“Cordelia, what are you doing?” A tipsy vampire came up behind the young girl.
“Don’t do that.” She jumped.
“The vamp sneak thing, cough or something.” Cordelia demanded, getting up trying to block the computer screen from the vampire.
Angel’s dark eyes narrowed at Cordelia’s guilty expression. What was his seer hiding? And what was the comment about him sneaking up on her. Angel knew that he hadn’t been that quiet, the alcohol in his body made that impossible and anyway, he hadn’t been able to sneak up on Cordelia in ages.
She always seemed to know when he was around, except of course when she was sleeping, a circumstance that he was very grateful for. Angel didn’t think Cordelia would really appreciate his nocturnal wanderings into her apartment to watch over her as she slept.
“Cordelia,” he questioned.
“Where are your other drinking buddies, passed out?” she asked avoiding Angel’s question. She tried to divert the vampire’s attention with a big smile and a question.
“Nope, playing drinking games. They wouldn’t let me play the quarter one anymore, said my vampire reflexes gave me an unfair advantage. Which is totally untrue, the game has nothing to do with reflexes, but with one’s ability to aim. And that has nothing to do with being a vampire. I know lot’s of vampire’s that can’t aim worth a damn.”
Angel scowled. “Wesley and Gunn were just mad that I was winning and getting to make all the rules.”
“You played quarters? Oh god, first karaoke and now drinking games, gee, Angel that wasn’t really what I was hoping for when I told you to start experiencing life. Lord, next thing we know you will turn into an obnoxious fraternity boy, challenging the other guys to belching contests.”
Her eyes widened at Angel’s small smile and answer. “I won that one too.”
“Oh god,” Cordelia groaned. “We’re going have to work on what exactly `getting a life’ means.”
Angel raised an eyebrow. “Cordelia, you’re avoiding. Why do you look guilty?”
Cordelia frowned. She wasn’t ready to say anything about the necklace. “I am not feeling guilty, that’s your area of expertise, brood boy.”
Angel raised both brows at her. “Cordelia something is going on. You have been distracted lately, and haven’t been sleeping well. And if it’s not that you are still mad at me…, it’s not, right,” he asked concernedly.
“No,” Cordelia sighed. “I’m not mad at you,” she emphasized.
Angel studied the young girl for a moment, judging her sincerity. “Well, if it’s not that, then what is it?” he demanded.
“How do you know that I haven’t been sleeping?” she asked suspiciously. “Ha, now who’s the guilty one, you’ve been doing the night stalker bit again haven’t you. Lurking outside my window, ump.”
“I don’t lurk,” he defended self-righteously. “Dennis lets me in.”
“Traitorous ghost,” Cordelia mumbled.
“But, he won’t tell me what’s wrong with you.”
“Well, good, at least he isn’t a tattletale,” she grumbled.
“Cordelia, please tell me.” Angel definitely whined.
Cordelia’s eyes widened at the pleading tone of Angel’s voice and the concern in his eyes. “I am not sure,” she said sitting down. ” No, really I am not,” she added at Angel’s doubtful expression. “It all started…. You remember, the Shroud, the ugly dress of death, of course you do, you went all nutty and bit blonde cop girl,” Cordelia rambled.
“Cordelia.” Angel interrupted. The mention of the Shroud and the effect it had had on him broke through his happy alcohol induced mood.
Cordelia sighed. She knew that she would have to tell Angel eventually. It might as well be now, she signed in resignation. Cordelia opened the museum book to the necklace and pointed. “I stole this necklace from the museum that night.”
“You did what?” Angel plopped down in the chair in surprise.
“Yeah, me a jewel thief, who would’ve thought, uh. Anyway, I tried to give it back, well not really,” she stated honestly. “I couldn’t. I don’t know why. The necklace seems to summon me to it. Like it belongs to me. And then I started to have these weird dreams. I don’t understand them, but I know they are some how connected to this necklace. So, I was just trying to find out what it is and why it is effecting me, that’s all.” Cordelia shrugged.
Angel just stared at the girl. His emotions ranged from disbelief; fear to anger, and back to fear. “That’s all? Cordelia, how long did you live on the hellmouth, how long have we worked together? You know as well as I do, that things like `old relics or items’ that call to you accompanied by `weird’ dreams are not usually good, safe things.” He said angrily, completely sober.
