“Wow.” Fred said for the umpteenth time.
“No. Really. Wow. Cordelia and Angel drank from the Holy Grail. Wow.”
“The Cauldron of Adsagsona.” Corrected Wesley.
“I think you’re going to have to back away from that one.” Gunn shook his head. “Since when did your druid cup, bind Angel’s soul and have a Knight Templar protecting it.”
“I’m sure there is a prophecy.”
“Wes, face it. It may be the druid thing, but it was also the Grail. The Grail is real.”
Wesley got up.
“Wes, just deal, God, the Powers, Druids, the mission it’s all the same as long as it’s on the side of good.”
“I’m going to look for the other discs. Joseph told Angel that there were two more out in the world. He wants them back and I think it would be beneficial to find them.”
“Okay, but I’m going to go get ‘In Search of the Holy Grail’ I expect you to be there at the showing.” Gunn got up. “Hungry?” He turned to Fred. She shook her head.
“Should I go get Angel and Cordelia?”
Gunn shrugged. “I would say no. What do you think, Wes?” Wesley turned from going into his office. “I would have to agree.”
“Oh, right, they probably need to talk or something. Wow. Cordy’s back.” Fred jumped up and down in her chair. “Safe and back and Angel’s soul is bound. Oh.” Fred stilled and her eyes widened, in realization. “Oh. He can have a girlfriend now. Oh.”
Her eyes darted up to the stairs. “Oh, I guess, maybe, no we shouldn’t disturb them.”
“Cordy, I think you should sleep.”
“Angel, I’m fine. Perfectly healthy, thanks to the Holy Grail. So, I’m immortal, uh. No getting rid of me, now.” Cordelia smiled.
Angel returned her smile. “Oh, darn.”
Cordelia stuck her tongue out at the vampire.
Angel’s smile got bigger then dimmed. “Cordy, we don’t know for sure if you’re immortal. Joseph was noncommital. So, we won’t test it. You will not take any chances with your life.”
“I wasn’t planning on jumping off the roof, Geez.”
“Cordy, you’ve been through a lot, you should get some sleep.”
“I’m not tired.” Cordelia shook her head adamantly.
“Cordy, your body may be healed, but you should still rest.”
“NO.” Cordelia stilled her pacing as she saw Angel wince at her yell. Angel saved her and she was yelling at him. How ungrateful could she be? “Angel, I’m sorry.” She knelt down in front of the seated vampire.
“I just can’t sleep. Awake I can keep the memories out, but asleep …I was so scared. I don’t want… I can’t.” Cordelia started to her feet. Angel gently pulled her to his lap.
“Tell me. You’re safe with me.” Angel gently stroked his hand down her back. Angel wanted to hold her tighter, to bury his face into her dark hair. Cordelia was alive and he loved her. Now he just had to figure out how and if he would ever tell her.
Cordelia stared at Angel, her large eyes unblinking. Angel wished he knew what she was thinking.
“You don’t want to know.” Cordelia blinked and buried her head into his shoulder.
“Tell me, Cordy.”
Angel felt her breath exhale against his chest. “I thought I would die, hell, I did die. But that wasn’t it. It was the feeling of helplessness. I couldn’t do anything. I tried to escape once, but he caught me. There was nothing I could do. Every time, I would wake, my body was weaker, but my mind clearer. I knew what was happening. I wanted to fight; I wanted you to save me. But nothing. I couldn’t fight and you didn’t come.”
Angel bit back his protestations.
Cordelia leaned up and cupped his face. “I know you were looking, I know it wasn’t reasonable for me to expect you to swoop down and save me immediately. I’m not criticizing. I was just scared. I pictured you, sitting in Wesley’s office all determined and stuff. I knew if you could you would save me.”
“You can always expect that I will save you. I won’t let you die.”
“I know that you will always try.” Cordelia nuzzled her head into his shoulder.
“The box was so small, so dark, so tight. I knew that I was buried. How were you supposed to find me? He was so crazy, angry. He kept drugging and pricking me. Spouting off that he was going to make you suffer for killing his wife and kids. He thought I was your true love. Stupid, uh. I told him that I wasn’t.” Cordelia jerked up.
“I told him about Buffy. Angel, I just thought since she was your true love and maybe if he went after her, she would kick his ass, that’s all. Don’t be mad, please.”
“I’m not mad.”
“Yes, you are.”
“No.” Angel pulled her into his tight embrace. He had been angry. He couldn’t help it. Angel was angry at what had been done to her, he had been angry that Cordelia automatically assumed that he didn’t love her.
“I not mad.”
“Yes you are, but not about Buffy- what are you mad at?”
“I’m not mad. Just tell me the rest.”
