Out of Whack. 30-31

Part 30

Angel half listened to Fred’s repeated instructions as he watched Cordelia from the corner of his eyes. She was moving around, picking up trash, wiping down the dusty desks, hmmphing over and over again at the signs of neglect.

Any tears or tension from earlier had seemed to evaporate once the explanations were over and Angel said he was ready to go.

She turned suddenly. “Angel,”

Angel stopped his jump. Did she catch him staring? “What?”

“When’s the last time you’ve eaten?”


“Go eat. Can’t have you weak with hunger or anything like that.” She zoomed on Gunn and Fred. “What about Angel A? If I was in a coma, he was probably being stupid. Did he eat before he went back? I didn’t ask. Shoot.”

Fred shrugged. “I do know that Wesley made him eat regularly and try to sleep.”

“Angel,” she called going into the kitchen. “Damn, Angel,” she looked around. “You do know that letting your living environment deteriorate is a major sign of depression.” She grabbed at cup he was about to put in the microwave. Cordelia held it as she went to the cupboards.

“You need something extra,” she put a dash of Tabasco sauce in his blood. “It will give you energy.” Cordelia scrunched up her face and added a few more dashes.

Angel inwardly groaned. Why was she always messing with his blood? Now he would have to drink it. He sighed. Wait. He was a cold heartless bastard. Cordy had said so or words to that effect. It wouldn’t make her mad or hurt her feelings if he dumped it down the drain. She’d expect it. Angel snatched the cup and drank it.

He needed to get her out of his hotel.

Cordelia smiled. “Good, uh.”


“Silly. Here,” she pulled another container out of the refrigerator. “Take this along for Angel A, I don’t trust that he’s been eating right and I know my parent’s fridge won’t have any blood and he can’t…well, he just may need this. Okay.”

“You’re not going to ruin Angel A’s, did that change- I finally convince you not to mess with my blood?”

“Hmmph.” She turned and walked out.


“Ready,” Fred asked. “I’m using the same equation…”

“Stop.” Cordelia waved her hand.


“Look what Angel’s wearing I’ll never trust him,” she took off for the stairs.

Gunn shrugged. “She likes to dress you.”

“She always did.”

“Yeah, but now you let her, you are so whipped in future.” Gunn laughed.

“Charles.” Fred smacked at his arm.

Angel growled and moved his feet to the stairs as Cordelia’s loud voice called for him. He was half way up the stairs when he realized that Gunn was laughing even harder and the girl Fred was giggling.


“What is it? I want this over with…”

“I know, to get back to your plans of revenge, blah, blah. Where’s the shirt I bought you, the purple one.” Cordelia stood in his closet, pushing at the hangers.


“The shirt, dumbass.” She leaned back and studied the clothes. “I know you didn’t give it away with my stuff, so where is it.” Cordelia turned her hands on her hips.

“I.” He took a deep breath and felt his head start to pound at her glare. Maybe, the pain would go away if he just did what she asked. Angel went to his second drawer and pulled out a tissue wrapped shirt.

“Ah,” Cordy clapped and ran to him. “Okay, put this on and when you get to my parent’s house, tell me that you haven’t gone shopping yet and that Angel will be coming with the right one.”


“Don’t worry I’ll understand.”

“You’ll understand?”

“Well, follow up quickly with when you are, but this will keep the door from being slammed in your face or if Angel is already there- you from being dead dead.”

“This will?”

“Purple is a very important color to me. It’s become my favorite. Now, hurry.” Cordelia turned as she headed to the door coming back to the vampire just as quickly.

“I really do appreciate that you haven’t tried to kick us out anymore, I do appreciate that you can remember that you do love us. You are worth so much more than you think you are. I do love you.” She leaned up and kissed him on his cheek.

“Now hurry up and change so you can go save us.” Cordelia smiled.

Angel watched as she ran out of the room. Why exactly again did he cut her out of his life? He was still wondering as he buttoned up the purple shirt.

