“So, what you’re saying is that we have to put of with the ice princess.”
Wesley shrugged and wiped at his glasses again. “Cordelia has managed to build up the necessary gray to give her the strength to…remain alive. It seems that in doing so, she has lost all sensitivity or concern for others.”
“So, we have to put up with it.”
“Yes. Unless…There as to be another answer. It just doesn’t make sense that the Powers would want her to be cruel and apathetic or want Angel to become isolated again. It defeats the purpose of the scrolls prophecy.”
“What’s wrong with the vamp?”
“You saw him.”
“All he said was that he wanted to be alone.”
“Yes, he is closing himself off again. There has to be another way.” Wesley headed for his books. He stopped and turned politely to Fred. “Um, Fred. I can’t go to your lecture. I think someone should stay with Angel and I would really like to take the opportunity to research this some more.” Wesley looked at Gunn.
“Come on girl, you can impress me with your brains.”
“Wouldn’t miss it. Maybe some of that brain power will rub off.”
“Street smart maybe.”
“Fred, I’m sure you will do excellently.”
“Thank you, Wesley. Help Cordy. She can’t be happy like this; neither can Angel. It’s just not fair, a week ago, everyone was so happy. It’s just not fair.”
Wesley stretched his neck, rubbing at his eyes. He was missing something. He had to be. Lorne seemed sure of what he had been saying and it had made sense in a depressing, bizarre way. But it couldn’t be what the Powers wanted. Wesley picked up the phone.
“You rang.” Lorne entered the hotel.
“I want you to read Angel’s aura.”
“Bring him by, have him sing a tune.”
“He won’t go anywhere.”
Lorne signed deeply and sat in the chair next to Wesley. “Muffin, there’s no point in reading Angel’s aura. It’s not like it’s gotten all-colorful. And the seer’s seems just grayly fine. Look, Muffin, I know this is not fun and no one is cheered but Cordy will stay alive. She can handle the visions, now.”
“Lorne, Angel is upstairs right now burying himself behind his own dark walls. If that continues he won’t ever be ready for the Prophecy.”
Lorne got up. “Muffin, I like the big lug, really. But when will you all realize this isn’t about Angel. The Powers ditched the Shansu thing when they early released him. They didn’t bring him back, he brought himself back to the grayness.”
“This is as much about Angel as it is about Cordelia. They need each other; the powers need them, but not like this. You said that Cordelia had been on her way to becoming a seer that prophecies were written about. Well they did write about her, in the scroll. She is or was the humanity that would lead Angel to his shansu. That’s not happening now.”
“She had to lose her connection.”
“Yes, yes-the grayness. But there has to be another way for her to maintain it.”
“I think there is. Look, Cordelia maybe as gray as demon right now, but she isn’t one. Eventually, the colors will come back. “
“I saw her aura, it’s solid.”
Wesley rubbed his forehead. “You know about auras and souls, I know about a human beings need for self protection, their ability to push their feelings aside. Those feelings are pushed aside, ignored, but not gone, never gone. Something will happen that will put a crack in those walls that Cordelia has built and that something will most definitely have to do with the vampire upstairs. And when that happens, everyone will suffer.”
Wesley flopped back down in his chair, rubbing at his neck. God, he was tired.
“Even if you’re right, there is no other way.”
“You said both Cordelia and Angel were anomalies. A human seer and a vampire with a soul. They have what each other needs to be complete.”
“The comshuck option as come and gone.”
“I’m not talking about that. All that did was transfer the visions. I saying Angel has the gray that Cordelia needs and she has the colors that he needs.”
“We’re not talking about trading cards here, but souls. It doesn’t work that way.”
“I think it can. I think I have found the way.” Wesley gave Lorne the scroll and pointed to the passage he had been reading.
Lorne read the passage over. He raised his eyes. “It’s too risky.”
“I know.” Wesley buried his head in his hands.
Cordelia walked into the hotel. “Hello.” She waved to Wesley, Gunn, and Fred.
