Title: Out of Whack
Author: (Only) Anne
Posted here: 08/05
Category: Time Travel
Summary: Sequel to A Little Ways Back
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: NF for sure, and anyone else that has my stuff , otherwise, just ask.
Feedback:Always welcomed- and needed for this story
Wesley squinted his eyes at the brightness shining through the broken shades. He yawned, glancing at the small clock on the rickety table next to the bed. His hand flopped around on the surface searching for his glasses. 8:00 a.m.
Great, he slept all of 2 hours. Being a rogue demon hunter would be more palatable if the demons kept normal hours. He groaned, looking at the bandage on his stomach. It would also be advantageous if they permitted themselves to be hunted and killed.
Wesley fell back on the bed, pulling the worn blanket over his face to block out the sun. The life of a rogue demon hunter was certainly turning out less glamorous and gratifying then when he first decided on that particular path.
Who was he kidding, running around brandishing weapons he could barely use, even after three years of trying to learn, hoping that one morning, he would pick up a weapon with skill and without the fear swirling around in his bowls.
Wesley should have found a nice research position…. except the only organization that required his knowledge had sacked him and the only other demon hunter that he was aware of in LA had ungraciously growled a no to his offer of aid.
Well, Angel’s rejection of his offer hadn’t been unexpected. The vampire with a soul wasn’t the most social of beings. Angel surely hadn’t been in Sunnydale. Wesley buried his face in the pillow trying to drift back to sleep. Why was he thinking about Angel?
He hadn’t seen the vampire in years, not since Wesley first got to LA. Bugger the vampire and his lone hero bit.
Wesley sat up in the bed, his brow wrinkled as images floated in his subconscious. Not images….memories?
Wesley standing next to a Bavarian fighting axe embedded in the wall of Angel’s office. A young very beautiful brunette standing in the office. Angel, also, was there. His expression hard to read, but his gaze was fixed on the young woman. The young woman suddenly leaning down, pain on her face.
Wesley and Angel battling a hatched Tarval demon- side by side.
Wesley sitting in Angel’s office studying a scroll. Angel nearby in a chair reading a book. The beautiful dark haired girl in the office, reading a newspaper article out loud.
The young woman strapped to a hospital bed, her vibrant beauty fragile, eyes blank, tears falling down her face. The vampire standing protectively close. The vampire’s expression anxious, fearful, hopeful, and sad in the need apparent on his face. Wesley in a wheel chair reciting words from a scroll.
Wesley, the beautiful brunette, and a tough bald black man sitting across from a cold, unfeeling vampire. Not in Angel’s old office, but in an office….in a hotel.
Leaving with the black man and the young woman, still lovely in her sadness and anger. The three of them standing on the street outside the hotel with boxes in their arms.
Wesley and the black man in an apartment, the young woman’s apartment, playing board games.
A green demon in a Karaoke bar.
In the hotel again, facing an anxious frantic vampire, numerous tomes, and scrolls scattering the lobby floor and counter.
A portal, the dark haired woman, even more stunning in princess fare designed by the creators of the Arabian Nights. Storming a castle. Another young woman, brown hair, lovely, sweet, darling, with glasses and a bag for a dress.
That same young woman, her bag gone replaced by jeans and blouse, pushing up her glasses, sitting behind a computer, in the hotel.
Angel and the other brunette, sparring in the basement of the hotel. The black man sitting on the counter, joking with Wesley, while playing a computer game. All of them acting as a family.
Wesley blindly fumbled for his glasses, shoving him on his face. He hadn’t recognized any of those people except the vampire. But they were so real. Wesley shook his head. The hotel. Wesley concentrated. The Hyperion. Wesley knew where it was. Wesley winced, with an anxiousness he couldn’t name, he quickly got dressed.
Gunn rubbed at his baldhead, grumbling at the weird ass dreams that still lingered. He looked around the warehouse, trying to concentrate on his crews’ preparation for the raid on a vamp hive later that night.
He waved on a young man that had been trying to say something to him about needing more crossbows. Gunn sat on an old steel barrel, the images refused to leave his head.
Gunn standing next to his hydraulic stake gun listening to a vampire protected by the shadows.
Gunn in the middle of large glassed in lobby, jiving it up with confused security guards. Gunn calling for his crew and letting loose a strange vampire.
The same dark vampire of before, once again talking to him. Gunn ordering his best men to the hospital. Gunn standing guard over a young woman strapped in a bed, looking like she was in some sort of silent hell.
The young dark haired woman, no longer suffering, but yapping at Gunn in the bed of his pick up truck, annoying but damn hot.
In a museum, struggling with the dark vampire over a long wooden crate.
