It wasn’t long after he had the vision that Doyle found himself jogging down the stairs to Angel’s apartment with news of a vision. The Irishman had figured his visions would go away or he would be assigned to another champion of the almighty owners of his private cinema screen. Flicking his wrist out, his rapped his knuckles on the edge of the wall to announce his presence. “Knock knock” he called out, “Angel?”
Stirring from his light sleep, Angel blinked against the difference in brightness and slowly uncurled his body from around the still sleeping Cordelia, careful not to wake her. “Shush” he called back as loud as he dared, “She’s still sleeping” climbing softly out of the bed, he picked up his robe from the floor and tugged it on.
Turning his back, Doyle gave his friend some privacy while he waited in the living room area. Footsteps behind him a few minutes later told him it was okay for him to turn around now, “Hey man” glancing over Angel’s shoulder to look at the peaceful brunette still in bed “Someone had a good night” he commented before giving him the news.
“And a good morning” Angel divulged as he threaded his belt through the loops to secure his pants in place. Leading Doyle away from the bedroom area, though he was human his coffee-pot homing signal was working perfectly. The Irishman blinked a few times and the delicious smell of freshly brewing coffee drifted through the air, making his mouth water with anticipation of having his first cup of steaming Brazilian.
Turning back to his seer when the dripping started, Angel regarded the half demon for a second seeing the slight nervousness tensing up his body. “What is it?”
“I thought with your vampire self gone, I wouldn’t be getting anymore free trips to MGM” Doyle told him, crossing his arms and looking at his friend in concern.
“You had a vision” the ex-vampire surmised easily, “What about?”
“The demon that Slayer didn’t get to kill” Doyle replied uneasily, “Not to be patronising, but how you are you gonna kill it without your vampy extras?”
Shaking his head, Angel gave him an uncertain answer as he continued setting the mugs up, “I don’t even know if this is permanent” he confessed. Whenever something good happened to him, it always ended and he doubted this would be any different.
“You mean you’ve been having your way with the Princess and you don’t know if you’re still gonna be ‘all man’ permanently?” the incredulity caused the Irishman’s voice to go into unprecedented heights. Doyle’s blue eyes stared long and hard at the silent man in front of him. He couldn’t blame Angel for taking the opportunity of being able to love it was something that he, as a vampire, hadn’t been able to do with the woman of his choice.
“I couldn’t just let this go Doyle” Angel told him, his voice quiet with selfishness and guilt that he hadn’t taken how Cordelia might feel if he were to turn back into a vampire, he’d only thought of himself. As selfish as he was, he didn’t feel guilty for taking the chance because if he didn’t then he might not ever get another one. “I love her”
Seeing the pained expression on the other man’s face, Doyle fought an internal battle with himself as he strode to keep them a secret. Angel watched as mixed emotions crossed his seer’s face in what looked to be an attempt to keep his mouth shut. “If you know something…” he wasn’t forcing the half demon to tell anything, merely pushing him in the right direction.
Doyle wasn’t stupid, he knew enough about Angel to know just how similar they were when it came to things of high value. Knowing the older man would likely put him into hospital if he held something that could provide knowledge about his humanity, he gave up the secret he had pledged to keep. With a defeated sigh, he started talking.
“I know a guy” he began when he got cut off.
“Skip your guy and get to the point” Angel stated firmly, knowing from personal experience just how many ‘guys’ Doyle knew.
With a roll of his eyes, he carried on with explaining. “You could go to the Oracles, ask them about your ‘all man no vamp’ status” there, he’d given up one the best kept secrets of the good guys and now he was going to hell.
“What are the Oracles?” Angel asked abruptly.
“They’re…” Doyle waved his hands in exaggeration, “You know, mystical, all-seeing-all-powerful people. Never met em myself but I know a gu…”
“Where are these Oracles?”
Holding up the piece of paper and reading the words loudly, Angel sprinkled the dust in the air while offhandedly wondering about the address of these Oracles. Underneath the Post Office of all places, he could just hear Cordelia saying if they were that powerful they’d have a penthouse suite at the Ritz. With the thought of his girlfriend, he continued with what he was here to do.
“I come before thee Oracles” Angel said, wincing inwardly at how his voice sounded when he said them. “For guidance and direction. I beseech access to the know…AAAHHH!”