“But,” Cordelia started defensively. “The dreams aren’t scary or anything, in fact they are sort of like a woodsy scene from Dr. Doolittle. Dr. Doolittle, you know,” she said at the vampire’s perplexed expression. “You know `talk with animals, walk with the animals’. Oh, nevermind, I really need to expose you more to contemporary pop culture, past and present,” she sighed at Angel’s still clueless look.
“Anyway, in the dreams there is this wolf and humming bird that talk to me. Not like moving their lips and talking, not like in `Babe’ or `Chicken Run’. Oh really, why do I bother,” she said to the ignorant exasperated vampire.
“Cordelia, skip the `pop culture’ examples and just tell me.”
“Well, that’s it, they are just there. I don’t remember what they said. But they knew me. I mean the wolf came right up to me and it wasn’t the eat your grandma…..” she stopped. “It wasn’t dangerous or anything. Actually, she is beautiful, thick brown mink colored fur with these gorgeous warm dark eyes with little specks of gold and green. She liked me.” Cordelia smiled at the memory of the animal nuzzling at her side and licking her face in greeting.
Angel had no idea what the dream wolf could mean. Except for the fact that Cordelia had described a canine, she could have been describing herself, beautiful with dark thick hair and gorgeous warm hazel eyes, Angel thought, as he looked his seer.
It had to mean something, because Angel knew he was right, they just didn’t have normal weird dreams like the rest of the non-evil fighting population, theirs always seemed to mean something, something usually, almost always not good.
“And, this” Cordelia continued pointing to the necklace in the book. “Isn’t a nasty or evil type thing. It’s a Shaman’s necklace, a healing tool. The stones and metal all have good properties, not evil, at all.”
“Shaman’s are mystical healers,” commented Angel.
“Yeah, I haven’t read all of this yet,” Cordelia pointed to the sites listed on her computer. “But, I am not getting the impression that they are one of the bad guys.
“You should’ve told me before now.” The vampire was still angry that Cordelia hadn’t confided in him earlier. “Find out as much as you can,” he said motioning to the computer. “I will check Wesley’s books and see if anything is there.”
Cordelia nodded. She was just glad that Angel hadn’t yelled at her for stealing the necklace.
Cordelia yawned and rubbed at her tired eyes. She hadn’t found out anything new. Cordelia turned to Angel. “Anything?” she yawned again.
Angel shook his head. “Cordelia why don’t you go upstairs and get some rest?” he suggested.
Cordelia started to protest but then admitted she was really exhausted. The dreams had been interfering with her sleep.
“Okay,” she nodded.
Cordelia pulled on one of Angel’s shirts and curled up in his bed. She snuggled deeper into the mattress and drifted off to sleep.
Soon, the humming bird quickly arrived at Cordelia’s side buzzing around her head urging her forward. The wolf appeared nearby sitting on her hindquarters waiting for Cordelia.
The dark haired girl followed the bird through a path in the trees to join the wolf. She stopped at in a clearing ahead and listened. Sounds of weeping and screams of pain floated through the branches growing in volume and intensity. Cordelia moved towards the wailing.
A wall of energy blocked her further movement. The wall was comprised of swirling imagines of souls crying out in agony. Tears flowed down Cordelia’s cheeks as she recognized the hopeless ones that she had envisioned while under Vocah’s curse.
She tentatively reached out a delicate hand trying to penetrate the wall, trying to offer the souls comfort in their torment. The wolf reached up with her head pushing her soft fur into Cordelia’s outstretched hands.
“I have to help them,” Cordelia whispered gently petting the animal. The wolf licked her fingers as the humming bird flew around Cordelia’s hair, each trying to reassure her.
Cordelia’s nodded wiping her tears away. She looked at the animals at her side. “I do help them, don’t I?” The wolf barked in agreement and pulled the girl on towards the rest of their journey.
With one last look and promise to the helpless that she would always help them, Cordelia followed the wolf back into the trees. They exited the woods into a beautiful meadow, wild flowers spread out in fanning the rolling hills with their many bright colors.
Sitting cross-legged in the middle of the field was an ancient Indian. The man’s leather face was worn with age and wisdom, his long gray hair flowed around his shoulders, there was a large sleek black jaguar sitting next to him.
Around his neck he wore the necklace. Cordelia moved closer to the man sitting in front of him. Her wolf and the humming bird hovered close to the young girl. “Who are you?”
“A healer, as you are.”
