The group leaned around the counter eating their pizza quietly. Cordelia gave up on the small talk. Every time she tried, Fred would have to hit Gunn to stop him from responding.
Angel nestled his shoulder close to Cordelia’s watching her pop bits of pineapple of her pizza before picking the cheese off, he was totally oblivious to the uncomfortable silence. “Why do you do that?”
“Do what?” Cordelia glanced at the vampire.
“Take the pizza apart before eating it.”
“It’s better that way.” Cordy sucked in a strand of melted cheese.
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Sure it does.” Cordy munched next on the sauce drenched crust.
“No it doesn’t.”
Angel’s next comment was cut off by a shout of ‘Eureka’ and Wesley’s appearance in the doorway. “Pizza, wonderful, I‘m starving.” He went to the boxes.
“Let him eat.” Cordelia slapped at the vampire’s sudden straightening.
Angel growled but let the man have a couple of bites for he spoke again. “Wesley, we don’t need a spell to let us know when Wolfram & Hart uses the time portal but to stop them from ever using it again,” Angel rushed out.
Wesley grabbed for a napkin. “We won’t be able to ensure that they will ever use it again. They have the knowledge obviously.”
“Take them all out.” Gunn said as he took another slice of pizza.
“Kill a lawyer more pop up and we can’t make the knowledge go away. Our only practical option is to make the use of the time spell ineffective. I had considered redoing the spell for 1898 and having Angel and I go back before Angelus sees Cordelia or marks her, thereby preventing Angelus from being willing to cooperate with Wolfram & Hart.”
Angel shook his head. “Too risky and that wouldn’t stop them from just sending her to another time period where Angelus would notice her. The marks were the result of his noticing her the first time, not the reason.”
“I agree that’s why I continued to do research.” Wesley nodded.
Cordelia let out the breath she hadn’t even realized she had been holding. She couldn’t explain it but now that Angel had taken over Angelus’ marks, she didn’t want to give them up and under Wesley’s plan, Angel would never consider marking her with a soul and she wouldn’t even know to ask him to.
“I believe I have found a way to create a warning system that would tell us that the time portal has been used and allow us to track Cordelia. For example had we had it prior we wouldn’t have had to waste time figuring out what happened or where Cordelia had been sent. We could’ve had immediately created our own time spell and retrieved her before any harm to her or any change in the time line occurred.”
Fred put down her pizza. “What about if the time portal is used to bring Angelus 1 to the future again?”
“The spell calls for both Cordelia and Angel to be effused with an element that is perfectly harmless to them but will react to the magic necessary to create a time portal…”
“React, how?” Cordelia scrunched up her nose. “We won’t turn blue or glow or something bizarre.”
“No, Cordelia,” Wesley shook his head. “The only things that will be effected are two orbs that will be infused with the same elements. The globes will give off a glow that will indicate that you or Angel, or rather Angelus, are being affected by a portal. If it’s your globe and you are gone, or your soul, we can devise a simple locator spell to find you, if it’s Angelus we will just be prepared.”
Angel looked up. “Can it work for any portal?”
“Angel?” Wesley questioned.
“With Cordy, it’s not just time portal’s we have to worry about. Knowing her inability to stay out of danger, she could very well get sucked into another dimensional portal.”
“Hey,” Cordelia complained. “Plyea was SO not my fault. And what do you mean, ‘inability’ to stay out of danger. How’s it my fault that I get kidnapped.”
“If you stayed in the hotel you wouldn’t be.”
“No way am I going to be a prisoner in this stupid place.”
“I thought that’s what you wanted, forever you said- catalogs and pizza.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it, overprotective dumb ass.”
“Cordelia, don’t think that I don’t remember you going out alone to face Jack the Ripper…”
“That was a vision.” Cordelia defended.
“Or you going out to fight vampires in Sunnydale.”
“Visions,” she shouted.
“You acted recklessly and could’ve been killed. You put yourself in danger from not only Angelus but from The Ripper and vampires. You single handily have caused me to get migraines and ulcers.”
“Don’t you dare blame your namby pamby imaginary IMPOSSIBLE aliments on me, you old woman. I had to save the victims in my visions and I did. Or would’ve except for Angelus 1.”
“That’s what I mean. You went into that alley and ended up facing Angelus 1 and 2, how stupid was that.”
“STUPID? Like that was my fault they were lurking around.”
“Wes, be the boss and make them shut up.” Gunn grunted. “I’m catching Angel’s migraine. I can’t believe those are the same two we just saw getting down and dirty on the kitchen table.”
“They were what? In the kitchen? Oh lord,” Wesley groaned.
“Yeah, going to have disinfect the whole place,” Gunn whined. “I eat there.”
“Oh, stop complaining.” Fred smacked him. “They were dressed.”