Part 31

Angel knew his goal but he couldn’t help but stop and look around at the empty tree-lined streets. It felt unfamiliar. He had gotten used to the busy freeways and sidewalks of LA. Good or bad, life wandered the LA streets at night.

Ignorance, stupidity or just the need to get out and move but the people in LA didn’t hide inside. He had forgotten how deceptively quiet Sunnydale was, a peaceful façade hiding the real dangers of the hell mouth. Its inhabitants were smarter than those of LA.

Angel sped up his pace to the high-fenced gate positioned far away from the street. Memories, thoughts aside, he did have a goal. Sunnydale was a past the held bitter and sweet memories both reaching the extreme of each at times but they were just memories. Angel needed to get to his present and future.

The Cordelia he saw in his bedroom was an image he never thought he would see again. Everything was there within the young woman- beauty, strength, courage, and heart. The only difference was that she knew him more than he thought possible.

How did that happen? Did he even want it to happen? Angel shook his head. The only thing he needed to want was Cordelia Chase placed safely beyond Angelus, any Angelus. Angel quickened his stride leaping over the wrought iron protection that couldn’t keep him out.

Angel stood at the door, took a deep breath, and knocked. His eyes locked with the beautiful teenage girl.

He had heard Cordy, Gunn, and the girl Fred explain but it was still a bit of a shock to see a teenage Cordelia Chase in front of him. She was the same but different. It was more than just physical. In this form, youth and energy embraced her body. Three years later she changed.

The beauty was still there in abundance but the eyes had become knowing of the evils of the world, the naivety and righteous indignation at the weirdness and danger had become acceptance. He saw it all as the young woman glared.

The body was 17 years old but the hazel eyes that held his were ones that had seen too much in her young life. Old feelings of guilt sprung up, knowing that her association with him was the primary source of her knowledge. God, what had he done to her?

“Go away.” She moved to slam the door.

“I haven’t had time to go shopping yet,” Angel blurted out feeling like an idiot.

The girl stopped, her gaze narrowing. “Well, that’s new. Does that mean I don’t get one of your sick little gifts. Well, gosh darn and here I thought I was special.” She brought her arm up again to slam the door.

“The shirt.” He pulled at the garment, groaning inwardly. What kind of gifts had Angelus been leaving? Angel decided he didn’t want to know. His knowledge of Angelus’ past gifts to his victims of choice was more than sufficient to ignite the pain in his stomach and the pounding against his skull again.

And what was with Cordelia’s attitude? She had to know that sarcasm and disdain would only draw more interest to her if he had been one of the Angeluses. Why did she even open the door? Angel groaned again. Stupid thought. When had the Cordelia he knew the best ever been timid. She didn’t even have the good sense to quake in fear when she was scared.

She raised a suspicious brow looking closer, contemplating the shirt. Cordelia leaned back and studied the vampire, staring into his dark brown eyes. “Hmmph. I gave you one simple task and you mess it up. My favorite is the blue-based…Hold on.” She stopped and stared back at the shirt. “What are you trying to pull? That shirt is ruined. You well…I…. It’s not supposed to have any buttons. Have you gone shopping again or taken up sewing? What’s going on?

Angel wanted to just grunt ‘Uh?’ at the shopping and sewing but he figured that would get the door slammed. He spoke quickly. “You, Gunn and Fred came to our past to send me to warn you that….”

“Back up. You’re not…what past? Not that far judging from the shirt and you did have a soul when I gave it to you so you’re not either of these Angeluses. Oh, my god, not a third one?” She stared again, realizing suddenly. “Or…”she groaned. “ I got beige Angel. What kind of reinforcement is that? Darla’s not here just little old me. Where’s my Angel?”

The amazement and guilt were gone. The teenager may have the physical body of a 17-year-old Cordelia Chase, but the glare, biting tone and reckless courage was his Cordy. Angel didn’t have time to dwell or brood on the adverse effects his association had on the young woman’s life, as it was he thought he was being marvelously patient.

“Your Angel?” Angel rolled his eyes he was as much as her Angel than one from a year from now. Hell, he knew her.

“Yeah, MY Angel, where is he?”