Before he knew it, Angel found himself inside a white marble room, blue symbols written in a script he didn’t understand. There was a waterless fountain style monument in the middle of the room. Opposite him, there was a male and female; the male had short blonde hair and piercing eyes. The female had black hair curled into tight ringlets held back by a gold hair band Angel knew Cordelia would have commented on.
Both beings were dressed in black, velvet togas; their skin as golden as the sun he had seen and the markings inscribed on their arms were as blue as the ocean he had swam in.
“What have you brought us?” the woman spoke first, her Godly voice echoed throughout the mystical chamber.
Doyle didn’t mention anything about gifts.
Improvising, Angel removed his watch and the second he did the object sailed directly into the waiting hands of the woman who began to speak once more.
With an ironic chuckle, she exchanged a knowing look with her male counterpart. “Time” her voice once again echoed all around the room, “So much and so little of it”
“He has come for answers” the male spoke for the first time, giving Angel a looked which dared him to deny his assumption.
“That’s right” Angel agreed as he cautiously peered around the room, “The demon that attacked Buffy and I. The blood, it made me human” he explained unnecessarily.
“That which we already know” the male spoke, his knowing tone causing the ex-vampire to get agitated. “Has come to pass”
“What do you mean? Come to pass? Was this, my humanity, meant to happen?” Angel asked, rounding the dry fountain in between him and the Higher Beings.
“That what is preordained and that which occurs may differ from your path” the woman answered. “You have something you wish for”
“Yes, I’m human and I have the woman I love. Is this permanent?”
“You are human but for how long relies upon what is now destined to happen” it was the male’s turn to answer his question.
“What do you mean?” Angel asked in confusion as his eyes darted back and forth between the male and female. “What is destined to happen? An apocalypse?”
“So many want to destroy all that has been born” the female spoke with a deep, unhidden sadness in her voice that resounded through him. He had been one of those many and he would never forget. “There is no one true apocalypse”
“I’m not stupid” he stated after a short pause of contemplation “I know I can’t fight as a mortal, I’ve seen too much to not be able to fight and if there is an apocalypse then I’m needed”
“If you are mortal, Lower Being, then in what way would you be ‘needed’ for our cause?” the male asked with an arrogant sneer.
“What would happen to my friends if I were to remain human?” Angel questioned, not sure if he wanted to hear what the answer would be.
“They each have their own destinies” the female responded, “Some will live out until their path has ended, others will not. Some destinies have folded and other destinies shall be revealed in that which you call time”
“So you’re saying if I remain human then Cordelia might not live?” that thought made him sick with fear, so much so he began to shake slightly. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Angel clenched his fists at his side and regained some portion of control. “What about Doyle? Buffy?”
“A seer and a slayer, as forces for your world, will be replaced when their time has come. Some sooner than the other” she looked at him, her expression giving nothing away except for knowledge she wasn’t intending on sharing.
“Then undo it” he couldn’t allow anyone die because he got something he wanted, “Take my humanity”
“And you would accept what you were before? A demon with a soul?” the woman spoke up, this time there was an expression on her face; shock.
“If it will save the lives of my friends and my girlfriend then yes” Angel confirmed, ignoring his heart cracking wide open.
“The Lower Being comes before us on a whim of love” the male’s voice boomed in disrespect of the shallow reason their champion had come to them.
“You are wrong” the woman defended, “He is not a Lower Being”
“Thanks” Angel responded dryly, at least Cordelia had loved before he had been human he knew that if he went back to having vampire genes, she’d still love him. In her words, he was still the same inside; a good man and if she believed he was a good man then he wasn’t going to let her down.
“We will undo that which has come to pass but one destiny shall remain intact” the male spoke, making Angel wonder how and when they had agreed to take him up on his offer.
“One more thing” the female stated, “Only you shall carry the burden, no other soul shall remember”
Maybe that would be for the best, Angel didn’t know if he could handle seeing the heartbreak in Cordelia’s eyes when he told her they couldn’t make love anymore. “Fine. Just get it done”
“He’s done it again” Cordelia fumed as she once again paced the office furiously for the second time in two days. “No calls, no messages and no God damn cute, little love note on my pillow. God, he is such a man!” she blew a strand of hair away from her mouth as she continued to rant about the wrongness that was males in general.
Spinning to face Doyle, she shoved a finger so close to his face he had to lean back to keep his eyes in his head. “Your species has a lot to answer for and you could make a start right now” Cordelia got closer to him, he backed away. “Why do you never notice when a girl gets a new haircut, huh? Why do you never remember to call when you go out before your, air quote, girlfriend wakes up?”
