“Cordy,” Angel cried hopefully, with a bit of anger influencing his tone.
“Um…Angel…Hi,” The other voice stuttered.
“Fred? Why? Where’s Cordelia?” The hope and anger replaced by sudden uncontrollable unease.
“Angel? So how are you?” Fred struggled.
“Why are you answering Cordelia’s phone?” Angel shouted. “Why is the Hyperion’s phone disconnected?”
“Wow, Angel, great to hear from you, here’s Wesley,” Fred stumbled over her words quickly handing the cell phone to Wesley. Even over long distance, Angel’s tone made her nervous.
Angel’s hand jerked, his brown eyes turning black as he stared at the phone. He slowly brought it back to his ear as Wesley’s hesitant greeting echoed through the line.
“Angel,” Wesley inquired.
“Where’s Cordelia?” Angel shouted. “Why…”
Wesley’s deep sigh interrupted Angel’s question.
“Wes?” Angel asked again, trying to calm his stomach’s unrest.
“Angel…um, Cordelia seems to be alright.” Wesley paused.
“Wesley,” Angel demanded, oblivious to the inquisitive looks directed towards his raised voice.
Wesley gave a deep sigh, “Cordelia is fine. She had a particularly bad episode earlier this evening. It started out normally, but it…well it just didn’t go away, in fact, it got worse. She was in no condition to object to us taking her to the hospital. But…she is okay, now,” Wesley reassured.
“Hospital?” Angel choked.
“The doctor has released her. We were about to take her home. They diagnosed it as a migraine. Wrong, but the medication does seem to help…to relieve her headache. She is fine…No need to worry. She wouldn’t want you to worry. We’re fine. Get on with your life.”
Angel said nothing at first, listening, and trying to comprehend Wesley’s words. “The Hotel’s phone is disconnected?” He asked. Angel’s mind was in a whorl he couldn’t think about Cordelia in the hospital, she hated hospitals…he should be there…Angel’s mind veered back to his question.
“Why?” Angel repeated into the tense silence that forced its way through the telephone line.
Angel could picture Wesley pushing at his glasses, rubbing his nose, weighing his answer, judging, and exploring all options. Angel didn’t give him the time to finish his analytical ritual. “Why?” Angel ordered.
Wesley grunted, “Cordelia didn’t want the office to remain at the hotel….’Hope, Inc.’ is now located at another location.” Wesley admitted.
“Inc. We,” Wesley emphasized, unsuccessfully trying to indicate that the decision had been unanimous. “Thought, it was for the best to change the location and name.”
“She did it? Why?”
“You would have to ask Cordelia,” Wesley conceded with a sigh, “but it will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day. The medication, the big horse pills and shots that she has been subjected to, will…hopefully, allow her to get some sleep.” Anger and concern oozed through Wesley’s words.
“Angel was there something specific you wanted.” Wesley asked. “Cordelia needs me.” The former watcher was tired. He already had to keep Groo from barging into Cordelia’s room and forcibly ending the visions, he really didn’t have the energy to deal with whatever guilt feelings Angel was starting to conjured up.
Wesley had to go back to Cordelia and make sure she was comfortable and to take her home. As far as he was concerned both the new warrior and the old one could go to hell, both of them were just increasing Cordelia’s stress and taxing his equilibrium.
“Wes, don’t hang up,” Angel pleaded, trying to ignore the pit taking over his stomach at Wesley’s words.
“What do you want to know,” Wesley roughly sighed, giving in to Angel’s appeal.
“The visions, they’re getting worse.” Angel begged for both clarification and a refusal to his question.
“Yes, you could say that.” The anger, frustration, and exhaustion were apparent in Wesley’s short understatement.
“Groosalugg can end them…” Angel struggled, trying to understand.
Wesley sighed. “Maybe, the prophecy was directed to the Princess and her warrior- but that was in Pylea. There is no guarantee that the com-shuk would work in this dimension.”
“Sex, Angel…The prophecy calls for the Princess to have sex with her warrior, to com-shuk with the champion- In Plyea that was Groosalugg, now it also happens to be true here in LA. You are no longer the warrior, no longer Cordelia’s or anyone’s champion, no longer a demon.” Wesley added.