Angel scowled. “‘Your’ Angel is coming with the right shirt. Can I come in now?”

“I don’t know. You fired me.”

“Cordelia, really I was sent to save you- not to be bitched at.” His patience was running thin.

“Sarcasm? Really, do you think you should take the chance that I won’t just stake your sarcastic beige ass?” She reached out and pulled at the vampire’s leather coat. “Come in. Something really bad must’ve happened if I resorted to scraping the bottom of the barrel for an Angel with a soul.”

“You were a lot nicer when you came to ask for help.” She was definitely his Cordy. He knew this because not only was she a pain in the ass-it effected him. There was a time that he could ignore her without having to beat down the urge to hold her, laugh with her or just react to her.

He gritted his teeth, striving to retain the immunity he had built up against her over the last few months.

“Would have to be now wouldn’t I? Hmmph. Whatcha got there?” she noticed the bulge in the vampire’s leather coat.

“You said Angel A might be hungry.”


“It makes it less confusing, I think, or at least that was what that Fred girl said you seemed to agree. She labeled everyone- the Angels and Angeluses.” Angel shook his head, pictures of dark figures with his face skulking and darting around Sunnydale like some twisted Shakespearean farce flashing through his brain.

He shook his head to get rid of the image. Thinking about it would drive him nuts.

Cordelia shrugged at Fred’s need to be organized and then looked back to the vampire with a questioning glance. “I told you to bring it and you did?” She cocked her head.

“Yes, after I drank your Tabasco spiced concoction.”

Cordelia licked her lips, chewing at them a little. “You were being nice. Why?” She took the container.

Angel considered and answered truthfully, realizing that cold stoicism wouldn’t get him anywhere with this Cordy. And Wolfram & Hart, Darla, were so far away. Angel’s priority had to be making sure that Cordelia was safe and to do that she would have to trust him. “Because as you pointed out I do still care about my family.”

“You listened?”

“You were convincing.”

“Oh. I wasn’t then though was I?” she glanced up at the vampire. “This is weird. I’ve already had this conversation with you, but oh well. I am sorry that I got angry before I got worried and then it was too late for me to help you and I just…you hurt my feelings and I got mad.”

“Don’t, Cordy. You told me that I wasn’t ready, that you weren’t ready. I’ll wait to have my own conversation, okay.” Angel had begun to think maybe some day they would both be ready.

Cordelia cocked her head.

Angel watched becoming amazed again. She expected Angelus and she got him-the wrong Angel in her point of view, yet she was calm. She had faced more than one version of Angelus and she was calm.

Angel’s thoughts veered as he noticed something more important than any of his previous thoughts. His eyes widened. “When were you marked again?” He tugged at her collar. “You didn’t have these when you were 17.”

Cordelia stepped back, moving his hand away. “Weird, uh. They showed up with the visions and me. Did anyone happen to mention to you where my body is?”

“Safe, Wolfram & Hart only sent your soul.”


“I agree.”

“I course you would; you’re still getting a woody at the mere thought of getting revenge on them.”

Angel decided not to growl. “Why didn’t you tell me that you had the marks when you were sent here.”

“How do I know? I wasn’t there for this supposed Oprah session. Probably didn’t think it was any of your business or may be you didn’t ask.” She crossed her arms purposely across her chest.

“Not my…” His frustrated retort was cut off as he sensed a presence near the door.

“Good ‘grr’ or bad ‘grr’” Cordelia’s defiant tone change immediately to a questioning one at the vampire’s intent expression.

Angel moved closer to whisper in her ear, stopping her from shoving at his sudden invasion of her space. “He’s skulking so I’d say not good. But, he’s not coming in. And keep your voice down.”

“Hmmph. Coming in? Oh, right, I invited you in, great.” She huffed in the confines of the vampire’s arms. “Great way to save me,” she tried to smack out but Angel held her hand to his chest. “You, coming in and bringing all the Angelus’ in with you.” She huffed.

“Shut up.”

“You can’t tell me to shut up.”