“Cordelia, you came in?”
“Duh, I work here.”
“Yeah, but yesterday you said the ghost was more fun.” Gunn said.
“He is. But, I need the paycheck.” Cordelia sat down at her desk, pulling out another magazine.
“Um, Cordy. Angel seems to be all better.”
“Told you. That’s what happens, Angel gets hurt, he sleeps, and he gets better.”
“I….” Fred looked nervously around.
“Cordelia there is no reason to be rude.” Wesley said.
Cordelia rolled her eyes.
“I swear I’m going to smack that expression off her face.” Gunn whispered to Wesley.
Cordelia sighed. “Fine. Fred how was your lecture?”
Fred startled and eagerly looked at Cordelia. “Um, it was good. Gunn went with me. The professor said…..” Fred stopped as Cordelia buried her head back into the magazine. Fred flinched. “Um, never mind. I going to go to the library now.”
Wesley watched the young woman run out of the hotel.
“Cordelia why did you ask, if you weren’t going to listen.”
“I was being polite.”
“It’s only polite if you are sincere.”
“Would you all just leave me alone? It’s not my fault if ditzy cave woman is too sensitive for her own good.”
“Cordelia, Fred admires you.”
“Or did,” grumbled Gunn.
“I didn’t ask for it. Like I want her following me around. Geez. She still has no concept of makeup or fashion. Dweebsville.”
“Ouch,” Cordelia squeezed her eyes shut.
“Aspirin please and you better wake up sleeping vamp.”
“So, you are.” Cordelia accepted the pills and water from Angel. “Evil vampires getting ready for buffet in the underground lot of the Mall.”
“Are you all right?”
“Yep,” Cordelia looked at the vampire. “Just a headache.”
Angel nodded. “Let’s go.”
“Sure.” Wesley and Gunn got up to follow.
“That was a vision?” Gunn whispered. “She didn’t scream, shake or fall or anything.”
“Yes, isn’t wonderful.” Wesley shook his head and went to the door.
Cordelia went back to her magazine as soon as the other’s left.
Cordelia was heading out of the door when Angel, Wesley, and Gunn returned. “Well, you all look better than you did last night. Good night.”
Angel shot out his hand stopping Cordelia from passing.
Cordelia looked at his hand then up to his face. Her brow arched. “I’m going home.”
“I want to talk to you.” Angel continued to hold her arm.
“Angel, I don’t think you should.” Wesley said.
“I would have to agree with Wesley.” Cordelia said. “I don’t want to talk to you now. Now, I want to go home. My job is done here for the night. Let me go.”
Angel ignored Wesley and pulled Cordelia to Wesley’s office.
“Angel, don’t.” Wesley voice dropped in defeat.
“Hey, maybe Angel can wipe that bitchy expression off Barbie’s face.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.” Wesley shook his head and went to his books.
“I don’t appreciate the cave man routine.” Cordelia shook her arm.
Angel released her. “I want to talk to you.”
“Obviously, but I don’t want to talk to you.” Cordelia opened the door to leave.
Angel’s hand shot out slamming the door. “Give me five minutes, then you can go home.”
Cordelia closed her eyes. She would listen to him. She wouldn’t get angry. She couldn’t get angry; she felt nothing. Cordelia straightened and faced Angel.
“So talk.” Somewhere in the back of her mind, Cordelia noted that Angel’s expression and dark eyes gave nothing away. He was as emotionless as she felt. Cordelia forced back the twinge of something that accompanied the realization.
“You can’t care about me or them. I understand that and can live with that. But they can’t. So, pretend if you have to. Be polite at least. That’s all I wanted to say. You can go home now.” Angel opened the door.
Cordelia refused to react. She took a deep breath and walked out. Cordelia said nothing to either Wesley or Gunn as she picked up her purse. The front door slammed she left.
Angel blinked once, and then he gathered his many years of solitude and wrapped it around his soul and heart cloaking them, protecting them from pain and love.
