Posted: (Written) January-April 2001
Rating: PG 13. If you can watch the show, you can probably read this.
Category: trust me, you’ll love it!
Summary: Just what the title says. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or an educated Watcher, to get that one.
Spoilers: Absolutely none. But it does take place anytime after Wesley got shot. But Angel’s still the boss! Oh. And Wesley’s still dating Virginia.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Please ask
It was nearly ten o’clock.
This is a wild goose chase,” Angel said tiredly. “I’ve been up all day working on this, and nothing’s come up.”
“Maybe we’re just not looking hard enough,” Cordelia muttered, rummaging through a crate marked ‘Lucky Wok Fortune Cookies’.
“No, I think whoever this demon is, is long gone.”
“You think?” Cordelia said hopefully. She pushed back a stray strand of hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear and exhaled a slow breath. “Ok, I’m really tired and I want to go home.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“Yeah, lets go.”
“Sounds good to me!”
Cordelia gladly followed Angel towards the door that opened up to the restaurant. The little kitchen of The Lucky Wok Chinese Restaurant was greasy and dirty, and Cordelia looked around disgustedly.
“Remind me NEVER to eat here again.”
Angel glanced at the sticky floor. “No problem.”
“Guys,” Wesley said, bounding through the swinging kitchen door and almost knocking into Angel. “Sorry…” He said apologetically. Angel shook his head and waived it off.
“Don’t worry about it…find anything?”
“NO.” Angel and Cordelia said in unison.
“Oh…” Wesley looked at his watch and raised his brow at the time. “I’m late. Virginia will have my head if I don’t get there soon…” He looked at Angel hopefully. Angel gave him a slight, tired frown and shrugged.
“We’re calling it a night. Go on. Get out of here,” Wesley started to oblige when a sudden clanging came from somewhere deep in the kitchen. The three spun around and listened silently.
After a moment Angel said, “Better check it out.”
“No!” Cordelia whined. “It’s probably just a rat, or a giant roach, or…or…” She cringed, a slight shiver running up her spine. “Something as equally icky!”
“Or it could be a Spontoon demon,” Wesley sighed. “Oh, Virginia’s going to have my head!”
“Nah, Wesley, go on.” Angel took a step back in the direction from which the sound had come. A slow frown was making its way across his features, but he grit his teeth. “I can handle it on my own…go on. Go to your dinner party.”
“Thanks,” Wesley said in relief. “I owe you one. If I leave now, I might just make it for desert,”
“Since you owe me one,” Angel added, eyes glued to the back of the kitchen. “Can you drop Cordy at home?”
“Oh,” Wesley started, less than enthusiastically. “Um…sure.”
“No!” Cordelia groaned. “Just go. I don’t want to be the reason you’re late. I’ll just wait for Angel. It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes…right, BOSS?”
Angel didn’t answer; he crept quietly down the aisle back towards the freezer.
Cordelia turned towards Wesley. “Go on, have fun.”
“Are you sure?”
“YES. Now get out, go, before I change my mind.” He glanced back; Angel had disappeared into the shadows at the back of the room.
“Thank you. I’m sure Virginia will thank you also…” Cordelia smiled sweetly.
“Sure! But HEY! Now you owe me one! So call Gunn,” Cordelia took her cell phone out of her purse and handed it to Wes. “…and tell him to forget about stopping by. I know I need some sleep, and I think Angel’s going to hit the hay…er, grave, early, so give Gunn the word, and tell him to take the night off. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”
“Will do.” Wesley smiled, quickly grabbing her and giving her a nice, appreciative squeeze. Cordelia squeaked. He released her and turned to go. “Goodbye!” In a run he was off, and Cordelia curiously watched the door. It nearly got him.
She grinned to herself, but quickly retracted it and rolled her eyes.
“Geez!” Cordelia huffed. “Hurry much?” She folded her arms insecurely then turned around in the suddenly silent space. She took a second to survey her…yep, it was icky… surroundings. The rest of the restaurant was, pardon the expression, dead, having to have closed early that night, what with the demon issues and all.
And so, besides the also dead Vampire at the back of the room, and the probably very much alive, oh that’s not a good thing, rats and giant cockroaches, Cordelia Chase was all alone.
The bare bulbs that hung from the ceiling cast an unholy light over everything, making it look dingier than it already was. The sinks and stoves were dirty and stained, the walls were yellow and the paint cracked, grease stuck in a congealed film on practically everything with a metal edge, and the bare white lights emphasized it all ten fold.
And Cordelia bet her skin didn’t look good in here.
