway. They can’t let go of the idea that it’s another prophecy or something. Is it?”
“It’s a storm, Lilah. Nothing I’ve read involving Angel’s inclusion in the various prophecies has mentioned him at the bottom of the sea or of a storm that will bring him forth. Though, that in and of itself could be considered unusual as the vampire with a soul seems to get himself included in about every prophecy there is.”
“So, I’ve learned.” Lilah raised her glass again. “You’re right, it could just be a really bad storm our researchers aren’t having any luck with the prophecy-angle, just thought I’d ask. No. What you can help us with is protecting the prophecy-or more specifically the person that did put Angel at the bottom of the ocean.”
Lilah gave a small smirk as the realization hit Wesley full force.
“Connor did it.”
Lilah raised her drink again at Wesley in congratulatory salute. “Seems the son had some REAL issues with daddy the vampire. Doesn’t like demons and hates, I mean hates Angel.”
“I saw them.”
“Father and son fighting duo- a lie. Connor may fight like Daddy, but he deceives like Holtz. That’s the man he thinks of as his real father, seems he soaked up step-dad’s hatred. Holtz came back with Connor. He’s dead now and Connor blames Angel. He was just waiting for the perfect moment and he obviously found it.”
“How do you know all of this?”
“We have Connor, it wasn’t easy- but we got him.”
“He’s not dissected? I do remember that being your original goal.”
“Goals change. Anyway, he’s been checked out. Human, completely human. The nifty fighting strength, nothing to do with vampire genes, just training and Quor-toth’s atmospheric conditions, kind of like Superman- red sun, he’s normal- under the bright yellow one, superboy. Cutting him up won’t help us learn more about the reason he was able to be conceived by two vampires.”
“Then why do you want him? Obviously, its not to control Angel if you want him to remain at the bottom of the ocean.”
“The son’s a wild card and possibly the Tro-clan. Prophecy- remember, you found it. Well so have we. We just don’t know what it means exactly and we want to. It can go either way. Isn’t that what you found.”
Wesley turned away to stare back out of the window. “If Angel does show up, he’ll come after Connor. You’re dead.”
“We know and that’s why we need your help.”
“You want me to help you keep father and son apart AND you alive.”
Lila poured another drink. “We want you to help to keep father and son apart and son alive. Us- me- we’ll take our chances.”
“Angel won’t kill his son that was a false prophecy.”
“Maybe then but we can’t be sure now. The boy locked his dad up in a metal coffin and tossed him the ocean to remain aware and conscious until the end of time. Not real loving and Angel’s not real forgiving. Look at you.”
“I betrayed him. Holtz warped Connor- Angel will forgive his son. “
“Maybe, I’d agree with you. Except, well, there’s the seer-factor to consider.”
“Cordelia.” The drink stilled in Wesley’s hand.
“Connor was able to get to Angel, because Angel was rendezvousing with her- alone, on a cliff- what’s up with that by the way, they doing the lover lane’s thing? Don’t answer, it was rhetorical. Anyway, she’s missing has been since that night.”
“Missing, not dead. Connor didn’t say he killed her.” Wesley forced his questions to be a statement.
“The boy doesn’t like to say much about her. I think he may feel slightly guilty about that one. Angel, on the other hand, he’s quite self-righteous about.”
“Then maybe he didn’t..”
“Wesley, she was meeting Angel that night. You’re former employees confirmed that.”
“You’ve talked to Gunn and Fred.”
“Not willingly. What’s his name cornered me, threatening me to tell them where Angel and Cordelia were. I didn’t know then, so I couldn’t tell, not that I would’ve told him. He’s just not as scary as Angel. Jeez, Wes, they really do want to keep you away from the loop, don’t they, not telling you that Angel and Cordelia have been missing for a month, not even to ask for your help.
They have been looking everywhere else. Guess they really did forget about you. My point was- the seer was there and you can’t tell me that she wouldn’t have tried to stop Connor if she was alive. I’ve seen her ‘protect’ Angel. She wouldn’t let the son hurt him even if Angel was willing.”
Wesley closed his eyes and slowly nodded.
“So, you see the equation is slightly different than Connor just betraying Angel. He killed Angel’s seer. What will Angel do, you know him. Will he forgive Connor for that? It’s a tough call, I’ve seen what he’s been willing to do to protect his little girlfriend.”