“Angel, Cordelia, STOP.” The couples continued bickering diverted him from the unsettling picture of them making love on the kitchen table.
The couple turned and glared at the man. “What?”
“You aren’t helping. We were in the middle of a discussion.”
“No, you were in the middle of a lecture, so there,” Cordelia stuck out her tongue.
“Cordelia,” Wesley stood straight. “Be quiet. Angel, you too,” he said firmly. “And before we continue with our ‘discussion’ as the boss of Angel Investigations I beg, no I order you, to keep your amorous activities out of the common areas of this office.”
Angel narrowed his eyes. “Order? Are you sure about that? This is my hotel.”
“Don’t try to intimidate me. This is our office. If you must engage in intimacies then have some respect for us and KEEP it out of our sight.”
“And where we eat,” Gunn added.
“We were just kissing,” Cordelia defended.
“For how long, uh.” Gunn shot back. “Double back beast on the table, that’s what you were about to do.”
“Shut up, everyone.” Fred whistled. “We have gotten way off the subject, here.”
“Yeah, you pervy busy bodies.” Cordelia glared at Gunn and Wesley.
Fred whistled again as Wesley and Gunn started to shout out in self-righteous indignation.
“Can we please focus on anything other than Angel and Cordy’s…um…. romantic encounters.” She blushed.
“I think that would be wise,” Angel growled at the two men.
Gunn huffed and jumped on the counter. Wesley took off his glasses and rubbed at them furiously. “Where were we?”
Cordelia kicked at the floor. “You were explaining your mystic sci-fi tracking glowy orbs.”
“Right,” Wesley took a deep breath. “I believe it would neutralize any attempt by Wolfram & Hart to utilize the spell.”
“That’s all well and good, but we need to stop them before that. There is still too much of a risk, no matter how quickly we discover that they have used it again.” Angel grunted.
“Angel, we can’t make the knowledge or them disappear. All we can do is be prepared.”
Cordelia cleared her throat. “We can warn them.”
“Excuse me.” Wesley glanced at the young woman.
Angel perked up. He liked the sound of that.
“Well, they failed three times already. If we tell them that we can now always win on this one maybe they will stop. Even, they have to realize it’s a bad plan.”
“Just tell them?” Wesley pondered.
“I believe she said warn them,” Angel smiled grabbing for his coat.
“Angel, we don’t even know where Lilah is.” Wesley called after the retreating vampire.
“I’ll find her and whoever else is responsible.”
Cordelia bit her lips and ran after the vampire. “Angel,” she called from the steps of the basement.
Angel turned. “It was your idea, Cordelia.”
She hurried down the stairs. “I….”
He cradled her worried expression. “Priorities, Cordelia, not revenge. I know the difference, but don’t stop me from having just a little bit of it, please.”
Cordelia considered. “Hurry back,” she kissed him soundly giving him all the permission he needed.
Cordelia let out a deep breath as Angel faded into the sewer. She shrugged. Oh well. It wasn’t like she didn’t know he was a vampire with issues before she fell in love with him and it wasn’t like she didn’t have her own.
Lilah paced around the hotel room. “It screwed up again.”
“We don’t know that,” Lindsey said from the couch.
“Well, it’s been three days and I still remember the vampire with a soul and the word from the firm is that Angel hasn’t put anymore lawyers in the hospital in the 24 hours, which tells me he’s preoccupied with saving Cordelia.”
“He could still fail.”
Lilah’s response was halted as the door was kicked open and the body of guard in the hall came flying through. “But, I didn’t.” Angel followed the unconscious body into the room. “And I found you. Well, well, Lindsey, welcome back.” He smirked to the male lawyer.
Lindsey jumped up, “nice to see you too, Angel.”
Lilah scrambled to the other side of the room.
“I wouldn’t say nice,” Angel commented utilizing his inhuman speed grabbing Lilah and the other lawyer by their throats.
“You both HAVE to realize that going after Cordelia, is a big no no,” He scolded them as a parent would naughty children. “But, unfortunately, you just don’t seem to believe that I mean it,” Angel said with exaggerated sadness. “What am I supposed to do to get you to understand,” squeezing the fragile flesh in each of his tight fists.
“I’m beginning to believe that killing you is the only way,” he threw them both against the wall, squatting down in between their choking bodies. “Is that what I have to do? But, if I do that, will the slime that takes your place understand my message.”
“We get it,” Lilah struggled to speak and sit up.
Angel pushed her harshly down. “I don’t think so. But, listen to me, really listen,” Angel’s voice cold and deadly. “Cordelia is off limits, time portals are off limits. We will know if you use it again and the first thing I do after preventing the prophecy is to come back and kill you both regardless if it wasn’t your decision to implement it. So, be convincing when you explain to your bosses that this plan is no longer viable.”