Cordelia scrunched her face in doubt. “There’s not much more. He was crazy. He said he killed Darla and something about her demon spawn.”
Cordelia jerked up again. “Angel?”
“He told me that he killed Darla.”
“The demon spawn?” Cordelia cocked her head at Angel. “Angel, why would you think Darla was pregnant?”
Cordelia’s eyes widened. “You had sex with her.” The image of Angel and Darla was clear in her mind.
“Vampires can’t have children. Darla couldn’t have been pregnant.”
“I know that. You know that, yet, you still thought…You slept with Darla. You lied to me.” Cordelia backed off Angel’s lap. “You looked me straight in the eyes and lied to me.” She turned and ran.
Angel sat stunned. He had been thinking about that night with Darla. He couldn’t help it. He knew that vampires couldn’t have children, but Randall had implied that Darla had been pregnant. Why Randall had said that Angel didn’t have a clue, but whatever reason it had led Angel to think of the time he had sex with the blonde vampire.
He hadn’t meant to think about it, he didn’t want to ever think about that night again. But he had and somehow Cordy had picked up on that thought. Maybe he was giving off waves of guilt for lying to Cordy about it. And now she knew.
What was he going to do? Not sit here. Angel jumped up and charged out of the room.
“Where is she?” Angel ran down the steps to face Gunn and Fred.
“She just went running out, Wesley went after her. Why did she run out? Wasn’t she happy that your soul was bound? I thought it was the happily ever after, what happened?”
Gunn nudged at Fred, trying to quiet her babbling. “Oh, have I said something wrong?”
The answer was interrupted as Wesley came back into the hotel.
“Where is Cordy?”
“In a cab, she got in before I could stop her. Angel what happened? Why did Cordy go running out here angry and crying?”
Angel could think of no reason not to tell. “Cordelia found out I slept with Darla.” Angel looked at his feet. No other reason except for what was about to happen.
“There better have been some weird voodoo involved or I’m about to go all disgusted with your vamp self again. And this time, no lectures from English.”
“Don’t worry, Gunn. I’ll be right with you. How? When? Why? And why aren’t you Angelus?”
“Skanky old vamp flame. Bad news. Kills people.”
“I thought Angel loved Cordelia. Why would he have sex with a skanky old vampire.”
“Excellent question, Fred. Angel?”
“I was….I was going through a dark period, it seemed to be the thing to do. It didn’t mean anything, it’s not like I turned evil.”
“I do hope you have a better explanation when Cordelia deems to talk to you again.” Wesley nodded.
Lorne pulled on his robe as the outside buzzer let out continuous noise. One guess as to the late night visitor was. He shuffled his feet as he opened to the door. Okay wrong guess. The dark broody one he expected, the princess he didn’t.
“Lorne, I need your help.” Cordelia pushed past the host.
“Okay, come in Princess tell me what’s on your mind. Or better yet tell me what’s on my mine. It seems you’ve found your power.”
“I suspected, when you tossed me around the room. So what happened?”
“I was kidnapped, drugged, maybe tortured, and definitely buried alive, I got mad.”
“Understandable. So, what happened?”
“I’m not really sure. I do know that somehow I broke the straps, it didn’t really help though, I was still buried and I busted the oxygen tank. But later, after I was saved, I was able to read what Angel was thinking…I saw him and Darla together…having sex.”
“Eww. Not the thought I bet he wanted you to know about. So, what do you want with me?”
“FA, LA, LA, tell me what’s going on.”
“You have power. Obviously, the stress of your unpleasant ordeal brought it to head. Though, I imagine that the Julie Andrews swirling incident triggered it. This new wild capped adventure cemented it.”
“What do I do with it, what is it? Where did it come from? And why did Angel sleep with Darla?’
“Whoa, on the rage. I don’t want to be up against the wall. Why don’t you try talking?”
“I am…” Cordelia stopped as she realized that she hadn’t said a word out loud and either had Lorne.
“Lorne?” She pleaded out loud.
“As to why the big handsome lug chose Darla as his rock bottom, I don’t know. Availability, familiarity, bad taste, who knows. As to your blooming power,- hidden talent encouraged by side effect power from your visions. You need practice. We can’t have you tossing everyone you are mad at against the wall.”
“I don’t do that.”
“So, you’ll help me?”
“Silly little powerful princess, of course. But the big lug is your deal. “
“She’s not in her apartment.” Angel slammed his coat on the counter. “Where is she?” Angel wondered how many times he had asked that question over the last few days, and how long he was going to continue to ask that question.
There had to be a way to make Cordelia stay put. Angel just hoped that this time, Cordelia was merely angry and off being mad, rather than in danger. Of course, the longer she was out of his sight, the greater the chance that something dangerous would happen. Angel took a deep breath. The unnecessary act gave him time to calm down.