The hot chick, Gunn, and white dude with glasses sitting across the vampire in a hotel.
A flamboyant green demon. Drunkenly belting songs out on a bright stage in a dim bar with the hot chick and white dude by Gunn’s side.
Beating the crap out of the white dude at RISK.
Standing in the hospital with the brunette hottie watching over the white dude who had been shot in the stomach.
Fighting along side the vampire, the white dude, and the hottie in an auditorium full of vampires.
Sitting on the counter of a hotel, playing a computer game, while the white dude read books and, the vampire and the hot chick flirting by way of loud sniping.
The vampire at the chick’s side as she suffered from some unimaginable pain.
Riding in a cool ass Plymouth through a freaky hole in the air. The hot chick looking really hot in a hoochie goochie belly dancer get up. A skinny severely cute brunette with glasses in a burlap sack.
The cute chick nervously pushing at her glasses as she punched at a computer.
Gunn sitting again on the hotel’s counter, this time cleaning an already gleaming phat axe, while giving shit to the white dude and winking at the cute chick. The hottie, the vampire, all of them laughing together as a tight group.
Gunn took a wide swipe at his head. He never saw those people in his life. Laughing with a vampire. What the fuck? The hotel. The Hyperion.
Gunn ignored the calls of his crew as he grabbed his jacket and headed out.
“Fred, that’s my name. Fred.” The young woman babbled, pleased that she remembered. Fred paced in circles, talking out loud. “I remember my name. I am Fred, so I can’t be crazy crazy yet, just maybe going crazy.” She hurried to the cave wall, scratching equations on the surface.
Fred tossed the sharp rock down, hugging her body tightly, rocking back and forth. “I won’t go crazy, I won’t. I am Fred. I am in a cave.” She bit her lips. “I’m in Plyea. I don’t have friends. I wasn’t saved by a handsome man that is a beast and drinks blood. I wasn’t. I’ve never sung in a…. nightclub…never. I never held a crossbow to a man’s neck. Never.
I don’t know any beautiful girl that took me shopping or to a hairdresser. No, handsome man with glasses asked me to research prophecies on a computer. No, big tough good looking black man ever made me laugh or blush. Never. Never. I haven’t seen my parents in five years, five, five. I’ve never killed a giant bug with a suitcase shooting blades. Those people I never met, never helped me paint my room in a hotel I never been in. I haven’t had tacos in five years. I haven’t. Haven’t haven’t. I won’t go crazy.”
Fred blinked. She hadn’t even realized that she had started writing again. The Hyperion, the hotel.
Fred stared, nudging at her glasses. Her hand moved quickly now, scrubbing at the old equations, writing new ones. She had to get to the Hyperion. She had to get home.
Wesley broke the chain around the garden gate. He slid into the courtyard of the Hyperion. He stood in the middle of the over grown foliage. He glanced up to the doors, the glass broken by years of abandonment.
If he closed his eyes he could see how it should be.
The door repaired, painted and the glass panes sparkling and intact. The shrubbery neatly trimmed, a cement bench sitting proudly in the middle of the garden.
The beautiful brunette peeked out of the door.
“You better not be sitting out here brooding.” She called to the vampire sitting on the bench.
“I don’t brood.”
“Right,” the young woman teased.
“I’m not,” Angel defended, as the woman moved towards the vampire.
“So, what are you doing then?”
“I’m looking at the stars.”
“Oh, because you haven’t seen them in 250 years with your daylight aversion and all.”
Angel chuckled. “It’s so peaceful. This is the first night in awhile that you haven’t a vision or that we had to fight an evil of some sort.”
“Shush, Angel, don’t you know talking about good things make them go flahooey.”
“Flahooey,” the brunette nodded.
“Oh. Well then I’ll just be quiet then.” Angel gave a slight smile to the young woman.
“Okay.” The young woman turned to leave.
The brunette turned, sighing. “I guess, I better. Someone has to make sure your stargazing doesn’t turn into a brood fest.”
“That would be you.” Angel held out his hand.
The brunette gave a dazzling bright smile and let the vampire pull her next to him on the bench.
The door opened, Wesley poked his head. “Angel, Cordelia, we found a lead on the Xanthium demon killing the homeless.”
“Flahooey, told you.” The brunette playfully slapped at the vampire as he got to go into the hotel.
Wesley blinked, the images going as quickly as they had come. Cordelia. That was the lovely brunette’s name. Wesley wrinkled his brow. The name was familiar but from where. He tried to concentrate.
“Hey man, who are you.”
Wesley swung around to face a black man, one he never saw before, but one he recognized.