“By the prophecy, Groo could relieve the burden of the sight from the princess.” Wesley was tired- he didn’t care anymore about hiding the prophecy from Angel. Anyway, it only seemed important when Angel was present in LA, when he was still a part of Cordelia’s life. That was before Angel ran off to Sunnydale.
“Sex with Groo. Why didn’t anyone tell me? Does Cordelia know?” Angel demanded.
“Really, Angel,” Wesley said exasperation. “This isn’t…”
“Wes,” Angel demanded harshly.
“Yes, of course Cordelia knows. She knew in Pylea. Gunn and I didn’t say anything, because well there was no point. Cordelia didn’t want to stay in Plyea. So no consummating of the prophecy- so no reason to tell. Why Cordelia didn’t tell, you will have to ask her, but like I said, it will have to wait. Really Angel, I have to go. Cordelia needs me.”
“Stop saying that,” Angel yelled.
“Well, she does, who else does she have.” Wesley shouted back. “Or would you have me leave her to that prophesized buffoon. That…possible only hope for Cordelia can’t seem to get it through his long-double- thick haired skull that before any attempts at the prophesy- Cordelia has to be one- willing and second- awake.” Wesley added in disgust.
“What?” Angel glared at the phone as if it grown two demon heads. “He’s what?” Angel tone got decidedly quiet, the rage erupting in his body, froze the words as they left his mouth.
“Angel, I’ve to go. Cordelia is fine, for now. The next time…. who knows…. This is unbearable and ridiculous,” Wesley said either ignoring or not catching the change in Angel’s tone. “Cordy, she can’t survive much more of this. I just can’t believe that he’s her only hope. I have to research more,” Wesley grunted contemptuously more to himself rather to Angel.
“Goodbye, I hope everything is going well,” Wesley said perfunctorily as he hung up the phone, his mind on getting back to Cordelia.
Angel stared at the phone as the dial tone beeped continuously through. Cordelia was in the hospital, her visions getting worse, sex with a demonic moron would be rapist may be her only hope, Angel Investigations was no longer in existence, and Wesley hung up on him. Angel’s world was completely rocked to its core.
If he had still been a vampire, his demon would have devastated the landscape between Sunnydale and LA, and then it would have unleashed it’s true beast on that…that, Angel’s mind colored red with flames not even able to say the hero demon’s name. As it was, Angel was very willing to kill someone.
He took several deep breaths; he wasn’t a vampire anymore, not a demon. Angel was human; he had reached his dream, so why was it turning into a nightmare. Even if he left Sunnydale this very minute, he couldn’t save Cordelia, he was human.
Angel pushed more numbers into the phone.
“Yes, this had better be earth shattering, mind-blowing important,” a tired voice answered.
“Gees, don’t you ever sleep. I thought humans needed the whole eight hours thing at least. What’s up… cakes, having trouble adjusting to the whole blood pumping, air breathing thing. My only advice is to keep on breathing deeply and count a bunch of fluffy, happy go lucky sheep. If that doesn’t fit the bill there has to be a 900 phone…”
“Cordy….” Angel broke into the host’s ramblings.
“Well, unsavory news travels fast. That’s technology for you. Save it, human cute one…She’s not your problem. Groo, may be a bit dim, okay, he’s more than a few hundred watts short of a dim bulb, but he is her warrior. They know what they need to do. It just a matter of time. Or we can hope. I’d hate for the princess to say bye, bye, just because she has an aversion to longhaired, brawn kiss ass types. Though, I have to agree with the English muffin, the tan guy is going about it all wrong. The kitten needs to be petted and wooed, not pounced at. Eww. But don’t worry, between Muffin’s lectures, Macho guy’s threats, and my excellent singing repertoire, will get this whole thing settled satisfactorily. Kitten will be fine.”
“Why? Princess is a hottie, there are so few true…. oh my god, light my fire, lay down the red carpet, bow and scrape for types out there, I’d hate to see one leave. Anyway, I like her; I don’t want to see her die or well, be taken in her sleep, if you know what I mean. Roofys were designed for this Neanderthal. But hey, he can get rid of the visions, so us protectors of the Princess will just have to make sure it’s done the right way.”
