Methos walked back into the room and looked expectantly at the former watcher.
“I don’t want to talk about it. Suffice to say, that Angel is perfectly agreeable to Duncan being here.”
Methos just rolled his eyes and changed the subject. “Any luck?” The immortal sat down at the table.
“Maybe,” he said passing the book to Methos. “We were so busy concentrating on the physical items needed for the spell, that we missed the importance of the power source.”
“The power source? The power comes from the enchanted relics,” Methos commented as he started to read the passage.
“No, the relics are just conduits for the power.” Wesley got up and began to pace. “The priests were concerned with the ‘all powerful immortal’, but what if…what if they were also against Fergus’ plan because of the power source he would need to utilize to make the spell work. A power that the priests didn’t want utilized because if it was not properly contained, it in of itself could disrupt the natural order of things.
The spell calls for Fergus to harness that untapped power, the power of all the elements. For the spell to work, St. John would also need that power.” Wesley suddenly stopped. “Methos, you would agree that the Druid’s didn’t use the labels good or evil.” Wesley rushed on, not waiting for a response. “So, even if they were fearful of this untapped power they wouldn’t call it evil. They would just consider it a powerful force that had the potential of destroying the natural order of things.”
“You are talking in circles.”
“No. Just substitute ‘evil’ for ‘powerful force’ and…” Wesley trailed off, thinking.
“You would have an evil force if unleashed would have the potential of causing destruction to the natural order of things. So?”
“…substitute ‘world’ for ‘natural order’ and you would have…” Wesley’s eyes widened in sudden comprehension. “Damn,” he exclaimed running for the stairs.
The sound of clashing steel rang through out the workout room. Each man was taking turns fighting with Cordelia.
“Shit,” exclaimed Gunn as he fell to the floor, again. Cordelia laughed as she placed her sword against his throat. “Not bad for a Barbie doll, uh.”
“Yeah, well swords are a stupid weapon. Give me hand to hand or stakes any day, ” he grumbled. Gunn limped over to where Angel was watching Duncan take up his sword against Cordelia.
“Wow, the Barbie doll is good,” Gunn said watching Cordelia fend off Duncan’s thrusts. Angel merely nodded and watched. Cordelia didn’t seem to be having any trouble handling the heavy sword. She moved it through the air like it was an extension of her arm. But, she wasn’t as good as the Highlander.
Cordelia stumbled and fell as Duncan’s sword swept past her defenses. She landed with a thump on the mat. She grimaced rubbing her backside as Duncan gently helped her up.
“Yes, she is good, but not good enough,” Angel said to Gunn. “Again,” he called to the immortals. Cordelia stuck her tongue out at Angel and resumed her fighting stance.
Gunn glanced at the vampire. “Um, Angel you seem to be handling that jealousy thing, better,” he commented.
Angel glared at the kid and was about to respond when he sensed Cordelia stumble. Oh shit, Gunn thought, as Angel lunged towards the girl pushing the Highlander across the room. Angel caught Cordelia as she fell.
The young immortal clutched her head in pain. It was just a vision, Gunn sighed in relief, for a minute there he thought Angel had finally lost it and was going for the immortal’s throat. Gunn and Duncan gathered around the vampire and the girl cradled in his arms.
“Sh, I’ve got you,” Angel whispered into Cordelia’s dark hair stroking her back. Finally, Cordelia stopped trembling.
Cordelia took her hands from her head and clutched at Angel’s shirt. “Angel, St. John is in…”
“Sunnydale. He needs the power of the Hellmouth,” Wesley yelled bursting into the room.
“Sunnydale?” repeated Angel, once the group reconvened in the Library.
“Yes. The power source described in the text has to be the hellmouth.” Wesley explained his theory to the group. “For the spell to work, St. John must go to Sunnydale.”
“Cordelia, what did you see in your vision?” asked Angel.
“An old guy, who must be St. John, wearing a crazy robe and chanting something. The immortal was there, as well as, a bunch of ‘grr’ guys. They were in a cave. I don’t know which cave. But Wesley is right; they were in Sunnydale. I sensed that whatever is suppose to happen will happen soon. We have to go,” she said fidgeting.
“I better call Giles and tell them we are coming,” said Wesley.
Angel pulled Cordelia to him. “It will be okay, Cordelia.” Angel could her heart beat speed up and he could sense the tension in her body.
“No, it won’t be. I don’t want to go to Sunnydale. I hate Sunnydale,” she cried pushing away from the concerned vampire. “I can’t go.”
“What is wrong with Sunnydale? I mean other than the hellmouth thing.”
Cordelia looked at Gunn as if he had grown two heads. “Isn’t that enough,” she yelled. “It is the hell pit of the world. It is…Sunnydale.” It is where Buffy is, she cried to herself. It is where everyone thought of her as a vain, selfish and useless girl. It is where she had been all of those things. She couldn’t go back.