“I`m not a healer, I’m a…”
“You are a link to the Powers. You have an open heart and endless compassion; the necklace recognized this and called to you. It is now yours.” The old man reached up and took off the necklace and handed it out to the girl.
Cordelia shook her head in denial. “I’m not a healer,” she repeated.
“The necklace called to you. Look to your guides for your answer.”
“My guides are this little annoying pesky bird?” she questioned swatting in false irritation at the bird’s antics. “And a wolf?”
“They chose to be your power animals.”
“I don’t understand. Hey,” she swatted again at the frantically buzzing little bird circling her head.
The old man chuckled. “The humming bird’s wisdoms include the ability to heal, endurance over long journeys, joy, happiness and love. All of which are qualities and wisdoms that you possess. Take it.” He handed the necklace to her again.
Cordelia studied her animal guides; the bird was buzzing rapidly around Cordelia’s head and hand urging the young girl to receive the necklace, the beautiful wolf sat patiently at Cordelia’s side silently compelling the young girl to accept the ancient Indian’s gift. Cordelia held out her hands, a bright flash of light sparked at the contact, blinding Cordelia.
Once she was able to focus she noticed that the old shaman had disappeared and now the necklace rested firmly around her neck. “So, you think this is a good idea?” She asked the happy bird and serene canine.
Cordelia turned to the voices. Her eyes widened as she saw the two golden beings standing before her. “I thought you all were dead?”
“We were never alive,” the male oracle stated. “Not in the sense that a limited lower being such as yourself would understand.”
“Oh… that’s friendly. Well, what do you want with me now?”
The oracles gazed silently at the young girl.
“Why is this going on?” Cordelia tried again. “Why am I here? Who was that man? Why did he give me this?’ she gestured at the necklace.
“It is not our role to tell you,” commented the female oracle.
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Of course it’s not. That would be too easy. Do you have any other role other than to be confusing and vague?” she snorted.
The female oracle ignored the young girl’s outburst. “Here, you can uncover and retrieve your deepest passion and wisdom, here you will find the essence of your life purpose.”
“Isn’t my life’s purpose been pretty much given to me through your mind splitting freak shows, help the helpless, help Angel towards his redemption.”
“Well, yes,” the woman said staring at the girl intently.
“So, again, oh wise sheeted ones, why all this? Why the wolf and humming bird?
“Being the warrior’s seer is not the extent of your destiny.” The man added.
“There is more? geez. Well, come on, spill.”
“It is not for us to tell you. It will come in time. Right now, there is something specific needed from you.”
“Are you going to tell me, or am I going to have to wander around the enchanted forest some more, like a new age Little Red Riding Hood. And what’s with the animals. I have these.” Cordelia motioned randomly out at the wolf and humming bird. “And the old Indian had a jaguar. What’s up with the menagerie?”
“This is the shaman’s plane. The jaguar is the wise one’s power spirit, a soul is always accompanied by their animal guides in this spirit world, it is the shaman’s belief.”
Cordelia scrunched up her face. “So, then where are yours?”
“We are the powers.” The woman said transforming herself into various animals. “When one journeys through the Lower World a soul is always met by their power animal. The old shaman’s is the jaguar, yours are these.” The woman in her human form pointed to the wolf and humming bird nearby.
“I have two?”
“You require two.” The man interrupted.
“Hey, is that an insult?”
Cordelia scrunched up her face at the oracle, if she didn’t think it was impossible for one of the powers to be to so effected, she could swear that the male sheeted oracle was annoyed with her. “Okay, whatever, are you going to tell me what my `specific’ duty is?”
“You will know. When it’s time,” respond the female oracle.
Cordelia rolled her eyes and shrugged in frustration an disgust. “Why did you even bother to show up in my dream?”
The male oracle shook his head in disregard at the young girl’s frustration. “Let’s get on with this.” The female nodded as they both disappeared.
Oh, Cordelia grumbled to herself. Those higher robed ones were being more than their less than usual unhelpful selves.
Cordelia tensed as her brain erupted in fire. She screamed forcing herself awake. Cordelia leaned back into the strong arms that held her trembling body and tried to reorient her bearings.
“Cordelia, Cordy, sh, sh,” Angel said in concern stroking her shaking back. Cordelia closed her eyes and pressed closer to the vampire’s soothing touch.
