“Not now, Angel.” Wesley said tersely as he broke the last lock binding the vampire.
“No, Angel..” Wesley said sharply.
Angel almost in a sheepish manner shook off the metal and sat up. “I…”
Wesley shot him a hard look.
Wesley took a deep breath. “Angel, what you did, was dangerous, irresponsible and just plain stupid…” Wesley shook his head.
Angel’s eyes shot to Buffy. Guilt transformed his face. “Buffy, I..”
Wesley grunted. “If after all of this, you still haven’t made up your mind then I will stake you.”
Angel stared at his friend. “I…”
“Whatever. I’m leaving, going home to LA, to Cordelia. You do what you need to do. But, the next time she screams in pain because of you, I will kill you.” Wesley’s voice was full of a deep irrevocable promise.
Angel watched Wesley leave the cave.
“Angel,” Buffy said again.
Angel glanced back again to the beautiful blonde. He narrowed his eyes at the woman as if seeing her for the first time. She was the love of his life. Angel shook his head in disbelief. He couldn’t have been more wrong. He couldn’t help but laugh at his own blindness and stupidity.
“I’m sorry. Really, truly…” he said at Buffy’s offended and surprised expression. “I.. No really, I’m sorry,” he said calmed down, taking a deep breath. “I had no right to put you all in danger from Angelus, but.. Well…I’m just sorry.”
“Why? I thought it was the only way to save Cordelia. and…. And you know what, I still think it is. Buffy, I’m really sorry and I know you deserve more of an explanation right now, but I don’t have time. Wesley’s mad enough to leave me and I have to get back home and talk to Cordy. I think she’s mad, too. So, I’m sorry, you don’t deserve this, but I got to go.” Angel hurriedly moved towards the exit.
“Oh, don’t stake Spike, it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t have a choice…It’s the whole weird family dynamics that vampire’s have.” Angel called as he ran after Wesley.
Everyone stood stunned as they watched the fleeing vampire. Then slowly the human occupants turned and stared at the open-jawed blonde vampire.
Spike tried not to squirm as he felt their gaze. He shrugged. “Poof was my grandsire, it’s a real potent bond between vamps. And the weird thing was, it still existed when the poof was breathing. I didn’t have a choice, just like he said. I didn’t, not at all, like I was telling you.” Spike jumped gratefully at the half-truth that Angel had told.
Giles narrowed his eyes, and then shook his head. “Enough, this has all been a very trying and perplexing experience. He took his glasses off and rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know, but I feel like we have all just been guest stars in a drama of the life and times of Angel Investigations.”
“I hate crossovers,” murmured Xander.
“It’s my car, I should drive.”
Wesley swerved to the side of the road. “Fine. You drive…” The car door slammed roughly against its metal frame.
“It’s just that you don’t do the gears right. That’s all.” Angel scooted to the driver’s side.
Wesley mumbled as he got into the passenger side.
“I just thought….”
“Thought, as in thinking?” Wesley let loose. “You weren’t thinking not at all. Do you have any concept of what you have done? What you or rather Angelus could’ve done. Spike? Spike? You trusted that… Do you care? Do you know? How dense can you possibly be? First….god, you are stupid.”
“No…Angel.” Wesley took a deep breath. “First, you were human…HUMAN, Angel, therefore redeemed. Therefore…..alive. But, no you screwed that up.”
“I did it for Cordelia.” Angel defended trying to keep the big vehicle in between the white lines. This was why he didn’t call Wesley when the idea first came to him, Angel just knew there would be a lecture involved. Granted he hadn’t realized that it would be such an angry one or that Spike would be so incompetent.
“Cordelia…Cordelia…Tell me Angel, did she seem very happy about the whole situation. I’m saying she didn’t….What do you think?”
“But, nothing…I told you about the prophecy. Obviously, I shouldn’t have. But who could have foreseen what lengths you would go to when the light finally dimmed in that thing you call a brain that you loved her.” Wesley ignored Angel’s intake of unneeded breath.
“Angel, the Pylean prophecy called for the champion to ‘comshuck’ with the princess. Okay, we all know what that means. Cordelia knew, but she didn’t do it, she still hasn’t and not because she wasn’t attracted to Groo. Or at least she was at first…anyway, Cordelia doesn’t want to …
“Cordy isn’t still attracted to Groo. I couldn’t tell.”
Wesley jaw dropped and gapped at the vampire. “You….you….OH my god…you didn’t do this to save Cordelia, you just did it because you didn’t want Groo to. You were jealous. You gave up………Oh, you fool.”
Angel’s grip tightened as he tried to keep the steering wheel straight.
“When is the last time that you have been able to finish a sentence or a thought. Damn’t Angel. Jealously? There was nothing to be jealous about. Cordelia doesn’t love Groosalugg, she loves you, and you love her. Why couldn’t you have figured that out before the side trip to Sunnydale? Believe me, she would have been happier, we all would have been happier and just maybe, just maybe together we could have figured out how to get rid of the death sentence that the visions are giving her and hell, maybe we could’ve made Groo disappear as well.”
“Happier? Cordelia loves me?”
“Stop the car.” Wesley ordered.
“Because, when I stake you I want to behind the steering wheel.”
Angel didn’t stop the car but he stared hard at his friend. “You think that Cordelia loves me.”
Wesley closed his eyes and wondered how he wandered into a teenage melodrama, where ghosts, demons, and Armageddon played a repeating part.
“Yes, I believe that Cordelia has strong feelings for you, ones that could be described as love or at least she did,” he added.