That, more than anything, bothered her to the point of psychosomatic hyperventilation and as she took out her compact and frantically checked her worried appearance, she started to notice the eerie shadows casting out in all directions; hiding corners of the dark kitchen, and possibly, hiding things in those dark corners. Cordelia quickly became very nervous…
“Angel?” She called out in a dry whisper. No answer. “Angel???” Louder. She glanced behind her quickly and then started to move forward, her heels clicking lightly on the hard, concrete floor.
It sure was a long walk back.
Cordelia started to walk faster. By the time she had reached the freezer she was near running; her purse swinging over her shoulder, and her sweater dangling from her arm.
“Angel!” She hissed. “Angel! …where the hell are you!”
“I’m back here,” His voice confirmed. She stepped around a corner and found the freezer door wide open. Angel had gone inside.
“Did you find anything?” She questioned hopefully…hopeful that he hadn’t, and they in fact, could now head home.
“I thought I saw something duck in here,” He whispered.
“Oh.” Cordelia grew silent and watched cautiously as Angel stepped around large slabs of meat hanging silently from hooks overhead. The only sounds were Angel’s boot soles squeaking against the cold floor as he stepped, and the soft whir of the freezer fan in the background. One step and then another.
Cordelia was holding her breath.
Angel froze when he noticed a side of pork swinging ever so slightly in the otherwise still space. He motioned silently with his hand for Cordelia to stay back. Cordelia was more than happy to oblige. Angel disappeared into the darkness through the rows of meat, and then again, silence.
Cordelia leaned forward, straining to hear or see anything in the cold, dark room, but it was impossible. Angel had his vamp-o-vision, Cordelia didn’t have squat. She gave up looking, and tried just listening.
But no sound emanated from within.
It all started to worry her.
She bit her lip and took one small step forward. Was that something moving around inside, or just the sound of blood in her ears? As she finally took a breath, she thought she heard something move, and still not sure, took another step forward. Then she heard a loud thunk.
“Ow.” Cordelia stepped into a cold, thin chain hanging from the ceiling, and realizing it went to a light above, pulled it down. A bulb flickered on, and though it didn’t reach back very far, it was enough to see Angel lying on the ground, body face up and cast in shadow.
“OH MY GOD! ANGEL!” She ran through the meat to him and finding he wasn’t unconscious or torn into a million pieces, reached down to help him up. “Geez! What happened?”
He looked up at her disgustedly and dusted himself off. “I tripped.”
Angel cocked his head to the side to read the box next to him. “Shrimp.”
Cordelia looked down, and grimaced. “Ew, expired shrimp. AGAIN, Remind me NEVER to eat here again.”
“There isn’t anything here,” Angel growled, rubbing his shin in resolve then standing back with a sigh. “Let’s just go.”
They turned to head back out when they heard a loud click.
“What was that?” Cordelia asked suspiciously. Angel gave her a look before rushing to the door. It was closed. ‘Oh, crap.’ Cordelia mouthed as she stood by idly while Angel tried the handle. Sure enough, it was locked. Angel pushed on it a few times, kicking it hard when it wouldn’t budge, then held out his hand in frustration.
“Cordy, Give me your phone.”
“Uhh…” Cordelia laughed nervously turning away from the reformed blood-sucker.
“What?” He demanded.
“I gave it to Wesley when he left so he could call Gunn.” Angel sighed. “I’m sorry!”
“Well, Gunn should be here any minute so…” Another nervous giggle, and when he eyed her reluctantly, a groan. This time, she took a step back and looked to the floor, afraid to make eye contact just yet…
“What?” Angel growled impatiently.
“I, uh…hehe,” She smiled innocently. “I told Wesley…well, I asked him…”
“Cordelia, get to the point!
“I told Wesley to call Gunn, and tell him not to bother coming by because we were heading home anyways!” Angel’s head slowly lifted as he stared at Cordelia in disbelief.
“CORDELIA!” He roared.
“I SAID I’M SORRY!!!”
Angel ran his hands through his hair and started to pace the floor. “Dammit, Cordelia! How stupid—”
“How was I supposed to know we’d need him to show up after all!”
“Why on earth—”
“GEEZ! It was a mistake, that’s all! It’s not a big deal!”
“Not a big—God, Cordelia! We’re stuck in here, until someone comes to get us! Until morning! I’M STUCK IN HERE WITH YOU UNTIL MORNING!”
“MORE LIKE I’M STUCK WITH…oh my god! We ARE totally stuck!” The severity of the conclusion hit her, and she flew to the door, kicking it and beating it with her hand. “HELLO? HELLO??? IS ANYONE THERE??? SOMEONE LET US OUT! PLEEEEASE, SOMEONE LET US OUT!”