Angel stumbled against the table. Die, Cordelia could die. And Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne seemed to cheerleading the com-shooking with the warrior rapist, as long as they could orchestrate it. Angel’s mind went momentarily blank, the blaze of his rage burnt away all thought.
“Why? Why…Groosalugg.” Angel spit out the name. Angel’s knuckles whitened as the clutched the receiver.
“I could care less about luggapoo, he could leave anytime…Oh, you mean why is Rambo boob the one that can save her…Easy, really…. Humans weren’t meant to handle visions. So, princess just needs to connect or Pylean ‘com-shuk’ with a demon and viola trauma and death averted, visions erased. Something about the blood. Pretty easy, well, it could be, if you ask me, sure Groo is dumb and a tad persistent, but hey, he has the Power’s blessing and he works out. He just needs a little advice, okay a lot. But the ken doll is definitely gaga over the princess.
Don’t get all broody, between us guys, not you, obviously…you are com-suking with your gaga vision…Me, the English muffin and tasty macho man, we will handle this, we will teach Groo the finer points of seduction and convince Cordelia to ignore Groo’s more blaring defects and to concentrate on his life saving attributes. Hell, kitten doesn’t want to meet the powers just yet. She is just being stubborn. Well, now that I have laid your human brain to rest, goodnight or is it morning…One never knows in those sterile white walls of a hospital. Colors and music are needed…I think I’ll write a letter.” Lorne trailed off hanging up the phone.
The green demon went to bed happy. Things were in motion, screw the Powers, Groo may be cute, but he was an asshole and not who the beautiful seer needed.
Angel hung up the phone, his dark eyes staring at the phone. Lorne hung up on him, too. They were shutting him out as if he wasn’t a part of them.
As if he didn’t have a right to be concerned about Cordelia. It was wrong. This was not how it was suppose to be. Angel was no longer sure how it was suppose to be, he just knew that this wasn’t it. He needed to be in LA, he needed to be the one to save Cordelia, not that self bloated mid season replacement.
But if Groo being a demon and his having…Angel’s mind refused to finish that thought. Angel needed…
“Umhm,” Giles cleared his throat. “Hospital?” Giles asked, trying in some way to understand the sudden change in Angel.
Angel stared at the watcher, his eyes unseeing. His blank gaze narrowed as it landed on Spike. A solution to his anger, his confusion, and need began to form. Spike was a demon, more importantly he was a vampire. “I’m tired. Spike?”
“Uh, what?” Spike raised his brows at Angel. The blonde vampire didn’t like Angel’s tone or expression. It was all too familiar.
“Do you stay here or do you still have a cave somewhere?”
“A cave, a crypt?” A place to sleep? Or do you curl up on a rug outside the slayer’s room,” Angel taunted, rolling his eyes.
“Bugger this,” Spike exclaimed as Buffy shouted “What?”
“Hey, that’s not cool. And why would you want to sleep with blonde dead boy, you’re human, not a blood sucker type, right?” Xander said suspiciously.
“Do you suggest we bunk up,” Angel said coldly.
“Hell no.” Xander eyes widened in disgust.
“Didn’t think so, Spike?”
“There is no bloody way,” Spike shook his head. “You, bleedin breather are on your own.”
“Spike,” Angel didn’t ask, but ordered.
The blonde vampire shot a look to Buffy.
“Does she tell you when and where to sleep,” Angel chuckled silkily.
“Ang…” Buffy gasped.
“Spike, now,” Angel demanded.
Spike narrowed his eyes at the dark human’s tone. If Spike wasn’t sensing the blood flow and the heart beat within the human, Spike would swear that it was Angelus he was listening to.
“Spike,” Buffy called, she was totally confused. What had just happened, what was going on? Why did she not like Angel right now? And what was with the condescending crude insults?
“Goodnight,” Angel said to the room. He raised his brows to the blonde vampire.
Spike shuffled and growled. “Fine, then, come on” Spike nodded, with over 100 years of ingrained obedience to his grandsire.