“Well, lets see. Ignoring the part of your history that includes…” Wesley cringed. “Bedding Darla. We can go on to the part where you repeatedly expressed your love for Buffy, not Cordelia…I mention Cordelia, just in case you fail to see the problem with those declarations. Then of course, there was the fact that you left her, Cordelia, in case you don’t remember, without saying goodbye, sorry, or anything. And, too make matters more …worse, unbearable, wrong…you did it when you were human. A state that could of well, gee, I don’t know, worked well for both you and Cordelia. Oh…should I even mention the times that Angelus has berated, threatened, just been plain ‘not nice’ to her. What was the question, again? Why, maybe Cordelia has lost those lovin’ feelings for you? Gee, I just don’t know”
“There is no reason to be sarcastic. It doesn’t suit you.”
Wesley shot Angel an evil look.
“Cordelia’s mad, isn’t she?”
Wesley didn’t know whether to cry or just stake Angel. He took a deep breath. “Angel, just what were you planning to do to save Cordelia?”
“Complete thoughts and sentences, gone with the rest of your brain, thought so,” Wesley mumbled. “Angel, the prophecy, the PLYEAN prophecy, not the universal prophecy called for ‘the Princess’ to comshuck with the “Champion”. Maybe, MAYBE the prophecy will work here in this dimension, maybe that’s why Groo, the ‘champion’ was summoned. You, demon or not, were not- are not the champion of Pylea.
And even if we were to assume that the prophecy will work here, that being a demon and the ‘warrior’ for the seer/princess is enough, and that you can still be considered her ‘warrior’ – Cordelia has to be willing. She hasn’t been so far and isn’t just because Groo is a buffoon. She doesn’t want to lose the visions, even when you left her, she didn’t. Cordelia believes in her role as a seer or she did. Understandably, she may be getting a little tired of her so-called calling. But regardless, even if she was willing to rid herself of the visions, do you honestly think she would eradicate them by having sex with you.”
“Angel, we are talking about Cordelia. Cordelia. Think about who she is. Do you think that she would ever have sex with you, knowing what you’ve done? She won’t. She will hate your presumption that she would, she will feel guilty about why you gave up your humanity and more damming, is that her guilt would be coupled with anger that you gave up your humanity for any reason. She will be livid and it wouldn’t surprise me if she didn’t have sex with Groo just to try to get out of the situation that you created.
And what were you going to do about Angelus” Wesley went on, ignoring Angel’s attempt at an answer. “ Sex, Angel, Intimacy, those are his awakening calls. Just because you managed to keep your soul with Darla, doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence that we would be as fortunate if you were intimate with Cordelia.”
“I…there it is again…..your inability to complete a thought or phrase. Very tiring, very telling.”
“I did think. I had the spell.”
“No, Spike did and what wonders he accomplished with it. And so what, all that the spell did was grant you your soul, ‘happy clause’ included”
“What?” Wesley jerked around in the passenger seat. “And who was supposed to perform it. Not you. Or did you expect Cordelia to, after she chained you up as some sort of foreplay. Or, god forbid, did you expect Gunn and I to stand by and watch. Angel you did not think this through at all did you?”
“No, you didn’t. You just decided that you had to be the one to save Cordelia. A noble, worthwhile sentiment to be sure. But an impractical, dangerous and foolish one, as well. We are just fortunate, especially Cordelia that Angelus wasn’t able to do more than taunt and smirk.”
Fear, dread, and rage traveled over the vampire’s body. Wesley was right; he hadn’t thought his idea through, not completely. He had just concentrated on the need to be a demon again. Angel had just took for granted that Cordelia would allow for it to happen that she would be willing to ‘com-shuck’ with him, if not Groo.
Angel had been so anxious to save Cordelia and believed that his was the only way; he failed to consider the possibility that Cordelia wouldn’t just go along with his plan. Angel had forgotten to consider Cordelia’s personality into the equation. She would be mad. She was mad.
No, he thought, as his foot pushed harder on the accelerator, his grip tight around the steering wheel, keeping the car straight, he had been right. The implementation had been sloppy and misguided, but the idea was sound. Angel would protect Cordelia and would save her.
“Yes, everything you said is true, but also wrong.” Angel said lowly.
“No, now you listen. I..”
Wesley started to interject.
“No, I have a complete thought. You just may not want to hear it.” Angel said even lower, a growl tinged his voice.
Wesley paused. He looked at his friend. But it was no longer the befuddled friend that Wesley could yell at and berate, but a vampire; a vampire with a purpose. Angel was not Angelus but he was the vampire whose strength, force of will and dichotomy still on occasion made Wesley very nervous.
“I am back, I am not human, I might not even be a warrior for the Powers anymore, I know this. I may never reach the whole ‘shansu’ again. I could have very well lost my future as a human. But, the realization, the Epiphany, if you will, that I had- put it all in perspective. You see, what I am now can possibly save Cordelia or if that is not possible, I can at least protect her. I will not leave her. And as long as she is a tool of the Powers, then I need what being a vampire can give me….to protect her.
It became clear when I had to fight the vampires in Sunnydale. I couldn’t protect Cordelia as a human, not if she remained the seer and faced such danger everyday. And I couldn’t leave it to you and Gunn and surely not to that walking talking Neanderthal. I have my soul, for what its worth, but that doesn’t’ change the fact, that if you or anyone else keeps me from Cordelia, I will kill them.”
Wesley stared at Angel’s matter of fact tone. No growl, no doubts, just the honest truth. “And if that person is Cordelia? If she tells you to leave her alone, to get out of her life?”
“Then I will go, but I won’t leave her. I will watch, wait, and protect her.”
“You’ll stalk her, is what you mean.”
“I won’t bother her, but I won’t leave her.”
Wesley stared, then turned away. “I only ask that before you make any other ‘decisions’ that will affect all of us, we stop by Caritas.”