Wesley ignored her sarcasm. “Still, Angel wouldn’t..” Wesley paused remembering everything that Angel had done in the past to save Cordelia. “If it was anyone body else, he would kill, no question, but Connor- I don’t know.”
Lilah shrugged. “We can’t take that chance, can you? You protected the boy from Angel before, won’t you do it again?”
“It was a lie.”
“Connor doesn’t know that- and this time it might not be, the father just might kill the son. Come on, Wesley, you’re the next best thing to a father that boy has- Angel is a demon that he hates- Holtz is dead. You saved him, you allowed Holtz to save him. That’s all he needs to know. He’ll trust you and then he’ll trust us.”
Wesley let out a small laugh. “Trust Wolfram & Hart?”
“Hey, we’re the only game in town for both of you and you know it.”
Wesley turned back to the storm outside but not before slowly nodding.
Fred stood, arms crossed, in the middle of the hotel lobby. She swayed back and forth on her heels, her teeth clenched nervously on her lips. “I wish Angel and Cordy were here. Where are they? Why can’t we find them?” She swirled to face Gunn.
“Girl, I don’t know and with the storm..I don’t know.” He repeated at Fred’ s expression.
“Charles,” Fred stopped her comment, looking at the large object Gunn had propped up. “You found the door.”
“Stuck in a tree, or rather tangled in broken branches and roots. Can’t believe the hotel is still standing. Damn.” Gunn looked around at the broken glass and shattered wood littering the lobby.
“I don’t like this, Charles. None of it. The storm, Cordy and Angel missing, Connor gone. Why hasn’t he come back? Where did he go? It’s been a month. Where is everyone? Where?”
“Fred,” Gunn started helplessly. He had tried. They both had. They had waited, but Angel never came back from his meeting with Cordelia.
At first, they had pushed their worries aside. From Angel’s whistling and humming demeanor, they both came to the conclusion that somehow Angel and Cordelia were going to finally be honest with each other about their feelings. They figured that deserved some alone time and could understand why phone calls weren’t on either’s priority list. They hadn’t really started to get anxious until they realized that Connor had also disappeared. But he was a teenager discovering a new world, maybe he just went exploring.
That justification lasted about thirty minutes. Connor had seemed to accept Angel. He had gone to the movies with them, fought along side Angel, defended him, but neither of them could shake the memory of Connor’s earlier distrust, hatred even, towards Angel.
They started to worry and the unanswered phone calls to Angel and Cordelia’s cell phones didn’t do anything to alleviate any of those worries.
Still, they waited. Angel and Cordy may just be talking, discovering their feelings. Both, Gunn and Fred knew how those talks could go on and on. Time did seem to disappear when you discovered love. But, Connor never came home and love or not, they knew that Angel needed to know.
They tried his phone, Cordelia’s cell and home phone but neither answered. They tried every half hour and with each minute their worry became more pronounced. Their anxiousness was clinched when the sun rose. Angel and Cordelia weren’t at her apartment, love or not, one of them would have returned the countless messages on Cordy’s machine.
Their anxiousness solidified into panic when the police called reporting Cordy’s jeep abandoned on the freeway. They didn’t know what to think when they found Angel’s car on the cliff where he was supposed to meet Cordelia. They searched the rocks and beach below, called every demon snitch that they knew.
But nothing, no sign of Connor, Angel or Cordelia. Weeks passed and no word, Gunn had tried to find Justine but Holtz’s ally had disappeared along with everyone else. Lilah swore on the threat of death that Wolfram and Hart had nothing to do with Angel and Cordelia’s disappearance. She had laughed at Gunn’s worry. He almost killed her then.
Fred called Lorne on the off chance that the demon knew something. Lorne didn’t. He was as clueless as they were, though he did tell them to find Connor. Find the boy and they would find Angel, find Angel and the vampire would find his ladylove, he said.
Lorne denied knowing anything specific just that he didn’t trust the boy and warned Angel not to turn his back on his son. The boy may have come home but he still had a lot of issues. Fred begged Lorne to take them to the Conduits. The demon refused.
“Charles, we’ve got to go Las Vegas and drag Lorne back if we have to. He has to take us to the Conduits. He has to. He told Angel where they were when Cordy was dying, they have to help us.”
“No, girl, they don’t. They didn’t help Angel, just tossed him around. Cordy helped herself when she became demonized.”
“But, Charles, we have to try, we have to do something.”
“Yeah,” Gunn shrugged.