Wesley appeared at the doorway. “Angel.”
“I’m going upstairs.”
“No. You’re going to tell me what happened.”
“Something happened. Angel confronting Cordelia won’t help anything.”
“I just told her to be polite. You told her the same thing.”
“Damn’t Angel, I’m not you. I imagine Cordelia has had a lot of practice blocking out the things I say to her. She has yet shown that ability with you.”
“Don’t worry. I don’t think she will come back tomorrow all sweetness and light. She ignored me. Now, I really would appreciate if you did to.” Angel moved passed Wesley.
Cordelia sat on the couch. Her eyes were closed and she was breathing deeply. She would not think about Angel, she would not hear his words or see his blank expression. She wouldn’t.
How dare he. Don’t go there, Cordelia Chase. The young woman forced her growing anger away. She forced her mind to go blank. She would be fine. Cordelia went to bed, ignoring the dampness on her cheeks.
Wesley grabbed the scroll and followed Angel upstairs.
“I told you to leave me alone.” A voice came from the darkness.
“Yes, well tough.” Wesley flicked on the light.
“Angel, you have to listen to me. Both you and Lorne seem to think that Cordelia’s ability to rebuild her walls mean that she has no feelings and will be safe from the dangers of the visions. But that’s not the case.”
“She is fine. The visions barely touch her now.”
“For now. But Cordelia didn’t turn into a demon or a machine. She still is a young human woman with feelings. She just has the sad amazing ability to repress them.”
“It will be enough.”
“Angel, you may have been able to isolate yourself over the last century. But Cordelia doesn’t have that ability. Angel, we are talking about Cordelia Chase, the young woman who reached your heart without trying or knowing it. Her very being screams out to love and to be loved. And sooner or later that need will push through those walls like they did before. And it only takes one crack and then she is too weak to survive the visions. And you Angel will be that crack. So, don’t confront her again unless you are prepared for the consequences.”
“There were no cracks that I saw.”
“Angel, she was angry when she left tonight a real emotion. One that she can’t afford. One that she experienced after you talked to her.”
“No.” Angel refused to believe that he did anything that would harm Cordelia. She had just stared at him showing nothing.
“You’re in danger of becoming as blind as you always have been. But…”
Angel looked up. “What?”
“I believe that Lorne was wrong. Not about the grayness, but about how Cordelia needs to maintain it.”
“Explain.” Angel was listening now.
“Lorne said that Cordelia was able to receive the visions because of some ungodly need she had to protect herself. That grayness is not natural for a human. Just like your grayness is not natural for a vampire.”
“He said that you are gray because you have a soul. An anomaly. A gray that you can lose as your soul begins to embrace humanity. The demons, the half-demons, the other seers who are gray can’t do that. Their humanity if they have any doesn’t strengthen. Your gray is incidental. You don’t need it or want it if you’re ever to become human. Unfortunately without Cordelia’s humanizing influence on you, you’re stagnating, regressing. You need her and she needs you. She needs your gray, a gray that existence isn’t because she is forcing her emotions, her humanity in to a dark place.”
“I can’t help her. The powers saw to that and my shansu is not relevant.”
“I believe Lorne was wrong about that to. I don’t believe that the Powers just spout off irrelevant and disposable prophecies.”
“I don’t think that was a prophecy, just a test, just an escape hatch if Cordelia had wanted one. But, she didn’t want it. And now I think that the Power’s want you both to be together to complete the real prophecy.” Wesley held up the scroll.
“Lorne said that I was made human….”
“I know what he said, I was there. And that was his interpretation. But, I believe that he was wrong. It was nothing but a tactic albeit a dangerous one, but still just a tactic to allow Cordelia to build up all of her walls, so that the next step could be done.”
Wesley took a deep breath. “For you to be able to share or give your grayness to Cordelia. Hers has to be completely gone, only then will she be able to accept yours.”
“Her grayness is the only thing that protects her.”