“Okay, peaches what gives, why here? You can’t tell me you miss vampire lodgings. Isn’t your warm-blooded carcass more suited to soft cushions and cotton, now? You ain’t getting that here.”
Angel had been silent as he followed Spike to the crypt. Finally, he spoke once they were inside. “The chip, it keeps you from harming human’s?” he asked.
“Yeah, what about it?” Spike said defensively.
“So, what if a human wants to be harmed?”
“UH?” Spike was speechless. “Wants to be bit, strangled and killed, gee I don’t know………I haven’t had many volunteers.”
“So you haven’t tried?”
“My head blew a hole the last time I tried to whack moron boy.”
“So you haven’t fed, then.”
Spike stared at Angel. The face was Angel. Spike smelled the human blood, but the breathing mortal before him was more like Angelus.
“It’s considered harmful,” Spike bitterly answered.
“What if they consent?”
“Consent? Hell, I hate those blood brothels. I always have, you know that. They’re boring, no challenge. OR as your memory gone with your teeth?” Spike quipped trying to control the situation. Angel wasn’t Angelus; he was a human, not a problem.
Angel just nodded and pulled out a stake. He plunged into his bare wrist. Blood spurted out from the wound, dripping along his wrist. “Drink,” He ordered forcing his bloody forearm towards Spike.
Spike involuntarily stepped back. Along with all of his vamp abilities, Angel had lost his wits. Any attempt at controlling the situation fled from Spike’s mind.
“Drink,” Angel repeated, moving closer, waving his wrist in front of the blonde vampire. “When’s the last time you tasted human, drink.” His voice teased and commanded.
Spike’s feet jerked back as his hand shot forward. The dark liquid trailing down Angel’s arm and dripping to the floor beckoned and taunted at Spike. “Drop the pointy stick,” Spike whispered as his gaze locked on to the crimson fluid.
Angel let the wooden stake fall to the ground. As soon as the object hit the floor, Spike’s fierce grip latched onto Angel’s arm. With initial hesitation and a final jerk, Spike’s mouth surrounded the bleeding wound. A low growl formed in Spike’s throat as the hot liquid pooled in his mouth. His fangs plunged into the skin as he sucked harder at the puncture.
Angel winced and let Spike feed for a moment. Then he pushed at Spike’s face. “Enough,” Angel pushed.
Spike ignored Angel and rejoiced as the warm spicy nectar slipped down his throat.
“I said enough,” Angel winced, shoving harder at the vampire.
Spike cried out as the pain burst in his brain, his throat constricting. The blonde vampire gasped and choked at the onslaught. He staggered away from Angel.
Angel just nodded as he wrapped his shirttail around the still bleeding cut.
“Miss it?” Angel said coldly.
“What do you want?” Spike struggled to retort, wiping the blood from his mouth and licking the substance from his fingers.
“You seem pretty familiar with the Magic Shop, so familiar in fact, I bet you know where Jenny Calendar’s spell is located.”
“The Soul spell?” Why…what the hell would you want with that piece of gypsy garbage.” Spike mumbled against the fingers he still had in his mouth.
Angel contemplated the blonde vampire, Angel’s course of action firmly settled in his mind. Angel couldn’t trust Spike, but the blonde vampire could be bullied, enticed, and bargained with. It seemed that being human hadn’t completely nullified the familial pull Angel had over his grand-childe.
Spike’s acquiesce to his earlier demands proved that.
“Well?” Angel said. The dark human waited, his stillness urging the vampire to answer.
Spike slammed his jaws shut. “Well…What? You weren’t expecting a response, were you?”
“Uhuh,” Spike nodded. “A response…a response.” Spike’s hands fumbled around his duster for his cigarettes.
“Bloody hell, I’m waiting too…waiting for the men in white coats to drag your cracker ass back down the rabbit hole. You’re whacked, seriously, completely mad as a hatter.” Spike’s hand shook a he flicked continuously at his Zippo.
“Spike, I’m serious.”
Spike just stared. Angel did mean it. Spike paced back and forth in taking deep drags from his cigarette. He stopped. “No. I won’t do it.” Spike shook his head; he brought another cigarette up to his lips. He looked at it, and then at the one already lit in his hand. “NO.” Spike tossed the unnecessary cigarette.
