“I won’t just stay here.”
“Angel, be…rati…reas…just think would you. Lorne said that there was nothing we could do.”
“NO. I won’t believe it. I don’t believe it. I wil….”
“Angel, please give me the opportunity to research what Lorne said. Possibly there is an answer. We can’t be sure that more harm won’t be caused, if you go see Cordelia, right now.”
“Hey, wonderful all the good guys stacked neatly in a row.”
“Lorne?” Wesley looked at the out of breath demon.
“Yeah, I know I’m not looking my best, but I thought I should warn you that Cor…”
“Green guy, were you about to talk about me behind my back.” Cordelia stood in the entrance of the hotel.
“Of course, not Pri…Cordelia. Um, just wanted to be here in case I was needed. That’s all.”
“Yeah, right. I thought we covered all of this. What did you take, the sewers?
“I just wanted to fill in the boys, that’s all.”
“Cordy?” Angel stood still.
“Angel, ..Groo, Wesley, Gunn…Hi. Actually, Groo, goodbye. The Powers have spoken, you are going home. It seems that they have gone with the warrior with tenure and shaky track record. Go figure, huh. Oh, and Angel, Wesley and Gunn, there’s a crustacean demon on the docks, killing people. So, you better skittle. Save the hopeless and all that.”
“Angel, go. I had a vision. You’re the warrior. Or are you giving up that too?“
“Evil demon killing innocent people. Fight now, talk later. While you’re gone Fred and I, Hi Fred, will move the stuff back.” Cordelia looked around at the lobby of the Hyperion.
“You were right, Wesley, this place is perfect and now it seems that we will need the UV protected tunnels. It wouldn’t do for the warrior to go up in a burst of flames. No more sunbathing for you, hmm,“ Cordelia glanced at Angel.
“You had a vision.” Wesley stared at the beautiful girl. Her eyes were clear, there was no sign of puffiness or dark circles, nothing that would have indicated that she had one. She looked….perfect.”
“Repeating myself, Crusty Demon on the docks.”
“But, you don’t seem…”
“Weak, whining and ugly. No, barely even felt it. Which, I must say I’m grateful for, all that scrunching and wincing was doing a number on my complexion. Gone on much longer, I would have had the wrinkles of a fifty year old. Ewww. Guys, go. This is what we do. Save the hopeless. The victim in my vision s certainly qualified. Why do all the hopeless have smell? “
Angel’s eyes never left Cordelia. They raked over body, studying it, until they reached her face. There was nothing in her bearing or expression that he could read. Until then, until Groo spoke. Then he saw her tense, her spine straighten as she turned to the Pylean. If Angel hadn’t been studying her so closely, he would have missed it. But he had no idea what it meant, what any of it meant.
“Groo, I’m not your princess, I’m no one’s princess, I’m a seer, Angel’s seer. You’ve been fired. Sorry. But if you really want to help you can help Fred and I move the heavy stuff at least until the whirling hole shows back up. It should be soon, but you could probably get in a couple of the bigger boxes, first.” Cordelia turned back to Angel and Wesley.
She met Angel’s questioning stare calmly. “Angel, go, bad guys to kill, hopeless to save.” She shooed.
“Groo, thanks for the help, but I really think that you should go with Lorne now. The portal to Pylea will be opening anytime and you don’t want to miss it.” Cordelia led Groo to the door.
“But, Princess, you need….” Groo kept stopping and looking down at the young woman.
“That’s just it. I don’t need you.” Cordelia forced herself not to roll her eyes. It was difficult, but it wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t help being annoyingly clingy and dumb. She plastered on a big smile. “Groo, it was really great how you jumped right in. But, boy, I just bet Pylea is falling apart without your wisdom and strong arm to guide it. Think of the people. They need you.”
Lorne leaned up against the doorframe, his arms crossed, and eyes rolling.
“Go…I’ll miss you, but go. Groo long goodbyes are such sweet sorrow. It would be easier for me if you left right away.” And people thought she couldn’t act.
“As you wish, princess. I can not cause you pain.”
Cordelia stood and watched Groo leave. Her smile firm on her face, her hand alternating between wiping her eyes and waving in the air.
“Cordy are you all right? I know you cared about him.”
Cordelia turned and looked at Fred. “You did? Sorry, you were wrong. What a pain in the ass.”
Fred blinked at Cordelia’s cold tone and decided to change the subject. “Um, do you need any aspirin or anything? I mean you did just have a vision…”
“Like an hour ago. Weren’t you paying attention when I said, pain gone, hardly noticeable. Were you drifting in and out of LALA land again? Really, Fred you need to start paying attention. You are in the real world, now. You keep doing the space cadet thing, people will begin to thing you’re nutty.”
Fred opened her mouth than shut it. She didn’t know how to respond. Cordelia’s tone was borderline harsh, not at all the friendly teasing tone that she usually used with Fred. Fred liked that tone. In an odd way, it made Fred feel accepted and it made her giggle.
Fred watched as Cordelia busied herself in the lobby. Well, Cordelia looked perfectly fine, very beautiful, not a hair out of place. So, maybe the vision hadn’t hurt her. Fred shook her head. It was just that up until now, the visions had done nothing but cause Cordelia excruciating pain. Everyone had been worried.
Fred didn’t understand. But no pain was a good thing.
“They have been gone a long time.”
Fred widened her eyes in disbelief. “Angel, Wesley, and Gunn.”
“Have they? I hadn’t noticed. What, you worried?”
Cordelia shrugged. “I imagine if something was wrong they would have called or something. Damn’t, it is late.” Cordelia looked at her watch.
Fred sighed. That’s better, she was used to an anxious Cordelia, who was always worried about her friends.