“Please, I need some answers. I think maybe you left out other important parts out of your story. And keep it down-Vampire hearing.” He jerked his head to the door.

Cordelia narrowed her eyes to sharp brown glints. “What answers,” she whispered.

Angel gave a brief nod in an acknowledgement of her anger and approval at her lowered voice. “You said that Angel A knocked. You let him in. You were happy to see each other. And after awhile Angel B came in- your bedroom.”


“The first attempt to send an Angel, or second rather.”

Cordelia scrunched up her face. “That screwed up too?”

“It seems so.”


“Later.” Angel turned back towards the window keeping his hands on her shoulders, trying to discern the figure of a vampire. “I can’t tell from here if the version out there as a soul or not. But, Angelus would just come in and Angel A would knock or break the door down.”

“He wouldn’t break my parents door.”

“He would if he sensed me in here with you.”

Cordelia nodded. Okay. That was true. She looked worriedly at the door. That would be a bitch to explain. If that happened, she’d just have to make sure Angel fixed it before they went home.

“So, most likely its Angel B. He was told to watch and not interfere unless you as you are now or then or whatever were in danger of being marked by Angelus again. It happened before- that’s how things screwed up the first time. Angelus saw them on your teenage body after Angelus 1 was taken care of and your soul was returned.” Angel stared again at the scars on her.

“Oh, so even though I’d be safe in my present, I won’t survive my past. Well that just sucks. So, when does Angelus show up to do the deed?”

Angel shook his head at her nonchalant attitude. Was the danger of Angelus so common place to Cordelia that she just accepted it?

“You said Angel B entered after Angel A came. So, it must be soon.” Angel stopped his hand from touching her neck. “But you didn’t say anything about an Angelus being here, only Angel A, then Angel B. And you already have the marks. You said…What?” Angel pulled her back as Cordelia’s expression changed to understanding and she tried to yank away. “Cordy, I need to know or I can’t help.”

She scrunched up her nose at the vampire and then took a deep breath. “You said that I said, god that’s confusing, that Angel A came, happiness, blah blah, awhile later Angel B and that he’s been watching me, the house and stuff. He came in the bedroom.”


“And, the only reason this Angel B was supposed to interfere was if Angelus was about to mark me.”

“Repeating everything I say isn’t helping.” Angel said in exasperation.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. “It wasn’t Angelus. Eww, if Angel B came in that meant he was watching us. That’s icky.”

“Excuse me.” Angel stared his jaw gaping.

“Icky, to think he was just out there lurking outside my bedroom, icky.”

“Not that.”

“That is too icky.”

“Okay, that’s icky. Now, concentrate on the other part of your babble.”

“Babble?” She glared.

“Statement, then. Not Angelus, then who marked you.”

“Gee, not Angelus, then who?” She tapped her finger on her chin. “Let’s see, who’s left, genius. Hmm.” She cocked her brow at Angel, waiting for the light bulb to go off.

She rolled her eyes at Angel’s remaining cluelessness. “Gee, maybe it would help if you took a whiff.”

“Just tell…Me?” Angel balked a disbelieving tone.

“You wish.”

“No, I don’t.” Angel said quickly, too quickly.

“Well, good because I wouldn’t want you to either. Hmmph.” She glared.

“Cordy, who marked you.”

“Angel A, dumbass.”

“You said I didn’t….”

“You didn’t, he did. ‘Happiness, blah, blah -.After awhile’,” she waved her hand in the air between their bodies. “I guess I didn’t want to tell you, because you’re a JERK. When Angel came we…. not that I know for sure…well actually I do, because that’s what would’ve happened. We would’ve been REALLY happy to see each other.”

Angel dropped his jaw. Things were getting surreal again. . “So,” he started slowly, “’happy to see each other’ is code for Angel A marking you.” Angel tested the words around his tongue. Yep, they sounded insane. “ Why would I…”

“Not you, him. And happiness blah, blah means making love, stupid. Then, maybe, probably the other because Angel would be a little freaky and insecure with me here with all the Angeluses and well… So.”

