“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Wesley looked around. The huge hotel would be next to impossible to defend against an obsessed, psychotic vampire with free reign to come and go.
“Wesley, we went over this all ready.” Cordelia blasted. “We’re staying.”
“It’s just…. this could get unpleasant,” he understated. Wesley knew that the idea of Angelus and facing the evil vampire with the face of his good friend unnerved him. He could only imagine what it did to Cordelia.
And Angelus knew everything that Angel did about the young woman, her fears and insecurities. And what he didn’t know, he had the eerie ability to guess at. Angelus may not be able to kill Cordelia, but he could destroy her.
“Wesley,” Cordelia softened her tone at her friend’s worries. “I’ll be fine. Angel is in there. I’ll be fine.”
“I hope so,” he sighed.
Cordelia curled up on Angel’s bed, gathering the ends of his shirt that she had put on around her. She wished that this were all over with. Cordelia burrowed herself down into the mattress, trying to recapture the feelings of contentment and security that she had found there before she went running out of the hotel.
God, she thought, that was ages ago.
“Cordelia?” John stood at the bedroom doorway.
Cordelia took a deep sigh and beckoned the Indian closer. “Your father, I tried to get to him, really I did. But the demon zapped me to who knows where before I could reach him. I am really sorry.” Cordelia stared sorrowfully at the Indian.
“I know.” And John did know. Cordelia’s eyes hid nothing. Her sadness, her guilt was apparent in those lovely eyes. He smiled softly, giving her the forgiveness that she didn’t need, but asked for anyway.
Cordelia gratefully gave a small smile in return. She turned back into her pillow.
John remained in the doorway. “How?”
Cordelia lifted her head and raised a questioning eyebrow. “How, did he die?”
“No, that does not matter. My father died trying to protect his people; that is all I need to know. No, my question is how can you stand it. I saw, I felt the wall of souls.” John shook his head in sadness and amazement at the memory. “You….”
Cordelia turned away. Her empathy and need to help those souls wasn’t something she wanted to explain. Or even something, she could explain. It just was.
“Cordelia?” John asked again. He didn’t want to upset the young woman, but he had to understand what he saw. It was too amazing to disregard.
“Jeez,” she huffed. Why wouldn’t he leave her alone? Cordelia wanted to be alone, she wanted Angel. “It’s not important, okay. I’m a seer, Angel’s seer. He helps the helpless and I help him that’s all.”
“It’s more than that. I heard and felt the suffering of those souls. It was unbearable. I wanted to run, but your spirit guides were there protecting, comforting those lost souls. How?”
“High tolerance,” she quipped.
“I help them, too. Okay?” she sighed in resignation. John obviously wasn’t going to leave anytime soon.
“You truly are a healer. The necklace does belong to you.” He said stunned. The young woman, a girl really, had the capacity to comfort and help all lost souls in the world, not just the Hopi.
“No, I don’t think it does.” Cordelia scooted up on the bed. “I’ve had some time to think, not much mind you with all the kidnapping, stabbing, biting and all, but I have given all of this some thought. Tell me, if your father had received the necklace, Bathym would still be a threat, right? I mean, the big ugly couldn’t kill him, but he could still be a danger to the rest of the Hopi, right?”
John nodded, puzzled at Cordelia’s twitch in mood.
“Yeah, thought so. I’ve gotten pretty good at deciphering the vague mystic ramblings of the PTB,” she grumbled. “This way, I get the necklace and Angel gets sucked into to fighting Bathym.”
“The Powers to Be, in the extremely ridiculous guise of two golden sheet wearing blue tattooed egotistical brother and sister twin set. They borrowed the Wise One’s spirit plane, didn’t even have power animals, said they didn’t need them, they were the Powers.” Her fingers raised making quotation marks in the air.
“Conceited, towel wearers, Ooh, they makes me so mad.. Everything is for the higher good. My mind numbing vision flashes, Angel’s eternal guilt. They don’t give a rat’s ass about him. Their warrior, ummph, they could have given him his soul for good, anytime, but no…it was too much of a bother….”
“Cordelia,” John interrupted Cordelia’s irate ramblings. “Are you saying that these Higher Power’s gave you the necklace.”