“Angel,” she cried, silently begging him to fix things so she wouldn’t have to go.
“Cordy, I can’t,” he said quietly.
Cordelia slumped in the chair, her knuckles turning white as she clenched her fists.
Wesley walked back into the room. “I talked to…” He stopped as he noticed Cordelia’s agitation. “What is wrong? Did Cordelia have another vision?” He asked Gunn in a low tone.
“No, she is freaking out about going to Sunnydale. All I did was ask what was wrong with the place. I thought it was her home.”
“Oh,” he said understandingly. “No, Sunnydale is not her home, it never was,” he answered ambiguously.
“I told Giles that we would be there before dawn.” Wesley had addressed the group, but his attention was on the apprehensive girl before him. “Cordelia?”
The room was silent waiting for her answer. Get a grip, she said to herself. It was just Sunnydale. Just Sunnydale, she thought, and started to panic.
Stop it, she yelled to herself. Cordelia opened her eyes and stood up. “I will be ready,” she said quietly and headed for the stairs.
Angel felt her fear and insecurity and resolve. At that moment, he wished could rip out the throats of everyone in that stupid town that had ever hurt her.
“Wesley and I are going to Sunnydale with Cordelia. But, none of the rest of you need to.”
“I am going.” Duncan said softly, but forcibly.
Methos looked at his friend. “Might as well see this thing to the finish,” he shrugged.
“Same for me. Anyway, Cordelia said that she saw a lot of vamps. And killing vamps is what I do,” answered Gunn.
Angel nodded. “Wesley, pack up everything that you think we will need from the weapons cabinet. Be ready to leave in an hour,” Angel ordered before heading up the stairs to Cordelia.
“So, what’s the deal with the Barbie doll and her old hometown?” Gunn asked the former watcher.
“Cordelia will be fine,” he said without answering the young kid’s question.
The shower was running when Angel entered the bedroom. He glanced at the duffel bags and clothes thrown over the bed.
Cordelia leaned up against the shower wall willing herself to get a grip. She counted to ten and reminded herself that she was an immortal with a sword that she knew how to use; that she was useful; that she was smart; and that Angel loved her. She could do this.
She opened her eyes as Angel entered the bathroom.
“I’ll be ready. I just felt all stinky after the workout,” she smiled. A smile that Angel knew was false.
“We have time,” he said pulling off his clothes. “Move over, I’m feeling all stinky, too.” Angel started to get in the shower behind Cordelia.
“Vampires’s don’t sweat.”
“Still feel stinky, though.” Angel squeezed some shower gel on the bath sponge.
“Mmmm,” he said rubbing the sponge along Cordelia’s tense shoulders.
“I don’t want to go. I don’t see why LA can’t have it’s own hellmouth. There is a lot of evil here. I bet big old evil law firm could have hooked St. John up with the power he needed. Shoot, I bet they are just sitting on some nasty pit to hell. I am mean why do we have to go to Sunnydale?”
“Because, we do,” he chuckled kneading her back muscles. They were both silent; Cordelia leaned into Angel’s touch. His fingers felt wonderful, but she still couldn’t relax. “They are not going to believe that I can help.”
Angel knew that she was thinking about Buffy and the rest of the Scooby gang. “Yes, they will.”
“Who are you kidding. I can hear it now, ‘What? Cordelia. How is vain Cordelia, stupid Cordelia, bitchy Cordelia, useless Cordelia suppose to help?’.”
Angel forcibly turned Cordelia towards him, gently pushing the wet dark hair from her face. “You are strong, brave and have the most beautiful heart. And they will realize it.”
“Right. Tell that to Buffy and Xander. All they see, all they ever will see is Queen C, the bitch of Sunnydale High. And I was.”
“No,” he growled.
“Angel, you were there, you saw.” Tears pooled in her large hazel eyes.
“What I saw was a young beautiful girl trying to find her place in the world. A girl whose insecurities and spoiled upbringing couldn’t completely hide her wonderful heart, no matter how hard she tried. I was just too blind to see it at the time.”
“Buffy.” The tears in her eyes fell mixing with the stream of water hitting her face.
“Yes, Buffy. But now I can see how wonderful you are. I need you more that I ever needed Buffy or anybody. I love you, Queen C and all,” he said softly gazing into her eyes.
“Oh god, they don’t know. We can’t tell them,” she cried pulling away from Angel.
“Angel, we can’t tell them about this…us. They won’t accept it. Oh god, they will never accept me, now,” she sobbed.
Angel’s non-beating heart broke at her cry. But he was also getting angry. Angel would do anything for Cordelia, he would fight the world to keep her safe and happy, but this he would not do.