“Hey, you’re the white dude. What the…you’re… Wes?”
“Charles,” Wesley slumped down to the bench as the memories come flowing back pushing out any others, deflating his energy.
Gunn staggered to the bench. “Aw, shit.” He looked around. “This ain’t right.”
“No, it isn’t. No one lives here. We don’t work here.”
“Shit. What about Angel and Cordy? Christ, what about Fred?”
“There is a very real possibility that she is still in Plyea.”
Gunn groaned into his hands. “Hell, what is she going to do if she remembers?”
“Hopefully, she will remember everything, including the equation to bring her home.”
“And if she doesn’t.”
“Then we will go after her. We know where the hot spots are and where to find the book. But, right now we have to find out where Angel and Cordy are.”
“What if they’re dead- killed in 1998?”
Wesley’s head fell into his hands. “If Cordelia was killed by Angelus, then it won’t matter if Angel was killed. It will be Angelus running around and most likely a vampire Cordy running along side him.”
“What went wrong?”
“I don’t know,” Wesley said in frustration. “First, we need to find out if Angel or Angelus is in LA or anywhere else.”
“How do you plan on that?”
“He didn’t have the memory wafer.”
“No, but Lorne had opened Caritas before getting involved with Angel Investigations. It is still a valid source for information.”
Gunn knocked at Wesley’s shoulder, pointing out the green flamboyant demon. Lorne was dressed as usual in a flashy colorful suit. He was regaling a table with outlandish tales, if the way his arms flayed about was any indication.
“Excuse me.” Wesley politely tapped on the demon’s arm.
Lorne fixed his red eyes on the two men. “Whoa, aren’t you two just tied up in little knots.”
“Yes, we need you’re help.”
“Ah, the life of a poor humble nightclub owner is never done. Tell, Uncle Lorne your problems.” He encircled both men by the shoulders leading them to an empty booth.
“I ain’t singing.” Gunn grumbled.
“Now, now, what’s wrong with sharing a tune.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Wesley said as he slid behind the table. “We need to know if Angel, the vampire with a soul is in LA.”
Lorne moved to get out of the booth, but Gunn squeezed him back in. “Tell us.”
“Gentlemen, I abhor violence, especially to that vampire. He’s got an in with the powers.”
“Hot damn,” Gunn slapped his palm on the wood surface. “He’s alive.”
“He has his soul, that is very good.” Wesley nodded and then looked to the demon. “We need to see him. Where is he?”
“The vampire with a soul, doesn’t like people, power’s warrior aside, he’s not a nice guy. I met him once wouldn’t let me read him, he’s a true sour apple.”
“Be glad, he can’t sing worth a damn.” Gunn grunted.
“We need to talk to him.”
“Yeah,” Gunn echoed. “Who’s his seer? Cordy? A real hottie.”
Lorne leaned back. “No, his current seer is a Bracken demon, not a hottie by any definition, has the personality of irritating chalk screeching on a board,” Lorne shivered.
“A Bracken? Not Doyle?”
Lorne settled more comfortably in the cushions. “It seems you know a bit about the warrior’s lore. Doyle was killed almost three years ago, the second seer from some curse or another. Angelpie is on his third. Believe me, no one is lining up to be the next in line. He’s getting a reputation of using his seers as demon fodder.”
Wesley shook his head. “Cordy was never with him. Where is she?” Wesley looked back up to the demon. “We need to see him. You say he has an in with the Powers, then he must be working to help the helpless. Well, we are helpless and in a great need of help to find a very dear friend.”
Lorne considered. “You sure you won’t let me read you?”
“Please,” Wesley said over Gunn’s hell no.
Lorne scribbled an address on a napkin.
Wesley took it, getting up as soon as he read it. “Gunn.” He urged the black man up.
“You recognize it.”
“It’s where the old office use to be-before Wolfram & Hart blew it and me up.”
“What does that mean- that it’s still standing?”
“I don’t know.”
Wesley banged on the door. “Angel.” He yelled.
“Will you shut the fuck up?” A rumpled little man with bad breath, wearing a suit that looked like it had been slept in a few hundred times cussed at the two men. “Go away, we aren’t fucking buying whatever you are selling.”
Gunn shoved as the little man tried to slam the door. “We aint’ selling, we’re looking. Angel, where is he?” He pushed his way in as Wesley followed.
“The vampire is sleeping, doesn’t like to be disturbed. He’s a fucking bloodsucker, it’s daylight you do the math.”
“We need to seem him.”
“No, you don’t. He doesn’t see you, unless I see you,” the crumpled man pointed to his head. “And I didn’t so fuck off.”