Angel leaned back up. “I still don’t know though.” He grabbed the closest knee of each lawyer. “Maybe this will help you in your sincerity.” Angel tightened his fists crushing the bones. He waited until the screams turned into whimpers and stood. “Remember, otherwise walking will be the least of your worries.”
Lilah brushed at her tears as the vampire exited. “I told you.” Her retort to Lindsey ended with a cry of pain at the movement.
“Shut up,” Lindsey winced crawling to the phone on the table.
Angel entered into the darkness of the lobby. He searched the hotel for the heartbeat he would always need to hear. Satisfied at the soft thumping that indicated her presence and slumber. He went into the kitchen.
A mug of blood came towards him. Angel studied it suspiciously. “Cordy wouldn’t like it if you poisoned me.” He commented in the seemingly empty space.
The air vibrated around the vampire, nudging the blood closer. “Okay, okay.” Angel accepted the mug. “So, if you aren’t trying to kill me what are you up to?”
The marker on the refrigerator began to write on the message board attached to the surface.
Angel nodded as the ghost wrote out thank you. “I will always keep her safe, Dennis.”
The words disappeared, the air vibrated again then stillness descended, leaving the room devoid of the ghostly presence.
Angel put the empty mug in the sink. Finally, maybe the ghost had accepted him as a worthy enough for Cordelia.
Angel got out of the shower, his thoughts about Dennis’ change in attitude was reaffirmed by the bounty of fluffy clean towels in the bathroom.
Angel slipped between the sheets of the bed.
Cordelia turned into his body as soon as he was settled. “You okay?” she mumbled into his chest.
“Perfect,” he pulled her in close.
“Good.” She nuzzled in further.
Angel leaned up in the bed, watching the young woman going through his sketchpads. “What are you doing?”
Cordelia jumped. “You were sleeping.”
“Now I’m not. What are you looking for?”
“More of these,” she held up a piece of paper.
Angel got off the bed and went to her taking the drawing. “Why?”
“Why? Because I’ve never seen it before and it was dated last year.” She narrowed her eyes at the vampire. “Why did you leave it out?”
“It wasn’t there when I went to bed.”
“Oh. Dennis must have done it.”
“Doubtful,” Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Where did all these come from?” She pulled out two sketchbooks.
“Cordy, you’ve been through this drawer before.”
“Yeah, but I’ve never seen these.”
“Of course you have.”
“No, I haven’t. You never had this many of me, not from a year ago.”
Angel took the books from her a bit disappointed that his plan wasn’t working like it was supposed to. He flipped through the books, knowing already what was in them but puzzled why Cordelia didn’t. They were all sketches of her he did before they acknowledged their love. Angel had drawn them during the beige period. He could have sworn that she had gone through all the books. “Oh,” he said as the whys became clearer. “I took my advice.”
“Back in Sunnydale, before we came back, I told my past self to keep drawing the dreams. So, I remember drawing them, I must have more, but you never saw them when you ransacked my sketches before because I hadn’t done them then or something like that. Wesley could explain better.”
“Hmmph, ransacked my butt and let’s just keep Wesley out of this particular discussion, shall we.” Cordelia looked at the pages again. “And why exactly did you tell yourself to draw the dreams.”
Angel shrugged. “It may have something to do with you liking the fact that there was now more pictures of you than of anything or anyone else and that you get ‘gooey’ and quite competitive when confronted with my fantasies of you.”
Cordelia narrowed her eyes. “You big jerk, you do it on purpose.” She exclaimed.
“Do what?” he said innocently.
“Leave the drawings out for me too ‘find’,” she quoted with her fingers. “Just to get some.”
“I’m sure that wasn’t my reason.” Angel smirked.
She snatched the drawing she had found when she had awoken. It was one of her in only what could be described in the throes of erotic passion surrounded by strewn clothes and mirrors. “So, you want to go shopping?” she raised her brows.
Angel nuzzled into her neck, ”depends on where.”
Cordelia leaned into his arms. “I take it you have a store in mind.”
“Yep,” he leaned up and frowned. “But, I can never remember the name.”
“Don’t worry, I do.” Cordelia turned pushing Angel to the floor as her lips attacked his.
Wesley, Fred, and Gunn looked up as Angel and Cordelia came down the stairs.
Wesley stood. “Angel, how did it go last night?”
“Fine, I found Lilah and Lindsey, convinced them the futility of the time spells. I think they learned this time.”
“Good, good. Where are you going?”
“Shopping,” Both Angel and Cordelia said at the same time, heading for the door, a blanket firmly grasped in the vampire’s hand.
“It’s the middle of the day,” Wesley questioned an empty doorway. “It’s the middle of the day,” he repeated to his friends.
“Since when has the vamp liked shopping?”
Fred shrugged. “He’s gone with Cordy a couple of times before. I think he’s beginning to like it.”