“It’s so not fair, one minute, I am having a nice, if not confusing conversation with the wise old shaman ghost and my own personal, Tweety bird and wolf, then `poof’ I am having, pain filled visions. I think that the stupid old Power’s are just…well, stupid that’s all.”
“Later, first the vision. Evil demon slicing and dicing along the docks. We will need Wesley and Gunn, let’s just hope, the party animals downstairs are presentable enough to be more of a help, rather than a hindrance,” she grumbled.
“Cordelia, when did you put the necklace on?” Angel stared as Cordelia moved off the bed to get her jeans. Cordelia hands went to her throat. “I didn’t, well…I’ll try to explain, after the icky quizenart type is defeated and helpless saved. I promise,” she said at Angel’s scolding look.
“Yes, you will.”
Angel parked outside the warehouse. Cordelia pointed at the building furthest away. The group filed out of the vehicle gathering their weapons. “Cordelia stay in the car…. you should have stayed at the hotel.” Angel looked around trying to sense the demon.
“Angel, you will need my help. I know that god forbid, you won’t actually let me fight, but there will be a victim, I can baby-sit,” she said in disgust. Angel glanced at the frowning beautiful girl.
He knew that she hated to be regulated to the sidelines. But, the vampire did not want to take the chance that she would be ever been hurt. Recently, since he had rejoined their fight for the Powers, Angel had been more and more reluctant to let Cordelia near any of the battles.
Angel knew that she could handle herself, for the most part. And a part of him recognized the validity Cordelia’s arguments that with some teaching she could be more useful to him, then just having visions and getting the victims out of the way.
But, Angel had come so close to losing her presence in his life, granted that had more to do with his own actions, than any evil demon that they had to fight. But the fear that Cordelia could be taken away from him, by any means wouldn’t leave him, so Angel had tried more and more to limit Cordelia’s exposure to danger. Also, Angel knew that the fear would remain with him, no matter how competent his seer became in defensive fighting.
He would just worry and that would adversely effect his fighting, Angel justified.
“Angel, you use to not mind so much when I helped. Why now? I have gotten better not worse. I have actually dusted vampires and helped kill demons before. And I did pretty damn well, when it was just me, Wesley and Gunn, ask them.” She pointed to the two other men.
Gunn and Wesley wisely remained silent as the strains of the now very familiar and frequent argument between Angel and Cordelia began.
A feeling of guilt overwhelmed the vampire at the thought of Cordelia going out a facing the evil of her visions without him at her side to protect her. “Cordelia,” he started, the paused. “We will discuss this later,” he responded transforming into his demon as he sensed the nearness of the demon. “Wesley, Gunn,” he gestured to some boxes stacked along side of the warehouse.
The men acknowledged the vampire’s request and fanned out towards the containers. Their movement became rushed as a high pitch scream came from within the building. Angel raced towards the sound tackling the large demon as it prepared to take another swing with its razor like claws at the frightened vagrant.
The weight of Angel’s body drove the demon away from the bloodied form of its victim. Cordelia ran towards the wounded man dragging him further from the battleground.
Cordelia leaned over the injured transient trying to staunch the flow of blood on the man’s chest. She pulled out gauze and alcohol from the bag hung over her shoulder. Impulsively, Cordelia dropped the bandages and moved to place her hands over the wound, as the vision of the old shaman flashed in her mind.
Cordelia closed her eyes and concentrated on the healing proprieties of the stones around her neck. She opened her mind and heart to the man’s pain willing the blood to congeal and the damaged flesh to repair itself. She gasped slightly as she felt a burst of energy pass through her. Her hands glowed in a white light as they rested gently over the bloody gash. Cordelia’s gasp became a cry of pain and surprise as she felt the skin over her chest bone tear and burn.
She desperately tried to block the sharp ache in her body as she instinctually pressed harder on the man’s wound. So, concentrated on her own actions, she didn’t even notice that the fighting had stopped and Angel was rushing to her side.
Angel stopped in amazement as he saw the white energy flow from Cordelia’s hands onto the man’s injury.
“Cordy?” he whispered as he saw the man’s flesh begin to close and the injury disappear. Suddenly, the light disappeared. Cordelia gasped and fell back on to the ground. Angel ran to her crumbled body gathering it in his arms. “Cordy,” the vampire cried in fear as his touched the bloody wound that had appeared on her chest. “Wesley,” Angel called frantically.
The sound of his name shook the former watcher out of his own shock at what he witnessed between Cordelia and the now healed and conscious man. The transient jumped to the ground his eyes wide with fear and shock.