“Come on, Spike,” Angel said. His tone cajoling. “Think about it, all that human blood.”
“There’s not enough blood on the friggin planet.” Spike answered. “No way in hell, am I turning you. I’m not hankering for the return of granddad dearest. No fuckin way.”
“It wouldn’t be the same, the spell…you would be my sire.” Angel pointed out.
“Your sire? You say that as if that should make me all warm and fuzzy…you dusted your last sire, twice. The idea of being your sire, brings no warm fuzzies to my dead heart.” Spike jerkily lit another cigarette. Again, he looked at the one he had lit already in his hand. “Damn it to hell.” Spike threw both burning cigarettes to the ground. “You, Peaches are not known for your family loyalty.” Spike said.
“There were extenuating circumstances, Darla…”
“Was your bloody sire, we all know what that honor got her. NO.” Spike pulled another cigarette out of his quickly dwindling pack.
“Spike,” Angel ordered.
“Don’t use that bossyboots voice with me, you’re nothing but a pansy ass crazy human, you aren’t Angelus and it will be cold day in hell before that bastard walks the earth again.”
“Really,” Angel said. “Seen Dru lately.”
“Fuck me,” The cigarette fell out of Spike’s gapping jaws.
“I find her, I’m sure that fucking you won’t be a problem,” Angel said. Angel had to convince Spike to turn him and do the spell.
“You wouldn’t.” Spike gaped at Angel’s silky smile. “You want your soul, go to Dru and you won’t get it.”
“I would prefer to have my soul. But, I can accomplish want I need to without it. Just as long as I’m a demon.”
“And just what in the bloody hell do you need to accomplish?”
“That’s not your concern. Your only concern is do you want me to accomplish it as a vampire with a soul or your favorite long lost nightmare.”
“Bullshit,” Spike said with more confidence than he felt. The blonde vampire studied the human. Angel’s heartbeat was steady; Spike sensed no hesitation, no fear, just determination. Shit, Spike thought, the wanker would do it.
Angelus, shit. Angelus was not a vampire Spike wanted back. Angelus would hunt Spike down and torture him with taunts and ridicule about his chipped impotent state, flaunting Dru in his face. Hell on earth, that’s what it would be. Then the bastard would go after Buffy. Buffy.
“The slayer would stake you so fast.” Spike said.
“Or I would kill her.”
“Bullshit, you couldn’t kill her, you wouldn’t.”
“No soul remember.”
Spike’s eyes widened at Angel’s relaxed posture. “Games, you would play games. You would Mind fuck her, but you wouldn’t kill her. Remember Angelus inability to avoid playing with his obsessions.”
“That time has come and gone. I’d just kill her, I’d mind fuck you.”
“You love her. That’s why you came back to Sunnyhell to be with her, that’s why…” Spike stopped and tried again, that reasoning just didn’t make any sense. “If you go back vamp, even with a soul, you lose Buffy.”
Angel shrugged again.
Spike’s eyes widened. “What’s more important than Buffy.”?
“My life.” Angel spoke with force and true belief. The realization flashed brightly in his mind, all of those hidden unexplained areas that he had studiously, rapidly fled away from, ignited, and showed him the truth. Cordelia’s life was his life. If she died, then there would be no point in his reaching his redemption.
“Your what?” Spike stopped his pacing. “You are alive, heart pumping, body breathing alive. This,” Spike frantically waved towards Angel,” is what you got all pouty face for ever since you got that bloody soul. Why would you give it up? And don’t even try to tell me it’s because you miss the blood, aversion to daylight or the whole deadness thing of being undead.”
“I won’t. Spike, I don’t’ have all day.”
“You’re daft. What makes you so sure that I won’t just turn you then kill you? After all, there would be no pain. You would be a demon, a dead un-dead free shot.” I could kill you.”
“You’d kill your only childe. I don’t think so. You do have family loyalty.”