Their love was too hard won. Demons, evil lawyers, immortals, prophecies nor the Slayer and her friends would prevent him from acknowledging his love for Cordelia. Angel stared at the girl standing before him. The water from the shower was hitting her body and running down those wondrous curvers, that were his.
“Cordelia, I will not deny our feelings. If they can’t accept it, then so be it.”
“Angel,” she begged.
“No,” he growled. “You are mine.” Angel pulled the young immortal to him and leaned forward to claim her as his. He captured her mouth forcing his tongue into her mouth. The kiss was hard and demanding. Cordelia clutched onto to his wet chest as the passion inside her built. She frantically began to return his kiss, rubbing her body against Angel’s cool, wet, hard body. Angel broke the kiss and stared into her eyes, his eyes flickering from a deep brown to a piercing yellow. “Would you deny this, can you?” he growled.
“No,” she whimpered. “f— them,” she added in a low voice as she pulled the vampire to her.
“We are almost there,” Angel said, softly nudging at the sleeping girl curled against his leg. “Cordelia,” he tried again, gently brushing the dark hair from her face.
“Ummh,” she yawned, blinking her sleepy eyes at Angel.
“We are almost there,” he repeated.
“Oh.” She looked out the window. “We made good time, there is at least another hour until dawn.”
“Yes. Are you going to be okay?” he asked pulling her up against his body.
She smiled softly. “I don’t know. But you know, ‘grr’ guy, I think I am feeling all stinky, again.” Cordelia rubbed her hand along Angel’s muscular thigh.
The car jerked as Angel reacted to Cordelia’s touch. “Stop that.” Angel tried to ignore the small flames shooting up towards his groin and concentrate on the road.
“Stop what, Angel?” She whispered evilly. Her fingers expertly teased his groin. “That? Or did you mean this?” Cordelia leaned her head down to Angel’s lap and kissed and nipped at the growing bulge in his pants.
“Cordelia,” he growled, loosing control of the car.
“Hey what’s going on?” cried a sleepy voice from the backseat.
“It’s okay, Gunn. Angel just lost control for a minute, I guess he is just tired or something.” Cordelia smiled innocently, leaning up against the passenger’s door. Angel growled quietly as he quickly regained control of the vehicle. He took a couple of unneeded breaths before he regained control of himself.
“Yeah, right,” the former street kid said suspiciously. “Are we there yet?”
“We are now,” Angel said passing the ‘Welcome to Sunnydale’ sign.
“It should say ‘Welcome to Sunnyhell’,” Cordelia grumbled, her playful mood suddenly evaporating.
Angel pulled into the curb in front of the Magic Shop. “You ready?”
“Let’s go,” Cordelia got out of the car grabbing the bag that contained her sword.
Duncan’s car pulled up behind Angel’s car. Once the others were out of their car, they got behind the young immortal, along with Angel and Gunn.
Cordelia looked at Angel and shrugged, “Welcome to the hellmouth, gentlemen. It’s now or never.”
She quickly knocked on the door. She knocked once more without an answer. Cordelia looked at the others relieved. “No one is here. I guess we are on our own…Oh, hi Giles,” she said as the former watcher/librarian unlocked the door. “Can we come in?”
“Of course,” he stood back to let Cordelia, Angel and Wesley in, and then stood back further as Gunn, Duncan and Methos walked in. He gave the last three a puzzled look.
Wesley noticed his look. “They are here to help,” he explained introducing the others to Giles.
“Nice store,” Cordelia said glancing around. “Do you make any money. Hey, Angel what about a semi-magic gift store in the lobby of the hotel. Ewww, nevermind,” she whined looking at the jar of newt eyes she had picked up. “Gross.” Cordelia sat down in a chair, pushing her bag under her feet. “So where is the rest of the Scooby gang?”
“They will be here soon. You are early.”
She nodded. “So, do you have a bathroom is this emporium of all things magic and icky?”
“Back through there.” Giles rolled his eyes and pointed to the rear of the shop.
“Thanks.” Cordelia pushed the bag closer to Angel. He nodded and picked the bag up.
“So, Wesley what is this about a Druid prophecy?”
The start of Wesley’s explanation was interrupted by a series of rapid knocks. Wesley waited as Giles let in an eager witch. “Am I late? Is that Angel’s car? Who does the other cool car belong too? Is Cordy here?”
Giles started to close the door and attempt to answer Willow’s rapid questions, when Buffy and Riley raced up.
“Hold on,” Buffy yelled. “Is he here yet,” she asked, unusually breathless. Riley gave her an odd look.
Before Giles could answer, he saw Xander and Anya stroll up the street. “Hurry up,” he yelled to the yawning young couple. “I only want to open the bloody door once,” he mumbled to himself.
Giles opened the door wide and all of the Scooby Gang came into the store.
“Yes, they are all here.” Giles answered, emphasizing that all of the LA gang were present.