“I went to Lorne.” Fred reminded the others that Lorne helped her when she was upset and wanted to run away when her parents first came to town.
Angel grabbed his coat.
“We’ve got to get better at this detective stuff.” Gunn, Wesley and Fred followed the vampire out the door.
“Do you want me to let them in?” Lorne cocked his head towards the door. The buzzer was making rapid, repeated noises.
“Lovely lady, please rethink that.” Lorne winced as the buzzing became more frantic. “I just got the club up and running again, I don’t want to have to replace the door after the dark prince kicks it open. Patience isn’t really his strongest attribute when to comes to you.”
“Why do you say that?” How come I can’t tell what you’re thinking?”
“Because, flamboyant I may be, an open book, I’m not.”
Cordelia scrunched her face and concentrated on reading Lorne.
“Princess, now you’re just being rude.”
“Hmmph. Okay. Let him in.”
“Thank you. Demon contractors are a bitch to deal with.” Lorne went to the bar. “Hello, come in. Though, I imagine it’s not me you’re here to see. Drink anyone.”
Cordelia winced as an influx of emotions and thoughts bombarded her. They were all jumbled, taking the forms of mixed up flashes of pictures. She couldn’t distinguish which flashes belonged to who. Cordelia tried to concentrate and separate the imagines, but it was too confusing and the start of a killer headache was threatening. “Lorne?”
“Doors, honey. Find the source and shut the door.”
Cordelia nodded. Lorne had told her to picture each thought that intruded as coming through a door. A door, which she could close.
“Lorne, what’s going on?” Angel stared at Cordelia. Her face was scrunched up in concentration.
“Sh, big guy. The princess needs a little quiet. And besides, she’s still pissed. And believe me, you don’t want to make her even madder.”
“Shh.” Lorne waved a finger at the vampire.
Cordelia tried to pick out the predominate feelings. Frustration, nervousness, confusion, fear, guilt. Flashes of her lying on the ground, her body limp, covered in dirt, imagines of her running out of Angel’s room, pictures of Angel reading Cosmopolitan, doing a quiz. A Comos quiz? Why? Cordelia couldn’t think about that now. She had to slam the door on Angel’s thoughts. Once they were safely away, she turned her concentration to the other thoughts.
Imagines of Angel dressed like the man in black saving Cordelia’s Buttercup. Fred. Door shut. Gunn and Wesley’s were next. She shut out the memory of Gunn’s old gang trashing the club as well as his relief at Cordelia being okay. That left Wesley. Again relief, care. The image of Wesley lecturing Angel. Cordelia smiled as the door shut.
“I think so. No.” Angel’s guilt kept trying to get through her door, his guilt and love. Love. She had to see that.
“Uhmh.” Lorne cleared his throat. “It’s rude to go where you haven’t been invited.”
Cordelia slammed the door and pouted at the host.
“How do I stop you?”
“It’s just another door, darling.”
“Hmmph.” Cordelia looked down at her clenched hands, concentrating on keeping all the doors closed.
“Lorne.” Angel’s patience was wearing thin. He wanted to get Cordelia alone and explain what had happened with Darla. He wanted to apologize. He wanted to tell her he loved her. And he was damn frustrated that he didn’t understand what was going on with her. And scared that she wouldn’t forgive him.
“The Princess has discovered her power. We’re practicing.”
“Power?” “What power?” “Lorne?”
Cordelia winced again as her friends’ confusion pushed up against the doors. “Make them stop.”
“It doesn’t work that way, honey. Okay, uh, Gunn, Fred darling, why don’t you go back to the hotel. No. Gunn, I’m not still pissed, it’s just that Cordy can’t handle everyone yet. Don’t worry, you’ll be let in on the scoop.”
“English?” “Wes?” Wesley looked at Cordy then the host. “Go.”
Cordelia sighed in relief as her two friends with their confused emotions left the building. Their absence made it possible for her to block out Wesley and Angel. “Thank you.”
“What’s going on?”
“Lorne, you explain.” Cordelia bit her lip.
“Of course. It seems that the Princess as discovered her power during this last little adventure.” Lorne held up his hands to prevent the questions. “Smorgasbord of latent talents are blooming. Telepathy, empathy, on past experience I’m also assuming the ability to toss things around.”
“Cordelia can read our minds?” Wesley sat back, trying to remember what he had been thinking about.
”Don’t freak, it’s not like it was that hard to do in the first place.”
“Is it dangerous?”
Cordelia rolled her eyes at Angel. “Geez, that’s always your first thought. Cordy goes to the store. Is it dangerous? And no I didn’t read your mind- I just know how you think.” Cordelia leaned back, crossed her arms and glared.