He looked around quickly and started at the sight of the dead demon that had attacked him then at the fallen girl. He started to say something, then seemed to decide against it and ran.
Wesley ignored the retreating man and leaned down to Cordelia’s side quickly grabbing at the first aid materials in Cordelia’s bag. He stalled his actions as he noticed a light raise up from the torn flesh in Cordelia’s chest.
“Angel,” Wesley said softly. The concerned men watched as the wound began to heal itself. Cordelia groaned softly, slowly blinking her eyes and trying to raise her body.
“Cordy, don’t move.” Angel demanded holding her down. The dark haired girl shook her head.
“I’m okay,” she peered at the vampire. “You’re hurt,” she said pushing herself up. “Let me see,” Cordelia ordered reaching for his shirt.
“No, Cordelia.” Angel grabbed the delicate hands reaching towards him.
“Angel, I can….”
“NO, ” he said firmly and loudly again. “I’ll be fine. You won’t attempt whatever that was again, understand.”
“Cordelia, you healed the man, by taking on his injury. You won’t do it again.”
“Angel, it was only temporarily. I’m fine now.” She argued. “Any way, I’m suppose to do it, that’s what the dreams were about.”
Angel shook his head forcefully picking up the young girl cradling her in his arms.
“What dreams?” asked a concerned and stupefied former watcher.
“Angel, you’re hurt,” Cordelia repeated whining.
“I’m fine.” Angel ignored his seer’s attempts to squirm around to look at his wound.
“What dreams?” Wesley repeated again.
“Later, Wes. We need to get Cordy back to the hotel,” ordered Angel. “You drive.”
Cordelia sat on the couch pouting as Wesley bandaged the slash in Angel’s chest.
“Okay, so you don’t want the hand glowy thing, but Angel, I don’t see why you won’t even let me treat you. Geez.”
“That’s easy, I don’t trust you.”
“What?” she yelled in exaggerated offense.
“I don’t trust that you won’t do the glowy hand thing as soon as you get in hand glowy distance. I’m not stupid enough to think that you would actually not do it just because I told you not to.”
“Ump,” Cordelia’s frustrated grumbling acknowledged her intent to have done just that if she had gotten the opportunity to.
“So what’s with the glowly hand thing?” asked Gunn. “It was pretty amazing.”
“Yes, it was. Cordelia?” Asked Wesley.
Cordelia scrunched up her face and looked down at her fidgeting hands. “It all started the night we were at the museum. You know, the case of the whacked out dress of death.” Cordelia proceeded to repeat everything she had already told Angel earlier. She paused.
“And well, I had another dream before the slice and dice pain o gram from up high. In it, an old shaman told me that the necklace had called to me because it recognized my ….well, my connection to the Powers.” Cordelia didn’t want to embarrass herself by going into how the Shaman had talked about how open, loving and compassionate that she supposedly was.
It was very nice and all, but she wasn’t still sure that he wasn’t talking about someone else. “He gave me the necklace. Actually, it was more of a now you see it, now you don’t sort of thing, except it wasn’t poof now all gone. It was more like flash and it’s around the neck. Which is really weird considering I put the necklace in my dresser drawer in my apartment this morning.” She shrugged her shoulders.
“Cordelia take the necklace off, I would like to see it please.” Wesley walked over her.
Cordelia reached behind her neck and tugged at the metal band. “I can’t. It won’t come off.” Tugging some more.
Angel moved quickly to the young girl pushing her hands away. Angel pulled at the clasp. He continued trying to break the necklace apart, his game face flickering as he exerted all of his strength. He growled in anger and frustration, as the opening wouldn’t budge.
“Angel, it was obviously put there by some type of magic, so I imagine that’s what will be need to remove it. Cordelia, did the shaman tell you anything more about the necklace?”
“No, just that it use to be his.”
“So, if it’s just a great thing, why is he giving it up?” asked Gunn.
“Gee, I imagine because he is dead. It’s kinda of hard to do the laying on the hands if you have nothing but ghost hands.” She raised her own hands and flexed her long fingers.
“Dead?” questioned Gunn. “Did he happen to mention how he died?”
“Well no, but he looked really old.” Cordelia shrugged.
“First thing we need to do is find out more about the necklace,” commented Wesley.