“Does that happen a lot?” Angel was too numb to form any other thought. He did what? With Cordy?

Cordelia scrunched up her face. “Does what?”

“Any of it?” Angel said weakly.

“You sure you want to hear this. You’re all scowly. Don’t worry. You want me around in the future, it’s in your now that you’re an asshole.”

Angel closed his eyes. It all made sense. Well it didn’t not by any stretch of the imagination, certainly not his. But, it would explain Cordy’s knowledge of his sketches, her comfortableness in his bed, her saying that she and Angel had fixed Angelus’ marks.

How in the hell had he and Cordy gotten from where they were in his time to this future? They had some how become more than friends, more than lovers. The bond she was describing was beyond his comprehension.


“How, what?”

“Did this happen?”

“It just did. We talked about it and did it. That’s all.”

”That’s not all. There is no way I would ever discuss marking you, much less mark you.”

“That’s right. Because all YOU can think of is killing or boinking Darla. God forbid, you would ever touch me. Well, guess what you do, a lot and you like it. Now, get out of my bubble.” She voice started to rise as she pushed harder against his grip on her shoulders.

“Cordelia, there is a big difference from wanting to make love to you and wanting to…” Angel paused, staring at the marks and then into the flashing hazel eyes and the warmth that was seeping like air through his clothes. Okay scratch that thought, “to actually doing it. I wouldn’t.” He finished he voice choking in his throat.

Cordelia stared up her eyes conveying contradicting knowledge.

“I…” Angel shook his head refusing to believe the evidence before him.

“Yes, Angel you would. You were scared to, but you did want to and we both needed you to. Angelus had said that I was his, that he had claimed me. I didn’t accept that, but you did and it made you all growly, angry, jealous and pissed at me for letting it happen…”

“I wouldn’t have blamed you.” Angel was happy that he could deny at least that part of her explanation.

“You did, you didn’t mean to, but you did. I had let Angelus bite me, he was threatening to kill one of the girls in the Inn, I didn’t know what marks were, I just hoped that he for once he was telling the truth and wouldn’t kill Molly. He marked me and killed her. You couldn’t make that go away so you made them yours, you claimed me with my very willing consent.”

Oh god. Every word Cordelia had said was true. He had and he still was. Angel leaned resting his forehead against hers. “You trusted me that much after every thing I had done.”

“Angel, a year had almost passed we were friends again, better friends even.” Cordelia explained softly. ” We had the big denial love thing going. You told me after the whole Angelus stuff or rather because of the prophecy.”

“I told you I loved you because of a prophecy that said if Angelus killed you because you were my seer, I would be damned.”

“Did I tell you that?”

“That’s not true.”

Cordelia shrugged. “It’s fairly accurate, but not because I was your seer, though that bond probably is a part of it because it did bring us closer but no- the prophecy was about your demon killing your soul mate. You told me that it was me- I think you just did it stop me from nagging you about sneaking off to Sunnydale to see Buffy. See, you hadn’t told me that your soul was bound yet. So, I figured Buffy, sex, Angelus, Buffy dead, damnation-made perfect sense to me. I guess, I didn’t tell you that part either because you wouldn’t have believed it and you would’ve gotten even more weird and freaky and not helped us.”

Angel didn’t bother to react. Soul mates with Cordelia. Why not? It was no stranger than her loving him in their future and letting him claim her.

“I told you- you wouldn’t believe me, now let go.”

“I….” Angel scowled.

“You’re about to get freaky, aren’t you? You know, you could stop being a personal space invader anytime and go all freaky across the room.”

“No, I’m trying to think about what to do with Angel B outside.”

“And that thinking requires you get into my space? Geez, Angel,” she moved as his arms tightened and pressed her into his body. “How many weapons did you bring?” She nudged at the hard objects in his jacket that were nudging into her body. “That better be your sword, buster.”

Angel groaned thinking about it. He was pretty positive that her body in his arms was only creating a very slight hard on, barely noticeable. He shifted his hips just to be on the safe side. “Sword, crossbow, stakes, and tranq gun.”