“More like threw.” She griped. “Why they couldn’t just give me a flash pain o gram of the big tailed ugly, I don’t know. We would have found and killed him. Angel is great at the warrior stuff; he always wins, well almost always. Really they didn’t need to get all-clever. Now, Angelus is out, probably doing horrible stuff that will just make Angel even more broody. ‘
Ooh, he was so close. He was playing drinking games, burping, getting drunk, acting like a moronic teenager, it was great, he laughed,” she punched the pillow. “Then this happened,” she yanked at the necklace.
“Next thing you know, he gets all pigheaded and ‘grry’, and now he will just be all the more broody,” she cried in disgust. “Stupid, Stupid PTB.” She glared at the Professor. “Oh, just leave me alone, I need to rest.” Cordelia pounded the pillow again, throwing herself against the bed.
“Cordelia.” John was still trying to process through the young woman’s incensed ranting. “Angel can be saved.”
“Of course, he can, now leave me alone,” she mumbled into the pillow.
Angelus glared at the opened doorway of the Professor’s house. Cordelia wasn’t there. Had he given Wes less too much credit for having some brains? He growled and headed towards his stolen car.
Back to the hotel. It had been far too long since he tasted the intoxication of Cordelia.
Cordelia knew that she could save Angel. She knew that deep in heart, even if she didn’t receive the big ‘that away’ sign from the Powers. Screw the Powers, she grumbled.
She had a plan and it would work. Cordelia got up from the bed and pulled Angel’s shirt tighter around her body. Firm in her determination she headed for the roof.
Angelus stared at the hotel. Cordelia was in there. Her unique and delicious scent filtered through the air. All of his senses were going crazy. He resisted the urge to rush in and claim what was his.
She wasn’t alone. Wesley, Gunn and the doctor were also there. Angelus growled at the inclusion of the Indian. He didn’t belong there. It was a trap, Angelus realized.
No matter, he grinned wickedly. Angelus knew the hotel better than anyone did. He bypassed the sewers and the hidden entrance to the basement. That was the most obvious choice. Angelus scaled up the side of building.
His human family never seemed to remember that he was a vampire, and what that enabled him to do. Angelus slid over the side of the roof. Now, all he had to do was descend through the elevator shaft.
He stopped. Angelus senses reacted in overload. Cordelia was there. He turned to the edge of the building. He peered through the darkness. Angelus stared at the huddled form leaning over the wall of the roof. He melded into the night watching and waiting.
The fates were really smiling, he thought to himself. Cordelia’s supple form was shaking as tears fell down her cheeks, oblivious to the vampire’s presence. He couldn’t wait any longer. In one smooth, stealthy move Angelus was behind her. Angelus reached out and grabbed at her shoulders. “Gotcha, now you’re mine.”
Cordelia swung around at his touch, shooting a tranquilizer dart into his stomach. “Angelus always did seem to underestimate me.” She clutched at the vampire’s form as the drug took effect.
Cordelia fell to the ground, Angelus weight dragging her down. With one hand she cradled the vampire to her chest as she pulled out her cell phone. “Hurry,” she yelled into the receiver. Cordelia threw the phone down and hugged Angelus to her. “I love you, Angel,” she whispered into his chest.
Oh god, she really did love the vampire. She didn’t know when she had fallen in love with Angel. She just knew he was the most important person in her life. Cordelia had thought that was because of their mission, her visions, her duty, their friendship, but it was more than that.
At some point the stubborn; broody, sexy vampire had become everything to her. Cordelia knew that there was a time that Angel wasn’t her life, she just couldn’t remember when. Cordelia held the vampire closer, real tears falling onto his shirt.
Wesley and Gunn burst onto the roof. Wesley stared at the unconscious vampire and the young woman that clung desperately to his still form. He hoped this worked. Dr. Red Bear was right; Angel and Cordelia shared a deep and unbreakable bond.
If this didn’t work, Angelus would be free for an eternity or dust. And Wesley knew if that came to pass, then Cordelia would be irreparably harmed. This had to work.
Cordelia crouched on the edge of the bed. Her red eyes never leaving Angelus’ face. “Leave,” she called.