“I’ve tried, the exhibit is gone and gift shop only had that book.” She pointed to the coffee book on her desk. And Angel, you looked in Wesley’s old books, right?”
The vampire nodded. “You really don’t have that much on the Native American culture,” Angel said vexedly to the former watcher.
“Yes, well, that is because, the Native Americans don’t generally use their powers or spirituality to reek havoc on the world.” Wesley answered Angel’s implied rebuke. “Therefore, the Council never complied that much information on them.”
“There were those Indian spirits that terrorized Sunnydale, last Thanksgiving. They definitely killed and tried to kill,” countered Angel. Angel remembered how the Indian spirits had materialized and surrounded Giles’ place, threatening Buffy and the rest.
“Yes, well, killing aside, those spirits weren’t really evil per se; just not real thankful towards the descendents of the white European culture that destroyed their people. Perfectly understandable, if you ask me. No, from what I do know about Shamanism, their philosophy promotes a reverence for all things of this world and the spirit world. They believe that one must cause as little harm as possible to all things, whether it be human, animal, or plant.”
“Little? What is their definition of little?” asked a skeptical Gunn.
Wesley shrugged. “Everyone, everything causes some harm in their opinion. You harm a flower if you pick it. So, you just don’t pick it, but if you do, you must give thanks to the flower and honor it’s sacrifice. Tomorrow, I will go to the University. I understand that they do have a Native American Studies program. One of the professors may be able to shed more light on the necklace and the healing gift.”
“Good idea, but until we find out more.” Angel turned to Cordelia. “You will not use the power.”
“Cordelia, no. And you will be staying here until we can get that necklace off.”
“Why?” she cried.
“Because, you are. End of discussion.” Angel ordered firmly.
“Geez, you were less annoying when you ignored me.” She huffed. “Fine, but I get to sleep in your bed.” A palpable tense silence descended over the room. “What, geez,” she blushed. “It’s more comfortable than the that lumpy guest bed.” She looked at the men.
“Right, Of course,” both Wesley and Gunn stammered, suddenly embarrassed. They both coughed in discomfort as they tried to rid their mind of their thoughts of Cordelia in Angel’s bed, with Angel.
Angel wasn’t sure why, but he glared at his two male friends.
Cordelia threw herself on the bed grumbling. Damn’t, she thought, Angel wouldn’t let her fight, barely would let her even go out our their soul saving mission, and now he wouldn’t let her heal.
Shoot, she mumbled, the next thing she knew she would be locked in a room in the hotel shouting her visions through the door. With that thought, she jumped up from the bed and ran to the door and tested it. Okay, she admitted maybe she was just being a little paranoid as the door swung open.
“Cordelia, where are you going.” Angel said coming up the stairs. Then again, maybe not, she thought as she saw the determined look on the vampire’s face.
“Nowhere, I …I just wanted to get a some water.”
“There is water in the bathroom.” Angel pointed to the room adjacent to the suite.
“Eww, city water, yuck. I meant bottled water, you know fresh mountain springs.”
“Stay here, I will get you some.”
“Angel, I can get my own water. I am neither an invalid or a PRISONER,” she yelled to the retreating back of the vampire. Cordelia flung her body on the bed in frustration.
That arrogant, stupid `grr’ guy was just asking for it, she yelled to herself. He was long overdue for a patented Cordelia scolding that was for sure. It had been awhile since she yelled at him, not since she had found out about him throwing away her clothes.
But even then, she had held back some, still scared that he would just up and leave her again. Those few months without him had been the worst in her life. Not knowing if the vampire was alright, wondering how he was doing, worrying about him. She shivered. Cordelia never wanted to feel that way again.
In fact, that was why she had put off really griping about her decreasing role in the whole fight to help the helpless thing. She didn’t want to take the chance of really annoying Angel and getting him mad so he would leave her again.
But, Angel was just being ridiculous now, she screamed into the mattress. Her new healing gift could come in very handy. And anyway, the Shaman said it was her gift to use, and she knew he wasn’t evil.
“Stupid, stupid vampire,” she grumbled into the comforter, whacking hard at its fluffiness.
“What was that?” Angel said from the doorway.
“I said `stupid, stupid vampire,” she jumped up from the bed, no longer worrying about pissing Angel off, he was just being too dumb.
“Cordelia lie down, you were injured and we don’t know what other effects that healing had on you.”