“I know, but it has to go. And Cordelia can’t do it by herself, maybe if none of this had happened, I mean everything from the hellmouth to now, she would have eventually worked through her need for her self-protection. But, she can’t do that now. No. All of her protections will have to be destroyed….by you. “
“No. I won’t do it. It’s too dangerous. She needs those protections.”
“Angel she needs what you can give her, not what she has built up over the years. That gray is just malignant. Evidence that something unmentionable happened to her as a young child, before the dangers of the hellmouth even entered her life.
“No. And honestly, I don’t want to. Knowing what she has been through during our acquaintance and friendship is frightening enough. Whatever happened to her before that I don’t want to know. But regardless, we don’t have time for Cordelia to work through whatever it was by traditional means. Those walls must be destroyed for the transference to take place. I have no doubt that you will be able to do some major damage to them, I……”
“You will be able to break through, but to destroy them, to make them go away, she is going to have to trust you. I mean really trust you. And I don’t think Cordelia even at her most loving and compassionate as had the ability to trust anyone, even you completely.”
“Because of what I’ve done to her.”
“Angel, her walls weren’t built because of you. Her trust for you has been real, just not complete. Granted you haven’t helped matters, but her inability to truly trust was already in place, you just I imagine confirmed it.”
“Because of whatever happened to her.”
Angel growled. For the first time since Lorne had mentioned it, Angel really thought about what must have triggered Cordelia’s need for such intensive self-protection. Angel knew how he became isolated. It was the evil that he had committed as Angelus. But, what happened to Cordelia couldn’t have been anything that she had done.
Something had been done to her. Angel closed his eyes trying to imagine Cordelia at his Kathy’s age. Free and innocent until an outside evil destroyed them. Angelus killed Kathy. But whatever touched Cordelia left her alive, but dead inside. Angel needed to know what had happened. He needed to know where his rage could be directed.
“Angel.” Wesley saw Angel’s acceptance of what he was saying and the anger that accompanied it. “Angel, why is not important, revenge is pointless. The only important thing is Cordelia, now here in the present.”
Angel bit back his growl. Cordelia was what was important. The revenge would hopefully come later.
“Are you sure this will work.”
“No. I believe it will- if Cordelia allows herself to be completely vulnerable to you. She has come pretty close in the past, but she has always been able to gather up some of her self-protection. I know she loves you, I know you love her. If that is enough, then it will work. But, Angel you’re also going to have to let yourself be vulnerable to her. The trust has to be mutual. If you can’t do it, then it would be best if you left her.”
Angel gave a sad chuckle and smile. “Cordelia holds everything I am in the palm of her hand.”
“Yes, well make her believe it.”
Angel got up. “How? Is there a spell or a ritual?”
Wesley shook his head. “No, just the baring of two souls and then the shared rebuilding of them in trust and love.
“No.” Angel said after a long moment of silence.
“No. I’ve listened and heard. And what I heard was that you think, but don’t know. If you are wrong Cordelia’s dies. Lorne said that she has the protection she needs. You saw her the vision caused her nothing more than a headache.”
“It won’t last.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Yes. That I do know. Angel, Cordelia was angry. Whatever you said to her touched her. It may have been only momentarily. But it did touch her. And if happened once, it will happen again.”
“No. I won’t risk her.”
“Tell me Wesley are you suggesting this because you believe it will work or because you just don’t like who Cordelia has become.”
Wesley glared. “Don’t. I love Cordelia, I may not like the girl that is downstairs, but I do love her. And if I thought that, her remaining insensitive and callous would keep her alive, I would buy her a Queen C license plate and jump for joy that the Bitch was back. But I don’t believe that her repressing her feelings will keep her alive. I do think that this is the only option and I’m offended that you would even suggest otherwise.” The door slammed at his exit.
Angel got up, turned the light switch off, returned to his chair and thought.
“He won’t listen.” Wesley threw the scroll towards the table.
“Do you really think it is the only way?”
“I know it is.” Wesley sat in the chair. He would cool down then go back. Angel had to be made to see reason.