“Its pointless, Cordy. Everyone’s gone.”
“No! No, no, no!” She whined. She gave the door one last good kick then winced in pain, hopping around on one foot. “OW!”
“Don’t hurt yourself,” Angel scolded, not the slightest hint of amusement anywhere in his voice. He walked around in a circle examining the walls of their prison…there had to be some way out…
“Damn shoes,” Cordelia muttered looking down at her hard-soled Dolce And Gabbanas. They looked great on, and very expensive. But they weren’t very good for much else; especially kicking down doors. Hell, even walking in them sometimes kinda hurt…but if asked, she’d never admit it. “Angel, can’t you just use your special vampire powers to get us out of here or something?”
“Oh, yeah,” Angel said dryly. “Let me use my special laser vision. Or, I know! I’ll just teleport us out of here using the power of my mind! Gee, Cordy, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner.” Angel rolled his eyes and looked away.
“Don’t be snide, mister!” Cordelia huffed, starting to pace the floor like a caged cat.” I don’t need your sarcasm right now…and besides, the wisecracks are my territory!”
“Sorry, excuse me,” Angel replied, scathingly. Cordelia winced, though the pain in her toe was subsiding. She was more worried about the door and so had nearly forgotten about it. She walked to and fro, racking her brain for ideas, though nothing sensible came to her.
When you can’t think, do the next best thing, blame someone. She shook her fist at Angel and let out a hiss. “This is serious. Can’t you just bust down the door or something? You do it all the time with wooden doors.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, this door isn’t wood. It’s reinforced, insulated steel.”
“So…break the lock!”
“The locking mechanisms are on the outside. There’s no way I can do anything to get us out of here. We’re stuck until morning, or, until someone comes and lets us out.”
“Oh.” Cordelia stared at the ground, falling into a daze. She circled the floor helplessly.
“Trapped.” She murmured. “Like rats…EW! OhMyGod! THERE AREN’T ANY RATS IN HERE, ARE THERE???” She hastily searched the ground around her feet and took a step backwards towards the protective area known as ‘Angel’s space’. Rats…ew. This would so not be fun if there were any rats in here!
“No,” Angel said calmly, finally taking a seat on a large box. “No rats. Not live ones anyway…they couldn’t live in this temperature.” Cordelia almost smiled, but cocked her head as she slowly spun around to stare at him.
“And just what temperature is THIS?” She demanded. Angel shrugged nonchalantly.
“I don’t know, probably about 10 below when the fans kick on…” Now Cordelia was the one to stare in disbelief.
“ANGEL!” She screeched.
“WHAT???” He asked dumbly.
“HELLO!!!” She exclaimed, panic building up on her features. “In case you haven’t noticed…I am not DRESSED for the NORTH POLE!” Angel’s eyes rose to take a good look at her for once; now standing before him; scantily clad in a pale, frilly, knee-length summer skirt, a little purple, and awfully cute, spaghetti strapped tank top, and designer four inch heels, just perfect for dancing in, or breaking your neck as you attempted to dance, with only a delicate cashmere cardigan draped most casually over her arm.
She’d already begun to get goose bumps. Angel did a double take, eyes widening.
“Oh crap is right!” She hissed. “Oh my god, I am going to freeze to death!” Cordelia began to shiver considerably. She tugged on her thin cashmere sweater and started to pace.
“No, you’re not going to freeze to death,” Angel swore, getting up and again examining the room for a possible way out…or at best, a way to remedy the immediate dire situation. The wheels in his head had already begun to spin…
“Easy for you to say!” Cordelia went on. “You don’t mind the cold! But I’m a warm-blooded all-American girl! And I need heat!” Cordelia’s voice trembled as if she were about to cry.
Angel took off his long, leather coat and gave it to her, and she took it without hesitation. Once on, although it was vaguely warmer than without it, the protective leather did nothing to calm her nerves, and she imagined her feet were starting to feel like blocks of ice.
Whether she was starting to shake because the cold had finally reached her bones, or she was starting to shake because of the thought of the cold finally reaching her bones, she was right to be scared.
Just then, a loud whirring noise started up, and several drafts of cold air hit them from all angles. Cordelia jumped.
Angel looked up to the walls. ‘Those must be the fans,’ Cordelia thought. “Angel?” She cringed helplessly.
He took one look at her and decided on a plan. He walked the perimeter of the front of the freezer and found what he’d been looking for: a long, curved meat hook. He went along the walls, and one by one, smashed the small, built in fans. They spit and sparked as the hook smashed into them again and again, slowly but surely stopping them, and reducing the cold air flow effectively.