“Cordelia, I don’t know.” Wesley didn’t want to leave the young woman alone with Angelus. He would wake up soon and even chained to the bed, the vampire was dangerous.
“Wesley, he can’t possibly move or get loose. These chains have held Angelus before. I’ll be fine,” Cordelia assured. What she had to do was just between her and the vampire. Angel wouldn’t want Wesley and Gunn to see Angelus’ very probable nasty reaction to the healing.
Angel was going to be broody enough already about his stint as Angelus. She didn’t want to add any more to it by allowing Wesley and Gunn to be targets for Angelus’ particular verbal venom.
Wesley stalled, the indecision apparent in his expression. Finally, with a slow nod he left the room, beckoning the other’s to follow.
Cordelia didn’t acknowledge the door closing; her attention was focused on Angelus. She leaned forward caressing Angelus’ face. Such a beautiful face, yet so deceptive. Cordelia gently brushed her lips against the vampire’s appealing one’s. “Angel,” she murmured.
Angelus’ eyes snapped open. “Sorry, this isn’t a fairytale. No sleeping beauty here or prince turning toad. But, if you want to try again feel free,” he leered, pushing against the tight chains.
Cordelia jerked up, her eyes locked on to Angelus’ mocking ones. She settled back onto her knees and said nothing.
“What did you expect, this isn’t like last time, darlin’ this time it’s for real as for in always. I’m…back,” he smiled wickedly.
Cordelia hadn’t expected anything, though it would have been nice if it had been so easy. One kiss; and poof Angel’s back. Cordelia shook her head at the vampire.
Angelus laughed at the lovely brunette’s denial. “Yes, get use to it. I’ll be around for a long, long time. And you will be mine, completely, totally and loving every minute of it. Come, darlin, why do you want the soulless wuss back? He never appreciated you or wanted you. You were nothing but his seer, he used you.”
“No. Angel is my friend, my best friend,” She argued. A warning bell went off in her head. Cordelia shouldn’t waste time listening to Angelus’s sadistic mind games. She knew that Angel cared about her. She should just do what she had to.
But even as sure as she was that Angel cared, Angelus’ words triggered a deeply buried insecurity. What if Angel didn’t really care for her, the way she believed he did. Cordelia had been wrong before; her parents, Xander had said they cared and she believed-wrong.
And Angel never did actually say he cared. Sure, he was there for her, but he was there for everyone. And sometimes, he was especially nice, but that was usually after Cordelia was almost killed or something equally as bad.
When had Angel just on a normal non-vision non-killing day said, hey, Cordelia thanks, I appreciate you.
“Friends,” Angelus scoffed. “Angel was never your friend. He thought you were nothing but a pain in the ass. The best days in his life were when he fired you. The wuss almost showed some promise, then. But, no, then he wimped out- disgusting. Sorry, digressed- back to you. Angel never thought of you as anything more than an annoying, loud mouth spoiled little girl that he had to put up with for the sake of the Powers.”
“That’s not true.” Oh, god, she thought, she did complain a lot. Yeah, Angel got annoyed sometimes, but…Cordelia stopped her panic thoughts. She glared at the vampire. He was trying to make her doubt herself and Angel. Cordelia knew that Angel cared about her, she would just have to keep remembering that and ignore Angelus’ words.
“Come now, my dark beauty, I always tell the truth. Just because it hurts your itty-bitty little feelings to hear it doesn’t make it a lie. He never cared about you, not really. All, he cared about was using you to reach his Shansu, so he could go running back to the blonde slayette chick.
Buffy is whom he cares about, who he loves whom he dreams of when he goes to sleep. It’s her tight little body that he caresses during those fantasy-filled hours. Doing all the things that you wish he would do to you- to her. It’s true, it’s time you accept it.”
“So what,” She yelled. She shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes. Cordelia couldn’t help it. Buffy was the one thing that Angel would never talk about with her. The one part of himself that he locked away from his seer. Angel had told her about his past, both as Liam and Angelus, even finally told her about Darla.
But never would he talk about Buffy. And she never pressed the issue because; she didn’t want to know. Buffy always seemed to be the One, that everyone loved best and more. Xander loved her and Angel did. Cordelia would always be second to the slayer. She knew it. Cordelia didn’t need to hear it from Angel and definitely not from Angelus.