“I’m going to break his mouth,” Gunn grumbled.
“Please tell him that Wesley Wyndham- Price needs to see him. We were acquainted in Sunnydale.
The little man cackled. “That will get you killed. The vampire gets more than violent at the mention of the hellmouth. Bad shit happened, makes him want to bust heads or stake himself. Go away.”
“We need to see him.”
“I told you-you don’t and if you ever do, don’t use that place as you’re calling card.”
“Just get him.”
“Come back tonight, waking him up isn’t a smart move, especially if you start waving the hellmouth in front of him.”
Wesley ignored the man heading towards old-fashioned elevator. “His apartment is upstairs.” He said to Gunn.
“You can’t go up there.”
Gunn shoved the little man. “Watch us.”
“Don’t.” A low voice came from the shadows.
“Angel.” Wesley hurried up to the vampire. He stopped at the vampire’s glare.
“What are you doing back here Price, I told you before that I don’t do partners, even if their rogue demon hunters.” He said in a monotone voice that didn’t quite hide the sarcasm.
Wesley stepped back. “We’ve met here in LA? Of course, we did.” Wesley had encountered Angel in LA, of course Wesley had joined Angel and Cordelia soon after.
“Wes,” Gunn glanced at his friends.
Wesley waved away the question. “Yes, I haven’t come to offer my services. I came because we,” Wesley pointed to Gunn,” need your help.”
“No.” The vampire turned away to go up the stairs.
“Damn, the vamp’s worse than beige. What the hell happened to you?” Gunn narrowed his eyes.
Angel turned around. “Get out. I don’t know you.” Angel glanced at Wesley. “I do know you. Get out.” Angel put his foot on the first of the steps.
“Angel, we need to know where Cordelia is, why she isn’t here with you. We have to know what happened in Sunnydale in 1998.” Wesley said quickly before the vampire disappeared from the room.
“Oh for Christ sakes, I told you not to got there.” The seer groaned grabbing a bottle of whiskey from the desk.
Angel stilled, his body turning to stone, the fist that held the railing of the stairs, whitened, splintering the wood. With out turning around, he said calmly. “If you ever come back here, soul or no soul, I will kill you.”
“Count yourselves lucky, now you two better go.” The seer held open the door for Wesley and Gunn.
The two friends came to a silent agreement, leaving the office for the time being.
“Sure thing’ thought you’d want to know though, those two didn’t leave. They’ve planted themselves on the front stoop.”
“I said get out.” Angel said from the hidden depth of his chair.
The seer sighed. Working for the vampire sucked rotten eggs and probably get him killed.
Angel closed his eyes, wishing the dark haired teenager from his mind. But, she never left. The memories of Cordelia Chase’s terror her pleas and screams echoed in his ears, tearing at his soul.
The sound of his soulless laughter at her cries as he pounded into her, sinking into her warmth were his torture. The marks repeatedly ripped into her delicate throat the knife that cut into his flesh.
The memories of Buffy, her eyes sad but determined, standing before him in the dark mansion after his soul returned, caused a lasting ache.
“Angel, I can’t. I’m so sorry, but I just can’t, not now, not ever. I know you’re hurting from what Angelus did, I know you are sorry, but I can’t. Giles will be able over some time, remember that it was Angelus that killed Jenny Calendar and tortured him, he will.
But, Angel, Xander will never understand that. You will always be the vampire that…destroyed Cordelia. You always will be reason that Cordelia will never walk or laugh or talk or bitch or cry, you are why she needs a machine to keep her breathing.
You are the one that made her watch as you killed her parents. I….Angel, I promised Xander that I would protect her from Angelus when he started to stalk her, I failed him, I failed her. And there is nothing I can do for Cordelia now. But, I will be there for Xander. I won’t- can’t fail him now. Loving you would be a betrayal to him, to his pain, to his grief. I can’t do that to him. I won’t. I’m sorry.”
Angel hadn’t said a word, just listened, watching her walk away from him into the sunlight. Angel never tried to stop her or plead with her, or ask if she felt the same as Xander, or to say again that he was so damn sorry. Angel couldn’t because deep down, hidden beneath the overwhelming guilt of the returned soul and his love for Buffy, was the rage of his demon at once again being thwarted from his desire, a desire that had traveled within the demon for a century, a need that was ever present.
The temptation to go to the broken body in the hospital, claim the teenager again, this time finishing what Angelus had started, taking her soul and giving her life, it was all still there banging within ready to justify the temptation with a false rationalization of mercy for a comatose girl.
Angel knew that he didn’t deserve forgiveness not for his acts as Angelus, and not for the want and need that still existed within his demon.