“Injured? I am not injured.” The lovely girl roughly pulled up her shirt for his inspection. “See, nothing, no blood, cut, bruising or scaring, I am fine,” Cordelia yelled pulling down her shirt flinging herself back on the bed away from the vampire.
Angel stood stunned trying to process what had just happened. Had Cordelia really just exposed her breasts to him? Yes, she had. It had only been for a second, but it had been a second too long. Angel hadn’t even noticed the area that the cut had appeared; all he had noticed was how her rapid breaths caused her full breast rise and strain against the lace material of her bra.
Angel knew instinctively that each breast would fit perfectly in his hands. His eyes and senses had quickly taken in the smoothness of her skin, which covered her thin waist and taunt stomach. Actually, it hadn’t been long enough; the vampire had the sudden urge to go a rip off his seer’s shirt and bra so that he could have a longer look at the beauty that had been shown.
Angel growled at his thoughts. This was Cordelia; he shouldn’t have thoughts like that about his seer. It was all the fault of those sleazy demons. During that hellish period when he had separated himself from his seer and friends, everywhere the vampire had turned some demon or another was spouting off about what a hottie his seer was.
The more Angel thought about the Host’s and Merle’s statement regarding Cordelia, he got pissed. How dare they talk about his seer, like that? Angel growled. Well, that would stop now. He was back with Cordelia and protecting her.
And not only would he protect her from any danger, he would also protect her from any and all lewd comments directed to or about her. Angel glanced back at Cordelia, no longer thinking about Cordelia’s breasts, but about protecting her from pretty much everything.
“Cordelia, you are acting like a two year old.”
Cordelia stopped grumbling and pounding her hands and feet against the bed. She sat up and glared at the vampire. “Why not, you are treating me like a two year old. The next thing you know, you aren’t going to let me cross the street with out holding your hand.”
For a brief moment, Angel actually considered it. The traffic in LA could be really bad and Cordelia did have a tendency to dash around with out watching where she was going.
“You wouldn’t.” Cordelia yelled seeing the contemplative expression on the vampire’s face.
“Of course not,” Angel stated. “That would be ridiculous. Anyway, it wouldn’t really do much good; most of the worst traffic is during the day. But you know, you really should look both ways before crossing a street.”
Cordelia stared stunned at the vampire. “Have you gone nuts? Are little `grr’ marbles running loose in that head of yours?” She demanded. “I am an adult. I may not be as old as dirt as some,” she looked pointedly at the vampire.
“But I am an adult. And contrary to some `grr’ opinions I can take care of myself. I can go shopping by myself, I can feed myself, walk by myself and I can have visions of all sorts of nastiness and I can heal with a touch. The Power’s, Indian or sheeted, have more faith in my abilities than you, geez.”
Angel’s guilt for making Cordelia feel inadequate warred with his need to keep her wrapped in cotton away from anything that could take her from him. She was right, he was being stupidly overprotective about some things.
“Cordelia, I am sorry. Of course, I have faith in your abilities as my seer. But, this healing thing, we don’t know enough about it, it could be dangerous.”
“It’s not.” Cordelia stressed. “Angel, you have to trust me on this. For some reason, the necklace called to me and I can use it to heal. That could be a big help to our fight. And a big help to all the helpless, even those not in my visions. It’s a good thing. And you can’t make me not use it to help others, you just can’t.”
“Of course, I don’t want to stop you. I just want you to be safe, that’s all.”
“Angel, I am safe, well as safe as any of us are, anyway. I’m not asking to be a team b- ‘little miss slay it’, I know there are limitations to what I can to do. But, I can defend myself, at least enough, so that you don’t have to worry all of the time and I can use this new gift to help. Let me show you.” She reached towards the bandage on his chest.
“No,” Angel said pulling away from the reaching girl. “I will not let you suffer my injury,” he said succinctly.
“Angel, I won’t really get your injury. I mean, I do for a little while, but its momentary, then it goes away.” She reasoned trying to convince the vampire. “Please, let me show you. Look, Angel, you will be here, if for some off chance it….” Cordelia reached again for his shirt.
Angel didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want Cordelia to use the power, not until they knew more about it, remembering the panic he felt in his non-beating heart at the sight of the transient’s wound appearing on Cordelia’s chest.
And he definitely didn’t want to be the cause of any pain to Cordelia. He had caused enough already. But, his opposition to Cordelia’s belief in the gift was upsetting her. And Angel didn’t want that, either.