“So what? So why waste your time or obvious charms on the wuss. He dreams of the forgotten day, you know, the groiny day that the wuss and the slayer did the ‘deed’ all day and in every way. Wishing for it to happen again. Reliving the moment that he pounded into her tight wet embrace on the kitchen table.”
Angelus grinned as Cordelia slung back as if hit by a powerful blow. “What, you didn’t know about the table. Sure, they grabbed and groped on every surface of that kitchen. Angel pounding, the slayer screaming in ecstasy. Kind of puts a new spin on those early morning breakfasts that Angel would cook for you doesn’t it. If it wasn’t so sickening, it be erotic as hell. Though, I have to say, boring and whiny she may be, the little miss slayette did have the tastiest c…”
“Shut up,” Cordelia swore.
Angelus growled in satisfaction as the tears fell down Cordelia’s cheeks. “Those smiles that Angel gives you when you come bopping into his room to wake him. Is nothing more than his attempt not to rip your throat out for disturbing him from those dreams. He hates you for trying to take the whiney blonde’s place in his heart.” Angelus continued unrelenting.
“I said SHUT UP,” she yelled jumping off the bed.
“Just thought you should know. Don’t be sad, darlin’ you are so much more than he deserves.” Angelus shrugged against the chains testing their resiliency. “But,” the vampire seductively whispered. “I want you, I appreciate you, darlin’, not some boring whiny blonde.”
Cordelia shot around. “Since when. Can you say….DARLA, the oldest, best boring whiny blonde, there is.”
“Forget, Darla, I already have. No, my Cordy it’s you I want. You are mine. Come here,” he beguiled. “Let me touch you, like you were meant to be touched. Imagine it, Cordelia. Imagine my hands stroking your body, my lips tasting your skin, my tongue teasing at your heat, inflaming your blood. Feel my caresses…Have something that the Slayer never had, my desire, my appreciation, and my lust, for once be first.”
“Feel your bite, more like it, no thanks.” She retorted remaining motionless, fighting the image of Buffy and Angel together.
Angelus smiled. “Was it really that bad? Your body didn’t shiver with want as my arms held you, as my mouth sucked and licked at your throat, as you gave in to me? You’re shivering now, and I’m only talking. Just think, if I touched you. Think about my hands on your breast fondling, teasing at the hardened nipple. Come here,” he beckoned. The vampire’s tone was seductive almost hypnotizing.
Cordelia stared at the seductive chained vampire, her feet moving slowly towards the bed. If she tried really hard, she could imagine that it was Angel that called to her.
“That’s right, closer, let me show you how it should be, let me make you forget Angel ever existed.” He quietly urged. “Let me show you how it really feels to be wanted.”
Cordelia sat on the bed, her tongue wetting her dry lips. She stared, her gaze not wavering.
“Kiss me,” Angelus softly ordered.
Cordelia leaned in pressing her lips against the vampire’s. Her mouth moving against Angelus lips, molding to their shape. Angelus growled opening his lips, his tongue teasing at Cordelia’s mouth. Cordelia gasped slightly as his tongue found its way. Cordelia pressed in harder, her own tongue exploring and teasing. Slowly, she leaned back up, her hands holding her up against his bound chest.
She blinked at Angelus. “You can’t make me forget Angel, because you are Angel. And that bit about Buffy, whatever. I’m over the high school angst and jealousy. If Buffy is who you want, then Buffy you can have, but first you have to come back,” She vowed. Cordelia would not let Angelus divert her from her purpose. Determined, Cordelia spread her fingers under the chains into his chest.
Angelus howled out in rage and pain as the white light penetrated his flesh. He struggled fighting against the restraining metal.
Cordelia ignored his growls and movements and leaned in further. She managed to erase the pictures of Buffy and Angel from her mind. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but bringing Angel back. The healing energy swirled and built in her heart, mind and soul, it’s white light flew from her fingertips until it dug into Angel’s compromised soul.
The darkness fought back, it’s malignancy reaching up towards Cordelia. The young woman gasped out as she felt its power to bestow pain and suffering. It was worse than when she had previously reached into Angel’s soul. Then all she felt was the trauma of Angel’s guilt. Now, she felt everything, the guilt and the evil. Cordelia’s cry of agony strangled in her throat. She pressed in harder, willing the healing influence to combat the darkness.