Steel on whirring steel… It was a horrible noise, and Cordelia covered her ears. When he was done, Angel dropped the bent hook with exasperation and came back to where Cordelia stood.
“That should keep it from going below freezing…but we’ll still have to keep you warm.”
“But the fans,” she mumbled questioningly.
“There’s a main fan in the back that’s constantly running.” Angel explained. “It’s inside the wall behind a steel grate. I wouldn’t be able to get to it. So it’s still going to be really cold.”
“Oh,” By now, she was truly shivering, goose bumps running up and down her skin, and her teeth chattering slightly with each cold breath she took. Another horrible thought invaded her mind and she reached out and clutched Angel’s sleeve. “I wont suffocate, will I?”
“No.” Angel promised. Cordelia felt a little better. “That’s one good thing about the fan…it circulates air from outside. So you should be fine, in that respect.”
“Angel…” Cordelia sighed in a frightened little girl voice. “I’m sorry I gave Wesley the phone…” Her face started to crumble. “I’m cold! I don’t want to be here!” When she started to sniffle, Angel felt bad. Girls crying…what could he do? He was a sucker. He took a step towards her and opened his arms.
“I don’t want to be stuck in here all night!” She heaved.
“I know,” He sighed, pulling her against him. “It’s okay, I wont let anything happen to you.” He let her lean her face against his chest and he tucked his chin against her forehead. She took a deep breath and forgot about her tears. If there was one thing Cordelia Chase knew, it was that crying never solved anything…
She grimaced then, finding something suddenly disturbing. Cordelia pulled away and looked up at him.”You’re cold.” She stated, touching his shoulder through his black sweater, grimacing more. “Angel… It feels like frozen meat under there.”
“I can handle it,” He said easily.
“Yeah! But if you’re cold, DUH! No body heat, then WHO’S GOING TO KEEP ME WARM???” Angel was quiet. She had a point.
“I’m screwed!” She cried out. She did start to cry then, and dramatically, taking deep breaths of air and then sobbing them out. Angel tried to make her stop.
“Cordelia! Look at me! Stop it!” He shook her slightly, but she shook her head.
“I’m going to probably die in here!” She yelped.
“No, you’re not going to die,”
“And tomorrow morning, when they open the door, they’re going to find you sitting there, a little frosty, but otherwise fine, and me! Frozen like a Popsicle! Oh my god! It’ll be like that episode of I Love Lucy! Except no Fred to start the furnace!!!” She started bawling again and came back into Angel’s arms. He patted her back, rocking her softly.
“It’s not going to be like I Love Lucy,” He promised, trying to hush her. “We’re more sufficient than that…I would hope… We’ve got all kinds of stuff in here to get us through the night.”
“Like, what? Expired shrimp!” Cordelia pulled away and wiped her nose. The tears on her face were drying in the cold. She assumed that if she didn’t stop crying pretty soon, she’d have icicles on her face. She stopped crying.
“No…” Angel said, looking around for something to back up his claim. He spotted the perfect thing. “Look…” He let go of Cordelia and walked over to a lump of hanging meat. It was sheathed in a long plastic wrap. “We can use this like a blanket.”
“Ew. I am NOT putting that thing over my body,” She shivered. She crossed her hands over her chest defiantly and started hopping up and down to warm herself up. “Its covered in icky meat stuff, and it’ll get my clothes all messed up!”
“Cordy, you’ll be warm.”
“Look. You can keep warm, or die of hypothermia and when they open up the door tomorrow, you’ll already be dressed for your funeral.” It didn’t take much to make a decision after that. She came up next to him, gripping the plastic, and struggled to pull.
“Here,” He said, moving her aside and yanking it hard. In one swift move, it was off the meat and on the floor, ready to be used as a makeshift sleeping bag. Cordelia gripped it to her happily. Maybe she wouldn’t end up a frozen pea after all…
Angel went over to a pile of empty boxes and started breaking them apart and laying them out on the floor against the wall.
“We might as well get some rest,” He said. “We’ve got a while before morning.”
“What’re those for?” She asked, eyeing the dirty cardboard boxes.
“To sit on…duh.”
Great, now he was mocking her. Cordelia frowned. “What a waste of a Saturday night.”
Angel put the finishing touches on the cardboard pallet. It didn’t look that impressive, but it looked a lot more comfortable than the bare concrete floor. Angel sat down and motioned Cordelia to sit next to him. Cordelia joined him, and both leaned back against the wall, Cordelia pulling the plastic sheet around her.
“Cozy, huh?” Angel tried.
“Yeah, sure.” Cordelia said blandly. It was going to be a long night…