“Okay, but if anything, anything does not seem right, it stops,” he slowly conceded.
Cordelia nodded. Cordelia gently pulled off the bandage wrapped around Angel’s chest. Her finger’s fluttered against his cool skin. Angel’s eyes were drawn to the light touch of her fingers. Angel was always amazed at how her caring touch alleviated his pain.
The vampire didn’t think that Cordelia needed any special power to heal him. She already did that by her presence and soft touch. It always calmed him and brought him peace.
Cordelia studied the wound. “Angel, I’ll be fine,” she said confidently. Your super `grr’ healing traits are already working in speedy overtime. All, I have to do is hurry the process along, just a little bit.” She whispered. “That’s all,” she reassured. Cordelia placed her hands gently over the wound.
As before, she concentrated on the healing properties of the stones in the necklace. Cordelia opened her mind and heart willing her body to accept Angel’s injury. The energy flowed through her body onto Angel’s chest.
Angel stilled as he felt the warmth of Cordelia’s touch expand until it filled his whole body. He sensed the compassion and concern in the energy that flowed through her fingers. Cordelia was right, it wasn’t evil, there was no way that something so calming and cleansing could be anything but good.
Angel smiled as he realized what he was experiencing was just an amplification of Cordelia own gentleness and concern that was always present when she tended him. His thoughts were diverted as he heard Cordelia’s small gasp. Angel attempted to draw back to keep her from experiencing the pain.
Cordelia shook her head and pressed closer to his skin. “It’s not that bad, really,” she whispered.
Angel shook his head doubtfully as a slight grimace flitted over her expression and the wound appeared through the tear in her shirt.
“Cordelia, stop, the cut is gone.” Angel whispered as his injury disappeared and reappeared on her chest.
“No, there is more.” She whispered leaning further into his chest. Angel’s hands went to her shoulder in an attempt to push Cordelia away. His hands crept up into her hair, as he felt the warmth of her touch reach into his soul.
“Cordelia, no,” he whispered, involuntarily bringing her closer as Cordelia’s healing energy reached into his soul attempting to ease the never ending pain resting there. Her gentle, caring and healing touch flickered through his soul drawing out all the pain of his guilt, all the torment of the memory of Angelus’ victims.
Tears fell in a torrent down the young seer’s face as she began to take on the burden of Angel’s internal anguish. Angel could feel her care…and love, he realized, taking on all of the suffering and agony of his soul.
For the first time in his whole life and un-life, he began to feel the beginning of true peace and contentment. Cordelia’s breath became jagged as her tears fell harder. Angel watched, as Cordelia’s beautiful eyes became clouded, full of his deep seeded pain and sorrow.
No, his mind shouted. Angel jerked away from the comforting touch, refusing to allow Cordelia to experience anymore of his soul’s pain.
“No,” cried Cordelia, her hands reaching out frantically back for the vampire, trying to regain contact. Angel wrapped her hands around her own body pulling her sobbing body into his.
“Sh,” he whispered softly in her hair. Angel internally berated himself. How could he have been so selfish? He had almost allowed Cordelia to be subjected to the full extent of his soul’s pain. Angel’s mind blocked out the sweet temptation that her tender touch had inspired within him.
For a brief moment he had believed that he could be whole. But at what price? Angel thought in disgust. Never again would he allow Cordelia to suffer for him.
“Angel, you hurt so much.” Her voice cracked with emotion, her tears saturated his chest.
“I am so sorry,” his voice rough with remorse that she was in distress because of him.
“Angel, I have to…” she choked, trying again to reach for his body. “I can….please,” she cried.
“NO,” Angel demanded, pressing her moving hands tighter against her own body.
“But….you hurt so much,” she struggled, the remembrance of his soul’s torment overwhelming her. In an act of self-preservation to the onslaught of Angel’s pain and suffering, Cordelia’s mind and body shut down.
Angel panicked at first not sensing her heartbeat. Finally, in relief he felt the slow rising of her chest as she took small labored breaths. Angel pulled the unconscious girl on to his body holding her tightly. His mind was in turmoil at what she had been willing to do to ease his pain.
And it had begun to work; he had started to feel at peace for the first time ever. It had been wondrous to feel Cordelia’s touch and the love that flowed through him and begin to repair the damage to his soul.
But the cost was too high; he stroked at Cordelia’s back. Cordelia would never be allowed to attempt to heal him again, the risk to her mind and being was too high.