Angelus fought against encroaching light. He howled in rage as he felt the tentacles of energy spread through out his body. “NO,” he growled pushing up against the chains. The metal snapped at the pressure. Angelus hands gripped at Cordelia to push her way.
“No, no,” Cordelia prayed resisting Angelus’s actions.
Angelus arms fell back as he felt the beams of light summon Angel forth.
“Angel,” Cordelia whispered, her eyes red with unshed tears. The tears began to fall in torrents, as Angel’s internal battle became more violent.
She willed all of her love and strength to Angel, providing him with the resolve to conquer Angelus once and for all. With a final gasp, Cordelia fell unconscious against the vampire’s chest.
Tentatively, Angel’s free arm reached out to surround Cordelia’s limp body. He closed his eyes and crushed her form to his chest. “Cordelia, Cordy,” he whispered. He tightened his hug, trying to sense her beating heart against his chest. Nothing.
Angel tugged at the remaining chains that trapped his body. With a fierce yank the broken metal clanked to the floor. Angel gently cradled Cordelia in his arms, placing her on the bed. His fingers found her pulse point as his head went to Cordelia’s chest. Angel let loose a heartfelt sigh as he sensed Cordelia’s slow beating heart.
His head rested on her chest as his fingers began to caress her cheek. Angel closed his eyes taking comfort in the increasing strength of the thumping in Cordelia’s chest. Once, Angel was assured that Cordelia had settled into a gentle sleep, he got off the bed. With one last caress on her cheek, he left the room.
Angel paused at the landing of the steps. His dark form blended into the darkness of the stairwell. He stood and watched the men below.
The professor was pacing agitatedly back and forth. Wesley and Gunn were stationed at the bottom of the stairs, their cross bows in hand.
“Wes,” he called, giving warning of his presence.
The men in the lobby stilled, looking anxiously at the stairs.
“Angel?” Wesley called back, hopefully.
“Yes,” Angel descended the stairs.
“Whoa, stop their fang guy,” Gunn ordered, holding his crossbow high. “Where’s Cordy.”
“Sleeping, she…she…It worked. Angelus is gone for good. She’s resting,” Angel turned his back to Gunn and looked up the stairs.
Wesley pressed down Gunn’s weapon and shook his head.
“Angel, is she alright?”
“I don’t know, Wes. She seems to be.” The worry and concern was apparent in Angel’s voice. He turned to Wesley.
“Have you figured out how to kill Bathym,” his tone hardening. “The demon’s skin is almost impenetrable and he uses his tail as a very effective weapon. And that transport trick of his will make it difficult to get close to him.”
“Um, well, no. We have been a little preoccupied.” Wesley gestured to the vampire and the stairs.
“Do it, now. Bathym must die. As long as the demon lives, Cordelia will be in danger from him. He wants the necklace.”
“Yes, well we did figure that out. But Bathym can’t kill her, um, that’s why he tried to bring out…well, Angelus.”
“He did more than try,” Angel said in disgust. “And he can hurt her, Bathym must die.” Rage and guilt warred with in Angel. Rage at what Bathym had done to Cordelia and guilt for what he, Angel, in the guise of Angelus had done to her.
“Yes, of course.” Wesley adamantly nodded. “John, maybe you can help. Gunn,” Wesley motioned for the men to follow him to his books.
Angel watched as his friends and John left the room. The rage and guilt inside of him merged and developed into fear. Angel was not afraid that they wouldn’t be able to find a way to kill Bathym. Angel knew with every fiber of his un-dead being that the demon would die.
The demon had to die; there was no other acceptable solution. He would die by Angel’s hands, of that the vampire had no doubt.
But what of Cordelia? How would she ever be able to forgive Angel? It was no excuse that it was Angelus’ dominance of his soul that caused Angel to do the things that he did. The beast that had become Angelus was still inside him.
It may never be able to show itself as Angelus again, but that didn’t change the fact that it existed. Angel was still a demon capable of great harm to Cordelia. How would she ever be able to look at him again? She knew what he was.