“Don’t go into full brood mode, big guy. There is no danger, at least to the Princess. Your thoughts have already put you near the red zone.”
“You lied to me.”
“Wesley, how about we move from the red zone. This could get dicey. “ Lorne got up. “Now, Princess no throwing things, vampires included.”
“I don’t know how.” Cordelia’s chin rested her hand.
“Cordy, I’m sorry. I…”
“Yes. I’m sorry. It just happened. I was…”
“Going through a bad time.” Making quotations in the air. “And went all Man. Men. Gee. Did it help you over your slump? You know doing the horizontal tango.”
“If you’re going to answer your own questions, then you don’t need me here.”
“Don’t get huffy with me. And I’m not reading your mind. I just know you. Or at least I thought I did. I thought you being all eunuchy would prevent you from being such a Man.”
“I’m not an eunuch.”
“Cordy. I’m sorry. And as…it did help.”
“Angel. I don’t what the gory details. Please. Eww.”
“No. I mean, I hit rock bottom and had nowhere else to go except back to the right path. It’s not like I turned evil or anything.”
“Lucky us. What if you had, what if that ‘bad place’ you were in hadn’t been enough to keep you from feeling ‘joy’. You took a chance.”
“I wasn’t thinking. I was just so…”
“Depressed, down, mean…Your acted no different than the depressed loser that shoots up the post office in an attempt to kill himself, not caring if others- perfectly happy others- are hurt or killed. You lied to me, you played Russian roulette with Angelus. How am I supposed to trust you again? How?”
Angel looked down at these hands. Cordelia didn’t trust him. This was what he always feared, why he never told her the truth. It wasn’t just her anger he had been afraid of, that he could have handled, but her disappointment, her feeling of betrayal. That’s what he didn’t know how to fix.
“Please believe me Cordy. So much has happened since that dark period. I’ve realized so many things. Just like you know that I will always save you, I won’t betray your trust ever again.” Angel lifted his eyes pleading with Cordelia to believe him.
“You can’t guarantee that.” Cordelia shook her head.
“Cordelia, if you can read my mind, then read it, know that I’m telling the truth.”
“I don’t read minds. I see emotions and pictures. Mini visions.”
“What do you see?” Angel didn’t know how this worked. Did he just think over and over again that Cordy could trust him? Or did he just think of everything. He didn’t know, so he just felt.
Cordelia stared at the vampire. He looked so anxious. She slowly allowed the door to open. Cordelia closed her eyes at the onslaught of emotions and imagines. Fear, she felt Angel’s fear that she wouldn’t believe him that she would leave him. She saw imagines of her on her bed suffering from that vision thing, she saw herself in the hospital under Vocah’s curse. She felt the fear and panic when she disappeared through the portal. She felt his determination and need to save her.
Her eyes widened as she saw the iron pipe piercing the mind hijackers gross brain. She felt his cold rage and satisfaction that the big head guy was dead. Then the imagines changed no longer of her in danger, but her sparing with Angel, her sleeping, the flowers in the basement, her smiling, Angel smiling in return, all accompanied by awe.
Then the visions changed again. This time Cordelia couldn’t recognize them. They were of impossible things. Angel holding her hand on a sunlit beach. Him kissing her, touching her with tenderness, love and desire. Cordelia gasped and slammed the door to the picture that was becoming erotically x-rated. Cordelia shoved her chair back and got up.
“You love me?” She stumbled backwards. “I’ve got to go home.”
“Cordy.” Angel swiftly moved blocking her path, his hands on her shoulders. “Cordy.” Angel gently raised her chin.
Cordelia shook her head.
Angel smiled. “Yes, I do.”
Cordelia bit her lips and scrunched up her brows. It had definitely felt like Angel loved her. But how? When?
“Um, Cordy. Say something, please. I don’t know what you’re thinking.”
Cordelia shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know what I’m thinking.”
“Are you feeling anything?” Angel said. He was getting really nervous.
“My stomach hurts.”
“Are you sick? I told you should’ve rested.”
Cordelia stared then her shoulders started to shake.
“Cordy, are you alright, Cordy.” Angel was getting worried. Cordelia seemed to be having convulsions.
Cordelia broke out laughing. “I’m not sick, I’m in love, you dork.”
“No, the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Geez.” Cordelia shook her head. “Dork.”
“Oh.” A goofy grin slowly appeared on Angel’s face. “Now what?”
“I don’t know. We go home?” Cordelia shrugged.
“Cordy, do you like massages?”
I’m sorry if this seems a bit rushed, but I’ve got a horrible week at work coming up so- I wanted to get this out…It’s pretty much ended, but if I have time- I’ll probably add an Epilogue.