“I don’t want you as my childe. I want you dead, just not undead.” Spike wasn’t sure if he ever could kill a childe of his, but then again he never had one before- so maybe he could, and it was Angel. Spike really did want Peaches far far away from Sunnydale. And death would be pretty permanently far away.
“Well, that’s not very nice. What would Buffy say.”?
“She wouldn’t know…. Or I’d tell her that you, in your weak, useless human state got turned and I had to stake you to keep the world safe from Angelus. She’d believe me.”
“Really, she trusts you that much?”
“Damn you.” Buffy didn’t completely trust Spike and she would be pissed. All of the progress that Spike had made with her would be shot to hell. “But, she won’t be happy if I turn you soul or no soul.”
“She will understand why I had to do it.”
“I doubt it.”
“That’s my problem.”
“My problem too, if she’s mad enough to go all slayer like on me.”
“I wouldn’t let her. After all, you would be my sire.”
“We’ve done that dance around the rose bush already. It doesn’t hold much weight with me.”
“Look Spike, I stay human, I stay in Sunnydale with Buffy. I turn with my soul; I go back home. Forever.” Obviously, Spike’s reluctance was stronger than any influence that Angel had over the blonde vampire. So, Angel tried another tactic.
Spike was overly concerned with Buffy’s possible reaction, which to Angel, indicated that the blonde vampire had fallen for the slayer. How or why, Angel didn’t really understand, nor for that matter did he really care. Angel just had to get Spike to comply.
“Home, you mean LA.” Spike studied Angel. “You’re full of shit. You need your soul. You need me. What’s in LA?” Spike thought back to when he first came across Buffy and Angel in the graveyard. He had been gratified to see that they weren’t rolling around on the ground like human rabbits, but rather they were arguing.
What had they been arguing about? Cordelia Chase? The cheerleader? The tasty brunette that supposedly was working with Angel in LA.
“Cordy? The cheerleader.” Spike’s eyes lit as his question hit home. Angel’s heart started to speed up. Spike could smell the perspiration forming on Angel’s skin. Spike remembered how Angel’s heart had raced when he was making his phone calls, trying to reach the chit. “That’s it, isn’t it? But…you’re human, that bit of alright is human. Why are you here, why do you want to be a vampire again? A vampire with a curse. No shagging.”
“I don’t have all day.” Angel struggled to maintain his calm, ignoring Spike’s jab about the curse. Angel had figured away around that stipulation.
“You said that already. But I do have all day, all night; all day…I could go on…and you need me. So, start explaining.” Spike leaned back and sucked happily on his cigarette. This was fun. Angel was beginning to squirm. It made a blonde vampire feel good.
“Don’t be so sure of that.”
Spike shook his head and laughed at Angel’s threatening tone. “You’re in love with the tasty piece in LA, you won’t risk Angelus going after her, because he would wouldn’t he. Buffy’s time may be long gone, but the cheerleader’s is now. And no other vampire will turn you and give you back your soul. Not nice threatening me with granddad.” Spike said. “You had me going there for a minute.”
“Spike.” Angel’s command was tainted with his feelings of urgency and need.
“Angel,” Spike shot back. “Talk”
Spike took a long drag off his cigarette. He had been right the first time; the poof was daft or maybe not so much as daft as stupid. There were so many holes in Angel’s plan you could drain the friggin ocean.
But, hey, Spike didn’t see why he had to rain on Angel’s little dimwitted parade. And this way, Spike could have a long overdue human dinner and the souled poof would finally be out of the slayer’s life once and for all.
Angel goes through with his plan; Buffy will never want the poof back. And when the crazy impulsive plan blew up, the explosion would be in LA, far, far away. And who knew, maybe having Angel as his childe would be fun. “Okay, I’ll do it.”
“Wouldn’t take a drop without it handy,” Spike reassured. “I want you, your love sick obsessions, and the possibility of Angelus gone. Gee, the human doesn’t fall far from the vamp does it or is it the other way around? Still quite the obsessive bloke, aren’t you.”
“You tell me William, the bloody…poet.”
“Hey, Peaches, I’m doing you the favor, no reason to get insulting.” Spike grinned, leaping off the stone tomb he had been resting on. “Time for me go and get this little whacked show on the road.”