“Take it easy Princess” Doyle yelped out, jumping away from the insane brunette in front of him. Was that sweat on his forehead? “Angel will get back when he gets back” he didn’t want to explain anything more to her at all.
Once those I-know-something-you-don’t-know words were out of his mouth, he instantly knew he’d made a mistake in opening his mouth. Hazel eyes narrowed to dangerous slits, her full glossed lips tightened into a thin line and her face tilted to the side as she glared at him suspiciously. “You know something” her words were drawn out in a long, smooth drawl.
He shook his head rapidly, praying Angel would get back before she hurt him, “No, I really don’t”
“Doy-yle” she was too observant to believe that, “If you know something then you better tell me now”
“I swear Princess, I don’t know anything” this girl could show the Kray twins a few things, she could make the mafia boss crack. Already, his hands were clammy and his mouth was dry and she hadn’t even started yet.
Gaining on him, Cordelia swiftly blocked the front door and effectively prevented him from escaping. “You little liar, I know you’re lying because I can smell it. Don’t make me get angry” she warned seriously.
“He doesn’t know anything” almost fainting from relief at the sound of Angel’s voice, Doyle flashed him a grin before waving Bye-Bye and running off for the cover of the office.
Twirling round, Cordelia found herself concealed in a bear hug from Angel; “Wow, what’s this for?” she asked, relaxing into him and forgetting her anger now he was back.
“Nothing” there was something in his voice that grabbed her attention, he found himself staring into accusing hazel eyes.
“When you say nothing… You mean…”
“Nothing” Angel confirmed, his eyes searching her face and locking the elation into his memory. “I just…” should he tell her what was about to happen? Looking at the clock, he had one minute left like this. One minute to feel happiness and one minute to share it with her. He didn’t want that memory haunted by tears so he lied.
“I just love you, nothing more” he swore then and there that would be the only time he would ever lie to her. Reaching up with his fingertips, he traced the shape of her defined, naturally dewy cheek and brushing the back of his knuckles along the curve of her throat. Ignoring her intrigue, Angel simply smiled down her and waited.
“I love you too, Angel” she sighed, turned her face into his warm palm, “I don’t care if you’re a big old fangy vamp or a no-calling, anniversary forgetting horrible male”
Blinking rapidly, he looked around for Cordelia and realised he was in his office, with Buffy stood in front of him looking angry, hurt and betrayed. His brown eyes drifted towards the window of his office to see the brunette swatting Doyle’s hand away from her donut. Angel vaguely heard something being said to him about what he had been doing but he didn’t hear.
All his thoughts were focused on two things, the first and foremost doing as the Oracles instructed and crushing the jewel on the Mohra demon’s head. The second and very close thing on his thoughts was the brunette outside and what her destiny would now be. If it would be with him or if it wouldn’t.
“Are you going to tell what you were doing with her?” Buffy asked crossing her arms over her chest and giving him a questioning stare. Though she was speaking, he didn’t look at her, only kept his gaze on the window and the brunette outside.
Raising an eyebrow the vampire finally tore his gaze from Cordelia to the angry Slayer in front of him. Returning her stare and question with one of his own. “Why are you in Los Angeles?” Angel asked.
She couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so direct with her, recovering from her slight surprise Buffy answered him. “I’m visiting my father for a couple of days and thought I’d stop by. If only I’d known I wasn’t welcome” sarcasm dripped from her tongue and sizzled in the air.
“You are welcome to come say hi Buffy but you aren’t welcome to walk into my bedroom without knocking” Angel told her honestly, if there was one thing he had always hated and that was people disrespecting his privacy, it was just annoying.
“I didn’t think I would have to knock because I didn’t think there’d be anything to walk in on” she bit at him. “You were spanking her Angel, how do you think I felt seeing you doing that?”
“I don’t know but what I do know is you don’t have any right to walk into our bedroom the way you did” the vampire responded, entwining his fingers and waited for her to speak.
Buffy’s jaw dropped a little, “Our bedroom? Don’t tell me you and her are…are…” she couldn’t even finish the sentence.
“Living together?” Angel supplied, his eyes drifting back towards the window and Cordelia giving Doyle what looked to be a shocked glance. “Yeah, but it’s only been for a few days now, it’s perfectly… Innocent” his voice lowered and sounded like sandpaper scraping across smooth wood.