Angel signed in painful acceptance of the way things would be. He went up the stairs to check on Cordelia. She may not want to see him, but he had to see her and make sure she was okay.
Cordelia stretched and groaned as she opened her eyes. She glanced around, her gaze stopping on the seated vampire. Angel was sitting immobile in the armchair by the bed. A wide smile lit up her face. The happy expression turned to a frown as she saw Angel’s solemn posture.
Her eyes shifted away, concentrating on the stitching on the comforter. “Angel, how long was I out,” she asked never raising her eyes.
“An hour,” Angel said softly.
“Cool that’s not so bad, told you that the 12-hour sleepfest was just because I was tired.” She quipped. “So, what’s the plan.” Cordelia looked around everywhere, but at the vampire.
If Angel had a beating heart, it would’ve stopped. He knew that Cordelia wouldn’t be able to stand his presence; he had just hoped that she would. But, no, his seer couldn’t even look him in the eye. Angel guessed that he should be grateful that she was talking to him and not running screaming out of the room.
“To kill Bathym.” Angel said simply.
“Good plan. Any idea how?” Cordelia fought the longing to throw herself into Angel’s arms. She knew that if she looked into his deep brown eyes she would do just that. That was if Angel gave her even the slightest encouragement.
But Angel was giving off the ‘aloof, don’t touch me’ vibes. The insecurities that Angelus had brought up began to worry at her. Cordelia couldn’t forget Angelus’ words. She didn’t believe them, but she couldn’t ignore the tingling of doubt that his words created. What if Angel didn’t care about her, what if it was Buffy he really wanted to be with.
It wasn’t impossible. Cordelia was there for Buffy and Angel’s drama, angst, tragic love epic of the century. Just because Angel hadn’t mentioned Buffy in over a year or no longer blanched paler than pale whenever her name was brought up, didn’t mean that he didn’t still long for her.
Buffy was the love of Angel’s life. It was more than just possible that he did still dream of her, especially now that he knew that the scroll prophesized his humanity. Cordelia tried to ignore the ache in her heart as she stared at an interesting spot above Angel’s head.
“Wesley is looking into it,” Angel responded neutrally. Angel wanted to rush to the young girl and force her into his arms, to look at him, to forgive him.
“That’s as good of a plan as any.” The tension in the room became uncomfortable.
“I should go check on him,” responded Angel. He leaned up, the weight of his undead heart dragging his body down. Slowly, he struggled to a standing position and moved woodenly towards the door.
Cordelia watched Angel leave the room. “Angel,” she called, jumping up. Cordelia couldn’t let him just leave, no matter her fears about Buffy or Angel’s coldness.
Angel paused and turned. His arms automatically raised to catch the flying young body that came towards him. Angel’s chin rested on Cordelia’s head as she burrowed her face into his chest. He could feel the dampness of her tears through his shirt. Angel hugged her closer.
“Angel,” she mumbled against the fabric. “Angel, you can be happy now,” she sniffled.
Angel pulled away from his crying seer; hope burgeoning up through his body, touching his un-beating heart. His eyes bore into hers. As impossible as it seemed, Cordelia’s thoughts hadn’t been on Angelus or even Bathym, but on him and his well being. He should have known. His newly acknowledged love for his seer took over his being filling his soul and igniting a warmth in his loins. Angel’s eyes slid from Cordelia’s moist ones, down to her lips. He lowered his head.
Tentatively, their lips met, moving slowly against each other. Angel pressed in as he savored Cordelia’s taste. Cordelia whimpered at the increased pressure. She opened her lips, her tongue and teeth gently urging for more of the kiss. Angel’s body tightened at her insistence, his kiss responding eagerly. Their mouth’s merged, becoming one as they explored each other.
With a touch, Cordelia pushed away, not to reject the vampire but to gasp for much needed air. Angel arms loosened but did not release the young woman.
“Cordy,” Angel whispered, desire and questions filled his eyes. His hope had burst full-blown with in his chest.
Cordelia smiled slightly, biting her bottom lip. Cordelia’s action spurned Angel into movement. He captured Cordelia’s mouth, once again devouring her lips and nudging them open. Cordelia responded enthusiastically, no thoughts in her mind except the deliciousness of the kiss.