“What army were you planning to fight?”

Angel shrugged. He leaned back in placing his forehead against hers. “Angel B doesn’t know I’m here, he expects Angel A and we need to get him in here before Angel A shows up,” speaking quietly.

“Let’s invite him in.”

“Angel A isn’t supposed to know he’s here. I need to get him in here before Angel A…”

“There’s an Angel A and an Angel B, what are you? You can’t just be Angel that wouldn’t right, Angel A is Angel.”

Angel just stared. He wanted to shake the girl and shout he was Angel.

“Well.” Cordelia insisted at the vampire’s reluctant silence.

“Angel ‘little a’.” He finally admitted.

Cordelia burst out laughing. “That was Fred’s idea wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. She’s crazy.”

“You love her. She’s family. And she’s not crazy, she’s really smart and unique.”

“If you say so. I need to kiss you.”

“Excuse me, I don’t think so, buster. You maybe Angel ‘little a’ but I’m waiting for the ‘big A’.”

“Cute. I need to get Angel B in here. If he thinks that I’m going to mark you, he’ll come in.”

“You sure and hell aren’t marking me.” She tried to get out of his embrace. “You said you didn’t want to.”

“Good god, of course I’m not. You can’t be marked by any of the Angels or the Angelus, not in that body. You said those came with your soul…” Angel paused. “That’s just really…”

“Neat, uh.” She smiled.

“That wasn’t the word I was looking for.” He frowned.

“It is neat. You, well not you, but Big A marked my soul as well as my body, neat. Must the soul mate thing.”

Angel shook his head. “Shut up and kiss me.”

“No. You aren’t…”

Angel leaned in stopping her words. Shit. It was kissing fire and heaven. It was sin and lust, spicy wine and the sun. It was pure. Angel couldn’t help but pull her tighter into his embrace.

Cordelia tensed her mind spinning and her body reacting instinctively to the kiss. Her desire recognized Angel immediately warring with her mind’s shouts of otherwise. Her resistance weakened as her mind tired of the fight came up with the livable rationalization that it was Angel, just ‘little a’- he would grow to be big A, so it wasn’t really cheating.

Angel growled as she responded, flicking and teasing at his searching tongue. He pulled back slightly, refusing to get lost in her taste and body. He trailed kisses down her throat, reaching the marks. His scent, hers, her blood pounding at the surface. It was too easy, too hard. Angel forced his demon visage to turn, merely brushing at the scars, and not completing the act that his instincts craved; thankful and conversely angry that Cordy was tensing her body telling him to stop.

Angel growled the combined scent, the taste of the skin. It ….He swung Cordelia behind him as the door burst open. His gold eyes glared at the matching pair. His face.

Angel watched steadily, yanking at Cordelia, urging her not to speak.

The other vampire’s face reverted to that of the handsome man, his dark eyes now glued on the couple.

“You have a soul, who are you?” Angel was not completely sure but fairly certain by the lack of Cordelia’s squealing about shirts and such.

“Wesley, Gunn and a girl Fred sent me.”

“Why?” Angel asked clearing the demon from his face.

“They found me in the future, said that it was the wrong one.”

Angel nodded at the confirmation he need. He shoved Cordelia and whipped out a small crossbow, shooting a bolt through the other vampire’s heart. The dust hit the floor, the vampire’s expression of surprise the last thing to disintegrate.

Cordelia gaped back and forth from the vampire holding the weapon to the dust pile. She blinked. Angel ‘little a’ was a selfish cold bastard, but he was also her Angel evidenced by the kiss. It was same. He was the one that she fell in love with, before he turned into a selfish cold bastard. She strode up to the vampire smacking him.

“What was that for? He was…”

“You kissed me, I told you not to.”

“I had to get him in here.”

“So, you could kill him. I thought he was here to help.”

“That’s why I was sent back. Angel B killed Wesley and Big A,” he said the Big A part sharply. She had responded to his kiss. Big A, ‘little a’, his ass, she had responded. Wait a minute was that a good thing or a bad thing? Angel thought about it. In concept it was great, wonderful even. As a practical matter it just made things more difficult. He wanted to kiss her again.