“I’ve missed my nail appointment. Thanks a lot, Groo. If he hadn’t been so damn hard to get rid of, I could have made it. Now look.” Cordelia flashed out her nails. “I have to wait another couple days. Look,” Cordelia grimaced at her nails.
Fred looked at the flawless red nails. “They look fine.”
“Hmmph, really Ms. Fashion plate. Maybe for a cave. This color is so 24 hours ago.” Cordelia picked up the phone to make another appointment.
Fred turned to look at the door. She wanted the others to come back, obviously because she wanted to know that they were safe, but also, because she didn’t want to be alone with Cordelia anymore. Fred didn’t know what was going on, but this Cordelia made her nervous.
Gunn and Wesley came in dirty and limping, holding a bleeding Angel between them.
“Angel.” Running up to the trio. “Is he all right?” Fred looked fearfully at all the blood that coated Angel’s shirt.
Cordelia put down her magazine, got up, and wandered over. She looked at Angel‘s wound, pulling the torn shirt aside. Angel stared at the young woman. Hope crept in his pain filled eyes.
“He’s alright. I’ve seen worse. A couple hours of sleep and he’ll be all healed. The benefits of being a vampire, uh Angel.”
The hope fled from Angel’s face as he looked into her eyes. There was nothing there. The light that had always been present in Cordelia’s beautiful eyes was gone. There was no care, no joy, and no pain. Nothing that Angel could connect with or hold on to. Cordelia shrugged at Angel’s bleak expression and went back to her magazine.
“Cordelia’s right, I’ll be fine. I just need to lie down.” All signs of emotion had fled from Angel’s countenance, leaving nothing but blank stone.
“Told you. “
“But, all that blood.” Fred gulped.
“He shouldn’t go fighting on a full stomach. It’s sort of like squashing a mosquito that just bit you. “ Cordelia said, her eyes never leaving her magazine.
“Cordelia.” Wesley looked shocked.
“What? I’m right aren’t I? Angel, you had some blood before you went out didn’t you? Hmmph.” Cordelia turned the page, not expecting or wanting Angel to answer her.
“I’m going upstairs.” Angel shook off Gunn and Wesley’s aid.
“Cordy? Aren’t you going to help him?”
“He’s a big vamp, he can take care of himself. Oh, all right,” She said at Fred’s shocked look. “Hey, Angel do you need my help.”
“No, thank you Cordelia.”
Cordelia shrugged. “I offered, satisfied? Look, Fred, if you think Angel needs help you do it. It’s not exactly difficult just go wipe up the blood and slap some bandages on.”
“Why won’t you do it?” Wesley said.
Cordelia met Wesley’s contemplative look straight on.
“One, I don’t want to. Two, he doesn’t need it. Three, I don’t want to. Four, he doesn’t need it.” Cordelia checked off each statement with a finger. She waved her thumb. “Do you need to hear my fifth reason?”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Why are you all looking at me as if I’ve grown two heads? If you think Angel needs help and was lying when he said he didn’t then one of you go help. Fred will do it. She is just dying to go up there and kiss him all better.”
“What, it’s no secret that Fred has a crush on Angel.” Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Oh, don’t be embarrassed Fred, it’s perfectly understandable he did save you from your total non existence in Pylea.”
“Come on, we all will go.”
Cordelia raised her brows at Wesley.
“Except you of course Cordelia as you don’t want to.”
“He doesn’t need it. But, if you all feel the need to go and hold his hand, then by all means. Go and leave me in peace.”
“What the hell is going on with Cordy? When did she become Bitch Barbie?”
“Why is she being so mean?”
Wesley shook his head and opened the door to Angel’s suite. Angel was sitting on the side of his bed, his shirt off, displaying hideous criss- cross slashes along his chest. He was mechanically wiping the blood up. There was a roll of bandages and tape lying next to him.
“Angel, let me.” Wesley held out his hand.
“I don’t need help. Just go. All I need is some sleep. Cordelia is right; it’s a benefit. Now, just leave me alone.” His brown eyes blank and dull.
“Angel, Cordelia is.”
“Alive and no longer suffering. That’s all that matters. Now, leave me alone.”
“She’s a bitch.”
“She is alive. Now leave.” Angel said lowly and firmly.
“What the hell is going on?” Gunn was getting very impatient. Wesley and Angel knew something. It was time for one of them to spill. And obviously, it wouldn’t be the vampire. “English.”
“Like I want to be subjected to the princess with a ‘tude’ again.”
“She is just not being very nice. She’s not like Cordy.”
“But she is alive.” Wesley sighed.
“And what is that supposed to mean. That’s what Angel kept saying.”
“Back so soon, told you he didn’t need help. Angel is fairly self-sufficient, hence the long life and all.”
“He will be fine.”
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “I’m going home. I’ll call if I have a vision. I should’ve just called the last time, Dennis is more entertaining than you guys.”
“Um, Cordy.” Fred fidgeted nervously.
Fred blinked. “Um, Are you still going to my lecture?” Fred didn’t want to ask her, but Cordelia had said she would go and give her moral support when she did her project for her physics class.
Though, Fred wasn’t sure that the young woman standing before her was capable of giving anyone moral support.
“Why would I want to go your boring old lecture? Listening to a bunch of egg headed geeks ooh and aah over god only knows what is not my idea of a good time. Life’s too short for that mind numbing garble.”
Fred flinched as if she had been struck.
“Go home.” Wesley said.
“That was my plan. Bye all.”
“I’m sorry Fred.” Wesley placed an awkward hand on her shaking shoulder.
Angel turned from the top of the stairs and went back into his room.
“Start talking English.”
Wesley took his glasses off. He began to wipe them roughly against his shirt and started to repeat all that Lorne told Angel and him.