“Innocent” she repeated with a nod of her head, “Right. So innocent you feel like you can spank her! I can see how that would be innocent” more sarcasm dripped from her every word and fell like acid, making him bristle.
Regarding Buffy, Angel pursed his lips thoughtfully and sat back in his chair. “I don’t understand what I do in the privacy of my apartment has to do with you or why you’re so upset by this. Am I not allowed to move on? Do I have to spend all my life pining over you?”
Before the blonde could reply, the window to the office was smashed inwards and a demon hurled itself into the room, bellowing out in rage. Wasting no time, Angel jumped up and moved to kill it. The demon dodged a powerful blow by the vampire, ducked and brought its fist crashing into Angel’s face and sent him stumbling back a little.
Instincts took over Buffy; she pulled her stake out of her belt she yelled to the vampire fighting with her. “Angel, how do I kill it?” blonde hair flying in all directions as she launched an assault on the demon. Her stake got thrown to one side, leaving her punching the crap out of it. The demon escaped from Buffy’s hold and went to attack the vampire again.
“I don’t know, I’ve never seen it before” Angel yelled back and dodged another blow to his face. This was the demon who had caused him to have something he could never get back, this was the demon who had taken everything he ever wanted away from him and this was the demon who had effectively changed his relationship with Cordelia.
Not wasting another second, Angel easily crashed his fist directly into the red jewel between the Mohra demon’s eyes and watched, unfeelingly, as it died right there in his office.
Panting a little, Buffy stepped away from the vampire fighting at her side and away from the violence he was severely exuding. “Friend of yours?” she questioned, nudging her head down towards the dead demon.
“No, just had some time to catch up on my reading” Angel retorted, his words must have come out harsh as the blonde flinched at the way he spoke to her. She didn’t have his memories, she didn’t know what and how she would make him feel and she didn’t know how much she would demean what he had with Cordelia.
“I guess spending time with an airhead…” Buffy went to spit out, still reeling from last night’s little show and tell.
Growling at her, Angel lost his temper much easier than what he had done the first time he did this. “You finish that sentence Buffy and I will never look at you as the mature, decent person you really are. I will look at you as nothing more than a jealous, little girl who can’t accept it’s over. You have no idea what I have with that woman out there and you never will”
Without giving her a chance to defend herself, he carried on. “Now go back to where you belong, Buffy and don’t ever let me hear you disrespect Cordelia, Doyle or myself again”
All her words were swept out of her at the finality in his voice, pursing her lips inwards Buffy gave him a nod that told him she far from accepted his words. “You’re making a big mistake Angel” she told him as smoothly as she could while turning away from him, “When you realize that…”
“You won’t be waiting, I get that and I don’t want to you to wait for my mistake to happen because I’m not making one” Angel responded as he walked past the Slayer and out into the office where he paused beside Cordelia who was wide eyed and stunned by the quick demise of the demon.
“You’re feeling feisty” the brunette commented with blinking eyes, peering into the office through the open door Cordelia shuddered at the sight of the demon laying haphazardly on the floor, it’s face contorted with pain. “There’s not enough yuck in the world” her tongue popped out of her mouth and made funny shapes as she shuddered once more.
Remembering Angel’s warning and the seriousness in his eyes, Buffy bit back her comment as she concentrated on the brunette. “I would say its nice to see you again Cordelia, but I’d be lying” her words came out in forced indifference, “Angel, Doyle” she gave each one, bar the other girl, a parting nod before leaving.
Buffy walked out of L.A and out of Angel’s life, leaving them to get on with their semi-normal routine.
Later that afternoon, Cordelia smiled softly to herself as she remembered sharing the afternoon with Doyle and Angel, her best friend and love of her life. Though Angel had seemed a little quiet at times, but she put that down to him continuing to help her find an apartment even if he didn’t like the idea.
Walking along the aisles at the local chemist, the brunette pottered about with the make-up on display, the little body sprays and the little perfume testers. A thought struck her suddenly and she turned direction sharply, “Another week and Angel will be dealing with Corzilla” Cordelia commented, pleased no-one was around to hear her lame joke. Making a mental note of the things she would need, she hauled herself to the feminine section to get the usual supplies of premenstrual cramp relievers and Tampax.
“Boy, won’t Angel like the way his bathroom’s gonna look for seven days!” Cordelia snorted, completely unaware of how her destiny would reveal itself in the thing she called time.
The End of this one…