Cordelia’s eyes widened as she flopped on the sofa. “Wesley? Angel?” She jumped up. “He killed them? Oh god.” Tears and nausea twirled and burbled in her stomach.

Angel went to her immediately, forgetting momentarily about kissing but rather calming the agitated young woman. “It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t now. Cordy,” he reached for her shoulders. “It hasn’t happened.” He repeated.

Cordelia gulped. “Why?”

“You told me that the easy answer was he liked Angel A’s future better. You said I could ask him before I killed him, but like you, I decided that I could give a damn. I didn’t like the future he brought with him.”


“Not now. We’re leaving.”

“No. I want to know and Angel’s coming here.”

“I know. He will probably be here soon. But so will Angelus 1, he’ll find you and he can get in. Angelus 2, hopefully, is out stalking Buffy and we won’t have to worry about him. There’s no reason he would be interested in you unless he’s already seen the marks.” Angel looked up at Cordelia’s silence. “He has?”

She nodded.

“We’re definitely leaving.”

“But, Angel.”

“Leave him a note.”

“A note?”

“Tell him to go to the old apartment.”

“Angelus 2 still has his keys.”

“You know this how?”

“He took me there the other night.”

Angel went back to the young woman, reaching for her neck, staring intently at the wounds. His eyes scrutinized her body for any visible signs of injury.

Cordelia smacked him away. “He didn’t bite me. I got away.”

Angel nodded more at the fact that scars looked covered and not fresh and he couldn’t detect any evidence of other injuries rather than at her assurance. Fear and relief warred in his body. Fear that she had been alone with Angelus and relief that she had escaped unharmed.

“He won’t be there, he’ll be here.”


“He won’t look there. He’ll check out the school, Buffy, Xander, or Giles’ when he finds you gone. When he can’t find you he’ll follow your scent. Angelus 1 though will just follow the scent. But, with any luck, I…Angel A will get to the apartment before he does. If not I’ll just tranquilize everyone and sort them out later.”

Cordelia looked back at the dust pile. “How do I know that you won’t betray Angel?”

“Betray myself?”

“That’s what you’ve been doing for the last several months, betraying us, your mission, who you’ve become. How can I know that I can I trust you.”

“Because, no matter how fucked up my present is or I am, I’ve got it on good authority that it gets better, that soon the good days will outnumber the bad. I’m not giving that up just to jump over the crap in between.”


“Cordy,” Angel came into the kitchen. “Hurry up” He urged then stared. “What are you doing?”

“Angel may be hungry.” She said as she put the cinnamon back in spike rack and placed the doctored blood on top of her note. “He’s going to be mad. Cinnamon has a calming effect. It works, you know that.”

Angel shook his head. Remembering the first time he heard that nonsense and was forced to drink the spiced blood. It hadn’t been the cinnamon that had calmed him but the presence of the young woman that cared enough to try. That was his Cordy choosing a spice to fit the occasion.


“Nothing. I just had wondered why you didn’t send that back spiced. You made me drink your concoction for ‘energy’. Now, I realize that you wanted to let yourself do it for me. Gauge the occasion and then pick.”

“Do you have any idea how confusing and stupid that sounded?”

“Yeah.” Angel nodded. “Ready?”

“Are you sure my parent’s door isn’t broken?”

“Yes for the fifth time.”

“Angel B barged in, are you sure?”

“Cordy, he didn’t break the door. You didn’t lock it.” Angel gave her the same answer he did when she first asked. “Why didn’t you lock it?” He added with scowl.

“I did. But, I had to unlock it to open it.”

“And that’s another thing, what were you thinking opening the door?”

“I had to let you in, duh.”

“But you didn’t know it was me, I could’ve been Angelus.”

“Pfft, Angelus doesn’t knock. You did.”

Angel wanted to growl at her patronizing tone. He knew Angelus better than she did. “Let’s go.” He shook his head at the futility of arguing with her logic. He never won even when he was right.

Part 32

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